December 21, 2019 – Antique Shop Culture (OOTD #592)

I used to hate antique shops as a kid.

For one, my parents seemed to want to go all the time. Every time we went to a new city, we had to go to the flea market or the antique mall. I didn’t get it — what was so cool about looking at old junk? And furthermore, why, when we were in a new city or vacation spot, would we bother spending our time at an antique store that sold the same 1970s furniture as all of the other antique stores across the country?

Somewhere along the way in the last 21 years, though, I changed my tune on antique shops. Now, as a piece of old junk myself, I understand the appeal of looking at other pieces of old junk. I am an antique. I relate to antiques now.

I almost never buy anything either! I could spend all day and all of my bank account on vintage clothing, but other antiques — furniture, knick knacks, etc. — I almost never actually purchase. I can’t remember the last “antique” I actually bought. Maybe an old Polaroid camera that I keep on my bookshelf as a decoration?

On this antique shop trip, I didn’t buy anything either. Nonetheless, I had a great time — we went to a few places in Louisville with my grandmother and two New Jersey uncles, including the famous Jo Ley Antiques (which is now closed, unfortunately) and a place called Architectural Salvage, which I’d never been to before.

Architectural Salvage was a great place to visit. I didn’t buy anything, and in fact, the things they sold weren’t really my style (lots of tools and furniture and furniture parts), but it was worth the visit just for the location. It’s this huge, three-building (maybe more?) complex full of staircases and courtyards and stained glass windows. It’s like a maze.

My favorite bit was the top floor of the main house, where the owners kept a bunch of plants — essentially, a makeshift greenhouse. With the stained glass windows that let in just enough sunlight on a cold winter day, it’d make for a great place to curl up with a book and a cup of coffee — if it weren’t a dirty old building full of dust and antiques. Clean it up a little bit, though, and it’d make a really cute café.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this winter break in Kentucky. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Sponsored link: Check out this one-button women’s office wear blazer on dresshead.com!


Jacket: Vintage (thrifted, Foxhouse Vintage)

Turtleneck: The LOFT (thrifted, Goodwill)

Skirt: Forever21

December 6, 2019 – Farewell, DC (OOTD #588)

My semester in DC felt like my shortest semester of university yet.

To be fair, I think it literally was — because it was administered through the University of California and not Notre Dame, my schedule turned out a little differently than a regular ND semester, and I wound up finishing classes and my internship about two weeks before everyone back on campus.

But the actual timing aside, in terms of personal lived experience, this semester just flew by, especially the second half. I’ve discussed this a little already, but after my 21st birthday weekend, the whole semester really picked up, and things improved exponentially. The first half of the semester, from September to October, was kind of a drag. It was hot and miserable and I felt like I hadn’t made any good friends to do things with. Then, come mid-late October, the weather cooled down, I finished up my domestic violence liaison trainings at the MPD that had been taking up several hours each week, and I finally established a solid group of friends. After that, everything turned around.

I think each weekend after my 21st birthday, I had something fun to do — the following weekend, Jane visited, then Mariana visited, then it was Thanksgiving, then the semester was over. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun.

The Friday of my last day of work and my last day of the semester, my friends and I treated ourselves to a nice dinner to celebrate the end of it all. In preparation for my upcoming semester in Paris, I chose a French restaurant called Le Diplomate. Then, we headed to the Smithsonian National Zoo for their Christmas lights show.

The zoo was one of the sites in DC that I had wanted to visit all semester, but that I hadn’t gotten around to. And in an almost poetic manner, when I finally did visit, it was my last night in DC.

It was a nice way to say goodbye to the city. I got to spend time with my friends, enjoy the lights, and relax knowing that all of my work for the semester was done. Even though it was a short semester, it was a productive one. It was my first time working a full-time politics-related job, my first time living in an apartment, my first time cooking for myself every day, and my first time living in a real American city. I know what I experienced in DC wasn’t full-blown independent adult life — I still had the help of my family and university to support me —  but I think it was the closest I’d been up until that point.

And you know what? I think I did an okay job.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Cape: Vintage (thrifted, Street Scene Vintage)

Blouse: A boutique at a mall in Kathmandu, Nepal

Skirt: Abercrombie

November 9, 2019 – A Long Time Coming (OOTD #577)

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that it took me a while to start having fun in DC.

And that’s true. I spent the first two months doing pretty much nothing but going to work, coming home, going to class, and then repeating the next day. Up until November, I wasn’t really doing anything to take advantage of my residence in DC.

But, as I also mentioned in that earlier blog post, once I did start having fun, I really went for it. Apparently, turning 21 made all the difference.

img_0266

About a week after my 21st birthday, my best friend, Jane came and visited. Jane has been a good friend of mine since I was 11 years-old, and she’s the only person I still keep in contact with from my old Louisville days. She and I met through a mutual friend in choir in 6th grade, and, though we weren’t necessarily super close in 6th grade, she somehow wound up as the only person from Louisville who kept up with texting me after I moved to Lexington.

img_0345

 

It’s kind of like my friendship with Amanda — Amanda and I were also not super close in high school when we actually saw each other every day. It was only once we went to university and moved to different cities that we became good friends. Wonder why that happens?

I’m a little surprised Jane hasn’t appeared more on this blog, given how often I go back to Louisville or up to Cincinnati. I guess it’s because I usually only see her for lunch or something short like that, so there’s never really time to take pictures worth making a blog out of. The last time I saw her in person, it was March 2019, and we just got lunch together in Cincinnati as I passed by on my way home for spring break. It was such a short trip, she didn’t even appear in any pictures. Then, I saw her in January 2019, and I was sick as a dog after having come home from Vichy, France — definitely not in any shape to take pictures for a blog.

The last time she actually appeared in pictures on my blog was the summer after I graduated high school. I visited her in Louisville for a few days just two weeks before I began at Notre Dame. We went to the mall, broke into my old elementary school, and ate doughnuts.

This time, Jane came and visited me in Washington DC over Veterans’ Day weekend. I had off from work that Monday, and so we had the whole long weekend to spend together from Friday night to Monday night.

And it was just as much fun as always! It was nice getting to be the hostess for once instead of the guest; I feel like most of the time when I see Jane, it’s me visiting her rather than the other way around because she lives in the more interesting city than I do (no offense, Lexington). Since I was spending the semester in DC, which is, for once, a cool city, I got to take her around to all of the cool places.

On Saturday, we went to the Smithsonian Botanic Gardens, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Wharf. Excluding my first week or two in DC when I went on a couple of back-to-back school trips to the monuments on the Mall, this was my first time in DC actually getting to go around and see some of the touristy sites. It’s funny how, when you live somewhere, you don’t actually get to see some of its famous sites unless you put in extra effort to go to them. The same thing happened to me in Rome over the summer.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Coat: A vintage shop in Budapest

Dress: thrifted (Buffalo Exchange)

October 31, 2019 – Boo (OOTD #573)

I think Halloween may be my second-favorite holiday.

As a kid, that was not really the case. I never disliked Halloween — it was always up there in the top 5 list of Meilin’s favorite holidays — but I wasn’t really enamored by it. I was never a fan of sweets and candy, I was afraid of a lot of the decorations and scary movies, and I thought trying to come up with a costume was stressful.

I much preferred Christmas and Easter and my birthday (yes, I’m going to be a narcissist and call that a holiday) because I got actual presents on those holidays. Halloween, I just got a bunch of candy that I wouldn’t even eat anyway.

Then, as a teenager, when I became too old for trick-or-treating, I got bored with Halloween. Around that time, I also moved cities and schools, and so I had none of my old friends to go to costume parties or haunted houses with. I did eventually make friends by high school, but by then, I was so busy with school and work that I didn’t have time to go to people’s costume parties and haunted houses. And besides, I wasn’t really invited to them anyway. So mostly, I just sat at home and did homework while my parents handed out candy to the neighborhood kids — making Halloween a kind of lame holiday.

As I’ve grown older, though, I’m beginning to learn to appreciate Halloween. For one, the other holidays that I used to really love, like Easter or Valentine’s Day, have become less exciting as I’ve grown older and so are no longer there to compete with Halloween for the top spot.

Secondly, even though I still don’t really go out for parties or get dressed up (and that’s really not because I don’t want to, the timing just doesn’t work out during school), I like to see all the decorations. I like carving pumpkins. I like putting together Halloween-themed outfits.

And that’s what you see here. Unfortunately, I had class Halloween night, so I didn’t have anything to do or anywhere to go for Halloween itself. I didn’t even put together a costume. But my 21st birthday was the following day, so I knew I just had to be patient.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Jacket: Vintage (thrift, Foxhouse Vintage)

Top: The LOFT (thrift, Goodwill)

Skirt: Vintage (thrift, Street Scene Vintage)

 

October 14, 2019 – Pumpkin Spice (OOTD #565)

I know spooky season is long over, but I still have spooky season outfits to post about.

That’s the eternal drawback of my strategy of posting OOTD blogs well after the day they were worn. It gives me space to reflect on the outfit — and by extension, the day — and deliver a more thought-out blog post, but it means that holiday-themed outfits, like this one, will always be posted late.

Better late to the Halloween party than never though, right? It would be such a shame if the world never got to see me pair a navy shirt with a plaid jacket and orange pants in the name of spooky season.

On my Instagram page, I can always play around with the post dates — I don’t feel like I have to go in chronologal order. If it’s October and I want to post pictures that create an autumnal theme, I can select any photos from my library that fit that theme and only post them. It doesn’t matter when they were taken — yesterday or two years ago, they’re all fair game.

On my blog, though, I do my best to keep the chronology consistent and clear. It makes it easier for me writing, and I think it makes it easier on the readers as well. Not that anyone here really is all that interested in my overall character arc or whatever, but I like to think that if you compared one of my posts from today to one of my posts from high school, you could at least tell a slight difference in my writing and sense of style.

Maybe not in my face though. I’m pretty sure that hasn’t changed since I was 12.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Jacket: Vintage (Foxhouse Vintage)

Shirt: Banana Republic

Trousers: The LOFT

October 11, 2019 – Celebrate Good Times (OOTD #564)

Completing a six hour-long midterm exam counts as a “good time,” right?

It took me a while this semester before I starting having much of a good time. That’s not to say I wasn’t still enjoying myself and beginning to get acquainted with people and getting a lot educationally out of my internship — I was — but there weren’t a lot of moments I could really categorize as “fun” either. Everything I did was either work or school. I like my work and I (mostly) like my school, so no complaints there, but for a semester spent away form campus in a brand new city, I felt like I was still missing something.

I think this is the case of any short term program where you move to a new place and have to meet a whole new group of people, but it takes a long time to establish a friend group. This semester especially, I feel like it took longer than usual to figure out what I was supposed to do on weekends other than sit in my apartment and study. I got lucky my freshman year at Notre Dame in that I made friends so quickly, and I had very little of that awkward “getting to know people” phase before I had at least focused in on the people who were most worth getting to know.

It reminds me a lot of my time in Rome. In Rome, I didn’t really make my group of ND friends until about the midway point of my time there (and in the case of my friends from the Lay Centre, until literally a week before I left). It just takes so long sometimes to get settled and get acquainted with people sometimes that by the time you’re both settled and acquainted, your time’s up.

My point in discussing all of this is simply because these photos were taken on my first weekend outing I think in almost the whole semester, a celebratory dinner after the six hour midterm was over. This was the day after I took that midterm — so that just goes to show how long it took before I started doing fun stuff. I think before, I had been out with my roommates one night and then to a little alumni get-together and a movie afterwards, but otherwise, I kept mostly to myself. That was my own choice, of course. There was a group chat where people would propose plans or invite people to do things there in the beginning, so there were opportunities for me to have been more involved in a social life earlier on, but it slowly fizzled out as people established their friend groups.

But even if it took me a long time, I eventually got around to doing fun stuff. Hopefully, you’ll get to see pictures of some of that stuff in the upcoming weeks’ blogs. Stay tuned.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Coat: Vintage (thrifted, Ecseri Bazaar in Budapest)

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: Vintage (thrifted, Street Scene Vintage)

September 26, 2019 – PentaGONE (OOTD #558)

See, as I’ve now gone to the Pentagon, I can say that I’ve Pentagone. 

I’m so clever, what can I say. I need to be hired as a junior staffer on the Hill just so I can make up titles for bills; it seems like they all have a fitting abbreviated name, and someone’s got to come up with them. It’s almost a prerequisite for getting a bill passed — like you think the USA PATRIOT Act was gonna get passed if it was called something like the Hastily Passed Privacy Abuse Act?

I think my favorite class I’m in this semester is one called Public Policy Visits. It’s basically a graded field trip class. I’m going to get (likely) an A just for showing up to these cool places I would have wanted to visit anyway; it almost feels like cheating.

And one of the cool places I got to visit for class was the Pentagon.

In the list of cool places I’ve gotten to go for this Public Policy Visits class, the Pentagon probably falls somewhere in the middle. Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court were cooler, but then some of our other visits — which I haven’t even written blogs about, like a big law firm and a think tank — were definitely worse. That think tank visit was horrible. I’m not going to name names, but it might have rhymed with Shmeritage Shmoundation.

With the Pentagon, the major drawback was just that there was very little that we were actually able to see. I’m sure there’s a lot of cool stuff at the Pentagon — tanks and vintage military jackets and classified papers about Area 51 — but of course, they don’t actually let you see it.

Most of what you actually see is cafeteria restaurants and offices and pictures of old generals that your tour guide won’t even give you time to stop and look at. We weren’t allowed to take pictures, but being honest, there wasn’t much I wanted my picture with. What was I going to do, pose with the Chipotle sign in the food court?

I did get to pose with a replica Secretary of Defense podium, so there’s that. Not necessarily a position I’d ever really want but…I had a cute dress on, and I wanted something to put on my Instagram story.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Dress: Vintage (thrifted, Pops Resale)

Brooch: my Pakistani friend, Haya

 

September 20, 2019 – Pro Tip (OOTD #565)

Pro tip: fashion for the professional workplace is hard.I don’t know if that’s really a tip so much as it is an observation. I struggle to come up with work-appropriate silhouettes that aren’t receptive and boring every single day. It’s so hard. What am I supposed to do if I’m not allowed to wear ripped boyfriend jeans and mini-skirts every other day?

I think professional clothing is a little unfair to women — “workplace” fashion tends to de-emphasize sexuality. You’re supposed to look plain and unassuming: dark colors, conservative silhouettes, plain cuts. You’re supposed to “not be a distraction to men” or whatever (as if men can’t learn to just…not be distracted). You wear slacks and cardigans and turtlenecks, which, while they can be made to look attractive, are not necessarily the most flattering,

Men, on the other hand, get to wear suits, which are perceived as the most flattering attire for their gender. Think about it — men wear suits for every fancy occasion. They wear them for prom, for weddings, for funerals, and, of course, for work. You see a man at work in a suit and you think, “oh, that man is dressed up.” You see a women at work in a cardigan and you think, “well, she looks appropriate.”

It goes both ways, though. Women are culturally allowed a greater diversity of styles than men are — we can wear dresses and skirts and crop tops and heels and a whole number of types of clothing that men can’t wear without looking “effeminate.” Sure, men wear suits to work, which, due to their associations with formal occasions, tend to make them look dressier, but then they also don’t get to wear wedding gowns and club wear and prom dresses.

Or rather, society says they can’t. I think they can if they want. As they say, “we’re all born naked and the rest is drag.”

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Jacket: Forever21

Top: thrifted, Ecseri Bazaar in Budapest

Skirt: River Island

September 14, 2019 – Out (OOTD #563)

(I hope you don’t mind, but I’m trying to transition from blog posts every day to every other day for now. Every day was a little difficult to keep up with — and besides, now that  I’m only a month and a half behind with my posts compared to three months behind like earlier this year,I’m not as concerned about catching up on a summer’s worth of travels that I might forget)

I love to be out. I don’t so much love to be out late into the night.

I think I’m becoming my parents. They also don’t like to be out late at night, whether it’s at the movies or the mall or a restaurant. It was like pulling teeth sometimes to convince my dad to take me out Black Friday shopping when I was a kid.

But now, I’m the one whose teeth need to be pulled in order to get her to be out past 10pm. I don’t understand what happened. I’m still capable of pulling a late night at the office or the library if I slam coffee, but being out that late for food? Or a drink? That’s going to be a no from me.

Sometimes, though, my body and my brain can be bothered to agree, and I can manage to get myself to go out at night. As was the case here, with the “Art All Night” event in the Shaw neighborhood.

It was a cute idea for an event — basically, a bunch of shops and restaurants kept their doors open later than usual on a Saturday night so that people could come do art-related activities. A gym had a canvas painting station, and a restaurant had some postcards to decorate.

I think what excited me most of all, though, was the plant shop giving out free flower cuttings. There was only one per person, but no one else in the group wanted theirs, so I got to take them all. I was so pleased, that I even bought a succulent that I definitely don’t need.  I guess their marketing techniques worked.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Sweater: Vintage (thrifted)

Skirt: Pull and Bear

 

August 26, 2019 – Summer Salmon (OOTD #555)

I kind-of regret not considering Georgetown more seriously when I was applying for university.

I don’t remember why I ruled it out, but it was eliminated from consideration before I even got around to visiting schools. I think if I had visited, I may have given it some more serious thought — as it turns out, Georgetown is a really lovely neighborhood, not to mention, it’s in DC, arguably the hub for the types of studies I want to pursue.

(I also probably could’ve gotten into it when I was 18, unlike, say, H_____d, but we don’t have to talk about that).

But no matter — I’m at Notre Dame now, and I love it all the same. South Bend is no Washington DC, but I’m sure I’d have things to complain about if I lived in DC for 10 months a year: in fact, I already had some complaints about the culture of the city after having been here for less than a week, which I voiced in yesterday’s blog.

And besides, I get to come work and live in DC now for a semester, so I ended up getting my DC experience in the end.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life this semester in Washington, DC. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, BloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!


Top: Vintage (thrift, Street Scene Vintage)

Skirt: Forever21