September 9, 2018 – Travel Travesty (OOTD #370)

For part one of my September Chicago adventures, click here.

Previously, on L’ensemble du jour: Amanda and I went into Chicago to see a Fall Out Boy concert, and it was a pretty good day. We didn’t get lost, didn’t encounter any horrific traffic, and we got to see all tourist-y spots we wanted to. As travels go, it was about as struggle-free as an adventure could be.

So the next day, we woke up at our AirBnB and prepared to depart. We were on a slight time crunch, as I had a mandatory attendance class (plant class, actually, which I discuss here) that met at 1:00PM, and I needed to be back for it. So by 9:30AM, we were all set to go. We left the keys on the coffee table, and walked out to the car.

This, of course, is where everything fell apart.

First, the car door wouldn’t open. Upon examining the key fob, we came to the conclusion that it must be out of battery, and thus, it wouldn’t open the electronic lock. Okay, whatever, we’d just take out the physical key and start the car that way, right? Engineers plan for these sorts of emergencies; there’s no way a dead car key battery should stop a person from starting a car.

Well, apparently, the engineers of the Toyota Prius did not plan for this sort of emergency. The physical key let us open the door and get inside, but it would not allow us to start the car. After frantically consulting Google, the manual, and Amanda’s parents (multiple times), we realized that the only solution would be to get a new battery for the key.

Fine. So we walk down to the nearest convenience store, buy the battery and some screwdrivers, and scuttle back to the Prius. By now, we’ve wasted over an hour, and I’m wondering whether I could actually make my plant class. But optimistically, I figured the new car key battery would work, and that we’d be fine. It’d be a little tight, and we wouldn’t be able to get breakfast on our way home like we’d hoped, but at least I’d make it back on time.

Except, of course, the new battery did not solve our problems. The only new development after we replaced the battery was that now, instead of dead silence when we tried to start the car, the dreaded “check engine” light dinged on.

With few options left, Amanda decided to try calling a mechanic to jump the car. We had to wait an hour for him to come (during which time I took these photos in the neighborhood), but finally, like the Messiah, he came to deliver us from our suffering. For whatever reason, jumping the car worked, and while neither Amanda nor I could think of a reason why the car battery had died, or what that had to do with the dead key fob, neither of us really cared. Crossing our fingers that the car wouldn’t decide to die again while we were on the highway, we sped off back to Notre Dame.

By the time I got back to campus, I had never before been so glad to see the stupid Golden Dome and the Jesus statue on God Quad. I missed my botany class, but after frantically emailing my professor, she agreed to let me make up the class. In celebration, I took these photos on God Quad, just to prove that I made it back.

In conclusion, if you have uncharacteristically good luck for part of your travels, don’t expect to have the same good luck for the rest of it. In fact, expect to have bad luck — life likes to balance itself out that way. Like the time I got first class on my flight to London and then got trapped in Atlanta for two days on my flight home, no adventure is complete without a mild disaster. That’s what makes it an adventure.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at home at Notre Dame. 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: thrifted

Sweater: Forever21

Skirt: Forever21

September 5, 2018 – Business Casual (OOTD #366)

Guess what college student isn’t going to wind up scrambling for a summer job at the last second this year?

This girl! Hopefully!

Rather than getting caught in a late-April panic with the sudden realization that I have no prospects for summer employment again, I figured I’d be proactive and head to the Fall career fair at Notre Dame.

Granted, most companies there had no use for me, a history and peace studies major — they wanted engineers, or businesspeople, or even researchers — but like, it was good to walk around anyway.  I spoke to a few organizations that seemed interesting, and there are now a few internships that I’m definitely looking at applying for.

It was also useful in that it cemented for me the reality that if I don’t go into law, politics, or government, my major isn’t really that desirable to anyone. Which I already knew, but like, going to the career fair definitely made it clear if it wasn’t already.

In other news, this outfit is made up of two of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe: this jacket, the so-called Most Expensive Item in My Wardrobe, and this dress, my favorite purchase from my Shoreditch, London trip. 

So even if no one will ever hire me and I wind up going into consulting like every other humanities major who can’t find a job with their degree, I’ll look nice doing it.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at home at Notre Dame. 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: Lela Rose (thrifted)

Dress: Vintage, Brick Lane Market in Shoreditch (thrifted)

September 3, 2018 – Panic! at the University (OOTD #364)

Midterms, midterms, midterms!

It’s been about a month since I’ve been in school, and the exams and papers are piling up, as they always do. I suppose there’s no way around it, but every time it happens, I’m surprised with how seemingly quickly it sneaks up on me. How dare they, am I right? If I’m going to be stressed out and dying in school, then at least I should get a notice.

And by notice, I don’t mean a syllabus. I mean like, a sign from God or something to let me know when I have a particularly bad week coming up in my life. I know weeks like this happen and I’m cool with that — no resentment here — but I wish there was a way of knowing when they were coming, so I can make sure to stock up on instant coffee and bags of potato chips to take my stress out on.

I don’t remember the beginning of the school year being quite this busy for me last year. I think that I must have made an effort to keep things chill for myself my first semester as a freshman; and now I’ve decided to make things extra busy for myself now that I’m a super experienced and wise sophomore.

If school concerns me more this year than it did last year, at least I don’t have the stress of trying to figure out how to navigate campus or make friends or live on my own.

I’ve mentioned this a little before, but without fail, September ends up being one of my least favorite months of the year. It always correlates with a stressful time in the school year, when the novelty of a new semester has worn off and I come to the slow realization that I’ve got three more months of this kind of pressure. It’s not until October when I finally start getting used to the school year and learn how to properly manage my time.

Or do I ever do that? Maybe ideally, I do. But in reality, I think part of the college experience is basically just always functioning in some kind of baseline stress existence, at least until I hand in the last exam or essay for finals week.

On the positive side, Halloween and Fall Break are approaching! I’ll spare you details since I know I’ll probably be talking about how excited I am for the next month or so. In the midst of midterms, it’s always nice to have a light at the end of the tunnel.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at home at Notre Dame. 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 (thrifted)

Top: Hot Topic

Skirt: Aeropostale

August 28, 2018 – It’s A-Me (OOTD #359)

It’s a-me, Mario!

Get it? I’m standing on top of a manhole cover and wearing overalls, which means that the only possible explanation must be that I’ve suddenly transformed into Mario.

Hey, I wouldn’t be opposed to living Mario’s life. It would seem to me that he’s probably got one of the cushiest jobs of all of the video game characters — I mean, he spends most of his time hosting parties or driving go karts or playing golf. It’s probably only 10% of his time that’s spent actually traversing the Mushroom Kingdom to save Princess Peach; the rest of his life is pretty chill.

Plus, Mario doesn’t have a ton of exams and papers coming up within the next week or two. I guess it must get kind of tiresome to hear me always complaining about the homework I have to do, but…well, I guess it’s time to get used to it.

The semester’s a quarter of the way done, which means if any of my professors were kind of enough to go easy for the beginning of the year, they’re toughening up now, sadly. I don’t know why they thought it was a good idea to give me so much to do in such a concentrated period of time, but they did.

On the positive side, the semester’s a quarter of the way done! I know it’s not good to think of life in terms of when something will finally be over, but that’s how it is for me in school at least. I could never become a teacher or a professor — not only do I lack the patience to teach people, but I’m just not a fan of school as an institution. I’m glad there are teachers and professors out there who like school enough to stay after they’ve graduated; it’s not the life for me, though.

Mushroom Kingdom, here I come!

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at home at Notre Dame. 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)

Top: ASOS

August 26, 2018 – Just Right (OOTD #356)

I never know when I buy clothes which pieces will get the most wear.

Apart from obvious staples, like leggings and jeans and plain tops that are worn on a weekly basis, a lot of my other clothes I buy without knowing how frequently I’ll be able to wear them. Obviously, I don’t buy things unless I know I will wear them for some reason eventually — no reason to go about acquiring clothes without purpose. But if I come to the conclusion that I like a piece, and that I will have the occasion to wear it, there’s no way for me to tell easily if I’ll feel inspired to wear it often or not. So I buy it knowing it will get use, but not knowing if that use will be frequent.

Some of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe, that I love for their artistic design, I actually don’t wear much. Take this jacket and this top for example — I haven’t worn an outfit with either one for months. Still, I love them and consider them among my favorites, so why don’t I wear them?

I guess it comes from the fear that if I wear something too much, I’ll come to be bored with it. Consequently, there ends up being a set of clothing that neither love nor hate that I nonetheless wear with great frequency — and that includes this plaid jacket.

I like this jacket, I really do. But I don’t love it — it’s kind of itchy, and it tends to get wrinkly  easily. Regardless, I find that I often end up wearing it a lot (relative to other things in my wardrobe) because it falls perfectly into that “indifferent” category. I’m not afraid I’ll get tired of it by wearing it a lot, and I’m not put off from wearing it because I don’t actually like it much.

To reference the classic piece of literature, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, it’s “just right.”

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at home at Potre Lame. 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: Thrift

Top: Express (thrift)

Jeans: Abercrombie

Boots: Ralph Lauren

August 23, 2018 – The Bend of the South (OOTD #355)

Look at me, a proper Southern Bender!

Yeah, not really. I don’t even know what the proper term is for the people of South Bend; I think the Notre Dame students call them “townies” but I don’t know what the actual South Bend residents think of that. I interact with few South Bend residents on campus, so I’m really not sure of their take on the “townie” rhetoric.

Regardless, you’ll be proud to hear — I made it back off campus again! A friend and I took an Uber to go to a Vietnamese market downtown. She specifically wanted some groceries, and I thought I’d go along just to walk around and see something other than the golden-tan brick of campus for a while.

It was a welcome breath of fresh air. Being on campus all the time, I live in the same space as I work, which means that I feel compelled, no matter what time of day it is, to keep working. There’s no physical divide between “home” and “school” — they’re the same. In other words, I’m basically at school, doing school things, 24/7. The brief moments when I can escape school and do something that’s not only distinct from school in practice, but also spatially separate from school, are my favorite.

Since we were downtown, my friend and I decided to walk around a little and take some pictures. She’s also pretty into maintaining an aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed, so we work well together when we take pictures. It helps as well that we’re similar in height and body type, so I don’t have to worry about her looming over me and taking a dreaded high-angle shot that makes me look even shorter than I already am.

As it turns out, South Bend has some cool locations for photos. It’s not as well-kept as Notre Dame’s buildings (excluding a few older ones, like Riley, that are just falling apart), but it’s a lot more diverse and interesting. I guess with economic depression, comes a lot of dilapidated buildings that fit an urban aesthetic well. Hooray for that?

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life at Notre Dame! Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com!

Top: Vintage (thrifted)

Skirt: Somewhere in Nepal

August 21, 2018 – Not My First Rodeo (OOTD #353)

Nope, it’s my second!

I present to you, my outfit from the first day of school this year. The dress is one of my current favorites in my wardrobe. Something about it gives me mailman vibes, I don’t know. I actually almost wore a newsboy with it, but then I think the mailman aesthetic would have been a little too strong — best to keep it subtle, yeah?

As the years go on, first day of school outfits are becoming less and less of an affair. I remember back in middle school how many hours I would obsess over getting the perfect outfit for the first day — likely just to never wear it again (I would still wear the pieces, but never in the same combination).

Not that no effort or thought went into this outfit, because they certainly did, but it’s just not the painstaking research project that a first day of school outfit used to be for me. And you know what? It’s probably for the best.

Everyone gets dressed up on the first day of school; it’s actually quite hard to stand out as nicely dressed when literally every other girl on campus is also nicely dressed. The real testament of a devotion to fashion is if you can keep dressing nicely halfway through the semester. When all the other students are rolling in with sweatshirts and yoga pants, it’s much easier to make a statement.

Not to be elitist though — I have definitely done the sweatshirt and yoga pants look. I once had to run bare-faced in just leggings and a pullover sweater to my 10:30 drawing class. It was so bad that I had to bring my cosmetics bag so that I could sneak to the bathroom during a break and put on makeup.

Here’s to hoping I’m able to maintain a track record of cute outfits and good makeup this year! Oh, and not fail my classes. That might be important too.

Dress: Vintage

Scarf: My mother’s closet

July 11, 2018 – Monkeying Around (OOTD #328)

I’m back in Kathmandu again!

Yep, after about two straight weeks of intense classes and discussion, we’re finally off the hook. The last lecturer of the Madrasa Discourses summer intensive will be teaching exclusively in Urdu, which none of us Notre Dame students can understand, so we were allowed to go off on a little field trip on our own for the day.

The first stop for us (well, the second stop — we got pizza at a mall beforehand) was a design house where some other Notre Dame students were interning for the summer. They gave us a tour of the facilities, introduced us to the workers there, and showed us the prototypes they were working for for sale in fair trade shops.

It was neat, but a little slow. I’m totally here for the mission of fair trade — ensuring fair wages for workers, providing jobs for women who need them, etc. — but a tour of a factory is still just a tour of a factory.

Besides, I was pretty excited for what we’d be seeing next — the Swayambhunath Monkey Temple.

And yes, I did just have to Google the spelling of that.

Swayambhunath is arguably the most famous tourist site in Kathmandu, up there with Boudhanath, another Buddhist stupa. It’s 365 steps to the top (though we just drove up most of them), and along the way, as the name suggests, you get to meet some wild monkeys.

Wild monkeys are kind of scary! I guess that should be kind of obvious, based on the “wild” bit. And it’s not that I was expecting them to act like puppies and be all cute and ask for petting, but I figured, you know, since they’re in a tourist area, they’d be pretty used to tourists walking up and taking photos.

I guess not.

There are no terrifying stories of monkeys that attempted to attack me or anything like that, but I did get hissed at a few times from a distance. Key here is “from a distance.” After my first experience getting hissed at, I decided to keep far away from the monkeys.

But what about the stupa at the top of the steps? How did that stack up?

Pretty well! You know how I’d been complaining a bit over the last few days that seeing all of the temples and shrines was beginning to grow old? Not this one. Swayambhunath was decidedly spectacular — a big gold pillar into the sky surrounded by billowing prayer flags and spinning prayer wheels. There’s nothing boring about that.

It also helps that I got some of the best views of Kathmandu that I had seen ever from the top of the Swayambhunath stupa. I know I’ve spoken extensively about all the spectacular mountain views I saw in Nepal, but this cityscape could give all of them a run for their money in the “best Nepal views” competition.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my trip to Nepal. 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: Pitaya

Skirt: vintage (thrifted)

July 3, 2018 – Dichotomous (OOTD #320)

There are two distinct outfits in this blog post, so allow me to tackle them one by one.

Outfit #1, the main outfit for today, was actually not one I had intended to pack. I was afraid the leather pants would be too warm for monsoon season Nepal — and I was kind of right. Even sitting around in an air conditioned resort, I found it to be a little uncomfortable.

Why did I pack it, then? Well, it’s a really cute outfit. It was so cute I even got a living, breathing male who was not my father to compliment it — not like, the way I looked in it, or anything of that nature, but the outfit itself. How often does that happen? I don’t think many guys outside of the fashion industry ever notice the composition of outfits.

The second reason why I brought it was because I needed to bring more clean clothes. I didn’t really have the ability to do much laundry while at the resort, so I decided to simply bring enough clothes to do me for the 21 days I’d be away. In other words, there will be a lot of laundry to do when I finally do get home.

It was just another normal day of sitting around and chatting about Islamic theology and modernity, so there’s not a lot to report on that front. What there is to report about is what I did after the session was over for the day, and that is where outfit #2 comes in.

Outfit #2 is basically just a rehash of an outfit from a few days back. In fact, it literally is just the same outfit, but minus the jacket. I knew I’d be going out and possibly getting sweaty and/or dirty, so rather than go out in the cute outfit I’d been wearing the majority of the day, I went digging in my dirty clothes pile and threw these together. If it’s already dirty, there’s no harm in getting it dirtier, right?

Anyway, after finishing up classes, a group of us decided to go out for a walk into town. Town? Is that the right word? We’re in Dhulikhel, which is about an hour outside of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Dhulikhel could perhaps best be described in American terms as a suburb of Kathmandu, as it’s a primarily residential area outside of a major city with some of its own shops and businesses, and yet, it’s so far from what I typically imagine a suburb to be like. Village seems to be best word to describe the collection homes that dot the side of the mountain (which I saw yesterday), town seems to be the best word to describe the feeling of the ‘’downtown’’ shopping district, and suburb seems to be the best word to describe the location of Dhulikhel in relation to Kathmandu. The point is, I don’t really know what Dhulikhel is, other than a relatively small place where I’ll be staying for the next to weeks.

There were six of us who decided to go out for this adventure: three Notre Dame students (including myself), and three Pakistani students. And thank goodness those three Pakistani guys were there, otherwise we probably would not have made it very far away from the hotel. None of the six of us could speak any Nepali, but the Pakistani guys could speak Urdu, which I guess is similar to Nepali, or otherwise the Nepali people could understand Urdu. Anyway, they were able to walk into shops and ask for directions around town, which was fabulous, because I doubt Citymapper would do me much good in Dhulikhel.

The instructions we were given by the locals was to head to the ‘’1000 steps temple,’’ which was about a 30 minute stroll away from the hotel. As the name suggests, it involved walking a lot of steps up to the top.

Was it actually 1000 steps? I’m not sure. We only made it up a couple hundred of them before we reached the giant golden Buddha. Giant gold Buddha was not the temple we had in mind to go to, but when you reach a giant gold Buddha in the forest, you’ve got to stop and see him. 

Only problem was, the gate was locked.

Apparently, the gates to gold Buddha closed at 5:30, and we arrived at 6. At this point, we split into two camps: those of us who wanted to try to get in, and those who wanted to go home. As the photos suggest, the first camp — the one I was a part of — won.

One of the guys with us managed to climb over the gate and unlock it from the inside, allowing us all to get in. And I’m sure glad he did, because when else am I going to get to see a giant gold Buddha statue in my life?

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my trip to Nepal. 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!

Outfit #1

Top: H&M

Outfit #2

Top: Vintage (thrifted)

Pants: Thrifted

July 1, 2018 – Jet Lagged (OOTD #318)

Oh dear, it looks like the jet lag has hit me like a…well, a jet.

My first night in Nepal, I had no trouble sleeping. After the long, stressful journey of 30 hours, I was ready to crash. The second night though, apparently, not so much.

It’s interesting because I remember having no trouble justing to the time difference in London — perhaps that was because I stayed up the entire plane ride, so that by the time I made it to Heathrow in the morning, and I was forced to stay up for another 8 hours, I was more than ready to sleep at night.

Here, though, I slept pretty easily throughout the plane ride, making it more difficult trying to adjust to the 9 hours and 45 minutes difference. Why 9 hours and 45 minutes? Apparently Nepal wanted to distinguish itself from India, so their clocks are 15 minutes off from India’s time. There’s your fun fact for the day.

Anyway, after a night of barely sleeping at all, I decided to get up at about 5 AM and just start my day. No point in just laying there in bed and feeling badly for myself for not being able to sleep, right?

That’s when these photos were taken, actually — in the wee hours of the morning before anyone else was up. Since I had nothing to do, I figured I’d prop up my phone and take some simple photos in the lounge area of the hotel. No one but a few housekeepers was around to judge me, so it made it pretty easy.

The rest of the day was spent in the conference. The first half was a lecture by a professor from Duke on feminism in Islamic texts and law, and the second half was  a guided discussion amongst the students on our thoughts about the lecture.

Not being a scholar of Islam or even a Muslim, it was a little difficult to think of things to stay during the discussion. The people at my table seemed interested to hear my perspective as a Christian American woman, but I’m not positive that what I ended up saying was really all that helpful. My purpose here is not to say anything wildly controversial or profound though, but just to add more dimension to the conversation, to provide another facet of the human experience. I hope I did that.

But even if I didn’t, there’s plenty more time to do so! I have 13 more days before the conference ends, so even if I was useless today, maybe tomorrow, I won’t be.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my trip to Nepal. 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: H&M

Top: Vintaged (thrifted)

Pants: Thrifted