June 24, 2019 – Vatican Vibes (OOTD #521)

Technically, I can now say I’ve walked across an entire country.

It took me a month and a half to make it to Vatican City. I was in Rome for a month and a half, and up until my final week there, I didn’t visit the Vatican. Several times, I made it to the outside walls or walked around the Vatican, but I never went in. Blasphemous, I know.

Well, I wasn’t about to spend a month and a half in Rome and never visit the Vatican, especially since visiting the Vatican would mean that I could technically claim to have been to yet another country. And that I could technically claim that I’d walked across an entire country. How’s that for an icebreaker fun fact?

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it’s not a tour, it’s a church search

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So one early morning before work, my friend, Yvette, and I decided to visit the Vatican and more specifically, St. Peter’s Basilica. She’d already been on a visit with one of her study abroad classes, but she wanted to visit again, and like I mentioned, I’d never been.

We got there early enough (maybe like, 7:30AM?) that we were able to avoid the crowds. If you can manage, I highly recommend you do the same — busy churches are the worst. Part of the allure of churches is that they’re quiet and peaceful; you can’t really get that experience if it’s crawling with visitors with cameras and selfie sticks. Not that there’s anything wrong with visitors with cameras and selfie sticks — I think people should be able to enjoy a place in any way that makes them happy, as long as they’re respectful of the people around them. I mean, I myself often am a tourist with a camera.

I didn’t bother to wait for an audience with the Pope, I didn’t tour the Gardens of Vatican City, and I didn’t go to see the Archives. Because I went in the morning before work, I didn’t have time to do anything other than visit St. Peter’s Basilica and the Square.

Just as I didn’t spend as much time in the Vatican as I would have wanted, I realized towards the end of my time in Rome that I hadn’t spent as much time in Rome as I probably should have. I only had six weeks — so, six weekends to spend doing fun things and exploring the city. Three out of those six weeks, I spent outside of Rome, in Florence, Naples, and Copenhagen. I’m so grateful to have been able to explore these cities in other parts of Italy and Europe, but I also realized that maybe I hadn’t devoted as much time to Rome itself as it deserved. I also realized that I hadn’t spent nearly as much time as I should have with the friends whom I’d made from the international student housing complex where I was living  — something I’ll definitely expand upon in my next blog.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. 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: The LOFT

Trousers: The LOFT

June 20, 2019 – Lost and Found (OOTD #520)

This was not where I was supposed to wind up.

I was supposed to go on a tour of Italian Parliament with a group of Notre Dame students. We’d been learning about Italian politics as a part of our “cultural enrichment” activities, and the culmination of that lesson was supposed to be to see the actual seat of Italian politics.

Well, like I said, I was supposed to. Turns out, my phone bill reset on June 20, and I forgot to pay for another month of data and service. Naturally, my SIM card contract was in Italian, so it’s not like I could actually read it to know this information. It took me days to finally find someone at Vodafone who spoke English and could explain to me that the reason I suddenly couldn’t use my phone was that I hadn’t paid for another month of data.

Naturally, my Parliament tour was supposed to take place during this time when I had no service. And naturally, when I left my house, I forgot that my phone was in an unusable state, and so I headed to the Metro in the general direction of Parliament, thinking I could just use Google Maps to get me to Parliament after I got off at Piazza di Spagna.

Nope. After a few unsuccessful attempts to find a place with Wifi where I could download a map and hopefully then still make it on time for my tour, I decided to give up. I was too late, and besides, I still hadn’t figured out what direction to walk in.

So what does one do when their plans to visit Parliament are ruined?

My answer was a pity McDonalds trip. McDonalds in other countries are magical places; they’re a little slice of American culture lifted straight out of the US and deposited in a foreign land. They have free public toilets, free Wifi, and often, outlets to charge your phone — which, if you’ve been to Europe before, you know are all rare finds. They’re the real US Embassies.

But before I bought my pity milkshake and fries, I stopped into a church that happened to be open. I’ve discussed this already, but Rome is littered with old, beautiful churches — so many that honestly, they all kind of run together in my memory. It really is the Catholic Disneyworld.

Even if I sometimes tire of seeing old European churches, that doesn’t mean I won’t still pop my head in for a moment. Just like McDonalds, they can be a great way to get a way from the craziness of the city for a respite. Churches (small ones, that is — not the big tourist ones) are normally quiet, dark, and cool, which can be a lifesaver in the summer heat. They have benches to rest your feet, and in the majority of cases, they’re free to enter and you’re welcome to stay for as long as you need. Unless you’re there during mass, there’s no pressure to pray or read the Bible or talk to a priest, and a good church wouldn’t treat you any differently for not being a follower of their particular denomination or religion.

It’s the perfect place to wander into if you’re like me, and you just need somewhere cool to sit after trying unsuccessfully for an hour to get your phone to work and to find Parliament. That’s the nice thing about churches. They’re open if you need them.

(As a side note: an astute observer may notice that I edited out the cross behind me for my Instagram post. That has nothing to do with religious censorship or a desire to distance myself from religion; rather, I felt self-conscious posting a picture of myself in a church with such a somber expression right next to a cross. It looked prayerful, like a penitent nun, and I was afraid that people might misconstrue the image as an attempt to glorify myself as some kind of righteous, devout cleric. I’m not, and I don’t pretend to be. I don’t need a “God Help the Outcasts” moment. I’m just a person who wandered into a church and thought it was pretty — that’s all. To avoid any potential for people to misinterpret the meaning of the picture, I decided to just edit out the cross, as the most definitive piece of religious symbolism in the scene. Make of that what you will.)

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. 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 (thrift, Brick Lane Market)

Jacket: Thrift (Clothes Mentor)

June 6, 2019 – Get to the Ponte Already (OOTD #513)

Get it? Because ponte in Italian means “bridge,” and I’m standing next to a bridge?

I’d also considered some Tiber River-related puns, but I couldn’t think of any good enough. If you know of any, leave me a comment and let me know! I’m always happy to hear suggestions from people who are cleverer than me.

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all rivers lead to rome?

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After the insanity that was my last post that featured not one, not two, but five major tourist sites around Rome (the Colosseum, the Forum, Palatine Hill, the Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain), I thought it was fair for me to take a break from exploring for a while.

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get to the ponte already

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And by “some time,” I mean one day. Regardless of how exhausted I felt after my “tourist day” I had work the next morning, so I had to be up and ready to head to work at 8:30 AM. It was a short day, though, because that afternoon, my supervisor agreed to let me out a few hours early for another one of the “cultural enrichment” events with the Notre Dame study abroad students.

This time, it was a tour of the Jewish Ghetto. I actually have no relevant photos to show from that part of my day. It’s not that there weren’t some beautiful buildings that would have made excellent fashion photography backgrounds for my blog — there were — but there was never a good moment to ask someone to a get my picture.

Also, no one else was getting pictures. That’s a big one for me. I really dislike being the only person or the first person in a group to ask someone to take my picture. I’ll do it if it’s an important location, and I’ll just die without getting a shot for Instagram or Snapchat, but otherwise, I try to get a feel for what the rest of the crowd is feeling in regards to stopping for glamour shots. Not every group of people is big into photos. I always hate to be the single narcissist in a group who is.

After the tour, though, my friends and I split off from the group and walked back along the Tiber River to the Colosseo area where we all lived. That’s when I got these pictures. I’m less concerned about being the single narcissist in a group when I’m with a group of friends.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. 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: Zara (thrift)

May 23, 2019 – Sunday School (OOTD #506)

Oops, it looks like I can’t stop taking pictures inside churches.

In fairness to me, there are some spectacularly beautiful churches in Rome, and they are very often mostly empty. If I don’t visit during mass time (which let’s be honest — I almost never do, because I’m not Catholic), and I’m not visiting a major tourist site like San Pietro, the churches in Rome are usually not hopping places.

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alexa, play “take me to church”

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Which to me, is odd, because they’re architecturally gorgeous. The churches I went to as a kid usually had the same artistic design as the average Target — simple, good for holding large numbers of people, and unoffensive. If you were lucky, maybe they had a big cross for decoration near the stage, but there were none of the stained glass windows or elaborate paintings as you see in European churches.

At some point, though, you see so many European churches that they just begin to run together in your head. Admittedly, I don’t think I could tell this particular old elaborate church from an old elaborate church in say, France. I’m sure someone who actually studies architecture could tell me all the ways in which French church design and Italian church design are fundamentally different, but to my untrained eyes, I don’t immediately recognize the difference.

In fact, one of the reasons why I chose to attend Notre Dame was because I visited the basilica on my tour, and I was blown away by the beautiful design. In my daily life as a student, I don’t ever visit the basilica. Like I said, I’m not Catholic, so it’s just not a thing I do. But I had never seen such a beautiful building before (remember, this was a time before I had visited places of worship in different countries), and I didn’t know churches in the US could look different from big box stores. I thought beautiful, gothic-style churches could only be seen in Europe or in films like The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Turns out, you can see them in the US too, but Catholics have a monopoly on them.

So basically, what I’m saying is I went to Catholic school because I liked the aesthetic.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. 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!


Blouse: Forever21

Trousers: The LOFT

May 20, 2019 – Up On the House Top (OOTD #504)

I’m sorry, I don’t know why I used that title, it’s not even remotely close to Christmas and this post is going to have nothing to do with reindeers. I just happen to be standing on a roof because it was empty, and I didn’t know where else to go to get a picture of my outfit.

This was my first day of work outfit, and I personally feel like it was a success. It can be tough dressing professionally and stylishly at the same time, so my work-around is usually to incorporate color and pattern when I can. This outfit gets both.

What it didn’t get, however, was points for being appropriate for the weather.

May in Rome was cooler than June and July, but not by enough to justify wearing long trousers, a long-sleeve blouse, and a blazer. My daily commute was also an hour each way through a combination of walking and the metro. Either I could walk longer and take one metro line, or walk a shorter distance and take two metro lines. In the beginning, when it was cooler, I chose to walk, but by July, when it was reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit every day, you can bet I was walking as little as possible.

But at least I looked cute while I sweltered and died in the heat. I wouldn’t want the policeman or woman who has to write me up when I die of heatstroke to judge me.

That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. 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: Banana Republic

Blouse: Zara

Trousers: Banana Republic Sloan

April 25, 2019 – Closing Walls and Ticking Clocks (OOTD #497)

Blog title courtesy of Coldplay’s classic 2003 piano bop, “Clocks.”

My new favorite late-night building seems to be Jenkins-Nanovic, the location of several of the social science departments, including one of my personal favorites — the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

After my 24-hour card access got revoked from Riley, the art building, on account of not being in an art class anymore, I went on the hunt for a new late-night haunt. I wanted somewhere that I could hang out and feel relatively confident that I had privacy, which is not really the case in the more popular buildings like Hesburgh Library or LaFun. Sometimes it’s nice to have other people around suffering late at night — but sometimes it’s better to be alone to wallow in self-pity.

I’ve always liked J-N during the daytime because of this beautiful foyer room (featured here more prominently), but until spring semester sophomore year, I never spent time in the building after 5pm. As it turns out, it empties out rather early, leaving me alone to study and do work in peace.

And, of course, to wander around and take pictures for my fashion blog when I get distracted.

I also love that this foyer room features those lightbulbs that mimic natural sunlight. When it’s 2AM and you’re struggling to finish a paper that’s due the next day, you use whatever tricks you can in order to stay up. Circadian rhythms be damned — if I can fool my body with some caffeine and fake lightbulbs, I’ll do it.

(That’s horrible life advice, by the way. Please take care of yourselves).


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 Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com.

Blazer: Banana Republic

Blouse: ASOS

Trousers: Banana Republic

Earrings: A street vendor in Kathmandu, Nepal

April 18, 2019 – Sprung (OOTD #496)

“Spring is sprung” is one of my least-favorite spring-related sayings.

Not that I’m an expert on all of them, or anything like that. There’s “April showers bring may flowers” and “In like a lion and out like a lamb” and “spring in your step.” But I find that “spring is sprung” is the most overused of the vernal quips.

Which is all just my way of saying I couldn’t think of a better title for this blog — and so I resorted to using a portion of an expression that I don’t even like. Creativity is hard. One might say it doesn’t always spring on me easily.

Can you believe that this gorgeous spring jacket was a thrifted find?

Actually, I can believe it. You can’t tell in these photos (or at least, I hope you can’t), but it’s actually not that nice of a quality. It’s made from thin polyester, and the stitching, especially at the buttons, is clearly not very well-done. I’m pretty sure whoever donated it to the thrift shop just bought it online on some Chinese website.

But that’s okay, since I only bought it thrifted. That’s the remarkable fun about thrifted clothing — since you’re buying so cheap, you can afford to take risks on crazy patterned spring coats that are more about the statement than the substance. If it falls apart after a few washes, it’s no skin off my back.

It’s the perfect kind of purchase to just spring into without deliberation.

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 Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com.


Coat: Thrifted (Clothes Mentor)

Top: Forever21

Skirt: J. Crew

April 5, 2019 – The Coat (OOTD #486)

Should I just start titling my blogs as though they’re Seinfeld episodes?

You know, in the format of “The [noun].” It would make my life so much easier. You’ve read how much I like formulas for creating outfits on the fly — maybe a formula for blog titles would help too.

This coat has slowly become one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe. I’ve actually had it for several years — I can’t necessarily pinpoint when I purchased it at Forever21, but I was definitely still in high school. When I first bought it, I assumed it would only be worn for fashion and not really for warmth, but in the frozen cornfields of Northern Indiana, suddenly everything has to be worn for warmth.

What I’ve found I love most about it is how versatile it is — just like my normal camel-colored winter coat which you’ve probably seen featured in a lot of recent OOTD posts, it goes with a lot. For something that I throw on top of whatever I’m wearing in order to protect against the chilly South Bend winds, it’s crucial that it go with whatever I’m already wearing. I can’t choose my outfit based on what coat I’m going to wear that day (with some exceptions); I choose my coat based on what outfit I’ve already put together.

Camel, as it turns out, is a very versatile color and one that I like to wear a lot. Like I said, my go-to warm winter coat is camel-colored, and black/navy and camel is one of my favorite color combinations. It’s a neutral, but one that stands out in a crowd full of black and grey and navy. It’s the perfect color for a coat that you have to wear a lot — it stands out without upstaging the outfit itself.

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 Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com.


Coat: Forever21

Turtleneck: Amazon

Dress: Fossil (thrifted, Clothes Mentor)

Scarf: A street vendor in Kathmandu, Nepal

March 27, 2019 – Pink and Red (OOTD #483)

A few years ago, I never would have tried to mix pink and red.

It’s one of those color combinations that can go really horribly wrong if you don’t do it well — think a bad homemade Valentine’s card crafted by a seven year-old. It has a tendency to look overly-girly and juvenile.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned over the last two years of keeping a fashion blog and trying to come up with new and creative outfits each day, it’s that rules are ridiculous and meant to be broken. Or rather, they’re decent guidelines, but they shouldn’t be held to all of the time.

Just like my recent realization that I can wear yellow despite being Asian and believing for years that yellow would never work with my skin tone, I’ve also realized that I can do whatever I want with what I wear. You shouldn’t wear black and brown together? Watch me. You can’t have a round face and get a pixie cut? Sounds fake. 

It doesn’t always work though — there’s been a handful of fashion choices that I’ve made and then published blogs on that I realize now were mistakes. So um…don’t always follow the rules kids, but sometimes do.

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 Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com


Sweater: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Top: FreePeople

Trousers: J. Crew

March 22, 2019 – Missed Busses and Long Walks (OOTD #478)

So this semester, I thought it’d be a good idea to give myself off of classes on Fridays.

I figured with how hard I work in school, it’d be nice to give myself a treat and build my schedule around three-day weekends. When it came time to select classes for this semester, I purposefully avoided classes that met on Fridays — and lo and behold, it worked! I got off from class every week by Thursday afternoon.

The idea was that even though I’d have a heavier course load Monday-Thursday, I’d make up for it with my built-in long weekends.

Naturally, of course, that’s not what ended up happening.

What ended up happening was that I was so excited about my whole day off from class each week, that I decided to pick up a weekly shift again at the tutoring center of the homeless shelter on my day off. It’s only a two hour commitment, and I legitimately enjoyed going all fall semester, so I figured it’d be nice to be able to continue it into the spring. Besides, I’m able to sit and do homework whenever no one needs my attention (which is often), so it’s a productive way to spend time off-campus.

Then, on top of that, I heard about the internships that the Political Science Department offers, and I thought that might also be a good way to spend my Fridays off. Through that program, I started working at the Special Victims Unit of the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office: six hours a week, split between Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.

So in the end, my Fridays were never really off days at all — they were very busy days. I had to leave campus at 12:15 to catch the bus to get to my internship by 1, then I worked there until 4 in the afternoon. I then walked to catch a different bus to get to the homeless shelter by 4:30, where I stayed until 7:30 at night. In the end, I was away from campus for a total of about eight hours every Friday.

Like I said, normally, I took the bus in between the SVU and the homeless shelter, but on this particular day, I missed it. I got caught up finishing a project at my internship, and I lost track of time, forgetting that the Friday afternoon bus comes a lot earlier than the Wednesday morning one.

Thankfully, the SVU and the homeless shelter are in walking distance of each other — if barely. It ended up being about a 45 minute walk, making me 15 minutes late still for my shift at the shelter.

It was a nice, pretty day though, and I got to walk along the St. Joseph river and see downtown South Bend (the nice part, not the run-down part where the SVU and homeless shelter are), which is a rare occurrence. And I got some OOTD photos from somewhere other than on-campus — so it was a win in my books.

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 Notre Dame. Don’t forget to check me out on PinterestInstagramFacebookBloglovinTwitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at lensembledujour@gmail.com


Jacket: Thrifted (Goodwill)

Top: Zara

Skirt: Banana Republic