Outfit Snap: Saturday Tea

Outfit Snap: Saturday Tea

My weekend wasn’t as frilly as I generally prefer, because I did something else I am very fond of–I volunteered at the observatory~ ★ I love the observatory, but I’d been missing out on several sessions that were held on Saturdays, as it was nearly impossible for me to then get to work on time on Sunday. Thankfully, we’re back to Fridays, so I was able to go! However, the observatory is very dirty. It is a bad, bad place for frills. I sat down on something for a moment, and my rear was black for the rest of the night. Imagine the horror if that had been a beloved jumperskirt! ;_;

On Saturday, I attended a tea party with some close friends. I wore white since it had been a little while since I’ve worn my white dress~ (And also, a bit, in memory of the grime in the observatory, which this outfit would have never survived unscathed!)

I’ve worn this same outfit many times, but I try to vary it at least a little bit. I don’t want to wear exactly the same thing over and over again! It’s a bit of a challenge to mix things up and still be wearing all white, though!

White for Summer
I wore a cardigan for part of the day. It’s strange, but I like to keep my arms covered.

This time I wore my new white hairbow. I’ve actually owned a white hairbow for several years, but I never wear it because it stands up straight. It tends to look like it descended from space and landed on my head! This hairbow is much more suited to the ways I typically style my hair.

I wore a cardigan while outdoors. I didn’t bring my parasol (which was very, very silly of me), so I wore it to shade my arms. Somehow being mostly covered always makes me feel a little bit cooler in warm and sunny weather, although it’s sometimes entirely imagined. It was much too warm to wear it inside, though!

White Summer Dress
The sunlight was so bright that it was really difficult to keep my eyes open!

I’m still dreaming of a white bolero or parka to wear with this dress~ (Or maybe a white apron?) I really enjoy trying new combinations, since I already like the style of the one-piece so much! ♥

Oh! I’m wearing my new petticoat in these pictures. It’s much poofier than before, isn’t it?

Ruffle Review: Classical Puppets Petticoat

Ruffle Review: Classical Puppets Petticoat

I’ve been wearing lolita fashion for over four years now…and during all that time, I’ve been using the same petticoat. It held up loyally for many years, but recently it hasn’t been doing very well. It’s just lost some of that puff and fluff that petticoats are so important for. Being a sweet lolita through-and-through, I require that full skirt silhouette–otherwise, I feel like something is lacking. I’ve been on the fence for a while now about getting a new petticoat, but finally I decided that it was time for a change.

I ordered from Qutieland, although I knew I could order through a TaoBao shopping service and get the same items for less. I chose the method that I did simply because it is convenient. I browsed a well-organized website, placed my order quickly, and made one payment. Soon after the stated time required to make my item, it was on its way to me.

The petticoat I picked was the Classical Puppets A-Shape Fluffy Petticoat. This type of petticoat is not the ideal lolita fashion bell-shape. However, I chose one because there are several petticoats of this shape that are very popular (such as the Malco Modes 580/582 models carried by Candy Violet). What I really, truly want is a Metamorphose white organdie pannier, but the cost is so much higher. I’m sure I’ll buy one eventually–I know they are fantastic petticoats. I just need to stop being a wimp about the price–I know I’ll use it enough to justify the cost!

Communication: 5/5 Billy responded to my emails very, very quickly. I had several questions, even a few that I really ought to have been able to get the answer to for myself had I been paying slightly more attention. He was very polite.

Price: 3/5 Overall, it would have been cheaper to purchase it with a shopping service. There is a definitely markup when dealing with Qutieland.

Promptness: 5/5 My order was completed before the stated 30 days were up, and it was mailed to me immediately.

Convenience: 5/5 Browsing the products was simple, and I really liked that I made one payment instead of several installments of deposit, item cost, fee cost, and shipping. I was able to track my order on their website to see what the status was.

Shipping: 4/5 I prefer boxes, as a general rule. However, this was shipped quickly, via EMS, and did not suffer any damage during shipping.

Squishy Package
The petticoat was smushed into a waterproof envelope. It was well-sealed.
Gaping Maw
The petticoat was packed within another package within the outer layer, so it was fairly well protected.
Packaged Petticoat
This was the pillow of petticoat poof that I removed from the envelope.
Petticoat Unfurled
Woah! It’s huge!
Fluffy Details
The material is very soft and not scratchy.
Bottom View
I love all the layers of ruffles that are formed from the petticoat’s fluffy self!
Inner Lining
The petticoat is made of two layers–the voluminous outer layer and a fabric inner layer for comfort.
Without Petticoat
No petticoat. This dress was a very good candidate because it was no built-in petticoat or extra lining.
With Petticoat
With petticoat. It’s a huge difference!

Overall Satisfaction: 4/5

I’m happy to have a new petticoat. It definitely adds fluff to my silhouette! However, I don’t quite like the shape of the petticoat. I was surprised to find that there was only one layer of material. The actually petticoat-y part of the pannier is made of three tiers, and I think the bottom tier is a bit too large. This causes the shape to be not exactly what I was hoping for.

I wore it for the first time over the weekend, and I will say that it is a definite improvement. There’s a huge difference between my old petticoat and this new one. I’m not completely content, but I prefer the new one. Also, wearing it for the day helped the shape adjust slightly to be a bit less full at the bottom. The ruffles of the petticoat can shift, and I’m not used to it yet.

However, I don’t think this will be my permanent petticoat, and it wasn’t a substitute for the pannier I really wanted. I’m sure that I’ll be buying that one in the future. It’s very likely that this petticoat will be modified somewhat to adjust that last tier’s fullness. The petticoat is worth the price, it just isn’t (in opinion) perfect.

Meetup Report: Dolpa NYC 4 Day 2

Meetup Report: Dolpa NYC 4 Day 2

My post about my trip to New York for Dolpa NYC 4 was just too long for one entry, so I’ve continued it from the post about my Saturday.

I was determined to go both days, although I know a lot of people only attended the Saturday. I signed up for the workshop, which I was really enthusiastic about! The workshop was a class, taught by some of the company artists that paint the dolls. In general, I’m really, really terrible at painting. I try to avoid projects that involve painting, because I don’t seem to have very good control with a paintbrush. I wanted to take the workshop to be given instructions by someone with lots of experience and talent. I was very satisfied, even though I still don’t plan to paint my own dolls.

I woke up bright and early on Sunday to get macarons. I missed out on the chance to the night before, so I hurried to the bakery in the morning. I wanted to be there early enough to have a full selection and late enough to not beat anything from coming out of the oven and being ready for the display. There probably wasn’t a lot of chance of that, but I was worried anyway. My little sister brought me back a ton of crazy KitKat’s from Japan, and in return she asked for some macarons from NYC. I was lucky enough to have full choice when I got there!

After getting my box of one dozen macarons (vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, peach, strawberry, and caramel~ ♥) and a chocolate-almond croissant, I zipped over to Argo Tea. In Chicago, we have quite a few of these shops, and I like some of their really sugary-sweet drinks. I was just a teeny-tiny bit homesick, since I wasn’t traveling with anyone else, so I got a coconut bubble tea to have with my croissant breakfast. (They use square pieces of tapioca for their bubble tea–it’s really neat!)

After that, I headed back to the hotel. My friends were getting ready to head out, since they had arranged to meet up with another friend of theirs at Kinokuniya. I decided to tag along because I wanted to see the three sisters again–I think they’re so cute! ♥ Besides, I hadn’t had a chance to see Kinokuniya since their remodel. The last time I was there they were still in progress, since it was so long ago!

I headed back to the venue after saying hello and goodbye to everyone at the bookstore. (And after buying a few small purchases… Hello Kitty onigiri boxes were calling to me.) Dolpa started pretty early on Sunday, but they were signing the Another Yourself photo-book, which I don’t own a copy of. There were also clothing items from Japanese vendors, but I had a hunch they wouldn’t carry a lot of things in Mini Super Dollfie size. I tried very hard not to but expensive things for a doll I don’t own~

Soon after I arrived and checked in again, it was time to register for the workshop and pick up workshop items. I had ordered the tool kit and a kit of a doll that could only be purchased if you took the workshop. I had seen some pictures of Mi-chan, and thought she was pretty cute, so when I decided to go to Dolpa and take the workshop it seemed perfect that she would be available for me to order. As soon as I picked up my doll and tools, I skipped back to my table to open the box and take a look at her.

Unfortunately, as soon as I moved aside the top cushion I knew that the doll wasn’t right for me. It happens sometimes~ I set to work getting the doll ready to come back on the airplane with me. The box was much too big for my carry-on sized suitcase, so I packed a duffle bag to check on the way back. However, I don’t trust airlines very much with luggage, so I planned to put the doll’s pieces in my carry-on and put other less-delicate and less-expensive things in the box and duffle bag.

Once I put the box into the duffle bag, I noticed that there was a lot of extra space. This wouldn’t have meant anything to me if it weren’t for the fact that the Tenshi no Sumika table still had the doll I really wanted. No-one had purchased Nono even though most of the wigs and everything else were long since sold. I looked at the duffle bag, and shuffled over to the sales table, then slowly “measured” the box against the empty bag. It was absolutely long enough to fit the bigger box.

So I went back, got the other box from where I had left it, and went back to the store. I looked at the employees, who already knew that I really wanted that doll–they had taken her out to let me see her instead of just in pictures. She’s so much prettier in real life~ ♥ I told them that if the two boxes fit in the duffle bag, I would buy the doll…even though I knew I shouldn’t be buying a doll! Somehow, both boxes fit!

When I tried to pay, however, my card kept getting declined! u_u I called my bank and spoke to someone who wasn’t able to help me out. I had plenty of money in my account, she said, and there weren’t any blocks or holds on my card. I’ve been anxiously watching my bank account all week, as this trouble caused me to be very afraid that I behaved recklessly and spent enough money to jeopardize my finances, but everything seems fine! It’s very mysterious~

Thankfully the staff were very patient with my trouble, and I was able to pay with a different payment method. They even paused so that we could all take part in the Unbirthday gift exchange! My present was a stuffed cream puff and madeline~ (I have a soft spot for felt sweets–I really enjoy making them!) I received a beautiful gray and black doll-sized scarf~ It’s absolutely perfect for a friend of mine, who has a doll with a mature and elegant style. ♥ As soon as I opened it I thought of her!

The workshop was a lot of fun, but I wasn’t concentrating very well. I couldn’t help being jittery from the turmoil-ridden purchase of the doll I’ve wanted for so long! Some of the attendees at the table I was sitting at started talking to me about my new doll, and they asked if they could try some wigs on her, and then clothes, so I let them. They were very nice girls, and it was fun to see what she looked like in outfits~ (The doll’s head is so big that she can’t wear the wigs in the sizes they had with them. I was amused~)

I really enjoyed watching Mikey, our teacher for the class. She’s so very talented! Watching her hands as she paints was astonishing. Her movements are fluid and steady, so every brushstroke comes out looking wonderful. I know I’d have a LOT of practice ahead of me to get to a level like that! (If I could even accomplish it in the first place.)

I didn’t get to stay for the entire workshop because I had to head back to the airport. There was a snafu with the car; it didn’t come to pick me up where I was! When I finally talked to the driver, he was very confused, but promptly came to get me. It was pretty scary to be waiting to head towards the airport, alone and with several suitcases, without seeing the car that said it would pick you up 15 minutes ago! I was sure we would be late, and compounded with the stress from worrying about my bank account my ride to the airport and wait in the terminal were not very much fun.

I was so happy to be home, especially once I had my checked luggage safely reclaimed from the baggage area.

Overall, Dolpa was lots and lots of fun! I really enjoyed going, and I extremely enjoyed wearing lolita to it! I hope that I can go to another one in the near future. (And this time, I can bring the doll I’m so excited to own!) I’ll definitely get dressed up again, too~ ♥

Meetup Report: Dolpa NYC 4 Day 1

Meetup Report: Dolpa NYC 4 Day 1

Okay, this isn’t really a meetup; it wasn’t a group of lolita getting together to enjoy some time together. However, I had an amazing time this weekend at VolksDoll’s Party in New York City 4! I’m not avid about ball-jointed dolls, but I do find them fascinating. I have a weak spot for toys (hence the My Little Pony collection, recent purchase of Calico Critters, and Pinky:st figures), so the concept of well-made, customizable dolls was just a bit too much to resist~

I was really nervous about attending Dolpa NYC 4. I wasn’t really going with friends, although I thought I might at least see one or two people I knew. My flight in and out of NYC allowed no leeway for exploring or lateness.

My husband I woke up at 3:30am to get on a bus in time to catch a train to the airport. I really wanted to use public transportation, as cab fare from the city to the airport is very expensive. I was already paying for a hired car to take me to and from the airport in New York; I wanted to avoid spending any extra money! We got to the airport with no trouble at all, but the security line was very, very long. I got a lot of stares and whispers; inevitable when one is wearing something pink with bunnies around the hem.

I had taken off my hairbow and petticoat for security and the flight; I try to limit accessories, so I don’t set off the detector. (I really don’t want to be wanded or patted down.) I passed through with no problems and hurried to my gate. My flight boarded on time, and soon I was on my way! It was really, really exciting! As we started to land the gentleman sitting next to me started asking about my trip and such. It was rather interesting that he was only vaguely curious about what I was wearing, and much more intrigued about where I was going. (He was kind enough to carry my suitcase off the plane, as well.)

It was very easy for the driver to spot me when I stepped out to the pickup area. We made it to the hotel very quickly. I was much too early to check-in, but I got in line anyway, just to see. Some of the employees were giving me sideways glances or raised eyebrows, but they were instantly accommodating when they saw the name on the reservation. (My father travels constantly for work, so he ranks very high as a customer for the hotels and airlines he typically uses; it really comes in handy when I get the chance to travel!) They wanted to give me a room right away, but I needed it to have two beds, as I had offered to let some friends stay with me. Instead, I checked my bags and headed out.

Being back in New York made me very happy, even though I didn’t have time to do all the things I really wanted to do! Just walking down the street, heading towards FIT, reminded me of all the things I’d missed. New York City is my favourite destination in the US. (Although I’ve only ever been out of the country to visit relatives in Canada!) When I arrived at Dolpa, I met some friends who had been waiting in line for a while. There were quite a few girls wearing lolita fashion, including three adorable young girls attending the event with their mother. They were dressed up for the “Alice in Wonderland” theme as Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the Cheshire Cat! ♥

I really enjoyed talking to everyone in the line, and seeing their beautiful dolls. ♥ It was really clear that everyone had put forth as much effort as possible! When the doors opened and we were let into the venue, I was amazed. I hadn’t really known what to expect.

So Cute!
My Claire, a Volks Nagisa in Preschool, with another girl’s doll whose name I unfortunately cannot remember! So pretty, though~

The event took place in a large hall, with many round tables at the center. The round tables were for displaying dolls and sitting to eat dinner. There were no reserved seats–you simply found a place to sit after registering. Around the perimeter of the room were long tables set up as different “stations.” Beside the door was the registration table and a podium for announcements. Beside that was a table for FDQ, an important partner in the event. They were advertising for their magazine and the limited edition dolls: Super Dollfie 13 Boy Williams as “The Hatter” and Super Dollfie 16 Girl Cristal as the “Queen of Hearts”! They were absolutely beautiful dolls!

Beyond their section was the display of one-off dolls, and in front of those areas was a table showing the limited items for the party–Little Alice, Little Lorina, the White Rabbits, and the outfit sets. They had it very cleverly set up so that it looked like there was a mirror at the center of the table, when really it was an empty picture frame that showed Alice mirroring Lorina “through the looking glass.” Whoever set it up did an amazing job!

Amakusa Shirou Tokisada One-Off
Amakusa was one of the one-offs. I really adored his outfit. It’s princely but also very over the top!

The eleven one-offs were Luna, Tohya, Jun Tachibana, Shiro Amukasa, Tsukasa Konoe, SD16 Ruby, Hikaru Genji, SD16 Madoka, Shinku, Cecile, and Suigintou. One-offs are dolls specially designed by the various artists. They have special clothing, special face painting, and often use headmolds that are otherwise hard to acquire. The dolls this year were really, really gorgeous! I loved looking at them! I didn’t enter into the lottery for any of the one-offs, though; I didn’t really need one. It sounds like they all went to people who will really, really appreciate them!

Shinku One-Off
Another one-off, this time Shinku. I thought her outfit was absolutely gorgeous. She looks like a very sweet classic lolita, I think!

In the back the “Dolly Doctor” had a room where he was taking appointments, and they also had a place to check luggage. Beside the coat room was a table set up as a very tiny “Tenshi no Sumika,” one of the Volks stores. They sold lots of tools and equipment for painting and customizing, a few outfits for YoSD, and many-many-many wigs. I bought a new wig for my doll, and they were kind enough to let me try it on her, to make sure it would fit her big head, as it wasn’t quite the standard size for her type. They also brought four dolls: Ryo, Kanata, Mark, and Nono. The first three sold out right away, but the last doll did not.

This was particular bad for me because Nono is my dream doll. Seeing that box sitting on the Sumika table tormented me all day! I kept waiting for someone else to buy the doll so I wouldn’t be tempted anymore.

Beside that was the table for Full-Choice System. FCS is a service that allows you to custom-design your doll. You pick everything–the headmold, then the body, eyes, wig, and makeup. You can put what is normally a “girl” head on a boy’s body, or vice-versa. You can pick any eye colour or wig colour and style. You can even choose separate hands–like fists, pointing fingers, or other positions. It’s really neat! (It’s also very expensive.) The ladies at the table tried to talk me into signing up for a spot, but I resisted.

Wonderland Photospace
One of the many, many pictures I took of my doll at the photo area. It was a lot of fun to have so many settings and props.

Past that (coming back around the perimeter of the room towards the entrance) was a photo space. It was a string of displays where you could pose your doll and take pictures, all of which were Wonderland themed. The first section had giant chess pieces and lots of jewels across a black and white checkered background. The second was a large walkway with a red carpet, red roses, and green hedges. The third consisted of a couch and a small table with a teacup. The next scene was a “mad tea party,” with tea set upon the table (and a dormouse in the teapot!) and plenty of seats. The last area looked like a garden or meadow–lots of flowers, benches, and mushrooms!

I was absolutely amazed by everything! I wandered from table to table, eager to see everyone’s dolls. There was so much creativity at work! A few tables even set up full scenes with their dolls posed with props and furniture. It was quite astonishing! So many people were excitedly meeting with friends they hadn’t seen in years; the atmosphere was really warm and welcoming. The staff did a great job making sure that things ran smoothly.

At some point it was announced that the dormouse was missing, and party-goers started to poke around for the dormouse. A picture of the dormouse was discovered under someone’s chair–and that lucky person got to take home an adorable sleeping dormouse! It was a very cute surprise.

Double Lolita
One of the other lolita that I met at the event asked if we could get a picture together! I wish I had gotten more pictures. She looked so pretty in her Wonder Cookie outfit; if only I weren’t so bad with names~ I look really short here!

In a little while it was time for the lottery! That’s when the people who decided to try for the one-offs found out if they were going to be purchasing that doll. I’m sure that all the lucky winners will cherish such precious dolls! Then company president Mr. Shigeta and the Volks staff came up to the podium to give a short speech. They were all dressed in costume–Mr. Shigeta as the Mad Hatter and all the other employees as cards! During this time dinner was served; I made sure to get a piece of strawberry unbirthday cake–being myself, I cared about the dessert more than the “real food.” Mr. Shigeta, Volks president, came around to the tables after his speech. I really wanted to get a picture with him, but I thought that I had missed my chance. However, a friend of mine dragged me over and we were able to get that picture! ♥ Hooray!

Shigeta and Williams
After that, the staff asked him to pose with the cutout of the doll, and since I was nearby, I took one, too!

The lottery involved tickets we had been given upon registration. Mr. Shigeta pulled numbers for winners to get postcards, posters, printing proofs, doll beds, wig grab-bags, and YoSD outfits. Everyone in the room was waiting anxiously to see who would win Sei-Tenshi or Rei-Tenshi, very tiny dolls that are only available from lotteries at these events. There were 5 Rei-Tenshi, the smallest kind, and 10 Sei-Tenshi! Fifteen very lucky winners took home those adorable little dolls that looked like angels~ I was so happy to see the beaming, amazed faces of the winners as they hurried forward to claim their prizes.

I think everyone was thinking about what Mr. Shigeta had said earlier in his speech. He mentioned a phrase that is the best way to start your day–as soon as you wake up, think:

Lucky, Lucky, So Fun!
Lucky, Lucky, So Happy!
Lucky, Lucky, So Wonderful!
Lucky, Lucky, So Fantastic!

He claimed if you do this, you will open your life to “Super Dollfie miracles.” And some of those winners did get their “Super Dollfie miracle,” whether it be the girl who won her 3rd tenshi at a time when she was feeling a bit blue, to the gentleman who welcomed not only a tenshi into his life, but another angel as well–a granddaughter!

The event ended after the lottery, and I headed back to the hotel to check in. I made an attempt at picking up some macarons, but the shop I like to go to was completely sold out so close to closing time. When my friends rejoined me, I convinced them to go on an excursion with me to Rice to Riches, a rice pudding shop that I’ve been visiting since high school~ Every time I’m in NYC I try to make that a stop.

It was the perfect way to end the day–I went to bed completely exhausted, yet excited for the second day of the event! (I’ll make that a separate entry–this is already much too long~)

Outfit Snap: Dolpa NYC 4

Outfit Snap: Dolpa NYC 4

I wore lolita fashion to Doll’s Party in New York City 4. I figured that if I was going to take a vacation, I might as well enjoy it as much as I possibly could!

The day before I left I also dressed up, although I don’t care much for this outfit.

Red Zoo Outfit
I feel like everything about this is a bit awkward.

I wanted to wear my sailor collar cutsew, but I wanted to wear it in a combination other than the red jumperskirt I always wear it with. This is one of the only other things I own with red accents, so I thought I could combine the two. I’m not satisfied with this outfit, though. I don’t think there’s enough red in the skirt to balance with the very, very red cutsew. I’ll have to try something like this again after I give the items in my closet closer inspection. (I think that really I need a different skirt, and maybe different socks/shoes.)

When planning my outfits for the event over the weekend, I decided that I wanted to wear my favourite things. It was a little bit of a hard choice because I would be traveling, and lolita fashion isn’t exactly the best choice for that kind of thing. Additionally, I would be alone in a big city, and the style attracts a lot of attention–sometimes good, sometimes not. However, it makes me very happy, so I wanted to enjoy myself to the fullest!

Mad Hatter Williams
Everyone wanted to pose with the cutout of the limited-edition Williams as the Mad Hatter, myself included.

I wore Cherry Berry Bunny on the first day, since it’s my favourite print. ♥ Every time I see it in my closet I feel just as fluttery and happy as I did when I saw the first advertisement scans! I got a lot of shocked stares at the airport, but that’s okay. It made it really easy for the car service to find me! I wore this jumperskirt with a short-sleeved blouse, since I knew the weather would be warm, and pink and white striped socks with strawberries at the ankle.

Typically I prefer to wear this outfit with less-busy socks, so the print isn’t overwhelmed, but I do particularly like these socks. They were recommended to my little sister by the shop-girls when she purchased this jumperskirt. We both agree that they’re not a really fantastic or absolute “match,” but I think they’re very cute and adore them! It’s a good thing that Tea Party shoes are pretty comfortable; I did a lot of walking~

President Shigeta
I love this picture SO MUCH. I’m so happy I was able to be in a picture with Mr. Shigeta, president of the company! The silly stickers are because it was originally part of a group picture.

I loved the chance to wear this new hairbow. It has a little white pom-pon, which I think is sort of like the bunny tails on the jumperskirt’s print~

A few people at the event were amazed by my outfit and asked for pictures–it was fun! I also spotted several other lolita, although I didn’t get to talk to them very much~ It would have been nice to get a group picture, but I was too shy to ask! I was trying really hard to be sociable so I didn’t spent most of my time alone, but it was kind of overwhelming amidst so many people.

On the second day I wore the pink one-piece that my husband bought for me several years ago. It’s one of my favourites, and it has such sweet memories associated with it. It’s also surprisingly easy to pack, although it is a very big and poofy thing!

Day Two
I always think I look a bit demonic when I smile like this! It’s kind of scary!

I never really do anything “astonishing” with my coordinations. My style just isn’t that quirky or unique. I also got a chance to wear my favourite socks. They have a “lace-up” look up the back, with scallops and hearts. I adore this design so much that I own it in pink x white AND white x pink! If they had it in other colours that showed up in my wardrobe, I’d own those, too! They contrasted well with the white shoes; I was hoping to avoid packing another pair.

I really love this picture, but you can tell how frizzy my hair is~ Darn that hotel shampoo…

I wore this dress with another new hairbow. I’ve wanted one in this style for so long; I am so glad to have one! I tried a new hairstyle–down with two small braids in front. However, I’m going to have to try this again now that I’m at home. My hair gets very frizzy when I use hotel shampoo–it’s just too drying. I look like such a poof-ball that the braids can’t even be seen!

Overall, I had a great time! I’m going to write about all the fun I had, and share some pictures, too. I want to be able to remember this and look back on it some day!

On Being Lolita: Questions and Answers

On Being Lolita: Questions and Answers

A little while ago I signed up for FormSpring when I heard people talking about it. I never used it and had forgotten about it, but then it occurred to me to link it from the blog as a way to have a “drop-box” for questions without worrying about spam email. (I’m working on an “email me” option, just in case anyone would like to, but I want to keep myself from piles and piles of junk.) I liked that FormSpring allows people to ask questions anonymously, and I can delete or choose not to enter questions that are rude or insulting–they aren’t posted until I respond. (Thankfully that has not been a serious problem, but I try to be prepared.)

For a while there wasn’t much activity, but recently I’ve been receiving a few questions about lolita fashion. I decided to compile them here in the event that anyone else was curious.

Please note that I am not a magically all-seeing, all-knowing judgment-casting princess of the style. n_~ These answers are my opinions. Please feel free to disagree with me!

1. Would you dress lolita in school? Or is it perfectly ok to hang out with friends and dress lolita at home and with them?

Whether or not I would dress lolita in school depends on the class. I would certainly have worn it in high school if the opportunity had been there. I have worn it to university courses on occasion, but because I am enrolled in a school of business it is usually inappropriate. My professors and classmates could be potential business contacts, and I don’t want to alienate them by being known only as “the girl who dresses weird.”
          And it is absolutely positively okay to hang out with friends and wear lolita fashion at home or with friends! You might as well wear it while you enjoy it. ♥

2. Do you keep a number of how many lolita items you have? If so how many?

I don’t really count my lolita items, but I have quite a few! I’ve been wearing the fashion for several years, and I very rarely resell anything–plus my little sister loves to pass off clothing to me. But there’s definitely a lot!
          I have a picture of my closet here (which would give you an idea), but it’s not up-to-date.

3. How do you get your hair in those lovely curls/spins?

My hair is very curly, and it easily forms spirals with little coaxing. When my hair is wet I twist it in the direction I’d like the curl to turn, and occasionally repeat the procedure until my hair is dry. Sometimes I use a bit of gloss to help with fly-aways.
          I get asked this a lot, and I wish I could do a tutorial on it, but my method won’t really work for anyone with a different hair type.

4. Is it strange for a sweet Lolita to wear black?

Not at all! My little sister wears sweet lolita almost exclusively in black~ ♥ A print of cookies and candy is still cookies and candy whether it’s on a pink or black background–it really doesn’t look any more “gothic” that way.

5. What did you dress like before you discovered lolita?

Boring! Even now, when I don’t wear lolita fashion my clothes are duuuuuuuull. XD My typical outfit involves a tshirt or camisole under a sweater with jeans. I wear sweaters even in the summer, although then over casual sundresses instead of jeans + shirt.

6. Have you seen the movie Kamikaze Girls?

Yes, I have seen it. (I also own it.) :3 It’s a cute movie!

7. Do you wear bloomers beneath your Lolita clothes?

Yes; I think bloomers are very important. I don’t want to accidentally flash my undergarments at friends or strangers!

8. How do you sit with a petticoat? Do you sit on it?

Yes, you sit on it. It’s like wearing a very cushioned or thick skirt.

9. How do you clean your Lolita clothes?

I dry-clean my blouses, delicate cutsews, jumperskirts, one-pieces, skirts, and coat. Even if they could be handwashed, I trust my dry-cleaner (they are very careful) more than myself. They also do a much better job ironing than I ever could.
          I machine-wash bloomers, petticoats, socks, cardigans, and some cutsews. However, I hang my socks, cardigans, and cutsews up to dry. I only run my bloomers and petticoats through the dryer.

10. Did you promote your blog? How?

My promotion is very minimal–I just write for fun, so if no-one reads it that’s a-okay. I’ll never try to make money off of it, and I don’t need “fame.”
          My blog is linked on my LiveJournal, and linked as my website on any account elsewhere (Flickr, Poupee Girl, Den of Angels, Twitter, WeHeartIt, and Formspring). I also have a feed so that updates are posted on my Twitter account.
          I think I actually get a lot of traffic from other lolita-related blogs. They often have lists of the blogs they read or updates on those blogs; I think that’s where most of my visitors come from.
          I hope that was helpful!

11. How can you make sure your bloomers don’t peek out from underneath your skirt?

The easiest way is to make sure your skirt is longer than your bloomers~
          If your bloomers -are- longer than your skirt, you’ll want to position the elastic higher up on your legs. This scrunches up the legs of the bloomers to make them functionally shorter in length.
          Although bloomers peeking from underneath a skirt is not really a problem or tragedy, especially if the lace or finished edge is particularly pretty.

If you have a question, feel free to drop one off, anonymous or otherwise! If you don’t want me to answer it publicly, include your email address as part of your question and I’ll email you~ ♥ Questions don’t have to be related to lolita fashion–I’ll answer any question that isn’t obscene or rude. ★

Outfit Snap: Tartan and Roses

Outfit Snap: Tartan and Roses

This weekend was another successful “let’s wear lolita fashion to make the most of these expensive clothes before its too late and for whatever reason you can’t wear them anymore” attempt. ♥ I had arranged to leave the city to visit my mother over the weekend, so my Friday outfit was more casual. I don’t particularly like traveling out to the suburbs in more elaborate outfits, just in case I wind up on an extremely crowded train or brush up against the wall of a particularly filthy transit station.

I also wanted to dress in a way that wouldn’t seem too out of place for whatever my mother had in mind for that day. I knew I’d look far from “normal” regardless of specific pieces, but there’s a different kind of impact from wearing lots of pink and knee-socks and wearing a giant bow on ones head and a dress of luxurious fabric. My family doesn’t mind what I wear (not that I would change how I dress even if they did), but I want to enjoy my time with them instead of constantly explaining my outfit. It makes everyone a little bit uncomfortable, especially me!

The Big Tree
I wanted to get a better picture of the pattern on the socks, but that didn’t quite work out with this angle. I wound up cropping it to this.

I love the tartan skirt; I think the pattern is very casual. (Although I have no delusions about the fact that it is still a poofy plaid pink skirt~) I wore it with a cardigan and camisole instead of a blouse, and plain pink knee socks. I chose to not wear lace-topped knee socks because I find that knee socks really trigger people–particularly when lace is involved. It’s something that people seem to fixate on, so when I’m hoping to blend in just a bit I try to avoid knee socks or at least avoid lace. I also wore these socks because they’re socks my mother purchased for me at the BABY, the Stars Shine Bright shop in Paris, and I was going to see her.

The attached pochette is another bonus of this skirt. It’s a handy place to keep my phone and bus pass while transferring onto trains. It’s also right in front of me, so I can keep an eye on things to avoid pick-pockets. Since it’s clipped right onto the skirt it is not as easy for someone to swipe as a purse; I’m sure it could be cut off of the skirt, but I think I would notice if someone was right in front of me. I don’t ever have anything valuable enough to steal–I don’t even carry an iPod–but I don’t expect thieves to know that so I like to be prepared just in case.

Moar Tartan
The entire outfit–I’ll never get tired of that attached pochette.

I wore little ribbon combs in low pigtails for my hair. I love these ribbons–they were a gift from my little sister–but they have red printing on pink ribbons. Sometimes it is difficult to find a way to match them, as I don’t really own too many things that combine pink and red. The pink of the skirt was dark enough to let them blend in.

The one thing I didn’t care for about the outfit was the shoes. I wanted to wear my sparkly sneakers, but I didn’t want to pack another pair of shoes for the rest of the weekend. Now I wish I had, because I didn’t prefer those pink shoes with my second outfit either! I would have been better off with sneakers for one day and nice shoes for the other. It’s something to keep in mind next time.

Monsieur Lait ♥
Monsieur Lait came with–he took up so much space in the tiny car I drove that my husband had to sit with the bear on his lap! It was funny~

The next day I went to a birthday tea party. Since it was a lolita fashion event and a more formal event than usual, I wanted to wear something elegant. I decided to wear my Cherry Bouquet one-piece because I don’t wear it as often as I’d like to, but I love the illustrations and the large sleeves. The bell-shaped sleeves are very old-fashioned, but they’re also quite feminine and the drape is rather pretty. I think it has a romantic feeling~

I was hoping to aim for a kind of floral, summer romance instead of cookies, sparkles, and energy. It matched well with the venue, because the tea house combine a rustic forest touch with beautiful flowers and antiques. It truly deserves it’s name–I felt like I was in a cottage from a fairy tale, even though it was in what would have otherwise been a retail storefront!

Cherry Rose Bouquet
The birthday girl’s boyfriend was kind enough to take this picture for me of my entire outfit.

Looking back, I think next time I will wear another pair of shoes. I usually like the pink shoes with this dress, but I also usually wear white socks. I chose pink socks because these have a white rose pattern, and I wanted to keep to a theme of flowers. However, they blend in with the shoes, which I am not terribly fond of. I think I’d prefer to wear this with white or brown shoes–next time I’ll try it and see.

Meetup Report: Pinecone Cottage

Meetup Report: Pinecone Cottage

This weekend I had the good fortune of being able to attend a birthday tea party at the Pinecone Cottage. I had missed a previous meetup at that locale and very deeply regretted it. I love going to tea, and from what I heard it sounded like the tea service at the Pinecone Cottage was very enjoyable! Now that I’ve attended and experienced it myself, I quite agree. I had a wonderful time and am really looking forward to going back.

We met at the train station, which is right across from the tea house. Once we determined that everyone had arrived, we headed indoors.

The tea house is incredibly charming. ♥ The tables are covered in white cloths and set with mis-matched but complimentary place settings. Everything has a shabby, romantic, antique sort of ambiance. I particularly liked the mis-matched ornate flatware, which I suspected to be old pieces of silverplate. Each table had a small pink candle and a beautiful white and pink rose as the centerpieces. They were a lovely touch, and not so bulky as to get in the way of conversation. The chairs look as though they’re made of branches, and the backs are decorated with a swath of coloured tulle and flowers.

Quaint Teapot
This was the tea pot that we were started out with~ It wound up being too small for us to share without many refills, since the tea we chose was wonderful!

When we were all seated, tea menus were brought out. The tea selection was varied, with something for everyone between the black, green, and herbal options. (I’m sure there was white tea as well, although I don’t remember it distinctly and thus think there was a smaller selection of that type.) I chose a flavoured black tea called “Russian Renaissance,” which the girl sitting next to me also selected. It was delicious and exactly what I was hoping for. I’m sure she felt the same way, as together we drank several teapots of it!

The Pinecone Cottage has a different menu for each month. Our theme for June was “Sun Porch and Roses.” The first course was a refreshing salad topped with a Vidalia corn chowder. The second course of savories consisted of asparagus pinwheels in a flaky crust, tomato-cucumber crostini with mozzarella, and zucchini bread with prosciutto and cream cheese. All were very good, although the crostini was rather hard to eat in a ladylike fashion–perhaps if the bread had been sliced thinner or more toasted it would have been less difficult. The zucchini bread was my favourite; I would have gladly eaten a slice of it sans meat and cream cheese~

Sandwich Course
I ate most of the courses without taking pictures, as that is the sort of thing I am known to do, but I did manage to take a picture of the savory sandwich course.

After the savories we were brought cherry-lavender scones with raspberry-rhubarb jam and lemon Devon cream. The lemon cream was absolutely heavenly! I would have eaten it with a spoon had I not been seated at a table with other ladies and supposed to be behaving myself. :3 The raspberry-rhubarb jam was made by the tea house itself (they also sell preserves) using Elizabethan methods. I love rhubarb anything–it immediately makes me think of summer! ☆ It was delicious on the scones.

The dessert course consisted of peach Bavarian cream and strawberry-blackberry cobbler. Both were delicious! My only qualm was the way it had been plated–the Bavarian cream was in a cool glass dish standing on a plate, with the cobbler heaped beside it. This led to cobbler sneaking under the glass dish or wandering elsewhere; it would have been better on its own plate. The peach Bavarian cream was absolutely delicious. Now I have dreams of a creamy pink lemonade gelatin dessert…

Inside the Cottage
I tried to get a picture of the beautiful decorations inside of the tea house; it was very woodsy and romantic.

Inside, we were seated at tables of three or four. Although that did prevent a lot of mingling, it made for easier conversation. I really enjoyed talking with everyone at my table! I hope the other tables were having as much fun as we were. (Although hopefully with less mishap… I got a bit overexcited at one point and broadsided a new, larger teapot all over the girl to my left. ;___; I still feel so stupid about it even though she was so gracious and assured me that everything was okay. I can’t even imagine how mortified and guilty I’d have been if she had been injured–thankfully the tea was not scathingly hot! I’ll have to find a way to make it up to her.)

I rather suspect that the other tables did have as much fun, or at least that’s what my husband reported. He sat at a different table–we don’t need to be glued at the hip, and he doesn’t attend meetups as my accessory or pack-horse. Despite the fact that he doesn’t dress in an aristocratic style, he likes the socializing aspect and comes for the conversation. It’s quite amusing, because he seems very shy–but he was the one insisting that we would go! (I’m very thankful he did–I would have missed out on a lovely time and it wasn’t at all as terribly expensive as I initially feared.)

Our Table
The birthday girl’s boyfriend was kind enough to take a picture of our table, although it was rather difficult.

One of the most exciting things for me about this meetup was that I had the opportunity to meet a few lolita I hadn’t met before! There are lots of girls interested in the fashion around Chicago, but we don’t always wind up together in the same place. Now that the weather is warmer and most people aren’t in classes (myself included), I’m seeing lots of participation from people I’ve never met before~ This always makes me cheerful. ♥ A community cannot continue if it become stagnant. Eventually people will stop wearing the fashion or leave the area, and the numbers of the group would dwindle away. I also like meeting new lolita because I remember being new to the community and what an important role it’s played in my life. I hope other people can grow to feel the same way~

(I suppose that was the little part where I stand on my pedestal and cry sparkling tears from star-filled eyes as I passionately rally the troops of frills and lace. XD It seems very silly and melodramatic, but I truly and sincerely mean it! ☆ My ultimate goal is to meet and spend time with everyone in area. I’m always working on it.)

Tea Group
After tea, we took a picture outside of the tea house~ We had to hold still for a while so that everyone could get a picture.

When tea was over, we paused to take some pictures outside and then wandered around the area a bit. The tea house is in the downtown area of that suburb, so there were some cute little shops to investigate. We enjoyed looking around the local toy store; it made me feel nostalgic to see things like wooden food that velcros together and Playmobil castles and dragons. I almost had a fluffy-flustered-enthusiasm attack when I spotted a wall full of Calico Critters!

My husband was kind enough to buy me a set of bunnies when I bounced over and tried to explain that oh-my-goodness-there-are-tiny-animal-figurines-wearing-clothes-and-doing-human-things-I-need-some-in-my-life. He even helped me figure out which box of critters to choose. We decided on bunnies, and right when I was wishing there were brown bunnies or white bunnies, someone moved a box of gray bunnies and uncovered white bunnies with brown-tipped ears! ♥ They’re wonderful! I thought I was going to purchase said bunnies, but my husband surprised me by sneaking off to the cash register while I was convincing a friend to buy the gray bunnies. (Isn’t that what friends are for?)

Bunny Family
These were my “spoils” from the trip–Calico Critters! I’m so excited to own them.

I had an absolutely wonderful time! (I hope the birthday girl did, too!) Everyone was so sweet and friendly, and the tea service was better than most I’ve had at hotels recently. I can’t wait to go back~ I’d love to convince others who couldn’t attend this time to come to a future tea party. There’s something particularly intriguing to think that each month there will be a different menu–I’m sure they’re all delicious~

On Being Lolita: Planning a Picnic

On Being Lolita: Planning a Picnic

Lolita fashion is an expensive hobby; even if you sew your own clothing the costs of fabric, notions, trims, and laces can certainly add up. Meetups can be expensive, too–a formal tea at a restaurant or hotel is usually over $20 per person, movie tickets average $10 each, museum admissions fluctuate but can be wildly expensive (especially if a special exhibit is the object of the trip), and then there’s transportation or other “hidden” costs to attend. All that besides whatever it cost to acquire or complete the perfect outfit. Sometimes it makes my head spin! Although the ambiance of a truly nice hotel can rarely be matched, seeing treasures and artwork adds enrichment to life, and opulent activities seem to mesh well with such a luxurious style, I simply cannot afford to spend a fortune every time I want to see my friends–and I know they cannot either!

Thus my favourite kind of all-inclusive meetup is the potluck-style picnic. I like food-centric meetups not because I necessarily want to eat, but because I want to prolong the time I can spend with everyone. If we arrange a short meetup without meal plans, inevitably the time passes and suddenly it is lunch or dinnertime and everyone is trying to figure out what to do. Spur-of-the-moment restaurant plans are often more expensive than everyone had hoped, not as tasty as everyone wishes, and rather crowded if there’s more than a handful of petticoat-wearing people trying to sit around one table. To avoid this, I always try to build in lunch or dinner when planning an event.

Lolita Day Picnic
I took a few pictures of the picnicking on Lolita Day, since we were having this very sort of picnic!

Picnics make sure there’s plenty of room for everyone without worrying about whether or not there are enough chairs. All you need are picnic blankets (or sheets) and decent weather. The “weather” part isn’t the easiest, but now that spring is in full swing and summer will be upon us where I live, I want to make the most of it!

Having a potluck-style picnic is my preferred picnic type for a few reasons:

  1. Low cost to all those attending–you can spend as much as you can afford.
  2. Greater variety in food choices.
  3. More opportunities to socialize.

Eating out is very expensive, and splitting the check can be even more difficult! Bringing something to a picnic, however, is entirely under your control. If you haven’t much to spend you can bring something from home (food or supplies–every picnic needs napkins, plates, picnic blankets, etc.) or check your grocery stores for a good sale. You don’t have to spend too much, or bring a massive quantity of food; although with smaller groups (generally less than ten people) you may want to make sure there’s enough for each person to have a serving, with larger groups this isn’t as much of a concern. In fact, if 29 people did such a thing, how could anyone actually eat a portion of 29 different things? It would be quite difficult.

Everyone has different food preferences. Some of the delicious things I’ve tried at picnics are dishes I never would have thought to bring or make myself! Other times you might find that someone has a secret family recipe or a special skill making this one particular item. I love trying new things~ ♥

If everyone brings separate lunches, it’s too easy for the group to fracture immediately–established friends sitting together in pods with the newcomers isolated. Sharing foods encourages everyone to begin mingling to see what others have brought, decide what they might like to try, select from the bounty, and talk about what’s been provided. It sounds like nonsense, but I’ve seen it work numerous times. There’s just something about sharing that breaks the ice.

Picnics are also good opportunities for other activities, too–word games and parlor games tend to work out very well. A picnic is often very well suited to a stroll before or afterward. It’s nice to pair a picnic with another outdoor activity, particularly if the weather is cooperating. Personally, I really like to tie picnics to zoo trips, because there is a free zoo in the area that is in an area well-suited to picnicking.

Lolita Day Picnic
It’s always important to have enough blankets, since no-one should have to dirty her outfit in the grass or on pavement.

When planning a picnic, some of the most important things to remember are:

  • Keep a total of guests
  • List who is bringing what
  • Make sure the location and time are clearly known
  • Exchange contact information with other attendees

Keeping track and informing all guests of the total number of attendees is helpful to both host and guests. Knowing the number of picnickers helps you estimate how many blankets will be required for adequate seating; how many plates, utensils, or napkins will be needed; and allows you to scout out a potential area for picnicking based on the size of the group. It helps your guests estimate how much food they ought to be bringing with them. Bringing too much of a dish means they have to carry it around the rest of the day or let it go to waste, while bringing too little can be embarrassing or disappointing.

A list of who is bringing what (or at least what people have committed to bring) helps you spot what is still needed. Is everyone bringing cupcakes? Sounds like the perfect opportunity to provide sandwiches. Has no-one offered to bring beverages? That might be something to suggest if someone asks what they ought to bring. Someone said they’re bringing potato salad–will there be forks for everyone to eat it with? These are questions that can be accidentally overlooked if you don’t know what to expect for the event.

Location and time are vital for any meetup, but particularly so when attendees will be carrying goods that might be heavy or awkward.

Exchanging contact information is vital so that you know if anyone is late, lost, or canceling. It’s frustrating to the rest of the group to be waiting around for an expected participant who never shows up, only to learn later that she changed her mind or was too ill to join you. It’s terrifying as an attendee to be wandering around aimlessly, unable to find the people you were supposed to meet and unable to contact them.

It’s also best to try and come up with a rainy-day alternative! You can’t always count on sunshiny weather. It helps everyone if you come up with a backup plan well in advance and communicate it to everyone so they know what’s going on. If you are forced to cancel, make sure you notify everyone. Sometimes posting a message just isn’t enough–it’s always best to call or text message those who said they would come. Otherwise they might show up to a picnic that never was, wasting time and effort in vain!

Does anyone else have picnic tips? ♥ I know I cannot be the only lolita who likes picnics!

Outfit Snap: Lolita Day

Outfit Snap: Lolita Day

My original intention was to put a lot of effort into my outfit for International Lolita Day. I stayed up very late the night before brewing tea to bring to the picnic and painting my nails, so that those activities wouldn’t eat up too much time the next morning. Although I haven’t yet attempted nail art, I have been experimenting with the different shades of nail polish that I own.

I have a lot of skin allergies, so makeup is usually off-limits for me. Thankfully, I’m not allergic to nail polish–and because of that I wear it all the time! If I can’t wear sparkly eye shadow, at least I can have sparkly fingertips~ It makes me feel extra-girly to have my nails painted, and I prefer to do it myself rather than spend money at a nail salon. The other day I bought an iridescent pearl polish, so I layered it over a darker pink that I own which always seems a little bit too “blue” to match my lolita outfits. The pearl softened and lightened the pink, while adding a metallic shimmer. ♥ I was very pleased! I want to get some tiny rhinestones or pearls to add as little decorations next time.

Rainy-Day Alice
Why look, a pink Alice! Not very shocking, honestly.

Despite all this planning, I didn’t wear anything really interesting on Lolita Day. The weather was rumored to thunderstorm, and it was raining when we left the house, so I opted for an outfit that I knew to be colourfast and easily cleaned. (And I pulled my hair back to try to keep the humidity from playing with it, but I wasn’t really very successful at that…)

I wasn’t disappointed, though~ I don’t dislike any of the clothing that I own, or I wouldn’t own it! The Angelic☆School series was one of my dreams when I started wearing lolita fashion, and I’m certainly not sick of it yet! I can’t wait until my sister and I can twin with our jumperskirts, but that wasn’t fated to be on Lolita Day since she is currently traveling in Japan. I paired it simply, with a white blouse, pink bows, white socks, and pink shoes. Mallow accompanied me, as he’s easier to protect from rain than Monsieur Lait and easier to clean.

Near the Polar Bear
You can see the pattern of my socks much better in this picture, although not at such a tiny size~

I hadn’t worn the socks before–they were a gift from my little sister. They’re adorable cupcake socks from Metamorphose~ I love cupcakes, pink, and glitter. The socks have all three. It’s an irresistible combination for me! I’ve never worn over-the-knee socks with lolita before, and it was kind of strange. My legs are scrawny and I’m not terribly tall, so they ended several inches above my knees and looked like tights. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I think I prefer knee socks~

I tried to put some extra effort into my coordination by actually wearing makeup on Lolita Day, despite my allergies. However, I’m not very skilled at doing so, so I’m not sure it really made a difference at all! And it made me terribly uncomfortable. I probably won’t do it again for quite a while; it’s not really worth the itchiness and post-makeup-rash. (Which, thankfully there’s no-one in the office to see on Sunday~) Getting to come home and wash my face felt wonderful at the end of the day~