Meetup Report: Pony Overload

Meetup Report: Pony Overload

In mid-August, I arranged for a friend who was developing an interest in My Little Pony to visit my mother’s house and see my collection. I have many ponies–it isn’t an exaggeration. However, I know there are collectors with collections even more vast–particularly because there were hundreds, if not thousands, of unique ponies produced in the first generation of toys. I only collect the third generation, which is much more condensed. She also focuses on that generation, so I was very excited to be able to share my madness with someone who didn’t think it was quite so crazy.

We planned for having tea, baking something sweet, watching My Little Pony: the Movie and perhaps some of the more recent films, picking up lunch, working on some pony-related craft projects, and shuffling through my collection. We didn’t quite get as much done as we originally expected because we had to run an important errand–picking up the guinea pig from the vet post-operation. The receptionist and other owners certainly didn’t know what to make of the two fluffy pink girls in their waiting room!

Post-Operation Pig
I already used this picture, but nothing better expresses his disagreement with whatever happened to him in the unfamiliar place. He was very glad to be at home with hay, pellets, basil, and treats instead of force-fed critical care.

After we collected our disgruntled charge and set him up to relax at home, we headed out for lunch. We stopped at the Japanese market and selected some sushi to take home. I really love sushi of all varieties, and growing up near a Japanese market with relatively inexpensive sushi really spoiled me! Now that I live in the city and can’t go to that market on a regular basis, I buy sushi elsewhere (usually for much higher prices) and expect it to be as good. I’m usually disappointed–so whenever I’m in town I always want to stop in.

We also peeked around in the bookstore. When I attended Bon festival in early August, the bookstore had just gotten a Rilakkuma-themed scratchcard game. Each scratchcard was $5, and every card was guaranteed a prize–at least a set of wash
cloths. Two giant plush were the grand prizes–one Rilakkuma and one Korilakkuma. I won a set of wash cloths and a pink mug that first day. When I visited with my friend, she bought us each scratch tickets–and I won another mug, this time in green! I’ve had to keep away from the bookstore since then because the scratch game is addicting. I’m not even hoping for the grand prize, but I do like mugs~

Ponies Ponies Ponies
I keep the ponies on two bookcases side-by-side, and a narrow bookcase between the closet doors. This isn’t enough room for every pony–there are more tucked away in storage bins.

Back from our adventure, we set up a picnic on the floor of the living room (the only room with a VHS player) and watched My Little Pony: the Movie. This was one of my favorite movies when I was a child, and the VHS I own is the one I always watched! The story is as can be expected from the My Little Pony brand–Ponyland is threatened by something and various ponies (plus Megan, Danny, and Molly) have to try and save it. The animation isn’t fantastic, but it’s very nostalgic! (Besides, I really like the little songs, even the terrible ones!)

Styling Times Again
Some of my favourite ponies are the very large “Styling” ponies. They’re mega-sized ponies, which I find fascinating! I wish they’d release more of these huge ponies~

After the movie, which thankfully isn’t very long, we headed upstairs. I’m sure my family would prefer to put the room to better use now that I no longer live at home, but currently the bedroom that was mine is still a shrine to all things pink, cheerful, glittery, and frilly. Until I am able to bring my pony collection to where I currently live I don’t really have any other option! It’s not necessarily the easiest thing to store.

It was a lot of fun to look through the different ponies on display. We even started sorting through the closets, which contain even more ponies–some in storage bins and some still in the original packaging. I rarely do anything halfway–if I’m passionate about something, I’m completely devoted to the cause. These piles of brightly-coloured vinyl horses are a testament to that! (And, in a similar way, so is my closet filled with ruffles and lace!)

Pinkie Pie Army
Regardless of generation, I collect Pinkie Pie. I try to keep those ponies clustered together, partially because I like seeing that much pink all in one space and partially because otherwise I tend to forget which ones I don’t have yet and buy duplicates!

By the end of the day we were going through negotiations–the room was like a stock exchange, if stocks were instead small toys. Loose ponies, boxed ponies, multi-packaged ponies–everywhere! It was absolutely ridiculous, but also so much fun~ ★ I’m really glad to know someone I can share my excitement with. I have many friends that share my interest in lolita fashion, some that enjoy the same sort of music that I do, others who are also fond of baking, yet more who like ball-jointed dolls, and still more who enjoy other little things that I’m fascinated with–but until very recently, I didn’t have a friend who was also interested in My Little Pony. I’m thrilled that I do now!

Smart Car Love
I had so much fun posing for this picture. I love my mother’s SMART. Whenever I’m visiting I drive it as much as possible.

When we finally parted ways it was quite late, but I think we were both in high spirits. I’m looking forward to having more fun in the future–particularly with the new television show debuting on October 10th! We’ve been joking about having a season premiere party, and maybe we will. If only the 10th wasn’t a Sunday!

On Being Lolita: More Questions

On Being Lolita: More Questions

I’ve been neglecting my poor blog~ These past few weeks I have been feeling a bit less fluffy than usual, so I haven’t been writing. I’m trying to get back on track, particularly because the coming of autumn brings such a nice season for wearing lolita and attending meetups.

Since starting up an account at Formspring and incorporating it onto my blog, I’ve been getting quite a few questions. I’ve already posted previously with a compilation of questions and answers, but I think now is as good a time as any to do so again. Please remember that these answers are my opinions. I’m just me–feel free to agree or disagree.

1. Do you wear lolita to work?
          Sometimes. Lolita outfits are not against my company’s dress code, and I don’t interact with clients. However, I don’t like wearing lolita fashion to work because it’s distracting to my coworkers; I want to be remembered for the work I do, not what I wear.

2. How did you come up with your blog name ‘Pink Mlik Tea’?
          I LOVE milk tea, and I like pink! Besides, some of my other choices were already taken! :3

3. Would you say you dress like your doll or that your doll dresses like you?
          Neither, actually! My doll (now dolls) has a lot of school uniforms and dresses in dark colours. Her one pink outfit has shorts, so I would NEVER wear it. I don’t dress her in lolita fashion. My “casual” clothes are jeans and t-shirts, something I won’t purchase for my doll.

4. You say you wear bloomers. Where did you buy them?
          I have a few pair that were made by a friend (bloomers are not difficult to make) and a few pair from Metamorphose–although, since I prefer the longer length, Meta uses the term “drawers.” Their “bloomers” are much shorter. Meta bloomers/drawers are quite expensive, but mine were part of lucky packs.

5. What challenges will a boy face coming to a Chicago lolita meetup? I would like to make friends, but am worried about acceptance of single males in the group. Could you offer honest and frank advice?
          The biggest challenge in being a male attending a meetup, particularly alone, is making it clear by your behavior and in conversation that you a) don’t think lolita fashion is a sexual fetish and b) aren’t attending in an attempt to hit on community members. The biggest barrier that a boy will face is suspicions about his intentions. Most of the girls are used to being mocked, propositioned, or any number of other extremely uncomfortable things when wearing the style.
          If you’re truly interested in the fashion and joining the community, you shouldn’t have to work very hard to “prove” yourself at all–it will be immediately evident.
          It helps to come dressed in your best attire and have a good attitude. Everyone is very friendly, but you’ll need to be friendly as well. Sometimes there are so many people in one place that it’s impossible to focus on every shy newcomer and coax them into conversation, and thus people can feel neglected or ignored. It’s best to avoid this from the start–introduce yourself and join in conversations. If “jumping right in” is overwhelming, try to talk to a few people one at a time during the event. And, most importantly, continue to attend! It’s hard to get to know people based on one impression.
          If you have any other questions I’ll do my best to answer them, as well.

6. I saw that you have Secret Shop Shoes. Do you think they fall large, small or are they just right?
          Secret Shop shoes are fairly true to size, and in my experience they run -just slightly- larger than the original shoes. (For example, my Secret Shop replicas are slightly larger than my Angelic Pretty tea party shoes.)

7. How do you know what kind of petticoat you need? A-line, fluffy, A-shape, it’s so confusing!
          The type of petticoat you need is determined by the fullness of the skirts you’re wearing. :3 “Fluffy” is usually the very full, traditional bell-shaped petticoat. A-line/A-shape/princess are less full–they give you a more trapezoidal shape (like an uppercase “A”–fluffy petticoats are more like an upside-down “U”). Circle skirts and full trapezoid skirts benefit from a fuller petticoat. If you try to put a full petticoat beneath a skirt with less yardage, it will be squashed and not fit properly.
          I usually determine which kind of pannier is required by following the line of the skirt on stock images or estimating the gathers at the waist. Looking at a stock image, if the skirt curves up and out from the waist, I’ll want a full petticoat. If the skirt slopes down from the waist, A-line will be better. Skirts that need full petticoats also tend to have more gathers at the waist, because there is more fabric.
          If you prefer a less-full silhouette, you can usually wear an A-line petticoat beneath just about anything without creating a look that is awkward.

8. Do you buy your lolita clothes in a shop (like Tokyo Rebel), online or secondhand?
          I buy most of my clothes secondhand, either from friends or online. I don’t live near a shop, and I’ve never been to Japan. I have made a few direct online purchases, but usually I look for good prices on lightly-used garments on Yahoo!Japan or egl_comm_sales.

9. Did you see that on Qcute they have almost exact replicas of Angelic Pretty‘s Wonder Cookie? What do you think of that?
          I don’t support replicas out of respect to the artists and designers of the original garments, particularly when artwork is involved.
          (I’m still trying to sort out my feelings about replica shoes. I don’t support that practice either, but I do own a pair that I love to wear–which is hypocritical.)

10. Where do you buy your lolita socks?
          I buy my socks from Angelic Pretty, BABY the Stars Shine Bright, and Metamorphose, sometimes directly from the companies, sometimes on egl_comm_sales, and sometimes from auctions on Yahoo!Japan.

11. Do you buy from AP’s English site or Japanese? In the case of Japanese: isn’t that hard?
          I usually buy from their Japanese site via shopping service. The English site avoids most fees, but the communication is not very good and the selection of items is worse.
          It’s not very hard to order from the Japanese site; I can read enough lolita fashion-specific Japanese (measurements, fabric type, etc.) since I’ve been interested in the style for several years. It’s even easier to see if something is in stock–I just try and add it to the cart and see if I get an error message. They won’t ship overseas from the Japanese website, though; a shopping service is necessary.

12. Do you know a good shopping service?
          I’ve heard good things about Japonica Market, but I’ve never used them.
          I like to use Crescent-Shop, because I like their system. However, they do not have a low fee structure.

I think there are even more questions, but those will have to be for another day~ I’m glad that there’s been some use of the “ask questions” feature, and I hope it’s been useful to someone.

Please remember–if you’d like me to get back to you instead of answering the question publicly, just include your email address in your question. I’ll send you an email instead~ ♥

Outfit Snap: Ponies and Dolls

Outfit Snap: Ponies and Dolls

When I discovered that a friend of mine was becoming interested in My Little Pony, something I’ve been obsessed with to different degrees for several years, I could think of only one thing: “Oh my goodness–she needs to see my collection!” I made plans with her to do just such a thing as soon as possible. When I relayed this to my husband, wondering what to wear, he immediately suggested Cherry Berry Bunny.

Twice as Pink
My mother was kind enough to take this picture of us together. I was blinking in almost every shot!

I’ve worn this jumperskirt many times, and I haven’t purchased anything new and exciting in a few months, so this isn’t exactly a brand new and utterly original coordination. Despite that, I always enjoy wearing this jumperskirt~ ☆

A short-sleeved white blouse was a good choice for the warm day we chose to get together. I thought we’d spend most of the day in the air-conditioned house, but instead we ran several errands–including picking up my guinea pig from the vet post-surgery and grabbing lunch. I selected pink socks without lace to contrast better with my white shoes without being too fussy. The print on the jumperskirt is already very eye-catching.

I left my hair down an added a small bow with a pom-pon, because it makes me think of a bunny’s tail. ♥

Post-Operation Pig
This was a grumpy, distrustful, partially-shaved piggie. We quickly appeased him with basil.

The next day I attended a doll meetup at a local zoo. My husband suggested this dress, which I think is one of his favourites. It might be the old-fashioned styling, with the bell sleeves, high waist, and thin waist ties.

I put my hair up in pigtails to keep it off of my neck and accented them with the bow-clips I am fond of wearing. The socks I chose have a white rose pattern and white lace at the top. I feel like it mimics the print and trim of the dress itself, although the lace is not the same kind used on the one-piece.

Cherries, Bouquets, and Lions

I almost forgot to get an outfit picture, but thankfully we remembered just in time. It would have been much too dark by the time we got home that evening!

It was a nice, simple outfit. Although the weather was warm, I was glad to have the long sleeves to cover my arms. I carried the parasol for most of the event, but I can’t very easily carry a doll and a parasol so sometimes I went without.

I realized during the meetup that my newer doll is very, very heavy. My poor husband wound up lugging her around in the bag for part of the trip. I don’t think she’ll be coming with me again unless I start lifting weights or magically gain better upper-body strength! (That seems unlikely…)

I haven’t had an opportunity to dress up since these occasions in mid-August, so I had been putting off writing about it. I’m hoping that this upcoming weekend doesn’t get complicated; I’ll be quite upset if I’ll miss another opportunity. The weather is cool, but not too chilly, so it’s the perfect temperature for the layers of lolita outfits!

Charming Activities: My Little Pony

Charming Activities: My Little Pony

My Little Pony was my first love. Before I started wearing lolita fashion, that was where my money went. The newest generation of the collectible plastic horses was released while I was in high school, and for years any spending money would be promptly converted into ponies at the nearest Target, Toys R Us, or Wal-Mart. Even when I wasn’t collecting, I still measured money in terms of the quantity of $5 ponies it will buy; this habit even rubbed off on my husband!

So Softs and Sundance
Several ponies from the first generation; the ponies with white bodies belonged to me when I was a little girl. I’m not very fond of this style of pony, but I love the So Softs because they’re fuzzy.

For a while, My Little Pony was my only hobby. My bedroom was like a shrine to the plastic toys, which peeked out of every nook and cranny. I collected related paraphernalia, as well, so my walls were occupied by My Little Pony posters, my desk filled with My Little Pony pens and notebooks, and my bed topped with My Little Pony plush toys. It really overwhelmed most visitors, but it made me very gleeful to see the brightness and glitter of so many things that I enjoyed.

The first release of My Little Pony occurred in the 1980s before I was born. The focus was on brightly-coloured toy horses released in sets that little girls would want to collect. As was the custom at the time, the toys were promoted with a cartoon. For years, Hasbro came up with new “types” of ponies to enchant little girls–from the rainbow-haired, glitter-symboled Rainbow Ponies to the jewel-eyed Twinkle Ponies to the scented, three-dimensional-symboled Sundae Best Ponies to the slender, iridescent-winged Flutter Ponies. Every year there was something new and special! Despite the updates, the production ended after 1992.

In 1997, the concept was redesigned and brought back into production. These ponies were smaller, slimmer, and came with lots of accessories. The line didn’t last long in the US, as these ponies were discontinued after 1999, but they continued to be sold in Europe for many years after.

In 2003, My Little Pony was redesigned yet again. These were the ponies that caught my eye. Although larger and less delicate than the second generation of ponies, they bear only slight resemblance to the first generation of My Little Pony toys from the 80s. Their releases, however, followed the protocol of the first generation–the ponies were released in sets, with few accessories, based on themes. As the years progressed, more ponies were introduced and playsets became more common. Although there were many duplicates, re-releases, or somewhat unimaginative ponies, I still loved them all and sought to find them.

The Pony Kingdom
My ponies aren’t terribly organized–I ran out of shelf space very quickly! Even when they’re in disarray, the cheerful colours make me smile~

My interest never waned, but my collecting died down when the toy line underwent more changes. In 2008, Hasbro stopped releasing new ponies and instead began “Core 7.” Focusing on seven ponies, in an attempt to form characters that children would recognize and identify with, these ponies were released and re-released in different sets with slight changes. At this point, I stopped paying too much attention. Although one of these ponies was my favourite pony, Pinkie Pie, the others didn’t interest me.

I focused instead on second-hand purchases of other ponies I had missed out on over the years, but as the gaps in my collection narrowed it became more and more difficult. At this time I my interest in lolita fashion was quite strong, so I was more willing to purchase a new jumperskirt than pay $50+ for one particularly hard-to-fine toy horse. I also didn’t have much spending money. Additionally, I was living away from home due to university, and I couldn’t bring my collection with me to the places I stayed. I no longer focused on my pony collection and constantly contemplated selling it off.

Despite my thoughts of exiting the hobby I had invested so much time and effort in, I couldn’t do it. As much as wearing lolita fashion made me very happy, seeing and fussing my collection made me happy, too. ♥ I started bringing a few ponies with me to the places I was living, and it reminded me why I had started collecting them in the first place: they were cute, small, inexpensive, and made me smile. ♥

Pinkie Ponies, Roll Out!
Pinkie Pie is my favourite pony–even in the “new” style, which I’m not terribly fond of. I collect all of her variations.

My heart even warmed to the newest redesign of the ponies, although their large heads and small bodies had initially confused and dismayed me. Another redesign looms on the horizon, to correspond with the upcoming My Little Pony cartoon “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” The new artwork and toys don’t look much at all like the ponies from my childhood, but I’m curious to see how the line continues to evolve. Best of all, I’ve found a friend who shares my pony-related passion; so I have someone to express my excitement (or outrage) with!

I’m hoping that I’ll soon be able to set up my collection in my home–at least partially. I need to find space for the bookcases so that I can get the ponies into order. It’s fun to visit my mother’s house and walk into the pony-topia that is my former bedroom, but it would be even better to have that sort of atmosphere on a day-to-day basis. (Plus all of those colours make a really fun, vibrant background for lolita fashion!)

All of the things I like represent me in some way. I used to be worried about that kind of thing. “What will people think if they see my room is full of these toys?” “What will she say if she sees my closet is full of frills?” “What might he tell others if he sees my kitchen is full of teacups?” Those kinds of worries only make me unhappy with being myself. Rather than focus on something so negative, I want to enjoy being who I am. Even if collecting toys is childish, I should be allowed to make that choice for myself. I don’t want someone else to dictate how much fun I’m allowed to have! ♥