On Being Lolita: Sweet Resolutions 2011

On Being Lolita: Sweet Resolutions 2011

I wanted to start a tradition of setting new year’s resolutions for myself. I enjoyed doing so during this year–I think there is a lot of value in giving some serious thought to what I might like to do to encourage personal growth. I’ve mainly been setting goals related to my interest in lolita fashion, but I think I might jot down a few unrelated goals, too, and see how that works out this year! Those types of goals are usually the ones that I change my mind about or entirely avoid, but I want to continue to try to be a better me. ♥

★ Organize a tea party at one of the hotels downtown!

I love meetups of all types, because I love spending time with other lolita~ Most of the girls I’ve met through the fashion have become cherished close friends of mine, and I’m always hoping for the potential for more! Although I did host a few meetups during 2010, they were all fairly casual events. That’s my preferred type of meetup, but I miss the opulence and elegance of the formal events I’ve attended in the past.

That’s why I want to arrange an afternoon tea meetup at one of the hotels. It can be pricey, but the atmosphere is so luxurious and dazzling~ Plus, it’s such a wonderful setting for pictures! I want to do this while the weather is still chilly, but thankfully this city is good at being cold and snowy–I should have plenty of time~

★ Knit the Chocola-chan scarf!

The Chocola-chan scarf, a pattern featured in the Gothic & Lolita Bible, is one of my knitting-related ☆holy grails☆ because I own the “Going Out with Chocola-chan” coat. I avoided this project in the past because it was something I thought was “too hard.” I’ve been doing a lot of knitting, and I’ve already tried most, if not all, of the few techniques used for the scarf. I think that I should be well set to try my hand at making one. After all, nothing terrible will happen if I fail–I’ll just have to try again~

I’m starting off 2011 by going “cold sheep,” however, so I’ll have to work on this scarf as a reward. I’ve gathered up quite a bit of yarn over the holidays–I’m planning to get some headway into using up that which I’ve accumulated before any new yarn comes home with me. (This will be very, very hard. I am determined to use my stubborn streak to my advantage!)

★ Strategic wardrobe enhancement!

After wearing lolita fashion for a few years, my closet isn’t really what could be considered “small.” Although I rarely buy, I even more rarely ever sell, so the quantity of garments in my possession has continued to increase. Despite this, I tend to purchase things that I consider to be “good deals” instead of things I’ve been wanting for various coordinations. I own very few cutsews, most of which are very specific, when I know I could get much more use out of a white cutsew with no design. I own no boleros. There are also a few hair accessories that I’m sadly lacking.

I want to carefully plan my purchases for the new year. I don’t want to thing, “Oh fluffbunnies, if only I owned item x–it would be so perfect for this,” and then buy another one-piece. I get so much enjoyment from wearing lolita fashion–I want to be able to wear it more frequently and arranged in new outfits!

★ Take better pictures at meetups!

When it comes to meetups, I never seem to remember that I have a camera with me! Afterward, as I reminisce about how much fun I’ve had and eagerly sort through ideas for meetups to come, it dawns on me that I should have taken pictures. Usually I’ll have only one or two quick snaps saved on my camera–pictures that are out of focus, blurry, streaky, and taken in bad lighting. The subjects are typically unprepared, resulting in a picture that is overall unflattering and just plain bad.

I want to work harder on taking good pictures of meetups. Pictures of attendees, pictures of activities, and pictures of interesting things. I want to have something I can share with others or just look at on my own. I’ve always thought it would be fun to scrapbook, but it’s hard to do that without pictures. A lolita-themed photo album would provide an easy way for me to review at all the memories that I treasure~

BONUS: ★ Make a video post!

This isn’t something I want to run myself ragged trying to do, but I’ve thought it would be a lot of fun to add at least one video post~ I just don’t know what would be something best talked about, rather than written about.

Has anyone else set resolutions for 2011~? Are you excited about the beginning of a new year?

Happy New Year, to absolutely everyone! ♥ I hope this coming year is more marvelous than the last~

On Being Lolita: Year-End Wrap Up

On Being Lolita: Year-End Wrap Up

At the end of the year I decided to set a few resolutions for 2010. Looking back on what I wanted to do, I think I can consider 3 of 4 to be accomplished~

2010’s Goals in Review

★ Host more meetups! Check!
Although I haven’t hosted a million meetups, I’ve done my best to host meetups whenever I could come up with a decent-enough idea. It’s been lots of fun; I love any excuse to see my friends.)

★ Work harder on loli_bookclub! Fail.
I just haven’t kept up. I feel pretty guilty about this one…

★ Hold still for more pictures! Check!
If I did anything in 2010, it was record more outfits! I like being able to look back and have proof of my frilliness. My husband has gotten much better at taking pictures, too~ ♥

★ Post entries more often! Check!
I wrote entries fairly regularly for most of 2010. I slacked off quite a bit in December, but sometimes other things get in the way. Overall, I’m satisfied with the frequency of new content.

Now I just need to decide what to do for 2011! It’s almost upon us!

Outfit Snap: Pink and Plaid

Outfit Snap: Pink and Plaid

December was a great month for wearing frills and feeling fluffily cheerful! I started bright and early, and really made an effort to dress up. Sometimes this was a little bit difficult to do, because it’s been really cold. I’m not usually any chillier in lolita clothing than in normal clothing, but I never remember that when I’m staring into my closet and shivering–when that happens I always want to hide in oversized sweaters with several pairs of long underwear beneath my jeans!

Fruit Parfait-Type Alice
This is one of my favourite casual outfits. I think this cutsew compliments the otherwise really-busy print of the skirt.

I had planned on going to a meetup on a Thursday after work, so this was what I wore into the office. Whenever I wear anything to work other than the most casual of clothing, I get a lot of confused stares, particularly from others outside my department. Sometimes it’s a bit frustrating, but mostly I’m amused~

I always have a hard time coordinating this skirt, although I do try. This cutsew is one of my easiest and most effortless pairings. The colours match up fairly well, which is unusual. This skirt has some orange-tinted shades of pink that are more salmon than straight pink, and the difference is really obvious when it is worn with something that is strictly pink. There are lots of colours in the print, as well, but they’re hard to tie in without me feeling that I look like a fruit salad.

Hoodie of Dooooom
I know this sweater is bulky and ugly, but it’s sooooo warm. I can’t resist.

I wore black tights to balance the black cutsew. The pink heart-buckle shoes were chosen for their relative comfort and darker shade of pink. It matched up decently with darker shades on the cutsew and skirt. I clipped small pink bows in my hair for some kind of accent.

I spent a good portion of the day wearing my sloppy hooded sweatshirt. It’s not very pretty, but it is very warm. It wasn’t quite freezing cold at that point, but it wasn’t really a comfortable temperature anymore.

Unfortunately I never made it to the intended meetup, due to work-related things, but I did get to go on a date with my husband. He surprised me after work, when I was grumpy and tired, took me out to dinner and even for dessert afterward. I’m so lucky~ ♥

Ugly sweater strikes again! It’s a shade of pink very commonly used for lolita clothing, so it “matches” even though it doesn’t compliment.

I wore pink again the next day~ This jumperskirt is quickly becoming one of my most-worn items. I love the simplicity and elegance of the design. It matches almost everything else I own, and it’s very comfortable. I’m very happy to have it in my wardrobe!

I chose to wear it very classically and simply, with a white blouse, white lace-topped socks, and a pink bow. My giant sweater of doom snuck in there a bit, too. It was very cold.

Alice Claus
I basically lived in this Santa hat during December! I never wanted to take it off.

The cold was also the reason for my absolutely not-matching black fuzzy slippers. I wore pink shoes when I left the house, but my mega-slippers were necessary to keep from having icicle feet.

And nothing says Christmas like a Santa hat! I love mine and wear it around the house constantly after Thanksgiving has passed.

Festively Tartan
I was soooooo sleepy when this picture was taken. I was just about ready to snuggle up with the tree.

The next day I held my gingerbread cookie party, and I chose my green tartan outfit for festiveness. In hindsight I should have worn a short-sleeved blouse–I spent all day pulling and rolling my sleeves up to keep them out of the dough and frosting! Whoops~ I wasn’t think about that when I selected it–I was just thinking about keeping my arms warm~ (Plus, I love the lace on the cuffs of this blouse~ ♥)

This is one of my go-to wintery outfits. The darker colours and the tartan give me that sort of feeling. I think it’s green enough to be Christmas-ish, too, particularly with red accents. (And I did wear a red apron and my Santa hat for a good portion of the party~) I’m sure it’s boring that I like to wear the same jumperskirt as many times as possible once the weather hits below a certain point, but I don’t really care–it’s fun!

Meetup Report: Gingerbread Time

Meetup Report: Gingerbread Time

In early December I hosted a meetup at my house–a gingerbread cookie party! I did this last year and had so much fun that I couldn’t wait to do it again! I’m hoping to make this a yearly tradition~ I really adore Christmastime–the coloured lights, the carols, the snow, all the decorations. Most of all, I like spending quality time with my friends and family. Decorating together, baking together, watching holiday movies–these holiday activities seem more fulfilling than things I normally do with loved ones. (I suspect that maybe everyone makes more of an effort during this time of year.) A gingerbread party is a nice way to enjoy the holiday cheer with my friends.

To prepare for the party I mixed up two batches of gingerbread dough. My recipe is from Baking Illustrated. (I LOVE America’s Test Kitchen, in general, so I jumped on the chance to buy their baking cookbook when I spotted it at a local bookstore a few years ago. Every recipe is accompanied by a small essay that warns of common mistakes and details the process of writing the recipe. I love the way it’s set up!)

As people arrived we filled the kitchen table with cookie cutters and decorating supplies. I provided the gingerbread and tea, as outlined in my original event invitation, but I asked guests to bring frosting, sprinkles, or other treats to use for the cookies. It worked out wonderfully–we had such an amazing variety, just because we all live near different stores. A few friends even ran a quick errand to buy more when they remembered something they had hoped to bring. (It’s a good thing I live near a craft store and several grocery stores~)

For decorating, I lifted the parchment paper off the cookie sheet and laid it on the kitchen table. There wasn’t much space, but we all made the best of it!

I was very amused to see that we all brought aerosol frosting. I purchased some because I think it’s easier to use the cans of decorating frosting with the screw-on fancy tips than it is to manage several pastry bags of frosting. They stand upright, they don’t drip, and changing the tip is fairly simple. The flavor is also pretty good–not the best frosting ever but still quite good.

I started some tea (as that’s a staple of anything I organize) and we got to work cutting out the first few batches of dough. There were lots of shapes to choose from, and we all worked carefully to fit as many cookies on each sheet as we possibly could. The only gingerbread man cookie cutter that I have is unfortunately large, so we made mostly other holiday shapes like snowflakes or rocking horses. As the day went on, however, we started making more and more gingerbread men–they use up more dough! It was a good move when everyone started winding down and there weren’t as many people vying for a spot to decorate.

We had lots and lots of frosting and sprinkles! There was so much to choose from! I liked seeing everyone’s designs~ (And making a few of my own, of course.)

When the party started, most guests expressed concerns about their decorating ability…but one of the nicest parts of a party like this is that it isn’t a contest. It doesn’t matter who has “the best cookie” or “the best skills.” No one pokes fun at another person’s cookie design. When you’re no longer a small child, there can be lots of pressures to have “the best one” or assumptions that getting older magically makes you better at activities you don’t do often. Cookie decorating is something that only gets better with practice. If you don’t do it well, the only way to improve is to keep trying!

Besides, even cookies with frosting that might have looked lopsided or lumpy tasted just as delicious as the most perfectly-decorated treat~

Cookie Aftermath
Finished cookies were lined up to be eaten by others. At first people were afraid to eat others’ designs, but after a while it became clear that the decorators didn’t mind.

Anyone who wasn’t in the kitchen around the table sat in the other room near the tree. I tried to keep a constant supply of tea, but sometimes it was a bit too crowded from cookie-ing for me to start up a new pot the moment we ran out. The morning of the party I paid a stop to one of my favourite tea shops and bought some new varieties to serve. We tried a warm cinnamon-almond blend of rooibos, a blend of black and green teas that smells like apple pie, an elderflower white tea, and tea that both promised to taste like a banana-chocolate crêpe and actually tasted like one! It gave me a wonderful excuse to purchase all sorts of new teas that don’t fit into my poor tea drawer and have to live on in a bag on the counter until I can make more space.

Cookie Collage!
My husband kept taking pictures of individual cookies, to better highlight the talents of our friends, so I tried to combine them into a collage. Everything was very colourful!

By the time the sun was setting only a few undecorated cookies remained. We relaxed in the other room, talking about the holidays under the very, very bright glow of my LED-lit Christmas tree. I’ve been doing quite a bit of knitting lately, so I had suggested to my friends that they could bring knitting projects as well. It’s fun to knit with others when there’s plenty of tea and good conversation. When I originally started knitting I never could have imagined that I’d make friends who would also knit–it’s hard to shake the thoughts of knitting being “for old ladies.” (Then again, most of the things I like are “for old ladies.” I must be getting lots of practice in for when I’m honestly old.)

It was a lovely way to spend the day~ I was sad to see everyone go even though it was quite late when we finally saw everyone off. I didn’t even mind that I had gingerbread to eat for a week afterward, despite sending everyone home with some cookies! I’m very excited to do this again next year~ ♥

Update: Christmas Wishes

Update: Christmas Wishes

I’m a little bit behind on posting and adding new content, but that’s something I rather expect during this time of the year. It’s busy at work, my courses are wrapping up for the break, and there’s simply so much-so much-soooooo much to do for the holidays! I’ve been knitting constantly; during the commute to work, while waiting in line at the post office, as I wait for cookies to bake in the oven, and during Christmas movies. It worked out just in time–everything was ready for its recipient on Christmas day.

I had a wonderful Christmas with all of my loved ones, and I hope that everyone else was as lucky or much luckier. I know that my holiday wishes are a bit belated, but I tend to side with “better late than never” rather than “too late.” Even though it’s over now, I’m still full of cheer and good spirits–probably enough to last me for a while~

I hope that everyone else is having a lovely holiday season, regardless of what or how you celebrate! I’d like to think that it’s the season to be merry no matter what~

And a new year is quickly approaching! I wonder what it will bring? ♥

Victorian artwork used in image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.

Outfit Snap: Whee, a Tree!

Outfit Snap: Whee, a Tree!

Now that the year is coming to a close, I’ve been trying to fit in as much lolita fashion-wearing as absolutely possible~ I’m very excited for December and the holiday season, because I absolutely-positively-utterly-completely-totally-thoroughly love Christmas! ♥ On the day after Thanksgiving I was determined to avoid Black Friday shopping…but after arriving back at home I took one look around and could not resist going out briefly to get a few holiday decorations. I’ve spent the time since then fancying-up my home for the holidays~ I’m almost done, but there’s still a few projects I have in mind. When it’s all complete I can’t wait to share pictures~!

I decided I wanted a real tree this year. We used to have a fake tinsel tree that I was very sentimentally attached to, but it had developed a crooked lean that got worse and worse as time went on. It’s time had come when it was no longer able to stand up without being propped against the wall. My husband had arranged to be assisted in tree-acquiring by a friend of ours who owns an automobile, as we rely on public transportation. Unfortunately, he chanced to take me out to run a few errands and we passed a lot selling trees…and I wouldn’t leave without one.

Yay, the Treeeeee~
I love-love-love-love-love-love our little tree! It makes me so happy~

I had been running errands and decorating the whole day, so I picked an outfit that was both casual and festive. I find that wearing lolita fashion around the holiday season is extra-fun for me because it adds another layer of cheer and bounciness to my Christmas spirit~ I paired this red jumperskirt with a white thermal shirt. It kept me toasty-warm despite spending quite a bit of time waiting on train platforms, but I didn’t have to worry about getting lace caught on things when putting up decorations. I chose to cover my legs completely, instead of wearing knee-socks, so that I’d be better protected against the cold while out and about.

Alice... Or a Tree?
One of the things I really like about this tree is that it and I are exactly the same height. I think it’s a fun size for a tree~.

I pulled my hair back just a bit and added red bows for decoration. It made me wish that I had jingle bells or glitter pom-pons, though! I feel like I don’t own enough in the way of festive accessories~ (Although I do have a Santa hat that I am incredibly attached to.)

The fuzzy boots aren’t really part of what I’m wearing–they’re just my extra-fluffy slippers~ I don’t like having icicle feet in the wintertime!