Meetup Report: Parade in Chinatown

Meetup Report: Parade in Chinatown

I’ve made an effort to attend the Chinese New Year parade for several years now. It’s always bone-chillingly cold, most of the floats are sponsored by various political representatives, and the crowds can be overwhelming, but I still really like it. When another lolita posted about arranging a meetup for the parade, I was very excited! Plans were made to gather in Chinatown, watch the parade, head to a restaurant, and maybe do some shopping in the area.

We started gathering together about a half-hour or so before the parade. I arrived as early as I could manage, so that I could spot anyone who might be lost. On my way to the meeting spot, a car that was waiting in line to park in one of the lots rolled down the windows, and the passengers waved and called out to me. Normally that sort of behaviour is the sort of thing I ignore, but I noticed that although I didn’t recognize the occupants it seemed that at least one of them was wearing a headdress. I wound up meeting both of those girls later, when they finally found the group after parking their car.

First Arrivals
I was glad that I asked the photographer to take a picture for me–he really got a nice and clear image, even though my camera isn’t the best.

I stood in the snow for a while, and found out that I can actually knit while wearing gloves if I am determined enough. I put that aside when the first attendees arrived. While we talked, a gentleman with an unusual camera came over and started to take pictures, sprawling himself into all sorts of crazy poses and making comments like, “Beautiful, girls–fantastic!” as if he were conducting a photoshoot. He was nice enough to take a picture using my camera, too. (I think that’s only fair, considering that we let him take pictures of us.)

Slowly more and more lolita arrived. The original organizer was unable to make it to the event, so I kept track of everyone on a checklist. A surprising number of people braved the cold to watch the parade! It made me very happy–sometimes I’ve been the only person willing to stick it out, while everyone else seeks shelter in a warmer shop or café.

Pink & Black Together
I had to have someone take a picture of me with one of my favourite-est people ever! 😀

I tried to get pictures of everyone, but as the time for the parade to begin drew closer and closer the sidewalk became more and more crowded. It wasn’t worth it to lose our viewing space right at the front.

Two lovely ladies looking warm and stylish!

One of the things that I particularly enjoy about outdoor winter meetups is seeing how everyone has coordinated themselves. It’s one thing to put together a nice outfit, but another thing to then make that same outfit suitable for several hours standing in the snow. Not everyone owns a specifically “lolita” coat, but everyone still wants to look her best. It was clear that everyone attempted to match accessories, boots, and more without sacrificing utility. Being pretty can be lots of fun, but frostbite is not.

Parade Intenseness
I tried to snap a few pictures of everyone in-between floats and marchers.

Even with all of the layers, coats, thick socks, scarves, boots, and hats, we were very chilly. After a while even the feet of those with the thickest socks and warmest boots were cold enough to be painful, and everyone joked about how what a relief it would be when our feet finally went numb and we wouldn’t notice anymore. Even though it was a joke, it was also very true.

Parade Watching Lolita
The parasol actually came in handy, which we found very amusing. She was significantly less snow-covered and wet than the rest of us!

I took so many pictures of the parade itself that it would be overwhelming just to pick a few to share here. I have a whole set on Flickr featuring the parade. There were floats from local businesses, groups representing current politicians and political hopefuls, several groups of adorable small children from nearby schools, a few marching bands, and even the the Shannon Rovers, despite there being nothing Irish about the parade. (I’m not complaining, though–I love bagpipes!)

When the parade was ended, we slipped in behind the final group and headed towards the St. Alps Teahouse. Some onlookers believed that we were part of the parade! A few girls, unable to withstand the cold, had headed to the café ahead of the rest of us. They had already gotten a table for a large group, but more lolita had joined us during the course of the parade. It was a bit confusing to get a seat for everyone–particularly because more girls kept arriving once we had reached our destination. The teahouse was very accommodating, but I think that if we go back as a group, I’ll make a reservation. It took a little while to get everyone’s orders and figure out how the checks would be drawn up.

Good Luck Dragon Visit
At first some of the members of our group thought the lion was going to use the restroom.

I was very excited when the restaurant was visited by a lion! After the parade, the lions visit the businesses in Chinatown. Each business feeds the lion oranges and lettuce, which it accepts and then throws the greens around the shop. (They’re supposed to be arranged in the shape of an auspicious character, but I haven’t really seen that level of detail.) This is supposed to bring good luck to the business for the upcoming year~ It’s lots of fun to watch–drummers signal the arrival of the lion, it dances around until it is led to the offerings, and then everyone cheers when it accepts them. I have called these beasts dragons, but I know it’s actually a lion–I just can’t shake the impression of it being a dragon!

When we finally parted ways after bubble teas, milk teas, and other fancy beverages were had. (I also ordered “classic toast,” which I love. It’s essentially a very thick piece of toast that is buttered and topped with condensed milk. They offer many types of this toast, but I prefer the condensed milk.) I stopped at a bakery to bring home some cake. My husband had to work and was unable to attend the parade with us, and I thought that delicious cake might be a nice gesture.

Winter Wonderland
Everything looked so beautiful that evening. A fresh layer of snow makes everything prettier~

When I arrived at home the snow had stopped and the sun was setting. After having such a fun time with friends and new friends-to-be, everything seemed very peaceful and lovely~ ♥

Outfit Snap: Chinese New Year

Outfit Snap: Chinese New Year

I am so behind when it comes to sharing pictures and generally posting anything interesting–whoops! My winter semester just came to a close, and lately when I come home from work the last thing I want to do is type anything meaningful on my computer. I curl up with my knitting, some tea, and chat with my husband. ♥ I’ve been working on knitting through all of the yarn that I’ve collected, so my main focus is on turning that yarn into items! (So that I can buy… more yarn. It’s probably clear how this goes.)

I still make time for lolita fashion, of course~ I’ve been wearing it as much as I can, although we’ve had a few frigidly cold days where I just couldn’t bear the thought of any outfit that didn’t involve a snowsuit over it. (Yes, I own a snowsuit. It’s not beribboned or frilled, but it’s awesome when the snow is up to your thighs and the temperature is icy.) In early February I met some friends, and several new acquaintances, in Chinatown to watch the New Year’s parade for this year of the rabbit!

Simply Red
It was so snowy and chilly that I didn’t dare take off my coat for any pictures outside.

I like to wear red for the Chinese New Year, because it symbolizes good fortune! This is my token red dress that I always wear for occasions where red would be nice, so of course it shows up here. I could have worn even more red, because I do have a red cutsew, but I paired it with a long-sleeved white blouse so that I could wear a thermal top underneath. That proved to be a very good idea, because the weather was so cold that we all stood around waiting for our feet to freeze so our toes wouldn’t hurt!

I wore thermal leggings, as well, along with tights, knee-high socks, and another pair of shorter socks. I still wasn’t exactly “warm” or even “comfortable,” but it was much better than if I hadn’t bundled up so thoroughly. Just before the event, my winter boots and my rain boots both developed serious holes and tears that ended their functional lives. I had to wear another pair of significantly-less-snow-ready boots, which contributed to my chilly feet.

With Mister Mallow
My beloved bunny pochette went through a phase of little use, but he came in handy to hold my camera during the parade.

I brought my bunny pochette as a nod towards the sign for 2011–the rabbit. It had been at least a few weeks, if not a few months, since I last used this purse, although it is my favourite. I don’t like to carry a purse if I don’t have to, and the pockets in my jumperskirts and one-pieces are usually able to carry everything that I need. If I have my coat on, that adds a few more pockets. I planned on actually taking pictures during this parade, and having a separate space to keep my camera made things easier than digging around for it.

Bunny Luv
Mallow needed a little bit of attention, since it’s his species’ year.

I wore my hair up in two braided buns due to the weather. It was quite windy and there was a chance of snow–and in fact, that “chance” provided copious snow during the entire length of the parade. Having my hair up from the back of my head makes it easier for me to tie and adjust my earmuff headdress, which is a necessary layer of defense against frozen ears. Braiding pigtails and coiling them into buns made my hair wind-proof; I didn’t have to brush strands away from my eyes or lips, and it didn’t get tangled or unmanageably frizzy after standing outside in all that snow.

I had a really wonderful time at the parade–I’ll share more about that very soon!

Update: Hearts Abound

Update: Hearts Abound

I really love Valentine’s Day~ ♥ Even before I met my husband, it was a holiday I enjoyed. I like leaving notes for the people I care about–just a little extra something to let them know that they’re on my mind and in my heart. It’s something that I enjoy preparing for, and I hope that it brightens the days of my recipients~

I’m at work today and I have class this evening, so my ability to really go over the top for this year is somewhat dampened. I exchanged gifts and cooked a fancy dinner with my husband last night, and I’ll be attending a Valentine-themed party over the weekend, though~ I’m going to get in as much fluff and love and hearts and ribbons and bows and happiness and cheer as I can manage for this year!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful day today~ (Even if you don’t do anything “Valentine-y.”) I’m sending my love and best wishes out to everyone~ ♥

Old-fashioned artwork used in image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.

Photo Set: Year of the Rabbit (…Dragon)

Photo Set: Year of the Rabbit (…Dragon)

The weekend before last I attended the Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown. I keep intending to write about the meetup, but in the meantime I thought I’d at least share some of the pictures that I took~ I love the parade–the bright colours and festivity keep me coming back every year, even though it’s always freeeeezing cold. It was snowing very heavily this year, but I took pictures anyway.

Out of everything in the parade, the dragons are my favourite part. I love the sequins, glitter, and fur! The dazzling, often neon, colours add lots of pop to an otherwise dreary winter day. The frills or scales billow in the wind. When the dragon dancers are having fun being a part of a dragon, it’s even better! They shake the head, open and close the mouth, and make the dragon seem to dance down the street. I love it~! ♥

That said, here are some pictures of dragons from this year’s parade!

2011 Chinese New Year Parade

2011 Chinese New Year Parade

2011 Chinese New Year Parade

2011 Chinese New Year Parade

2011 Chinese New Year Parade

2011 Chinese New Year Parade

2011 Chinese New Year Parade

2011 Chinese New Year Parade

Lucky-Bearing Dragon

The entire set of photos can be viewed on Flickr. (Warning: it is not 100% dragons.)

Ruffle Review: LittleMacaron Hairbow

Ruffle Review: LittleMacaron Hairbow

When my little sister last visited Japan, she bought a lot of fabric–most of it with the intention to sew various lolita garments. One of the fabrics that she bought was an “Alice in Wonderland” print with ribbons and flowers. She was sweet enough to sew me a jumperskirt of this print. I was surprised to see the same fabric weeks later in a sewing project on EGL. Then there were more photos of the jumperskirt, a photoshoot, and then a post about hairbows~ I decided to buy a hairbow to wear with the jumperskirt my little sister made for me. ♥

The hairbow was made by Little Macaron. (The designer has a blog, Little Macaron Fashion.) I purchased this hairbow as a ready-made piece, not a commission, so I didn’t have to discuss aspects of the order or wait for it to be sewn. It is a part of the “Alice and the White Rabbit” collection.

The shop is located on Etsy, so check-out was simple and secure. I purchased the bow on Sunday, January 30, and received a message from the seller that it had shipped on Monday, January 31, along with the tracking number. It was delivered on Friday, February 4.

Little Macaron Hairbow
The hairbow atop the tissue paper, plastic bag, and padded bubble mailer that it arrived in~

The hairbow arrived in a new padded envelope. Inside, it was wrapped in pink tissue paper and sealed in a plastic bag. Overall, it was very well-packaged and protected. The bow was accompanied by a fabric swatch in its own small plastic bag and a small note.

Little Macaron Hairbow
A close-up of the beaded chain and rose charm.

One of the highlights of this accessory is the small decorated chain that dangles across the bow. The pink pearl beads are smooth and unscratched, the small pink crystals are very sparkly, and the gold findings are neatly wound. There are no sharp or rough edges that might catch on hair or skin. The chain is removable–it hooks on to small loops behind the bow at either end with a lobster-claw clasp. I really appreciate that it can be removed–not only does it provide a slightly different “look,” to the bow, it is also easier to clean.

Little Macaron Hairbow
It took some effort to get my camera to focus well on the edges of the bow.

The bow is well-shaped and firmly sewn. The edges are neatly pressed, with crisp corners. The lace trim is well-secured inside of the seams, with no unraveling bits sneaking out.

Little Macaron Hairbow
The back seam of the center portion was hand-stitched.

The small piece of fabric that wraps around the center of the bow is hand-stitched in the back. This work is also done neatly, although the stitches are slightly larger on one side. It is well-stitched–I’m not worried about it coming undone.

Little Macaron Hairbow
Another detail shot to show the back of the bow.

The bow is nicely-gathered and very even. The back of the bow is pleated well; it doesn’t look lumpy or awkward.

Little Macaron Hairbow
The bow is attached to a fabric-covered headband.

I really like how the headband is covered. The seam is neat, and the stitching is even. The extra fold of fabric at the end of the casing prevents the headband from poking; it provides a bit of extra cushioning.

Little Macaron Hairbow
I love the gold-edged floral pattern on the front of the card!

The hairbow arrived with a cute hand-written note on very pretty stationery. That’s always a lovely touch~ ♥

(On a scale of ♥ to ♥♥♥♥♥…)
Communication: ♥♥♥♥♥
Shipping: ♥♥♥♥♥
Construction: ♥♥♥♥♥
Materials: ♥♥♥♥♥
Overall Quality: ♥♥♥♥♥

I am very, very satisfied with my purchase~ Now I’m curious to see what Little Macaron will come out with next!