Outfit Snap: Three-Frill Weekend

Outfit Snap: Three-Frill Weekend

I feel like I’ve let too many days slip by in the autumn and early winter where I didn’t dress up (for no good reason) and very much wished that I had! I want to prevent that this year, so I’m making an effort. I keep forgetting that I have to keep making an effort, I can’t just stop at some point and expect momentum to keep me going.

Pink with Lemon Yellow
The lighting in my place just doesn’t seem to get any better, even if I try different lightbulbs!
I spent Friday with some friends, and I decided that I wanted to wear a knit shirt of some kind rather than a blouse. I remembered that I have some cutsews that I bought from TaoBao that I’ve actually never worn, so I pulled one out. It’s a pale lemon yellow with a really detailed collar. There are ruffles of lace, a few ribbons, and even rhinestones arranged in a way that looks like a necklace. I paired it with one of my favourite jumperskirts; I love the light and fluffy layers of the skirt.

When the weather is chilly and snowy, I like to keep my hair away from my face. I’ve always liked the look of pinned up braids, ever since I owned a Kirsten doll as a child. It’s something I’d like to master, as my hair can be pretty heavy and tends to un-pin itself, plus tucking in the ends of the braids isn’t something I’ve quite gotten down. I feel silly with little spikes of flipped-up tails peeking out somewhere behind my ears or at the back of my head! I wore my new favourite bow as the hair accessory of the day~ I’m really smitten with it!

The yellow sweater just happened to match my usakumya slippers! ♥ They’re the same shade of yellow~

I didn’t notice that my collar was flipped up–oops!
The next day I headed off to a Pullip meetup~ I have two Pullips at the moment, and I think the Pullip hobbyists in my area are really fun people. ♥

I really wanted to wear the blouse that I had received for Christmas, so I flipped through my closet to see what might go well. The blouse has really wide lace that gives it a very bold and old-fashioned look. I wanted to pick a jumperskirt with lace of a similar impact, so the blouse wouldn’t seem too overwhelming. I was aiming for balance. I chose this jumperskirt because the hem features some wide lace and there is very large lace on the bodice. The jumperskirt and the blouse are from the same company, and the laces used on both pieces are very much alike, although not identical.

I wore pink socks with a rose pattern and white lace at the top, but you can’t exactly see them when they’re tucked into my boots! In this kind of weather, however, the boots are a must. There’s so much slush and ice out there; I’d rather have surer footing than ruin my pretty shoes!

Simply Pink
A friend of mine took this picture at the swap meet; I’m so glad she shared it with me! My camera was having issues again.
I didn’t really wear anything spectacularly unique to the swap meet–just one of the pink and white outfits I favour so much! I really adore this dress; I’m so happy to have finally acquired it! This very same dress was the second “brand” dress that I owned…but in black. It was a lucky pack item several years back. It’s a very comfortable and cute dress, but because it was black I didn’t wear it all that frequently. I eventually traded it with my little sister, who loves black, thinking I could find it in white or pink–but it never seemed to turn up. When I spotted it in autumn of last year, I was thrilled! ♥ I wore it over the blouse from the recent Angelic Pretty set. We noted at the swap meet that there were three (or four?) of us all wearing the same blouse…and another friend of mine just received one, too!

I styled my hair in these curls because I was lucky enough to get a ride to the swap meet and didn’t have to worry about wind and rain or snow adding any more frizz than I already have. This dry and often damp chilly weather is not exactly friends with my evil hair~ I almost wore that same pink bow again, but opted for a different one to add some variety.

It was a lot of fun to dress up three days in a row~ ♥ I want to take advantage of it when I can!

Meetup Report: New Year’s Swap

Meetup Report: New Year’s Swap

I really love my local community. I’ve said it before and I could say it again and again until I am blue in the face and desperately in need of a glass of water. I mean it, wholeheartedly. I love my local community. I was thrilled when someone suggested having a beginning-of-the-year swap meet. During the years that I’ve been involved, there haven’t been any swap meets other than at the yearly anime convention, which I don’t attend. I thought it sounded like fun–everyone brings one or two things they’re hoping to trade or sell, and everyone has fun chatting and browsing through what we’ve all brought.

When I arrived, the swap meet looked a little bit like this:

Once, It Was a Pool Table
An entire pool table covered in books, dresses, accessories, wigs, cutsews, and bags.
It was amazing. There were so many people, so many items available, and so much to do! Girls traveled in from nearby states just to join us. Every available surface was covered in sales items–couches, counters, pool tables, benches, tables… Eventually we spread out a few clean sheets on the floor to provide more place for display. There was even a clothing rack to hang things on.

Dress Rack Again
Some of the items I brought had been recently dry-cleaned, so I left them on the hangers. I wasn’t the only one! Having a rack avoided wrinkles more than laying these things out.
Soon a laptop was unpacked and set up, allowing us to use PayPal if we didn’t happen to have enough cash. I think we all underestimated the scale of the swap meet, so that was really handy! I honestly didn’t think there would be so many people and so many items, so I didn’t bring nearly enough money with me to make change or purchases.

The meetup was graciously hosted in a beautiful and spacious house, so the setup kept goods for sale arranged in the immaculately-finished and gigantic basement, while the kitchen, dining room, and living room were set up with drinks, food, and tables. Nearly everyone brought something tasty to share; the selection was amazing. Savories and sweets abounded. I was particularly taken by someone’s homemade cake pops (one of the girls works at a bakery and usually arrives with sweets of immense tastiness), some made with chocolate cake and others with strawberry cake~ ♥

Busy Frilly Hallway
This hallway shows just a glimpse of how many people were in attendance and how intensely we all enjoyed looking over everyone’s offerings.
There weren’t, to my knowledge, and specific rules regarding what could or could not be bought or sold, so there was a wide variety of offerings–but no one brought anything too far off-tangent to see ridiculous. There was obviously a wide selection of shirts, dresses, shoes, socks, and other clothing items representing both lolita and Japanese punk styles. Jewelry and accessories were also very popular. There were some books and magazines, as well, and a few people brought CDs. (I was probably the most unrelated; I showed up with some My Little Pony figures.)

Hillary's Trunk
She was organized enough to bring her items in a suitcase that could double as a display, and tagged most of her items with prices. The rest of us spent a lot of time running around and trying to figure out who’s item we were interested in and how much it cost, hee hee.
I was really happy to find new homes for a few clothing items I just don’t wear and swap a Pullip for a dress. ♥ I also couldn’t resist a pair of knit gloves with usakumya on the back of one hand!

Overall it was lots of fun, and I hope we do something like this again. It would be really neat as an annual or bi-annual event. It was much easier to organize an event like this at someone’s house rather than at a convention. No-one worried about theft or vandalism. It was nice knowing that you could leave your things unattended downstairs while enjoying a snack upstairs without the risk of something “wandering off.” You can’t possibly do that at a busy convention. We were so lucky that the hostess organized such a fun meetup! It was really great, and I’m sure that if we did it again it could be even better now that the community knows what it’s like. It was absolutely worth taking a Sunday off of work for~!

Outfit Snap: Girly Ribbon

Outfit Snap: Girly Ribbon

I couldn’t wait to wear the entire outfit from the Girly Ribbon set…so I wore it! (Isn’t it nice how easy that sort of thing is? ♥) I was lucky enough to have a Saturday to spend with my husband, so I dressed up. We went out to breakfast, ran errands, played video games (I’m working on Ribbon farm now in Harvest Moon: Tale of Two Towns DS~), and enjoyed a leisurely dinner. It was a particularly interesting type of day because I received two comments about my outfit that were more than simply “cute!” or “It’s not Halloween!” It makes me feel like there honestly is more information about lolita fashion reaching the general public, albeit very slowly.

Our waitress engaged me in a fairly long discussion about my outfit. She had been staring at me for a while, and finally ventured to say that she didn’t want to be rude, but I was wearing gothic lolita–right? I did my best to explain that I was wearing lolita fashion, but not particularly gothic. She was very intrigued and kept coming back with more questions. She really wanted to know more, and the questions she chose to ask were those I’m not quite accustomed to being asked randomly; I thought it was neat to see how seriously she wanted to learn about the style.

After dinner we stopped for hot chocolate, where we were briefly interrupted by a young man. He had been sitting at a nearby table, and my husband and I were chatting and waiting for our hot chocolate to cool off, when he turned around and caught our attention. “Is your outfit inspired by Japanese lolita fashion?” he asked. I replied that it wasn’t inspired–it was Japanese lolita fashion. He commented that he liked that my outfit wasn’t as overwhelming as some coordinates he had seen, and left soon after. I am still very curious as to where he normally viewed lolita fashion; perhaps he was a reader of Kera or followed some other aspect of Japanese culture where lolita fashion occasionally made an appearance.

Girly Ribbon Set
I really love all of the items in this set! I’m so glad I managed to get one!
I didn’t choose to do anything particularly creative or unusual; for the most part I’m wearing the entire set as it was packaged. I really like the way the items look when coordinated together, after all, so I wanted to enjoy it that way. I like the blouse’s long sleeves, particularly because the weather is a bit chilly, and I adore the scalloped edge and white ruffle of the jumperskirt. This hairbow is probably one of my new favourite things; I want to wear it constantly.

Pink and Girly and Ribboned
Just another picture–I was lucky to remember to take these before the sun had set, so we could take advantage of the natural light.
I did not wear the over-the-knee socks that came with the set, however; I chose to wear the white socks with pink hearts and the BABY the Star Shine Bright “B” that I received for Christmas. I know they’re not popular, but I really like knee socks~ ♥ I chose to wear these boots to keep my feet warm. I prefer warm feet to pretty feet if I’m going to be walking around all day. It really came in handy, because I forgot my bus pass in my other coat so we had to walk everywhere even though we had planned to take a bus home from one of our errands. Whoops!

I’m sure I’ll wear this outfit again; I really adore it! ♥

On Being Lolita: The Luckiest Lucky Pack

On Being Lolita: The Luckiest Lucky Pack

My relationship with lucky packs hasn’t been a good one. I love the concept of lucky packs, because I can always appreciate the opportunity to save. Lucky packs can be a fantastic way to add pieces to your wardrobe without paying full price. If you don’t get things that work with your clothing, sometimes you can still break even by selling the pieces you’ve received. I’ve never been very good at this. All of the lucky packs that I’ve purchased have contained garments that don’t match my style or don’t fit my size, and usually it has taken me quite a while to sell what I couldn’t use. I’ve never gotten anything particularly desired by others! In fact, I’ve had items that I simply could not sell and then passed along to friends.

This hasn’t stopped me from buying lucky packs. I like the surprise, I like the deal, and I like the potential. As they say, hope springs eternal! When lucky pack season rolls around at the beginning of the year and the brands are clearing out their old stock, I try to rationalize with myself and avoid temptation. I remind myself of the failed lucky packs of purchases past. I calculate the odds of getting a really great lucky pack–for me, very, very unlikely. I estimate how much money I won’t be able to get back when I then turn around and sell the things I cannot wear. This year I went through the ritual; I was pretty sure that I was safe from lucky packs.

On January 1st, I was sitting in my office and the Angelic Pretty lucky packs went up for sale on the US website, and I bought one without a second thought. When the confirmation email hit my inbox I felt guilt–not for actually purchasing the lucky pack, but for the eventual explanation to my husband that yes, I had bought another lucky pack, and yes, I knew that I was really unlucky about them, and yes, I didn’t really expect all that much from this one either…but I had to do it.

When the parcel arrived the next week, I was ready for it to be a disappointment. I opened it with excitement, but also with acceptance. Instead of what I expected, I loved every item! I was so happy! It was so perfect!! Finally, I was lucky!!!

I didn’t realize until the next day that I hadn’t actually purchased a lucky pack, but instead a special set!

A lucky pack is a random assortment of overstock at a reduced price. A special set is an assortment of specific items at a reduced price. I received a perfectly-coordinated outfit that fit into my wardrobe seamlessly, because it wasn’t a random collection of things that were being cleared out, but instead an outfit designed to be sold at a special price. It was a very lucky “lucky pack” for me!

Girly Ribbon Set
The Girly Ribbon set contained a hairbow, socks, and a totebag~ I really love the designs of all of these items!
All of the items that I received were a perfect match to the promotional photo used for the sets, even down to the colour, as I bought a pink set. It contained a pink hairbow, pink and white striped socks with a pattern of bows, a dark pink totebag, a white blouse, and a pink jumperskirt. The hairbow and jumperskirt were made from the same fabric and involved the same trims; they’re a perfect match for each other! The shade of pink is the pink that Angelic Pretty typically uses, so the bow and jumperskirt also match my other jumperskirts and accessories featuring that same pink. The socks are adorable; even though I’m not usually a fan of over-the-knee socks, I know I’ll be wearing them–I can’t resist socks with bows on them!

I particularly love the shape of the hairbow! The “ribbon” that the bow is formed from is narrower than most bows. It makes the overall bow take up less depth across one’s head. I also appreciate the positioning; the bow isn’t standing upright on the headband, but instead laying flat against the head. The wider bows that stand upright seem to me to require more volume of hair behind them to avoid a look that is particularly overwhelming. They’re commonly depicted on teased wigs with clip-in pigtails. Although my hair is certainly capable of volume, it tends toward “glam rock”–not a look I want when I’m wearing lolita. I appreciate bows that sit against the head like this. This hairbow is my new best hairbow friend~ ♥

Girly Ribbon Blouse and JSK
I absolutely adore this blouse and jumperskirt! They’re such perfect items to add to my closet!
The blouse was a long-sleeved blouse with a Peter Pan collar. I really prefer rounded collars to stand-up collars or most other shapes. There are little satin bows on the collar, as well. The lace has the image of tiny strawberry layer cakes woven into the design; so cute! ♥ The material is thinner than my other blouses; it would need an undershirt of some kind if it weren’t worn beneath a jumperskirt, as it is fairly sheer. I’m fairly certain that this material was used to save on costs for the special set to sell at the reduced price it was offered at.

The jumperskirt is really wonderful! A friend of mine purchased this same set from the physical store in San Francisco. She commented to me that the dress was very “me,” and when I opened my own pack I understood what she meant. It fits right in with the type of sweet lolita that I love most of all–solid colour fabric, white lace of several types, bows in ribbons, scallops, and ruffles! The back is shirred, so I can slip it on without getting myself (or my hair! ;_;) caught in the zipper. The best feature, in my opinion, are the hidden pockets–one on each side! I love it when dresses have pockets~

I am so glad that I purchased this “lucky pack.” It was certainly worthwhile! I added five adorable things to my closet, all of which I plan to wear again and again~! ♥

Sweet Treats: Hot Cocoa

Sweet Treats: Hot Cocoa

When the weather turns so chilly, I start dreaming about hot cocoa. I consider it a quintessential wintertime treat~! ♥ When it’s snowy outside and the wind is blowing fiercely, coming home and curling up with a mug of something warm is cozy and comforting. I drink tea on a regular basis–it’s my beverage of choice–but while I regard tea as a regular beverage, I think of hot cocoa as a treat! Tea involves water and tea leaves. Hot cocoa involves chocolate and milk, ingredients that I associate with desserts. This is a particularly strong association for me because I really can’t drink milk anymore due to a mild lactose-intolerance, so I only have it on rare occasions when it’s an ingredient in with something else.

Most hot cocoa around here is the instant powdered kind, and there’s nothing wrong with that! It’s certainly not the best around, but it does the trick. It’s also really convenient, since there is no actual cooking involved. You only need moderately-warm water to mix up most instant hot chocolate powder–it doesn’t even require water of a particular temperature the way teas do. My husband really enjoys any instant hot cocoa with those tiny dehydrated marbits marshmallows. I’ll sometimes have a mug of it, too, even though the marshmallows are more for show than for taste. They always seem to melt before it’s even cool enough to drink!

What I really enjoy, though, is hot cocoa made the old-fashioned way, by sloooooowly melting chocolate into milk in a pan on the stove top. My siblings and I actually share ownership of a hot chocolate pot thanks to a Christmas present several years ago from our grandparents. It’s made of cast-iron–which ensures even heating of the milk, coated for easy cleaning, has a wooden handle that resists heat, and includes a spout for even pouring. None of that is necessary, but it does come in handy! The spout is what I miss most when I make hot chocolate in a sauce pot; I’m not very good at pouring it out accurately.

This works best if you use low heat, so you don’t scald the milk, and break the chocolate up very fine. One of the reasons I like making hot cocoa this way is that I have full control over the milk and the chocolate used. If you can’t have (or don’t want to have) sugar, you could opt for sugar-free chocolate. I can use rice, soy, or almond “milk” instead of dairy milk, and get different variations of flavor by starting with differently-flavoured chocolate bars! (You can’t really use most filled chocolates, though; the filling gets kind of goopy and weird most of the time.) I have a crazy soft-spot for the very expensive chocolate bars sold by Vosges. By breaking up a Naga bar with curry and coconut I can get a much different flavor than a simpler chocolate-only bar. You certainly don’t have to use a flavoured chocolate to have flavoured hot cocoa, though; you can add spices and extracts, too, for something really customizable. It’s best to add spices to the milk before the chocolate and extracts after the chocolate.

Making hot cocoa on the stove is easy and pretty quick. Low heat is important–scalded or burned milk can be very unpleasant. Add milk (I usually measure it by using the mugs we’ll be drinking out of as measuring cups) to a pan, turn the heat on low, stir the milk constantly to avoid any hot-spots on the pan where the milk could burn, and when the milk is hot (try not to let it boil) slowly mix in the crushed chocolate, little by little. Sometimes I turn the heat off at that point and let the chocolate melt as the milk cools down, so it reaches a drinkable temperature more quickly and the milk doesn’t risk burning.

I also love this recipe for Earl Grey hot chocolate! You could very easily modify it to use any tea that suits your fancy–no reason it must be Earl Grey~!

Toppings are another fun thing~ I’d love to have a hot chocolate party, with blankets and cozy attire, hot chocolate and sugar cookies, and lots of toppings! Whipped cream and marshmallows are pretty classic options to start with. However, recently I had hot chocolate from “Froth,” the hot chocolate bar at Forever Yogurt locations. The toppings included normal marshmallows and fancier marshmallows, such as coconut-coated. There were crushed candies to sprinkle on top, caramel and chocolate syrups to drizzle, and sugars and sea salt to dust with. The sea salt was a really great addition to my Nutella hot cocoa. _ So delicious~ ♥

On Being Lolita: Surprises from Santa

On Being Lolita: Surprises from Santa

For the past few years my stepfather has been living part-time in Paris. He has always traveled frequently for work, but his current project is based in Paris. Due to my influence, both he and my mother are well-acquainted with the BABY the Stars Shine Bright boutique in Paris. (They have also visited the shop that sells Angelic Pretty, but I can tell they have a preference for BtSSB.) Since introducing my parents to the shop, their attitudes towards my hobby have changed dramatically. My mother used to remind me with a sigh that frilly clothes were not something that grown women spend their money on. Now she has her own BABY point card.

As they are both familiar with the shop, I’ve stopped asking for particular gifts for holidays. If I say nothing, they’ll select their own choice from the BtSSB shop. For me, lolita clothing or accessories is always the perfect present! Receiving lolita gifts is the sort of thing I didn’t think would ever be really possible; my mother is unlikely to shop online for something expensive from overseas. She has no problem stepping into a shop, however; particularly a shop that she can easily travel to on her own while visiting my stepfather, or one that she can send him to if necessary.

Shopping at the BABY the Stars Shine Bright Paris shop isn’t exactly budget-friendly. Lolita garments have always been expensive to start with, but the exchange rate between the yen and euro impact the shop’s prices–and then my mother also has to consider the exchange rate between the dollar the euro. French import taxes also play a role in the pricing of items in the shop. A pair of socks might not look like an impressive present to the untrained eye, but I know how expensive they can be! For this reason, I never expect to get certain items. There are things I would never dream of hinting about. I don’t want to take advantage of my mother’s kindness by bleeding her wallet dry. That’s why I have my own job and my own budget–so that I can buy my own luxuries. I take pride in that.

So on Christmas morning, when I sat in the living room of my mother’s house with my family and we unwrapped the presents that Santa* had left, I got quite a shock! I must have been very good this year. When I opened my first gift and found socks from BtSSB, I was thrilled! ♥ Then I opened another box and found a blouse! And then another box with a cardigan! And another with a tricot petticoat! At that point, I almost thought I was hallucinating. Every gift I unwrapped was from the BtSSB shop!

Very Frilly Christmas
I couldn’t believe it when I unwrapped all these beautiful things! It was very touching. I nearly cried, but my family would never believe that.
Mentally, I couldn’t help totaling up the cost of everything I unwrapped, feeling increasingly spoiled and potentially undeserving. Previous holidays had featured one blouse or one cardigan or one pair of socks…having all of them together seemed like too much. I appreciated being lucky enough have all of these things loving picked out and purchased for me, but I worried about how much it must have cost. When I opened the final box with my name on it I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Usakumya Slippers
Usakumya slippers are probably the cutest little slippers I have ever seen! I like slippers, and I have some adorable slippers already, but these take the cake!
The last gift was these adorable usakumya slippers~ ♥ They’re soft, they’re a really nice shade of yellow, they have cute little embroidered eyes, and little pink bows above their ears. Since these are slippers, they don’t have actual teddy bear ears under their bunny ears; that would be too fiddly. As I admired them, my mother explained that she had seen them in the Paris shop and had to have them. However, the slippers were part of a promotion that required you to spend a certain value of euros to qualify to receive them, so she painstakingly picked out every other item to hit that target. I love the image this conjures up for me of my mother and one of the shop girls, wandering around the store and trying to find items that she wanted to buy AND that would accumulate to the required purchase to bring home the slippers. We then spent a few minutes on the computer where she tried to show me some shoes she had really liked that they didn’t have in my size, which she had then contemplated buying for herself.

I feel so lucky to have received so many wonderful things from my family. Not just because I love lolita fashion, but because it really shows how much love and effort they are willing to put into the holidays. It would be a lot easier to buy something else, something that isn’t “weird” and something that doesn’t require being in another country. It makes me feel very loved to know that my mother accepts and encourages my hobby. I wish that everyone could have that same kind of acceptance~ ♥

*Santa visits my mother’s house, and probably will always visit her house. The only presents under the tree until Christmas morning are those from my siblings and the ones my husband and I bring with us. The stockings are empty. It’s a tradition that I really value, even though I’m an adult!

Reading Corner: Nineteen Eighty-Four

Reading Corner: Nineteen Eighty-Four

Nineteen Eighty-Four or 1984 by George Orwell was a book that I always intended to read. Generally speaking, I enjoy “classic” literature. Most of the books that fit that type of category are there for a reason, and I enjoy and appreciate creative writing of a higher quality. I also have a bit of a taste for dystopian futures, possibly in part because I am lucky enough to not live in a world of that kind. There always seems to be potential for that sort of thing lurking just around every corner.

One of the reasons that I wanted to read this novel was because it is the origin of the concept of “Big Brother” and the phrase “Big Brother is watching you.” There are so many cultural references that we assimilate and use without knowing the source, and I think it’s kind of fun to go looking around and find out why that phrase gets used a certain way to mean a certain thing. It gives it a new significance. I definitely feel differently about my own personal use of the phrase “Big Brother” than I did before I read the novel~

Obviously, the book has no direct or even indirect connection to lolita fashion in the slightest. However, just for the sake of it because I can, I’m going to briefly attempt a few very slight connections, threadbare though they may be. I found that there were some parallels that I drew, namely in terms of comparisons and analysis.

The novel’s setting is a uniform, standardized world in which luxury is heavily rationed and highly illegal. Despite this, some people still long for beauty and indulgence. I think that’s just a part of human nature, but it’s stronger in some people than it is in others. Lolita fashion is an indulgent luxury, and similarly it appeals to some more strongly than it does to others. (Personal taste plays a role in this sort of thing, of course, as we don’t universally enjoy the same luxuries.) Although it’s easier to buy lolita fashion items outside of Japan than it was, say, five years ago, it’s still not terribly easy. There’s a lot of work in tracking the exchange rates, factoring in customs, checking sizes, making reservations for collections, and saving up. Usually, lolita live in areas that are rather hostile towards our clothing, rather than accepting. From the people they live with to the strangers they pass on the street, there are many remarks and reactions that can be very disheartening and off-putting. Thankfully the fashion isn’t illegal (although it certainly would have been in Oceania!), but there can definitely be a stigma and some girls (and boys) do feel it’s the sort of thing they have to hide and enjoy privately–while it lasts, if it can last, until they can get to a better situation.

That is really a very general thing, but what I found personally more interesting was the book’s Newspeak. Newspeak is a modified, simplified language designed to control by removing capabilities of expression. The sinister purpose of Newspeak isn’t related to what I found amusing–instead, I was interested by the fact that the shortened and combined words that make up most of the vocabulary for Newspeak are somewhat similar to the casual terms used by the English-speaking lolita community. Newspeak words like “crimethink” and “plusgood” make me feel like they’d fit in with “colorway” or “brolita.” The community uses abbreviations far more than combined words, but I found it amusing. It made me wonder what would be included or removed from a language dedicated to discussions about the fashion.

These things that I’ve mentioned here are very general and have no impact on Orwell’s work, which really is fantastic. Lolita fashion completely aside, since it’s not relevant to the novel in the first place, I enjoyed reading it, no matter how much I cringed or how many times I shuddered. I wish I had taken the time to read it earlier! I feel like this is a really great book to read to encourage us to think for ourselves, rather than letting others do it for us or limit our ability to do so. I certainly don’t want to live in a world ruled by “the Party!” Despite the time that has passed, this book is still relevant. I can’t help think that perhaps it will always be relevant; there will always be the same fears of the same type of rule that removes so many of our basic freedoms and rights.

I’d rather fear it than see it realized.

(Don’t worry, something happier next time! But I really do like writing about what I read, even if it has nothing to do with cute sparkly fun-times. ♥)

Photo Set: Beautiful Butterflies

Photo Set: Beautiful Butterflies

This is old, but I still wanted to share it! ♥ When I was borrowing a friend’s camera, I went to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. My husband really enjoys visiting museums, and it was one that neither of us had been to. I was excited at the prospect of taking more pictures, so we brought the camera. The museum has a butterfly haven–for me, that was a big draw! It’s a large room with more than 75 species of butterflies. (There are also a few quails running around in the planters! They were so cute~)

Qute Quails
The quails were usually moving just a bit too quickly for me to get more pictures of. I wanted to try and record a video of them, but I never seemed to be in the right place at the right time.
It was a magical place to be in. The butterflies are absolutely everywhere. They cling to the walls, the flowers, the rocks, and any other structure in the haven. You can get very close as long as you are patient and move slowly. You’re not supposed to touch the butterflies, so I tried to be very careful. I did have one land on my hair, though, and it really startled me! I had to stop myself from reflexively brushing it off.

I brought the borrowed camera, armed with the macro lens. It was perfect for getting very close-up shots of the butterflies, most of whom were very small.

Butterfly Haven

Butterfly Haven

Butterfly Haven

Butterfly Haven

Butterfly Haven
I enjoyed it very, very much. I hope that someday I can go back. I’d particularly love to go back with another camera and macro lens, to take more pictures! I’d be perfectly content to sit in the haven for several hours just to wait for the right moments.

Outfit Snap: Starting Off the Year

Outfit Snap: Starting Off the Year

As Thanksgiving and Christmas flew by and the end of the year approached, I started to think about how I wanted to start off the upcoming year. I’m not really a superstitious person, but I like the reliability of rituals and traditions. I try to make some kind of effort to begin each year in the spirit of the way I want to enjoy the rest of it. I don’t want to think back and wish I had done anything any differently. This particularly matters to me because I usually see my immediate family on New Year’s Day. Sometimes we can’t all be together for the other holidays due to various obligations, so we try to get together on the 1st. I love my brothers and sister very dearly, and now that we don’t live in the same home I don’t want to miss the chance to enjoy their company!

My husband and I both had to work on the 1st, however, so we had to get everything planned out in advance! The only picture I managed to get of what I wore is pretty low-quality–it wasn’t taken until after we made it to my mother’s house for dinner.

For the New Year
Quick snapshot taken in the dining room. It was the best we could do at the time!
I knew I’d be at work all day and then having dinner with my family, so I wanted something more casual than formal. I also wasn’t sure what the weather would be like. It hasn’t gotten particularly wintry here yet, which makes me very concerned about how the weather might turn around February. That said, it isn’t exactly warm most of the time–and it is definitely not always warm at my office. I chose to wear this jumperskirt because it is one my little sister (although not the little sister I saw for dinner) made for me. ♥ It’s lovely in its own right, but the fact that it was made for me means it fits perfectly, doesn’t have any of the details I dislike, and has pockets. Dresses with pockets always make me happy.

I paired it with a cream-coloured lace turtleneck and knit tights of a similar shade. There’s a pink ribbon in my hair, but you can’t exactly see it in pictures~ I didn’t wear my lolita coat but instead my daily coat, and when I do that I rarely wear actual hair accessories due to the hat or earmuffs that I wear with my coat. The brown boots are a staple of my cooler-weather outfits, whether they match or not. They protect my socks in the event of inclement weather, and they also let me wear extra layered socks to keep my toes cozy~ If I’m going to be doing a fair amount of walking, like on my way to work, it really comes in handy~

Late-Night Outfit Snap
Another late-night indoor and totally awkward picture! This is an unfortunate theme lately.
I packed more frills to wear the next day. I was unbelievably lucky and received several lovely lolita pieces for Christmas from my mother, so I wanted to show my appreciation by wearing something while I was at her house. One of my gifts was this beautiful cardigan. It’s a beautiful shade of pink with a metallic thread that gives it a definite glimmer and shimmer, and I love the little bows between the buttons, at the wrists, and on the back! They’re so cute!

I’ve never been able to coordinate this skirt in a way that I’m happy with, so I thought I’d give it another try. Nope, still not satisfied. The print is cute and I love the glitter, but somehow it manages to match absolutely nothing that I own on a very regular basis. It seemed to match the sweater at first, at least to some degree, but it’s still a bit off. I had to bring everything with me, as we stayed overnight at my mother’s house, so there wasn’t time to revise my decision in the morning. I thought I had pink socks to match the sweater, but I actually forgot to pack them. ;_; More off-white tights, instead.

With this outfit, I didn’t really feel like I was wearing lolita as much as just something girly, but I’m still much happier having worn it than wearing something totally casual. Lolita (and girly things) makes me feel much happier than anything else. It’s still something I really adore~ ♥

Update: You Can Say That Again

Update: You Can Say That Again

I haven’t forgotten about this place, not in the slightest. In fact, I think guiltily of the fact that I haven’t posted in months on a very, very regular basis. Usually when I’m very close to a keyboard. I chide myself and think, “Bad, bad Alice! You haven’t written anything in so long. You should do that soon!” and immediately procrastinate it away. More than writer’s block, I feel like I’ve had “creative block” since November.

I tried my hand at participating in NaNoWriMo this past November. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I’ve often entertained the thought of writing some kind of work. Not necessarily a novel, but something complete. I’ve started many stories and other writing projects, but other than assignments from school I’ve only ever finished one story. It’s embarrassing to think of how many times I’ve failed at something that is merely a personal goal. I don’t want to be published in any way; I would just like to have a finished product. My husband writes much more seriously than I ever have, with dreams of being a writer. He’s finished entire epics. I thought that maybe if we both participated, some of that determination would rub off on me and keep me on track. I think I fail because I actually get scared of succeeding. Isn’t that silly?

We were actually both doing pretty well when we tried. I plotted the daily targets necessary to hit the 50,000 word goal and worked diligently towards them. I aimed to write a certain amount per day to allow myself a cushion for a few days off if necessary, and it worked. For several days I was well above track, then a few days of no input. I had even managed to make up the “days off” and get back to a word count as if I had worked through all of the passed days at my intended pace. On day 16 I was right on target.

Unfortunately, November turned out to be a month with quite a few unexpected things happening with my extended family. I stopped paying attention to the writing goal when I tried to focus on everything else. Honestly, I don’t really regret this–the other things were much more important. I do wish I could have kept up with both NaNoWriMo and the other important things, but I picked the one that was much dearer to me. When I stopped, I knew that I wouldn’t make the goal at the end of the month. However, I didn’t quite expect to entirely stop most of the creative things I had been doing. I never seemed to catch up after that.

Admittedly, I hadn’t exactly been writing here before November, either! If I’m going to blame something–and I am–it would be my camera. I like having pictures to accompany my posts unless I’m going to write some kind of essay. Photos are fun, particularly for something as visual as lolita fashion~ ♥ In the late summer I finally upgraded my camera to something new; I’d been using the same camera since 2006. I’d been borrowing a DSLR from a friend, but as much as I loved it I wasn’t able to upgrade to one of my own. Instead, I was lucky enough to receive a new point-and-shoot camera as a present. Unfortunately, the camera and I just don’t get along. It isn’t a terrible camera, and many other people are using it without experiencing the intensely frustrating ordeal that I do every time I turn the darn thing on, but the fact that I am makes me never want to use it. I’ve had months to get used to its little quirks (my previous camera wasn’t exactly devoid of odd little “requirements”), and I just can’t handle it. I can’t exactly replace it, because I’m still holding out to get my very own DSLR. (Still saving, little by little!) At the same time, I can’t really live with it. I’m trying, but every time I turn it on I feel like I’m being taunted. I’ve tried going back to the old camera, but I’m reminded that the new camera sometimes behaves and has better focus. So I go back and try again, only to be irritated when every picture I’ve taken is so out of focus, blurred, and awkward that everything on the memory card is trash.

No pictures, coupled with little inspiration, equals no updating. The worst part is that the longer I haven’t updated here, the less and less inclined I am to do so. It doesn’t seem so bad to wait “a little bit longer” when it’s already been so long! It’s really terrible behavior. x_x I’m trying to procrastinate less. I’ve got a new planner and I’m trying to jot things down and check them off. (I do so love checking things off~!)

Oooh, look, an actual picture. This was from a brief moment of collaboration between the camera and I. I’ve become a huge fan of Shinzi Katoh’s design work.

I have so much that I really do want to write about. I haven’t taken a heck of a lot of outfit snaps lately or even in the past few months, but I’ve still been wearing, thinking, watching, enjoying, and purchasing. I wore lolita on the first day of the new year to start it off right. I bought a lucky pack that wasn’t terribly unlucky–usually lucky packs and me are nearly enemies. I’ve encountered many more strangers who actually know in some vague way that what I’m wearing is a fashion, not a costume. I’ve been thinking about the friends I have who have moved on to other styles and how that impacts our friendship when it started in our local lolita community. Those are only a few things that I’ve been meaning to sit down and sort through.

Rather than thinking about doing it or dreaming about doing it, I’m going to actually do it. Starting now. Not really as any kind of resolution for the new year, but because I don’t want to waste any more time. ★

I hope that everyone has had a really wonderful 2011, and that 2012 is even better! ♥