Charming Activities: Ballet

Charming Activities: Ballet

Dance Studio
I was very lucky to be able to catch this picture of the studio before the other students arrived!

Over the past two weekends I finally did something I’ve been thinking about for a while–I took a ballet class~! ♥

(Okay, okay–technically, I’ve taken four ballet classes.)

I took ballet lessons when I was a child–at the park district of the town I grew up in. I was never particularly talented or passionate. I started as a toddler, with “Ballet, Tap, & Tumbling” but I quit before moving on to pointe. I didn’t have the ambition or ability to be a professional dancer, but I definitely didn’t hate dancing or class. I still look back fondly on those memories. (My father video-taped all of my recitals; I once showed my husband the compiled VHS of those performances, and he loved it so much that he has watched it more than the one time.)

Exercise and sports have never been things I am particularly interested in. (It’s a basically laziness hiding behind the excuse of asthma. u_u) However, I care about getting a sufficient level of physical activity to stay in good health. Living in a city and not owning a car, I do a lot of walking–but that’s probably not enough on its own. I’ve been thinking of supplemental activities I could try.

When I was in college, I took a semester of adult beginner ballet–once again, at the park district. It was only the one semester for a variety of reasons: my school schedule interfering and questions of affording it were the top two. Something else that worried me, though, was the lack of guidance. The slow-paced class consisted of mostly women around the ages of my mother or grandmother. The teacher offered little correcting or coaching for the individuals in the class. I worried about picking up bad habits and causing injuries. Dancing incorrectly can be very bad for you!

I’ve always adored Degas’ work of ballet dancers. They look so lovely even when working hard.

After graduating, the idea of taking ballet again has been a constant and distant dream. The beauty of ballet has always appealed to me; I think of Degas’ paintings, sketches, and sculptures with a fond sigh. There’s a lot about ballet (and opera) from the 1880s that embodies things I love about lolita; the costumes from that era tend towards full skirts and adornments of ribbons and lace. There’s an elegance there that I long to participate in.

The fear of trying something new is my only excuse for how long it took me to try an adult ballet class in the city. There are a number of studios that offer adult classes, most of which are “open” classes that don’t require extensive registration or commitment for an entire semester. The schedules for those classes vary, providing opportunities for a variety of potential students with numerous claims on their time.

I didn’t want to buy a leotard in advance of taking my first class, in case I decided not to continue, so I wore close-fitting clothes that followed the dress code of the school. (Adult non-professionals are allowed to wear “workout-appropriate” attire. It’s important to make sure to meet dress code requirements.) I still had a pair of soft ballet shoes from my brief college stint; my feet are the same size and the shoes are in good condition, so I wore those. It made me glad I kept the shoes!

My first class was very intimidating. The “basics” class that I took involved a number of students who commented on having been regulars to the “basics” class for upwards of three years, as well as a few people whose concentration and prowess suggested that they were dancers in need of some extra practice although personally far above a “beginner” level. I felt very shy and uncomfortable surrounded by so many new people who clearly knew what they were doing while I did not. One student was very welcome and helpful; she engaged me in conversation–recognizing that I was new–and rearranged my place at the barre so I could have two experienced students to watch during class instead of twisting around to look for the teacher. The teacher arrived and began class immediately, with no introductions or explanations. It was hard for me to keep up with even simple combinations being both unfamiliar with the combinations and unfamiliar with the individual steps/motions/positions. It did not feel like a class billed as “an introduction” with “no experience required.”

When I left that first day I felt very discouraged. I spent the entirety of class feeling like the clumsiest and stupidest person in the room. As soon as I thought I’d memorized a combination, I’d realize that I learned it wrong–and then we’d be on to the next set. My balance was almost non-existent, and I couldn’t seem to figure out what to do with my feet, or my legs, or my arms. Every time I caught sight of myself in the mirror, embarrassment was almost overwhelming. I fantasized about quietly gathering up my things and walking out.

I was feeling so down that I decided to take another session the next day. My stepfather has always advocated doing things that intimidate you to avoid being ruled by your fear. When my siblings were learning to ski, if anyone fell or wiped out, they’d be checked over for injuries and then sent right back up the mountain. He said that the longer they’d wait to try again, the more their worries and fears about falling again would crowd out the memories of how fun the experience is. I definitely find truth in that from a number of aspects of my life. So, because I felt demoralized, I went back as soon as I could.

The second class was no easier than the first, but I felt much better afterward. I felt better not because I had magically improved, but because I became more comfortable with being the clumsiest and stupidest person the class. The other students didn’t care what I was doing. The teacher even recognized me, and took a moment to express that she was glad to see I came back and wasn’t scared off after the first class. I felt so much less miserable after that class that I went and bought a leotard, determined to continue taking classes.

There was a ballet supply shop not too far from where I took the classes, so I headed over there. It was very quiet when I headed in, and the two employees were quick to offer assistance. While I was there, a teenager and her mother arrived for a pointe shoe fitting. I tried really hard not to stare, but it was so fascinating to watch!

There were a number of different leotard styles and sizes across several price ranges. (I just wanted something basic and inexpensive, and I was able to find it.) Ballet sizing can be weird, so I benefited from being able to try things on instead of relying on measurements and purchasing online. Even the same “type” of leotard could be very different–higher or lower neckline or back, differently-cut leg openings, or seams in a variety of places. I really appreciated that I didn’t feel rushed or upsold by the employees, yet they were available for information and advice. One of the women was kind enough to take a look at the fit of my soft shoes. They were somewhat uncomfortable around my toes during class, so I wanted to make sure the fit was not poor. Thankfully, she said it just seemed to be that the shoes were new enough to need more wearing.

The third class that I took was taught by another teacher at the same studio. Her class felt more like something that deserved a “basics” label. Before beginning class, she asked if anyone was new to dance or new to this studio. She asked questions to determine the varying levels of “newness” and repositioned the students to allow clear visibility for the newbies. She then outlined the proper way to stand, went through the positions of feet and arms, and provided details on motions before introducing something new to a combination. That was the type of instruction I expected for a first class. I would recommend the second teacher if I knew someone who was brand new and wanted to take a class.

Dance Studio
The studio had quite a few of the portable bars that day!

Even though it was scary at first, I am really happy to be taking ballet classes! I hope I can continue to do so, and I look forward to improving. There has to be a point at which I’m no longer flailing about like one of those wind-sock tube advertising men. If my arms, legs, ankles, and core strengthen with practice, I might eventually graduate from being “the clumsiest” to “one of the clumsier ones.” That is certainly something I can look forward to~! ♥

Charming Activities: Friendship is Magic

Charming Activities: Friendship is Magic

Lately, my interest in My Little Pony has been rekindled. I had somewhat fallen out of collecting and the communities after the G3 ponies became Core 7 and then G3.5. The reduction of characters for Core 7 meant there were less interesting pony toys to collect, although my favourite, Pinkie Pie, was still featured. When the designs changed to the large-headed G3.5 style, I stopped paying attention. It just didn’t quite appeal to me. I enjoyed the collection that I had, but without the thrill of the hunt for new ponies I stopped keeping up with news and other information.

That changed with the redesign of the toys and release of the new cartoon series, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
I was apprehensive at first. When I saw sketches of the new artwork style, designed by Lauren Faust, the only thing I noticed was how different it looked from the older artwork. It was angular and modern, not soft and dreamlike as the 80s artwork had been. In general, the My Little Pony community disliked it because it was so far from the vintage pony designs, but I couldn’t quite share their outrage. Although it lacked the charm of the old cartoon, it looked much more professional than the style of art used for the more recent My Little Pony packaging and films. My Little Pony: the Movie was one of my favourite childhood films and something I still watch, but the newer My Little Pony movies decreased in quality until the final “new” movie, Twinkle Wish Adventure, which was nearly unwatchable.

I also didn’t know what they were going to do to modernize the series. As much as I have nostalgic attachment to the My Little Pony cartoon, not every episode is great–some of them are filled with low-quality, glitchy animation, random unimpressive songs inserted in, and confusing or nonsense storylines. Even the less-impressive episodes have interesting moments, but the quality of writing had gotten substantially worse for the modern episodes and movies. More than wanting the new show to preserve the feeling of the vintage ponies, I wanted it to succeed. My Little Pony was getting dangerously close to dying out as brand altogether, and if they couldn’t revitalize it for this third recent attempt it was unlikely to continue.

So far, I’ve been thrilled with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I’ve gotten used to the new designs and don’t dislike them anymore–they have charm in their own way, even if it’s nothing like the vintage designs. The “slice of life” setup works well to keep the episodes connected. The season’s 2-part opening is amazing–very dramatic, with magic and a battle and all kinds of craziness. The rest of the show hasn’t followed that same direction, which is slightly unfortunate…but not too much, because the show as it stands is great. The writers are funny and the episode plots are interesting. The ponies have a refreshing depth of character–although they’re all good-natured and pure-hearted (they are, after all, little ponies), each have their own flaws or issues that they need to work through. They make a really cute little group of friends!

Post-Spa Ponies
Just a few of the new toys–the smaller ponies are the “normal” size and the larger pony is a “fashion style” pony that came with clothes and accessories. I style their hair.
Enjoying the new show has caused me to also enjoy the new toys. They’re much tinier than the ponies I used to collect, and their big ears are kinda silly, but they’re still quite cute. I remember fondly that most of the toys I loved as a child were very small–if I could have several of them in one small bag or fit them in my pocket, that was very appealing. Once I got over the shock of “wow, these are tiny ponies,” I started to feel more like, “wow, I like these tiny ponies.”

I’m looking forward to seeing what new things they’ll come out with as season 2 starts up. It’s fun to have something that I can actively collect again…although I’m definitely going to start running out of room to keep all these ponies. I feel like I need a separate house just for them to live in, haha~

Charming Activities: Tea Party Planning

Charming Activities: Tea Party Planning

Rather or not the activity itself is suitable to lolita fashion, I adore tea. Through the adoration of tea, I also love tea parties! Everything from casual intimate tea parties with snacks for a few friends to formal afternoon tea served by white-gloved waiters at fine establishments. I often invite people over “for tea,” which usually means hot tea and some snacks. For other occasions, I’ve planned more elaborate tea-focused, events.

The true beauty of a tea party shines in the highly customizable nature. It is very easy to adjust different aspects of a tea party to suit many different types of events!

You Are Cordially Invited

When planning a tea party, the simplest place to start is your guest list. The people that you are inviting to your party should provide a guideline for how you shape the rest of the party. (This is much easier than planning a party to suit your tastes and then figuring out who you’ll ask to attend. That’s like putting a square peg through a round hole.

The number of attendees will often dictate your budget. With a guest list of only four, it wouldn’t be troublesome or terribly expensive to have a shopping list full of new teas and exotic sweets or savories. If your guest list has twenty or more guests, it will cost a pretty penny to focus on luxuries for everyone.

While it is possible to host a large and elaborate tea party by charging guests a fee for attending, I find that it can be difficult to ask for money to attend a private party–and friends that you may be longing to see might not find the cost within their budget. The situation is different if you are arranging a public event, but if the party is to be personal, attaching a ticket price is not usually a grand idea.

Beyond the budget, guests lists are important so that you have an idea of your guests tastes. If your guests are friends, and everyone (or nearly everyone) wears lolita fashion, the dress code is rather obvious. If several names on your list are vegetarians, you know you’ll want to provide options within their dietary constraints. If the guests are of legal drinking age, you may consider hosting a champagne tea.

What’s This All About

Some tea parties are themed. Other tea parties are formal. Still more tea parties are casual. Afternoon teas typically consist of three courses–scones, savories, and sweets. High tea (often improperly used interchangeably with afternoon tea) is an early dinner, providing a meal rather than light snacks.

You may have decided to host a tea party to celebrate a birthday or other special event. In that case, the “theme” of the party is probably related to that celebration. A tea party thrown just for fun has many options. If you think your guests would appreciate the elegance and refinement of a formal afternoon tea, you could craft an event with fine china, flower vases, and tiers of treats. If your friends have other interests, you could add a less often considered element–such as a buffet-style tea while watching a favourite movie… or participating in a video game tournament.

I believe that it’s essential to consider the preferences of your friends during the planning of a party. This ensures that everyone has a much better time–and parties are most enjoyable when everyone is sincerely cheerful and no one is forcing a smile. A theme that suits the natures of the attendees will be warmly received and more successful on the whole.

On Tonight’s Menu

When a theme is decided on, the menu may simply fall into place. For example, a formal afternoon tea traditionally consists of scones (served with clotted cream, lemon curd, and jam), savories (bite-sized sandwiches or tarts), and sweets (cookies, petit fours, and other miniature desserts). A summer garden tea may call for lemonade to be served alongside the tea and a tossed salad with fruit to accompany light sandwiches.

If the general setting of the party doesn’t bring specific edibles to mind, following the general guideline of afternoon tea is generally useful: a non-dessert baked good, something savory, and something sweet. Unless the tea is served as a meal, sitting at a table as different courses are brought in and removed, it’s best to choose items that do not require the use of utensils–particularly if some guests may be balancing their plates and teacups on laps as they sit on armchairs or sofas.

Consider any dietary restrictions of your attendees. If you know there will be a few vegetarians, make sure that at least one savory option is meat-free. It is also helpful to inquire about friends’ allergies in advance. (I often ask people to let me know of any allergies when they R.S.V.P.) Very severe allergies can sometimes be triggered merely by being in the same room as an allergen, while others could become life-threatening if the person doesn’t realize that the must-be-avoided ingredient is unseen in a baked good or a sandwich’s filling.

Those are some of the most basic hints and suggestions for hosting a tea party. There’s no strictly “right” or “wrong” way–after all, as long as tea is provided in some capacity and a party is going on, it’s technically a “tea party.” No one will bang down your door if your pinky is raised too high or your scones were swapped out for muffins~

Regardless of the type, I really do love tea parties. I think they’re a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the company of good friends. And after all–there’s nothing like a cup of hot tea~ ♥

Charming Activities: Knit & Purl

Charming Activities: Knit & Purl

My jaunts of writing-related disappearance have been primarily the result of 3 things:

  1. Schoolwork
  2. Family obligations
  3. Knitting

My coursework is coming to a close for the fall semester, providing a brief respite before picking up again for the winter, and I’ve been keeping myself occupied with knitting. I learned to knit several years ago, while on vacation with my grandmother, and I’ve knit off-and-on since then. I’m not very dedicated in my approach to knitting; I have a tendency to knit intensely for a few months, take on a project beyond my capabilities, become incredibly frustrated, vow to never knit again, and hide my yarn and needles for an unspecified length of time. Then, when I’ve completely forgotten about my previous failure, I chance upon my yarn and needles and decide to try again.

I enjoy knitting primarily because it gives my hands something to do; I like to be occupied rather than idle. I can knit while riding public transportation. There’s not much else that I can really do on a bus–reading gives me a headache. My current project can be tucked into a totebag when not being worked on and pulled out for a few stitches or rows while standing on the train platform. I can knit while watching movies (or television shows, such as the current three episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic over and over and over and over and over and over again…my poor, poor husband…) or having intimate conversations with friends over a pot of tea. Even better than merely being able to do the activity is that after a certain amount of work I have something to show for it~ I absolutely cannot sew, although I’ve always wanted to and regularly attempt to be taught yet another time, so creating knit objects, however simple they might be, makes me feel quite proud of myself!

The View from My Knitting
Although I ~can~ knit on the bus, that’s not the only place I knit. Sometimes it’s nice to cozy up with my stuffed shark, some tea, and a good movie.

The concept of “hand knit” can sometimes conjure up terrifying images of multi-coloured itchy sweaters, but that’s only a teeny-tiny portion of what can be made. There are so many options for yarn and so many beautiful patterns that there’s something for everyone’s taste. I’m working on knitting accessories for Christmas presents, and I’ve found perfect projects for everyone from my “I don’t want anything for Christmas” mother to my teenaged-and-way-too-cool-for-the-likes-of-a-silly-Alice stepsister. I am absolutely enthralled with the yarn shops of my city–I can find everything from expensive-expensive “do I dare breathe on this” beaded silk to inexpensive superwash wool.

Since my discovery of the needles and yarn, I’ve knit several scarves and am now moving on to wrist warmers. I have sparkly-eyed dreams of mittens and socks–all in due time. My goal–which I dream of as my pièce de résistance of knitting–is to make the Chocola-chan scarf patterned in the Gothic & Lolita Bible.

Chocola-chan Scarf
Chocola-chan is a white cat with a round face and jeweled accessories~

I own the Chocola-chan coat, and thus envision it perfectly accessorized with the Chocola-chan scarf. The pattern is available in English in the Gothic & Lolita Bible English edition volume 4. (I’m not sure which volume the original Japanese pattern is in.) The pattern itself is not excessively difficult, but it is a bit more vague that I would prefer. I want to make the scarf from a very nice yarn and avoid any inconsistencies due to mistakes, so I’ve been avoiding making one until I feel more confident about my abilities. Chocola-chan is too cute to be made to suffer from my lack of skill.

Instructions for Chocola-chan
The English instructions for the scarf were clearly edited from the original Japanese, but I don’t think I could attempt this based on the Japanese instructions.

There are some other knitting patterns from the Gothic & Lolita Bible that I’d like to try, such as a lacy hairbow and scallop-edged mittens. It would be nice to make them in a colour to coordinate with my winter coat~ The mittens that I usually wear are not very warm at all.

Mittens, Bow, and Brooch
I think these mittens are adorable, particularly because of the pom-pons~

As knitting is my current fascination, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Ravelry. (My username is MilkyTea.) Ravelry is a community for knitters, crocheters, and (to some extent, at least) spinners. It is also a marvelous database, providing a quick and easy way to search through thousands of patterns–whether they’re from books, from blogs, or from magazines. You can type in the name of a yarn and find important information even if you’ve misplaced the label. Projects can be registered and detailed on the site, you can keep track of your yarn and needles, and you can take notes of patterns you like that you might want to try in the future. I love how everything can be kept so organized.

I’m also fascinated by the sheer number of instructional knitting videos on the internet. When I learned to knit, that sort of thing didn’t exist. When I forgot an important step I had to spend quite a while bent over my “how to knit” book, feeling very confused, until I had a chance to see my grandmother again and have her show me what I was doing wrong. (For almost a year my purl stitches were actually knit stitches…just…amazingly convoluted. When I finally realized how to actually purl I thought, “…No wonder all of my ‘patterns’ have looked exactly the same.” It was a sad time. A few minutes on YouTube or Knitting Help could have prevented that.)

Rose and Knitting
This is how the inside of my totebag typically looks…although the bear is no longer wrapped in plastic.

Rose, my adored BABY, the Stars Shine Brightusakumya friend” teddy bear, has become my knitting companion. She’s usually hiding in a totebag along with a skein of yarn, needles, and a sheet of notes. (Sometimes I tuck the notes under her arm so they’re easier to find.)

Maybe someday, when I finally conquer the Chocola-chan scarf, I’ll move on to making cardigans or boleros like those that Angelic Pretty and BABY, the Stars Shine Bright release in the cooler months. I think they’re beautiful, and I’d love to have a nice layering piece that I had actually made. I’d be able to pick whatever colour would best match my wardrobe and make any other adjustments. It could be fun~

Does anyone else knit? (Or crochet? I find crochet fascinating but haven’t managed to figure out anything other than making long loopy chains.) Have you tried any of the Gothic & Lolita Bible patterns?

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! ♥

Charming Activities: Pokémon HeartGold

Charming Activities: Pokémon HeartGold

I have been very entranced for the past few days because my husband bought Pokémon HeartGold for me! ♥

Pokémon HeartGold
Having a new game has given me a reason to actually use my poor DS! I’m not a very devoted game player.

It has been almost ten years since I’ve owned a Pokémon game–the last one I had was Pokémon Yellow! One of the reasons I’m enjoying Pokémon HeartGold so much is that it reminds me very much of Pokémon Yellow. My favourite part of that game was that Pikachu followed your character around and you could talk to it. I like the idea of pokémon–cute wild animals that have special abilities suited to fighting–but I don’t like that the games (unlike the television show) doesn’t allow you to actually interact with the ones you’ve captured. (I have this dream of a game I like to jokingly call “Pokémon Pink” where you can interact using the touchscreen to groom, feed, and talk to your pokémon.)

It’s actually because of Pokémon Yellow that we wound up getting the new games. I gave my GameBoy Color and all of the games to a younger cousin several years ago, so I found an emulator for our computer. (I’m still very tempted to buy a used system and the game, even with a new game to play!) I only played it a bit, but it made my husband really nostalgic. Nostalgic enough that when we passed by a video game store he wanted to browse the used games, intending to pick up a copy of one of the GameBoy Advance Pokémon titles. I planted a few choice hints (I can be very persuasive…), and moved his attention to the new games.

The updated graphics and game play are so much different from what I remember! I love the level of detail.

Looks Like a Bunny
The Sentret is my favourite pokémon so far. I love having it follow me around because it looks like a bunny with a raccoon tail! So cute~ ♥

It’s been particularly fun to use some of the connectivity abilities with the game, since my husband bought himself a copy of Pokémon SoulSilver. We used the Union Room to trade (my Caterpie for his Weedle), then played with some of the other features. When we started to use the “DRAW” feature I sketched a quick scribble of his Bayleef…and at first he didn’t believe I was actually drawing it! We also battled–I lost spectacularly. I used my strongest pokémon and he used his weakest, but the level difference was just too much. Someday we’ll have a rematch!

I wish I had more friends with DS Pokémon games so we could interact, too! (Although it seems that at least two of my friends also own HeartGold, but they bought probably got the game in March when it was new and thus aren’t as enthralled at the moment as I am.) Despite the assured lack of interest, I like to picture a Pokémon meetup where we could sit around, drink tea, and play the game together–wearing lolita fashion, of course. n_~

Pokémon HeartGold
I really like the touch-screen capabilities. It makes it easy to navigate the various options and sub-screens, but it’s so nicely designed that it’s not a hassle to use the buttons instead if you so choose.

The gameplay maintains true to the original Pokémon premise of “Gotta Catch ’em All!” but it has new features and is very organized. I like the updated graphics and animations the most–the cuteness is even more overwhelming when the creatures are shown larger and in colour~ I really like that the bottom screen of the DS displays the menu at all times. It’s easy access to viewing the statistics of my current team, checking to see what I still haven’t caught in the Pokédex, reviewing the information on my ID, going through the items that I’ve picked up, altering game options, and saving the game. (Plus I get a lot of use from the equippable running shoes, easily tapped on and off so I don’t have to hold down the B-button!)

Of course, I haven’t played a Pokémon game in nearly a decade (I feel…so old…), so some of the features that really dazzle me might not be impressive to someone who has played more recent editions of Pokémon. One of the other things I like, although it’s very trivial, is the divided portions of the bag the player carries. I like thinking that the Poké Balls aren’t knocking around in one pouch with the Potions and Apricorns, liable to cause breaking or damage. (It’s also easier to review what I’m carrying, since I look at different “pockets” at a time.)

I especially like the ability to choose a girl character. When I showed the game to a friend of mine, he thought I had designed the character’s appearance because she has brown pigtails and a large bow on her head. Honestly, though, I like to picture that the player actually looks like me–even though you can’t represent that kind of detail in the game. I’d want to be wearing lolita fashion, of course, but something simplified to fit in with the general art style of the game.

Trainer Alice
I was being silly, so I came up with this very messy sketch! I tried to make it look vaguely authentic, but I’m not very good at drawing. There are lots and lots of mistakes!

I came up with a sketch on a whim, but I’m stumped on what to do with the jumperskirt. Maybe if I figure it out, I’ll draw a real picture. I want something that won’t be too elaborate, but also won’t seem underwhelming. I would also like to include pockets, as I imagine they’d be useful for Potions or Poké Balls, but they tend to seem out of place due to the shape of the skirt. I haven’t drawn in a while, but I started feeling inspired since I’m having so much fun with the game and my husband and I have been watching the cartoon. (It just seems like an appropriate thing to have on in the background while playing the game.)

Does anyone else play Pokémon? Do you have a favourite game or favourite character?

Charming Activities: Calico Critters

Charming Activities: Calico Critters

I have a soft spot for toys. Before I started wearing lolita fashion, I spent quite a bit of time and money collecting toys. I didn’t necessarily go after things that were collectible or high-value, just anything I thought was cute. When I went away to university and moved out of my mother’s house, I donated the bulk of my collections due to space restraints. Since I now live in an even smaller place, I hadn’t given those collections-of-the-past even a passing thought.

Then, in mid-June, I attended a meetup where we visited a cute toy store…and spotted Calico Critters! My husband was sweet enough to buy me a family of bunny figures while I stared at the shelves and displays with dreamy-eyed nostalgia. ♥ I didn’t have many Calico Critters when I was a child, only a few, but I loved anything pocket-sized that involved animals. I would make little homes for them in tucked-away spaces, furnished with all sorts of re-used tidbits to form furniture and accessories.

Little Happinesses
I adore the details of these little figures! Whenever I spot them, I feel a bit more cheerful.

Calico Critters are the US-versions of Sylvanian Families. They’re small animal figures, usually under 3 inches tall, with jointed arms and legs. Their hands lack fingers, but have a separated thumb that allows certain playset accessories to be “held” when they’re eased into place. The figures are hard plastic, but they’re covered in flocking to make the animals fuzzy. The figures are anthropomorphic, so sometimes they don’t look much like actual animals, as the focus is on cute humanoid-types living a quaint life and wearing clothing. They’re marketed as both collectibles for adults and toys for children. (Although there are many small pieces, so they’re not for very young children.)

At the Faire
I had lots of fun taking these pictures–this playset is just adorable!

What has always fascinated me about these toys is the level of detail put into the playsets and accessories. When we spotted Calico Critters at My Favorite Toy Store in Downers Grove, my husband was amazed at how realistic the furniture looked. Most doll furniture that I grew up with was made of thin neon pink plastic with little detail. These accessories use a slightly marbled dense brown plastic for “wood” furniture, with other colours as necessary.

The smaller accessories are carefully sculpted and painted with detail. Perfume bottles in a dress shop have a coloured translucent “bottle” to resemble glass, with gold metallic paint on the “cap.” Small swatches of muted floral fabric are used to upholster couches and chairs. Everything is carefully in scale with the figures, who often have very short legs compared to similar-sized dollhouse dolls. It’s very charming! ♥

At the Faire
It was slightly difficult to make sure the critters stayed upright on the carpeting, but usually luck was on our side.

A friend of mine bought a set of gray bunnies and a “hook-a-duck” carnival attraction, so a few days later she came over and we had fun setting up little scenes. If I had more space, I’d probably want something ridiculously large, like one of the houses, and try keep it set up as a display. (Particularly because my family of bunnies is the “Chocolate” family, who run the “Courtyard Restaurant” on the patio of their home. It’s a very quaint building!) I also had a chance to find my set of guinea pigs, which were a gift from another friend when she went to Ireland. They don’t bear much of a resemblance to guinea pigs, but they fit right in with the families of brown-eared bunnies and gray bunnies.

Since acquiring my bunnies, I’ve seen Calico Critters in other retail stores! I’ve spotted them in Toys R Us, and there was a very large display in FAO Schwartz when I visited New York in June! I wonder if they’ll catch on with children–they haven’t been updated to be “more modern” or “hip,” but they’re certainly cute. I certainly hope they have some appeal, so that someday I can stare at the large playsets in an actual store and try very hard not to bring home a cottage or manor. …But those manors are very tempting.

Charming Activities: Rosette Doll Spotlight

Charming Activities: Rosette Doll Spotlight

I don’t really have too many hobbies, but one area I’m very interested in are ball-jointed dolls. I waste idle hours on Den of Angels, my go-to for boredom. Clicking from forum to forum I can enjoy beautiful photographs, ponder discussions as I read others’ responses, or follow a well-chronicled transaction gone wrong. Dolls tend to fit very well into a sweet lolita lifestyle stereotype, but I’m not quite at the level of intensity where they line my walls as depicted on the blogs of some Japanese lolita. (And I’m not quite sure that’s what I aspire towards, really.)

My first Pullip, Raphia. Her counterpart was a kurololi named Cornice.

My interest in dolls is directly related to my love of lolita fashion. My first doll was a Pullip, specifically Raphia. She was fluffy and white, swathed in lace, and her arrival was the push I needed to move from dreamy sighs at the BABY, the Stars Shine Bright website to owning and wearing lolita clothing. She’s no longer in my possession, but I fondly think back on her whenever I look at my current ball-jointed doll, although they bear no resemblance to each other.

These past few days I’ve been very focused on ball-jointed dolls, specifically everything Volks, as I am in a tizzy about attending the 2010’s Dolls’ Party in NYC 4. I know I’ll be bringing my Claire, a Volks MSD Nagisa in Preschool, but I’m still up in the air about what I might get there. I also want to wear lolita fashion, and dream about my doll dressed in something that “fits” with that image, but not necessarily a lolita outfit for her. (Although that would be cute!)

I love this picture of all of the Rosette girls in their school uniforms! It’s one of the wallpapers on the website, and was my background for many months.

Before I owned my current doll, my first doll was made by the SOOM subsidiary Rosette Doll. I was drawn to these dolls because they fit beautifully with some of the dreamy idealization of the Victorian era that I’ve had since childhood and was intensified by my love of lolita fashion. Most ball-jointed dolls are sold as an unfinished product–something that arrives without eyes, hair, painting, or clothes. They’re dressed for pictures, but intended to be altered to fit any desires of the customer. Rosette Doll is a little bit different–their dolls are all more or less “finished,” arriving with the eyes, wig, outfit, and face painting specified in the shop’s pictures. They are complete, but they still have potential for customization.

 This was the image of Violet that made me fall in love with the doll. I always wanted to get a violin for my Claudia, but that remained a dream.

Rosette Doll has a theme carried throughout the website, the theme of a Victorian-era boarding school. The website is organized like a school, with information on the website detailing the imaginary class structure, school president, and schedule of holidays. The company posts beautiful “diary” stories of the students and encourages customers to register their dolls for class. Each doll arrives with an acceptance letter and a care guide disguised as a student handbook. The attention to detail is staggering.

 They wear such beautiful outfits! These were the “Spring Term” limited editions.

Most of the dolls are not wearing clothing that would fit the definition of lolita, although some could be considered inspired or “almost.” Regardless, I think they very much fit with the lolita aesthetic. Beautiful fabrics, laces, and ruffles adorn the clothing in ways that aren’t completely historically accurate, but more of an interpretation of a fond reminiscence of that time in an idealized European boarding school.

The newest limited release, “Extracurricular Activities,” features more elaborate outfits and white-skinned dolls.

Honestly, I’ve never seen a company with a more “lolita” appeal. Even some of the fashion brand crossovers (which perhaps I’ll write about again) aren’t as strong if only because they’re single releases, while Rosette Doll has a steady stream and is continually developing along the same aesthetic. (They did release some modern-styled clothing, but even that had a frilly, ruffly inspiration.) I can’t help thinking that some of the outfits worn by the Rosette girls could be considered “sweet aristocrat!” Maybe that’s how I can dress when I’m too old for lolita fashion.

I can’t end this without sharing at least a few more pictures from the company’s website. They’ve taken so many beautiful photos!

Charming Activities: Poupee Girl

Charming Activities: Poupee Girl

I know that I am not the only lolita who has some level of addiction to Poupée Girl. I joined before there was an English language option, awkwardly attempting to use my ineffectual-at-best Japanese skills to figure out what I could and could not upload. (Due to this I’ve always erred on the side of caution. I don’t want to get brown-boxed!) I eagerly watch the Poupée Girl LiveJournal community on my friendslist, looking to catch news or updates the way some people watch stock information!

I love Poupée Girl because of the clothing focus! I like sifting through other people’s wardrobes–especially if they have beautiful or creative things. I don’t care much about the quality of photos, but I do find myself less-than-inclined to comment or suteki if there is a lot of “junk” in the closet. (That’s a very subjective qualifier, but I don’t think objectivity is always necessary with a game like this.)

I’m not very addicted, though. I’ve never bought jewels even though jewel-only items are tantalizing. I don’t spend a lot of time on the website, and (my constant sadness…) I almost NEVER get perfect attendance. ;_; I think I’ve managed it four times, total, but I’ve been playing Poupée Girl since September 2007. (The last time I had perfect attendance was July 2009… u_u)

This is one of my favourite dress-ups~ ♥ This dress was my “holy grail” for a very, very long time. When it was first released it was very expensive–too many ribbons for my taste! I was lucky when my former roommate bought it for me. Transferring it from her account to mine at a low ribbon cost was tricky and involved very quick timing!

I always skip over closets that have illegal items. Until the doll category was done away with, I used to see action figures and all kinds of other non-fashion-related toys, which seemed “wrong” even though they weren’t officially banned. My biggest pet peeve, however, is when people mispronounce “poupée” as “poopy” instead of “poopay.” The Japanese spelling, “pupe,” ought to be an indication.

I have my account linked on the sidebar of the blog~ I like seeing my poupée greeting me when I check here… even if she’s wearing an outfit I coordinated days ago. I’ve already ruined my chances for perfect attendance in April, but maybe May will be a more auspicious month for me. (Maybe!)

Charming Activities: 100 Questions Baton

Charming Activities: 100 Questions Baton

I had a hard time passing this up when I saw it posted on EGL. I have edited this baton (meme) from it’s original format, because I removed the Japanese text and adjusted the English text to flow more naturally than a direct translation. :3

1. Screen-name and date of birth, please tell us these~
          Alice (so much for a “screen-name…”) and July 21st~

2. Height, weight, clothing size, and shoe size?
          160cm, secret, 00/extra-small, and US5.

3. Why did you start to dress lolita?
          I love cute, sweet things very intensely, so when I saw sweet lolita I immediately wanted to wear it. This occured briefly after the unachievable yet intense desire to start buying ballet stage costumes and wearing them casually with non-stiff tutus…

4. Which style of lolita do you like?
          SWEET LOLITA! ♥

5. Express in your own words, the ideal of your above answer.
          Angelic Pretty advertisements circa 2007! _ Those really formulated my ideals. I’m not so much for the huge-wigs-print-print-print type of style that have right now, nor the older floral-and-ribbon-lacing influence. I think fondly on peter-pan collars edged in lace, bows topped with bows topped with other bows topped with ribbon bows, and designs that added interest with lace, bows, and pintucks–instead of relying solely on printed designs for interest. In terms of prints, I prefer “cameo”-style emblems to all-over fabric designs. I love tea party shoes and variations on tea party shoes; knee-length skirts and knee-high socks; detachable sleeves, detachable bows, detachable collars, and detachable cuffs; and adorable, but still somewhat natural, hairstyles adorned with headdresses or large bows.

6. Do you have piercings? Where?
          My ears are pierced twice. (I regret that second piercing to this day…) I rarely wear jewelry because I am incredibly allergic–even high-karat gold gives me a reaction. ;;

7. Which brands do you like?
          Angelic Pretty is my absolute favourite, but I also very much like BABY, the Stars Shine Bright. I carry a torch for some Cornet items, but that brand is so very hard to find. ~

8. Which are your favourite clothes (that you have)?
          My pink houndstooth Chocola-chan coat and matching earmuff-headdress. I always say I want to be buried in it–that isn’t a joke. I love it selfishly and don’t want anyone else to wear it when I’m dead!

9. How many lolita friends do you have?
          More than I can comfortably count~ I met the majority of my friends through the fashion.

10. What do you love most about lolita?
          I love being surrounded by frills, ruffles, laces, and bows–and generally looking like I was viciously attacked by a 1950s cake decorator.

11. What do you hate about it? Any pet peeves?
          I hate having to take the time to carefully wash and iron my clothing. I don’t hate it enough to run around looking like I’ve slept in my clothing and rolled around in the mud, but I resent the extra step of taking things to the dry cleaner and pressing out wrinkles.

12. What lolita magazines do you read?
          I read the English version of the Gothic & Lolita Bible. I like to look at the Japanese version and other magazines like Alice Deco, but because I cannot actually read them, I don’t purchase them.

13. Headdresses, bonnets or ribbons/hairbows?
          Headdresses AND hairbows! ♥

14. Do you wear bloomers?
          Always. Petticoats provide very unflattering angles, and I’ve seen the panties of more lolita girls than I ever intended to! (As I intended to see none.) I don’t want a stranger to see mine~

15. Do you tie headdresses at the front or in the back?
          In the back. I just cannot master the under-the-chin tying. Not only do I look ridiculous, it falls off my head!

16. Who is your favourite band/type of music?
          My current favourite band is Lamb of God. I ♥ heavy metal! m/

17. What is your phone ring tone~?
          My phone sounds like an old-fashioned rotary dial phone with actual bells. (I’ve always wanted one of those, but finding a refurbished one that is actually rotary-dial is too expensive for me! This was a good alternative.)

18. Do you go to concerts in lolita?
          No, but I want to! However, I’ve never been to a concert where some stranger didn’t spill at least one beer on me, and I like to mosh, so I don’t want to subject my $200 dresses to that kind of abuse. I’d be so upset if they were damaged~ ;_; I want to buy something inexpensive, but not tacky, to wear at some future concert, so I won’t cry if it is ruined.

19. For people who attend concerts: do you headbang there?
          Hellz yeah! m/ Why would you not headbang at a metal concert?!?

20. What colours do you like?
          I ♥ pink! Not neon pink or dark pink, but soft, sweet blush-pink. I prefer my pink without lavender undertones, as well. White is next up in terms of colors I like. (At least for lolita clothing–my “favourite color” is gray.)

21. What are your hobbies?
          I enjoy baking (and eating) pastries, writing letters, reading novels, doodling when the mood strikes me, and watching action movies! I own a doll, collect My Little Ponies, and have a long-standing infatuation with Sailor Moon.

22. If you have any favourite perfumes, please tell us.
          My favourite perfume (Body Shop’s “Moonflower”) was discontinued a long time ago! I haven’t found a replacement.

23. Is there anything you are careful of in lolita?
          I check before I sit down on the L or bus, and I hold my skirts close to me when I brush up against walls, in case they are dirty. I also don’t stand near people who smoke or places where smoking is allowed. My stepmother smokes, and when I visit it takes days to get the smell out! I pay attention to the terrain, because I know some of my shoes have very little traction; I don’t want to fall and scratch/tear/rip my clothes!

24. Do you have any favourite haunts to go to in lolita?
          I really like going to the Garfield Park Conservatory, because there is a woman there who is very friendly and likes to talk to me when I am dressed up. For the same reason, I enjoy buying groceries at Mitsuwa because there is a cashier who likes it when I wear lolita fashion–when I am in “normal” clothes he usually says that he is disappointed! XD
          Besides that, I like to go to tea at fancy hotels, explore tea shops, or go somewhere for dessert!

25. How many times a week do you dress lolita?
          Roughly 2 to 3, usually. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on my schedule.

26. Please tell us an embarrassing story from when you were a lolita beginner.
          At the first meetup I attended, I spent the entire time apologizing for not wearing lolita. I’m sure they all thought I was crazy!

27. What is your current hairstyle and colour?
          Mid-back, with blunt bangs; brown.

28. What is your lolita history?
          I became interested in it in 2005, and started wearing lolita fashion in 2006. I bought my first brand items in 2006, and I started collecting other lolita as “family members” in 2007~

29. Do you store your clothes in a special place?
          I keep a portion of my shared closet devoted my lolita clothing. I try to keep it as neat and pretty as possible.

30. Did you ever think about quitting lolita? What was the reason?
          I’ve considered quitting lolita fashion several times–usually because things are not going well in my life, I don’t have the extra money to spend, and overall I feel discouraged about everything. I think, “I’m not pretty enough to wear it,” “I don’t deserve nice things,” “It doesn’t suit me,” or “I’ve spent money like a fool,” and it makes me want to give up. When I do push myself to wear it, though, I feel much better. I haven’t ever actually quit; until wearing lolita fashion stops making me happy, I want to wear it!

31. What is your motto?
          “Go big or don’t go at all!”

32. What are your dreams of the future?
          Well, my dreams don’t really involve my clothing choices all that much. I’d like to get my CPA and a nice job, and live in a cozy apartment or condominium with my muffin~ ♥ Lolita-wise, I’d like a white usakumya bag and pink x pink Twinkle Mermaid jumperskirt. _

33. “This person is so perfect for lolita!” – Do you ever think that about certain celebrities?
          I don’t pay enough attention to celebrities, so no.

34. Are there any products/items of which you have with a fond memory?
          I have a pink dress from Angelic Pretty that is dear to me because my person bought it as a surprise when Angelic Pretty opened their English online store. I adore my pink and white Angelic Pretty parasol because it was a gift from my little sister, my white long-sleeved BABY the Stars Shine Bright blouse because it was a gift from my mother and stepfather, and my BABY the Stars Shine Bright bunny pochette, Mallow, because he was a gift from my father.

35. What was your first item?
          My very first item was a custom dress from In the Starlight. My first brand item was an Angelic Pretty dress, headdress, and pair of socks.

36. Do you have a signature pose for photos?
          Nope~ Looking stupid with crazed red eyes is, unfortunately, not a pose. ;;

37. What is your heart’s bible? [book/magazine/CD/etc…]
          “The Blue Castle” by L.M. Montgomery

38. What is the best height (cm) for heels?
          I prefer flat shoes.

39. Do you wear tiaras?

40. Do you think you want to try prince style? What kind of prince? Gothic/dark prince? Or “prince on a white horse” style?
          I’m not really interested in wearing prince style or any of the other boy-styles.

41. What types of lace do you like?
          I like most cotton lace, but I really-really like tulle lace with patterns! (The kind Angelic Pretty embroiders with cakes, deer, or other adorable motifs.)

42. Do you own a doll? Does owning it give you fun, childish feelings?
          I do own a doll–a Volks mini super dollfie “Nagisa in Preschool.” She definitely gives me fun, childish feelings~ (Although I haven’t dressed her in lolita fashion…yet.)

43. What is in your lolita bag?
          My cellphone, my house keyes, my bank card, my bus pass, my school & work IDs, my driver’s license, Smith’s Rosebud Salve, and my camera.

44. What is your favourite flower?
          Lilies of the valley~

45. Right now, what is your favourite accessory?
          I really like the look of white pearl and gold jewelry, especially bracelets or dangling earrings! I have a bracelet that I made in those colors, and it seems to match nearly all of my outfits.

46. Please recommend some cosmetics.
          I don’t wear a lot of cosmetics, because I have really severe skin allergies, but I do like Maybelline Great Lash mascara. It’s inexpensive and works very well–I like it more than some of the expensive brands I’ve tried. I also love Urban Decay eyeshadows~ I find myself captivated by their packaging–Too Faced, too. Everything seems so pretty!

47. With eye-tape your eyes look like a doll’s! What eyelashes will you wear?
          The eyelashes that came on my face! :3 Maybe a little bit of black mascara, but probably not.

48. What is your eye makeup for these eyelashes?
          Maybe some white eyeliner. I like white the best.

49. Red Lipstick? Blue? Black? Pink?
          I prefer pink lip gloss, but red lipstick…although I never, ever wear it. I guess I just like having it around!

50. Which nail polish do you normally choose?
          I love nail polish because I am not allergic to it. (Thank you, nails, for being dead cells!!) I usually wear pink~ A friend once raided my bathroom cabinet because she had chipped her nails after getting them done at the salon…and she knew I’d have almost every shade of pink there is! Even though it wasn’t the same kind the salon used, we found the exact same colour to touch it up with.

51. Have you ever changed in a train station bathroom?
          Yes. I don’t plan to do it again.

52. What do you think of “twin” and “triplet” lolitas?
          I love them! It’s so cute! I like twinning with my little sister, but I’ll wear white/pink and she’ll wear black.

53. How do you keep in shape for lolita? Recommend something.
          I do a lot of walking! I take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator (unless it’s more than 5 floors–like at work). I walk to and from the bus stop or train station in the morning, and I walk to nearly all of my errands.

54. Do you keep calm when you wear lolita alone in public?
          Yes, I do. I try to ignore all the strangers, just blocking them out. It doesn’t matter if they’re amazed or amused–I feel better when I’m not thinking about how people might be critiquing me.

55. How much do you spend per month on clothes/accessories?
          Not very much, really–usually $0. I tend to not buy anything for several months, and then buy maybe $300 – $400 worth of things within a short period.

56. Was there a time lag between knowing about lolita and dressing in the fashion?
          Yes–from going, “ooh, I want to wear this” and receiving my first item, about 6 months.

57. What is your most expensive lolita item?
          My Angelic Pretty pink houndstooth Chocola-chan coat.

58. It takes a lot of money to be a lolita. How do you save?
          I don’t buy coffee in the morning, I pack a lunch, and I typically cook dinner instead of eating out. I don’t spend money on movies, books, or CDs–if I want to read something, I go to the library, and my person buys all the CDs I’d want anyway. I don’t buy expensive gadgets–my computer is old and my phone does not allow internet access. Besides lolita, I rarely purchase clothing. I have two major indulgences–lolita fashion and my doll.

59. Just a little secret here… How much have you spent so far on lolita, roughly?
          I think a little over $2,500… x_x I don’t actually account for it, though–could be more or less.

60. Is there a brand shop you want near where you live?
          I’d love to live near an Angelic Pretty! ♥

61. “Man, what a rip-off!!” Have you ever thought that about a store?
          I feel that way about some Chinese-made shoes. I’ve read so many negative reviews, and my experience was very unpleasant; I won’t buy Montreal brand shoes.

62. Do you shop online? If so, put the good & bad points here to advise others.
          I do shop online. I recommend protecting yourself as a buyer–choose a payment method that won’t disappear without a trace (I will never use Western Union!), request insurance and tracking if it’s something you would hate to see lost in the mail, and don’t let sympathy for sellers cloud your judgment. Too many people lose money because they didn’t receive their item, but they waited too long to get the seller’s side of the story before trying to protect themselves–and by then it was too late!

63. Is there a secret person/shop that you have commissioned a dress just for you from?
          It’s not a “secret person/shop,” but I commissioned a dress from In the Starlight when I started wearing lolita. I also own “Secret Shop” shoes! giggles

64. “I can never have that/see that happening!! But I will always want it!!” Is there a brand you think this of?
          Yes–Metamorphose! Sometimes they produce such GORGEOUS or outrageous outfits that I’d love to own…but their clothing just doesn’t fit me.

65. What do you do with the clothes you don’t want anymore?
          I try to resell them on egl_comm_sales…but usually I pawn them off on my little sister. e_e

66. What is your most recent purchase? (Even non-lolita.)
          A pair of opera-length matte white gloves~

67. Is there an item you love that you can’t buy/seem to find?
          The Angelic Pretty pink x pink Twinkle Mermaid jumperskirt. Although, if I could find it, I could never afford it!

68. What do you think of people who only wear lolita to concerts?
          I don’t care.

69. What do you think of lolitas without makeup?
          I also don’t care.

70. Another lolita is wearing the same coordinate/clothes as you!! What do you do?
          Jump up and down and excitedly announce that we are SECRET TWINZ! 😀 Amazing!

71. What age should you stop wearing lolita?
          I don’t know. I don’t think there’s a specific age–it’s up to the wearer. Some old women already dress like trashy teenagers; I don’t mind if they’d rather dress like fluffy cupcakes.

72. When do you think you should graduate from lolita? And why?
          I think I will graduate from lolita fashion when I look in the mirror and feel uncomfortable. I will probably stop wearing it in public when it might affect my career; I don’t want to have someone’s opinion of me lessened because they see me out of the office wearing pink sparkles. However, I will probably keep some important garments just for me, and wear them at home for my own enjoyment.

73. “You should stop doing that!!! ><” What must a lolita not do?
          I think that someone wearing lolita ought to be mindful of the way they sit. Seeing a prettily-dressed girl (or boy!) slouching down, head dipped down, with their legs spread awkwardly at the base of the chair, is very disappointing. (Also, usually quite revealing!) I can’t tell someone how they may or may not sit, but I always think, “Please, please adjust your skirts and sit nicely!”

74. “A lolita should be ‘this’!” What do you think that should be?
          A lolita should be well put-together. She looks most impressive if she’s thoughtfully coordinated from head to toe!

75. Besides #73, is there anything you should definitely not do while wearing lolita?
          Stomp in brackish rain-puddles. At least not when you might dirty someone else’s socks and clothing.

76. What do you think of men in lolita?
          I don’t mind if they wear it or if they don’t.

77. Did you change yourself to be a lolita?
          Well, I changed my hairstyle–I used to be terrified of having bangs, but I had them cut in August 2009 and I love them! Other than that–no. I didn’t start wearing lolita so I could pretend to be someone else–I just like being a frillier me.

78. What does your family and other people think of you dressing lolita? And do you accept it?
          My family is mostly okay with it. My mother didn’t really approve at first, but after she visited the BABY the Stars Shine Bright store in Paris her mind is very much changed! My father loves it, because I am “sticking it to The Man!” Most of the time, other people don’t care. I accept how everyone may feel about my clothing choice, because I don’t have a right to tell them what they may and may not think.

79. How do you wear lolita in the boiling mid-summer?
          With a few less layers than in winter! I don’t usually get too warm, though, so I still wear blouses with my jumperskirts, and knee socks.

80. Have you gone to school or work in lolita?
          Yes, but I don’t do it often.

81. How do you dress normally?
          Jeans and t-shirts, with or without a sweater. I dislike clothes shopping unless it’s later.

82. Do you think twice about buying second-hand clothes?
          Not really. I try to make smart decisions–ask for pictures, check the measurements, verify that the price isn’t inflated, look into the background of the seller, etc. but I don’t worry that there’s some kind of secret conspiracy determined to ruin me with second-hand clothes.

83. Do you have a boyfriend? (or husband?) Does he understand lolita?
          My husband is very understanding about my “odd” fashion interest. He thinks it is cute and is very encouraging about it. ♥ I don’t think I could really ask for more~

84. Please tell us about your ideal man.
          He lives in my apartment, plays guitar at all hours of the day and night, wears heavy-metal t-shirts and jeans to lolita events, and is the only person ever to really and truly care about me for who I am.

85. What lolita has left a big, shiny impression on you so far?
          Helena! She’s super-super-super nice, dresses so well, and is generally lots of fun to be around! ♥ When I met her I felt like I was meeting a celebrity. _

86. Have you made your own clothes? What are they like?
          I absolutely cannot sew. My total ineptitude is pathetic.

87. Have you made your own accessories? What did you make?
          I have made some glass pearl-and-bead bracelets for myself and several friends. I also made a pair of wrist-cuffs with LOTS of assistance from my little sister, who is a sewing genius.

88. Think about the best item you have made! What is it?
          The “best” would be the bracelets. They look like something you might buy at a store–not something made by a not-terribly-creatively-inclined girl on a whim.

89. Please tell us about the most perfect lolita coordination you wear.
          I don’t think I have any “perfect” coordinations–I am not very creative or unique. I tend to stick to a rather predictable formula of OP or blouse + jsk/skirt, knee socks, and hair accessory. In my opinion, though, my outfits look closer to “perfect” if I have suitable poof from my petticoat! Poof makes it or breaks it for me.

90. Do you admire someone? What are they like?
          I admire many people, but not really related to lolita fashion. (My grandfather is absolutely my biggest role model; I look up to him so much. He’s not AT ALL lolita-related, though! XD)

91. “One day I will go on a date with that person.” What would you like to wear for him?
          I would wear the dress he bought for me, with a pink hairbow atop my head and pink socks with white accents–and white tea party shoes~

92. If you want one, what type of store would you open in the future?
          I’d open a store to sell tea! ♥ I’d love to have a cute little tea-shop~

93. Something catches your eye. What is this motif?
          It’s a bunny. A really, really cute bunny. It may or may not be holding a cherry or strawberry…

94. Would you dress your child in lolita?
          I’m not sure, really. If I have children, I don’t want to force them into things that I like. @@ I don’t need to live through them! I’d like to see what sort of things they’re interested in.

95. How much do you spend on one outfit?
          Eeek, this is a scary question! A lot. @
@ I don’t want to think about it, really! Thankfully almost all of my pieces are multi-purpose, so I don’t have to buy an ENTIRELY new coordination every time.

96. “This is lolita!!” Please say what you would say this about.
          A fluffy, cupcake-shaped petticoat!

97. “I have always wanted to try that once!” What, in the lolita world, have you wanted to try wearing?
          I’ve been very interested, lately, in a more hime type of style. However, I’m not interested enough to really make the investment…

98. Look at yourself in lolita. In one word/phrase, how would you express your style/image?
          Pink fluff ball.

99. What is your lolita ideal?
          Angelic Pretty advertisements circa 2007. ♥ That is what comes to mind for me whenever I think of “perfect lolita outfit!” I love cute, but not too outlandish, garments and coordinations~

100. Thank you for taking this baton!! Tell us what you think!
          I had a lot of fun thinking about how to answer the questions! I will definitely read the answers from other lolita, too~ ♥