Meetup Report: Dolpa NYC 4 Day 2

Meetup Report: Dolpa NYC 4 Day 2

My post about my trip to New York for Dolpa NYC 4 was just too long for one entry, so I’ve continued it from the post about my Saturday.

I was determined to go both days, although I know a lot of people only attended the Saturday. I signed up for the workshop, which I was really enthusiastic about! The workshop was a class, taught by some of the company artists that paint the dolls. In general, I’m really, really terrible at painting. I try to avoid projects that involve painting, because I don’t seem to have very good control with a paintbrush. I wanted to take the workshop to be given instructions by someone with lots of experience and talent. I was very satisfied, even though I still don’t plan to paint my own dolls.

I woke up bright and early on Sunday to get macarons. I missed out on the chance to the night before, so I hurried to the bakery in the morning. I wanted to be there early enough to have a full selection and late enough to not beat anything from coming out of the oven and being ready for the display. There probably wasn’t a lot of chance of that, but I was worried anyway. My little sister brought me back a ton of crazy KitKat’s from Japan, and in return she asked for some macarons from NYC. I was lucky enough to have full choice when I got there!

After getting my box of one dozen macarons (vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, peach, strawberry, and caramel~ ♥) and a chocolate-almond croissant, I zipped over to Argo Tea. In Chicago, we have quite a few of these shops, and I like some of their really sugary-sweet drinks. I was just a teeny-tiny bit homesick, since I wasn’t traveling with anyone else, so I got a coconut bubble tea to have with my croissant breakfast. (They use square pieces of tapioca for their bubble tea–it’s really neat!)

After that, I headed back to the hotel. My friends were getting ready to head out, since they had arranged to meet up with another friend of theirs at Kinokuniya. I decided to tag along because I wanted to see the three sisters again–I think they’re so cute! ♥ Besides, I hadn’t had a chance to see Kinokuniya since their remodel. The last time I was there they were still in progress, since it was so long ago!

I headed back to the venue after saying hello and goodbye to everyone at the bookstore. (And after buying a few small purchases… Hello Kitty onigiri boxes were calling to me.) Dolpa started pretty early on Sunday, but they were signing the Another Yourself photo-book, which I don’t own a copy of. There were also clothing items from Japanese vendors, but I had a hunch they wouldn’t carry a lot of things in Mini Super Dollfie size. I tried very hard not to but expensive things for a doll I don’t own~

Soon after I arrived and checked in again, it was time to register for the workshop and pick up workshop items. I had ordered the tool kit and a kit of a doll that could only be purchased if you took the workshop. I had seen some pictures of Mi-chan, and thought she was pretty cute, so when I decided to go to Dolpa and take the workshop it seemed perfect that she would be available for me to order. As soon as I picked up my doll and tools, I skipped back to my table to open the box and take a look at her.

Unfortunately, as soon as I moved aside the top cushion I knew that the doll wasn’t right for me. It happens sometimes~ I set to work getting the doll ready to come back on the airplane with me. The box was much too big for my carry-on sized suitcase, so I packed a duffle bag to check on the way back. However, I don’t trust airlines very much with luggage, so I planned to put the doll’s pieces in my carry-on and put other less-delicate and less-expensive things in the box and duffle bag.

Once I put the box into the duffle bag, I noticed that there was a lot of extra space. This wouldn’t have meant anything to me if it weren’t for the fact that the Tenshi no Sumika table still had the doll I really wanted. No-one had purchased Nono even though most of the wigs and everything else were long since sold. I looked at the duffle bag, and shuffled over to the sales table, then slowly “measured” the box against the empty bag. It was absolutely long enough to fit the bigger box.

So I went back, got the other box from where I had left it, and went back to the store. I looked at the employees, who already knew that I really wanted that doll–they had taken her out to let me see her instead of just in pictures. She’s so much prettier in real life~ ♥ I told them that if the two boxes fit in the duffle bag, I would buy the doll…even though I knew I shouldn’t be buying a doll! Somehow, both boxes fit!

When I tried to pay, however, my card kept getting declined! u_u I called my bank and spoke to someone who wasn’t able to help me out. I had plenty of money in my account, she said, and there weren’t any blocks or holds on my card. I’ve been anxiously watching my bank account all week, as this trouble caused me to be very afraid that I behaved recklessly and spent enough money to jeopardize my finances, but everything seems fine! It’s very mysterious~

Thankfully the staff were very patient with my trouble, and I was able to pay with a different payment method. They even paused so that we could all take part in the Unbirthday gift exchange! My present was a stuffed cream puff and madeline~ (I have a soft spot for felt sweets–I really enjoy making them!) I received a beautiful gray and black doll-sized scarf~ It’s absolutely perfect for a friend of mine, who has a doll with a mature and elegant style. ♥ As soon as I opened it I thought of her!

The workshop was a lot of fun, but I wasn’t concentrating very well. I couldn’t help being jittery from the turmoil-ridden purchase of the doll I’ve wanted for so long! Some of the attendees at the table I was sitting at started talking to me about my new doll, and they asked if they could try some wigs on her, and then clothes, so I let them. They were very nice girls, and it was fun to see what she looked like in outfits~ (The doll’s head is so big that she can’t wear the wigs in the sizes they had with them. I was amused~)

I really enjoyed watching Mikey, our teacher for the class. She’s so very talented! Watching her hands as she paints was astonishing. Her movements are fluid and steady, so every brushstroke comes out looking wonderful. I know I’d have a LOT of practice ahead of me to get to a level like that! (If I could even accomplish it in the first place.)

I didn’t get to stay for the entire workshop because I had to head back to the airport. There was a snafu with the car; it didn’t come to pick me up where I was! When I finally talked to the driver, he was very confused, but promptly came to get me. It was pretty scary to be waiting to head towards the airport, alone and with several suitcases, without seeing the car that said it would pick you up 15 minutes ago! I was sure we would be late, and compounded with the stress from worrying about my bank account my ride to the airport and wait in the terminal were not very much fun.

I was so happy to be home, especially once I had my checked luggage safely reclaimed from the baggage area.

Overall, Dolpa was lots and lots of fun! I really enjoyed going, and I extremely enjoyed wearing lolita to it! I hope that I can go to another one in the near future. (And this time, I can bring the doll I’m so excited to own!) I’ll definitely get dressed up again, too~ ♥

Meetup Report: Dolpa NYC 4 Day 1

Meetup Report: Dolpa NYC 4 Day 1

Okay, this isn’t really a meetup; it wasn’t a group of lolita getting together to enjoy some time together. However, I had an amazing time this weekend at VolksDoll’s Party in New York City 4! I’m not avid about ball-jointed dolls, but I do find them fascinating. I have a weak spot for toys (hence the My Little Pony collection, recent purchase of Calico Critters, and Pinky:st figures), so the concept of well-made, customizable dolls was just a bit too much to resist~

I was really nervous about attending Dolpa NYC 4. I wasn’t really going with friends, although I thought I might at least see one or two people I knew. My flight in and out of NYC allowed no leeway for exploring or lateness.

My husband I woke up at 3:30am to get on a bus in time to catch a train to the airport. I really wanted to use public transportation, as cab fare from the city to the airport is very expensive. I was already paying for a hired car to take me to and from the airport in New York; I wanted to avoid spending any extra money! We got to the airport with no trouble at all, but the security line was very, very long. I got a lot of stares and whispers; inevitable when one is wearing something pink with bunnies around the hem.

I had taken off my hairbow and petticoat for security and the flight; I try to limit accessories, so I don’t set off the detector. (I really don’t want to be wanded or patted down.) I passed through with no problems and hurried to my gate. My flight boarded on time, and soon I was on my way! It was really, really exciting! As we started to land the gentleman sitting next to me started asking about my trip and such. It was rather interesting that he was only vaguely curious about what I was wearing, and much more intrigued about where I was going. (He was kind enough to carry my suitcase off the plane, as well.)

It was very easy for the driver to spot me when I stepped out to the pickup area. We made it to the hotel very quickly. I was much too early to check-in, but I got in line anyway, just to see. Some of the employees were giving me sideways glances or raised eyebrows, but they were instantly accommodating when they saw the name on the reservation. (My father travels constantly for work, so he ranks very high as a customer for the hotels and airlines he typically uses; it really comes in handy when I get the chance to travel!) They wanted to give me a room right away, but I needed it to have two beds, as I had offered to let some friends stay with me. Instead, I checked my bags and headed out.

Being back in New York made me very happy, even though I didn’t have time to do all the things I really wanted to do! Just walking down the street, heading towards FIT, reminded me of all the things I’d missed. New York City is my favourite destination in the US. (Although I’ve only ever been out of the country to visit relatives in Canada!) When I arrived at Dolpa, I met some friends who had been waiting in line for a while. There were quite a few girls wearing lolita fashion, including three adorable young girls attending the event with their mother. They were dressed up for the “Alice in Wonderland” theme as Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the Cheshire Cat! ♥

I really enjoyed talking to everyone in the line, and seeing their beautiful dolls. ♥ It was really clear that everyone had put forth as much effort as possible! When the doors opened and we were let into the venue, I was amazed. I hadn’t really known what to expect.

So Cute!
My Claire, a Volks Nagisa in Preschool, with another girl’s doll whose name I unfortunately cannot remember! So pretty, though~

The event took place in a large hall, with many round tables at the center. The round tables were for displaying dolls and sitting to eat dinner. There were no reserved seats–you simply found a place to sit after registering. Around the perimeter of the room were long tables set up as different “stations.” Beside the door was the registration table and a podium for announcements. Beside that was a table for FDQ, an important partner in the event. They were advertising for their magazine and the limited edition dolls: Super Dollfie 13 Boy Williams as “The Hatter” and Super Dollfie 16 Girl Cristal as the “Queen of Hearts”! They were absolutely beautiful dolls!

Beyond their section was the display of one-off dolls, and in front of those areas was a table showing the limited items for the party–Little Alice, Little Lorina, the White Rabbits, and the outfit sets. They had it very cleverly set up so that it looked like there was a mirror at the center of the table, when really it was an empty picture frame that showed Alice mirroring Lorina “through the looking glass.” Whoever set it up did an amazing job!

Amakusa Shirou Tokisada One-Off
Amakusa was one of the one-offs. I really adored his outfit. It’s princely but also very over the top!

The eleven one-offs were Luna, Tohya, Jun Tachibana, Shiro Amukasa, Tsukasa Konoe, SD16 Ruby, Hikaru Genji, SD16 Madoka, Shinku, Cecile, and Suigintou. One-offs are dolls specially designed by the various artists. They have special clothing, special face painting, and often use headmolds that are otherwise hard to acquire. The dolls this year were really, really gorgeous! I loved looking at them! I didn’t enter into the lottery for any of the one-offs, though; I didn’t really need one. It sounds like they all went to people who will really, really appreciate them!

Shinku One-Off
Another one-off, this time Shinku. I thought her outfit was absolutely gorgeous. She looks like a very sweet classic lolita, I think!

In the back the “Dolly Doctor” had a room where he was taking appointments, and they also had a place to check luggage. Beside the coat room was a table set up as a very tiny “Tenshi no Sumika,” one of the Volks stores. They sold lots of tools and equipment for painting and customizing, a few outfits for YoSD, and many-many-many wigs. I bought a new wig for my doll, and they were kind enough to let me try it on her, to make sure it would fit her big head, as it wasn’t quite the standard size for her type. They also brought four dolls: Ryo, Kanata, Mark, and Nono. The first three sold out right away, but the last doll did not.

This was particular bad for me because Nono is my dream doll. Seeing that box sitting on the Sumika table tormented me all day! I kept waiting for someone else to buy the doll so I wouldn’t be tempted anymore.

Beside that was the table for Full-Choice System. FCS is a service that allows you to custom-design your doll. You pick everything–the headmold, then the body, eyes, wig, and makeup. You can put what is normally a “girl” head on a boy’s body, or vice-versa. You can pick any eye colour or wig colour and style. You can even choose separate hands–like fists, pointing fingers, or other positions. It’s really neat! (It’s also very expensive.) The ladies at the table tried to talk me into signing up for a spot, but I resisted.

Wonderland Photospace
One of the many, many pictures I took of my doll at the photo area. It was a lot of fun to have so many settings and props.

Past that (coming back around the perimeter of the room towards the entrance) was a photo space. It was a string of displays where you could pose your doll and take pictures, all of which were Wonderland themed. The first section had giant chess pieces and lots of jewels across a black and white checkered background. The second was a large walkway with a red carpet, red roses, and green hedges. The third consisted of a couch and a small table with a teacup. The next scene was a “mad tea party,” with tea set upon the table (and a dormouse in the teapot!) and plenty of seats. The last area looked like a garden or meadow–lots of flowers, benches, and mushrooms!

I was absolutely amazed by everything! I wandered from table to table, eager to see everyone’s dolls. There was so much creativity at work! A few tables even set up full scenes with their dolls posed with props and furniture. It was quite astonishing! So many people were excitedly meeting with friends they hadn’t seen in years; the atmosphere was really warm and welcoming. The staff did a great job making sure that things ran smoothly.

At some point it was announced that the dormouse was missing, and party-goers started to poke around for the dormouse. A picture of the dormouse was discovered under someone’s chair–and that lucky person got to take home an adorable sleeping dormouse! It was a very cute surprise.

Double Lolita
One of the other lolita that I met at the event asked if we could get a picture together! I wish I had gotten more pictures. She looked so pretty in her Wonder Cookie outfit; if only I weren’t so bad with names~ I look really short here!

In a little while it was time for the lottery! That’s when the people who decided to try for the one-offs found out if they were going to be purchasing that doll. I’m sure that all the lucky winners will cherish such precious dolls! Then company president Mr. Shigeta and the Volks staff came up to the podium to give a short speech. They were all dressed in costume–Mr. Shigeta as the Mad Hatter and all the other employees as cards! During this time dinner was served; I made sure to get a piece of strawberry unbirthday cake–being myself, I cared about the dessert more than the “real food.” Mr. Shigeta, Volks president, came around to the tables after his speech. I really wanted to get a picture with him, but I thought that I had missed my chance. However, a friend of mine dragged me over and we were able to get that picture! ♥ Hooray!

Shigeta and Williams
After that, the staff asked him to pose with the cutout of the doll, and since I was nearby, I took one, too!

The lottery involved tickets we had been given upon registration. Mr. Shigeta pulled numbers for winners to get postcards, posters, printing proofs, doll beds, wig grab-bags, and YoSD outfits. Everyone in the room was waiting anxiously to see who would win Sei-Tenshi or Rei-Tenshi, very tiny dolls that are only available from lotteries at these events. There were 5 Rei-Tenshi, the smallest kind, and 10 Sei-Tenshi! Fifteen very lucky winners took home those adorable little dolls that looked like angels~ I was so happy to see the beaming, amazed faces of the winners as they hurried forward to claim their prizes.

I think everyone was thinking about what Mr. Shigeta had said earlier in his speech. He mentioned a phrase that is the best way to start your day–as soon as you wake up, think:

Lucky, Lucky, So Fun!
Lucky, Lucky, So Happy!
Lucky, Lucky, So Wonderful!
Lucky, Lucky, So Fantastic!

He claimed if you do this, you will open your life to “Super Dollfie miracles.” And some of those winners did get their “Super Dollfie miracle,” whether it be the girl who won her 3rd tenshi at a time when she was feeling a bit blue, to the gentleman who welcomed not only a tenshi into his life, but another angel as well–a granddaughter!

The event ended after the lottery, and I headed back to the hotel to check in. I made an attempt at picking up some macarons, but the shop I like to go to was completely sold out so close to closing time. When my friends rejoined me, I convinced them to go on an excursion with me to Rice to Riches, a rice pudding shop that I’ve been visiting since high school~ Every time I’m in NYC I try to make that a stop.

It was the perfect way to end the day–I went to bed completely exhausted, yet excited for the second day of the event! (I’ll make that a separate entry–this is already much too long~)

Daily Life: What a Surprise!

Daily Life: What a Surprise!

The other day, while having dinner with a friend I had invited over, my father called.

“Have you checked your email?” was the first thing I heard.
“No; I have a friend over.”
“You need to check your email.”
“Um, okay…”
“Check your email and call me back.”

I apologized to my guest, wishing that I had let the call go to voice mail, and turned on my pink netbook with the intent to check my email as quickly as possible. I couldn’t imagine why my father was calling me to have such a suspicious conversation, or what could be in my inbox to require immediate attention. When my account loaded and clicked on my newest message, I let out a squeal.

I’m going to VolksDolls Party in New York City!

I own a ball-jointed doll. I’m not very active or passionate about ball-jointed dolls as a hobby, but I enjoy my doll and keep an eye on doll-related things. My doll is from Volks, so I often browse the Volks USA website. Several months ago I had heard whisperings and speculation about a US Dolls’ Party. A “Dolls’ Party” is rather like a mini-convention hosted by this company particularly for their customers/fans and limited to their products. This event was canceled in 2009 due to concerns about swine flu, but it seemed as though it was likely to happen in 2010. When this was confirmed and the date was announced, I wanted to go.

My father often has business in New York, so I had emailed him last week to see if he would be in town on June 19 and 20–hoping, of course, to stay at his hotel room and avoid paying for one of my own. Getting a plane ticket would be another issue, but I could save quite a bit by avoiding hotel costs. His response–hence the cryptic phone call–was that I had been booked a hotel room and plane ticket!

Little Alice is one of the limited items for the event! (The limited items are Alice in Wonderland themed, with Alice, Lorina, and the White Rabbit.) She has such a sweet face.

Now I’m so excited I barely know what to do with myself! I want to get the most out of the event, but I my doll doesn’t need a visit to the Dolly Doctor (Beauty Salon) and it’s very unlikely that I’ll buy another doll. I’m determined to take the workshop, but I’m not sure if or which school head I should buy. There are so many choices~ I can’t wait to see more information released on the website.

I’m planning my attire as well, because obviously I want to wear lolita fashion the entire time! ♥ I can’t think of a better choice, really. If only they made Alice or Lorina’s dress in MSD size, so my Claire could be dressed in a similar fashion~ I can’t wait to see what it’s like! I need to make up my mind and get my registration in order.

I wonder if any other lolita are attending this event~ ♥