27 May 2017

Why You Should Join the Lolita Blog Carnival

A couple times a month, I publish a blog post on a Friday morning. These themed posts are part of the Lolita Blog Carnival. Keep reading to find out what the LBC is exactly, how you can join, and why I think you really should!

What is a blog carnival? How does this work?

A blog carnival is a group of bloggers who all write on the same topic and publish it on the same day. Members vote on a topic from a poll, and the winning topic is the next week's theme. The LBC posts on Fridays, but you should take advantage of scheduling tools if you can't manually publish your post Friday mornings.

Here's how it works: vote on a theme, write a blog post about it, paste your permalink to the event page for that week's theme, and link the other participants' blog posts at the end of yours as they post their links to the event page.

What's in it for me? Why should I join?

From the perspective of someone who has been part of the LBC for a few years, we could definitely use more members! We have over a hundred members on the Facebook group, but only a handful of bloggers actually contribute each week. Sometimes we have zero!

The point of joining a blog carnival is three-fold.

The first advantage is that you force yourself to make content for your blog. Having pre-set weekly themes makes it easy to sit down and just write. Definitely helps break writer's block. The more you write content (even if the topic is given to you) and read other blogs, the more creativity is sparked. If you enjoy blogging, joining a blog carnival will definitely help you with consistent, fun posts.

The second reason to join is networking. Commenting on each others' blog posts isn't required, but I find the regular contributors do anyways. I've met a dear friend of mine through the LBC, and it is really cool to connect with other bloggers who share the same passion. You get to read different perspectives on the same topics that you never would have thought of otherwise.

The third advantage is free promotion. By linking to everybody's posts, we share promotion equally. If someone reads a blog and is interested in the topic, it's likely they'll click on the other participants listed at the end of the post. The more you post to the LBC, the more regularly readers will see your blog's name. Repetition is a proven marketing technique for attracting attention.

How can I join?

Here are the only requirements for membership. If your blog follows these, then just apply! If you don't hear back from a mod in a couple of weeks, shoot them a message. They're people too and have busy lives.

  • You must be primarily a lolita blogger.
  • Your blog must be in English. It would be unfair to ask people to link to blogs they may not be able to read.
  • Your blog must be a minimum of 3 months old and have a minimum of 9 posts.
  • No Tumblr blogs please! Tumblr blogs tend to move at a much faster rate and are generally focused on reblogs rather than original content.

I really hope you consider joining. Even if your blog doesn't yet meet the requirements, keep blogging and apply later. Hope to write with you soon!

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20 May 2017

101 Lolita Lifestyle Ideas

For anyone who has been in this fashion for over twelve years (or is at least obsessive about scrolling through Livejournal archives) you've probably seen the infamous list of lolita lifestyle ideas.

I'd like to revisit this antiquated idea of being a lifestyle lolita for a minute and the aspiration of being a ~true lolita~ that was so common back then.

I personally enjoy traditionally feminine hobbies, and I think lolitas of any gender might get something motivating, or at the very least relaxing, from these activities. So I present to you a list of 101 new lolita lifestyle ideas.

Please keep two things in mind: some of these ideas may overlap with the original list because I did not cross-check every single thing, and this list is purely for fun and should not be taken in any way as a directive of how lolitas should behave or do on their free time.

  1. Start a lolita blog or Youtube channel. You don't have to be an experienced veteran chalk full of tutorials and sage advice - just write about your experiences and outfits.
  2. Keep a physical journal of diary. Writing your thoughts, feelings, problems, and daily activities will give you an outlet and will provide you with a time capsule of memories.
  3. Learn calligraphy - or maybe start out with refining your cursive.
  4. Learn to embroider, whether just to pass the time or to create something beautiful.
  5. Get into sewing. Not only will it come in handy when waist-ties pop off, but there are many patterns online for making your own lolita pieces.
  6. Find local wine, tea, or chocolate tastings in your area and refine your palette.
  7. Visit local museums and historical sites.
  8. Study etiquette. Knowing what to do in formal situations is a good idea in general, but reading vintage homemaking or etiquette books embedded with funny customs and sexist expectations is also quite entertaining.
  9. Become better at baking, bonus if you find a cute apron.
  10. Take ballroom dancing or ballet lessons.
  11. Bring a good book, a thermos of your favorite beverage, and a thick blanket to the park and have a picnic by yourself.
  12. Invite a local lolita to a coffee shop to catch up - my best friends and I will sometimes bring our embroidery to work on together.
  13. Find a penpal and write physical letters to each other. In the age of the internet, receiving a letter in the mail is a small treasure.
  14. Take a long bath with oils, candles, and bubbles. Just relax and pamper yourself.
  15. Incorporate lolita elements into your everyday or work wardrobe, headbows and jewelry can look normal enough.
  16. Host a tea party in your home, backyard, or some other beautiful venue. Try making some of the food yourself, and serve your friends your favorite teas.
  17. Decorate your living space like a princess, even if you share space with others.
  18. Take a watercolor or oil painting class.
  19. Experiment with creating your own latte art.
  20. Go for long, slow strolls. Not only is it good for your health, but you can spend some time to yourself to think about life.
  21. Learn the language of the fan, of flowers, and of hair bow placement. This knowledge is no longer really useful, but it is a fun conversation starter and can be a secret code between you and a friend at meets.
  22. Place flowers on someone's gravestone. Find someone who has been deceased for a long time, who has probably been long forgotten and show respect and appreciation for whatever they accomplished in life. Historical cemeteries are also beautiful places to reflect on yourself.
  23. Take up a classical instrument. If you have no musical talent, attend a symphony or opera instead.
  24. Play croquet, cricket, or other old-fashioned lawn games.
  25. Wear a lace nightgown or airy peignoir to sleep. If you don't like dresses, find cute patterned pajamas and sew lace to the hems.
    Photo credit to Ouji Photography
  26. Watch lolita-esque movies or tv shows.
  27. Apply to model in a local fashion show or for an indie designer. Even if you don't think you fit the "ideal" look, try anyways!
  28. Create a playlist of songs that put you in a fancy mood.
  29. Take a train ride on an old-fashioned train.
  30. Use antique luggage - but be careful not to take fragile suitcases on long-haul flights. I learned this the hard way...
  31. Visit the ballet or the opera and get truly dolled up in your most elegant frills and elbow-length gloves. Who cares if some people show up in jeans?
  32. Learn a foreign language. Latin and French used to be standards for accomplished young ladies of the upper crust, but knowing another language is just useful and impressive today.
  33. Take a cake decorating class or wing it with online tutorials. I've impressed a lot of people when I bring hand-decorated cakes to events (an easy and pretty idea is to sugar flowers).
  34. Find a little corner in your home or backyard and start a garden, even if you only have room and time to grow rosemary.
  35. Host a quilting party. Cut plain colored squares and have your friends decorate squares with fabric pens. This was my favorite activity when my mother used to host baby showers. You'll have fond memories for years to come!
  36. Try your hand at making molded chocolates, candies, candles, or soaps. They make great, thoughtful gifts!
  37. Wear cute underwear. Even if nobody sees it, you will always feel a little bit more fancy and pampered.
  38. Dry flowers in between pages of heavy books. 
  39. Make a lolita scrapbook. Print out beautiful coordinates, and glue in lace, stickers, dried flowers, and other things that inspire you.
  40. Get into aromatherapy by spritzing relaxing scents in your home, keeping a bag of potpourri under your pillow, or burning scented candles to create atmosphere.
  41. Use a handkerchief. You can find dainty ones with embroidery or lace trim in antique stores.
  42. Establish a skincare routine. Whether you follow intricate Korean beauty steps or strange Victorian concoctions, taking care of your skin will make you feel refreshed and refined.
  43. Attend a local derby. Incorporate a big floppy sun hat, a strand of pearls, or white wrist gloves into your coordinate and feel like a southern belle (sans racism).
  44. Go for a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
  45. Work on your posture. It's good for your health and will help you look and feel more confident in your frills. 
  46. Create your own calling cards. This Victorian custom is dead, but maybe lolitas can revive it. Whether you DIY them or order some from an online service, calling cards are a handy way to keep in contact with lolitas you meet and want to contact later.
  47. Decorate your office or workspace with a touch of elegance. Frame your photos in fancy frames, arrange some fake flowers in vases, upgrade your mugs to tea cups, and just generally make the space fit your taste. If you can make/buy it cute, why leave it boring?
  48. Display your lolita as decoration. My personal favorite is hanging hats on the walls, but there are many ways to use your expensive pieces as decoration. Don't let them hide in the closet.
  49. If you have the time, join a historical society and defend local sites and traditions.
  50. Collect antique books. Old books have the best covers and make for beautiful coffee table decorations if you can't stand to actually read them.
    Photo credit to Ann Nakamura
  51. Brush your hair 100 times before bed. Obviously this only works if your hair won't frizz up after brushing, but otherwise this old practice is relaxing and will help you unwind like an aristocrat.
  52. Make a parody video or song lyrics with lolita-related phrases that will make you giggle.
  53. Start a dream diary. Record your dreams as soon as you wake up and see if you can interpret what they mean. My favorite pagan belief is that if you look at a window or open doorway when you awake, your dreams will fly out of your memory on the wings of mischievous fairies.
  54. Attend a seance. Go with an open mind and see what it's like.
  55. Look up your astrological star sign. And moon sign. And sun sign. It may not be scientific, but it's fun and mysterious!
  56. Wear your brand with regular clothes. If you don't already do this, it might be a fun experiment. Wear our lolita accessories, socks, cutsews, skirts, or purses with normal clothing for a new way to get use out of your lolita and wear it every day.
  57. Take a fun, "ladylike" class. Learn how to crochet, make lace, ride side-saddle, etc.
  58. Read lolita blogs. You're already starting by reading this one!
  59. Attend a vintage auto show. If you don't like cars, look for plane restorations, fleet weeks, etc.
  60. Read poetry. Find a good anthology of poems and cozy up with a cup of tea.
  61. Experiment with old-fashioned cocktails or interesting non-alcoholic recipes.
  62. Host a formal dinner party. You don't have to make it for lolitas, but just getting out the good dinnerware and taking the time to host something nice for your friends is fun.
  63. Participate in the 365 Lolita Lifestyle Challenge.
  64. Have fancy desserts for dinner. Momoko isn't the only one who can spoil herself every once in a while.
  65. Walk around your town and photograph interesting and beautiful things. Too often we focus on the ugly, negative aspects of life. Spend a couple of hours really focusing on beauty and splendor in the world around you.
  66. Write encouraging notes to yourself and tack them around your mirror. Write down the things you like about yourself, your strengths, what strangers have complimented you on, your accomplishments, anything that will bring a smile to your face.
  67. Swap out old ballpoints and pencils for cute stationary. Fountain pens are popular again, and you can find colorful pencils with cute patterns on the internet.
  68. Plan your dream lolita vacation, even if you can't actually go. 
  69. Make homemade ice cream. Whether you have an ice cream maker or are just going old-school with some plastic bags and muscle power, experiment with unique flavors like strawberry basil or merlot chocolate chip.
  70. Play a lolita themed game - such as custom Cards Against Humanity, print name bingo, or "pin the bow on the lolita."
  71. Get a fancy manicure. Acrylics or gel nails are a big investment, but even getting your nails painted to match a fun coordinate can be really satisfying.
  72. Join the Lolita Blog Carnival and force yourself to blog the weekly themes. It's really fun!
  73. Buy a dress form to experiment with different coordinate ideas without the hassle of trying everything on. It's also a nice decoration when you're not actually wearing what you put on it.
  74. Paint your own tea cup. Find a place near you that offers DIY ceramic painting. Wear something you don't mind getting dirty...
  75. Get a book on birds or flowers and go for a long nature walk, trying to identify what you see.
    Photo credit to Ana Akaosugi
  76. Dress up a non-lolita friend who is interested in trying out the style.
  77. Grow your own tea plant and make your own teas. Experiment with other herbs and flowers from your garden. If you don't have the room, see if you can plant one in a neighborhood garden space.
  78. Learn Victorian curse words. If you're going to dress like a lady, you should swear like one too!
  79. Take the Lolita Level-Up Quiz, and tell me in the comments how you scored.
  80. Buy a frilly bathing suit and take your parasol, sunscreen, and G&LBs to the beach. My favorite beach snack is an egg salad and salted bagel sandwich. If you don't have a coast, find a lake.
  81. Take a flower arranging class and decorate your home and the homes of your friends with fresh bouquets of flowers.
  82. Decorate your lolita underthings. Sew lace or little bows onto your bloomers, petticoats, and slips. Feel pretty inside and out.
  83. Bling your phone or wallet with cute key chains and cases.
  84. Make an ita-bag. 
  85. Attend Disneyland Lolita Day and say hello to me! I try to go every year.
  86. Wear lolita somewhere you would never normally wear it. To the grocery store, to fill up your gas tank, to the doctor's office. You'll get strange looks of course, but being adventurous is half the fun.
  87. Go horseback riding. I don't recommend actually wearing lolita though, unless you don't mind the possibility of it getting dirty.
  88. Go to a cafe, sit by the window, and people watch. Make up stories about their lives - who they are and where they are going. 
  89. Get your makeup professionally done. Whether you know a friend who is really good at doing other people's make up or you go to a professional, you'll feel like a VIP getting your face made by someone else.
  90. Host a themed meet up. If you've never hosted a meet before, research how and get to it! You'll make a lot of friends this way and foster a more active community. Get creative with the themes and just have fun creating a coordinate to match.
  91. Make something for a friend for no reason. Everyone loves presents and hand-written cards. Express your appreciation for those who always have your back.
  92. Go through your wardrobe and deep clean. Pull out everything that isn't sentimental, you haven't worn in two years, and you wouldn't mind having the money for. List them on Lacemarket. You'll free up space and freshen up your style.
  93. Sign up to read books to children in a library. They'll love hearing a real-life princess tell them all about magical kingdoms, dragons, and grand adventures.
  94. Find a box of colored chalk and go to the park. This one is more fun with a friend, and I recommend a cute apron and ankle socks to avoid a mess.
  95. Learn how to mend your clothes. Shopping is fun and all, but you could save a lot of money on new clothes if you learned how to fix rips and tears.
  96. Make daisy chains and crown your friends!
  97. Hand write thank you letters and event invitations. This is a long-lost tradition, but people still love receiving mail. Don't let snail mail be reserved only for weddings and family portraits.
  98. Get into dollhouses. It's another expensive hobby if you do it right, but who is to say that dolls and tiny furniture should only be for children?
  99. Buy prints from your favorite lolita artists and frame them for your walls. If you have extra cash, get a commission of you in your favorite coordinate.
  100. Have a lolita sleepover with lacy pajamas, sweets, and face masks. Maybe you have time to craft together while you watch Kamikaze Girls.
  101. Comment down below which ones you enjoy!

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12 May 2017

What Sort Of Tutorials I Would Like To See More Of

As someone who has made tutorials in the past (and is working on some more...stay tuned!) this week's topic was hard to do. The reason I don't make a lot of tutorials is because of two reasons:

  1. I don't feel like I am an expert in any one particular thing. I'm more of a generalist, a Renaissance woman who knows a fair amount on a lot of different topics. I am definitely not a specialist, so I don't feel like I have the authority to give a solid tutorial. 
  2. I find it hard to get inspiration for tutorials that are helpful, interesting, and haven't been done already. I would really love some feedback. What sort of tutorials would you like to see more of, especially that you would like to see from me?
The best method for creating content is to think from the perspective of your audience. What would they like to learn how to do? 

To do this, I think "What would I like to see? What would I appreciate seeing a tutorial for if I didn't already know how to do it?" and try to come up with content that fits that need. 

Here are a few tutorials I want to see more of, whether or not I already know how to do them:

Photo credit Parfait Doll

Makeup Tutorials:

I see a lot of my favorite Youtubers straying away from makeup tutorials. I can never get enough, even if applying makeup is pretty much the same concept. It is relaxing to watch someone do their makeup, and once in a blue moon I get really inspired to do something I haven't tried before. It's a lot better than makeup "first impressions" because you get to see new makeup actually being used.

Hair Tutorials:

This is something not very common among lolitas bloggers and vloggers. I am not good at styling my own hair, and it takes forever for me to do anything other than my staples (single wrapped braid, low double braids, fishtails, sock bun). I would love to see tutorials for other hairstyles I can do easily. There are a few hair style tutorials that I am working on myself actually, but my knowledge of working with hair is limited.

Social Conventions:

I am a huge fan of social conventions. I am traditional and worry needlessly about how I appear to others. My number one rule is to discretely watch how others behave in a situation and apply that to how I act. I would love to see tutorials for how to deal with certain situations/activities related to the fashion. How to navigate Taobao, how to order from BTSSB, how to set up a Tenso account, how to host a meetup, how to deal with online bullies, how to politely negotiate prices, how to deal with scammers, etc. Some of these I've already learned through the 8+ years I've been in the fashion, but there is always something else to learn. Education never stops.

Other blogs who participated:
Poppy Noir

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22 April 2017

Television & Films For the Lolita Aesthetic

The age of the lolita lifestyle as we knew it in the days of Livejournal seem to be over. Nobody really subscribes to the unattainable lifestyle of breathing tea, sewing, strolls in the garden, and decorating everything you own with lace. The lifestyle lolitas I know today wear lolita as their every day clothes but still maintain their own hobbies and interests.

That doesn't mean there aren't still ways to inspire ourselves in our daily lives.

One way I like feeling frilly when I'm not dressed up is by watching tv shows and movies that fit the lolita lifestyle aesthetic. Here is a list of some of my favorites.

Image from Google

You don't need to take off your petticoat to Netflix & chill...

So not all of these are on Netflix, nor are they all family friendly. But they do all spark inspiration and motivation!

The Crown
This show is amazing. Not only do I love the mid-century costumes and palace scenery, but the acting is convincing. I find it a bit odd to produce a television series about a queen who is still very much alive, I can't wait for the second season. Originally I tried to make myself wear lolita while watching it, but ended up binge-watching it in my jammies. It's that good.

Deka Wanko 
You've probably seen the above image floating around the internet. It's a scene from one of the only television shows actually about a lolita. I love the main characters style and her struggle to get acceptance from her male police colleagues. You'll need either understand Japanese or find a version with subtitles, but it's worth the effort.

Cat Street
This is another lolita-specific Japanese drama that you'd have to spend a little bit of time looking for if you want good subtitles. One of the supporting characters is a lolita who loves making her dresses from scratch but has self-esteem issues. The whole plot of the show is a bunch of misfits who grow into themselves and become friends. Sometimes it can be a little depressing, but it ends up being really motivational and heart-warming.

Anne of Green Gables
I'm mostly talking about the television-movie series from 1985, but apparently Netflix will also be showing a brand new series later this year. I'm excited for this new one as well! This series is definitely for those who don't mind slow-moving plots, as it's based off a classic novel from 1908. Let it inspire you to try out country lolita!

Definitely not for a younger audience because of all the nudity and sexual scenes, but the story and costumes are splendid. It's quite rare to see a show where the men actually have long hair and the women have relatively accurate dresses, and if I wore ouji I would love getting inspiration from this show about Louis the XIV and his court.

I haven't seen this one yet, but it is definitely on my must watch list. I've heard mixed reviews about the accuracy of the show, but I want to see it if only for the gorgeous costumes and architecture. After watching Young Victoria (in the movie section below), I'm excited to try another take on the monarch whose reign greatly inspired the lolita aesthetic.

Little House on the Prairie
Like Anne of Green Gables, this show is another classic novel adaptation that really inspires country and western inspired coordinates. There's plenty of seasons, so don't worry about a too-short binge.

The Paradise
This show got a little weird towards the end in my opinion, but the Victorian department store is a lolita wardrobe dream. Unfortunately there's only two seasons, but it's worth the time to watch anyways. Apparently Mr. Selfridge got better ratings which is why they cancelled the show, so I might go watch that next.

Image Credit Warner Bros

Movie night in?

Sometimes you need some time to be by yourself (or with a frilly friend) and plunk down for a good movie night. These picks are all historical, but I'd love to hear of any modern lolita-inspired movies you know of!

The Little Princess
A childhood favorite of mine, this movie is timeless and touching. I'm not ashamed to admit I cry a little every time I watch this. I love it so much, I even had authentic paper dolls of this when I was a little girl. Props for such a rare portrayal of racism, classism, the effects of war on children, and mixed-race friendship in a historical setting.

The Secret Garden
Another childhood favorite from the 90s, this movie makes me want to get lost in a garden. Despite my loathing for bugs and dirt. You'll love to hate Mary and her cousin, and you'll definitely enjoy the scenery and costumes.

Young Victoria
This docudrama has absolutely stunning costumes. That is definitely the highlight of the show. The story itself is good, but it can be slow-moving at times. I wish it was a tv show so I could watch more because I like this depiction of Queen Victoria.

Kamikaze Girls
No lolita movie list would be complete without mentioning the iconic movie that made lolita popular. Okay maybe not as dramatic, but it is definitely a must-see for any lolita. I even made an embroidery hoop with my favorite quote from Kamikaze Girls.

Marie Antoinette
If you haven't seen this movie yet, why haven't you? Just ignore the inaccuracies and the oddly-invigorating modern music choice, and enjoy living vicariously through the world's most notoriously spoiled queen. Macarons anyone?

Image from Google

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21 April 2017

What I Would Like To See For The Future Of This Fashion

This week's topic is interesting food for thought.

What would I like to see in the future for lolita fashion? Well, I have some lofty dreams, some aspirations, and a nostalgia for a time gone that could return.

I would like to see a:

...decent documentary on a major streaming site like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon.
This of course is a lofty dream. There have been many amazing, short documentaries published on Youtube but which don't attract a large audience. We've also seen a few disasters of television appearances and bad celebrity spotlights. I honestly don't want the fashion to become mainstream at all, since the niche aspect is what makes lolita special and pure. But I do wish outsiders would have a legitimate resource and might be more accepting and less judgmental about us.

...return to the sense of mutual support and camaraderie among lolitas online.
I want to see an end to shaming and bullying on anonymous websites. Before lolita became readily available overseas, the international community was much smaller and more like a group of friends and mutual mentors. Today, there are plenty of groups to help beginners, but people seem to be more willing to criticize and make fun of each other online than actually help or just appreciate that not everyone has the same experience or skill level. Let's stop being jealous and mean and petty, and let's rebuild that sense of camaraderie.

...return to an emphasis on casual, wearable dresses and coordinates.
I know I keep repeating myself on this subject, but I really hope to see more appreciation for simple coordinates in the future. Old-school is returning slowly, and I am slowly seeing more people feel comfortable again sharing photos of everyday outfits. I want AP and BTSSB to start releasing simpler prints and less expensive dresses. Not every release needs four different kinds of lace, five detachable parts, six motifs combined into one, and seven figure prices!

...physical store in San Francisco for Innocent World.
Of course part of me would die to work here, but I don't have the education or drive to be the one to open such a store. However, my dream would be a branch here in the U.S. that might also have a space for local indie brands to display appropriate accessories. Not only do I think an Innocent World store would get more foot traffic from tourists because it is more wearable than AP or BTSSB, but it would also mean increased business for my favorite brand.

What would you like to see for the future of this fashion? Let me know in the comments, I'm really interested in your ideas and dreams.

Image credit to Tokyo Rebel

Other blogs who participated:
Pepins de Pom & Co
Poppy Noir

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