22 July 2017

Taobao Resellers or Shopping Services?

Taobao seems like some insurmountable mountain to jfashionistas who haven't ordered from it before. While it is in Chinese, and while most shops don't ship internationally, ordering from Taobao doesn't have to be painful.

There are a few tutorials out there on how to navigate Taobao and buy from stores directly if you happen to have a Chinese bank/address to ship to, but the easiest way to order from Taobao is through resellers or shopping services.

I've used both and want to share the pros and cons that I've seen with both. I'll let you make the decision what you want to use when you decide to buy, but it's good to get the full picture on your options.

Taobao Resellers

At first, the only resellers of cute clothes from Taobao lurked around on Storenvy. Those still exist, but now there are more legitimate companies that stock and order lolita from Taobao.

One such company is Devil Inspired. They do both pre-orders and stock items from popular Taobao lolita brands.

Devil Inspired recently sent me a dress from Soufflesong - which you can buy directly, but ordering through Devil Inspired is more convenient for ordering items from different shops at the same time.

I chose the Rose Mary onepiece in pink in size large. If you have a larger bust, you know the struggle of sacrificing a boobloaf for ordering a size up and hoping it doesn't look to baggy. This is what I did, and I don't regret it. This dress is super comfortable and easy to move around in. It's lined with thin cotton, which makes it nice for the summer even though it has long sleeves.

The downside to using a reseller is you are paying a bit more for your items than you would be from using a shopping service. The upside is that you don't have to calculate fees and shipping based n weight for your budget - the reseller does this for you in the listing price. Everything is in English so you don't need to use a translator to figure out sizes and such, and they might have some items already in stock.

Taobao Shopping Services

The shopping service I use is Spreenow, which I also recommend. What I like about them in particular is their convenient shopping cart system and really friendly customer service. They ask for full payments for pre-orders at the beginning, but they do all the work.

The downside to using a shopping service is that you have to go out into the wild of Taobao yourself and tell them what you want. You also have to remember to add in their fees and calculate shipping when you decide to make an order. The upside is that shopping service fees are often less than markups from resellers and you have more freedom to order whatever you want - even if it isn't lolita fashion related.

Conclusions: Taobao Resellers or Shopping Services?

I'm not here to tell you which is the better option for ordering from Taobao. That's up to you. There are upsides and downsides to both, and you should definitely weigh your options.

What do you use when you shop on Taobao? If you haven't ever ordered from there before, what are you waiting for?! Just kidding... let me know below what you think!

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14 July 2017

Plains Derailed! 5 Things In My Wardrobe That Just Didn't Work

Can you think of that one item that makes you shake your head at yourself? I bet you have one in mind!

I can think of five things that I bought that just didn't work in my lolita wardrobe.

We've all made bad purchases before (I even made a video about how to avoid this!), and some of us love to gripe about how stupid we were. I'm one of those people. I love listening to purchase horror stories, and that includes sad tales of dream dresses that didn't fit or new items that came in the wrong color.

It's drama without hurting anyone!

This week's Lolita Blog Carnival topic is just that - five things that didn't work. Keep reading to see some of my mistakes:

Haenuli's Matryoshka Cat

This dress is still super cute to me, even years after I sold it. The cats were too adorable with their big eyes and tiny grandma shawls. Too bad I just never got into royal blue, and I didn't like any of the other colorways either. I only wore this twice (one to help man a lolita consignment shop, two to a meetup at a Lithuanian restaurant) before selling it to someone who's wardrobe hopefully included brighter primary colors.

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright's Salon de Thé Minette

I originally wanted the necklace because of the cute cat in a pile of teacups (see a theme so far?) and just bought the skirt for the print since the necklace sold out everywhere instantly. I still yearn for it... Anyways, the colors ended up just being a little off for me to really match it to anything in my lolita wardrobe. I had mint where the skirt was green, and I had pink where the skirt was almost lavender. I kept it around for a long time but recently sold it.

Angelic Pretty's Sugary Chiffon

I still own this blouse, only worn once! I got this as a gift actually, and I was originally excited because the three-quarter sleeves with the chiffon cutouts were beautiful. Unfortunately, it really only matches one or two dresses. I guess I thought I had more dresses that would match a bright baby pink blouse than I did, most of my sweet JSKs are pink themselves.

Haenuli Tights

This heading is so generic because I honestly don't know the name of these tights. Please let me know if you do! Like the blouse, I still own these but never wear them. They do match my wardrobe, but when worn, the business looks bad on me. We all know I don't have the skinniest legs, so the delicate furniture is stretched out. I've since learned that I look better in simpler legwear, and they're easier to wear with busy prints.

Himena's Olivia's Room

I like the motif of dollhouses and rooms, and I jumped at this Taobao predorder. I still love the print, but I wish I had ordered the ivory instead of the pink. If you've witnessed my dismay over the true color of my Imai Kira pieces, then you know I have bad luck with pinks that are actually purple. This is also the case here. I still love it and match it with white, but I do wish it had worked a bit better with my wardrobe.

Let me know in the comments what you've regretted purchasing. What things just didn't work in your lolita wardrobe?

Also, please check out the other participants in this week's theme.

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24 June 2017

Bringing Back the Old School Aesthetic

What we now call "old school" lolita used to be the only style we wore. Chunky lace, puffed sleeves, simple cotton dresses, long bloomers.

In 2016 old school seemed to be making a comeback, even if only a mild attempt. Baby, the Stars Shine Bright's classical series offers brand new pieces of some of the company's old school designs.

Personally, I am enjoying seeing this small revival of old school. I don't wear the style often, and I only have one blouse and one JSK that would be considered true to the style. My own style and wardrobe has shifted away from cotton lace and knee-highs since I first started, and original pieces probably wouldn't match too many things in my closet.

It Started With an Idea...

Someone in my local community decided to host a picnic in a picturesque field. This adventure was to be a collaborative art project between a few friends, taking artistic photos in old school lolita. 

The picnic itself was intended to be Victorian-inspired and eco-friendly, so we brought our own china and silverware. No tupperware or paper plates to be found!

A few problems did emerge... Despite having a potluck thread on the Facebook event page, we were not particularly efficient with the dishes. We had six teapots, three creamers, a dozen tea cups, but no plates. Using the extra saucers as plates may have looked silly, but it worked.

Time For Baking!

Last week, I posted a list of six of my favorite ways to decorate a cake with minimal effort or talent. I love decorating cakes, but for this picnic I decided to bake one that needed no additional decoration. It speaks for itself. I made a hot milk cake - a recipe from the Great Depression that uses ingredients in a way that makes the most out of readily available ingredients while still maintaining a creamy, sweet taste.

I regret taking my cake in a glass cake display, my arms were definitely sore after hiking with about thirty pounds. The glass was unnecessarily heavy, and I'm sure it didn't help that I also brought a full Royal Albert tea set, a milk glass creamer and bowl, my bulky camera, a wool blanket, and a thick ceramic baking dish (because forgetful me had to rush and bake the cake right before I left, I had to let it cool in its dish up until I cut it).

Most of the food was homemade, which was impressive. We had lemon scones, hardboiled tea eggs, poppyseed muffins with fig jam, four kinds of tea sandwiches, fresh fruit, petit cheox, and about a dozen different kinds of tea.

Kamikaze Girls Redux

Because our hostess wanted to turn this meet into an old school lolita photoshoot, we took a lot of pictures after lunch. Me being me, I also took video footage for a vlog. Check it out here!

As well as individual outfit shots and candid photos during the picnic, we all stood out in the field for a group shot. We were posed to look like a moody jrock band about to drop a hot new album. As well as an obligatory dabbing shot because we're dorky like that.

While photoshoots never really show you the struggle behind the photo (the wind strong and cold, the sun dry and hot, and the grass painful and messy), they can portrait an ideal image. I think the few photos I did get were successful at creating the kamikaze girl aesthetic of whimsy and melancholy. 

Photo credit to Ouji Photography

Photo credit to Ouji Photography

Some of My Favorite Things

I love bad jokes and find them everywhere. The dress I wore to this picnic is the only remaining old school main piece I own, and it's called My Favorite Things. It just so happens that this afternoon did combine some of my favorite things - good food, good company, and frilly clothes.

Normally, I would give you a detailed rundown of my outfit. Fortunately, everything I wore other than my petticoat and shoes was from Baby, the Stars Shine Bright. I'm not a brandwhore, I swear!

My coordinate was perfect for the aesthetic theme of the picnic, but it was terrible for the location. We had to hike a decent distance along a rough trail, up a hill, and through the field full of tall grass with burrs and foxtails. Let's just say that it'll be difficult to completely clean my socks and my calves hated my footwear decision. 

Bring Back the Old School Aesthetic

The aesthetic and feeling of lolita has changed significantly over the years. I love the romanticism of the old lifestyle lolita and want to bring some of that back into my daily life.

Even if you don't like old school style of clothing, I think everyone can find something idealistic and appealing in the way our subculture was back then. The camaraderie, the precious rarity of the clothing, and the almost child-like aspiration to live in a dream world of simple sweetness and elegance.

I want to see a revival of the old school aesthetic. What about you?

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17 June 2017

Cookie Bear Review

Back when buying lolita on Taobao was limited to a handful of trusted shops, buying something from a store without a lot of sales or reviews was risky. Nowadays, it is far less dangerous to order something from a shop that only stocks a couple pieces. It isn't Russian Roulette anymore!

I absolutely adore sailor collared things, especially in lolita. I saw this preorder pop up in Lolita Updates, and I asked my shopping service to preorder it for me. I love the one I use, and they're really good for preorders. Just add the items you want, and they'll adjust the price you pay them once they confirm you know it's a preorder and will pay the full amount up front.

I love the dress I got from Cookie Bear, and I will definitely purchase something from them again if I see something I can't resist!

What I Got:

I preordered the onepiece and the matching felt beret in grey. Other color options were navy, red, and sax. I've been really loving light grey lately, so I couldn't pass up a cute sailor collar onepiece in the perfect shade of grey. I don't regret it.

The price for the dress was 418yuan (62usd), and the beret was 98yuan (15usd). Really decent price for the quality I got but average for Taobao brands.

It came with a detachable bow for the collar and a ribbon to tie around the waist. I really appreciated that the ribbon was made from the same material as the dress, instead of just a long piece of cheap grosgrain ribbon.

The Fit: 

I ordered a size L for the onepiece. While I can't actually read the measurements on Cookie Bear's product page, I can guess by looking at the numbers that it should have a 96cm bust and 82cm waist.

This feels pretty accurate. I wanted to get a size larger than I needed so it would be loose and comfy instead of fitting perfectly, and I'm glad I did. Since there is no shirring, the extra room is nice!

The beret fits nice and tight on my head (which is pretty average I suppose). I don't think it would fit very well on a wig, but it fits perfectly for wearing on top of your natural hair.

The Quality: 

For only sixty dollars, the quality is amazing. While the beret is a little misshapen, I understand wool is thick and is difficult to keep form.

The dress is fully lined, sleeves included, and is made from a nice fabric. It is thin enough to wear in the summer and thick enough to wear in the winter with an under-layer.

The stitching looks perfect, and the trim is quality as well. I couldn't find any lint or stray threads anywhere.

The sleeve cuffs can be opened with two buttons (although they are tough to get through the eyes) but weren't too difficult to put my hands through anyways.

Something that lolita brands often fail at no matter how expensive the dress is: zippers. So far, I have not had a single problem with the zipper Cookie Bear used. I am impressed.

The Details: 

As I've already mentioned, I am quite pleased with the quality and attention to detail Cookie Bear has done for the price of the dress.

I love the color balace between the grey, white, and gold. The different layers of trim are unique and really add to the simple elegance of the dress.

There are two pockets even though it has a side zipper. Come on Angelic Pretty, step up your game! My boyfriend couldn't tell it even had pockets just from looking at it on me, which is pretty impressive.

This dress definitely passed the twirl test and the slouch test - two very important points in my book!

Overall, I am in love with what I ordered. Please take a look at my video review for more detail shots and to see it worn.

I hope you consider buying from them if you like something you see - you won't regret it!

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10 June 2017

6 Easy Cake Decorating Ideas

Fun fact about me: when I was in high school I wanted to be a cake decorator. Needless to say, that career aspiration never really went anywhere. I do still love decorating cakes for parties though, and I want to share some really easy ideas that even someone with little to no decorating skills can do.

Maybe you want to treat yourself or go all out for the next tea party potluck!

1. Candied Flowers

This one I've done a few times before, and it looks amazing if you get the right flowers. You can use petals or whole flowers - but you might want to pick a sturdy one for that. Make sure to research which flowers are non-toxic and edible in case someone tried to eat it!

How it works is this: trim off any stems or leaves you don't want (or you can leave a little bit on to anchor the flower into the frosting), gently coat the petals with egg white, lightly dust the flower in sugar, let dry, and arrange on your cake.

Image credit: Sherri Silver

2. Fresh Fruit

Decorating with fruit is probably one of the healthiest options, and you can make a myriad of different color combinations and schemes. Peach slices and raspberries, kiwis and bananas, starfruit, the options are endless.

As a surprise present for my boyfriend, I made a hot milk cake and decorated it with vanilla frosting and fresh strawberries from the farmer's market. I love taking the ugliest pieces and covering them with white sugar and letting the mixture sit in the fridge for several hours, mixing every so often. This makes the strawberries so much sweeter and produces a simple strawberry syrup to pour over the cake. Yum!

Image credit: Elena

3. Candy & Chocolate

This idea is easy but not for the health-conscious. I've found that the hardest part is guessing exactly how much candy to buy - too little and you won't have enough, too much and you can't help but eat all the leftovers!

Instead of kitkats and M&Ms, you can also use other candies such as jellybeans, pocky, chocolate covered strawberries, sour belts, wafer sticks, etc. Like the photo below, you might consider trying a cute ribbon around the cake to help keep everything in place before you serve the cake.

Image credit: thecookieshop

4. Almond Slices (Whole Ones Too...)

Presumably you could decorate with other nuts, but I've personally never tried. Almonds are super versatile and go with many different cake flavors.

My personal favorite method is pressing almond slices into the frosted cake sides to look like over-lapping shingles, but there are many other really easy things to do with almonds. Sprinkle almond crumbles on the top, arrange almonds in flower shapes, make all kinds of patterns, even stick slices into fudge/cookie dough and make pinecones!

Image credit: Elizabeth LaBau

5. 3D Chocolate

You don't need a culinary degree or an expensive 3D printer to make really cool shapes out of chocolate. All you need is some chocolate to melt, a plastic bag with the tip cut off, wax paper, and a design you want to trace.

Here's how to do it: melt the chocolate you want to use, fill a plastic bag halfway with the melted chocolate and cut off a tiny bit of one corner, place the wax paper on top of the design you want to trace, twist the top of the bag and squeeze carefully to pipe the melted chocolate onto the wax paper, let dry, and place where you want it. If you are making something more complicated, you can "glue" together dry pieces together with more melted chocolate.

I've used this decorating technique before for an intricate gingerbread house I made a couple of years ago (if you didn't believe my love for decorating, you will once you see it!)

Image credit: Emma Galati

6. Dusted Powdered Sugar

This idea I have used several times - sometimes with powdered sugar, sometimes with sprinkles. It's really easy, and it works even on cake that isn't frosted.

All you need to do is put your cake on a surface that is easily cleaned like saran wrap, place whatever object or cut-out you want onto the surface, and lightly dust the powdered sugar over the area you want covered.

A tip: this works the best on darker frosting or cake colors like chocolate, red velvet, or green tea.

Image credit: Painted by Cakes

I hope you got some inspiration for your next baking adventure. If you don't bake - maybe you're just inspired to indulge in a store-bought slice!

Comment if you like lifestyle inspiration posts like this, I'd love to make more!

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09 June 2017

5 Tips to Beat the Heat While in Lolita

For the northern hemisphere, summer is fast approaching if it isn't here already. The layers of lolita are much more suited for cooler weather, so avoiding sweat stains and body odor perforating each layer of frills is a challenge.

I wanted to talk about "lolita hacks" for beating the heat instead of reiterating the same mantra of chiffon blouses, avoiding wigs, and wearing ankle socks. These five tips are more outside the box for keeping cool in lolita.

1. Keep your hair off your neck. Sometimes it simply isn't enough to avoid wigs and bulky curls. Even natural hair can trap in body heat if it's long enough to reach your shoulders. From many summers of trial and error, keeping your hair off your neck is really what's important. Braids, buns, ponytails - just make sure air can dry the sweat on the back of your neck before it gets disgusting.

2. Bring a fan. For some reason, I don't see a lot of lolitas in my local community bringing fans to outdoors meets during the summer. I always bring one if the weather is going to be hot or the event is going to be somewhere potentially stuffy. Fans really do help, and they're under-appreciated tools. Use wide, slow strokes to avoid tiring yourself out - it will cool you off the same as short, fast flutters.

3. Mesh tights. Tights can work during the heat, but stay away from thick printed ones. Mesh tights, like fishnets or crocheted lace patterns, are actually pretty breathable and the holes will catch a light breeze to cool off your legs. If I'm going to be walking around a lot outdoors, I prefer mesh tights to ankle socks because it helps prevent the dreaded "chub rub" rash.

4. Bring a cooling face mist. I personally love the tea tree spray from Lush, but any face mist will work. This worked wonders for me when I was in Berlin during the hottest week of the year. Lightly spritz yourself once in a while to refresh yourself in hot weather.

5. Ditch the bloomers and use cotton lining. Bloomers will trap in heat to one of the hottest parts of your body (gross I know, but true!) and just add another layer. I suggest layering your petticoats so you have a cotton-lined one as the bottom layer. Cotton is more breathable and won't stick to your thighs like polyester lining will. It will also soak up some sweat instead of making you feel sticky and gross all day. You can always wash it after! If you don't have any that are lined in cotton, sew/buy a really cheap cotton slip to wear under your petticoats.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Comment your own lolita "heat hacks" below, I'd love to hear more! You can never have too many tips for avoiding sweat...

Also, please check out the other participants in this week's theme.

Other blogs who participated:
Poppy Noir

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03 June 2017

Preparing For Your First Meetup

This post probably won't be of much use for my more experienced readers, but for someone who has never been to a lolita meetup before it could be really helpful.

Meeting new people is hard, especially if you have any kind of social anxiety or are generally super shy. Most lolitas I've met are friendly and welcoming to new people. There's nothing to be afraid of!

Here are some tips for preparing for your first meetup - I hope they help you feel more confident in making friends with your local community or with lolitas you may meet while traveling.

  • If there is an online event post, look at who is attending and try to remember faces and names. Nobody is perfect, and you'll probably want to formally introduce yourself anyways. If you introduce yourself and reply to their name with "Oh, nice to meet you X. I think I recognize you from Facebook/Instagram/Etc." they'll feel flattered. 
  • Prepare your coordinate the night before. If you're frustrated with how something looks or can't find that missing sock, you'll be too stressed to enjoy yourself. While you don't have to look absolutely perfect, being prepared will help fight the fear of looking bad.
  • Arrive fifteen minutes early. A saying I love goes: If you're on time, you're already late. Double check when the meet starts and give yourself wiggle room for traffic and finding the location. Being late to a formal event - such as a tea party or a tour - will cause trouble for the host and could delay the activity. 
  • Bring cash, especially small bills. Dining out together goes smoothly if you have cash on hand instead of trying to split the check with a dozen different cards. It is also incredibly handy to have small bills, because inevitably someone will ask if anyone has change for a $20.
  • Listen more than you speak. The best way to make friends is to remember what they've told you and ask them about it later. Pay attention to who likes what, what they do for a living, and what they don't like. People love talking about themselves, so ask them open-ended questions. You have this fashion in common, so you already have an icebreaker.
  • Thank the host for the event. You don't have to make a lengthy thank-you on the Facebook event page, but just thanking the host in person will make them feel like the hassle of hosting the meet was worth it. Let them know you had a good time meeting everyone, and you look forward to seeing them again.
  • Remember that lolitas are people too. They might not want to automatically be your best friend, be in all your selfies, or cover your drink because you forgot your wallet at home. Be polite and respectful, and don't be discouraged if it takes a while for them to include you in their social circle.

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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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