Dec 29, 2011

Pretty of the Week: Chess Story Chess Dress

This dress popped up on facebook over the holidays and was met with an out cry of 'chess chocolate copy!' but to be honest... I adore it. The dress itself looks very much like a Baby design with the construction, color ways and swoops outlining the design. It also reminds me of the bodyline charousel print, or at least the non-border portion seems very similar with the dark/light tone vertical stripes and scattered stars.

But whatever the print makes you think of, I absolutely love this design, especially the dark blue version.

Dec 27, 2011

Books for Lolitas: The Hobbit

Around mid December is the time when I tend to get nostalgic in my reading selections, and with the release of the amazing trailer, that tendency has turned towards The Hobbit.

Many many years ago, long before I'd discovered my frills - before I'd even begun to master the art of reading - I curled up on the couch with my dad and the book he'd brought me. The story was one of a kind, somewhat funny, little man that went on a great journey filled with many adventures and one really impressive dragon. It took a great many nights to work through the story just a few pages at a time. Each night my love of the words grew. Each night I loved the world Bilbo wandered through more. Parts were a bit terrifying. But then, real adventures really should be, shouldn't they?

Those nights began my love of fantasy and of reading. Tolkien holds a very special place in my heart. Through high school I obsessed over his stories. While I adore Lord of the Rings and the epic language and tales of that masterpiece, it's The Hobbit that is my comfort story. Though I've not read it through since starting college, the battered green book with its dust jacket long since disappeared and the water stain and the hand written note from my dad has followed me where ever I went. It's a quiet friend waiting patiently for me to turn around and rediscover its magic. And really, how can one not greet Gandalf as a grumpy but loving grandfather?

Hands down my favorite character. Also, owner of the world's most epic hat.

This re-read is slow, but winding around the celebrations of family seems to be right for such a personal tale - adding in more sweet memories and feelings to recall as I crack the cover. Unfortunately, I can't exactly give a flat review for this one. But a book that has so influenced the genre and is already so well known and well loved isn't one that truly needs a straight review. Rather, I hope that this love can simply be shared with others.

Dec 23, 2011

Holiday Wishes

 May you be joyful this season, no matter how you choose to celebrate.

Dec 20, 2011

Books Games for Lolitas

 I mentioned in my last post that lately I've been playing quite a few games, so I thought I'd make a post on a couple of games I'm loving at the moment. Even if they aren't particularly loli, there are still a ton of fun.

For those of you that haven't heard yet, Skyrim is a hugely amazing game, partly because it is just that. Huge. The world is massive, and there is almost no limit to what you can do. The main quest line throughout the game involves fighting dragons, but there is nothing preventing you from doing tons of other things. Currently I'm attending the Skyrim version of Hogwarts, collecting every horse available, reading every book, following foxes to hidden treasure whenever possible, defying gravity when I get too close to giants, upping my black smith skill and lock picking. The list goes on and on. Oh, and there is an adorable giant puppy following my character around. Beyond the grand scale freedom, the world is just beautiful.

The game isn't perfect. If you can't play in the default first person mode (like me) then battling and aiming is pretty difficult. With a little practice you can get used to it, or you can learn spells that just set everything on fire. Which also works, more or less. And the freedom of the game cant be as distracting as it is nifty, and it doesn't leave much room for story elements. But if story elements aren't as big of a draw for you or you have fun building the story within your own head, then this is certainly a game to check out.

The other game I've been stuck on actually went live last night. I'll start off by saying that you don't have to be a huge Star Wars fan to get into Star Wars: The Old Republic. I myself have a great deal of love for R2D2 and respect for the movies, but at heart I prefer Spock. I really only started playing because I have so much love for Bioware after the Dragon Age series that I just wanted to see what else they have to offer. My husband and I shared a game with early access and so far I'm having a blast, even though at the moment I'm only trying out the different classes to figure out which is the most fun. The game handles pretty much identically to World of Warcraft, so it's familiar to those players and easy enough to master for everyone else. Though it's an online game and there are certainly sections for parties of two or more, the game does a fantastic job of making the story personal through the use of story areas, which only you or your party can view. This means that it's much more story driven than other online games. Voice overs with interactive answering options replace the walls of quest text and answers earn you light or dark side points regardless of the side you choose at the beginning of the game. Answers can also earn or loose companion approval points.

And lets talk of companions for a moment, shall we? Jedi Knights get little droids. Little adorable beeping droids that say cute things like 'Jedi + T7-10 = Adventure!' in cute little sounds and follow you around to help defeat enemies with little electric shocks. I adore the little droid. I've heard you can receive a wookie with a smuggler character, as well, though I've yet to locate that companion.

If you like online games or Star Wars, adorable beeping droids, or maybe are just a fan of science fiction and want something fun to do over winter break that allows you to remain cozy in doors, this might be a game to try.

Dec 16, 2011

Picking Yourself Up

Sometimes in life things happen that aren't strawberries and marshmallows and sunshine. Sometimes things get bad. Sometimes things get really bad. Sometimes there are a lot of things that are really bad and they all seem to happen at once. And sometimes you deal with it by sort of shutting down, if only for a little bit.

Lately there've been a few things that have happened. To me. To people a care about. And I don't think I dealt very well with any of it. While I didn't lock myself in a dark room and learn to brood in a way that would make Batman proud, I know that internally I didn't think of things the way I should have.

What may have made things worse was that it was only on the inside. I still carried on as normal on the outside. I took myself to a meet up and had fun.

And I felt so incredibly guilty about it.

It was as if all the sudden all the things I enjoyed were so shallow. So frivolous. What right did I have to participate in these things when there was sadness around me? When people were in pain? When I was in pain? I felt useless. Greedy. Superficial.

I stopped writing. I wore my single pair of jeans more than I've worn them in a very long time. I  started burying myself in gaming, where I could deal with problems I could face down with button mashing. And then I realized how much better it made me feel. Because I enjoyed it. Because it was fun.

The point of this little self crisis is this: when life is bad, the answer is not to stop living it. And it is certainly not to start feeling guilty for living it. It is those things, those silly, fun, pointless things that everyone enjoys that make life fun. Games to play, books to read, ice cream, sweets, shopping trips, movies, eating out, conventions, meet-ups. Being true to yourself means doing those things that you love. Even the silly ones. Even the ones that seem shallow sometimes. Because you should find a way to enjoy life even when it's bad... especially when it's bad. Because it doesn't last forever.

The bad things, they're there to make the good things better.

And so I did the good things. I dove in and planned two meet ups. I met new friends. I went to movies with my husband and talked about silly things with my friends. I rode a carousel. I learned to make scones that are more than a little awesome and then ate a few too many. I played WoW in my frilly dresses and put my fancy tea in a fancy tea cup.

And I didn't feel guilty at all.

Dec 15, 2011

Pretty of the Week: Fox Cherry Fur Collars

I realize I highlight this shop more than only slightly, though to be fair I buy from them possibly more often. I've always loved their romantic, unique style and the prices lower than some places with half the quality. Lately checking their page has me positively green with envy for all the lolitas living where the weather is taking a turn towards chilly. And this even though I loath cold weather. But I simply can't help but long for these darling collars.

This one with the white rose and deer charm is by far my favorite. Not only is it beautiful, but it makes me think of the times when everything is covered in snow and everyone is thinking of spring anyways.

I also rather like this one as well. It's super classy, and a little bit old school.

Here's one that slightly sweeter.

This one is just fun, and a bit Queen of Hearts.

This set is just amazing. I'd likely never find use for the hand muff, but that doesn't mean I can't love it from afar.

These weren't the only fur collars on the list, simply my favorites. They've added new hair bows and a few new hats as well - I notices a lot of navy, which can be a hard color to find accessories for.

Also, Sanrio is giving away an adorable ceramic mug to their facebook friends this month. All you need to do is print the coupon linked through their facebook page and turn it in at a store when you spend $5. The stores not listed on the coupon are still  participating through a voucher and will have the mugs for pick up in January. This is a great way to treat yourself while getting those last minute holiday gifts. Or, if you've already finished your gift buying, reward yourself by treating yourself twice!

And to any gamer lolitas out there: How are you liking Skyrim?

Nov 22, 2011

Books TV Shows for Lolitas: Cat Street

I'm likely not the first to mention this show to many of you. I've seen it referenced a couple times on egl the past few months. But I thought I should give it a review anyways.

The thing about this show is that, actually, it sounds a bit clique and silly. A child actress gets stage fright once and basically turns into a hermit until she has friends forced upon her to save her with their friendship. And honestly, it took me a bit to get past the initial 'omg, it was one thing please get over yourself' reaction and just watch the show. And it actually turned out to be a really amazing one.

Keito is a really depressed girl. The show takes it's time with her development, which means it takes a bit for the audience to learn the real reasons behind her withdrawal from society. Though this requires a bit of a push to get past, it helps to symbolize how the character is opening up. The friends she begins opening up to are as diverse and interesting as anyone could wish for. And they each come with their own problems and pain that gets worked through during later episodes. From the boy with the stutter who wants to dance to the lolita who is was hurt from the teasing she endured at a previous school to the cool guy that doesn't like answering personal questions to the odd principal that opened up the school that brings the kids together.

But characters and plot aside, I honestly fell in love with the feel of the show. It's a rather accurate representation of the group I fell into during high school. Not that I had friends just like these, because I don't really see any matching personalities, but a tight group of friends that were each just a tiny bit odd and had a vast collection of different interest but fit together like pieces of some puzzle that didn't seem like it would even make sense. And the show made this connection without the glitz and glamor that American shows add to any high school theme. Despite one girl being a super star.  Cat Street also deals with the issue of bullying, and not in an after school special way. There is no magic grown up that steps in to stop it. These kids learn to deal and to take it into their own hands. And when that fails they learn to fall back on each other - sometimes a little awkwardly because a lot of things are awkward at that age. It's not a show about how friendship just makes everything better, but about how friends can inspire you to make yourself better and help you along the way when you need it.

Also, she's got some adorable dresses.

I really enjoyed Cat Street and highly recommend it to anyone that grew up on the care bear definition of friends and enjoys an occasional drama show.

Nov 17, 2011

Pretty of the Week: An Infanta Dress for Autumn

I really love the muted floral print and chunky brass buttons on this dress. Almost as much as I love the vest on top. The cut is flattering and the dress is just so very unique. And I have to say, I really think the model's coordinate does a lot to show it off. This is definitely one for the wish list.

Nov 10, 2011

Loliprompt: Lolita Horror Stories

Another Loliprompt post this week as I get my feet back under me. 

Today, recall a moment revolving around Lolita that sticks out in your mind as horrible, embarrassing, or otherwise facepalm-inducing.  

Did someone puke on your JSK? Did your lacey blouse get thrown in the washer by accident? Were you singled out as an example of how NOT to do Lolita, or snubbed by other Lolitas?

 Hello Kitty Ghost = way too cute!

I tend to have more good than bad responses and experiences while in lolita. But I do have a handful of horror tales.

There's the fairly typical story of a milanoo dress (I was very new to the fashion and didn't know any better) falling apart while wearing it. Horrifying for sure, but it didn't happen when I was with anyone I knew so in the end I count it as a valuable learning experience.

There are certainly outfits I look back on with horror, but the group I've been involved with is incredibly nice and no one made an issue with it. Even though I'm certain no uglier blouse has ever existed. In the history of the world. But it's still more of an internal cringe than anything.

The most memorable isn't so much a horror story, but was a really awkward moment. It was last year's International Loli Day and I was meeting up for a pizza/tea/movie night with a friend to celebrate. But said friend was a fair distance and in the town my mother lives in. So I go a few hours early to take Mom to the craft show in town. In my favorite dress, because it's loli day and I didn't fancy changing in a public bathroom and figured Mom could handle loli-me for a day. (She's not crazy about the fashion.)
I didn't know it at the time, but the center that hosted the craft show was also hosting Disney on Ice. Which meant loads of little girls were wandering the craft fair before or after seeing the show. Several times I was asked if I was a princess and because I love making kids smile I always answered yes. It had happened a few times when I notice the last girl to ask was following me. Without a parent in site. In a really crowded craft fair where I'd been running back and forth as shiny things distracted me.
While I did get her back to her mom, I was terrified the whole time that I'd unknowingly kidnapped a poor little girl by pretending to be a princess.

Another time I was aproached while at the store buying cat litter by a woman who said her daughter wanted me to know I was very lucky. My brilliant reply: 'Oh, does she want a cat?'
Turns out it was the pink wig that made me lucky. Not the cat litter.

Nov 3, 2011

Loliprompt: A Matter of Identity

I apologize for the slightly longer than anticipated delay and for the lack of a normal themed post this week. I feel it would be improper to discuss the tragedy that struck my family early this week on what should be a fun, happy sort of blog, but any prayers aimed towards my aunt, uncle, cousins and extended family at this time would certainly not be unwelcome.

Please forgive me if I find it difficult to make an excited post about pretty things today. Instead, I am going to pull out one of the loliprompts I'd meant to tackle this month.

For those of you who feel that (Gothic &) Lolita plays a big part in who you are, do you feel it is more of a social, outward identity, or a personal, inner one?
For example, is it more important for you to participate in online and in-person communities and keep up with trends, or do you feel it’s more important to do as you like regardless of other Lolitas’ trends, communities, acceptance, etc.?

 For me it is an outward expression of an inward me. That is to say, I like what I like and wear what I wear only for myself. That's not to say that I remain unaffected by trends or that participating in a community isn't important. As with all fashions, trends affect what is and isn't available and spread ideas of new ways to do things. However, I feel that, especially in an alternate fashion such as lolita that is about wearing what makes you happy, following any trend that doesn't appeal to you is a bit ridiculous. On the same note, if a new trend comes along that I like I won't refuse it on the basis of not wishing to follow the crowd.

As far as participating in a community goes, I see lolita as an opportunity. Lolita is a starting point and a reason for people to get together. Especially as I've moved several times recently to different states and different communities, I've found myself leaning on that as a means of connection. However, a fashion is only a gateway to a friendship. Much like seeing someone reading a book you like. It isn't going to make that person your friend unless you are the type of people already compatible as friends and are both willing to put effort into getting to know each other. If you are the kind of person I don't enjoy being around a shared love of frills isn't going to change that. But on the same note, if you are someone I like spending time with I don't care what you wear or even if we have very little in common.

Footnote on lolita not changing a dislike of someone's base personality: I feel that within a community it is always wrong to let personal dislike of another member (for any reason) ever make things difficult or uncomfortable for other members at community functions. Simple politeness, redirection of attention and opting not to see the person in non-meet-up situations is what I am referring to by this remark.

Oct 25, 2011

Books for Lolitas: Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The last in our spooky story theme deals with nothing less than zombies. This is a book set in a post-apocalyptic world where civilization has been reduced to a village surrounded by a fence to keep out the forest and the things that live in it. This village is ruled by the Sisterhood - who always know best. Always. Only, Mary is starting to learn things aren't the way she always thought they were and finding out secrets she didn't want to know. And when the fence breaks she must take a chance at finding the world she dreams is out there.

This is a great book for those who are interested in the idea of zombies but doesn't actually want to read a zombie book. They are never named in this story, which I felt was a perfect way to set this tale apart from others. It's also more a story of the society that came out of the fall, or zombie apocalypse if you like. And it's a story about things that are remembered and passed down to children and the dream of finding those things again, even at the risk of finding they aren't real. It's a very human story but very action based at the same time.

The first few pages were a little slow, but the writing picks up quickly and it turns into a book that's hard to put down. I will say that there are some difficult and emotional moments, and yes zombies will never be pretty, so that's something to keep in mind before picking this one up. However, it's very well written and I liked a good many of the characters quite a lot.

I hope you've enjoyed some of these darker stories, even if horror isn't your cup of tea. We will be taking a break until November 1st while I'm out of town, so I hope you all have a fun, safe Halloween!

Oct 22, 2011

Reveiw: Cock Robin's Songs, Chess Story, Fox Cherry

I order a few dresses a while back, and decided that I would get some bows to match, I found these with the help of Doris from Taobaospree. She definitely gets and A+ for this order. Not only did she direct me to great shops, but the items arrived on my birthday!

First up is Cock Robin's Songs. I got two headbands, both of which I really like.

They're both pretty simple, but I normally prefer simple bows I can add to rather than fancier bows.

This was my favorite. The lace is nice and thick and the color is perfect give it an antique sort of feel.

Lots of texture.

The headband itself has thinner lace on it. It's not really visible when worn, but I love the that they added that detail anyways.

I still need to fix this one from shipping. It turned out darker than expected, but the dress I'm wanting to match has many shades of red, so it still matches the intended dress. It also works with one I already had because it's darker, so my disappointment was very short lived. It's a nice thick velvet ribbon and very firm. Once I iron it out it should hold it's shape really well.

The headband is very plain on this one, but is nice enough - especially since it was such a good price.

Next is Chess Story. Another one Doris directed me to.
I got only the one over-sized bow. It's not exactly my style, but I've been wanting a one to try out and if I didn't care for it I had things to go with my blue dress, so it was a good chance to experiment.

The color and lace are nice, as is the fabric.

The key charm is a nice touch, but is also removable so it can fit different styles.

The back. Everything is finished very neatly and the headband is wrapped in matching fabric. It did shift around just a bit when I tried it on, but I didn't have the problem when adding it over my wig.

Fox Cherry is last. I know I post about this shop often, but with good reason. This time I ordered on of their basket bags, because I just love baskets but mostly buy vintage ones that don't always hold up well to everyday use.

It really is that pretty. It's also sturdy and nicely put together.

The flowers.

The bow has a little bird cage charm dangling off it.

It's really big, as Alyss demonstrates. It's a little large for everyday I think, but perfect for events when you'll be out all day. Also great for craft fairs and the like, as it will hold everything you need as well as small purchases.

My only complaint is that the handles are rather small and there is no shoulder strap, so I can't carry this bag and a parasol at the same time.

I've always gotten a little bonus when I order from Fox Cherry. Normally a small clip or key chain. This time, however, I got a really nice surprise - the polka-dot headband I'd posted about before! I'd been planning on ordering it, but now I have a free one. It really made my day!

Oct 20, 2011

Pretty of the Week: Already gone?

I didn't have a lot of luck with the items I picked for this week and both are already sold out - seemingly as soon as they went up. Being that I had no back-up to my back-up I've decided to show them off anyways.

First was this dress by Dear Celine. I love the toned down blue and the soft pink/red of the roses. It's just so elegant and fancy. At the same time it isn't aggressively demanding attention. It's just waiting patiently and being beautiful so that you can admire it when you have time. It's a very polite dress.

This was the one I was really excited about. I was really disappointed when it sold out later the same day, because I was hoping to buy it after my trip when a new paycheck came in. I really love book shaped bags, but brand purses are so expensive and seem small. This one was more in-budget, large enough for pretty much everyone, and with all that elegant scroll design it was really the perfect book purse. But hopefully the record time sell-out will same something possitive and we'll see more book purses in taobao shops. One can hope, at least.

Oct 18, 2011

Books Movies for Lolitas: Halloween Edition

I've never been a fan of scary films at all, but my husband is a far different story. In the spirit of compromise and bribed by shoes, I've seen more than I would have chosen to without adorable shoe involvement. And I've surprisingly found a small handful that I've actually liked on at least one level. For those looking for something for a halloween lolita meet idea, here are two of the very small handful that would be good viewing material for a movie night.

Pan's Labyrinth

I want to start off saying that this film very much earns it's rating and that there are a few hard scenes to watch, so before offering it up at a party I'd recommend watching it alone and then taking into account the guests attending. That said, this is a brilliantly done film with a dark Alice in Wonderland vibe to it, though not directly an Alice related story. It also has a number of Grimm fairy tales elements and will leave you wondering. It's also a beautifully filmed story with really interesting sets and unique monster designs.

You may be sleeping with the lights on for a while.

And speaking of sleeping with the lights on...

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Probably both the most beautiful and most terrifying house I've ever seen. The beginning of the film felt very much like a tense, modern version of Secret Garden but then descends into utter terror. My future (far far away future) children will never be allowed to leave teeth for the tooth fairy. And when they ask why I will show them this film and they will thank me for being so loving and protective.

I will say that I love the girl in this film who deals with her personal emotional troubles, the terrifying monsters and the adults' disbelief in said monsters in a very believable way. The script was very well written and well performed to pull it off so well. And again, the setting is utterly gorgeous.
And utterly terrifying. 

They're hungry.

Oct 13, 2011

Pretty of the week: Fox Cherry's new items

Fox Cherry is one of my favorite places to go for accessories. They're affordable, adorable and a little bit different. It doesn't hurt that their hats have a billion different detachable bows and flowers that make it super easy to fit to any sort of coordinate. And now that I received my last order I can vouch for their quality - not quite Brand quality, but more than amazing for what you pay. While checking earlier this week I notice that they'd had a major update with tons of new items. Most of these were mini hats or autumn/winter accessories, but they also included a ton of bows and even some jewelry, which is exciting because I adore the chokers I got.

Possibly my favorite new item are these adorable earmuffs. I really like the detailing - the lace, the pearls, the crystal with it's tiny little bow. They look so soft and dreamy, and the little wing charm makes them seem angelic, even. These are totally on my wish list.

 Some of the new bows that I really like. They're simple but each has something small to make it a little bit special. I'm really loving the polka-dot bow with the flowers.

 Mini hat! I've been thinking of finding a really cute mini hat now that I'm a bit happier with my hair length but admit it's not long enough to look just right with my larger hats yet. I'm leaning towards this, which makes me think of walks in palace gardens and fancy tea parties.

More autumn/winter hats that I can't resist. The top one just looks so classic and perfect, and the second just looks cool. And has a rabbit in the lace. I find it very hard to say no to rabbits.

A couple of the necklaces, though certainly not the only jewelry added. They had things for practically every style, and even had some adorable earrings. I just really like the ballerina and fairy themes in these two and how it's incorporated through the whole piece. From the crystal drops and lace to the bows and branches. It really makes them feel unique.

Rose headbands seem to be a trend right now, and these are really great ones. 

The pirate hats were the most fun of the updates. The brown and red one is just too pretty.