Jun 30, 2011

Pretty of the Week: Another New Infanta Dress!

I know it wasn't too long ago that I posted a rather long list of pretty things from Infanta, but there was one that came out after my post that I just adore! It comes in pink and black colorways, though they are listed as separate items rather than as color options for the same dress. I just love the pleating at both the top and bottom. It gives the dress texture that a lot of summer dresses seem to lack. I also love the sweetness of the pink color, with the tiny tiny flowers. It just seems so cute.

Captain America Giveaway Winner + 30 Day Challenge - Just Me Pre-Loli

Congratulations to Angel!
She's the winner of the Captain America Giveaway with her long distance teleportation powers!

Day 12 – A picture of yourself before lolita came in to your life.

I wasn't sure how far back to go with this, since I was a fan of the style way before I ever even considered wearing it, then semi-forgot about the fashion during college when I had other things to be stressed about. But I couldn't find decent pictures from pre-high school, so I hope showing a picture from before I wore lolita works.

Dressed as the Dread Pirate Roberts. Yes. I know it makes no sense. It was fun anyways.

Oh look! This was before lolita! (I'm the kid in the pink shirt) I really had no idea what to do with the baby, I think.

Jun 28, 2011

Two Hearts: My Views on Perfect Endings

It isn't a secret that I adore The Last Unicorn beyond all rational and sane levels of adoration. This is the book on which I formed my ideals of what a good story should be. It gave me the idea that bad things bring good things, that what seem like endings are actually beginnings, that it's never too late to see your unicorn, and generally inspired a lot of artwork and hero worship. If I were to select one book that is the most personal to me, this would be it.

So when I say that I only just now got around to reading the sequel, Two Hearts, I don't want you to think that I'm a liar about my love of the story. I bought it years ago, meaning to read it right away. Only... I couldn't bring myself too do it. You see, TLU is my definition of a perfect ending. There is victorious triumph and glorious heartbreaking sorrow all wrapped into a perfect moment and given life within perfect dialogue. And so I couldn't bring myself to read the 'what happened next' bit. What if it was the happy ending that ruined the whole point of the original story? Even if I disliked it enough to deny to myself that it was a part of the story, I could never un-read it. It would be forever in my head, potentially destroying something that meant so much to me.

But at last I gathered up courage and turned the page.

I still can't call it an ending to Amalthea's story. How can you end the story of something eternal? Her quest was over when she turned to go back to her forest, I think. There is no more ending that she requires. I could call it the end of Lir's story, but I think perhaps that too happened already by the time this story is told. And this feels much larger than the end of something as simple as the story of a character whose great victories and tragedies have already been told.

In many of the longer fantasy series, there is a progression of ages. Ages of prosperity and ancient magic give way to ages of heroes overcoming great challenges that in turn give way to more mundane ages where simpler heroes hang on to magic and legends past - fighting for their return or simply using them as a means to defeat whatever trial is threatening the age they inhabit. And so on. But the change from one age to the next is seldom ever shown in fiction. Oh, Tolkien added it into footnotes if you know where to look, though he was never an overly emotional writer (however lovely his words), and C.S. Lewis included only the briefest hint of characters from one age expressing shock at the changes in the next, but even then it is glazed over as unimportant. In fact, the only time I have ever read about the moments that turn a world from one age to another are the ones that start ages of restoration. The moments that are themselves the triumphs of the story. The turning from ages of heroes to ages of ordinary life when great quests are forgotten as anything other than tales for children is never shown. One assumes that they are so simple and so gradual as to have no defining moment whatsoever.

Two Hearts is, I think, a story that proves this assumption wrong. I don't wish to give too much of the story away, but it is only fair to warn you that this ending is utterly and entirely heartbreaking. I managed to read it through and place the book gently aside before starting my twenty minutes of quiet sobbing, but I think it was managed by the great fear of water damage on the pages that only a former librarian can muster. It was utterly devastating. And utterly, completely, unbelievably perfect.

The story is written through the eyes of a character new to readers of the original book. A trick which made the tale possible to tell, I think. There is a single moment - appropriately resting on a unicorn's decision - which feels, to me, like the final bell rung at the death of some great and wonderful age. And the birth of another. Because this single, perfect, soul-rending moment where the reader understands is not the end of the story. Efforts to hold back tears and not cover pages in salty wrinkles and snot subside into a small flickering of hope for what will come - whether it's something that will ever be written or not is absolutely unimportant. If there are no happy endings because nothing ends, then there are no sad endings for the same reason.

So, yes, in the end I am glad to know the way the story continues. It was not, perhaps, what many were hoping for. I know many, many people that believe very firmly that happy endings are the only way to end such a tale. But for me, this is so very right that it's hard to describe. It is perfect because it is an ending - not to one thing or even one story, but to many things and many stories - that hurts. That means something. That will be, can be, must be held and cherished and pondered and pulled out to be studied on a personal and individual level. But it is also right for not being an ending at all but a beginning to... something. And perhaps it's right that the readers are left, for now at least, to imagine on their own what that something might be. That is the happy ending for me - the promise of beginning that overshadows pain.

Books for Lolitas: Kamikaze Girls

Earlier last week I got my hands on I book I'd been wanting for quite a while now. I'd seen the movie prior to reading the book and while I adore the movie and have found myself re-watching it frequently, I simply couldn't stand not having read the book as well.

Kamikaze Girls by Novala Takemoto

Most girls within the lolita community are at least familiar with the title, if not the story, as it seems to be a sort of lolita bible. I've seen more than one list that has included viewing the film as a right of passage into true lolita-hood. I don't agree that everyone has to see the film or even read this book to be considered a lolita, or even that all the things the book and movie say about lolita are true fro everyone. And I hardly feel like this is a title I have to point out to any lolita out there. But having waited so long and enjoying it so much, I had to write a review for it for my sake. So please bear with me as I indulge.

The story opens with our narrator, a lolita named Momoko. She is her own ideal of the perfect lolita and dedicates her life to living a beautiful lifestyle. Early on in the book she sets out to sell some of her father's fake merchandise to make money for her shopping trips to Baby the Stars Shine Bright. The ad is answered by a yanki on a pink tricked out scooter named Ichiko (Also, Ichigo). Telling much more, I think, is a little pointless as it's the growth from this point that makes the book special.

Before I start in on the themes within the book I would like to say a few words about the writing itself. I wasn't expecting the arrangement of words to be anything special, given that it was originally a Japanese novel. I was pleasantly surprised by the voice that flowed up from the pages, however. It was purely beautiful and Momoko was very much alive as a narrator. I was disappointed only by one count - the use of curse words throughout the book. Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all sensitive to cursing and I believe that it's a very effective tool in writing when used properly. Who can forget Mrs. Weasley screaming what is one of the most effective bits of dialogue in the Harry Potter series? But when not used sparingly repetition renders it utterly pointless and turns it into nothing more than an unpleasant factor to consider when recommending the book to others. Given the writing in all other aspects I'm given to thinking this is simply a miss handling in translation and difference in culture and language. Or at least that's the thought that makes me happiest. Other than the foul word here and there, however, the book is very beautifully written.

On to talking about Momoko. Her ideas of being a lolita are what form the framework of the story. I have to say that I don't agree with many of them. In the first bit of actual story her attitude annoyed me. Up until the point when Ichigo comes in and I realized something that changed how I viewed her entirely. Momoko has a very strict idea of what it means to be a lolita, some of it ridiculous and most of the rest improbable, inconvenient or both. The reason I dislike her ideas in the beginning is that it is so ridiculous to expect people to live that way. But the thing is, as much as she holds herself to these standards, she actually never expects them from others. It is only within herself that she is firm in her ideals. Yes, she may mock others for bad taste, but reading the book you notice that it is only in her head and that when she does point out flaws out loud it is only to Ichigo, between the two of them and after they have known each other for quite a while.

No, Momoko is not a good person. She is in no way someone I want to be and her ideas of debt, friendship, work and what is and isn't ok for lolita are not things I want to incorporate into my own beliefs. But how lovely would it be if everyone could hold so firmly to whatever belief they have and expect exactly none of it from others?  While I realize that statement is in itself asking others to adopt a belief and thus proves I don't yet have this virtue myself, I think it's still a lovely thought. Think of how much better we would get along, not just within the lolita community but in the world as a whole.

I think the words that best sum up how I feel at the end of reading this book are those written in the afterword. "Let's all get along while following our own paths and doing whatever the hell we want!"

 It just looks like much more fun!

I may also have been inspired to start a debate with my husband over the safety of owning and driving a glittery cotton candy pink scooter.

Don't forget to enter the contest! I'll be selecting a winner tomorrow afternoon, so put your name in while you can. 

Jun 25, 2011

Captain America Movie Give Away!

I have to admit that he isn't my favorite of heroes, but he has a very interesting movie trailer out and I am starting to get really excited about seeing this film.  So the only logical thing is to have a giveaway!

Candy, 2 macaron necklaces, a fluffy star pin, star hair clip, pen and polka dot socks!

To win this prize simply be a follower of this blog and then leave a comment on this post to tell me your email, what you would do with your own superpower and an ordered number. A winner will be selected and contacted on Wednesday the 29th. This is, however, open only to US residents do to shipping.

Jun 23, 2011

Pretty of the Week: Classical Puppets

This might be a shop you've heard of in relation to petticoats, but not one I've seen talked about for much else. Not so long ago, however, I noticed an extremely beautiful dress they had for sale.

The front.

 The back

Some of the lovely details.

While without having seen anything from the shop outside of petticoats doesn't give a lot to judge the quality of the dress, I have to say that on a purely visual scale I prefer this dress to any of the special dresses Baby has put out recently. It costs much more than one would expect from a taobao shop, but if the price and the overdone style isn't for you, they have a similar dress toned down a bit for more normal wear.

Honestly, I'm in love with those flower covered bustle ruffles.

Jun 21, 2011

30 Day Challenge - A Day in Pictures

Day 11 – One day in your lolita life in pictures.

So on Saturday I decided to take pictures throughout the day for this challenge and it was actually a lot harder than I thought. Partially because I was trying to DO things and partially because half of the day was spent unpacking and such at home. But I have enough to give everyone an idea, I think.

I got up and got ready pretty early.

Before I left I helped the kitten make Matt a father's day card.

Mmm. Breakfast.

Stop one.

Jewelpets are adorable. I bought to make-up bag.

Walking around the mall (I'd never been to this one before) I saw this and had no choice.

Second breakfast. (Free raspberry star! Score!) But I was so caught up in chocolate-bannanna-goodness I didn't take picks of Claires or the game stop I went in.

Up next was the book store. I took photos of maybe 20 or so covers to remember for later. Here are a few that looked extra interesting.

Then to the antique mall to pick up my cameo! Isn't she pretty!

I went back home after that to get to work. But before I started I changed into something comfy.

Washed all the dishes because moving vans are icky.

Put them all away. With a much nicer kitchen the Hubby and I sat down for micro dinner lunches and watched Sherlock Holmes do awesome things. (no picks, sorry)

I eventually stopped browsing craft ideas and made steak pinwheels for dinner.

And we ate this while we watched Torchwood and Colbert.

As a bonus, I ran to the craft store and made fluffy stars from this amzing tutorial the next morning.

Jun 18, 2011

30 Day Challenge - What's in the bag?

Day 10 – What’s in your bag?

This would probably be a much more interesting post if I'd had my strawberry bag today, as it holds much much more I would get to show off my batman wallet. But I'm wearing Aristokitty today, and before, when I'd worn it at Matt's parent's, his mom gave me a purse to go with it. Because she is a million different kinds of awesome like that. So instead of my strawberry I have my adorable black rose:

It's so cute but hard to photograph!

But this isn't a question about what the bag looks like. So here's what I have inside:

Keys to my car and the house, attached to a magic Tardis that actually holds any of my paper money. It's bigger on the inside. My pokewalker, the one that matches with soul silver as indicated by the charm. A key to the new work office I've not put on my key ring yet. A bag of white floral tea just in case. A note pad. A pink, mini, hello kitty glitter pen. Lip gloss. A purple, mini, hello kitty glitter pen. Necessary cards.. A hello kitty mirror/hairbrush compact - a gift from my amazing husband who knows that hello kitty is far more effective at curing colds than any medicine. My phone, not pictured as it's also my camera.

And that's what's in my purse. Days when I use my strawberry purse I'm likely to also have my mini sketch book or notebook, my batman wallet, my bubblegum pink DS and a handful of game cases. Days when I have my basket purse I may also had a paperback book and a bento box in there. Because a basket purse if pointless if you can't pack it for a picnic on occasion.

Jun 17, 2011

Day 9 – 10 things you will never do in lolita

Swimming – Obviously this isn’t smart with so much fabric. I already sink like a rock.

White water rafting – Not only for the reasons above and the possibility of ruining all the pretty clothes, but it would look rather tacky with the life vest.

Paintball – This is obvious.

Cleaning - Who want's cleaning smells clinging to their nice clothes? And maybe it's just me, but when I'm scrubbing the bathroom I kinda want to be in comfy, baggy pj pants.

 Oh look! Matt is so handsome! Aaaaw!

Get married – Don't get me wrong, I love formal loli. But getting married in it would require both a time machine and giving up the gorgeous super long dress I had, which I don't see happening.

  Although, There were teddy bears decorating the cake table...

Art – I ruined many clothes over years of art classes. By the end of it all I’d taken to wearing all black just so the charcoal stains wouldn’t be obvious. I always change into my old art class clothes when I want to work on something.

Rock climbing – Everyone could see up your skirts! I know bloomers prevent them seeing anything, but still.

Make chocolates – It’s so messy, even with an apron. It seems like it would be the perfect loli activity, but it's hard to clean out and Murphy's law means it will get exactly where the apron isn't.

Sleep – The petticoats are far too lumpy and it leads to so much ironing. I mean, ok, I'v nodded off in the car in loli on trips, but actually laying down on a bed to sleep? No thanks.

Horseback riding – It seems so very romantic, but to be honest they don’t really smell like roses and animal smells can be difficult to completely get out. Also, all the little buckles seem dangerous for delicate fabrics.

Jun 16, 2011

Pretty of the Week: Fox Cherry

Instead of pointing out a single item, I thought I would instead point out a shop. Summer is the perfect time to add hats into your wardrobe. Fox Cherry is a fantastic place to find lovely hats and hair pieces, all of which are extraordinarily elegant.

This cute sailor themed hat is so detailed! There are a crystal and captain's wheel charm attached to the ends of the white ribbons, lace on the brim, pearls and detachable bows on the front. I ordered this to match a sailor dress I'm getting.

This one is a bit more classic, with ribbons and roses and a darker base. The lace adds a really striking contrast, too.

Their hair pieces are just as lovely, I love the pearl details and the little crystal drop.

This one I ordered for myself. The blue roses and ribbon and the lace details are so charming I couldn't resist!

They also have a selection of chokers, gloves and a few sets with brooches, headbands and necklaces, as well as other hair pins that are a bit simpler and many different types of hats. I love how elegant everything in the store is, even the simpler items have beautiful details. While I've not yet received my items, I can tell you they were very quick to arrive at the shopping service and that the prices are amazing. It's perfect if you simply must have the perfect finishing touch but don't want to leave your wallet empty.

Jun 15, 2011

Oh! Pink! And supporting lolita stores.

So a few weeks ago Happy Japan in Nashville had it’s grand re-opening in a new location – a location now selling lolita clothing as well as the toys and cooking supplies available at the older store. While it’s no longer local to me after the move, I was beyond excited to see lolita in a local store.

They also have an amazingly cute logo (not mine, just borrowing) 

At the moment they have bodyline items, jewelry and accessories and adorable wigs. While I know it would be cheaper to order the dresses and shoes online, I felt it was important to show my support for the fashion, and bought my very first rocking horse shoes. It was lovely to have the ability to try them on first, especially being at one of those awkward half-way sizes that’s hard to fit. I’m loving my new shoes!

But I also had a pair I’d ordered ages ago that hadn’t fit and that I hadn’t gotten around to selling on the community page yet. So on a whim I took them in to see if they would be interested in a trade. They offered me slightly over the price of the shoes in discount and I came away with my first wig!

So soft and bouncy! Also, it's hard to take a picture of yourself without a mirror.

 Side pony-tail!

I’m a bit too far away now to use this as a base for all my immediate lolita needs, but if any of you have the opportunity to stop by I highly recommend it. The store is adorable, the prices not insanely marked up from the online+shipping prices and the staff is friendly. You can also fill any of your cooking, cute stationary or Totoro related needs easily. And try cheese kit-kats, though that bit I recommend less. Much less. In fact, you may want to skip the cheese kit-kats. But they have many other treats and candies that aren’t cheese flavored chocolates.

Jun 14, 2011

Books for Lolitas: Hunger Games

Those of you that keep up with the goings on in any of the online YA communities has probably seen the atrocious article by Meghan Cox Gurdon. For those of you who haven't, and who have a high rage tolerance, you can read it here.

I had originally typed up a rather bitter response to the article, but I decided that such negativity only fuels people like this into more negativity of their own. So instead I decided to promote my favorite among the books attacked in this article.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen lives in the poverty stricken twelfth district of Panem, a country ruled by the greedy and controlling Capitol. She is the one who has supported her family since her father's death, but she is unprepared for the tragedy of her younger sister being chosen as the female tribute for the annual hunger games - a brutal fight to the death between two children from each district that passes as the Capitol's most anticipated entertainment. Doing the only thing she can, she steps forward to take her sister's place. What follows is Katniss's trial by fire and a story about how one girl can challenge the world.

This is a fantastic book, one that is difficult to put down. The characters are deep and well written in a way that gives weight to each event and twist in the plot. Katniss is a determined and clever main character, but also very human and not above making mistakes despite her best intentions. It's a trait that makes the book so much deeper.

I will sum up the review with a note that post-apocalyptic is not everyone's cup of tea. And while the book is not actually as violent as you would even think from the brief description, it is extremely intense. (Don't worry, Meghan, many people in the movie rating and reviewing industry can't tell the difference either and it isn't your fault the public expects book reviewers to have access to dictionaries.) There are some very heavy scenes, and chances are you will tear up once or twice and hold your breath a few more times than that. And parts of it are hard to read. It's my opinion that this is sometimes what great writing does, however.

Also! Keep your eyes open for the movie adaptation coming out next year!

Jun 9, 2011

Pretty of the Week: Dream Sky

Oooh, I am in love with this dress.  This is so fun! I will own this someday. The cute oversized bow, the random stars in random colors. I love the dark blue with all the pastels as well.

If I ever stumble upon a time traveling police box I sure hope I happen to be wearing this dress, it seems like it would be perfect.

Jun 7, 2011

30 Day Challenge – Turn the music up!

Back from a bit of crazy with a lot of things to talk about, from RCFM to Harry Potter World to moving to Florida to books to buying and wearing my first loli wig to… well just a lot of things. But it’ll take a few more days on a normal sleep schedule to sort through them enough to make a post. Lucky for you I’ve got a challenge to work on until I can do that.

Day 8 – 10 songs that inspire you for lolita
This is a little difficult, because my musical tastes run absolutely all over the place and on top of that I can’t really say which, if any, of these songs inspire me specifically as a lolita. But all of them inspire me in some form or another,  be it just cheering me up, tied to certain characters in writing or make me feel like picking up my art supplies.

RocketSummer – A song is not a business plan
While I don’t write song, or perform music of any sort unless you count singing loudly and off-key in the car when nobody can hear, I love the message in this song. Say what you mean, and not because someone else said it,  but because it's what you feel.

Pink – Raise Your Glass
It’s a fun song, and a fun message of being who you are and just having fun with it. Though, it may cause speeding when played in the car. Just saying.

Lady Gaga – Born This Way
Um, you had to know this was coming, right? I mean, really. It was pretty obvious.

Wicked – Defying Gravity
If there was ever an epic, inspirational song then this is it. Besides coming from an awesome source, the song is just amazing on it’s own.

Owl City – Hot Air Balloon
To me, this is kinda a description of a perfect day. Not necessarily riding in a hot air balloon or anything, just the feel of it. I remember one Saturday going out in the morning with my husband without any sort of plan. We went to an art fair, shopped in antique stores, drove around, ended up at a random zoo where I got to feed a baby dear, and just spent time together and doing anything we wanted at the time. And it wasn’t even about what we did that day, either. It was just that we had freedom to do it and no plans to follow. That was an absolute perfect day and one of my favorite, most cherished memories. The song always makes me think about that.

Hot Chelle Rae: Tonight, Tonight Lyrics
La la la, whatever, la la la, it doesn't matter, la la la, oh well, la la la
This is a song for a bad day. Because those little things are just little things.

DBSK – Balloons
Ah. DBSK. You have made the greatest, cutest music video to ever exist ever. Beyond being utterly adorable to watch and pretty bouncy to listen to, the lyrics when you find a translation are just as sweet: during my childhood, I dreamt a beautiful dream about riding a balloon and flying away.  

In-Mood feat. Juliette - The last unicorn
What kind of list would it be without a reference to TLU? I love the original version from the sound track, but this is my favorite. It’s just so dreamy – with a victorious ending.

The Civil Wars – Poison and Wine
This is a specific song for a project I’m working on with my husband – one that I don’t want to say too much about just yet. But other than that, it’s the perfect bittersweet love song and just plain gorgeous.

Be sure to keep an eye open in the next week - as soon as I can get some decent photos of the prize there will be a giveaway!