Apr 19, 2012

Chess Story Dress Review

At the very start of the year I reserved a dress from Chess Story. I admit that I was a bit nervous doing so, while I know the quality of their bows is fairly high, I'd never seen any review on anything more complex. This morning I finally received my package.

I reserved the dress through Loli Loli Paradise on facebook. I'd never used that service before, but I was pleased. Despite the long wait for the dress, I was kept informed and any questions I had were answered fairly quickly. The dress arrived pretty swiftly after I was given a tracking number for it, and was well wrapped for protection. There was also a little extra cutie in the package when I opened it.

I love you too, tiny Rilakkuma.

The dress fits well, better than expected even, and it's well made. The material is soft and thick enough to feel nice but not so much that it will be too warm to wear. The print it beautiful.

While not as detailed as some brand prints, it's clear and I couldn't find any bleeding. The art itself is precious and I love that it manages to be so colorful without feeling overwhelming.

There's a slight stripe to the main part of the fabric, and I think it's an interesting effect. I also love the little crown along the top of the print and the little roses.

The same crown shows up as a charm on the bow up top. I like that the chain is removable. While it's a great detail, having the option to take it off means there are more options for coordinating. The bow itself is stitched on, however. Not that I think I would ever have removed it. The material on the bow has and interesting checker board pattern to it as well if you look closely. You can also see in this picture that the lace is rather nice, and it's very soft.

These buttons are the last thing I wanted to comment on. Because I love these buttons and I'm not even sure why. They're on both the waist ties and the shoulder straps (which are adjustable in the back) and they took me by surprise. I just adore them. The flash on my camera made them look black and white but in reality they are the same blue as the dress.

I'm more than pleased with this dress and it was certainly worth the wait. For anyone that's been looking for a lovely print without the brand price tag and doesn't want to buy/is unsure about the quality of replicas Chess Story may be a great option.

Mar 22, 2012

Pretty of the Week: Art Nouveau Lolita

Art Nouveau is such a lovely, intricate style that it seems it really should have seen a handful of mixes with lolita fashion before now. Surface Spell came out with this darling dress a while back with art nouveau prints along the skirt, and personally, I think it's perfect.

The prints remind me slightly of Juliette et Justine's classic art prints, though they are confined only to portions of the skirt rather than covering the entirety of the fabric. Even so, they have such elegance to them. The frames, the flowers, the drape of fabric.

I managed to order one of these lovely pieces in the green colorway a few days ago. While it will take a bit of effort to find or make the right accessories to put a coordinate together, I've very excited to be getting this dress.


Mar 20, 2012

TV Shows for Lolitas: Once Upon A Time

Let's talk about Disney does live action in a modern town for a moment.

I'll start off by saying that I have some very mixed feelings about this show. I was very excited when I first saw the promotions. Years ago I fell in love with a mini series called 10th Kingdom - an earlier modern world meets fairy tale show with great writing and special effects that were less so. The Once Upon A Time promos promised a brand new, shiny and special effect-y soul twin to this older show. Oh, I recognized the plot would be different, but the spirit would be the same.

That promise was broken in the pilot by the very Disney versions of the tales. Don't get me wrong, I love Disney in quite ridiculous amounts. However, when you're expecting something based on the original tales it's similar to strawberry sauce when you expected marinara. It's not that it's bad, but you were set for something altogether different. I realize now I had very little call for this expectation and had I done any research about the channel airing the show I would never have them in the first place. But that is not what happened, and I left off after the pilot.

Now, sometime last month I began to see fan art from some of the artists I keep up with. It happened to be interesting enough for a second chance to be given. I still disliked the pilot, though a good deal less once I knew what to expect. Something in the way it was done made the characters seem flat, which I felt lasted for a couple episodes. However, the fan art had given me a clue - Skin Deep. So I would watch at least so far as to see this episode. Gradually the show built and I began to enjoy parts of it.

I've never found the addition of cheating into a romance to add anything positive to any story, even less so when it seems to be done to add edginess. However, that was the only aspect of the story I disliked. What I very much enjoyed were the creative takes on the different back stories - Cricket, Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella - and the little cameos like Pongo.

But lets really be honest here. I'm considering that I like the show for only one reason.

Sorry, but it's my favorite Disney movie and it's Chip.

I actually would recommend the show even to those not prone to watching something just for the adorable shipping, especially those that enjoy the happier tales and stories the reshape and play with those tales. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then this is something you may want to give a try.

Mar 15, 2012

Pretty of the week: Steam Loli Goodness

This is muppet flail worthy.

It's not a big secret that I adore Infanta. Their designs make up for just over a quarter of my wardrobe. Lately they've released several adorable pieces from their standard florals to a precious red riding hood print that matches a hoodie they sold during the winter. This one stood out over the others, though.

Infanta has released other steam-worthy designs in the past, but they've not blown me away the way this dress has. The design is fairly simple, especially once the cape is removed. For me it's the dark gold detailing and cross embroidery that makes it special. Add the cape to that and it conjures up images of exciting vampire hunts in steampunk worlds. Or perhaps I read too much.

You can never read to much.

Mar 6, 2012

Pretty of the Week: Fragrant Rose Memories

I try and look to the smaller brands when finding items to highlight each week, but every so often I can't help but needlessly point out...

...that this is insane levels of pretty. I love, well, everything. The skirt that's higher in the front, the exposed frills, the side lacing, the little gathers around the top. It's all so very detailed in so many little ways. It might be that I have a new dream dress.

If only I had a new, fuller wallet to go with it.

Feb 28, 2012

Books for Lolitas: Grimm Fairy Tales

I've done quite a large number of reviews for books that retell some of these, and other fairy tales so it's only fair that I point out that they're an interesting read without being re-imagined.  While some of the stories are silly (The Golden Key) and some are a tiny bit horrifying, many are very good. Of these some are well known and other should be. I would love to see more Grimm inspired prints, perhaps from stories Disney has yet to touch and don't center around girls in red hoods or candy houses. Dancing Princesses would make such a lovely print. Can't you just imagine all the girls in swishing dresses dancing across the skirt? Or any of the many stories with bird themes could be oh so lovely.

Some of my favorite Grimm stories include The Goose Girl (both versions are splendid, though I prefer Goose Girl at the Well) Snow White and Rose Red, The Six Swans, and Bearskin. what are your favorite tales and which would you love to see in a lolita print?

Feb 24, 2012

Coconuts Review

My taobao package arrived at last! I'll do a review of the Infanta dress later, as it did not fit and I'm trying to decide if I want to sell it and buy a smaller size (NOW they have smalls, they only offered medium when I ordered) or if I want to find a seamstress. Still, it's the same quality as other dresses I have ordered. The unknown in this package were the items from Coconuts.

They aren't really a lolita shop, but I found a lot of there items adorable. I mentioned the shoes before, but I also think a lot of their items work for a loli-inspired look when it's just not practical to wear all out frills. In the end I purchased the tribble shoes and a set that seemed somewhat holmes inspired.

Oh my gosh I'm so in love!

Starting with the shoes. They're actually more or less the right size, though I'll need to get a bit of padding as it seems they were made for people with better, higher arches than mine. Even with the tiny bit of wiggle room, however, they're surprisingly comfortable. And I say this as someone who can only wear heel very rarely and for short periods. They're also well constructed and look exactly as advertized, minus a need for some slightly minor fussing with the ends of the bows. All in all, I give them a 5/5.

Onto the sherlock holmes set! I really need a magnifying glass necklace.

I really wanted this as a summer wear. I've got a few trips planned this year and it gets rather hot wearing all those layers. This seemed like a cute mid way point and a good starting place for building an almost-loli summer wardrobe for trips and the like.

I'm pretty happy with this over all. It's a bit shorter than expected, but not so short that I'd feel uncomfortable after throwing on a pair of bloomers under it. It also looks decent with and without a blouse, which is exactly what I hoped for. The material is really thin, though it doesn't feel cheap and that isn't necessarily a mark against it. As I said, this is for when full frills would be to hot to wear. As a nice, unexpected bonus it actually has pockets!

It's also pretty cute without the cape, though that kinda voids the holmes feel.

I have only two issues with this. The first is that it will need quite a bit of ironing as it wrinkles easily. Since I was planning on packing it for trips this is disappointing but not something I can't work with. The other is that one seam in the cape is stitched down in two different directions so that it has to fold twice.

It's not something that effects the way it looks on the outside or the way it falls when worn, but if was an issue when I was trying to press it flat and I know there are those who are a bit pickier than I am. All in all I give this a 4/5.

Over all I had a pleasant experience with this order from coconuts and wouldn't hesitate to order from them again. Not only was I happy with the items I purchased, but the prices were low and they sent my order out so swiftly that when I decided to add the second item not even two days after the first I had to pay shipping a second time as the first had already shipped.

Feb 13, 2012

A Very Happy Valentine's

Whatever your plans this holiday - be they with one you love, close friends, or treating yourself to things you enjoy - I wish you the very best day. In this time that we celebrate how special others are to us, may you remember and be celebrated for how truly wonderful you are.

Feb 9, 2012

Lovely Pink Treats

Valentines is not my favorite holiday, but it is pretty far up on the list, and no that isn't due to anything romantic. Not that I don't love doing something special with my husband, but for romance it's the unplanned things that I prefer.

The true reason I love Valentines day is that it's the perfect time to embrace your inner princess and make everything pink and sweet. And the day after is even better, when you can buy things sweet and pink so cheaply. One of the things I really enjoy doing if making the day special with good things to eat. Last year was breakfast for dinner with (sorta) heart shaped pancakes. While I've yet to decide what sort of pink/sweet/heart shaped culinary adventure I'll be trying this year, I've come across a few things that had me squealing in joy. They seemed perfect for lolita gatherings, so I wanted to share them while it may not be too late for them to be of use in planning.

There will never be any argument from me that the macaron is the world's cutest cookie. The trouble is that they are hard to find in most places and just as hard to make. And if you bypass those difficulties and order them online, you may finding yourself paying quite a bit for your treats. Meringues offer a nearly as adorable alternative that has just as many flavor options and are far easier to create at home. What's more, they require only a few ingredients - egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and any flavoring or coloring you wish to add. For that extra special event, they can even be topped with sprinkles or made into adorable swirly sandwiches.

Filled Strawberries. These are super easy and require only a no bake cheesecake mix and fresh berries. Simply cut the berries and fill with the cheese cake mix. Then you're free to drizzle with chocolate or dust with cookie crumbs depending on your taste. Or for a simpler berry treat, place chocolate chips into raspberries.

Photo from Bakingdom, home of many many cute recipes

I've only just today stumbled across the idea of strawberry hot chocolate, and I have to say that I'll in love with the idea. There are a ton of recipes for this treat using everything from ice cream to jam to fresh berries. The easiest I've seen uses strawberry milk mix and white chocolate chips, though I imagine the difference is similar to instant cocoa and home made hot chocolate. Needless to say, I'm making a trip to the store this afternoon to try making a version of my own.

If you're planning a tea party, you may want to think about a classic scone. I've recently tried my hand at these and they've turned out to be easy enough to make. For a sweet Valentine's theme you may want chocolate, strawberry or a mix of the two. Many cook books and websites have scone recipes available so finding one that suits you is relatively easy. I recommend the book Alice's Tea Cup for those trying scone making for the first time as the instructions are easy to understand and the flavors are very fun and unique. Make them fresh the night or morning before your event, however, as they are so much better just after being baked.

Feb 8, 2012

Story Time Give Away Winner!

There were so many amazing entries that in the end I had to resort to a random number generator to pick a winner. And that winner is:

drum roll, if you please.


I'll start working on your prize right away, so be sure to let me know where to send it!

Everyone else, please be sure to keep an eye out as I plan to repeat this giveaway should I get 100 followers.

Feb 2, 2012

Pretty of the Week: HMHM Wolf Musical

Grimm's Fairy Tales are my personal favorite theme in lolita. And of the tales, it seems to be that Little Red Riding Hood gets more attention than the rest. And I'd be hard pressed to find anything wrong with that. After all, it's a theme that encourages bold colors and an older, more charming feeling. While this particular print uses red only in smaller amounts, it's rather heavy on the charm. The off white and play of browns with just enough hint of red give it the perfect feel for a fairy tale dress. This is certainly one for my wish list.

Jan 26, 2012

We Are Lovely

This morning I made a grocery run. It's a boring thing, something so every day that you never consider it may give you something to think about much less blog about. I filled up my cart with the essentials and a pack of donuts (I've been on a bit of a kick the past few days) and was rolling my purchases out to my car when I passed by the cutest little toddler. She had curls that looked something between River Song and Shirley Temple only more of a soft banana yellow and she was obviously a bit upset at her mother. As I was passing the pair the tiny little girl stamped her little foot and said - rather crossly - a bit of wisdom that made me pause.

We don't need to weigh ourselves! We are lovely!

There are so many that think little of their appearance. So many that let it damage their confidence. So many that judge themselves on their weight. Their hair. Their nose. Their skin. Their height.  So many that feel as if imperfections in appearance makes them less somehow.  'I could be a better lolita if-' 'I would be so much prettier if-' 'I would be happier if-'

That is simply not true. Each and every person is special and perfect in their own way. 

We are lovely.

You are lovely.

Jan 24, 2012

Books Websites for Lolitas Readers: Free Book Friday

While I'm thrilled with all the amazing and thoughtful entries for my give away, I'm also just a tiny bit saddened. Each and every one has been so well written and deeply thoughtful that I'm wishing I could just send a book and gift kit to each and every one of you! Sadly, that's not a possibility as it would be a bit over my budget. One thing I can do, however, is direct you to a place that can.

Two amazing words in the same phrase.

Free Book Friday is a website that gives away books on Fridays. Yes, pretty much every Friday. They have several different sections - Fiction, Teen, Romance, and Indie - that they select a book for each week. During the week you enter for any of those books you think you may like, and then they randomly draw a winner for however many copies they have. Simple as that. But beyond the simple joy of free books, it's a great place to hear about new titles and each week they post an interview with the authors, which makes for interesting reading in itself more often than not. It's definitely worth a look.

The contest here is still open for another couple of weeks, as well. So if you have yet to enter you still have a bit of time to consider your answer.

Jan 19, 2012

Pretty of the Week: TearS Coat

A lovely cozy and charming coat is something that has long been on my wish list. However, cost and lack of need have kept it nearer to the bottom. Which is why this has me sighing wistfully.

Coats with little capelets are precious. Coats with full capes are romantic and dreamy and elegant and perfect. The coat has many little details beyond the simple fact of having a cape. The fur trim and buttons and lace and bow shaped pockets all add to its charm.

Jan 12, 2012

Pretty of the Week: THESE SHOES!

The most difficult thing I've found about building my wardrobe? I have this huge fear of ordering shoes unless I can try them on first. But that aversion just went right out the window. To be honest, I'd been looking at these on Coconuts for a while now, but hadn't gotten over the 'don't want to spend that much when it may not fit' thing. At least not until something else I wanted turned out to be out of stock after I paid and these ended up on sale. Now I'm eagerly awaiting there arrival so I can right a hopefully gushing review.

I mean, really? Not only are these the most adorable things for feet since oxford heels, but they are perfect for those who, like me, long to dress head to toe in fluffy warm fabrics and (faux) fur accessories and don't have the cooperation of the weather. They look so classic and elegant. And, yes, like baby tribbles with bows on. I completely wouldn't mind opening the closet to find they'd multiplied.

But with shoes.

I've been really overwhelmed at the responses to the giveaway, everyone! All the entries are wonderful and well written and I'm already imagining all sorts of books I could send out and getting some new ideas for books to review as well. There are several weeks left to go, however, so if you haven't entered yet please do so! If I get enough entries I may just have to send out two winning packs.

Jan 10, 2012

Fifty Followers Story Time Give Away

I want to say thank you to everyone who has followed my blog. It means a lot that you are interested in what I have to say, and I'm thrilled and touched that this is so. I really wanted to say thank you in a special and unique way, one that will hopefully mean as much to you as it does to me. It occurred to me that the best way to do this would be by hosting a giveaway for all of you. But it had to be something special, something that represented this blog in a way.

I've shared so much about what stories I love, but now I want to know what stories YOU love. What I'd love for you to do is to leave me a comment telling me just that. Let me know what sort of stories appeal to you and why. Is it a certain type of character? An element of plot? Is it a genre? I want to know! Name drop titles if you wish - though this is certainly not a requirement.

In return I will select one comment in a month's time. I'll read what they have to say and will select a story for them based on what I know from their post. After I've found a story for them I'll create a lucky pack themed around it. This may include jewelry, hair accessories, candy and small trinkets, but will all include elements of the story you like.

I'm really looking forward to reading what you have to say and selecting and crafting a prize package for the winner! Please keep in mind that this is a thank you to followers, so you must be a follower of this blog in order to win the gift, though new followers are more than appreciated.

Jan 4, 2012

Loli-able Ideas For Colder Weather

Now that it's turning cooler it's time to pull out coats and scarves and fluffy boots. But those aren't the only things that can bring cozy warmth to your winter coordinates.

Bunny necklaces from Nozomi Crafts

Needle felted jewelry!
While it won't keep you warm, softer jewelry will certainly help you achieve a warmer look. Mixing soft natural elements with metal jewelry can look positively enchanting. Like with the fur accessories, you can find these to match many different styles because there are so many different artists that make everything from teddy bears to bunnies to acorns. Browsing etsy will give you a great many ideas.

Sweater tights!
One of the easiest ways to stay toasty in a fashion where knee length skirts are the norm even in winter. You can get several different colors and designs to match any style, and there's no need to wait for shipping as you can find these anywhere. Even stores like Target and Walmart will have a pair or two this time of year.

Sweater/scarf pins!
An easy trick to add a special flare to simple scarves and winter hats is to buy or make matching brooches and pin them on. It gives the plain items a fancier feel and makes everything feel like a set. The brooches can be anything from simple bows, flower clusters, fluffy stars or even jewelry.

Bambi collar from Puree
Fur accessories!
I'm loving all the soft fluff popping up everywhere from brand websites to Claire's. It seems so elegant and sweet that it's perfect for lolita! And with so many different options, it's easy to find accessories to match your personal style. I'm a huge fan of faux bambi fur, but it isn't the only beautiful option out there. And fur can make anything seem extra cozy - shoes, collars, wrist cuffs, hats and headdresses. You can save money and make your own or buy simpler ones from local shops or antiques and dress them up with pins or ribbons if the brand accessories are too pricy for your budget.