Winter International Lolita Day 2017

It has been one year since my first meetup! I think I have improved dramatically.

Today’s coord was Angelic Pretty Rose Museum Special Set JSK, a blouse from Soufflesong, Antaina shoes, the new petticoat from Aliexpress, plain white tights (things that will never change…) and a flower headband from Sweet Dreamer (cannot find it anymore).  Also wearing two pearl bracelets and a pearl chain necklace I made.

How is it possible that I am so terrible at posing. I was even trying to stand up straight and not look so awkward. Also, my face looked especially stupid here, so it is now a cupcake.

We had tea at Anna Marie’s tea house, so this is the third time I’ve gone to tea here. I am still impressed.

We even got Christmas crackers. I have never done one before.  How it works is that you cross your arms, and then each of the people next to you also cross their arms, so each pair of hands is holding a Christmas cracker. Once you are in a circle, everyone pulls at the same time and POP~! Inside, there is a dumb plastic toy, a paper crown and some bad jokes.  This is an old tradition from Great Britain, and is the inspiration for the Party Hats worth millions and millions of gold in Runescape (at least back when I played it 10+ years ago).

As always, food was delicious. We had Christmas tea, which was tasty. Not precisely sure what flavors were in it. and their website does not seem to specify a single Christmas tea. We also had turkey apple sandwiches, roast red pepper and spinach sandwiches, cheese pennies, scones with mock cream, snowball cookies, a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting, and cranberry orange bread. It was good, and it is always good. I like to daydream about making a bunch of cute little tea snacks and sweets and doing my own tea, but I am lazy.  Maybe in 2018, I will try to do that.

A detailed shot of my shoes from Antaina.  I actually bought these to wear at Nakakon earlier this year, but they didn’t get here in time. Finally wore them today. I usually get size 41 shoes from Sosic Shop, but these are size 42. They are a little bit loose, but they were fairly comfortable.  These shoes are the type where the straps have metal snaps, so switching between these and flats for driving is pretty easy, just make sure to adjust the straps so they fit well.  There was a small scallop by the back of my ankle where the blue coating had already fallen off, and this was the first time wearing them out (I did wear them in my house for a short period of time earlier this year). That is a little disappointing.  At this point, I think I have all the shoes I really need (maybe some gold shoes to match a few things in the future but I am in no rush), but I will probably stick to Sosic Shop for shoes, unless there is something they do not make (for example…gold shoes).

Over the past month, there was talk on my com’s page about doing a gift swap. As I am trying to save money, I never commented that I didn’t want to do one.  Thus, my first mistake. I was hoping it would be forgotten. It was brought up again at the last minute. If I had more time, I would have made gifts. I am already embroidering tons of things, so I could have made handkercheifs. But I waited until the very last minute, so this morning, I ran out to buy some very basic cheap gifts that I though could be pretty “one size fits all” like lip balm and hand lotion. It is winter, so these things will come in handy (so I hope). I made up gift bags, and behold, I have completely misunderstood. The gift exchange was supposed to be more like a white elephant, where everyone brings a gift and then they are passed around until an arbitrary time and then you get what you are holding. Oops. So half of the people just brought nothing, and then of us who remained, half brought a gift to pass around, and then those of us who brought small gifts for everyone.

I gave everyone a little gift bag, and then in the gift passing (it doesn’t really feel like a gift exchange), we tried on a pair of shoes.  One girl won the shoes, but they were a totally different size from what she could wear. The shoes were size 41, so I tried them on, but they were WAY too small. They ended up going to a different girl who wears size 39.  That girl then passed the necklace (shown above) to me because she doesn’t have anything to wear it with. I don’t have anything that deep shade of purple, but I still like it. And then we all got lollipops.

After tea, we toured the tea house and took pictures, and then drove all the way across town to a Christmas light exhibit in a park.  I would not have planned these two things on the same day, however there were good reasons it had to be this way, so I was mentally prepared for the drive.  It was actually really beautiful, but crowded. It was worth it though, and I had a really good time.

I was feeling really sick yesterday, so I was worried about how much energy I would have for today, but everything went great today.  I am a little sad, since this might be the last meet I have, since we might be moving sometime. Maybe I will still be in town, or maybe 1000 miles away.  But this has been a good year and I am really grateful.

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Halloween Tea Party

Last weekend, I went to a Halloween Tea Party. It was nice.

So cute! The little snack at the top is candied popcorn, and the little witch hat was made of pretzel and chocolate.

The tea was Vanilla-Pumpkin flavored. I don’t like pumpkin flavor. I have never liked it, but I realized a few days before this tea that I have made a grave mistake because there is going to be pumpkin everything at this tea party. Whoops. However, this tea was pretty good, and I didn’t even have to add a ton of sugar to get over the taste. Maybe I do like pumpkin after all?

The treats are the most important part of a tea party. Here, we have garden cucumber and cream cheese sandwich, roast red pepper on striped bread sandwich, a cinnamon ginger scone with Devonshire cream, a spooky pumpkin cake (with apple filling), a sugar cookie and a petite pumpkin (it was an olive baked in cheese!). The only blatantly pumpkin-flavored thing here was the cake, and it was pretty good. I did end up putting extra cream on it. I did not like the sugar cookie, for some reason. Or rather, I ate everything else and was full so I didn’t want to eat it.

I was rushing in the morning, so I wasn’t able to get nice coord shots in my room. However, the weather was nice and we did coord shots outside the tea house.  These look okay.  I need some black wristcuffs (here I just have a bracelet), and I think a black underskirt would look better too. I thought I had lost enough weight to fit into this dress better, but I don’t like how the bodice looks strained.

The JSK is Krad Lanrete Transilvania Moonlight, and I have the matching headbow/veil. The blouse is the one from Diamond Honey I got earlier this year.  Everything else is offbrand.

I had a good time last weekend. However, I am feeling very stressed out about various things in my life. Clobba does have Krad Lanrete’s Dullahan for sale now, but I haven’t looked at it again.  I really want it, but I should not buy it.  There are actually several taobao dresses I want right now, but holding back. Partially because I am in no position to be spending money on anything for fun, and also partially because I am not happy with how I look.

Midwest Tea Festival 2017

Did not think I would still be in the area in time to attend, but here we are. I went with my friend from college and my friend from the com, and I think we all had a good time.

My purple Kitty Courtyard JSK arrived this week, just in time! It fits nicely and is much longer than most of my other dresses. I believe this is a tea-length dress (har har) and I think I like this better than dresses that hit closer to the knee. Being as tall as I am, most at-knee dresses hit above the knee.

Am I totally in love with this dress? No, it does not make my heart pound the way other dresses do, but this is a solid JSK. I mentioned I like the length and the fit. It is comfy. One concern I had was if the print was blurry, since I have heard that Soufflesong/Neverland prints are sometimes blurry. The print on this dress is fine. One minor complaint is that the ribbon around the waist does not have any loops to be threaded through, so it is held up by merely being tied tight enough.  Overall, if this dress goes on sale again, I am DEFINITELY getting it in pink, and eventually blue, and in this cut. I am very pleased with how it feels to wear this dress.

Otherwise, wearing a half blouse, the Frankenstein-ed Aurora+Ariel petticoat, lace socks and flats. Flats, because I am lazy. Bracelets instead of wristcuffs because I was treating today as more of hanging out with friends than a proper meet. Hair isn’t shown, but it is just half pulled back with some purple hair clips that don’t really match.ヽ(´ー`)┌ Whoops.

My friend picked me up and she was also wearing a purple cat-themed dress. We are clearly super awesome. The Festival itself was pretty fun, but we were unfortunate enough to not be able to attend any of the tasting cafes. I missed out on that last year too. ;__; But we did meet up with friends and taste lots of different teas and snacks.  I ended up buying a bunch of tea too, because I am weak.

Shown here are cute boxes of tea from Big Heart Tea Co, and I sniffed all of them to make sure I would actually like them. There is a mini tasting tea cup, and a clay teabag holder, and some fruit teas from Herbal Alchemy (they also smell amazing). Also, tea bags so I can easily brew all this loose leaf tea.

Also bought some tea from The London Tea Merchant (I smelled these first also), and a bunch of cookies!  The iced cookies are so beautiful! They are apple, lemon, chocolate and vanilla flavored. Also got herb garden and sesame seed cookies from a different little bakery.

There were only 3 tea samples this year, but thinking back, this is for the best. I ended up not liking the tea samples I got last year anyway.

After the festival, we went and ate lunch and parted ways, and now I am in a food coma and pondering cats. It was a good, comfy day.

Donut Meetup

Today was the Donut meetup with the other local group! I was nervous, since I am generally nervous around new people, even though I have sort of encountered a lot of the people in this group in passing.

I wore the second outfit I put together, the Cat’s Broom high waist JSK. This is almost the exact outfit I wore to the Japan Fest last year. Did double up on crappy petticoats to be poofier compared to yesterday.

I wanted to try doing braided loops for my hair. As you can see, I accomplished it, with the help of nearly 20 bobby pins and lots of hair spray. My hair is pretty thick (thus, heavy) so I wanted to make sure my loops would randomly fall out.

We just sat at the donut shop and ate donuts (or other breakfast food) and chatted. It was really nice, and a totally different atmosphere from meets with the other group.  Also, some of them did recognize me from various events, so that’s nice that I wasn’t a complete and total stranger (even though I kind of am….). Eventually, we did group pictures and then the group kind of split up.  I went to have ice tea with some of them and we talked about video games and anime a little bit.  It was actually really good to nerd out a little bit.

At the donut shop, I ate this donut (the “Scooter” ???) and some jasmine green tea that took forever to cool down enough for me to drink. Also, the teacups don’t have handles, so ended up using the saucer to lift the cup to be able to drink (the cup itself was too hot).

I had a lot of fun today. I am so tired now, and it is HOT outside. This next week is supposed to be hot too. July is suffering.

Summer Birthday Meetup

Today was the meetup at the Crepe shop. I love crepes. They are basically super thin pancakes filled with sugary goodness, and topped with more sugary goodness. Savory crepes are also a thing, but if I want savory, I may as well get an omelet.

The first outfit from yesterday! I am wearing the Latasa shoes, but every picture I took with them looked awful. Oh well.  I am just wearing the pretty deflated F+F petticoat with this dress (LE&SE Mushroom Forest, not Kingdom, FOREST), which has a built in petticoat too. This needs more poof. I was the least poofy person at the meet.

I dunno, I think I was still pretty cute, even if there is a lot of forehead. (◡‿◡✿)

Drove out to the little crepe shop, where there are tons of different flavors and I kept forgetting which crepe I actually ordered. I would have eaten any of them, really. The one I ordered was actually filled with strawberries and lemon curd, with whip cream on top and raspberry sauce.

There were also macarons, a lemon one and a raspberry one, but they were the tiny ones and I did not get a good picture.  I want to try to make macarons someday.  It is probably more effort than it is really worth, but it seems like the ones I get from shops (or the frozen ones Trader Joe’s has) are never really that good.

Next we went to an antique mall to look at clothes. This store had the BEST selection of vintage clothes I have ever seen! There were legitimate petticoats there, as well as some cute cardigans and pretty flower skirts.  Apparently this place has several floors worth of stuff (just the one floor of clothes though).  We didn’t get through the entire shop.

Next, we went to a museum/mall/streetcar station area.  There was free parking at the mall, and we intended to take the streetcar to some cute shops. On the way to the station, we peeked into this tea shop I’ve been curious about. Actually, this particular shop had a booth at the Midwest Tea Festival last year, and I was able to try some tea but wasn’t able to buy any because the booth was too crowded.  Today, we were able to sample some teas, and then I bought some sample packs of tea.

So we rode the streetcar down to the farmer’s market and other shops. It’s July in the Midwest, so it is already kind of hot, but also, everyone and their mother also wanted to ride the streetcar so we were packed in like sardines.  But eventually we got to our stop and went to the cute Japanese snack-and-merchandise shop, Yoki.  I think the best way to describe it is a smaller, more expensive version of Daiso, but also with legitimate Hello Kitty and misc anime merchandise. INCLUDING A NESOBERI PLUSH OF MY BEST AQOURS GIRL.

I was looking for her at Nakakon this year only to learn she wasn’t released until after Nakakon, so I though for sure that I’d either have to go online and pay shipping or hope they might show up next year at Nakakon (if I am even able to go….). But no, she was right there, and now she is mine. I am glad I am comfortable enough with this group that I can be a bit of an anime dork in front of them.

After buying some goods, we went to a bubble tea place for drinks (I got cherry limeade actually) and be asked by strangers about what we were wearing. Shortly thereafter, we parted ways.

Here are the rest of the goodies I bought today: mini samples of tea (tangerine blossom red, pao blossom white, honeysuckle white and jasmine green) and some sheet masks (one of the other people wanted to split a buy-3-get-1-free deal).

Today was a lot of fun.  I’m really glad I ended up going after all.  After such a long day, I am pretty tired, but I am still planning on going to the donut meet tomorrow.  I hope that goes well too.

Lethargic summer times

I guess ILD was only two weeks ago, but it feels like it’s been forever since I wore any lolita clothes.  I briefly considered wearing something super toned down for today, but decided it is too damn hot. It’s already +90F and it’s only the middle of June! I can’t stand this! I am still a bit cautious about wearing it around my non-lolita friends, since it might attract attention to them that they would be uncomfortable with. ヽ(´ー`)┌ I wonder if I am feeling so antsy because instead of going to meets (I think there was one today but I originally was going to help a friend move today, but I helped her yesterday so I could see my old friends today). I will try again in July, except both coms have scheduled a meet at the same bakery one day apart. Can I really eat donuts two days in a row? Absolutely. But do I want to dress up in many frilly layers in the middle of July to do so?

๏_๏ I am still undecided. It’s so hot and my house barely has AC so even getting ready for a meet would be torture.

Today, I went to go see my college friend who is back in her hometown for about 2 weeks.  We had a great time!

There is a little donut shop in town that we always meet up at, so the other out of town friends and I have an easy place to park our cars. But also, donuts. I am pretty proud of myself because I only bought this one cream cheese donut. Most years, we end up getting a ton and stuffing our faces.

We did do to lunch right after donuts. My friend from this town told us about this bistro that has 5 different kinds of Asian cuisine, so we went there (mostly because no one else wanted to pick and that was the last place I remember her talking about). It was delicious! There was egg drop soup (not pictured), and I got the galbi (ribs) bento box. Included is kimchi (I ate one bite and that is about all I can handle), vegetable tempura, some gyoza (dumplings), rice and a small slice of roll cake. It was so delicious, and almost too much food. I made sure to finish the meat though- it was amazing.

Also, restaurant bento box lunch specials are so fun to eat because you get to try a bunch of things.

After stuffing our faces, we explores some shops, such as the yarn shop we always ALWAYS go to (my friends like to knit and crochet….I embroider….), and then to the British food shop, which means, of course, I had to buy tea.

Tea enthusiasts seem to say that PG tips and Yorkshire are very good tea brands that normal people drink in the UK, so giving it a shot. Literally cannot mess this up. Also, a variety tin from The English Cream Tea Company with 4 different flavors of tea. Cream tea doesn’t refer to a beverage called ‘cream tea’, but a small afternoon meal, where you drink tea and have scones with clotted cream and jam.

Also I bought shortbread, in memory of the one time I tried to bake shortbread and failed spectacularly.

After a little shopping, we went and got ice cream.  I would have taken a picture, but I was busy eating ice cream.

Paradiso 2017 day 2 and final thoughts

Day 2 was the Tea Party, the Coordinate Contest and Q&A with Hello Batty.

First, here is my outfit.

Angelic Pretty Romantic Cat, which fit me about as well as expected. Didn’t realize there was a zipper until I got it on, but the zipper is required to take the dress off. Also needed an underskirt or else it would be way too short, but my pink F+F underskirt matches well enough. Wore it with one of my new Diamond Honey chiffon blouses, Cat’s Broom headpiece (which someone wanted a detail shot of?!?!?! That is…uh…okay?), tights and Sosic Shop shoes.

Lots of people recognized the print and were excited. That is what happens when you wear newly released AP, I suppose.

Holy hell, these are the best shoes in my entire life. They are even Kitty-approved. But seriously, when I put them on this morning, they were SO COMFORTABLE. My Amazon shoes pinch a little bit and are sore after a few hours, even the ones I wore yesterday. But these…oh my goodness, I could wear them all day. I could walk in them for long distances. I CAN DRIVE IN THEM. Probably cause the heel is so low, but OMG. Sosic Shop is going to get so many shoe orders from me once I am able to buy shoes again.

Face detail.

Tea was at the Webster House, a historical old home that has been converted to antique shop/restaurant. It is very pretty inside. As a restaurant, it is an upscale place. Not sure what their catering menu is, since their site says they custom design it to your event.

The shops are downstairs and the restaurant is upstairs.

There are even comfy places to rest in the bathroom. You want a fancy bathroom where the stalls are individual rooms without space for creeps to peek in? Webster House has it. It’s great.

So the first thing I noticed when we got to our tables was the tea.

Harney and Sons! That’s great tea! Still bagged tea, so not quite as fancy as Anna Marie’s loose leaf, but I will gladly take this, considering you have to account for the tastes of a wide variety of people. This is so much better than the Bigelow at the Nakakon Tea Party or last year’s Paradiso.

A tea party without enough hot water is awful. However, there were servers who regularly replaced the hot water for us, without us asking. They would come and check on the water. Also, if you got up and left your napkin in your seat, one would come over and fold it nicely for you. I couldn’t believe my eyes; that just seems so over-the-top fancy.  There were also sugar cubes, but didn’t see any lemon or milk. I imagine if someone really wanted some, they could have asked.

The food was delicious. When I first got up to the buffet, I was worried that the food was almost gone (I waited to get food after other people had), but then servers came back and refilled the buffet. SEVERAL TIMES. So the savory foods were bruschetta with basil and tomato, cucumber with herb cheese, toasted brioche with salmon, hollandaise and dill. The sweets were a dark chocolate strawberry, mini eclair, tiny lemon tart and mini cupcakes (strawberry chantilly, lemon raspberry and mocha).  And there was enough for seconds, or thirds.  IT WAS AMAZING. Didn’t like the mocha cupcake, but that’s just because I don’t like coffee.

Even if we end the Tea Party here, then I would give this a 10/10. I can’t find how much the individual day tickets cost anymore.  Early bird price was $35 per day, or $60 for both days (which I did) and I think Day 1 individual was $40. VIP was $75 for both days early bird or $50 for Day 1 (no special VIP benefits for Day 2), and unsure how much it went up.  But if all you wanted to do was go to the Day 2 Tea Party, $35 is a STEAL. Anne Marie’s Tea was around $30 for me, and you get one platter of food and all the tea you could want, but better quality tea. For this event, you get so much food and tea and water.  All of the hiccups from Day 1 (loli basement, lack of chairs, terribad lighting for photography) were not issues on Day 2. The Day 1 event still needs some kinks to be worked out, but if Paradiso makes Day 2 the Tea Party at the Webster House a regular event, it would be pretty damn awesome.  And I imagine people who just want the Tea Party or though the Day 1 experience was lame would be willing to go for Day 2 in the future.

But the there was also a Q&A with Hello Batty, a lolita fashion blogger from Arizona and the Coordinate Contest. I missed the end of the Q&A and the entire contest (which ended up just being her declaring the coord she liked the best) because I had to go find an isolated place to cough a lung up.  After that, the organizers tried to take some group shots of us, so we all squeezed onto some stairs.  I went home shortly after that.

So to review the entire event, compared to last year.

Fashion Show – more designers present, but some things were very much not lolita. Also the photography that has been posted so far stinks because we were in a basement. Last year’s fashion show had fewer models, but the lighting was great. As for how good the coords were this year vs last year…I recall thinking some last year were kind of wonky but at least everyone had a petticoat.

Food – Day 1 food was pretty sad but I was not expecting much. Day 2 food was amazing. This was a huge improve.

Tea – 1000% better.

Location – both locations had close, although paid parking. Hotel Phillips is pretty, but we were in a basement.  WHY. WHY A BASEMENT.  They have other event spaces.  The Webster House is amazing and I hope the event can go back/I hope no one did anything to piss off management.

Vendors – Lolita Collective is always great. Papercute is great. Teal is great.  Didn’t care for anything from Wunderwelt but that’s not their fault. The other vendors didn’t interest me too much but nothing wrong with that.  One vendor never showed up, so nothing to comment on that. However, it was dark, and the racks for LC and Wunderwelt were shoved into corners because WE WERE IN A BASEMENT.

Ouji Pageant – this was hilarious. I don’t know much about what makes a good vs a bad ouji outfit, and one prince was definitely EGA and not ouji, but it was funny and I hope this occurs again.   Last year, the special event was going to an art museum (a FREE one, by the way), which was nice, but also not really special.

Event Guests – ヽ(´ー`)┌  There were 3 guests this year compared to 1 guest last year, but it seemed like they mostly stuck to the people they already knew.  Maybe I am just too anti-social and shy to go talk to them myself so I am biased. Guests aren’t really something that would draw me to an event, unless it was someone REALLY famous (and thus not gonna happen, most likely).

I think this year definitely improved compared to last year in all aspects, aside from location. I didn’t even like the location last year, but BASEMENT. If they were going to do something like a gothic lolita themed tea, it might work better. But for a general lolita event where people want to take pictures and browse through dress racks, you need a larger room and GOOD LIGHTING.  Also, it was nice that you could attend either of the days and not necessarily both. I hope they keep that model.

Overall, I had a good weekend, made new friends and didn’t die. Still no idea what was in the VIP goodie bags, but I think that if I attend next year (if I am in the area…), I would probably give VIP another shot. At least so I can have a damn chair.