Friday, April 24, 2020

LBC: Top Tips For Managing Your Wardrobe

One of the most frustrating things for me, over my very long years in this fashion(dear frilly trinity of Mana, Misako, and Midori, has it been 13 years?!), has been tending properly to my wardrobe. Making it cohesive and let it be everything that I dream for it to be. I try my best and over the last 5 years I believe I have a system that works for me. This weeks prompt for the Lolita Blog Carnival has taken the time to go over the tips and tricks that we use that work for us, hoping they may work for you too.

I actually started this off standing in my closet cleaning it up as I wear my frills daily, trying to tidy, I have to do it about once every week or so. Because of this, I've been able to get to understand myself a little better. How to tidy my space, what sort of pieces I want and what I need, what I need to make my space more manageable...what things I shouldn't be tempted to buy.

<3 Cute Storage Bins 4 Blouses <3

Okay, these are actually housing bonnets and wigs that aren't on wig stands.

This is a new plan. I am short, at 5'1" and that's fine but the fact that I don't want drawers to fold my blouses in, I've decided to sort of Mary Kondo my space that way. Hanging them up may be good but I would lose space. The drawers I've used in the past have been great but they aren't very tall and are best for things that fold and lay flat, which blouses and boleros and the like don't do with all the ruffled foofery. My fabric stash has taken over and so I've a new plan.

More hats...but the squares would be so cute for blouses.

And though hanging would be best, reducing wrinkles, I don't have that kind of space.

<3 Versatile Accessories <3 

Wearing frills as often as I do, I've found I don't like sticking to one style of lolita fashion. I wear mostly classic and goth lolita, delving into sweet on some occasion, so I need pieces that work for both. I have mourning and cameo jewelry that works well with both classic and goth, beaded pieces too, and because I don't have hardcore sweet I can often get away with some pearls and things with them.

Rosette chains and floral corsages and ribbonettes are something I find work with all. I have several of each and a wide variety of colors and styles. The only thing that makes it difficult is storage. I keep the medium to smaller sizes in my vanity dresser drawer, while my larger ones that double as hair pieces go in my headdress and bow drawer.

I tend to wear a lot of creams, reds, and black and so those are really the colors I use for head pieces. I store those all away in one large drawer along with detachable bows. I don't like them sitting on the dress being pulled or smooshed by the pressure from other dresses because they can get deformed. Laying them flat gives my mind ease. It may be a little extra step but I don't mind it.

<3 Make A Wardrobe Post <3

This is easy and rather fun to do, Lolibrary has an excellent function to go through and save your pieces in the wardrobe link. You can also do as I do and post your own to your FB or whatever platform you prefer, some do Amino too. But it helps keep more than a mental list of what you have, whether it's a large wardrobe or not, you won't have to do mental cartwheels when you're thinking about what you may want to wear because you can draw it up.

I have quite a few pieces so I'm never really able to rattle them off the top of my head, checking out my wardrobe post on my FB makes it easier. If you have the gumption to do an actual wardrobe post more power to you. (I'll get to that one of these days.) but the other thing it helps me with is planning out what I needed, without getting sidetracked from want. Being reminded that yes I need a white high collared shirt sleeved blouse is easy when I can see it’s not in my post.

Sometimes you may not find the original listings on Lolibrary but you can always just post your own pic this way. But that is also the wonderful thing about that sight is that you can help contribute information. Circling back to the reason why a physical post is great is that you can get the bigger picture that way, instead of standing in front of your own wardrobe thinking 'where am I going with this?!' It just really helps you be mindful of what you wear, and like.

The other good thing about doing an actual wardrobe post is that you can record where you've changed your tastes, keeping record in a way. I've never done one, though I've tried, there's just...a lot to work through. But I've been collecting for so long, wearing things as they strike me that day, and have only just really started to see how I would change things to be more me.

<3 Cleaning/Run Maintenance On Your Wardrobe <3

I really have so many hats...
I don't just mean tidying it away, hanging things up, and putting jewelry and headpieces back where they came from, I mean CLEAN YOUR CLOTHES! There are only 3 dresses that can't be washed in my closet, those needing dry cleaning do to being those evil but wonderful bleeding prints of yester-year. You don’t have to be so delicate and hand wash for hours if you have a washer from the last 5 years. You just need fabric softener, detergent, and an actual washing machine. Gentle cycle is Queen, mates. 

Put them on a spin cycle after it’s washed, you don’t need netted bags, and DO NOT do the pillow case trick! They’ll be fine! And clean! And if you used scented softener they can smell like flowers. Hand wash the ones you wish to take extra care of but the rest are fairly safe. Hang to dry but be aware that if you don’t dry elastics well enough, in a well ventilated space, this makes it rot. Steam or iron to prevent wrinkles. 

This dress, as with many other pieces, I have received second hand and in a little need of tlc. The straps had the bottons sew too low and the full back shirring experienced that technical difficulty I told you about, above. I had to go in, insert new elastics into the channels, and redo the buttons. It was great! But it doesn’t stop there. Checking over your garments every now and then is mighty important. It makes their wear last longer and really this fashion needs a little attention if we want them to look their best and feel great in them.

There is so much more, I could go on and on really, but I’ll stop for now. If you’d like to read more though, you can check out any of the other’s who partook in the Carnival and see what they do to organize their wardrobes. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

LBC: Create A Coord That Sparks Joy

Recently, the world has been in turmoil. Frightening us all with one thing after another, currently keeping many of us in enforced quarantine to help prevent making things worse, keeping us all safe. So for matters of trying to find that one little spark of light, the Lolita Blog Carnival is trying to bring a little frilly frivolity to our days, making a coord that sparks joy. This prompt was both ridiculously easy and difficult for me.

Really easy because wearing frills sparks joy for me. Getting up in the morning and thinking of pieces I have that I would really to wear for the day, when I used to work and errands and all, being frilly was just a nice icing on the cake sort of deal. But recently it's more to beat the blues.

With this coord I actually put it together for the #eglstaypril coordinate challenge, created by @thefabledfawn on Instagram. This was for day 8, Incorporate another J~fashion into your coord and I went with Mori style. I don't often go this hardcore with Mori but I LOVE it dearly. My life goal is to be a secluded little witch in the woods, harvesting plant leaves and flowers for tea, covering myself in flowers. 

I think I did an okay job of it. I also wanted to get a little bit of that Alphonse Mucha vibes for it, though I know I didn't do that well enough, can't get my hair to be that intense and fabulous, I just try my best.

In the end, I think I did good enough. Flowers and layers in everything down to my jewelry, detachable collar, and flower printed jsk. This may be one of my more favorite coordinates I've put together and it definitely sparks joy. It was also very comfortable too.

<3 Coord Rundown <3
<3 Jsk: Baby the Stars Shine Bright
<3  Overdress: Fan+Friend
<3 Blouse: Innocent World
<3 Floral Corsage/Headchain: The Bloody Tea Party
<3 Floral Headdress: Sweet Mildred
<3 Flower Ring: Puvithel
<3 Other Jewelry: Antique and Vintage pieces

If you're curious what other people have coordinated that sparks joy for them, you can check out their posts in the links below. If you're interested in JOINING us for fun times and blog with the carnival, you can check out the group page. The rules are simple, answer the prompt with your blog, it must be 3 months old and be primarily lolita fashion, have 9 posts, and that's it. You need to write your prompt in your native tongue accompanied by an English translation. Hope you blog with us!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

LBC: Share A Bit About Your Favorite Piece & How You Acquired It

I sort of went overboard in preparing this post. I wrote it with another few pieces and had to go back to rewrite it after I changed my mind. Anyway, starting back on the Lolita Blog Carnival this week we are sharing about a favorite piece and how we acquired it. I've FINALLY decided on more of a few little pieces that puts a worn and enjoyed coord together. I can't help myself.

Every time I’ve tried to get a Triple Fortune bonnet I’ve had to make due with ones I’ve gotten on LM or personal sales with friends, which is nice, but this one I bought directly at the last RC being one of the first in line. I was very excited I could get it directly from Babi and Kaie. 

The mourning brooch is one of my second ever hair jewelry pieces that I managed for FAR to low a price. There is damage but it’s because the back is out of shape. It’s napoleonic in age and highly malleable so it’s delicate and warps if not careful. It makes it more precious to me. 

This is one of those hair jewelry pieces you just can't not love.

Tea Time Nostalgia is such an important piece for me for so many reasons. I love tea. It’s always been a huge thing for me. Even before getting to my first lolita meet I’ve tried to get a hold of any really old teacups and the like, but to no avail, usually. When this piece came out it was everything I had loved. The style was lovely and the cut of this jsk was something that jumped out at me. The problem: I missed the reservation period when it was released because I was dirt poor. There was no way I could ever get that and it was so coveted that prices were soon sky high. 

One of the coord challenges asked to style a dream dress differently and this is what I did.

Then one day, after having more stable finances and spotting this one on Lacemarket for a pittance, I JUMPED. It had a minor stain that no one tried to take out, the corset lacing was a little in need, and they said that the elastic was a little loose? But the last too was hardly noticeable. 
Turns out a friend had bid on it the night before I did. But I hadn’t known because someone else outbid her. So when I finally saw it someone else had the bid (I didn’t know about my friend at all!) and I won! I won a dream dress in a colorway I wanted (red was the other). Not only that but I won the Innocent World Tea Time underbust jsk in green too, just a little while after. All within days of each other. It was a weekend for green and tea! 

The OTHER tea time print I had bought the same week/time frame.

HOWEVER...not realizing my slight, I went to a little get together WITH the friend who had also bid on the listing and another. We were talking about our lastest acquisitions and I was just about to talk about first the IW one and then the piece de resistance...but they gave me a smirk and poked fun of me and said Tea Time Nostalgia instead...and I sat very confused and mouth open for a second to figure out how she knew.

She told me her end of the story after laughing at my reaction for a few seconds and, though I felt bad, she ensured that it wasn’t a big deal and we enjoyed the rest of our outing. (No brawling of frillies over dresses XD though it would have been hilarious in the middle of an old tavern restaurant.)

The blouse was one I was in desperate need of right before the tea party at RC...I would do a coord in the morning half and one in the afternoon/evening for each day (because I’m no slouch! I want to be the epitome of fully dressed at events.) but I had also bought a very specific piece from Babi and Kaie the morning prior and as soon as I enter red the marketplace that morning they looked at me and asked why wasn’t I wearing the new dress...I had to tell them I was definitely going to wear it to the tea party but had to get a new blouse to match. 

Luckily, one of my best friends came to the rescue when I went to check on our booth (Atelier Sucre is theirs and the two who run it are two of my dearest friends ever) and told me to go to her room and grab this particular blouse. It was EVERYTHING I wanted in a princess sleeve blouse and I just never could find one that would work with my wardrobe. This one was exactly what I needed for my new dress and so it made life that much easier. She had dyed it to match another dress that she decided to sell and had planned to sell the blouse as well. Clearly I solved that issue for her and bought it. 

All in all, these are some of my favorite pieces I’ve acquired and I can’t help but enjoy the little details that I love so much. Acquiring them was certainly something, often times unexpected and a little funny in most cases but I am very grateful to have them.

If you are interested in reading about others and the stories surrounding their own favorite pieces they've managed to get you can check out their posts below. And if you are interested in joining the Lolita Blog Carnival you can check out the description in the link. You just need a lolita fashion specific blog, for it to be 3 months old and have 9 posts and be able to write the topic in English as well as your native tongue. 

<3 Hope You Join Us <3

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Things Happen But I'm Okay & A Coord Challenge & Little Recipe...

This year had started off with a strange resounding bang for me. Accident after accident and then a few other cataclysmic things...and then we have Covid. That's right. Can't go anywhere without mentioning it even in blogs form.Sorry world.

BUT I'm actually doing okay and have had the least interaction with the outside world. I'm tired from everything else but that seemed to have worked in my favor.

I missed Katsucon sadly, but grand picture it's not the worst thing to have happened.

After reorganizing my spaces and home and rebuilding myself I'm stronger, faster, and able to leap buildings in a single bound. No wait. That's Superman and the Bionic Man. Really, I'm just still tired and needing extra iron and want to reapply myself to my frilly happy place.

So, reviving other things now that I'm able to, even if stuck at home (haha since January-ish?) I'm going to dive and enjoy that frilly life. I'm currently looking at what the Americans did after they started turning their nose up at tariffs on tea and started looking at alternatives for when they couldn't fully shun their secretly beloved cha (that's tea for the laymen). I've been using fresh ginger, honey, rose buds, and lemon to help with my own issues and have started harvesting strawberries for that purpose too. (I'll add a recipe at some point and the history behind the Americas tea alternatives, roots in native cultures and how it was related to the...colonists...and all that. Tea has a very steep history in different parts of the world and I love it and abhor it all.)

The other thing I've been doing is wearing makeup around the house. Here's a secret: I usually look like a troll in frills when I don't have to leave...and since I DON'T have to leave that means I can wear frills all day and work from home. Because I've been doing the #EGLStaypril coord challenge I've been wearing makeup. I don't actually feel better with makeup, I have to wear so much to even remotely look good that it feels like I have cake on my face, so I usually avoid it. There. Secrets out. I'm a little goblin.

But that's not what this post is about. I'm posting a half update and a recipe because I want to get my foot back out there in blogging. I'm not dead. Mana hasn't blessed my frilled out corpse on my burando funeral pyre, while friends are mourning my loss and the loss of a perfectly good Tea Time Nostalgia, all wearing bonnets. I'm still kicking.

So now that I've written this mandatory drivel that always follows recipes here is the recipe for French Macarons!

I'm going to admit that this is my fourth time making macarons but the tricks I've looked up have made it easier. I only had one botched attempt my very first time so that's a win in my book.

<3 Ingredients <3

<3 3 Large egg whites (room temperature and aged for 12 hours)
<3 1/4 cup superfine sugar (you can ground regular sugar in a mortar and pestle)
<3 1 cup Almond flour
<3 1-3/4 cups powdered sugar
<3 1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
<3 Pinch of Salt
<3 1/2 teaspoon extract of your choice (vanilla is fine)
<3 1-1/2 tablespoon of your preferred flavor (chocolate, macha, etc) 

<3 Directions <3

<3 Little Tips: Don't forget to age your egg whites for around 12 hours. It HELPS because of science. And your sugar doesn't need to be superfine, you can ground it or use a food processor on it. If you have a food processor (which I don't) you can ground your almond flour and your macarons will look smooth as can be. If not that's find but you'll get the textured look.

I actually sifted them one more time separately too. It just looks neat.

<3 Sift your almond flour and powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Doing it twice helps a lot. You should also have about 2 tablespoons that wont sift well and that's fine, toss the extra. Set bowl aside.

Not as far as Misty Mountains old or cold but maybe nice enough for a Hobbit.
<3 Using a hand mixer on low to save your wrists, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until frothy. It will look like bubbles on a bath.

It got more ribbony but you can see it start here.

<3 Turn your speed up to medium or high and add that REFINED SUGAR to your mix slowly. You will get the egg whites to turn into stiff looking candy ribbons (like stuff your nana might try to give you). That's your meringue and it will be pretty. It should turn into little mountain peaks when you go to remove your blender.  

<3 I've been told it doesn't matter which bowl you transfer to but I find adding the flour mix to the egg whites bowl so much easier for a million reasons. FOLD the mixture in slowly and turn your bowl every so often to reduce air pockets. 

<3 Once incorporated it should look fairly smooth and you can add your choice of flavor or you can keep them plain vanilla, it's all delicious. If you're going to add food coloring 2-3 drops WILL DO. 

Most recipes say use parchment paper but I got this silicone mat for xmas from mum. (THANKS MOM)

<3 Little Tips: If you don't have a piping bag use a ziploc and cut off the tip. Bang out your pan by tapping it on your countertop to smooth out your circles and get rid of air pockets. You can do this with cupcakes too and they'll look marvelous. 

<3 Let your macaron shells sit for 15-20 minutes, or until they don't look shiny anymore. During this time preheat your oven to 300*F and you'll be good to go.

Big feet.

<3 Bake until you have "Feet" which should be around 20 minutes.

And now you should have macaron shells that look pretty good and are ready to frost. I cheated and had generic vanilla frosting I added powder to. I split my whole recipe and made Macha and chocolate and the only issue I had was trying to ensure that my egg was split evenly. I didn't want too much because I will be the only person to eat them. 

I have them stored in an airtight container so that I can have just a little something that makes my day a little brighter. (Not that I've not been enjoying tea time, I've just haven't been able to for a while. I may have gone a little overboard this time around.) 

I hope you find this an easy recipe to use, I tried to use the tricks I've found from patissier that have divulged their secrets with positive results.

In closing: macarons aren't so hard if you have the secrets, Madeline is a goblin, and no one can stop me from wearing capes around my house.

<3 Coord Rundown <3

<3 Jsk/Underskirt you can't see/Socks: Alice and the Pirates
<3 Bonnet: Triple Fortune
<3  Blouse: I DON'T KNOW but I love it and it was a gift
<3 Detachable Bat Wings/Rosette Chain/Necklace: The Bloody Tea Party
<3 Cameo/Necklace on head & matching earrings/A few bracelets: Antique and Vintage
<3 Other jewelry: Offbrand