Wednesday, September 29, 2010

♪Here Comes The Sun♪

Summer has silently slipped away. Mr. Sun starts sleeping in later, birds start flying South, and the trees are beginning to color themselves brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Amidst falling leaves dancing gaily in the wind, the Lolita Princess is settling into her daily school routine and pulling out her warm cardigans, wool tights, and long sleeved blouses in preparation for the cooler months ahead. Now is the time to break out the tartans and dresses of rich velvet or thick corduroy.

However, do not feel limited to the usual fall palette of browns, blacks, and burgundy! Who says you cannot bring a splash of color to brighten up the drab, cooler months if you so desire? Bring on the apple prints, cake motifs (autumn and winter are great baking times!) and brightly colored deer! Yes, it is possible to be colorful in autumn and winter!

Charming Motifs
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I bought this fabric to make a dress out of. It is a cream base with a print of pink apples and red glitter accent apples. Apples are a very autumn-themed motif! Try working some apple jewelry or colors (reds, yellows, greens) into your wardrobe! The most famous apple print is probably Meta's Apple Print dress. Now is the perfect season to wear it in any colorway!

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Deer print! This print works well for both spring and autumn in my opinion. The bright colors and flowers are reminiscent of springtime flora, while the jumping deer, trees, and toadstool-looking house remind me of taking a mid-autumn stroll through a fairytale forest. The squirrel has even picked a full cart of apples!

Of course, if tartans, brown plaids, and navy velvet are your thing, rock it by all means. I have a tartan JSK I love for its schoolgirl feel, and woven tartans are usually made of thicker material anyway, thereby making them perfect for autumn.

Charming Meetup Activities
♥Photoshoot Meetup♥
Take advantage of the brilliantly-colored trees and plan a photoshoot meetup! It does not matter if you are using point-and-shoot cameras or if a friend happens to have a photography hobby or job, the point is to have fun and capture the beauty of the season
J-Live (the Goth and lolita shop) has a photoshoot meetup planned for October 3rd, but I am not sure if I can make it! I really want to meet some of the Taiwanese lolitas in person, but my dad will be visiting during that time so I will probably be busy :(

♥Apple-Picking♥
Search the web for nearby apple orchards to go apple-picking at. Many of us went as children, whether on a school field trip or with family, and it is sure to bring back fond memories as well as make many more new ones. Perhaps you will even pick up some fresh apple cider or other apple product from the orchard as a (delicious!) souvenir

♥Baking Party!♥
This idea works better with less people, but is great for a mini-meetup. Save some of the apples from your apple-picking meetup and bake some pies, cakes, tarts, cookies, apple butter, apple cider, or anything else you can think of! Not an expert chef? There are many ready-to-bake pie skins and cake mixes you can use to ensure perfect results if you are not confident enough to start from scratch. Make mini pies or cupcakes so your guests can bring them home :) Or better yet, make cake/pie pops! Head on over to Bakerella for some extremely creative cake pop ideas or pie pops

Have more ideas? Post them in the comments! And most of all, have fun and enjoy the changing of the seasons!
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Diary Post~On Food and Sewing

Happy Moon Festival, Princesses! Tonight the moon will be at its fullest of the year; be sure to save some time tonight to gaze up at her, glowing in the night sky. Perhaps you will be able to catch a glimpse of Chang E or the Jade Rabbit, but remember not to point!

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sometimes we forget to stop and stargaze. School has just started, work is piling up, there is always something to do, somewhere to go, and we end up forgetting about the small things in life. Tonight, try to take a breather. Brew a pot of warm tea and indulge in a moon cake! Tea and moon cake taste particularly delicious together as the sweetness of the moon cake is perfectly balanced by the bitterness of the tea. My personal favorite is red bean moon cake (with or without egg yolk) and green tea. This year my grandparents bought some vegetarian moon cakes in mung bean and red bean flavor. I am looking forward to enjoying them tonight!

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On a completely unrelated note, I have been thinking of posting sewing projects and tutorials on my blog. I got into sewing through T-shirt surgery (and actually re-kindled my interest for lolita fashion through T-shirt surgery. It is a long story, perhaps I will tell it sometime!) and tutorials on the internet. While some "artists" prefer to keep "trade secrets" in an attempt to stay on top, I believe that true artists will share all knowledge in order the further the development of skills overall. When I first started sewing lolita clothing, I had only a few tutorials to go off of, and consequently made a pretty bad first attempt ^^; It was not super ita-tastic and I did know enough about lace quality to have used good cotton lace, but from a seamstress point of view, oh my goodness it was awful. I did not know to hem it and left the edge simply serged. I did not know how to gather and instead made large, uneven pleats. While now there ARE tutorials for these basics, I would like to share what knowledge I DO have with everybody :)

On Monday I went on a solo adventure to find the DIY district nearby to get some thread and fabric to start making some basic bloomers, but got hopelessly lost :( Fortunately, I did find my way back home! Perhaps I shall make another trip tomorrow to try and find it again.

What types of tutorials would you be interested in seeing? I have gone to school for sewing, make the majority of my own lolita clothing, and have made dresses to sell. The only thing I am NOT confident in at the moment is blouses. I can make them, but not well enough that I feel I could teach it at this point. I will add a poll to the sidebar for readers to vote on, so please vote if you would like to see tutorials! Read More......

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Taiwanese Tradition~ Moon Festival

OK, so not all of the posts here will pertain specifically to Lolita fashion directly! Some of it is simply local life or traditions, but I hope that my readers will find it interesting anyway :)


Jade Rabbit and Chang E/嫦娥

The Moon Festival is fast approaching! This Wednesday, the 22nd is the 15th day of the 8th month on the Lunar calendar. One of the more important traditional Chinese Festivals, the Moon Festival celebrates the end of autumn and family time (the roundness of the moon represents togetherness).

Moon cakes/月餅 are the traditional food, along with 柚子/pomeloes. Funny side story: All my life I thought pomelos were called "sweeties" because that was what my mom called them. I only just found out a couple weeks ago that they are called pomeloes v_v; I think "Sweetie" may have been the brand of pomelo my mom used to buy, sort of like the brand of clementine called "Cuties". I felt pretty silly, needless to say!

Today I would like to introduce some legends and a recipe for mooncakes if you don't want to buy the commercial variety!

The Legend of Chang E
The Earth was once lit up by 10 suns in the sky. However, 10 suns was too many, and the people of Earth were starting to die from the heat. One brave archer named Hou Yi shot 9 of the suns and saved the people. In order to thank him, they made him Emperor. He took a beautiful wife named Chang E.
After some time however, Hou Yi became selfish and lazy and cared only about eating, drinking, and having a good life, neglecting the common people. One day, he realized that he was aging and sent scouts to find an elixir (or pill) for eternal youth/life. When the scouts came back with two pills of immortality, Chang E became worried that eternal rule by Hou Yi would mean eternal misery for the people, so she got him drunk and ate both pills. Suddenly her body became very light and she started floating in the air. Hou Yi woke up and realized that she had taken both pills but he could not stop her from floating away. She floated all the way to the moon and still lives there to this day.
SUPERSTITION:
Don't point at the moon because Chang E will cut your ear off :( Actually, that is just what our parents tell us, but one time I did point at the moon and developed a small but painful cut in the fold of my ear the next day :( Since then I have avoided pointing at the moon, and if it happened by accident I would always apologize ^^; And it is not just me! I was talking with some of the counselors from the camp I was at and they said that their parents said the same thing and they avoid pointing at the moon, too! Better safe than sorry!

I know the story of Chang E best; I am not quite as familiar with the story of the Jade Rabbit (though I know he is Chang E's pet now!) or the Wood Cutter Wu Kang.
Here is a link with a brief summary of all three legends :)

The history behind the Moon Festival says that when China was occupied by enemy forces there was no way for the military to organize a rebellion with the captured portion of the army, so the general made moon cakes and hid little slips of paper saying to attack on the 15th day of the 8th month. He sent them as gifts to the prisoners and they all broke out at the scheduled time and had a victory!

I am not sure how true all those stories are, but moon cakes sure are delicious! I just wish that they were not so unhealthy. Commercial moon cakes are loaded with fat, oil, sugar, and cholesterol if you get the salted egg yolk flavor. Unfortunately, my favorite flavor is red bean paste with salted egg yolk ^^;

There are a couple recipes online for homemade moon cakes, but this is my favorite one because of the double dough skin. Many Chinese pastries are made this way with a water dough and an oily/flaky dough. This gives a much better (and more authentic) texture to the pastry! Moon cake molds are available online in many different shapes with intricate carvings, floral depictions, or words. I wish I could make my own moon cakes this year, but being in Taiwan I have no oven :( Let me know if you try your own!

As a side note, red bean paste is available in cans if you do not want to tackle making your own. Some other filling ideas include lotus seed paste, sesame, salted egg yolk, or anything else you can think of!

In modern days, there are also a lot of interesting "novelty" moon cakes such as ice cream or mochi types! Haagen Daz sells moon cakes here in Taiwan (though it is pretty expensive!) as does Starbucks. I would like to try a box of these novelty types, and will definitely post photos if I do!
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Lolita 100 Meme #71-80

I almost forgot that I still have some of this meme to finish! Originally I filled out the whole thing and saved it, but now I am changing some answers as my views and experiences change...

(71) ロリィタは何歳から何歳まで許されますか?(What age should you stop Lolita?)
I do not believe there is an arbitrary age to stop wearing Lolita. As people grow and evolve, they will dress to fit their personality :) When one no longer feels the Lolita Spirit, Lolita fashion will not feel right any more

(72) どういう状態になったら、ロリィタは卒業すべきと考えますか?(ずっと続けて良いも、アリです)(When do you think you should graduate from Lolita? And why?)
Similar to the previous question, and I have a similar answer: When it doesn't feel right any more. Maybe you will graduate from one style to another before eventually leaving it all together, but it depends on the individual!

(73) コレだけは止めてくれ! というロリィタファッション上の注意はありますか?("You should stop that!!!>_<;" What must you not do when dressing lolita?
I do not think that Lolitas should be unpleasant, but I think that applies to all people in general ;) I would hope that Lolitas in general would have more patience for people who do not understand the fashion. One should make a good impression, because it is likely that people will judge ALL Lolitas based on one person's attitude simply because we are a subculture fashion

(74) ロリィタとはこうあるべき! というような考えはありますか?(A lolita should be 'this'! What do you think that should be?)
Confident and polite!

(75) 73以外で、ロリィタさんにコレはして欲しくない! ということがあったら、どうぞ。(Excluding #73, is there anything you should deffinately not do in lolita?)
Um... be a prostitute? That just sort of ruins the already tainted image for the rest of us XD

(76) 男の方のロリィタファッションについてどう思いますか?(What do you think of men in Lolita?)
If you can rock it, go for it!

(77) ロリィタをして、それ以前から何か変わりました?(Did you change yourself for dressing lolita?)
Not really :) I am more confident now though! I used to be a complete wallflower and only wore long skirts and big, baggy hoodies (with a t-shirt underneath!) in dark colors. Now I am more sure of who I am and am working on being more assertive, standing up for myself, and being more confident!

(78) 周囲の人はアナタがロリィタをすることについて何と言っていますか? 受け入れてくれてますか?(What does your family and surrounding people think of you dressing lolita? And do you accept it?)
I don't think anyone minds :3 My mom likes it and last time I brought her to a meetup (the Art in Bloom meetup in April) she had fun explaining it to other people :) Of course, my family is Chinese and have never heard of the novel "Lolita" or "Lolita Complex"

(79) 真夏の暑い祭にアナタはどんなロリィタファッションをしますか?(How do you dress Lolita in the boiling mid-summer?)
Very lightly! In MN I would still wear a blouse and skirt combo or wear a blouse under my JSK, but here in Taiwan I usually go without a blouse! Not only do I only have 1 blouse here (and it is cream... which only matches one of my skirts), it is really much too hot!

(80) 学校・職場などにロリィタで行っていますか?(have you gone to School or Work in lolita?)
I wore Lolita to school for about 3 years, but at work the dress code was pretty strict! I am trying to be an English teacher here in Taiwan now, and I am pretty sure there is a uniform (school T-shirt and black pants) so I will be unable to wear Lolita if I get the job

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

BABY THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT X Gloomy Bear Video

This might be late, but I just saw it now and thought I would share!



The video is for the 3rd release of BABY X Gloomy Collaboration link here

My favorite piece from the 3rd release is definitely the pink Gloomy purse with a detachable red ribbon!

GloomyXBaby Collab

GloomyXBaby Collab

The little swinging paws are so cute! I would love to have this as a daily purse and would coordinate it with everything!

Well, that is my little mini-update for today :) Originally I wanted to do a seasonal post for Autumn Lolita Fashion, but it is still so hot here that I feel 100% like Summer still... ^^; Even in the dead of Winter it feels like Spring to me!
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Belle's Library~Going the Distance

Originally I wanted to make a "Belle's Library" series to talk about books, movies, and music related to the Lolita aesthetic, but to be honest this post is more of a plain old movie review and slight diary post!

Yesterday I met up with Evelyn and Kathy to see Going the Distance, called 真愛零距離 in Chinese (True Love Zero Distance or True Love Face-to-Face if translated literally) at 西門町/XiMen Ding!

It was a Thursday morning (we caught the 10:30AM showing) and tickets cost NT$290 and included a drink and popcorn. This was the first time I have bought popcorn and a drink at a movie theater! Before this, I have only had food in a movie theater when my aunt bought it last time I came back. She thought it was really funny that the first time I had movie theater food was when I was 18 :D

Anyway, sorry for the off topic side story! The movie had a good storyline in my opinion! It was sweet and funny and realistic. My only complaint is that it was definitely a lot more lewd than necessary, to the point of being forced (especially in the beginning). Now I am definitely not a fan of explicit vulgarities, but I can take a sex joke occasionally when there is a good setup. In Going the Distance they take the sex joke and just keep going.... and going... and going... and then return to the plot at hand. If you look past the teenage humor though, it is really quite a good movie! The characters are real, they have realistic conflicts, and they actually learn and grow as people throughout the movie. This is not JUST one long sex joke!

Would I recommend going to see this movie? Personally I would recommend it for a girls only outing, but that may be because I feel awkward when there is that much sex on screen with mixed company. In the end, it all depends on how you and your friends feel about such things, but I do think that this is a movie worth seeing in theaters or after DVD release!

Going the Distance on IMBD

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