Saturday, January 30, 2010

Doll Face~On Beauty and Facials

Pretty face starts with pretty skin.  If you don't have good, clean skin, then even if you cover up with makeup, in the end you are just wearing a makeup mask.  Makeup should highlight your good features to draw attention away from your not-so-good features, not completely give you a different look.  You should never be ashamed to go out without makeup on.  It is not your shield against the world!

I would like to be able to make a Doll Face series on this blog talking about skin care and beauty.

The first part I would like to talk about today is the very basic skin care.  It is not necessary to use many cleansers or expensive creams in order to make your face beautiful.  In fact, usually simple is better!

Too much cleanser can dry out your skin, making it flaky and feeling tight.  Or your skin may overcompensate by creating more oil, resulting in breakouts and a greasy complexion.  Both we would like to avoid at all cost!

How should one clean the face?  First of all, determine if you need a commercial cleanser at all.  I only use a commercial cleanser (Burt's Bees deep cleansing cream) once a week.  Try some experimentation to see what works best for your skin.  Chances are, you do not need it every day.  I just wash my face with water morning and night, apply a moisturizer, and I am ready to go :)

Once a week I like to give myself a mini-facial.  here is a good instruction on how to give yourself a facial.  It feels luxurious and it also is good for your skin!  In place of the exfoliation scrub, I do a microdermabrasion treatment.  It can be expensive to buy the equipment for microdermabrasion brush and creams, so I actually just use an electric toothbrush ^^;  I bought a kid's Hello Kitty electric toothbrush because the bristles are softer, and it is cute :)  Also, it only cost $4.99 on sale (plus it came with Hello Kitty toothpaste!)  I noticed that my milia has been reduced significantly since I started to use it.  One should always be careful around the delicate eye area, of course, to avoid pulling on the skin that creates unsightly bags or wrinkles.  Be sure that you do not overdo the microdermabrasion, or it can actually harm your skin!  It takes off the dead skin cells and boosts circulation, but too much scrubbing can scratch newly formed skin and cause redness.

This is the style of kit I got.  Mine is a bunny type Hello Kitty (she wears a bunny suit) and is super cute!

I recommend this method of cheap microdermabrasion ^u^ Next time, I will talk about masks!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

U.S. vs. Taiwan Lolita Style

First of all, I would like to mention that my experience with "U.S." lolita style is based largely on the livejournal community EGL and also real-life experience in the MidWest.  My experience with "Taiwan" lolita style is only based on Taiwan online forum and in real life in Taipei (Northern Taiwan).

What are some differences that I have noticed between the two?
The biggest difference online is is experience, I believe.  The egl comm on lj has more accurate representations of lolita fashion, more constructive criticism given, more "experimentation", and more rules.  This is not a bad thing of course, but when the community is so big, of course there will be more peer evaluation.

In the Taiwan forums, there are many more "itas" with the lace monster dresses, low quality material, strange design, etc.  The only constructive criticism I have seen in the Taiwan forums is usually regarding skirt length, petticoats or hair accessories - very basic fundamentals of the fashion.  There seems to be little to no recognition of fabric or lace quality, design aesthetics, or the "finer" details of the fashion.  Being such a small community, I can see why it would be that way.  The smaller a community, the longer it takes to evolve due to lack of criticism/variety.  It is not a bad thing either, in fact, I think it will be interesting to see how the community grows :)  Those of you who have been in the fashion longer probably remember how our own community evolved - are polka dots/stripes lolita?  Is ricrac lolita?  Are glitter overlays on fabric lolita?  Is bittersweet a real subcategory?  That one is still being debated!  (personally I say, don't over-categorize!  We don't need to label every single thing or it takes the fun out of creativity!)
Of course there are still the "good" lolitas who follow all the rules properly, have good quality dresses, matching coords, and all that good stuff!  I hope I did not give the impression that Taiwan has only itas!  I would say Taiwan is actually split about 60/40 on lolita/ita photos that have been posted.
The general age group is also younger with about 30% in the 13-15 range, and 30% in the 16-18 range as seen in this (constantly updating) poll here
One more thing is that they all refer to each other as "Princess" which I think is adorable sweet!

The general atmosphere of Taiwan forums seems to be more accepting/relaxed.  Probably because of less traffic, but they all seem to be more willing to post photos and attend meetups.  The biggest obstacle mentioned seems to be family/friends opposition of the style, actually!

In contrast, egl often gets more "please don't be harsh!" or "I am afraid of being teased/attending meets" comments and has definitely gotten a reputation for being catty or elitist.  While I do not find egl to be quite the monster it is often made out to be, there still exists communities purely for snarking (getoffegl and lolitafucksmkii as examples).  Most likely due to its large size, veteran lolitas tire of newbies asking the same questions, not researching, etc. which leads to internet drama. 
This will happen in all subcultures, so I am not too worried or bothered by it :3  In fact, sometimes drama comms are a good way to find out about sketchy buyers.  I am no longer a member of, nor do I watch getoffegl but once in a couple of months I will go visit the comm and skim the public entries to see if there have been any "GTFO" posts for sellers/buyers I should watch out for ^u^ 
The general age range is also higher, usually mid-twenties, though recently there seems to be more high school girls than before.

What about in real life?
Availability of lolitable clothing in Taiwan also seems to be much more scarce.  In the U.S. there are stores such as H&M, Forever 21, etc. that have blouses, cardigans, etc. with subtle elements of lolita style such as ruffles, puff sleeves, etc. which  can be worked into a lolita wardrobe.  Taiwan has much less variety, being such a small country, the "in" style is pretty much what is offered everywhere.  When I was in Taipei, I did find two retailers at night markets that sold Gothic, Lolita, and Punk clothing.  One is in ShiLing Night Market, and sold mostly punk pants and tops.  I got a Putumayo ripoff hoodie (seen in my banner) that I had wanted forever!  The price is not cheap, but since I could not find the original anyway, I bought it.  They also had Angelic Pretty ripoffs (Royal Poodle and Miracle Candy).  The fabric print was ok from a distance, but the styling and quality of the dresses was so bad that it would not have been worth it to even buy it for reconstruction.  I was pretty sad because I wanted a Royal Poodle print skirt!
The other one was actually called "Gothic, Lolita, Punk" but sold mostly Gothic clothes, some accessories, one or two ita dresses, and shoes.  My feet are huge size in Taiwan and they did not stock my size (US8).  Also, the shop girl was fairly rude, so I did not stay long enough to check out all the bags or accessories.
In southern Taiwan, there was a BABY reseller, so the lucky girls in the South could get their hands on some Brand without ordering online!  However, they are closing at the end of February 2010, after 3 years of business :(  I am sorely disappointed that I never got a chance to visit!  Visiting a boutique is so different than viewing it all online.  I truly hope that the reseller is closing so that an official BABY branch can open!  But hopefully closer to Taipei ;)  TaiZhong (center of Taiwan) would be a good place because it is closer to everywhere I think... *cross fingers*
Accessories are fairly easy to find in night markets.  I personally have difficulty finding earrings that don't make my ears itch though ^^; I have an allergy to some types of metal...

In America, as I mentioned above, there are many places to get accessories and sometimes even articles of clothing that can fit into your lolita wardrobe.  We oftentimes get posts on the egl comm about "loliable finds" in regular stores.

However, in the end, we all have to buy our core lolita clothes online ^^;  Unless you happen to be a seamstress and make them yourself!  I make the vast majority of all my own lolita clothing, and may post more about that in the future!

Well, I am sure that this post is far too long already, so I will leave it here!  Just a disclaimer, all these are my own observations and experiences, and I most certainly do not mean to offend anybody ;)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lolita 100

I thought that the Lolita 100 meme would make a good first post!
It is rather long, so I will break it up into sections!

(1) HNと生年月日、出身を教えて下さい。(Screen-name and DOB, please tell me these~.)
Sparklewolfie, May 30
d_l icecreamskirt
This is the oldest photo of me I could find! The quality of the things I made were pretty bad ^^; I would like to say that I have improved a lot since then! This is when I was 17 years old, I believe :)

(2) 身長・体重・服のサイズ・靴のサイズは? (height, weight, clothing size and shoe size)
5'6" 135lbs. M 8

(3) ロリィタファッションをするようになったキッカケは? (why did you start to dress lolita?)
Because it looked so beautiful~

(4) 好きなロリィタのジャンルは? (which style of lolita do you like)
Sweet!! Though Classic is more easy for getting around without strange stares... but I wear sweet anyway :)
This is my number 1 dream dress - the BABY Parfait skirt in pink!

(5) 上記に対する拘りや、自分なりの定義などあれば、教えて下さい。("If you have your own definition of the above style or some strong opinion of it etc. please state it here.)I like sweet best because it feels like the energy is more HIGH and sweet, bubbly, and fun! That matches my personality too ;)

(6) ピアスは開けていますか? また、いくつあいてますか? (Do you have piercings? Where?)
Yes! One in each ear

(7) 好きなブランドは?(Which brands do you like?)
BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT will be my favorite always and forever!! I want to quote Momoko here and say something sappy, but I will not to save your sanity ;)
Also, I actually really love Innocent World... it feels like a good blend of Classic and Sweet lolita to me :)

(8) アナタの一番お気に入りのお洋服はどんな服ですか?(Which are your favourite clothes you wear?)
It is always changing because I am always making new clothes... of course right now it is the Rococo JSK which is my newest creation!

(9) ロリィタ友達は何人くらい居ますか?(how many lolita friends do you have?)
eh... a lot? :3 I like everybody! Even though there's quite an age gap in our group, I think everybody gets along pretty nicely :3 I kinda feel closer to the girls around my age though... more like we could have hung out in high school or something XD but I think we have a really good group!
This is from the most recent meetup. It was small, but a lot of fun!

(10) ロリィタをした上での一番良かったことは?(What do you love most about lolita?)
Creative expression! Or something. Actually, I just like being able to take time for myself to make myself look good. I have never done that before :D

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hello! Please allow me to introduce myself~

Hello and thank you for visiting ABC Lolita!

First off, what is ABC Lolita?
ABC Lolita is a blog I have decided to start to post about lolita fashion and perhaps life in general from my point of view~

Why the blog title of ABC Lolita?
I am a lolita, I was born in America, but raised in a very traditional Chinese fashion because my parents moved here from Taiwan.  So I thought that it would be fun to create a blog depicting my views of the world, neither fitting into American or Chinese standards, but at the same time belonging to both!

Who are you?
 I am Grace, an entrepreneurial girl with big dreams, a (sometimes overly) idealistic view of the world, and a pair of scissors.  I hope to start my own lolita clothing line someday (is that not the dream of many other lolitas nowadays?)  You can follow my LiveJournal blog for my Brand, Carousel Cafe .  My plan is to launch officially Spring 2010!
I was born in America, bilingual (English and Mandarin), and interest in French and Taiwanese (yes, we have our own dialect!  But my understanding of it is poor), a seamstress and designer, and may be moving back to Taiwan for school fall of 2010!  This year will be a big year~
I have been a lolita since 2007
My favorite Brand is BABY, the STARS SHINE BRIGHT and my first Brand item was two lucky packs from BABY!  Actually, I only meant to buy one, but it was the mad rush of 2008 where they accidentally opened the ordering window about 20 minutes too early.  I was one of the girls who ordered early (^u^);;

Have more questions?  You can ask me on Form Spring:
Ask me anything!