Sunday, January 30, 2011

January Coordinate Challenge Result!

First off, I am sorry for the lack of updates - I have gotten sick recently. For the past few days, I have been drinking copious amounts of water and editing photos for that pose series I am working on :)

How many of you did the coordinate challenge? Leave a link in the comments if you have photos uploaded somewhere!

January's challenge was to coordinate everything with BLACK! Let's see how I did...

5 outfits! I am most happy with the last one because it was the most creative, I think. I layered my pirate skirt over my tartan JSK and the result is a little bit punk-style I think!

Manicure shots!

I love doing nails ^u^

Show me your coordinates!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Life and Style

On Saturday I went to a house-warming party wearing my piano-theme JSK. Towards the end of the party, it was going to move to a nightclub, but I declined to go because a) I did not think my grandparents would let me stay out so late, and b) I did not want to go wearing my Lolita dress!

Now I do know that there have been lolitas who wear Lolita fashion clubbing, but it seems like it would be hard to dance in! Not to mention the threat of spilled drinks and the crowds of rowdy clubbers...

Flickr photo from the club we were going to go to

Not to mention, when I go clubbing I want to dress up, wear lots of makeup and false lashes, and put my hair up! It is almost like cosplay to me, where I become somebody else. Rick said that when he first saw me (at a club), he assumed I was much older, and a wild type of girl. I am glad that he chose to get the time to know me outside of clubbing, because that is totally NOT who I am! But in my opinion, it is fun to be a wild version of oneself for a night and totally let go of all inhibitions (within reason, of course! Stay safe, ladies and gents!)

What are your thoughts on Lolita and "non-lolita" activities such as clubbing? Would you ever wear Lolita to a club?

The other part of this post is to see if there is any interest in a series of photo-posing posts from me?

I am not super-expert on posing, and most of the poses I know are for purikura type photos (I sort of really love purikura!) but I thought it would be a fun thing to do! There would be a series of poses using the numbers 1-10, then one on standing/leg poses, and one on seated posing. I know that I always brain-fart when it comes to actually posing for photos, but hopefully putting everything together into posts would make them easier to remember!

Poses are cute for close-up shots of makeup/jewelry/nail and can make photos more interesting to look at. It also helps avoid the "mug-shot" type of look I am sure we are all familiar with ;D

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Belle's Library~Deka Wanko Lolita Detective

Apart from Shimotsuma Monogatari/Kamikaze Girls, Paradise Kiss and Godchild, I haven't seen proper Lolita clothing in many mangas. OK, I am not really a big manga-reader either, so there may be more that I am missing! I have been reading this manga series, Deka Wanko, about a detective with a dog-like sense of smell (erm, yes, that is strange, but it really is an interesting series!) and she wears Lolita fashion!

Image from One Manga

Now just having a Lolita character isn't enough to get me to read a series, it has to have a good storyline too! As I mentioned before, Deka Wanko is a detective series, so it is a bunch of mini-mysteries. I am a BIG fan of detective/mystery stories! From Nancy Drew (oh, my childhood!) to CSI, I love watching the characters piece together all the clues and evidence to solve the crime!! If you are into this type of story, Deka Wanko is great! The dog-like sense of smell detail is a bit out there, but there is a lot of normal detective work too.

Hanamori is not your typical pretty, pretty princess Lolita. She is clumsy, childish, naive and easily excited, but determined to prove herself as a police officer. Her overly enthusiastic attitude sometimes gets her into a bit of trouble while solving cases, but overall I find her a cute character! Is that because her childish attitude is similar to mine? Haha yes, I think I will work on improving myself... anyway, read on to see more!

I have been reading the series on the livejournal community DekaScanlation, which is a fan-run scanlation community.

It is also being made into a drama! The actress is wearing legitimate Lolita fashion

Image from livejournal community Japan_Now
This is her in a Putumayo JSK.

The series' first episode is out already, but untranslated. You can watch the clip at DekaScanlation here.

What do you think so far?

Have you read this series? If so, do you like it? Or will you be interested in picking it up now?

Also, are there any other Lolita mangas that I may have missed? Please share in the comments if you know of any!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Belle's Library~Burlesque


A small town girl making her way to the big stage to live out her dreams~ Of course, it is not all smooth sailing. Actually, it is a lot of hard work, tears, reality, betrayal, trial and error, and determination.

On Wednesday I watched Burlesque with Rick, and I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would! This film is in no way a "let's try to show as much cleavage and booty as possible while making a flimsy plot line so we can say it's a movie and not porn" type of movie. As a matter of fact, nobody ever takes any clothes off. Singing and dancing features quite a bit throughout, but the characters and story are still the main focus.

Without giving away any spoilers, I'd like to say that Burlesque was a beautiful movie and really shows how Ali (short for Alice) tackles her way in the complex world of stage performance at a club with financial issues. She meets powerful people, both in the personality and influential sense of the word. She and Tess, the owner of the club both learn important lessons in life, love, money, friendship, and the importance of all of the above.

Burlesque is funny, sexy, touching, and real. I definitely recommend seeing it! Whether in theaters or on DVD I don't think it matters because Burlesque doesn't rely on any special effects or require a large screen for maximum impact.

Can't say too much more without giving away spoilers, but read on for just some random tidbits about Christina Aguilera from me :P If you remember her image/songs in the 90s, hopefully you'll click with me here!

The one thing that stood out to me a lot was her natural look. Can I just say, WOW SHE IS SO PRETTY WITHOUT HEAVY EYEMAKE!
She isn't one of those naturally drop-dead gorgeous girls, but she is pretty, and I actually like her natural face better than the super-made-up face one usually finds on the internet of her.

She really captured a "determined girl next door" feel for me. Her blind determination, her pig-headed have-no-fear-until-it's-too-late attitude, and her sudden surge to mini-stardom causing a whole mess of confusion, excitement, and confidence (over-confidence?).

I haven't been following Aguilera's career much after grade school - she just sort of dropped off the radar for me save for the Lady Marmalade song in Moulin Rouge:

Erm, see what I mean about the heavy eyemake?
But I really enjoyed this new spotlight on her, and hope she keeps on singing (or maybe acting)! Her voice really is unique and strong!

Anyway, I would like to end this post by saying, "go see this movie!" and also to ask, "I may not be an expert on burlesque, but I thought the point was to wear a lot and take it off while performing, but not actually getting naked."
What little I do know about the art of burlesque I learned from one of my classmates in MN who was a member of a local burlesque troupe. They performed at our school fashion show, which I watched on tape! Her in-a-nutshell description of their troupe was something along the lines of, "a striptease without getting naked, while presenting issues in society and individual members' talents (such as ribbons, flexibility, music, etc.)" I think the "issues in society" part was just something her particular troupe did, though. Most burlesque performances are just for entertainment, I think?

The performance I saw at school was a slow dance with fans where she would dance, remove her long dress, dance, remove the chains of jewels she was wearing over lingerie, and dance. The other one was a comedy performance where she lip-synced to a funny song-story while acting it out and ended up firing confetti from her bra.

So my question to you, my readers, is "If you have seen Burlesque, what did you think of it?" and also, "What do you think about the art of burlesque in general?" Love it? Think it's disgusting? Could care less either way? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Warning! Warning! Very Danger!

Last night I was preparing some false nails to wear today (I know, I said not to wear falsies, but my natural nails are actually as long as the falsies so it is unlikely anything will get caught under them and break them off. Also, my natural nail art is fancier than false nails. You will see what I mean when I make my coord post at the end of the month!) I cut and filed them until they were a good fit and set them out on my little table in order, just in case I did not wake up early today.

Then, for some reason, I decided to check out the nail glue I had gotten over the summer. I have never used nail glue before, so I wanted to make sure that I knew how!

Lesson #1: Always Practice Before the Event
Good thing I did, because I found that there was dried glue clogging the tip of my pen-style nail glue! So I took the top off (took a bit of work!) and looked inside. It turned out that there was a big chunk of glue dried up in the front of the pen! I looked in the back and realized that it looked empty All the glue had dried up, despite being brand new!

So I looked back at the front half, and felt something spill out of the back half in my right hand. There was still a bit of glue left!

Lesson #2: Nail Glue is Not Skin-Friendly
Despite being something one is supposed to apply to one's nails, there was a disclaimer on the pen saying to avoid contact with skin/cuticle/eyes/mouth/anything not made of nail. Well, now there is a mess of nail glue on my hand, leading to the table, and then dripping onto my pants. Pants glued to leg? DO NOT WANT! I quickly pulled the fabric of my pants away from my skin (hooray for stretchy fabric!)

Feeling as if this date was going to be more work than I had intentionally planned for, I noticed a strange smell...

Lesson #3: Nail Glue is Chemicals
Yes, there was a chemical-y smell. But there was also a sort of singeing, chemical-burn smell. I look at the glue-y table, then at my glue-y pants. My pants were smoking! This is an approximation of what my face looked like.

I have never heard of this happening before! But yes, there was some type of chemical reaction happening on my pants that resulted in the melting/burning smell, complete with smoke and heat! I quickly took my pants off, only to find that my middle finger on my right hand was now glued to my pants. This is so not funny.

Lesson #4: Invest in Nail Glue Remover
THANK GOODNESS I had thought to also invest in a little bottle of nail glue remover when I bought the nail glue! It took the entire bottle to release my finger from the mass of now-cooled, chemical-burning mess that used to be a nice pair of dance pants. Needless to say, they went in the trash. R.I.P., my wonderful pants!

Now that I was no longer in danger of burning up or melting, I had to get this dried glue off my leg and hand!

Lesson #5: Nail Polish Remover is Pretty Rad
I took a bath in nail polish remover. OK, that is a bit of an exaggeration, but I did wash my leg and hand in a quarter bottle of mild nail polish remover. Thanks for saving my life, Japanese brand Meko mild nail polish remover! (See what I did there? Things that serve me well get a plug! Not sure how available it is worldwide, though) In a previous episode of gluing mishaps, I got superglue on the dining table and on my hands (it's a deco story - I am sure you can imagine what happened haha!) and safely removed everything with this polish remover! Which, strangely enough, is really not that great and removing my regular nail polish...

Anyway, after much washing with remover and soap, I gave my poor, abused hands a generous slathering of lotion, apologized to them, and went to bed.

In the future, I will be sticking to one-day nail stickers for false nails. I wish I could tell you what brand of chemical weapon nail glue it was, but sadly everything was written in Korean. Except the warnings telling you not to touch the glue with anything you don't want permanently destroyed. They were kind enough to provide English translations of that.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Other Side of Me

First impressions are important. It could make or break a potential friendship! But at the same time, a first impression shows only a very small portion of an individual's personality.

I have been thinking on this point for a while now because my boyfriend is coming to Taipei this Sunday (Jan. 9), but he has never seen me wear Lolita. When we first met, I was in a summer camp and we all wore "easy to move" clothes. AKA: t-shirt and pants. Not really what I wear on a regular basis ^^;

Here I have compiled a list of points that I thought of for "first impression" Lolita outfits. I don't want to make it too over the top (not that it is my style anyway) but not super casual either. I plan on wearing a petticoat, a printed JSK, and minimal hair/makeup.

These guidelines are of course, just guidelines. It really depends on the person you are meeting!

*Go for an old-school style
Deco Lolita may be a bit much for a first timer! I would suggest some basic Gothic, Sweet, or Classic coords. Classic has the best chance of looking more "mainstream", but it is best to wear whichever style suits you the most as you will be more comfortable in your skin.

*Keep it real
Try not to cake on the makeup, and leave the false lashes, nails, and wigs at home! Not only to save yourself the risk of a wardrobe mishap, but because it is preferable to show your "real" face first (IMHO, of course). A natural look (light makeup is fine) seems more genuine. Artificial overload may give off the impression that you are not comfortable with yourself.
Recently on a certain TV show, the topic of the program was "magic makeup artists" who were ordinary girls that put on a lot of makeup every day to completely alter their look without looking like they are wearing a ton. It was pretty awesome to see the transformation! It was pretty not awesome when the girls' boyfriends were on the show and did not realize the girls were their girlfriends when they didn't have their makeup on. Moral of the story? Wear makeup as makeup, not a mask!

*Don't focus on yourself
Meaning, don't spend all your time fixing your hair/makeup, straightening your skirt, etc. While your SO may be curious about your fashion, don't spend all your time talking about it either! The focus should be on spending time together :) It's OK if you don't look picture-perfect all the time. Nobody is going to report you to the Lolita Police!

*Wear something comfortable
Make sure you can walk in your shoes, sit in your petticoat (remember your bloomers!), and that your purse can fit your necessities. Also, don't wear anything you are going to spend too much time fussing over. It would make a bad impression if you flipped out every time your precious dress came in danger of being dirtied. Save such pieces for meetups and other special occasions! It may also be preferable to leave the Ultimate Cupcake Petti of Doom at home and opt for a lighter one. Petticoats are one of my bigger concerns when wearing Lolita because I try not to hinder others' convenience with my fluff. Don't take up more than one seat on the bus or subway, and try not to cringe if crowds crush your petti flat! You can always re-fluff later :)

Here is a Polyvore example of an outfit:

The main dress is not overly fancy, but still cute!
The blouse is a "school style" blouse so it has the cute collar, but is not overflowing with frills.
Plain knee socks with white lace top are a nice basic.
I chose knee-high boots but black mary janes would work too.
The headbow is current and stylish, but not head-eating. Head bows are becoming much more mainstream, so this medium sized bow paired with straight hair or pigtails would make for a simple but lovely hairstyle.
The purse is really something I just love! It is the point of focus for this outfit, cute, and soft-style so you don't need to worry too much about it getting banged up! I have seen a woman carry the panda bag from this line and it looks very nice in person!

I hope that everything goes well! We may or may not be meeting up tomorrow, but for sure on Wednesday! So I have two outfits planned and will make outfit posts at the end of the month :)

Share your "first impression" Lolita outfits in the comments? I want to know what your wore, who you were showing for the first time, and how it went!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Kick Off 2011 With Some Videos and Goals!

How was your first day of 2011? Have you made any resolutions? I made a list on my livejournal for 2011 which specific, measurable, and reasonable goals. Last year my list had some vague goals and that made it difficult to follow or measure success.

I'd like to share two videos with you all:
One is the Taipei 101 firework show for Taiwan's 100th year of independence! It was extra epic this year and I am so stoked I could be there for it! I had a very difficult time editing and uploading the video (it took 4 tries... and over an hour long each time!) but I hope you enjoy it!

The second one is a short New Year video by Kawaii Girl Japan featuring Lolita idol Misako Aoki! She is wearing a kimono, but with Lolita accessories (including BABY's furry beret)

I wore lolita to the celebration, but without a petticoat because I knew it would be insanely packed! Being in a crowded area for a long time, I did not want to bother anybody so I kept things simple with a basic JSK over a ruffled turtleneck, knee socks, and flat boots.

I made a post about my 2011 Resolutions and would like to include some of them here.

The Coordinate Challenge is something I would like to include you all in! I am thinking of very general challenges for each month to force myself to try new styles, colors, etc. I am not very creative in my coords :P Would anybody be interested in joining me for this challenge? My January Challenge is ultra-simple: COORDINATE IT WITH BLACK!
Wearing black? Coordinate it with more black! Try to bring more detail into the outfit to make it more interesting
Wearing white? Flashback to the very roots of Lolita Fashion with a BxW coordinate!
Wearing pastels? Hey, pastels work with black too! I think this is a very nice take on sweet style, bringing in some dark colors
Wearing jewel or neutral tones? Black can create a nice background canvas for classical colors such as ivory, dusty rose, etc. Elegant jewelry can really bring light to a classical look.

Tutorials, of course, would be posted here! So I will need some input from my readers. What would you like to learn from me? It can be anything from sewing (save for tops - I'd like to perfect that before I try teaching it!), nail art, cooking with limited supplies, etc. I cannot guarantee I will actually be able to make a tutorial for everything, but I'd like to hear ideas!