Saturday, June 15, 2019

Paradiso Decadence Adventure Report Part 2



Welcome to the second installment of my Paradiso 2019 summary!

This report will be divided into two parts as well. The first half, I will be talking about Day 2's morning at the Miniature Museum, while the second half will contain my thoughts on the Tea Party in the afternoon. Let's get to it!

Day 2 - Morning

We woke up at 6AM and were barely ready on time for our trip to the Kansas City Museum of Toys and Miniatures at 10AM. I never get up that early, so it was a bit of a challenge to get ready while being so tired. We managed to get there on time but, because we only had 10 out of 30 people, we ended up starting the tour quite late. There was so much to see, even if they only took us to see the museum highlights.  I would honestly recommend saving this destination for a separate occasion --specially since I could have used the extra sleep! On account of the people's lateness, the tour felt rushed and I felt like I was missing some things. However, the museum itself was very interesting and had some beautiful displays.

My favorite part was the moving sculpture at the heart of the museum. It had hundreds of toys people in the area had donated over time.
Coordinate for day 2 in front of the moving sculpture


Day 2 - Afternoon

The tea party was the main event. We arrived at the Little Theater just in time to queue up. There were so many beautiful coordinates, and it was obvious that people had put their best foot forward. I was very tired, so unfortunately that colored my memory of the experience. Because I'm hard of hearing and there was a lot of echo in the venue, I had a really hard time understanding the MC and the guests answering questions in the beginning. This extended to the ouji and judge responses at the start of the pageant as well, unfortunately.
Beautiful venue for beautiful people

The food seemed to be okay. I'm very picky with what I eat, so I didn't really enjoy it much, but I knew it was coming and that it was nobody's fault. It didn't really feel decadent, though, as the dishes were rather simple. They included fruit, some vegetables with dip, strawberries, and chia pudding, if I remember correctly. The pudding was probably the least popular, as nobody in my table really finished theirs.

Picture from Bodyline Website
The venue was stunningly beautiful, but the caterers seemed overwhelmed with the amount of people they were serving. While most of the audience was enjoying the ouji pageant, I missed a good portion of it due to being unable to follow the conversations that reverberated off the walls. Still, all the princess wooing performances were adorable and, in some cases, hilarious. My favorite act came from Prince Lapin, the eventual crown winner. They met their bunny princess and danced to the Waltz of the Flowers together until the bell rang and the princess had to go in a hurry. It was doubly cute because both prince and princess were wearing the bodyline print 'Bunny Cinderella'.

The other performers were creative and comedic as well, and all the oujis' coords were impeccable. They sang, rapped, dropped packages, and seduced with puns from what I could tell. It was enjoyable to watch and a good distraction from the socializing that was going beforehand.

Look at all the wonderful princes and princesses!

Overall, the event was fun to attend, and it was inspiring seeing so many amazing coordinates. If you are an introvert, I would recommend going if you already know some people there. To me, it felt like people go in groups, and it was intimidating to break those small cliques to get to know people. Otherwise, it is a great event to attend and save your social and physical energy for.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Paradiso: Decadence Adventure Report Part 1 (Picture Heavy!)

Hey everyone!

I am here to tell you about my time in Kansas City, Missouri as an attendee for Paradiso: Decandence.

It all started in January, when my friend Denise (Ruffle Road) and I decided to attend the event. We descended upon those General Admission tickets like rapacious birds of prey --by which I mean we unnecessarily waited for their release and bought them right away without knowing they'd be selling well into May.

We immediately made plans for travel arrangements. A cheap, red-eye flight to make the most of Monday, a well-located Airbnb to split with a third person (who ended up being another member of our comm!), and an itinerary later, we were ready for the trip somewhere between March and April. All that was left was to wait.

I never wake up early enough to see sunrises

Day 0

We arrived early in the morning and visited some food places and the Noir Oddities physical storefront. They had all sorts of antique and creepy items for sale, including fragrances and pagoda umbrellas, but I wanted to save my money for the main event.
Noir Oddities had some lovely display
It was also the night of the Pre-Party swap meet, where we met with the rest of our travel group that had driven nearly 7 hours to get there. The most lolitas I'd ever seen -a number that would change as the event happened throughout the days,- gathered at the designated swap space. There were brand, indie brand, offbrand, and handmade items from all styles. I was most drawn in by some oldschool skirts I was looking for for a friend, some decoden phonecases and resin jewelry someone made by hand, and Baby the Stars Shine Bright's Elizabeth OP in red. It was so cool to see that dress in person! I sold part of what I brought and got myself a black BTSSB umbrella that ended up being the night's MVP during our trip back to the Airbnb in torrential rain.

A comforting sign when we were lost

Day 1

Denise left early for the fashion show, leaving bat-or-sweets and I to get ready. Bat-or-sweet had been sewing all night and through her 7 hour cardrive, but she still helped me rip some seams in my apron to make it look better, and she also sewed up my parasol! Real MVP for day one. 

We made our way to Union Station around 11AM, where we got breakfast,coffee and saw the biggest group of lolitas I'd ever seen. Then, around noon, the exhibit hall opened and Paradiso began.

I was too busy furiously running from one booth to the next to take pictures of the merchandise. By the time I was done getting my haul together, it was time for the fashion show. An hour felt like enough time to shopo back then but, in retrospect, I realized I had missed several places I wanted to stop by. Fortunately, it wasn't a big loss, as my money reserves were exhausted pretty quickly.

We sat on the third row of the fashion show, which unfortunately made it difficult to see and take pictures because of all the bonnets and tall headdresses. If I had a suggestion for next year, it would be to look into raised seating. I will include some of the better pictures I took here. I unfortunately wasn't able to get good pictures of all the lines, much less particular outfits. But here is what I do have:

The Bloody Tea Party's models rocked their poses
Denise rocked her Ikemen Mode outfit!
Ikemen Mode did a denim ouji collection
Elegy Clothing's popular Albino Accord dress 
I Do Declare x Voodoodolly collaboration
I Do Declare x Voodoodolly collaboration
Chiropteran Garden by Mossbadger
Datura Doll Designs - Datura even made the bonnets!
Starry_Seiun modeling "Royal Bee" in a beekeeper look by Lily of the Valley
"Kitchen Herbs" by Lily of the Valley
Lastly, there were three Q&A panels with the participating designers from the fashion show. It was very interesting to learn where they drew their inspiration for and how they completed their lines for the event. After closing remarks, I met Tyler from Scarfing Scarves and took a picture with her. I was being painfully shy and she was an great sport anyway, so I'm really grateful I had the chance, even if I forgot to bring her her gift I had drawn.

At the end of day one, my friends and I went to have dinner at a barbecue place and returned to the airbnb to sleep. It was a late night and an early morning into day two. But that's another story altogether --another story I will continue on part two of this report.

Until next time~

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Pack with Me! Paradiso Edition

Heya everyone!

Currently, I am away from my lolita lair. In my absence, the me from the past has filmed and edited a video about lolita packing!

I my two lolita coordinates in one large, hardcase bag with room to spare. I'm not the most efficient packer, but it was a good exercise in filming and editing. For my trip to Kansas City, Missouri, I ended up taking four pieces of lugagge: 2 checked bags, a backpack and a large totebag. I had plenty of space to spare for new purchases!

Without further ado, here's my video:


I hope you enjoy, and I'll see you next time!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Constructing a Cohesive Wishlist

In lolita it is very easy to fall in love with dresses --they are the centerpieces of the fashion, after all.
Prints and fabric details steal the spotlight, calling to our aesthetic soul and driving us away from the equally important but often-overlooked supporting pieces. Blouses, jewelry, accessories, shoes. You name it; we all have an area we are blind to.
Infatuation with main pieces is a problem that I share and, like many other lolitas before me, that led me to have a mismatched, uneven closet. The infatuation consumed a lot of time, effort, and, most importantly, money. To avoid spending on whatever crossed my path, I decided to make a wishlist. My process to do so is what I am going to share with you today.

The first list I created was of the dresses I wanted. By having a concrete set of prints I really wanted, it was easier to not lose track of the goal and splurge on impulse purchases. You can see that list below:


As you can see, I focused on the prints I wanted and what version of them I wanted them in. But this does not give me enough information about them, and what little information I have is not organized in any particular way. This isn't very efficient, and eventually led me to want and purchase similar prints that were not exactly what I wanted and that I eventually had to resell. I also focused so much on main pieces that I overlooked buying more than one blouse and a small group of accessories, which made my coordinates look too similar to each other.

Don't get me wrong: listing all the dresses I wanted to keep and obtain was a crucial step in moving forward. It helped me understand what kind of colors and motifs I was attracted to so I could further build upon them with the rest of my closet items. I wanted to figure out how to cover all the holes I my wardrobe had, and this was a good start. But it wasn't enough.

So how did I fix the list? First, I recognized that I needed more basics. I had a barely-functional petticoat and one pair of lolita shoes, and this lack showed in my coordinates and limited my creativity. I had to take a good look at my closet and figure out what I had, what I wanted, and what was missing. Where did I start? With my measurements.

1. Take your measurements
When purchasing lolita fashion items, measurements are key. I could want OPs and skirts all I wanted, but buying them would be a waste of money if I could never fit into them. (I'm looking at you, Emily Temple Cute >.>). So I started by taking my approximate measurements in metric and imperial units. I did conversions to Japanese sizes so I could have them on hand, and took out everything on my wishlist that would not realistically fit my body measurements. While initially a demoralizing shock, this helped me a lot in the long run by saving me money and grief.

2. Select your primary wardrobe colors
Do you have 2-5 colors that are consistent in your desired main pieces or current wardrobe? For example, you may like the black x pastels combinations and a variety of black gothic prints, so your primary color would be black. If you check the list I provide above, a lot of the main pieces have black, brown, or pink as their main colors.

3. Pick out accent colors
What are common colors you can find in the prints or details of your main piece? This will help you determine what color you want your supporting pieces to be so you get more varied coords. If you take a look at the dress list, I used to want dresses that had a lot of brown, red, or pink details. Getting accessories in those colors would have helped me bring out the accent colors in the print, making the coordinate more interesting to look at.

4. Common Motifs
Does your list have a lot of flowers? Food? Architecture? Lace detailing? Is there a fabric that's recurring in your closet? Noting patterns will help you determine themes, which will in turn help you buy specific accessories that could work with more than one main piece at a time. For instance, a lot of the prints on my original list were food themed: chocolate, donuts, biscuits. We knew that brown was a main color and an accent color, so getting food themed accessories in brown would help expand my coordinating possibilities quite a bit.

5. Determine what you need
Now that you know what colors and motifs you are working with, it's time to assess what exactly you are missing. Delve in your closet. Do you have only one or two pairs of shoes? Does the blouse you have only match certain things? What about wristcuffs and rings? You pick what accessories work best for you, but at least now you have a starting point to find them rather than jumping into a sea of products that may overwhelm you.

6. What do you want?
After all bases are covered, we still have certain specific items we still want. Maybe it was that amazing wig you saw another lolita wearing, or a specific brand accessory that only goes with one or two things. These items are non-essential but would still be fun to have. This is the category for excess: oddly shaped purses and headwear; gorgeous skull shoulder pieces; giant golden spoon scepters, and violin-themed shoes. Ultimately, this is the true wishlist you would splurge on.
--
Below is an updated wishlist --though the measurements are quite out of date. My tastes have changed quite a bit since I started, and so have my needs. If you would like, you can also see the glossary and store list I put together at the end of this list. It was originally intended for beginners or non-lolitas who wanted to buy me lolita gifts, and it's the basis of my Where to Buy Lolita page as well.

This is all that I have to share on the topic of making a (somewhat) cohesive wishlist. I hope you were able to learn something from it, even if it was just comparing what you do now with what another lolita does. If you have any tips on how to put together wishlists, feel free to share them with me!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Chocolate Lover's Tea: A Valentine's meetup (Picture Heavy)

Hey friends,

It's Keiko here with a meetup review! Sorry for the late post, but I was at a meetup last weekend! My comm went to the Saint Paul Hotel in downtown Saint Paul for their Chocolate Lover's Tea special event. This is a 5-course meal tea party in honor of Valentine's Day. The venue was beautifully decadent and the elegant atmosphere was accentuated by a live piano performance throughout the event. 

I enjoyed their Black Tea blend, but was unable to catch the name of it
Beautiful decor and attention to detail

The five courses all incorporated chocolate in some way to celebrate the spirit of the holiday. I tried to test it all but, since I'm an extremely picky eater, I can't give a fair review of what the food was like--- but I can show you some pictures of what we had for each meal!

Duck and Dark Cocoa Terrine
Choco-dipped strawberry with Candied Walnuts
Chili dusted shooter with mole soup (Spicy!)

Chocolate citrus glazed veal Osso Bucco
with creamy polenta and vegetable garnish 











Chocolate Citrus scone with Godiva
Chocolate Butter

Raspberry and candied citrus Mendiant
Chocolate Caramel Bar
Chocolate Mint Marshmallow
Dulce Ganache Chocolate Short
Dough Tartlet (My favorite!)

The Saint Paul Hotel's Valentine's teas are extremely popular each year. They hold around 5-7 events with this theme in February and they each fill up months in advance. For this meetup, we asked all attendees to reserve starting early to mid-January to make sure we got enough spots. In the end, all 9 reservations were filled and there were even more people that wanted to come!

It was a good time to make conversation and enjoy the extravagance of the hotel lobby. The servers were dressed as maids or butlers, which was a neat touch, and they seemed to be from different ethnicities, races, and walks of life. This detail was important to me because seeing only Latinx and African American maids initially made me uncomfortable, given the historically racially charged implications of servitude among those groups. As a Latina myself, it made me feel like I was a European aristocrat at the cost of other people. Thankfully that wasn't the case, but I could write an essay on wanting to feel like a royalty in lolita and not wanting to fall back on the historical ramifications that would entail. Either way, I digress.

Below is a picture of my coordinate that, believe it or not, was taken at the hotel lobby bathroom. It had numerous other golden details and ornate mirrors and stalls. As lolitas, my comm could not pass the photo op up!

Headpieces: Pastel Parade, chocomint
Blouse: The floral Notebook
JSK, Sash, Socks, rings: Angelic Pretty
Necklace: Deerstalker Pictures
Bracelets, shoes: Offbrand
Have you been to a meetup recently? How was your experience? Tell me all the details in the comments section below~ <3

Saturday, February 9, 2019

How to have a great Valentine's Day: A Short Illustrated Guide

Hello lovebirds! It's ya girl Keiko again.

Today I am going to spread some illustrated wisdom about how to make this Valentine's Day the best one yet. Warning: It is preferable that you are single during this process, but people with partners may also partake if they wish. Without farther ado, here we go!

Pankeiko's Illustrated Guide to Having a great Valentine's Day


In today's day an age, while we are more connected to each other than ever through the online world, there is still a physical aspect that we are missing. This applies to both the people and the things we love. We often yearn for what we don't have as we look at what's out there. This brings us suffering and sadness so, instead of mourning the connections we do not have, I believe it is better to get reacquainted with what we is close to us --and what better day to do it than on the day of love!
So do a little self-care, hang out with friends, or do what any sensible lolita would do: turn to your wardrobe. Your most prized pieces are probably in need of a little extra care anyway, so why not make them and yourself happy in that special occasion?

1. Give your pieces a good wash.

Whether you trust the local dry cleaners, or are brave enough to do your own lolita laundry, this step is essential. Making sure that your clothes are clean is the first step of having a happy wardrobe. They will feel fresh and closer to new, and the individual attention you give them will make you fall in love all over again.

Make sure that you do some research before tossing your precious prints in the washer. I suggest familiarizing yourself with the Japanese laundry symbols and think of the specific materials your pieces are made of and how they wash individually.

2. Lint roll your pieces and check for damages

This step helps you familiarize yourself yourself with your clothing in a more tactile way. You will need to carefully inspect each item with care to make sure there are no snags or loose threads. Any pet hair must be disposed of with a lint roller to return the piece to its best self. I would recommend doing this while watching a movie. It will be soothing for both of you and will enhance your bonding experience.

Bonus points if you sew buttons back on, adjust bows, or run your hands over the lace to appreciate its quality. Pro-Tip: Checking out the print for any running colors will also give you the chance to appreciate its artistry and find little things you hadn't noticed before.

3. Admire your pieces

After all the hard work and bonding time, you should take a step back to take in the fruits of your labor. Now your lolita items are clean, lint-rolled, and glowing with love. Our first instinct would be to put them back in the safety of our wardrobe, yet how would it make you feel being shoved into a closet after a strenuous makeover? All that work to look your best, for what? These kind of negative feelings will not stand. Instead, why not admire each item individually --or better yet, why not try putting together a coordinate to see how each individual part comes together to create your own unique combinations? Whether it's a floordinate in an instagram post, a picture for a future wardrobe post, or just displaying them on your mannequin (provided you have one) will allow for more time to appreciate your lolita closet. If you want to increase your love output, I recommend that you follow best way to show your clothes you love them: wear them.

4. Take the next step

So now you have cleaned, pressed, and displayed your clothes. You may even have gone through with wearing them somewhere. What next? It depends on how comfortable you are in them and how far along you are in your relationship. I'd recommend picking a memorable place to go. Maybe a park or a nice cafe. Depending on what you like, it can be crowded or a more secluded area. Then wait for the perfect moment. It can be the way your petticoat puffs up when you sit down, or the sound of the fabrics as you move. It's up to you to determine when you are ready. Just don't forget to get a matching ring to cement your relationship and expand your options for coordinates ;).


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That's all she wrote, folks! I hope you liked this little guide for the pursuit of happiness on an arbitrary commercial holiday that can affect some people negatively. I wanted to make something that would cheer up those who are not having a good time this week, so I put a little extra effort by sketching some images. So please let me know what you think in the comments!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

What's on My Mannequin? - February


Hey there~
It's-a me, Keiko! I have returned with another blog post (two in a row? Really?). This time, I have made a coordinate inspired by upcoming Valentine's Day celebrations.

Kuma Kumya's Royal Kingdom Valentine's Coordinate


I picked this JSK because it has tiny hearts going along it
 Rundown
Crown, JSK: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright
Wonder Queen Red Bag: Angelic Pretty
Shoes: Bodyline
Blouse: The Floral Notebook
Red Ribbons, socks, Zelda heart container necklace: Offbrand
BTSSB Butterfly Crown
I got this necklace with an etsy order a while back
Fun Fact: This is not the original button.
I picked the socks because they had a
pattern similar to the lace on the JSK
I don't feel like this coordinate is fully finished. I am missing something red at the top with the crown for it to be well-balanced. I tried adding the ribbons, but they are not the same shade of red as the rest of the outfit. My second pick is to use the detachable middle bow of the JSK as a hairbow on a wig. A long blond or milk tea wig would go well with this princessy outfit.

I don't really have a lot more to coordinate this JSK with, as I bought it only because I liked the print. It really stands out in my wardrobe as the only piece of its color combination. I think pairing it with brown accessories or more golden ones would be an easy way to go. I really need more red accessories, as it is a common 'pop' color in my wardrobe.

How would you coord this piece? I'd love to hear your ideas!