11 March 2018

Why I Don't Want to Stop Using Instagram

This is going to be a brain dump of complaints about Instagram and complaints about other people complaining. We all are entitled to our own thoughts, and I just wanted to share mine. I'd love to hear your personal opinions in the comments!

A lot of talk has been floating around online about an alternative to Instagram. (Like Vero, which I will never use because I don't want to pay for something just as complicated as another Facebook and because the owner has questionable morals) Now, I am super frustrated with how Instagram has been changing its algorithm in the past year, making it harder and harder for my followers to see my posts. It's annoying that I don't see posts from most of the 400+ accounts I follow. The posts on my feed are out of order and from the same few people I interact with regularly.

I do social media for a living, so understanding and navigating through the increasingly murky waters of Instagram is something I can't hide from. I'm always trying to keep up with the newest algorithm changes that might not even be accurate (because Instagram is not a very transparent company...)

Nevertheless, I don't want to leave Instagram. I don't welcome change with open arms, especially when it comes to starting over from ground zero.

Here is my list of whiny reasons:

  • I have a great base of followers who I love interacting with
  • I love how I've gotten my feed to look lately
  • I know the platform and have gotten into a good rhythm
  • All my friends are there already
  • It's so easy to search for photos for inspiration, motivation, and passing the time
  • It's so simple, any other new platform would have to be just as simple
  • It doesn't get political (unless you read comments/follow certain accounts)
  • Trying to guess the algorithm is almost like a game for me
  • Posting coords motivates me to dress up/wear my expensive ass hobby
  • I use it as my modeling/marketing portfolio
  • Even though I've lost "engagement" which is demoralizing, it motivates me to improve my photography, copywriting, networking, and general content creating skills
  • I just don't like change, okay?!

What are yours?

Photo credit to Claire/Maximumclaire

Thank you for reading my blog, it really means a lot. 

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe. 

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more!

06 January 2018

7 Essential Outfits Your Collection Needs

Whether you're just starting out or working on building out your wardrobe, you might feel a bit lost about where to go - which pieces are most important to get?

Everybody knows the basic necessities for any lolita wardrobe: petticoat, loliable shoes, blouses, dresses, headpieces, cute socks. But what about what kinds of pieces? There's a smarter way to fill out your collection than just buying whatever you fall in love with. Work on building essential outfits using pieces that can mix and match together ensures that you have a coordinate for most occasions. Never feel under or overdressed again!

Each example I picked uses mostly unique pieces that can be mixed and matched for more possibilities!

1. The Casual Coordinate For Every-Day Activities

Would you believe I went hiking in this outfit? (It was less than two hours but still!) This coordinate is so casual and comfortable that I can hike, do my work at a cafe, run errands, and use as a last-minute idea for impromtu events. My dress isn't dry-clean only, my tights are cheap to replace, my boots are offbrand and durable for lots of walking, and my accessories are minimal for avoiding unwanted attention from curious normies. Of course, I can change out accessories to dress it up for different occasions!

2. The Themed Coordinate For Special Meets and Halloween

Notice how this coordinate uses a simple accessory to bring out an Easter Rabbit theme in the print of my dress. Having a print (or non-print too!) that has a motif or color combination that can be used for a themed activity is a great option to have! Lolita fashion isn't a costume per se, but a themed coordinate can easily double as one for Halloween if you want!

3. The OTT Coordinate For Formal Tea Parties and Events

I used a couple of the same accessories here that I did in the previous example for a reason. Having a complete OTT coordinate (or just something fancy if you don't like over-the-top shenanigans) will provide you with lots of accessories you can use to spruce up standard outfits. I personally don't like feeling underdressed at an event, so I make sure to keep fancy pieces as well as casual pieces.

4. The Comfortable Coordinate For Days You Just Can't

My local comm loves creative, out-of-the-box meetups. I really appreciated having an incredibly comfortable coordinate for an all-you-can-eat brunch meet, and I have definitely needed something loose for when I felt sick but still wanted to attend something. These shoes may have heels, but they slip on and are surprisingly comfortable. Innocent World socks don't fall down my legs. This headbow doesn't give me a pressure headache. And of course my sack dress feels like I'm wearing nothing and hides everything!

5. The Standard Coordinate For Easy Dressing and Normal Meets

I think it is a good idea to have at least one main piece that is extremely versatile. Whether it has lots of colors, complex motifs, or multiple neutrals, that one dress that can match the majority of your accessories is a must-have item! I can't tell you how many completely different styles I've created using this one dress.

6. The Cold Weather Coordinate For Outdoors in the Winter

Cold-weather accessories and thicker fabrics are more useful than you think. Even if you live in an area that is warm and fair-weathered most of the year, you don't want to regret only having chiffon and ankle socks that one day! I live in sunny California, and I still get plenty of use out of this thick coat and my many cardigans. This applies for rainy days, windy days, or meetups at ice rinks and other chilly venues. If you plan your wardrobe right, you can use gloves, scarves, hats, boots, and other items with both your lolita and your regular clothes too!

7. The Coordinate You Don't Mind Getting Dirty

Whether you want to dress exclusively in brand or have an addiction to Taobao, you'll want an outfit you can get down and dirty in! Machine-washable pieces are your best friend. You don't want to wear your dream dress to pick berries, eat spaghetti, pet animals, explore outdoors, or risk getting spilled on at a carnival. I love this sailor dress I got from Cookie Bear and was able to truly enjoy exploring an old military base without worrying about getting scuffs or dirt. If my beret fell off onto the ground, I wouldn't care!

Thank you for reading my blog, it really means a lot. 

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe. 

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more!

03 December 2017

Taking Back Daily Lolita

I recently joined a new lolita lifestyle group on Facebook called The Secret Garden. I love the concept, a place for lifestylers to share tips, trips, and general lifestyle conversations. Self-labeling myself as a lifestyle lolita, I love having this group to indulge my feminine hobbies that have long been abandoned by the international community at large.

I've written a few lifestyle related posts before, including 101 Lifestyle Lolita Ideas revisitedtelevision and films with a lolita aesthetic and bringing back the old school aesthetic... but never one about what I actually see as being a lifestyle lolita myself.

In its essence: I think being a lifestyler means wearing lolita for occasions more frequent and casual than meetups. Enjoying traditionally feminine hobbies isn't necessary to consider yourself a lifestyle lolita in my opinion, but I think it definitely represents a large portion of the lifestyle lolita population.

How I Personally Define My Own Lolita Lifestyle

Frequency: I wear lolita at least once a week. My best friend and I try to see each other every week, and I often have meetups or other opportunities to dress up with my boyfriend or other friends. We just run errands, work on our laptops at local cafes, and generally hang out.

I'm really lucky to live in an accepting area where people are relatively used to seeing weird people all the time. I definitely get stares, "secret" photos taken of me, and nosy questions when I go out, but I never feel unsafe or like a complete freak when I go about my life dressed in lolita.

I'm also fortunate that my boyfriend is so accepting of lolita - to the point he said he would find it concerning if I stopped dressing like this because it is such a big part of who I am. He doesn't bat an eye when I choose to wear lolita on our dates or when we go for a nice walk. Having an accepting and supportive partner really contributes to my lolita lifestyle. It normalizes it for me and in our relationship, it feels less like a big event or special occasion.

Hobbies: I fall into the category of lolitas who enjoy feeling like a princess or an elegant lady. I enjoy traditionally feminine activities, and wearing lolita for more than meets makes me feel like the world is just a little bit more wonderful.

Embroidery, letter writing, nature strolls, afternoon tea, ballroom dancing, journaling, cooking and baking, sewing, sketching, reading novels, picnicking, attending ballets - these are a lot of the things I consider to be hobbies of mine, and I can partake in them while wearing lolita!

Let's Take Back Daily Lolita

Do you remember the Daily Lolita group? This was the precursor to Closet of Frills, but it was much more geared towards actual daily coordinates. These days, Closet of Frills seems to have evolved due to competition for likes and uniqueness points. Photos have gotten more professional and outfits more OTT. Nearly every photo posted there ends up on CGL to get torn to shreds. I've already written about my feelings for Closet of Frills, so I won't repeat myself.

My point is that we should embrace our fashion roots and celebrate wearing lolita casually again. If you want to wear your frills to study in the library, have lunch in the park, or just to make a fancy dinner on a week night, you should! Lolita is expensive and we should all wear our carefully curated wardrobes as much as we want.

Thank you for reading my blog, it really means a lot. 

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe. 

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more!

11 November 2017

BB and B Review

Diamonds are a girl's best friend right? Well what about Swarovski crystals? That's what BB and B Premium Clay Confectionary wants to convince us, and I'm not mad!

I received a necklace from them to review, the Victorian Sugar Cookie necklace, and right off the bat I can tell you that I am in love with BB and B's quality.

First, a little bit of background: A few years ago I went to Rufflecon, and I bought a necklace from a boutique table I had never heard of before. This vendor was completely new to me, but their table blew me away. Absolutely gorgeous deco jewelry, head accessories, phone cases - and the prices were so inexpensive that I bought a necklace from them. I got this one from their table, and the quality was amazing for what I paid.

This time, two years later, I am still just as impressed.

The Quality: 

For how much they charge, which would be $28 for this necklace, the quality is outstanding.

They don't skimp on the small details. The jewels, pearls, and clay pieces feel sturdy and securely glued in place. Even the weight is a nice balance between feeling cheap and feeling burdensome.

One thing I really appreciate that is usually overlooked is the type of fastener. I always notice cheap versus quality fasteners when I buy jewelry, and I love that BB and B didn't just use a cheap spring or lobster clasp. They used an adorable heart-shaped toggle clasp - I love toggles more because they are so much easier and less painful to use!

There is some lint within the crevices of the clay, but you only notice this when your face is within a few inches of the necklace. For what's it's worth, I don't think it is a big deal at all.

The Details: 

Aside from the custom clasp, BB and B makes sure to really make the most out of normal things. On both necklaces, they attached a tiny lace piece to the under/back-side of the clay. When most jewelry companies would probably just leave this empty space blank, I like that they decorated even this spot!

I looked really hard to find fingerprints in the clay, and I found none on either piece. I don't usually buy cheap clay jewelry because fingerprints are unfortunately common and an easy mistake, so I was happy to find that BB and B's pieces are textured nicely without any prints.

A minor detail that irked me is that in the description for my Victorian Sugar Cookie necklace, it says "genuine pearls" and yet they are not genuine at all. They are plastic - which is fine! - but the description is a little misleading. Not a deal-breaker for me, but something to keep in mind.

The Website: 

Since I received this necklace for free and they are located in my own state, I can't really comment on processing or shipping times. However, I can comment on their website!

I really like the look and feel of their site, with easy-to-find pages and a pretty design. They have really helpful buttons and links to everything you need. For a small indie brand, I love that they have a wishlist feature!

My problem is with their system. You can't see any prices without creating an account. In order to create an account, you have to be approved before you can actually log in and see the prices. This seems unnecessarily tedious to me, especially if I was a first-time customer. Not knowing how inexpensive these pieces actually are, I would feel like they were really expensive for how detailed they are and not want to go through the effort of creating and account if I couldn't afford them.

Conclusions: Would recommend!

Thank you for reading my blog, it really means a lot. 

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe. 

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more!

14 October 2017

Gas Gas Gas! An Ode to Vintage Military Lolita

Thank Fear and Clothing for the pretentious title, a book I recently finished that appeals to my secret desire for unending, convoluted descriptions. Another secret of mine is my fascination for WWII and military history in general. I was that weirdo in middle school wearing 1940s wool pleated skirts, peddling to my classmates half a dozen USSR military caps that my mother bought for me off of Ebay because she thought I'd like one (emphasis on one yet six too-small caps came).

I know more about old tanks, airplanes, decommissioned military uniforms, Vietnam PTSD, and general history than I should for never really studying it in school beyond the basic stuff. This knowledge and hobby of collecting vintage military memorabilia also happens to be one of the ways I bond with my SO who is a serviceman, who so kindly helped me with this photoshoot.

He took the photos, posed me, coached me so I didn't look like a complete idiot holding a firearm, and even checked the 1953 American filter for a British gas mask I found at a surplus store that was issued in 1944 (and somehow they fit together?) so I didn't poison myself. So take this as disclaimer #1: I was supervised by a professional for safety and respect. No flagging here!

Now, when the oh-so-controversial Guerrilla Cats dress from Lyre Ivy was announced on Lolita Updates, it received strong mixed feelings. Many lolitas loved the adorable little cats dressed up as soldiers going off to battle a rat, but many others were disgusted by the theme and thought it was distasteful. "Not elegant" right... like the pizza or doge dresses are?

Of course, I knew I had to order it! I love cats and love military themes.

Now enough with the backstory! One more thing before we get to the photos. Disclaimer #2: While this firearm is real, all applicable laws and regulations were followed. Disclaimer #3: I am not a war-hawk nor insensitive to the tragedies the theme of this photoshoot brings up. I did it for the vintage, apocalyptic, totally strange but cool aesthetic of military lolita.

How did I choose my coordinate pieces?

Well, I debated leaving my hair down or putting it up. An up-do would fit the military style, but down felt more soft and feminine for lolita. I felt like a mademoiselle in the French resistance... or something. Plus it helped with the transition of putting on and taking off the gas mask.

The main pieces - jumperskirt, tights, brooch which I used on my beret - are part of the Guerrilla Cat series from Lyre Ivy. I thought about getting the light pink colorway which would match more of my wardrobe, but the army green just seemed to fit better!

The blouse is from Innocent World, the beret and boots are offbrand.

The green envelope hat is a Soviet hat I found in a lot with a uniform shirt and tie. I felt comfortable wearing it since the USSR doesn't exist anymore. The Green bag is Swiss also from WWII era. I already mentioned the gas mask (MK II Light Anti-gas Respirator if anyone cares), so I think I covered everything!

I really hope you liked the photos from this seasonally appropriate photoshoot (I don't usually get spoopy for Halloween) and enjoyed the aesthetics like I did.

If you're interested in how filters are stored, there's a short clip of me opening the totally cool and unique canister on my Facebook page. Go check it out!

Thank you for reading my blog, it really means a lot. 

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe. 

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more!