28 July 2018

8 Things I Learned From Living Alone

If you have followed me online for a while, you have probably noticed that I've been almost consistently in relationships since I was 16. I've also always lived with someone else (different family members and then later boyfriends) for my entire life. I've spent the past 30 days completely alone, and I learned a few things.

These might seem trivial, unimportant, or obvious to you if you live alone yourself. But to me they aren't.

My boyfriend is in the military and left for training this past month. It's been a test of our relationship because we know that it is inevitable that we will be spending a year apart in the future. It's been tough, but it has also been graciously a short time apart.

One month seemed incredibly daunting at first, and let me tell you that everyone who says the first two weeks are the worst... they're right. Not only was I barred from any communication with my romantic partner who I've lived with for a year, but I was left to maintain and manage the apartment all on my own. Which is something I've never done before beyond a week or so when family would go on holiday.

So I definitely learned a lot about myself, about my relationship, and about living alone. I'd like to share these with you, maybe they will provide you some insight if you are about to go out on your own as well or remind you how it is at the beginning if you've been on your own for a while.

We can all learn someone new from stepping into someone else's shoes for a moment.

Things I took for learned:

  1. It is much harder to get dressed with nobody to help zip you up, fix your lacing, or tell you if your straps are twisted in the back (forget being able to straighten them!)
  2. Being able to hide from myself. I struggle with depression and social anxiety, and being with my partner enables me to hide from my inner demons and distract myself from things for a while. Being alone really brings it all to the surface, you can't bury it under taking care of someone you love and being taken care of in return. Emotional labor keeps your mind busy, and when you don't have to do it for anyone else... you're forced to deal with your demons.
  3. The bed feels bigger both in a good and bad way. It's absolutely lovely to spread out and not get squished to the edge of the mattress in the middle of the night, but it's lonely to wake up and look over at an empty pillow.
  4. It's difficult to cook for one. I love cooking and baking, and it really makes me happy and fulfilled to feed my partner home cooked meals. But when I'm alone I have much less motivation to cook anything more complicated than stiryfry. It's hard to eyeball one-person ingredient portions, you end up with so much leftovers, and you have to do 100% of the dishes.
  5. Absence does make the heart grow fonder but at a price. You're going to have bad days where you ugly cry all over the place. Sob into your food, in traffic after work, in the shower, spotting a little thing they forgot to put away before they left. I had lots of good days (as time went on), and I've really learned to appreciate my relationship.
  6. Nobody will judge you for throwing away the ends of the bok choy. And other things. Eating, watching, listening, and generally spending time the way you want without having to think about someone else's preference is definitely a benefit to living alone. Pants are optional! The bathmat is always dry! Nobody yells at you for leaving the bedroom door open!
  7. Things stay too clean. The more people you live with, the more often you have to clean. I stress clean, so after a while I don't have anything left that's dirty. And because it's only me, it takes much longer to get dirty again. Except dishes, those never go away.
  8. Life partners just make life easier. Some stressful things happened to me during that month that were really hard for me to deal with on my own. A good support network is so vital to staying sane, but your friends have to go home eventually. Some problems you just need someone to take off your hands for a bit and reassure you that everything is going to be okay. Adulting is hard, but it is harder alone.

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21 April 2018

12 Lolita Blog Post Ideas

Someone on Rufflechat mentioned they wanted to start a lolita blog and wondered how those of us who do blog come up with unique ideas other than just reviews and outfits/events.

I get my inspiration from Rufflechat, believe it or not, and her question actually inspired this post! I may struggle with video ideas, but I rarely run out of blog post ideas. While I won't share with you my current to-write list (don't steal my thunder!), here is a list of lolita-related blog topic ideas for you to use or get inspiration from:

12 Lolita Blog Post Ideas

  1. Your lolita story/journey. Tell your readers how you discovered lolita, what it means to you, how you've grown, how you learned how to coordinate, etc. Make it personal and share your beginner ita photos!
  2. Indie brand reviews. Nobody needs to see another Angelic Pretty review (seriously, why do people keep making new ones), but new indie brands are coming out all the time that need some review love.
  3. Recent lolita projects. Crafted your own headdress, learned how to adjust shirring, or embroidered a hoop for a lolita friend? Document it with progress photos, instructions, or just your thoughts.
  4. Lolita Blog Carnival. If you have an established blog, you should really consider joining the Lolita Blog Carnival - join us for weekly topics and connect with your fellow bloggers!
  5. Opinion pieces. Your blog should be personal, people like getting to know you. Encourage discussion by opening up on your feelings about something. Recent trends, brands going out of business, street harassment, Rufflechat posts (*cough*like this one)
  6. Guides and Tutorials. Are you an expert in a certain craft? Savvy at packing lolita for trips? Love styling your hair? People like learning new things!
  7. Lolita things to do in your area. I always see people asking what to do when they travel. If you live in a popular city, document where you suggest visiting lolitas to see: the good tea houses, historical places, the cutest restaurants, shops that might carry loliable things, the best places for coord photos, etc.
  8. How to nail a substyle. If you've become a master at a difficult substyle (read: make sure you know what you're doing!), help out others with tips for how to pull it off.
  9. Lolita events. If you had the opportunity to see a fashion show, go to a unique meetup, meet a lolita designer, or traveled to another country for a big tea party - share your experience!
  10. The listicle. Even in the general blogosphere, people love list blog posts like this one. I personally love making them too!  Write lists of seasonal meet ideas, your favorite brands and why, lolita-esque media, your favorite Etsy shops, things beginners should avoid, what you've learned through lolita, brands as memes/cats/food/celebrities/etc. 
  11. Different ways to coordinate. This one is always a good idea! Pick a piece and coordinate it for different seasons, substyles, dressy/casual, etc. 
  12. Peak into your wardrobe. The wardrobe post in January is a long time tradition going back to Livejournal days.

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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

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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!

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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.

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