Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hair and GAL

I got my hair cut yesterday. It seems really short to me, but it's still medium length really.  Of course, anything shorter than waist length seems short to me!

The stylist cut off the dead ends and added some layers.  It's a lot lighter, I'm still getting used to it.  She also gave me some new products to use.  I will update about those once I've used them a bit more.

Also yesterday was a GAL event, ALOHA GAL-ifornia, which was to celebrate the one year anniversary of the KiraKira Purikura shop.  It was a Hawaii/Tropical theme but I don't own much that matches that theme, so I opted for a simple blue dress with a sweater.  Not exactly the most GAL outfit ever but I think it was pretty cute.

As for makeup, I tried to do less color on the eyes, instead opting for contouring.  I also wore some huge lashes (pa brand that I purchased from Marukai).
A shot in one of the purikura booths since they have nice lighting!
Makeup Rundown:
Dr. Jart Silver Label BB Cream
MAC Studio Fix
MAC Beauty Powder in Summer Rose
MAC Eyeshadows in Handwritten, Crystal Avalanche, Sable
Dollywink Eyeliner
Fiberwig Mascara
pa Lashes
MAC Lipstick in Viva Glam Gaga (a bit worn off since we ate before we went to the party)
Michi also styled my hair a bit.  Not too big but better than flat. 

With a flamingo cutout, mostly because my brother has an unnatural interest in flamingos so I took it for him.  You can also see a bit more of the outfit. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Back to Baby

When I started into lolita, my favorite brand was Baby, the Stars Shine Bright.  A lot of this was based on the fact that I really liked Kamikaze Girls and Momoko spends about half the book talking about how great Baby is.  Plus I wasn't too familiar with all the brands.  This is pretty ironic seen as I started wearing lolita after going into the Angelic Pretty boutique at PMX in 2007, and AP was my first brand.

However, I moved on over to AP and eventually got rid of all of my Baby.  I sold my last Baby item over a year ago.  One of the major reasons was that Baby doesn't fit me all that well; they have a tendency to go all or nothing with the shirring, where I look best in either half or quarter shirring.  And a lot of times when they have shirring, it will be in the front which looks terrible on me. 

While Baby may not be the ideal brand for me, there were still some pieces that I found myself pining after, and when they happened to show up on Closet Child, I decided to get them. 

The first dress is Rose Ribbon Gingham JSK in Pink
The story behind this JSK is that I saw it on the Baby website and loved it.  I decided to be responsible and wait until I had earned the money for it to buy it, but by that time it was completely sold out.  I ended up having the black version for a while, but I wasn't content.  Then I bought the OP, but it didn't fit me all that well.  I'm glad to finally have the dress I originally wanted!  It's nice and I like that it can be worn more casually.

The second dress is Swan Lake in Pink
I actually owned this about 2 years ago until I "outgrew"it (ie gained weight lol).  I sold it but I've missed it ever since and it wasn't that comfortable to wear in the first place; the zipper was a pain to get up and I couldn't really eat much while wearing it.  So I decided to get it again and alter it to fit.
The back with no shirring grrrr.  I'm moving the zipper to the side and adding a shirring panel into the back to add some slack.  I considered adding a panel into the skirt but it would be impossible to do it due to the lace unless I did a bustle back panel.  I considered it but decided against it.  I can always open it up and add it later if I decide it needs it.
Voila!  I was lucky enough to be able to get the matching skirt at the same time so the shirring panel will match.  I'll have left over fabric after the shirring panel so I'm going to make a headbow to match as well.  I'm not sure if there was a headbow to match this dress, I've never seen one! 

I'm quite excited about this dress since it was my favorite when I owned it (I actually ended up selling it to one of my good friends, so I know the original went to a good home!)  I'd love to do a photoshoot with the dress and pointe shoes if I could, although I'm not sure where I would do it; my apartment is not exactly a lovely backdrop.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Finding the Way

Like many people my age, I am stuck in quite the sucky situation.

All my life, I was told, essentially, "If you go to college and get a degree, you can get a job!"  For as long as I can remember, it was hammered into my head that I was going to college, and to University straight out of high school.  This led to quite a few fights back in the day between my parents and I; I wasn't totally motivated, and all of my friends were going to Community College, so I wanted to as well!  My parents quickly squashed that idea.

I did well enough that I was able to go to my first choice University following graduation, and I will admit that I was much more motivated at that than high school.  In some ways, I think it had to do with the scheduling (the 6 hours straight of classes did not work for me), and also because, for the most part, I was studying things I actually had an interest in.  I did much better in college than in high school.

I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Theatre Arts in December, and since then I have been "in the real world".  Which is a heck of a lot different than I was led to believe. 

First of all, the only job I have been able to get is retail, which I am not a fan of.  The work is very boring, and not using my mind at all makes me depressed.  I want to feel like I went to college for a reason!  I need to be able to use my skills.

My plan had always been that I would go into teaching if I needed a back up plan, but California recently laid off over 2000 teachers.  Obviously that's not the way to go!  So now I'm stuck, not knowing where to go.  I know I need to get back to school, but I'm having trouble deciding what to study.  Should I go for teaching and hope that the state is in better condition once I finish?  Or go into business, something I have a bit of passion for but lack the background to go straight into an MBA program?  I am truly lost. 

For the most part, I am glad that I studied theatre, because it is my passion, and I was able to learn a lot from my time in school.  I am infinitely grateful for that experience.  But there's a part of me that wonders if I should have studied business.  I took one class (marketing) and found it quite interesting.  Randomly enough, I only took it because I needed an extra class and my roommate suggested that we take it together. 

I have many directions that I want to go in life.  There's a part of me (a big part actually) that loves performing more than anything, and wants to live out my dreams of performing in musicals.  There's a part of me that wants to create a lolita brand where I can create all the designs that I have bouncing around in my head.  There's a part of me that wants to be a costume designer and there's a part of me that wants to start a business of importing Japanese fashions to the US.  All of these are a bit out there and will probably never happen.  I feel a bit silly even still thinking about them. 

These days, everyone is struggling to find their way and I'm just one of millions. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Yesterday was my 23rd birthday, and so I continued the tradition that I have had for several years of going to Disneyland. 
Of course I wore lolita.  Since I didn't feel like dealing with getting harassed at every entrance and such, I wore the least ostentatious of my dresses (Angelic Pretty Cotton Candy Tartan) and toned it down (no blouse, no big headgear, no extra pettis).  In all honesty it looked more like a nicer sundress than lolita to me, but no such luck. 
At the security check, the first thing they ask is how old I am (because I'm sure if I said 12 they would totally believe me) and informed me that I couldn't wear my costume in the park.  I, as usual, explained that it was a Japanese designer dress and asked for a second opinion.  The supervisor came over and was like "Um, you're fine, it's not a costume."  Horray! 
So we went over to DCA to go get fastpasses for World of Color and the lady at the gate asks the same thing.  Fortunately I was able to tell her that I had gotten cleared at security and she let me in. 

This is the trouble I have pretty much every time I go to Disneyland in lolita, no matter how much I tone it down.  They say I look too much like I work there.   Well, I would love to work there, but when I auditioned I got cut.  Sooo I will continue to wear what I want there.  In fact I eventually complained so many times about the harassment that they put a note on my pass that tells them to let me in as long as I'm not specifically dressed like a Disney character.

The most annoying thing about this is that my friends who are Asian?  No problem!  They don't even get stopped.  Even if they're dressed in much more extravagant outfits, it's fine!  My guess is because they assume that "Asians dress weird" or because they only Asian princess is Mulan, and she wears a traditional Chinese type ensemble so it couldn't be her.  It drives me nuts because it's pretty blatant racism.  I understand that Disneyland is just trying to protect themselves, but I'm not dressing like a character.  I'm dressing in a fashion that just happens to be more extravagant than the jeans and t-shirts that most people wear.  I feel like I shouldn't be punished for the fact that other people dress down.
I wonder what they'd say if I showed up in a prom dress.  It's fancy, but they can't really argue that it's a costume either.  And in my opinion that would look a heck of a lot more like a princess than lolita.

Anyway, that's the end of my rant.  Back to the actual time spent at Disneyland. 

We were able to get fastpasses for the 10:15 showing of World of Color, rode California Screamin' and headed over to Disneyland.

The first thing we did was take a picture in front of the Castle, which is something I always like to do. 
As usual I look like a giant next to Ashley haha!  I wish I was as tiny and cute as her, but of course she wants to be taller!

Then we went over to the Princess Fantasy Faire because despite the fact that I'm 23, I still like to take pictures with the princesses.  I don't like to drag my friends to do it usually since it's a bit of a line these days and no one else really cares, but since it was my birthday it was allowed lol
With Ariel.  Still looking like a giant!
With Mulan.
With Belle.  Dang all these girls are so tiny!  I guess that's probably why I got rejected, even if I lost like 20 pounds I'd still be huge compared to them! 

After meeting the princesses we went on rides.  This was interrupted by the fact that I started feeling a bit lightheaded, so we went to sit down in the health center.  It was apparently over 100 degrees so I think it just got to me.  After a bit of rest and water we went to eat and then I felt much better!

The rest of the night until about 8:30 was spent on rides, which was fun, but nothing to really write about since I've done them all so many times lol!  We did take a picture on the carousel though!

Then we went to see Fantasmic! which is my favorite thing at Disneyland.  It was amazing as usual, especially with the new dragon!  Even though it's Maleficent I still think it's amazing lol!

Then we ran (literally) back over to DCA to watch World of Color.  It ended up that our fastpasses were in the red section, which was over on the side, and we had quite a few people in front of us which made it difficult to see.  And for some reason the screens were very blurry; it was very difficult to make out was was being projected onto them.  I'm not sure if this was due to the location or some other reason. 

Everyone has been telling me how World of Color is amazing and so much better than Fantasmic! and I held firm that I doubted I would like it better than Fantasmic!.  After seeing it, while I'll admit that it was very pretty to watch and pretty cool, there's no way it could usurp Fantasmic! as the best show in the park.  For one thing, I felt that it lacked a sense of continuity and story.  It seemed like they just put a bunch of scenes from different movies and didn't make it mesh well.  I like that Fantasmic! has a story that's being told, and I also like that there are actors and such performing in the show, while World of Color is all water and light.  Of course, this is all based on my personal preference and is probably strongly swayed by the fact that I love Fantasmic! so much.

All in all it was a good day! 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Body Issues

Today on EGL, someone, most surely a troll, made a post arguing that there is no such thing as being "western bodied", you are just "plus sized".

No doubt this thread was meant to stir up drama, but it got me thinking.

Lolita clothes are made to fit Japanese bodies.  This is logical, since a majority of their market is Japanese, and it's only in the past few years that brands have been marketing and shipping to the rest of the world.  In addition, the Japanese are a more homogeneous group of people, so it's pretty easy for them to release one size with some stretch to it and it will fit most people, something that is pretty much unheard of here in America.  Of course, I'm sure there are girls in Japan who can't fit all brand lolita, but it's not nearly as big a problem as in the west.

Now, I will use myself as an example.  I consider myself to be average sized for my age.  I wear about a size 8 to 10 American dress, size 7 to 9 pants, and I can't really give a top size since sizing varies so much from store to store (I have shirts in sizes from small to large).
At my smallest, I could fit non-shirred brand... but it was a tight squeeze.  I needed someone to help me get the zipper up, and I broke a few of them.  I gained a few pounds and boom, shirring was a necessity.  If I worked really hard to lose weight, I'm sure I could fit into non-shirred brand again, but at this point it's not my priority, and it's not that comfortable anyway.

But here's the thing: I could fit, but not well.  And that was when I was at the thinnest I've been since high school.   The problem?  I have a large rib cage and pretty big boobs.  No matter how much weight I lose, those things aren't going to go away, at least not without surgery.  And I'm not about to get my ribs shaved or a breast reduction for lolita.

What's my point?  As an average sized American, I don't fit into non-shirred brand.  Not because I'm plus size, but because my body is different than a Japanese body.  It's the same reason that a lot of dresses are too short:  I'm 5'5", at least a few inches taller than a majority of Japanese girls, and most of that is legs.   Many dresses are too short for me, at least in my own personal opinion.

I know that I am, in essence, "plus sized" compared to most Japanese girls.  But I also know that a lot of this is not my fault, it's just the way I'm built.  Yes, I could lose some pounds, but it wouldn't change too much.  I would probably still only wear shirred items if only for comfort.

I don't know if "western bodied" is the best term, but there is no doubt in my mind that there is a difference between a Japanese body and a Western body.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


One thing that I indulge in is getting my nails done.  And I don't mean a simple manicure, I mean full on glitter sculpture nails. 

While I had gotten regular acrylics on and off since high school, my interest in Japanese sculpture nails began in 2008.  I noticed that a new nail salon had opened up in the area, so we went to check it out.  They gave us some coupons for free art, so I decided to give it a try.

From my first set, I was hooked!  I was amazed at how artistic the 3D art was; I got roses (a popular theme for me) and loved them.  In fact, when I went in for the fill, I was super sad to see the nail artist file off the roses.  Good thing she was more than happy to make me some new ones!

Japanese sculpture nails differ from the typical acrylic manicure in that they are sculpted rather than done using tips.  A specially made sticker is applied to the finger and nail and the acrylic is sculpted on top of this and the nail to create an extension of the nail without the use of a tip.  In addition, they ofter a wide variety of glitter acrylic.  You can get pretty much any color of the rainbow in glitter applied to your nails in either a solid or gradient style.  It takes a long time (around 2 hours for the nails alone), but they come out beautiful and in my experience have been less damaging than other acrylics.

The art is also unique.  You can get almost anything put on your nails using colored acrylic, paint, plastic or metal parts, an rhinestones.  In the past I've gotten hearts, roses, bows, crowns and rhinestones.

Sadly, my old nail salon where I'd been going for nearly 2 years closed recently.  However, I've been to a few others in the area.
Brilliante Nail in Gardena
I went here once since they gave out a coupon for free art (much like my first experience!)  They did a very nice job and had a huge variety of colors; if I recall correctly, they had the most out of any salon I've been to.  The salon is very cute and clean and the artists were nice.  The major drawback for me was price; the cost of a full set was a bit more than other salons I'd been to, and the art was on a sliding scale, so it could get quite expensive.  I would go here again.

St. K Nail Salon in Gardena
I have been here twice since my old salon closed down, once for a fill and once for a full set.  Both times went well.  The salon is very small, but there are only 4 artists so it's not cramped.  The nail artists are very nice and both that I had did a great job.  They have a pretty big variety of colors also, though not as many as Brilliante.  I have never gotten art done here, but their prices are good ($5-$6 per nail) and pictures that I saw looked nice.  I will continue going to this salon.

Other salons in the Los Angeles area (that I have not visited) include:
Nail Factory in Torrance

Gemist Nail in Torrance

Atlas Nail in Costa Mesa

Nails by Mari in Torrance

Hime Nail in Tustin

There are several more in the area, these are just ones that were recommended to me.

Tips when getting your nails done:
~Many shops don't take credit card (such as St. K) so you might want to ask about this when you make an appointment and bring cash if needed.
~If you have a specific idea in mind (such as matching a dress or a set you've seen before), it's a good idea to bring a picture.  If you're not sure, most salons have Japanese nail magazines where you can get ideas for art and styles.
~Be prepared that getting a full set can take from 2-3 hours depending on how fast the nail artist is and if and how much art you get.
~If you've never gotten nails done before, be aware that they feel strange at first and some things will be more difficult (I still have trouble picking up flat things from a flat surface!)  However, you get used to it pretty quickly!