Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Hiatus of Sorts

Hey everyone!

 So, I have some unfortunate news today: This blog will be going on a hiatus of sorts and will not be updated regularly. I will still try to do posts occasionally and they'll post on Saturdays at 8am Pacific time, but there may or may not be a post every week.

 Why is this happening, you may ask? Unfortunately, I haven't been putting aside enough time to write articles lately, and the amount of time I have free has dropped significantly due to some changes in my job. I'm still figuring out what I have to do to stay afloat with fewer hours to take care of daily tasks like cleaning and organizing as well as shopping, laundry, planning meals, and so on. I also have a huge pile of projects to do that just keep stacking up and not getting done, so I'm having to learn to manage my time better so that I can start reducing clutter and turn it into cute clothes, costumes, and accessories. In addition to all that, I'm struggling to find motivation to keep writing articles for this blog. I feel like I put a lot of time and effort into it for little to no real benefit to myself outside of the satisfaction of writing the post itself and the (very scarce) comments I get. I'm also working on starting up a YouTube channel (check my Facebook page for updates on that), so I'll be posting videos of unboxings and random things with friends there before too long.

 I'm sorry that I have to do this, but I hope you all understand and will continue to check from time to time for new content.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

What is This "Minimalism" You Speak of?

Minimalism and J-Fashion? Hahahaha, no way. Or at least that's what you're probably all thinking. But minimalism is more than just having a grand total of 30 items of clothing, shoes, and accessories and having a sparsely decorated room or house. It's about avoiding unnecessary clutter in your life.

 So what exactly is minimalism? Many people define minimalism as having "less than 100 things" or "extreme sparseness and simplicity." So how is someone into J-fashion supposed to do this when we all know things like anime figure or poster collecting, tons of clothing and accessories, crafting, and cute decor are practically synonyms with J-fashion? Well, let's start by looking at a different definition of minimalism: Having only what you need or use on a regular basis or living an uncluttered lifestyle. What this means can vary depending on the person and what they need. Many people who aren't big on fashion or have a professional wardrobe can get away with having only a few items in their entire wardrobe since clothing isn't a big deal for them. This is why there are programs out there to help people reduce their wardrobe to only 33 items or reduce their number of possessions to 100 or less. So how can someone who, by nature, collect items and has a varied wardrobe become a minimalist without giving up the things they love?

#1: Declutter
 Get rid of the things in your life that you never use or look at. That sweater Grandma gave you five years ago that you haven't taken out of the back of your closet since? Donate or sell it. Got loads of craft items you never use? See if any of your friends want them. All those scarves you crocheted that you never use? Try selling them or give them to family members as Christmas or birthday gifts. Essentially, take what you aren't using and either sell, donate, give, or throw it away.

#2: Avoid impulse buys.
 This goes hand in hand with decluttering: Don't buy things you aren't going to use. Do you really need a third white blouse that looks identical to the ones you already own except it's got stars on the lace instead of flowers? Are you seriously going to make that dress if you already have a pile of sewing projects and patterns you've never even used? Do you REALLY need that Mr. Yan bodypillow, or is it just 3am and you have a bad case of the giggles? Always second guess your purchases. If you HAVE to have that dress because it's so cheap, bookmark it, take a walk or a nap, then decide if you still really want it the next day. I understand this can be hard when you're dealing with auctions or online sales, but it's better to wish you had bought something and wait until the next opportunity to get it comes up than to regret having bought a dress that doesn't even match your wardrobe. One time when I was younger, I really wanted to get a dog tag necklace with Gaara from Naruto on it at a con, but I wasn't sure if I'd actually wear it, so I waited until the next con six months later to find it again and buy it. And guess what? I may not wear it super often anymore, but I wore it all the time after I got it and still do occasionally. I don't regret buying it in the slightest. Those two purses I got a few months ago though? Putting them up for sale because they're the wrong size for my needs and don't match my wardrobe.

#3: Is there someone who would enjoy it more?
 Sometimes we have items we occasionally use that we don't entirely care for as much as we did when we got it. A lot of times, these items can be sold or given to someone who would appreciate it more. I have been selling and donating some items that I use on occasion simply because I would rather have something that suits my wardrobe better take its place.

#4: Is it really that sentimental anymore?
 Many of us hang on to items purely for sentimental value. 'I got this giant teddy bear at the fair with my BFF.' 'These fake rose petals were from the wedding of this one cousin I barely see.' The number one question to ask with items like these is, are they really important enough to be taking up space in your house or room and your life? If you keep them in storage, is it really worth the money you're spending each month to hang on to them, or would it be better spent elsewhere? If you aren't quite ready to get rid of something, take a picture of it and put it in a box or something where you won't see it often. If they're memorabilia from a wedding or party, do you have pictures from the event? Are the pictures of the item and/or event enough, or do you really like the item itself? Sometimes the memory is worth more than the item itself and a few pictures in a photo album takes up a whole lot less space than a giant teddy.

I hope you all enjoyed today's post! Let me know if there's anything you do to keep from being overwhelmed with items while still having the things you enjoy.

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

I Have Nothing To Wear!

Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be talking to something that happens to many of us all too frequently: Looking at all the clothing strewn about one's room after trying on a bunch of different items and going: "I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!" This is a bit of a follow-up to my wardrobe building series of posts (Part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4) since I've had plenty of time to build a new wardrobe. I recommend you read them first if you haven't already, since they're the foundation for this post. Otherwise, let's go!

 So I said I had plenty of time to build a wardrobe, right? So why am I saying I have nothing to wear now? Well ya see, there's this thing called changing seasons and not planning ahead because who wants to buy a sweater when it's so hot and humid you don't want to even think about leaving your nice, air conditioned room? So, thanks to my planning, I was able to build a very nice Spring and Summer wardrobe, but now the weather is turning and I have no idea what to wear anymore. So what's a fashionista to do?

#1: Re-evaluate your style preferences.
 Alright, so maybe you had the perfect, pastel Fairy Kei wardrobe for warmer weather. Do you want to keep wearing pastels in Fall and Winter though? Or do you want to indulge your inner Goth or rockstar and switch things up completely? It's time to go visit the mall or thrift store and try on everything you can again. I would suggest avoiding buying anything the first few times or keep purchases small and limited to things you already wanted for your wardrobe. If you want to try wearing a different style from what you already own, try to limit your purchases to main pieces that aren't too expensive so you aren't impacting your budget too heavily. *cough*totally did that*cough* Try wearing the new style you're trying for a few days in a row using what you have and any additions you got to see if it's really something you want to wear that'll make you happy.

Here's what happened for me: I have a very cute, pastel versatile wardrobe based around Fairy Kei for the Spring and Summer. When the weather started getting colder, I decided to start wearing Goth fashion more to go with the changing colors of fashion. However, I found myself still wanting to wear my Fairy Kei outfits more than Goth or jewel toned items. I've decided I want to start wearing Lolita more often due to its built in layers as well as ease of layering underneath as well as some warmer Fairy Kei based outfits with some off-white pieces mixed in.

#2: Decide what additions your wardrobe needs.
 Now's the time to go through your wardrobe and pull out all the out-of-season clothing you've been hiding away. Can you make your new style plans work with what you already have, or are you going to have to sell off all your sweaters or shorts and buy new ones? This is a good time to evaluate condition as well as if it fits your wardrobe, so if you have an item that's got a ton of holes and snags that aren't supposed to be there, now is the time to throw it away or fix it. (If you have a sweater that's just shrunk in the dryer, you can stretch it back out with some work. I found this tutorial extremely helpful when recovering a cashmere sweater.) Make a list of any items you feel you need to make your wardrobe more complete and wearable during the changing seasons.

 Since I'm keeping my wardrobe mainly pastel, but still need to stay warm, I decided to talk to some of my fashion friends in the area and see what they do to stay warm as well as re-watch Lovely Lor's Lolita Fashion in Extreme Weather video for ideas. I decided I needed some layering pieces as well as some patterned statement pieces (my wardrobe's mostly solid color), a long sleeved blouse, and some comfy, yet cute shoes that will survive snow.

#3: Go forth and buy.
 Now's the time to start buying the additions your wardrobe needs. Try and get more basic or generic pieces from places like Target, Walmart, or thrift stores (or your country's equivalent) in order to have more money to spend on the main pieces. Probably most of us don't have the money to go buying 1000 bucks worth of Angelic Pretty dresses new, so look into less expensive alternatives. There's a lot of US and international sales groups on Facebook, you just have to search for the type of fashion you're interested in along with sales. (In addition, if you're already in a few sales groups, Facebook will suggest some similar groups in the side bar while you're browsing that group.) Lace Market, eBay, and Storenvy are some good places to look for used or less expensive pieces and there's always Bodyline for inexpensive pieces.

 I want a couple statement pieces with prints, but I very much do NOT have $400 to drop on used Angelic Pretty or Baby the Stars Shine Bright dresses, so I'm considering a couple Bodyline JSKs as well as searching through Lace Market for some less expensive pieces. I also want a long sleeved blouse and colorful socks which can also be found on those sites. I've already got one short sleeved blouse on the way which, even though it's not great for Winter, is something I've been wanting to add to my wardrobe since my current short sleeved blouse is a bit big on me.

 I hope you all have fun with dressing for the changing seasons and that I've given you some ideas to help avoid over-spending!

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Clean Your Space

Hey everyone! Today I want to talk about something some of us excel at while many of us dread: Cleaning our rooms. Whether you just have a bedroom, a dorm room, an apartment, or a house, cleaning can be a daunting task. So, today I'll be sharing some of my advice for cleaning a room and keeping it clean.

#1: Don't be lazy.
 First things first, don't be lazy when you're in your room. If you pull clothes out, put the ones that don't end up on your body away. Pick up any dishes or trash in your room and put them in the appropriate places (like the dishwasher or a trash can). Take time to put your clothing in a hamper or back in your closet or drawers at the end of the day instead of the floor or nearest exercise device (those things are clothing magnets, I swear). While I understand we all have nights where we're just exhausted and need to go straight to bed or just don't have time to wash dishes before leaving for school or work, it's easier in the long run if you put effort in sooner. If you come home after a long day at a Lolita meet or convention, don't just throw your clothes on the floor and leave them there for the next week. Try to at least throw items that need to be washed into a hamper while you're changing to your PJs and put the rest on a chair to be put away in the morning. I find it helps to keep a small trash basket in my room to avoid building up piles of wrappers, thread, and bits of glue. Just put one of those bajillion plastic bags your mom keeps in the basket for easy removal when you leave your room or need to take the regular trash out. (This also keeps the basket clean so you don't have to wash it all the time.)

#2: Put things in their proper place.
 Rather than just shoving all your stuff into a closet to get your parents off your back or so you don't look like a complete slob when your friends come over, try and put everything where it belongs. Decide on where to store your various items when you aren't using them and keep them there when you aren't using them instead of leaving them on your floor or hiding them someplace (also a good way to keep from losing things). If you keep your clothing in drawers or a closet, fold them and put them away or hang them up properly. If you have a bookshelf, put your notebooks, manga, magazines, and anything else made out of paper that you read or draw on on the shelves. If you have a lot of crafting materials that spill all over your room, find a way to organize and keep them off the floor and your work space. Rolling drawer sets are super helpful for this, and you can always recycle some old boxes into a series of shelves and drawers to keep things in if you can't afford to get something new.

#3: Set a time to organize.
 Having a set time to clean your room up really helps a lot. Whether you write it in on your calendar for every Wednesday, spend an hour on it every night, or do speed cleaning sessions throughout the day, everything helps. Try and spend some time each week cleaning your room in addition to my previous suggestions instead of waiting a month to start chasing out that badger family that moved in because you never picked up that mess from last year. Or, y'know, leaving that coord from a meetup last week lying around until you realize you need those tights for this week's meetup. If you're good at picking up on a day to day basis, take a few hours each week to do any dusting, mirror cleaning, or vacuuming you need to do as well as maybe change your sheets or wash your clothes. If you aren't good at picking up every day, schedule the better part of a day to spend picking up clothing, craft supplies, and plushies and putting them away then vacuuming and dusting as needed. Just make sure you don't get distracted by that awesome shirt or toy you found and spend the whole day putting together outfits and making more of a mess. ;)

 I hope you all enjoyed my suggestions and are able to get some use out of them in your daily life. I know I certainly have benefited from having a clean room as opposed to tripping over my backpack, falling into a box, and having my dress form fall on me...

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

What's a Living Doll?

Hey everyone! So, today I want to talk about a style that I've been interested in as well as imitating for several years now: The Living Doll style.

 So, what is a Living Doll? What defines them? To explain simply, Living Dolls are those who choose to imitate the look of a certain style of doll both with their makeup and hair as well as clothing. Many Living Dolls choose to try and modify their figure to be more doll-like through methods such as diet and exercise, corseting, or surgery. The type of doll imitated varies widely, but typical inspirations are Barbie dolls, Asian ball-jointed dolls, porcelain dolls, or anime. Barbies are known for their dramatic proportions, glamorous features, and somewhat flashy clothing. A few well known Barbie inspired Living Dolls are Valeria Lukyanova and Angelica Kenova. Asian ball-jointed dolls tend to have slender figures, large, but still realistic looking eyes, and a somewhat natural, yet still elegant look to them. By far, Asian Ball-jointed dolls seem to be one of the more popular inspirations amongst the group I'm in (an online community on Facebook). A popular Living Doll that has this sort of style is Dakota Rose or Kotakoti. Unfortunately, Kotakoti is known for achieving her look partly through image manipulation, but not all Living Dolls choose to do this. Porcelain dolls are well known for their child-like features, extravagant clothing, and perfect skin. Many Living Dolls also draw inspiration from porcelain dolls. Venus Palermo or Venus Angelic is a popular YouTuber that is known for her porcelain complexion and doll-like features. When she was younger, she used to dress more extravagantly like a porcelain doll, but more recently her style has become more natural like an Asian ball-jointed doll. Anime is well known for its long legs, huge eyes, and slender figures (actually more typical to Shojo anime, aimed at girls 12-16, but still common in other styles of anime). Anime Living Dolls tend to exaggerate their eyes greatly through use of false eyelashes, circle lenses, and white eye makeup. A very popular anime Living Doll is Anastasiya Shpagina on YouTube. There are some other doll styles that Living Dolls choose to imitate such as Pulips or French dolls, but these are the main inspiration for many Living Dolls. Now, let me answer some frequent questions that arise when Living Dolls are brought up.

 So, are Living Dolls trying to actually be dolls?
 In most cases, no. Living Dolls just like the look of dolls and choose to imitate it with their style and make themselves into what they consider to be an ideal look, similar how many people choose to dress like runway models or popular icons. While there are some dolls that choose to imitate their preferred style of doll very closely through use of plastic surgery, I find that most of us choose to stick to makeup, diet and exercise, and corseting (also known as waist training) to achieve our look.

Why do you want to look like a doll? Why not Kim Kardashian or Taylor Swift?
 Most Living Dolls choose to look like dolls just because we like how they look and we aren't as interested in trying to achieve the look of some famous actor, star, or model. In some cases, a Living Doll might have features or a build that resemble a doll and just choose to run with it and start making their looks even more doll-like (similar to Venus Angelic). They may also just be interested more in anime and Japanese fashion than typical European styles and looks, like me.

Are you obsessed with looking like a doll?
 In many cases, Living Dolls are just as obsessed with our looks as any typical teenaged girl or fashionista. We typically aren't so into our fashion as to spend every living minute focusing on looking like a doll, but we make changes to our lifestyles to accommodate our style such as planning a wardrobe, makeup, or redecorating our surroundings. Just like anyone else interested in something, we surround ourselves with our interests and develop them. Much like someone into video games might collect games and systems or someone into runway fashion might surround themselves with model inspiration pictures and the trendiest clothing, Living Dolls tend to surround themselves with items they deem "dolly." For some this might just be the clothing and makeup required to look the way they like, or it might mean completely redecorating their surroundings to reflect their style.

I hope you all enjoyed this post. If you have any questions about Living Dolls, feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer. I'll be doing a post later talking about the Living Doll community, so please look forward to that.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Whoops. It Happened Again.

Hey everyone! I want to apologize again for my sporadic posting schedule lately. I'm still working on building up a good buffer for my blog again to prevent this from occurring again (at least for several months), but it's a little difficult to do so when you're writing at the pace of one third a post every couple days. With a lot of posts ending up not being worked on again because you lost your train of thought. Resulting in me having a lot of drafts that I will likely not finish because I can't think up enough to write about. However, I'm very slowly working on ideas that will result in a full post so we can get back to our regular posting schedule. I've got a post lined up for this Saturday and have another couple I'll be writing for the next couple Saturdays today.

 In case any of you wonder, I've just been life get the best of me lately and have been over-booking myself for a while. I'm working on not scheduling so much for myself and also am focusing on doing more of things that I enjoy writing about on my blog (video games, sewing projects, learning about new fashions, etc.) in my free time. I hope you all can understand and I look forward to sharing more of my hobbies and interests with you guys in the future.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Foam Sword Madness: My First Amtgard Event

Hey everyone! First of all, I'd like to apologize profusely for my lack of post last weekend as well as this. I, unfortunately, haven't been especially inspired lately, so writing enough posts to have a good buffer has been difficult for me. Plus I was on a two week vacation to go visit my family and go running around whacking friends old and new with foam swords. Today, I'll be talking about the foam sword whacking.

 So, as I've mentioned in a previous post, I'm part of a LARPing group that plays under the rules system for Amtgard. As I have yet to get in touch with my local group, visits home usually include getting myself to every Amtgard meetup possible. This trip around though, I was lucky enough to come during a much larger Amtgard event that includes the whole area as opposed to just my regular group: Feast of Mars. I had never been to an Amtgard event, but my sister had been to Feast of Mars a few years in a row, so between her and my other friends, I was able to get an idea of what it would be like. However, Feast of Mars was way more fun than anything I could have anticipated.

 First of all, let me tell you a bit about the event itself before getting into details. Feast of Mars is a two day weekend event, but folks typically show up Thursday (if they can get off work) and leave Sunday morning.  Due to the location, everyone brings a tent or similar camping shelter to sleep in at night and meals are provided as part of the event fee. This doesn't stop folks from making their own food over a campfire if they so choose though. Throughout the course of Friday and Saturday, there are a variety of games that players can earn points during that contribute to whether or not they get a prize at the end of the event. (Prizes are donated by attendees and there were a lot, so a good number of people got prizes at the end of things.) I was not present during Friday's games, so I do not know what they were, but Saturday's games were the main focal point of the event (that and getting drunk throughout the day for most people). The theme of the games (as suggested by the name of the event) is based off of Roman coliseums and as such the main players were considered to be slaves. Saturdays games began with group ditches (one fighter or group of fighters against another) out of which the slave traders would select fighters that would then be auctioned off to the slave owners. After being selected, players then grab a tabard in the correct color for their team and tell their name (character name, not real one) to a book keeper. After all the people who want to play in the games have been chosen, the teams get together in their team's pavilion for a briefing by their new owners as well as being selected for the various games. Some games had all players participate while others just had two or three players. A couple of examples are the Meatgrinder and Drawn and Quartered. In Meatgrinder, all players participate. One of the reeves (who proctor the game and make sure there isn't foul play) shouts out random numbers from one to 15 (the max number of slaves in this year's games). When a slave's number is called, they grab their weaponry of choice and go out onto the field to fight any other players on the field. This continues until all numbers are called. There can be multiple slaves from the same team on the field at once as the goal is merely to eliminate the other team's players. In Drawn and Quartered, two teams go up against each other with two players each. Both team's players must have one hand on a wooden handle that is attached to their teammate's wooden handle by a bit of rope. If one player lets go, their team loses and if both players from a team die they lose. There were a number of other games (I can't remember all their names) and once they were all finished, everyone went to go fight some more in ditches, shower, or just hang out and chat until dinner was served. During dinner, a suckling pig was brought out and presented to the king before the top fighters and teams were announced and prizes were chosen. After dinner, there was a bardic circle, more ditching, s'mores, games, and pretty much whatever people chose to do. In the morning, it was packup time as well as time for goodbyes and starting the countdown to the next Feast of Mars.

 Now that I've gone over the logistics, let me tell you about my personal experience. My sister, her boyfriend, and I all left later than originally anticipated, got lost, and showed up super late at night (I didn't check my phone for the time). Fortunately, there were still people awake and they kindly offered to help us with tent setup and chatted with us for a bit before the three of us headed to sleep. And then my brain decided I was still on East coast time and woke me up at 8 in the morning. Which coincidentally was about the time they called breakfast, so I got my groggy self up to eat before the games. Which were pretty darn fun. I spent a lot of the day running around, passing notes for my owner, grabbing stuff, and occasionally shouting war cries and leaping into the fray. Then walking out because I was most definitely dead (I have pictures confirming this). After the games were all done, I ended up seeing a friend get a new belt from the family he's under (knighty stuff or summit (unsure of the rules on this stuff)), took a shower, put on my corset (finally got an underbust!) and proceeded to eat a lot more than I expected to be able to with a corset on and laced somewhat snugly. After dinner, I ended up following a new friend and discovered I happened to end up at the same fire pit they decided to do a bardic circle at. I ended up singing a song I learned from my mom years ago called The Queen of Air and Darkness as well as Fallout Boy's Lullaby and enjoyed hearing all of the talented singers and instrument players. After things were dying down at the bardic circle, I went in search of a friend and found him and several others playing a game called Angry Germans. Which I ended up being boss at. To quickly describe the game, you have two people, blindfolded, each with a slightly weighted sack who have to keep one hand on a leather ottoman (or box or whatever you have) and take turns asking each other if they can hit each other with their sacks in funny accents, then make an attempt to hit the other person with their sack after receiving permission. Whoever gets hit three times loses. And my sister happened to be in the group, so I got to go against her and beat her too. XD

Overall, I had a really fun time and hope to go again next year if I can. :)

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Conventions Big and Small: DeceptiKon

Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be talking about a very small convention I went to once as a vendor with one of my friends. This is more of a cautionary tale than a convention review, unfortunately.

 Deceptikon was a very small, brand new convention in Sacramento that one of my Lolita friends let me know about since I was interested in going to conventions with her and one of my other friends to sell some things I made at their booth. And let me tell you, this was a REALLY small convention. The location was a decent enough size, but there were not many people in attendance outside of vendors, special guests (which my friend also was in addition to being a vendor), artists, and the folks who were running it. Here's what the main attractions were at Deceptikon (based solely off of memory and what I saw)
  • Vendor's room
  • Artist's alley
  • Panels
  • Parking lot
  • Hallways
  • Maybe something outside?
  • Photoshoot green screen
My memory of this con's a bit hazy due to it having been four or five years ago now and also due to the fact that I spent most of my time spacing out at my friend's booth and being mistaken for a mannequin by the rare passerby, meandering the halls (with permission since there was extremely low customer traffic), and talking with some of the few people who were there. Among the people I talked to were some of the people behind the convention. As best as I can remember, it was being put on by Team LoveHate and they were pretty enthusiastic about it and were hoping the con would grow over time. Unfortunately, there were a lot of problems with this con despite the lovely people that I met putting it on. First of all, con security was terrible. A good number of people were showing up and not even buying badges for it. And the security people there were were generally unpleasant and grouchy, sitting in corners and growling at you. Not exactly a pleasant experience there. After the convention was even worse though. (Please note, all of the following information is gained second hand from my parents and friends talking and me catching small bits that flew by me.) Apparently the main guy running the con (not any of the people I talked to, fortunately) took all of the money from the convention and ran off with it. My friend who was a special guest there did not get paid for her appearance and panel like what had been agreed upon and also was charged for a second table because she suggested I move to it the second day after the original user had left (they only used the table for one day of the convention). Something else that put me off about the convention was that there was a tattoo station as one of the booths. And people were getting tattoos there. I bring this up because of the fact that tattoos and piercings should ALWAYS be done by a professional, in a sterile environment. And I'm pretty sure it's a lot more difficult keeping a convention area sterile than in a regular tattoo and piercing shop.

So all in all, despite being very small and uneventful and turning out to be generally a ripoff for everyone involved, I enjoyed DeceptiKon. Obviously I can't recommend it as A) It's not a convention anymore and B) It was literally a deceptive convention. I met some amazing people at that convention and am very happy I attended as a vendor with my friends, but I am sad that it didn't turn out well in the end. Remember folks: Research your conventions and be dubious of conventions that are new (but don't avoid them completely since they might be great).

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Anime Reviews: Furi Kuri (FLCL)

Hey everyone! So the other day I was hanging out with a friend and we decided to binge watch some anime. Since I was failing at coming up with a show I'd be interested in watching, he suggested Furi Kuri (Fooly Cooly or FLCL are some alternate names). I'd heard about it before, but had never actually seen it, so I agreed.

 Furi Kuri is a story about Naota Nandaba coming of age and his interactions with Haruko Haruhara. And I only really know this because I read the Wikipedia article the next day. Furi Kuri is an extremely confusing anime with lots and lots of randomness and general lack of consecutiveness. If you thought Kill la Kill was weird, boy do I have news for you. While there is some story there and a bit of consecutiveness, in general Furi Kuri does not make a lot of sense. There was a lot of "What's going on!?" and "I don't know. Keep watching." going on that night... To quote the director, (quote shamelessly taken from Wikipedia) "comprehension should not be an important factor in FLCL." So, getting past the confusion of the story, I actually liked Furi Kuri alright. It has a fun art style and also uses some unconventional methods such as re-using manga panels in certain scenes to tell it's extremely crazy story. There's also a lot of good humor as well as just plain random humor that had both me and my friend laughing our behinds off. I definitely wouldn't recommend showing this to a friend that's still pretty new to anime and Japanese weirdness, but I would recommend watching this if you're looking for something short and humorous to binge watch. In total, there are six episodes of Furi Kuri, so it's easy to just sit down for an evening and watch the whole thing!

As always, if you want to recommend a show for me to watch and review, leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Relationship Advice From a Single Potato

Hey everyone! So in case you couldn't guess from the title of this post, I am single, and I'm going to be letting you all know about things I've learned from being in and out of relationships as well as single. First thigs first though, let me tell you what I know nothing about: Lasting, long-term relationships and long distance relationships. With that in mind, let me tell you what I've learned.

#1: It's never too late for your first boyfriend
 To be perfectly honest, I didn't have my first official boyfriend (both parties agreed we were dating) until I was 19. I'd had some mutual crushes and been on a few group dates previously, but I had never dated one person exclusively. I learned a lot from that relationship as well as subsequent relationships, but one of the main things I learned is that it doesn't matter if you're 14 or 35: You're never too old to start dating for the first time. Don't let yourself feel down because you aren't in a relationship and there's people younger than you going steady. There's no need to rush.

#2: Don't feel pressured to have a relationship
 It's pretty common for single people to see others in relationships in media and around them and feel like they have to be in one to fit in or feel happy. There's no reason to force a relationship just to have one though. While it's nice having someone else to care about and to care for you, it's better to stay single sometimes. When we rush into relationships to feel included, we can end up with harmful people or with someone we don't actually get along with. So don't force yourself. If you're single, enjoy your time with yourself. If you're in a relationship, don't feel the need to stay in it just for the sake of having a relationship. If things aren't working out, it's better to break it off and go your separate ways than stay unhappy.

#3: Get to know you
 I think one of the most important things I've learned relationship-wise is the importance of knowing and loving oneself before getting into a relationship. I've had a lot of jerks come through my life and a lot of potential dates missed because I didn't know or love myself that much. It's really hard to expect someone else to like you back if you don't even like yourself. Take your time being single and spend it getting to know yourself better. Write in a journal, talk to yourself, find out what you do and don't like. And once you've gotten to know yourself better, it'll be easier to accept yourself and find someone who will respect you rather than take advantage of you. Looking back at some of my previous relationships, I realize I was just looking for someone to like me in lieu of me liking myself and that a lot of them didn't have any respect for me. They just saw me as something easy to play with. Fortunately I stuck to my guns on some of my more important beliefs, but I still wish I'd realized my own worth instead of letting myself constantly get sold short.

 #4: Don't be afraid of short relationships
 So, the majority of my romantic relationships have been less than a month and I've dated quite a few guys in the past couple of years. A lot of people joke around and call me a "man eater" because of this, but ultimately, I know this isn't true. I'm still pretty new to dating and am learning more and more with each relationship. Some people find "the one" and start off with a lasting, long term relationship. Lucky them. Some of us have to test the waters out though and get to know ourselves as well as figure out what we want in a relationship. As I mentioned before, I didn't really have much self love back when I started dating, so I struggled finding someone to have a relationship with. These experiences have taught me more about myself than I could have learned on my own. Sometimes the negative things one ex has to say about you are things you really like about yourself. For example, one time I inadvertently ended a relationship by dumping a bunch of glitter on the guy I was dating when he fell asleep. (He would often come over to hang out and then just fall asleep on my chair when I wanted to have someone to talk to, so I had gotten pretty annoyed at this trend.) He later called me childish and said I needed to grow up. Thing is, I like the fact that I can still be a happy and giggly goofball despite having been through some difficult things. I'm pretty mature for my age (I grew up around older people, so I act more like them than someone my age), but that doesn't mean I don't like poking people for no apparent reason or getting giddy about something I find amusing. Heck, my mom has to kick my dad under the table when he won't stop making jokes at dinner sometimes and they're over 50. So, don't be afraid of short relationships. You can learn more about yourself from a grouchy ex than you might realize! And you can also learn more about what to avoid in relationships from them too.

I hope you all enjoyed my advice today! If you want to date, have fun doing so, just remember you should always be the most important person in your life. Don't let anyone else tell you you aren't worth it.

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Just Be Yourself

Hey everyone! So recently I've been going through a lot of things all in due process of growing up. And I've come to realize a lot of different things that have changed my life for the better, so I want to share some of these things with you guys. We only have one life, so let's learn to make the best of it.

#1: Don't Lie to Yourself
 Up until a few days ago, I've been lying to myself about certain aspects of my personality. I didn't want  to accept a part of me that I wasn't used to, so I decided to just kinda ignore it as much as possible. This isn't a healthy thing to do. Take the time to talk to yourself and get to know all sides of your personality. Intentionally hiding yourself from yourself and consequently others can lead to you feeling ashamed of yourself and possibly even make you hate yourself. You're stuck with you for your whole life, so don't lie to the most important person in your life: you.

#2: Write Down All Your Problems
 I, as I'm sure many of you do, have trouble expressing my problems and tend to let them build up until I have a breakdown. This isn't healthy. Take the time to sit down with a notebook (or carry one with you) and write down everything you can think of that's been bothering you, even the small stuff. I tend to empathize with others, so some of my worries aren't even my own problems. Something as simple as having sore muscles or a pimple can cause a lot more grief than it should if you don't realize that you're also dealing with homesickness, grief over a lost friend, or something else more serious like that. Write down everything and you'll soon find that a weight's been lifted from your shoulders. After all, knowing is half the battle.

#3: Take Time to Cry
 In today's busy world, it's hard to find time to fit everything we want to do into a day, much less a week. We can get stressed out and want to cry, but end up bottling it up inside so people don't think of us as a cry baby. But if we don't give ourselves time to cry in private, we could find ourselves breaking down in public at the slightest provocation. I work in an environment where professionalism is strongly emphasized, so having a breakdown at work is unacceptable for me. Because of this, I often have to put my emotions on the back burner, then by the time I get home I need to do some chores and head to bed. This causes me to wear down more easily, so there are days I just have to decide to head to bed earlier or take a longer shower so I can just spend some time crying. If you're having a bad morning, but still have to go to work, allow yourself to cry for as long as possible while you're getting ready and wait until the last minute to put your makeup on so it doesn't get ruined. Go to your car (or your room if it's close) and have a breakdown over lunch if you need to. Just make sure to drink plenty of water after so you don't get dehydrated.

#4: Don't be Ashamed to Call a Friend
 Sometimes I get so worried that I'll be a nuisance to my friends if I call them just to cry and talk about my problems that I end up suffering in silence. My advice is this: If they're your friends, they won't mind having you call for support. Sometimes we just need to talk to someone and get all our frustrations out, and good friends are always there to support you. Even if you have a therapist or other trained professional that you have regular appointments with, sometimes you can't discuss everything with them in the time you have. That's why you need to realize that your friends are there for you and you shouldn't feel bad calling them just to blow off some steam. I know a lot of my friends are comfortable talking to me about what's bothering them, so I shouldn't feel bad calling them when I need support. And neither should you.

I hope you all enjoyed today's topic! I've been having to learn a lot of things on my own since I'm far away from my family right now, so I hope that what I've learned can help people in similar situations. Stay strong, everyone!

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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Conventions Big and Small: Sac Anime

Hello everyone! So I've been going to various conventions since I was 12 or 13, but only recently have I started going to a wider variety of conventions other than a biannual local anime convention that I've been going to for years and it's smaller spin-off cons (comic books based usually). So, since I've been to more type and sized conventions, I thought it would be fun to do some comparing and contrasting of the different ones I've been to. Today I'm going to be talking about one of my first cons. Let's go!

Sac Anime
 Sac Anime was my first convention and has grown a lot since I started going. Unfortunately, I've had to stop going since work has caused me to change coasts, so I haven't been in a few years. Sac Anime has become one of the larger conventions on the West coast and has changed locations multiple times as it continued to grow over the years. When I first started going it was a smaller, more family oriented convention that was beginning to outgrow it's location. I remember my mom talking to some of the staff there and they were all super nice and looking to make the con more fun for everyone. Shortly after I started going to Sac Anime, it had to change its location to a hotel due to size. After a few years of going though, the family friendly aspect started to drop and the staff stopped being as nice and "what would you like to see" about the con than when I first started going. While it's still a fun con to go to, it has definitely grown in size and popularity, causing it to become a bit less fan and family oriented.

Here's some of the features of the con:
  • Vendor's room
  • Artist's alley
  • J-Fashion show
  • J-Rock and Japanese inspired bands
  • Anime viewing room
  • Trading card game tournaments
  • Video game room
  • Popular/famous voice actor and cosplayer guests
  • Various panels (voice actors, cosplayers, games, etc.)
  • Cosplay masquerade
  • Rave with live DJs
  • Cosplay contests
I've been introduced to a lot of cool animes at Sac Anime including Fairy Tail and Black Butler thanks to the anime viewing room. The vendor's room always had a good variety of sellers with anime merch, J-fashion, corsets, and various accessories. I only got to attend the cosplay masquerade a few times since it was a big event and often had super long lines that started an hour or two before the actual event. There were also lines for the voice actors and other guests, but I usually wouldn't wait in line for autographs as I never was really that into getting autographs (though I do have several I got when I ran across people of interest outside of their signing time). There were some good bands over the years that I heard, the ones I remember the most being Akai Sky (I follow their bassist on Twitter) and Buranden (I haven't been able to find anything on them, so I'm not sure if they're still together).

 I've had a lot of fun at Sac Anime over the years and am sad I can't really make it anymore, but I'm looking forward to checking out more of the con scene here on the East coast!

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Too Much Makeup: How Did This Happen!?

Hello everyone! So recently I realized I have a lot of makeup. A LOT of makeup that I hardly ever use. Why do I have a lot of makeup I don't use? Impulse buys. So today I'm going to talk a little bit about what YOU can do to avoid having the same problem I do as well as what I'm planning on doing with said makeup. So let's go through some tips for avoiding accumulating makeup you don't use.

#1: Am I really going to use this?
 So first things first: Are you actually going to use this? I'm not talking about if you think you could probably use this with something you don't really have yet, I mean would you wear this right now or tomorrow? One of the main mistakes I've made buying makeup is that I've bought it because I had a vague idea of what I was going to do with it. I bought a bunch of odd lip colors just for the sake of having odd lip colors. I bought some waterproof makeup just in case I ended up at the pool. I didn't have specific plans in mind for any of it. I was pretty much just collecting it.

#2: Do I already have this or a similar color?
 Another mistake I made was buying multiple items that were essentially the same color. I have entirely too many hot pink lip colors that look pretty much the same. This is also a problem if you, like me, go through a phase where you really like a color, then a few months later you never use it. The only time I would recommend getting multiples of the same color would be if you have a matte lip color and a semi-sheer gloss in the same color. Otherwise, try and get shades that are different, like with red having cherry red, a deep red, and a brownish blood red is fine, but having five different brands of cherry red lipsticks with the same finish is not a good idea.

 So what do you do if you have a ton of makeup that you don't really use? If it hasn't been opened or used, you can always try and sell it or give it away to a friend. If it has been used though, try and do something creative to use it up. If you normally wear fairly laid back makeup, try adding some colored eye shadow or some lip color to your day to day makeup. Or, if you just have no idea what to do with it all, start doing over the top makeup looks. A few that I like on YouTube are LawlFactory's Periwinkle Fairy and Colorful Medley Makeup as well as Princess Preculiar's Dreamling Makeup. And remember, you can use the same product multiple ways, like lipstick for blush. I'm planning on doing some makeup tutorials myself to post on YouTube once I get the chance to get a mirror and figure out a good place to record stuff. :3

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

First Impressions: Yona of the Dawn

Hello everyone! Here today with another anime first impressions, today on Yona of the Dawn.

 So a while ago while I was watching random YouTube videos, I saw a video add for Yona of the Dawn, an anime I'd never heard of before. The add seemed more interesting than most online ads I see, so I decided to try watching the show on Crunchyroll. Let me just say, there was much confuzzlement to be had. The storyline jumps around to two different times in the first episode, then back to the first in the second, and was overall nonsensical in its layout. I was a little surprised because I expected it to be similar to some animes and mangas where it shows the main character being all awesome, go "I wasn't always like this," then go on to explain story up until that point in time. So needless to say having the first episode go from the "I wasn't always like this," to the beginning of the back story, then back to the awesome older self all in one episode kinda threw me off. And I'm pretty sure there were some flashbacks in there too (it's been a little while since I watched it). After the initial confusion of the first episode, the story went back to filling in more of the back story of the main character. To summarize the episodes I watched (in time order as opposed to episode order), Yona, a little princess, grew up with two guys who were like brothers to her, she has a crush on one, they get older. Once they're older, they start talking about marriage arrangements while they're all over to celebrate Yona's coming of age birthday celebration. That night, treachery takes place, Yona's father's murdered by her crush who blames him for *his* dad's death, he decides it's a good idea to kill her since she walked in on the murder, second childhood friend, now the captain of the guard, saves Yona and they run away. Yona is now depressed and doesn't know what to do. *Giant blank space where stuff presumably happens in future episodes* Yona's a boss, has a lotta boss friends, is fighting some army. Winning ensues.

So, I wasn't really pulled in by the story I've seen so far on this show, so I decided to stop watching it and move on to other animes. I have done a terrible job of explaining (mainly because I was confused as heck) and still am not sure what genera of anime it falls under (Maybe shounen?). If you like animes with confusing pilot episodes, this is the anime for you!

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bodyline Wig Review

Hello everyone! A while ago I got two wigs from Bodyline (my first wig purchase from them), so I decided to write a bit about them. I'm sorry there aren't any pictures, but I've been having a little trouble uploading pictures for my blog posts lately (thus the reason they've mostly been text). So let's get started!

 So for a while, I've been wanting to get a couple different styles of wigs to wear with Fairy Kei, so I decided to get a couple from Bodyline since I was already planning on making an order with some other items. Price wise, Bodyline's wigs are surprisingly inexpensive. Prices range from about $10-20 USD (after converting the page to yen for the cheaper prices) for short and longer wigs without attachments. Wigs with clip in ponytails (which seem to be a Lolita staple anymore) aren't that much more coming in at a bit under $30 USD and clip on ponytails by themselves are typically around $8 USD. Bodyline also offers plastic wig stands and wig caps for a bit under a dollar each. For variety, there's a good choice of colors for all of the wigs, but the ones intended for Lolita only come in natural colors while most of the cosplay ones come in a variety of natural and unnatural colors.

 Quality-wise, Bodyline's wigs are surprisingly good for the price. Seeing as how most cheap Halloween wigs cost about the same as Bodyline's wigs, I was a little worried about quality. Fortunately, the wigs are made with uniform fiber sizes (as opposed to the large, scratchy fibers hidden under smaller fibers typically found in Halloween wigs) and feel nice and soft. The fibers aren't overly shiny or plastic looking at all. The overall amount of wig fibers on the wig is a little sparse compared to some more expensive wigs and the underlying wefts and cap can be seen a little bit if the hairs aren't positioned right. Both the wigs I got were lighter colors, so this may be a bit less of a problem with darker colored wigs. However, with normal wear the underlying wefts and cap showing through shouldn't be a problem as long as the wig's styled properly before wear.

 Overall, I would have to say I'm pretty darn impressed with Bodyline's wig's quality and price and definitely plan on buying more from them in the future. For reference, the wigs I got were W014 in purple 3 and W175 in separate 5-10. In addition to the wigs, I also got a wig cap and stand from Bodyline. The wig cap was open topped and works pretty well, but the elastic band on the bottom is rather thin and kinda weak compared to a mesh wig cap I got at Sally's Beauty Supply. I probably won't be ordering any more wig caps from Bodyline and wouldn't recommend getting one unless you're unable to get a better one from a beauty supply store. The wig stand's a little flimsy, but is overall good quality and easily stays upright even with a longer wig on it (with the ends hanging off the edge of the surface it's on). I'm glad I got it as it makes detangling my wigs easier than it was with my stand-less styrofoam head. I would highly recommend getting at least one of these for detangling purposes, but would still recommend getting a styrofoam head for storing or displaying styled wigs as it's a bit smaller in overall diameter.

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Crafting Woes: How I Save

Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be talking a bit on how I've started saving money with crafting. Be it sewing, hot gluing, modge podge, acrylic, wood, or some other medium, a lot of people do some form of crafting in their life. Essentially taking one or more materials and creating something new with them. But crafting costs can add up if you aren't careful, so today I'm going to be talking about some of the main ways I've been saving money on crafting.

#1: Coupons and Sales
 First things first, when you plan on getting materials to make something, start by figuring out if you can save money with a coupon or wait for a sale. In the case of sales, check the price on an item when it's not on sale if you can and make sure its price is actually lower when it *is* on sale. Sometimes businesses will bump up the prices on items prior to a sale and then lower them back to their original price during the "sale." Coupons can often be found by signing up for emails from a company, but sometimes you can get them from an app or in the store itself.

#2: Do I Actually Need This?
 This is a problem a lot of crafters run into: buying materials that they intend to use eventually for some unknown future project and then never using it. Avoid wasting money by making sure you only but items you'll actually use. And by this I mean go out shopping for needed supplies for an active project you are currently working on. Don't go buying ribbon or lace just because they're on sale if you don't have a definitive plan for them. If you just need thread, fabric, and a pattern, buy those. If you need paint and a clear coat, buy them. Unless you have a planned project (such as adding lace or other accoutrements to a book shelf or boxes), don't go buying supplies impulsively just because the price is right.

#3: Use What You Have
 So, if you're like me, you probably have lots of craft supplies lying around that you either got because it was well priced, or because you had a project in mind that you either never got to, or stopped working on halfway because of procrastination. If this is your case, make up crafts projects that use what supplies you already have. Don't buy anything new for these, just use what you have. Recently I've been trying to use up a bunch of trim, tulle, and ribbon I got that are either impulse buys or leftovers from other projects. I started out using hair clips I had lying around, but quickly ran out, so I decided to start attaching safety pins to the backs since I have a ton of those lying around. Preliminary wear tests show that it's a little difficult to fasten, but it's holding really well so far.

#4: Sometimes, Ya Just Have to Buy It
 I know, I know. We all want to save money and make our own accessories and things, but sometimes it's cheaper to just pay someone who's experienced (and probably buys their stuff in bulk from China) to make stuff for us. I know there's been some times where I've wanted to start making my own Decoden and resin pieces, but I only have so much space to work in and to store stuff in. Plus I don't know how to get certain materials inexpensively and don't always want to buy in bulk (especially if I just want one). Not to mention my lack of skills working in those mediums. Because of these things, I've decided that it's better to pay someone experienced to make certain things for me instead of spending twice as much money and a whole lotta time to make something half as good (or just a mess that I can't use).

 I hope you all enjoyed this weeks post! Let me know if you do anything creative to save money on crafting supplies!

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Anime Reviews: Death Note

Hello everyone! So recently, due to encouragement from a friend, I decided to give Death Note another try. Several years back when I regularly read manga online, I started reading Death Note, but got bored after a certain point as there was a lot of talking going on and the story was seeming to progress slowly. However, I'm super glad I decided to try watching it this time instead of reading it. So, without further ado, here's my review of it.

 Death Note is a story about a highschooler named Light who finds a notebook belonging to a shinigami, or god of death, that allows him to cause others to die either by a heart attack or by whatever method he writes in the notebook. However, in order to use the power of the notebook, Light must know the name and face of his victim. Upon realizing just what power he has, Light decides to use it to begin punishing criminals for their misdeeds and so begins going through the news to find names and faces of criminals either on the run or already in prison. As many of the criminals died from heart attacks, people started to realize there was some power causing these deaths and before long a mysterious detective known only a L joins the Japanese police force in an investigation to find this person dubbed Kira (short for killer). However, despite L's suspicion of Light, who also happens to be the police chief's son, Light is able to later join the investigation team.

 So, while I could go into more detail about the story, I'm not gonna do that as there is a lot to the story and I don't want to give it away. My take on Death Note: It was an amazing anime. The story was a little predictable at points, but overall it was very well written and quite enjoyable. Seeing just what lengths Light would go to to protect his identity as Kira was very interesting as well as how the other characters reacted to different situations. The characters all had depth to them that allowed you to see them as actual people rather than just a plot device. The story was limited to a certain number of episodes, so the amount of "filler" material or drawn out scenes was very limited. The ending did a good job of wrapping things up and didn't leave much in the way of unclosed threads in the storyline. The ending was very sad, but well worth it. I would highly recommend Death Note to anyone interested in psychological animes as this one was very good at showing how a mind can warp and manipulate others.

If you have any suggestions for animes you'd like me to watch and review, please let me know! I have several more I've watched recently that you can expect to see some more coming up before too long!

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Online Shopping: Be a Good Buyer!

Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be talking about buying online and some general guidelines for how to be a nice seller. Enjoy!

 So why am I talking about being a good buyer, you ask? One of the main reasons is because of stories I hear and experiences I have with selling online. Another reason is that I find a good number of people tend to forget common courtesy when they're online because they aren't talking face to face with someone. So here are my top 5 suggestions for buying things online from others who aren't running a store.

#1 Be Polite
 You'd think this would be common sense, but apparently common sense does not apply on the internet for a lot of people. I say this mainly because of people who decide to be jerks to others just because there's likely to be no real repercussions on them since there's no face to face contact. When contacting and talking to a seller, please try to be polite. Even if they're blunt, grouchy, pessimistic, or otherwise a downer, it's better to be polite than to be a jerk back as that's more likely to cause you to get in an argument. Save arguments for debate class. Here's an example of a somewhat blunt statement that can come off as rude and a more polite version that's more likely to get you better feedback as a buyer (and keep you from being blacklisted if they take it really badly): "give me this for 20" versus "Hello! I was wondering if you'd be willing to part with this for $20?" So what do we see with these sentences? First of all, use proper grammar and punctuation if you can. This comes across as more polite since you took the time to type it out nicely. Second of all, it's nicer to ask a question rather than state something as it can come across as less demanding and more just inquiring. Lastly, how would you feel if someone messaged you like that? You may still sell to them just because they're the only one showing interest, but you probably won't be writing quite as nice a note for them.

#2 Don't Lowball
 People tend to price things the way they do for a reason. Whether it's because the item's damaged, in mint condition, or super rare, they ultimately have the last say in the matter of pricing. With that being said, some sellers do take offers on items or just not be sure how they should be pricing an item and put the price a little higher than they really should be. If you've done your research and approach in a polite way, you could end up getting a really good deal by making an offer. However, the last thing anyone wants is to have someone offer $20 for something that originally cost $150, is in near perfect condition, and worth at least $100. That's just not cool. Yes, some things are really expensive, it's just the way things are sometimes, especially with custom prints, buttons, apparel, and handmade items.

#3 Don't Give Unwanted Opinions
 This kinda fits in with the whole being polite thing, but is sometimes overlooked. If you see something you don't like, don't go posting to the whole world (anyone who can read the comments) how ugly you think that particular shade of mustard yellow is. The same goes for making offers, don't start an offer off with "this is rlly ugly" and then proceed to lowball the seller. While this doesn't seem to be as common in alternate clothing sales, I hear about this all the time on Vinted. Why would you tell someone how ugly their item is and then go on to try and buy it from them? It's more than likely going to get you ignored by the seller or possibly blocked.

#4 Reply Back
 This makes perfect sense if you're buying an item from someone, but people seem to forget to let folks know when they've changed their minds about something. I can't tell you how many times I've had someone show some interest in an item only to disappear after I answer their question. The least you can do is reply back with something simple like "Dang, that's too small. :/" or "Alright, not sure if I really want this after all." so the seller knows that they can continue to market their item to try and sell it. I always try to respond back and thank the seller for taking the time to respond to my questions, even if I'm not going to buy the item, so that they know if they should get a mailer or let someone else know that the item's still up for grabs.

#5 Pay for What You've Bought
 This seems common sense, but apparently not so. I have a friend who's had to deal with multiple potential buyers making a bid on something listed up on eBay only to not pay for it when the auction ends. This means wasted time and money for him. Please please please make sure to let your seller know if you need time for a Paypal transfer, but don't just decide you don't want it, don't pay, and don't message the seller to let them know your change of heart. It's just plain rude.

 I hope you all remember to use common courtesy when buying online even though we don't talk to sellers face to face.

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

It's Procrastination Time! Dealing with Motivational Loss

Hello everyone! So today's topic is slightly different from my regular fashion, anime, and movie related posts. Today I'll be talking about procrastination and how to motivate yourself.

 So what prompted me to write about this topic on my blog? Well, unfortunately I've been dealing with a lot of procrastination and lack of motivation lately. I spend entirely too much time flopping around my room being bored, but not wanting to da anything. This is frustrating me to no extent as I have plenty of unfinished projects, video games, and room organization and clean up to do in the time I don't spend at work. So, I've been looking into myself to try and figure out why I act this way, why I don't do the things I love and really want to do. Based on my behavior as a kid as well as growing up, I determined my main problem was procrastination. I tend to wait until the last minute, then rush through everything I need to do a couple days or the night before. On the plus side, this has made me very good at writing short English papers in a short period of time, but on the downside this means that I have trained myself to finish things last minute before deadlines. So what do I do when I don't have a deadline? Absolutely nothing. I sit around wanting to get things done, but never doing them because I've either lost motivation, don't have a deadline, or don't have all the necessary components because I haven't felt the urge to go buy them. This has been affecting a lot of different aspects of my life, making it hard for me to want to do anything outside of work and necessary food shopping trips.

 Now comes the question: What am I going to do to avoid procrastinating and what can you do if you find yourself acting the same way? To start with, I intend to buy a planner for myself, one that I can write 'To do' lists in as well as appointments in. I'm going to start giving myself deadlines for my sewing and cosplay projects ("I want to wear this yukata on this date.") that way I have to force myself to work on them so that they'll be complete in time. Or at least close enough that I can finish them up within a few days. I'm also going to start planning times for when to do certain tasks such as exercising, laundry, or shopping. In addition to these, I'm going to make a list of things I can do when I'm bored or don't feel like doing anything so I can choose something to do (other than flop around on my bed) and do it. All of them will be things I can do by myself, but I'll also write down some things I can do with friends so I don't always end up doing the whole "What do you wanna do?" "I dunno,. What do you wanna do?" routine every time I get to hang out with them.

 As I have yet to try any of this, I have yet to know how effective it is. I will be sure to update you all in a few months and let you know how it's going. If you decide to try this out too, let me know! I'd love to hear about your progress as well.

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Building a Wardrobe: Part Four

Hello everyone! Today I'll be covering the last step in my wardrobe building series: Buying your wardrobe. Enjoy!

Step Five: Buying your wardrobe
 Last and certainly not least! Let's get to buying the pieces to build your wardrobe up. Use the list you made in step 4 to help you decide on what to buy and start hunting for clothes. I highly recommend checking out second hand sales groups on Facebook as well as Etsy, Storenvy, Amazon, and eBay. Just be sure to read reviews and price compare for online stores. Thrift stores are great too as you can find clothing at much cheaper than regular prices most of the time and have the advantage of being able to try the clothes on too. Make sure you have your measurements handy for online buying so you can make sure you're getting something that will fit you properly.

 Budgeting is one of the most important things when building your wardrobe. Make sure you're spending your money wisely by comparing your desired wardrobe list to your current wardrobe list and only buying items you need. You can always buy more expensive pieces to start with, but I'd suggest focusing on less expensive basics until you have a functional wardrobe. For example, I really want a Kawaii Goods dress, but due to the price I have to think harder about if I want one than if I want ten more pettis from Bodyline (I must own every pastel one). Realistically, I'd actually be buying a petti and shoes or a cutsew and jacket or something similar to that with the same money I'd spend on that one dress. In addition to that, I don't really have a lot of basic pieces I could pair said dress with to make it look good, so my money's better spent getting those right now. In addition to smart spending, budgeting also involves smart saving. If you want to buy a brand new Baby the Stars Shine Bright JSK from their store when you visit with your comm, you probably will want to avoid eating out and buying anything unessential for a while so you don't spend your rent or food money for that month on a dress that you'll probably only wear every once in a while. If you've decided to start saving up for your dream dress, you'll want to put more of your spending money aside so you can buy it if it pops up in your sales group. This can mean less time spent going out with friends or eating out for you, but if you're really serious about buying a piece or saving up to make a large purchase, it's worth it.

 One final word of advice on buying: try to avoid impulse buying if at all possible. This is not to say that you should pass up a good bargain on a piece you want or to not buy anything when you're at the mall though. Rather than grab something and buy it immediately, whether online or in store, take some time to think about a purchase. Whether you text your friend to ask their advice, walk around the store to look at everything else they have for sale, or just make sure you actually can use a particular piece with your current wardrobe, take some time to consider purchases before you make them. I have quite a few items that I'm either selling or tend not to use as much that I wish I'd thought about a little more before jumping and buying them. Sure, that sheer black cardigan is nice, but I have nothing in my closet that it works with and most certainly can't wear it on its own. That cardigan's really cute, but I already had a blue-ish green one in my drawer and most of my tops are blue or green. Just think things through a bit before you buy them. There's nothing wrong with messaging a seller and saying you're interested in an item they have for sale as a way to get your foot in the door, but you can always back out and tell them you've changed your mind after thinking about it for a bit.

Have fun building your wardrobe and don't be afraid to experiment, just don't spend too much on anything you're unsure about!

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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Building a Wardrobe: Part Three

Hello everyone! Welcome to part three of my wardrobe makeover series! So far we've covered clearing out your closet, research, and more research. Today we're going to start going over the next step: planning your wardrobe.

Step Four: Plan your wardrobe
 Time to take advantage of that research you've been doing and start deciding what you want in your wardrobe! Grab a notebook and start writing down what you think would be a good starter wardrobe based on your style. Don't go trying to make a full blown wardrobe like your favorite blogger or YouTuber. These things take time and they likely built theirs up over the course of years. Figure out which pieces are the most versatile for your style and what would work well for off days or events where you might want to dress up more. As an example, I'm going to list some of what I've put on my list for my wardrobe. I mostly wear Fairy Kei anymore with some Gothic as well as Lolita pieces, so I decided to build a "Fairy Kei/Kawaii fashion" wardrobe. I also still enjoy cosplay (even though I haven't been to a con in ages), so I took those into account as well as my local environment and figure.

  • 8+ cutsews, tees, or casual blouses
  • 2-3 Lolita coords for meetups (dressier)
  • 4+ bloomers/spandex for under skirts
  • 3+ pairs heels
  • 1 pink, 1 light blue, 1 lavender, 1 mixed wig
  • 3+ complete cosplays
  • 1-2 seifukus OR 1 each summer and winter seifuku
  • 4-5 various skirts
  • 2-3 pairs tennis
While this is just a few things on my list, you can see that I list out each type of item I want in my wardrobe and how many of each I want to have. Also, you'll note with some things I was more specific than others. Instead of just writing "4ish pairs of shoes" I wrote a range of how many of different types of shoes I wanted. For some items I have a more specified range (2-4) and others a wider range (4+). I decide this based on how essential a particular piece is to my wardrobe and how much variety I want with that particular item type. I was also somewhat vague with a few items. For me, having a Lolita coord isn't as important as having a functional wardrobe, so I just list it as an item rather than listing all the pieces I need for a coord.

Once you've got a plan for what you want your wardrobe to have, it's time to go through your clothes and mark down how many of each item on your list you have. I just wrote out each of the article types (cutsew, skirt, cosplay, etc.) on a new page in the same order I had written them out originally for easier comparison, then I went through my wardrobe and did a tally mark for each item I had that fit under one of the categories. This gives you a better idea of what all you havein your wardrobe compared to what all you want in it. So say you have twelve wigs, but they're all cheap Halloween wigs or you have a dozen skirts, but over half of them are different shades of blue. This lets you know you should probably look to replace some of the items in your wardrobe to add more variety and to have better quality. And if you already have three pairs of pastel tennies that you regularly wear and you listed 2-3 pairs on your wardrobe list, you should probably stick to buying other pieces you're more in need of.

Next week I'll be going over the last part of this series, buying your wardrobe!
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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Building a Wardrobe: Part Two

Hello everyone! Welcome to the second installment of my wardrobe revamp series! Today I'll be talking about how to plan your wardrobe to get the most bang for your buck. Let's go!

 Step Two: What works for you?
 Step two is where you'll start laying some of the ground work for your new wardrobe. You've gotten rid of the old and now you're looking to start adding ne. However, before you start adding things higglety-pigglety to your closet, get a more defined idea of what will work for you. Start off by looking for inspiration. Find bloggers, models, and YouTubers that have a defined wardrobe in the style you want. Look at what they have and how they put it together to get a better idea of what you want in your wardrobe. Look up pictures for inspiration, be it through google, pinterest, or your favorite search engine, do it. Get as much inspiration as you can so you know what to work with to achieve the look you want. Pay attention to details and find transformation or instructional videos for your style. While I was looking into the Gothic style, I looked for outfit videos as well as beginner suggestions to better define what I wanted. In one such video the author talked about how when you dress up in all black you have to make use of different textures and materials to get a good look. This helped me a lot when looking for clothes. Rather than just get all black clothing, I looked for knits, mesh, sheer detailing, and similar things to add variety. The same is true with any other style. Find out the basics of the style that really make an outfit pop and stand out. Maybe it's a distinct print in Lolita or a milti-colored tutu for Fairy Kei. Whatever your style is, figure out what it is that helps make that style what it is.

 Once you have an idea of what your looking for, it's time to figure out what works for you. Go to a local mall of thrift store and try on EVERYTHING. Alright, that may be a little much, but try on different pieces. See how different cuts and colors look on you so you know what to look for and what to avoid while shopping. This is especially helpful if you mostly buy items online due to their rarity in your local area. We can't all be Lolitas living near a Baby the Stars Shine Bright store. If you have a friend with a more defined wardrobe than you, see if you can try on some of their clothing and see how it works for you. This step has been helpful for me so I can see what sort of cuts are flattering on me and which just make me look like a Fatty-chan or a hobo.

Step Three: More research
 Once you know what looks good on you, look for that sort of clothing. Find brands that sell flattering pieces for you in sizes that work for you and start shopping around. Look for colors, cuts, and prices. There's a lot of Storenvy stores that sell similar items, so sometimes you have to dig around through other sites to find where articles originally came from and what sort of prices they have. Find out how much those sorts of items go for second hand and document some of your favorite "must-haves" in a notebook so you know what sort of price range they have for future buying excursions. This is the time to set up wishlists, not buy everything in sight. Take advantage of promotions and desperate sales later, you're just window shopping right now.

More to come next week!
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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Building a Wardrobe: Part one

Hello everyone! So despite my rather extensive research into many different alternative styles, I've recently come to terms with the fact that I'm not really happy with my wardrobe. I have a lot of pieces, but not a lot of things that I wear or that work well together to build outfits in a particular style. So because of that, I'm going to go over some things I'm doing to rebuild my wardrobe to be more how I want it to be. This will be a multiple part series due to the amount of (hopefully) helpful rambling I tend to do as well as the number of points I wish to cover on each topic. Enjoy and feel free to let me know how you get your wardrobe to be more what you wear!

Step 1: Clear out the old
 As with any good wardrobe revamp, it's best to start by getting rid of what you don't like, don't wear, and don't need. Take it in pieces so you don't get overwhelmed. I started by going through my dresses a drawer at a time, then through my armoire (I don't have a built in closet) and the drawers on my armoire. If you have a bunch of accessories or jewelry, go through these too. It's a good idea to try on clothing you aren't sure about and decide if you like how it looks on you. Sometimes we all buy things that we like the look of, but that don't look good on us. If you just aren't liking it, get rid of it. It might be a good time to mention that it's best not to do this if you're having a really bad day as you might just get rid of everything you own because it all makes you look fat. This can be a good thing if done properly though (re-evaluate things on a better day). This part of your closet revamp is not the time to get all sentimental and clingy. if you really do have a sentimental attachment to something, such as an old high school tee that all your buddies signed, put it aside somewhere or turn that ish into a quilt. I'm serious. Make your memory tees into a quilt that you can hang on your wall, use in winter when your heater isn't cutting it, or shove unceremoniously into a box. If you have heirloom pieces of jewelry that don't go with your style, put them in a box somewhere where it won't be taking up space that you could be using for things you DO use. This is what attics are good for as well as hidden corners in your room.

 While going through clothing, you should take into account four main things: Fit, style, compatibility, and quality. Fit is essentially just does it fit and does it look good on your particular figure. If it's too small or makes your hips look ten times bigger than they really are, get rid of it. Style is whether it works with the style or styles you wear. Does that super pastel shirt really work with the Gothic wardrobe you want? Are you really going to be wearing a chartreuse tube top with a mostly faded pastel wardrobe? Things like that. Compatability is similar to style, but more "does this work with what I have" than "Does this work with my style." Are you really going to wear a floral mini skirt even if you have a Classic Lolita themed wardrobe? Do you really want those studded belts, or are they just going to hang around unused all the time? Last of all: quality. If you have an item in disrepair or that's just really poorly made (for Lolita this could be a Lace Monster or "ita" dress), get rid of it. Unless you have a grunge sort of style where all of your clothes are intentionally shredded or faded, you shouldn't be hanging on to shirts with holes in them. I have a hard time remembering that a lot of clothing isn't made to last and eventually has to be replaced, sometimes sooner rather than later. If you can't fix it or make it work, scrap it. Turn it into something new, donate it if it's still useable, or just chuck it. While there are places where one can donate old clothing to be repurposed, not everyone has them locally available. If you can, find a new use for something before throwing it away though.

 Once you've decided what to keep, neatly fold, hang, and organize the pieces so you can easily see what you have. Anything you aren't keeping should be sorted into one of the following categories: Store, repurpose, donate, sell, trash. First up, store. If you have items of sentimental value that you don't use for your style, find a way to store them that will prevent them from taking up space that could be used for items you'll actually be wearing. Put that necklace from Great Grandma's aunt into a box with other such items, use vacuum bags to minimize space taken by sentimental clothes. Next up, repurpose. If you can find a new use for old clothes, do it. Turn your old jeans into a bag, make potholders out of that worn out sweater, turn useable pieces into scraps of useable cloth for that one friend who got into quilting, etc. This is more for clothing that is damaged to the point of not being useful anymore. You could also give fixable items to a crafty friend to fix for their own use if you know someone like that. Donate and sell are both somewhat close for me. If you want to try selling your clothes online or in a commission store, do it. But set a limit for yourself. If they aren't gone soon, donate them. The last thing you need is ghosts of clothing past crowding up your room and being useless. Alternatively, you can shove everything in paper bags and take them straight to the thrift store or a clothing donation box. Lastly, trash. If something's worn to the point of being unfixable or unwearable, just throw it away. If you want to be conscientious and have them recycled, go for it. Just don't throw them at the thrift store because then they have to throw it away after sorting through all the donations they receive.

 Stay tuned next week for the next step in remaking your wardrobe!

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

How to Respond to Negative Lolita Views

Hello everyone! So I recently read a blog article about Lolita that was written by someone who has not done proper research into the style and was bashing it based on her very limited, very skewed perspective of it. This prompted me to make this article about some of the more common misconceptions with Lolita and the reality behind them.

Lolita... Isn't that a book?

 First, let's talk about comparison of the Lolita style to the book Lolita. First of all, while they share a name, these two things are in no way related. I have watched and read interviews about the Lolita style over the course of many years and not once have I seen it compared to Lolita from the book. The orgins of the name are unconfirmed based on my researh, but if you look at it in the Romanized spelling of it's Japanese name, it's rorita. In Japanese, there's no real distinction between "r" and "l" sounds, so the Lolita style could easily have been called Rorita, Lorita, Rolita, or Lolita in English. Why it's Lolita, I'm unsure, but it is possible that particular r-to-l translation could have been chosen because an English speaker mistook the name of the style for the name of the book, or just automatically turned "r"s in Japanese into "l"s and it stuck. I couldn't say for sure. Back to the comparison of the Lolita style with the style of Lolita from the book. The Lolita style is based, not off of children's clothing as some might suggest, but the Victorian and Rococo styles of old. While not as closely resembling it as in days past, there are still some common elements such as petticoats or other padding under skirts to give them a distinct shape, use of lace detailing and other adornments on the dresses, and modesty. While the type of modesty is different ("Your ankles are showing! How preposterous!"), they still have this in common.

Are you trying to look like a doll?

 Let's move on to the next presumption people make about Lolita: The dolly look. While many Lolitas tend to go for a dollier look, it's mainly due to wanting to look similar to a porcelain doll or Japanese doll dressed in a similar style since they tend to be dressed in Victorian-like clothes. I myself have a very pretty porcelain doll (you can see her here) with curly blonde hair, a fair complexion, and a pretty, lacy white dress that I have always loved the look of. While I may not intentionally try and copy her appearance, I do like to enhance my features in similar ways to hers. One big note on this: I "doll" myself up similar to this whether I'm in Lolita, Fairy Kei, or just a graphic tee and jeans sometimes. My interest in the dolly look is not related at all to my love for the Lolita fashion, they just overlap at times. Even if I sold off all of my Lolita clothing and never wore it again (or went back to when I didn't own any), I'd still be using my white eyeliner to make my eyes appear bigger and contouring to make my nose look smaller. Some people correlate Venus Angelic, or Venus Palermo, who on multiple occasions has worn the Lolita fashion, both in her videos and in interviews, with Lolita fashion, even though a lot of Lolitas I've known don't. I have followed Venus on YouTube and Facebook for quite a long time and in one of her older videos where she's showing some of her cute outfits (this one), she specifically comments in the description that the style she's wearing isn't really Lolita. It's a mix-up she calls Dollita (doll-Lolita) because it doesn't follow the "rules" of Lolita, but uses similar pieces and themes to achieve a dolly look.

Is this an ageplay thing? Are you trying to look like a little girl? Don't you know you could attract pedophiles?

 One thing a good number of people seem to think is that Lolita is related to ageplay or attracting pedophiles. Again, I can not stress how incorrect this statement is. While Sweet Lolita, one of the most popular sub-styles in Lolita, can appear very little girl like with it's huge bows, pastel color, and sometimes toy related prints, there are MANY different sub-styles that have very different looks. Elegant Gothic Lolita, for example, makes use of long flowing skirts, black and dark colors, and a more refined appearance to create a mature look. Pirate Lolita is dressing to look like a pirate, not a child. Ouji Lolita takes a left turn and creates a more mature, masculine look rather than a youthful, feminine look. There is way more to Lolita than just the main Sweet, Classic, and Gothic sub-styles that everyone sees because they're the most common. And saying that it's also a porn thing because similar styles appear in porn is about the same as saying rabbits are a porn thing because there's Playboy Bunnies.

You'll never get a job looking like that! What do your parents think!? If my child dressed like that [insert overly concerned mother rant here].

 One last thing I'd like to touch on here before I wrap things up. There are people who, due to the alternative dressing style, believe that people who wear Lolita will never get a job, have disapproving parents, and so on. First of all, let me say that for some people, "normal" clothing feels weird. I feel out of place sometimes if I try to dress like a fashionable normal person. It's weird. I don't feel like my usual self. I feel like I'm putting on a mask and saying "I'm normal guys, I swear!" Then when I put on Lolita, Gothic clothing, Fairy Kei, or some other alternative style, I feel normal, at ease, completely in my element. I don't care if people stare, because I feel good in my skin. I'm happy and free. But when I'm not in those styles, I feel awkward. Like I'm trying to be someone I'm not. It's not fun. If I put on a suit (which I do own a few) and walked around in it all day, I'd feel weird. I'm not alone in this. There are plenty of people who dress alternatively that would just feel out of place if they tried dressing in regular fashions. And while some of us like to dress in an alternative style all the time, some of us also like to dress alternatively only on occasion and are usually found in sweatpants, jeans, or just a slightly eccentric style on a day to day basis.

 A typical response to the "How are you going to get a job looking like that!?" question that I've seen is "How do you think I afford this stuff?" For younger alternative dressers, such as teens, this can be a more practical question especially since the majority of their money is likely to come from family and parents. This is not to say that there aren't teens out there that go around mowing peoples lawns, walking dogs, or doing similar tasks to earn some extra money outside of their allowance (or lack there of) to buy clothing they enjoy. For many young adults and older alternative dressers, they already have some sort of income or are working through college so they can get a good job to provide an income. I personally already have a stable day job that I can progress in no matter what I wear (I dress differently for work though due to the nature of my job though) and I am able to take on side jobs such as commissions or sales as well if I so choose. The only real reason I keep a button up shirt and a suit around is in case I decide to go a different route with my life as showing up to a job interview in full on Lolita is not the best of ideas unless you're applying for a fashion related job. Even then, you want to dress appropriately for the type of job. However, I'd feel just as uncomfortable wearing a full suit with minimal makeup as a regular person might feel in a pink wig and dolly makeup.

You'll never be successful looking like that!
 This, my friends, is where many people are wrong. Success is an individual thing and based off of what YOU want to do. Sure, having a college degree certainly helps get a regular job, but is that all success is? For some people, traveling the world and becoming essentially a gypsy of sorts is success. For others being able to get married and raise a family is success. Yet others might say that walking down that catwalk in the latest designs from talented designers is success. Success is up to you and your dreams. If you want to make a living off of your outward doll-like appearance because many find you inspirational, do it. If you want to travel and never settle down, do it. If you want to dominate the world and have total control over everyone, too bad. That's my job. All hail me and go back to utilizing your free, high speed internet and cable. (Someday....)

 Enjoy what you love, and don't let others tell you it's wrong because they have different interests and perspectives on life. You are ultimately responsible for you and if you aren't happy it's up to you to decide how you want to pursue that.

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