Monday, December 23, 2013

magical tea time + cute parade reviews

I just cleaned my phone of pictures for the first time in probably a year, and in the process I found photos I took for reviews that I never got around to making! I thought I would make them before Christmas just in case anybody got any money that they need to spend on cute things, hehe.

Magical Tea Time is a store run by Jayne Steiger (who you might know as opiatevampire or jaynejezebelle on tumblr). She sells art prints, as well as fashion accessories that coordinate well with lolita, fairy kei, and most kinds of street fashion. I was interested in her floral headbands, as they looked huge, attractive, and had interesting designs.

I had had my eye on a black and gold one for quite awhile, and one day just decided to splurge and finally purchase it. Shipping was fast and efficient, and I got it within a week.

The box it was shipped in was pretty sturdy and standard, and the packaging itself was effective. It was wrapped in a couple of layers of tissue paper, which worked, though had the box gotten wet or torn, or knocked around in transit, it might not have been enough to protect the item from getting damaged. Luckily that didn't happen, and the headband arrived to me in perfect condition!

I think it's beautiful! The dangling gold pearl chain is just the right size to drape nicely across your bangs without hanging in your eyes or being too short to properly hang. The roses and leaves are nice and standard, the same quality as the ones you can get from any general craft store. There was some excess glue here and there, but nothing that detracted from the look of the headband.I've worn it a few times, and it's very lightweight and easy to wear. It doesn't slip and slide too much, even on a wig, which is always a major plus in my book. (I have a few headbands that I absolutely love, but I never wear because they always fall off my head!)  All in all, I believe it was quite a good purchase. I would definitely buy from her again, and would recommend anybody else to do the same, especially if you're eyeing something already! I'm actually thinking about buying one of her prints, because she's a wonderful artist as well as a wonderful crafter and lolita.

The second store I'm reviewing is one called Cute Parade! I've actually purchased from this store before, but way long ago, when they were still called Cat Nap Caps; I bought a cupcake necklace that is, to this day, still my favourite piece of jewelry! They've since stopped making sweets jewelry and have moved on to resin and custom plastic pieces of jewelry, which I love just as much. I bought two resin pieces from her this time: a ring and a hair clip.

The packaging was really adorable; I absolutely adore when stores put a little extra effort into the packaging, because it really just makes the experience of opening and unwrapping the package that much more enjoyable. It was shipped in a bubble mailer and arrived in perfect condition.

With the order, she included a lovely handwritten note, as well as stickers and her business card, all of which were adorable (and perfect for me, as I'm both a sticker and business card hoarder, hehe.)

The ring I purchased was the perfect size; it's not overwhelming but it's definitely noticeable when worn. It's also wonderfully made. There are no rough edges, and the colour covers the entire area. Some resin pieces have edges where the resin has overflowed off of the mould and left a tiny edge, but this has none of that, and is really professional looking. It's also adorable and glittery and everything I love!

The hairclip is also adorable, though this one has a bit of that resin-edge that I was talking about before. It's not noticeable at all when worn though, and if I wasn't so anal-retentive, I probably wouldn't have even noticed it in the first place. It's a lovely size as well, especially if you like things a little more subdued but still cute. Once again, it seems very sturdy and professionally made, and the clip part is attached quite well (which is something I always worry about.)

I would definitely recommend purchasing from Cute Parade! Everything is really adorable and well-made, and honestly I will probably buy from her again in the very near future, because I'm eyeing many more pieces that she has for sale. I'm excited to see what new designs she will come up with!

Friday, November 15, 2013

lolita blog carnival: book inspired coordinations

This week's Lolita Blog Carnival is based around creating coordinates from books. I was quite looking forward to this prompt, because even though I don't read very often, when I do read I get very into the book. But as the week went by, I was having trouble coming up with a book that I could easily incorporate lolita coordinates into. Eventually, I just decided to go with my gut instinct, and use my favourite book: American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Neil Gaiman is my favourite author, and I've read everything that he's written, but American Gods really hit a chord for me. I remember picking up this book at Barnes and Nobles when I was 14, reading the back, and immediately falling in love with the mythological elements of the plotline. The book revolves around traditional gods of old mythos (from Norse, Egyptian, Celtic mythologies, among many others) versus modern "gods" such as technology, drugs, media, and things of that nature.

There's sex, violence, and an overall very dark feeling to the book; it's not something particularly feminine or easy to translate into lolita fashion. But I did it anyway!

Zorya Polunochnaya
blouse: alice and the pirates
jumperskirt: metamorphose
tights and shoes: offbrand

Her hair was pale and colorless in the moon's thin light. She wore a white cotton nightgown, with a high lace neck and a hem that swept the ground. Shadow sat up, entirely awake. "You are Zorya Polu ...," he hesitated. "The sister who was asleep."

The Zoryas are from Slavic mythology, and they were two guardians who watch over the doomsday hound to ensure that he doesn't devour the constellations and end the universe. In mythology, there were only two sisters, Zorya Utrennyaya (the morning star) and Zorya Vechernyaya (the evening star), but Gaiman created a third sister, called Zorya Polunochnaya, the midnight star.

blouse: vintage
skirt: angelic pretty
socks: angelic pretty
shoes: baby the stars shine bright

She was—not fat, no, far from fat: what she was, a word that Shadow had never had cause to use until now, was curvaceous. Her hair was so fair that it was white, the kind of platinum-blonde tresses that should have belonged to a long-dead movie starlet, her lips were painted crimson, and she looked to be somewhere between twenty-five and fifty.

Eostre is a Germanic pagan goddess, as well as being the namesake for the Christian festival of Easter. She is associated with spring and fertility, and although she was only in American Gods for a few pages, I always thought she was a very interesting character!

Laura Moon
shoes, tights, necklace: offbrand
one piece: innocent world

Shadow could smell—or perhaps, he thought, he simply imagined that he smelled—an odor of rot, of flowers and preservatives. His wife—his ex-wife... no, he corrected himself, his late wife—sat on the bed and stared at him, unblinking.

Laura is the wife of Shadow (the main character) who dies very early on in the story. However, she doesn't stay underground for long, and is a character who pops up for the rest of the novel, in varying states of decay. She's described as having a floral scent more than once (from the funeral parlour!) so I tried to represent that with a greenish floral print, because shades of green like that remind me of death.

What is the Lolita Blog Carnival?

I am a part of a group of lolita bloggers, called the Lolita Blog Carnival who all get together to decide on a blog topic and then all post on that topic on a set date.  Check out what other bloggers have to say about this topic!

Friday, November 8, 2013

btssb san francisco webstore review + haul post

Hello lovelies! A few days ago I felt like I deserved some retail therapy, so I went tromping around the internet searching for cute things. I usually never check the Baby The Stars Shine Bright US webstore, which is weird because usually I prefer to purchase from the overseas stores as opposed to the main branches! But while on that site, I found a few things that I just couldn't live without, so I decided to purchase from there for the first time.

I was quite pleased with my experience!

They have quite an easy system, using a shopping cart and PayPal to order. I completed the transaction at 5PM EST on November 5th, and by 5:45 I had gotten an email saying my order had been shipped. That's probably the fastest I've ever had something shipped. They sent tracking info as well, and so for the next few days I kept the webpage up, constantly refreshing to see where my package was.

It arrived today, on the 8th! Three days is pretty standard for using USPS in my experience, but that doesn't change the fact that it is very quick and efficient.

They used pretty standard and efficient shipping methods, which was fine with me. The package arrived to me in one piece, and that's really all I care about.

The inside was packaged very neatly, everything wrapped in tissue paper, a clear plastic bag, and placed nicely inside of a shopping back. They also included a sticker, which I always love...

All of the items together! I was more than pleased with the quality and cuteness of everything, as usual with BTSSB. I ordered one pair of earrings, one headdress, and one cardigan.

The earrings! (The link goes to the clip-on versions, because I think I must have bought the last pair for pierced ears.) I think they're supposed to match a print, but I'm not sure which one. They're very simple but still cute, in my opinion; and the price wasn't bad either. Another thing I like is that the posts are actually made from very hard plastic, which is nice for sensitive ears! They're lightweight and comfortable too. I do have a weakness for brand jewelry though...

The headdress! I'm so fond of old-school lolita styles, and I've been getting more and more into that style; in fact, I just recently bought my very first black-with-white-lace JSK, and so far I've loved coordinating it. I always need more pink things in my hair, because most everything I own can be paired with pink, so I thought I would try out an old-school standby. It's such good quality, with beautiful lace and ribbons and fabric, and I am so excited to wear it out. I am already looking in my closet and planning coordinates with it!

Finally, the cardigan! I'm so happy and excited about this purchase. My other AatP cardigan is a little bit scratchy and tight, and I don't wear it often for that reason; I was expecting this one to be the same, but it's not! It is very comfortable on me, and the fabric it is made out of it soft and easy on the skin. The (faux) fur collar is also very soft and warm, and I'm really looking forward to wearing it this winter when it's cold. A nice thing is that the collar is removable, so you can wear this in a more casual setting as well!

detail shots!
 Overview of BTSSB San Francisco Webstore:

  • Price - 5/5. I thought they had very fair prices, and it didn't seem like they inflated the price from the original sticker price at all. (Of course, brand always comes with brand prices, but for the sake of this review I'm just thinking about how the San Fran store compares with the original Japanese prices...!)
  • Communication - 5/5. I didn't have to communicate with the store at all during my transaction, which is always nice (for me, anyway.) I was kept well-informed about the status of my order, and they emailed me after they shipped my order.
  • Ease of ordering - 5/5. Much, much easier than the Japanese webstore, which I have still yet to completely figure out despite having been buying from them for the past 5 years.
  • Quality - 5/5. Standard BTSSB/AATP quality, but I do buy it for a reason. (The reason is that I love the quality and the designs of the products.)
  • Overall - 5/5. I had a great experience buying with them, and I don't know why I never did it before! I will definitely be buying from them in the future.
As a side note, I think the only reason why I never bought from them before was because I never knew they had a webstore for the US store front? I remember when the store first opened, I was sad because they didn't have a webstore, they just had a blog that kept track of their stock. So sometime between then and now, they must have opened their webstore, and I am very happy about that! Even though the selection is small, it's good enough for me (plus I'm sure you could special order something if you really wanted to, though I haven't checked to be sure.) 

Thank you for reading! Maybe this wasn't the most helpful of reviews, but hey, at least the photos are nice?