22 April 2017

Television & Films For the Lolita Aesthetic

The age of the lolita lifestyle as we knew it in the days of Livejournal seem to be over. Nobody really subscribes to the unattainable lifestyle of breathing tea, sewing, strolls in the garden, and decorating everything you own with lace. The lifestyle lolitas I know today wear lolita as their every day clothes but still maintain their own hobbies and interests.

That doesn't mean there aren't still ways to inspire ourselves in our daily lives.

One way I like feeling frilly when I'm not dressed up is by watching tv shows and movies that fit the lolita lifestyle aesthetic. Here is a list of some of my favorites.

Image from Google

You don't need to take off your petticoat to Netflix & chill...

So not all of these are on Netflix, nor are they all family friendly. But they do all spark inspiration and motivation!

The Crown
This show is amazing. Not only do I love the mid-century costumes and palace scenery, but the acting is convincing. I find it a bit odd to produce a television series about a queen who is still very much alive, I can't wait for the second season. Originally I tried to make myself wear lolita while watching it, but ended up binge-watching it in my jammies. It's that good.

Deka Wanko 
You've probably seen the above image floating around the internet. It's a scene from one of the only television shows actually about a lolita. I love the main characters style and her struggle to get acceptance from her male police colleagues. You'll need either understand Japanese or find a version with subtitles, but it's worth the effort.

Cat Street
This is another lolita-specific Japanese drama that you'd have to spend a little bit of time looking for if you want good subtitles. One of the supporting characters is a lolita who loves making her dresses from scratch but has self-esteem issues. The whole plot of the show is a bunch of misfits who grow into themselves and become friends. Sometimes it can be a little depressing, but it ends up being really motivational and heart-warming.

Anne of Green Gables
I'm mostly talking about the television-movie series from 1985, but apparently Netflix will also be showing a brand new series later this year. I'm excited for this new one as well! This series is definitely for those who don't mind slow-moving plots, as it's based off a classic novel from 1908. Let it inspire you to try out country lolita!

Definitely not for a younger audience because of all the nudity and sexual scenes, but the story and costumes are splendid. It's quite rare to see a show where the men actually have long hair and the women have relatively accurate dresses, and if I wore ouji I would love getting inspiration from this show about Louis the XIV and his court.

I haven't seen this one yet, but it is definitely on my must watch list. I've heard mixed reviews about the accuracy of the show, but I want to see it if only for the gorgeous costumes and architecture. After watching Young Victoria (in the movie section below), I'm excited to try another take on the monarch whose reign greatly inspired the lolita aesthetic.

Little House on the Prairie
Like Anne of Green Gables, this show is another classic novel adaptation that really inspires country and western inspired coordinates. There's plenty of seasons, so don't worry about a too-short binge.

The Paradise
This show got a little weird towards the end in my opinion, but the Victorian department store is a lolita wardrobe dream. Unfortunately there's only two seasons, but it's worth the time to watch anyways. Apparently Mr. Selfridge got better ratings which is why they cancelled the show, so I might go watch that next.

Image Credit Warner Bros

Movie night in?

Sometimes you need some time to be by yourself (or with a frilly friend) and plunk down for a good movie night. These picks are all historical, but I'd love to hear of any modern lolita-inspired movies you know of!

The Little Princess
A childhood favorite of mine, this movie is timeless and touching. I'm not ashamed to admit I cry a little every time I watch this. I love it so much, I even had authentic paper dolls of this when I was a little girl. Props for such a rare portrayal of racism, classism, the effects of war on children, and mixed-race friendship in a historical setting.

The Secret Garden
Another childhood favorite from the 90s, this movie makes me want to get lost in a garden. Despite my loathing for bugs and dirt. You'll love to hate Mary and her cousin, and you'll definitely enjoy the scenery and costumes.

Young Victoria
This docudrama has absolutely stunning costumes. That is definitely the highlight of the show. The story itself is good, but it can be slow-moving at times. I wish it was a tv show so I could watch more because I like this depiction of Queen Victoria.

Kamikaze Girls
No lolita movie list would be complete without mentioning the iconic movie that made lolita popular. Okay maybe not as dramatic, but it is definitely a must-see for any lolita. I even made an embroidery hoop with my favorite quote from Kamikaze Girls.

Marie Antoinette
If you haven't seen this movie yet, why haven't you? Just ignore the inaccuracies and the oddly-invigorating modern music choice, and enjoy living vicariously through the world's most notoriously spoiled queen. Macarons anyone?

Image from Google

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21 April 2017

What I Would Like To See For The Future Of This Fashion

This week's topic is interesting food for thought.

What would I like to see in the future for lolita fashion? Well, I have some lofty dreams, some aspirations, and a nostalgia for a time gone that could return.

I would like to see a:

...decent documentary on a major streaming site like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon.
This of course is a lofty dream. There have been many amazing, short documentaries published on Youtube but which don't attract a large audience. We've also seen a few disasters of television appearances and bad celebrity spotlights. I honestly don't want the fashion to become mainstream at all, since the niche aspect is what makes lolita special and pure. But I do wish outsiders would have a legitimate resource and might be more accepting and less judgmental about us.

...return to the sense of mutual support and camaraderie among lolitas online.
I want to see an end to shaming and bullying on anonymous websites. Before lolita became readily available overseas, the international community was much smaller and more like a group of friends and mutual mentors. Today, there are plenty of groups to help beginners, but people seem to be more willing to criticize and make fun of each other online than actually help or just appreciate that not everyone has the same experience or skill level. Let's stop being jealous and mean and petty, and let's rebuild that sense of camaraderie.

...return to an emphasis on casual, wearable dresses and coordinates.
I know I keep repeating myself on this subject, but I really hope to see more appreciation for simple coordinates in the future. Old-school is returning slowly, and I am slowly seeing more people feel comfortable again sharing photos of everyday outfits. I want AP and BTSSB to start releasing simpler prints and less expensive dresses. Not every release needs four different kinds of lace, five detachable parts, six motifs combined into one, and seven figure prices!

...physical store in San Francisco for Innocent World.
Of course part of me would die to work here, but I don't have the education or drive to be the one to open such a store. However, my dream would be a branch here in the U.S. that might also have a space for local indie brands to display appropriate accessories. Not only do I think an Innocent World store would get more foot traffic from tourists because it is more wearable than AP or BTSSB, but it would also mean increased business for my favorite brand.

What would you like to see for the future of this fashion? Let me know in the comments, I'm really interested in your ideas and dreams.

Image credit to Tokyo Rebel

Other blogs who participated:
Pepins de Pom & Co
Poppy Noir

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15 April 2017

Daydream Bed Unboxing

I've been pumped for this year's Angelic Pretty x Imai Kira collaboration since I saw the sneak preview from the annual winter fashion show. I'm super lazy and would love to stay in bed all day. This print was too perfect.

This print reminds me of The Princess and the Pea. Did anyone else love that fairy tale?

If you'd like to actually see me unboxing this dress and see a few clips of me wearing it, here is the video:

The Color 

I was a little hesitant about which color to get. Like most people, I loved the blue-grey option exclusive for tea party attendees. Unfortunately, my SS didn't attend. I waffled between pink and cream. Last year's pink ended up being more lilac than a true pink which disappointed me. However, the cream seemed too yellow for me. What to do?

I ended up choosing pink again. If it ended up being purple, at least it might match the headbow I have for Charlotte's Bear.

Which it did. It was definitely more lilac than even Charlotte's Bear, but the difference is so slight that the headbow matches.

The Fabric

The fabric is the same as Charlotte's Bear. I suppose comparing these two isn't the most helpful since Imai Kira dresses aren't widely owned... But there isn't anything else I can compare it to.

Angelic Pretty dresses are often either a really thin chiffon, a buttery soft fabric, a dense cotton, or a silk. This dress has fabric that is almost like a tote bag, but soft and thin. I know this is a weird descriptor, but hopefully you'll see what I mean in the photo below.

The Fit

This year's collaboration only offered empire-waist cuts, so it didn't really matter which one I went with. The JSK looked so short it might have looked like a mumu on me, but the cut of the OP is a little strange.

Luckily the bust is much more comfortable and loose than last year - which if you saw my unboxing or any outfit photos with it, you'll see a super tight boobloaf - which is amazing. However, where the bust cuts off is just tight enough that I can't easily lift my arms above my shoulders because it catches. With or without a sports bra. I really didn't want to take a photo, so hopefully you can use your imagination.

The length is decent, I like how AP dresses seem to be longer than their golden era dresses while still keeping to traditional knee-length cuts instead of the tea-length trend.

Sleeves are loose and comfortable. I don't have particularly thin or thick wrists, and I could easily pull my hands through the cuffs. If you need them, there are buttons to help!

The Details

I love how Angelic Pretty has so many little construction details!

  • As you'll see in my video, the collar has two high-quality buttons and loops underneath to keep the back closed. I was able to fit my head through without unbuttoning the collar, but it's a nice option.
  • All the buttons are adorable gold stars, which is both helpfully generic if I need to buy replacements and cute for the sleepy theme.
  • The bow on the front is detachable, along with the waist-ties. 
  • Sometimes brands make really weird mistakes along the seams where the print doesn't match up, but this time the print looked relatively nice along all three seams. 
  • Because it zips up the back, two pockets!
  • If you can't read the text along the bottom, it says "Sleep Well. Sweet Dreams."

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08 April 2017

Eating My Way Through Berlin

Almost a year over due, I want to share with you the food adventures I found myself in while on a five week study abroad trip. If really don't care about foodie posts - and I won't blame you if you don't - please check out my travel posts about the friends I met in Germany and the places I visited in lolita.

One interesting thing I noticed is that there is very little traditional German food in Berlin. Oh, there are tons of Italian, American, Indian, and Berliner (think doener kebabs and curry wurst) places to eat. But I was actually pretty bummed to not be able to eat my favorite type of foods. I am German and grew up with a few German dishes that I sorely missed on my trip.

Also pretty sad about Berlin, we could not find good Mexican food. Not surprising, but as a Californians we had a hankering for authentic tacos. Bummer.

This is going to be a lengthy post. I hope you stick through to the end, and if you do... I bet you'll be hungry!

During Class

Clearly I didn't photograph every single meal I ate on this trip. That would be ridiculous... But I did take pictures of interesting dishes or foods that have memories attached to them.

Now on to the food...

My very first taste of European food since I was 15 years old was a latte at the Dublin airport during my layover. Don't hate; I'm basic whatever.

I gotta say though, I love the sizes of Starbucks on the other side of the pond. Usually an Amerian grande is too small and a venti is a bit too big. I ordered a venti in both Dublin and Berlin, and it was like Goldilocks - perfectly in the middle!

What's funny is how they spelled my name. It is almost a game for me to find new ways Starbucks baristas try to spell "Ashlyn." Usually I get an Ashley, sometimes and Ashely. At Dineyland last year I sent me mom a hilarious one where it devolved into Ash~~~ like they gave up and let the pen sink to the bottom of the cup in sadness.

Burgers in Berlin are pretty much the same as here in America. We went to this "wild west" styled restaurant plenty of times, and I wish I could remember the brand of carbonated, raspberry flavored beer. 

The pizza was alright, definitely Italian style and not my preference. The reason for this photo was because the restaurant was visited so much by my classmates because they had super cheap food. Everything on the menu was only 4 euro. During my add-on week by myself, I found a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese place that sold really delicious coconut curry chicken and rice box for only 1,60 euro! 

This third picture was taken because I had never had yellow watermelon before! (If you haven't either, it tastes exactly the same)

Along with all the posh mummies with their perfectly-behaved children in tow, a few of us found a good ice cream place on the way to our hotel one blistering afternoon.

I got burbon vanilla and strawberry basil. While the vanilla was nothing spectacular (it is vanilla after all...) the strawberry basil is by far the best I've ever had, and I wish somewhere near me sold it!

This parfait was a lot bigger than it looks. I wanted to go to the Mall of Berlin to try and find a Steiff bear for my mom, and a classmate split this gargantuan with me. I think it was mango sorbet with strawberry liquor and many different kinds of fruit chunks.

Aha! I found German food! We happened to eat this dinner (bacon potatoes, meatball, and rotkohl) during a big Eurocup game where Italy won. I know this because loud, obxiously patriotic cars and fans passed the restaurant by with flags and horns and cheering. When football plays, all the restaurants in Berlin haul TVs outside for customers and passersby to watch the game. I think there was maybe three of such scenes on every block near our hotel.

This next meal is something I wish I could recreate, but I don't remember the sauce. Chicken strips and some kind of chilled fruit sauce served in a bell pepper. It was really good, and our waiter was from the US as well! Me and a classmate who also spoke German tried blending in, but we couldn't resist connecting with him when we found out he was from where we were.

Ok, you're probably asking me why I have a picture of a bottle of beer. Weird, I know. But I'm not a beer person in the least, and this was amazing. I wish they imported them to the US, but they don't. I've looked. The closest I can find to the same taste is original Kona Longboard. If you know of a way to get me this local brew, please let me know.

Something a little bit more appealing to the lolita aesthetic are these cute little pastries I found at a Laudree look-alike in the Mall of Berlin. I have no recollection what the white, fluffy one is anymore, but the apple one was actually apple. Super cute.

Last but not least, the adventure part! Before leaving for my trip, I found a little cafe on Yelp that I wanted to try to find. I did find Father Carpenter and was not disappointed. That's it there, in this picturesque courtyard. One thing I like about Berlin is that menus often had allergy information listed for each dish. This really helped my friend Kathleen and her husband who have a lot they can't eat.

Friends and Fine Food

While I was in Berlin, I had the great opportunity to meet some lovely local lolitas. We met up twice, and the first time we had a lovely little lunch at an amazing chocolate cafe on top of a famous Chocolate shop. For photos of what I ate that afternoon, take a look at my blog post about it.

When Kathleen, my long time internet friend from Belgium, arrived in Berlin a few days earlier than she originally planned in order to attend Urban Fairytale, we went to that same chocolate cafe again. I got the cocoa-infused goulash that I was eyeing the first time I went, and it was delicious! 

When we went to the ladies' room after our meal, Kathleen's husband secretly paid for the whole lunch. I was immensely grateful and blown away by his kindness. He is such a sweety (if you're reading this Kathleen, I hope you appreciate him every day) and was so nice the entire time the three of us adventured around the city. He even offered to adjust a brass ring I bought at an outdoor market and ship it back to me!

Kathleen and Alexander have food allergies, so they eat pretty-much vegan food. She had already curated a little list of places she wanted to visit to eat in the city, so I got to see how the vegan restaurant scene is in Berlin!

The first place we went was a vegan Vietnamese place, that was incredibly creative. The food was fresh and delicious. Even the warm food was refreshing in the humidity.

I took several photos of their menu and recreated the seitan salad with my vegetarian mother back home. It was also the first time either of them had tried sweet sticky rice, a favorite "healthy" dessert of mine!

The second and last vegan restaurant I joined them at was a cute cafe with pink walls and radical feminist decorations everywhere. I also bought a trans-supportive patch from a local artist there, but I needed to save the last of my trip money.

I ordered a vegan latte, but the flavor escapes my memory. I remember it being very good! I also had a watermelon flavored pastry, and the actual cake inside was bright green. Lastly, I ordered a fake ham and egg omelet pizza thing. I don't have a flattering photo of it because it isn't a super pretty dish, but it was flat crust with a thin layer of food on top. I don't think I was able to eat all square-foot of it.

This concludes my food adventures in Berlin. I hope you enjoyed looking through these photos that I've had stored on my memory card and my phone for the past year!

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01 April 2017

Drill Weekend Means a Lolita Weekend

I'm not the kind of person who can dress up only to sit at home all day. I see no point in wasting the makeup and can't find motivation to lounge around in anything other than pajamas and an old t-shirt. If you do - props - but that isn't me.

Because of this, it is sometimes difficult to wear lolita and generally fashionable outfits because I need somewhere to go or someone to visit.

In comes my current boyfriend, who is a guardsman and is away one weekend every month. I've turned these periods of no communication into an opportunity to see friends who live a bit farther away than I would normally be willing to drive.

These weekend trips mean I have an excuse to wear lolita, work on my embroidery, and catch up with friends I miss a lot because they live over an hour away.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure to double dip in my friend pot. I was able to see my friend Alyssa in Fairfield (a two hour drive) and Jenna in San Ramon (a bit over an hour's drive).

Alyssa isn't in the lolita scene much any more, so I don't get any pictures of her, but we have a really nice chat when I see her. We craft together and walk her tiny dog - I think it's called a chweener?

After spending a few hours in Fairfield, I drove down to San Ramon to see Jenna. The last time I saw her was about two months ago, and it just isn't enough!

I want to ask you to tell me if you think we look alike. For some reason, every time we hang out, someone asks if we're sisters/twins/cousins/related. Not only is it kind of rude and irrelevant to ask strangers if they're related, but we find it hilarious because we don't think we look genetically linked at all. The same happens with me and Sara. We just share typical white-girl traits - long straight brown hair, English chins, big noses, straight bangs, black-rimmed glasses, ghostly pale skin, and similar height.

We spent the evening eating taco salad, embroidering, catching up, watching Top Gun (can you believe she'd never seen the classic?!) and doing face masks. Quite a relaxing evening with my best friend.

These are the kinds of activities I love devoting my time to. Always going to formal afternoon tea parties and picnics can be exhausting. They almost take the fun out of casual, simple coordinates. I notice similar sentiment on Closet of Frills, where a lot of lolitas complain about the overabundance of OTT coords that over emphasize intricate, formal outfits instead of what we actually wear most of the time. It's like a competition for who can plop the most items on our heads - but I digress. If you're interested in reading more about my rant, I have a whole post for it here.


The next morning we went for a pleasant walk around a park, under a bridge, and down by a creek. I had forgotten to bring a blouse, so I was afraid of being freezing, but lo and behold - I found that I forgot to move my BTSSB coat out of my car. What luck for the lazy!

I picked a bunch of wild flowers for my honey, who finds tiny buds adorable, before we headed out for coffee and more embroidery.

That face is the sign of an unhappy Ashlyn who spotted a bug on her flowers...

The point of writing this is not just to share some great photos that I was able to get, but also to share a little bit of my life with you. Too often bloggers focus on helpful posts, reviews or hauls or tutorials. These kinds of posts are fun to write and interesting to read, but after a while they start to feel the same to me.

I too am guilty of this. I write really frequently in an old-school diary, and I don't like being redundant with writing about the same life here as well. I want to try to make more personal posts relevant to fashion and your reason for even coming to my blog, but I also want to share things about myself that I'm excited about or want to talk about with you guys.

Do you find yourself wondering about the real person behind the blog like I do? Would you want to read more personal, lifestyle blogs about lolitas beyond their wardrobe?

I hope you don't mind and enjoy reading these kinds of posts as much as I enjoy writing them!

And on a final note, I feel the need to remind you that we're all a bunch of weirdos. I remember going to Berlin and worrying about how the local girls would feel about me. Of course I was completely awkward and stiff being in a new country and only half-understanding what they were saying, but I really enjoyed seeing the silly side of them. It made me realize that every lolita is a human being with stupid faces and really bad jokes just like me.

I don't know if everyone has a bit of silly in them, or if this fashion just really attracts the derps of society... but I hope you get a crack out of these amazingly timed shots of me just being me.

(I know I can't stop laughing at myself!)

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