2016: Was it the Year of the Lolita?

Hello Darlings,

In typical fashion, almost a year has passed since my last blog posting. It seems like whenever I make an effort to return to Lolita, and focus on my label or blog, life just cranks up the crazy meter!

In addition to moving to Maryland and joining the Charm City Lolitas comm, a new member has joined my family. This winter I gave birth to my first child, a baby girl named Willow.

She is perfect in every way! However, she does keep me very busy.

Though she's still very little, I already ordered her first kid-sized Lolita dresses. I hope that someday she looks on them fondly and wants to dress up with me, but if she dislikes it, even that is okay with me.

Though the birth of baby Willow is definitely something to be highlighted, that is not the reson I'm posting today.

Last year (or still this year, in January, I suppose), I said that this year would be "The Year of the Lolita".

But now I want to revisit, and see... was it? Let's take a look at some of the goals I set for myself.

In 2016, I wanted to...

Improve my wardrobe

I'll say, I definitely improved my wardrobe this year. Not only did I add a lot of mains that were on my wishlist, but I seriously fleshed out my collection of accessories, blouses, bags, boleros and things like that. My goal was to purchase less main pieces, and instead invest in things that could change up the look and improve versatility of what I already have.

I dare say, I managed to do both. Soon, I'll post my 2016 Wardrobe post, and you can see for yourself.

Be more active in the community online, and in-person

My success rate on this was fifty-fifty. I certainly attended more meets this year, but did not stick to my blog as I promised myself I would. In the coming year I would like to be more regular with my blog postings, and interact more with other Lolis by reading and commenting on their blogs. 

Improve my blog by sharing reviews, event reports, coordinate posts, crafting/sewing posts, etc. 

Yeah, well, see above. I suppose I'll write this off as a 2017 goal as well.

Attend more meet-ups

Check, check, and check! I definitely attended more meet-ups this year, at least monthly. I also think I dressed up in Lolita more this year, than ever before.

It took a lot of effort, to get outside of my comfort zone and meet the new Lolitas in my area. I made it a goal to meet at least one new person every time. And for the most part, I think I was successful!

I am happy to say that I left my comfort zone this year, and made some meaningful connections because of it. 

Host or help plan a meet-up

Check! I planned and hosted my own meetup in July, at a local tea house. I also designed and printed my own raffle tickets, donated some prizes from my label for the raffle, and had some prizes donated from local lolitas as well.

I'm really glad we got to visit this teahouse, Tea on the Tiber. Not long after this meetup, most of their property was destroyed by a flash flood. They have yet to reopen their doors. They were an iconic and unique highlight of Historic Ellicott City and I'm sure their triumphant return is anticipated by many.

I also managed to set up a Karaoke meetup, even though it was much less smooth, and only a few Lolitas came! I took it as a learning experience though. Let's face it: sometimes the hours of operation on a business' site will be incorrect. 

We still managed to find another karaoke place as a back-up, and we still had fun!

Travel and visit different comms, to meet all different kinds of Lolitas

Though I didn't get to travel as much as I wanted, mostly due to being pregnant most of this year... I am very glad I got to meet and connect with the Lolitas here. They are so kind, and I am very happy in my new comm!

I think it's been a great year for Lolita! I'm looking forward to 2017 and setting new goals for myself. I will think about it a little and write about it in a future post! In the mean time, thank you for your continued readership and support. I hope to get to know each of you and your individual blogs as well!

Have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve!


LLC: Dresses Released When I Started Lolita

Hello Darlings, and Happy Hump Day!

Today I wish to discuss the topic of "Time Travel". 

For my first act of time travel, I will turn back the clock and journey into the distant past- by completing a Lolita Lifestyle topic on the wrong day!

Yes, this is out of order, but I wanted to complete it very badly!

And how appropriate, that the topic shall be "Time Travel" in it's own sense. I feel it is important to look back at the roots of your fashion, to see how it evolved and consequently, how you evolved with it.

This was an odd topic for me, actually! For the past couple of years, I was fairly certain I started Lolita in 2007. I wasn't sure how or why I knew that, it just seemed like a good guesstimate to me.

So in preparation for the prompt, I started browsing Lolibrary for Jumperskirts released in 2007.

Indeed, Metamorphose was in its heyday! I remembered the release of Gingham Cherry quite well, and have ever since pined for the navy blue jumperskirt with matching boater hat. I even owned the embroidery pocket jsk on the far right, at some point! 

But as I was browsing the dresses of 2007, I thought, these were all released when I was already in to Lolita fashion. I remembered seeing the updates on websites and on EGL, so surely I was already decently "in" to the fashion? I couldn't have just been a beginner!

So... did I start Lolita in 2006?? 

I plugged the year "2006" into Lolibrary, and low and behold, I saw it- the first dress I ever bought from Metamorphose.

 "Back in the day", Metamorphose was one of the few easily accessible Japanese web shops for Lolita that shipped worldwide. So in my first humble beginnings in the quest to acquire a Lolita dress, Metamorphose was where I directed my mouse to.

I didn't have this dress for long, and I'm not sure I even wore it- but I can never forget that Music Note Print, the tulle collar and trim, and the gathered tulle bustle back of this dress.

A quick browse through the archives sent me down memory lane, with a number of other dresses I used to own:


Looks like I always fancied the unusual colors!

And of course, I had a Candy Violet by Vivcore Classic Set in blue.

It was quite fun and nostalgic, browsing the archives of dresses released when I started Lolita fashion. The fashion has certainly changed a lot in ten years!

But also, I am kind of sad I didn't realize it's been 10 years! This year marks 10 years in Lolita fashion for me and I didn't even know it! At least I noticed it early on in the year, and I can still celebrate, and make this the best year so far.


LLC: Lolita Fragrances

Some of my favourite things on my vanity.

Lace a la Mode's 365 Day Lolita Lifestyle Challenge is sometimes a challenge to blog about- it may prompt an activity, such as reading a Lolita related text, rather than producing blog content.

Today, Day 40, was one of those such days, but I decided to turn it into a blog post, anyway!

Simple enough, yet the act of wearing a fragrance can be the heart of your outfit. It can effect your worldview, causing you to see the world through rose-tinted glasses. Though invisible, I feel that fragrance is as important to an outfit as accessories and makeup. 

Before continuing on, I recommend reading The Osaka Koneko's translation of Novala Takemoto's "Let's Talk About Perfume". Novala's light-hearted article, translated into English there explains the different types on perfumes he likes, and also provides some practical knowledge on the ranking of perfumes. (The Osaka Koneko also has some great perfume recommendations herself, at the end of her post.) 

As Novala states in the essay, "While the note of a perfume (the scent of a perfume is called the “note”) changes slightly from person to person when worn, much like clothing, we don’t want to wear the same thing as everyone else. Because of this, whenever I’m asked to recommend a perfume, I always hesitate. I can only give advice to choose it yourself." 

That being said, I would like very much to share my personal favourite fragrances below, and why I think they are a good match for my Lolita style. 

While I enjoy them enough that I could implore you to try them yourself, I would follow Novala's advice and select a fragrance that speaks to you- and brings out the "note" of your own character.

I'll begin with my personal favourite fragrance, "Live Colorfully" by Kate Spade.

With a keynote of gardenia, and undertones of mandarin, tahitian vanilla, tiare flower and coconut water, this perfume is complex and sparkling. It works both as an energetic day fragrance I can even wear to work, or as a playful scent for going out.

The bottle is dazzling with a kaleidoscope of golds, corals and soft pinks. The bow-shaped topper is the perfect girly accent to top it all off. 

I believe this perfume captures the playful, explorative, creative essence of Lolita fashion. It is also refined, sweet and classy. 

Next on my list is "Miss Dior Cherie". Described as "Pure, Precious, Elegant", this is another fragrance that encapsulates the essence of Lolita, to me. 

This fragrance has a heart of jasmine, with notes of mandarin and patchouli. The result is a sweet, innocent fragrance that is not too bold; much like delicate lace.

With the pale champagne complexion and dazzling silver ribbon topper, this would also look elegant on any Lolita's vanity.

My next selection is "Babydoll" by Yves Saint Laurent.

I first tried this perfume because of the musician Miyavi, who once stated in his profile that his perfumes of choice were "Dior Addict" and "YSL Babydoll". Novala also mentioned Babydoll in his article, "Let's Talk About Perfume". 

With it's elegant, fresh, and youthful charm, it is not surprising that Babydoll is so popular. A flirty mixture of grapefruit, red currant and rose, with base notes of grenadine, cedar and peach, this perfume is complex and dynamic. 

The sparkling bottle is made to resemble a spinning top, much like the ever-changing scents in the fragrance. 

I feel this perfume captures my more adventurous side in Lolita- the side that wants to wear bold, unique colours, paint my nails in a new style, or try a new makeup trend. This perfume is stylish and elegant, yes, but also a little punky to me- as if made for a fashion trail blazer. 

And with that, we round out my top three fragrances. As you can see, perfume cannot only encapsulate who you are as a person, but it can also be the perfect pick-me-up, or the cherry on top of your clothing. Whether you are an expert in the field of perfume or more new to it, like me, I encourage you to play with the scents next time you are at a Sephora or Department store. Close your eyes, and see which one speaks to you!


LLC: Plan a Valentine's Meet

Good morning from the snowy East Coast, darlings!

I haven't been doing a spectacular job of keeping up with Lace a la Mode's Lolita Lifestyle Challenge, but seeing as today is officially the first of February, today's topic seemed appropriate:

I've actually never attended a Valentines Day Meet, but I would love to attend or host one! Although Valentines Day is considered annoying and garish by many, it has always been one of my favourite holidays, as I'm a true sap and hopeless romantic at heart. I don't even mind the eyeball-searing colour scheme of pink and red (I actually rather fancy those colours together).

If I were to host a Valentines Day meet, I would do it in a number of different ways:
  • Sweet and Simple: a Red, Pink and White meet
  • Match Made in Heaven! A Twinning meet
  • Simply Meant to Be: A Fairy Tale meet
  • I Want Candy: A Sweets themed meet
  • Roses are Red: A Floral themed meet
Aren't you already daydreaming of coords for the above? 

For locations, I would consider somewhere with ample space for both socialising and a potluck:
  • A Tea Room
  • Your Home
  • A Park or Garden (if it's not too cold where you live) 
  • Your comm's favourite local cafe or restaurant
Any of these locations would be ideal, as I foresee a meet with Valentines themed festivities, games, and recipes. Of course if you are going to a restaurant or cafe instead of members contributing to a potluck, I would try and pick a location that served Valentines-esque food: for example, a shop with both savory and sweet crepes, a place for brunch, an ice cream parlour, or a local cafe/patisserie.

I would let myself get carried away with the decor! After all, what other holiday allows me to purchase the most loliable party decorations ever? Patterned Paper Straws, heart shaped plates, pink, red or white everything- it would be so much fun! Even if you are going to a restaurant, tea room or cafe, most establishments are okay with you bringing your own table embellishments.

One idea I have for a Valentine's Meet is "Secret Valentine". Like Secret Santa, I would ask the attendees to draw a random name of another guest for the meet. For that guest, they would be asked to make a handmade Valentine, and a gift of $5 or less- it could be a handmade accessory that goes with their style, handmade cookies or desserts, a custom drawing of them, etc. That way, everyone who comes will have a Valentine.

Another cute game could be "Who Am I?" (I played this version with my J-fashion Community in Hawaii last year.) 

You will need one or two sheets of adhesive name-tags, blank. On each square, write a Lolita identity- it can be designer names, model names, brand names, or even genres such as Sweet or Gothic Lolita! Throw in other elements of J-fashion if you like, such as Mori Girl, Dolly Kei, Visual kei, etc.

One game leader will distribute the labels to guests, who must not see their own "name". Stick it somewhere like on the person's back where they will not be able to look. Guests can break up into groups of three participants each, if you are dealing with a big group. Each guest will have to ask a question to try and figure out who they are, and the other people in their group will answer to help them guess. 

It's a lot of fun, especially if you get something way out of your element! It's quite entertaining seeing a Gothic Lolita find out she is "Maki" or "Asuka", or a Classic Lolita finding out she is "Visual Kei". 

If you'd like a more challenging game, you can reverse the roles and play charades! It might be quite entertaining watching guests act out some unique personalities and styles, but may be more difficult as guests cannot talk. 

Of course there are many other Valentines-specific games you can find online; a few I found were Bingo with candy hearts as markers, or relay races to see how many candy hearts you can pick up with chopsticks in a minute. There's plenty you can do to keep your guests entertained!

If you're hosting a potluck type meet, there are plenty of adorable things you can prepare for your guests, from simple heart shaped fruit kebabs, for beginners...

... To apple or potato rosettes, for the more seasoned cook.

It may also be a good idea to get a small chocolate fondue pot, with strawberries, gharam crackers and marshmallows. It seems like a fun activity for guests to enjoy together- although it might be dangerous for Lolitas, with that drippy chocolate!

Of course, as the meet is winding down, it is always fun to have a coordinate contest. The themes can be Valentines-tailored as well, including "Cutest Couple" (two coords that match well, intentionally or unintentionally), "Best Chocolate Coord", "Best Sweets Coord", "Best Floral Coord", etc. I think coordinate contests are a great way to encourage healthy competition, and to encourage everyone to put their best coord forward for meets. 

I hope that these ideas help inspire you to have your own Valentines Meet in your comm! I am a little sad I won't be able to host one this year, as it falls on Katsucon anyways. But perhaps next year, I can! And in the meantime, many of these ideas can be recycled for a regular Lolita meet, anyways.

Any more ideas for a Valentines Meet, or stories from one you attended? I would love to hear about it, as I am always looking for new meet ideas!

For more tips on how to host an at-home meet-up, and for the Lolita game "Lolita Scattergories", please click here!


Review: Alice Fururun, and Where to Buy Online

Since I started Lolita in 2007, it's become increasingly easier to purchase Lolita clothing online. Gone are the days where only Baby and Metamorphose shipped abroad, and most Lolitas on a budget had to sew clothing themselves or painstakingly search it out online. These days, there's a myriad of shopping choices out there for you to get your frill on; whether you want to order brand-direct, or bargain hunt from the second-hand shops.

Today I'll be focusing on Japanese second-hand shops, and the ones I normally frequent. All of them are good, but may have varying degrees of difficulty to navigate the site, communicate with staff, and place an order.

I'll start for my most recent order, from Alice Fururun.

Ease of navigating site and ordering: 3/5
Accepts Paypal?: Yes
Staff Communication: 3.5/5
Condition of items: 4/5
Shipping/Packaging: 5/5

Alice Fururun has been around since I first started Lolita, and their site hasn't changed much over the years. Most if not all of it is in Japanese, with enough English pointers for you to scrape by and make an order. It helps to be able to read katakana, as most of the brand names are written in katakana. (Or, use Google Translate if you like.)

That being said, navigating the site can be a little difficult. One glitch I found was that when I shop, and am looking at several items, I like to open them in new tabs with the main search results still open. This is mostly because I am lazy and don't want to hit the back button a million times. However, I noticed when I added items into my cart in a new tab, then closed it and went back to the main search, it would empty my cart from that tab. So in other words, all of the items I added to my cart in a separate tab disappeared as soon as I closed that tab. Needless to say, I was very confused, but as soon as I figured out I'd need to do all of my shopping in one window, it was fine. 

I checked out using the shopping cart method, but if you don't speak/read Japanese, or don't feel like running it through a translator, you can also use an e-mail order method.

Personally, I prefer the shopping cart because it partially ensures that my items will not sell out (However, I can also read Japanese so it wasn't a setback for me to use it). As soon as I check out, the items were marked 'sold out' on the site. By using the e-mail order method, you will have to wait for staff to confirm your item is in stock and mark it 'out of stock' on the site for you. 

It took a couple of days for staff to email me back to confirm my order. I had to send them an email to confirm my order and payment through and that everything was okay. But then again, I did place my order pretty close to New Year's holidays, so that could explain the delay.

My items were shipped by EMS (staff provided the tracking number) and arrived quickly. Everything was very well packaged. Boleros were separately wrapped in plastic, and my purse was stored in a cardboard box to prevent denting or damages.

Everything was in decent condition considering the awesome prices. There was a black hair on the pink cardigan I ordered, but that's not that big of a deal to me. There was a dent on the front of the heart enamel purse, but that was clearly pointed out on the site, so I was expecting that. (They are very good about noting all flaws in the item descriptions, so again, Google translate is your friend if you can't read Japanese.) 

The price was awesome for everything I got. The cardigans were 1,500 and 2,500 yen, I got a Baby plastic headband for 1,000 yen, and the heart enamel purse with strap was only 3,000 yen. Including shipping, all four items were right around $100. 

So that was my first experience with Alice Fururun, and I was fairly pleased! 

There are plenty of other places to shop online and get a great bargain, though. Out of the Japanese online retailers, these are some of my favourite to buy from:

I have orders coming in from Wunderwelt and Fairy-Angel, so maybe when they come in I will write up a joint review similar to this one. This was my first time ordering from Wunderwelt and I like them so far; as for Fairy-Angel, they've been around about as long as Alice Fururun and I have ordered from them before. They were very sweet and great to work with, and I am expecting the same this time around.

Well I hope that this was useful, and now you have two shiny new reviews to look forward to! If you have any questions about navigating Alice Fururun or the above sites, leave me a comment and I'll try to help you out.


Dir en grey: Never Free From the Awakening Tour 2015

Happy Sunday, Darlings!

As I said last week, I am going to start reserving Sundays for an "off" post, be it a pleasant memory or catching up on things I didn't get to blog about in the past year. It may be an event report, something important I learned regarding J-fashion, or maybe a different alternative fashion entry entirely.

This week, I want to write about something very close to my heart: Dir en grey.

Though I love all sorts of alternative music, Dir en grey has been my favourite band for years, and I see them continuing to be that for a long time.

Though Dir en grey has toured internationally a lot, compared to other Japanese bands, I haven't gotten to see them as much as I would like. Being from Hawaii, it was always extra expensive for me to travel to see them- it would require a trip to either the mainland US, Europe, or Japan, all of which were too out of budget for me for various reasons.

However, I finally got to see them live for the first time in Nagoya, when I studied abroad in 2011. I remember there were not a lot of foreigners there, except one French girl I befriended in line. We ended up getting separated before we went into the venue, and I never saw her again, but she was wonderful company!

Two years later, I got to see them on their Ghoul tour, in Seattle 2013. That concert was difficult, because the show was put off one night after Dir en grey's tour bus broke down. I had to get an apartment in the city and wait until the next night, but it was well worth it!

Then finally, this past November, I got to see them again at the Showbox in Seattle. And this time around, I managed to snag Meet and Greet Tickets!

I have to admit, I was more excited about this tour rather than Ghoul. As beautiful as their previous album Dum Spiro Spero was, it didn't touch me in a way their newest album, Arche did. I knew these songs by heart, and was ready to sing along. 

My husband and I lined up for the Meet and Greet at about 6 pm. There was a separate line for general admission and the Meet and Greet. By the time we arrived, we managed to get in about the middle of the Meet and Greet line.

Though it was cold, I decided to wear my favourite Qutie Frash cardigan. I wanted to look halfway decent for the Meet and Greet of course, but knew I would still need to wear something comfortable that could take a beating in the crowd. I would have worn a wig, but I knew that wasn't going to last long, so I did my hair up in an up-do last minute before heading out.

Qutie Frash, gouK, Demonia, and Kreepsville 666.

While we were waiting outside, the staff announced that doors were opening an hour behind schedule. I asked around if there were any openers for the band, and nobody knew. We speculated that maybe there were no openers tonight, so doors were opening an hour later. 

General admission was allowed to head inside to the Showbox Bar. I'm not sure how it was working exactly, but it seemed like if you bought a drink at the bar then you would be in the first wave of general admission people to get in after the Meet and Greet guests. The bar was quickly filled to capacity, with a long line of people left waiting outside and wrapping around the block.

We froze our butts off in the cold, talking to the people in front of us casually. Finally when it was closer to doors, the staff came down our line with a bucket of VIP passes. They checked names, tickets, and ID, then handed us the laminated VIP passes on a lanyard.

Finally, it was time to go in. A white-haired man with a British sounding accent, who I later learned was an overseas manager or something, was running around like a chicken with his head cut off. He was yelling at some staff about line order or something, maybe someone was trying to jump in line; I don't remember what he was so upset about.

VIP guests were ushered into the main concert hall about ten feet back from the stage. The manager had us all line up in two lines, and told us how this thing was going to go down. 

He said when he was ready, they would call out the band. He said we would get five questions only, so he would call on five of us at random. He said to think of a good question, "Not a stupid one, like what did you eat for breakfast or something." It was really difficult to hear him, because there were a lot of Japanese fans in the VIP group. They kept talking to each other in Japanese, complaining that they couldn't see or understand the manager. It was really annoying, and took every fiber of me not to turn around and snap at them in Japanese. But I didn't want to disrupt the Meet and Greet anymore, and didn't want to be rude, either. 

The band came out, along with their Japanese interpreter, a taller white guy with brunette hair in a suit. He was much more soft-spoken; I could hardly hear his translations (but I'm sure he was doing a good job). He told the band what was going on; same thing the manager told us, like we'd be asking them five individual questions and stuff. 

Now, lots of people have said that the band looks unhappy at Meet and Greets. While I cannot speak for them, it didn't seem that way. Seattle was the first stop on their tour, and if anything, they looked tired. Most of them were wearing sunglasses. Shinya complained of jetlag earlier that morning, saying he was walking around the city because he couldn't sleep. They just seemed tired, but expectedly professional. 

The five questions were something like...

To Toshiya, when will you be continuing your fashion design business?
A: Sometime in the next year.

To Die, what is the one item you cannot live without?
A: My iPhone.

To Shinya, what is your favourite drink at Starbucks?
A: Hot cocoa.

To Die, if you were stranded on a desert island to escape the zombie apocalypse, what one thing would you take with you?
A: My iPhone.

Then of course, my husband was nudging me and shaking me, telling me to ask a question!! So although I could barely speak, I asked,

To Kyo, what song off the new album means the most to you?
A: 全て (All of them). 

After the Q&A portion, we were allowed to come up one at a time to take a photo with the band. The British-sounding manager was nice enough to take the photo for us on our personal phones. 

Some fans brought gifts for Die or Toshiya. The American fans seemed to be mostly well-behaved, but Japanese fans were trying to get away with a lot. Some held Toshiya or Die's hand. One Japanese girl tried to touch or hug Kyo, and he lurched and almost smacked her hand away! It was very uncomfortable. I am not trying to demonize the Japanese fans, but that's just what happened. 

People kept cutting in front of me, but I didn't mind, because my whole body was shaking!! I was quivering and could barely move; my legs were like jelly. 

The manager turned to me, and I asked if my husband could come with me. He was very nice and said "Yes, of course!" then took my phone. 

I brought small goodie bags for each of the band members, with a Seattle chocolate bar and a personalized note on a Seattle postcard.

I passed them out one by one to the respective members. I shook their hand, and gave them each a greeting in Japanese. UNTIL I GOT TO KYO AT THE END.

He was the last person for me to approach, and the very end of the line. He stared right at me, and I almost had a heart attack. I handed him his goodie bag, and gave him a greeting too, but I completely forgot to shake his hand. He is my favourite vocalist in the whole world after all, who completely changed my life; so what was I to do?

The manager took our photo, and I was so tensed up, I look like a giant block.

But I don't care how bad I look in this photo- I am with my favourite band in the world!

After, we exited to stage right, where the interpreter was waiting. He gave each person a signed poster, which the band must have signed before the Meet and Greet.

A lot of people had cut in front of me, so there were just a few people after me. I had enough time to hit the merch booth, where I got two shirts, a hoodie, and a bracelet. By the time I bought those items, the band was going back stage, and everybody made a mad dash for the rail right in front of the stage.

I secured a spot in the second row (I wasn't close enough to the stage to make first), but still front and center! And in my Demonia boots, I was close to 6 feet tall anyway, so seeing over the people in front of me was no issue. I just felt bad for whoever would have been behind me!

I held my spot there, without budging for another hour or so. The general admission fans filtered in, and slowly, but surely, the room was filled to capacity. I turned around and was awestruck by how many fans were there, just to see Dir en grey. There weren't nearly as many people there for the Ghoul tour, and that was with two other openers! I was so proud for them!

The show started on the dot, almost exactly one hour after the Meet and Greet had ended. They opened with Behind a Vacant Image, and took off soaring from there.

If they were "cold", "distant", and "unhappy" in the meet and greet, they made up for that and were entirely engaging throughout the live. Whenever Kyo locked eyes with you, even if it was over you, or fixed on a vacant spot above the crowd five rows back; even the back wall of the venue far behind you; it felt like his eyes were boring straight into yours, singing directly into your soul. 

Wow, that was pretty heavy and cliche. But I swear, that's what it felt like. 

I didn't move from my spot the entire time, no matter how people tried to push against me or in front of me. I sweat so much. My hair style fell out and I eventually just wore it down. 

They completely surprised me with the encore, when they busted out "Child Prey". The entire room sang along to the song, and the band seemed to be enjoying playing it.

For their last song, they played one of my favourites off the new album, "Un deux". That was the only song which Kyo took his hearing protection out for, and seemed to strive with every fiber of his being to croon each note perfectly. It was amazing to watch him perform, as always. 

Oh, and I caught Toshiya's guitar pick!

The end of the show always comes with the harsh realization that you have to awake from the dream. It was surreal walking to the bathroom to straighten my clothes, which became entirely disarranged; fix my hair, which surprisingly wasn't horrible. 

I exited the restroom and spotted some of my friends sitting at one of the VIP tables, by the bar. That was when I tried to go up to the bar and get a glass of water. One of the staff was incredibly rude to me and told me I couldn't go up to get anything from the bar, because I didn't get a wristband when I came in. I told him I came in early for the meet and greet, and I could show him my ID, but he refused to look at it. I asked my friend to get me some water, and the staff yelled at him and told him not to. I asked what I was supposed to do if I wanted water, because I had been standing for almost five hours and felt like I was going to pass out! He told me to go out to coat check, and they would be selling water there.

I waited in the coat check line, which was super long because the show had ended. When I finally got up to the counter, I was going to buy an overpriced bottle of water, and pay with card- but the girl was super rude and told me she would only take cash. I told her I just needed water because I felt like I was going to pass out, and she pretty much told me "tough shit". Like okay, I get it, but why would a venue make it practically impossible to get something as simple as water? 

I was stumbling out, when one of the security guards stopped me, and gave me his bottle of water. I was so touched I almost cried, and I thanked him profusely. 

Afterwards, some friends invited me to a local bar, and we went out, had some drinks, sang some karaoke and had a great time. It was a wonderful night.

The only thing that got me down temporarily, were fan comments the next day. Of course I was excited and had the night of my life, so I shared pictures on my personal Instagram, which has practically no followers. But as I was sleeping, it blew up with quite a few nasty comments.

For example, I said that this concert was "The best out of the three Dir en grey concerts I've been to", which it was. But one nasty fan mocked me, saying it was pathetic I'd only been to three, and she was laughing at me. I didn't really get it. 

My photo with the band was also uploaded to Tumblr without my permission. The same person who blew up my Instagram reblogged the photo on Tumblr with the caption, "F*ck you, stupid c*nt." I've never met or interacted with this person in my life.

I know, boo-hoo, someone on the Internet was mean to me. And honestly, I take that risk whenever I share any of my photos or what I do. But I was not expecting other Dir en grey fans to be so vicious and jealous of each other. I've lived my life as a fan pretty much in a bubble, not interacting with anyone else, and sharing my photos made me wish I had kept it that way.

But on the other hand, who cares what people say? I can tell that person how much I love the band. I can tell them I've only been to three concerts because it's normally too expensive for me to travel from Hawaii. But someone like that doesn't care, they just want to make themselves feel better by belittling others. Did they buy my airline, hotel or Meet and Greet tickets? No! So what should I care? Just like I have no room to judge the Japanese fans who flew all the way out to Seattle, and got super excited to see the band. 

I had an amazing time, and no one can change that. I can hardly wait until the next time I can see them, either here on the mainland or in Japan! 

I am sure a lot of you readers can relate, as Lolita and different J-fashion communities are often filled with negative Nancies as well. All I can say is to take what they say with a grain of salt, but don't get too salty, yourself! Be realistic with things, as you always should be, and none of that can hurt you.

Have a great, relaxing Sunday, Darlings! And don't let anyone ruin what you love.


Darkly Darling at Kawaiikon 2015

Waiting outside to meet Akira!
To me, Sundays are "me" time- a time to cook a nice meal, catch up on work, do some exercise, and maybe even take a nice, relaxing bath. After a fulfilling Sunday of reflection and relaxation, I feel refreshed, grounded and ready to face the next week ahead.

When it comes to my blog, I would like to keep that feeling, and also use it as my day to write about events that passed- after all, I missed coverage of many events when I took a hiatus from my blog, last year!

For today's reflection, I would like to share my experience at Kawaiikon last year, 2015. I ran two panels at this Kawaiikon: An informative J-fashion panel on Shironuri, as well as an independent fashion show for my own aspiring Lolita brand, Darkly Darling.

The convention began on a hectic note, and did not set a good tone for the rest of the weekend. We rushed to our hotel with our room mates as soon as I got home from work, Friday. I knew that the next morning, I would have to wake up at 4am to rush to the windward side of Oahu, in order to run an event for work, so I was already in a stressed-out mood.

The next morning went exactly as you'd expect, trying desperately not to awake my husband and room mates as I got ready for work. I knew that as soon as I left work, I'd have to rush in order to make the Akira tea party, so I did everything I could before hand- I even applied most of my Lolita makeup, including contacts, at 4 am.

I was very tired at work, and felt silly in such extreme makeup. On top of that, it was raining on the windward side, like it always does, so my false lashes were starting to come off and my hair was a wreck!

Finally, when the event started to wind down, I was allowed to leave- only to run head-on into horrible traffic trying to get into town! I had paid a lot of extra money in order to attend the Akira tea party, and was scared I wouldn't make it at all.

I finally made it back to my hotel room, with barely thirty minutes to spare. I threw on my outfit and wig, and ran across the street to the convention center. I looked barely put together, incredibly tired, and most of my foundation had worn away already, but I was just happy to make it to the tea party.

At least the tea party was a pleasure! Akira sat at each table, making pleasant conversation and making everyone smile. She even noticed that not everyone could reach the food in the middle of the tables, so she helped to serve girls who were far away or had bell sleeves and couldn't reach! We played games too, and many of us got to take selfies with Akira.

At the end of the teaparty, she gave out autographed photos, cheki, and small pieces of sakura incense to each guest. I was walking on clouds, I was so happy that I actually made it.

But come Saturday evening, I cloud-walked right back into another rough patch.

I was scheduled to host a Shironuri panel, which I had been spending all of my free-time on for months! I put hours of work into the presentation, spending my lunch breaks at work working on it, and staying late after work to wait out traffic working on it. But it was late at night for a panel, almost midnight; and a rather obscure topic at that, so I was expecting barely a couple of friends to show up. I wasn't that worried.

So I was shocked to see so many people in attendance!

I had everything set to go- a detailed power-point on the history of Shironuri, different sub-styles of it and related media, and pictures donated from Shironuri practitioners around the world.

As part of my day job, I did presentations for a living; I had also organized events in these convention rooms the year before. That being said, I wasn't expecting any surprises with the presentation, or the technology. So of course, I was mortified to set up my laptop, and found that my entire Powerpoint was corrupted!! I couldn't even open it, from my laptop or my external hard drive!

I had my crack tech friend come up and help me, trying to retrieve or backup the Powerpoint, but nothing was working.

I was absolutely panicked, since I also had a room full of people in front of me, expecting a presentation. I picked up the microphone, and explained what had happened- I also told the guests that since Shironuri is such a visual and abstract style, it would be really difficult to explain without the accompanying images. I decided to call off the panel.

A lot of the attendees were rather angry, and asked, why don't I just pull up some pictures and talk about it? I was already about to cry, and the frustrated voices were making me panic more. I told them I had a very detailed history and lots of notes in my presentation, and it would be hard to do without it. Not to mention, the convention center did not have free Wifi, so just googling images and pulling up different blogs would have been another hurdle! But I didn't mention that.

Of course, I was sick to my stomach after this had happened. I basically apologized, and walked off stage. A few of my friends comforted me as people started to leave.

At least as people were trickling out, a mother and daughter came up to me and said they wanted to thank me for hosting a fashion-related late night panel. They said that there is usually not a lot of family-friendly content offered later at night, and the fashion was interesting, so they were looking forward to it.

They asked about the makeup I use, so I took out my supplies and showed them the basics of applying a white foundation, and setting it. By then, a small crowd had formed, and I was very comfortable just talking with them on the side.

If I could re-do that night, I would have checked my presentation earlier in my hotel room. (I would have taken a nap in the room, too!) Given, it had been a very long day for me, but even so, I should have been more professional about my panel and double-checked the presentation.

Even if I had checked it, and it had been corrupted, I would have had time to whip up something, or contact the panel coordinator so the guests wouldn't have been so upset.

Or even if I hadn't done all that- I wish I had the bravery to stand up on stage and just talk about the fashion I loved! I was dressed in it, make up done and all- why was I so upset, that I couldn't just wing it?

After all, giving presentations was part of what I did for a living. But I think it is different, when you give the same presentation every day for your job, instead of one long, intense presentation about something you love. But even so, I wish I could re-do that panel.

Hopefully, at another convention in the future, I could take a crack at this panel again. I learned a lot from that night, and feel like I could do an even better presentation this time around!

When I had that smaller crowd watching me demonstrate makeup application, I told them about my fashion show panel the next day- where I would be showing fashions for my aspiring Lolita brand, Darkly Darling. I told them which conference room it was in, and the time, and they all said they would come!

The next morning, unfortunately, was off to a rough start as well. (I couldn't catch a break at all!) I had a bad feeling since the Shironuri panel last night, and on top of that, one of my models called out sick. I got to the convention center, only to find that neither my hair nor makeup artists had showed up! I called and called and called them, and messaged them on Facebook, with no response.

Panicked again, I called my husband and asked him to bring over all of my wigs and makeup from the hotel room. I was going to make this work, no matter what. Not only did I dress my models, set up my audio equipment, and do a sound check with staff- I also did all of their hair and makeup, in about an hour!

There were still issues- my boy style model couldn't have his hair done, since I was counting on a hair stylist to work with his long, red hair. I also forgot to grab pants and accessories for him, in my hurry to get all of my outfits and do makeup. With models who didn't show up, I had to rearrange and re-prioritize my looks, which clashed with what some models brought to wear.

However, at that point in the final minutes before the show, doing a quick walk-through, I was just happy to have mostly everyone there, dressed, and ready to go.

I received a text from the event coordinator saying, "I don't want to make you nervous- but you have a line outside the conference room!" One of my friends came in and said the line was really long. I couldn't believe it!

I texted the coordinator the okay, saying we were ready and the doors could be opened. I waited back stage, watching the room fill to near capacity- and looked with awe and gratitude at my models.

The music started, and the show began!

 Even Deadpools were watching on in the audience.

After the show, we received a round of applause! We stayed on stage for a very long Q&A, with all kinds of questions from the audience! I had my models stay on stage too, so they could be part of the Q&A.

Overall, it was a very long, stressful weekend, which taught me anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. But it also taught me to rely on myself, and not rely too heavily on others. Though of course, there are many wonderful people out there, like my models, not everyone is reliable.

It also taught me responsibility. I should have had the foresight to check my presentation in the hours before the panel. If I had noticed sooner, that the entire presentation was inaccessible, it might have been easier to minimize damage or come up with something on the spot.

Last but not least, that weekend taught me to look for silver linings. The world was all but falling apart, when I stood up on stage by myself and announced that I couldn't do the Shironuri panel. But when I spoke with the mother and daughter about the makeup after, they were so kind and supportive, and interested in what I had to say, so I feel like I can try that panel again in the future.

And yes, I did have to work, and dash around the island desperately in order to juggle work and my passions- but I still got to meet one of my idols, Akira.

And sure, I had models and makeup and hair artists become no-shows: but instead of panicking like the night before, I worked with the wonderful people who did come, and we used everything at our disposal to deliver a show.

I had done smaller fashion shows at bars before, where people didn't really understand or appreciate Lolita- but I think I am most proud of the Kawaiikon Fashion Show. If I could choose a benchmark from where I really started to grow and understand, it was that show. I count it as my first real fashion show!

All in all, Kawaiikon 2015 was more stress for me than anything. Much of it had to do with overbooking myself, especially since I had to work all morning on Saturday. It taught me a lot though, and helped me grow as a person. After this, I had a bit of a hiatus from sewing, and being involved in the event circuit. But now in 2016, I feel ready to move forward again, and strive to be even better!

Just remember, readers, if you ever encounter something similar, there is nothing you cannot handle; and even if you think you cannot fix it, there is always plenty to be learned. I hope that sharing this experience either helps you in the future, or maybe you've gone through something similar!

I'd actually love to know if you've ever had a Con Catastrophe like this, and what you did to handle it. Feel free to let me know in the comments- which should be much easier to use, since I switched back to the Blogger commenting system!

Happy Sunday!