Hiatus ?

Hey guys, long time no see !

I've been working full time since October, hard to find the time to blog when I don't get to dress up anymore. I'm gonna try to repost a few things from my Instagram, and maybe do a few reviews since I got into a new hobby : indie makeup. When you can only wear full black 5 days a week, you have to go for something else after a while. So far I have three brands, mostly lipsticks, to review, but some more may come. Review of indie are kinda hard to come by so I though I could shime in.

I could post some makeup looks if you wanna too. I don't know. Tell  me if there's something you would want to see. On  that note, see you !



Today, as I was longing for a real tea instead of the prepackaged one you find in store, I suddenly remembered my parents had a Chinese porcelain tea set, certainly brought back by my uncle when he first moved to China. Despite my Chinese auntie's demonstration, nobody knew how to operate it apart from me, so it had been re-purposed as a pretty decoration for our guest room.

I don't really know what kind of tea set it's supposed to be. Even thought the brewing method is reminiscent of Gong fu cha, it is porcelain and using a Gaiwan instead of Yixing clay teapot. It also doesn't have a high collar cup as for Gung Fu style tasting. It does use the same wooden utensils though. Since this comes from Canton, it may be a local version. Seeing that the porcelain is full of defect and the thing is overall a retail-type product, I'd say it's an "at home" version of traditional tea set, easier to use and more versatile that the clay pot. I like clay pots better, but they're really permeable to tea and you pretty much have to own one for each kind of tea if you don't want it to bother your tasting session.

The thing is composed of a gaiwan, the center piece which is a pot with a lid and a saucer. It also have a small tea pot, a strainer and eight little cups. The bottom part is composed of a pierced lid and a large bowl since the brewing method often create an overflow. I used it to prepare a green wulong that I think was a late summer one, because it was pretty heavy and really "sugary", nothing like tart flavor of a spring tea.

As always you're supposed to heat up every part of the set, then make a first infusion to clean the tea before you can drink it.
Watch me mishandle that poor tea set.

As for Gong fu cha, I was able to do several infusion with it on a 2h30 time span. The only problem of that kind of infusion is how the set heat : my finger tips were tender and red after an hour using it. Could've been avoided easily but I'm still not comfortable using the wooden pieces, I find them too slippery. I can manage fine without theme as long as I'm alone, but serving a crowd without them would be incredibly wrong and painful. I guess I should practice a bit to be more graceful, but it's not my absolute priority here.

I missed having a real tea. It was a real treat.


Kitsuke evolution : A year of kimono

It's been a pretty short time I've started diving into kitsuke. If you follow my blog, you might have seen me proudly exposing my first purchase a year and a half ago or so, and saw me going through my kitsuke journey.
I love dressing in kimono. It might be a bit overwhelming as a beginner, but it's a real challenge to learn a whole other culture of dressing up, so foreign in it's codes and aesthetics. The most difficult part for us French is to deal with the busyness of kimono. I mean, even if I wear lolita I like one coloured simpler outfits with little to no patterns. Kimono does not work that way. It's a bit more intricate.

I always say that dressing up in kimono is not more difficult than tying shoe laces. You just have to learn. It's trial and error. We all make mistakes, and I admit that I made my fair share. Let's look at that.

February 2014

First big occasion to wear formal kimono.

By that time I've been researching kimono for a few months and made sure this outfit was correct.

First thing we can point out is the fit. This kimono is way too small. I knew it. I wore it still. It looked like crap. Let's not mention the fact that actually losing 10kg of pure fat helped a bit with the fit, because even without that the pink kimono really is too small. It's a 1930's outfit made for japanese of that time. It's shorter with less width. Notice how I managed to barely squeeze out a tiny waist fold (ohashori) while the kimono is already way too short (should arrive at the bottom of your ankles). The patterns also don't align well on the skirt part because of that.

Second thing : see the wonky chest area ? Lack of proper padding. When wearing a formal kimono, you may want to pad your curves to smooth the silhouette out. Usually a sports bra and a few tea towel do the trick.

Third and last thing : the overall frumpiness. Kimono is beautiful because of it's straight lines. As said above, you may want to pad to achieve the wanted tubular shape, but you may also want to pay close attention to the way you fold and tie your kimono and secure everything up to be sure that it look neat and proper. In my defense, the picture was taken after a day of running around at the cultural fair, but I should have taken the time to readjust everything nonetheless.

At the end of the day, this kimono outfit is technically nowhere near wrong. The color coordination is ok albeit very safe, the kimono itself is suited for someone my age and the obi matches in a nice vintage feeling but the overall feel unkept and not well put together.

October 2014, birthday outfit

While this outfit looks better, it's actually less suitable. I decided to break the rules because I wanted to wear my new hakama out.

Hakama are usually worn with furisode (long sleeves). This is not a furisode. End of the story. Also, the red obi does not fit formality wise. Oh also, hakama are pretty much a beginning of the year thing, especially the embroidered ones.

But see already how much neater this outfit looks. The kimono is tied properly and so is the hakama, the collar is symmetrical and flat. Much less creases on the bust area.

April 2015

An other hakama outfit. This one is top notch formality and I didn't want to f*ck it up. I guess there can be some criticism regarding the color coordination but I'm pretty happy with it for my limited wardrobe.

Formality wise, everything is ok. The hakama is worn with an appropriate furisode and gold threaded hanhaba obi underneath. The green colour is perfect for the beginning of spring, and so are the flowers of the outfit. The pink embroidered sakura matches the sakura brooche. The shorter hakama is worn with fitting leather boots. Touches of contrasting colours such as orange and pink figure the first blossoms of the year and make the outfit more vivid.

Fit wise, padding and proper collar straightener make the ensemble effortlessly neat. The collar is crisp, with a slight volume on the chest area. The kimono fits, so does the under-kimono.

The overall look is too quirky for a real formal occasion, but for a fashion show and kimono presentation it was comfortable, impressive and different.

(Am I the only thinking I don't even look like the same person ? These were taken a year apart !)

See ? Trial and error !

Styling a yukata as a real kimono ? Yeah but it's pretty.

So here is what I've gathered from my wonky journey in kimono :
Don't :
*Burn through stages. Dressing up is something you have to learn, take your time.
*Neglect part of the outfit because you don't know about it or find it not interesting. It shows.
*Forget to buy or make good basics. A collar straightener, a obi pad, some tea towels for back padding, an appropriate under kimono, all these things are what's gonna make your outfit neat. Don't pass them.
*Buy kimono without looking the measurements. A kimono length should be more or less 10cm your height. If you're on the chubbier side, more is better. Also check the hip width.
*Buy a kimono only because it's cheap. You'll end up not being able to wear it.
*Stress out on the seasonality and colour coordination. Everything comes with time, don't worry.

I most of the time shamelessly avoid wearing obiage. Still not used to them.
Do :
*Bend the rules to be comfortable. The rules are a modern thing, they're helpful as guidelines but they should not transform kimono wearing in an awful physical torture.
*Find your true style. It might be difficult at first, but you can buy and resell kimono pretty easily nowadays so don't worry. I'm not that much into flowery girly kimono, I like the abstract pattern much more. Enjoy your own style.
*Buy plenty of accessories. Kimono styling is about mixing and matching themes and colours, so don't be afraid to splurge on accessories and try new things, they often comes out super interesting.
*Mix kimono with western items. Hiking up your kimono so you can wear stylish western shoes ? Yes. Wearing jewelery ? Yes. Makeup and nail polish ? Yes !
*Research online and ask for concrit. Read kimono blogs for inspiration. There is a kimono community, you're not alone.
*Learn bits by bits. Kimono as remained more or less the same for the past 2 000 years, you bet there is tons of tiny bits and nitpicks you need to know about. Thing is, those are details. Nobody except kimono lovers know about them nowadays, there is no shame into learning.

Using a bracelet instead of a haori-himo ? Check !
That's all for now, hope this was interesting !

I'm sorry for the lack of post, I'm lazy as hell but you already know that. Trying to think up something fun for next time. See ya.


Throw some shades on

When I was a younger lolita a few years ago, I tried to become "famous". I made myself a Facebook page, tried the cheeky writing style and gave on to the whole idol pose/cutesy thing that was trendy back then. I don't even know why I did that. Well, I suppose that as any teenager ever I just wanted to exist.

Why do we want to become well-known ? What does it change for us ?
I guess peer recognition is a thing. It's a signal that not only you fit in, but you fit in so well it's actually you who set the trends. You're know the one who decide who fit in or not. As someone who never succeeded fitting in, I can now see why I was so attracted by e-fame.

Of course it backfired, because you can't take all the space claiming that you're better than others when truly you're not. Before setting the rules you have to follow them, comprehend them then bend them at your will. People with long-lasting fame usually deserve it for their skills, because they're people to look up to.

The thing is, I don't want to be someone to look up to. I'm a imperfect human. We're all. I make life choices according to my very own my past and current experiences. We should all do that. Really, no one should admire anyone, cause you know what ? You're gonna be disappointed a way or an other. These people are awesome, nice, stylish, clever, pretty but not perfect. Remember that.

My quest for recognition was a real let down, and while I stopped thinking about it, taking a break from the Internet, my past errors continued to simmer down in the mind of people. I gained in my national comm a reputation of elitist strictness. To be fair, I do apply a pretty strict set of rules to everything in my life, including lolita fashion, but as I know it's based my own really crooked and bizarre mind it's restricted only to myself and I do my best so it won't trouble my judgment of others.
While I do partially appreciate this image which allow me to get away with not acting like a super kawaii carebears person, I'm sometimes not as amused by people interpreting my shy behavior and absolute fear of being an awkward embarrassment as being a snob. Well, I suppose I have to deal with it. It's my fault for sending the wrong message in the first place.

Still, what I wanted to say is that I'm happy it didn't work out. I'm happy I'm not obligated to anyone, that I'm not feeling forced to do anything to achieve status. I'm not is the craze. I don't think I represent anything for anyone apart maybe a friend for those few I got closer with. When I see people going crazy on the Internet for this or that, I'm just happy that whatever happens, as nobody needs me and I don't owe anything to anyone I can just walk away. Maybe it's stupid but to me it is freedom. I'm visible enough to have the occasion of doing an array of awesome things and meeting plenty of new amazing people, but just small enough to be able to leave whenever I want to. That's how I intend to live my life at the moment : by being able to just leave. "Normal" life, family, lolita fashion, anything really. I'm resigned to not fit in. And now for the first time of my life I feel free.


Museum of fairground arts

When I set up a meetup for my comm, I really try to find something a bit different, places that really have their own atmosphere and makes you travel.
When I first saw the pics from the garden of the museum of fairground arts, I knew I had to set up something over there. To be fair I didn't even know about the place until lovely Shenna from lacealamode posted the pictures from her visit last February. A museum where you can ride the attractions ? I needed to go !

A wild herd of lolitas appears

The only downside of this place is that the dimlight makes taking pictures really hard.

Some of  Josephine Baker's costume were in the museum !

There were three parts in the museum, each of them was composed of a great dance hall and an area with rides we could try on. They actually rent the place. Just imagine celebrating something here !

Camélia and her friend creepy unicorn guy

Camélia, Léa, Chloé and Lunila on the venician ride

Teeny tiny ram ride

Flying horses of the automaton gallery.

The automatons sang an opea piece for us. Those were distorting mirrors.

Venitian room.

Great barrel organ. They are my weakness, it's a shame they're not more common, especially the smaller ones.

Yes, we rode that

 Ok so it was my first time earing about this thing. This weird carousel with bikes is called "vélocipède", and you have to actually ride it like a real bike, it's powered by pedaling. This one is fully working, and it's the only one still functional in Europe ! Needless to say that I loved it. The machine itself is so heavy that you really feel like you're going incredibly fast when it start to move. Such a blissful feel of freedom.

Look how stupidly happy I am. I couldn't stop smiling, I had way too much fun

Chloé, Lunila, PumpKin, Camélia, Léa, me and Chloé (thanks Lunila for the pic !)

After that we all went to a restaurant nearby to have some dessert. I took a mint lemonade and some tarte tatin.

Then some of us ended the day by some ramen in Japan Town. I got tonkatsu, since I wasn't feeling up for a soup.

This was truely amazing.

 I have a really specific connection with traditional, popular culture since I come from a rural area and have been raised with local tales and songs. I felt so moved and so happy seeing this place, it really made me miss home and some parts of my childhood. I'm very much a city girl now, but I couldn't stop talking about my days at my friend's farms, the summer neighbour party with the old accordéon player and the cold nights spent in this half deserted castle in Ardèche. This was twice as important to me since I had memory issues due to medication a while ago and the place really triggered some very specific memories that I missed dearly. It was really hard for me to not cry at the sound of the organ barrel, and me who was feeling so blue just before the meetup went out with the biggest smile across the face. So maybe I'm a bit partial on that, but you should definitely visit that place. It's worth it. Trust me.

Thanks a lot girls for sharing this moment with me, we had a wonderful time together and I'm happy you liked the place too. I look forward to organise an other meetup with such a great group of friends !