Monday, August 30, 2010

The Aberrancy of Love

Last spring, when I was trying not to fall asleep for EVERY Shakespeare class I didn't skip (it was at nine AM! Don't judge me!) I found myself victim of a very common phenomenon: you know when you fall asleep in an environment that's not perfectly silent, sometimes you randomly wake up enough to catch a snippet of someone's conversation, and for some reason it just sticks with you? That happened to me while my teacher was lecturing on As You Like It - one of my favorites... if only I had taken a later class! - and was discussing in particular the relationship between Orlando and Rosalind. These two characters epitomize love at first sight; they have nothing in common, but they don't even get a chance to discover that before falling head-over-heels the first time their eyes meet. Professor Gerstein was discussing this scene, and those of their interactions later, and came to the following conclusion: "Two spectacular individuals fall in love immediately and irreversibly. These extraordinary individuals have met under ordinary circumstances, and yet, what is it that draws and keeps them together? Simply that they are spectacular."

This got me to thinking. I'm sure we all know that odd couple, the quintessential "opposites attract" type: the lolita and the skater boy, the art kid and the future rapper- those people who society says should have nothing to do with each other and yet, somehow, they have beaten the odds and found one another. As one who has always had literary delusions of grandeur, I was inspired to write up a few vignettes about fantastic individuals who, upon entering a situation they are unfamiliar with, find themselves drawn inexorably to another spectacular individual. And because I am nothing if not a visual learner, I have illustrated them with Polyvore.

Aislin was not in her element. She was much more used to strolling the paths of the woodlands than climbing through its trees and over its rocky precipices. But these were desperate times, and, well... everyone knew the end of that, especially Aislin. She wouldn't be here if she didn't, but she saw on the News today that the deer population had increased to thirty per square mile in her county, and officials had practically declared it open season for the beautiful creatures. She knew the locals would be having a field day soon, and dammit, she wasn't going to let their time on Earth be extinguished by a gloating redneck. She had brought a beautiful hand-carved bow with her, and she knew her way around it, but she was probably the only one in these woods who hoped she wouldn't have to use it. She wasn't here to hunt deer, she was here to protect them from the horrid members of her species who couldn't accept that the deer problem was their fault for killing all of the wolves and natural predators. You can't just mess up the natural order of things like that and expect.... her brain froze. A doe was standing in the dappled light on a mossy bank, drinking deeply from a burbling stream, and directly in front of Aislin was a young man, dressed in fatigues, aiming a compound boy straight at the animal's heart. Everything seemed to stop. The string tightened momentarily and then slackened, but despite Aislin's gasp, the deer raised her head before bounding away. The arrow lay discarded on the forest floor, and the boy's shoulder were hunched in defeat. He turned - her gasp had made her presence obvious - and, eyes down, admitted his defeat. "Why couldn't I do it?" he asked, not really of her but of the Universe.

"Because," she replied, "you have a soul."

He looked up and smiled at her.

Larissa wondered what on Earth she was doing here.

She had been invited to the Murder Mystery party by a friend of a friend who ended up not being able to attend but insisted Larissa go without her. Of course Larissa had spared no expense on her outfit; costume parties were where she usually felt the most comfortable in her every day wear. However, when she stepped through the door, she felt certain this would be the mistake she was dreading. Apparently no one had told neither guests nor hostess that one was supposed to dress up when attending a Murder Mystery party; the women wore chintzy little dresses of the popular style that alluded to vintage-wear with towering heels no flapper would have been caught dead in, and the men wore designer jeans with vests and ascots and clearly thought themselves quite dapper. All of the men, that is, except the one who was cutting across the party straight towards her. This man looked a quintessential Victorian lord, and when he took her hand and kissed it, the shortness of her breath and flush of her cheeks had nothing to do with her corset.

Mirielle hated this part of the job. She may be handsomely paid to be the nanny for these rich teenage brats (which, of course, basically meant she was their chauffeur), but the fact that her luxurious lifestyle was supported by being laughed at by the kids at the skate park was just too much. She never would have ventured to such a dirty, classless place if she weren't getting such a hefty sum for picking up and dropping off little Nick and Joseph every afternoon. She was leaning against the car, tapping her wingtips impatiently and trying to ignore the snickers of plebian youths, when a runaway skateboard launched directly at her. Trying not to shriek, she turned angrily to the young man approaching her, and suddenly felt her anger evaporate. There was something odd about him that she could not place... except... wait a second. Were those Armani jeans? He was devilishly, bad-boyishly, so-not-her-typeishly handsome, and when he tried to apologize, she just smirked. Nodding to his Decepticon T-shirt and dog tags, she held up a hand to show off her Autobots-insignia ring. "I think we're going to have a problem here."

By the time Nick and Joseph had shown up, they had to spend the entire car ride asking what she looked so smug about. She vowed not to tell them about the slip of paper in her pocket, bearing nothing but a boy's name and a phone number. There may be hope for this one.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Daily Outfit 8/19/10

So, this is what I wore to the hardware store. Now, clearly, I don't look like the kind of lady who frequents hardware stores or enjoys wandering around looking at tools all day, but apparently that was the case to the employees of the particular Lowe's I went to - or rather, the lack of employees, because the three times I actually saw an associate, they were quickly headed the opposite direction! Stefan and I wandered for about an hour just looking for someone to point out where the lumber I needed could be found. Apparently it didn't exist, because we left empty-handed. I guess my homemade folding-screen room divider for school will have to wait - pics to come, if the Universe ever allows me to make it!

  • Cutsew: Forever21
  • Skirt: Lolita Nouveau
  • Jacket: Offbrand
  • Snood & bow hairpin: For Love
  • Sewing kit necklace: Vintage
Have I shown off this necklace before? It's lovely- I got it from a local vintage store fora few dollars. It features an entire sewing kit on a beautiful, chunky chain- thimble, container of needles with screw-top, and even a folded-up pair of scissors, all in a bright gold. You can see it better in this close-up, in which I'm... actually smiling, for once!

Also, say goodbye to old Lumpy - with any luck, by my next photopost, I'll have gotten my hair 'did like I detailed in this post! Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Current Jams: August

Months like August are always odd ones for me. Any month that comes near the end of a season makes me both impatient for the joy of what's to come (cardigans, beautiful colors, green suede boots) and nostalgic for what has passed - what will I do when I can't stroll outside barefoot at any time of day, almost a sif there's no transition between in-and out-doors except the perpetual breeze? Especially with all the change this month has brought: I'll be starting school next week with my first random roommate (I cheated last year and roomed with an acquaintance who became one of my closest friends - Hi, Tina!) and a new minor; a close friend whom I've loved sporadically but whole-heartedly for the better part of nine years is moving to a different state; I'm leaving what I thought would be a career to focus on academics and my business; some bonds have deepened, some are threatening to fade away like the last summer breeze - satisfyingly beautiful while present, yet even though you know they'll be gone soon, doesn't it always seem too early? That's why the music of August is therefore a little awkward, slightly uncomfortable, as if it can't quite decide whether to look forward to the future or sigh over that past - at least, that's how the month feels for me.

The Verve ~ Bittersweet Symphony

A classic, the lilting, almost sad melody of this song, along with the melancholy yet almost hopeful lyrics make it fitting for August, in that way that makes you almost grit your teeth and purse your lips when you have to admit it.

Iron and Wine ~ Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car

Can I just include a Song of the Shepherd's Dog song in every Current Jams until I run out? As always, Iron&Wine perfectly epitomize "uncomfortably beautiful," and to be honest, if I could I would make this entire post just songs off of this album. The imagery I get of this song is a beautiful bohemian blonde lazing out the passenger side of an 80's Lincoln, the sugar-cookie-colored skin of her arms dappled with sunshine as they commune with the breeze.

Splashdown ~ A Charming Spell

Again, Splashdown is one of those bands that just utterly epitomizes this August feeling. Heady bass and Asiatic-influenced techno music backing lilting, ghostly vocals. How could anything be more perfect for the theme? This particular one may get reposted for October's Current Jams because that's the only time witchcraft is allowed to be discussed in polite society

Also, my lotus tattoo was featured on Say, Dolly! Check out my tattoo story here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Going Back to School in Style

Now, I try to keep this blog very age-unspecific, because I know that lolitas span all age groups from middle schoolers to mothers. However, today we had the air conditioning at work cranked up to icicle-inducing levels, so despite the mid-70's-with-an-ocean-breeze that was celebrating summer outside, for eight hours all I could think of was fuzzy sweaters and my dorm bed's down comforter and quilts. I've been looking forward to going back to school since my summer class ended - coughNERDcough - but today was a reminder that we only have a few more weeks of summer to endure until I re-enter fall and college, and also that I'm way behind on getting ready to move back! No, I'm not talking about notebooks and flash drives and mechanical pencils - obviously, I got those forever ago - I mean my wardrobe!

Because of my new-found love of Etsy, I've selected as many items as I can from the website to build a perfect autumnal to-buy list that any lolita would be proud to pack for school. For this season, I've decided to find items that mix quirky vintage flair with a warm, mori-style coziness.

Fleur Mori Girl Keychain/Bag Charm

So, non-college-goers or those who aren't heading into autumn, what about the coming season are you squealing over? Tulle and spring florals? Maybe plaid woolen skirts -oh, Catholic school, how I... don't miss you at all. Or maybe the only difference you're looking forward to is thick scarves and microfiber tights inside your smart black pumps and corporate casual skirt suit. Tell me what's setting your heart a-patter with anticipation for whatever your upcoming season is!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Review: Steampunk Junk Supply on Etsy

Amaranth Opulent has been consuming my soul since June, and I can't be happier about it. I've spent days dreaming about flowers, scouring roadsides while driving (don't try this at home!), and mostly trawling Etsy for new supplies and suppliers. For my settings and bases, the entire website is fair game, and I don't really have any particular seller that I currently prefer above others; findings, however, is a completely different story. Ever since my first purchase, I have been a loyal customer of Steampunk Junk Supply for all of my chain, clasps, and jumprings, and I wouldn't have it any other way. While Brenda, the store's mastermind, does not make the findings herself, she is definitely still an amazing business owner and an absolute joy to work with. The products are always of amazing quality and very easy to use - I've yet to be disappointed with a single purchase.Brenda has worked with me via Etsy conversations ever since my first order, and is always quick with recommendations whenever I need them. Every order I receive from her comes packed in a bubble enveloped securely and safely, and I've never received a damaged product. Brenda also includes little free gifts for purchasing - other findings that are related to the ones you purchased, like charms that coordinate in theme or color. This was actually really great for me - my jewelry is pretty simple and straightforward, and I never really thought of other ways I could make it more elaborate until I received some toys to play with. Since the charms she sent already matched my chain, I have the opportunity to experiment with and inspect the new materials, like I was shopping her store in person.Speaking of freebies, a recent order I placed was really a shining example of Brenda's excellent customer service. I had previously only purchased findings in bronze, but was starting to expand my pedant-making to silver as well. Since I couldn't decide on a style in her shop, I messaged Brenda to ask for a recommendation based on the chain I had already purchased. She recommended a style that was not currently in stock, and when I expressed interest, kept me updated on the availability. She ordered the supplies, received them, and listed them within a week and a half or so, and sent me a quick note through every step. She offered to include a sample of the chain with the order I'd just placed and I accepted, expecting maybe six inches or so to arrive. Well, imagine my surprise when I received not only three full feet of chain, but a handful of jumprings and a lobster claw clip as well, so I could work with the chain and get a feel for it, as well as a few charms to work with. Needless to say, it was included in my next purchase.
She's also been supporting and promoting for me since I first opened; she Tweeted a few of my first items, flat-out doubling their views and adding a handful of hearts, and is even commissioning a few Christmas presents from me. She's done more for helping and encouraging me than even some of my close friends have, and this from someone across the country whom I've never even met! I absolutely, 100% recommend Steampunk Junk Supply; Brenda sticks with the customer before, during, and after, and is eager to help in any way she can at any stage of the game. If you have any opportunity to purchase from this store for crafts or art, do so immediately. You won't regret it - at least, I haven't yet.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Poupee Boutique: Cute-ifying Facebook Internationally!

I've been a Facebook addict pretty much since I joined in High School. I remember the days when I was turned away from registering because I didn't have a University network to join, but now it seems like everyone and their dog has a Facebook page - Tina, I'm looking at you! That may sound negative, but don't get me wrong: I'm all for any website that unites people (or canines!) with common interests from all over the Internet, so Facebook's growing popularity has nothing but positive connotations for me (except all of my weird aunts and uncles trying to add me - awkward...). Further proof of this international popularity is Poupee Boutique.

Almost all of the lolitas I know have tried out Poupee Girl, and I'd say it's split pretty evenly between girls who are totally obsessed and those tried it for a while and now only check back every few months to dress up and leave a few comments - I'm somewhere in between the two, personally. When I asked my friends who left the site why they did so, the answer was almost always that the confusion between the two monetary systems and the inflated prices that came with them had really turned them off to the game, even devoted followers with whom I'd been dressing up for years. The cuteness was not enough to keep them, it would seem.

Poupee Boutique kind of remedies that. Instead of having a doll that you dress up, you own your own poupee boutique, though you do have a shopkeeper you can attire as your please. You level up by racking up "hearts," which you can earn from selling items, suteki-ing your friends' shops, and even dusting your store or others'! Each level offers different items you can sell, and each costs a different amount and stays in your store for a set period of time, until it automatically sells. Once it's gone, a little Piyo-encrusted money bag appears on the floor; clicking it adds your earnings to your shop. You can decorate your store with wallpaper and shelves of knick-knacks, and the clothing displays are really quite adorable as well. Even though the clothing you can sell was chosen or created to appeal to a more mainstream audience, there are some really adorable and lolita-friendly looks you can create.

There are a few pitfalls of this game, though. There is a lot of down time where you just have to go do something else for a few hours or even a whole day; some of the higher-level items take hours upon hours to sell out of your shop, suteki-ing shops only gets you heart points once a day as does dressing up your shopkeeper, and you can only clean every so often for points. I like that Poupee Girl can always be a way of killing time since there's so much to browse through, so that was kind of a bummer. Also the entire application is in Engrish, which means that I don't even know some of the features it offers because I just can't understand their descriptions. If you're not used to reading Japonified English, you may be very confused and frustrated at first, but most of it kind of explains itself eventually.

As if I needed another way to waste my time on the web! This game is great for anyone who loves Poupee Girl in theory but maybe not necessarily in practice, or even anyone who just wants another way to wile away the hours on Facebook. There are some drawbacks, of course, but that's true of everything, and despite these I still think that Poupee Boutique is a sweet and fun game, for Facebook standards. Just make sure you keep up with your shop - don't want any of those unsightly cobwebs or broken mirrors!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Promo Photoshoot with Ophanim Gothique and Lolita Nouveau

Last Sunday I was lucky enough to participate in a photoshoot for Amaranth Opulent with Carolyn of Ophanim Gothique and Lindsay of Lolita Nouveau/Lolitas-N-Cream. At Carolyn's suggestion, we settled on the mind-blowingly stunning Harkness Park as our location; even though we had to trek it across the state, as soon as I saw pictures I knew it would be the perfect showcase for all three designers. Our model line-up changed a few times due to time constraints, long car rides, and sudden illness, but we still ended up with four amazingly talented ladies: Crystal, Jesi, and two non-lolita friends, Cate and (another!) Lindsay. It was such a wonderful day; everything went spectacularly, so much better than I had every hoped for.


Doing a spot of modeling myself for Ophanim:
I had given my petticoat to one of the models, so that's why I'm so deflated!

Fellow designer Lindsay offered her modeling services to Carolyn as well:




The lovely Lolita Nouveau girls:

The Aftermath - well, no, just a picnic:

It was such an amazing day, spent around so many talented people. I hope we can do this again someday soon - a winter line, maybe?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Amaranth Opulent Official Store Opening

Amaranth Opulent is a line of eco-friendly, one-of-a-kind jewelry by Miss Lumpy. Drawing inspiration from a slew of alternative fashions such as lolita, mori-girl, and steampunk, Amaranth Opulent is inspired to taking organic, sustainably-harvested materials and combining them with findings purchased from independent businesses to create jewelry of beauty and luxury. Every flower and leaf used in this jewelry has been hand-picked and hand-pressed by Aly herself in a sustainable manner, meaning that the entire plant is not picked so that it can continue to live as an important part of its local ecosystem. Jewelry findings such as bases and chain are purchased solely from either local craft stores or Etsy shops because it is important to us that we support small businesses.Amaranth Opulent is devoted to the idea that the corruption of the world humans have created for ourselves can be purified by combining man-made materials with natural components taken straight from the Earth. The society I've found myself is not one I'm particularly fond of, and I can't be alone; call it escapism, but I've realized that I need to contribute something to the world that reflects the old-worldly, the otherworldly, that anything-but-here. If you like getting lost in the woods, if you notice the flower growing between the sidewalk cracks, if your heart wrenches at the beauty of abandoned buildings covered with vines, Amaranth Opulent was made with you in mind.

Amaranth Opulent on Etsy

Amaranth Opulent on Twitter

Amaranth Opulent on Facebook

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Fairytale Teaser

This story beings in the ancient way: Once upon a time, there was a young woman who lived on the outskirts of town, near where civilization ends and the Wild begins. She went about her business every single day; she did her spinning and mending, haggled with farmers at the market, and spent the mornings in her herb garden. She went to the well to gossip with the other town girls and braided her long curls in the style popular among them; she smiled at the local boys and farm hands like she knew she was supposed to; she imagined that someday she would be married off to one of them and bear him children, and her young life would fade as quickly as the beauty it took with it. This was the life of all the town girls, and no one had ever complained about it, that she knew of; how painful could it be?
But somehow something felt wrong. The maiden would sometime pause from her embroidery, look out the window, and be caught up in the beauty of the chicory or the sweet pea flowers growing along the dirt road. Somehow, something felt just slightly off: there was something about lowering her eyes from the sunbright window to the dark rows of tiny stitches she was slaving over that just felt horrifically unnatural.
One day when she rose from her bed, she noticed something different in the air, a kind of magical anticipation that stung her eyes and ran fingers of static through her hair. The girl walked to the door of her cottage, still barefoot and nightgowned, and her eyes were drawn to the edge of the wood. There, standing among the yellow toadflax and daisy fleabane, was an elegant doe, her rump speckled with dew and glistening in the early morning sunshine. Their eyes met, and somehow without the young woman's command, her feet started to move towards the animal. Together they fled into the forest; running side by side, the thumping beats of their footfalls were the rhythm of freedom to which they marched.
The young woman fled to the forest, and this is where she remains to this very day. Sometimes the town-dwellers and farmers caught glimpses of her, long blond curls unruly and tangled around twigs and flowers. Her eyes are beyond wild; they are elated, overjoyed, full of life and purity and freedom. Abandoning herself to the forest, she elevated her mind beyond the horrid confines of society and truly become what she was destined to be: The Wild Woman of the Wood.

Psst, remember that project I've been coyly mentioning all summer? The unrelated eye candy, are from a photoshoot for it with Ophanim Gothique and Lolita Nouveau. The lovely models here are my wonderful friends Crystal and Cate. Please stay tuned this Friday, 8/13/10 when I'm going to officially announce this project!

photos care of Sean Walsh


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