Dec 062014
 

Today was my first time celebrating International Lolita Day, and my first time ever hosting a meetup! It was a beautiful day, spent having fun with new friends and old friends in some fabulous settings- I think it all went pretty well.

We started the day with brunch at Elise’s Tea Room in Bixby Knolls. Classical decor, antique furniture, florals everywhere, and all the appropriate settings for a proper high tea! Elise, the owner, and her resident pastry chef were very welcoming and enthusiastic about our outfits.
It also turned out that we were having tea right next to the local Red Hat Society‘s luncheon, and they invited us over to socialize. Kindred spirits! Everyone was so sweet, and encouraged us to always be original in our personal styles. We’ll certainly try.

Back to the tea! There are 30 different teas on the menu, and my caramel black tea paired very nicely with everything else I ordered. The food was amazing- my sampler set started with a fresh-baked chocolate chip scone and homemade clotted cream, homemade lemon curd, and blackberry jam. I liked combining the lemon and cream.

Next up was a small assortment of sandwiches: chicken curry, apple pecan, and cream cheese with chive. The former and latter were delicious, and the apple pecan was really interesting- it was served on cinnamon raisin bread, and had a nice spiced cream cheese spread.

It was hard to choose a dessert, but I’m glad I went with the chocolate mousse cake, even though it was almost too much to finish! Devil’s food cake, mousse filling, homemade dark chocolate ganache and whipped cream, and a generous sprinkle of mini chocolate chips to top it off.

Afterwards, we went to Rancho Los Alamitos to walk off all those goodies. The Rancho is a heritage site with a working farm, about a dozen gardens to explore, and a preserved ranch house from the 1800s. Everything (including the interior of the Rancho) was already decorated for Christmas!

To kill time before our tour of the house, we visited the animals. The Rancho has these two gorgeous Shire horses that were very interested in our hair accessories.

They let us pet their noses!

A goat that wanted to make sure we were getting his best angles.

Caught this rabbit mid-yawn.

The grounds are open and bright, with fancy chickens roaming around in the open. California got a lot of rain this past week, so everything’s still lush and green.

Another decorative display. Those funny little sheep are everywhere.

The back entrance of the Rancho, with its “secret garden” patio.

The courtyard of the Rancho.

I love all the greenery surrounding the house, and how it all starts to incorporate itself into the structure.

Roses were still in bloom, big and fluffy.

There are multiple little patios on the edges of the rose garden. I’d love to spend an afternoon there in the spring.

A picturesque path leading to the herb garden.

Group shot! I’m on the left. Our group had dwindled a bit, especially after the house tour, but there was still plenty more to see.

The Moreton Bay Figs on the property are a little over a century old and staggeringly huge. They looked amazing as the sun started to set.

The natural gardens were especially gorgeous in the light.

A little stream runs through the natural gardens and winds back and forth under the path. There were so many cute little patches of moss growing on the banks!

All in all, an amazing day. I’m so glad to have had this opportunity, and I can’t wait until next time!

Dec 022014
 

I’ve been peripherally aware of Enchantlic Enchantilly (Chantilly for short) for a few years now, but the brand didn’t really catch my eye until I saw some of their clothes in person at Guic’ Chaq. Most recently, I had the chance to see Chantilly’s newest pieces at the Rufflecon fashion show, and met Fumiko Kawamura, the designer. Chantilly’s older series tend to be plainer or focus on bold patterns like stripes and diamonds, but their newer pieces feature wonderfully intricate prints and artwork.

I’ve set a moratorium on myself against buying new main pieces, so I haven’t had a chance to add any of Chantilly’s dresses or skirts to my wardrobe yet.
I have been focusing on buying accessories, though, and Chantilly’s fit the bill perfectly! So without further ado, here’s my recent haul:

I bought the Rose Cat Tights (middle) a little over a week ago, directly from the Chantilly webstore. The envelope next to it is full of unexpected goodies that were included in the order- such a sweet surprise! ;w;
The Trump Crown Cat Tights and Royal Queen’s Sealing Stamp Brooch (left) are from my trip to Harajuku Hearts in San Francisco this past weekend, and they came with the other little goodies in the photo.
I also bought AP’s Romantic Angel OTKS (bottom) at Harajuku Hearts, but we’ll focus on those some other time!

Okay, just wanna get the tiny disappointment out of the way first (and it was my own fault, really!). Harajuku Hearts was advertising a novelty fair, and this Royal Kitten Stamp was one of the prizes if you spent over a certain amount. I totally expected it to be a rubber stamp that I could use to stamp little fussy kittens onto everything, but it’s actually a limited-edition Japanese postage stamp. TTwTT My mistake for not asking for clarification.

So not quite as useful, but still cute! It’s presented really nicely, and I was going to buy the items I bought regardless of the novelty fair, so it’s a fun bonus.

The back of the stamp packet- there really is so much thought and detail put into everything Chantilly produces.
I thought they were a “big” brand, along the lines of Baby or Innocent World, but it turns out Fumiko does nearly everything solo, from answering emails and shipping orders to designing the packaging and novelty goods. All of her packaging has cute Chantilly stickers and artwork- everything that can be personalized has been. It’s really amazing.

The brooch is a great example. Since it’s made to look like a royal wax seal, it’s presented on this lovely little card like an envelope.

Care instructions on the back in both Japanese and English, very thoughtful. The plastic has been sealed by hand with washi tape. I’m sure I’m way more excited about these little details than most people, but it’s just so sweet and thoughtful, and it makes me wish I had a ton of pretty stationery and stickers and stamps and tape that I could use on everything!!…

Anyway, back to the brooch. It’s laser-etched wood that’s been stained a nice warm brown. Mine has a clear rhinestone, but it also came in yellow, pink, and black.

The brooch is a little under 4cm in diameter. It’ll add a nice little detail to future coordinates! Right now I’ve pinned it to a brown and gold headbow, and it looks right at home.

Now for the goodies that came with my online order. I love that little bunny stamp, and I hope he gets featured on some of their upcoming products!

The kitty paw stamp slays me. ;x; The envelope was sealed with the same kind of wax-seal sticker that was used on the postage stamp packet, above.

And inside were…

Over a dozen postcards!!
When I saw these, all I could think was, “She knows I’ve only ordered a pair of tights, right…?!”
This is by far the most freebies a brand’s ever given me, even when I’ve made bigger orders and bought much pricier items. It’s just so thoughtful! It’s like an entire catalogue of Chantilly’s designs, as well as some lovely artwork by Tsubaki Torii, who’s collaborated with Chantilly (and occasionally Atelier Pierrot) on most of their prints.

“It’ll bewitch you!”

The backs of the cards are just as carefully considered- Fumiko designs them all herself. Where does she find the time?

And she wrote an adorable note to me on the back of the kitten notecard. Seriously cute handwriting!
Fumiko handles all the online orders and shipping herself, too; she’s just as sweet to deal with online as she is in person. I’m traveling out to Los Angeles for her holiday party with Fairytale Boutique- I hope I get a chance to chat with her again!

And finally on to the tights. Here are the Rose Cat Tights all laid out. Most of Chantilly’s tights are 80 denier, unless otherwise specified, so they’re nice and opaque. These are the black colorway, and as with most black printed tights, they’re a little lighter than true black, i.e. the scarf they’re sitting on. It’s still a good dark tone, though- much darker than most printed tights I’ve encountered. The flourish pattern in the background helps disguise the fading when stretched.

The print is vibrant and very crisp! Tsubaki Torii did all the artwork for these tights, and the detail shows up nicely. I love the way the pattern mirrors itself on the legs.

Same small issue with the black on the Trump Crown Cat Tights, but these have an even busier pattern with contrasting colors and highlights, which also helps disguise fading.
Even though nobody’ll ever see it (at least, I hope not), I absolutely love the curtains and handsome little cat suitors on the hips.

The back- or front, depending on which assets you want to highlight, I guess- is an empty stage.
The print is a lot sharper than it looks here, this photo just turned out blurry.

And close up you can see that it features the same illustrations of crowns that were used on the Sealing Stamp Brooches. Each crown has a little bouquet or bow and a card suit symbol above it.

I’m a bit bigger and taller than the average Japanese lolita, but these fit very comfortably- they’re snug, but stretch enough and have enough space that I don’t feel like I’d be in danger of stressing them too far through normal use, and they reach high enough to sit comfortably around my waist. The prints do fade when stretched, but as you can see, the colors are still quite vibrant and not too much detail is lost. I can’t wait to wear these to some upcoming tea parties!

So if you love a classical romantic aesthetic, mixed with some retro and gothic charm, I’d definitely recommend Enchantlic Enchantilly. The quality of each piece, and all of the care put into them, make them each very special additions to my collection, and the experience of shopping with Chantilly is one of the best I’ve ever had with a lolita brand. Fumiko pours a lot of love into her work, and it really shows. If you’d like to get your hands on some of these cute goods and support an independent designer, just remember to be quick- things sell out fast! You won’t regret it.

“It’ll bewitch you!”

Nov 102014
 

Somebody asked me why I hadn’t added the writing on the sleeves of Garcia’s jacket. It’s because… I was saving them for something non-canonical!

My precious Paula went to Japan Expo this past August, and kidnapped my jacket before she left! She was going to get it signed by Akira Yamaoka, the composer for SotD, and it turns out Steven Blum (Garcia’s voice) and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (lead vocalist for the OST) were there too!
They were all kind enough to sign one of the sleeves and take this photo for posterity. I just wish I could’ve been there!

So it’s not 100% screen-accurate, but I’m very, very pleased. Now I just need to get Suda and Mikami’s signatures on the other arm…