Where Have I Been?

Hello, readers,

I’m sorry that I haven’t been active on this blog at all for a while now. My boyfriend and I bought a house at the end of April, and we moved in at the end of July. We are still trying to remodel it and redecorate it, but that’s been taking up most of my free time and money. I’m working on making a couple of posts for this blog about our projects, but it’s been a slow process.

In the meantime, I haven’t really been dressing up or going out. I recently got a job as a temp doing whatever odd assignments at my old university, and I’m trying to get a full-time position there. Within the past month or so, I have rediscovered my deep, deep love of the Sims, so I’ve been playing lots of Sims 3. I’ve been playing with a silly, spooky world filled with sims I made of the Addams family, the Munsters, the Sanderson sisters from Hocus Pocus, the Spellmans (and Harvey) from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the Witches of Eastwick, Sam and Dean Winchester, Elvira, and a bunch of the characters from the Monster High webisodes. It’s been lots of fun, but it’s not really anything to write a blog post on. Maybe I could do a little something about lolita fashion in the Sims 3, but the game and the clothing DLC are both so old that it seems like it would be a bit weird to do that. I may anyway, but probably not.

I hope that you all have been having a fantastic time while I’ve been away. Once my kitchen is done, I plan on doing lots more recipe posts. Hopefully, that will be soon!

Stay marvelous,

Raven

My Lolita Room: Part 2

Hello, readers,

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed that I haven’t been very active on this blog lately. I’ve gone through a lot of big life changes recently, including buying a house. I’m starting a very big, new adventure with renovating it. As of this writing, I have officially moved out of the little rental house I lived in for the past three years. As much as I wanted change, I was still a little sad to leave it.

In the middle of packing, I stopped to tidy my bedroom to show you the final iteration of my lolita room at my old apartment. If you didn’t see the work-in-progress blog post from a year and a half ago, just try to picture the old walls being a poorly painted buttercream color.

* * *

The major change in the room was the wall color. I ended up buying the paint online because it is too much of a hassle to get to a hardware store without a car, and I was swayed by it’s fun name. I bought a paint called Purple Potion, and it was a lot more purple than I had thought it would be. If you keep up with my blog, you’d have seen it in the background of lots of my pictures. I don’t know what it is about this color, but it refuses to photograph nicely.

Anyway, here is my little room tour. This is the view of the room when I’d walk in the door.

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Behind the door is my poster of British sheep breeds.

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Best thrift store art find yet!

This is a view of the full wall. The bookshelf on the left is filled completely with my books and things. My poor boyfriend had to squeeze his books on the the top two shelves of the right bookshelf because I took over the bottom three shelves of that unit as well.

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Bookshelf Wall

Here’s a closer look at my dolls and our Squishables.

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My Lunatic Queen Pullip is being saucy and scandalizing my other Pullips. The giant Elissabat Monster High doll is faceless at the moment. Sorry!

Underneath, I put my dollhouse. It’s still not finished completely on the inside, but it’s still adorable.

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The box to the left is a kit to make a 1/12 scale grandfather clock.

I didn’t get a close-up shot of our Nightmare Before Christmas vinyl figures, but you can still see them in some of the following photos.

The door next to our bookshelves was the closet door.

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My clothes took up 3/4 of the space…

On the wall next to the closet door, I put my collection of mini-prints from the etsy shop Magical Tea Time. These particular prints (they come in larger sizes) are not always in stock on etsy, but I would just send her a message if you’re interested in any.

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I don’t know why the glare is so weird on some of these.

The sunlight was giving me some problems when I was trying to take pictures of this wall, so here’s a slightly split view of the window wall. When we actually lived in this room, the blinds were always down. The bedroom was way too close to a street with lots of foot traffic for me to be comfortable with the windows open.

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I painted my boyfriend’s computer case pink for him.

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My tiny computer station in the corner where I wrote most of the posts on this blog…

Next, we have the bed corner.

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My lovely Princess Bed

I no longer have this bed. It was my roommate’s, and we gave it back to her since my parents gave me a new queen-sized mattress and bedframe. I will do my best to princess-ify the new bed to make it as pretty as the old one.

As a bonus, here’s the view of my room from bed.

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The Andrew Lang Fairy Books were on the reverse side of the shelf for easy bedtime story access.

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Here’s the view on the way out of the room. P1080657

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Boyfriend’s comics

And that’s it! I’m still a little sad to see it go, but at least the people moving in said that they’re going to keep the room purple.

* * *

Now that my boyfriend and I have a whole house to spread out in, I plan on making it as cute as I can. I hope you like home improvement posts, because there will be a lot of those coming as we finish renovating the new house into a mildly lolified one.

Stay cozy,

Raven

In case you didn’t see their posts before, here are the links to the other Lolita Blog Carnival members that responded to this post over a year ago.

Seraphine & The Striped BoxLittle Coffee ShopArt du noir

Candied Dreams

Also, check out one of my favorite blogger’s room journey. I’m not sure if I’m missing posts in the process or if there are newer pictures anywhere. She’s the artist who made those prints I showcased.

2011: The Dark Victorian, 2012: The Dark Victorian, 2014: Jayne Jezebelle

Lifestyle Lessons: Lolita Tabletop Games

Hello, readers,

To me, there’s something inherently and delightfully old-fashioned about sitting down around a table and playing a face-to-face game. What else feels inherently and delightfully old-fashioned? Why, the lolita lifestyle, of course! There are a lot of very cool modern board games and card games that exist, but not all of them really feel that lolita to me. Games about spelunking (The Cave) or kaiju beating one another up (King of Tokyo) might be a lot of fun to play, but I don’t think that they would remind anyone of lolita-ness.

It turns out I’m not the only one who’s thought of lolita-themed board games. There was even a thread on EGL back in 2009 about making a lolita board game, but it was just a fun sort of thought experiment and they weren’t serious about actually making a physical game. However, there are a lot of games that do exist which are appropriately themed. The following is a compilation of six “lolita” games, three of which are proper, published games available for purchase and three of which are lolita-specific redesigned versions of existing games.

* * *

Parade

This is a card game that you can play with 2-6 players.You can go to boardgamegeek.com to download the rules, read reviews, see images, and generally find a lot more information about Parade. This particular version of Parade is Alice in Wonderland-themed. The art on the cards is really beautiful, and I love that they even include the Dodo. I’ve seen people online complain that they feel that the game has nothing to do with Alice, but I really think that the theme fits. It’s fun to see these characters forming a kooky parade to nowhere. There isn’t any in-game text that you need to read, so everyone can play the game without any sort of reading or language/translation difficulties.

Here’s what a 2-player game of Parade looked like close to the end:

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The bad lighting and the coffee table color are making everything look grossly yellow-orange. This is actually a beautiful game in person.

If you’re interested in getting a feel for this game, you can watch this 20-minute video below. It’s my favorite overview of the game that I’ve seen.

I really like this game. I think it’s easy to understand but harder to learn how to play well. I think this sort of game is normally called “deceptively simple.” It works well as a game with only two or three people. With the ability to seat up to six people, though, I think that this game might be great to bring to smaller meet-ups when everyone could play.

Like with most simple card games, you don’t actually need to buy it to play. If you want to try this game out before/without buying this specific version, it’s possible to stitch together a deck of 66 cards using two different-looking packs of regular cards to create the six suits if you count the Ace as 1, the Jack as 10, and the Queen as 0. There are also some re-themed versions available to print out and play for free. Still, it’s really the Alice in Wonderland theme that makes this game feel lolita-esque to me.

Elevenses

This is a game about setting up tea for 2-4 people. I’ve heard that the game actually drags unpleasantly with four people, though, so I would stick with playing Elevenses with either two or three people. It’s a game that you play with cards, but it feels more like a board game to me because of all the specialized rules about placement and scoring.The game is played in rounds, after which the player(s) with the best tea party earns some sugar cubes, and you play several rounds until one person gets seven sugar cubes total.

The following video is a quick, 7-minute overview of how the game plays. Alternatively, you could look on boardgamegeek for more information.

The art on the box (and the art on the special guest cards that are optional) depicts people from the 1920s. That’s not my favorite aesthetic (and it doesn’t seem very lolita to me), but I do like the art on the regular cards. It’s a small game, but I like how the creators implemented the theme in small details, like calling your hand of cards a “kitchen” and having the grid of face-down cards form your “tablecloth.” Unless you have a very small comm, I don’t really think that this is a game you can just bring to meet-ups willy-nilly because of the small player count. If you have one or two lolita friends that you see outside of meet-ups, though, I think that this would be a very fun little game for you to have.

Piece o’ Cake

In German, this game is called “…aber bitte mit Sahne” (but with whipped cream, please). Oddly enough, those two titles combine to tell you how the game plays and is scored. If you’re interested in seeing how to play, you can watch this very quick video below or check it out on boardgamegeek.com.

I like the idea of using a cake stand with this game to hold the “unmade” cakes, and just to add a bit more dimension to the game. It’s a fairly quick game with a good bit of strategy. My issues with this game are all aesthetic. The cakes look a lot more like pie to me, and I wish that they were thicker so that they actually looked like crazy cakes when assembled. In addition to mostly looking like pie, one of the cakes specifically looks more like pizza to me, especially because the cakes are flat. I know that I’m being petty, but there isn’t much else to talk about with Piece o’ Cake.

Still, it’s a pretty good game about making/collecting and eating cake. That’s delightful! If you’re ever in meetups with 2-5 people, I’m sure that this would be a big hit.

Lolita Uno

This is a game version that I redid. I say that, but I really just spent a couple of days working in Photoshop using pictures from Google Images.

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This was a fun little project that I did when I had some free time, and I paid to get a custom deck printed. Instead of the four primary colors, I used classic, gothic, sweet, and oldschool lolita as the “suits.”

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I’m pleased with my project, and I think the game is a lot of fun. Then again, I like regular Uno a lot, too.

It might be “cheating” a little to include this particular game here, since you can’t buy it or print out a free copy for yourself, unlike the other games on this list. You could always just make your own version, though, using whatever pictures you like. Uno is a really easy game to modify with a theme. I think that using pictures of your comm members might be a cool way to personalize this sort of concept if you want to play it at meets. The regular Uno rules say that you can play with 2-10 people, but you can run out of cards at the higher player counts. You might want to smash together two decks to instead play with 7-14 people.

Cards Against Lolitas

Milky Fawn made this custom deck-expansion for Cards Against Humanity. She talks about it briefly on her blog.

Here’s a video of them testing it out, in case you haven’t seen it already. If you don’t like vulgarity, don’t watch this video. Then again, you shouldn’t be playing any version of Cards Against Humanity if you don’t like vulgarity.

A lot of people found that the cards were funnier when they were mixed up with regular Cards Against Humanity cards. I agree, and I was able to get my housemates to enjoy playing a game with some of the less lolita-specific cards, like “showing knees *gasp!*,” “a DIY project gone unforgivably wrong,” and “farting in a petticoat.”

The whole deck expansion (possibly with some additions) is on Cardcast  if you want to just look through the cards or print them out. MC Melody Doll has her own expansion, too. The last big expansion I found was created by the Milwaukee Lolita Society. I couldn’t actually find their deck on Cardcast, but they have all the cards in a list here. I was able to go through all of these collections and write the more mainstream-friendly ones on extra blank cards to add them to our deck that way. If you go through all of the different lists, you’ll find a lot of overlap, but that’s to be expected.

Cards Against Humanity in general can be played with lots of people at once, although it still might not be the best game to play with your lolita community. I think it all depends on the individual people in your comm and what everyone’s sense of humor is like. I really despise a lot of the actual Cards Against Humanity cards and think that they are unfunny mood-killers, but someone else might think that those same cards are the best in the whole game.

Lolitopoly

This is just super cool. Misirlou of the blog Frou Frous made this. She even has a whole section of her blog dedicated to the resources and instructions you’ll need to print out and assemble your very own copy of Lolitopoly. I had a copy of Monopoly that we never played, so I took it over and turned it into my own copy of Lolitopoly. Since I think most people know how to play Monopoly, this little blurb is going to be a review of this particular print-and-play version.

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The game pieces are so adorable, but they have a bit of trouble standing on their own. I put paperclips on their bases to give them some more weight, but the lolita pawns we were playing with still blew away and fell over when I sneezed during the game. In the printables linked above, there are also some uncolored pieces so you could customize them before or after printing them out.

Here’s what the board looked like halfway through a 2-player game:

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And here’s what it looked like at the end, when I lost horribly:
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Since I was able to take over a normal game of Monopoly to make this version, I spray-painted all the original houses and hotels black and pink to match the design of the board. I don’t actually know what the print-and-play equivalents of these buildings are supposed to be. There were some minor snafus I ran into while assembling my copy. Firstly, I had to bump up the saturation of the $50 bills in Photoshop because the printer was making the color for the $20 bills and the unaltered $50 bills look identical. Secondly, the size of the Lolitopoly board was slightly smaller than the Monopoly board I was covering, so I have a number of seams where I fudged the placement, but that’s not too noticeable. My boyfriend did not like that the $1 bills were smaller than the others, but I didn’t care about that. He was also a bit frustrated that the Brand (original = Property) cards did not have the mortgage values on the back. I affixed all my Brand, Chance, and Luck (original = Community Chest) cards to cardstock, so I’ll probably make that alteration soon. I also want to go in with some light watercolor and color the backs of the Luck and Chance cards.

For the most part, Lolitopoly is identical to Monopoly. There were some changes to the regular game rules that made Lolitopoly absolutely brutal, though. You can actually see all the changes in the pictures below:

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Customs Fees are $200 (the original Luxury Tax is $75), and the Bad Exchange Rate is a flat $200 (but the original Income Tax is either 10% OR $200, which is much more affordable). My boyfriend and I found our $200 payday completely voided several times in the game. The Secondhand Shops (original = Railroads) are only $25 in Lolitopoly, potentially to compensate for the more expensive hazards, but my boyfriend insisted on playing with them costing the original $200, so everything was very expensive in our game. Lastly, look at that ridiculous Chance card. In case the picture is broken when you’re reading this post, it says “Mr. Yan’s New Bride: Should’ve read that contract! Lose $500 during your hasty escape.” I pulled this card, and it was crippling. Thematically, it made an odd kind of sense since I had just pulled a “Pilgrimage to Japan” card, but it was painful.

The theme was very oddly fitting. For about half the game (going around the board, buying Brands, paying Customs Fees and Bad Exchange Rates, and getting a $200 Payday), it really felt like building up a lolita wardrobe and buying more pieces with a part-time salary. (That’s the half of the game that I really loved.) Paying rent after landing on another player’s Brand space and putting houses and hotels on the spaces felt like regular Monopoly, though.

All in all, I think it’s a pretty successful re-theme. Unless you hate Monopoly, I think that this version is worth printing out and playing.

* * *

Well, readers, do any of those games seem fun to you? I tried to pick out games that generally felt lolita-esque. Of course, you could also play several old games like Whist, Cribbage, Old Maid, and Charades, and have a classic 19th-century parlor game night. Additionally, you could add any of the many wonderful gothic or horror-themed board games out there (like Gloom, Mysterium, Letters from Whitechapel, and Fury of Dracula) for a night of gothic lolita gaming. I honestly don’t know what I would recommend for a sweet lolita game night, though. It’s just so far out of my element that I can really only think of playing children’s games like Candyland. (I don’t know that I’d recommend that, though. I love the idea of Candyland, but I’ve never actually had fun playing it.)

Stay playful,

Raven

Lifestyle Lessons: Victorian Slang

Hello, readers,

Here’s a point about the lolita lifestyle that I’ve always seen as controversial. If you want to live a lolita lifestyle, do you have to “speak like a lady?” There are lots of other ways to word this sort of idea. Sometimes I just see people saying that lolitas shouldn’t swear or talk about “crude things” like sex or alcohol (even outside of meets), and sometimes I see people suggesting that everyone speak with a contrived lady-of-the-manor vocabulary.

Personally, I don’t think either approach makes practical sense. (Especially the first one. Don’t ever feel like your lifestyle is restricting your life.) However, I am a big proponent of finding and incorporating old-fashioned things into my own life. Specifically, I am interested in Victorian England.

Without further ado, I present you with the fabulous book! It is a dictionary of Victorian slang and colloquial phrases.

(You can try and read this book while on my blog, but I recommend you just go to the book on Archive.org. It will be a lot easier to read. Curse you, limited embedding functionality!)

There is a pretty, modern reprint that’s known as Ware’s Victorian Dictionary of Slang and Phrase, but its original title was Passing English of the Victorian Era: A Dictionary of Hererodox English, Slang, and Phrase. You could buy a physical copy of this book if you wanted to (I’m sure it would look fantastic on any bookshelf), but you can read the whole thing online for free thanks to Archive.org. There is also a less expensive, less pretty paperback reprint just called The Victorian Dictionary of Slang & Phrase.

From what I’ve casually read about the author, it seems that James Redding Ware was a journalist that tried to record all the lovely slang he remembered being in use during the 19th century before it disappeared forever. I, for one, am very grateful for his efforts. This book was first published in 1909, so it’s probably safe to assume that most of this slang was in use during the mid- to late-Victorian era. Potentially, some of these words and phrases were already obsolete by the time this dictionary was published.

I like going through this book and seeing if there are any expressions that I’d like to take up again. There is a lot of combing that you have to do to find really good ones (I think “basket of oranges” is very funny), but it’s also possible to find some slang terms that we still use today. Some notable ones located in the B section are “bad egg,” “to back down,” “to badger,” and “bark up the wrong tree.” A lot of those were originally American phrases, and they are still in use here. Also, If you look up “Tom,” it’s easy to see how we got tomboy. How cool is that!

Anyway, I just wanted to write up this quick little post to share something amazing with all of you. I hope you go through it and find something wonderful.

Stay bricky,

Raven

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice: Sweet-and-Sour Cucumber Salad

Hello, readers,

I’m excited for today’s recipe, which is a basic cucumber salad. I love cucumbers. They’re so refreshing and tasty, and I’ve never understood why anyone would want to ruin that by pickling them.
Cucumbers hold a special place in my heart for their prominence in the afternoon tea that lolitas so often enjoy. If you want to feature cucumbers as a snack or appetizer for a get-together, it might be worth it to dress them up a little so they don’t feel so plain next to the macarons.
I think the easiest way to make cucumbers a little more cute is to use cookie cutters.

I think I got fairly decent results for just using the cookie cutters I had. All of my cookie cutters were far too big for the cucumber I bought. Depending on what varieties of cucumber you have access to (or if you can get very small cookie cutters), you might have an easier time making shapes. Madiganmade (there’s a recipe for cucumber and radish appetizers on that blog, too) was able to get adorable flower shapes using a little cookie cutter, for example.

If you don’t have cookie cutters, you can always make cut and shape the cucumber slices with a knife.

I used these shaped cucumber slices for the recipe below. You could also use these cute-shaped cucumbers in whatever your favorite cucumber sandwich recipe is.

Sweet-and-Sour Cucumbers – Epicurious, via Popsugar

Here’s the recipe with my modifications:

Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers, sliced thinly and cut into shapes
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • (1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon) dried dill
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Pat cucumber slices dry with paper towel.
  2. For dressing, stir vinegar, dill, sugar, salt, and pepper in large bowl until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add cucumbers to dressing and toss/stir to blend.
  4. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours; serve cold.

I wasn’t sure if I had enough dressing for the cucumbers. About half of my slices were submerged when I stopped stirring/tossing, which meant that only half my slices had a chance to absorb the flavors. I tried to remedy this by pouring the dressing into the serving dishes as well, but I feel like that made the salad’s taste much stronger than intended. I still liked the overall result, though.

When I make this again, I’ll try and follow the original recipe’s instruction to slice the cucumbers thinly. I was pretty lazy when making slices, so they turned out much thicker than they could have. I would also like to use fresh dill, but I don’t feel like I can ever use fresh herbs quickly enough before they go to waste.

As always, let me know how this recipe turns out for you if you make it!

Stay bright,

Raven

If you dislike cucumbers or are allergic to them, then this obviously wasn’t the post for you. Sorry! In that case, I hope that you’ll like my next post more.