Watch out, Lacebook has competition! Lolita fashion specific social media has gone mobile with the addition of the new app, AliceHolic (check it on the App Store here). Connect with other lolitas from around the world inside this Japanese kawaii-only app.
The advantages over Instagram? No scrolling through pages upon pages of unrelated puppy or pink frappe pics; if you need instant fashion inspo this app has you covered like a direct dose of cuteness. Of all the social media where I curate my lolita fashion daydreams, from Pinterest to Tumblr to Facebook, I have to admit that this one is the easiest. Opening up your feed looks like this:
The app’s default language is Japanese, but a friend told me you can switch to English or Mandarin in the settings if you prefer (the gear icon, naturally). Each heart is an equivalent to an Instagram like or double-tap, and a star is a follow. You can view either a chronological feed of everyone’s latest updates or just the ones you choose to follow. The latest tech update now introduces the option of push notifications if you’re really into who’s hearting what. Unfortunately, it’s not available for Android platforms yet.
Do we really need another social media platform? Honestly, we probably don’t, but what’s the harm in enjoying a little lolita-specific free app and lacey graphics? And there’s the added bonus of meeting and oogling new lolitas that you haven’t seen yet from around the world, instead of the small pool of the already established lolita communities.
Now, if you really want to make a splash with your first post, consider checking out my guide on mobile photo editing for How to Have a Super Kawaii Instagram! Hmm… anyone up for a 2016 reboot of the cutest photo editing apps for your phone? I know I’ve got a slew of new ones to share!
My name is parfaitdollvictoria on AliceHolic, by the way! What’s yours? Make sure to heart and star me up!
Do you know what to do when you are having the worst day (week, month, year) ever? Do you swear by a morning routine, like coffee + Instagram + personal playlist? How do you psyche up, wind down or chill out? Do you ever wish there was, miraculously, a manual under your pillow with instructions on how to turn the machine that is your brain, body, and heart, on-again off-again? If so, you need to get on board with the latest in DIY mental health: self-care.
What Is Self-Care And Why Should I Do It?
Self-care means taking a mental or physical time out to collect and re-center yourself. When you’re having a stressful day at work and feel yourself spinning out, do you push yourself harder or wall off? If you were watching your friend have the same meltdown, wouldn’t your initial reaction be to wrap them in a blanket, get their favorite snacks and general soothing? The idea behind self-care is that you should do all these things for yourself, and that self-care is an important part of functioning. Putting yourself first once in a while, especially when life feels hard or stressful, will optimize your ability to function, make you healthier, and just dang feels good. Essentially, consider this your tool kit or instant-care goodie box to bandage yourself back up in case of trouble.
How To Use Self-Care Techniques
How do you know when you need self-care? Listening to your feelings and pinpointing them is important, but we’re not all good at knowing what we’re feeling all the time. The average person can tell when they feel “off”, but what do you need to pick yourself up?
Ask yourself these questions:
Am I feeling drained, fed up, anxious, burnt out, or unmotivated?
Am I having trouble concentrating or getting things done?
Did I just accomplish a big task?
Did I just experience a big change, either positive or negative?
Taking care of yourself is a necessary life skill. As an adult, there’s no parent to talk you out of tantrums or to soothe away hurt feelings and no-good, very bad days. Any kind of change, positive or negative, can require some self-care; and finishing a big project requires you to refill your “empty cup” so to speak. You might be able to rely on a partner or a friend to help out if you’re feeling stuck, but at the end of the day, it’s emotionally responsible to be able to care for yourself.
Self-Care for Sweet Lolitas and Other Pastel Cuties
Bake something adorable ✿ Write a gratitude list on pink stationery ✿ Make a cup of floral tea ✿ Let the light in by tying your curtains back with pink bows ✿ Give your stuffed animals personal attention (cute plushie pic) ✿ Hide under your softest Sanrio blankets and set a five-minute timer
Self-Care for Gothic Lolitas and Other Spookies
Mediate in a dark room (and here’s how to start) ✿ Listen to your spookiest music ✿ Try a gothic bath bomb (I like this one, but here’s a few others you might like for some Black Lagoon vibes) ✿ Start planning your Halloween costume(s) ✿ Stroll through a graveyard alone (bonus: take grave rubbings or photos) ✿ Light a few licorice candles (they’re on sale for Halloween! I love them any time of year, though.)
Self-Care for Classic Lolitas and Other Victorian Beauties
Visit a secondhand bookshop or library; hide in the stacks ✿ Collect flowers for pressing or cataloging (this book by Vanessa Diffenbaugh super inspired my love of floral language!) ✿ Learn ten words in a new language ✿ Watch a period film (maybe these?) ✿ Embroider anything ✿ Write a love letter to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, using your best penmanship
If you need some other fresh ideas or pick-me-ups, try my Pinterest self-care board! I’m pretty happy with my curated self-care collection, maybe you’ll find something you like there. I also really enjoyed the Tumblr Self-Care Zine!
I must admit I loved this idea of customized self-care from the ‘Self-Care for the Signs‘, so if you want to see how your star sign handles self-care, go check out this list!
This has been the summer of ice cream for me. Now that I’m fully recovered from my kidney transplant, my diet is now free to include as much dairy products as I can stomach. Drippy, melty, icy treats have been my poison of choice this season, and I decided to celebrate my birthday by ticking off my list of top New York ice creameries – starting with CoolMess on 62nd St. (Check out Time Out New York for a great guide to local ice cream shops if you want to get your cream on.)
CoolMess is a brightly colored escape from the heat with one key feature – make-your-own mix-in soft-serve done right at your table. We went with a rainbow-theme for our vanilla creation – gummy bears, strawberry slices and mini M&Ms – and a salted caramel vibe for the chocolate, featuring Heath Bar chunks, caramel sauce and whole chocolate-covered pretzels. The staff assists you with making your cool messipe, so it’s pretty foolproof. And if you’re really hungry, or just want to dip your fries in your frosty, you can order directly from their partner Burger Heaven downstairs.
This was my first time in a long time putting together a video for the website! Back in 2008, I used to have a very small Youtube channel called the Charm Channel, as partnered with the original incarnation of my blog, Lolita Charm. I’m working on updating my video game so I can start making on-location and in-studio videos for you all with lots of fun content. This is just a little taste to start! Let me know what kind of video content you’d like to see on Parfait Doll! The channel is also up and running if you’d like to subscribe.
Sprinkles, rainbows, and neon were key style points at CoolMess.
I chose to wear the ultimate ice-cream-theme dress for my party – Angelic Pretty’s iconic print Milky Planet. Even though it’s an older collection nowadays, the glitter, rainbows, and castles made out of ice cream cones are still one of my favorite looks. I recently heard the 2008 – 2012 period referred to as the Angelic Pretty ‘golden years’ and I have to say, I agree. Some of their best work was produced in the early days of print mania, and it’s not hard to see why they were the standard of lolita fashion particularly at the time.
Here’s to another great year of fashion and blogging! Thanks to all of my squad who came out to help me celebrate!
Today I want to hold up the social media triumph that is #squadgoals. Scrolling through my Instagram feed for fashion inspo, the weight of #squadgoals really hit me as I watched gang of cute girls after cute girls show off their stuff together. Who hasn’t see a killer picture of fashionable girls on theme – their perfection exponential with each member – and thought, ‘damn, I gotta get myself some cool friends like this!’ It’s all the fun of being your own imaginary girl band, street gang and babysitter’s club rolled into one.
The best part about #squadgoals is that it acknowledges that truly fly girls are two things: one, stronger together and two, bent on bringing their sisters up instead of down. Squads celebrate friendship and the amazing skills of your fellow girls rather than competition. There is no room for the ‘token female’ trope here, and no need to be the only girl in the room to protect your insecurities. The other girls don’t make you less fabulous; they reflect their fabulousness onto you. It is inclusive and celebratory.
Lolita twinning and the popular “Angelic Pretty clones” of the 2008 – 2012 years took this idea and ran with it. The social taboo of many sitcoms – the idea of another girl wearing the same dress, or a “who wore it better” face off that we see in fashion magazines still today – was flipped on its head. Why get upset that there’s now another cute girl wearing something you love? Screw competing, let’s be doubly cute and take adorable pictures together! Twinning gives you and your bestie, or a whole girl gang of them, a special bond. Twinning is even picking up in more mainstream pop culture, either coordinating to wear similar clothes with your girlfriends for more #squadgoals love or occasionally, twinning with your significant other.
The reason girls compete, according to feminist theory, is due to “tokenism” or sometimes called the Smurfette phenomenon. Media and male-oriented cultures and arenas have taught us there can be room for women – one, maybe. Check a few of these pop culture examples if you don’t believe me – or just see Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency video “The Smurfette Principle”. So while women make up 50% of the population, they’re not being represented that way. And when you think your spot as the only girl – ‘this town/club/video game isn’t big enough for the both us, cowgirl’ – is being threatened, suddenly it’s on you to prove why you’re a better candidate. It’s something that’s been taught to us until subconsciously ingrained. We witness it everywhere, from Hollywood films to comparison from our own friends, family and lovers. Pitting girls against each other can happen abstractly, such as a simple ‘you’re not like other girls‘ comment, or more blatantly, like guys rating women on a 1 – 10 scale.
Teaching yourself to view your fellow girls as inspiration and allies instead of enemies can take conscious effort. Whether you can feel your jealousy rearing up when you see a cute selfie on your Instagram feed or your insecure voices whispering to you – ‘you’ll never be that cute/successful/eyebrows on point’ – it can strike when you least expect it.
I love this mantra to discourage the innate urge to compete:
The solution to cool-girl-insecurity? Make friends with your local cool girl wildlife. Ask her how she does her eyebrows. Tell her you love those shoes. Also, she will probably tell you how she does her eyebrows and where she got those shoes. Cool girl tutorials, makeup guru videos and book-of-shadows shopping-tip swapping-realness? Uh, yes please. When you foster girl connection instead of girl competition, everyone wins. You get new friends, amazing squad super powers, and killer eyebrows.
#Squadgoals is the magic we need, if we let it. Let the squad love in, ladies. I promise you’ll be glad you did.
This is the year I turned twenty-seven. If you asked me when I started this blog in 2008 what it would be like to hit the late-20s stretch, I’m sure you’d hear a host of foreign ideas of what it means to be thoroughly out of the college years. It reminds me of LeAnn Rime’s “Something’s Gotta Give” song – “Jenny’s got a job, a cat named Jake, and thirty-one candles on a birthday cake – next year”. According to LeAnn, she thought by now she’d have a man, two car seats and a minivan, but it still ain’t here. I think for everyone in my generation, we’re re-evaluating what the late twenties and early thirties means to us. I know a lot of little girls thought thirty – so far away when you’re eight or nine – would look something like the Barbie Dreamhouse (I’m still hope-chest collecting for my future pink kitchen, but I digress). For me, my late twenties still looks shockingly pink, but with a few notable exceptions. I still live at home, like a lot of my contemporaries. After a few hard years trapped in my own princess-tower of chronic illness and kidney failure, I’m suddenly experiencing the door thrown open. At twenty-seven, I finally feel like I’m being told to fly. Cautiously, maybe, but fly all the same.
With that in mind, I feel like a few years of my life are missing. It’s hard to believe I’ve stacked up to twenty-seven when really, I still feel about fifteen inside. That’s probably why even at this age, my birthday still makes me think about Sailor Moon.
Sailor Moon and I have shared a birthday since her inception by Naoko Takeuchi. She’s the same astrological symbol as me: a Cancer-crab born under the ruling planet of the Moon. She’s always been a heroine whose key point is her relate-able immaturity. When confronted with worry, she’d rather snack; when she comes across something sad or feels overwhelmed, she cries. Her fellow Sailor Scouts are often frustrated with her innocence and want her to buck up and buckle down. She’s a hero, but at the same time, she’s also an ordinary girl who somehow rises to extraordinary circumstances. It’s not that she is a hero in spite of her insecurities and weaknesses; she’s a hero because of them. Her emotions are what make her strong. Those weepy, watery, sensitive moon-feelings that often threaten to overtake her are also her strongest gift.
In a recent article, TIME magazine spoke about the millenial concept of ‘adulting’. They blame the millenials’ trouble with adulting on a lack of home-economic classes, which have led us to post pretty pathetic tweets about burning spaghetti or making your own doctor’s appointments. (I guess cooking classes and phone courtesy skills are no longer in vogue?) On the other hand, the public’s fascination with coloring books, superheroes and reclaiming the nostalgia of childhood is at an all-time high. We’re drinking Ecto-Coolers in the summer heat and prepping for a new generation of Pokemon with consoles jerry-rigged from our smartphones.
As I get older, I’m piecing together the precious things from my childhood that are worth keeping side by side with my skills in “adulting”. There is value in a certain kind of innocence. Lolita fashion in particular has always been about valuing that innocence, an interpretation of the word that doesn’t mean ‘stupid’ or ‘inexperienced’ or ‘naive’ but connotates having seen it all and still chosing to remain unbroken. It’s about appreciating the things that make innocence resilient, and the wisdom of keeping traits that adulthood might be quick to throw away. Maybe we all have a little Peter Pan complex, even as we get inevitably older.
I have no idea what aging will entail until I get to the other side of it. My grandmother always said, “Don’t get old, Vicky”, at the staggering age of ninety-nine. I suppose she would know exactly what aging entails. But I also know that as long as I keep cherishing the parts of myself forged in youth that made me strong – the resilience, the faith, and the spirit – that I can be okay with my added years. Like Sailor Moon, hero of my seven-year-old self, I can still rise to the occasion with my innocence as my greatest strength.
I have never missed a Lolita Day since I began celebrating it in 2007. Even when that meant making cupcakes alone in my lolita garb as a high schooler, I found a small way to make sure the lolita spirit got its chance to breathe, at least twice a year on the first Saturdays of June and December. Lolita Day, the lore says, was established over a decade ago to give lolitas of the world (hence, International, or ILD for short) a day of celebration of their fashion and world. What began as simple teas or even just a chance to dress up has blossomed into lavish tea parties and gigantic meetups across dozens of countries.
This International Lolita Day, another steamy one on the streets of New York for me, was special to me for another reason. This was the first lolita meetup I attempted since my hospitalization a little over a month ago, when I was given an amazing gift. To read more about my story of organ donation from my wonderful love, click here! (And hey, psst, become an organ donor :)
I was a little scared, to be honest. I wasn’t sure my new body was up for the challenge of super humid subways and the heavy restriction of petticoats and skirts. But my new motto is that fear should motivate me, not detain me. If I’m scared, I must be going in the right direction.
I was not disappointed. I had a simple and elegant brunch with my fellow lolitas in a quiet ceremony at the seasonal restaurant, Park Avenue South Summer. Park Avenue Summer – as it will be called until the autumn hits us – changes its menu, decor and name for every passing season. This weekend was the first summer brunch, and the restaurant is decked out with jungle greenery and casts of tortoise shells, a fresh Bellini bar and chandeliers of seashells.
My favorite part of the meal – a dish of smoked salmon and creamy pasta bucatini with some kind of spritely green roe. Also, this is the kind of restaurant that thinks fresh cinnamon rolls for the table is a great starter – clearly the kind of place to frequent!
Can we say theme commitment? This deer bag charm is the perfect companion to Mary Alice’s Innocent World fawn-themed coordinate.
After brunch, I went to the park with my boyfriend for a few outfit shots before the rain came. I’m most pleased with my favorite new DreamV straw hat in this outfit!
Outfit credits: Dress, wristlets, Baby the Stars Shine Bright; blouse & hat, DreamV; purse, Liz Lisa; floral brooch by Bii Curly; socks and shoes, offbrand
It’s cherry blossom season. For weeks I have avidly been watching the sakura tenkyou, the forecast of blooms, waiting for that single weekend that signifies the beginning of life again. The pink clouds that mark the earth like lace. It’s been a hard winter, but it finally feels like we have made it to the other side.
It hasn’t been easy to keep up with updates on my Hello Kidney fanpage. I’m not sure what to say, when I have no sunny, upbeat news to report. Most of my struggle in the past two years has been silent. Even when I’m out with my friends, I’ve tried my best to hide my pain. I’m from old New England stock. We are stiff-upper-lip types.
The only person who really knows what I deal with on a daily basis is my boyfriend, Paul. They say love is made up of 50% vulnerability and 50% authenticity, and in this recipe, there is nowhere to hide. He has seen every muscle spasm, every struggled step, and every bad day. He has half-carried me up the stairs and been my support when I am too stubborn to give up. He has slept in a chair with me in the hospital during a blizzard and stayed awake when I couldn’t any longer. He has gotten me medicine when I wake up in the night, crying with pain. Every day he amazes me with his strength and loyalty and unwavering faith.
He’s my hero. And now, he’s going to be my kidney donor.
Fate is a funny thing. It takes so many coincidences to get two people to occupy the same space after they were born and raised worlds apart, that you start to wonder if coincidences even exist. I met Paul eight months ago. To be sappy and blunt, it really was love at first sight. It’s like a little voice said to me, “OH, there you are” and I could really breathe for the first time.
In the following months, my health slowly began to decline. My heart was a strong as ever, but the things we used to love to do together – aquariums, parks, city walks – became harder and harder. There were more and more sick days, long weekends on the couch watching movies. And then, right before Christmas, Paul told me he had the donor form all filled out.
I was amazed he would even volunteer. It takes a lot of guts and love to even offer. We both tried not to get our hopes up as the system slowly unfolded its bureaucratic machine of testing and insurance and paperwork. Meanwhile, I was slowly fading. With each passing day new pain arose. I surrendered more and more things to my disease. High heels, for example. Cheese, for another. Meetups with friends.
Then, after many hospital visits and false starts and “not promising anything”s, we got something concrete. Paul is a match. And we have a date to share an operating room – April 28th.
I still have further procedures to undergo to prep my body for accepting the transplant, including other minor surgeries and transfusions. My first surgery is April 21st and my treatments begin the following Monday. On that Thursday, God willing, they will very carefully take one of Paul’s healthy kidneys and connect it to my veins and arteries.
The cherry blossoms have struggled this year against the sudden onslaught of cold snow. We did, too, with each pitfall and obstacle. The dream we wanted so badly – the ordinary life of parking tickets, grocery store runs, and studio apartments – was so far out of reach. We kept praying and hoping. There is no magic bullet. I will always be disabled. It may be we have only bought a slice of our dream.
But for now, we have this chance. We’ve always had to believe we were the exception to the odds.
This is the truth.
Fairytales do happen.
We’d also like to thank everyone who has supported us during this hard time, and everyone who volunteered to get tested or submitted crossmatch samples. We wouldn’t be here today without everyone’s prayers and wishes, and we appreciate every last one. There is no such thing as a wasted prayer, and I know we have felt each tiny ray of light from every good thought. We especially appreciate our friends, who have supported us as a family would.
Please continue to wish us well on April 28th! I or a family member will let everyone know when we are both safely on the other side. And yes, for those of you playing at home, the family joke is that I will now be 5% Korean ;D
Victoria Suzanne & Paul
Deer me! It’s time for another weekly blog update. I posted a few teasers of this outfit already on my Instagram @victoriasuzanne – it even got picked up by Gothic Lolita Wigs for a repost due to featuring their pretty Classic Wavy mint wig!
After styling a cute casual princess look based around Sanrio’s Hummingmint character for Sanrio.com, I got inspired by the little deer. Florals and mint and roses are perfect for chasing away all this winter. With springtime coming, I thought bringing a lolita version of Hummingmint to life would be an adorable sweet lolita look.
I’m not sure my spring-invoking method worked, though, cause we got hit with a fresh round of snow early that morning.
Sweet lolita has its moments of pure cotton-candy-land fairytale – the bright, loud looks that just inspire sugary daydreams. This dress, Angelic Pretty’s Happy Garden print, is one of the latter – a strawberry lemonade pink sky showing a field of rainbow Easter bunnies in bright green clover. It’s perfect if you’re planning on hanging out with your local mall Easter bunny. I paired mine with a mint spiral wig and some tall pink bunny ears. I love the opportunity to go all-out with full on fantasy style coordinates.
Blouse, badge: Kokokim; Jumperskirt, rabbit head pass case: Angelic Pretty; socks, shoes, bow: offbrand
I’ve been wearing these heart-strap shoes for a while now and love how delicate and dainty they look, but I also love that they are so comfortable! Lolita shoes can really be a struggle depending on your foot needs and the style you want – I prefer something a little less bubble-toed than the average style. These would be another great addition to my collection!
For me, no outfit shot seems to be complete without a tasty food review! Hey, sweet lolitas gotta sweet, right? The Flour Garden Bakery in Connecticut had an amazing display of beautiful traditional Easter sweets, everything from cupcakes to sugar cookies and Easter egg cakes. I got a platter of assorted cookies to take to my family’s holiday dinner, and a little treat for the photographer and myself – mini caramel cheesecake and buttercream bunny cupcakes.
That pink sugar bunny and malted pearl totally got to my heart! What’s your favorite springtime dessert? I am so sad I missed the cherry blossom frappuccino at Starbucks – anyone got a copycat recipe?
I have always been a Disney girl since I was small (wasn’t everyone when they were little?), but it’s something that has only blossomed with age. The cute characters and movies I loved as a kid, I appreciate more now for their stunning watercolored backgrounds and concept art sketches. Here in America, Disney princess products are still relegated to kids’ toothbrushes and backpacks, but in Japan, the niche market of Disney adult fans creates delicate, feminine merch. No velcro sneakers here – think gilded wallets or charm bracelets honoring Belle, Rapunzel, and Ariel. Check the Disney Japan webshop if you want to drool along with me!
My biggest obsession is that my favorite lolita brand, Angelic Pretty, has teamed up with Disney to create several beautiful lolita dresses. At this last International Lolita Day, I wore my first Disney x Angelic Pretty piece, which features soft renditions of Disney princesses in snowglobes, topped with a huge lavender bow.
This latest release is themed around everyone’s favorite princessy white kitten from the 70s’ film The Aristocats. Marie lives a pampered French life set in the Victorian period, and this dress shows her favorite things in the pattern like roses, hair combs, butterflies and perfume bottles.
I decided to put together a cute and fluffy coordinate for Marie’s new onepiece. The outer layer shows off her white fur, with a soft pink wig and silky bows set against sweets-themed Triple Fortune cat ears. And then, naturally, we went out to tea.
If you’re looking for a quaint neighborhood to explore in western Connecticut, consider an afternoon in downtown Seymour. Only a couple blocks wide and easily walkable, the town has a collection of consignment and antique shops framed by a tea parlor (Tea with Tracy) on one side and a cupcakery (Wildflour Cupcakes) on the other. We went to both!
While Tea with Tracy certainly has the cutest decor and a very large tea menu, we found the actual food items to be small and pricey. I’d loved to revamp their idea of cucumber with mint cream cheese into a heartier black-and-white sandwich stuffed with sprouts, and their butternut squash soup was sadly a bit one-note. I always add curry to mine! Though my photographer will attest that the toasted marshmallow hot cocoa really did taste like toasted marshmallow, at least in a sort of Jelly-Belly flavored way.
As for Wildflour confections, we picked up a box of take-home cupcakes from their selection, sporting everything from juicy maraschino cherries to sparkly Easter peeps. The only downside is, I wasn’t fast enough to eat any myself – the family got to them first! Still, they had an adorable interior if you wanted a cozy place to meet up with friends or dare I say, take a few photos… (If it was possible to hide a couch in your purse, trust me, I totally would have.)
Where are your favorite places to have tea in your neighborhood? Is there some secret recipe to make a great teahouse? Out of all the ones I’ve tried so far, I’m still on the hunt!