5 Lessons I Learned at Rufflecon

ruffleconheaderThis was my second year attending the American alternative fashion conference Rufflecon in Stamford, Connecticut! (The second year since the convention’s conception, as well, so consider me officially OG as an attendee now.) Every year is different than the last, and I can’t wait for next year to do things a little different. Class is in session – the five lessons I learned in a hectic ruffle-filled weekend.


I was so focused on not forgetting something serious, like my wig, that I really only packed a few bows and rings for accessories. I came down for breakfast in only one hair bow and a single ring, saw everyone and turned right around, went back upstairs and pinned on a few more bows. Then I hit the Marketplace, which is stuffed with accessories and dress dealers, to flesh out my outfit a little more. By the time I left, I had even gotten a pair of cat ears that looked and smelled like vanilla sponge cake from Triple Fortune. But hey, they matched! If you still want your brand fix, the consignment room is also full of things to blow your wallet on. I barely trusted myself to look through the racks, there was so much to see. Consider it a pop-up Closet Child. On the other hand, if you’re not sure what to bring, just bring a variety of your favorites. Sometimes inspiration strikes at the last minute, and anything you didn’t bring you can probably purchase. 


And pee. And drink water. And other things you need to do to survive. You will get too busy and excited and want to schedule yourself for the bonnet workshop and the Victorian cocktails panel and the fashion show all at once. You will suddenly realize it is six hours later and you’ve been subsisting on a soy latte. Do not do this. If you’re hungry or running on caffeine, two things will happen: you will be cranky irl and not cute in pictures if you’d rather cannibalize the photographer. (Ohhhhh sounds like experience talking, hmmmm…)


The handmade contest is a beautiful bloodbath. We have some amazing talent in the Lolita world. The concepts alone were crazy beautiful and execution was spot on. For everyone who says brand is the only way – so not true. Even within brand, there is a huge upswing of DIY super powers lately for accessories, customization and creativity. I saw one girl in misty sky carrying a HANDMADE CLOUD that rained CRYSTAL CHANDELIER drops; I saw another with a light up rose scepter and so many others in intricately made handmade coordinates that could stand up to any brand look. Let it be known that the days of disparaged handmade are OVER, people.


I know it is only 11pm and everyone is in full-on party mode. I know that #rufflerekt become a very real thing for guests and staffers alike as alternative fashion rolled Fashion Week, every crazy karaoke meetup and sorority rush into only three days. But the best decision I made sometimes was to back away slowly from the partying and go to bed, dang it. I know that it seems like a great idea at late night, but come Sunday morning all but the superhuman (…and, there were a lot of you… HOW) can get up hung over at seven AM, pile on another four petticoats and manage to still look killer for the high tea. Wicked respect to those who did this; sanity check for the rest of us.


Your face will hurt from smiling at how cute everyone is. This convention felt more like a huge family reunion to me than any old typical media con. Everywhere I turned was someone I knew or wanted to get to know, and the hardest part was not being able to really invest my time into everything and everyone. Everyone was friendly and complimenting the amazing coordinates of all styles – the passion and effort for the fashion radiated from every attendee. It’s just a great feeling of camaraderie – when you put on your ruffles, the immediate world smiles rather than frowns. Even the hotel staff at brunch one day said to me, “We love having your event here. Everyone looks really beautiful and creative, and it’s incredible to see.” It was essentially the largest meetup I had ever attended.

After I left the convention, I grabbed dinner with my boyfriend in a simple KoKoKim dress – feeling under dressed for me, after a long weekend of princess clothes. Something felt different. Suddenly I turned to him and said, “We’re not at the convention anymore. Everyone is dressed normal and they’re back to staring at me.” The world Rufflecon created had dissolved back into dream. Welcome back from wonderland, Alice.

I can’t wait to fall back through the rabbit hole again next year.


You will not take enough pictures. Always take more pictures than you think you can possibly need; it will not be enough.

The Significance of Dining Alone



Truth: I am twenty-six years old and I am still a little nervous about eating alone. I have to psych myself up. I try to bring a book, or a sketchbook, or some blog notes. I really try not to just get absorbed in my Facebook feed or self-soothe with texts, who are basically my imaginary friends when it comes to dining alone. I self-talk: “Lots of people eat alone. It doesn’t mean I’m lonely. Maybe my friends are just busy today. Maybe I’m going somewhere important. It’s okay to say table for just one.”

Why does it feel so taboo to eat alone as a woman? Why do I need girlfriends or a date to try that new restaurant or pick up a bite mid afternoon? Is it cultural or a glass of social anxiety served neat? I’ve talked about how to be alone before (and also, how to take yourself out on dates), but things get particularly sticky when you introduce the menu of insecurities women can develop around food.

It took me a long time to identify the problem. I always knew I felt strange out alone in public, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. When I read SARK in my early twenties, it clicked into place. SARK says there are women who are convinced that going out alone makes them look sad, or needy, or that they feel sad or needy if they’re not fulfilling the idea of going out in a social capacity. She imagines a rich world of women able to spend time alone. Here’s an excerpt from her book, Succulent Wild Women.


So I knew there were other options to just waiting for the phone to ring or sitting at home waiting for an invitation on a Friday night. I just had to be bold enough to stop being what SARK calls ‘captive women’ and hurdle over the awkwardness of being alone in public, particularly the beast that is dining alone.

Dare: How did I get through this? I practiced. I started stopping in to places for takeout, or gas stations for candy bars, or drugstores for packs of gum. Then I graduated to lunches at diners and delis, then drinks at my favorite bar and grille. I still haven’t mastered the ultimate alone-date – a three-course, white-table cloth dinner with dessert – but I’m getting there. And once I started eating alone, I felt the world open up. I could go anywhere. I could take the train alone, the subway, walk in the park with no one but my shadow and a box of paints.



My personal pleasure is shopping alone. Recently I had time to kill between a meetup and meeting my boyfriend for dinner, and wandered into the beading and rhinestone district near Koreatown – a block of trim and crystal warehouses, more rhinestones than I had ever seen in my life. I walked around with my jaw to my knees, running my fingers through buckets of beads and pom pom fringe. No one told me to hurry up, no one was bored, no one said it was stupid to spend twenty dollars on flatback crystals.

Anna Kendrick and Gloria Steinem team up to illustrate this phenomenom via Kate Spade’s MissAdventure series. The awkwardness practically radiates off the screen, but at the same time, I think we all envy the two ladies a little. They might be breaking all the rules of social niceties, that ‘nice girls don’t’, but golly it looks like fun.

The Backpacker and the Ballgown


Chelsea Peng for Marie Claire wearing Christian Siriano at a convenience store

This morning I read two articles that popped across my newsfeed – perfectly contrasted, but talking about the same thing. In one article, a woman takes the social experiment-meets-journalistic challenge (How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days vibe on strong) to wear a drapey, full-trained red carpet gown for one week of her real life. Dressed in a high end labeled gown, a heavy and textured Pantone emerald that prompts many people to call her ‘mermaid’, the author goes through her daily motions of convenience stores, project meetings and subway rides. She writes that the dress sets her apart, makes her otherworldly to the people around her. Like the girls in perfume ads, they assume she is off to better things and bigger parties. She’s ghosting through the real world is a strange combination of dream like appreciation and gawking. Sometimes she’s complimented; sometimes she’s crazy, snapchatted by twittering tweens.

On the flip side, the other author abandons the trapping of New York hipsturbia street fashion to go backpacking through the wilds of South America. She gives up designer sandals and rose gold knuckle rings and Urban Outfitter concoctions of macrame lace. Sitting at the airport next to a woman with a silk scarf and Hermes bag, she feels practically naked in her unadornment. The drabness feels tangible, as if she has left behind parts of her own body. But quickly she learns she doesn’t need these things that had felt like phantom limbs. She would rather ditch the pretty for the practical, fashion that enables her to walk further and climb higher. Her clothes are less about what they look like and more about what they can do for her. The made-up selfies in false lash and blow dried hair feel like another person to her.

To some extent, fashion, and tied irrevocably with it, gender, is performance. While we like to think we were the clothes, it often feels like the clothes are wearing us. To me, I see this stark contrast in my own life on a constant fashion seesaw. There is Makeup-Free Me, who will probably get ignored at the drugstore; there is Glossy First Date Me, who strangers will compliment on the street; there is Lolita Me, a fairy princess come to visit the Earthlings, both equally marveled and scoffed over. They are all Me, but in different pieces and parts, and how I want to interact with the world based on my appearance and the results I want.


Winter selfie #1 in cute Liz Lisa and summer selfie #2 in “conventional” style – Yes of course I have selfies for both dates, for posterity. Wearing Liz Lisa in Selfie #1 and Kohl’s Lauren Conrad Cinderella collection in Selfie #2

Recently, I had a funny experience. I went on a first date several months ago. It was winter, and my modus operandi was a combination of a million thinly disguised Japanese heat performance layers and teeny fluttery chiffon Liz Lisa dresses. Usually I combined these with some kind of fluffy scarf or thick white fur; the look was very fresh-faced and blushing, Snow White in Tokyo. I thought I looked pretty cute. Apparently my date didn’t agree. Upon meeting, he immediately noted how ‘uh, different…’ I looked from everyone else, and it was clear my standing out made him uncomfortable, as he kept bringing it up in a hedging sort of way. Even louder was his body language; he walked ahead of me, barely talking, not waiting for me to catch up as he speed-walked through the museum he’d picked. Halfway through the date, he decided he had to split – naturally, he got called into work at the financial office on a Sunday afternoon. I bought my own fast-food dinner and went home with nothing but blisters to show for my troubles.

Fast-forward several months and several dozen degrees on the thermometer. My summer style is a little more conventional – while I’m still rooting for chiffons and florals, the look is much more resort and beachy when I can finally let my skin out into the open air. After a date, I post a selfie, feeling pretty proud of my makeup and hair work. Who should pop out of the woodwork after complete radio silence for months but Mr. Sunday Afternoon at the Office, gushing to tell me how I had suddenly ‘got hot’ and if he could take me out. Eyebrows raised past the troposphere, I replied rather dryly that I was pretty sure I had always been ‘hot’. Apparently a little thicker eyeliner and a touch more skin is all it took to turn me from the kind of girl you dump halfway through a date without dinner to the sexy fantasy of your dreams you want to buy a million cocktails for. When I called him on it, the back pedaling was blatant. It’s reasons like this they’ve invented the unfriend button.

So, what do all these things have in common? Fashion is always considered the highest art because you live your life in it. Fashion changes who you are. Whether you are cringing at your seventh grade year book picture (brocade… Cat… Vests… Anyone? Or was that just my unfortunate childhood?) or running your fingers over the ten foot train of your wedding gown, our life is lived in moments defined by fashion. That dress you wore constantly the summer before college. The old sweater your boyfriend gave you. The shoes that pinched in church as a child. Clothes define a time, a place, a moment. They can become part of you, the way a wedding ring of forty years does. You can even let them eat you alive.

Sometimes it seems like lolita is one of those that will envelope you. The voice of lolita is a loud personality, it is Charlotte Lebeouf raring to get back into the fray. Wearing lolita is a little like wearing the red carpet gown on the subway. It invokes a princess part of yourself and to the people around you, that’s what you become. Stripping out of the petticoats and washing off the heavy glue and glitter at the end of the day begins to feel like absolution. I start to feel like I’m leading a double life when I wake up the next day, barefaced and hair ratty from being pressed under my wig. Like the backpacker, I wonder what it would feel like to amputate it all away. Even my body modifications speak to who I costume myself to be – the bottle blonde with roots, the nails glued with a thick crust of rhinestones. (Yes, I’ve tried it – just not for consecutive months of my life). I have days where I wear yoga pants and t-shirts. I do own frumpy shorts and an often misplaced pair of hiking-ish boots. The clothes are not who I am. But in wearing them, I choose who I want to look like I am to the world.

Lately the news is also abuzz with gender and race debate. In a short video, Ruby Rose strips off every shred of femininity to transform into what is effectively a dashing young man. We’ve seen men become women, women become men, and some people who decide they don’t have to ‘pick a side’ if they don’t want to. Little by little the old rules are fading away as we ask ourselves what and why and who we want to be. Diversity in fashion is also diversity in representation. What the heck does gender mean anyway, or how much of race to someone biracial is presentation rather than guts and genes?

As usual, I really don’t have the answers. Every single street snap is someone searching to figure out this mysterious question with us, how it makes us who we are. As for me, I’ll be riding the subway in my Japanese rose patterned miniature ballgown. I promise, even though we look like we’re from different planets, I’m appreciating that boho fringe top you’re rocking too. Try not to creeper snap me too hard, okay?

Roomspiration: My Princess Bed Canopy


 photo by Darwin Chan

It’s clearly nesting season for me – I spend way too much time looking at decor ideas and coming up with more ways to bring sweet pastel style into my space. Making my bed the perfect centerpiece has been a long obsession – finding the right bedding and sheets, and adding just the right knick-knacks to the headboard. All of the decor pictured a flowing jellyfish-like netting – check out some of my favorite examples!


I ordered this canopy off Amazon, and I had another much flimsier one I had ordered a while back off eBay. Layering the two together gave me extra volume and movement in the netting.

I knew I would need to decorate it to give it more of that princess flavor I wanted. A big bow was the answer, so I dug through my collection of bits and bobs. After nearly nine years (!!!) of dressing in lolita I’ve collected random appendages of brand – stationary, stickers, key chains and giveaways. In this case I found an old pair of waist-ties that no longer match a dress, trimmed with Angelic Pretty lace. I used some washi tape pink crochet lace to add some definition and made it into a bow with a little hand-stitching. I’m still thinking of adding some white fairy lights or faux roses to add more fairy-tale style. Here’s another picture of the canopy at night, with the lamp in the center on.


If you don’t want to purchase a canopy, you can try making your own with one of these tutorials. I found it was just easier to purchase one and then start decorating, but the handier among you may prefer to go DIY. Try experimenting with different shapes, pinnings, fabric and dowels or cord.

I’m also slowly adding to my wall gallery – besides the usual Angelic Pretty magazine pages, I’ve included a few of my Instagrams as Polaroids (loved this tutorial from Wonder Forest!) and two of my vision boards. I’ll be talking more about that as my gallery grows! What sort of lolita decor have you been working on lately?

P.S. – Wearing: Everything Liz Lisa!

5 Best Books for Chronic Cuties


After my last few discussions on chronic illness, I decided to compile a list of my top five reads for those dealing with chronic illness or other invisible conditions. Whether you’re going through a tough time and need an emotional foothold or struggling with physical challenges or even just need some inspiration, these books have lifted me up time and again.

The Art of Healing by Bernie S. Siegal, M.D.

Bernie Siegal is a medical doctor unique in the respect that he believes in a lot more mind-body connection than most typical doctors can stomach. In this book, he discusses how positive thinking, art therapy and visualization can help heal and diagnose patients. At first I was pretty skeptical about some of his positivity ideas, but I’d rather give them a shot than not and found them to be quite helpful in coping with medical procedures.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

Not only do I love the bright pictures – a common theme for me – but I enjoyed reading more about her ideas of positivity and how they contrast with Dr. Siegal’s. This book may not be for everyone – definitely a little New Age – but worth a try if you’re handling chronic illness.


Succulent Wild Woman by Sark

This book is probably my favorite of all of these listed. It’s hand-drawn and doodled through out with tiny faces and illustrations and encourages you to do the same. Distinctly feminist and self-loving, this book is great for both the physically ill and just those who need a self-esteem boost. I would not be who I am today without these crazy life lessons. She also encourages lots of journaling, which I am a big advocate of.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

More down-to-earth and based in my stomping grounds of New York, the author takes on a year’s project to discover how to simply be happier. While it’s an entertaining read, it’s also got plenty of tips and tricks to try to be happier and less stressed in your own life, and how to appreciate the small beauties of daily living.


The Dance of Connection by Harriet Lerner

While the other books in this list are about being happier with your body and yourself, this book is about communicating better with your friends, family and partner. Chronic illness and invisible illness both can take a toll on your personal relationships and how you relate in the midst of sickness, pain, and all the trials that come with it. This book has been great for reevaluating how to speak with people and work on the situations you care about. In illness especially, you need your support system working, and this book can be the oil on its joints.

For other chronic cuties out there, do you have a favorite book that has helped you with learning to cope with your chronic or invisible illness, or just the ups and downs of life in general?



Etsy Spotlight: Deedee’s Adorable Smartphone Cases

headermelodycaseDecoden, the art of decorating cellphone cases (decorate + denwa, the word for phone, gives us the portmanteau word ‘decoden’) has grown and evolved since a few years ago. Clam shell style phones have given way to the flat glass of smart phones, and seen its share of trends from slim and streamlined to bulky status symbols. While I prefer a slim and sturdy style of phone case for every day use – currently I favor a hard back Angelic Pretty case with a Daydream Carnival motif! – there are some decoden that I’d make an exception for. The phone case started out as functional, but it’s now a full-fledged fashion accessory.


This Etsy shop, Deedeegoods, is kawaii on a whole other level. Update from basic to alpha with these cases – perfect for showing off at conventions or big meetups. Full diorama scenes and sculptures decorate your cell in a way reminiscent of the scenes displayed in Marie Antoinette’s hair! Choose from Hello Kitty, My Melody, or any other custom character of your choice – she makes all of her designs by hand in Malaysia.

If you’re finding these creations a little pricey, she also makes custom phone charms for a more affordable price. Cookies and ice cream are paired with soft puffs of fur and dangling crystals.

I’d love to snap up one of these masterpieces to dress up my phone for special events, or add one of her dust plug charms to a simpler case for every day princess style. Who’s your favorite character for decoden and phone accessories? Do you think you could coordinate one of these extravagant designs?


Late Winter Lazy Chic


Fashion is stagnating hard for me at this time of year. The joys of winter style we cherished in November and December, like deeply textured sweaters and white fur have grown a little stale. The cold has hardened and my favorite coats have had to be traded in for shit-hit-the-fan minus five wind chill down jackets. The department stores are pushing spring break bikinis and Easter dresses that I can only buy and stare at in my closet while another six inches of snow piles up outside. The urge to dress cute is there, but muffled under too-worn thermals and the same three sweaters I’ve been inhabiting for weeks.

The best way I’ve found to get out of this fashion doldrums between February and April is to have a mini refresher course. I’ve found these items – still soft, loose and slouchy, but fresh and ready for spring transitional months – to be paired with your every day leggings and thick tights to make three cute and lazy princess outfits, perfect for at home or errands out. I’ve also included a few of my pinspirations – I’ve been in a pin-frenzy stuck inside!

lazyspring1via Liz Lisa and Mermaidens

Here I liked the boxy coats in various soft, nubbly textures. They reminds me of Novala Takemoto’s poem ‘As For Young Ladies Early Spring Coats’, and maintains the casual style of winter’s overstayed welcome.



Here, dusty pinks and mink colored accessories play with fluffy sweaters and scarves. Wearing scarves as accessories when you’re indoors feels like hiding out in bed. Treat it like a large woven necklace to compliment your coordinate. (Just make sure to skip the denim shorts – it’s definitely not weather for that yet!)



Cherry sweater ☆ Nutella Milk sweater ☆ Strawberry tee

Here’s three soft-and-slouchy styles with cute appeal. Layer these with some camis or UNIQLO Heattech, a kind of undershirt guaranteed to keep you warm. I survived many New York City below-freezing days by adding these soft tees underneath my lolita blouses and dresses and casual princess clothing instead of bulking up.


 My Melody Women’s Knit Hat ☆ On Wednesdays We Wear Pink Knit Hat ☆ TOKYO American Apparel Hat

These cute beanies top off a staticky hairdo and complete your lazy-cute ensemble whether you’re on the streets or hanging around inside. I find hats also make great toppers for wigs – big or unnatural hair seems more believable when paired with an accessory. (Wigs will keep you a little warmer, too, as well as hide winter roots or dry fly aways.)

Winter may seem like it will drag on forever – the new year feels like always winter and never Christmas – but these soft and cozy clothes and a few pairs of trusty leggings can carry you cute into the spring. Wrap up in these scarves and beanies and sweaters while you can – you’ll be out of this cocoon soon enough ♥




How to Be Alone on Valentine’s Day

valentine'sheaderI have no plans this Valentine’s Day. Zip. Still in recovery, single, and unwilling to pick out a bargain basement date from the pools of online dating, I did a little online research about what to do as a single girl on Valentine’s Day. Most of the ideas summed up as ‘get drunk with your other female friends, decrying the evils of the Hallmark companies and throw yourself an anti-Valentine’s Day party’. Singles’ Awareness Day, as it was dubbed, seemed to be growing bitterly stronger than even the designer dark chocolate rack.

But here’s the thing – I don’t want to hate you, Valentine’s Day. For me, Valentine’s Day is glitter and pink and school-age mass-produced Disney cards, doilies and cupcakes with heart-shaped sprinkles. It is cheesy stuffed animals and conversation hearts and the appreciating the friends and family you already have who love you. By trial and error, what I’ve learned is that if you want to enjoy your Valentine’s Day, don’t expect anyone else to magically read your mind. Design your own day, or plan something you can do for others. You do not need any girlfriends’ parties, sort-of balding dudes at sticky bars, or questionable blind dates. Here are ten ways to spend Valentine’s Day alone, just you. ♥


1. Eat heart-shaped food. Food is always better heart-shaped. Even if you’re cooking for one, celebrate the day with heart-shaped avocado, carrots, eggs and more. Search Pinterest for tons more ideas on foods that you can shape like hearts. Cute food is a great pick-me-up any time of year! This guy has made a beautiful Valentine from something more unusual – meatloaf and creamy mashed potatoes. 

2. Playlist a series of Valentine’s-themed episodes of your favorite TV series. Last night I went with Orange is the New Black’s ‘And You Also Have a Pizza‘. Because in love, at the end of the day, you should at least have pizza. (And yes I ate leftover pizza topped with avocado while I watched it. There’s nothing like dedication to a theme.)

3. Host your own pajama party. Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year, so buy yourself some fancy and fluffy pajamas the day before and spend the day in them snuggled up in soft covers. This pairs well with idea #2 and for us New Englanders at least, the impending snowstorm. Check Forever21 for some adorable pajama selections right now!


4. Make Valentine’s cards. Whether they’re for your gals or just people you’d like to appreciate right now, everybody likes getting mail. I used some pink twine and washi tape to string mine across the mantle piece. If you prefer, you can also spend V-Day posting dozens of artfully curated digital Valentine’s on your friends’ Facebook walls, too. Galentine’s Today (today!) is another great choice for showering your friends in social media love notes about how they are more beautiful than Cinderella, they smell like pine needles and their face is like sunshine.

5. Buy a box of classic little-kids’ branded Valentines like Disney or Barbie. Write encouraging notes or positive sentiments on them and hide them around your work, campus or daily life for other people to find. Consider them the hot-pink fortune cookies of Valentine’s Day. What stranger wouldn’t want a sweet note tucked into the seat of a bus or in the napkin holder at a restaurant?

6. Treat yo self. This is pretty obvious – buy yourself something off your Amazon wishlist or some other small token. Roses are lovely choice, or a small potted plant. I also like to pick up anything fluffy, like socks or a throw blanket, when I’m in need of a cuddle.


7. If you’re going to eat chocolate, eat CHOCOLATE. No Hershey’s or Nestle for you this year. Indulge in some real designer, high cocoa content goodness. I like Vosge’s chocolates particularly, or a local favorite, Fascia’s Chocolates, but there’s plenty others to shop. Spending a little more on a smaller selection of chocolates (that you don’t have to share, perk!) with bits of pink sea salt and unicorn tears ups the occasion from ‘sad girl eating chocolate’ to ‘sassy girl celebrates holiday’. On the same note, pairing with an exceptionally nice wine or cheese sounds like a scrumptious idea as well.

8. Take yourself to dinner. This one can be a bit of a challenge if you’re not used to it, an idea I got from reading the SARK Succulent Wild Woman books. Get all dressed up and take yourself on a “me-date”. The two things you can be sure of in this scenario is you won’t get stood up and someone else will most likely prepare you a brownie sundae. What could go wrong?

9. Bring goodies into your work or school. Wherever you go every day with people, bring in some surprise brownies or cupcakes. Whether you choose to make them your famous chocolate-chip-amaze cookies or just swing by the corner Dunkin’ for a box of gooey pink and red donuts, you’ll perk up the day and give others a little joy.

10. Get a Valentine’s Day manicure or fresh hair cut. There’s nothing like a little spa day to perk up your routine. A fresh manicure or pedicure, hair cut or color, or even just picking up a new Lush bath bomb or body wash is perfect.

You don’t need to break out the mourning veil and spread stormy rain clouds even if you’re not part of a couple this Valentine’s Day! Even if you’re alone on Valentine’s Day, there are small joys you can find to celebrate this all-about-love holiday. What are your Valentine’s Day plans?


Tamagotchi P

tamagotchipSince I’ve been bedridden and lacking on impulse control from sleepless nights and a little painkiller, a perfect storm combined to get me into a new handheld fandom – Tamagotchi. As a child, I had some kind of knock-off tamagotchi – a plastic egg keychain that had a very tiny, black and white pixel critter inside. This new style, revamped from the new kawaii masterminds in Japan, is a far cry from the childhood fad I grew up with. While still small and vaguely egg-shaped – ‘tamago’ means egg in Japanese ever after – the chunky relic has been upgraded to a sleek faceplate in an array of pastel colors set with iridescent gems. Thinking they’d make a cute accessory more than anything, I did a little research and fell in love.


My Tamagotchi P is a tiny digital video game, completely in colorful pixel art. While it’s still operated by just three buttons, the game is pretty expansive. You still raise your baby tama into an adult, but with a much wide world. Your tama can enjoy the park, the arcade, an adorable cafe and Asian restaurant, a department store and school. As an adult, your tama can get a part time job to keep the money flowing into buying accessories, never-ending snacks (their stomachs are bottomless, I swear) and toys to play with. If you have a friend with a Tamagotchi P, you can also interface your P’s together through the infrared reader.


tamagotchi guide from the 13thgeek

Note also that the Tamagotchi P is entirely in Japanese. It’s written in simple hiragana and katakana for children, so it’s about right at my reading level for a fun way to practice! If you don’t read any Japanese, worry not – there are guides that translate the game’s scripts, and reading is minimal in this case anyway. There is a current project going on to alter the P’s to use English!


When you’ve exhausted your current collection of items and decorations, you can buy a Deco Pierce for your game. This little crowning gem acts as an expansion pack, unlocking various games, new characters to raise, items and wallpapers. Besides a number of themes like royalty, fairies and desserts, several big names have also done Deco Pierce collaborations like Disney and Sanrio. I just received my first Deco Pierce, which is called Dream to Change or Yumemiru. The big bow is super girly, and the matching lanyard makes it easy to wear my tamagotchi like a fashion accessory or a bag charm.

I’m definitely not a serious videogame player, and this device is just the right fit for me – cute, mobile (since a lot of my downtime is during travel or doctor’s visits) and low commitment. While it may chirp for attention or food occasionally, it’s fairly easy on the commitment scale. If you’re busy, there’s a hack to put it to sleep or to simply pop out the batteries.

There are several forums where Tamagotchi fans around the world discuss tips, gameplay and fan art. There’s also an anime and a world of branded products to collect for the fandom to cut their teeth on.

Tamagotchi Zone ☆ Tama Talk ☆ Tamagotchi Home Forums

You can buy Tamagotchi P’s on eBay or Amazon, and the same for the Deco Pierce expansion sets.

5 Things Chronic Cuties Wish You’d Say

5thingstochronicI spent the past week in the hospital having surgery for my kidney condition, and it’s no secret that the past year has been particularly hard on my body. I’ll spare you the gory details, but anyone close to me has probably observed some of my pains as I’ve struggled to keep up my daily lolita life. I’m so grateful for my friends who have stuck by me, and this post is dedicated to them. ❤  There’s lots of posts on the Internet about what not to say to the chronically ill or disabled, but not enough posts about the good things people do say! This listicle is also for supporting your friends with mental illness, like depression, or chronic pain conditions. If you have chronically ill friends and aren’t sure what to say, here’s my list of favorite things to pop out of my friends’ mouths.

1. Can I come over?

My top favorite thing to hear! If I don’t have a meetup or doctor’s appointment, I spend a great deal of my time shut up in my home with my dog or my parents. I would love to get out more, but sometime’s my body is just too weak or too tired. A lot of chronic cuties would love to get more socialization time but just aren’t up to a cafe visit or movie showing. Volunteering to visit is the best – you mean we can have fun and I don’t have to get out of my pajamas?! Feel free to bring snacks or hobbies or a cult classic film. Then there’s no pressure on your friend to entertain. I love making tea or treats for my friends, but sometimes it’s easier to just veg. Even something solo, like knitting separate projects together, can be great. Just come sit next to Grandma, dear.

2. How can I help?

I know that when your friend is chronically sick, you’ll have a wave of sudden emotions. Oh no, you’re sick? For how long? What am I going to do, this person I care about is in trouble! A common problem is just not knowing how to help. You might want to do something for your sick friend – “Let me know if you need anything!” but end up dancing around the subject. The problem can feel so big, even when you want to be a good friend, that you both end up floundering awkwardly. The best way to know how to help is to ask! “How can I help?” opens a great conversation door for the disabled person to think about concrete, specific ways you can help that make both friends feel better. Some classic hits are: “Please come help motivate me to clean my bedroom, because I’m depressed to do it alone”; or “Would you bring me some takeout? I’m too tired to cook or get it myself” or even something simpler like “Your funny texts keep me company when I’m at the doctor’s office.” Just calling up to vent can be a lifesaver. This week, my family friend came by to walk my dog while I was at the hospital, and even went above and beyond by doing the dishes and sorting the mail when she came. Little things to you can be big things to the chronically ill.

3. You’ve got mail!

Many of my friends sadly don’t live within drop-in range. It’s pretty unlikely that I’ll find them organizing my mail when they live two or three hours away. Even if you’re not in close contact, keeping in touch is important. An old-fashioned card, a text message, or a phone call goes a long way. Try to remember your friend’s big medical appointments, or feel free to check in to see how they’re doing that day. I love receiving mail and care packages as well. Surprises in the post, from stickers to flowers or post cards, can really brighten an otherwise sickly day.

4. Keeping it silly!

Not everything needs to be about your friend’s condition. While it’s important to make sure your friend’s condition doesn’t feel ignored or pushed under the rug, it doesn’t have to be the only topic of conversation. Lightening the mood, joking, or just sending memes are great ways to support your friend. Send gifs or pictures of pizza. Be a little ray of sunshine for your friend, whether that’s in person or over the Internet. Thinking of you doesn’t always have to be an emotion-laden tearful event. Snapchat pictures of your cat’s butt or creeper pix of that weird dude you always see on the subway. They go a lot farther than you think!

5. It’s okay to flake out!

One of the worst parts of being chronically ill is being at the whims of your body’s latest self-destructive tendencies. I can be very excited for plans or a date – even so much as ready to walk out the door in heels – when suddenly my body falls apart on me. I’m overwhelmed with guilt at all the times I am have flaked out on friends, sometimes a day or an hour before. It’s not that I don’t want to go, and I know that my friends are counting on me! – but sometimes I hit that invisible disease wall. Letting your sick friend know you understand and that they need to pace themselves is the greatest gift. “I’d love for you to come, but it’s okay if you’re not feeling up to it”, or “I understand that you already did a lot this week! We can make plans for another time” make all the difference in the world.

Whether you have yourself or have a friend with invisible illness, chronic pain, or mental illness, know that there’s lots of people also filling your shoes too.  Having a friend with chronic illness isn’t without its own set of hurdles, but can be just as fulfilling as able-bodied friendships. Chronic illness and pain isn’t something that needs to isolate you! I personally like the Tumblr Chronic Illness Support right now for self-care ideas and just having other chronic cuties to relate to. I’m going to try to write more about my ways of coping with chronic illness and keeping a positive outlook (though fashion is always on the menu, of course!)

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