I am damn salty today. I am so damn salty I am crusted with the stuff. I could be the Dead Sea, I am so salty. I am your grandfather’s overseasoned Thanksgiving dinner, I am a package of ramen noodles on a college night.
I am salty with swollen joints and edema that tightens my legs until I can’t walk. I am salty with numbers off the blood pressure charts and toxin counts that terrify medical interns. I am flush with an extra twenty pounds of fluid, tears I can’t remove without nightly dialysis. The fluid is stretching my vessels, my veins, my heart valves.
It’s one of the many symptoms of kidney failure. Kidney failure, or the technical term ESRD, end-stage renal disease, will kill you. It will most likely be slow. It is incredibly painful and gruesome as your body struggles to live without filtering out daily poisons and minerals that build in your blood stream. Your kidneys do a lot of important things you didn’t really realize until you try to do without them.
As everyone knows, probably from binge-watching House, the only really good fix for kidney failure is a kidney transplant. Most humans have two, and it’s nature’s clever design that they only need one. Therefore, they’ve become rather valuable if you need one and can get one from a living donor, particularly.
This has been illustrated twice now in Deerstalker’s recent short humor films, Lolita Problems. In the first video, a short clip remarks that the person has already sold her first kidney to pay for an expensive brand lolita dress, but there’s another one out now that they want, and she’s happy to make do without. In the second video, the joke gets another round as a lolita limps down the sidewalk, holding a ziploc Baggie of “kidney” (chicken parts, it looks like…?) and clutching one side in agony, shouting to get them while they are fresh.
My impending death is not a punchline.
Kidney failure is no joke. Dialysis, the complex system to keep someone with kidney failure alive, is a stop-gap measure. It is borrowed time, of on average, five years. Maybe a little more if you’re both young and lucky. Young, I might be, but luck has never been my strong suit.
So okay, you might be asking now, who is this joke even hurting? Who cares about a little joke in an Internet video? Well, I do, because it’s directly affecting people who need organs.
Misconceptions about organ donation are one of the leading causes of organ shortages in the world. People believe all kinds of crazy myths. Here’s a few. “I can’t donate my kidney, how could I play my favorite sport? How could I drink beer or eat hot dogs? What if they decide to STEAL my kidneys in a bathtub full of ice in some shady motel 6?!”
So, what happens?
Then, they don’t check their organ donation card. Then they turn down saving someone’s life. Then, at the end of their lives, their organs are thrown away into the trash. (No, you are not buried with your organs. That would be gooey.)
Here’s some real truth: kidney donors are healthy people with no limitations. Kidney donors have an easy surgery, done with minimal scarring, and are back on their feet in three days. My father donated a kidney. He plays tennis four times a week at age sixty-five. My aunt donated a kidney; she’s an avid mountaineer. The woman has literally climbed Mount Everest with one kidney.
So when you tell me that this is just a joke, that I need to lighten up, that nobody is getting hurt by it, you can see why it gets me – just a little – salty.
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.
Since 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.
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.
Welcome back to Parfait Doll after a lengthy hiatus! Changes will continue around the site as I get settled back in and redefine exactly what this website should do for its readership. Thank you to all my readers who have kept up with me offsite and looked forward to its return!
Let’s dive right in to today’s topic – the sticky subject of lolita community and meetups. I’ve heard this complaint lately both from friends of mine and from outside the community.
“Everyone seems really cliqueish and I’m not getting invited to meetups! What am I doing wrong? Are they big bad elitists who hate my outfits? Am I infected with a strange social disease?!”
Heads out of the gutter, people. The glitter might be contagious, but otherwise, you’re probably safe. New York City, my home community, is notorious for being particularly clique-ish and ‘group-y’. The reason? It’s hard to fit more than ten people or so in a Manhattan restaurant at once! With a community of hundreds of members, there’s bound to be pairing off. The larger a meetup, the more unwieldy it can potentially become. So how do you make sure your social calendar is booked with plenty of teas, ballet invitations, or other fun frilly activities?
Check out this article from Captain Awkward, a social skills and advice blog (I’m a big fan – check out her archives for tons of great reading, and join the legions of Awkwardeers!). In a slightly different context, the letter writer worries that her group of friends is boxing her out of parties and invites. While the situation isn’t exactly the same, Captain Awkward addresses lots of concerns in her article about friend groups, invitations and social settings.
Let’s say you’ve introduced yourself to some local lolitas, maybe online at their preferred hub or group, or in person at a big open meetup. Yet when you log online, all you see is cute photos from teatime that no one told you about! Here’s some classic meetup pitfalls and how to fix them.
Problem: You’ve met some girls you click with, but when the invite list goes up, you’ve been forgotten or left off. How do you get people to remember you’re sitting at home dressed in your best ruffles and glittery eyelashes, just wishing there was an event to go to?
The solution: Get in with the movers and shakers. In any group, there’s going to be people who organize. Usually the same people tend to run the events, such as planning the outings or booking the private rooms or even having everyone to their place. Pinpoint who these lolitas are and try to chat them up. One-on-one time is even better – invite one of the hostesses out for a coffee. Then when the next event is being planned, they’ll add you to the list!
Problem: You work unusual hours or have a rigorous study life, and your local community seems to love brunch just when you’re headed to your job or partying while you’re at home cramming Japanese vocabulary for a big exam. After declining a few times, now you’re worried you’re getting skipped over for invites.
The solution: Life happens to everyone and occasionally we all need to take breaks from our hobbies to handle the nitty-gritty stuff. Drawing away from your hobbies to be a Responsible Adult doesn’t mean you need to pull away from your friends, though. Make sure you’re still chatting up your friends regularly even if you can’t make every event, and try not to flake on the events you do find the time to attend. There’s lots of ways to keep involved with your Lolita community even when you’re not able to meet face to face. Answering questions or leaving comments on message boards, posting interesting content, and just being a good online friend are some examples.
Problem: Your local community is humdrum and doesn’t seem to have a lot going on. The cobwebs are evident on the message board – last updated in 2008.
The solution: If there’s no lolitas to be found in your area, consider checking further afield for Lolita events. It may be quiet in your neck of the woods, particularly if you live somewhere rural (I speak from experience. Consider me reporting live from cow country.), but a nearby city might have tons more going on. There’s also no harm in being part of multiple communities if you have the means to travel. I’m a New York City Lolita first, since that’s where I’ve had the most meetups in recent years, but my state community of Connecticut is having a small Lolita renaissance now too. Can’t wait for our September tea coming up!
The fix-all-solution: There’s also one more solution to any meetup difficulty – run your own! It’s not nearly as daunting as you might think, and anyone can run successful meetups with practice. If you need help, considering appointing a co-hostess with more experience until you feel comfortable. Small meetups for pick-up coffee and chatting in the park can be just as fun as elaborate, catered hotel teas, too – don’t worry about being too fancy! The point is to get dolled up and have some good times with your fellow fashion enthusiasts.
If you’d like to meet lolitas and aren’t sure how to go about getting yourself a lolita friend, check out this article I wrote on making lolita friendships. If you’ve got further questions about lolita meetups (you social butterfly, you! :) feel free to drop me a line at my Ask Box!
It’s ten years ago this year that the movie Kamikaze Girls debuted (the same year as Mean Girls… coincidence or girl power conspiracy?) Kamikaze Girls is one of the great catalysts that created lolitas around the globe with its international release – and I was one of them. Though the author, Novala Takemoto, has mostly retired from the lolita socialiate circles since then, I’ll always treasure his contribution to lolitas everywhere in the form of both his beautiful film and his many books, short stories and articles.
I’m excited to see that he’s written a new lovestruck novel in the vein of his most famous, Kamikaze Girls (Japanese title: Shimotsuma Monogatari, A Shimostuma Story). The cover art is done by the famous lolita author Kira Imai, whose work has been made into a variety of printed dresses with Angelic Pretty and lolita fashion magazine covers. Here’s an excerpt of the novel, translated into English:
That’s where I was the first time you talked to me, at La Foret, the fashionable mall located at the intersection of Omotesando and Meiji Dori. There were a few chairs there that anyone could use to pass some time. Rising up between the chairs was a great tree, looking like it belonged there. I don’t know if it was a gingko or a poplar or a gum tree. There were green leaf-shaped objects in the space between La Foret and the street. Instead of show windows, the stores inside La Foret used these hollow translucent objects for shop displays. I sat behind the leaf-shaped objects, on the side of the building, facing the entrance to La Foret, hiding behind the leaf that had the list of shops on it. I sat directly on the ground, hugging my knees to my chest. I didn’t look at anything in particular, and I didn’t think about anything in particular, and I stayed there in the same position until the store closed. That was the only place they’d let me hang out.
Why didn’t I run when you spoke to me? Why was I able to answer you, even with a stammer? I would normally be frightened by any male—whether it was the police, a high school boy trying to hit on me, a poor old country bumpkin confused and looking for directions, or a little Boy Scout holding a donation box. If any male tried to communicate with me I would flee in a flash. Somehow you were special. You’re still special to me. Special things are always special right from the start and remain special until the end.
Unfortunately it doesn’t say when the English edition will be released. I am looking forward to more of Takemoto’s fanciful writing bleeding through with its relatable awkwardness. (If anyone has any information about the release or where to read it, please drop me a line, and I’ll update the post so others can read it as well).
I’m a little late for this week’s Lolita Blog Carnival – I’ll conveniently blame the jet-lag from my recent family trip to Seattle – but I was really feeling the topic, so I decided it would hold over until Monday!
This week’s theme is to talk about your favorite non-lolita fashion styles. And yes, I harbor a few style crushes that I like for daily wear. Anything pastels or fluffy is a given, but this summer for me is all about the Japanese style “himekaji”.
Himekaji is the Japanese portmanteau of the two words hime, meaning princess, and kaji, which is short for casual. Some gyaru have told me they don’t consider himekaji a real subset of gal, and others definitely lump it together with its fancier sister himegyaru. Himekaji loves lace, pastels, some touches of neutrals, and plenty of rose prints. In the past it has occasionally played with a very girly cowgirl/prairie look, and still isn’t above pastel pink cowboy boots.
Soft stone-washed denim in blue, white, and pastels even makes an appearance if you want to throw on jeans once in a while. Makeup is very girly and pink-flushed, but can be lighter than other heavy gyaru eyes. I usually swap out big himegyaru lenses and lashes for a simpler more Korean-fashion inspired eye for daily wear. Straight hair is okay, but fluffy French braids and airy curls are most common for this style.
While Liz Lisa is the big provider of himekaji clothes and accessories, you can definitely find cute things on sites like Dreamv, Taobao, or even the occasional find on Forever21 or Wet Seal. I actually get my few authentic Liz Lisa items from eBay or inside promotional magazines. I just got my new Liz Lisa x My Melody chain pochette and I haven’t taken it off since! Here’s the Instagram of it, along with a lot of Daiso goodies I picked up on my trip:
If you’re looking for cute places to get your hands on some himekaji items besides Japan, check out my Wanelo – I’ve been stockpiling pink sundresses, rose-pattern anything and floral hairbands!
While I was out with Petrina a few weekends ago, I got in some outfit shots of my new Dream Fantasy salopette! I put up the snap on my Instagram, but it didn’t get its own blog post until now.
I wanted to take this really sugary all-over print and play up a Misako-style princessy look, so I went with the straight hair, a jeweled pink Baby sidebow, the clean lines of my heart-shaped MILK bag, and a simple Angelic Pretty cardigan.
I also wanted to give the simple cut of this salopette some more detail and texture for interest, so I stole this three-bow and pearl brooch off my Princess in Love jumperskirt to pin to the front. Since they’re both Angelic Pretty pieces, the color was pretty similar.
(Yes I tried the Lookbook “mirror flip” fad so that there’s two of me. It came out kind of cute I think!)
Boots: DreamV | Salopette, cardigan: Angelic Pretty | Hairbow, blouse, pearl necklace: Baby the Stars Shine Bright | Bag: MILK
I’m going to soup this dress up really fairy-kei and costume-y for the upcoming Kyary Pamyu Pamyu concert, so I wanted to try something traditionally sweet lolita and toned down before that.
My only complaint is I wish the cherry blossoms were real! It’s been so cold here and won’t stop snowing where I live, so all the cherry blossoms are behind schedule. The day I wore this, it snowed that morning. Spring, where are you?!
And I got to eat delicious food at a new favorite cafe in Soho, Hiroko’s! I got to have omurice for the first time. I’ve added it to my list of comfort foods – wish I had an in-house Japanese mom to make it for me when I feel cold and sad, haha.
They gave my food a face and then he looked terrified to be eaten. But he was really delicious.
Welcome to 2013, Parfait Doll readers! As of this year, Parfait Doll (previously incarnated as Lolita Charm) will have been published online for five years! (Crazy talk, I know.) I spent winter break mostly curled up, snowed in, and spending lots of lazy time with my new boyfriend. When not in my pink nest of blankets and fuzzy socks, I loitered anywhere festively lit in New York City. We had a great time just walking down 5th Avenue a few weeks ago, taking in the holiday displays.
Now that I’m back at university for the spring semester, I’m ready to get back on schedule again with my life, and my blog. I’ve cleaned up my bedroom, my calendar, and my hair. I’ve started productive lists. Really.
So here is the illustrated guide of what I want to make out of my next year!
#1. Take more fashion risks.
Looking back on 2012, I am really pleased with most of the outfits I put together. There were no big oh-God-can’t-believe-I-wore-THAT moments like I’ve had in previous years. But I still feel there is a wide world of fashion I am shying away from, because lolita is my comfort zone. I’m so inspired by some of the new friends I’ve made in the past year, and new trends that have emerged that I’m dying to try. My 2013 fashion collage board is definitely getting its own future post – look forward to it!
This just arrived in the mail today – a bright pink envelope marked with Angelic Pretty USA! I opened it up – it was taped up with heart-patterned paper – and found this inside… Stationary with this spring’s new birdcage print, Symphonia! Normally I’d add it to my smashbook but it’s really big and I don’t want to cut it up…
A letter signed by Maki, Asuka and RinRin! Sad that I forget to wear falsies that day, makes my makeup look so bland, but I really love these photos! They’re precious to me because I didn’t get very many photos at that tea party and I made so many new friends there… If I look I can pick out Dalin, Heather, Ellejay, Alice and more! Thanks so much for everyone I met at Acen, hope to see you again sometime!
This will be my last blog post until I return from Otakon in Baltimore! Please look me up if you’re there, I love meeting readers in person! My schedule is unclear yet, but I will be modeling for I Do Declare in the indie lolita fashion show and of course I’ll be ogling my lover-man Peter S. Beagle, author of the Last Unicorn, at his panel! ヽ(〃＾▽＾〃)ﾉ
While all your mainstream buddies are fawning over the latest Taylor or Bieber tweet, you’re poking your phone wishing you could get a closer peek in the lives of some cute lolita or kawaii fashion celebs you’d really rather hear about. Thanks to the wonders of the digital age, you can get a front row seat to the lives of some of the cutest girls and celebrities right from your smartphone. Envelope please – check out my top five kawaii Instagrammers!
Kyary, the up-and-coming Japanese pop sensation, regularly updates her Instagram with crazy outfit inspiration and backstage photos from her various concerts and musical appearances. My favorite is her outfit snaps where she shows off her own daily style. Where else can you see a adorable girl slap a pink convertible on her head?!
Angelic Pretty’s favorite model RinRin shows photos direct from Japan, with everything from casual outfit shots to snaps of work and shopping. She just joined Instagram and doesn’t have very many followers yet, so please show her support – maybe she’ll be encouraged to start uploading more photos of her daily life as a lolita model!
Imai Kira, the legendary lolita fashion artist (she’s drawn numerous prints and art work for Angelic Pretty) posts gorgeous photographs to her Instagram frequently. Besides snaps of her art or printed products, she has a very “shabby chic” vibe that suits a classic lolita or morigirl’s tastes perfectly. Warning: she’s a complete crazy cat lady. Isn’t her Siamese just beautiful? Makes me want one!
Lila, designer of Italian fairy-kei jewelry brand Cute Can Kill, has some of the most addictively cute Instagram photos on my feed, no doubt. Whether she’s posting photos of her creamsicle colored cat (okay, cats do make up about 80% of Instagram photos…), 80s toys she’s found, or new products she’s going to air, I can’t help but heart up a storm on her page.
If you love bright makeup and dyed hair then you will fall head over heels for Shrinkle’s Instagram, the owner of Sugarpill Cosmetics. In these little snapshots are her daily makeup, retro and vintage pop finds (I am dying for Locketship’s new NeaPAWlitan kitty cones she’s pictured here), and behind-the-scenes shots of the super bright girls who work for SugarPill.
Okay, your turn! Do you have any Instagram crushes you can’t help but heart, heart, heart? Make sure to leave your Instagram handle so I can take a look at yours, too – mine’s @victoriasuzanne!