Monday, July 30, 2012

Outfit Snap: Summer Polka-Dots

The weather has been pretty intense lately, not just for my area but for all sorts of areas of the United States. In the Midwest, we've suffered through a few heat waves. I don't have air conditioning, and when the heat is so high and there's no coolness at home, I really don't want to do much of anything--especially dress up. I really love all of my beautiful frilly clothing, but I can't feel happy and pretty and fluffy if I'm hot and sticky and sweaty. It's gross!

My husband and I have been trying to escape to places with air conditioning as much as we can when the weather gets too unbearable in our own home, but when I'm traveling and it's hot I don't want a heavy bag. I'm not all that willing to bring my lolita clothing with me if that means I have more things to carry and worry about bringing back with me when the weekend is over. As a result, I haven't done much of anything. I've regretted that I can't take part in something I really enjoy, but at the same time it just doesn't seem reasonable. Being uncomfortable just makes me grumpy, after all--I don't want to voluntarily make myself irritable~

This weekend was the "Mega Meet," one of the larger lolita fashion gatherings in my area. Lolita come into Chicago from suburbs and even other states. It's generally a lot of fun, and I get to see friends that I otherwise don't see. I was dreading the weather report, afraid that the temperature would spike again, but thankfully it was a pretty mild day! ♥ It was so nice to dress up again~!

Polka Dots
This was the only picture that I stood still for, really! There were just too many people that I hadn't seen in SUCH a long time!

I don't really plan my outfits too far in advance, for the most part, and this was no exception. I decided to wear the polka-dot dress because I thought it wouldn't be too heavy and I wouldn't need a blouse. I own several polka-dot accessories because I have another dress with the same polka-dot fabric, so I added the polka-dot choker that original came with the other dress. The dress has sewn-in straps that typically criss-cross in the front and tie behind the neck, but it was too much with the choker, so I tucked them down the front of the dress instead. X3

The socks were also polka dotted, and so is the parasol. I like the contrast of having the parasol and socks be white with pink polka dots, as opposed to the dress's pink with white polka dots, just so that the same pattern wasn't too overwhelming. If my dress and socks were the exact same colour and pattern I don't think I'd be satisfied.

This dress is actually very short, so I wore an underskirt with it to add some length. One of these days I intend to have a white ruffle added to the bottom of the dress itself, but until that happens this is the best solution I've come up with. I don't generally mind the shorter dresses, but this dress is very, very short--when I compare it to my other dresses, even though known for being less-than-lengthy, it's always at least a few inches shorter. I don't want to give it up just because of the length (or lack thereof), though~ I really like the design.

Untitled
I didn't have another picture of my outfit, but this picture is courtesy of "mylaar," borrowed with permission~ ♥ The sunglasses were basically a permanent part of my outfit.

I opted for a white side-positioned hairbow for a little bit of contrast. I tried to pin my pigtails up a bit around the hair elastics. I wanted to mimic the volume of clip-on pigtails, without having to actually wear clip-ons. It wasn't very successful, but it's something I'd like to try again sometime. I probably should have worn a style that kept my hair off my neck entirely--it wasn't blazing hot, but it wasn't cool either! Thank goodness there was a nice breeze when we were near the lake~

Overall, I was really happy to wear lolita again~ Whenever the weather cools down and stays that way, I know I'll be dressing up more frequently. It's just too much fun!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Meetup Report: Angelic Pretty at ACEN (Follow Up)

A few days ago, when I checked the mail, I saw a bright pink envelope tucked in among the bills~ At first I thought it was a birthday card from a relative, but when I looked at the addresses the return address was unfamiliar. I opened it to find this card:

What Could This Card Be?
Isn't it pretty? What a lovely pattern~

I still didn't really understand what it could be, unless it was from a friend I don't usually receive cards or letters from, but then I opened it up!

Inside the Card
There were two photos inside! I actually didn't realize there were two--for a few days I only noticed the first one, the large group photo!

It was the promised card from the Angelic Pretty tea party at ACEN~! ♥ I am so happy to have received it! Angelic Pretty is very busy of course, so I didn't even have a timeline of when I thought the attendees would be receiving the photos, but I remembered that they were taken and we were told we would receive copies. Having the photos arrive in a pretty pink envelope, in a lovely pink card with the design of "Little Bird's Symphonia," is so thrilling~ ♥

The card has signatures inside from Asuka, Maki, and RinRin~ I'm particularly happy about this because I didn't make it to any events during the convention where they were autographing anything, so I missed my chance to have anything else signed. (I also forgot to take a moment and have my picture taken with only the special guests--whoops! I get too distracted when there's so much going on.)

I love the pictures, and I definitely want to do something special with them~ I haven't yet decided on anything, but at the very least it would be nice to have them framed for display~ ♥

Tea Party Mementos
Perhaps I could frame the pictures with some of the other papers I've saved from the events, scrapbook-esque~

I had little bits and pieces of things from the events still in my purse even though the tea party was several months ago, so I took everything out for one picture~ (Although I realized in retrospect that I could have included two postcards and an illustrated file that I also received at ACEN for Angelic Pretty-related reasons, but I didn't think about it at the time.) I don't usually save many things, especially not paper, but the tickets were so lovely that I didn't want to throw it away!

I grouped together my badge--an exhibitor badge from my time volunteering at the Angelic Pretty booth (oooh, a specialty-type), my raffle ticket place card from the tea party, the small ring that I won at the tea party's raffle (I hadn't even opened it yet, haha~), the card, both photos, and my tea party ticket! ♥ Even though it was a while ago now, I still keep thinking about what a lovely time I had. ♥

Receiving the photos from the tea party was wonderful, and I'm so happy that Angelic Pretty was able to take the time to be guests at ACEN, and that they arranged so many special events for the fans in the area! I feel so lucky to have been able to be a part of so many fun things! I'll definitely have to do something nice with these photos; they're images of such wonderful memories~ ♥

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Meetup Report: Angelic Pretty at ACEN (Day 3)

After all of the hustle and bustle on Saturday, I was thankful for a relaxing Sunday morning. I didn't help out at the booth and my only commitment was the tea party. Instead I woke up and was able to take my time getting ready while I packed up the room. The time of the tea party overlapped the check-out for the hotel room, so we would be checking out before heading over.

I was worried about being late, but we arrived in time for me to snap a few pictures in the hallway just before the door opened and the Angelic Pretty staff members announced to us that we could enter~

Angelic Pretty Tea Party at ACEN
It was a flurry of ruffles and pastels and cakes and decorations as everyone lined up to enter the room.

I was really thankful that everyone was orderly and polite. I always get worried about some kind of intense and crazy mad rush at any sort of event of this nature. Once inside, we chose our own seats. It wasn't difficult to find a place to sit at any of the given tables, and I was lucky enough to sit among friends~

A selection of small sandwiches and desserts were already placed at the center of each table along with sugar and cream. I believe the sandwiches were roast beef with goat cheese and avocado with roasted red pepper tapinade. It was a good thing that they offered a vegetarian option, as there were quite a few vegetarians in attendance~ Each place setting was indicated with a teacup and a small flyer for the tea party. On the back of each flyer was a number that was used later during the tea party for a raffle~

Angelic Pretty Tea Party at ACEN
We were all restless while Maki, Asuka, RinRin, and staff got themselves set up near the table at the side of the room~

A long table was set up at the side of the room, in the center of the layout of tables. On the table were all types of Angelic Pretty goods, wrapped up with cellophane and ribbons. These were the prizes for the raffle at the end of the tea party~ There were also small speakers and a microphone.

When everyone was settled, convention staff introduced Maki, Asuka, and RinRin. Maki and Asuka then gave brief speeches--translated by staff--thanking everyone for their support of Angelic Pretty and providing some of their thoughts, inspiration, and plans for future collections. After Asuka and Maki were finished speaking, RinRin also gave a small speech about her own thoughts and involvement. It was very nice of them all to take the time to do so~

When they had finished speaking, tea was served. I was delighted to see that they were serving tea from Teavana. Teavana isn't one of my favourite tea companies, but they sell fairly tasty teas and blends. The hotel in which the tea party was hosted does not offer a tea service on a regular basis, so I had worried that we'd be given hot water and single tea bags of black tea. While that's no travesty, it would be somewhat of a let-down given the price of the tea party tickets--so having brewed loose-leaf tea poured by wait staff was a wonderful surprise!

Angelic Pretty Tea Party at ACEN
Gendo was one of our many dapper waiters, and he took his position very seriously!

The convention staff who volunteered for the tea party were very courteous and dedicated. They dressed for the occasion, as well--in dapper suits with bow-ties, crisp white half-aprons, and white towels draped over one arm. I appreciated their attention, given that a lolita fashion tea party at an anime convention probably didn't register as a significantly big deal in most people's opinions--but the staff treated it as if it were a very big deal. That helped make it a very special and fun memory for those who attended~

While the tea party guests enjoyed their tea and sandwiches, Maki, Asuka, and RinRin went from table to table, taking group photos with everyone and chatting a little bit. (The other Angelic Pretty shopgirls in attendance were kind enough to act as translators.) It was very exciting to get to speak to the designers and the model for a moment and to have a group picture taken. There were also pictures taken of each half of the room--there were too many party-goers to fit us all in one picture. To avoid confusion, it wasn't possible to have that same picture snapped with every attendee's camera, but we were promised that copies of the group photos would be mailed to us after the event.

After group photos, it was time for cupcakes! And immediately after cupcakes were served... a raffle!

Angelic Pretty Tea Party at ACEN
An excited raffle winner steps up to receive her prize!

The raffle was a lot of fun--they started off with small gifts, like rings, and moved up to cutsews, purses, and finally a set with a jumperskirt, socks, and a hairbow~! ♥ Maki and RinRin stood in front of the table to display the prizes to the crowd, while Asuka drew numbers and announced the winners. I won a small ring, which was very exciting--I typically have terrible luck when it comes to any game of chance! I really enjoyed watching the winners get chosen; it was thrilling to hear a number be called, then watch as someone stood up and cheerfully made their way towards the front. So many of my friends were lucky, and so many other attendees that I didn't know until the tea party, too~!

I believe that those who didn't win a prize through the raffle didn't walk away empty-handed; if I remember correctly, they were given postcards which Asuka, Maki, and RinRin autographed.

It was then announced that there were gift bags at the door, which we would receive on the way out after having a chance to personally thank and say goodbye to Asuka, Maki, and RinRin. However, before that could happen, the Chicago community had something to give to the designers.

Angelic Pretty Tea Party at ACEN
Everyone looking over the scrapbook~

As part of a community-wide effort, led by several girls who put hours and hours of hard work into selecting and printing photos, assembling supplies, and piecing together the pages, we had put together a scrapbook to showcase our love of Angelic Pretty. It was presented to the designers to thank them for being special guests at our local convention so that we could have the chance to meet them and see their designs. I was happy to see that Maki, Asuka, and RinRin were surprised to have this brief interlude; they hadn't expected something like this. As they stood together and flipped through the pages, I could see they were all so moved by this gesture that most of them were tearing up. Some of the shopgirls started crying outright, and then we were all sniffling. For a moment, we all understood just how much of an impact lolita fashion has had on our lives, and it was very touching~ ♥ It will be a very happy memory for me.

After that, it was time to leave. I was very happy to take part in such a fun event. It was the most fun I've ever had at ACEN; I hope that everyone else's memories are as bright and sparkly as mine~!

P.S. I know that this is very late! I've never been very good at updating regularly, but I've been downright awful at it these last few years. I still adore the fashion, I'm just lacking in inspiration to write about it~ And I keep forgetting to take photos of anything! u_u Oh boy! I never learn!