RuffleCon 2017 Part 1

Hello! This past weekend, I was at RuffleCon!

I’ve decided to break this event up into two separate parts. Part 1 will be on Friday and Part 2 will be on Saturday and Sunday!

RuffleCon is an alternative fashion convention hosted in Stamford, CT. It’s run for a few years but as this is my first year officially in Lolita fashion, this was my first year attending the con. The trip was a joint trip between the Rochester and Buffalo Lolita communities. Lauren, Cristina, and I traveled down to Stamford from Rochester by car. It was around a 7 hour trip! We made a joint hotel stay with some of the people from the Buffalo Lolita comm. Our hotel room was pretty nice and my Weekend Plus ticket came with food at the hotel buffet!

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Lunch!

On Friday morning, we waited in line for registration and consignment intake. They have a consignment room, in which people bring in Lolita items to sell. RuffleCon takes a 20% cut of whatever sells and people can browse a large room filled with clothes!

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I made a few purchases in the consignment room! I bought a pretty blue headband. I also found Angelic Pretty’s Marionette Girl Skirt in the pink colorway! I have been looking at Marionette Girl sporadically over the last few months so it was exciting to find it here for only $30! Instant buy!

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Angelic Pretty Marionette Girl Skirt

Throughout the day, I went to a few interesting panels. I went to a panel about resin crafting and another one about pattern sewing!

At night, I entered the annual Coordinate Contest. For a few months, I spent a lot of time planning a coordinate to match perfectly with the Alice and the Pirates Jesters of the Moon Hat I purchased earlier this year.

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The coordinate went through many changes and iterations, including two main dress changes. Once I got the main part of the coordinate planned out, I made a handmade scepter as well to match the hat! The scepter is made out of wood, ribbon, and glue. I hope to make a tutorial post about how I planned and constructed it soon!

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Ultimately, I didn’t end up placing in the contest but the reception to my coordinate was so overwhelmingly positive! It really made me feel like my hard work paid off in some regard at least ;v;

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On stage!

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Coordinate

JSK : Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Sorcerer’s Horoscope JSK

Blouse: Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Étoile Filante Chiffon Blouse

OTKs: Alice and the Pirates Circus Stripe OTKs and Diamond Lame OTKs

Shoes: John Fluevog

Bag: Putumayo

Accessories : Fanplusfriend (gloves)

 

After a long day of travelling, talking, and photo taking, my friends and I spent some time just hanging out and talking. We wrapped up the night with two more panels, including a hilarious improvised performance competition of reciting “Lolita Secrets,” and turned in for the night! It was definitely hard to want to take off my makeup, I liked it so much!

(*´ー`)

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That’s it for Part 1! Stay tuned next week for Part 2! Thanks for reading!

 

*I’m a little backlogged on translating due to travelling! I hope to have those back up and regularly scheduled soon, thank you for your patience!*

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Halloween Party 2017 / ハロウィーンのパーティー2017

Hi there! Last weekend was so much fun! I got to host a Halloween Party for the Rochester Lolita community! As a potluck, guests brought a food item to share with everyone.

こんにちは!先週の週末は楽しかった!私はロチェスターのロリータコミュニティーのために ハロウィーンのパーティーをホストした。ポットラックで、皆さんは食べ物を持ってきました。

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I made pumpkin soup and deviled eggs!

私は南瓜のスープと デビルド卵を作った!

 

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We spent a lot of time playing card games. Others were making crafts with the supplies Lauren and I got last week.

私達は長い間カードゲームを遊んだ。余人はローレンさんと先週の買ったものを使ってクラフトを作った。

 

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Bobby dressed up with me again! He recently bought Alice and the Pirates’ Guilty Meltin’ Sweets Town Ouji Set.

ボビーちゃんと又着飾った! 最近、彼はALICE and the PIRATESのギルティメルティスイーツタウン柄王子セットを買った。

 

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I already bought Angelic Pretty’s Horror Garden JSK months ago in preparation for Halloween. So, I thought about how we could make a couples’ coordinate. Ultimately, I ended up adding a brown blouse and getting matching tights with Bobby! This is the first coordinate I’ve worn the pigtails of my Dream Holic wig. I think our picture came out really well!

ハロウィーンのために私はもうAngelic PrettyのHorror Gardenジャンパースカートを買った。カップルコーディネートの作り方について考えた。到頭、私は茶色ブラウスとコーデ タイツを決めたんだ。このコーディネートでDream Holic鬘のピグテールを初めてかぶった。写真はよかっただと思う!

 

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Bobby took a few pictures of me as well!

ボビーちゃんは写真を撮ってくれた!

 

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Coordinate / コーディネート

JSK / ジャンパースカート: Angelic Pretty

Blouse / ブラウス: Angelic Pretty

Tights / タイツ: Offbrand

Shoes / シューズ: Putumayo

Bag / 鞄: SWIMMER

Accessories / アクセサリー: Automatic Honey, Angelic Pretty, SWIMMER, Enchantlic Enchantilly

 

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Thanks for reading! ‘Til next time!

読んでくれてありがとう! またね!

Tea at the Red Bird

Happy Monday! October means a great month of beautiful fall weather & activities! This past weekend, I experienced my first legit tea party with my Lolita community! We planned & reserved out a tearoom in a nearby town and it was hands down, the best meet I’ve ever gone to thus far.

The name of the cafe is called The Red Bird so of course, what better occasion for wearing red? The event was also a good introduction back into ouji for my other half, Bobby, who first tested the waters during the Swap Meet earlier this year for International Lolita Day! I’m really thankful for his participation. A girl in my comm, Emily, made a headband for one of her dresses and it ended up matching Bobby perfectly! He got to borrow it for the rest of the day!

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I experimented a little with makeup! I wanted to go for something circus-inspired to match my dress so I tried out some white under eyeliner with red lipstick to imitate a clown smile!

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The food was so wonderful, lots of delicious sandwiches & baked goods. The trays had grapes, raspberries, and oranges as well for additional sweetness! At this cafe, you can pick your own tea cup and plate so I naturally selected a full pink set.

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After the tea & lunch, we decided to take lots of group & coordinate pictures while the lighting was still good. I shockingly got a lot of great coordinate pictures out of it! Usually I mess up a lot of my pictures by laughing or posing awkwardly but I’m extremely proud of how a lot of these came out (thanks to Bobby for his phone & photo skills!)

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We regularly got stopped by people who were interested in what we were wearing. Lots of photos were taken of us! It was definitely a pleasant contrast to a few weekends ago when I went to the movies & mall with Bobby. I guess because I was wearing lolita alone, it was easier for people to glare and be suspicious. In a group setting, where everyone is clearly having fun, people are laughing, and genuinely enjoying each others’ outfits, I guess for bystanders, the appearance is that we’re a “group” or doing it “for something” is enough to make the reaction more positive and welcoming. I’d like to test out the waters and contrast more public opinions received while in a group setting vs. sole lolita but that’s a different blog post for another day!

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My lovely friends!

After photos, we walked down the street to go to a bunch of different stores. We went to multiple antique shops, a comic book shop, and later a gift shop. At the gift shop, I actually managed to find something that I think would be great for my coordinates in the future! It’s a drama mask pin and the design matches the drama mask brass hair barrette I wore during the Swap Meet. I also made a clown friend!

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Overall, I can’t say enough positive things about this meet. Perfect weather, perfect food, perfect company! Days like that just really solidify why I love this fashion so much. Beyond just beautiful clothes, there’s a strong sense of community, togetherness, and expression. While I’m sure I would be a lone Lolita in the event I did not have an immediate surrounding community that I could help energize, there’s a lot to be said on how satisfying it is to be able to share your passion with other passionate people. I love being able to just sit and talk and express myself. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world to me and I’m absolutely looking forward to our next big meet!

 

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Coordinate

Dress & OP: Alice and the Pirates Starlit Sky Tent and the Secret Circus Troupe
OTKs: Alice and the Pirates Circus Tent Stripe OTKs
Bag: Innocent World Carousel Bag
Shoes: Alice and the Pirates Enamel Circus Shoes
Wristcuffs: Bodyline
Rings & Accessories: Alice and the Pirates, Enchantilly Enchantilic, Offbrand

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ll enjoy me again next week! Until then, please enjoy the funny picture slideshow below! Bye!

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Edit 10/15: My friend Cristina posted a vlog of the day!

Carousel! Tights & OTKs for Days

Happy Monday! Time for another edition of Carousel!
In this edition of Carousel, I’ll talk about my most recent cheap or rare purchases!

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Alice and the Pirates Twilight Circus OTKs – $11

I had been watching this pair of OTKs for a short time on lacemarket but was on the fence about it. To my surprise, the seller lowered the price once more and I immediately had to get them. No staining and in overall good condition, I can’t wait to wear them!

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Afternoon Nap Gymnasium OTKs – $27

These tights are brand new! Generally retailing for around $30, it’s not a massive steal but considering this is a special pair of OTKs with guest artist Mitsukazu Mihara, it was very hard to pass up such a beautiful design for less than $30. The print is gorgeous in person!

 

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Source: wunderwelt on lacemarket

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Close-Up

Banana Fish Trump JSK – $20

Full velvet JSK! There’s a few loose threads here and there but it’s absolutely beautiful in person! Wunderwelt sometimes sells unpopular or heavily damaged items separately on Lacemarket, away from its main website. The items are usually severely discounted much like this JSK!

 

It matches my Alice and the Pirates cardigans so perfectly! I’m really excited to plan a coordinate with them all!

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Source: Tokyo Otaku Mode

Oyasumi Pooh-Chan Denim Bag – $15

Normally retails for around $32 on Tokyo Otaku Mode so this is essentially half off! My friend recently bought herself one of these bags in the pleather version and I’m very interested in twinning with her! Likewise, I’m planning a Lolita panel for Tora Con 2018 in the future where I’ll give out Lolita items during a giveaway and this might just make the cut. Either way, regardless of whether or not I keep it or give it away, the price was more than reasonable!

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Astro Regimen Tights – $15

Now this, I am absolutely proud of! Astro Regimen is a print that comes in and out of popularity but the tights are very hard to find. Most of them selling have re-sold for around $40-$45 so when I saw these brand new in the packaging for only$15, it was an instant buy. I have to say though that these are my absolute favorite pair of lolita tights now. I’m not too tall for them and the wine color with the navy print makes for a great silhouette. ;v;

That’s it for this week’s Carousel! entry. What do you think of the stuff I found? Do any of them not seem worth it? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading! Until next week!

 

Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum: Patches, Antiques, & More

 Hello hello! This past weekend I visited Buffalo & Lockport with my boyfriend. ^_^ The Buffalo Lolita community planned a meet-up for the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum and some Rochester lolitas decided to join in! I was debating going but my boyfriend, Bobby, expressed needing to go to Lockport to do an errand for his mother. With the errand & the meet, we decided to turn it into a full trip!

We rented a hotel room & spent some time going to the Buffalo Zoo and then shopping at Walden Galleria. At the mall, we went to a few places and I got some new patches, notepads, makeup, & a pop figure.

 

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casual outfit~

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spoils of the mall!

 

At the Carrousel Museum, we got to learn about the history of carousels and how this company made most of the carousels around the United States. It was interesting to see how they went from completely wooden horses to half-wood/half-metal horses, to fiberglass horses. I loved the designs of so many of them!

 

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At the end of the walkthrough. my friends and I got to ride the large carousel together! ^_^

 

everyone was super cute >_<

 

Before we went in, I managed to get some good selfies and Bobby took some wonderful outfit shots for me! This is my first time wearing this dress out so I was super excited. I bought them from my Wunderwelt Order recently. I had trouble with the bonnet but one the girls in my comm, Lauren (who I went with to the Memorial Art Gallery) helped me secure it! ^_^

 

 

OP & Bonnet – Alice and the Pirates
Tights – Sakizo
Shoes – Offbrand
Bag – Innocent World
Rings – Enchantlic Enchantilly, Voodooodolly

 

An elderly couple walked by us taking outfit shots and kept complimenting my outfit and making me laugh ;v;

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Memorial Art Gallery Hangout

Hello hello~
This past Sunday I went to the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery with one of my friends from my comm!

We went to listen to the Italian Baroque Organ the museum has on constant display.
You can find out more information about the organ on the Memorial Art Gallery’s website! 🙂

The person playing the organ was just wonderful. She showed us the organ’s barrows and talked about the origin of the organ in regards to the museum. Apparently the organ was in pieces and being sold as furniture before it was saved, restored, and acquired by the museum! I found this very cool video by the University of Rochester, which features a time-lapse of the Organ being assembled in 2005!

There was also an interesting exhibit on the Female Gaze as well as permanent exhibits.We were so busy chatting, I completely forgot to take new pictures of any of the art! ^^;

We did however, take pictures in front of the organ 😀

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I wore the coordinate I wore during the fashion show I participated in earlier this year! 🙂

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OP: Sleepless Masquerade by Alice and the Pirates
Hairbow: Alice and the Pirates
Bag: Tent Bag by Alice and the Pirates
Tights: TejaJamilla on Etsy
Shoes: Lorie & Knight on Amazon
Wristcuffs: Belladonna
Rings: AP Store in San Fran, Enchantlic Enchantilly, Offbrand

Thanks for reading~

Movie Meet – My Neighbor Totoro

This past weekend, I went to see My Neighbor Totoro with some of my comm!
Being a former animation student, there’s no way to truly express the deep level of appreciation I have for Studio Ghibli films. Spirited Away was an important movie to me while I was growing up so I’m really looking forward to watching all the Ghibli movies as they screen again in theaters. For the meet, I decided to dress very casually. I got to wear my new Dreamholic wig and my Catbus pin that I bought two summers ago at the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo!

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The film got off to a rough start due to the theater having technical issues. It skipped the beginning and played around 15 minutes of movie without any sound. But once they were alerted, they restarted the entire film and we got to watch without any issues!
After we got out of the film, a boy asked his father to take a picture of us with him. I thought that was really cool hahaha.

After the movie, we went to get bubble tea and then walk around the mall before it closed. I have to say, being in Hot Topic in Lolita is a very interesting feeling.

Afterwards, we took a cute picture together!


I’m looking forward to our next meetup! 🙂

Jesters of the Moon Clown Hat Review

As mentioned in my post Lolita Wishlist, I talked about the Jesters of the Moon Clown Hat by Alice and the Pirates. As a lolita committed to the circus & carnival aesthetic, I absolutely had to have this hat. At first, I put off ordering it because it was still directly available for purchase online but when I checked online one day, it marked the hat as Sold Out. I immediately panicked, thinking I missed my chance, and posted about it in sales groups hoping someone would sell it to me secondhand. There, I got a tip that the BABY store in Sendai still had some on display. With that in mind, I first tried a shopping service to no success and then looked through BABY’s website for any information on how I might still order the hat.

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Source: BABYSSB Facebook

The interesting part about BABYSSB Overseas is that even when an object is “Sold Out” online, it’s entirely possible that stock might exist somewhere in a physical store location so they have a form set up where people can email them with a product order inquiry and they’ll check for the object. If it’s in stock, they’ll immediately fulfill the order. They don’t just check the stock, this inquiry can only be made with the intent to buy the item so people don’t just email them to constantly check.

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Order Guide in Japanese

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Order Guide Google Translated

I sent them an email on June 10. They responded back on June 12 to confirm my order! I was so excited that I was just a few days away from owning it! I made payment on the 12th. They confirmed they received my payment on the 14th. My hat was shipped on June 16th! A delivery attempt was made on June 20 and I officially picked it up from the post office on June 21.

Consensus?

 

This is the best thing I’ve ever bought!!! XD

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It’s so cute and fluffy and large~ All of the worries & concerns I had of it instantly vanished as soon as I put it on! I’m so glad I didn’t miss my opportunity to buy it!

They also sent me a very cute shopping bag with a pirate-themed illustration on it!

Because I’m new to lolita, there’s a lot of things that I’m unaware about, but apparently the hat had a lot of controversy when it was first announced due to the design being on the borderline of “costume,” as well as the price. But for me, I think it’s the perfect choice for an Over The Top lolita coordinate. I absolutely adore it and can’t wait to wear it out in a coordinate!

Thanks for reading!

 

Wunderwelt Review & Haul

Happy Sunday! Today, I will be doing a review of the website Wunderwelt!

Wunderwelt is a Japanese company that specializes in selling/buying secondhand lolita items, as well as being an official seller for various official and indie lolita brands. There was a few items I had been eyeing on the site more recently so I decided to go through with the order and see!

I ordered 5 items (technically 8 but some were sets):

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Alice and the Pirates Wooden Sole Shoes

 ¥4,990

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Alice and the Pirates Eternal Dream Starlight Parade OP & Bonnet in Green
¥31,488
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Prince Kokoro Gymnasium Ribbon Charms I, II, & III
¥8,890
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Innocent World Midnight Merry-Go-Round JSk in Navy & Gold
¥14,389
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Enchantlic Enchantilly Dolled up Ring – Crown (Queen)
¥1,800

Total: ¥61,057 + ¥900 shipping

Why I chose some of these items:

The Prince Kokoro ribbons had sold out during their reservation period this year and were priced 3400-3700 yen each respectively so seeing them all in a bundle like this at a reasonable price was hard to pass up.

With the wooden shoes, I’ve wanted to test out my foot sizing with Aatp more recently so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to add a nice staple to my wardrobe, while also seeing if I should resume ordering LL or L sizes in the future.

Eternal Dream Starlight Parade has been on my wishlist for a while but I was mostly into the Navy & Red colorway of it until I saw pictures of it being worn. Seeing the worn pictures, I wasn’t sure about the color anymore but still being in love with the cut, decided to try for green with this order. The best part is that the wunderwelt listed also included the matching bonnet for a completed set.

Midnight Merry-Go-Round was also on my wishlist but on the back-burner. With it being sold out on Innocent World’s website, I thought now would be the perfect time.

This ring is actually the only auction I’ve ever lost on lacemarket so far. So when I saw it was selling new on Wunderwelt’s Fleur website for a comparable price to the one in the auction, I had to add it to my shopping cart.

After ordering:

Wunderwelt has this cool promotion for international buyers. 5000 yen off all overs over 50000 which can be a lot, but in my particular instance, buying two dresses and a pair of shoes, it came as a lifesavers. What would have been 5900 yen in shipping costs, was reduced to a mere 900 yen.

Order placed on: 06/10/17

Shipping estimate received on: 06/12/17

Order shipped by EMS on: 06/14/17

Order received: 06/17/17

Overall I’m very impressed with how fast everything went! Around a full week turnaround in regards to ordering, getting the confirmation, and then actually having my items in hand.

Opening:

The box was reasonably sized and well packaged to keep everything from being damaged during transport.

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The shoes were discounted the way they were because of the various scuffs but my lolita secret is Mr. Clean Magic Erasers! I little water & buffing and I was able to remove all the scuffs like brand new. Absolutely worth it.

The ring is brand new and so lovely, it’s perfect. The bows are in wonderful condition, I especially like the detailing in the ribbon.

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The Midnight Merry-Go-Round also arrived in wonderful condition.

As for Eternal Starlight, this dress is absolutely gorgeous. I didn’t realize that the fabric had built in glitter & shine. I was really hesitant about the color because green is just not normally a color I wear but I love the silky emerald of this dress.

Overall, I can fully recommend Wunderwelt as a solid resource for lolita secondhand & new items. The prices are competitive, the item conditions are thoroughly described, and the turn around is very quick. At the time of this writing, I’m already looking forward to my next order!

Until next time!

 

Lolita Wishlist

*Updated: 09/03/2017
Happy Sunday!
This weekend I’ve been caught up in all of the commotion about E3! E3 is an annual video game event in which major game companies like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo hold presentations to announce upcoming video game titles or changes to their consoles. I watch it every year and this year is no exception! Between presentations however, I’ve been actively on the hunt for my Lolita Wishlist!

Since Lolita is a collection based hobby in which everything that exists has a finite quantity, finding a specific print, dress cut, or item can be a massive challenge. There’s a few things I have my eye on and a few misses I’ve already experienced. Ultimately, these are absolutely the pieces I feel like I have to acquire to make my collection feel “complete” and although there are always new updates, the more times goes, the harder it is to find older prints & designs!

Wishlist Items

Wishlist Items

At the time of writing this, I actually acquired one of these dream items, which I’ll talk about more further along! My desired theme is still circus and my wishlist now strongly reflects that.

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Alice and the Pirates Marching Drum Bag in BLUE 

My heart is broken over this Drum bag. It’s still listed on the Bsstb website in all of the colorways except this one ;_; My only chance of getting it now is getting it secondhand from someone else who hopefully won’t mind parting with it.

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Alice and the Pirates Starlit Sky Tent and the Secret Circus Troupe OP in BLACK 

I have yet to see this cut of dress even sold in the past on lacemarket. I’ve only ever seen it being sold once and in a completely different colorway. It’s such a mystery to me why this cut is rarer as the JSK version is still available online with several people selling it on lacemarket as well. I’m hoping I’ll eventually get lucky but until then, I’ll see scoping out for it!

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Alice and the Pirates Memorial Ticket Necklace 

You might remember this one from my The One That Got Away post! I’m still actively on the hunt for this wonderfully designed necklace and hope I can find it again online soon

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Alice and the Pirates Jesters of the Moon Clown Hat in BLACK 

really blew it with this hat. It was available on the Bsstb website when I originally discovered it but I kept putting off buying it. When I was finally ready, to my dismay, it sold out. I’m trying not to lose hope on the chance that someone might find it too impractical or too large and will decide to part with it. ;_;

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Surface Spell Freak Show Bag in RED 

The blue version of this purse is readily available online but the red version is nowhere to be seen! I’m very interested in the JSK of this print and would love to be able to match this purse with it!

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Enchantlic Enchantilly Joker Cat Rings in RED & BLUE 

I presently have a few rings from Enchantlic Enchantilly and I have to say they’re among the best rings I’ve ever owned. I love the design, concept, and sturdiness of them. I’d love to have these rings in both colors! Right now I have a badge with the red one!

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Alice and the Pirates Eternal Dream Starlight Parade OP in GREEN  

Now I originally wanted this dream in the blue & red colorway but after seeing pictures of someone wearing it, I just fell out of love with it. But I just adore the OP of this print significantly more than the JSK and the all black one was too dark for my tastes. This is also the only item out of my Wishlist that I’ve managed to buy so far! I haven’t received it yet but I’m extremely excited. I don’t own a lot of green just in my general wardrobe so I’m excited to come up with good ways to coordinate this.

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Alice and the Pirates Electric Circus JSK in BLACK & RED 

The color of this JSK continues to elude me. I’ve seen it in brown & green, white & blue, and red & brown! The one time I encountered it, someone else unfortunately beat me to it! I’m determined to own it! >:D

Circus Tent Stripe OTKs
Alice and the Pirates Circus Stripe OTKs in ALL COLORWAYS 

The design of these OTKs are just so nice, I don’t mind whatever colorway I happen to find but I’d definitely love to own all of them. I think they’d make fantastic staples that could go with more coordinates outside of my Wishlist.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this blog post! I’ll be sure to update it as I check more off of my collection! In collecting all of these, I will definitely call my collection “complete” and focus more on soft collections, such as finding more themes, finding dream dresses for special events, and of course, being on the alert for new circus-themed prints!
‘Til next week!

*Bonus: Former Wishlist Items I did acquire!*

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Angelic Pretty Magical Etolie Apron Skirt in NAVY

I originally saw this on depop and instantly fell in love but missed my chance to buy it. I was so happy when I managed to find it on closetchild for around $60!

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Angelic Pretty Fantasy Theater OP in IVORY

Instantly messaged the buyer when they posted it on lacemarket! They allowed me to do a payment plan and even threw in a free white mini top hat! ^_^

 

*Updated: 09/03/2017

By the writing of this update, I have acquired or reserved all the items off my wishlist! ^^ The Alice and the Pirates Marching Drum Bag and the Enchantlic Enchantilly Joker Cat rings were restocked on their prospective websites. The Alice and the Pirates Jesters of the Moonlight Hat, I ordered directly from Baby and wrote a review of it. The Memorial Ticket Necklace, Surface Spell Freak Show Bag, and Circus Stripe OTKs, I ended up finding secondhand from other lolitas. And as for the Electric Circus in the Moonlight &  Starlit Sky Tent and the Secret Circus Troupe dresses, I ended up picking different cuts and colorways. Electric Circus, I got in black & ivory, both which I reviewed and talked about as well. Starlit Sky, I ended up deciding on the red colorway instead and getting the matching bonnet.

Overall, I’m so thankful to be able to complete my wishlist so soon, as well as have multiple second chances to get items I had initially missed! Now with my backlog taken care of, I can focus on more new & exciting prints as they are released! ^^