Friday, January 29, 2010

Review: Sweet Cupcakes in Boston, MA

The other day I got to visit my boyfriend's sister in Boston. She dragged us all over the city and one of the highlights of the day was popping into the Back Bay store of Sweet. I have always wanted to try a cupcake shop so I was extremely excited about this.

The Back Bay shop is located on a cute street, not far from a rich stretch of town that has gas lamps, a lovely little grassy area, and, I'm told, very pretty gardens in the spring and summer. It being winter I had to miss out on this last detail. The shop itself is very tiny, with seating enough for maybe ten people tops, the display case, and service counter. Everything is pink and white and there are dishes filled with classic candies like cowtails and gumballs, though they're only for display.

The girls behind the counter were a little rushed with a girl ahead of us making an order for a party, but they were still very friendly and helpful. I ordered a "sweet cake" cupcake with vanilla frosting. My boyfriend a dark chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting. We managed to snag a seat and dug in.

The first thing that hit me was the size of the cupcakes. They were standard cupcake pan sized, rather small and underwhelming. And while the amount of frosting on them was awesome, two very large dollops per cupcake, it did nothing to justify the $4.00 each price tag.

Upon the first bite I was once again disappointed. The frosting was very good, I'm picky when it comes to buttercream and I really liked this frosting. But the cake itself tasted no better than out-of-the-box yellow cake. My boyfriend had a similar experience with his dark chocolate cupcake. He told me that, once again, the frosting was delicious, but the cake itself left something to be desired.

So while the shop and the cupcakes themselves were incredibly cute, I don't believe I will be visiting Sweet again anytime soon. If I do, I'll most likely settle for a frosting shot and leave it at that.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Going to School in Lolita

Well, my spring semester at college starts today and its back to lectures and tests for myself and many. A lot of lolitas like to use school as an excuse to wear their frills in a more daily fashion. But if you've never gone all out the idea of wearing full on lolita to class can be a little daunting. So I've put together a couple tips for learning in your loli.

- Start small. If you're too nervous to just take the plunge and go all-out lolita on the first day, work up to it in babysteps. Wear a ruffled skirt sans petticoat with an everyday top or wear a blouse with jeans. Slowly add things toward full lolita so the transition isn't so much of a shock to others.

- Stay classic or casual. If you want to stay in the background as much as possible classic or casual lolita is the best. Classic will, at most times, just look like dressy clothes with a petticoat. Casual lolita, with a cute cutsew, will look even more like casual everyday clothes. If a bit more girly.

- If you want to go a little further than classic or casual. Say, gothic or sweet, don't go OTT. Sweets jewelry and incredibly huge teased hair may look cute at a meetup, but it will be distracting while taking notes. Also, keep any makeup tuned down and low maintenance. There's no need to spend an hour getting ready to simply sit and learn all day.

- Wear flats or low heels. Chances are you're going to have a long school day and high heels just run you the risk of getting sore feet.

- If you have an art class, or lab, or anything with the potential to get messy or harm your clothes, don't wear lolita. No amount of "being careful" is worth the risk of ruining such expensive items.

- If someone asks what you're wearing and is actually curious, try to hold off on the word "lolita" because of the stigma attached to it. Introduce them with a title something along the lines of "a Japanese street fashion". Don't go crazy explaining it to them either unless they specifically ask. Be polite.

- Remember you're most likely going to get harassed no matter how carefully you ease into your frills. People feel threatened about things that are different and you're going to be different. But if you act confident and keep your head held high then you're not likely to get much more than a handful of odd stares and rude comments.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mini Post: Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love to bake. Its one of the few "lifestlye lolita" traits I take part in. So I figured it was high time I shared some of my recipes with my readers!

I made these cookies for a cookie swap party and they were a huge hit. They have a mild orange flavor that goes perfect with the chocolate chips.

You'll need:
2 and 3/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, densely packed
2 eggs
Fresh grated orange rind of a whole orange
Fresh squeezed juice from a whole orange
Chocolate chips of your choice (dark, milk, bittersweet, etc)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and orange rind in a medium bowl. Mix and set aside.
3. Combine sugars in a large bowl.
4. Add butter and mix well.
5. Add eggs, orange extract, and orange juice and mix well.
6. Add dry mixture, blend until just combined.
7. Add desired amount of chocolate chips. (The more the better imo)
8. Drop by spoonful onto wax lined cookie sheet.
9. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies a light brown around edges.
10. Allow to cool.
11. Nom.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dressing Yourself Outside of Lolita

I've noticed a lot of complaints from girls into lolita in regards to girls dressing sloppily in their everyday clothes. They argue that you shouldn't wear lolita if you don't know how to dress yourself outside of it. Like you have to pass some sort of coordination test before you're allowed to match up prints and colors of your froof.

I, for one, don't buy into this shit. Before lolita I wore nothing but jeans and those annoying "ironic" t-shirts that everyone hates (but I still love. So there.) or band shirts. Throw on some Payless sneakers and a pea-coat if its cold out and I'm good to go. I never bothered with which shirt matched what skirt because I never wore anything that couldn't be thrown on from out of my closet. Unless you count my highschool mallgoth days, but we won't even go there.

Lolita is not rocket science to coordinate. Especially the basic stuff. You find some colors that go well together and fit into one substyle of the fashion and you're good. If you want to be even lazier you buy the whole set of matching stuff from a single brand (Candies go with candies go with candies? Brilliant!). If you want to try mixing styles or bringing outside influences into your lolita, say rockabilly for example, you're going to have a slightly harder time. But for the most part lolita is paint by numbers easy to coordinate.

So why is it I have to be required to know how to match clothes I don't want to wear to other clothes I don't want to wear? Lolita makes me feel pretty. My slummy clothes make me feel comfy. I don't need or want an inbetween. Most mainstream clothes don't suit me because they're made for size 8s and I'm a size 18. So they make me feel ugly and uncomfortable. Why force myself to learn how to dress a way that I'm going to feel self-conscious in and thus look horrible anyway because I'm not rocking it?

Point is, these people are complaining because they can't comprehend others dressing outside of the norm. How dare you dress how you want while everyone else is wearing the latest fashions? This makes them hypocrites because they themselves, in the very act of wearing lolita, fall out of the norm and are now the ones being looked down on for "not knowing how to dress themselves".

Moral of the story? Wear what you want. Someone out there is going to hate it anyway so why not rock something you love and feel comfortable in? Whether it be lolita, jeans and a t-shirt, the stuff you see in magazines, or clothes from centuries ago. If you like it, wear it.

An aside: In case you haven't noticed. Part Time Lolita has a new banner and background! Vote on how much you hate it in the poll to the right. I'll take this moment to introduce the new weekly polls as well! There will be new poll every Monday along with the weekly post so we can see the readers' opinions on different subjects. Enjoy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tips for the Plus Size Lolita

Everyone has the right to feel beautiful. For some of us that means wearing lolita. For a few of us that means wearing lolita while being plus-sized. While those who give us flack for being plus-sized will always give us flack, that does not excuse us for not looking as fabulous in our frills as possible. So here's some advice on what kind of frills will look good on your body shape.

Hourglass: Hurray for you! You actually have the best figure for lolita in my opinion. Sure, your large breasts and wide hips may seem like a detriment to you, but that defined waist can really pull you through.
- Wear pieces that define your natural waist. Jumperskirts with princess seams will work well to call attention to your hourglass figure.
- Take advantage of a-line skirts, your shape flatters them well. Wear petticoats with lighter fluff around the hips.
- Look for back shirring or waist ties. These will help the clothing contour to your shape.
- Empire waist dresses, they cover your waist and ruin your shape.
On the fence
- Cupcake shaped skirts. They truncate your waist instead of accentuate it, making your torso look stunted at times.

Comparison: The pink jsk will flatter and elongate your waist.
The red jsk will truncate it, making your torso look shorter than it is.

Top Heavy: As a friend of mine used to say "I got kicked in the back and it all came out on my front." You're in luck! Petticoats can hide the fact that you have no hips, giving you the illusion of an hourglass.
- Wear lots of poof. In a fashion like lolita where poof at the hips is expected a flat petti can draw attention to your lack of downstairs.
- Take advantage of wide belts. They're coming into fashion in lolita and can be just what you need to draw out your waist. Remember to make sure that the belt is not at your underbust, but rather your natural waist, as this can make you look more breasty than you might like.
- Pieces that have defined areas for them to sit over breasts. Chances are, unless these are custom made to your measurements, you will overfill these areas and look awkward.
- Pieces that have a lot of ruffles or lace around the breast area. It will draw the eye and make you look even more top heavy.
On the fence
- High waisted skirts and underbust jumperskirts. Again, these draw the eye to the breasts and can even hike them up higher into your chin. Use with discretion.
- Full shirred bodices. If they stretch far enough then it's worth giving a shot, but if you're on the cusp of the max measurements they can give you the appearance of a sausage.

This jsk has a defined area for your chest. Chances are you will overfill it.

Bottom Heavy: You've got more width at the bottom than at the top. But this is good news! 99% of lolita clothes are free at the hips, so a lack of inches at the top means you might fit into more brand than a lot of other plus sized girls could.
- Look for princess seams and a-line skirts. Like the hourglass figure, they enhance your waistline.
- Take advantage of pieces that have lots of ruffles and lace on the chest area. It will help even you out top to bottom.
- If you commission, give measurements for the "rise" of your skirts. This will avoid uneven hemlines when worn and unwanted panty shots.
- Super poofy petticoats. The added bulk around the waist can ruin your shape.
- Shorter skirts, especially if store-bought. They can easily gain you some unwanted attention.
On the fence
- Empire waist dresses. You can get away with them because they'll flatter you down to your waist, but wide hips with the addition of a petticoat may cause an odd silhouette.

The A-line skirt will flatter your hips and elongate your waist.
The ruffles on the bodice will add volume to your top.

Apple-Shaped: It's a little tougher for a girl of this shape to just throw on lolita and look wonderful. A little experimenting and playing around goes a long way though, you can have more fun with your wardrobe then others.
- Wear separates. Blouses and skirts are good for defining a waist that the allover cover of an onepiece or jumperskirt may obscure.
- Go for petticoats slightly poofier below the hips. They can help even out your shape without adding extra fluff to your waist.
- All over shirring. It can add unwanted bulk to your waistline.
- Full elastic waisted skirts. They can cause an unwanted silhouette under your blouses. Go for back elastic or zip up skirts instead.
- Empire waists. Not only can they hide your waist, they can give the illusion of being pregnant.
On the fence
- A-line skirts. They can give the illusion of a longer trunk and lower hips.

The separate blouse and skirt combo will add definition to your waist.

Body Trait Quick Tips:
Short neck - Look for flat collars like peter pan collars. Avoid high neck blouses or raised collars.
Wide Shoulders - Wear wider straps on jumperskirts. Avoid puffy sleeves.
Short legs - Wear knee-high socks. Avoid horizontal stripes.
Long legs - Wear overknee socks or tights. Avoid shin-high boots.
Wide calves - Wear full color or vertical stripe socks. Avoid horizontal stripes or prints.
When wearing a high-waisted skirt or full-shirred bodice, consider a corset or shapewear underneath to smooth out your tummy.

Got tips of your own? Add them in the comments!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Mini post: A Lolita Panel

So, I've been asked to help run a lolita panel next month by my friend Caro-chan over at F*** Yeah Lolita. It's just a small convention at the University of Connecticut, called U-Con, in it's first year running. The convention is absolutely free to attend, so if you're in the area please stop by! The panel will be running at 4pm on February 6th. You can check out everything you need at the U-Con website.

We're just going to be giving the basic "What is lolita?" kind of panel, touching on the different styles, quality you should look for, etc. It's not going to be anything completely innovative because we figure there won't be that many lolitas attending. If things go well we'll be able to fill up the whole hour with information. If not I'm sure we'll find something fun and lolita related to pass the time and get to know eachother! I'm super excited about it since this is the first panel I've ever ran and if it goes well we might attempt something at the larger Connecticon in the summer.

So if you want to see Caro-chan and myself in action, come check it out!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Return of the Rant: "Lolita" Pets

We've all heard about them. Most have seen them. Some even want one. A cute little puppy or kitty to dress up and show off with your latest dress. Maybe they even match your print? A bischon with your Innocent World, poodles with your Angelic Pretty, kittens for your Metamorphose. It's adorable! Dress them up too! Put a bow on their heads! And carry them around in your purse! Aren't they the cutest?

No. I'm sorry. Pets are not accessories. They are living, breathing things that should be treated better than dressed up and shoved in a purse to be carried around for hours. They have legs, they need to walk. Unless you have a chihuahua and you're outside in the middle of winter your pet does not need clothes. In fact most clothes for pets, especially in the summer, can cause your animal to overheat. Those cute little booties you put on your pup? They're good for keeping his feet dry while outside in the cold, but when inside they can cause infections between the pads. How's that for cute?

"Teacup" breeds are the worst. Dogs are inbred to become smaller and smaller, more fashionable. Meanwhile, the inbreeding promotes breed-specific health risks. Not to mention more immediate dangers such as taking jumps off something as low as a couch. The small breeds are fragile and breeding them even smaller makes things worse. On the same vein are the "designer dogs" like Goldendoodles and Puggles. They are bred with the intention to make them more hardy or hypo-allergenic. But what designer breeders don't tell you is that the chance for these positive traits to come out is the same for the chance of negative traits of both breeds coming out. You don't know what you're going to get. So, with Puggles for example, you can get the easy overheating, respiratory problems, and nose wrinkle infections from the Pug as well as the destructive properties, weight issues, and heart disease from the Beagle. Sure, it's cute, but you're probably not getting as good of a dog that you think you're buying. Not to mention, a designer dog's price tag can be more than a purebred's. You can be paying upwards for $1k for nothing more than a fancy mutt!

All animals grow up. Puppies become dogs. Kittens become cats. They get old. The bills for the vet visits grow. They no longer look so cute next to your kitten print, and tend to get hair all over it. Not to mention that a lot of animals sold as "teacup" breeds are actually just premature puppies or kittens. They grow up to be full sized and have even more health problems. They don't fit in your purse anymore. And they whine to be picked up still because all you've done is carry them around their whole lives.

I realize I'm being harsh with this rant but 1) it's a rant, 2) it's my blog, and 3) this is an issue I feel strongly about, not just within lolita. I worked in the animal care industry for over five years. I have seen dogs bought as accessories suffer through many problems, health, mental, and otherwise. I have cried when animals I've known for years were put down or given away simply because the owner was bored with them, or they were no longer cute, or were too much of a handful. I know this is a harsh rant but what I'm getting at is please think about the animal that you're buying. Are you getting it for an accessory? For something to coo over for a couple weeks and then get bored of? To dress up and show off? Or are you looking for a new friend for life? To give an unloved animal a new lease at life? To make your world and theirs a little bit brighter? Animals are not your personal playthings. Consider this before you go to buy one. Or even better, consider this and then go to your local shelter or pound and adopt that scruffy looking mutt in the corner. He or she will be your best friend as long as you care for them right.

Pictured: My old man Buddy. Part Husky, part Beagle, part Australian Cattle Dog, all Love.
There's nothing lolita about him, but I couldn't ask for more.
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