Monday, June 28, 2010

Kelly Wants Some Shoes

I've been killing for a new pair of lolita shoes lately... I've been working with my Dr. Martens and a pair of rocking horse boots since I've accumulated a decent sized wardrobe. I think it's time to actually go for a new pair of shoes. I just have to remind myself that I need shoes, not boots since I always seem to come back to boots. Here's a few I've had my eyes on!

While there isn't a ton of stuff that actually has card suits on it in my wardrobe, I kind of have a huge weakness for them. I've always loved this style of shoes. Maybe I can get more card suit related items in my wardrobe and then I can justify actually getting them.

I wasn't a huge fan of this style of shoe at first, but it's really grown on me since I've seen them actually worn in different coordinates. They come higher up like boots while still being a shoe which is something I really like.

Rocking horse shoes were something I hated with a passion when I first saw them. The wooded bottom always made me think of an old wood paneled station wagon for some reason. As I became more and more serious about lolita, they started to grow on me, too. Now, I would love to have these shoes. I'm leaning towards this pair as my next pair.

I've always liked these shoes. I originally was in love with the black and white ones but as I've gotten more prints, colors, and solid black pieces in my wardrobe, I've decided plain black would be the best way for me to go so I can get the most use out of them.

So what ones do you like best? I think I know what I want but I can't seem to actually make up my mind. I'd love to hear your opinions!

Metamorphose Summer 2010 Lucky Pack

I'm very excited to be receiving my very first Metamorphose lucky pack. I've ordered several from Baby the Stars Shine Bright before, but never bothered with Meta. I was a bit nervous about whether or not I'd get one or not since it was the first time I've ever ordered from them. On top of that, this year Meta decided to use the shopping cart system instead of email for their lucky packs this year. I was expecting the packs to go on sale at midnight Japan time like almost everyone else. I woke up in the middle of the night and decided on a whim to check and I'm glad I did since they were actually posted at 5pm Japan time. I got my pack but I didn't pay right away since I had expected an email with more payment information like Baby does, which was not the case. In fear that I wouldn't get to fix this mistake, I ordered another pack. I was shocked at how nice Meta was when we emailed them to fix this mistake. They were completely understanding. I'm used to Baby's system of black listing you for the tiniest mistake.

I received my tracking information on July 9th, but it was actually shipped the 8th according to the tracking info. I received my lucky pack on July 12th. On to the pictures!

Overall, I'm very happy with everything I got! In my pack there was the blouse pictured in the examples, Perfume Bottle OTK socks, gingham bloomers, and the Heart Leopard skirt. I'm a little bummed out my pack seemed to be missing the washcloth, tote bag, and accessory, but I absolutely love everything I did receive so I'm not too upset. I'd rather get a few items I love than many items that are total crap. I'm super happy I didn't get that terrible special set. I would have been quite upset with that. I'm especially happy with the skirt. A few days ago when I saw a few people received Heart Leopard skirts I was sort of hopeful to receive one since I've been into more punkier styles as of late. Hopefully, I'll be just as lucky when I go for an LP from Baby later this summer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Candy Violet Review: Fluffy Petticoat

I'm at it again. I decided I needed a better petticoat. Not that the one I have isn't good, but it just doesn't give that ridiculous amount of poof that one of these guys from Candy Violet is supposed to give. I placed my order on June 14th and received an automated message to let me know that my order went through. The website states that it can take up to a week for items to ship. Vivcore does not charge your card until your package ships. They do not accept Paypal. I received a shipping notice on June 18th from UPS letting me know that my package had been shipped along with its tracking information. This tracking information said my package should arrive on June 22.

Sorry about the sideways picture... the photo uploader refused to cooperate -_-'

The package arrived on June 22 just as the tracking information said it would. It kind of stuffed into an envelope but since these petticoats give poof based on having several layers of ruffles instead of being held up by tulle, this didn't really have a chance at deflating it. Regardless, I don't like seeing petticoats packed like this.

The petticoat itself is definitely very fluffy and soft. I have no complaints there. I do however feel that the elastic on these petticoats is terrible. I realized that these petticoats are simply Malco Mode petticoats, so I don't blame Vivcore for the terrible elastic waist. The elastic is not actually sewn into the waist. When I unbuttoned it to put it on, the two side of the elastic band retreated into the waistband and made it quite difficult to actually pull them out and button it. The website does say that the petticoat should fit between a 21-36 inch waist. The elastic as is, is quite tight and uncomfortable on my 29 inch waist. I'll definitely be replacing it.
Now for the poof factor. I've seen this petticoat in action and have been quite impressed. Now that I've replaced the elastic, I can easily show you how this petticoat holds up once its got a skirt over it. However, I found that it is a little bit too long (or maybe I'm just too short...). I also found that the poof was too much to fit under my BTSSB skirts. It JUST fit under my JSKs. Since both of these issues make it unwearable, I had it shortened by about 2 inches. Somehow this also lessened the poof to a wearable level (Don't ask me how that works, my mother is the seamstress, not me XD) Now for the part you've all been waiting on!

I don't feel that this picture even does it justice. This thing has some serious poof. It kept hitting the furniture and doorways in my house while I was walking around with it on. I think it would be ideal for hime lolita.


Communication: 5/5 Candy Violet was great about letting me know that my payment was received and my item was shipped. They even provided me with a tracking number. No complaints here.

Shipping: 5/5 I chose the UPS shipping option and I received my package right on schedule. She shipped quite promptly.

Quality: 4/5 While the elastic sucked to put it nicely, it was extremely easy to fix. The rest of the petticoat is great though. It's extremely soft and does provide a ton of poof.

Overall, I'm really happy with Candy Violets service. For the price I paid I would liked to have not had to fix the elastic, but that's more a problem with Malco Mode than Candy Violet. I would definitely do business with her again.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Renaissance Festival Coordinate

I've been quite excited for my trip to this year's Renaissance Festival in Sterling, NY. I've already got my whole coordinate planned out. I figured I would share it with you all.

For starters, I've picked out my Alice and the Pirates Gathers Frill JSK in ivory as the main part of this coordinate. I didn't want to wear it without a blouse but I wasn't really feeling wearing all white either so I'm pairing it with one of my favorite blouses from Rakuen. Lastly, I'm hoping that the black socks with the gold fleur-de-lis will go nicely with the gold buttons on the blouse and the gold chain and beading on the JSK.

I'm adding these "essential" pieces to this outfit. I thought about wearing my Dr. Martens with this outfit but I think that the rocking horse boots will fit in nicely with everything else so far. I'm going in July and therefore it's going to be quite hot out. I'm taking my BTSSB Vellsarie Parasol out on it's maiden voyage for this coordinate. I am kind of at a loss on what to do for a bag. I have chosen the Virgin Mary tote bag since I doubt I'll randomly come across the treasure chest purse for less than what it originally retailed when it was released.

Words cannot describe how badly I want this purse for this outfit. Considering that my studying abroad has left me in a bit of debt, I can't go throwing away 18,000 yen for a purse sadly.

Last but not least, this outfit needs some accessories and bloomers of course. I'm considering tea dying the bloomers since they are stark white in comparison to the rest of the coordinate and they probably are going to peak out just a little bit. If you scroll down to my previous blog, you'll see my review for that amazing tricorn hat that I am going to be wearing with this coordinate. As far as jewelry goes I'm going to be wearing my fake Vivienne Westwood choker and my pearl and metal flower bracelet. I'm hoping to maybe be able to get a hold of a few antique looking rings to cover my fingers with. I'm praying that we have some beautiful July weather like we did last year. I'd love to hear any comments or ideas anyone has to offer up for this coordinate.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Etsy Seller: Tea Time Inc. Review

Recently I've been trying to get together a nice pirate inspired coord for the Sterling Renaissance Festival and I decided that a tricorn hat would really pull the outfit together. After a little bit of tutorial searching and some relatively unsuccessful attempts at making my own from felt, I decided it would probably be better to let someone a little bit more crafty than myself make one. I found an amazing hat by Tea Time Inc. on Etsy.

The hats can be made in brown or black and there are two different styles available. I chose the black hat as pictured in the stock image. I placed my order and payed on June 7th. I received an email on June 9th letting me know that my hat had been shipped. I was shocked to come home and find the package on my doorstep on June 10th.

The hat was well packaged in a box and with plenty of tissue paper to keep it from banging around in there.

The hat itself is very well put together. The stitches are all even and well placed. The hat is made from real leather as stated in the item description. It is definitely sturdy. There is no hot glue here. Everything is strongly stitched together.

The hat has an elastic band that is meant to go under the neck. The band is not adjustable but is at a comfortable yet supportive length.

Communication:5/5 Since our transaction was finished in like three days there wasn't much of a need for communication. I was informed when my item was shipped.
Shipping: 5/5 My hat was shipped quickly and arrived extremely fast (Washington-New York in 2 days)
Quality: 5/5 The craftsmanship was perfect. No complaints here.

So that's my review. I've got my eye on some of her other items for the future. I highly recommend her work!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Urban Exploring: Pennhurst Mental Institution

This Memorial Day, I visited the abandoned Eastern State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic, also known as the Pennhurst Mental Institution in Spring City, Pennsylvania. The facilities here, as you can guess by the name, housed several thousand mentally retarded and physically handicapped patients from it's opening in 1908. Pennhurst has been the source of a lot of debate for some time. It had been under scrutiny for overcrowding, patient abuse, and sexual abuse of patients since it's opening. Roland Johnson, an ex-patient at Pennhurst Mental Institution, writes in his autobiography, Lost In A Desert World, about being physically and sexually abused by other patients and witnessing the hospital staff do the same to completely disabled bed ridden patients. A 1968 news report, Suffer the Little Children, shares similar findings at the institution. It brings the public's attention to the overcrowding and poor conditions at the severely understaffed hospital. This news report had a strong influence on the eventual closing of the hospital in 1987. Several years after the fact staff interviews paint a different picture of the Pennhurst Mental Institution. In interviews with a registered nurse and an aide, they claim that the press really exaggerated the story they prepared for the public. They claim that old photos from times where standards weren't as high were used in the reports and painted an unrealistic picture for the general public.

My visit started with a 4 hour car ride including a stop at Wendy's where we laughed at Paul's chicken sandwich which looked so overcooked and heat lamped that we deemed it the "Chernobyl Chicken Sandwich." We then stopped laughing at Paul's sandwich to laugh at Paul when he somehow absent-mindedly threw out his tray. Good job Paul. As we got into the area we saw the huge Nuclear Power plant nearby. While I've noticed a few on my train rides through France, I've never actually seen one in the US so it was kind of neat to be able to stop and actually take a few photos.

Once we arrived in Spring City, we wandered around a bit and finally found a road closed sign in front of a blocked path. The water tower was the landmark closest to this closed road. We seemed to have found what we were looking for so we stopped there and wandered down the path.

After a few minutes of walking the abandoned road, we came across another street of the main road. After about a minute of following this road we came across a section of cleared land. There were two buildings here. One appeared to be a sort of school or administration building. It was difficult to tell without actually breaking in, which we did not do. We wandered around this site for a moment and then continued on the main road. Not too long after we came across another side street.

We followed this path way and came across the main campus. The path way led to a really neat building that had an archway. I believe it may have been attached to the building we saw at the previous opening.

The main campus has several buildings. Supposedly all of them are connected by an underground maze of tunnels. The tunnels were used to transport patients back in the days this place was functioning. Sadly, the ones we came across were blocked off, however, this is the best way to actually enter the buildings. The campus also has a raised walkway connecting many of the buildings on ground level.

Scattered throughout the entire campus one can find various ruins of things to entertain the children that lived here. Just off of the walkway pictured above, one could see an in ground pool. We also found a few slides, some of which were in better conditions than others. A swing set and a set of monkey bars could also be found somewhat towards the center of the campus in an overgrown playground.

While we didn't actually enter any of the buildings this time, I was able to take a few window shots. I was particularly fond of these shots because without the camera flash, you couldn't see anything in these rooms. I was kind of surprised that there wasn't more vandalism inside than there was. In a few of the rooms I photographed, there wasn't even any graffiti. The paint is peeling off the walls and the pipes and lights are rusting, but there wasn't very much damage at all that seemed caused by vandals.

I really enjoyed this little adventure. It was amazing to see something like this so overgrown, but still preserved so well. I would love to try to go back at some point before it is fully torn down to check out inside of the buildings. I suppose we'll see how that works out.

Pray to your god, open your heart
Whatever you do, don't be afraid of the dark
Cover your eyes, the devil's inside
One day it'll all just end

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Urban Exploring: Centralia, Pennsylvania

This past summer I went on my first real urban exploration to the abandoned coal town of Centralia, Pennsylvania. Centralia was a decent sized town right up until the 1980's. In the 1960's, a mine fire was accidentally started, most likely due to ash from burnt garbage being discarded there. Once the fire was ignited, a lot of bureacracy kept it from being put out. Fast forward 20 years later, the town is being slowly abandoned after a young boy is almost swallowed by a sinkhole 4 feet wide and 150 feet deep. In the 1980's, the town of Centralia had around 2,000 residents. According to a census in 2007, there were then 9 residents. The coal fire underground will burn for the next 300 years and may eventually consume neighboring towns in the same way it destroyed Centralia.

We came across the abandoned section of Route 61 first. I was surprised by how easy it could have been to miss. The entrance to this section of the highway is blocked by a mound of dirt that can be easily climbed over or walked around. The first sight I had over the hill was absolutely breath taking. I couldn't believe it was so easy to find. We parked our car and continued on the section of highway.

The actual section of highway is about a half mile in length. It's not very long. Before you begin to see any cracks or smoke pouring out of the ground, you will first notice that the road has literally bubbled up from the heat of the coal fire burning beneath it. If you continue on, you will eventually come across a large crack in the pavement. In some areas of this crack, hot smoke is escaping. While it is extremely difficult to see in the photos, the smoke is very easy to see in person.

Once we finished exploring the section of Route 61, we headed in the the actual town of Centralia. There is not much left of Centralia outside of a few foundations and empty streets anymore. Most of the buildings that were there have been torn down as the residents vacate the town. The town hall, one residence, and a church were visible as the only standing structures in the section we explored. Some street signs and power lines were still standing. In some other areas you can see more smoke creeping out of the ground. According to different sources, one can see smoke coming from the cemetaries in the area as well. The cemetaries are supposedly well kept despite the number of bodies in the cemetary far out numbering that of living residents in Centralia.

All in all, I was not disappointed by this little excursion. Despite the lack of surviving infrastructure, it was really neat to see what gets left behind. It was cool to see roads gradually disappear into the woods and to discover the overgrown foundations of this old town. I'm hoping to be able to go back someday soon to explore the other half.