Monday, October 13, 2014

Anime USA 2014 Part 2 ~ Rise to Heaven

Hello Everyone!

I feel it coming. I know its coming. Before this post-con crud completely takes over me, onto part two of my Anime USA report!

First Saturday outfit, something cute and casual.

The first part of Saturday was rather uneventful besides me covering the Mika Takeguchi fashion show for VKH. I got a lot of good pictures which I will upload within the week. But soon after the fashion show I went back to my room because I was feeling kind of sad again for the usual reasons, but it did not last as long as it usually does. Kitty gave me some good, sound advice while I was feeling depressed that made me feel much better afterward. Now whenever I go to fashion shows, I may feel sad/inadequate for a hot minute, but I bounce back almost immediately. It’s getting to the point where it almost does not bother me at all. Well almost. ;^_^

All dolled up for Schwarz Stein!

In any case, Schwarz Stein’s concert was strangely early Saturday evening, well early compared to what I was expecting. Doors opened at 6, I was delighted to have a spot very close to the stage with my colleagues and with Kitty behind me. Before the show started a lot of Schwarz Stein’s songs were playing without vocals and I was singing along and teaching Kitty each and every one. Like I’ve said before, I first discovered Kaya through the music of Schwarz Stein and have been a fan of them for 9 years. But Schwarz Stein in many ways is very different from Kaya’s solo project; while Kaya does have some dark elements in his solo work, there is still a lot of cuteness and sweetness. Schwarz Stein is all dark, all erotic, and all decadence! No cuteness at all. In some ways I actually like Schwarz Stein Kaya best.

After a while the music stopped and the concert began. The melodies of “Testament” filled the air and Hora came upon the stage and Kaya soon after. I could feel my heart begin to race as both Kaya and Hora moved from one side of the stage to another, greeting the fans before taking position for the first song. The upbeat tunes of "Perfect Garden" soon replaced "Testament" and Kaya screamed out "DC! Move your body!!" And from that moment, it was as though the world and time itself had stopped as he beckoned us all to dance and scream even more and commanded the stage with such elegant grace and flamboyant sexiness; twirling and dancing around the stage and moving his free hand in some kind of choreographed pattern. His voice, flawless; his smile, stunning, and I could not help but become completely overwhelmed with an ungodly amount of feels. Good feels though!

Hora was amazing too; he kind of stayed still for the first part of the concert but graually began to move around alot more, playing his keytar and getting really close to the stage and the fans. I was very taken by Hora’s stage presence which is just as commanding as Kaya’s and actually, kind of sexy! *o*

During the second song though, Kaya’s shoe broke and he stumbled a bit but he recovered from it with lightning-like quickness and amazing grace, laughing it off as though it didn’t even happen and continued the song. For the next song though he stayed still. Afterward Schwarz Stein had a brief MC and everyone was like "Daijobu desu ka? Daijobu?" to Kaya. But he continued to smile and left the stage to fix his shoe so Hora entertained us for a bit by talking to us about how he liked America, basketball and some other things I can’t quite remember. He was really funny and at one point some girls were like "We love you Hora!" and he said "I love you too!" What a hoot! XD

 Soon enough Kaya returned to the stage and the show continued. For a while I was really worried for Kaya; he stayed still for a the next few songs but gradually began freely moving around the stage. By the time they performed "Queen of Decadence" (ULTIMATE Kaya song!!!) he was beginning to dance again and by "Rise to Heaven" (my absolute favorite Schwarz Stein songs) he was completely twirling around and sort of vogue-ing in his  elegant, graceful, queenly style. And he is such a skilled dancer! It almost made me cry how amazingly he recovered and after regaining his footing, did not hold back one bit from giving a wonderful show. So captivating! Can you guys see why I admire him so deeply??

The remainder of the concert was nothing less than incredible and I sang along with nearly every song. My one small gripe about the show, well not really a gripe per say, was that they did not perform the song “Beautiful the Virgin”. That is another one of my favorite Schwarz Stein songs but I guess the theme of it may be a bit too, how can I put it, “intense” for a concert at a con. At the panel the day before Kaya had said that the themes of some of Schwarz Stein’s songs are a lot darker than his solo work and it may surprise us.

But they did perform “Kuro Ageha”, when they introduced that song Kaya warned us that it was “Very, very dark!” but of course we were okay with that! They also performed “Creeper” and “Succubus”, during those songs Kaya performed in a very trilling, somewhat provocative way accompanied by Hora growling intensely and pumping up the crowd all the more. Kaya did a few… “sexy” things on stage showing off his more....seductive side to the thrill of the audience. It was so fascinating but I’m kind of embarrassed to write about it here but what I will say though is….it resulted in a case of “lolita dominoes” with me Kitty and our two other friends…yeah…XD

After “Succubus” they left the stage for a moment and we chanted for an encore, the band returned and talked about a new single that would be released next month! For the encore, they performed “Last Hallucination”. For certain reasons, I had been purposely not listening to the latter song for the last few years because the lyrics are very deep and melancholic. I could sense the emotion in Kaya’s voice and a few tears began to fall down my cheeks, but I had nearly forgotten how beautiful the song actually is so it was somewhat bittersweet. The final song was my all time favorite “New Vouge Children”. It’s such an empowering, beautiful song that I feel that anyone who is different or has been oppressed in some way can relate to. During the last chorus he pointed the mic at us and the look of joy in his face when nearly everyone in the audience sang back to him is something I will not soon forget. I’m ashamed to admit I was actually crying a bit as I sang along with Kaya as loud as I could. It was such a perfect, beautiful moment. I felt as though I was being transported to a different world, like a dream from which I never wished to wake.

So so SO glad I had decided to switch my eye makeup out to waterproof before the concert!! By the time it was over I could not stop my tears. I quickly fixed my face and stopped crying long enough to go to the next autograph session after the show. For some reason, my nervousness had vanished and I went through it with a great sense of calm. I felt as though my great admiration for Kaya grew even more from this concert and I developed a new admiration for Hora too. I could really see the friendship between them and both of them are such incredibly beautiful, talented, quirky human beings. It makes my heart feel so warm.

Hora signed his name in English! ^o^

After the autograph session I ran into Amanda who was talking to Tomo. He mentioned he would also be at the tea party the next day; I was really looking forward to it! I went back to the room and for the next hour or so mused with Kitty and Camille about how amazing the concert was! And that was Saturday!

Sunday was without a doubt the best day of the entire con and also the day of Kaya’s tea party! I started the day very early, taking extreme care in dressing and doing my hair and makeup this time; seeing to it that every detail was flawless. I decided to go for a Venetian masquerade look with my new AATP dress and I must say, I don’t think I have ever looked more beautiful than I did that day. I also received many compliments from other people at the tea party, the staff and Kaya himself! My skill and confidence in my coords just keeps rising, to think I almost wanted to give up lolita this year!

Sadly, no full front body shot of this coord, not yet anyway. >o<
JSK and bag ~ Alice and the Pirates
Blouse ~ Handmade
Headpiece ~ Sweet Mildred
Shoes and mask ~ Offbrand

Camille, Kiki and the boys went off on their own to enjoy the last few events of the con and me, Kitty and Amanda went to get in line for the tea party. While waiting I saw Kaya pass by with his staff looking as gorgeous as ever in head to toe AATP, I fell instantly in love with his beautiful coord! There were many other beautifully dressed attendees too, sitting with us was this very sweet girl dressed in head to toe BABY who I though looked adorable! When we were all finally seated, Kaya appeared before us all, greeting us with gracious bows and waves and a winning smile. He thanked us all for coming to his tea party and that he would go to each table and greet us all personally.

We were the second table to meet Kaya. He looked even more magnificent up close and I became awestruck again! >o< I managed to say that I thought he looked beautiful, he smiled and said "Thank you!" and touched the gold mask decorating my hair; I think he really liked it! My confidence soared again. He also liked the rose decorating Kitty's badge and Kitty pointed out to Kaya how it matched the roses decorating his dress and bonnet. Amanda was sadly sitting away from us at another table but I noticed when Kaya went to her table he sat right next to her and seemed to adore the Usakumya-chan she was carrying! I was so happy for her!

Obligatory tea party selfie, so much fanciness on my head!

Forever frilly besties! <3

Noms noms! XD

While this was going on I noticed my VKH colleagues watching us from the balcony on the far other side of the hotel, we took turns waving to each other! After Kaya had visited each table and met with the guests, he returned to the front of the room and began the promised chanson-style mini show, asking us all to enjoy it. He sang sitting down, the first song being “Chocolat ~ Sweet Version”, a softer, cuter version of the song “Chocolat” that no doubt shot everyone in the room with another ungodly amount of warm feels. So much cuteness! TOO much fucking cuteness!!!

When that song was over Kaya had  a brief MC where the took the time to thank us again for coming to the tea party and explained that the last song was very sweet and cute to fit the theme of the tea party. Kaya also talked about his outfit for the day, rising from his chair and turning around cutely and saying how it’s from BABY/AATP but because he was at AUSA as a part of Schwarz Stein it was a darker dress to fit Schwarz Stein’s theme. We mused about how lovely Kaya looked and he responded in the usual, adorable way. He asked us “Kawaii? Daisuki? Kirei?” and quickly, slyly replied “I know!” UUUUUGGGGHH KAYA!! >////////////////////<

Finally he announced the next song, but warned that it was a sad love song, “Silvery Dark”. Kitty and I listened intently, squeezing each other’s hands trying to keep ourselves from crying. We were so close and I noticed that many others did look a bit misty-eyed by the time the song was over. Kaya’s voice was so magnificently beautiful but the third and final song was much more upbeat and cheerful, “Transmigration”.

We clapped along to the music and sang along with him. Sweet and whimsical, Kaya removed the chair from the stage and decided to sing this song standing, dancing a little too. But by the final chorus Kaya had left the little stage and was moving around the room freely dancing and moving around in his graceful queenly way; even the limited space could not hold Kaya back. It was quite impressive that he could make even the most limited bit of space a stage for himself. By this point it was all I could do to NOT fly apart with inner squeeing. I know I sound like a terrible fangirl but if you could just be there you would understand! Kaya simply has so much energy and feeling when performing and radiates so much beauty and cuteness that unless your heart is made of ice, it is nearly impossible not to be struck by it. But even then I’m sure Kaya could melt that frozen heart!

And just when I thought that the level of feels could not be higher, just when I thought that my heart could not contain anymore joy, Kaya finished the performance beautifully and thanked us once more for attending that day. He also said that while it may be hard to like things like lolita, anime, etc. that each and everyone of us should be ourselves and love ourselves just the way we are. The most important thing is to love ourselves and even 20 years from now he would still be singing and dressing in lolita! He said this with such sincerity too, that did it!

 I turned my head to the ceiling to keep the oncoming tears from running down my cheeks and ruining my face. Up until that moment I was trying so hard to keep my feelings inside but what Kaya said was really too much for my heartstrings because with so much going on with me recently regarding my broken self esteem, it was exactly what I needed to hear. It is obvious that Kaya has a great deal of confidence and self assurance in himself and that is one of the many things I think makes him such a gifted performer and why so many people all around the world adore and admire him. I've always wanted to ask him at a panel or a meet and greet what is his secret to self confidence and being as beautiful as he is inside and out but I’ve never had the courage to and probably never will. To hear Kaya say this touched me very deeply and I really hope that one day I can be like him, beautiful inside and out. I want to live my life being happy with who I am not being ashamed about my weight, looks or skin color and Kaya really is my inspiration for that goal. I admire him so much.

So, so SO glad to have Kitty with me to keep me from crying too much! XD The tea party was over but before we left everyone who attended the event got to take a picture with Kaya and received a special thank you card from him.

When it was my turn my hands were shaking badly, resulting in a very awkward hand pose. >o< But despite this, I absolutely adore this picture!! I was so happy and felt so beautiful in that moment. Not as beautiful as Kaya, but beautiful all the same, it was so unreal. I was really on the verge of tears again but managed to keep my crying until AFTER I met Kaya! XD This had to be my happiest lolita day in the five years I’ve been wearing the fashion; there was no insecurity nor any feelings of inferiority compared to anyone else. And I was even happier having Kitty by my side to experience it all with me. I really could not ask for a better lolita friend! <3 If for any other reason, all the hell that I went through to make it to AUSA was worth it for this day alone, this moment. I really wish I can have more days like this day and hope that in the future I can experience true confidence in myself more often. I don't want these happy feelings to ever go away. 

And so we left, we met up with Amanda, who was also on cloud 9 like the rest of us! We met up with my VKH friends and said goodbye to them, we also saw Tomo again and said goodbye to him too. The last thing we all did before leaving the con was pose together for a group photo.

We are all so cute! ^o^

Goodies from Anime USA, Schwarz Stein merch (not including the towel I also bought) and birthday gifts from Kitty and Camille!

That was Anime USA 2014 for me. I’ve been con hopping since 2008 and AUSA is the con I’ve been to the most besides Otakon. This year had to be the best AUSA ever and the best con I’ve been to in years. Even with all the hell I had to go through to prepare for this con and even with my brief moments of sadness and self doubt, it still ended up being a wonderful weekend. I would not trade a moment of it; I got to finally see Schwarz Stein, something I once thought would never happen, celebrate my birthday with great friends and meet Kaya again! I think it is great that I ended up having such a great time, especially since I’ll be taking a break from serious con hopping next year. Katsucon and Anime Matsuri are my only confirmed cons for next year, Anime Next maybe but at this moment not very likely. But I plan on doing so much while I’m in Japan that I feel like it will be worth it in the end. So look forward to hearing more about my plans for that in the future! Thank you for reading my Anime USA 2014 report, hope you enjoyed it! ^.^

Yours Jasmine

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Anime USA 2014 Part 1 ~ Perfect Garden

Hello Everyone!

I just got back from Anime USA about 3 days ago. I had planned to make a prelude post before the con but I jest you not, since my last post to about an hour before I left for the con, I was just dealing with so, so, SO much getting ready that there was no time to write. Everything from roomies for the hotel dropping out up and down and having to find new ones in little to no time to important new dresses not arriving; preparing for Anime USA has been little more than hell.

But, in the end, was it all worth it? Absolutely! If for any reason, because of Sunday alone, that had to be not only the best day of the whole con but also one of the happiest days I’ve ever had as a lolita. But I will get to that euphoric day in a little bit.

Naturally, I went mostly for Schwarz Stein. I had originally planned to go to Rufflecon this past weekend but due to strange hints from others and odd feelings in my heart all throughout the year, I decided back in May to cancel all of my Rufflecon plans and prepare for AUSA. And in August, my feelings were finally justified when Schwarz Stein was announced and h.Naoto designer Mika Takeguchi soon after. It was gearing up to be a fantastic con, and it was! I was so happy to meet Kaya again and I was also happy to meet Hora too, Hora is actually very funny and kinda dorky too to my surprise! XD


After a sleepless Wednesday night, and running around like a madwoman with last minute errands most of Thursday morning, we left for DC around 1pm. With me this time was Camille, Thomas, our other mutual friend Kendall and even Kitty got to go too! And waiting for us at the hotel was Amanda and her friend Kiki! I was so happy to see Amanda again since we had not seen each other since Anime Next last year.

In any case, we checked into our room and unpacked. There was still a lot of time before the Thursday night events began so we decided to visit the Smithsonian Zoo which was actually a very short walk away. The grounds were still open but a lot of the exhibit buildings were about to close. I REALLY wanted to see Bao Bao the new baby panda and we were extremely lucky that we managed to get into the indoor panda exhibit room before it closed and there inside was Bao Bao!! She was sleeping in a high up corner all curled up like a little ball of black and white fur and sadly I could not get a good picture of her but she looked so adorable.

Another one of the pandas in the same cage as Bao Bao, also apparently sleeping.

An adorable wild fishing cat, stalking it’s prey. Kinda reminds me of my Jasper.


And seals!

In the gift shop at the end of the day, can you tell that I really love panda’s?! XD

By the time we got back from the zoo it was nearly night time. We got our badges and went to a few of the pre-con panels. When we got back to the room we all celebrated my birthday with pizza and chocolate mocha cake from my favorite Asian bakery! All in all Thursday was a great day, even if it started out rather stressfully! *o*

Friday was the first day of the con but I was feeling strangely down for nearly half of the day, I don’t know why though I think part of it is because the outfit I had originally planned for the first part of Friday had gotten messed up and I spent a great deal of the morning trying to come up with a new one.

Trying to go for sort of an onee gyaru look.

But I really like how my alternative outfit cam out. I started feeling better around the evening when it was almost time for Schwarz Stein’s Q&A. I met up with Kitty again and my two friends/colleagues from VKH whom I had not seen since Otakon. I also met two very nice girls who also followers of this blog! It’s always surprising meeting other people who know me from online and follow me and stuff. Anyway, while in line for the panel I also got the chance to sign these fanbooks for Schwarz Stein, finally the panel started and I started getting very anxious again, but in a good way!

The panel was awesome, if not for any reason because I just loved watching Schwarz Stein and their responses to some of the questions. Kaya was adorable and charming as always but this was my first time seeing Hora so I spent a good part of the panel listening to his responses to questions and trying to figure him out more. He’s also very adorable but also kinda dorky and his some of his answers really had me cracking up! One person had asked Schwarz Stein something along the lines of what were their favorite traits about each other and Hora blurted out in English: “Nothing!” We all laughed but Kaya looked shocked and was like “Really!?” so Hora changed his answer to that he likes Kaya’s “softness”, attention to detail and how he caares so much about everything like the music and fans. When it was Kaya’s turn he said “Everything.” But Hora said in English “He is a liar!” lmao! But then Kaya replied that he also likes that Hora writes songs for him too.

 Another time someone actually asked the band the boxers or briefs question and Hora decided to answer for Kaya and replied that he wears traditional Japanese thong (I forgot the word for it, sorry). When Kaya caught wind of what he was answering to he quickly replied "No! NO!" and then said he would "leave it to our imagination"! OMG! Also, I already kind of knew this already, but Hora loves video games and manga and is a big sneaker otaku! XD

During the panel there was real loud music blaring from the other room so much that it leaked into our room, at one point everyone in my row was dancing to Pharrell Williams' "Happy". XD I did not get the chance to ask a question but after the panel was an autograph session and I was able to get my chance then. I decided to ask my question to Kaya but the minute I got to meet him again I was immediately struck by his sweet smile and amazing beauty and became completely tongue-tied! I’m afraid parts of my question may have gotten lost in translation because of it! I asked what Kaya’s favorite historical era since he really likes history (like me!) and he replied the Rococo era! When I told him it was my favorite era too he gave me a very big, cute smile that all but melted my heart! It can’t be put into words how happy I was; I also loved meeting Hora too though sadly I was by this point too frazzled to say anything else besides “Hello” and “Arigatou”. Afterward I got to also take a cheki with them since I had bought more than $60 worth of merch.  

So now I actually have 2 pictures with Kaya! Well actually 3, but again I’ll get to that later. I really adore this picture but I look so short compared to them because I was wearing flats for once! But I find it hilarious how Kaya and I are both posing cutely and Hora is just standing there being all cool and statue-like! XD

It was such a fun evening! Afterward I met up with my VKH colleagues and we hung out for a while until I decided to return to my room for the night for some needed rest after such a lovely first day of the con…until Kitty, our mutual friend Syra Kiki and Amanda came back to the room and convinced me to go out with them to the rave! Which I did with little objection! I don’t even want to think of the time I actually went to bed! XD

The next day would be the concert and then on Sunday, a special tea party with Kaya!

Yours Jasmine


OMG! How could I possibly forget this?! Well, while buying stuff at Schwarz Stein’s merch booth, guess who I see? Tomo! Apparently he was doing staffing things for Schwarz Stein during the weekend; it was great to see him again! :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Five Years of Frill ~ My Lolita Timeline

Hello Everyone!

So International Lolita Day is only a few days away. This will actually be my first year actually celebrating and doing something besides staying in my house watching period dramas in my brand, lol. Also, this year marks five years since I’ve been seriously dressing in lolita fashion. Wow, time does fly, it does not seem that long since my first bodyline purchase and now my wardrobe is nearly all brand! In these past years I’ve dabbled in many different types of Japanese fashion; from himegyaru to visual kei, and most recently otome kei. But lolita has always been my first fashion love, kind of like how I love many types of sweets but red velvet cake is my favorite! XD

I made my first “lolita” purchase in 2009 and have been dressing in it ever since, even though I had been observing and researching the fashion from 2006-2008. I still have all of my English GLB’s too! My first three years were mainly experimenting with different substyles as well as trying to figure out of lolita was truly for me or maybe another fashion. By mid to late 2012 into early 2013 I finally figured out my niche. So here, pictures of my progress in lolita fashion from 2009 to now.

Otakon 2009, aka my first “lolita” dress
Yeah… I suppose all lolitas go through an ita stage in the beginning, and 2009 was more or less mine.  This dress is from, what I understand now to be, one of Milanoo’s many storefronts. It was “supposed” to look like BTSSB’s Karami babydoll jsk (based on what I know now to be a stolen BABY stock pic), however as an impressionable 17 year old I figured that this was just as good. It wasn’t until I found Bodyline’s site and got rather harsh feedback online about this coord (and Milanoo in general) that I threw this into the fire and started buying from Bodyline. A good thing too because I had decided to buy 3 more dresses 2 more blouses and 4 skirts from Milanoo and if I did not know better, I would have done so and probably would not have left my ita stage as quickly as I did.I'm not as ashamed of this pic as I used to be because I understand that this was simply the phase I had to go through before becoming a better lolita.

Slightly better, not really, lol. This dress, bag and socks were my first purchase from bodyline ever, the mini hat from Hot Topic and unseen shoes from a Halloween store. I sort of fancied this as kind of “ero lolita” but honestly in some ways this might be worse than the outfit above, at least that had the proper lolita silhouette. The only thing I can see good with this is that it was when I started using wigs, long before wigs were a lolita staple.

2010 ~ Part 1, aka slowly leaving the ita phase
I received my first Bodyline haul for Xmas 2009 and in early 2010 my outfits slowly began to improve. I went to my first lolita meetup with local lolita’s in April that year.

2010 ~ Part 2, more slow improvement
Beginning to get the basics out of the way I began experimenting so see what style suited me best.

2011 ~ First pieces of brand and still trying to figure out my fav style
In this year, I suffered from a lot of insecurities regarding myself as a lolita because for a while I felt that I would never get any better. I was wrong. I started dressing in my first pieces of brand and also finally began to realize that I was indeed improving and my favorite style was gothic/classic. However I would not start dressing more in gothic/classic for a while. I also started this blog in 2011.

2012 Part 1 ~ Trying pastels
Acknowledging that sweet lolita was the most popular style in lolita and was also more accessible, most of my outfits for the first half of this year were sweet. I did like the style but not as much as gothic/classic and I was not (and still am not) much for the super OTT styles that many girls seemed to enjoy.

2012 Part 2 ~ More gothic lolita
This really is the style I feel most comfortable in. I also “attempted” punk lolita in this year as well.

2013 ~ More color
More gothic lolita, and one classic. A part of me really wanted to find a way to go back to sweet lolita, only because I really did not want to have so much black in my wardrobe. I started by not wearing much black this year at all and trying more colors in general. I also started buying from Taobao.

2014 ~ Finding a happy medium, and looking forward
I find that I look best in shades of blue, jewel tones in general and that sweet classic looks best on me along with gothic. In the future I may want to try kurohime again, as well as try more old school inspired coords. I also want to try OTT gothic!

All things considered, I believe that I have improved tremendously from my first disastrous milanoo purchase; and I believe that I will only become better. I honestly never thought that I would ever be as good a lolita as I am now and if I can improve than surely anyone can too. I hope you all enjoyed strolling down lolita memory lane with me, I did. I’m really looking forward to this weekend! ^.^

Yours Jasmine

Friday, May 23, 2014


Hello Everyone!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an absolute sucker for historical fashion, and anyone who knows me knows that I am even more of a sucker for historical dramas. I have always been in awe at times of the past and even though I have always thought of what it would be like to live in these times, I never really put much deep thought into it. The reason: being completely honest, as a woman of color, my life in those times would not be so glamorous. I would be the one most likely making the fabulous fashions, not wearing them, and I would be serving the aristocratic ladies, not socializing with them. And I did not want to think of such realities.

Well last Saturday, I had the opportunity to see a film that has piqued my interest for quite some time now, called “Belle”. 

I had seen pictures and gifs of the film floating around tumblr for a few months but I did not think I would get to see the film in theatres so soon. Belle tells the story of the real life historical figure Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate daughter of an English Royal Navy officer and an enslaved African woman.

Though there is little information about Dido’s life, the filmmakers were inspired by the above painting of her with her white cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray. The film begins with the death of her mother and her father taking the young Dido to live with her aristocratic great uncle Lord Mansfield whom is also bringing up his other niece Elizabeth who is just about Dido’s age.

The girls grow up together, as close as any sisters and Dido is raised as an aristocrat alongside her. Both become beautiful and charming young ladies ready to come out into society. But Dido’s social standing is a rather odd one, being something of an odd in between. Because of her birth and upbringing she is obviously higher than servants and commoners; but because of her interracial background, she is not really considered an equal to Elizabeth (even though Dido’s financial state is better than Elizabeth’s). She starts out the film being very conflicted as to who she really is so her challenge to find a place for herself in this world, find happiness, and maybe even love are some of the biggest conflicts in this film. All the while, Lord Mansfield, as Lord Chief Justice, is deliberating on a great slavery-related case that’s verdict could (and does) have a great impact on the English slave trade.

What first attracted me to this film was the fact that this is the first time that I have encountered a film about an aristocratic woman of color, though I know that they existed in this time. For example, when I was 10 my mother gave me a book about Princess Sarah Forbes Bonetta, an African girl who was the protégée of Queen Victoria, orphaned through tribal warfare, she was rescues by a English captain and presented to the queen as a little girl and the queen would continue to support her for most of her life. But there is still not much info out, but people of color did exist in Europe at that time. 

Also, there were many things in this film that really hit me hard like a dagger. Probably the most heart-wrenching scene for me was, after explaining to her main love interest that she can not dine with her family when guests come because it is not “correct” and how it speaks more about her status than his, she goes to her room and looks in the mirror. In disgust she begins clawing at her dark skin, as if to rip it away from herself, and begins to cry. Thomas mentioned to me how he had seen me do the exact same thing many times before and he is right. A lot of my insecurities come also from my skin color and how for a very long time I felt that if only I were white or lighter in complexion, than maybe I would think better of myself. Actually I still kind of feel that way, but not as much as before. It also does not help that in the Jfashion community, there is really not much love and or support for girls of color, more hate/disdain than anything else. Yes they are there but they are generally not given much thought even if they have amazing style. For a while I tried many different things to make my skin lighter with little results. Finally last year I threw away all of my skin lightening products and finally said “fuck it” because I will always be a girl of color no matter what and the sooner I come to terms with it, the easier it will be to live with who I truly am.

Dido realizes the same thing too. During the film, Dido spends a lot of time with a young lawyer named John Davinier and they fall in love. John respects Dido and see’s her as a person not just a person of color and he opens her eyes to the case of the Zong Massacre that her uncle is deliberating on. She rises from her insecurities to incredible strength and dignity that I can only hope to have at least half of one day.

This is one of my favorite scenes, Dido, having not been around other black girls most of her life meets a servant named Mable, who teaches her how to properly comb her hair. I thought it was a very sweet scene and reminded me of me and my mother for some reason. <3

Of course I loved all the costumes featured in the film, and the romances and the girls’ search for suitors that seemed like something out of Sense and Sensibility (my FAVORITE Jane Austin book!). But for once, that was not my main focus with “Belle”. I left the theater that night wiping a few tears from my eyes. It’s been a while that a film has touched me so deeply, that I felt I could relate to so greatly. I strongly suggest seeing this movie if you are able, while it is still in theaters.

The last few entries have not really been fashion related, I know. But honestly there has not been much to write about lately since I will not be doing any cons this summer besides Otakon. So expect many other entries from me in the coming weeks about other topics too as well as lolita, for the sake of avoiding another hiatus! XD

Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014

Hello Everyone!

 This time last year, I wrote about Anne Boleyn and introduced readers here to my strong admiration of her, on the anniversary of her execution/murder. I received quite a bit of praise from people on tumblr in my ask box which made me extremely happy. Many people in my daily life really do not understand why I love her so much and why my respect for her is second only to my mother. But I think that is because, in many ways, Anne’s story is still very misunderstood. The fact that there are still idiots out there who believe she had six fingers (even my own history professor!) is proof of this.

But I think the most misunderstood thing about her is that she, somehow, deserved her fate and that she was, at least, somewhat guilty; if not for anything else, destroying the marriage between King Henry VIII and Catherine of Argon. I think for this year’s post about her, I will write more about who she was as a person, and more importantly what I personally think about her downfall. This is just going to be a quick summary more or less and honestly does not do justice to the story of Anne’s life. The pictures included are various screencaps from my favorite Anne Boleyn film “Anne of the A Thousand Days” with Genevieve Bujold playing the title role. Many of these are from Tumblr.

Anne was a young woman when she joined the court of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Argon as a lady in waiting. Before she served in the French court and from there learned many things about fashion, philosophy, and love. She was elegant, intelligent and stylish. Many accounts say that she was not considered beautiful; but then again the standard of beauty at the time was pale skin, blonde hair and blue eyes, Anne was olive skinned with dark hair and eyes. I think she was probably very beautiful, in her own way, she certainly did NOT have six fingers on one hand!

In any case, Henry had stopped visiting Catherine’s bed long before Anne came around, the poor queen had suffered many miscarriages and her only living child was a girl, Mary (the future Mary I). It was foolishly thought at the time that a woman had neither the wit nor strength to rule on her own and Henry wanted a son to inherit the crown when he died. Henry had asked Anne to be his mistress, just like Anne’s sister had done before her. But Anne steadfastly refused, many times she would leave court to avoid the king’s advances and would send him letters with mixed messages (to straight out refuse the king was unthinkable at the time, which is why some people, myself included, think that Henry’s advances were a form of royal sexual harassment). Finally Henry proposed marriage to Anne and she accepted but still refused to sleep with him and would continue to do so until very shortly before their marriage. 

But he would need the pope to grant him the okay for an annulment of his first marriage first, something that the pope refused to do. Henry was furious and refused to let the pope dictate what he would and would not do. He broke from Rome and the Catholic Church and had the marriage annulled anyway and married Anne in secret when she was carrying his child, presumably a boy.

Alas though, it was a girl! A sweet little redhead that we know now as Elizabeth I! Anne adored her daughter but at the time the gender of the child was a great blow to her father and that, in my opinion, was the start of her ruin, among other things. 

Like I mentioned in last years post, what ultimately bought about Anne’s downfall was the fact that she did not give birth to a son. I honestly do believe that if she did then she would have lived. Henry probably would have found love with another woman because, well he was just a whore like that, lol, but he would not have discarded Anne like he did to Catherine. But there was a lot more going into her downfall then just her misfortune of not having a son.

The fact is that Henry had been contemplating to his advisor, Thomas Cromwell, about getting rid of Anne as early as October 1534. Anne was very outspoken, argumentative at times, and highly opinionated, something that was considered unthinkable for the wife of a man who expected total submission from all those around him. But Anne was not submissive, one of the things I really admire about her. It is ironic because it was Anne’s outspoken nature that was one of the many things that attracted Henry to Anne in the beginning. 

By 1536, Henry had turned his eye to Jane Seymour, the complete polar opposite of Anne. Meek, sweet and obedient. Jane, like Anne, refused to be Henry’s mistress and by this point Catherine was dead so Henry began to think of the possibility of marrying Anne and getting a son off of Jane as Anne had suffered two miscarriages after the birth of Elizabeth and with the most recent one, the fetus was said to have all appearances of being a boy.

To add to it, Anne and Thomas Cromwell, although originally allies, were beginning to butt heads as well. In Henry’s desire to marry Anne he brought down the power of the Catholic Church in England and had began getting rid of the monasteries and taking away vast wealth and riches of the clergy. Anne wanted these riches distributed to educational and charitable causes but Cromwell wanted to fill up the king’s treasury with these riches and take a cut for himself. Recent evidence strongly suggests that Cromwell orchestrated Anne’s downfall and I do believe it to be true.

Either way on May 15th 1536, Anne was put on trial for adultery, incest, and plotting to kill the king; and was found guilty. In the beginning of this post I said that her execution was also a murder, that’s because it’s true. Anne was 100% innocent of the charges against her and basically was killed for no reason at all save for the fact that Henry had tired of her and wanted someone new to put his dick in.

This video here describes much better my thoughts. Her thesis is so dead-on and very impressive.

Take note between 13:39 to 14:14. Preparations for Anne’s downfall had begun BEFORE she was condemned! But what really angers me the most is how some people still view Anne as a harlot. She was not! Was she scheming? Yes. Was she intemperate? Yes. Was she ambitions? Yes. But that is what made her such an amazing woman in my eyes and I believe that the fact that her daughter Elizabeth lived on to become one of England’s greatest monarchs is karma. Henry did eventually marry Jane Seymour afew weeks after Anne’s death and they did have a son, but she died soon after and their son (named Edward) died after only about 5-6 years of being king at the age of 15. 

Another video, this one describing in great detail, what happened during the morning of Anne’s execution.

Little Elizabeth looks on as she hears the cannons signifying the death of her mother, probably not understanding that the direction of her life is now about to change completely.

I feel as though I am rambling now. Before I end this, let me share this beautiful Tudor styled gown from the taobao lolita brand Surface Spell based on gowns from the 2008 film “The Other Boleyn Girl”. 

I honestly don’t think much of that particular film more than the fact that it is sensationalist tripe based on one of Gregory’s books. But it is an extremely rare thing to find a good quality accurate historical costume under $200. I plan to order it very soon for an Anne Boleyn cosplay that I hope to debut this year at Anime USA. In the meantime if you are interested in learning more about Anne, I suggest this site above all others:

This website is run by a woman who is as devoted to Anne as I am if not more. There are a lot of different articles on this website, not just about Anne but about Tudor history in general and the people in her life.

Yours Jasmine

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Anime Matsuri 2014 Part III Saturday and Sunday

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the slight delay, I’ve been quite sick these last few days. I’m still a little groggy but well enough now to write so time to continue with the last part of my Anime Matsuri report.

Honestly, Saturday was rather uneventful, to say the least. Due to the tea party selling out quickly and mixed messages/miscommunication between me and AM staff before the con about if press could go to the tea parties or not (that weren’t resolved until AFTER all tickets were conveniently sold out) I ended up not going to either Saturday nor Sunday’s tea party. This was extremely heartbreaking to the point I began crying a bit because I had so much fun at last years tea party and I had been working on my Saturday coord since December of last year and I felt that it somewhat went to waste because few saw it and I spent most of Saturday up in the room with my other friends who did not go to the tea party neither.

I also really wanted to meet Akira. And meet Midori again too, but by this point it was confirmed that I would not meet either of them at all this weekend unless I was lucky…which I was not. After a few tears I soon cheered up, thanks to my friends making me feel better and giving me some perspective.

And Saturday was not a complete waste. After Ari came back from the tea party (the only one of us who managed to get a ticket! XD) she, Dani, our other friend Imani and I decided to do a mini photoshoot in our beautiful outfits. I was feeling slightly down again for some unknown reason but I was revived after seeing how beautiful the pics came out! Imani is such a good photographer! Wish she lived closer to me and could shoot me more often!

My favorite shot! <3 

That was one of the last things we did before it was time to get ready for the evening, Nightmare’s concert would be that night! We changed, got food, and then went to this awesome grocerty store unlike anything we have back in Maryland!  It was literally nothing but wine, beer, sprits and fine foods like fancy cheeses, sweets, etc. My friends got lots of booze but sadly I had to miss out on the getting drunk with them because by the time we returned to the hotel it was nearly time for the Nightmare concert…well…that is…according to the schedule!

At exactly 9:49 I returned to the GRB to see the start of a line beginning from the entrance and seeming to go into oblivion! LOL! I figured that was the line for the concert so I just followed it to the beginning, which seemed to take forever to reach. On my way I ran into some of the others and they told me that they had given up cause it had been so long and apparently the doors had not opened yet. This began to worry me because there was SUPPOSED to be an opening act before Nightmare that I did not want to stand for if I didn’t have to.

When I finally made it to the front of the line I saw the con co-chair and asked him straight up if Nightmare would be going on at 10 as scheduled. I don’t know if he just did not hear me exactly or what but he looked me dead in the eye and said yes they would but they didn’t! Eyeshine was first and after them were (extremely oddly) the final 2 or AM idol. I really did not mind this but I did not like being misled.

To make matters worse there was absolutely NO barrier! So basically I had to endure 3 ½ hours of people pushing and shoving at me trying to get to the stage. I tolerated this though. I only lost my temper when, in an attempt to get to the other side of the stage to take better pics of guitarist Hitsugi I was shoved so violently that I nearly fell to the floor twice and once pushed into a mosh pit! I got out of it quickly enough but I was NOT amused. But despite all this logistical bull I ended up having a great time once it was all said and done and Nightmare were awesome! I returned back to the room a little shy of 2am and collapsed into bed.

Sunday was the best day of the weekend! After a surprisingly quick recovery from the previous night, I got dressed and me and Timeeka went down to the dealers room, Mika joined us soon enough. Timeeka looked so beautiful and regal in her 18th century morning gown and Mika was wearing boystyle and looked so handsome! Suprisingly this was the day that I had the most photos taken of myself, Timeeka thinks it’s because we had such a handsome fellow (i.e. Mika) on our arm. I think she’s right! XD

Very nice girl I met near the BABY booth, we are wearing the same JSK and bow! Except her’s are in the pink colorway.

We went back to the BABY booth for a moment and we noticed a very adorable Asian girl dressed in head to toe BABY kind of straightening things up and moving things around slightly like a shop girl. I thought she looked extremely familiar, I was 99% sure she was Rin chan, BABY’s top shop staff at their branch in Mauri One. (I know way too much about these things! XD). But I still wasn’t sure so I just decided to ask her “Rin chan desu ka?” “Hai!” she replied in her adorable doll-like voice. I was thrilled and immediately asked for a picture to which she cheerfully agreed. She adored the Usakumya chan I was carrying, also dressed in black and white, twinning me almost. <3

She is such a dear and meeting her made me so happy! It almost made up for me not meeting Akira nor Midori all weekend. 

Me and Masumi, I really like the dress she’s wearing!

After leaving the BABY booth we met up with Ari who had just gotten out of the Sunday tea party. We went over to her friend Kammie’s booth, Kammie runs the popular accessory/wig store Minty Mix and she’s very sweet. She gave me this cute drawing promoting their local comm., the NOLA Lolitas. 

I kind of like to think of NOLA Lolitas as my kind of “spirit comm.” Because the majority of my actual lolita friends are in the NOLA comm. And I get along with them better than my own comm’s lolitas. I think if I actually did live in North Louisiana, I would be a much more social loli. XD

In any case afterward we walked around more. We were at the Putumayo booth when one of our friends quickly rushed to us to inform us that Akira and Midori were currently meeting with fans at the BABY booth! And just like bees to nectar we were off and on that! Sadly I think we came a little too late. A line was formed but some other people kept cutting in front of us or started a totally different line all together. Akira and Midori only stayed for a moment before they left, cutely waving goodbye. This was extremely frustrating, so close and yet so far away! But I’m sure they were probably quite tired so it’s okay, Akira did aknowlage Mika’s boystyle coord and that made her very happy. <3

The last thing we did before returning to the room was, at Ari’s request, visit the Dolluxe booth (Gothic Lolita Wigs/Rockstar Wigs/Cosplay Wigs USA and Dolluxe lashes). I love their wigs and lashes and about 90 % of my wigs come from them but I really did not want to go to their booth for various reasons I will not get into here. Eh. In any case, Ari was invited at the last minute to some kind of GLW after party later that evening and at the last minute I was too! I was very shocked but excited too! It was a big confidence boost that, honestly, I really needed at that moment. I looked forward to going.

Sadly that was the last thing we did before leaving the con for the last time. Even sadder, Dani, Mika and Imani had to go home. I was sad to see them all go, I really hope I can see them at least once more this year, maybe at AUSA this October for my birthday.

I took a quick nap and then woke to get ready for this party Ari and I were invited to, I really wish I had gotten a shot of my outfit for that evening since I put so much work into it taking extra care into making sure everything looked perfect. But alas, I have only this selfie! XD

We left sometime around 8, but right as we were exiting the elevator guess who comes right around the cornor and passes us? That’s right! Akira, Midori, Misako and all of the BABY staff people! That was awesome! XD

In any case, the place was not too far away from the hotel. The occasion was the birthday of GLW’s founder/CEO. All in all it was a rather fun event but I confess I felt rather shy and a little out of place for the first half because nearly all of the GLW muses were sitting with us, they are know for modeling in different jfashion shows around the country (AM included) and generally always being beautiful and stylish. Compared to all of them I’m rather plain and well….just a potato! A kawaii potato chan (the nickname Ari gave me! XD)! I warmed up to the others a little bit more eventually and even made a few friends, after I stopped cursing myself in my head and gained the courage to talk to people a bit more. I really need to get a grip on my self hate if I’m ever to get further in Jfashion. But like I said I had a pretty fun time. I hope that I can see some of them at any of the other cons I’m attending this year.

Instead of a birthday cake, there were birthday cookies! These were almost too adorable to eat!

We went back to our hotel around 11ish. Due to unseasonal snow back home my flight was delayed by two hours. After some horrifying turbulence and winds and a slightly rocky landing, I made it home to a snow covered Baltimore sometime around 3:30 in the afternoon Monday. EVERYONE PLEASE STOP SINGING THAT DAMN SONG FROM FROZEN PLEASE!!! Can’t you guys see that that song is some kind of spell for more and more winter weather and spring won’t come in full until you guys get over yourselves?! XD

Seriously though…

And that was Anime Matsuri 2014 for me. All in all it was a lot of fun and I was so happy to reunite with my second family, my con family! My convention season has just began though, next stop will be, if all goes well, Anime Next this June. My last con of the year shall be AUSA in October and I really hope we can all meet again for this con before very likely not seeing each other until our big Japan trip. 

December 2015 is too far away. 

My coord on Saturday, I love this print, it is so airy and soft, like the wings of an angel!

Dress and headpiece: Baby the Stars Shine Bright
Tights Blouse and Gloves: Off Brand
Shoes: Antaina

And my Sunday coord! Went completely old school BABY style. This style needs to make a comeback!

JSK, headbow, and black bunny ~ Baby the Stars Shine Bright
Socks ~ Secret Shop
Shoes ~ Bodyline

Yours Jasmine