Something that pops up now and then when new people find lolita and fall in love, is what's really essential to make an outfit "lolita". As a veteran, I thought I'd make a small guide over the most essential things that, if left out, will potentially make the outfit cease to be lolita.
Please remember, as always, that everyone will not agree with me, however: I have been a lolita for twelve years, so I lean back against my experience when I say these things.
I have left out the most obvious part of this tutorial, namely the dress or skirt and blouse ensemble, and will assume that you are at least aware what makes a dress, blouse and skirt suitable for lolita. And now, without further ado, let's begin!
A petticoat doesn't need to be tulle or organza, either. Myself, I prefer cotton, even if it means a heavier petticoat. It also doesn't have to look like on the picture above: the sole purpose of a petticoat is to give volume, and it is entirely up to each and everyone just how much volume you want. A word of caution though: your petticoat should never be visible. If you have so much poof it's visible, then you are heading down the track of sexy, which isn't the purpose of lolita.
Bloomers or drawers
First of all: what's the difference between bloomers and drawers? The simple answer is "length". Bloomers tend to be shorter than drawers, although many people use the words as synonymes in the lolita community. Since people mostly mean drawers when they say bloomers, I will refer to them as such.
Drawers are a crucial part of a lolita outfit, since the very last thing a modest lolita wants is to have her underwear displayed when the wind catches the skirt (and it will). Drawers are usually one of those items that often gets forgotten, and I implore you not to. Lolita comes from a time when every lady and child wore drawers as their regular underwear, which makes them just as important as the very dress or skirt you are wearing. Like petticoats - drawers are very easy to make yourself, and may be just as decorous as you allow them to be.
The praxis is that the drawers should not be seen, but it is perfectly all right if the bottom lace is peeking.
Lolita is a fashion where you should show as little skin as possible, and one of the things that are first to cover up by a lot of lolitas are the legs. While in some cases it may be all right for short, highly decorative socks, I think most of us would agree that knee-high, over-the-knee or tights/leggings are where it's at. They should also be visible, which means that nylon or skin coloured socks are a big no-no. When you choose your socks, be very particular with the material. There are plenty of ghastly socks out there that are shiny or slightly see-through, and these should absolutely be avoided, even if they have cute prints.
A small and underrated trick, if you really want to use those short socks, is to wear leggings as well and wear your socks on top, making them appear to be a part of the leggings.
Blouse or cardigan or bolero
It is important in lolita to cover your shoulders and, if it will not make you melt in the heat, your arms as well. This is especially important if you go for Classic or Elegant styles.
Myself I absolutely adore long sleeved cardigans, but it differs from person to person. If you are to wear blouses - especially if they are white - remember to protect the arm pit of your blouse from sweat. There are plenty of ways, but the simplest one is to simply attach a cotton armpit protector with tiny snap buttons, and wash them regularly. ^.~
Nothing can ruin an outfit completely as a bad choice of shoes. You don't have to buy shoes that were designed for lolita, but when you choose what to wear on your feet - go for petite, and you can't go wrong. A word of caution: there are plenty of shoes out there labelled "lolita", but not all of them are. If you are uncertain, avoid everything with high heels, because that's the easiest way to avoid disasters.
Myself, I don't like heels for lolita, but a lot of people do, so it's one of those personal choice things.
Well, there you go! Some simple advice on lolita essentials. ^.~ Some may wonder why I didn't say anything about hair, and here's why: hair accessories are not essentials. Unless you don't take any care at all of your hair, it's difficult to go wrong there. Even simple ponytails can be charming if done the right way.
Saturday, 20 September 2014
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
In the past weeks, I've been asked twice by different groups of people to become a lolita mentor. I can understand why - I've been a regular lolita since 2002, which makes me a veteran, although it still came as a surprise. I must say I'm flattered by it, that anyone would think I could be a guardian to someone new. In light of this, I thought I'd write a post about what lolita is to me and how I started out. If this is useful to someone, then I couldn't be happier! ^.~
When you go into a lolita community nowadays, one of the first questions that turn up is: what kind of lolita are you? I've seen it everywhere. Are you Sweet? Hime? Gothic? Classic? To be honest, I don't really think it is a relevant question, and I'll explain why. First of all, I'm sure that there is not one lolita who will stay within one of these all the time - especially not over a period of time. The substyles are simply a way to find clothes that appeal to you inside the style itself - for example, it's easier to find a store with your taste of clothes if you can call them something. Lolita has become so varied over the years that the styles need some kind of sub categories. That said, I don't think it ought to apply to people.
When someone wonders what kind of lolita I am, I'd like to answer: none and all. What I mean is that I've been a lolita for so long that it's become so integrated with my wardrobe that the style I dress in doesn't belong to any one subcategory - it's what I like to coordinate at the time. If it means mixing - then sure, I mix. If it means my clothes happen to fall into a subcategory - all right, then they do. But front and foremost I am LOLITA.
I'll tell you a little story: about how I started out all those years ago. (Time flies, doesn't it?) It seems a lot of people nowadays find the style and go on a shopping spree - that's not how I started. Back in those days when I found lolita, it was much more difficult to find things on the internet. In fact, I first came across j-rock on Kazaa. (If you remember Kazaa, then maybe you can guess how old I am!) Through Kazaa it didn't take long for me to find Malice Mizer - and Mana. Like so many others, I was dumstruck by him, and all those years of loving princesses (did you ever watch Lady Lovelylocks?) and pretty dresses came crashing back. I wanted it. I wanted it more badly than I'd wanted anything before.
Being quite lonely back in those days, with only one person I could truly call my friend, it was never a matter of worrying about what others would think. All that was in my head was wearing something that I liked. I didn't even know about brands back then - Moi-même-Moité (which was the only one known to me then) was very new and Paypal was unknown territory. Although there were brands back then (such as BSSB - it was founded 1988), I don't know if internet had developed enough back then to successfully buy overseas. So there was really only one option for me: sew.
Of course, I didn't know how to sew back then, and any so-called "rules" for lolita was completely unknown. All I knew was what I could see. Back then it was so much simpler, since I only knew one "lolita" - Mana. So I took my inspiration from the clothes he was wearing. I made patterns with only a vague idea how to, and I'm sure that many people nowadays would not call what I wore "lolita". However, although they were a beginner's items made from scrap fabric, they were something beyond all those substyles that exist today - it was lolita born from the very place lolita comes from: the heart.
It took quite a while before I met another lolita, and when I did - my lolita world opened up even more. I got some basic patterns from her (copied out of the very first issue of Gosu Rori from 2003), and that's when the fashion took over my wardrobe completely... In hind sight, it's actually a bit funny that before I got those patterns, most of my dresses were very gothic - afterwards they flourished and branched out to something else entirely. A wardrobe filled with home made things - dresses, blouses, drawers, muffs, coats... Everything you could think of. And every single thing loved more than any thing I'd ever bought, all designed by the same passion and love that got me started in the first place.
My personal opinion is that people put much too much store in brands, and believe that the brands are setting the rules of what lolita is - or should be.What really does define lolita, as I see it, are those that form the style. The people who dig deeper than brands and bring out something more. It's also those that dig deep that stay, because they find something more than just a fashion, although that's how it all started, right?
Did you know that lolita was originally a protest - a fashion designed not to attract the male gaze? It why some guide lines that exist today has things like 'don't show too much skin' and 'don't show a cleavage' exist. Because of these roots, there are some basics things that are the building blocks of lolita.
One of the most important keywords being that lolita should not be - or at least not intended to be - sexy. (I do not take people's personal dispositions into account here.) The guidelines about not too short skirts goes hand in hand with this keyword. It doesn't necessarily mean that lolita ought to be cute - it can be, but it doesn't need to be.
A second keyword to lolita is 'timeless'. Maybe this will surprise some, but if you look at it, it's what it is. Lolita was inspired by Victorian dolls, which looked much like adults or teens, wearing childrens detailed dresses. These dolls are, of course, timeless, simply because they cannot age. (It is a quite familiar concept to conserve beauty - in paintings, for example.) The also have a sort of timeless, romantic appeal to people in love with beauty, which brings us to the third keyword.
The third keyword is 'romantic', in the sense of dreaminess rather than actual romance. You don't have to look very far to find lolitas with dreamy, far away looks on their faces - as if lost in dream. This romantic, dreaminess is important to the lolita, who ought to live on top of the worldly worries of 'ordinary people'.
If you lose these three keywords, then no dress or coordinate - no matter the brand - will capture the essence of what lolita is. You may wear a lolita's costume - but you will not be a lolita until you find the magic. In the same way, you can find lolita in the most unexpected places if you simply open your eyes. There is no need to go head over heels and buy a lot of expensive clothes and shoes to be lolita - in my mind you can, if you're not careful, lose the soul of lolita by putting too much store in brands and coordinates someone else designed to match. Then it becomes simply just that - someone else's costume.
It is important to remember that lolita isn't necessarily the outer casket - of course, the clothes are what most people would identify as lolita, and they are certainly significant since it started as a fashion, after all - but the dream within. The love of the concept. The fascination of timeless beauty.If you have these, then you have what it takes to make lolita into something truly your own, instead of relying on subcategories made up by the fashion industry.
If asked now, after you read this, what style of lolita you are. What will you say?
Finally, a small quiz for you if you haven't already seen it (link will open in new window):
What kind of lolita are you?
Thursday, 26 June 2014
All right, it's been so long now, I really ought to update you on things! Since I know a lot of people out there wants to drop a little (or a lot) of weight - I've gathered this from all the curious questions I've had after I've lost so much weight - I'll give you a small guide to what I did. Now, I know it's not advicable to lose too much weight too quickly, so keep this at the back of your head as you read on.
Back in March, I had enough of my struggles with both weight and a constantly upset stomach and being tired all the time. The final straw being that I could no longer fit into my tailored lolita dresses, and had to let out the intake on my pants. It was such a horrifying thing that I told myself there and then that I really - really - needed to do something about my eating habits. I live in Sweden, and Swedish food is very high in calories and we eat quite a lot of bread.
Regular dieting - well, let me just say that popular methods like LCHF made me very ill - where you remove things from your food and eat loads of salad, didn't appeal to me. It felt temporary, and what's temporary is obviously not long term. I wanted to drop weight and keep it, so I needed something that was more lasting and healthier than doing that. I wanted to be able to eat cakes and such now and then, too, because I can be a horrible snack if I'm stressed out. Also, being so busy I didn't want to have to excersise a lot.
Sounds a bit impossible, right? Don't excersise, eat desserts and don't remove food. Only it isn't. I've said so in an earlier post back in March, but I'll repeat it now. What I did was switch to a Japanese diet, almost entirely. See, I really like Japanese food to begin with. It's light, tasty and not at all boring (those of you who've had pasta with meatballs one time too many know where I'm coming from...). And most of all: a lot is very low in calories. All the basic ingredients in Japanese food are low in calories, and no - they don't deep fry everything like some people believe. Food is cooked very briefly so there's a lot of taste, texture and vitamins and such. And if you worry about rice, don't. The big idea is that you don't put everything on one plate - that's one of the biggest sins of Western food: we pile a plate with no clue how much we're stuffing ourselves with. Instead, the food is placed in many smaller bowls. 100g of rice is more than enough for a grown woman (like me), and that's only 129 kcal. A typical Japanese meal (of the variety I eat), is lower than 300 kcal. Usually it's about 200-250 kcal for lunch and supper.
Now, before I go on, I want to remind you want kcal is. If you think about it, kcal is translated into energy. And energy is what you need to go about your daily businesses. This means that if you eat too little kcal and start exercising, you could end up collapsing. The idea behind the diet I'm having, is that I don't excersise. Being a programmer I spend a lot of time in front of my computer, and I lack the concentration to do boring training like running. If you plan on excersising, you need to eat more calories than I do. It is a good idea to have a look at your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) - it's not recommended to eat more than 500 kcal less than your BMR.
All right, to get back on topic after this warning. I get my recipes from this page: https://washoku.guide/ This goes without saying, but A) follow the instructions closely, B) some ingredients can be substituted and C) not all of the recipes are low in calories. The latter is the most important if you are planning on losing weight. If you are a Western person like me, there is no need to look for the diet recipes on Cookpad - the regular ones will do perfectly for you. Also, don't double any ingredients - just follow the recipes. If you let's say eat twice the amount recommended for a meal, you're still eating too much calories.
When you make a meal this way, think of it three ways: 1) you need one bowl of rice or noodles (be careful with noodles - they are high in calories), 2) one bowl or small plate with cooked food and 3) one bowl with raw vegetables. One bowl shouldn't be bigger than the cupped hands of a girl, regardless of the eater being male or female. If they work hard, they can have two bowls of rice. When you eat, eat slowly. If you eat with a fork, put it down between mouthfuls.
Here is a typical day for me:
100ml yoghurt - 45 kcal
100g strawberries - 27 kcal
Boiled egg - 60 kcal
100g white, cooked rice - 129 kcal
60 g Chicken breast - 66 kcal
50 g Leeks - 12 kcal
Seasoning - 15 kcal
60 g Cucumber - 9
Toast - 90 kcal
100g Soba noodles - 99 kcal
50 g Salmon - 73 kcal
50 g Leeks - 12 kcal
Seasoning - 20 kcal
4 Cherry tomatoes - 12 kcal
1 slice Banana cake - 134 kcal
25 g Ice cream (Tofuline) - 55 kcal
Total: 849 kcal.
If you look at it, you'll see that it's 6 (!) meals/snacks per day. If I ate this much and still ate Swedish food, it wouldn't even be funny anymore. But since it's not Swedish but Japanese food, is a whooping half of what most people eat (calorie wise). And it's not a little food either - if you would put all that out you'd see that it's plenty enough to eat for one person. It's just low in calories.
Besides the obvious result - weightloss - this has also had other impacts on my life, purely good ones. My stomach is no longer upset but peaceful and happy, because it apparently hates fatty food, and I don't feel heavy and tired after eating. I sleep much better and my skin is much smoother. And as a side effect from eating tofu and other soy products, I've become a much calmer person. (If you are curious about this side effect, google soy products in combination with estrogen and testosterone.) Since I used to get angry easily before, this is a notable change to me.
So, as a final note: how much did I lose? Well. Since March, by simply switching to Japanese food, I've lost 12 kilograms (or 26,4 lbs), and seen as I don't miss anything I doubt I'll regain them anytime soon. ^.^
Saturday, 29 March 2014
Being confronted at a daily basis by cultural differences, I realised that Sweden is one of those countries where it's very difficult to fit in well, since we have so many unspoken rules. So after mulling it over a bit, I decided to write a small guide of how to behave when you come to Sweden as a tourist. :) I hope it will be helpful!
(Please note that I am generalising! Of course all of this will not apply to everyone. But following this guide will help you to not go wrong!)
Travelling by train
One of the most common ways to travel all of Sweden is by train, so there are a lot of trains going this and that way. A very common commuting line is from Copenhagen (Denmark), up through Malmö, Linköping, Norrköping and eventually to Stockholm. Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden, and the biggest city.
When buying tickets for the train, you usually do so in automats. They look like this:
When buying tickets in one of these, you need to have a credit card available, as they will not take cash. You simply input your location and destination, and when you would like to travel, and the automat will give you departures to choose from. When you have paid, the automat will give you your ticket. You can also buy tickets at Pressbyrån, or at the SJ information desk. When buying tickets at Pressbyrån, it is good to already know what departure you want.
All the trains have id-numbers, which correspond to a number on your ticket. This is important to remember, since sometimes there is more than one train departing for the same destination, if you are in the bigger cities.
On the train, it is good courtesy to keep the volume down as to not disturb other travellers. Also, avoid walking up and down the isles, and do not put your luggage on top of other people's luggage - also do never move another person's luggage, this is considered extremely rude. When lifting the table, do so carefully and silently.
When you leave the train, to do not push people but wait quietly for your turn. The same is true when boarding the train. Also, try to avoid trying to get first to the doors, since this is considered cutting in line and thereby very rude. People will think there is something wrong with you.
Travelling by bus
Most of the buses in Sweden do not allow cash, and most often you need to buy a travelling card to travel. Babies up to 3 years old often travel for free, 4-13 are considered children, 14-26 are considered youths and 26+ are adults. Over 65 years old, is senior, and usually travel for the same price as youths (and students). To travel as a student in Sweden, you need to be able to prove you are a student. You usually do so by presenting an ID from your school, or an app with cards such as Studentkortet or Mercenat. These need to be accompanied by a personal ID.
Keep the volume low on buses, and don't talk on your cellphone. It is considered very inappropriate to talk about private matters on a bus, especially on the phone. There are often newspapers on buses, which you may acquire for free. It is considered good courtesy to put them back where you found them after you read them, but it is allowed to take them with you. It is all right to leave other newspaper on buses, for others to read. If you find an abandoned newspaper, it is all right to pick it up. If it is lying beside someone, you should always ask if it belongs to them first before you take it.
If you listen to music in head phones, keep the volume low. If you would like a seat where someone placed their bag, ask them if you may sit there. Do never pick the bag up and give it to them, as this is considered as rude as sitting on it.
A lot of buses have seatbelts, and these are to be used. It is forbidden by law not to use the seat belt, and is heavily fined if you are found guilty. (Usually from 60 euro to 140 euro depending on city.)
In Stockholm it is considered extremely rude to place yourself in line before a person that came to the bus stop before you. Keep note of which people were already there when you arrived, and don't get in line until they have all lined up. If you cut in line, you are likely to be told off severely.
If the bus is not full, it is considered weird and rude to sit down next to someone. You will often find Swedish buses where each row of seats (on each side) have only one passenger. The buses will fill up like this first. Only when there are no free rows it's all right to sit down next to someone. Always ask if it's okay, they will almost always say yes, but it is good courtesy to ask.
Travelling by tram
In a few cities in Sweden (Norrköping, Göteborg and Stockholm) there are trams. Trams usually have the same code of conducts as buses (and the underground). Most often you can never talk to the chauffer in trams, so you will need to know where you are going. Most trams have a voice that reads the next stop out loud.
The trams in Göteborg move very fast, giving you only seconds to get on or off. As such, pushing is allowed, but only here. No queueing.
Pretty much all Swedes can speak English, and the younger generation is usually quite good at it. It is safe to speak English - no one will be bothered by it. If a young Swede asks you to say something in Swedish, avoid it until you have looked it up in a dictionary. It is considered a prank to make non-Swedish speaking people say rude or vulgar things in Swedish.
In school, children may choose one or two extra languages, and these are usually German, French and Spanish. German is the most widespread of the three, since children interested in French often switch to Spanish at some point. Because of this, you can sometimes make yourself understood in German, but the general ability to speak it is only passable. You will most likely get your answer in English.
Swedes are very private, soft spoken people, and they very much dislike loud voices or noise. If you raise your voice, they will think you are angry, since this is a sign of anger. Do not stand too close to Swedish people, try to keep at least an arms length of private space. Swedes do usually not strike up a conversation unless it is required for work or school, or at social gatherings. As such, you can often find commuters standing silently - giving each other space - waiting for a bus or a train.
When you do meet a Swede in a formal or social setting, it is common to nod at each other or shake hands, saying your name. Do not expect them to remember your name at once. Swedish conversations usually leave out names as much as possible. Shake firmly, and then take a step back. This is not considered rude, but good policy. If you want to show that you are friendly, smile. Swedes do not articulate much with their hands, so try keep this to a minimum.
It is considered good courtesy to laugh at jokes, even if you did not understand them or did not find them funny.
Striking up a conversation
The Swedish equivalent to "hello" is "hej", with a sharp j. This can be substitudet with "hallå" (The å not being pronounced like an a - a very common mistake. Å is pronounced more like o.), or "tjena" or "hejsan". All of these are informal ways to greet each other, and are mostly used between people who already know each other. Swedes very seldom say "goddag" - meaning "good day". When someone says hello to you, this is not an invitation to start a conversation, something very important to remember.
When you start up a conversation, avoid saying hello. Go directly to safe subjects - like the weather. Avoid asking or talking about personal matters altogether. Swedes get very uncomfortable when presented with private questions. Also avoid asking about their family.
It is all right for men and women to speak with each other, but keep in mind to never hit on a woman unless you are at a club or already know her very well. Hitting on women like this is considered extremely rude, and she is likely to never want anything to do with you ever again if you do so. When a woman turns quiet and will not initiate a continuation of the conversation, you should consider yourself dismissed. If you are dismissed once, it is final - do not try again, or you might meet with the well-hidden Swedish temper.
Insults are taken very seriously, even if made by mistake, and will not be forgiven until a suitable apology has been presented. If you apologise and explain why you said what you said, this is usually enough depending on how severe the insult was.
Avoid speaking ill of other people as much as possible, since this tends to make others very uncomfortable.
In Sweden, queueing is taken very seriously. Do never try to cut in line or push, and don't stand too close to the person in front of you. Give them space and time to put the basket away (if in a grocery store or similar), before you put yours up to unload your wares. This is true everywhere. You should also avoid talking to other people in the queue. It is all right to talk quietly to a friend, though.
When you buy groceries, you should always turn the barcode towards you, and don't stack groceries on top of each other. This is considered good courtesy.
When you eat out in Sweden, you will hardly find any restaurants that serve "traditional Swedish food". The only time this will be available, is during lunch, and usually at places with the word "kök" in the name. Look for the word "husmanskost", and you will find this type of food.
Most often the restaurants in Sweden serve foreign food, since Swedish food is so simple to cook that people generally do so at home. When they eat out, they want something more exotic. There are a lot of take out restaurants - and if you want pizza, you can find that virtually everywhere. Pizza is easily the most popular take out, and there are usually quite a lot of pizza restaurants, so you might do well to ask around for a really good one.
In restaurants, you don't give tip - it's included in the cost. If you want to tip, do not leave it on the table - the staff will think you have forgotten it, and will try chase you down. Either state clearly that it is a tip, or put the tip in the designated jar (which is usually seated by the cashier). The staff at Swedish restaurants have fairly good pay compared to other countries, so the tip you leave will most likely be used for after work activities.
In a regular restaurant you can bring your outdoor clothes and bag, chat and sit however you like. No one will think it odd. However, if you visit a finer diner, there are quite a lot of unspoken rules. Most of it is (I suspect) common etiquette, such as never lick your knife, don't take food from neighbouring plates, do not hog the bread basket, do not chew with your mouth open, keep your voice down and speak lightly to the people sitting next to you only, be quiet during speeches and so on. You do not need to hold out the chair for the female companions during dinner, unless you are alone. If you do, it will make them feel awkward, since Swedish women are very independent.
At finer dining restaurants you are also expected to leave your coat in the hall. Make sure you empty the pockets, and bring all valuables with you. This is not because you are likely to be victim of theft, but because the staff will not take responsibility if something is stolen. If you have a very expensive coat, you can often ask them to store it behind the cashier desk for safe keeping. Avoid bringing the coat with you.
When served, always stop conversing, look at the server and say 'thank you'. This is good courtesy and will earn you better service. The staff will always ask if the food tasted well ("Smakade det bra?") after the meal, and you are expected to say yes. If you go into detail on what wasn't good, you will end up making everyone uncomfortable.
Swedes do very seldom complain about things, so the staff may be very surprised if you have complaints, and will often not know how to solve the problem. Therefore, do not say things such as "this didn't taste well", but tell them exactly what the problem is to help them. Such as "the potatoes are cold". This will make it much easier for you to get what you want, and for them to help you.
Try to avoid laughing out loud at restaurants such as this, because you will be considered a nuisance. Also, eat with your knife in your right hand and fork in the left. Do never cut the food up and eat with your right hand, or you will be considered a slob. Also, do not get intoxicated, since this can get you thrown out.
Visiting a Swedish home
In Swedish homes, you always remove your shoes. Keeping your jacket on is a sign that you want to get out of there quickly, so if you are staying more than five minutes you should take it off. You do not need to shake hands with the family, unless they present their hands to you. It is good courtesy to repeat your name for every hand you shake, even if the others have obviously heard you.
When you bring gifts, something edible or flowers is a good bet. Swedes love their food, chocolate boxes or good wines. Only bring wine or whiskey if you know that the family you are visiting drink alcohol. Try to avoid gifts that will only benefit one of the family members. If you bring candy for the children, do not give it directly to them, but give them to their parents or ask nicely first if it's all right.
Do never comment the appearance of a host's wife or children, as this is considered very rude. Be very respectful towards the spouse - male or female. In Sweden the roles for men and women are pretty similar, so do not assume that it is the women that cook and take care of the home. Same sex couples are common and not made a very big deal of, so you shouldn't either. It is considered very rude to comment on a person's disposition, and extremely rude to call lesbian couples 'sexy'. This will get you thrown out of their home, or never invited again. It is fine to ask how people met, since this is not considered too private.
When you eat food, always compliment it and try a bit of everything. Swedes like feasts, and their notion of a good dinner is one where every scrap of food put on the table has been eaten. Always expect dessert in some kind - very often fruit with cheese and bisquits. Swedes often drink wine for social dining, but in a more informal family setting they usually opt for lemonades or iced water or fizzy drinks.
As I've stated before, Swedish people are very private, so you shouldn't ask private questions even when you do know them a little better. If a Swede wants to share something private with you, they will do so on their own accord.
Swedes do never ask favours unless they know you well, and will expect the same behaviour from your part. Also, do not expect anyone to solve your problems. Do not speak too much about yourself, especially not to congratulate yourself. Even if true, it will be considering boasting, and is frowned upon. If you want to tell someone of your success, you will do good to humble yourself a bit as well by telling how badly it has gone previously or similar.
Swedes are usually a bit more open and chatty on the internet, and love to help others and give advice. As always though, avoid asking personal questions or comment on a person's looks. If you are on a social media such as facebook, do not send a friend request until you have spoken to the person at least once. It is considered rude for strangers to send friend requests, even if you do have the person's friend on your list.
Swedes do not take kindly to being exploited on the internet, and is very well aware of their rights. Expect them to fight back tooth and nail if they believe they have been wronged, more often than not bringing in the authorities in the game. Although Swedes may seem to be quiet and withdrawn and not comment, you do well to keep in mind that they are of Viking descent.
There is a common occurence in Sweden where people gather simply to drink enough to be very intoxicated, so keep this in mind when you are invited to what is called a "party". A party will most likely mean everyone is expected to drink enough to pass out.
At such parties, there is usually a designated driver, who is not drinking. If you dislike drinking and drunks, you should avoid this kind of gathering. If you are invited to a "dinner", it is usually safe.
In Sweden you have to stop by pedestrian crossings, even if there are no lights. If you are caught not stopping, you will be heavily fined. A lot of Swedes will expect cars to stop, and might just walk right out over the crossing without looking, so you need to pay attention if you see this sign:
Wow, that was a bit lengthy. o.o;; I might fill in more stuff if I remember something I forgot to put in.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014
Aaand this is sort of another weight loss post. If that's a bore, I'm sorry. ^.^;; But it's very important to me, as you know, since all my dresses are tailored...
Anyway, I've lost 8 pounds in two weeks, so I'm getting there! If things keep at it at the same pace, I'll be able to wear all my dresses again in another two weeks. <3 I can't wait!
On a side note, I've found a gorgeous coat I want... I'll let you know more once I've ordered it! <3
Tuesday, 11 March 2014
No, I'm not going to make this into a weightloss blog. It's not so much about weightloss in this case, but more about a very terrifying prospect:
The moment your dresses won't fit anymore.
Bam. Imagine that. All my dresses are the same size and tailored to fit, so if I gain - all of them will become too tight at once. I highly doubt I'm alone fearing it, and for me it's become reality, so I really have to do something. The problem has been padding my footsteps since Christmas, and followed me into Spring with flus and busy days.
So right now I am, sadly, on a diet. You know the thing about diets - you can never keep them, and I didn't want that, so I was trying to come up with a long term strategy instead. While I was ill, I ate a lot of cookies and drank loads of juice, both of which I know really isn't good if you don't want to gain, so I'm guessing I ate quite a lot more calories than my BMR allowed.
So I started there. What do I have? What do I want? Along the way I stumbled on a blog ( http://blog.japancentre.com/ ) and a post discussing rice vs bread and why Japanese people tend to be slim. Seen as I love Japan, I found it a very interesting read, and dug deeper into it. I found that the average Japanese woman (I've got no proof - just what the internetz says - but after trying it I've found this definitely plausable) eats about 700-800 kcal á day.
That kind of shocked me, since I'm used to seeing recommended numbers around 2000 kcal á day. Shuffling around I found the reason. You see, rice actually isn't bad, calory wise. And since everything is served in small bowls/portions, it isn't very much at all. And since it's always served with okazu ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okazu ) it's isn't boring at all to eat every day. Since I'd already decided I need to drop a few pounds (well...), I decided to keep a calorie diary, and started noting down the ingredients I was most likely to use if I was going to keep a Japanese diet.
And do you know what I discovered? The most common vegetables - such as leeks, egg plants and such - are hardly any calories at all! Not vinegar either, at least not the kind I use, nor Japanese soy sauce. And salmon isn't high in calories either, something that delighted me since I love fish. Putting it all together, I found that each meal was just about 200-300 kcal. Which makes the claim about 700-800 kcal very plausible indeed!
So, yeah. For six days now I've been eating Japanese food and a lighter, more western breakfast (varying between strawberries with yoghurt and strawberries with banana and milk), and I feel so much better. Not only because the scales have already started tipping, but because finally - finally - I've found a diet that really works for me. I've always had trouble sleeping - but I fall asleep right away now. I've always felt queasy at breakfast - no more. I've never been hungry when it's time for lunch - I sure am now! And the same with dinner. It's such a fullfilling feeling to feel that each meal is enough to keep you up and running until the next meal. Having food when you are hungry is really so much better than eating although you don't really want to.
On a side note I read that rice quells the want for sugar and sweets. Not sure if that's true, but so far I've not really wanted any sweets at all.
Oh yes, before I forget. If anyone is interested, I've found the ultimate recipe site for Japanese recipes. A translated version of the Japanese "Cookpad": https://en.cookpad.com/
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
I thought I'd make a small guide over common pitfalls for lolitas. It is first and foremost a beginner's guide, but I constantly see more seasoned lolitas make some of these mistakes, so it might be useful for everyone. <3 Now, I do not claim to be a pro (like I've said before), but I am a lolita veteran, having dressed in this fashion since 2002.
I will not go through exactly what lolita is - but for the uninitiated it is a Japanese street fashion. Feel free to google "sweet lolita" or "gothic lolita" and you will get something of an idea what it is.
Without much further ado, here are the common pitfalls in no particular order:
Mistake 1: Make up
A common mistake nowadays is that lolitas use too much make up. The ideal lolita would wear no make up at all, but have a fresh and natural beauty. Make up is easily ruining the sweet, innocent image of the lolita, and should be used sparingly.
This mistake is perhaps even more common among seasoned lolitas.
Reason for mistake: Usually the lolita has been inspired by j-rock and similar, where they wear a lot of make up because they are in the spotlight, where no make up will look plain.
Mistake 2: No petticoat
This is more of a beginner's mistake. A lolita seeks the bell- or cupcake-shape of her dresses and skirts, and as such almost all clothes require a petticoat of some kind. If not a poofy petticoat, then at least some kind of petticoat. If this is forgotten, the prettiness of the dress will be lost much like a withering flower that didn't get enough water.
Reason for mistake: Usually a matter of not knowing what lolita really is, and how the shape is achieved.
Mistake 3: No drawers
The drawers (not bloomers - bloomers are short, much too short for lolita) are an essential part of the lolita outfit. They mustn't be forgotten! Some lolitas wear pantyhose instead, but I feel that this is more of a temporary solution.
Reason for mistake: The same as no petticoat - a lack of knowledge about lolita. Drawers are just about the simplest piece of garment you can sew yourself, as well, so even if you can't afford to buy a pair - sew a pair out of any fabric you have at home (an old sheet for example - sheets are excellen for underwear!).
Mistake 4: Visible drawers
Now, lolita is all about modesty, and showing your underwear really isn't very modest... It's quite okay if the very bottom of the drawers peek a tiny bit - but they shouldn't show too much.
Reason for mistake: Very often the culprit isn't the drawers but the skirt, which is too short for lolita. The solution is not to get shorter drawers but a longer skirt.
Mistake 5: Too short skirt/dress
A rule of thumb with lolita is that all dresses and skirts shouldn't be shorter than 1 inch (2,5 cm) above the knee. (A little longer is perfectly fine!) This is, again, because of modesty. This mistake is so often made by beginners and seasoned lolitas it makes me quite sad.
Reason for mistake: It's usually two different mistakes. One is that you bought a skirt that looked "lolita-ish" and thought it was cute. A lot of skirts and dresses are advertised as lolita but aren't - most often fetisch clothes such as maid outfits. The second reason is people who bought brand without checking the skirt length. Brands from Japan are made for Japanese people, and they are usually much shorter than westerners, which makes the skirts too short for us. One solution to this is to buy a bigger size and get it sewn in, or buy your clothes from one of the manufacturers that custom make dresses to fit you (such as Chess Story). A third choice is to have a decorative skirt beneath it that peeks.
Mistake 6: Too much skin showing
This is a very, very common mistake, especially in summer. Perhaps even more common than too short dresses/skirts. Lolita is modest, and this means that you show very little skin (and absolutely no cleavage at all!). The most common parts that end up showing are legs or arms. It can be difficult to hide in summer, I know, but there are things you can do. A lace bolero, for example, covers up effectively and prettily without making you too hot.
Reason for mistake: Lack of good cardigans, boleros and knee-highs/pantyhose. The reason can also be because you sweat a lot, and don't want to get too hot. Maybe get a dress that is cooler for the summer, there are plenty of cute summer dresses out there.
Mistake 7: Too much decoration
I often see people who claim to be lolita, but are so overdecorated with bracelets and hair accessories that I wonder if they understand that they have crossed over the border between lolita - and decora. There is something called "too much" in lolita, and often people who claim to be sweet lolitas are more often than not decora rather than lolita. The solution is to lay off the decorations a bit, stick with something that completes your outfit in a lovely way instead of pinning as much cute things onto yourself as you can.
Reason for mistake: We all love cute, and I think most of these persons simply get ahead of themselves and want cuteness rather than lolita. It's perfectly fine - it's just not lolita. Lolita is, for example, a simple bow in a colour that matches your dress, and matching earrings and perhaps one bracelet and a ring. No more.
Mistake 8: War of colours
When it comes to lolita, quite a lot of people make the mistake of mixing way, way, way too much colours. Just like any named fashion, lolita has rules, and one of them is to coordinate well. If you simply put on everything you find cute, you're losing the purpose quite a bit.
Reason for mistake: Again, the cutness love is taking over! Please, girls and boys! Calm down!
Mistake 9: Rainbow wigs
This is a difficult one to explain, especially since wigs in bright colours have become so popular in combination with lolita clothes of late, but colourful wigs are a mistake. Yes. They are. They can be as pretty as you please, but again: they are decora, not lolita. Look through any lolita magazine, and all you will see are natural coloured wigs unless you look at concept art or artistic images. This mistake is almost exclusively made my people who claim to be sweet lolitas. Girls and boys: you are wearing decora wigs.
Reason for mistake: Because those wigs are so popular, it is easy to understand why many don't understand that these coloured wigs are not lolita.
Mistake 10: Elitism
A very common, sadly, mistake is to believe that only brand clothing is real lolita. This is a dangerous assumption, because it's wrong. Lolita is a style of fashion, and as such anyone that follows the strict rules of what lolita is can design and sew them. A home made dress is just as much lolita as that Angelic Pretty JSK you have in your closet. Really.
Reason for mistake: Immaturity. Children want to be special and belong to special groups, and they make up these silly, elitistic rules. Some children never outgrow this childish behaviour.
Well, there we are. :) Some common mistakes in lolita! I hope you found it useful. <3