Something New: Animal Crossing Diary

Recently, I’ve started playing my old copy of Animal Crossing: Population Growing, in preparation for the upcoming Animal Crossing 2019 release. It was one of my favorite games growing up and I still remember how magical it felt back then. I’ve actually been keeping a little diary of my day-to-day life in KongHong (my town) and I decided to upload it here. I’ve made a separate page for it so as not to disrupt to flow of my blog; you can access it here or by clicking “animal crossing” on the navigation bar at the top of the page. There’s already about ten entries, so go check it out!

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year ♥︎

I have a confession: I love Christmastime. I love candles and hot chocolate, I love cinnamon-scented pinecones and poinsettias, I love music-boxes and nutcrackers, and yes, I love Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You. There is just one little problem this year—-no snow. We have had maybe two snowfalls, and each time the flakes melted like sugar in water as soon as they touched the ground. It’s really quite strange. Last year I complained quite a bit of the snow, and this winter I cannot rid myself of the feeling that something is amiss. 

Like last winter, I will be spending Christmas this year overseas. I’ve been trying to ignore my snow-related grievances and indulge in as many festive luxuries as possible before our departure on Saturday. My favorite Christmas album I’ve been listening to is Kalafina’s Winter Acoustic: Kalafina with Strings. It features both covers of traditional Christmas songs and some very enchanting original pieces, as well. My favorites from the album are “In Dulci Jublio” and “Fairytale”. I also have a very soft spot for the Sailor Moon Christmas album

Speaking of Sailor Moon, on Sunday morning I slept in and watched Sailor Moon S: The Movie, which is kind of like the magical-girl version of a Christmas movie. I think I might make a separate post about it. It’s a very strange, very entertaining mixture of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, the traditional Japanese fairytale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, and obviously Sailor Moon. After that, I went with my boyfriend downtown to the Christmas market to buy some candles, as the French lavender one we bought at the beginning of the season had long expired. Last night, we also went to my city’s pop-up Christmas bar, which is where this post’s featured image is from. Imagine a cozy (perhaps even slightly claustrophobic) hole-in-the-wall decorated floor-to-ceiling with lights, ornaments, tinsel, angels, and all other manners of Christmas paraphernalia. I tried a mug of alcoholic hot cocoa. I think I actually much prefer the non-alcoholic variety, and in terms of Christmas-y alcoholic beverages my favorite choice would be mulled wine.  

~Leave a comment with your favorite Christmas movie/song/beverages/sweets~

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Little Tea Shoppe

Yesterday my boyfriend and I made a little trip to Squirrel Hill to the Taiwanese bakery there to pick up some custard buns. On a whim, we decided to stop by this curious-looking tea shoppe across the street. 

Right away I noticed the amiable and comfortable atmosphere of this establishment. While most “tea shoppes” I have been to in the US are English-inspired, this one had an unmistakable Eastern feel, with Turkish reds and jade greens, beaded curtains, and clay teaware. My favorite thing was that in addition to the usual dining chairs and sofas, there were also some wooden steps leading up to a raised, plush platform with floor cushions and low tables, so you could take off your shoes and sit in one of these cozy nooks if you wished. 

Another interesting note was that each table had a tiny engraved handbell on it, so if you required service you could summon an employee by tinkling the little bell. It’s a simple enough idea, but I just thought it was so cute. I was rather impressed with their tea selection, too. The menu came in a thick book with a paragraph for each and every tea detailing what region the tea was harvested, down to a vivid taste profile. They had a lot of interesting tea snacks as well. We were still digesting from our breakfast that morning so we had a simple order of a hummus plate with a light green tea (Tian Mu Long Zhu). Next time we visit I would like to try a pot of Morrocan mint along with some Russian tea-cakes.

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♥ My Favorite Rose-Infused Beauty Products ♥

I have always been drawn to rose motifs. There is no more iconic symbol of romance and feminine beauty than the rose—-plus, they just have the most delicate, yet intoxicating scent. In this post, I will describe my top favorite 3 rose-infused products and where you can buy them. 

1. Roses Et Reines Perfume by L’Occitane

I have long been on the hunt for a good fragrance. I knew I wanted something unmistakably girly, but as much as I want to like them, I can’t stand sweet-smelling perfumes with notes like vanilla or amber. Finally, I found L’Occitane en Province’s Roses et Reines (French for Roses and Queens), and I fell in love.

Roses et Reines Eau de Toilette is a fresh and velvety fragrance, a floral tale that celebrates the flower of the queens. 

The muses behind this fragrance, the four daughters of the Count of Forcalquier, all cherished roses, the flowers that were said to have made them queens.

Their favorite roses, the Grasse rose, Bulgarian rose, Moroccan rose and Turkish rose are brought together in this precious scent, enhanced by a unique rose extract from Haute-Provence with delicate fruity notes, obtained by enfleurage.

Continue reading

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Spring Showers

The past two days have been full of rain–not the grey drizzles that we got so much of in winter, but the fresh sort of rain that brings lush, dark grass and honeysuckle-scented fog. I woke up at sunrise today with my sister for an early breakfast and tea at her house. I had this Edgar Allen Poe-inspired tea blended with lapsang souchong and beetroot. It was my first time trying a lapsang and I was surprised that it smelled like a campfire when brewing; however, the taste had a much more subtle smokey flavor compared to the scent. I am looking forward to having another cup of this tea the next time it rains. 

With the warmer weather and spring showers I have been noticing more and more critters about. I counted six slugs on my morning walk today, and I spotted this lily-of-the-valley plant growing behind my house.  Let me know in the comments your favorite spring creatures, whether they be plants or birds or bugs~

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A Peculiar Picnic: Tea-Blending Meet at Chanticleer Gardens

This past weekend I had the utmost pleasure of attending a lolita meet-up at the local Chanticleer Gardens. These gardens are lesser-known compared to the nearby Longwood Gardens, and although they are significantly smaller than the latter, they are magically beautiful in their own right.

For the first part of the meet-up we had a potluck picnic in the garden greenhouse. I have learned that along with our mutual love for lolita fashion, one thing that ties my local lolita community together is our love for really good food! Each girl brought their own lovely treats, both sweet and savory: there were onigiri, spring salads, finger sandwiches, macarons, checkerboard-cookies, sliced fruits, and much more. One girl made her own violet syrup to share, which we mixed with seltzer water to make violet soda.  In addition to all the food, the hostesses provided materials for us to blend our own tea!  They set up a table with jars of various tea leaves and dried flowers, as well as tins and tea-satchets. I made myself a black tea blend with lavender and a touch of peppermint.

After a few hours of drinking tea and socializing, we explored the rest of the gardens. It really was the perfect weather: crisp and sunny with a slight room-temperature breeze. I still have a lot yet to learn about flowers and their names, but I recognized many early-spring blooms like snowdrops, tulips, daffodils, lilacs, and bleeding-hearts.  It wasn’t quite hot enough to be parasol-weather, but I toted my BABY, The Stars Shine Bright one anyway, for the novelty of carrying a frilly parasol in a field of spring flowers.

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Life Update + Macaron Shopping

Oh, my Diary, my sweet, sweet Diary, I apologize for my absence, but do not think I have forgotten about you. I’ve just been very busy with school-work and other such things the past month; none of it is very interesting, but you may be happy to know that I have just about finished with the last stretch of my academic life: my senior thesis is completed, I found a full-time job for after graduation, and within the next month I will be moving out of college and into an apartment of my own. With this newly-found spare time, I will be resuming to a more consistent posting schedule. 

Today I attended my last lecture—ever—and I celebrated quietly with a train ride into the city. I am to go to a lolita potluck-picnic this weekend (look for a future post on that!), and I decided to splurge on an assortment of macarons for everyone to enjoy.  I bought a very floral assortment of flavors: honey lavender, fleur, rose, and earl grey. I thought it appropriate considering we will be picnicking in a flower garden.

The pictures included in this post are of today’s coordinate; I opted for a more comfortable casual style, with Oxfords and no petticoat. The skirt is currently the oldest piece in my wardrobe: Baby the Star’s Shine Bright’s Gingham Rose Ribbon from 2007. Clever readers may recognize the name from somewhere else, as well. 

I do wish that you are all having a sweet day—and I am very much looking forward to posting here again!

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A Lolita’s Adventures in Japantown

My dearest Diary, I am so, so sorry for my negligence these past two weeks! I have been most dreadfully busy, and when I haven’t been busy, I have been ill. As such, the events specified in this entry actually occurred over a week ago; I do hope you’ll forgive my tardiness. 

Last week was my college’s spring break, and I celebrated with a short vacation to San Francisco with my significant other. While there, I went to many places (and perhaps more importantly, ate many things)–but I will only provide the details of one small part of the trip here, as I feel they are most relevant to the theme of my blog. That is, I was lucky enough to visit San Francisco’s BABY, The Stars Shine Bright location, which is as of the time of writing this, the only BABY location in the US.

It was not my first time going to a physical BABY store; I have also been to the La Foret and Kyoto locations. But that did not make the occasion any less exciting, and furthermore, it was a joy to visit a location with the familiarity of my home country and language. The store is located on the top floor in a small, Japanese-style mall in Japantown. Like its Japanese counterparts, there is a strict no-photography policy in the store, so unfortunately I do not have any pictures to post here, although you may look at many photos on their official Facebook page.

It may sound silly, but it really does feel magical to be in a physical lolita store, not to mention that of your favorite brand.  I spent far too long just admiring the details of each dress. The stock photos on their website really never do the pieces justice!! There are so many dresses which I thought looked ugly or busy from photos on the internet, but were surprisingly beautiful in person. One dress I absolutely loved was AaTP’s Silver Spoon of Blessing JSK. I thought the stock photos made the print look somewhat muddy and washed out, but in person, it is such a lovely and elegant dress….unfortunately, I am currently restricting myself from buying more main pieces until I build up my basics (namely, shoes, legwear and bags). But I did make one purchase, this Usakumya cross-body bag! He is so fluffy, and surprisingly roomy as well. I love him very much 

After this purchase came my reservation for two at the Crown & Crumpet, a small tea parlor located right underneath BABY. I really applaud whoever planned that out, because it could not be more perfect. From what I hear, it is not uncommon at all to see lolitas stop here for some tea and cake after a trip to BABY.  The decor of C&C is so very appropriate for BABY’s aesthetic—look at my pictures below for reference. We enjoyed two pots of tea, their special house blend, as well as “Paris”, a black blend with vanilla and caramel, along with two plates of sweets.

Below is my coordinate for the occasion. Appropriately, everything is from BABY, except my shoes, which are from Metamorphose. The dress is BABY’s Rosellina Fleur JSK, a recent purchase which I am utterly in love with! And the Usakumya bag is the one I purchased just an hour before this photo was taken, hehe.

For lovers of sweet lolita fashion, if you are in the San Francisco area, you absolutely must check it out  There is also an Angelic Pretty store there, although in a different area of the city. I did not have time to visit there, but to be completely frank, I heavily prefer BABY over AP, so I wasn’t too upset about this. (Sorry, AP fans!) As an East Coast lolita, it is hard to say when, if ever, I’ll be back…here’s hoping they try opening another location on the east coast (rest in piece, NYC BABY…). Where do you all think the next BABY location should be? I personally think one might do well in Philadelphia~


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A Cozy, Rainy Winter Meet-up

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending a lolita meet-up at Grounds for Sculpture. It is such a strange and wonderful place! There are (unsettlingly lifelike) sculptures placed throughout the grounds. Many of them are inspired by Monet paintings and are dressed in Victorian garb, which was quite appropriate for the occasion.  The weather was as gloomy as ever, but it added to the eerie atmosphere. At one point I heard some very loud, distressed noises; it turns out there was a muster of peacocks nearby. Oddly enough, many peacocks live at the park. What’s more, one of them is completely snow-white. It was so strange-looking and yet so beautiful. Its feathers reminded me of dandelion puffs.

In addition to strolling through the grounds, we also took lunch at Rat’s Restaurant, an adorable French restaurant in the park. I cannot express how cute this restaurant is. A few girls commented that it felt something like a hobbit-hole, and I would agree with that comparison. The ceilings were quite low, all the furnishings were rich and wooden, and there was even a fireplace burning near our table, with a little nook filled with blankets and pillows for cozy fireside reading. The food was excellent as well. I had a croque-madame, followed up with a spiced creme brûlée and blue-flower Earl Grey tea for dessert. 

The cherry on top of a wonderful afternoon was that one of the co-hosts of the meet, Lucy, very generously gifted us some goodies to celebrate the launch of her brand Cottonbook. Her designs are a mix of casual lolita and mori-kei styles, and they look so comfy and cute! We each received an envelope (which the hosts went through the trouble of sealing with wax and flowers— so cute!) containing some beautiful printed postcards. We also got face masks and loose-leaf tea.  It was such a nice getaway from the cold weather and homework I’ve had to deal with recently. I hope I will be able to enjoy more frilly outings like this in my last semester of college~

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Hints of Spring

There was a ladybug on my window-sill yesterday. I was so excited, I haven’t seen one in such a long time. It must have been the weather; it’s been unusually warm the past couple of days. Unfortunately, after two days of blessing us all with her bright and buttery face, the sun has gone back into hiding. The ladybug I saw has vanished as well. But I will not yet give up my hopes for spring—look at what I saw on campus today! These sweet crocuses were sticking straight up out of the earth like stretching fairies. 

Speaking of flowers, my Valentine’s flowers have begun to shrivel up. I am going to preserve them by pressing them in some books. Soon enough there will be more flowers on the ground. I am looking forward to walking through them with my parasol.

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