Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Potpourri of Silk: Tea and Lunch Meetup!

I haven't written about a meet-up on my blog in a long time! This past weekend, I hosted a meet for my comm at Potpourri of Silk, an absolutely darling tea room tucked away in Oak Cliff. I absolutely loved the food and tea there. This was my first visit, but I'm already planning to go back! I regret not taking more pictures during the meet-up though.

So elegant! I do not own this image!
Potpourri of Silk has a simplistic menu featuring an array of sandwiches and light dishes, like toast with jam. They also offer a selection of unique teas, which can be ordered by the cup or by the pot. Their prices are extremely reasonable, and I love that everything is served on actual plates and china.

Everything was so tasty!
For my first visit, I ordered a beef panini pressed sandwich with roasted tomato, aioli, Swiss cheese, and arugula. All those ingredients made for a super delicious sandwich! On the side, I tried the Soup du Jour -- a roasted cauliflower puree with a hint of nutmeg. The soup was so smooth and creamy, you wouldn't believe it! I decided to try the Peach Champagne green tea and I'm definitely a fan! Like I said before, I really can't wait to go back.

Though the meet-up started at around 1 in the afternoon, we ended up staying just before closing time. I managed to gather everyone together in the "backyard" of the tea room to get a group shot. I took it with my new cell phone and remote controlled tripod that I got for my birthday! Look at my lovely comm members, <3

Thanks to everyone who attended!
Once everyone headed out, I decided to play around with my tripod and camera remote a bit more. I couldn't pass up on such a beautiful background! I'm super excited to be able to get coord shots on my own now. This will make reviews so much easier. You can't see it but I'm hiding the shutter remote with my hand, XP

A rare J in the wild. I wore my Pennyhouse OP for this meet.
All and all, it was a fun meet, if I do say so myself. I can't wait to go back and try more of the delicious dishes and teas on the menu at Potpourri of Silk. I highly recommend visiting the tea room if you're ever in the area!

Have you gone to any meet-ups lately? What'd you do? Tell me all about it and more in the comment box below!

I'm thinking about doing a post on my Lolita bag collection in the near future, but I'll be moving soon so I may be too lazy, XP We'll see, haha.

Until next time, dear readers!

Stay beautiful, stay true,


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Expectation vs Reality: The Nightly Thing Headdress Review (Negative)

A couple months ago, I placed a huuuuggge Taobao group order with my comm. We ended up getting all of the items at once, except for two of them, which I had to pay to have shipped to me at a later date. Well, those last two items finally arrived, and I'm so disappointed that I figured I'd blog about it.

The Nightly Thing (translated name) is a one diamond Taobao shop that I stumbled upon by accident. Their shop pictures are fan-freaking-tastic and their items look incredibly beautiful, but there are little to no reviews on any of their items on the shop's page. I took a chance on them and ordered a headdress because I just couldn't be without it.

Stock photo of the headdress! I do not own!

All I can say is: BAD IDEA. I should have known better. I've been in the Taobao game far too long to make these type of rookie mistakes, smh. 

Pro-tip -- if a Taobao shop has a low rating and no reviews, don't risk it. Granted, I've ordered from a few four or five heart (see Taobao ratings explained here) rated shops and did okay, but those shops also had reviews from people with pictures of the purchased product. This shop, as I mentioned earlier, doesn't.

Alright, so rant aside: I will admit, maybe I made a mistake somewhere as well. When Spreenow (obligatory affiliate link here)  asked me about my specifications on this headpiece, I *thought* I was making good choices. 

I asked them for a black headdress ("Pure Black") with white pearls and gold chain accents. Sounds simple, right? So from going by the stock photo, the entire piece should be black with black lace, pearls, and gold metallic bits throughout.

That's not what I got, though. Take a look.

Oh, the horror!
One thing I noticed right away was the white lace. What?! Why is there white lace AT ALL? What part of "pure black" = white lace??? Am I being Punk'd? 

But let's go further, shall we? The flowers are new. I didn't order a headdress with flowers, did I? Nope, I didn't; comparing it to the stock photo there are no flowers at all in the picture. Also, why are the gold chains I requested on the headdress connected to the headpiece with silver chains? Why are there white bows and WHYYYYYYYY are there white bows and white lace on a *pure black* headpiece? Wut?

Well said, Jackie.

Don't get me started on the headchain either, ugh. What even?!?! Y'all, I'm incredibly salty over this.

Ugggggghhhhhhh, -_-

Needless to say, I was not a happy shopper. I'd send it back but since the entire thing was only about $6, it's not worth shipping it back to China. The construction of the piece was just okay... The lace wasn't bad but it isn't that great either. The pearls actually look nice, but there are several trails of hot glue just dangling from the headpiece.

Never again will y'all get my coins, Nightly Thing. I've learned my lesson.

The shop gets a 1 out of 8 from me, and I don't *care* if they have pretty pictures, I'll never order from them again. If you're curious, you can take a look at the shop here, but definitely beware. 


Have you ever had a poor experience with a Taobao shop before? Let's vent together in the comments below!

As always, my dear readers: stay beautiful, stay true,


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Soufflesong/Neverland Lolita: Butterfly Cemetery, Perfume Hydrangea Skirt, Morning Star Idol Campus, and Sparkling Chiffon Short Blouse

Before I start with this review, I want to apologize to everyone reading this. I didn't order all of these items at once, but in three orders over a time period of about 6 months or so. Since I haven't written reviews on any of the items I ordered previously AND I recently received my latest Soufflesong order, I figured now would be as good a time as any to mention all the items I own from them.

Soufflesong's banner, I do not own!
Soufflesong is a Taobao shop that came across my radar because they were one of the few shops that offer custom sizing. Granted, their size range is such that I have yet to actually order custom sizing from them, but I like to support brands that help make Lolita more accessible to all. At one point, Soufflesong had gotten rid of their custom sizing option, but last I heard, it was back up! Plus size Lolitas rejoice!

The ordering process from Soufflesong is incredibly easy. They have an English website, as well as a Taobao shop, so anyone can log on to their English page and use the super simple ordering system. I find that shipping from the English site is actually cheaper than the Taobao shop, so I just go that route. They also offer a rewards program through their English website, where buyers can earn points for every order and use them on the next purchase. I've gotten major discounts with their rewards program so that's a wonderful perk.

The downside to Soufflesong is that sometimes their items are not that great. Given the low price, I tend to hold low expectations, but they remind me of early Fanplusfriend -- their prices are reasonable, but their items sometimes match the quality of that price point. One flaw I've noticed lately in their items is sizing, but I'll touch more on that later.

Another negative to Soufflesong is their shipping/making time: typically with Taobao, buyers wait at least 30 days for their items to be made, but for Soufflesong, it's 60 days and *occasionally* longer than that. Thankfully, Soufflesong lists the making time for each item on the item description page, but in one particularly large group order that I placed, we bought everything in March and didn't receive our goods until the very last week of May.

Suffice it to say, I don't recommend ordering from Soufflesong if you have a deadline to meet because they take two months minimum to complete most orders, especially if there's custom sizing involved. They're pretty good about communication via e-mail or Facebook though, so on the off chance that you do have to wait longer than two months, you can PM them to check on the status of your order quite often.

Butterfly Cemetery Skirt

Butterfly Cemetery stock photo, I do not own!

I lovveeeeeeeee this skirt. Love, love, love, this skirt. I bought it in my first GO from SouffleSong and I couldn't be more happy with it. The fabric is light enough to feel breezy, but heavy enough to hold my petticoat. I was worried when I first took it out of the package because it felt kinda thin, but it held up pretty well.

My skirt!
I love the high waisted factor of it and how it sits perfectly on my torso. I ordered the skirt in the black x blue colorway in a size L. The print is pretty vibrant and gorgeous. Just writing this review makes me want to wear it again. I. Love. This. Skirt. 

I can't speak for the rest of the line (the OP or JSK) but this skirt was definitely worth every penny, 8/8, would buy it in every colorway if I actually owned any purple or red, XP

Here's the coord I put together using this piece:

Coord from PAX South.
Perfume Hydrangea Skirt

Stock photo, I do not own!
I'll be totally honest: the jury is still out on this skirt. I realized as I was trying it on that I don't have the proper blouse for this skirt, so when I tried it on with most of my blouses, I didn't like the way it looked. The other thing to note is that the high waist on this skirt is significantly higher than the waist on Butterfly Cemetery.

Skirt in Sax.
High waists are a catch-22 for busty folks: they're either super flattering or not flattering at all; there's no in between. I'm worried that this will lean more towards the latter, but I blame my blouses more than anything else.

That being said: my Perfume Hydrangea skirt is beautiful. The lace looks good and it didn't have any weird edges or bizarre threads. The biggest issue with the Perfume Hydrangea skirt is the two bows on the front of the skirt. They look good in the stock photo, but in person, they're kinda weird. The larger waist bow is detachable (thank goodness) so while I didn't like it, it wasn't a big deal.

Close-up of the print.
The fit of the Perfume Hydrangea skirt is kinda bizarre too. It looks great under a petticoat, but without more dramatic poof, it runs the risk of making the wearer look like a tube sock, -__- For those reasons, I definitely have to say that the Butterfly Cemetery skirt is better. I give this skirt a 6/8, because I can't get over those weird bows in the front.

Back of the skirt.
Morning Star Idol Campus Back Strap Jumperskirt

Stock photo, I do not own!
When I saw the photoshoot for this dress, I flipped my lid. I HAD to have it! I love Sailor Lolita and this was calling my name. Unfortunately,  this is where Soufflesong disappointed me the most.

I ordered this lovely JSK in a size XL, which has a listed bust of 108 cm. Welp, someone over at Soufflesong has a different measuring tape than I do because my bust is 102 cm and I baaareeeely fit in the bust. That's also the weird thing: I only have a bust issue, the rest of the JSK is fine. I'm not sure what happened, but something funky is going on with the top of this JSK. Busty friends, order this in custom size. Don't risk it, y'all.

This looks so weird on the hanger.
The JSK has criss-cross straps in the back and a sailor collar that *is not* detachable. I'm fine with that because I like how it looks, but I thought the collar was removable when I bought it, so it's just something to note. I love the rich navy color of the dress and it shows up that way in pictures, which is a plus. The buttons are kinda flimsy so I imagine I'll be replacing or reinforcing those soon, which isn't a big deal.

The fabric seems fine (I don't know much about fabrics, lol) and it held my petticoats pretty well. This JSK is decidedly A-Line though, so you can't try to use a cupcake petti with this: it looked bad when I tried it, haha. I give it a 5 out of 8 and I plan to take it to a seamstress to see if she can offer some assistance with the bust issue.

Check out my coord with this JSK!

Coord with my new JSK!
Sparkling Chiffon Short Blouse 

Stock photo, I do not own!

While I was mildly disappointed with my JSK, I was pleasantly surprised with this crop top blouse! I bought it in navy and it's so pretty! It's lightweight and it fits well; I can't wait to coord it. 

This is my second attempt at buying a crop top blouse, as they're currently trending within the Lolita community right now. The last one I tried (also from SouffleSong) was so uncomfortable, I tried it on once and sold it immediately. But this one was so much better! I love that the navy color is so deep and it sparkles, *__*

Crop blouse.
It was crazy affordable too, at a mere $18 so I would definitely buy this in other colors. I give this blouse an 8 out of 8 and with that, Soufflesong officially becomes a shop I would purchase from again, though with a bit of caution.

They recently released a line called Layered Ice Cream and the white x sax JSK is calling my name! I love the halter straps and the fullness of the skirt.

Layered Ice Cream stock photo
Have you ordered anything from Soufflesong before? If not, hopefully, this post was informative for you! I'll be back soon with a Taobao review and maybe a few other things. Don't forget to chat with me in the comment box below!

Stay beautiful, stay true,

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Taobao Haul #6: Pennyhouse Pandora Crown OP, HumHang Shop, A01, Leomistu, Pinktutu, and Haruhi Clover

Now that A-Kon is over, I have time to review my latest Taobao haul! I placed a hugggee group order with my comm that weighed so much, we had to split the order into two boxes, O_O

I placed the entire order with the help of SpreeNow. They really came through for me with such a huge order. Sometimes things got a little complicated, but SpreeNow really made everything as painless as possible. My biggest take away from this order is that I need to stop ordering anything from A01, -__- I'll talk more about that later.

If you'd like to place your own Taobao order with SpreeNow, use my affiliate link here!

PennyHouse Pandora Crown OP
Pandora Crown stock photo, I do not own!
I love this OP but I noticed a few issues right after I tried it on. I'll start from the top: the OP has a velveteen bodice, chiffon sleeves, and pearl buttons on the bodice. The velvet portion feels incredibly solid, and surprisingly, it wasn't hot either.

Pandora Crown OP!
The skirt is pretty interesting too -- it's technically a white jacquard fabric with a black, sheer overlay that "turns" it gray. Up close, you'd never know that the skirt is actually white.

Skirt and pattern on the OP.

Underneath the sheer overlay.
Now, for the issues: Pandora Crown makes me look like a giant blob without the sash. There's just not enough of a difference between the bust measurement and waist to eliminate the blob effect.

Pennyhouse sash!
Since it's an OP, I'm not sure if I can get the waist taken in, but I know that's what's causing the minor sizing issue. Another concern I have about the OP is the front buttons, cause those babies are livin' on a prayer and a tiny bit of thread.

All and all, I love it! For the price I paid, and the fact that I managed to avoid the one to two month reservation period altogether, I'm content. I'd definitely buy from Pennyhouse again. I give this OP a 6 out of 8! Check out their shop full of beautiful pieces with this link.

HumHang Shop
Stock photo, I do not own!

Ooohhhhh, I was so sad about this wig. I tried it on and it didn't look good on me at all. Excuse the potato quality of this photo, but it was the one picture I took in the wig before I gave up on it completely. Something about the shade of gray made me turn green in person. It was suuupper weird, so I just gave up on it. Also, the wig wasn't styled in the way it was pictured on the website.

Such a pretty wig, but not on me, T_T
That being said, the wig was a great quality and felt nice! I would order from Humhang (translated name) again, I just have to figure out what shade of gray suits my face. You can check out all this awesome wig shop here! I'll give Humhang a 4 out of 8 with a note to try another wig from them later.

Stock photo, I do not own!
During my second ever Taobao haul (see: Taobao Haul #2), I ordered a pair of OTKs from A01. They were tight on my calves and I wore them once before I sold them. WEEEEEELLLLLL, here we are again, and I should have known better, *siiiigghh*

These tights didn't fit so I didn't even bother taking a picture of them. I do not recommend this shop for anyone over a US Size 10 and if you're tall, just forgettaboutit! A01 is not plus-size friendly, tall person friendly, me-friendly, none of that. A01, we're not friends, you get a 3 out of 8. Their stuff is still cute though, so if you want to give their sizing a try, check them out here.

Stock photo, I do not own!
The first time I read this shop's name, I called it "Leomitsu". I didn't realize I had swapped the letters until I started writing this review, haha. Anywho, I've been crushing hard on "flat hats" lately. I'm not sure what it is about them that I love so much, but I just want to buy them all.

Hat + Pinktutu veil.
This hat took a little bit longer to make than I would have liked since our group order was definitely on a strict deadline. Still, everything got made in time and I got my gorgeous hat! YASSSSSSS, <3

I give Leomistu a 7/8 and will absolutely order from them again. Visit their storefront with this link.

Stock photo, I do not own!
Y'all. Pinktutu is dangerous to my wallet. Everything is cute as heck and it's all so cheap. They have pages and pages and pages of accessories, chokers, necklaces, headpieces, you name it! I was losing my mind just scrolling through each page. I ordered this face veil and a choker from them.

Stock photo, I do not own!
Both items were perfect! 8 out of 8 and Pinktutu has been added to my Favorites! Go accessory-crazy on Pinktutu's page.

Here's a selfie from the A-Kon Tea Party with my lovely comm member, featuring Pinktutu items and my Leomitsu hat!

Selfie with my lovely comm member!
Haruhi Clover
Stock photo, I do not own!
I've been wanting to order from Haruhi Clover for a really long time. I've admired the shop from afar for a while, this bag in particular. I debated back and forth on getting the all white straw bag or the sax version. I settled on the all white one, simply because I feel like it would be more versatile than the white x sax bag.

Basket bag!
First of all, this bag is HUGE. I knew it was sizable from the pictures, but the interior is pretty deep. Check it out! I can't wait to fill it up with stuff I don't need, XP

Interior of the bag.
I'm concerned about the flowers staying on for longer than a year, so I'll keep an eye out for that. I'm super impressed though! 7 out of 8 for Haruhi Clover, and it was already bookmarked on my Favorites, so I'll be buying from them again. Check out Haruhi Clover's storefront here.

I ordered one more item in this particular group order, but since we had to hurry, I was unable to ship it in time. I'll just order more stuff and add that piece later, no biggie! All in all, this was a fruitful order.

I'm eyeing a dress over at Lolita Wardrobe, so if I buy it, I'll have even more content for the blog! I also need to review a few items that I purchased from SouffleSong, so be on the lookout for that post in the next few weeks (hopefully).

Thanks for checking out my blog! Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below and I'll do my best to reply to them.

As always -- stay beautiful, stay true.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Paradiso 2017: The Eternal Reverie

I haven't written here in forever, so to commemorate my return, I've changed my blog theme! YAY! Check out my new digs!

Last weekend, I attended my very first Lolita-only event in Kansas City, MO, called Paradiso. Hosted by a group of Midwestern Lolitas from all over the region, this Lolita "convention" gives Lolitas and fashion enthusiasts a chance to meet up, shop, and see some fantastic fashion. This year was Paradiso's second year in the running.

Paradiso Artwork, created by Teal Sather.
Before I go any further in my review of the event, I want to give all my readers a disclaimer: I was invited to this event as a member of "press" with the sole purpose of writing a review of Paradiso. With my press pass, I was able to go behind-the-scenes during the fashion show and also attend the event as a VIP. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity that was given to me.

View from my hotel room!

I also want to let everyone know I only attended Day One of Paradiso, so I have no views or opinions to express about Day Two (the tea party). Regardless of that, I can definitely say I enjoyed the time that I spent at Paradiso. I'll do my best to break down my entire experience from start to finish, and thankfully, I brought my new camera with me to help document the experience!

I left home at about 6:30 am to start the drive up to Kansas City. I haven't been up there in a while so I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the city is! Even the downtown area felt so clean and pretty. I loved that downtown Kansas City is still urban, without being intimidating. I felt safer walking around Kansas City at night than I do in my own city, XP

The Venue

Paradiso Day One was hosted in the historic Hotel Phillips, which was literally right next to my own hotel. Built in 1931 (according to their website), the hotel has an Art Deco style that reminds me of hidden speakeasies and flapper dresses. I'm pretty sure I commented on how lovely the hotel was a million times. It was noooooiicccceeeee.

First view of the lobby!
The three main areas for Paradiso were the lobby, the mezzanine on the second floor, and the basement. All of Day One was down in the basement, which caused some logistic issues. When I arrived at the hotel, I was told by Paradiso staff that the elevators were incredibly slow and also, there were no stairs. It sounded like a miscommunication between Paradiso staff and the hotel staff because later, hotel staff was able to direct us to a (literally) hidden staircase that would get us down in the basement.

A wild Ouji-sama!
After that, navigating the building got a lot easier. Since I had my press badge, I was allowed to go to each area freely and see what was going on with set-up for everything. I went back upstairs as time got closer to the start of the event to mingle and talk with my fellow attendees.

View from the mezzanine.

We were asked to check-in with a Paradiso staff member in the lobby, and from there, head back down to the basement to get our badges and VIP bags. There was also a collection of refreshments in the corner of the basement "lobby" including water, cookies, maracrons, iced tea and soda.


After getting all my proper credentials at Reg, I went into the basement where all of Paradiso's event was held. We were given time to mingle and shop, with vendors/artists lined against the outer wall of the room. The basement had somewhat dim lighting but I think that added to the venue's Great Gatsby vibe. As attendees poured into the room, a staff member welcomed everyone and told us when the Fashion Show would begin as that was the first event of the day.

The entrance to the basement area.
We were also told that VIP badge-holders were allowed to sit in the chairs at the front of the room. I had a VIP badge so after I walked around and look at all the stuff for sale, I was able to sit in the front row for the fashion show (more on that later).


VIP Paradiso bag!
Inside of the VIP bag was an assortment of gifts that I thought were cute and/or useful. Each VIP got a collection of stickers, a program book, a $5 (give or take) coupon from Wunderwelt, a Haenuli catalog, some Haenuli stickers, Haenuli's adorable illustrated comic book/diary, a hair bow, and a super cute choker!

The contents of the bag!
I used my bag to help carry around the goodies that I purchased during the event and a few other things that wouldn't fit in my purse, haha.

Vendors/Consignment Shop

Lolita Collective Booth!

Crystal Isis!
The most prominent shops amongst the tables were the Lolita Collective booth and the Consignment/Wunderwelt table. I'll go more into my views on the Consignment shop towards the end of my review, but having Wunderwelt's products in addition to the Consignment items really made that little corner feel like a pop-up shop! I have one complaint, however -- even though the Consignment/Wunderwelt table had the most space out of all the vendors there, it just wasn't *enough* space. Attendees clustered around the table and the clothing racks were positioned in a way that made a tiny little cul-de-sac that got backed-up by people perusing the racks.

Accessories and bags from the Consignment/Wunderwelt booth.


Socks at the booth!

Gotta get those deals!
Though I understand the logic behind the booth's position (i.e. the entire space was being shared by the event) the flow of traffic in that area wasn't that great. To add, since Day One was the only day that vendors were going to be selling anything, I feel like attendees were that much more desperate to look at Every. Single. Item. and taking as much time in that corner as possible. I have some suggestions for resolving that, but I'll move on for now.

The Consignment/Wunderwelt clothing rack cul-de-sac.

The Fashion Show
Since I'm a terrible reporter who doesn't bother to read the schedule, I had absolutely no idea when the fashion show was supposed to start. Instead, I went upstairs where the models were getting ready on the mezzanine level. Models were everywhere! I already knew what to expect when I walked in the dressing room. It was a perfect example of organized chaos. Models were in clusters by brand or designer, practicing their poses or helping each other make last minute adjustments. I didn't really get a chance to talk to many models or staff in the room, so I just went around and took pictures like a creeper, X_X

Models getting ready for the Fashion Show.
When a staff member came in to give everyone a time warning, I headed back downstairs and grabbed a seat on the front row. The "runway" was marked by the staircase that went down into the basement, the judge's table (for the Ouji-sama pageant) and the photographer who was positioned in a corner diagonally from where I sat. The photographer essentially served as the end of the "runway".

From where I was on the front row, I enjoyed the show. Every model was poised and so close to me that the experience was a lot more engaging than usual for me. The music was okay (one song at the end was particularly awesome!) but I worry that the dim lighting of the venue caused some dark pictures. I'm sure the Photoshop pros of the world can fix it, but I barely know how to work my little point-and-shoot, so it did give me some issues, *ssiiiiigghhh*.

Strike that pose!
Overall, it was a good show. I think models could have used a little more coaching on their pacing because some walked by so fast I couldn't snap their picture in time, T_T Still, that's definitely more of a "me" problem than the show's problem. All and all, the fashion show flowed seamlessly, and I got to see lots of fabulous clothes!

Those boots, *__*
Midwest Ouji-sama Pageant

I'll be 100% honest here and say that I was realllllly worried the Ouji-sama pageant would get real cringe-y, real fast. The premise sounds super cute, but there were so many factors that could have made it awkward as heck.


....This was THE cutest, most entertaining event of the day! (Sorry fashion show peeps, <3).

The fashion show portion of the pageant.
The Midwest Ouji-sama pageant pitted a group of "Ouji-samas" against each other for the title of Midewest Ouji-sama. There were three rounds: a fashion show, an interview, and the "Woo Your Princess" round. Once all three stages were complete, a winner would be chosen based on a combination of votes from the three guest judges (Hello Batty, Prince V, and sora) plus VIP ballots and any ballots that were purchased by regular badge holders.

Once again, I believe some of the participants could have used some coaching as to the fashion show portion of the pageant, but the interview section was hilarious!

Thank you, Prince Jeffery, for existing, XD

Each Ouji was asked one question at random during the interview round: some answers were comedic, others were serious, and some were role-played. Though the interview round was insightful in regards to each contestant, the real fun was the "wooing".

Interviewing the "princes".
The princesses were Paradiso staff members, which I think was a great call on Paradiso's part to avoid any confusion or weird moments. I would have liked to see one staff member per prince, but the three staff members who participated were great sports about each prince's proposition.

Here's where things got a little confusing: VIPs and people who bought ballots were instructed to vote, but none of us were given pens/writing utensils to do so. I understand that this was a minor oversight but I jokingly told an attendee sitting next to me that I was going to have to prick my finger in order to vote. Since most of the voters were people with VIP badges, it would have been a great addition to include cute little pens in our VIP bags. I'm sure it totally slipped everyone's mind that we needed a writing utensil though, and I was able to get one from a staff member so that problem was easily solved.

While ballots were counted, a raffle was held to help bide the time. Again, this was a great move on Paradiso's part because it kept us occupied while they counted ballots behind the scenes. Once the raffle was over, a winner was announced based on a combination of the judges' and crowd vote!

Congrats to the first ever Midwest Ouji-sama~!

Closing Statements/Etc.

Just chilling by the stairs.
After the main event was over, attendees were thanked by staff for attending and reminded about the when and wheres of Day Two. Since everything at that point was over, I just walked around and talked to as many people as I could. Eventually, the remaining few were asked to leave the basement so hotel staff could come in and clean up. 

Overall, it was a great event. I met so many amazing people and saw such fantastic coords! I was really impressed with everything as a whole, and the staff did a good job of making sure things happened in a timely manner. I had a lot of fun!

By the end of Day One, I also regretted not buying a ticket for Day Two, :( 

Concerns, Comments, Suggestions

Personally, I see a lot of growth and potential in Paradiso. I won't profess to be an expert by any means, but given my experience with event planning and conventions as a whole, I can see a few things that could be implemented to improve the overall attendee experience. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed attending an event where I wasn't actually working it, XP

Security - As Paradiso grows in size, staff should definitely start thinking about security measures to ensure that the event is safe and "normie"-free. Throughout the event, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn't encounter lost/confused people wandering into the event space, though I think that had a lot more to do with the isolated location in the basement than anything. I'm not saying that there *was* a security issue, but that there could be. Security checkpoints should be considered to help identify if a person does not belong in the event. That brings me to my next point!

Staff Identification/Signage - Besides the Registration table, there were little to no signs explaining who or where anything was. Of course, common sense says that if you see a bunch of people in poofy dresses like your own, you'll know you're in the right place.  However, I think a sign somewhere in the lobby, noting that you are, in fact, in the right place is comforting, especially for us out-of-town folks. 

It would help too, to have more than one person up front greeting people/doing the check-in process. A couple of folks (myself included) wandered down to registration without checking in at the lobby, only to be told that we needed to go back upstairs to check-in first. When the hotel elevators were already slow as molasses and the event is in the basement, constantly trekking up and down the stairs can make people grumpy or frustrated so it's best to limit their trips as much as possible. 

This kind of goes back into my security issues bit, but staff also need to be better identified. Even though I recognized most of the staff members (because I met them the night before), I won't profess to know all of them. For those people I wasn't sure about, I couldn't really tell if they were staff or not because from a distance their badges looked exactly the same as mine. I could be wrong though, and if I am, this is a totally moot point, XP

Regardless, having a different color badge or something that prominently says "STAFF" would help people with questions easily identify Paradiso staff members and prevent attendees from asking those who may not know the right info (which happened to me a couple times, lol).

Events - This is mostly minor, but it would be nice for Paradiso to have a few more events. I understand that the staff doesn't want people to get hangry (hungry + angry) after being in the space for several hours, but even something like an official Afterparty or maybe even a late night event would be cool. The drive from Dallas to Kansas City was a long one and ultimately, I want enough programming to make such a lengthy trip worth it. I think having just one or two more things to do in the evening would help keep attendees busy and give people more time to socialize. One event that I want to recommend is a Swap and Sell, which ties-in with the next suggestion: removing/changing the Consignment shop.

Consignment Shop/Vendors - At its base, the Consignment shop sounds like a good idea, but given that there is only one day to sell goods, it seems like a lot of work for such little payout.

From a staff perspective, checking in items, watching everyone's goods, and making sure people get their money afterward is a lot of extra work that could be eliminated almost entirely with a Swap and Sell. In addition, the lengthy process to even get one's items sold during Day One turns off attendees from submitting anything. It also eliminates one of the biggest benefits of buying used Lolita: the ability to haggle. Switching to a Swap and Sell instead of having a Consignment shop would actually serve two purposes --  first, it would introduce an extra event like I mentioned earlier, and secondly (more importantly), it makes attendees responsible for their own goods. When you give your attendees the job of selling, trading and keeping up with their own stuff, it removes the risk/stress of staff having to do it.

It also prevents Paradiso from being held *legally liable* for consignment items, which I think is important for an event that's just starting out. Staff members can then focus their energy on something else. On top of all that, switching to a swap would free up even more space for Wunderwelt items or Paradiso specific merch at the booth.

Panels - This section is purely a commentary on my part (so feel free to skip it!), but Paradiso didn't have ANY panels and I absolutely did not care. Typically, I attend Lolita events at anime cons and there are always fashion panels, such as Lolita 101 and the like. Paradiso doesn't have any of that and frankly, I didn't miss it. There's only so much an experienced Lolita can teach other Lolitas so I much preferred the focus on the major events. Paradiso served as a great place to meet and hang out with Lolitas that are outside of my local Texas comms. The event wasn't educational (in the "Intro to Lolita Fashion" sense) in any way and it didn't try to be because that isn't Paradiso's demographic. I have a lot of respect for that.

After reading this post, I'm sure you're thinking: "Well dang, J, you said all that but you didn't answer the most important question!" To which I say: I had to do something to keep you reading, right?? XP

Would I attend Paradiso again? Absolutely. Without a doubt, I want to go back to Paradiso, even if it's in the same location as this year's event. I had an absolute blast at the con and if the stars align (and Paradiso stays on Memorial Day weekend), I plan to go back and attend for both Day One and Two.

I truly hope that Paradiso staff recognizes their potential because they truly have something magical going on up there. Hopefully, they will continue to improve the event, while also listening to feedback from their attendees in earnest. Nothing is worse for a new program than becoming stagnate in the early stages due to being stubborn and plugging their ears. Though I doubt that will be an issue for Paradiso, it's definitely something to keep in mind for the future.

Thanks for sticking with me from start to finish! This is probably my longest review ever, but I wanted to make sure I was thorough for those that couldn't attend.

Now that Paradiso is over, I've gotta get everything ready for A-Kon 28! I'm not sure what I was thinking; attending two major Lolita events within mere weeks of each other, but I guess I'm a fan of torturing myself, haha. I ordered some items from SouffleSong for Paradiso that I received too late (*sobs*), and I also put in a HUGE Taobao order for A-Kon, so please look forward to more product reviews in the future!

Which Lolita events have you attended this year? Did you enjoy them or were they terrible? Perhaps you have some fashion events you'd like to recommend I attend? Tell me all about it in the comment box below, y'all!

Until next time, my lovely readers! <3

Stay beautiful, stay true,