The Witches of Harajuka

I obviously had too much free time at work today, and am excited about finally seeing Harry Potter this weekend (I had put it off until now, both because I didn't really have time until the end of term and because I have a free movie pass that is only good after a movie has been out ten days or more).  The result was me thinking to much about what it would look like if various characters decided to follow a form of Harajuka fashion.

Luna Lovegood would obviously follow Fairy Kei (and/or Pop Kei as I am not at all clear what the difference is and couldn't find any handy guide)

Luna does Fairy Kei

Obviously Luna is a My Little Ponies fan.  I imagine the crazy, hideous but Luna can totally work it, cardigan thing having been made for her by Hermione, because girlfriend does love her some bobble-knitting.  I am also way too excited to have found Ravenclaw Chuck Taylors.

Bellatrix Lestrange, is basically a goth style icon at this point (of course how much of that is due to being played by Helena Bonham Carter in the movies....), so my first thought was of course Elegant Gothic Aristocrat, but she's a little more off-kilter so I thought I would try something a little more Ero lolita style, of course, also gothic:


Bellatrix by Sabayon featuring peep toe pumps

The skirt would have to be cinched up all around to give it a crazy-uneven bell shape.  I also seem to have developed a minor obsession with Bloodmilk jewelry.

I tried to make a Punk lolita co-ordinate for McGonagall, on account of the tartan, but it wasn't happening.  Instead, please enjoy this kitten, named Professor McGonagall:

In other news: I have purple hair.  I was bored with my medium auburn and have a few more months before I will be (hopefully) going on interviews, so if it had ended up on the wrong side of the line between creative professional/weird kid it would have enough time to fade out.  I think it is on the right side of that line, and my pretty conservative co-worker didn't bat an eyelash when I came in which is a good sign.  What do y'all think?  It is a little darker/more muted than these photos.


OOTD: Go-to Dress

but what is up with my posture in this picture? no idea
I recently realized just how much mileage I was getting out of this dress.  I have been wearing it at least every other week this summer. I started to think about what makes an outfit or item very wearable. I think the keys are ease of wear, adaptability, and style. In this case, the dress is extremely comfortable, 100% cotton with a high-thread count, making it perfect for hot weather and not too prone to wrinkling.  I can accessorize in a few different ways, or wear it alone if I am pressed for time (and it takes about 15 seconds to get on).  It is kind of quirky and interesting, but not so much that it isn't work-appropriate. I also always get compliments on it, and I am basically a narcissist. So what about you dear readers, what qualities make an item re-wearable for you? Is there anything in your closet that seems to be in constant rotation?

In other news, I finally bought a flat-iron for my bangs.  I don't heat style the rest of my hair because I am growing it out and really did enough to it in the great-bleach-un-henna-ing of ought-nine.  I cut my bangs only about a month ago and discovered that wavy hair does some odd things at only a few inches long.  Straightening tricks that work for the length of my hair were giving me a Shaun Cassidy flip.  It is so worth ironing that out. 
My camera fell off it's stack of books and snapped this picture.
I kind of like it.

Fatspiration Friday: Study like a Scholar, Scholar

I've been a little preoccupied with a term paper, and I thought about how much I like paintings of women reading, so that's as good a theme as I am capable of.  Some of the searching for this was frankly depressing, and maybe one day when I have more time I will talk about how results for image searches using various terms and euphemisms for fat reveals deeply embedded prejudices in society, but today I need to write more about intangible heritage digitization projects, think hateful things about people who don't believe in global warming, and hope the power grid doesn't blow leaving me without air conditioning.  I live an exciting life.

Yeah, it's pretty much like this, or, exactly

Mary Cassatt -- Woman Reading in a Garden

Kuniyoshi -- Woman Reading 
Finally, the video that inspired the title, probably the best example of library marketing I have ever seen:

Does anyone else desperately want to know if the BYU library cafe* actually serves something called a celestial sandwich?

Update: After probably too much research I determined BYU library does not have a snack bar, but rather a "snack zone" where folks can bring their own. So: a) if you want a celestial sandwich you have to make it yourself and b) BYU gets all the potential damage to books and none of the over-priced, I don't know, hot chocolate revenue from a cafe.  Also no bad library puns.  At Pitt's main library we have the Cup and Chaucer, which is just ...terrible.

*Not that I approve of cafes in libraries. Won't someone please think of the books!?

A Few Quickies

I don't really have time for a proper post, but I ran across a few things that I felt might be of interest to my lovely readers

Thing 1:

Odd as Fish; Fierce as Hell

I ran across this dress and this quote on the same day and couldn't help feeling they belong together.  So here is my homage to Maggie Smith (or possibly just Professor McGonagall) and all eccentric old ladies.

 Thing 2:
"darkness calls, understanding beckons -- will you enter" on the Slacktiverse
This article talks quite eloquently about the use of the darker side of life, and how one can learn many things by not shying away from its harder path.  The article is written from a pagan perspective, which is not my particular spiritual bent, but I felt it to be potentially inspiring, especially to those of us who embrace the darker side of life, regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof.  It is also prettily written.
Excerpt: "Darkness, seen as Light’s opposite, thus equates with evil, as well as complexity, obfuscation, and incomprehensibility. I think there's more to the story. A large portion of the human brain is devoted to vision, which requires light. During daylight hours, we see what we focus on, which naturally seems to be what matters most. Come nighttime, we are at the mercy of what we smell, hear, feel, and taste (or what we don't perceive until it's too late). It's no wonder we tend to prefer conditions that play to our strengths. But darkness can teach us many things, including living with uncertainty, ambiguity, weakness, failure, and death. Darkness embraces all that we fear, including ourselves."

Recomended Reading: Fables

I love fairy tales.  As a child I spent many a summer day holed up in a study carrel in the back of the library with stacks of fairy tale books, generally favoring the color fairy books by Andrew Lang, which, collected in the late Victorian era, still simmered with the sex and violence of earlier versions, just below the surface.  As an adult I have developed a fondness for modern retellings of classic tales, and Fables is one of my favorites.  It is a comic, still ongoing, that tells the story of fairy tale characters, including Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Witch (named Frau Totenkinder), and Prince Charming, among others, who have been exiled from their homelands by an evil ruler known only as the Emperor to a large apartment building in New York.  In Fables they have to avoid the notice of the "mundanes" while plotting to re-take the Homelands.
As cheesy as that premise could have turned out, Fables is a masterful story that has appeal for hard core folklorists as well as casual fairy tale fans and even those whose main exposure to the stories has been through Disney (for instance, all Disney Princes Charming are one guy, a philandering playboy who married and divorced each of the princesses in order of the release of the Disney films).   The art is always amazing, especially the cover art, but even the interior artwork is nice.  The overall story-line is epic, sweeping, and magical, full of engaging, flawed, wonderful characters, magical happenings, and derring-dos.

I myself am a bit behind on the series.  I don't read a lot of comics but when I do I always wait for the trades to come out rather than collecting each issue, and I haven't read anything since the end of the first major story arc.
If you are not a comics reader for whatever reason I suggest reading 1001 Nights of Snowfall, a one-shot graphic novel that gives back story for the characters in Fables inside the frame of 1001 Arabian Nights (sort of).  It is good on its own, but I posit is so much better if you have read much of the rest of fables (I would say to book 8 minimum).  It's definitely my favorite single book.  The artwork is the best in the series and every story is wonderful.

Fatspiration Friday: Big Ballet

Big Ballet is a Russian* ballet company composed entirely of dancers weighing no less than 100 kilos.  The company's choreographer, Yevgeni Panfilov formed Big Ballet to prove that dancers can be excellent at any size, and challenging the increasingly more slender aesthetic in professional ballet.  Sadly, I find the taste of Big Ballet's costumer quite questionable, but what can you do.

As a bonus: Dawn French as the Vicar of Dibley dances badly

*I have seen a few blog posts and articles implying this company should not be taken seriously since it is obviously just some weird Russian thing.  Apparently the writers were unaware that ballet is, to put it very mildly, kind of a big deal in Russia.

OOTD: Day to Night if you are a nerd

Sunday I was seized by a demon urge to make a skirt, from this ridiculously creepy-cute fabric.  Possibly it had to do with all the work, not coming due too soon, I should have been doing, but mostly I had finished conceptualizing the skirt and once I have figured out how to do something I always have to do it.  I will be incapable of doing anything else, totally focused, until finished.  This is a trait that can be very helpful or very distracting, depending.  Anyway, I obviously had to wear this skirt to my stitch and bitch Wednesday night, but it's a bit much for work.  I have a pretty short period between getting home from work and leaving for the SnB, so I wanted something that would transition easily.
Stay on my head, mono!

I hope the details on the shirt (lace, pintucks, and the corset lacing which does not show up well in this photograph) keeps me from looking too much like a waitress at a fancy restaurant in this outfit, which is kind of the impression I get looking at pictures now.  Anyway, I paired the fancy blouse I wanted to wear with relatively simple black pants (one of my two pairs of pants, that have a tuxedo stripe of embossed velvet down the legs), eye makeup that was interesting enough to not be redone, but toned down lipstick.  I don't have any jewelry because I ran out of time getting dressed, but would have worn black pearls, single string.  I also wore plain black ballet flats.
To transition it: I added more interesting jewelry, exchanged the pants for black tights and the skirt, put on kitty-faced mary-janes, added burgundy lipstick, and grabbed my knitting bag.

Outfit details
Pants: Igigi, years ago and on clearance
Blouse: Milanoo
Tights + Necklace: Torrid
Earrings: handmade by a friend, Pike Brewing company bottle caps

OOTD: Dressing Down a Bustle Skirt

You would scarcely believe how difficult a time I had finding a basic black lolita skirt.  Most everything had a print, or was in some way ornate-ish and I was looking for a staple piece.  Retroscope Fashions has one I lust after but it doesn't quite come in my size.  Last week, however, the late lamented American indie shop In the Starlight reopened the very same moment as I received a huge paycheck due to bunches of overtime which I had already planned on spending partially on new clothes.
I received my order shockingly quickly given that it was custom-sized (and actually pretty quickly in any case), and of course immediately wanted to wear my new skirt.  We had a day of unseasonably cool weather that pretty much sealed the deal.  Since this was a workday I wanted to make the outfit a little more casual, and I think this is down-right know, in as much as an outfit with a ruffled bustle skirt can be sporty.
I dressed it down with a knit shirt, that is similar but definitely casual, and knee-socks, casual shoes, and more subdued jewlery.
I also wore my lighter petticoat, which I made a little while ago and is pretty lackluster in the poof department.  My mom also claims it looks like a "demonic tutu" but I think that is neither a bad thing nor relevant.
Yes, this is just here to amuse my mom

Outfit details:
Skirt: In The Starlight
In all my close up face pictures I am imagining being at
Afternoon tea seated next to Oscar Wilde, who is of course
saying something scandalous and entertaining.
Socks: Sock it To Me: Curvy
Shirt: I no longer have any idea, but probably not sold anymore anyway.
Shoes: T.U.K. through amazon
Earrings: Art of Adornment
Ring: Michael's Crafts
Necklaces: gift and community yard sale
A note: I do in fact regularly wear bloomers, when not wearing tights or leggings as they are marvelous practical for preventing chafing rashes.  Made out of light cotton they are not materially warming, but I think I will manufacture some flannel ones come fall.

In Which I Do a Meme

I have seen this little survey popping up in various places (the most recent one I read was at Glum Plum) and I thought it might be fun.  I also having nothing more exciting to feed the blog with at this time, or at least nothing I have time to write up.  As a side-note, as I approach the end of the summer term things will likely get a little light around here, and I may be commenting less (or much less) on the blogs of others.  You know, grad school.  Also on a related note, I am drafting a nerdy librarian tattoo to celebrate graduation (only 5 more months!) so if anyone knows any good tattooists in the Pittsburgh area drop a note in the comments.

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4 and write the sentence here: 
__________ (page 18 left blank, The Librarian's Guide to Partnerships)

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What’s there? Academic Spongebob Squarepants alarm clock

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV? We're counting hulu right, okay, The Daily Show

4. Without looking, guess what time it is: 2:30

5. Now look at the clock. What is the actual time? 3:07

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear? The slightly off-kilter air conditioning, an ambulance (I live across from a hospital, that's common)

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing? Finally sending off a wedding present and grocery shopping

8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at? Tumblr

9. What are you wearing? Towel, I just got out of the shower

10. Did you dream last night? Well technically we all dream every night, unless on some sort of psychoactive drug regimen, or else we go very psychologically off the rails very fast, but I don't remember and dreams in particular.

11. When did you last laugh? can't recall in particular

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in? Nothing.  I think my apartment is small and cluttered enough that leaving the wall-space that isn't covered by furniture, boxes, stacks of books, etc, empty opens the place up a bit.

13. Seen anything weird lately? Honey, I take public transportation in Pittsburgh, I have seen scores

14. What is the last film you saw? Alice in Wonderland (the new Tim Burton version).  I had for some reason not seen it until yesterday even though I love Tim Burton and love Alice in Wonderland (I have probably read both books at least a half dozen times).  I am always a bit weary of seeing favorite novels as movies.  I don't universally hate movie adaptation by a long shot, but after such horrors as Matilda I have been especially weary of childhood favorites.  This forever, was wonderful and I am resisting the urge to try and make Alice's dress from the Red Queen's Court.

15. If you became a
multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy? After paying off my student loans, oh bunches of ridiculous stuff, especially fancy hats and steel-boned corsets.

16. Tell me something about you that I don’t know. There are no school photos of me from first grade to middle school because I refused to smile as I found the photographers admonitions to smile "patronizing and insulting" (yes, that is what I told my mother exactly).

17. If you could change one thing about the world, what would you change? Personally, I think at least a few times in everyone's life, say times of great emotion, people around them, and themselves should break out into a perfectly choreographed musical number which captures their feelings.  It could be more of a retro-pastiche and not a break-away pop hit, that's not the important part.  I think it would dramatically increase global empathy and also be a lot of fun.

18. Do you like to dance? Oh yes, certainly.

19. What do you think of the president? My feelings are ... complicated.

20. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her? I plan on being a crazy-cat lady.  My next girl cat will be Miss Kitty Fantastico.

21. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him? Next boy cat: the Marquis de Carabas 

22. Would you ever consider living abroad? I have lived abroad twice before and would happily do so again.

23. What do you want to say to God when you reach the pearly gates? Nice Gates (you should always try and open a relationship with a compliment).

Category: 3 comments

OOTD: Girl vs. Summer

I hate summer.  There I said it.  I hate pretty much everything about summer: the heat, the humidity, the sun (my mortal enemy) being out a disproportional amount of the day, the sunbathers and how they trigger these profound school-marmish tendencies that makes me want to scold them for not using sunscreen and say things like "oh sure a tan may look cute now but wait until you're a wizened old hag at 40".   I just want Fall to came already so I can wear a cardigan and walk home in the still of twilight and occasionally wake up to find a dew-covered spiderweb outside my window (prettiest thing in nature).  I knew I had hit the apex of my summer hatred (so I really will get less whiny from here on out) the other day when I cast-on a heavy woolen cape.  Much like my pagan ancestors lit candles against the darkness of mid-winter as a reminder that summer would come, I knit woolens as a reminder that summer will end and actually it gets quite cold here.

However, as much as I hate summer, I do occasionally manage to please myself with an appropriately summery outfit that almost seems to make this whole nasty business seem worth something.  This skirt is made of light cotton and is long enough to skip tights or socks but still breezy. The belt thing is honestly kind of a pain to keep straight and not wonky looking, but has sparkly spiderwebs (like the real kind with dew!), organza ribbon, and corset-lacing and I am a total sucker for that sort of thing.  I also have my parrot ring, which I swear only fits the middle finger, but that kind of suits my attitude towards this whole summer business.

Cami, Skirt, and Ring: Torrid
Watch pendant: Random etsy shop
Belt: Creations by Angelina
Parasol: Greatlookz through Amazon

Review: Geek Chic Cosmetics

I was going to put up this review later after I had used their products more, but then discovered they are having a sale and can't determine for how long so it became urgent.
Too often is the geek girl's life is fraught with choices between geeky things and girly things.  So many nerdy shirts have terrible, unflattering cuts (although here things are starting to improve with Think Geek's generous selection of more lady-cut shirts), game designers consistently ignore the desires of female gamers in a misguided effort to fully strip mine that 16-30 male demographic, and lets face it going to cons too often involves getting stared at by poorly-socialized mouth-breathers.  Then lo, did Geek Chic Cosmetics arrive to offer high quality makeup in full technicolor at a reasonable price and filled with geeky in-jokes, and the peasants rejoiced.

  After discovering they exist I immediately bought a sample pack.  You can sample any powdered product for 1$ a sample with 2$ flat shipping.  They also have a generous policy of giving samples to bloggers, but of course I only discovered that after the fact.  I sampled a foundation, blush, and several eye shadows.

Foundation (shade: Codex): In terms of formula this is a great foundation.  It goes on beautifully, has even coverage, is perfectly matte (something that is sooooo hard to find), and lasted all day without caking up or settling into pores (and this summer remember).  In short, I wanted so badly to like it (also because it is called Codex, I love both Codex and codices), but this shade is pink.  I had to cover it with redness-correcting powder (Alima Pistachio) to make it work.  For the other products I found the pictures on the website to be more or less good representation, but for the foundation get some samples and and play with them before ordering a full size.

Blush (shade: strawberry shortcake): This is just good blush.  I generally speaking don't wear blush because I think of blush as makeup meant to serve a purpose, not colors for fun (but that's just me) and few shades on the planet don't make someone whose normal foundation shade is called Breeze (no lie) look clown-ish.  This also means I have declared a fatwa against shimmer-y blush (I am still at an age where "dewy" finishes just look oily) and it is a grave mystery to me why matte blush is so hard to find.  This shade is matte and extremely doll-like in a not too zomg-blush like fashion.  It's a little dark on me but ya know.  I will probably buy it when (and if) I ever run out of my current pale matte blush.
Codex foundation (with green correcting powder over)
Strawberry Shortcake Blush
Eyeshadows: Very Fine Hat and Blood Bond

Eyeshadow: Overall these were fantastic.  They are highly pigmented, finely milled, go on easily, and can be used wet and dry for interesting effects.  The colors are rich and multi-faceted and, with one exception, looked exactly like the website pictures irl.  I can't honestly speak to wear because I use Urban Decay primer potion and honestly 99cent eyeshadow lasts all day without bleeding over that stuff.  As is appropriate for geeks, the shadows are organized by fandom.  I got mine from the Firefly and Zelda collections, as well as one from the Fang Banger quartet (blood bond, seen above, actually much redder in real life)

Big Damn Heroes: Ambassador is a gold-flecked plum that is (appropriately) rich and beautiful.  Inevitable Betrayal is the prefect shade of toy dinosaur green, something I didn't even realize was a recognizable color until I got this eyeshadow, but it totally is.  Very Fine Hat may just be the ultimate steampunk eyeliner shade, a smoky, smoldering charcoal with flecks of burnished gold.
Ambassador and Inevitable Betrayal

Hyrule: Twilight Princess is described as a gunmetal forest green and it totally isn't, but it is beautiful.  I would describe it as an iridescent coal black mixed with confederate blue, very steely and smoky, but definitely blue, not green.  Desert Chic is a fantastic matte brick red, sort of sultry and deep.
Twilight Princess on the top and bottom line and Desert Chic

Fatspiration Friday: Lesiure Edition

I was reading on one of my blogs (but now, of course, I can't find it) about all the rules we fat ladies are supposed to studiously observe while getting dressed in the morning.  You know: don't wear horizontal stripes, don't wear prints that are "too large" or "too small" (by occult definitions of these terms understood only by lady mags), don't wear bright colors, and for god sakes put on some Spanx!  The horrifying punishment for violation of these rules is that someone might notice you are fat!  ZOMG! because otherwise they totally wouldn't!  As a fat lady it is (supposedly) your duty to work hard to take as little visual real estate as humanly possible least you offend the innocent passerby with your fatitude. Don't get me wrong, if you like dressing according to any or all of these rules, have fun (but are you really super sure about the Spanx, because come on how much do you need to feel like a sausage?).  Just so long as we are all clear that these are not really rules, no one is going to shoot you for breaking them, and you can absolutely be fabulous and beautiful without them, and in any case you are under no obligation to please anyone, ever, by how you look.  The great grand-daddy rule (as the mythical blog post which I can not find points out), and one that leaves you most out of current trends, is no oversize or loose clothing ever, so I today is dedicated to fat ladies in loose clothes.
Lady with a Lute, Bartomelo Veneto, 1500s

La Liseuse, Jean-Francois de Troy 1700s
Merchant's Wife, Boris Kustodiev, 1918
Liselotte, Pierre Mignard, 1675
The Merchant's wife is my favorite because I can't look at it without thinking "now there's someone who knows how to live".  She has her cat, a fabulous breakfast spread, tea, and a silk dressing gown.  That's winning at life.

As a special bonus this week (sorry again non-US readers): we have my favorite female character on Television, identifying everything wrong in the world: