Thursday, April 28, 2011

Getting a Friend to Join the Fashion

I wrote about the sad occurrence of when a friend leaves the fashion like a week ago, so I wanted to write about when a friend wants in. I've introduced a few people to the fashion, some of which I regret, but most that I don't. It's kind of cool to help your friend pick out clothes, learn about styles, and all that good stuff.

1. Send them to blogs, picture sites (daily lolita, GLB scans, brand shops, etc.), the EGL livejournal, or what have you.
Information is best. Like for example, right now I'm trying to learn more about fairy kei and decora to make a sort of hybrid style for a doll of mine. But, I can't find any really excellent fairy kei sites (if you know of any, link 'em in the comments section). There are a plethora of lolita sites out there in practically every language you could possibly need. Information on this style is easily available, you just have to find really good info written by experienced lolitas.

2. Help them pick out some pieces!
More often than not, an experienced lolita can guide their friend to purchasing something that looks good, is a quality product, and fits their general aesthetic. If left to their own devices, newbies to the style often make some unfortunate choices with their money (I know I did!). So be honest (but not mean) and make suggestions based on your friend's preferences. Tell them about Fan + Friend, Taobao shops, and Bodyline (all great options). Also tell them about second hand options, such as the egl community sales and Closet Child. If they'll be making their own, go with them to the fabric store, tell them about Sew_Loli, and encourage them along the way.

3. Take them to a meet-up
Introduce them to your other lolita friends. Let them get a feel for the group. I always enjoy seeing new faces at meet-ups. They can learn a lot about the style by actually seeing people wear it in real life. If they're making their own pieces, they can get an idea of styles, shapes, prints, colors, and even take measurements (if your friends are willing).

So there's the quick and dirty rundown about getting a friend into the fashion. Don't drag them in kicking and screaming, but if they have a genuine interest, then help them get started! It's always fun to bring someone new to a meet-up! Good luck!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Coordinate Tuesday: Tea Time

Hi hi hello! It's Tuesday! I made this coordinate weeks ago, but I've been saving it for a rainy day. And there have been thunderstorms here, so why wait anymore?

This print! It's bright and graphic and just wonderful! As far as I've seen, this wasn't an extremely popular dress. I don't know why though! It's adorable! I went with a bolero to pull out the red, instead of a white blouse. This makes the coordinate pop more, and a little more unique. Light blue tights, eh. They work, they look good, they're not irreplaceable in my opinion. You could switch those out for something else and it'd be fine. The red shoes! I love red shoes! I have two pairs. These ones are from Bodyline, I love all the bows. This is the first coordinate I've ever made that uses a wig. I actually really like it! It adds something to the coordinate that you can't get from any other item. While this hair bow is AP, you could make your own very easily, and add your own personal stamp to it. The bowling bag is sort of huge, but imagine how much stuff you'd be able to fit in it.

Sort of a short post today, but I'm just really not feeling well right now. Hopefully, I'll shake this by Thursday and have a really good post. Until then!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Carrot Cake and Happy Easter!

I've become addicted to baking on the weekends for Saturday posts. I'm going to have to make themes around baking for each month if I'm going to keep it up. Anyhow, I made a carrot cake yesterday for today's Easter festivities, then my mom turned it into a bunny! It's really cute! Last weekend I took too many pictures and didn't end up using half of them. So this time, I took fewer of them. This recipe is again a Paula Deen one, and it couldn't be easier!

Butter for pans (this works better than a butter spray, like Pam)
2 cups flour, plus more for pans (flouring your pans makes the cakes come out easily)
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups grated carrots (about 1lb of big carrots, peeled)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (if you don't like nuts, feel free to take them out)

First start by pre-heating your oven to 350 F (175 C). Now, take some parchment paper and line the bottoms of three 9in round pans. To do this, just trace the bottom of the pan onto the parchment paper and cut it out. I don't have three pans that size, I only have two. So I made cupcakes with the extra batter. Use the butter to grease the sides of the pan (anything not covered by parchment paper) and then flour them. The flour will stick to the places with butter and it won't stick anywhere else. To flour a pan, put some flour in the pan and sort of shake it around and tap the bottom to coat the sides in flour. Now, if you have a big standing mixer, use that to make the batter. If you don't, a hand mixer (one that plugs in with the egg beater things on the ends) will work. You could do it by hand, but if you have an electric mixer, save yourself the trouble of stirring by hand. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add the eggs and oil and mix it all up. Now, add in the carrots. I used a food processor with a grater attachment to grate my carrots. If you don't have one, use a cheese grater. Matchstick carrots from a bag won't really work for this, sorry! Mix in the carrots, and if you're adding the nuts in, mix those in too. Now, your batter is all done!

Pour the batter into your buttered, floured, and parchment paper lined pans. Again, I didn't have three, so I made two big rounds and six cupcakes. Put them in the oven for 40 minutes. If you're making cupcakes like I did, check them after 20 minutes! In general, you want to
check your cakes about half way and 3/4 of the way through the recommended baking time. Every oven is different. Mine baked the cupcakes in 20 minutes and the big ones were done in 30. Your's might be different. So check them! When they're done, take them out of the oven and let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then you want to pop the cakes out of the pans and let them cool completely on a wire cooling rack. While they cool, make the icing! Cream cheese icing is classic with carrot cake. I can't imagine having it any other way.

2 (two) 8-oz packages cream cheese (don't get the ones in a plastic tub!) at room temp.
1 stick salted butter, at room temp.
1 (one) 16-oz package powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans (again, you can leave them out if you don't like them. I chose to omit them and use them as a garnish)

Put everything into a big bowl and mix it up. It's a super easy icing! Powdered sugar flies
everywhere, so a tall bowl is best. If you're adding nuts into the icing, add those in and use a rubber scraper to stir them in. If you want to dye some icing to make some carrots on the top of your cake, you can separate out portions of the icing and use food coloring or colored sugar to dye it. I didn't do this because my cake turned into a bunny. If you are going to dye some, don't add the nuts in, it's not going to work well with them in. Ice the cakes once they'recompletely cool. You start on one cake and put some icing on the top. Spread it around and then start stacking. Each layer should have some icing in between. Once all three cakes are stacked, go ahead and ice the sides and top. Take your time and have fun! I made those little cupcakes, then I cut the curved top off and stacked them to make an extra tall mini-cake! I topped mine with the chopped pecans, it looks fancy this way.

I didn't get a chance to make the tea for this one, but I grabbed some Dragonwell green tea to go with this. Dragonwell comes from the Zhejiang province of China and is processed by hand! It has a lightly sweet flavor with a little nuttiness. It complements the light nut flavor of the carrot and pecans in the cake, while breaking up the sweetness of the cream cheese icing. And since it's a green tea, it's super good for you, with all those antioxidants and detoxifying properties. Green teas have been shown to actually mop up the free radicals floating around in your body, which helps prevent cancer.

The coordinate for this one is kind of quirky and cool looking. I went with a more classic theme overall, but with some vintage elements.
This gorgeous dress is a Mary Magdalene one. It has a ton of fine details, yet from far away it reads as a simple piece. I went with cream as the base color, as it's much easier and common in Lolita fashion than orange is. I used orange as a secondary color with the tights, the laces of the shoes, the cardigan, and bits of the jewelry. The vintage bag echoes the vintage feeling of the granny boots. I used bunny jewelry for an Easter theme, but you could use whatever you'd like. A simple crocheted flower in your hair is a perfect spring accessory.

I'm really loving this post, and I can't wait to go eat my bunny cake later. I'm also looking forward to next saturday, the last one of the month has to be super duper special. Submit your tea and/or cake themed coordinates for this week's coordinate tuesday and see them featured here!! Email them to me at! If you've got a question for me, ask me on my Formspring and I'll answer it! Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

When a Friend Leaves Lolita

It's always sad for me when a good friend leaves lolita. Since I don't usually see my lolita friends outside of meet-ups, this is an indefinite good-bye for me. I've seen many friends come and go, all of them have been excellent people and excellent lolitas. Even though it's a sad thing to see comrades leave the fashion, there isn't much that can be done. You can't beg them to stay, you can't cry about it, and you can't be mad at them for leaving. All you can do is say that you'll miss seeing them and wish them well. Sometimes, your friend will come back to the fashion. Often, this isn't the case. There are a few things to avoid though when confronted with this situation.

1. "Don't beat a dead horse"
Your friend is leaving. This is a very personal and often difficult decision. While it is appropriate to say that you'll miss them and that you're sad to see them go, one or two comments to this effect at most is alright. More than that, and you start to sound like you're begging them to stay. I know it's terribly sad, but try to keep it to yourself.

2. Don't immediately ask them what they're selling/if you can buy their wardrobe
If you're really close (read: related) then that's okay, but otherwise, wait until they post a sales thread on the egl_comm_sales. I think it's okay if you purchase things from your friend, just don't rush them to sell off their stuff. I know that even when I sell something that I've never worn, I feel a little sad about it. Imagine how you'd feel about selling your whole wardrobe. Even if they've simply fallen out of love with the style, those pieces contain memories.

3. Ask them why they are leaving, but don't try to convince them to stay
This goes back to the first point. If your friend is leaving, it's perfectly fine to ask them why. It can be a tough choice to leave, and part of being a good friend is listening to what they have to say. People leave the style for a myriad of reasons. Maybe it's something little that can be fixed, such as a misunderstanding. Many times it's simply that they've lost interest in the style. If they're leaving it for a different style, then ask them about the new one (especially if you don't have any idea as to what they're talking about).

4. Stay in touch
If you have a cool community, they may be willing to accept all sorts of J-fashions at their meet ups. So if your friend switched styles, they may still be able to participate in meet ups. If they're not switching styles or your group doesn't let other styles in or what have you (I hope that made sense), then by all means, stay in touch! Exchange phone numbers, have lunch sometime, email, chat online, whatever you'd like. Just because you don't have lolita fashion in common anymore doesn't mean you can't be friends.

I hope this never happens to any of you. But if it does, try not to think of it as the end of the world. Life will go on. People come and go, it's a part of life. I've had friends move away, leave the fashion, and simply stop coming to meet-ups and posting to our community. It's sad and you miss them, but life goes on. New people join up and you can make new friends. I hope this has made sense and helped out with this tricky situation.

As some (hopefully most) of you have noticed, there's a new poll feature up at the top of the page. This is very important! Please vote in it! I have some ideas for new content, and I want to gauge interest in certain things. So you have a little over a month to vote. I can't really offer you anything for voting. All I can say is that by voting, you're helping me come up with new content.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Coordinate Tuesday: Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet cake seemed to be the most glaringly obvious cake to choose to make a coordinate from. If you follow my polyvore account, you will see that I published this coordinate on Sunday. In fact, I wrote this article on Sunday also. This week, as I have mentioned before, is the most busy school week of the entire year (until this corresponding week comes up next fall). However, I have time right now to write up a post, so I have written and scheduled this to post. Cool, huh?

Anyhow, red velvet cake seemed like a natural fit to a lolita coordinate. I chose a red velvet dress for a literal interpretation on the title. However, this cake is actually chocolate flavored. So I chose to use brown as the secondary color. The red x brown color combo is odd at the least. I've never seen that done, not even in theory.

It came out quite nicely actually. The red dress is beautiful and it comes in green and black. It's a velvet-type fabric, which would make it quite heavy I imagine. I chose to make this a classical-type coordinate, since the red velvet cake is a classic cake. I chose a fairly simple Angelic Pretty blouse to go with this. It has a sweeter peter pan style collar, but it's not overly sweet. The head bow doesn't add too much to the coordinate in my opinion. You could use a different hair accessory or even make your own. I chose the Innocent World bag because it reminds me of a chocolate roll cake, no other reason. It's a cool shape that you don't see a whole lot in lolita bags. Simple red shoes to match the dress, and brown tights oppose the red dress. It's simple, but I like my Lolita coordinates that way.

Wasn't last week more fun when we had a reader submission? It was so exciting and new! You should totally submit a coordinate for next Tuesday and I'll put it up here next week! Send it to me at along with your name and anything you'd like me to put up along with it, like a blog or tumbler. I hope that lots of people submit coordinates!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chocolate Paradise

I had such a positive response to last week's strawberry shortcake article that I decided to try it again. I wanted to make molten chocolate cakes with peppermint ice cream, but that seemed hard and school is taking up a lot of my time right now with finals and all. My dad requested that I make these little cakes after seeing them on TV. If you watch the Food Network a lot like I do, you might see the commercial with this recipe on it. This is an Ina Garten one, one of my favorite chefs on there.
1/4 lb unsalted butter at room temp. (one stick, I left mine out overnight)
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs at room temp. (I left these out too)
16 fluid oz Hershey's Chocolate Syrup (it comes in cans, one can works)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon instant coffee

For the Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee

This is a cupcake recipe. I don't like to make cupcakes because they're messy and it's hard to aim the batter at the little cups. I didn't do too terribly this time, but I certainly prefer full-size cakes. Preheat your oven to 325 F (160 C) and line your muffin pan with the little paper cups for making cupcakes and muffins. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it gets light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each one. It sort of turns this yellow-ey color when you add the eggs in. Like a custard. Anyhow, now it's time for the chocolate! If you bought the 16 oz can like I did, you pour all of it in. If you didn't, then you'll have to measure it out with a liquid measuring cup. Using syrup instead of powder makes the cakes more moist. Adding Hershey's syrup to box brownies has the same effect. Mix in the chocolate and add the instant coffee. Now, you add the flour. Just like last week, don't mix the flour too much, or the cakes will be tough. Just mix it until it combines and turns a light brown color. Yum! Your batter is finished. But don't lick the spoon! There are raw eggs in there, so unless you used pasteurized ones, you could get sick. Now, you pour the batter
into the cups. Don't over-fill them, but about 3/4 of the way works well. Then put them in the oven for half an hour. Mine only took 25 minutes, so makesure you check them after a little while. To check if they're done, stick a clean toothpick or butter knife (or even a chopstick) into the center of the cakes. If it comes out clean, they are baked through. If not, put them back in for a few minutes until the stick does come out clean. Don't they look tasty?

While your cakes are baking, you can go ahead and make the ganache. It sounds fancy and hard to make, but it couldn't be easier. Grab yourself a double boiler and put some water in the bottom. In the top part, put the chocolate (8 oz, by weight!), the heavy cream, and the instant coffee. As the water below heats up, the pot on top will too, melting the chocolate. Stir this occasionally. It sort of looks like a chocolate hurricane here. The light part on the outside is the cream that has already mixed with some chocolate, while the dark part in the middle is pure melted chocolate. Stir it a little and it will all come together. This recipe made so much ganache! Enough for two batches of cupcakes at least. Don't put it in the fridge though, it will not end well. As long as it stays at room temperature, it's fine. This stuff is great on ice cream, in crepes, or on fruit. I don't think you could use it to make chocolate covered strawberries, since those set up in the fridge. But you could make chocolate fondue with it, as long as everything is going straight into your tummy~

Once your cakes are out of the oven, let them cool for about half an hour before dipping them. Since this is ganache and not icing, to coat the tops of the cakes, you should take the cake by the bottom (wrapper covered part) and just dip the tops straight into the ganache. Don't be stingy, make sure the tops get completely coated. Now, you can eat them! I paired them with Moroccan Mint tea. The mint tea is refreshing, and it's crisp taste balances the chewy chocolate cake. Of course, milk is also a viable option. I garnished these with a mint sprig, but there's no reason to other than to make them look a little prettier. The recipe made 16 full-size cupcakes.

The coordinate I made to go with this uses one of my favorite prints, Melty Chocolate.
I used the mint colorway to match with the mint tea. I went with the cardigan instead of a blouse. I wanted a sweet look, and all of the brown blouses I found were classic. I chose mint stockings instead of brown ones so I could use brown shoes. Brown shoes are easier to come by than mint ones. A brown bag to match the shoes, and then you can add your choice of jewelry. I found a myriad of chocolate and sweet-themed jewelry, you could go a completely different direction with this if you wanted. I want this dress in this colorway. It's sweet, but you could coordinate this with some classic pieces for a more classical look.

I'm planning to do this type of post again next week if I can. This week and next week are my finals weeks, and so I have a lot of school work due. If you have any questions for me, please let me know on my formspring.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Confessions of a Kuro Lolita

I'm a kuro lolita. While I appreciate, collect, and wear other styles, I keep coming back to my first love, kuro style. What is kuro style exactly? It's all black style. The word "kuro" in Japanese means "black," hence, all black coordinate. Kuro style seems boring to many people, but for me, I love the simplicity. I have three black dresses (but I'm planning to sell one) and a black skirt I got while I was in Japan. I'm always looking for more black pieces to add to my wardrobe. When I tell people that I'm a kuro lolita, I get a similar response almost every time, "but isn't that boring?" I don't think so though. In fact, I think it can be harder to create an interesting Kuro coordinate than a more straightforward style.

Kuro (and it's sister style, shiro) can be coordinated in so many ways! You can have classic, sweet (bittersweet in the case of kuro), or gothic based coordinates, but they all can be made as a kuro coordinate, if that made any sense. What I'm trying to say is that if you tend towards a certain major style (gothic, sweet, classic), then you can still stay true to your style choice while still making a kuro coordinate. My kuro stuff is more on the bittersweet side of things. It can be tricky to create a nice kuro coordinate, the more pieces you use, the trickier it becomes. I have a few tips for making your own kuro coordinates (and as far as I know, these tips can apply to shiro style also).

1. Choosing pieces
I'm a big fan of jumper skirts for kuro especially. However, you can use whatever pieces you like to make a kuro coordinate. When choosing pieces for really any coordinate, you want to look at the details of the pieces. This goes double for kuro and shiro. For example, if you have a detailed skirt (lots of lace/trimmings/a bustle or something else) then you want to go for a simpler blouse. You do NOT want a detailed blouse with a very simple skirt. That makes the coordinate look top heavy. If you have a simple skirt, then choose a simple top to go with it. A casual style works very nicely for this.

2. Keep true to your style
If you're an OTT sweet lolita and you're looking at Kuro style, that's totally fine! Just because you prefer pastels or prints doesn't mean that you can't experiment in kuro or you can't wear it at all. It would be pretty awesome to see an OTT kuro coordinate. By combining the poof, sweet elements, and decora-inspired elements from sweet styles with the all black requirement of kuro, you can get a look that isn't seen at all.

3. Don't feel like you have to have black hair/makeup
Yes it is Kuro lolita. Yes you wear all black clothing and accessories. No, you do not have to have black hair and make up. I don't own any wigs, and I do my makeup pretty much the same everyday. Of course you can wear black makeup and have black hair with kuro lolita, I'm just saying it's not a requirement.

4. Prints...
This is something kind of weird, and I hope you get what I'm saying. Prints are okay, as long as they remain true to the black on black color scheme. You can have a black print on black fabric. Of course, it's probably not going to be a complicated print with lots of little details. But I just bought a dress with a polka dot print, and it is black on black. So it can work, but the print is going to most likely be simple.

Here are some examples of Kuro lolita dresses. I'm going to talk just a bit about each one.

This is an example of a sweet-kuro dress. This is actually the dress I just got! It has a light dot print and lots of gathers and bows. This makes for an interesting piece that is definitively sweet. This dress actually comes in a bunch of other colors too, including white (for a cute shiro lolita coordinate!). The OP style makes this an easy dress to coordinate. Sweeter shoes would work nicely with this, as well as either socks or tights. Since it is an OP, you don't have to worry about a blouse or any other pieces really clashing with the dress, making it a good choice for newcomers to the fashion. You also wouldn't have to purchase a blouse, which means less money spent on a fabulous Kuro coordinate.

Ack! I just said that you don't really see complicated prints that are black on black. This Innocent World dress is a great piece for a classic-kuro coordinate. The chandelier print makes it super classic. It is a JSK, meaning you would need a blouse or a cardigan or bolero over it. However, if you choose a simple blouse without puff sleeves or a wide collar to go underneath this, the dress will speak for itself, making a streamlined, classical coordinate. This dress is beautiful, and the print looks like it has a bit of a different texture than the rest of the dress has. The simple bodice should be flattering on a number of different body shapes. It was made in 2007, so good luck finding this dress for sale if you're as in love with it as I am.

Moi Meme Moitie is often called the definitive gothic brand. I have to say, I'm not extremely familiar with the brand itself. But this dress is a great example of a kuro dress that can work in a more gothic coordinate, or even in a sweeter one. It seems to have that same type of print texture as the IW one does, but it's not clear to me what this print actually is. This is also a jumper skirt, meaning you do need a blouse. One with a high collar would really drive the gothic-ness home. Lots of gothic jewelry would complete the look also. If you wanted to go sweeter with this dress, a blouse with more frills, possibly bell sleeves would do the trick. So this dress is quite versatile it would seem. I could see this going well in any of the three major styles, but it really fits in well with gothic the best.

So you see, Kuro lolita is most definitely not boring. It can be interesting and fun if you make it like that. Are you going to try out some kuro styles now? If you do, post a picture here and I'd be thrilled! Especially if you try out the OTT Sweet-Kuro that I was talking about up there. Of course, don't feel like you have to post a picture or anything at all! Trying new styles out is fun, I hope you try this one out sometime!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Coordinate Tuesday: First Reader Submission!

Oh how excited I have been to post this! I'm so thrilled to have gotten a reader submission for this week's coordinate Tuesday (I have got to think of a better name for this). This submission came from Manda over at Manda Please. She makes so many lovely coordinates for her own blog, so it was really awesome of her to make three for mine too!

It's so colorful! That's how sweets should be, right? She used three different Angelic Pretty prints here: Holy Night Story, French Cafe, and Merry Making Party. Good choices! They're all really bright and colorful, and all three feature different sweets and tea! Here's her description of these coordinates:

I imagine the one in the middle doing the most actual baking and the one to the right being the most enthusiastic (and maybe even setting up the meet up) but not really doing anything that productive ^^" I think the left most would be the "photographer" of the event and take pictures of everyone and everything.

Do you love these coordinates as much as I do? They're so colorful and definitely sweet. Please please submit your coordinates and see them here! If you'd like to, check out Manda's Tumbler for more cool stuff, some lolita related, lots of K-pop stuff, and all sorts of other things!

My coordinate for this week also uses an Angelic Pretty print, this time it's Wonder Cookie. This is one of my favorite prints by them. Usually, I'm not a huge fan of AP prints, but these ones with bold picture-type prints are quite nice actually. I went with a pastel color theme on this for a bit of a different look than Manda's coordinates.
I'm on the fence about actually buying this print. I really like it, but it would not fit in my wardrobe at all. I think I'm going to look into getting Fantastic Dolly instead (if I go for any AP prints at all). Anyhow, this is a more casual look. The cutsew is from Taobao, but it could be made at home by a more talented seamstress than me. A simple bow, it could be made with charms or a printed fabric to jazz it up a little. The bag is one of those reusable shopping bags, but with a waterproof coating and fabric lining on the inside. The deco-type cake ring is adorable! I wish I knew how to make something like this! The cupcake charm bracelet is from the collage for this month. The tea pot necklace could be replaced with something else, but I personally love tea pots (the tiny ones are cute!). The shoes and tights aren't anything special and would go well in other outfits too.

I'm going to try super hard to keep up with posting. I have all sorts of finals and deadlines coming up this week and next week, so I've been quite busy. I'm also considering doing some meet-up reviews in the future. The Tekkoshocon con report is on its way. I haven't actually finished unpacking from the con, but I'm working on it, so look for that soon! If you have any questions or suggestions for articles for me to write up, let me know on my formspring. I've been getting some weird stuff on there lately, but if your question is appropriate (PG 13-ish I guess) then I'd be happy to answer it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Strawberry Season!

I wanted to do something really good to make up for missing a week and a half of posting here. I was also informed that strawberries were on sale down at the local grocery story. Then, something clicked in my head. I present to you, the Strawberry Shortcake baking and coordinate matching special post! Strawberries are a very popular motif in Lolita fashion. They pop up in prints, accessories, purses, and even in headpieces. They're super tasty all by themselves, but put them with cake and you get something even more special. Strawberry shortcake is easy and quick to make, it's very popular in the summertime. Around 4th of July (American Independence Day), I make it and add blueberries to make them a little more festive. I made some individual serving size ones this afternoon andI'd like to share the process with you all!

1 Quart Strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups AP flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
2/3 cup + a little extra half and half
Sweetened whipped cream (I like Redi Whip, or I make my own)

The recipe I used is from Paula Deen. I'm not a huge Paula fan, but with desserts, I trust her. The recipe is really simple, I only had to buy the half and half and the strawberries. I bought two pounds of strawberries, and I used them all up. Some of them were small and normal sized, but some were these ginormous strawberries the likes of which I've never seen! Both sizes were tasty though.

Anyhow, you have to pull the leaves off the strawberries and wash them. Then, you cut the top off a little and hull them. This means you take the tip of the knife and you cut around the white part in
the middle of the strawberry. Then it sort of pops out, leaving just a little white and all the red. Then you quarter them (or cut them more if they're huge ones, I cut my huge ones into six or even nine). Once you have a quart of them (that's four cups), then you pour the 1/4 cup of sugar over them and mix 'em up! Set these aside and let them get all tasty while you make the cakes.

Now, take your food processor and combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Use the pulse setting to combine these. I spent half an hour trying to make my food processor work. Hopefully, you know how to use this machine and you don't cut yourself on the blade! After you combine the flour mixture, then you want to add the cubes of butter, one or
two at a time, then pulse to combine. Once they're all in, pour the mixture out into a large mixing bowl. Add 2/3 cup of half and half and mix it all up. You can mix it with a rubber spatula, or you can go the hand route. I mixed it up by hand. You have to be careful to only mix it just enough to make it combine. If you mix the dough too much, then the biscuits will betough. Once it's just combined and sticky, then get yourself a floured surface (hint:wooden cutting boards are really nice for this) and turn the dough out onto it.

Now you have your dough. Fold it over on itself a few times so that all the crumbly bits combine into it. Be careful to not squish it too much, it will still get tough if you kneed it too much. Sort of push it together into a 3/4 inch thick slab o' dough. Now, you take a round cookie cutter and cut out 3 inch round biscuits. They
don't have to be 3 inches, but they should probably be round and not too small. I got six biscuits out of my dough.

Place the rounds on a cookie sheet with parchment paper covering it. Using a pastry brush, brush each biscuit with some of the remaining half and half, and sprinkle each with sugar. This will make them golden brown on top, and add a little sweetness too! Put them in a 400 degree fahrenheit oven (that's 205 Celsius) for between 10 and 13 minutes. Mine took 11 minutes exactly. Watch them towards the end, especially if your oven is finicky or new. They'll be done when they have risen and are golden brown on the top. Take them out and let them cool a little bit before digging in.

I waited a good five minutes before making my shortcake. You cut the biscuit in half and fill it with the strawberries, juice in the strawberry bowl, and plenty of whipped cream. Put the other half back on top and ta da! Strawberry shortcake! I paired this dessert with Darjeeling tea. From the name, to the taste, Darjeeling tea is pure elegance. It comes from the Darjeeling region of India, grown in the mountains and harvested, processed, and packaged close to the growing site. It is known as the "Champagne of teas," and is prized in England for its light and
floral flavor. Darjeeling is a good choice to pair with sweets, and is often served at fancy English tea parties. It pairs especially well with strawberries, making it the ideal choice to go with this strawberry shortcake. I add a little sugar and sometimes a little milk to mine. Many people don't like milk in their tea, but I do! Point of interest: do not add both milk and lemon to your tea. I have a friend who did this, and the citric acid from the lemon curdled the milk, making the whole cup undrinkable.

The coordinate I made to go with the dessert is called "Strawberry Time." The phrase "strawberry time" actually refers to the time in which two lovers confess their feelings to each other and become a couple. Here, I used it to refer to it being strawberry season, literally time for strawberries.
I went a little country on this, with this really cute straw hat-hairband hybrid thing. The dress has a strawberry and cherry print and is a 2010 release from BABY the Stars Shine Bright. Simple strawberry jewelry and a strawberry bag from Bodyline completes the shortcake theme. This would be a great coordinate to have right now. The long sleeve blouse is good for this 50 or 60 degree weather that we've been having recently. It's not too thick, but the long sleeves will keep you warm. In the warmer months, the long blouse could be switched out for a short sleeve one. You could also wear a cardigan or bolero over a short sleeve blouse now, since during the day is a little warmer and then the evening comes, the sun sets, and it gets cold.

Did you enjoy this super special dessert coordinate double post as much as I did? I have five more strawberry shortcakes here, I think I'll go eat one now. I'm looking forward to coordinate tuesday this week, as I have a reader submission! I'm so so excited to have my very first reader submission to put up this week! If you want to make a coordinate for this Tuesday, it's not too late! Email it to me: and I'll put it up here!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April Theme: Teas and Cakes

It's just starting to feel like spring now, and with that comes picnics, flowers, and fewer layers. I wanted a theme that felt lighter and more country styled than previous ones. The collage this month is sort of weak in my opinion, but every piece is chosen for a reason.

I'll start by explaining my dress choices. The dress on the top left is a risky choice. I like it, but I hate that giant satin bow on the chest. This dress is supposed to represent Lemon Chiffon cake, it uses chiffon fabric and a light, lemon-ey color. The deep red dress is for Red Velvet cake. I'm not a fan of red cake myself, but a lot of people really like it, and it's fun to make. It looks sort of blood when it's still batter. The two dresses on the top are from Angelic Pretty. While they don't have a specific cake that they each represent, they fit the general tea theme. Everything else on there is either a bag, hat, or accessory. Cake print bags, tea cup jewelry, and a Hello Kitty wallet with donuts. Everything is light and sweet on here, making for a fun month for coordinates.

I got a question on my Formspring yesterday about submitting coordinates to this blog. Yes, please submit your coordinates! They ideally should follow the theme that I have going on, but if it's not, then still feel free to submit it! If there's a blog or a tumbler or something that you'd like me to link along with your coordinate, then I'm more than willing to do that as well. Please send your coordinates to me at: and I'll be posting those on Tuesdays. If you could also send a description/paragraph about your coordinate along with it, I'd appreciate that too~ I hope this has cleared some things up, and I'm going to try and get some sort of thing set up here for submissions.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

End of March Updates and April Announcements

Hello everybody! My plan of writing posts and having them ready to go for last week obviously didn't happen. I ended up with a lot of school work on top of last minute con stuff, and I couldn't do it all, so I got behind in blogging. But that's okay, because I'm back with a lot of ideas for new posts and content!

First thing's first, I owe you all one last Alice coordinate. I whipped this one up yesterday while I was still recuperating from the four day convention (still recuperating actually...) and I'm rather pleased with how it came out. It's a straight Alice coordinate. Nothing fancy, just Alice.

First of all, it's an OP. I don't use a lot of OPs in coordinates, and frankly, I don't own any myself. I used to not really like them, because having a one piece dress without a blouse sort of
limits your coordinating options. However, I've come to appreciate and enjoy the simplicity ofthem now, especially this one by BTSSB. I want it in black, it's simple and lovely. They've used this type of fabric and style for a few OPs, it's the same dress with slightly different details. This is probably my favorite version though. The black and white striped stockings are classic Alice style, but I took it a bit further with the striped bow and bag. The shoes match the color of the dress, and the bows are very "Alice" to me. I chose a key theme for the jewelry. Keys are easy to find in mainstream stores. I have one from Target, and my sister has a ring from Forever 21. I love this charm bracelet! It has all different kinds of keys on it, as well as a little heart-shaped lock. It's made by Disney though, so it's kind of expensive. The necklace also has a key on it, as well as an Alice cameo-style pendant and a tiny locket. It's quite lovely, and it has the Mad Hatter on it, which is a plus for many people.

Do you like this coordinate? I do! Alice style is awesome! I'm sort of sad that March had to end and I can't make more Alice coordinates. But April's kind of cool too, right? And I think that April's theme is pretty alright too~

April's theme is Tea and Cakes! It's spring now and people will start hosting garden parties, with fabulous teas and cakes and treats! I'm looking forward to making lots of cake themed coordinates, and hopefully sharing some recipes this month too! I'm working on the collage right now, but I wanted to get this up ASAP. So I'll finish up the collage and the next post will be all about April's theme!