Daily Outfit 3/10/10

March 26, 2010 at 1:07 am | Posted in Lumpy | 3 Comments
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Classic lolita for errands/date day in the city! My boyfriend &I went to hang out around the East Village so I could pick up G&LE. We also stopped &got bubble tea &some amazing Japanese food. Exhausting but fun day!

Daily outfit 3/10/10

My hair looks so short in the little pigtails!

Rundown:

  • Blouse: Innocent World
  • “Cincher”: Forever 21
  • Skirt: Bodyline
  • Socks: Secret Shop
  • Shoes: Bodyline
  • Hairbows: BABY
  • Lace tights: offbrand

Note to self: This skirt likes more poof! More petti next time.

Recipe: Honey-Lavender Ice Cream

May 14, 2009 at 2:22 am | Posted in Life, Lumpy | 2 Comments
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Honey-Lavender ice cream by emmar on flickr

Honey-Lavender ice cream by emmar on flickr

So, as many of you know, my birthday is fast approaching, and as some of you know, I had a birthday party yesterday! Taking my own advice, I decided to have an ice cream bar. My intention was for the party to be entirely vegan – and dinner was, &I offered five different types of dairy-free ice cream, all of which were delicious! – however… this was before I checked the mail. Yes, on Friday, the newest issue of Fine Cooking magazine (love!) arrived at work, and, lo! A recipe for ice cream & instructions on varieties was one of their features! Thusly, the “entirely vegan ice cream bar birthday extravaganza!” idea was… not scrapped. Let’s say “enhanced,” shall we? Homemade is always wonderful too, right?

Thusly, I am posting for you the recipe for the variation I discovered: Honey-Lavender Ice Cream! I suggest doing this recipe early in the day – of course I rushed into it without paying much attention to the times stated in the recipe, and ended up having to leave it refrigerated overnight & ask my mother to take care of it while I was at work (I wasn’t using an ice cream maker, so it needed to be whipped every so often while freezing – more later) – Thanks mom!!

Honey-Lavender Ice Cream

Yields about 1 quart

Difficulty: Intermediate

Ingredients:

Custard:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 5 large egg yolks

Flavoring:

  • 2 Tablespoons dried lavender flowers
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Instructions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup of the cream with the milk, sugar, and salt. Warm the cream mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and tiny bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan, 3-4 minutes.
  2. Stir in lavender. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit for one hour. Taste and let sit longer if it is not strong enough for you.
  3. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with cold water and a bit of  ice. Set a smaller metal bowl (one that holds at least 1 1/2  quarts/6 cups) in the ice water. Pour the remaining cup of cream into the inner bowl (this helps the custard cool quicker when you pour it in later). Set a fine strainer on top. Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl.
  4. Re-warm cream mixture over medium-high heat until tiny bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan, 1 to 2 minutes. In a steady stream, pour half the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.
  5. pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook it over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof  cooking spoon or rubber spatula until the custard is nappé (this means it has thickened slightly, enough to coat the utensil and hold a line drawn through it with a finger), 4 to 8 minutes. An instant-read thermometer should read 175 to 180 degrees F at this point. Don’t let the sauce overheat or boil, or it will curdle. Immediately strain the custard into the cold cream in the ice bath. Press firmly in the strainer with the spoon to extract as much flavorful lavender oil from the flowers as possible. Cool the custard to below 70 degrees F by stirring it over the ice bath.
  6. Mix together honey and vanilla in a small bowl. Once the custard has cooled, stir in the honey-vanilla mixture.
  7. Remove from the ice bath and refrigerate, covered, until completely cooled, at least 4 hours. Then freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to you manufacturers’ instructions*. Transfer the ice cream to an air-tight container and freeze solid for at least 4 hours.

*If you do not have an ice cream maker, never fear! You can freeze the ice cream in a bowl in your freeze. Check it after about an hour; once it starts freezing, blitz through it with a hand-held mixer and then return it to the freezer. Repeat every so often as the mixture is freezing, until the ice cream is completely whipped and frozen. This is the method I used and it worked amazingly!

Some variations to infuse (instead of the lavender):

  • Toasted nuts: 1 1/2 cups coarsely crushed
  • Fresh herbs such as mint: 1 cup tightly packed, coarsely torn leaves
  • Orange: Finely grated zest of 4 medium oranges
  • Tea: 1/2 cup loose black tea leaves, such as Earl Grey, English Breakfast, or masala chai

Some variations to add (instead of honey + vanilla):

  • Liqueur/liquor: 3 to 4 Tablespoons. Bailey’s, amaretto, Kahlua, Cognac, etc.
  • Lemon: 1/4 cup strained fresh lemon juice
  • Mascarpone: 1 cup mascarpone
  • Extracts: 2 teaspoons. Peppermint, almond, etc.

Before freezing, you can also mix in other goodies, such as:

  • Mini-marshmallows
  • Jam or marmalade
  • Nutella
  • Chopped nuts
  • Chopped crystallized ginger
  • Crushed peppermints

I’d like to repeat that while the (rather unoriginal) combination of honey-lavender was my idea, the recipe itself is from Fine Cooking  magazine, June/July issue which honestly I highly recommend. I’ve been following the magazine for only 3 or so issues but this is by far my favorite! If you get a chance I really recommend picking it up.

(Excuse the borrowed picture, everyone – we gobbled up my batch before I could photograph it!)

Daily Outfit: 4/19/09

April 21, 2009 at 12:17 am | Posted in fashion, Life, Lumpy | Leave a comment
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Apron shot c/o Victoria Suzanne

Apron shot c/o Victoria Suzanne

So Victoria Suzanne and I were discussing her gorgeous, epic plans for her bedroom redo the other day, and the steps in between now and the glory that will be the finished product. One of the most immediate hurdles was organizing a lifetime of packratting! Oh no! So I decided to come over and play Cinderella, and on Sunday we managed to tackle most of the surfaces in her room & organize it to hell and back! Go us!!

Of course, being lolitas AND bloggers, we couldn’t just wear sweats or something! So, of course, we had to doll ourselves up at least a LITTLE. And, if you didn’t already know from my thrifting post, I recently expanded my wardrobe & finally got the opportunity to show off – the above is a closeup shot of a vintage ring I’ve had for a few years already and an apron purchased at the store pictured in that post!

Rundown:

  • Skirt: AYA
  • Cutsew: BABY
  • Shoes, socks: offbrand
  • Hoodie, apron: Thrifted!
  • Rose comb: made by Victoria Suzanne
Full outfits

Full outfits

Clicking on either of the above pictures will bring you to Victoria Suzanne’s daily_lolita post, if you’re interested!

Also, our shared fans rejoice! I can’t say much now, but we’re working on a bunch of great surprises for you! Keep your eyes out 🙂

By any other name

March 26, 2009 at 12:17 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Rose by binha_dp on flickr

Rose by binha_dh on flickr

Circus, ballet, mermaids… lolitas like themes. And while some prints become iconic, you have to admit that, as a group, we can be somewhat fickle when it comes to our obsessions. One season it’s children’s toys, the next it’s sweets, the next everything is covered in bows-on-bows-on-bows. However, there is one symbol that has become eternal in our silly little fashion, appearing season after season: The rose.

Why is this? Versatility, methinks. The rose can be pinned onto any subcategory of lolita without being out of place: bubblegum pink for sweet, cream for classic, deep blood red for gothic, etc. – the only exception, I’d say, would be sailor, but I’m not dismissing even that completely. Whether it’s attached to a headdress or woven into lace, the rose is a symbol that I think we, as a collective, are happily stuck with. With spring approaching, I personally am looking forward to incorporating the rose and other lovely flowers into my life in many ways, and of course this would include lolita.

But how, Lumpy? you ask. Flowers are expensive, and unlike a bouquet of buttons or a corsage of ribbons, fresh roses will wilt and die. Ahh, my children, you have much to learn. Namely about the wonders of the craft store.

Yes, of course I mean fake flowers. How else could you expect to coordinate them all season, and for many seasons to come? However, this doesn’t solve the pr0blem completely- now that I have my fake flowers, what I do wiff it? Well, that’s what I’d like to talk about today.

First of all, a pin or brooch pin (you know- they have flat tops to attach to brooches, and some sort of fancy hook on the other side) would be very helpful, and mot of these ideas would be made much more difficult without hot glue, though those that are attached to fabric in some way could, I suppose, be sewn on, and I’m sure wire would work  just as well or better than glue for some. However, I’m sticking to that which I know: A pin, hot glue, and your flower of choice, obviously in a shade that best matches your wardrobe or the outfit you want to coordinate with. Next, connect.

Tada! You’re done!

Wait… what? That wasn’t helpful at all! Okay, okay, so that was a cop-out. Sorry all. Here are some ideas I’ve found or come up with for your new rose-(or daisy-, or peony-)brooch.

Pin it to:

  • The front of your blouse (over the top button) for a pop of color and theme to a plain top
  • The middle section of your headbow, or any large bows you have along the hemline or neckline of your outfit
  • The zipper of your purse, or where the handles connect to the main body of the bag
  • The ends of your braided pigtails
  • Your shoe straps, if applicable
  • The top of a bustle- super-cute if attached to a bow at the top of the bustle!

If you’re more interested in your coiffure than your ensemble, here are some ideas ganked from the big brands:

  1. Rose hairband from Victorian Maiden
  2. Rose headdress from Mary Magdalene
  3. Simple rose hairpiece from Mary Magdalene
  4. Beret with roses and ribbon from Mary Magdalene
  5. Rose bow combs from BABY, The Stars Shine Bright
  6. Rose and lace headband from BABY, The Stars Shine Bright

Don’t limit yourself to just roses, of course- imagine those rose bow combs with daisies instead, or stick a white lily into your curls, or even just go to a local meadow (for a picnic, maybe?) and pick some widlflowers to braid into your hair or weave into crowns. Not so crafty? Buy a single long-stemmed rose in a color that matches your coordinate and tie a length of ribbon just under the bloom – voila! Instant, seasonally-appropriate scepter!

The Lolita Picnic

March 18, 2009 at 11:26 pm | Posted in Life, Lumpy | 2 Comments
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Ahh, the picnic. Aside from the tea party, is there anything more iconic? A poof of lolis (technical term – the subject was raised a year or two ago on egl) sprawled on blankets in a flowery plain. Pale pink serving dishes are perched on wrought-iron tiers and strewn with cakes and cookies. Plates lay discarded about the group with nibbled sandwiches and crumbs falling off of them. The girls are dressed in flowing chiffons and fanning themselves with lace fans, their parasols propped up above them to shield their porcelain skin from the setting sun.

Aww, what a pretty picture. What they don’t show you is the batch of cookies they burnt, the aching feet with blisters already almost bursting from hiking through  the woods in heels, and the ants and mosquitos that have just discovered our picnicing lolitas and are getting ready to feast. In reality, picnics are a good idea, but take quite a bit of careful planning and consideration to go off without a hitch. I’m a bit of a picnic connoisseur, so I’ve decided, what with the weather (finally! blessedly!!) warming up around here, that I’d write up a guide for picnicing, specifically as it relates to lolitas.

First and foremost: planning. Who will be invited? Will it be just your best friend and yourself, your close personal friends, or a state-wide meet-up? Obviously, the first step is setting a date. Personally, I find the best time to have any outdoors event is mid-spring, because the light chill is gone from the air, but you aren’t going to sweat through your make-up or pass out from dehydration. You want a day of the week that will work for everyone, but will still be good for your location – we’ll talk about that next. Once you have your date, think briefly about time – it’s not something to obsess over, but make sure you’ll have enough transport time and light in the day to set up, eat, hang out, and pack up, and you don’t want to be doing any of that in the dark.

Next, location. Day and location really go hand in hand, and you can choose one before the other easily. When chosing the location, think about your attendees. Where are they coming from? How far do they want to drive? DO they drive, or does it need to be at least partially accessable by public transportation – or maybe they can carpool? These are all common questions when planning any meet-up – if you haven’t before, I recommend checking out my friend Victoria Suzanne’s post on meet-up do’s and don’ts here. As far as picnic-specific location tips, make sure it’s easily-accessable – a clearing in the middle of a forest is beautiful, but is it really plausible to hike to in rocking horses? Think about popularity, too – you don’t want to be stepping over small children or dodging frisbees and confused stares while you’re trying to enjoy your picnic, so try and find somewhere that’s not as popular, or if the local park is the only option, even going during a time of day when most people won’t be there will save you headaches. In my experience, weekdays during the day (around noon or 1) is the best option if you can, as kids are in school and parents at work, so all you’ll see is the occassional stroller-confined small child or dog-walker. Of course, if you yourself or any of your guests have to be in work or school, this obviously won’t work, so plan accordingly.

Now that you have that out of the way, you get onto my favorite part: planning your menu! When planning a menu, it’s a good rule of thumb to have at least a side, entree, and dessert. When planning for a party or group, I recommend an appetizer or small first course to nibble at while talking, setting up, etc., a side or two (I prefer two, in case someone doesn’t like or can’t eat one, but it’s up to you), an entree, and a very simple dessert. It’s important that at least most of your food can be eaten either with the hands or a utensil – this may not be hugely important for other people, but remember that some of your attendees will be wearing gloves and may not want to soil them with mustard or chocolate, but at the same time, most of your guests will be wearing expensive clothes that they care very much about, and won’t feel like playing tag with roly-poly pasta salad that could bounce at any moment off their plates and onto their Angelic Pretty. Side dishes can be anything from tossed salad with light vinaigrette, rosemary french fries, or minty fruit salad. For main dishes, it’s good to use finger food – sandwiches, pre-made mini-pizzas or quesadilla, or classic dishes baked in muffin tins like macaroni and cheese or meatloaf. I wouldn’t go crazy for dessert – cookies, cupcakes, something that’s easy to eat, because your guests won’t want to deal with forks and spoons after that fantastic meal you just amde them! Remember, ask your guests about food allergies beforehand, and don’t be afraid to delegate! Once you have a guest list, distribute a list of things you need and kindly ask your guests to bring something – drinks, paper plates, utensils, cups, etc. are necessary but often-overlooked parts of picnics and are easy for people traveling long distances or those lacking confidence at the stove. Try not to pack anything to heavy, weight- or food-wise. You don’t want to lug anything heavy to your picnic location, and you definitely don’t want everyone to take a nap after they finish lunch! Your menu should be light and refreshing, setting the stage for an afternoon of cart-wheels and flower-picking, not moaning and napping!

A few extra tidbits:

  • Bring at least two blankets to overlap on each other. That way, you won’t be all squished up, but you won’t be tables away like you would at a restaurant. Plain-colored, older blanketse are the best, because some grass stains won’t wash out, and you don’t want to ruin your nicest duvet!
  • In the same vein, an oft-overlooked aspect is the ground – you’ll be eating and sitting on it, so make sure there are at least a few yards of open space without too many rocks or lumps to go up your butts.
  • Keep dietary restrictions in mind. I know I mentioned this above, but it is very important to keep the health and morals of others in mind. If you have a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or lactose intolerant friend attending, make sure you have at least two things for her to eat, and that they should be included in the menu, so she doesn’t feel like she’s inconveniencing you – a fruit salad or pasta salad dressed with vinegar instead of mayonnaise, etc.
  • Remember bug spray! Should be self-explanatory, especially if your picnic will be later in the afternoon, or later in the season.
  • Don’t be afraid to set a dress code. It may sound harsh, but if you’ve been to the location before, you really will know best what will or will not work as far as your guests’ ensembles go. If you know that you’ll be walking a bit, it’s really not that ridiculous to ask your guests not to wear heels, and if they don’t like it, who’s forcing them to attend?
  • It’s never bad to buy premade food! Especially if you can’t delegate to your guests (in which case, why are they allowed to attend?!). A lot of grocery stores have freshly-made sandwich platters, and I’m certain that every town in America has a local bakery where you could pick up some dessert. There is aboslutely nothing wrong with taking some help from the pros!

My expertise comes from the summer after I graduated high school – my boyfriend and I lived in different towns, and an excuse to go see him during summer break would be packing up a picnic, getting dressed up, and taking a train the few towns over to share it with him. I learned a lot about the art of picnicing over those month, and now that it’s finally summer again I’m very excited to exercise my skills! I hope these tips have helped you, and that you’ve actually read all the way to here! It’s all very important, promise!!

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