Monday, 14 July 2014

Celebratory outfits!

Haha well, that title may be a tad misleading, but I am celebrating and there are outfits.

Firstly, in celebration... this blog had hit 40k pageviews! That's a lot ^__^ I know I haven't been updating much lately but I'm starting to get back into the swing of things. Part of that involved deleting nearly all my old non-lolita related post, because I realised I want this to be a pretty much lolita centric blog. Occasional bits of other stuff, but not much. If you want to keep updated on my photography and modelling work, you can like Soul Capture and Caroline Roli Cherry on facebook.

Secondly, I decided to do something I don't normally do to commemorate those awesome 40k views... outfits! The typical "I've laid lolita clothes out on my bed" kind of outfits. Normally I prefer putting outfits on but I've been really sick lately so that's a no go. This is actually my first time doing outfit shots like this, and it was kind of fun. Kind of annoying, but kind of fun.

First up we have a casual sweet-with-a-hint-of-sailor outfit! Blouse is F+F, skirt is modified from a Bodyline JSK, shoes are Bodyline, wrist-cuffs are handmade and everything else of offbrand. I would probably do plaits to go with this, maybe with pink ribbons on the ends if I felt like being extra cute.

Second is a classic [or maybe a bit gothic] lolita outfit, with the beret from the first outfits sneaking in at the top! The blouse if by The Floral Notebook, the socks are from my recent Taobao haul, the necklace that you can't see too well was made by a friend of mine, the bracelets are offbrand and everything else is Bodyline. I'm actually really keen to wear this outfit out, though hopefully I can find a hairpiece in a red that matches.

I have a question, readers mine: When I get back into the swing of blogging more regularly, what kind of posts would you like to see?

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Review #27.2: Taobao Haul

And here is the second part of my Taobao/Yoybuy review... the items themselves! You can read about my experience with Yoybuy here.

I got a blouse, skirt and velvet bolero from Magic Tea Party, a Classical Puppets a-line petticoat, a coat/jacket thing, four pairs of those ubiquitous t-strap with bow heels, assorted socks, three different clip-in bangs and some coloured make-up. And some red velvet for lining a coffin...

I'll start with the Magic Tea Party stuff and, long story short, they're great. Picture spam time!

This skirt is made of a canvas-y feeling fabric and is nicely thick and heavy with a slightly rough texture that I love. It is very sturdily constructed and I love it! The only thing I'm not much of a fan of are the buttons on the waistband, but they are easily removed. It's very accurate to the stock picture.

Why rotate this Blogger, why?

The bolero is also quite nice, though since I'm tall the sleeves are short. I'm going to cut off the ties across the chest because I don't like how they look. The lace trim is decent and the velvet feels nice. The crown lining is really cute as well!

The blouse is really nice, especially for the price. The fabric is smooth enough and the laces all feel like cotton and are nice and soft. For lack of a better way to say it, it feels like a cheap blouse but a nice cheap blouse. Quality wise I'd put it way above Bodyline, maybe on par with F+F's nicer stuff. For the price I think it's rally good. The construction is sturdy and the design is really nice. And the sleeves are long enough!

Overall, my comments on the blouse can be applied to all the MTP items - they don't feel expensive or super high quality, but they are really nice for the price and they are certainly all pieces I would recommend.

Next up, the gorgeous hoodie jacket!

This thing is absolutely gorgeous! So soft, so warm, so comfortable! It's really well made and the materials seem quite nice as well, the lining is a bit thin and shiny but it's just the lining so no biggie. However, unless I misread things horribly this is smaller than the indicate measurements, as I can't close it and I should be able too. However, it's adorable open so I'm okay with it. Also, I think the fur is really rabbit fur, which I know some people care about.

And the next thing, all the bangs from this store.

Stupid Blogger and your stupid rotation...

I'm not really a wig expert, but these bangs are fantastic. Thick, smooth, only shiny in a natural way, an appropriate length, well made, neat and they clip on easily and stay secure on my head. I've already worn the far right pair in a photoshoot that'll be up on our facebook page soon and they look perfectly natural. I did get the colour slightly wrong though, they are all darker than my own hair so I'm going to see if I can lighten them at all.

Then we come to the shoes. The ubiquitous t-strap bow shoes that everyone and their mother has ^__^

They are still a bit crumpled from postage here, but as you can see both colour and style are accurate to the stock photos. They are bit cheaply made, they aren't super comfortable, and there are a few flaws, such as the strap being a bit too big for the buckles, but for the price they are really quite good. But I screwed up the sizing [I'll learn one day, I swear] and got them too large, so I'll be listing them to lacemarket soon. However, I'll be swiftly replacing them with ones in the correct size, because I think they're great shoes.

This review is already very long, so I won't go into the Classical Puppets petticoat, the socks, the make-up or the velvet but overall I had a very enjoyable first taobao experience and plan on making another haul as soon as I can!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Review #27.1: Yoybuy Taobao Shopping Service

Recently I placed my first Taobao order. I did lost of research into the different shopping services and found conflicting opinions of all of them. In the end what prompted my choice of Yoybuy was the comparative ease of their shopping cart and checkout. So I went ahead, added all the things and went for it. This is a review of Yoybuy, a review of my actual items will come soon!

My initial order, minus the Magic Tea Party bolero.

The first thing I noticed was that the ordering system/checkout was different to how they describe it in the "how to order" section of the site. Basically, you add items to your cart and when you go to checkout it estimates the weight of your parcel for international shipping and adds the service fee. You also have to pay a percentage cost depending on your payment method. I used PayPal for the security and that adds an extra 4%. So basically, you pay all costs, including shipping from Yoybuy to you, upfront, unlike how their tutorial says you pay for the items first and then organise it into a parcel to be shipped and pay for that later. I'm sure if there is a discrepancy in what the actual postage cost is and what you are billed it is taken care of when the time comes to ship your package.

As far as ease of use goes, I thought Yoybuy was great. The site is very simple to use and though I didn't take advantage of this feature, there is live chat available to well, chat about items you're interested in. However, sometimes the add to cart function is a bit glitchy, and will add more of an item than you actually want and when you try and delete extras from you cart it's confusing so you may have to attempt adding something a few times before it add correctly. This was frustrating, but I still prefer it to filling out a spreadsheet!

Once I had placed my order, everything showed up in a neat list showing if it was processing, arrived or packed. There was a chat function for each item, which Amy [my...person, not sure if there's a proper word for shopping service employee] used to update me on any changes, which there were a few of which I'll go into now.

I placed my order on the 5th of June, then logged in on the 7th to check the status to find three new messages. Two were in regards to the shoes, telling me I needed to pay an extra 16CNY in shipping and that they would take five days to be made. I said that was all fine and was told I would pay the excess when the time came for my order to be shipped. The third message was regarding a skirt I had ordered, telling me that the seller was offline and that Amy would "contact continuously". I sent back: "That's okay. If you can't contact them by the time the shoes are ready can I cancel this skirt from the order?" The skirt was promptly removed from the order and I was refunded. I was a bit annoyed, but I could have been clearer in my message and also wasn't super in-love with the skirt so I didn't really mind. The refund [made up of the skirt price, it's domestic shipping and it's portion of international shipping and service fee] went to my Yoybuy account, from which you can withdraw money to PayPal, a credit card or other payment methods so it's not lost money. However, this was a miscommunication and so if you are using Yoybuy be very specific in messages.

On the 10th I checked my order and there was a message that Amy had received only four pairs of the harlequin socks instead of five and that she would refund the amount. I said that was fine and asked which pair it was, and she let me know. However, I didn't get the refund immediately, I actually got it when all the items were with Yoybuy and ready to ship. I had to pay a little more for the shoes's shipping and the refund was processed as I paid the extra.

As for shipping, there were several options [I don't remember all of them off the top of my head] but I chose EMS. It was marked as sent on the 13th [through my tracking didn't start updating until the 20th] and I received the gigantic box on Tuesday 24th. So it wasn't even three full weeks from placing my order to getting my items, which I think is a fantastic turnaround. I confirmed receipt of my package on the Yoybuy site and received some "Yoybuy points" which can be redeemed for credit to your account, which I thought was a nice touch.

All in all I was really happy with Yoybuy, the website was simple to use and all communication was prompt. However, it would pay to keep an eye on the totals you're paying, as I got confused with all the changes with my refunds [also, the weight of the parcel went down, then back up and I'm not sure if I was charged anything for the changes] and there is a chance I may have lost a few dollars by not keeping a close eye on things but I honestly don't know. So it may be a good idea to take screencaps of your order totals if you want to keep an eye on things as once there is a change you can't see the previous totals.

So, in actual conclusion I like Yoybuy. It's a straightforward, if imperfect, site to use and they are easily contactable in regards to your order. Their fees seemed comparable to other taobao shopping services and unless something goes wrong I'll be using them from here on out.