Sunday, 28 April 2013

Review #12: Bodyline

It's Bodyline time again ^__^

This order went smooth as pie though it took a couple days longer than normal to come in the mail, but as it was Anzac Day on Thursday that's more than fine that it came on Friday rather than the more usual Tuesday. Only, we did one thing differently. The "yen trick" has been floating around for a little bit now and I remembered it two clicks away from finalising checkout and managed to shave a few dollars off our order. I feel a bit bad for exploiting a flaw in their site but James and I have bought a lot of Bodyline, intend to do so again, and we recommend the store a fair bit as well so I think it all evens out.

Anyway, on to the reviewing!
L479 in pik and brw.

I already own and love this dress, and when we saw it had gone down in price we leapt on the chance to buy it in a different colourway. We also got a second brown dress a size down because I'm loosing weight rapidly and James and I both love this dress.

The brown dress is living in its bag for now, but as for the "pink" again this dress is lovely and fits wells. What was surprising, though, is how vibrant the floral fabric is! The colour of the velvet in the stock picture is accurate, but the floral has lovely bright colours in it. See?

And, in answer to something I didn't mention in my last review and that I've seen asked around a few times; the velvet part is only at the top and the bottom, the floral is not an overlay on a wholly velvet dress. However, the floral is a decently thick material that feels like a nice polyester cotton blend. Thus, this dress would be great for Spring and Autumn wear, but only for mild Winter weather.

As a bonus, have a worn photo of the original brown OP worn for a dinner date along with one of my Stocking Shock fawn fur collars. Forgive the darkness, the sun was setting and my phone doesn't like the dark.

L389 in red-owh.

A $13 dress? How can I possibly refuse? This dress is really cute and the fabric is very light - the stock picture is more accurate to colour than mine, but neither pictures show that there is a slight glittery thread running through the plaid.. The only problem is that the lace is all fairly meh raschel lace; the stuff on the straps is fairly scratchy, the stuff on the bodice, detachable bows [yes, both bows pictured are detachable] and waist ties is softer and the stuff at the bottom is really quite soft. However, I don't really care since it's all white on such a pale dress and there isn't much of it at all. If I find it bugs me I'll replace it, but I don't think it will. Just pointing the lace quality out because I know some lolitas are very picky on laces ^__^

L473 in brw.

I've been eyeing off this jacket for a while and thought, given that here in Australia we're well into Autumn, it was time to give it a try. I grabbed it in a large, which is theoretically too small for my bust but actually fits perfectly, if snugly. There's nothing too much to say about this jacket and I didn't even bother with taking my own photo because really what you see is exactly what you get. And a spare button. You do get a spare shiny button.

Assorted $1 ankle socks.

Nice socks are nice, what more is there to tell? The blue socks look like they may have been made by a different manufacturer as the lace is significantly different than that on the other three pairs. But in any case, all these pairs are comfortable, soft and fit well as well as look cute! So that was a very well spent four bucks.

The Pros:
  • The usual sturdy construction in decent fabrics.
  • Loving how bright L479 is!
  • Also loving Bodyline's low, low prices. Honestly, for price to quality ratio I don't think they can be beaten.
The Neutrals:
  • Cheap raschel lace is cheap raschel lace. I don't care much though ^__^

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Microsoft strikes again.

I know I'm late to this discussion, but I had no reason to be involved until now. My James has a theory, which I tend to agree with, that Microsoft releases versions of Windows in the following order - it's great, it sucks, it's great, it sucks. And after Windows 7, Windows 8... well, it sucks. And as we thought it would suck, we didn't plan on upgrading from Windows 7 until my laptop died and James bought us a new one... and every single laptop came with Windows 8, and not a single alternative was given.

A word of warning; there be ranting ahead. I do know it's kind of pointless to talk about it because who knows if Microsoft ever even listens, but if anyone knows of a customer service email or something where I could possible politely tell Microsoft my thoughts on the new operating system that would be nice ^__^

So my first impression was not too bad, really. I wasn't a fan of the start screen replacing the start menu but I got used to it fairly quickly and as you could still access the desktop as per usual it seemed fine. Nothing too fancy going on, it seemed, so I was willing to forgive the existence of the start screen.

Until one day at uni I tried to open a PDF.

Fullscreen apps. No minimise button [praise be for alt-tab, am I right?], no "view in window option" and no exit button. I had to google how to close the damn reader, and I'm not a total dumb-ass when it comes to computers. This revelation was shortly followed by my noticing that Window 8 treats your desktop as an app as well, regardless of how many programs you have running from the desktop.

How is this interface user friendly? When using the laptop at uni I need to click between course outlines and readers in PDF format to the Word documents I'm using to take notes, and maybe clarify a few things online at the same time. The new system of apps does not make that an efficient process for me. I hate having things in fullscreen and it really peeves me that Microsoft has decided I am not allowed to choose how big or small I want to view something.

The thing that I really don't get is that Windows has had a great thing going on for a very long time. It's a familiar interface and we know how to make it work and really, did anyone actually have major issues with Windows 7? At all?

The thing is, I don't want my apps to all be running in the background. I want to see and control what is open and what is closed. I get where Microsoft is coming from, I really do, and I think the system would be great for mobile and tablet devices. But it's not great for PCs. I use my PC to multi-task on various productive tasks, so we're going to whip out one of the spare copies of Windows 7 and wipe the little laptop clean.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Minecraft Sandbox.

In my teenage years I was never much of a gamer - I just loved Age of Mythology and was addicted to FarmVille. No, I was a late bloomer and I'm still pretty limited in the games that I play. I tend to get obsessive over a very few games, and one of them is Minecraft.

I never really played with Lego as a child, but to me Minecraft is kind of like the adult version of playing with Lego. You can make stuff. You can make anything you want with what you have. It's getting those things that's difficult You will trek from biome to biome searching for the right type of wood, mine into lava and zombie filled caverns to get diamonds, and traverse the jungles to find enough mossy cobblestones in temples to build a castle on a cliff.

 One of James and my earliest Minecraft homes. 

I'm not even quite sure what this post is. It's not a review, because it's pretty much impossible to review a game that has deliberately simplistic graphics and no real story line. It's a fun or as boring as you make it. New features are being added regularly - in the time I've played things like trading with villagers, temples and chests in minecarts in mine shafts have been introduced. And though every new feature of note has it's fans and it's haters [and a healthy dose of people who don't care too much either way] the game is undeniably continually developing. So this is not a review.

Looking down at a desert village during a night of exploring.

Nor is it a player guide, though it's a game that doesn't come with instructions. You spawn in a blocky world - maybe it's snowing, maybe you're among towering trees, maybe a desert surrounds you - and there is no map and no objectives. The Minecraft Wiki is a friend and ally here, so I don't need to mention that really, the first thing you should do it punch a tree then punch whatever animal is closest.

Another village, full of ripe crops. Crops make me happy.

No, I think in the end this is just me adding my voice to hundreds of others saying that Minecraft is awesome. It's not everyone's cup of tea, and I've wanted to rage quit many times when a creeper blows up my stuff [again]. I've taken month long breaks before returning to the Minecraft fold. But my rage subsides and I do return, because it makes my nerdy heart happy to destroy and create in this eight-bit world.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Things I Don't Have In My Wardrobe #1: Cardigans

Flicking through fashion blogs cardigans are something I see again and again - whether the blogger is an all-out goth or a modern fashionista or a sweet lolita, it seems like cardigans are something that everyone has. Except me. I do not own a single cardigan. I have owned cardigans in the past, but I've never bought one; those I had came from the closet cleanings of my sisters or various friends.

Why the aversion to cardigans? Honestly, I'm not too sure, and until I got into lolita I never even thought about cardigans, but cardigans along with boleros and cropped jackets are such a lolita staple that I have begun re-evaluating my choice to avoid the humble yet apparently versatile cardigan.

Maybe it's a curvy girl thing. I'm sure many will disagree with me here, but I feel that us gals with more meat on our bones can't wear boring outfits. A plain tank top and jeans [perhaps topped with a neutral cardigan] looks great on girls with toned bodies to show off, but not on me. I need something more interesting, thought that's a much personality as proportions.

Maybe it's also because cardigans have always seemed a bit 30+ to me. Given that I'm 22, I don't feel much of a need to dress like a mature-er woman until I actually am one.

So what's a non-cardigan-wearing girl to do? For me, with my cute nerd girl style, I tend to find layering under, rather than over, is my go-to look; a grey-and-black striped long sleeved shirt under a cute t-shirt is what I wear most. And if wearing something over the top of an outfit is necessary, I go for the hoodie. At the moment, it's this hoodie from tokidoki.

But Roli, you can't be casual all the time, what do you wear in place of the trusty cardigan when you have to look a little neater? Elementary, my dear reader. Fitted jackets. Nice fitted jackets. I know there's not too big a difference, really, between a cardigan and a jacket; they both fasten up the front, cover your arms, and both jackets and cardigans can range the spectrum from plain and casual to rather fancy. But I find no garment can span from grungy to glamourous, professional to punk-y, feminine to funky, quite so well as a good jacket.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

New layout!

Just a quick post because in case you haven't noticed, I've changed my blog layout! Just a bit, mostly the background change [bye-bye purple stripes, hello macro flower photo I took years ago], font changes and the addition of a few widgets, most importantly the blog list on the side. I follow a whole lot of different blogs.

The biggest change was probably my switch from LinkWithin to nRelate. Why? Because LinkWithin tended to only like promoting about a third of my posts, and I wanted something that gave links to posts that are more similar to whatever you just read. LinkWithin was a great basic add-on but I wanted something I could control a bit more. I'm not going to ramble too much about it; a simple google of "LinkWithin or nRelate" will bring up lots of articles that outline the differences between these two and I don't feel much need to add my voice particularly loudly.

I've gotta say, I'm having a lot of fun with this whole blogging thing. I may become on of those people who changes layouts every month. Ah well, only time will tell... ^__^

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Review #11: Stocking Shock. And Syra is gone.

When I got my fawn fur collar and was blown away by the quality, James and I decided to get a few more items from Stocking Shock [aka Peacockalorum]. We ordered direct from their website using the PayPal checkout option that was available for the items rather than the email order form, which was really easy to do. We ordered February 20th and the package arrived today, April 4th.

Apologies in advance for the horribly flashed photos, it's a dark and drizzly day. For more accurate colours, see the stock photos for each item, and know that in real life they are lovely.

Bradgate Collar
Again, this was a lovely piece of work. The lace is a different make from the cream lace on my first collar, but it's still lovely. This collar is slightly larger than my first one, which was very snug around the neck, so there's a bit more breathing room. There were a few more stitches visible on the inside than last time but it's on the inside so it doesn't matter. It's very sturdily made and of good materials, so I'm very happy again.

Antique Cameo
Honestly, I think this is way lovelier in person than it is in the stock photos or my photo. It's just gorgeous - a really simple design that makes wonderful use of the lace's shape, the textural contrast of the lace and the ribbon and the solid detailing of the cameo. I love it.

Viola Jabot
This thing definitely needs an iron to look its best, but I think when ironed it will look fantastic. The lace on the jabot we received is different from that in the stock photo, but it's still a nice thick lace. The stitching is all incredibly neat and all in all it's a very nice piece. However, my phone hates it therefore there is not photo but the stock photo is very accurate except for the lace difference.

Viola Choker
This chocker is nice but doesn't seem as well made as all the other items. Certain hand sewing was done in black, which shows up a lot against the cream ribbon and it all seems a little pucker-y, for lack of a better word. However, these flaws aren't noticeable when worn and the laces used are really nice so it really balances out in the end, it's just odd that the other three piece were lovely and this one was a little less so.

The only thing I'm not a huge fan of from my two experiences with Stocking Shock is the lack of communication. When we placed the order there was an automatic message that we would be contacted to confirm the order, and we weren't. After a few weeks I emailed to check how things were going, got a very prompt reply and was told they'd let us know when the order shipped, and they didn't. See, I'm okay with a lack of communication because I tend to trust online sellers, especially ones I've bought from before, and I know made-to-order can take a while, but I don't like being told I'll be contacted and then not have that happen. However, that's my only issue with Stocking Shock and it's really a matter of personal preference than a real problem. Whenever I've had to message them they've always replied promptly and politely, which is all that matters.

Overall Opinions
Basically, Stocking Shock does great stuff. Everything looks fine when worn so even if there are a few visible stitches once it's on they won't be visible any more so it really doesn't matter. I think their making time is quite reasonable and even if they don't keep you updated they always reply to correspondence quickly and pleasantly and are overall really good to deal with.

Now, I'm just tacking this onto the end of this post because I don't think I have the guts to put it all on it's own. Last night we found and buried Syra's body, and today James made her a lovely grave. She was a real sweetie, and she is very missed.