Dec 29, 2012

Lolita Blog Carnival: Five Books Every (Gothic) Lolita Should Read

Hello dear readers! It's been a while since I've had the time to participate in a Lolita Blog Carnival theme, but as a literary sort of gal I feel obliged to take this one on. My reading list is pretty specific to those who enjoy spooky kind of stories. So without further ado....

Five Books Every Gothic Lolita Should Read

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Image from the 2011 film version of Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights is the quintesential gothic romance, full of wandering in misty moores, unrequited love, madness, and vivid descriptions of soot-blackened Yorkshire kitchens and stone bedchambers. Putting aside its canonnical status in gothic literature, its also one of my favorite novels. Though it may seem heavy, I actually read this book in a night: I just couldn't put it down.  If you don't know the story, just give it a quick wiki search and do your homework. 

+The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Frank W. Benson - "Artist's Daughters in Dining Room" 1906
The Awakening is a tale of a woman unsatisfied with her position as a wife, mother, and socialite in Victorian Louisiana, and her struggle to find her place as an individual in high-pressure upper-crust Victorian society. During the course of the novel, the protagonist boldly leaves her family and attempts to forge a life for herself, but faces the overwhelming adversity of society at large. Kate Chopin writes beautifully and The Awakening is a literary gem for this reason alone, but I feel this novel is of the utmost importance to modern women, and to lolita and neo-romantic readers because it reminds us never to sacrifice our personhood for what society believes is the "right" way to live. We are reminded how far women have come, and how far we have yet to go. It also nudges us a little to not romanticize Victoriana toooo much ;). 

+A Good Man is Hard to Find short story anthology by Flannery O'Conner
Flannery O’Connor’s desk and typewriter in her bedroom at her farm near Midgeville, Georgia.
Photo courtesy of New York Times. 
Flannery O'Connor is probably my favorite writer of all time. Unfortunately, this queen of the Southern Gothic passed at a young age, and her body of work is quite slim as a result. None the less, she produced one of the best short story anthologies of American literature. A Good Man is Hard to Find is full of the grotesqueries hidden beneath the mundane American existence, and features stories about many deliciously gothic bits such as serial killers, bible salesmen, spinsters, and wandering hobos. Flannery O'Conner wrote during the 50's-60's, so there are all kinds of kitschy rural mid-century details if you're into that sort of thing. 

+House on Haunted Hill by Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson is another big name in American Gothic literature. Whereas Flannery O'Connor's work focuses more on absurd realities, Jackson's writing often has more of a supernatural or dystopic slant. Many of her stories are popular titles in this kind of genre, and I know that her novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a perrenial hit with the Tumblr/indieblogger crowd (I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't read it yet!), but I have chosen House on Haunted Hill for this list because it really is the essential American ghost story, and who doesn't love a good ghost story? Like pretty much every other story on this list, House on Haunted Hill also deals a lot with a woman's perspective, and her status in society. Also the movie is badass (the Vincent Price version, not the remake).

+A Great and Terrible Beauty (and sequels) by Libba Bray
I know the cover makes it look like a cheesy romance novel. I promise you, it is not. The picture on the left is actress Romola Garai, the choice casting by a fan of one of the characters in the book, Felicity Worthington. I agree!
Unlike the rest of the novels on my list, A Great and Terrible Beauty is a contemporary novel, written by YA author Libba Bray. The story is set in a mysterious girls' school in Victorian England. Although at its core, this book is a fantasy novel, it is so  well researched and well written that it is actually quite immersive and feels very historic. The fantasy/adventure elements make this book fun to read, while the period detail makes one want to don her finest bonnets and go on some sort of gas-lit adventure.

I love each and every one of these books dearly! Maybe some of them are not really explicitly lolita, but each has a mood or theme that would appeal to most classic and gothic lolitas, as well as others interested in 19th century and 20th century history and life.

Check out these blogs that participated in this week's theme:

Dec 25, 2012

Meet Up Report: Secret Winter Party at the Fairytale Boutique

Happy Holidays from Carnivale Salt!!

A week or so ago, I attended my first lolita meetup in Los Angeles. LA's Little Tokyo district is home to an adorable lolita shop called the Fairytale Boutique. In addition to selling barely-used consignment brand items and unique pieces by local designers, Fairytale Boutique is also known for hosting some of the most popular events in the Southern California lolita community! I was really bummed that I was still in the midwest for the Automatic Honey Halloween release party. When Fairytale Boutique announced that they would be hosting a holiday event, I could not wait for the chance to get to participate in one of these events!

So many lolitas! Everyone had a really festive time. There was a cosplay event going on at the shop next door so there were also several visitors in costumes. I love the Holiday Cami in the background of this shot!

Hostess Miki taking gifts for the White Elephant exchange.
She did a wonderful job organizing the event!! I loved her festive caplet.
During the event, guests who had RSVP'd for party programming played a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors against the hostess for prizes. I have heard in the past that this style of rock-paper-scissors is a popular game at brand events in Japan, for lolita and other kinds of brands as well. I didn't win any prizes, but I came really close in one round! Following the game, we moved on to an extremely lively White Elephant gift exchange.

The Christmas Tree before all of the White Elephant gifts were added.....
The tree after all of the gifts were added! It was quite an impressive sight. I had my eye on the parchment
wrapped gift but what I ended up with turned out to be much better. 
Instead of just matching your assigned number to the corresponding gift as I had assumed, we opened gifts one at a time in the group, and everyone could choose whichever present in the pile they wanted. Everyone cheered or booed as guests opened their gifts, and stealing gifts was allowed and encouraged! I had number 37, almost last, so I was lucky to have my pick of almost all the gifts. I felt a little guilty for stealing the Swimmer Tshirt I ended up with from another girl, but she got to steal another gift she wanted even more as a result anyway. At the beginning of the game, everyone felt bad stealing presents, but by the end, it was madness!

I brought home this extra cute Swimmer ice cream tshirt. The screen print is flocky and its black and grey color scheme works great with my casual wardrobe. I've been wearing it with acid-washed jeans, combat boots, my graffiti stud belt, and the Kidsyoyo berret I wore to the event. The gift I brought for the exchange was a box of
Tazo blueberry white tea, a black BABY headbow, a ring from MONOMANIA,
and a sterling silver teapot Christmas ornament, all in a collectable MONOMANIA giftbag.  
I had a wonderful time, and eventually did open up and meet some new friends, but I must admit that I was terribly nervous and shy most of the event :(. Large meet ups are always a little intimidating for me, but meeting all new people at an event like that can be downright terrifying!

All these girls were super nice! The girl I met with the red hair standing to the right of me was actually the one who won my gift! I was so happy she loves tea and wears gothic and classic, so it was the perfect gift for her. I wore my new AP Moon Night Theater miniskirt, with harlequin tights, black blazer and BABY blouse, topped off with my KIDSYOYO beret. Sweeter than my usual fare, but I wanted to be festive!
In spite of my shyness though, it was a great introduction to the SoCal Community, and I really hope I can get to know my local lolitas better soon! Did your community do anything fun for the holidays?

Dec 13, 2012

Carnivale Salt does Hollywood!!!

Hello dear readers!! Carnivale Salt is back after an eventful hiatus moving across the United States! As all things that are kind of done on the fly, moving turned out to be a much more complicated process than it should have been and it really turned out to be quite the adventure. None of it was really on topic with the things I talk about on this blog, but maybe I'll tell you about it sometime :). After about three weeks of traveling, we finally are settled in our new (beautiful) home in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles! I've lived in the midwest most of my life, so being here with so many fruit trees and palms and beautiful people feels quite idyllic. Things to watch for on the blog!!

+Decorating and domestic features
+Los Angeles city guides
+Coverage of SoCal Gothic and Lolita fashion community events
+ Recipes

On my list of things to do, find this awesome beach from The Craft. Yes, everything here does remind me of this movie....