Saturday, March 31, 2012

Welcome to the jungle // Monthly theme post

It's time to participate in Sophistiqué Noir's monthly theme campaign again. This time the theme is flowers!

At first I thought I wouldn't participate since a quick mental scan of my wardrobe implied I don't wear floral patterns or anything like that, but luckily, these theme posts are not necessarily about fashion, and although I've usually completed the challenges with clothes or accessories, I'm doing something different today.

I really had to think about the theme for a while though, at first I had a feeling that flowers barely touch me in any way... (Not saying I don't like them. I just don't have a green thumb or anything. You should see the poor DEAD cactus I have... My only plant. But it's dead, dead, dead.)

Then I actually paid some attention to the environment in which I'm living. I realized I'm surrounded by floral patterns, here and there in the decor in my apartment. A real garden, should I say, or no... These patterns don't make a coherent garden. I think I'm living in a wild jungle.

This is my wall. The biggest wall without windows or doors has such a lovely wallpaper. The opposite wall, which is smaller, has been painted brownish to match the general hue of that wallpaper. The other walls are white. I fell in love with the apartment instantly when I stepped inside for the first time since I love contrast walls and such, and have been wildly planning how to paint or paper walls in an apartment of my own, if I will ever buy one. Most rented flats are very boring, so I was delighted to find something this interesting. If I had got to choose a wallpaper by myself, I wouldn't probably have chosen such a pattern (though the hue is nice) but I'm happy with this one, it makes my apartment seem so cozy. Seriously, I haven't even put a single picture up on any of my walls because they aren't begging for something as much as blank white walls would be. Although this wall is empty of pictures, shelves and other such things, it looks so full. (And brown walls give me a false sense of being aboard a pirate ship.)

And this is my pendant lamp, the funny thing which was put in place probably four months after I had moved in. I didn't notice the lack of a lamp in summer (=it's never totally dark in Finland in the summer, not even in the middle of the night), but at some point in autumn it began to bother me... I wasn't quite sure what I wanted, so eventually I purchased a rice paper shade. I like its looks, but it's a bit impractical. I can only just walk under it without hitting my head in it (though depending on how my hair is, it'll touch it), but every now and then I manage to slam my hands at it when I'm stretching or something...

This is my carpet. I cannot remember if I've ever liked it, but I purchased it for my first apartment since I "needed a carpet, seriously". The pattern isn't too ugly, but not too pretty either. The carpet was cheap though (or then, probably free? I cannot remember for sure, I was purchasing furniture and the store couldn't deliver something on time, and I think I probably got the carpet for free then?). There are some details in the carpet which disturb me though, strange imperfections in the petals, or in the lines. Like the two bottom petals of the big red flower in the middle... I have been thinking of purchasing a new carpet ever since I moved, but I haven't yet found anything I want. And what is worst about this one... Once a hair, or a piece of dust falls on it, the carpet will swallow it for good! Seriously, it's a real pain to get all the hair and dust etc off it!

This is yet another detail in my decor which looked better in my old apartment. However, I'm still using the hanging storage pockets since they are practical. If there hadn't been something where to hang it already, I wouldn't probably have bothered to attach any nail or hook to the wall by myself. I don't like its looks so much anymore, but it's useful enough so it's hanging (on) there. In my old apartment I also had a strange "installation art piece" in one corner, which was basically a standing easel with that masque on top of it, and a small lamp attached to the frame of the easel. It looked fancy, at least compared with that masque hanging there with the storage pockets...

Last but not least, a flowery fan. You've probably seen it somewhere in my blog already. I rarely use it for its actual purpose. At the moment it's just sitting in my book shelf, folded, but if I figured out a nice way to put it somewhere, beautifully unfolded, I would do it. The bookshelf might still work, just have to try out something...

I'm extremely lazy when it comes to decorating my apartment. I have ideas, but I rarely realize them, and thus my apartment is probably a little wild without a coherent theme. At the moment I feel comfortable here at least, not constantly thinking that I'd be surrounded by ugliness. However, there's a lot to work on, I hope I can make some proper decor posts in the future, with some of my plans carried out. So long!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Make a fire of the storm

♫ SpellBlast – History of a Siege: Slaughter

What a night, oh my, oh my. This post will be roughly 10% about style and the rest... music. Metal. Let's begin with the style part though.

Last night we went to an event called NKM Metalfest, a club happening in the city center. Surprisingly, I actually have photos of what I wore to the club! This is quite something since I'm usually too much in a hurry to take photos of my club outfits.

I don't think my desire to do "fancy" photoshopping destroyed all the details in the photos. Basically, I had a small tube top with studs positioned in the shapes of crosses over breasts, a pinstripe waist corset, a short skirt with a wide hem, home-made ripped tights, high-heeled boots and long armwarmers. And a Kreepsville necklace. I also had a simple, small black bag – naturally, though it turned out to be too small indeed, especially after I had purchased two CDs and someone else three, and they all had to be stuffed into my bag for the rest of the evening...

Sometimes I feel I stand out from average metal concert goers though. And I'm talking about women, it would be natural to stand out from male metalheads. In a way I might feel overdressed – something which never happens in a goth club since I'm far from being as imaginative as the most stylish goth chicks. However, I do want to have the fun of dressing up whenever I'm going out.

Onto the music part now! There were four bands altogether; Crow's Flight, Cardiant, Force Majeure and Dreamtale. I had listened to all the others except for Cardiant, but I was very interested in them as well as we're hailing from the same hoods and I've actually listened to some of their members' earlier music projects. All the bands represented power metal more or less, with elements from other genres as well; heavy, electro... That sort of.

I have crappy photos again since I deliberately used only my phone as the concert camera this time. I knew it would turn out like this, but I wouldn't have wanted to carry my SLR camera. In a way that's a pity; I would have got to take awesome photos in the front row.

Crow's Flight – an interesting Finnish–Swiss act. I was almost the only person who dared to go even remotely near the stage though, which is a pity. I really enjoyed their show, with all my favorite songs from their own album and Shot in the Dark and some Rammstein cover songs.

My favorite song might be Heroes Dying Alone, though it's probably also their #1 hit. Crow's Flight and Gabriel are also close to my heart! I had been listening to them on Spotify (which I recommend others to do too) but I wanted to buy their album The Calm Before, just to support them. Besides, the guys were nice, and offered to give me their autographs (yet some of them had left the club by the time this happened). But had fun chatting.

Crow's Flight – Heroes Dying Alone

The next band was Cardiant (this time the banner on the wall is correct too). As I said, I hadn't heard their material before. It was enjoyable, but didn't blow my mind. I cannot recommend any song for you to listen to, because I cannot remember any by name.

Force Majeure – I think the event host described them as "disco metal", basically they're power metal with some electronic elements. A very good show, the vocalist is talented and an energetic performer. The bassist was radiating energy and delight as well.

I guess I rocked most to this song: Ecstasy

And last but not least, Dreamtale. Very enjoyable power metal again. I can admit that I'm mostly familiar with their album Difference (which is quite old already, and with Jarkko Ahola as the vocalist), but I bought their newest album, Epsilon, at the club. Their show was awesome as well although most of their songs were only vaguely familiar to me, and they probably only played Lost Souls from Difference. (I would have sacrificed something important in order to hear Secret Door. It's my favorite, though somewhat vulgar. Anyway, the melody is bloody catchy!) However, I got to hear Angel of Light and Firestorm, had to watch out for the vocalist's hands so that they wouldn't hit my face and had a great time.

Dreamtale – Angel of Light

Dreamtale – Secret Door

The event host also evoked some excited fangirl screams from me by announcing that SpellBlast and Freedom Call would come to perform in my hometown! The former probably in May and the latter in June. Oh my, cannot wait, especially for Freedom Call! Looking forward to some confirmed information though. So long, hopefully you guys have enjoyed your weekend thus far as well!

P.S: If you've got nothing better to do this weekend, hurry and go grab yourself a free copy of the eBook The New Death and Others which I reviewed some time ago. And even if you weren't bored, hurry, you can save it for a better moment! :D Don't miss the chance!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Finding fashion in virtual wardrobes

♫ Freedom Call – Starlight

I've been thinking of making a blog post about my extremely girlish online hobbies, and now I got the ignition to do it. At first I'm going to introduce you to Poupeegirl, which is a Japanese fashion community and game, sort of. Basically, it has two purposes; showing off your clothes by posting photos of them and commenting on other people's photos; and dressing up your own poupee, your avatar, which often tries to represent the user behind the vector doll.

Meet Raphael ragdoll, my poupee, whose looks are loosely based on mine (yeah, I've dyed her hair when I've dyed my own) and whose clothes are based on what I could imagine wearing in real life if I had the chance. Part of the fun is dressing up your avatar once a day and taking a snapshot of it – one of the actions which earns you some virtual currency which you can waste on poupee clothes.

A screenshot of my poupee home page UI. This is actually not the profile page view, but you can go to see it here. I've been using poupeegirl quite long – for a bit over four years, I think. The site is five years old. I would have checked out when I actually joined, but their calendar system didn't work properly. To be honest though, the technology behind the service (*cough*Flash*cough*) is quite shaky, so... No wonder.

Yet the service is still quite fun to use, although I've been somewhat lazy lately, yet still taking snapshots. It's become a habit, sort of. If some of my readers are already using poupeegirl, feel free to add me as a friend there – however, please drop me a message, I don't add everyone back by default.

The pros and cons of the site:
+ Most of the content is in English these days as well – yet you can amuse yourself with some occasional Engrish. Would you like to see my "race-up" boots?
+ A vast variety of different alternative styles is represented in the community, yet it may be difficult to find the goths among the gyarus.
+ Users have very inspirational styles.
+ The avatars can easily be dressed up in alternative fashion as well.
– Most of the brands listed in service are either Japanese or particularly popular in Japan. However, one can enjoy the service without browsing the listed brands.
– Poupeegirl staff is (or at least was) known to be strict and probably difficult to communicate with in English. The rules regarding photo posting are strict, which is also good, but you gotta be careful not to post copyrighted material, photos showing people, items in wrong categories... 
– Most users leave boring comments such as "♥".

Today I found another fashion service on the internet; It's not a community like poupeegirl, but rather a personal tool for finding fashion items which might be perfect for you, based on your preferences, color choices, body type etc.

I wanted to give it a try although I had a feeling it might not have much to offer for someone like me who's not into high fashion but strongly into alternative stuff, and to some extent I seem to have been right. I started out by letting the service know this and that about me; my height, weight, body type, eye and hair color... And then I answered some extremely difficult questions about what kind of styles I might be interested in. It was easy to choose the option "I work in a creative industry" rather than "I'm a stay-at-home mum", but choosing my favorite brands from their lists was difficult since I didn't even know most of them! However, they have listed different types of brands; both in style and price, but nothing for those interested in dark (=gothic) subcultures (naturally, a few brands are swinging somewhere close). But otherwise they had brands from H&M to Vero Moda and from Alexander McQueen to Vivienne Westwood and DKNY.

The site would suggest which types of clothes flatter my body the most; it also tells me what to avoid. And then... it lists items from the brands I might want to wear and suggests them on the "Perfect for you" page:

I felt almost like a killjoy clicking "dislike" on most things it suggested. :/ The service is supposed to learn more about my taste the more I use it, and especially if I purchased something. Well, having gone through a bunch of suggestions I had seen a few truly interesting pieces, but nothing that I'd really really need to have.

The pros and cons:
+ The site seems like a very good tool for those who really are interested in fashion, especially the newest trends.
+ Easy to use.
– If you are strongly into alternative fashion and indies alternative brands, you might not find anything to your liking.

But I'll probably continue using Dressipi for a while to see if I can find anything truly interesting there. I'm so picky about clothes, especially if they're expensive... I'm into original and particularly imaginative designs rather than well-known brands! However, how do you, my dear readers, feel about clothes in general? Are you the type who might like a lot of different styles, but who would refuse to wear most of them anyway? Or would you wear anything that you like?
Personally, I'm the first type. In a way my taste is quite broad; I can easily like styles which differ from mine, I may enjoy fashion images... But no matter how nice a certain fashion item might be, I wouldn't wear it myself so easily. I'm picky; I have quite a clear idea of what kind of clothes and accessories tell those stories that I want to convey with my style. I'm not sure if some people consider it strange; perhaps it might seem like I followed some strict sub-cultural rules, such as those of the lolita fashion. However, I certainly have written my own rules, and I don't feel confined, I truly wouldn't feel comfortable wearing just anything although I considered the same clothes absolutely stunning when worn by someone else.

Yet I cannot deny it; being picky and particular about your clothing makes it difficult to find anything nice to wear. I don't have favorite brands or shops, and I can usually find at least some minor details in any piece of clothing that are not to my liking! Especially in alternative clothes; so many goth clothes have too many different details, in my humble opinion. I think quite many gothic brands end up making clothes which seem cheap due to being too over-the-top. A sad situation for someone who's both picky and absolutely all thumbs with a sewing machine...
So long!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The clans are MARCHing

♫ Secret Sphere – Mr. Sin

It's too bad I've been a bit busy for a few days and had to neglect some blogging challenges I typically enjoy completing.

ANYWAY! Is it officially spring now that it's March? The first day of March seemed like the first day of spring here. I cannot remember what the thermometer actually said, but a few days have already been milder. We had a bit of frost today again and will most likely have during the week, but either way, I can already see some bare pavement. (And where I can't – it's bloody slippery there.) Even though I like winter and even though this particular winter has been relatively short, I'm truly looking forward to warmer days.

On Saturday we spent a casual evening in my apartment with a few friends, after I had tried to get creative in the kitchen the day before. I had ended up baking (again), which is something I kinda... I'm not sure if I can say "hate" anymore. I certainly hate cooking, but it's something I need to do anyway. I certainly don't enjoy baking, but I wouldn't have to do it if it was that objectionable. Back then when I was working in a restaurant, cooking, I pretty much refused to ever bake anything (well, since I could refuse; I'm sure the customers were also happier that way), nowadays I'd much rather bake than cook.

Yet I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry when I look at the photo. The slice of the cheesecake can be, err, recognized as cheesecake and it looks at least remotely similar to the photo in the blog post where I found the recipe, but... The sauce. If it had been very fluid, I could have drawn pretty decorations on the slices. Now it looks like someone had thrown up blood onto the plate. :D (Excuse me my associations. It's made of strawberries and lemon juice.)

And, I think I've never managed to build a card house this high. Hahah. I only needed enough rum (Captain Morgan!) to help me with the construction.

The night was fairly interesting. We tried to discuss the best song on Eluveitie's new album Helvetios, but couldn't agree on it (two votes for Alesia, but I disagree). We discussed whether Van Canto has raped Rebellion or Fear of the dark – let alone Primo Victoria – I don't think they have. So yeah, we discussed metal quite a lot, and strangely enough, my Spotify playlist has grown after the night. I wonder how or why... So long!