Bebe Taian: December 2012

December 29, 2012

Slow Progress.

Second day off since the Christmas post. The last day off, I did laundry all day and went to see a friend. Today, I woke up late (slept in, FINALLY!) but got a running start on destashing. It was aggravating, waking up and almost tripping on a bucket of wrapping papers and such. Ugh. I only cleared out the closet today, but it was a BIG job! I've managed to empty two buckets, sort the laundry, and sweep the bedroom. I think it's all I can do today.

This means I have a shelving unit full of stuff to sell. I sold a box of books, two boxes of clothes, and I have so much more. Piles of clothing, some still with the tags on, some with the tags off but never worn. Piles of yarns, much with the tags still on. Piles of fabrics. Boxes of beads, stacks of scrapbooking and ephemera paper. A surround-sound speaker set. A small stack of vintage sake cups; a box of vintage Japanese dishware. And quite a few kimono items! Two large storage buckets worth, to be precise.

So I'm still destashing everything as energy permits. It will be some time before I can get half of it photographed, with descriptions and measurements posted. I'll mostly be using the money to pay off the cats' vet bills, and pay for their care. Azrael has been pretty sick as fallout from his long-term exposure to allergens. He'll be on medication for the next two months at least, and it isn't cheap! Cat food alone for the five is $25 per cat per month, or $125 a month! But after Azrael is off his meds, he will be adoptable again. If a person shows that they have experience with special-needs cats, I may adopt him out before he's done, knowing that his new owner can watch over him every day. I owe about $200 on him still. The good news is that he's doing so much better this week! He's a happier, derpier cat who just needs to put some weight on!

I know it isn't a Japanese culture post, but I'll be back on schedule soon enough. Real life always comes first.

December 25, 2012

Christmas Resolutions

Now that Christmas is over with, I can recoup. I've been working for about a week non-stop preparing and making rounds to friends and family. It's been a whirlwind! The get-togethers were fun. The prep work, rarely so. I'm really not good at wrapping things or writing letters. If it looks nicely wrapped, chances are, I didn't do it! :P All in all, it's been a great Christmas. And I'm once again covered in cats.

This year, I've been feeling... claustrophobic, the past two weeks. I've decided that I have far too much stuff, and it's time to not have so much. It's hard to do this, since I sell kimono, pagan supplies, and jewellery out of this apartment shared with DH and five cats. But I think I'm going to sell the last of the kimono items that I don't wear and then only buy for myself, try to attend more craft shows to sell the jewellery off for charity, and find a way to store the pagan shop supplies in a less intrusive way. So far, I've successfully sold off two boxes of clothes and books, and I intend to go through the closet and my things again to destash more.

I will find Azrael and Dante a forever home that can care for them. They are sweethearts! I've had them for most of their lives, but I can't keep five cats in one apartment, and those two are in the best mental condition to handle a new home. They love *everyone*. Even the vet!

I will find more time to volunteer this year. Community betterment is a big issue for me. I want to find more ways to help locally! This might further tie in with selling off the jewellery, as it usually has. I typically give 10%-30% of proceeds to local animal shelters, and donate a few times a year to The Spring of Tampa Bay.

Get a corner bookshelf. >D That one's been on the list for a year, now! But this year, I'm going to make it happen! Now I need a place to put it... I need to replace the furniture we have with functional furniture, more vertical than horizontal, for this small space. If I had one proper entertainment stand for our small TV, we wouldn't need two DVD cases! One good desk with drawers could replace the filing boxes and our current desk, plus I could clear out the office supply drawer and put something else in there.

I will keep up with BebeTaian more frequently! I've been sidetracked by two jobs this year, but next year...

I will get a better job. One that doesn't pay $4.31 an hour. One that actually *pays our bills*, without me being constantly stressed over making ends meet and keeping the electricity on. It WILL happen! I'm already looking! I will schedule time daily to apply for jobs until this happens. I will continue working 2-3 jobs if I must to do it. I do not tire. I do not care. I do not quit. I will get what I want!

December 12, 2012

Lotions: the Good, the Bad, the Meh.

I use a lot of lotion. I work in a restaurant, and that means obsessive hand-washing... completely drying and cracking my hands. I probably wash my hands more than anyone else who works there. Part of it is standard health regulations, but part of it is working in a seafood restaurant and being allergic to shellfish! I've talked previously about being allergic to practically everything, and now it looks like I have even more to look out for. But these lotions have stood the test of time with me! And the rest...? Well, I tried.

Main issues:
- crappy skin. Hello, dryness! And on my face, oiliness!
- Allergies. To everything, apparently.
- I don't want to spend a lot of money on lotion, so it better be good if it's expensive!
- Dislike of strong scents and perfumes, especially artificial ones

So what have I tried? 

December 11, 2012

A Lack of "Real" Posts

These past few weeks have been hellish. My job has gone bottoms-up with the new managers/owners in place, so I'm being forced to work twice as much for less and less... meaning I have less time and energy for other, more fulfilling aspects of life, like running my Bebe Taian blog.

I am greatly looking forward to taking off of work this Friday to attend the Whole Foods craft festival, in order to benefit the local no-kill cat shelter! I've been preparing for it off and on this whole past week: making jewellery, getting sheets clean for the table coverings, looking for displays (I sold mine off a long while back), and getting inventory + pricing done.

I've also been running Perthro's Pagan Supplies, ordering new items to restock, shipping, listing new things, and destashing beads, yarns, and other supplies. That in itself is a full-time job! Plus, the last big thing this year: Christmas for my sprawling family and friends network. This means baking for a LOT of people, plus ordering, making, and mailing gifts. It's hard to keep up with everything during the last two months of the year. For this reason, I think I might take a vacation! If I have time, I'm happy to write, but if not, please try not to be disappointed.

Now, if you don't mind, I have to go sew some purses.

December 9, 2012

Anime Recommendations?

Here’s the short list of things I’ve liked. I’m not entirely sure what genres they’d be. Does anyone have any good anime/manga recommendations?
Angel Sanctuary
Cowboy Bebop
Witch Hunter Robin
Ergo Proxy
Samurai Champloo
Spiral (the Ring)
Digimon series 1 + 2

As you can see, I usually don’t care for romantic fluff, or boy/girl teenage relationship drama. I usually like cynicism, snark, explosions, and existential drama. I want to try some new things, though! I’ve just never been an avid anime person, that’s all… so knowing where to start, it’s like… ??? Onegai shimasu?

December 7, 2012

Kinyoubi Kimono 12

Previously, "My kimono collection."

12. The Evolution of My Kitsuke.

So embarrassing! Well, back in the early 2000s, there wasn't a whole lot of good info on kitsuke in English available, and there were very few sellers on places like Ebay with affordable kimono items. It took me awhile to get a basic set of things, like juban, socks and shoes that were more appropriate (since I didn't think anything of mofuku then, when wearing it in an American setting), and accessories like obiage/obijime. Those ran easily $20-30 each, or about what I paid for one kimono! And I really, really didn't have the money then. 

As I got older and read more, and with the advent of Youtube, I was able to learn more about proper wearing... and of course, getting a better job that allowed me to start buying more kimono items (greatly helped by my trip to Japan in HS), I was able to build a much better wardrobe. At first, it was hard to get over my initial OOH I WANT! shock, too, which inhibited my ability to carefully think out how things were sized, what repairs I could and couldn't do, and how I would wear it.

There are still finer points of kitsuke that I need to get down, like how to wrap the skirt so that it isn't too wide or too tight, and how to balance my figure. I have a very small bust, and very large hips. Rectangular clothing isn't so forgiving! But if I pad my waist, my body looks huge and wide compared to my head or limbs. So it's very difficult. Another reason I still stick to dark colours! Yabane and asa no ha are also my favourite patterns, not only because they are aesthetically pleasing, but because they help visually guide the eye up and down instead of side-to-side.

Overall, I'd say my ability to dress has not only improved because of practice, but largely because of wardrobe choices. Dressing in itself is not too difficult. Coordination and proper sizing is key!

Next: "My Special Kimono Memory."

December 6, 2012

Coveted Kimono: Spiders + Toads, Oh My!

This gorgeous kimono must have been made for someone very special! The details are incredible, even masterly. There is no doubt that this costs someone a fortune! And rightly so.

Spiders and toads are extremely unusual on women's clothing. I love the late Fall scheme (evidenced by golden and red momiji and gingko leaves). The toads look annoyed or bored- maybe the spider is stealing their lunch? After all, a toad only has one sticky tongue, while a spider has hundreds of threads to capture his meals. Perhaps they should just move away from each other.

The spider mostly blends into his surroundings, which is ideal for a spider to do. The inclusion of bright purples and olivey greens at the bottom make this outfit stand out even more, I think. It's the small details that make the overall image really 'pop'. Really, I can't think of anything that would make the image and feeling more perfect.

The construction itself appears to be a relatively recent make, due to its short sleeves and white interior. As for its length, it appears to be a standard kimono, which would be tied at the ankles, but it's done in a hikizuri fashion on the hakkake lining. Normally, modern kimono have a flat-colour panel at the bottom, but some higher-end ones (and many antique ones) will have the pattern from the outside dyed on the inside lining as well. Or perhaps this *was* a hikizuri for a particularly petite geiko. As I haven't seen the original listing, I cannot say for sure.

I wonder what obi someone would wear with this?

Maybe something repeating the scenes of falling orange leaves on a black background...

How is it that I'm so nostalgic over something I've rarely seen in my life?

December 5, 2012

1950s Erotica: Geisha Girls

More of where this trope about "geisha being prostitutes" comes from. In this case, the sentiment is immortalized in a 1950's erotica story called "Geisha Girls". Interestingly, the photos from the auction showed only white girls (or women that passed as white in black and white/sephia photos). Sadly, I didn't win the auction for it! I had hoped to transcribe it or scan the whole book and review it. Unfortunately, I have only the photos from the original auction.

The photos involve grainy sephia-toned female nudity, so if you are not of legal age in your country, please do not bother.

December 1, 2012

A Quick Palette Post

A quick palette post for December! Normally, I wear black all day, every day. There's a practical reason: everything matches everything else, and black is the uniform at work. I've been working 6 days a week recently. But my proposed kimono palette is much more bright! <3 It isn't particularly traditional; rather, it is my palette for 'every day fashion', but applied to kimono items I already have.

The major players in daily looks are various shades of camel, suede, leather, hemp- all natural tones. To pair with them, think purples, dusky winter sky blues, deep holly reds and greens, and a little bit of gold for style. Brown and black are both neutrals, so ignore the traditional advice of not mixing them! The trick is to mix them and look *good*. Think of black leather with tan stitching on your shoes, an olive green bag, a tan or purple kimono with red and that same green in the motifs, with just a hint of gold stitching! This is the way to play the colours together successfully. Play around with your 'dominant' colours.

Although, secretly, I may have been looking ahead to January already... Sparrow-browns, holly greens and reds, plum blossom red, deep winter purples and blues, and the ever-present gold stitching that I love... <3

Will you try it?