Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Fancy Lolita Tea Time - Ritz Carlton

This month's meet was pretty exciting, since we finally managed to get the majority of the group to have afternoon tea at the DEQ restaurant located inside the Ritz Carlton hotel. I had to book quite early in advance to secure the booking for a party of 11. They were very accommodating with my requests as I initially booked for 8 people but asked if we could change it to 11 people about 2 weeks prior to the date. I think partially because the manager e-mailed me asking me if I could change our reservation time from 12pm to 2pm because there was a private event happening and they could not set up in time for afternoon tea. If anything, it worked out for most of us, as it gave us more time to get ready!

Photo credit: Ritz Carlton
The nice thing about the Ritz is that their afternoon tea menu changes every month or two. The theme for the month of August was Japanese high tea. I know previously in May, it was maple themed and I just saw that for September and October, it's a Gatsby themed tea set. It's nice that you can return and have something unique every time you go. 

This was our menu for our experience at the Ritz.

Wasabi mayo, pickled radish, romaine, flaky croissant
Pineapple, cucumber, mirin cured raisins, micro greens
Panko crusted chicken, candied plum relish, avocado, citrus mayo, sesame sliders
Roasted red peppers, spiced Japanese eggplant, crispy shallots
Broccoli and cheddar quiche
Pistachio Strawberry shortcake
Yuzu lemon tart
Matcha sables
Mango crème choux
Sweet plum pound cake
Freshly Baked Raisin Scones
Devonshire cream
Tea or Coffee

Our group had a nice alcove to ourselves in the restaurant and there was a fireplace where we were sitting. It provided great ambience but having the warmth of the fire in mid August was a bit odd. I think most of the girls were not deterred by this fact since the air conditioning was abundant and we got lucky with the some cooler weather that day. 

Tea selection
The Ritz serves Sloane tea for their tea sets and if I recall correctly, they had swapped out a Darjeeling for a Japanese Sencha for the month since it was more appropriate for the theme. Sloane tea is a Toronto based tea company and it's nice to know that they're supporting local businesses.

There was no time limit to our seating at the Ritz, it seemed that they normally allotted 3 hours for each seating, but they never mentioned a time limit to me when I made the reservation and there was never a sense that they wanted to rush us.

Each person was given their one pot of tea and the table was covered in teapots. Be mindful that the teapots are quite large and heavy. The tables had milk and sugar packets for your tea and a small jars of honey, jam and Devonshire cream for the scones.

We were served quiches that were served on a plate and they brought out the savory items on the tiered stands. It was hard to photograph the items on the stands and I hoped that they would give us the thinner frame stand for our food. I noticed that the Ritz has a variety of stands and some are quite unique looking. The table of two that was near us had a stand comprised of stacked cubes.

My favourite savory item was the smoked salmon croissant with the wasabi mayo. I wish I could have eaten more! A lot of locations in the United Kingdom offer refills of savory or sweet items, however it doesn't seem to be commonplace here in Toronto. I would have ate more of those croissants and taken home some of my sweet items.

Sweets time!
They served the dessert tiers after we were done with the savory and mine was brought out on a separate plate for my chocolate allergy request. There weren't too many differences with mine and the food items that everyone else had except that the chocolate topping pieces were either taken away or substituted with fruit.

One of the things that was brought to my attention was the large amount of sugar on the matcha cookies, I barely noticed it on mine since there was not much sugar, but Whitefrosty was scrapping the sugar off and she had a small mountain on her plate when I looked over.

I enjoyed the yuzu tart the most and I learned that it was less sweet compared to the version with the white chocolate topping. My sister said that she could taste the yuzu better in my tart when I let her try a bit of mine.

The normal desserts and my special non-chocolate versions of them. 

The raisin scones had a dense cake texture to them and were very filling. They weren't very large but eating one was definitely enough to send you into a food coma. I prefer my scones to be fluffy and lighter.

Overall I had a really pleasant experience at the Ritz for afternoon tea. The food was very good and we were provided with excellent service. They took into consideration all the accommodation requests that I asked for. I wish that we could have been seated at a normal table rather than the coffee tables that were in our alcove. I found that it was harder to eat and the couches were too comfortable. I think a few of us had started to melt into the couches after we finished eating since we were so full!

If you're looking to come here with a larger group of 8, it is best to book at least 3-4 weeks in advance, especially during the summer season. For a large group you will be sent an email and form to fill out with your personal and credit card information. It is a disclaimer and also a contract to advise you if you were to cancel within however many hours notice how much the Ritz would charge you for cancellation fees. As long as you contact them prior to that, any cancellation will not incur you any charges or fees.

For this meet I wore Metamorphose's Swan Lake.

Some photos from this post are courtesy of Kimi and Archangeli. Thank you!

Until our next adventure~
Stay fancy!

That fireplace!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Lolita Closet - Bodyline Nostalgia Waloli Set (L051)

One of the more interesting sets I have in my closet is from Bodyline. It was the first Japanese lolita-esque item I ever bought on my first trip to Japan with my family back in 2008. I remember going to Harajuku and seeing Bodyline and thought some of the sets and prints were very cute and affordable. At that point in time, I wanted the set more to wear at a convention and never thought I would start collecting and wearing lolita. This is the Nostalgia Waloli set (L051) that retails for 4999 yen.

Waloli set from Bodyline
I remember going into Bodyline and trying to try on the top in store. After some miscommunication and sign language, I realized that they don't allow customers to try on their clothes in the store. I also realized it was one size, but I remember the shop girl giving me a thumbs up saying it would fit me...haha! 

There's three components to this outfit set. The top, the skirt and the waist piece. I chose this waloli set because I liked the blossom pattern on the fabric and thought it was a nice budget piece. The top is a one size fit and quite loose on me. There are some ties around the waist area on the front panels to secure it in place and to get that 'Y' on the front of the top. The way that the ties are built in, it's impossible to not put it on correctly. The front panels are lined with some black cotton lace and is on the collar as well.

Back photo
The sleeves have fully finished seams, so you can hide some items in them without anything falling out. I think I put some random things in my sleeves, like coins or some tissue, when I wore this outfit to a convention. 

The skirt has an elastic waist and does not give too much. You could probably replace the elastic if it is too tight, but it was alright for me. It consists of a black ruffled under layer and has two asymmetrical cut pieces of the blossom fabric which is all sewn together at the waist band.

I could never figure out if I should tuck in the top into the skirt and then place the waist belt on top, but I remember thinking it didn't look quite right, and even on the promotional pictures on Bodyline's site, it had the bottom portion of the top sitting on top of the skirt. I had habit of tucking in the bottom corners of the front panels into the front of my skirt, just to help give some volume to the skirt and visual interest. I don't think it matters that much, considering the fabric really blends in on itself. How you wear it and whether you tuck it in or not is all up to your own preference.

Butterfly bow
The waist bow is pre-constructed and looks more like a butterfly than a traditional obi bow. It is made of the same black cotton fabric with interfacing to help reinforce it to keep it's shape. The whole back panel of the waist belt is shirred, and the way you put it on is with a zipper fixture on the side. There are two decorative ties that go all the way around the belt, and are adjustable.

I was lucky on my trip since I managed to find some cute zori shoes in a shop called Geta-ya in Asakusa. They were out in the front of the store on display for sale and I remember thinking, they might match this outfit! I had to make my own black tabi socks to go with this outfit when I did wear it since I couldn't find any black ones in Japan.

I hope you thought this blog post was interesting and you liked this feature. It's not a common choice for someone to have a set like this in their lolita closet and it leans more towards a costume piece rather than a fashion piece. However, I still consider it something unique and combines that fusion between tradition and unconventional fashion from Japan.

Until next time!
Stay fancy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Lolita Closet - Metamorphose Swan Lake OP

It has been a very long time since I have updated with a closet post. I was going through my flickr, and I realized I had prepped photos for future closet posts but never got to them. Now that I have more time and a focus for blogging, I'll start posting more items that I've acquired and added to my lolita closet in the past few years. 

Let's go back to one of the first few lolita items I ever purchased, Metamorphose's Swan Lake OP dress in off white. They originally released this series in 2008 and is one of the more iconic Meta prints out there. It's a classic and I'm sad that I don't get to wear this print more often. 

Metamorphose Swan Lake
 I originally bought this print when I was on a trip to Japan and unfortunately, the collar that came with the dress was missing when I purchased it. I prefer it without the collar, but it would still be nice to have it to complete the set.

Close up of the front
There are a lot of details to go over in this dress and it is very versatile. Meta made it so that the sleeves, bows, waist ties were removable on this dress. When the sleeves are attached, they're too short for me, so I prefer to wear it without the sleeves. The dress is made from a soft cotton material and has a quarter-panel of shirring on the back. There is a side zipper to help you to get into the dress. I'm almost 5'7" and this dress is high waisted on me just because of my height.  

There is some lovely gathering designs on the front of the dress that continue in to the back. It features some ruffles made from the fabric of the print and some sea green tulle that is also part of the colour palette that is seen on the trees and castles in the main print.

The collar and sleeves are white while the rest of the dress is an off-white beige color. It's something I found strange in the overall design, but it's a matter of personal taste. Since the swans are white, it helps add balance to the overall design.

The overall print has stars, moons, crowns and small carriages featured throughout and the main motif of the print has many swans swimming in the lake and has carriages approaching the lake shore. I love how they carefully cut the the waist ties to show a prominent part of the print as opposed to the side seams on the dress, where they cut off the print where some of the swans were and they didn't make a conscious decision to keep the continuity of the print. The cotton lace on the hem is plain and there is nothing very remarkable about it.

Back of the dress
 The waist ties are attached by two shank buttons on each side and are a good width to make a full back bow. The dress has a built in layer of thick tulle to add some poof to the bottom of the dress. It helps add some fullness, but I would still wear it with a petticoat underneath.
This dress is one of my more treasured ones in my closet. It brings back fond memories of my trips to Japan and how it led me into this hobby. There is something so simple and charming about this print and the theme is very romantic.

I hope you enjoyed this closet feature, until next time!
Stay fancy!