Can you believe that the last time I did one of these posts was in February? How long ago was that! Recently I asked you all what kind of posts you wanted to see, and some of you mentioned my ‘one item five ways‘ series… So I’m bringing sexy back and am focussing this post on my leopard print skirt.
I’ve been dying to create lots of outfits with this skirt for ages, and now that leopard print is back in fashion (yay!) it gives me more of an excuse to bring it out again. So, let’s take a look at these outfits, shall we?
If you said this to me a couple of months ago I would’ve looked at you, gobsmacked in disbelief. Hustle less and live more? Definitely not! I used to believe that good things come out of hard work – and in some instances it is true – but I took it all too seriously. I started to compare myself to more “successful” people and thought that I wasn’t good enough. ‘I had a breakdown’ was an understatement as I found myself crying in my sleep because of how ‘unsuccessful’ I was while I was on my second honeymoon in Amsterdam. Yep, on a holiday where things should’ve been super romantic and carefree.
I knew that I needed to change my mind-set about my life and the way I view the hustle as the toxic thing that it really is. Hustling has become an obsession in our society and I got caught up in it all. So here’s how I’m trying to hustle less and live more…
“What even is gyaru?” I hear people say whenever I tell them about this Japanese fashion. Sometimes I brush it off and say, “it’s just this Japanese fashion” and let them divulge at their own pace (usually they then follow it with “where you look like an anime doll?” which is very frustrating). Other times I hop onto Google for some inspiration to show them what I mean but then realise that I don’t look anything like the first few pictures of Black Diamond that pop up… And when I finally found one, the stranger has lost interest by then so I just put my phone away.
Okay, I fucked up, again. I allowed myself to get down in the dumps because my lil’ blog over here wasn’t get enough attention as I wanted it to. It got so bad that I was stressing myself out and just piling lots of things onto my to-do list, and my searches were filled with stuff like ‘how to grow your blog’ and ‘how to get more pageviews’. It was triggered when someone posted in a group “can you please help me grow my blog because I only get 200-300 pageviews a day?”.
People are right – comparison is the thief of joy and it stole all of my happiness right then. Gosh, I was so far away from that! What is wrong with my blog? Is it worth even blogging any more? I know I shouldn’t be moaning because people have different measurements of success, but it really got to me. I was lost focus of what I wanted to do because I was feeling so upset that I wasn’t good enough. Again.
That’s until I read ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller. I’m not really one for self-help books, but after finding it harder and harder to be multi-passionate, I decided to give this book a go. My mind was blown. My goals were back in focus and my dream future was becoming clearer.
After this I realised that I wasn’t ever going to become a full-time blogger. There were so many signs that I dismissed earlier that suddenly became crystal clear. Firstly, I never really had the time for blog events and attending blogger meet-ups weren’t really my thing unless I knew someone there. Secondly, I was secretly thankful that my inbox wasn’t flooded with sponsored emails. I just couldn’t write a sponsored/gifted post with the same enthusiasm as I would have if it was just a normal outfit post unless I truly believed in them. And thirdly, I couldn’t be bothered to learn about SEO. At the end of the day, I write posts because I wanted to, not to boost my rating or whatever.
What I do know, however, is that I do love blogging but only because it provides me a creative outlook to write down my thoughts. The more I tried to pressure myself to promote my blog and get it in front of people, the more stressed out I was. And that reflected badly on my writing. I even had to take a break from this blog (and this is my first post after said break) because I found myself crying to sleep as I lost sense of purpose. But I don’t really need a reasoning for blogging – doing it because I love it is a good enough reason.
I’m going to take it easy so that I can focus more my ‘One Thing’, which I know to be my art. It’s something that I’ve done my whole life and it’s been in the dark for too long. I want it to grow. I want to be known as a hand-letterer and be damn good at it.
So, I’m happy with just being a hobbyist blogger.
P.S. Are you a hobbyist blogger or do you do it full-time? Or are you somewhat in-between?
It’s a strange concept, isn’t it, the thought of an introverted gyaru? Gyaru are always portrayed as out-going and fun-loving in the media, but I’m so far away from that. It used to get me down quite a lot as I felt that my introverted nature meant that I wasn’t a “real gyaru”, but the older I got the less I cared. I just preferred to be in the comfort of my home with my husband and my cat than out partying, it’s as simple as that.
There seems to be quite a trend in finding one’s “niche”; whether that be in the blogging community or outside of it, people are always telling others that they should just stick to one thing and focus on that rather than be a Jill of all trades.
This really sucks for people like me who get easily bored. Sticking to just one thing isn’t possible. For me, life is like afternoon tea; it has many tiers filled with lots of sweet surprises. Are you really going to stick to just the one level – the sandwiches on the bottom – when you have this whole platter of cakes in front of you? To stick to just one passion, because that’s what people tell you to do?
Well I say screw that, I want to have my cake and eat it, too.
It was hard, though, because (like when eating afternoon tea) I did start to get a bit nauseous and tired and had to take a break for a while. But I began to learn when that’s about to happen and finally had a firm grip on exactly how to tackle each tier of cakes/passions. I’ve spent months trying to figure out the best way to handle my multi-passionate nature and took a lot of mental notes along the way until they finally found themselves in this blog posts.
One day I was driving along minding my own business when my ears pricked up at the sound of “the happiness menu”. It was on a podcast (maybe the Creative Pep Talk?) and they talked about it being a list of things that make you happy.
As much as I hate how saturated inspirational quote are, sometimes I can’t help but feel like they’re the only thing that can get me through a difficult day. It really is a love/hate relationship! There are a few quotes, however, that I can’t bring myself to hate no matter how hard I try. I call them my life mantras.
I know what you’re thinking – Is it even possible to feel lonely doing/being gyaru? Gyaru is, after all, a fashion, so how can you feel lonely by just wearing different clothes?
For me, gyaru is more than that. It’s what made me fall in love with Japan in general and accept my ‘kawaii’ side unapologetically. I don’t think I’d ever have the courage to use Rilakumma stationery at work if it wasn’t for gyaru (even though gyaru technically doesn’t have anything to do with it). Gyaru gives such a confidence boost, and the makeup is my war paint.
Sandals: New Look
Hat: Haven’t a clue
But it’s one thing dressing up and taking pictures in your gyaru gear vs actually going out and hanging out with other gyaru. To be surrounded by others to talk about things we’ve seen lately (like Sakurina’s new brand Riina Couture) or to help each other out in improving our style. Gyaru has always been a mainly internet-based style, and we tend to just communicate over FB/Twitter/Insta with the occasional gyaru meet here and there. I’ve always dreamed of the day that I could just hop over to a fellow gyaru’s house just for a casual hangout in our PJs and watching cheesy chic flicks rather than travel (what seems like) thousands of miles to see them.
So yes, being gyaru it is quite lonely.
If there was an easy way to feel less lonely then I’d be all over it. But in the meantime I’d say that the way to combat this loneliness is to just keep on being present, whether that’s on the internet or in the real world. Post those selfies, those outfit photos, and be effortlessly you in your style. Hell, start a blog! Get gyaru on the map but don’t feel disheartened if it doesn’t work out… As long as you’re having fun and not forcing yourself to be gyaru for gyaru’s sake, than that’s all that matters, right?
Do you ever feel lonely being/doing gyaru (or any other alternative fashions)?
The first thing I fell in love with when I first discovered gyaru was how easy it was to incorporate it into everyday life. Back then EGG magazine was huge, and it was all about wearing casual attire and amping it up with amazing hair and makeup. It was, all in all, pretty low maintenance but effortlessly gyaru, and I loved that.
A few years down the line it got more and more complicated to do. Straight hair wasn’t really done much and was replaced with elaborate curls and really exaggerated makeup. I would like to say that it wasn’t because of Black Diamond or of outside opinions, but it really was. People didn’t think of others as gyaru anymore unless they looked like they were out of Black Diamond or very dramatic in their style. The everyday gyaru died because we were pressurising everyone to look over-the-top.
I admit that I felt the same, too. I didn’t really think you were gyaru unless you had the full gyaru makeup on and styled hair. Wearing MA*RS with casual makeup? Erm, hell no! I started taking ages to get ready in the mornings and at one point it would take me 2 hours just to be dolled up to go to the cinema.
And it was such a waste of time.
I’ve learnt that time is of the essence as I got older, and I caught onto the ‘toning down’ trend. At first I hated it, but now I can’t get enough of it. It was almost as if we are going back to the older gyaru stages where we would wear ‘ordinary’ clothes and just lightly curled our hair and were called gyaru. And I love it.
It doesn’t matter if you are over-the-top or super-toned-down, all maintenances of gyaru is still gyaru. You can be gyaru with elaborate curls, but you can also be gyaru with straightened hair. You can be gyaru if you’re head-to-toe in brand but can also be gyaru with offbrand items. We have to be more accepting of the ‘casual’ styles in order for the gyaru community to grow bigger again. Make it easier to wear for other people, and more people will join.
What do you think? Would you class yourself as a high-maintence gyaru, or a low-maintence one? (I’m definitely a bit of both, but in this instance I am a very low-maintence gyaru!)
Aaaand I’m back with another ‘one item five ways‘ post! It’s been a while since I’ve last written one of these (nearly a year?) and I’m honestly ashamed of myself. But this year will be different! Call it the whole ‘new year, new me’ vibe that I’ve still got going, but I promise that I will do more of these this year.
Without further ado, this ‘one item five ways’ post will be focussed on this gorgeous white bejewelled hoodie from one of my favourite gyaru brands, DaTuRa. You can easily do any of the below outfits with just an ordinary white hoodie. So here goes!
When people talk about self-love and in “loving yourself” I always thought it meant a trip to the nearby city centre and shopping to your heart’s content. It’s something that I still think about (because you can’t deny that treating yourself to a new dress certainly lifts your mood) however nowadays, it’s something so much more. Loving yourself could be treating yourself to material goods, but it could also mean being happy with the things you’re doing.
The other day it suddenly hit me that I was going to turn 30 in a few years. 30. To me, my thirties would mean settling down in my own home, having a stable job and scariest of all… Children. I am not emotionally nor financially stable for any of that yet, and can’t even look after myself properly let another a mini version of myself. It’s absolutely terrifying, especially when it means that I would probably be too old for gyaru.
I never thought I would feel it, but I feel old – I can’t keep up with the cool kids anymore and it’s like I’m going through my gyaru granny stage. I wrote in a previous post that I feel like I’m becoming super boring and that I didn’t know what my personal style is anymore. This feeling then pushed me to look back at my old posts and I spent a couple of hours just picking out my favourite outfits. It sparked so many memories – like the time I was on the Hyper Japan catwalk for the very first time, when I did an elegant but rocky look, and when I first started getting into agejo. I have so many good memories of gyaru that I can’t let it go.
So I picked out a few of my favourite outfits and have showcased them below to remind myself that even though I might feel boring, I had a pretty damn good evolution. I’ve grown so much and even though right now I don’t see it, I know that I am more comfortable than I ever was. I’m so much happier.
One Sunday morning the UK woke up to a world of snow. It had been so long since I’ve seen snow that when I looked outside I was taken over by a childish wonder. No one had stepped out of their warm houses yet but I could sense the excitement building from the way that people were talking about it on social media that I couldn’t help but feel equally giddy to be out in the snow. It didn’t take much encouragement to decide that I wanted to be stereotypical and dress up so that we could take some outfit photos before it all melts away. About an hour later I was ready and feeling pretty, fully layered up in my Liz Lisa coat.
And for a moment, I forgot all of my troubles, and stepped out into the snow.