International Lolita Day Summer 2017: Twilight Carnivale

In complete honesty, I have never been quite fond of carnivals or the circus. My childhood saw the evolution of a somewhat irrational fear of clowns so my first thoughts of this summer’s International Lolita Day theme “Twilight Carnivale” did not initially illicit the warm fuzzy feelings I usually get when thinking about frilly meet ups and tasty tea time. I couldn’t help but laugh at my own silly reaction (I doubt there has ever been a scary clown print. Come on, Izzy!) and seconds later I was filled with excitement and eagerness to get a coordinate together for the event. It wouldn’t be until the very night before that I would settle for a chocolate-themed outfit centered around Angelic Pretty’s Wonder Party JSK.

My coordinate for ILD summer 2017 featuring AP’s Wonder Party JSK. 

The ticketed event was hosted by the Central Florida Lolita Society featuring Truly Darling Boutique at The Event Factory in Tampa, Florida. Every guest was presented with a small gift bag, raffle/carnival games tickets, and an adorable plush hamster key chain before entering. To say that the venue felt like stepping into a fantastical land would be an understatement. Soft twinkling lights adorned decorative trees while a castle backdrop provided a gorgeous setting for pictures within the main tea party room.


Located in the main space, as well, was the sales booth showcasing second-hand lolita items provided by special guest vendor, Wunderwelt. VIP ticket holders were allowed into the venue twenty minutes early for first picks of the shop, but there were still plenty of items to peruse through once it opened to general ticket holders. Soon, the sales booth was teeming with impressively dressed lolitas trying to squish their petticoats past each other for a look at the frills.  I managed to snatch exactly what I was hoping to find: a nice princess-sleeved blouse. One can never have enough blouses to fluff up a wardrobe.

As a lover of all things tea related, I am always in the mood for a good old-fashioned cup of tea accompanied by finger sandwiches and scones. However, I did not complain when I saw the unconventional yet deliciously inviting food that was being served. In accordance to the theme, carnival style fare such as mini hot-dogs and burgers, mac n’ cheese, popcorn, peanuts, and cotton candy made me feel like a kid trying every treat at a midway fair. Thankfully for the traditionalist part in me, pots of tea were all the same in attendance at each table.

Set up just outside the main room were carnival-style games where guests could win extra tickets for the raffle held just after tea. Attendees were given three carnival tickets at the start of the event which could be traded for a try at the games. “Popcorn bucket beer pong”, as many of us jokingly called it, was one where guests had three tries to get a ping-pong ball in the correct popcorn bucket containing an extra raffle ticket. Another game tested guest’s luck by having them choose the floating rubber duck with a specific number written on the bottom. My my favorite game, however, was “pin the bow on the gator mascot”. A very talented community member painted our Central Florida Lolita Society alligator-with-a-bow mascot and guests were asked to spin and blindly pin the bow on the gator. Certainly a fun sight, but my lack of coordination and clumsiness would have probably left me on the floor after a few spins. The raffle prizes were plentiful and ranged from cute stationary to OTKs, hair bows, brand novelty items, and even bags and dresses. A coordinate contest was also held and three lovely participants won their own set of gift for their spectacular outfits.

Definitely one of the more exciting aspects of the event came from the newest addition to Truly Darling’s original prints. My disdain for carnivals and circuses melted immediately when I saw how adorable their new Tiny Cat Circus print is. The series is very reminiscent of ring leader jackets with pretty gold trimming on the bodice and adorable circus cats adorning the skirt. The large bow on the side of the dress caught my attention as it brought such elegance to the dresses. Truly Darling had both the OP and JSK along with an enchantingly quirky moon-faced bag up for reserve at the event.  The series is available for reserve on their website from June 3rd to June 24th. I will link their shop down below.

The three hour ILD event flew by and I didn’t want to say goodbye to my frilly friends. In the midst of negative attention that had recently befallen our community, I openly invited this time to catch up with friends and appreciate all the hard work done by so many members of our comm. There will always be moments of turmoil and drama, but at the end of it all we always seem to come back to what matters the most: friends doing what makes them happy and sharing that happiness with each other. It would be naive to think that everything will always be rainbows and lollipops, but I am ever grateful to have met and continue to meet so many great people through this shared hobby. I know how much trust means to so many members of our group and although I joined a mere two-and-a-half years ago, I have enjoyed my time spent with my fellow lolitas and wish to see this community continue to flourish.


Group photo courtesy of Michael Stanley.

Truly Darling Boutique Storenvy

Truly Darling Boutique Facebook

The Event Factory website




Valentine’s Tea hosted by Truly Darling


Valentine’s coordinate with Wonder Party JSK in brown by Angelic Pretty

There is something soothing about the sound of spoons softly clinking against the inside of a tea cup or the delicate smell of hot tea floating through the air. As I stepped into the lovely gift shop at the entrance of The Empress Tea Room in Tampa, Florida, I let those familiar sounds and smells quell my ever present anxiety. A few of my fellow lolitas had already arrived and I couldn’t help but marvel at everyone’s adorable outfits before noticing the buzz of multiple conversations coming from the dining area. It was a full house and I was excited to get my hands on some tea and finger sandwiches.

Upon sitting at our table, each lolita in attendance was gifted a box of chocolates, a card featuring Truly Darling’s new print “Aurora Valentine”, and a Truly Darling unicorn necklace. This was my first time at The Empress Tea Room although the local comm has been hosting meet ups there for approximately 9 years. The entire staff was absolutely delightful and attended to our every need, making sure our tea pots and tummies were satisfyingly full. Pomegranate mimosa awaited those of us twenty-one and over as a special treat courtesy of The Empress Tea Room (have I already mentioned they are so nice??). My favorite part of the tea experience was definitely the delectable scones with fresh Devonshire cream and the large chocolate covered strawberry.

Truly Darling’s collaborating designers and hostesses of our meet-up stirred an obvious buzz of excitement with their three new series. Featured above is the OP version of Aurora Valentine with its celestial gradient shades, delicate lace lined sleeves, and depictions of adorable cherubs as the border print. The elegant gold trim on the collar and detailed cuffs called out to me and I held back the urge to grab the entire dress form by the waist and run off with it. Thankfully, I suppressed all criminal intent to make away with the dress and returned to admiring the unmissable effort put into the details of this classical print.

Anyone close to me can agree that I have a weakness for cute pastel things and this particular weakness is why Truly Darling’s new Sweet Animal Cafe print had me squealing in delight the moment I laid my eyes on it. Modeled by Truly Darling’s very own co-designer, Rosie Darling, these pictures showcase the OP version of Sweet Animal Cafe in all its adorable pastel glory. The bow in the picture above is an Angelic Pretty bow placed upon the dress’ matching head piece. I was informed that the head piece was not complete yet but would be in time for the print’s release. The dress features sweet animal shaped desserts such as puppy doughnuts and kitty macarons. If that doesn’t scream “ultimate sweet lolita wonderland” then I don’t know what does!

Lastly, the duo unveiled a both lovely and unexpected surprise. For the lifestyle lolitas out there or for anyone who wants to incorporate a cute aesthetic into their daily lives, Truly Darling will be selling sleepwear not devoid of elegance while keeping comfort in mind. Above are pictures of the light pink and lavender models of the sleepwear series appropriately named Sweet Dreamers. The sheer fabric of both nighties was so soft and both the square and heart versions of the matching bags were made of a plush material that made me want to never stop touching them.

As a cherry on top for the event, the hostesses had an array of lucky packs available for sale. I got the accessories pack and received a pair of ultra sweet mint/pink/white OTKs, a much needed mint hair bow that I do not doubt I will be using very soon, a beautiful pastel pink rosette with lace detailing, and a fuzzy pink heart clip I will shamelessly add to my arsenal of cute accessories. Other lolitas who bought the larger lucky packs were surprised with JSKs of varying brands and accessories to match. I have also included a closer look at the gorgeous necklace that I cannot wait to pair with Crystal Dream Carnival!

I am quite sad to think that this might have been my last tea meet-up before my husband and I pack up and start our lives in Norway. I am happy, however, that I got to spend a wonderful afternoon enjoying the company of friends and delicious food served by The Empress Tea Room. If you wish to learn more about Truly Darling’s brand and other services I will include their social media links below!

Truly Darling Boutique facebook page:

Truly Darling storenvy:

Thank you for reading!