Sunday, June 9, 2013

My body, the soy addict.

Early January I discovered a lump in my breast.
This alarmed me, but I was aware that lumps can appear depending on your cycle, so I decided to wait a month and then go to the doctor.
I took my first trip to the doctor in February, the lump was still there, but no apparent discomfort. Knowing the story of a couple breast cancer survivors, I was quite concerned, but I'm lucky enough to be able to say that it's just a cyst. I have to return once every 3 months for a check up though, to see that there are no strange developments.

Apparently getting cysts in your breasts (and other parts of your body), is quite a common thing to occur, but I do want to stress that if you find any lump that wasn't there before, to go to the doctor as soon as possible to get it checked out!

You might think, what do breast cysts and the post title have in common? Well, I didn't only have a cyst, but I would also have really sore breasts for the first couple of months of this year.
I've had it before, but not as bad, and there was only relief the first week after my menstruation. If you don't have breasts, you probably won't know how painful that can be. They were, essentially, two painful, bruised, even a little swollen, little bags attached to my chest. Running hurts, sleeping on whatever side hurts, jumping hurts, bending over hurts. Practically everything that causes a shift in boobs hurts.

Because a pregnancy would be an event of biblical proportions (but hey, I might just be the new Mary, you never know!), I figured that there must be a different cause. I took a look at my diet, and it became pretty clear. Let me just give you an example:

Breakfast: Cereal with soy milk
Lunch: Bread with soy containing spreads
Dinner: Soy containing meat replacements
Dessert: Soy custard

Well look who's getting a soy overdose! Oh no! I never really paid that much attention to how much soy products I actually consumed, but it was a lot! And let Soy have plenty of "Phytoestrogens" which act just like our body own estrogen. Your body actually thinks it's your body own estrogen! This doesn't mean that eating soy products is bad per se, phytoestrogens may actually be beneficial for your health. But all in moderation, ofcourse. It may have caused the cyst, there's no true way to determine that, but I'm almost 100% sure that it caused my breast pain.

So I decided to cut out soy products as much as possible, there were some quick changes, and some slow changes. The biggest change was my skin. I broke out in my face and my psoriasis on my elbows flared up. After a couple months both are starting to settle, one elbow is quite soft again and my face is clearing up. May was the first month where I didn't have tender breasts for 3 weeks straight, but my menstrual cycle is a little more irregular than it was. I'm hoping all will go back to normal, but I'd rather have a couple pimples than being unable to do anything due to sore breasts.

The hardest part, however, is kicking off of soy. I try to stay away from dairy as much as possible, and over here there are no dessert alternative that doesn't contain soy. So now we make it at home, after trying many different milks. I've decided that I like almond the best, and homemade almond dessert is so much better than store bough soy dessert. It's a lot less convenient though, and I do have to admit that I miss tofu a whole lot.

So if you consume a lot of soy products, like I did, please keep an eye on the effect it may have on your body!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Shopping Service Review + Frills and New Panty Print Preview!

I've been meaning to wear lolita again for a long time, and I had to pass on quite a few lolita meets due to being really busy with Lockshop. A bit of a shame, but I'm not complaining that I got too much work! These past weeks I've been moving my store to an office that's in the same building as where I live. It's perfect for pictures and I've got a lot of space for my store!

The moving is almost finished, and I'm almost ready to use the picture part of the office. It's not a studio at all, but I don't need one at this point. Big windows for plenty of daylight and an empty wall (to mount colored plates on!) is enough for now :D So I took advantage of the situation and dressed up in some new things I recently got!

Which brings me to the first part of this post, I will review a Japan in-store and online (auction too!) shopping service! It's run by a girl called Lisa, also known as Rosaire, and you might have heard about her service already. There was a "bit" of drama in the online communities where her service (and herself!) was put into bad light by a few people, and she has been harassed by at least one person since. While I want to stay away from the drama and I'm not going to point fingers, I have only positive things to say about her service.

I've used her service for the first time for the winter sale on Baby the Stars Shine Bright,
because I was afraid I was going to miss out on ordering when everything would go up for sale,
I contacted Lisa through Facebook PM if she could purchase a few things for me. I knew it was going to be crazy, so I paid a deposit for 4 items (2 colors of 2 items) and she managed to snatch one color of each item for me! After that she quickly refunded me for the other 2 items she couldn't get.
She kept me up to date on the status of the order and shipped everything out in a timely manner.
When I received my order everything was packed securely and even included a little gift! :D

Since the first order, I've used her service again. Compared to services like Japonica or FromJapan, I find it a lot easier to place an order with her, and she can actually go in store to purchase something.
She's quick with communication, but if you want to use her service make sure to read her terms carefully to avoid surprises! Sometimes she can't ship packages out quickly, and she won't be able to
refund deposits if you back out, for example.

Overall I would give Lisa's Shopping Service two thumbs up and really recommend it!

On to the pictures! I'm wearing the dress and blouse that Lisa managed to get me:

 I'm absolutely in love with the blouse, I think it's very elegant
and the detachable ribbons that tie in the back of your neck is a beautiful
alternative if you still want to cover up, but don't like collars!

The dress is a beautiful staple piece, it doesn't
actually come with the red clip, it's completely black!
It has lots of frills, lace and bows and I think it's a very versatile
dress, so I'm super happy to have it!

As you can see, I'm also wearing new tights! These are sample pieces that I got from the latest print that I'm working on. It needs some adjustment, and will be printed on completely different material soon, because if it stretches it will get lighter due to the light material that it's printed on. 
I hope that that issue will be able to be resolved, becauseI cannot wait to properly wear them myself! 
I used different painting from Dutch masters during the Golden Era, between all the beautiful flowers and riches are the hanged bodies of the Brethren de Witt. It was one of the most gruesome mob lynches known to Dutch history and it's to illustrate the (ongoing) duality. The Golden Era was an era of abundance for my country, and has been glorified by many while the atrocities are often forgotten. I found this an interesting concept, especially when worn along with the beautiful lolita garments.
Hiding brutality in plain sight by placing it together with beauty.

I hope the last part made sense, it was difficult for me to translate the idea behind it. Maybe I will devote more words to it later :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December Taobao Shopping, Pastels and Black!

In the Lockshop pictures that I take for the website, I wear mainly clothing that I wouldn't wear in real life, and I'm starting to build up quite a collection of things I got just for the pictures.
I decided early, when Lockshop was still in diapers so to speak, that I would get the clothing from Taobao so that I would save money even though I might buy knockoffs (which I'm sure are 99% of the things that I got). So hopefully it's not too bad for my karma, but you have to cut corners on things (and seeing as one of the shirts in this haul is priced at about €70 retail..).

I've been purchasing indirectly from Taobao for a while now, it started off with Lolita, but some of my most favorite staple pieces (like shorts and tights!) have come from them, and while some can be hit or miss, there are items of nice quality :)

So here is my December haul! I actually ordered this in early November, thinking I could use the clothing for the last Lockshop pictures, but alas. The different shopping service wasn't as fast as I expected (more on that further in the post!). I will do a brief review on each item!

From Taobao seller Queencity, a pair of creepers and holographic glasses (now sold out).
I didn't walk very far on the shoes yet, but they seem sturdy and the soles are good. On the inside and the bottom of the soles they are branded with Queencity. They came with 2 extra shoelaces and they didn't smell too bad for shoes directly from China :)

The glasses have a bit of a flaw, and aren't exactly straight, but they were about €2 so I'm not going to complain.

Harness and choker by Unicorns Shop. I'm not very satsfied with these, however at the same time I didn't pay a lot for them. They seem quite flimsy, the choker isn't finished very well and I think I'd rather save up for a better quality and more expensive set if I would wear it more often.

"Dazzlin" cat shirt. It seems like the seller's store is closed in preparation for Chinese new year, it automatically redirects me so I can't link to it either I'm afraid! However it seems like these shirts are dime a dozen. This shirt was about €4, and looks actually surprisingly well made for the price.
I thought the print was super cute, it reminds me of my kitty Boo :)

Little Bitch chiffon sleeve shirt. From the same seller as above, was also about €4 and seems nice quality too. Doesn't have a tag unlike the previous shirt.

"Snidel" cat shirt. I don't know if this actually a Snidel design, or that they put tags with random information in Japanese on them. If it's not a random tag then the original shirt was over €100, which I doubt. Anyway, this shirt is really lovely. The quality is great and the print is very good too.

"Candy WRL" shirt. This is not a girly fit, but more of a small armed men fit. I actually like that the sleeves are not very big, that way it can be worn underneath cardigans and such without looking strange. It doesn't have a tag or label, but it does have Engrish. The quality of this is also pretty good!

Toxic cupcake kitty ear sweater. Oops, I accidentally deleted the full picture, so you will have to make do with a borrowed one. This is also from the closed store, I didn't try it on yet so I cannot comment on the length of the dress/sleeves yet. But it's looks pretty sturdy, like all the other shirts no loose threads or anything. The print is nice too! Especially nice since it was about €9.

And last but not least, a black seifuku. I got this one in size M, everything except the sleeves fit pretty well considering I'm 5'10" and not small and cute :) However everything looked longer on the stock picture, so I guess I got lucky that I ordered a size up. Like all long sleeved things from China (or Europe), it's short for my arms, but if you're not as tall as I am it shouldn't be such a problem :)

The overall construction is nice, the materials are sturdy and there is not a zipper in the front (like Bodyline has), but on the side. However the material of the tie is very thin and shiny. I don't know what material the ties of real seifuku are, but probably not this. It has a few lose threads here and there, but no major flaws and I'm really happy with it considering the price!

And before I forget, I want to get back about the shopping service.
I used Taobaoring, but usually I use Taobaospree. The reason I switched is because
I heard amazing things about Taobaoring and their shopping cart system is oh so convenient.
While I still think their shopping cart system absolutely rocks, and the service is not bad, they were quite slow, more slow than what I'm used to from Taobaospree. So in the future I might sometimes use them again, if I feel lazy and don't want to fill things out, but I prefer the service of Taobaospree.

Hope this was somewhat useful! I found most of these items by searching for "zipper", "katie" or "amo" on Taobao!

Hope you have great holidays! <3

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Funky fashion finds at Taobao

Since I've had a bad experience with Romwe, and since they get everything off Taobao anyway (or atleast it's easily findable at about half the price!), I've decided to check Taobao for a few funky fashion pieces and share them with you! I might actually try to dig up a few Romwe vs Taobao finds if there's interest in them!

First of all, I try to avoid replicas as much as possible (for instance I adore BOY London, but it's available and easy to purchase despite the price of the garments, so I don't purchase them). However some items are of very limited release/difficult to purchase/sold out forever/previous season and no way to buy them legit... then yes I might try to get a knockoff from Taobao if I really love the design or need it for pictures for my store! So it might just be that you find a few in this list! Just a warning :) I'm not going to redirect you to knockoffs from easily purchasable popular brands though!

First off, a cool store I found randomly: Umeyon
Small store with not a lot of sales or items yet, but they have some weird and quirky stuff.

I'm quite sure I've seen this at Romwe too!

Yeikyung is a store that has a lot of accessories like clips and pins, hats (devil beanies anyone?) and socks! Also has clothing items too, but my favorites are the cool pins!

I've got one of these in purple, super cute!

KS Style has a lot of galaxy print items, wich.. are a bit overdone.. however! There are also some really interesting other things!

A matching jacket for the barking dogs shirt for instance:

An this is what initially attracted my attention:

And I bought and exact same collar from Romwe for at least 5 times this price:

RNSCREW - Devil hats, studded leggings, galaxy sweaters and batman shirts. Oh and don't forget the crosses!

Okay, okay, the glasses are really cheesy, but at about 3$ you can't complain about that!
That's it for now, I'm super tired because I'm a bit sickly, but this is really fun to do so I will do this more often! You can suggest a theme in the comments and I'll search through Taobao for stuff that fit it!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

About skincare! Things everyone knows already..

I get many questions on how I get such nice skin, and if I can share my secret!
Well, I have to admit that at 22, I'm quite wrinkle free especially compared to people of the same age (or younger!) and I have relatively few skin issues to deal with, but I don't really have a secret.

Except, maybe, that less is more and it's mainly on how you treat your body and less about what to put on your face. Simply put: You don't need all those expensive wonder treatments, unless they're actually prescribed by a doctor and you have a legit medical condition that causes your skin issues.
If you have something like that, then this post might not be something for you, but you could still see if it works for you. Either way, I'm not promising any miracles, just sharing what I do!

Let's start off with how I learned about skincare the hard way!
When I started working as a model I got some advice on how to properly care for your skin. You should use these products, scrub your face with this, use these masks and so on.
So as a starting model I took that advice very serious, why would they give bad advice to someone that makes a living off their face? Good question, probably the same reason why they try to market products you don't need to everyone else too; money.

So after following the advice for maybe 2 weeks (could have been a bit more) and spending too much on expensive skincare products I started to get really bad issues. Not only did I break out like crazy,
my skin also started to flake and I developed sore spots on the places where the flaking started and it was even bleeding at one point. Needless to say, it wasn't really a pretty sight and I immediately quit using the products. Sadly, that didn't solve the problem straight away, my skin remained painful and sensitive for quite a long time afterwards, but thanks to a very helpful drugstore worker I managed to get it under control.

So here are my most important points to keep my skin soft, flaw free and wrinkle free (for now :D ): 

Your skin is your body's largest organ, so your eating habits will most likely reflect on your skin's condition. Changing your eating habits can have a big influence on skin problems, and it's probably one of the cheapest ways to do it! If you don't believe it, read this message I got from a follower on Tumblr! It really was an amazing message to read and inspired me to write about it!

A healthy diet has always been really important for me, it's key to staying healthy yourself!
However that doesn't mean that I never indulge in things like sweets or "bad" food, it's all about moderation and with severely restricting yourself on that point will only make the cravings for those foods worse.

One of the bigger changes in my diet was about 10 years ago, when I started to completely cut out meat from my diet. Since that was around the start of puberty I cannot say if that made any change in my skin, however I never had big issues with my skin and it was one or two pimples at the most when puberty hit the hardest. But a more recent change in diet did improve my skin a lot!
I found out that I'm lactose intolerant, so I slowly changed from eating a lot of dairy products, to replacing the main ones with soy (and now almond!) products! It took a while to get used to it, but now I love it

Going vegetarian (and cutting out dairy) might sound extreme, so here are some less extreme ways to improve your diet and thus your skin!

Cut out sugars as much as possible:
While chocolate might not cause pimples, sugar surely can attribute to breaking out! When I get a pimple, it's most likely caused because I pigged out and got high fat, high sugar cheapo chocolate. Try to avoid high sugar beverages and candy, go for a healthier, more natural and preferably organic alternative. Even better, try Stevia as a natural and healthy sweetener (don't go for artificial sweeteners as they are bad for you!), they even have chocolate with it

More fruit:
Craving sugar? Better choose fruit! Vitamins and antioxidants in fruit are good for your body, and that means that they're good for your skin too!

Less meat, but more vegetables:
So going vegetarian might be too extreme for you, we humans don't need meat everyday!
You might want to think about having at least one meat free day (preferably more of course),
and increase the amount of veggies in your diet. They're healthy and delicious!
If you choose to eat meat, consider buying organic, so you don't "pollute" your system (and thus your skin) with the artificial hormones and other horrible things that get injected in the animals to make them grow big & juicy faster! Plus the animals will have had a better life :)

Organic (fake) dairy:
What I said about going organic with your meat, might also be a good idea for your dairy!
But even better, exchange the milk you put in your cereal in the morning with soy, or almond milk.
While a glass of soy milk is not too great tasting (even for me after such a long time), you get easily used to replacing it for your cereal! There are also great tasting soy deserts for custard!

I can be really short on this... stress is bad for your skin!

If you lead a stressful life and have bad skin, then that might be one of the things that cause it.
Whenever I travel for work, I'm under a great amount of stress and there's a good chance that that will show the next day! But in the current age, it's difficult to get away from stress or to avoid it.
A good way to get rid of it is yoga practices, this can be even simple breathing exercises you can do while in the train or plane if you're really short on time. 

Some people get rid of stress by smoking or (excessive) drinking, and especially smoking will do a lot of damage for your skin. However I have no personal experience with smoking, and going out for a drink never made me break out, so this is just the "you're going to get wrinkles from this and probably lung cancer from the smoking" reminder!

Skincare & routine:
Finally, about the actual "care" part of this post! Now I will let you in on all my evil secrets to a baby's bottom smooth skin ψ(`∇´)ψ

My routine is really, really simple. Mainly because using the regular everyday recommended skincare stuff, is quite harsh for your skin and the chemicals will strip it from beneficial oils and protection for example! Which leads you to buying more products you really don't need otherwise, to replenish them with chemical crap to make up for the damage they did. Well, to be fair, they do need to make money off us somehow!

What I do every day to keep my skin clear & soft is:
I wake up, take a shower. During the shower I wash my face with the water, but not a hand towel or anything scrub-y. After that, I use a perfume free, paraben free moisturizer for sensitive skin.

That's it! Now it might sound a bit gross if you're not used to this "Eww, how can she properly clean her skin like this! What about dead skin cells? No soap???", but if you don't use a whole lot of make-up it's pretty much all you should have to do! Of course, if I wore make-up that day I will remove it before I go to bed or not need to wear it anymore, and I will do that, once again with a perfume and paraben free make-up remover! But since I don't really wear make-up, I rarely have to do that.

So yes, I use 2 products in total to keep my skin like this. However, when I'm in a big city like Paris, I do like to clean my face once a week with an organic toner. That's mainly because I'm there for work and my face get's plastered with make-up, but also because the air isn't as clean there as it is where I live (in a small village on the countryside).

Less is more:
Try to cut down on the amount of products you use. Sudden changes might upset your skin, so do it gradually, and most importantly, go for perfume and paraben free products! I cannot stress this enough!

Another thing that might be a good idea to cut down on, is make-up. I'm talking about full face foundation or tinted moisturizer here! Eye make-up is not as bad for your skin as it doesn't cover your entire face usually ;)

That's pretty much it! I'm probably forgetting a whole lot, but this took way longer to write than thought and I'm super tired so I will add any additional things I forgot tomorrow!