Posts Tagged: ‘victorian’

Gothic Lolita Teatime

September 21, 2015 Posted by rissvandal

 She had me at tea party.

If anyone ever mentions a tea party, I’m in. It doesn’t really matter what it’s celebrating or where it is, I all about anything related to dress up or pretty foods. In this case, however, my cousin asked me to help her plan and host a Lolita tea party for her sister’s birthday. Of course I accepted the offer, then proceeded to procrastinate so that I ended up having to make about 5 different dishes two hours before the party. All in all, things turned out pretty good, though. Take a look at the spread below.

photo 252You’d be surprised how versatile cream cheese is and how many different times you can cram it into one dinner menu without anyone really noticing, so long as you use a little food coloring and creativity. I made tea sandwiches, vegetable canapes, scones, and stuffed tomatoes, while my cousin supplied all the desserts (no damn way could I have made those petit fours). Note the wide-eyed and mega kawaii food pics contributing to the tablescape, courtesy of my brother. (more…)

Bloody Burlesque and Twilight Lullabies

August 1, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

I haven’t been updating enough lately, I know. I’m gearing up for a move  so I’ve been spending the last few weeks doing fun things like sorting through all my crap, finding good homes for my unwanted stuff (I needed to make sure my tutus and spiked bras found homes with fabulous people), and trying to consolidate my large costume and prop collection so it can be moved with little to no hassle.

Those boring details aside, I have been up to other stuff. One of the things I’ve been doing, besides not updating the blog, is practicing with the band Astorian Stigmata, since I signed on as their live show keyboardist a couple of months back. You’ve seen the dudes before–they pop up in a lot of posts and photoshoots, so you might already be familiar with the fact that their general aesthetic is sort of like…dark Neo-Victorian gone mad…or maybe romantic goth meets visual kei. Either way, when they asked me to be part of a lyric video for their song “Twilight Lullaby” I rolled with those general ideas. I had just a day to put an outfit together so I blasted some Emilie Autumn, gathered every bit of black, red, and tattered fabric I could find, and got to work.


These are casual outfit shots we took prior to filming, as opposed to a preplanned thematic photo set, but I think there is a cool, kind of chaotic quality to them [Photos by Dennis Condusta]. The outfit somewhat resembles what I wore for this previous shoot, but way more amped up and crazed.
The hat comes from FanplusFriend Garden, the corset Heavy Red, and the boots Dr. Martens. The wig comes from my go-to shop, Gothic Lolita Wigs, the gloves are from Hot Topic, and the lipstick is Lime Crime.

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AnimeNext 2013: The Cosplay, The Fashion, The Antics

June 11, 2013 Posted by rissvandal


It’s hard to know where to start. I’m almost tempted to say “what happens at AnimeNext, stays at AnimeNext,” or “the first rule of anime conventions: don’t talk about anime conventions.” But I won’t cop out, especially since I took so many pics of my adventures. Though even with a full con recap, there are still some things that can’t truly be explained, and you just had to see for yourself. For example, watching Link and Hello Kitty have a krump-off while two young vocaloids squeeled with glee from the sidelines is the kind of stuff dreams are made of. And cosplay burlesque–I definitely didn’t expect to see Richter Belmont whipping the clothes off of sexy vampires, or April O’ Neil gyrating in turtle pasties…

Atmosphere, Events, and Antics

I take it for granted that people reading this already know what an anime con is, but if not, it’s basically a convention for all things relating to Japanese animation, manga (Japanese comics), gaming, and even branching out to include Japanese music, fashion, and some Korean pop culture. I’ve been to regular comic conventions in the past, but this is not the same, with the glaring difference being the amount of cosplay. If you don’t show up in costume, you’re in the minority.

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Dead End

March 24, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

The Black Diamond Bridge is pretty much visual perfection, so I was glad to finally utilize it in a shoot where I was behind the camera. This may have been one of my favorite shoots. There wasn’t too much pre-planning; people showed up, I threw some wardrobe options all over the floor, we winged the makeup and the only concrete plan was “we’ll shoot on the bridge,” which I think was to our benefit. I’m starting to realize there can definitely be such a thing as too much planning, and sometimes there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes with figuring things out along the way.

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Time to Play: The Best of Alt Fashion Dress Up Games

March 3, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

I’ve talked about dress up dolls before, but that was about a year ago, when I was still in the midst of my addiction.  Some people have cigarettes, other people social networking, and I had an incessant desire to play dress up games. And it’s not even like you win anything, I just had an insatiable compulsion to style. But whatever, it happens (does it?), and I’ve since faced my problem and cut down my dress-up gaming to maybe once or twice a month. I’ve become substantially more discerning as well–no more spending precious free time all too thoughtfully trying to decide what kind of shirt to place on Tracey Morgan (yes, even Tracey Morgan has his own fashion game).

Gothic Lolita

Gothic Lolita, Doll Divine

One of the best things about playing these games is seeing some of the bigger sites try to seem “in the know” in terms of alternative styles, which results in cringe-worthy choices at times–like a Pink Floyd tee appearing in a street punk dress up game (yes, street punk dress up games exist as well) or the distracting fact that a large majority of dress up sites have an “Emo” style category. Is that really still a thing? Didn’t the stylized emo culture just morph into some murky thing involving dubstep and bronies? I don’t, maybe for another blog post entirely…

Rebel Girl

Rebel Girl, Shidabeeda (more…)

What Do Steampunks Smell Like? Steam Bath Factory Deodorant Review

February 19, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

When you hear of steampunk scents, what are the first things that come to mind?

Does one of them smell like a typewriter wearing a monocle and spats? Or how ’bout a locomotive using a telegraph to send a message to a raven wearing a waistcoat?” (Thanks to Johnny B. for those guesses)


[Waahhh, messy workdesk]

Exactly. When you think of a scent catering to a particular subculture, your mind initially goes to the most ridiculous thing possible–a punk scent must smell like anarchy and a goth perfume would of course smell like clove cigarettes and Robert Smith’s tears. So first let’s get all the silly guesses out of the way–no, Steam Bath Factory products do not smell like goggles, or rayguns, or airships (or at least not the ones I’ve tried). So what do they smell like?

Steampunk_airship_by_Catell_Ruz (more…)

Stegmaier Mansion Victorian Times

January 8, 2013 Posted by rissvandal

I had a birthday this past Monday, and I celebrated it the way everyone should celebrate their 27th birthday (ugghhh 27)–prancing around a Victorian mansion.


I rounded up my ladies and went to a place that I can’t believe I haven’t already been to at least a dozen times, and a place that I wish I could stay forever–the Frederick Stegmaier Mansion in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

blog1 (more…)

2012 Revisited: Candids, Unpublished Photosets, And a Photodump of General Nonsense

December 31, 2012 Posted by rissvandal

2012 was all about running around putting makeup on boys, styling shoots, working with new photographers, throwing theme parties, and fiiinally stepping behind the camera. There were so many pics taken this year I couldn’t possibly post them all, but before moving on to the new projects of 2013, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite candids, “oops” moments, unused images, as well as pics from my mysterious first ever photoshoot that never saw the light of day (due to a stupid ass minor error on my part).

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Preppin’ For Christmas–Sweet Lolita Ornaments, Top Hats, and Spraypainted Trees

December 11, 2012 Posted by rissvandal

I spray painted my Christmas tree black this year (#GothicChristmas), and managed to both fail and succeed at the same time. In this picture–FAIL. With the patches of green peeking through, who would’ve known I’d already gone through three cans of black spraypaint, only to have to abort my mission due to an insanely painful hand cramp. Well, we’ll call it a work in progress. Three more cans next year and that should just about do it, I suppose…

Although in this picture, sans flash, with the lights turned low, it appears to be a success. Well, lighting is overrated, so that’s good enough for me.


Riss’s Christmas Gift Guide

December 4, 2012 Posted by rissvandal

It’s that time of year again–time for my hand-picked gift guide, which I hope will help you as you rack your brain figuring out what to buy for all your friends with wicked style (yes, this is just catered to people with wicked style–for help buying gifts for everyone else, go look at someone else’s gift guide). And okay, I couldn’t cover every base. If I had more time I’d find giftspiration for burlesque chicks, visual kei kids, otakus, etc…but c’mon, it’s already December 5th, and you/me/we don’t have all damn day! So just check out what I’ve got for ya…

For the Accessories Whore: Tough Love Clutch by Nasty Gal

For the Sexy Nerdo: Star Wars Bralette and Knicker Set by Licorice and Cream


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