Katsu & Window Shopping ♡

Today's momentous occasion: we went on a date! Like.... outside!!!

Okay, so all we did was window shop and get lunch but it was our first time really going anywhere in public just for fun in a loooooooooong time!  As I will be blogging about more later, my boyfriend and I have moved in together, and we need some items for our new balcony. We thought it would be best to browse in person before making any purchases, so since we've been fully vaccinated for about a month now and the cases in our city continue to go down, we thought it would be nice to check home depot to compare some of our options in person! Even though it was just home depot, I decided to get dressed up and make it a little date! It was really nice just walking around and browsing a shop since it's seriously been since before the pandemic that we've done anything like this. We looked at patio furniture and then took selfies in the lighting department 

After that we picked up some boba and put in a takeout order from a katsu sandwich shop that I had never been to before. Originally we thought to eat it in the car, but the shopping center was pretty empty and there were some nice tables outside, so we decided to give it a try eating outside the restaurant! Ordering ahead of time and paying online, picking up our food and then eating on our own outside was exactly my speed! It felt a lot more normal than I've had in a while, while still having almost no contact with the waiters or other patrons. I definitely want to do this more often as we head into Summer!

The other momentous event..... I used a public toilet for the first time in over a year as well! What a big day LOL

It's been a pretty stressful month with moving and completely totaling my car  Getting out of the house and going on a nice date was exactly what I needed to get my mind off things for a while!

See you next time!

Mahou ☆ May

Good morning! It's already been a bit of time since I was active, other than finally getting around to finishing up some of those konmari posts that had been sitting in my drafts forever! Last month I got really busy and I wanted to post my little recap since I never got around to posting about the tea party or what I was up to!

The theme for last month's tea party was Mahou May, with the concept being that putting on Himekaji can really feel like a magical girl transformation! May was also Fanime month, so I was extremely busy getting all the last minute preparations going. It was really great getting to see everyone virtually but I'm already hoping that we'll get to return in person for real next year 

For the tea party, even though I was so busy I definitely had to put together a coord for such a cute theme! I picked an ank rouge skirt with star lace trim with red accents. The color scheme kind of reminded me of madoka and for some reason the stars just felt very magical to me! I picked Mr. Bilbert (name courtesy of my boyfriend LOL) as my obligatory mascot character! It was really fun seeing everyone's coords and their pets and plushies they would pick as their mascot character as well.

I can't wait for this month's tea party!

Konmari Part 6: Discards

I originally wrote this post many many months ago while I was still in the middle of my discard/organizing process! I did about half of my giveaways as described in this post, but the process actually took so long that donation centers had started to open up by the time I was about halfway through. I just did a big Goodwill dropoff last week for the remaining items and can finally say that the long discard process is finally 100% done!

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In a normal year, the donation process probably would have been the easiest part of my konmari project. When I started the process I naively pictured myself proudly posing in front of the mountain of discard items before carting them off to a goodwill dropoff site and moving on with my life. As the pandemic was already in full swing at the time that I began this process, I'm still stunned by my absolute blind optimism. What I quickly learned, however, is that donating items during a pandemic is actually pretty complicated. When it came to books and clothing, donation drives and library donations made it pretty straightforward. However, the miscellaneous komono items turned out to be a much bigger challenge. Most charities weren't looking for scrunchies, orphaned pot lids, or balls of yarn, and the thirft shops that would normally accept such donations were all being deeply hit by the pandemic. After looking around, I joined a local chapter of the Buy Nothing Project and got posting.

Buy Nothing changed my life.

At first, I was intimidated by the lofty task of hand-picking recipients for hundreds of items, and then coordinating the exchange with each individual giftee. I even shamefully have to admit that there were a few failed experiments which resulted in completely failing to get the item to the recipients I'd chosen  After much trial and error, I finally found a system that worked for me, so here I'll share my tips if you decide to go this route for your discards!

Don't do it all at once. If at all possible, pack your discards into bins and put most of it into storage. I picked up some gasket boxes for my garage and it was WELL WORTH the investment. Organizing my apartment before getting the discards out of the house was going to be an impossible task, so quickly moving my discards out of the way like this allowed me to get my apartment to a much more liveable state, which made processing the giveaways so much less stressful. Get your apartment in order first, then go back and process the rest of the discards in manageable chunks.

Batch your giveaways based on how much time you can commit. For me, I found about 5-10 items made for a decent weekend errand. 30-40 is a full day task. Anything more than that is completely unmanageable for me.

Individually photograph every item. At first I thought I would save myself time and effort by photographing many items at once. However, for large giveaways this became totally chaotic, as people were commenting in multiple places about the same items, and there wasn't one place I could check to see what the interest was for any particular item. It takes more work to photograph and upload each individual item, but it's well, well worth it for the sanity you'll gain later. When making my post, I uploaded all the photos into an album and requested that people comment on the individual photo rather than on the main thread.

IF YOU HAVE A PORCH: Prefer pickups to dropoffs. Pick a pickup day upfront and let people know that selected recipients will have to come to pickup the item from your porch on that day. When pickup day comes along, you can set out everyone's pickup items in clearly marked bags and let them pick up the item whenever is convenient for them. This is by far the easiest method as it requires the least communication and coordination.

- IF YOU DON'T HAVE A PORCH: Prefer dropoffs to pickups. Without a porch to leave items on, pickups have to be coordinated individually with each person and for me got out of hand pretty quickly. Since I live in an apartment building with a security gate, the easiest thing for me was to pick one day to drop off all the items and then form a delivery route so I could drop off everything at once. Since the majority of people do have a spot I could leave the item without needing to coordinate with them coming to get the items specifically, this greatly reduced the amount of coordination required between me and my neighbors. Again, I announced the dropoff day and time when I made the post, and told people upfront that I'd be doing dropoffs. After I picked the recipients, instead of trying to juggle 20+ individual private conversations, I messaged each person a google form to collect their name, dropoff address, and instructions for where to drop it off. I then used a route optimizer to plan the order of my dropoffs. Doing all the dropoffs myself still took a significant amount of time, but it was way lower stress doing it all at once like this, and since I've been stuck at home for the past year it was actually pretty fun getting to drive around different parts of my neighborhood.

Overall, although gifting each individual item is a lot more taxing than simply dropping it all off at a donation site like in the Before Times, I actually have found the process to be extremely rewarding overall. I felt so much better knowing that my items were genuinely being given better homes, and it was a nice way to honor each item by holding it in my hands one last time and specifically choosing where it would go next. It was also a great way to get to know more people in my community, and seeing people's gratitude and generosity has really been a highlight of my past year 

Until next time!

P.S. : This is part 6 in my Konmari series! Click the links below to read the rest.

Konmari Part 5: Komono

The vast majority of my possessions fall into the category of komono, and somewhere in this category is when I started losing the most steam for the process. Leaving komono piles out for the duration of the sorting process was pretty uncomfortable and it almost made me give up several times. Here is where my to do lists came in clutch! Even if it felt hopeless in the broad scale, I tried my best to focus only on one section at a time until it had all been sorted. Aafter a long organizing process I finally was able to distill the process down to a few major questions.

If you want to follow along with this post for your own konmari you can download the printable here!

Where can things go?

It's incredibly hard to decide where to put things if you don't know what your options are! To find out where to put things, I had to first discover where I could put things. So I think ideally step 1, before even starting to put anything away, is to just go down your komono list and picture where you would use these items during an ideal day. I got overwhelmed when I tried to think about exactly where each item should live, but thinking about the category broadly in terms of a general use was much easier to do!

Electronics would probably mainly be used in my living room, on my couch or at the TV. Board Games are used in the dining room where there's the most table space. I use skincare products in the bathroom where the sink is. Thinking through these categories as well as daydreaming about an ideal day in my life, I started getting a pretty clear picture about the "zones" in my apartment, and what function each one serves:

  • Entryway: Where I get ready to go out or set down my things when I get home
  • Home office: Where I work, but also where I play computer games after work
  • Living room: Where I relax and play games, watch shows, read, or just hang out
  • Kitchen: Where I cook
  • Laundry nook: A place to tuck all my laundry items away
  • Craft corner: Easy access to all my craft supplies
  • Dining room: For eating, crafting, and board games
  • Bathroom: For skincare routines and self care
  • Hallway: Mainly just some extra storage
  • Bedroom: For sleeping and relaxing
  • Vanity and Closet: For getting cute

Where does each category belong?

With the boxes clearly defined, the next step is to pick which box each category belongs to. This part became pretty easy when I was able to keep in mind the purpose of each space and what activities each category belongs to.

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After laying all this out, all that remained was to play tetris with my items until it felt right. This still didn't always end up being easy, but it felt so much less daunting knowing exactly where I was ultimately trying to end up at the end of the day.

Even though this process seemed never ending, it was really fun to do it little bits at a time, and it was really encouraging to see my home slowly become more and more comfortable and enjoyable! I think this process took an exceptionally long time for me because I tackled both organization and decoration at once. If I were to do this again I think I would have advised myself to just work on organizing things first with a focus on ease of use and tidying. Once all the categories had been cleanly stored away and processed, that would have been a better time to focus on decor. It wasn't bad doing both at once, but decorating definitely created a moving target feeling that easily made it feel like I wasn't making any progress even when I worked really hard 

My next installment will cover discards and how I handled donations with most thrift stores closed due to covid. Thank you for reading!

P.S. : This is part 5 in my Konmari series! Click the links below to read the rest.

Konmari Part 4: Books

My konmari has actually been about 90% finished for many months now, but I procrastinated on these posts for soooo long because I was waiting for everything to be perfect! Actually, by this point I waited so long that I'm actually moving out at the moment, so I thought it was a good motivation to finally finish up this series ^^; Please look forward to the next few installments followed by a very exciting follow up about my move!

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Growing up in a family household that was overflowing with books, I actually didn't feel like I had that many books in my house to begin with, but I still knew I definitely had at least a handful of books that don't really mean anything to me. After sorting through I was actually surprised how many books I was happy to give away! Basically when sorting I decided that the book sparked joy if I either wanted to read it eventually, or if I enjoyed reading it and I would recommend it to a friend. Based on this process, it turns out that close to half of the books that I owned were items I only really kept because I already had them. There were a couple of white elephant gifts or mystery bag books that were never really my jam to begin with, along with many cheap or free books that I picked up just because the cover appealed to me, despite having no interest in the genre or style. I guess it's true what they say about judging a book by its cover

The big pile of books to sort         The sorted bookshelf

Because donation centers and bookstores are operating at a limited capacity due to the pandemic (and the shops that aren't... really should be, so I'd rather not support them!), I couldn't just drop all my stuff at one donation center and call it a day. Giving things away has been a pretty slow process because of this, and all my things are kind of getting squared away in different corners of my community. I'll go more in depth to this in a later blog entry, but for books in particular I had an idea to take a tour of all the tiny libraries in my area and drop off a couple of books at each one as I go along. I thought it would be a nice excuse to get outside in a safe capacity during lockdown and see new parts of my city. I really had it in my head that I'd get dressed up for this and make it into a whole tiny library date with my boyfriend! Well.... I sat on this blog post for months and months waiting to get around to it and at this point I can safely say that this idea never came to be  I still think it was a cute idea that I'd love to go along with someday, but this whole year I've just been insanely busy and I never ended up finding the energy for it somehow.

However, my idea wasn't totally bust! It turns out a neighbor of mine was also thinking about tiny libraries, and kicked off a huge project to create several brand new tiny libraries! As part of this initiative, I was actually able to donate a large portion of my old books to the cause. So, one way or another I guess they did end up in my local tiny libraries anyway!

That's just the way the cookie crumbles, huh!

P.S. : This is part 4 in my Konmari series! Click the links below to read the rest.

Springtime Picnic Tea Party

Last weekend was our 3rd himekaji discord meet and this time it was picnic themed to mark the beginning of spring. Lately in my area instead of spring we just bounce back and forth between cold rainy days and heat waves but this at-home picnic really gave me the feeling of sharing snacks at a sweet cottage!

Snacks are definitely the most important part, so I'll start there! Originally my plan had been to make onigiri and supplement it with boba and popcorn chicken. It might seem like a strange combination but I feel like onigiri and fried chicken are quintessential anime picnic foods.

Unfortunately, despite looking forward to this meal for the entire week, on the morning of the picnic I discovered that all the boba shops around me open too late in the afternoon. Oh well, something unexpected will always happen during a picnic, so this was very much on theme Instead I ended up pulling together a little bento lunch with whatever I had on hand: onigiri, octopus sausages, and bunny apples. It wasn't what I had been looking forward to, but it still definitely reminded me of picnic lunches.

For my outfit, there was no question that the strawberry lace gingham OP had to be worn. When I wear it my boyfriend says I look like a cute jar of jam! It's one of my favorite recent purchases and it makes me feel like I'm wearing a cute picnic all on its own. 

As an added bonus, Didi was able to twin with me! I was so happy that we finally got to twin and our photo turned out so nice somehow. We even got featured on the Liz Lisa international page which was a total dream come true 

I had so much fun chatting and enjoying our tea together, and special thanks to Mina for hosting this time! Take care everyone!