Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gal Checkpoint!! L.A. Tan Review

Where do I begin? Well, I suppose I should apologize to all the girls in my high school that I would constantly mock because of their orange tans. Though of course, there is such a thing as a good vs. bad tan. I apologize, because honestly, I never experienced how fun tanning can be!

All tans I've gotten before were courtesy of self-tanners or sitting out in the sun for hours on end. I never bothered to set foot into a tanning chain. Today, I wandered into the first L.A. Tan I've seen here in Chicago for my first tanning bed experience.

(The interior of the L.A. Tan on Madison St.)

The first thing I noticed was a couple of cheesy fake palm trees as I walked down the stairs. As someone who loves cheesy or ironic additions like that, I smiled to myself. But walking into the waiting room I was pleasantly surprised at how clean and professional it looked. The girl behind the counter greeted me and let me know more about their holiday promotions (all good deals, if you're a tanning regular, by the way!!). She was very friendly to me and the other customers (regulars) that walked in. Not the kind of fake-nice I was nervously anticipating, but really rather genuine. 

I filled out a paper and told her that it was my first time in a tanning salon. After admitting that, I felt a slight tension of something like... "oh, this n00b". Her demeanor changed a little bit, but it was only for a couple of moments. Once I got chatting about how much I loved the designs on the tanning lotion bottles, she cheered up again and I think she realized I was genuinely interested in the place.

She proceeded to explain everything to me, and gave me a small tour. They have a room with make-up remover provided, as well as extra hair ties, just in case you forgot your own. There is a radio in the room so you can listen to music while you tan. They've really thought of everything!

My room was clean; with a mirror, small table, and hooks for all my clothes and accessories. The tan itself was very relaxing. There was something surreal and spacey about the bright lights looking green through my eye protection. I felt like I was in a sci-fi movie pod. Honestly, I really loved it. 

Hopping out after 7 minutes, I inspected myself. My skin is really fair, so there will no doubt be a long time of building up tans before I actually have THE "L.A. Tan" but I already do notice a healthier glow to my skin. I aim to keep getting used to the machines and go for longer and stronger, next time. 
(hallway of tanning rooms)

For those who are worried about tanning, the L.A. Tan  website has a line that I found interesting. “Saying that UV exposure is harmful and should be avoided is as wrong as saying that water causes drowning, and therefore we should avoid water.”
Though I too worry some damage as well, it's always important to remember to use lotions and timing and stay safe! 

On my way out, I bought some eye protection and the counter girl asked me, "So, you gonna join the tanning squad?" And I suppose the answer to that is "yes, when I have the money!" haha

There is a very superficial edge to this "tanning squad" that you can read immediately when you visit the L.A. Tan website. Though I obviously don't believe "thin, tan, and blonde" is the only way to be "beautiful", I think there is a relaxing quality to getting a tan, and it honestly helped my skin look a little better. I will certainly be going back for more, but won't let any pressures seep into my skull. I would recommend L.A. Tan to regulars or all other gals! Fellow gyaru will LOVE the tanning lotion bottles they have and the pink walls! Try it out! x

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Serious Fashion Talk: "Identify as..."

gyaru & lolita

I'm having some feelings about fashion/style. Time for a tiny lecture! 

As someone who jumps around between enjoying fashions just as often as she fandom hops, sometimes I worry about being accepted by a community? Here in Chicago, I spend a lot of time trying to 'invent' myself. Not re-invent!! My entire life has been a tale of brain-washing and put-downs that resulted in me being influenced very easily and never living for myself, always to please or help others. Though that's good, too!! I don't mind being the punching-bag or the 'martyr' and I love to be as kind as I can (but my cynical Sagittarius nature gets in the way sometimes or bugs people).

It's when you can't dig yourself out from under all these "feel wrong" layers that you begin to realize something strange happened in your development! When I moved away, I finally was able to start inventing my own fashion without any judgment.   


Gal and Lolita are both communities where I can dress up exactly how I love to and hang out with a bunch of wonderful people. I'm really trying to ground myself here in Chicago with some friends who share a similar interest.
This brings me to my main point; feeling a fashion or lifestyle as "right for you" or "relatable."

For me, that's gyaru (particularly himegyaru). I don't know what it is, but it really calls me. That sounds so silly, I know, but it just really feels like it fits. The kitschiness, the pink, the hair, the make-up, the superficiality, and even the cattiness! Even the negative aspects of gyaru are things that I can see in myself. There are so many different sub-styles to draw from, endless possibilities and lots of fun to be had! I feel like a gyaru and "identify" as such.


This doesn't mean that I can't occasionally dress lolita! (This is a point where I get nervous about some of the elitism in some J-fashion communities.) I don't "identify" as a lolita, but I know a lot about it and I love the fashion. On days when I want to go to a meet-up or just look kawaii as fuck, I've got some lolita to do the trick. Some people really strongly see themselves as lolita, even though they may not dress in the fashion. (just ask albinwonderland about that!) 

And of course, there are days when I could care less and wander around the city in skinny jeans and a t-shirt. Though these are days that I feel very little confidence in myself. I feel like an underdressed princess, because my brain is still stuck in fashion mode! 

            how i feel inside                                   how i look on the outside

I suppose my tiny wish is that no one says "You can never be gyaru!" because I occasionally wear lolita. But my main wish is to grow and improve!  I know how catty some gyaru can be, and starting to get seriously immersed in the style (and finally meeting other gyaru!) stirs some nervousness in me... but I'm not afraid and I'm incredibly excited! 

Though every time I tell my friends "I'm going gyaru!" they squint at me and say "those tan girls? they're so.... euuugh." (I think their mind immediately goes to MANBA haha) It makes me a little sad that they think that way, but I think that I've been trying to please other people for too long.

I think it's time to seriously jump into gyaru!

If you want to follow some more regular posts on gyaru, as well as health and fitness, feel free to follow project-euphemia on tumblr!