Our favorite city: Portland (part one)

Back in 2012, my fella and I visited Portland, OR and had a lovely time -delicious foods were devoured, delightful cocktails were quaffed, old friends met for the first time. It was a marvelous trip and we have been talking about it ever since.

It only made sense then, to make a return visit -this time with several friends in tow! And since I have a dreadful habit of glossing over the human aspects of my adventures, let me say that I could not hope for finer traveling companions. Everyone’s personality is so different in our group – boisterous and exuberant; clever and droll; taciturn and brilliantly observant -but they all add up to the most wonderful circle of friends! And it feels strange to say that, “friends”. These gentlemen were originally comrades of my beau* but over time, as I’ve gotten to know them, I feel like they might actually be friends of mine, as well.

*(I don’t mean to sound pretentious, but I hate the term “boyfriend”, so I’ll use just about every other descriptor I can wrangle.)

t break

We found a fantastic place to stay via Air BnB, a spacious and welcoming spot to call home base whilst exploring the city. A renovated 1920′s bungalow, it offered four bedrooms and two bathrooms, a large kitchen, and plenty of community space for boardgames and D&D and Dark Adventure Radio Theatre (we’re a nerdy group, you know). Again, we stayed in the Mississippi neighborhood and reveled in the chance to revisit some previous loves while staking out some new favorites with my fellow travelers.

If you’ve a hankering to visit the City of Roses, perhaps you will consider the following suggestions? Portland friends, commence the eye-rolling now.

At Mac! you’ll find all sorts of macaroni and cheese related shenanigans.  We shared enormous plates of their Truffle Mac, Cheeseburger Mac, Artichoke & Spinach Mac, and Cordon Bleu Mac. Somehow we lived through it.


We had a few breakfasts at Sweedeedee, a small corner cafe which is an excellent place for people watching and listening to records and eating pie – if you get there early enough, before the place starts to fill up. Recommended: the egg sandwich with shredded lettuce and avocado on the most delicious thick-cut, molasses bread. Also, salted honey pie. Skip: the breakfast burrito (too much mealy, undercooked potato).


At Hale Pele, in the lurid glow of torchlight and under the baleful glare of the gods, we sacrificed our dignity with friends and fellow fire drinkers.  I am fairly certain I had just about one of everything on the menu, and I will admit, near the end I am not even sure what I ordered.  I have to recommend, however, the Corn ‘n’ Oil, which as the menu would suggest, is indeed a strange name for an amazing drink. If you are looking for a nosh, they have several things to munch on; my favorites were the fried taro chips and the tuna poke. I love tiki bars for their kitschy escapism and potent cocktails, and Hale Pele now sits at the top of my list.

Elsewhere in the city, I met these two magical humans for art and cocktails; at Antler Gallery for the Unnatural Histories show – where I finally got to see one of Jessica Joslin’s exquisitely crafted bone and brass menagerie in person – and at Victoria Bar, where the drinks were Princess Bride inspired!


Normally I am not keen on photos that other people take of me, because I have only like, 1/8 of a good side and no one knows how to capture it properly. That’s not their fault, of course.  I just don’t photograph well.  I shudder to think that I might actually look like a poor photo all of the time… but I suppose that’s a possibility that I can’t rule out, no matter how much it bruises the ego.  I do love this picture, however, taken at Tidbit Food and Farm food truck pod thingy whatever you call it. I don’t recall what we were discussing, but the look on my face is ridiculous and I love Minna for meeting up with us to visit, and for making me make that face.  I also do not recall what was eaten, but there was rice and noodles and karaage and takoyaki and I felt like the heroine of an action packed food anime trying to stuff it all in. Afterward, Minna marched us over to Fifty Licks for boozy adult ice cream super fun times. Pictured above is the Velvet Shiso made with plum wine, Riesling, and their Coconut Lemon Saffron sorbet with is spiced with saffron, star anise, and cardamom. It was amazing as it sounds. The only thing missing from this wonderful evening was our good friend Robyne, who was nursing a cold. Hopefully we will see you in January, Robyne!

The Lan Su Chinese Garden is a beautiful spot to gaze quietly upon art, architecture, design and nature, and I was just enamored this time around by the mosaic courtyards with their poetic names – “Plum Blossom On Cracked Ice” being the best-loved by my ear and my favorite to speak aloud.  I have heard that the guides sometimes suggest walking barefoot on the stones to feel the different patterns  and such, and I think that sounds like a lovely idea and a pleasant exercise in mindfulness (…or something?  At least it sounds like a nice massage for the feet!)

Also, if you ever wonder if I actually wear the things that I have purchased from Stitch Fix, I present to you Exhibit A: the Everly Peter dress from Fix #10. I wore it with leggings and an asymmetric black Helmut Lang jacket and it was super cute. This photo, by the way, was taken in a startlingly clean nerdy game shop bathroom.

Next up: roses! more cocktails! doughnuts All of the shopping!

This, that, and the other thing (xvii)

Restoring a Lost Psychedelic Anime Classic: An Interview with the Team Reintroducing Belladonna of Sadness, by Katie Skelly (& speaking of Katie Skelly – have you read My Pretty Vampire yet?  So good!)

This was not the world The Hunger promised me.  HA.  This is kind of hilarious. (& speaking of Peter Murphy -sort of- did you see that he is going to star in “an erotic, violent fever dream” of a film?)

Are you reading Tenebrous Kate’s Great Moments in Historical Sluttery over at Slutist? Well, you should be. In this column, Kate gives us a fascinating glimpse into the lives of brilliant, shameless feminist icons and visionaries; the last installment, Rose Kelly, Scarlet Woman, Wife of the Beast, and Oracle of Thelema, is too good to miss!


New music from Tasseomancy!


I love this review for Windhand’s new album at tinymixtapes. It’s kind of dopey and weird but I love it. These are the kind of reviews I like to read. I don’t want to hear about how technically great something sounds, I want to hear how about whatever it conjures up in your mind -whether it’s a memory or a dream or an experience or a sensation, maybe about that time you got beat up at someone’s funeral or your aunt’s pierogi recipe or your mother’s dying words. At the end of the review I actually don’t care if you’ve told me a single thing about the thing you’re reviewing if you told me a good story.

I missed it earlier in the year, but Bibian Blue’s Spring/Summer 2015 SKIN collection is fantastic! Perfect to wear for the opening night of Attack on Titan, heh! (ok, I stole that from Becky.)

Every time I look at this image of three startled kittens riding a catfish, I can’t help but to smile. (Artist: Ayako Ishiguro)

Mondo Heather writes the most marvelous reviews for music and movies that I’ve never even heard of.

Two Monks Invent Religious Iconography.  The Toast consistently kills me.

The 20 Best Horror Films Based On Folk Tales Around The World

The History of Creepy Dolls

This Unicorn Tears Gin Liqueur is really … something

Smell a Little Evil with these Five Horror-Inspired Perfumes

Drama Queen & Cultist of Personal Beauty: Countess Virginia Oldoini, La Castiglione


Elsewhere: La Castiglione on Haute Macabre

My guest post on La Castiglione is up over at Haute Macabre today!


And because I am nutty and can’t write about someone without wanting to dress them up myself (or even play dress up AS them) here are two interpretations of some modern day Countess of Castiglione ensembles!

Queen of Hearts

Beauty Cultist


ashen skies and bitter winds

ashen skies and bitter winds from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

A new mix for the autumn equinox, inspired by the bitter business that follows shortly thereafter.


Näkin Laulu, Tenhi | serpents in the dawn, Neutral | Black moth, Of The Wand And The Moon | Sweet Olga,Moon Far Away | A Ballad, Eltan Renaxy | Tunguska, Golgatha | Paralysie Générale, Sub Luna | Lacrimosa, Spiritual Front | Hewers of wood and drawers of water, Kiss the anus of a black cat Where At Night The Wood Grouse Plays, Empyrium | A Sadness Song, Current 93 | Bunter Staub, Darkwood | Leaves Of Autumn, Backworld | Urla (Frammenti DInfinito), ARGINE | Hollows of Devotion by Death in June | Under The Yew Possessed, Sorrow | Over the Stone by Sonne Hagal

How to wear: the Autumn Equinox

At The End Of Day (by paddy on flickr)

 I remember you as you were in the last autumn. 
You were the grey beret and the still heart.
In your eyes the flames of the twilight fought on.
And the leaves fell in the water of your soul.
-Pablo Neruda

Ah, autumn! You of the grey beret and still heart. The low, whistling winds through the branches, the blazing cascades of gold and russet leaves, the nights creeping longer and colder…

Every year, around the beginning of September, my heart skips a beat – just one small, lone beat – when I think of autumn. For a brief, flickering moment, I somehow manage to forget that I no longer live in New Jersey and I begin to look forward to the cool shift in the weather, the subtle changes in the afternoon sunlight, and the the scent of embers on the breeze from chimneys or piles of burning leaves. And then, suddenly, I remember I am back in Florida with sticky sweat pooling in my cleavage on a 92 degree mid-September afternoon.

This is the only time of year that anyone will ever hear me talk about missing New Jersey.

So as you can imagine, it is business as usual down here in the swamps.  Further north, when folks are pulling down their wool peacoats from storage and unpacking cabled sweaters and knee high leather boots, I am still bumming around in my flipflops and tee shirts (but let’s be real, I love my flip-flops). I don’t love, however, missing out on those beautiful cardigans and ribbed tights and fair isle scarves and all sorts of wonderful autumnal pieces that make up my very favorite sort of dying-year ensembles.

For now, I’m afraid, all I can do is daydream. And so, for the Autumn Equinox, see below for several  - and there are quite a few – autumn wardrobe inspirations and flights of fancy. I can’t say that any of this is particularly “stylish” (ugh, I hate that word) or on trend, but who cares about that dumb crap, anyway? If you like it, wear it! Anyhow, these are all pieces that I find quite beautiful, with rich harvest colors and luxe textures and deep, lush prints.

As always, click through the image for a polyvore page with complete item details.





Currently {September 2015}




  • Sense8; actually this is just about the only thing I am watching right now.  A slow surreal sci-fi dip into “dreamy conspiracies and chimerical fellowship”, and is apparently lauded by critics as both a masterpiece and a disaster. All I can tell you is that this show makes me feel all of the feels. Which is pretty uncomfortable for me, I don’t mind telling you. And I love it.



  • Ghost, Meliora. I have been listening to this non-stop for the past month. And I will be seeing them again live next month!  I didn’t know if I was on board with this new album, but it’s pretty amazing…super catchy in a kind of syrupy, tricksy way, and this Dirge review really sums up my thoughts quite well.
  • Lana Del Rey, Honeymoon. Shut up. Whatever you are going to say, I don’t want to hear it. This album is sad and fucked up in an epic way. It is Lana gone full-Lana.




  • The Bitterroot Shawl, from knitty 2007 or something like that.  This is the third time I have knit this pattern, and I still love it.  I actually even added the beads on it this time, and despite that, and the fiddliness of the stupid yarn (warning: do not use knitpick’s Diadem for lace projects), I started and finished this in nine days. It will soon be off to its new home!
  • Next up: hats and scarves and wristwarmers – I’m actually getting started early on the holiday gifts this year!

Other than the above, (and the full time job which I never talk about because who wants to hear about that? Ugh) I have been busy with grandmother duty, a bit of writing and the odd guest blog here and there, the struggle with wellness and mental health, and getting ready for our trip to Portland next week. After that, there are lots of exciting things coming up in the next few months- the Ghost show, the Necromancy Art show at Gods & Monsters, Bat Boy the Musical, and Death Cafe Orlando! Though now that I see it typed out like that…it all looks rather exhausting.  And stressful.  Hm.

How is your fall shaping up? What have you been into lately and what looms on the horizon for you?  I want to hear all about it!


Elsewhere: Smell a Little Evil with these Five Horror-Inspired Perfumes

{image: Three daughters of King Lear by Gustav Pope}

Recently I had the opportunity to write for Dirge, a dark fiction market and entertainment magazine, which revels in the beautifully grotesque. Right up my alley, right? And I chose to write about perfumes, which of course surprises exactly no one.

Please to enjoy! “Smell a Little Evil with these Five Horror-Inspired Perfumes” 

Are there any horror-inspired perfumes that you love? Do tell!

Links of the dead

Portraits of Death by Iris Compriet

Portraits of Death by Iris Compriet

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about in the Death Industry recently.

Stouffer’s Debuts  Frozen Meals To Bring Neighbors After Death In Family (via The Onion)
When Your Loved One’s Last Wish Was ‘No Funeral’ via Modern Loss
I Got Drunk With The Funeral Industry To Find Out What Happens When We Die via Buzzfeed
6 Reasons Why We Don’t Talk About Death via legacy.com
(What to wear) Upon Greeting Death via me
Dead beautiful: Cult cosmetics to glam up the afterlife via The Daily Mail
Portraits of Death:  a unique glimpse in the life of Death via Iris Compriet
If These Bones Could Talk: The Stories Human Skeletons Can Tell via NPR
Inside Out Offers Important Lessons for Grieving Children and Adults via What’s Your Grief
Why dying at home is not all it’s cracked up to be via The Caregiver Space
Six Final Resting Places for Your Loved Ones’ Ashes via Dirge Mag

hushed & dim

hushed & dim from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

A new 8tracks mix : hushed & dim by ghoulnextdoor.
image: LI HUI

I can’t deal with a great deal of noise early in the morning. No talk radio, no teevee, nothing discordant or jarring as I ease my way quietly into the day. Here is a hushed, gentle playlist for earliest morning shadows.

Track list: The Words Under The Wood, Orla Wren | Tears of Unicorn, Masayoshi Fujita | Du er mit lys, Autumna | Nest Of Autumn (Featuring Sophie Hutchings), Hior Chronik | Only In The Dark, Ben Lukas Boysen | Hvönn, Veroníque Vaka  | Tell Me Your Secret, Fellirium  |  harbor​:​hums, Twincities  | our bodies draped in moss and cloud, Sublamp  | Kompleta, Stefan Wesołowski |  Matilda (album version), Oskar Schuster | Bring the Light,  Abby Gundersen

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