Archive of ‘about face’ category

16 Things I Loved In 2016

loveLet’s face it. There was not much to love about 2016. We watched as our beautiful, beloved dreams died one, by one. Whether it was our star men, our poet-bards, our very first motorcycle-riding, purple velvet wearing crushes, our hopes for a magnificent female president, or at least president who isn’t completely bat-shit bonkers, and as of when I began writing this– the loss of my beloved rebel princess, my very first role model–2016 was devastating in so many ways, and saw the end of so many wonderful things.

And so I look to the little things. The sweetness that lightened the burden. The small discoveries that made life easier, or little luxuries that eased a horrible day, a terrible month, or a no good, very bad year.

In no particular order, and for these reasons, here are 16 things I loved in 2016.
(Curious about my picks for previous years? Here’s 2015 & 2014)

nail

Christian Louboutin Nail Polish. Now someone will say to me, “Really, Sarah?”  A $50 nail polish?” And yes, I will agree, that’s pretty ridiculous. But the bottle is gorgeous, and the wand is the perfect petite height for my small hands (the stiletto lid is deceiving) and this is absolutely high quality lacquer, very long wearing. I mean, I guess it is. I knit and wash dishes and read books and type and use my hands a lot, and 2 coats lasts me a week without chipping. That’s pretty great, right? I wear it almost exclusively.

Oud Wood

Tom Ford Oud Wood Shower Gel. Yeah, so…if you weren’t keen on the thought of a $50 nail polish, you are probably not going to get on board with a $67 bottle of body wash. But this one smells like woods and incense and secret forest temples and is an utter treat. It is my secret weapon in the constant battle of “ugggghh…do I really have to shower today?”

baies

Diptyque Baies candle. I first sniffed this stunningly gorgeous candle whilst shopping at Uncommon Objects in Austin. They had it burning on a counter top near the entrance and I was so enthralled with the fragrant wafts drifting throughout the store that I had actually ordered the candle on my phone on amazon before I made a purchase from the shop I was actually in. Rude! I’m sorry, but I really had to have it. I was so surprised when I read the description for Baies: “a luscious blend of black-currant leaves and Bulgarian roses”. Usually these are not smells that I want anything to do with! But somehow this combines for a strikingly elegant scented object, a sort of woody-musky-green fragrance, that I never ever want to be without.

owl moon
Owl Moon bloodmilk X Black Phoenix Alchemy collabroative fragrance. From chapter one of bloodmilk’s sister shop, Exquisite Corpse, this is an exquisite, unique scent experience that literally sets my teeth on edge, but sometimes I need that very sort of fearsome inspiration and motivation. With notes described as “dark, rooty, sweet patchouli swirled with honey,” Owl Moon opens with the blackest, earthiest patchouli (before learning of the notes, I actually thought it was vetiver!) and calls to mind cool, moist soil at the base of a pine tree through which all of the busy little night creatures slither and crawl, the pale, ghostly light of the moon glinting off their scales and wings. A yellow-eyed owl, perched overhead, meditates briefly before silently embarking on his nightly hunt; the sour, screechy scent of his nest, littered with rodent bones and pellets, serves as a warning nearby.  This is the fragrance of potent night magics, rich and ripe with darkness and feral mysticism. The sharpness of the patchouli streaked with high-pitched honey combine to form an aura that is both graceful and grotesque, sacred and profane. If all of that reads familiar to you, this is exactly what I have written about Owl Moon before, elsewhere, but it’s not plagiarizing if it’s your own words, right?

hurraw

Hurraw lip balms. Several people mentioned these lip balms in passing this year, but I pooh-poohed them because I thought the name was dumb. Well, turns out I am an idiot. These are amazing. Vegan, organic, fair trade, all of the buzzwords that are bandied about, yes all of those things, but they are also smooth, and not at all draggy or grainy or melty or overly smelly, AND they have options that are not mint or fruit. Also, they are about $15 less than my previous favorite lipbalm, so Hurraw, despite the stupid name, is a win.

zenmed
Zenmed Anti-Redness Rosacea Treatment. I self-diagnosed myself with rosacea earlier this month, after noticing and freaking out over the course of the year fluctuations and flare-ups of redness and stinging on my face. Based on some suggestions from friends I tried this particular set of products from Zenmed and my face cleared up overnight. That is not an exaggeration or embellishment. It literally cleared up over night. (I also stopped drinking coffee and started taking omega-3s, but I really do think it was this thing in particular that did the trick.) I cannot recommend it highly enough.

And speaking of coffee. I would be remiss in not mentioning cold brew coffee on my list. Any kind, but especially the pre-made stuff in the bottle that you buy at the store. It was a lifesaver this summer when it was too hot to drink hot coffee, and I was too sweaty and lazy to go through the process of brewing the cold stuff. I’m not really drinking coffee anymore, but it certainly made this past May-August ever so much more bearable!

gardein

I think Gardein Breakfast Pockets may be my favorite discovery this year. I’m not one of those people who can eat as soon as I get out of bed in the morning; I need to take my time, sip a hot beverage (now that I’m not drinking coffee, the current beverage of choice is turmeric-ginger tea) and just go about my early hours ver-r-rrry slowly. It’s not that I am not a morning person–I am totally a morning person!– but it really does have to be at my own pace. I try to eat a little something right before my work day starts, and these hand-held little pockets are really delicious. I am also a person who absolutely cannot do sweet things in the morning, so to find a convenience food that isn’t a waffle or a poptart or a cloying breakfast bar is pretty awesome. It’s vegan, but I am under no illusions that it’s “healthy”. With no animal products and at only 200 calories though, it’s good enough for me. (Note: I am not vegan. Not even vegetarian.)

southern-reach-paperback-covers

The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer left me speechless. I was certain nothing could ever measure up again, and I was very nearly afraid to start reading something else afterward! The books tell of the mysterious, dangerous wilderness of Area X and the humans exploring it: several decades ago, an inexplicable environmental change occurred and a large swath of land and sea was sealed behind an invisible and largely impenetrable barrier. “Inside it, nature shifted. It grew wild and pristine, dense and fertile—improbably pure, as though nature had said “Enough!” and reclaimed itself.”  It’s an uncanny, and genuinely surprising read that haunted me for days and probably will continue to do so for many years to come. With this series The New Yorker refers to Vandermeer as The Weird Thoreau, and …yep. Totally apt.

salt Salt Is For Curing by Sonya Vatomsky. I make myself very sad thinking about missed connections. What would life be like if perhaps I’d never gotten to know certain people, if I had carelessly just let those opportunities slip past? Sonya is one of these people. We connected via social media before I even knew they were a writer and I sometimes think…what if I’d totally ignored this weird person who started following me on twitter? What if I wasn’t a nosy so-n-so and took no notice of the fact that they were also a poet?  In my reading of Sonya’s book, Salt Is For Curing, it took all that I had not to devour this small book of spooky delights in one greedy instant. I feared that to do so, to ingest all of these potent magics at once, would give me a terribly heartsick sort of heartburn and yet leave me with the very worst sort of emptiness, knowing there is no more to be had. I drew it out for as long as I could stand. It is now in its fourth printing, which I think is basically unheard of for small press stuff, so, congrats my darling Soyna! Even if this is my fourth time saying so.

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What Is A Witch by Tin Can Forest and Pam Grossman is equal parts storybook, grimoire, comic book, and illuminated manuscript, What Is A Witch explores the many guises and archetypes of the witch–that ultimate icon of feminine power. The book’s lyrical language of night-song and half-rhymes, when given voice (and it absolutely must be read aloud), becomes a wild, witty, wondrous invocation, threaded throughout with fanciful visions, whimsical allegory, and magical truths. I engaged with its mesmerizing imagery and the poetic spell it cast, and immediately it awoke something within me. I felt it rise within myself, something fierce and surprising and nearly frightening in its power. If you feel yourself similarly compelled, don’t fight it. Go where this book takes you. See what you draw forth from yourself. Don’t be alarmed. Let it change you. This is magic, after all, and we are witches.

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It’s not spooky or eerie in the least, so it may surprise you to know that HÆLOS’ Full Circle is my favorite album this year. I know it’s not supposed to work this way, but I made my decision back in February and I’ve heard nothing that even comes close to changing my mind since that time. A sweeping, meditative album, comprised of down-tempo, melancholic dissonance, lustrous synth, and cinematic, kaleidoscopic strings; reminiscent of 90s atmospheric trip-hop, and reverberating with narcotic, late night poignancy, this is the sonic equivalent of the steady, gorgeous thrum and throbbing heartbeat of a hand in your own.

demonhandmaid

Two of my favorite movies this year would have to be Demon, incorporating Jewish folklore and demonic possession into a tragic tale that’s not quite horror and not quite comedy, but works quite well as precisely what it is not, and The Handmaiden, a gorgeous, deliciously twisted film, by Chan Wook Park.

coffins

My marvelous coffin-shaped jewelry and pin display boards from LifeAfterDeathDesign, which I have written more about previously here.

And numbers 14-16 are a cheat, but maybe more important than anything listed: I loved collaborating with my brilliant, talented, visionary friends on our various projects–we created not just one, but TWO wildly successful Occult Activity Books this year! That’s amazing!

I loved (is loved the right word?) that I knew when a relationship with a particular outlet was no longer working for me and was lucky enough to move on immediately to something not only better, but which also felt tremendously more right for me. Life is too short to be in an uncomfortable situation that makes you unhappy! Also, boo to bullies and blowhards, what ever form they take. I love that I finally knew when to move on, I guess is what I am saying.

And what about you? What did you take comfort in this year? What are some awesome discoveries you made? What are some of your favorites? Tell me all about it in the comments!

*featured heart garland image is, I think, from etsy seller Kirrakai

Currently {12.13.16}

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“Rotten”. That pretty much sums up the past month and a half. Too little time for all that I need to do and too much stress about all of those things have left me ragged at the edges, and edgy to the extreme. (“rotten” graphic above courtesy a Stay Home Club tee shirt which I am appropriately wearing today.)

My body does weird things when I am freaked out, and these anxieties over the years have found new and exciting ways to manifest physically in my poor bod.  What I’m pretty sure have been mild cases of acid reflux and rosacea that developed in my late 30s but which I have always been able to pooh-pooh because they’re not that bad…well, all of a sudden they are that bad. Massive flare ups. I’ve been walking around for the majority of November and December feeling like I’m going to barf and like my barf is burning a hole in my throat, on top of which my face is red and stingy-rashy with itchy bumps constantly appearing and disappearing in the same day.

The acid reflux, well, I can get over that, but roseacea? ON MY FACE? Ugh, no. Last straw.

I am, however, happy to report that after polling some friends on facebook I found some tips and various things to try that actually seem to be working. For those who are curious…

  • I cut out coffee (I didn’t drink that much anyway. Only a mug a day, which I drinkuntil it gets cold, and then I dump it out.) I replaced the coffee with a hot turmeric-ginger chai from Rishi.
  • I started taking omega-3s and acidophillus
  • I changed up my morning and evening face cleansing routine and am now using the anti-redness rosacea products from ZENMED. I am not exaggerating in the least when I tell you that I noticed an overnight difference after first trying them. On one hand that’s amazing, because my itchy lobster face was pretty awful. What stinks, though, is that now I basically have a cabinet full of expensive beauty products that are totally useless because I can’t use right now.

Shoes

On to more glamorous things! I received my beautiful Pilgrims from Fluevog and they fit gorgeously. These are truly the One Pair of Shoes to Rule Them All.

They are pictured here with a dress from Noctex, which you can’t really see, and I can’t link properly link to because it is no longer sold, and Avignon from Comme des Garçons, which of course you cannot smell, but I will share with you that it smells like very fancy pencil shavings. The tote is from Haute Macabre, but no longer available.

magnets

Also good for alleviating stresses: making your own monsters! A fashionable, fantastical harpy-footed, squid-armed cyclops! A jaunty minotaur with mummy legs and bat wings! A dragon with torn dungarees! Ridiculous! I picked up up this magnet set in Austin, but you can easily find them on amazon. Also, if you have a weird friend for whom you need a last-minute Hexmas gift (or maybe one of those white-elephant/dirty santa exchanges?) I can personally attest that this is the most perfect thing ever and there will be much deranged cackling.

insexts

BOOKSCurrently reading:
InSeXts // Angels of Music // Valancourt Book of Horror Stories

I am too brain dead to think of much to say about any of these books, but if you like the idea of vengeful Victorian lesbian insect women, then give InSeXts a try, and if Charlies Angels as managed by the Phantom of the Opera sounds campy and delightful to you, then I think you’ll like Angels of Music. I haven’t delved into the Valancourt anthology yet, but come on–just look at that cover! It’s got to be good.

GF Currently watching: a lot of Gravity Falls. My beau has been trying to get me to watch this with him forever, and I finally gave in. It’s a Disney show, (I think?) and has described as Twin Peaks meets Eerie, Indiana. Except without all the murder. Anyway, I won’t go into what it’s all about because if you already know then I’ll feel dumb for having done that. I will say that it’s a lot of fun and it’s good when you want to watch something silly but not exactly mindless, but…I don’t know. I find some bits of it a little problematic.

And finally, some one-word movie reviews!

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them-sure! (saw this in theatre)
The Lobster– hrrrm
Sacrifice– UGH
Demon-YESSSSS
Restoration-nope
Kristy-yes (surprisingly)
Green Room-maybe
The Last Witch Hunter-skip (got this from the library)

A Mint-Haters Guide To Non-Minty Lip Products

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I tried to come up with a pithy title for this post, but I couldn’t make it work.

No doubt you have read my thoughts on mint scented/mint flavored beauty products previously, but if not, I will sum up for you: there is a special place in hell reserved for them.

There is nothing I find more galling that to have paid good money for a beautiful lipstick or soothing lip balm or what have you, only to ease off the lid and be greeted by the repugnant odor of peppermint or, (worse), spearmint [EDIT: or even worse–wintergreen!]. These odors remind me of chewing gum (which is the most disgusting thing of all time, ever) and the dentist office (an association for which I don’t think I need to justify my dislike).

Though most people associate the smell of mint with adjectives such as “cool” or “fresh”, I find it nauseatingly antiseptic, clean and pure to the point of parody, where it’s almost a mockery of the associations it’s supposed to conjure forth, where it somehow loops around and becomes vulgar and tacky.  I’d almost rather smell rotting garbage or poopy diapers, to be honest.

14156601_673154089518253_883477789_nI started thinking about all of this when I finally gave in and bought one of the Lip Tars that everyone seems to adore from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. I’d been on the fence about it for awhile; I mean, just the name itself, “Lip Tar”, brought up unsavory imagery for me: a gooey, glunky product that would sit on my lips and annoyingly ensnare stray hairs. But I thought, well, I’ll just give it a try.

And I knew just from twisting the cap off, before I’d even slid the wand out of the tube, that it just wasn’t gonna work. A smell wafted forth and struck me full in the face, an odor not unlike my worst nightmare, which is to say that it smelled like being trapped in close quarters with someone chewing and smacking on their gum, and they won’t stop talking to me, not even for one second.

Another one which recently broke my heart this past year are the liquid lipsticks from Nero Cosmetics. Miss Argentina and Gold Dust Woman are such stunning shades, but alas, I cannot handle their foul stench.

Are you like me? Can you just not even with the mint scented/flavored things? Do you hesitate before purchasing a lipstick/gloss/balm because it’s kind of a crap shoot and you just don’t know if it’s going to be pleasantly fragranced or if you’re going to wind up with a toothpaste-scented piece of garbage?

Well, I hear you. It’s an unfriendly world out there for us in the us mint-hating minority.  And so beneath this image of my weird, staring eyes and blue-lipped crone kisses you will find that I have compiled for you a list of brands that I have recently tried and found to be free of the mentholated menace. If there is anything you think that I am missing or that I should try, let me know in the comments!

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Note: don’t expect in depth reviews on these products. It is not my aim to be a beauty blogger! When possible, I have included links to photos of yours truly wearing these colors, although I get a little nuts with the Instagram filters so they might not be totally true to life. Also note, I know everyone hates Jeffree Star right now, and to a lesser extent I realize that Lime Crime is problematic for certain people. I am including them because I have tried them and they fit into this non-mint category; but yes, I am also aware of the issues surrounding them.

💄 L.A. Splash Lip Couture – Favorite color: “OG Ghoulish” (grey/nude); a liquid lipstick that smells aggressively like nailpolish remover. At least it’s not mint! Also, this stuff will not budge; you need a sandblaster to remove it.
💄 Necromancy Cosmetica Matte Lipstick – Favorite color: “Deadly Nightshade” (light grey with soft blue undertones/as worn by me). A tube lipstick that smells vaguely of crayons.
💄 LimeCrime Velveteen – Favorite color “Cashmere” (greige). A liquid lipstick that smells of sickly sweet butter creme frosting.
💄 Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick -The only color I have tried is “Unicorn Blood” (dark, rusty red/as worn by me), and I really don’t love it on me. I don’t love the formula either, it’s really quite soupy and drippy. It smells of acrid, acidic fruit candies.
💄 Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick -Favorite color: “Ayesha” (pinky lavender/as worn by me). I think, even after everything I have tried, KvD’s will always be my favorite. It’s unfragranced as far as I can tell (though other folks say otherwise), the formula never gets gross and crusty throughout the day, and it’s not *too* much of a hassle to wash off. Second favorite color: “A-Go-Go” (bright orange red)
💄 Ofra Long Lasting Liquid Lipsticks – Favorite color: “Purple Rain” (pearly deep purple/as worn by me). Many folks comment on how good these smell, but I don’t get that at all. The few I have tried have a mild, chemical smell. The colors are gorgeous and there’s usually a coupon code floating around at all times for this brand.
💄 Black Moon Cosmetics Liquid Lipsticks – Favorite color: “Grim” (cool toned brown). I love the packaging from this brand and the product itself smells plastic-y and a little sweet, sort of like the top of one of your old Strawberry Shortcake doll’s heads.
💄 Lipland Liquid Lipstick -Favorite color: “Retrograde” (purple grey/as worn by me). Several folks say this this shade is similar to MAC’s stone, but I can’t personally confirm that. Like Ofra, the smell is vaguely chemical (it reminds me of synthetic fibers, like warm polyester, I guess?)
💄 DNA Cosmetics Intense Pop of Color Lipstick – The only color I have tried from DNA is “Disco” (silver grey/as worn by me). I recall thinking that the formula wasn’t very …slippy? It was kind of dry, and it had a lot of drag to it.  Smelled waxy. But I really dig the ghastly grey blue, and it doesn’t smell like mint, so it remains in rotation.
💄 Colourpop Lippie Stix – As much as I loathe the name (which is super dumb), I do love the Lippie Stix. They smell exactly like crayons–which is totally okay with me– and at $5 each they are relatively cheap in comparison to the rest of the stuff on this list. They have a million colors and though I don’t find the formula to be very long wearing, well, I don’t fault it much for that. I mean, you get what you pay for, right? Favorite color: “Tootsi” (described as a cool-toned grey beige, but it seems pretty warm toned on me) Bonus: they have matching lip liners (“Lippie Pencils“) for every shade they sell, and “Marshmallow” is a greyed out lavender that matches just about everything I am into lately.
💄 Rituel de Fille Forbidden Lipstick – Favorite color: “Strange Creature” (cool, silvery grey). There is not much I don’t love about this brand.  I believe it’s run by three sisters, which of course I find powerfully compelling, and their aesthetic is absolutely gorgeous, full of magic and mystery. Their Forbidden Lipstick smells waxy and faintly herbaceous. Lavender, perhaps? Exactly like how you’d want something that looks like this to smell. Tip: “Strange Creature” goes very nicely with ColourPop’s Lippie Pencil in “Marshmallow”!
💄 Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick – Favorite color: “Lavender Jam” (electric blue-violet). I’ve saved the weirdest for last with this one. This is a beautifully creamy formula, and I really love this stunning color, but the strange thing is, sometimes this smells a little minty to me, just for a split-second. But as soon as I catch notice of it, it immediately morphs into scent of a lime freezee pop. Odd! However, there is no mint listed in the ingredients anywhere, and the so allow it to remain on the list.

this, that, and the other thing {xxvi}

4a81688fc04e53b6b70186aad9c60585Stunning knitted portraits are made of yarn and generated by an algorithm

luisacasati-banner-textGreat Moments In Historical Sluttery: Marchesa Luisa Casati, Living Work of Art

secret1 Gothic Cinema in the ‘40s: Doomed Romance and Murderous Melodrama

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Mailing things just became way more awesome with the immortal Amazon glory of the Wonder Woman stamp. (h/t Archie McPhee)

For folks who loved the Stranger Things score…

bc571st …and a reading list for everyone who is now obsessed with Stranger Things

California-Pipevine-Swallowtail-Butterfly-Tim-WongSan Francisco man singlehandedly revives a rare butterfly species in his own backyard (h/t Angeliska)

13707776_1232872423422588_1905765554343510684_nPoetweet makes lovely poetry from your ridiculous tweets! Well, “lovely”. (h/t Melissa)

MakeupAltarforDirge Makeup Magic: Beauty as Ritual, Empowerment, and Reclamation

A poem about your lipstick
Spinning, Seiðr, and Witchcraft (h/t Dawn)
Color palettes based on classic films
A fragrance so delicious you could drink it: perfumed cocktails
10 haunted Florida cemeteries (h/t Dustin)
The Demonization of Empress Wu
Trick Photography: Photo Manipulation Before Computers

 

Things I Love Right Now

things i loveFor a while now I’ve been wanting to do another Stinkers & Duds post but oddly enough, there’s really been nothing I’ve hated enough to include in a round-up of loathesome stuff.
I guess that’s a good thing?

Instead, here are a few things I have really been enjoying lately.

Le Baume Absolution has a concentrate of Marula, Perilla and Calendula in it and is absolutely fantastic, but whatever– I would love this lip balm for it’s chubby, stubby, easy-to-fit-in-the-hand shape, regardless. It is a wonderful formula, though–not too greasy or too heavy, and not mentholated (which is a huge NOPE for me.) This is, without a doubt, my favorite lip product ever.  I have already replaced it three times now.

L.A. Splash Studio Shine Lip Lustre in Catrina is a gorgeous deep brown base color with a strong metallic blue-green shift, or at least that’s how it is described, but on me, this is definitely less of the beetle-winged color and almost straight-up shimmery green-blue.  Also, you may never have to re-apply this stuff. It doesn’t fade, it doesn’t wear off. Hell, you can barely even get it off your face. (Hint: I use this stuff and a really scrubby washcloth).

Ear Scoops! Yes, yes, I know–we’re not supposed to be sticking anything in our ears. But there’s nothing quite so satisfying as cleaning the gloopy, glunky stuff out of our ears with a q-tip, after a shower, right? That’s what I thought, but then I read this and was immediately intrigued and had to stock up. I’ve already had one weird scare, but I’m an idiot and won’t let that stop me. I’m gonna stick things in my ears and there’s really nothing you can do about it.

The Uncanny Valley by Perturbator is both eerie and energizing and is full of aggressive retro-synth and jazzy noir and groovy bits and I yeah, everyone I know is over this 1980s sci fi/horror sound, but I can’t seem to get enough of it. It’s perfect writing music if you need some melodic noises in the background but you don’t want someone distracting you with a bunch of lyrics. *See also: thisquietarmy’s entire discography.  It’s different sound (ambient/drone/post-rock), but perfectly suited to this use.*

Sunday Riley Luna Oil is a product I have mentioned before, but it’s really just that good.  Advertised as a “next generation retinoid oil [that] reduces pore size, improves appearance of damaged skin, and helps fight wrinkles.”–it’s basically a nighttime vitamin A treatment oil.  It gets mixed reviews for the ingredients (here’s a list), the price, the blue tint, but I wake up with the most velvety skin after having applied it before bed. When I run out I would love to find a more cost-effective version of this stuff, but for now it is pretty amazing.

Satanic Panic has got Kier-La Janisse’s name attached to the project, so I already love it, but how does this sound? “In the 1980s, everywhere you turned there were warnings about a widespread evil conspiracy to indoctrinate the vulnerable through the media they consumed. This percolating cultural hysteria, now known as the “Satanic Panic,” was both illuminated and propagated through almost every pop culture pathway in the 1980s, from heavy metal music to Dungeons & Dragons role playing games, Christian comics, direct-to-VHS scare films, pulp paperbacks, Saturday morning cartoons and TV talk shows —and created its own fascinating cultural legacy of Satan-battling VHS tapes, music and literature. From con artists to pranksters and moralists to martyrs, Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s aims to capture the untold story of the how the Satanic Panic was fought on the pop culture frontlines and the serious consequences it had for many involved.”

I am only a few pages in, but I am already deeply engrossed.  The link above is a pre-order on Amazon; I got my copy directly through the publisher, but I think that version is sold out now.

Wow. I just realized there is no perfume on this list! I think it’s because I am testing a bunch of stuff right now and I’m not ready to talk about any of it yet, ha.
What’s got you excited lately? Books, musics, perfumes? Tell me all!

Currently {May 2016}

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I cannot believe it is almost the end of May already! I guess I’ve been busy, although I sincerely couldn’t even say what I have been up to, it’s all been a bit of a blur, really. I read some things, knit some things, had a bit of a milestone birthday and did some fun stuff, and today happens to be the birthday of my youngest sister.  Happy birthday to you, little toaster-mouth!

Speaking of knitting, it was my goal this year to tackle again those projects that gave me troubles in 2015.  Strangely enough, both of these patterns were by the same author, and the part that is really odd is that I normally love her designs and have no issues with them! I reached the conclusion that clearly, the problem here is me–my evidence being that when I slowed down, paid attention, and stopped being so careless and lackadaisical about things, they came together wonderfully. Featured above is the Chinquapin Wrap by Romi Hill and for those interested it was knit in Knitpicks Palette, a wool, fingering weight yarn. The color is “Briar Heather” and I think it was knit on size 5 or 6 needles. The previously finished problem knit was Terpsichore Street, also by Romi Hill.  Both of these have been gifted away.

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Our garden is growing things!  Approximately 50 different kinds of kale, to be precise! Ok, let’s not exaggerate, it’s maybe three different kinds of kale. A few lettuces, some collards, peppers, green onions, eggplants, and even the cutest tangling green tendrils from the pea plants have begun to shoot up from the dirt.  I am basically just going to put kale in everything this summer, I guess.

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Taking a page from Eaumg’s book, I’m trying to keep better track of my empties; that is, the products that I end up actually using completely, thus emptying the package or container. I’m very guilty of jumping on bandwagons and collecting beauty products that sit on the shelf, never being used–and that’s dumb. I’m wasting money and not reaping the (probably dubious) benefits of these potions and elixirs! So, no more of that. Last month I used up two masks and some various samples. I really liked the Tony Moly broccoli mask, it was cooling and soothing…even though the boyfriend suggested that it made my face feel weird and clammy afterward. Ha! The rest of it was ….meh. Nothing I would purchase for myself, though if I stumble across another sample of the Tatcha cleansing oil, I’d give it one more try. In the meantime, I’ve gathered up all my samples in an adorably tiny basket and placed them strategically in my bathroom so that I will actually remember to use them.

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I’ve picked up this weird habit lately where I am reading three things at once + knitting on a thing. A Sunday afternoon basically looks like this: read a few poems from a slim book of poetry, read a chapter from a larger novel, read book one in whatever volume of whatever graphic novel, knit four or five rows, repeat. Then I get up and hop around a lot because my butt has usually fallen asleep by this point.

I recently finished You Can’t Pick Your Genre by Emily O’Neill, which was inspired by the Scream movies, and are described as “warnings, testimonials, declarations”. One reviewer describes it thusly: “These poems are not tropes, but triumphs. Instead of running up the stairs, they are charging towards the killer and digging a pair of scissors through the eyehole of his shitty patriarchal creep mask”. YES! I loved this book and these poems immensely.

Also: The Late Work of Margaret Kroftis by Mark Gluth. Themes of loss and grief and daydreams and stories within stories within stories. A series of vignettes, a chain of lives connected by death. Spare yet dreamy prose. SO many reasons to recommend this to so many people, and yet, I feel that I must warn you. Steel your sweet hearts. This is a rough one for sensitive readers.

Also pictured but not yet read: A Pillow Book by Suzanne Buffam and Cities I’ve Never Lived In by Sara Majka. Not pictured and not yet read, but it looks to be quite wonderful is In The Hours of Darkness by Katie Metcalfe, a lovely Swedish blogger.

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I’ve been catching up on my movie watching over the past month or so and it seems like I’ve been able to cross quite a few off my list! Here are my one-word reviews:

Thale*–Yes
We Are Still Here*–No
Road Games–Maybe
The House At The End of Time*–Yes
The Purge–No
The Purge: Anarchy–Maybe

*currently available on Netflix

To be honest, I’m a bit off my music game lately.  I’ve been listening to the same things for months now, which is fairly unusual for me because I’m constantly amassing new sounds, never listening to the same thing twice.  My current obsession is Ruby The Hatchet, a hypnotic, hallucinogenic, headbanging blend of compelling psych rock energy and thunderous melodies. For fans of Jex Thoth, Purson and the like.

What are you into now? What amazing things are you reading or doing or listening to?

 

Currently {3.01.16}

writing

Doing: For Hexmas, I was gifted with several books for writers–writing prompts, inspiration, that sort of thing.  I really only do a certain kind of writing, which is to say I blog. Mostly about personal things and the things that interest me.  I do this both for myself, and for whatever outlets want to feature some of my scribblings.  I don’t know that I ever want to do more than that, but it occurred to me that I am awfully one-note and it wouldn’t hurt to flex my writing muscles and challenge my creativity more, even if I am the only one who ever sees whatever these exercises produce or inspire.  For example, I am definitely not a writer of fictions!  But it might be fun to try.  We’ll see.   Pictured is A Year of Creative Writing Prompts, but I’ll also be delving into Ghost Stories and How to Write Them, and What It Is, by Lynda Barry (which was recommended to me by so many brilliant people, so I have high hopes!)

book stack

Reading: Speaking of books! My current bookstack:

The Darker Sex: Tales of the Supernatural and Macabre by Victorian Women Writers
You Have Never Been Here:  Stories by Mary Rickerts (“lush & alchemical”, say reviewers!)
The Book of Nightmares, poetry by Galway Kinnell
Ghostly A Collection of Ghost Stories by Audrey Niffenegger

LUNA

Face stuff! People, I am going to be 40 in a few months.  Am I freaked out about it? Not especially.  I still feel like a dorky 14 year old in my heart and bones and soul, and I suspect I’ll feel that way on my deathbed…so 40, 50, 80, whatever. Just numbers.

I am, however, trying to treat this year as a very special marker on my timeline, though;  everyone thinks of 40 as a “milestone” type of birthday, and I’m part of this world, so I am not immune to that type of thinking. I am tackling all of the projects that might have intimidated me (i.e. The Occult Activity Book–which sold out in three weeks time! Holy crap!) I am trying to tie up loose ends on things that have been hanging around too long, and I am definitely trying to take better care of this meat suit I’ve been shackled with during my tenure on Earth.

As part of that, I’m getting fancy with my face! Two of my favorite products right now are:

Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil, which is a retinoid complex for calming and repairing damaged skin with blue tansy and chamomile and IS BLUE (I feel like a warrior goddess when I dab it on at night) and I wake up with the most amazing, velvety feeling skin. It’s definitely pricey, but it will last a good long while it looks good on my shelf! Ha, like anyone is looking at my shelves, I know.

Le Baume Lip and Dry Skin Balm; I recently ran out of my beloved Nivea lip balm, the kind that comes in the little tin, and which smells like vanilla.  I have been trying to replace it, and in doing so have found a lot of lip balms that I hate. Le Baume is the first one I have come across that I am thrilled with.  I have a list of no-nos for lip balms but at the very top is no mint, nothing mentholated.  Mint one of the grossest smelling/feeling/tasting things ever, like you just smeared toothpaste on your lips (I feel that way about mint-flavored foods, too. Mint is for toothpaste and that’s it.  End of story.) Anyway, non-minty lip products are tough to find!  I also like a product with a nice ratio of waxiness to slippiness. Le Baume fits the bill perfectly. It’s got a sort of…herbal(?) smell, which must be due to the high concentrations of Marula, Perilla and Calendula.  Anyway, I just love it.  I may have found a holy grail.  Plus the packaging is adorable.

Listening: I’m pretty predictable.  If it’s mopey or kind of haunted sounding, that’s most likely what I am listening to.  Ever since BBHMM though, I have been keenly interested in what Rhianna’s been up to, and I was surprised by how much I am enjoying Anti right now. I’ve read that this was an album that’s been in the works for a number of years and that everyone was expecting some sort of opus, and that’s not what they got with Anti…which doesn’t really mean much to me since I’ve never really listened to Rhianna.  Anyhow, I am not a great reviewer of things, but this seems to me a fairly self-reflective bunch of songs. I also hear that she had a lot of control here and made exactly the sort of album she wanted to make, and you can somehow hear that here.  There’s not very much in the way of radio-friendly type of stuff. It’s the sort of thing I’d want to turn off all of the lights and lay on the floor and listen to in the dark.  That’s my idea of a good time.

More Stinkers and Duds

stinkers

 

Earlier in the year I wrote of my unfortunate experiences with a handful of cosmetics and beauty products, so that I might save you, dear friends, the misfortune of spending your money on them, or perhaps worse – applying them to your person.

As it turns out, there are quite a lot of really awful products out there! And as you can imagine, I like to ramble on extensively about such things, so I shall be featuring a quasi-regular Stinkers & Duds column to share with you these products that range from Mildly Offensive to Relatively Useless to Really Fucking Gross, Kill It With Fire.

On today’s list:

1. Caudalie Lip Conditioner $12: this has the consistency of a 1000 year old crayon – nay, a fossilized million year old crayon.  Perhaps carbon dating methods cannot even determine the exact age of the waxy substance which comprises this product. Combine this with all the healing properties of spiked lizard skin and scraping sandpaper and then imagine scouring this rough specimen across your poor, tender lips. Wonder at the bleeding mess you have made of your mouth because you have done this ill-advised thing.  Think about demanding your money back from Sephora but then never actually do it because you find the act of returning things to the store and dealing with customer service repugnant.  Stew fretfully for the rest of your life about it.

2. Nature Republic Bee Venom Cleansing Foam $12.98: I had read several good reviews about this product, the bee venom is supposedly good for neutralizing redness, and I have this problem on my cheeks and chin every now and then. I don’t quite understand what it is – i am not naturally ruddy-cheeked (I am actually rather sallow) and it’s not acne or blemishes.  Just sort of an…inflamed irritation?  I don’t know.  Anyway, this did not help at all.  Not only did it do nothing – I am still as red as a tomato most days – it smells a bit like hand cream that you’ve left in your pocketbook too long and which has gone off, and it was terribly drying. Nope.

3. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb $50: I hate Victor and Rolf’s Flowerbomb so much that I nearly fly into a rage. It smells petty and mean spirited and small-minded. Like bigoted small town pageant moms and the shitty popular girls in 80s movies. It simultaneously makes me want to cringe and cry.  It’s all the Heathers. Also: it’s an enormous lie. It smells nothing like any flower, ever. Unless, of course, there is a blossom that smells like Bongo jeans and hair-sprayed bangs and the wretched duo of Jennifer W. and Amanda P. in the 7th and 8th grade. How’s it feel to be the inspiration for the world’s worst fragrance, you dumb, hateful bitches?

4. Redken Color Extend Magnetics Sulfate Free Shampoo and Conditioner $26.50 Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sulfates are bad, I get it.  Whatever – I LIKE sulfates!  They actually lather up and clean my hair and get the dang job done.  However, my stylist talked me into trying this stuff, and to be honest I only used it once. T

Me: nearly waist length, color treated hair. Slightly coarse, wavy. Frizzes up in the right conditions (ie 100% in Florida). I have a lot of hair and you can tell.

Me on Redken Color Extend Magnetics: Hair is lank, limp, greasy. I look like Samara, crawling out of the well and off of your teevee set to kill you. Guess you shouldn’t have watched that video when you knew your friends were dying one by one a week later. I now officially resemble a Japanese murder ghost and obviously someone has to pay.

Also when my sweet, thoughtful, always complimentary dude wrinkled up his nose as he sniffed my freshly washed head and remarked with a grimace “ugh, you smell like dog ears” – which, WTF does that even mean? –  I threw it out with out a backward glance.  Life’s too short to smell like dog’s ears, folks.

What’s had you wrinkling your nose lately?  Tell me all about your own stinkers and duds!  I’m all ears, as always.

Currently {11.04.15}

Currently stepping up my pin game with offerings from monpetitfantome, adipocere, and vacvvm.

 

Currently reading: Small press, local authors haunted nonsense in addition to learning about secret German fencing societies.

 

Currently wearing: my Lorraine cross and Two of Swords earrings from bloodmilk, all the time. And tee shirts because November in Florida.

 

Currently testing: Kypris Moonlight Catalyst, Herbivore Botanicals Rose Lip Butter, Moon Juice Heart Dust. (Verdict, the Kypris is a lovely overnight skin elixir but it may be too soon to tell, and the Heart Dust is delicious! The lip butter is nice, but not as great as my old standby.)

 

holy beast

Holy Beast2

Currently watching: School of the Holy Beast.  Sans subtitles.  “…a veritable furnace of subjugated carnal desires and broken vows.” I probably don’t need the dialogue, right?

Currently listening: As beautiful and melodic as Julia Kent’s Asperities is, it is also an album full of tension and darkness. You’re not sure if that breathless feeling you’re experiencing is the welling emotion of tears yet to be shed or a silken noose tightening about your throat.  This is the sound of my every November. Haunting, heartless; exquisitely cruel.

Friday Fripperies

fripperies

 

Folks who have been following my tumblr for awhile probably remember my Friday Fripperies – a slew of posts every Friday featuring gorgeous (and usually pretty spendy) needful things.  This was actually a carry-over from my LiveJournal days, believe it or not!

I was never really happy with that format…I didn’t really like the items spread out over 8-10 posts throughout the day. And eventually, due to life things and busy-ness, I stopped with the fripperies posts altogether – although, believe you me, I never ceased mentally collecting the beautiful things!

In an effort to continue with the tradition of Friday Fripperies, I have moved them over to a blog format, and I think we’ll be very happy here!  See below for item details and links to the frips that I am currently swooning over.

1. Muchacha octopus moccasins from zozo.jp // 2. Niello moon and stars bracelet // 3. Waxed canvas tote from Peg & Awl // 4. Lonely high-waisted brief and long-line bra // 5. Rituel de Fille’s Night Visions collection

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