Archive of ‘scents & sensibility’ category

Merry Hexmas to you!


Listen, I’ll level with you here.  There’s no one who can shop for you like you can.

Unless you are providing your friends and loved ones with highly detailed lists which note exactly what something is and where it can be found (which I’ve come to think of as kind of tacky, but your mileage may vary!) it is unlikely you are going to receive that weird/macabre/grotesque/OH DEAR GOD WHAT IS THAT item on your list for which you have been longing intensely.

So here’s what you do. Your holiday shopping is, I assume, done and over with, correct? You can breathe a sigh of relief.  Pour a glass of wine…or a shot of whiskey…or whatever your poison is – except – please, for the love of all things holy, not one of those vulgar energy drinks.

It is now time to focus on you and what you want – and no, I am fairly certain it is not that Bath and Body Works gift basket in some gross, fruity scent you’ll never wear or that gaudy hummingbird wind-chime from someone who learned 20 years ago that you liked hummingbirds and never listened when you told them gently that your tastes had changed since you graduated from high school.

(And don’t get me wrong – I love it when people think of me enough to buy me a gift, and I am grateful…I just don’t ever expect someone is going to get me that thing that I really, really, want!)

It is now time to throw a few gifts for yourself under the tree! Consider the following items and please note that they all have the mlleghoul stamp of approval, for they have been purchased solely by and for myself.


amil If you are not already entranced by Segovia Amil’s dark, captivating beauty on instagram, you’ll be bewitched by her words in Ophelia Wears Black, her first published book of poetry. “Ophelia Wears Black is a collection of poetry and prose focusing on the shadow aspects and dark side of the human experience through the eyes of a young girl. Divided into four parts, each mirroring the cycling seasons, we follow Ophelia into her own re-imagined Underworld where she learns to make sense of and find the perfection and necessity of her own inner darkness.”


folkI have not been able to put down Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies since receiving it a few weeks ago, it is some of the most compelling, fascinating writing I have ever read on one of my very favorite subject.  Featuring essays and interviews by many great cinematic, musical, artistic and literary talents, Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies is the most comprehensive and engaging exploration to date of the sub genre of Folk Horror and associated fields in cinema, television, music, art, culture and folklore. AND 100% of all profits from sales of the book will be charitably donated to environmental, wildlife and community projects undertaken by The Wildlife Trusts.


Music & Art & Baubles


Lost Voices: Volume 1 – Keening and The Death Wail: Lost Voices explores vocal improvisation in folk culture.  Volume 1: Keening and the Death Wail considers Keening (a traditional improvised vocal lament) practised by women in ancient Ireland and worldwide. Includes a 31 page booklet exploring the history of the art of keening with a cd of audio examples.

Easeful Death labradorite coffin ring from bloodmilk (sorry for my hands, I know those pointy witch claws are en vogue right now, but I can’t knit with those nails and I’d probably put my eye out.)  “Cast immortal in sterling silver, bat wing and leg bones molded from the real thing, are composed into a beautiful setting cradling a labradorite coffin cut jewel.”

Death and the Maiden art print, by artist Tenebrous Kate of Heretical Sexts: “The virginal blush of youth and the icy hand of death, Eros and Thanatos, vanity and decay. Emerging from the imagery found in Medieval depictions of the Dance of Death, the motif of Death and the Maiden is at once macabre and erotic.”



Littlest friend bat cloisonné pin from Cat Coven. Perfect for lapels – whether they’re gracing leather jackets or spooky granny cardigans!



A ghostly white resin hand pendant on recycled black leather from artist Alice Rogers of Trances and Portents.



Eau de Mort parody ad art print by the incomparably lovely Becky Munich. This one is a bit of a cheat since it was a gift, but I have several prints from Becky hanging on my walls and there is space for several more -so no doubt many purchases from this talented artist will occur in the future!


Fragrant Fripperies


There’s not a Yule that goes by wherein I am not sorely tempted by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s seasonal winter holiday scents, and how could I resist this years offerings, which included the Icelandic Yule lads (not pictured). The answer is that I could not.


House of Orpheus

I also treated myself to a sampler set from The House of Orpheus, which is something I have been meaning to do for a while.  Enodia is lovely beyond compare –
“… ancient goddess of the streets.  She is the Nachtfalter, the moth, the night butterfly. Guided by the moon and associated with Artemis, Hekate and Persephone.  Black Storax would have been in the incense burned in offering to this goddess of the street and so we base this perfume in Black Storax, with notes of Black Agars Wood, Moroccan Myrrh, and Vanilla.   It is exalted by the alchemical oil of silver”.

Also! I’ve loved the candles from Burke and Hare for awhile now, so much so that I tend to burn through their offerings much too quickly.  On a whim, during a recent sale, I picked up Dragon’s Blood: “…fragranced with the precious red resins that create the alluring scent known as Dragon’s Blood. It is a potent and earthy fragrance, infused with cedar wood and patchouli essential oils. The scent combines sweet and spicy notes to form a sophisticated complex blend. “



Lastly some Blackbird incense from CatbirdNYC, in the exclusive fragrances of Violet Hour and Russian Caravan, in addition to a small wooden tealight holder crafted by Peg & Awl for Sisters of the Black Moon.

Have you already been generous to yourself this season?  Well, Merry Hexmas to you! I’d love to get a nosy peek into your loot and see what I might be missing!



DARKLY DREAMING: A Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Course Guide.

Trio copy

I recently had the distinct pleasure of writing a course guide for the uninitiated and those new to the splendors of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and their myriad, wonderful fragrances. You can find it over at Haute Macabre.

And because I don’t know how to be brief and possess the uncanny (and not at all annoying!) ability to make a long story even longer, you will find it broken down into three installments, for easier reading:

It gets a little personal, I’m afraid. I find it difficult to separate a beloved thing from the experiences I’ve had while adoring that thing -so there are more than a few anecdotes and opinions. It cannot be helped!

I have loved Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, their people, and their fragrances for a very long time now and I do hope I’ve done them justice with my words.  Let me know what you think! Have I missed anything?  What are your favorites scents and collections?  Favorite BPAL memories over the years?


More Stinkers and Duds



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.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Crimson Peak collection


It’s a long shot, but maybe you’ve heard about a little film released recently by that guy – you know. He does the scary stuff… Guillermo …what’s his name? Yeah, it wasn’t very big, not a lot of hype. Really flew under the radar, you know? Scarlet Summit? No, hm. Ruby Pinnacle? This is gonna drive me nuts.

Ha! Just kidding, you weirdos. I reckon Crimson Peak has been on our collective horror-nerd radar for the last three years, and we’ve anxiously been counting down the days until its release earlier this month whilst working ourselves into a feverish delirium awaiting its myriad charms.

A lush, lavish gothic romance in high, bloody style – and a dizzying exercise in glorious excess – Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak delivered on a grand scale. A tale to delight the senses on every level, brimming with terrible, tragic beauty and darkly dreamy imagery, both elegant and savage – the only thing missing from this gorgeous experience is the fragrance of those dark secrets and monstrous revelations.


The mad geniuses over at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab anticipated this, and October 31, 2015, marks the release of their Crimson Peak-inspired line of fragrances, nail polish, jewelry, and statuary.

As to the scents themselves, the lab has outdone themselves. I’ve been wearing their fragrances for years and although they consistently provide marvelous olfactory experiences, never had they made as strong a showing as they have with this singular collection. Among the oils I sampled, each was beautifully nuanced, deliciously complex and perfectly – uncannily – captured the essence of the character or the theme conveyed.

In short, I think I loved them all. My wallet weeps at this pronouncement.


Some standouts include:

Edith Cushing (Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind: pearlescent vanilla musk with white sandalwood, grey amber, white patchouli, ambrette seed and oudh. ) smells of wholesome beauty, youthful innocence and somehow…of butterflies and ruffled nightgowns. The airy warmth of delicate musk and sweetly powdered limbs.

Both Sir Thomas Sharpe (Give in to temptation: black amber darkens a pale fougere.) and Lady Lucille Sharpe (Love makes monsters of us all; faded red roses and a glimmer of garnet with black lily, yang slang, smoky plum musk and black amber. ) share the same melancholy amber base. Sir Thomas is a close to the skin scent – slightly sweet, with a hint of light musk and tinge of tears – it is a somewhat sad smelling thing. Lady Lucille, on the other hand, is plummy with dark roses and the tang of something deliciously unhinged. “Love makes monsters of us all,” she mused, and you can smell that cruel, desperate sentiment in this bottle.

Dr. Alan McMichael (My deeper concern has always been for you. If you are happy, I am happy. 
Bay rum and sandalwood) is a deceptively simple, comfortable scent.  A feeling of safety, of familiarity, of leaning into a warm neck and breathing in skin and a hint of luxurious aftershave. Also…of horses.  I have never actually seen a horse in real life, mind you -I only know them from books, but I am fairly certain that story-horses share this smell.

Crimson Peak [EPONYMOUS] (A house that breathes, that bleeds, and remembers. A house like this, in time can become a living thing with timber for bones and windows for eyes: snow marbled with blood-red clay frozen over the scent of decayed wood) conjures a bleak, chilled incense. Not an entirely welcoming fragrance at first, but as it sinks into the skin, becomes a part of you, you detect a very slight woody warmth and its peculiar charms become a thing to crave.

The Manuscript (A ghost story – Your father didn’t tell me it was a ghost story.
It’s not, Sir, it’s – more like a story…with a ghost in it.
A leather-bound manuscript, ink barely dry. A Gothic ghost tale, personified. The pages are permeated with a preternatural otherworldly quality – but only slightly, as the ghost is a  counterpoint;  leather and paper and splotches of ink, with a hint of ghostly chill.) 
Rich, buttery leather, parchment dried with age and subtle, acrid scent of something you can’t quite place -something from the corner of your eye or a mostly forgotten childhood memory. This smells of déjà-vu to me; a book I’ve not yet read and yet have somehow have committed the tale to heart.

Black Moths (Back home we only have black moths. Formidable creatures. They thrive on the dark and cold.
What do they feed on?

Butterflies, I’m afraid.

A flutter in the darkness: wild plum and black currant with aged black patchouli, vetiver, red rose petal, tonka absolute, and opoponax) 
Brittle, papery, musty darkness that becomes lighter in the wearing never but quite loses that tinge of unease, of quiet menace.

Perhaps you’d rather scent your rooms than your person?

Young Edith’s Bedroom (beeswax, leather-bound paper, white gardenias) hints at porcelain and wood, lace and shadow but becomes the most incredible, bombastic honey scent I have ever encountered.

Lucille’s Room (lilac water, fossilized black amber, lily of the valley, violet leaf, oakmoss) is a lighter, more subdued fragrance, recalling the play of shadow and light and the flutter of moth wings in between.

The Workshop (sawdust and gear lubricant, metal rods shining in golden afternoon light) –is it possible to smell the imagery of dust particles floating lazily in a patch of dim afternoon sunlight on a cold, clear afternoon in late winter ? I believe have.

Allerdale Hall (A grand house brooding against the horizon, a silhouette of jutting chimneys and sharp angles silhouetted against the grey sky) Allerdale Hall is a challenging scent to pin down. Dark oiled woods and the scent of the sky before a snow.

A sensory masterwork, these 30 individual, original scents expand upon the vivid world of the film’s characters and story points and are available in 5ml apothecary bottles exclusively via the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab website.

And of course, it’s imperative to know how one might wear this collection, is it not?

Music to wear perfume by

the perfumed dark from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

Track List:

The Action Of Memory, Andrew Hargreaves | A Glimpse, Rafael Anton | The Path, Zoë Keating | November, Max Richter | The License To Interpret Dreams, Antonymes | their memories, harold budd and brian eno | Grounds, Poppy Ackroyd | Reverie, Ludovico Einaudi | Krómantík, Soley | Idlewild, Julia Kent | Bedded deep in longterm memory, The Caretaker | Ritual, Adam Hurst | Strange Dreams, The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation | Lament, Jacaszek | Déjà vu, Fabrizio Paterlini | Stille, Lucy Claire by ft. Alev Lenz | Les Soirs, Oskar Schuester

“Music to wear perfume by” – upon reading the title, this would seem to be my most frivolous playlist yet…or is it? I believe that if you listen closely, within these sounds you’ll find my true heart.


Five Horror-Inspired Perfumes


This article was originally posted in 2015 at Dirge.

The scent of horror, of fear, is no doubt a caustic combination of pungent fright-sweats, highlighted by the metallic tang of boiling blood and bitter adrenaline, underscored by a host of sharp, burning pheromones. An aggressively unpleasant, acrid bit of olfactory melodrama, to be sure.

Thankfully, the following fragrances inspired by myriad facets of the horror genre smell nothing like the noxious miasma described above. These unsettling scents range from mildly pleasing to devastatingly gorgeous, yet evoke a delicious frisson of fear and a sickening plucking at the nerves – a vague stirring of horror.

Spanning film classics to cult favorites, bodacious late night tv hostesses to obscure texts on olde-timey vampyre ladies, these five horror-influenced scents are certain to thrill lovers of ghoulish delights and nightmarish phantasmagoria. What better gift for your favorite dandy/quaintrelle-cum-horror enthusiast?


Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, is the inspiration for Demeter’s Elvira collection of supernatural scents showcasing dangerous flowers and plants such as red poppies, Belladonna, Nicotiana, and Davana. Demeter perfumes are not necessarily known for their complexity or their longevity – and yes, the packaging calls to mind the quote, “it takes a lot of money to look this cheap!” Or, in this case: “smell this cheap” – however, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that Vamp, Zombie, and Black Roses are every bit as sultry and sexy as the straining bosoms on the bottle would have us believe.


Room 237 by Bruno Mazzolari is a perfume inspired by the color and atmosphere in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Boasting, “supernatural green notes of flea bane and angelica haunt a base of oppoponax and costus root… Peculiar florals whisper together with soap and the scent of a vinyl shower curtain, laying a cold finger at the base of the spine,” this is a soft, reserved scent that is both highly wearable and slightly unnerving, and conjures a weird tension between the seemingly mundane and something monstrous lurking just beneath the surface.


Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s olfactory tribute to Only Lovers Left Alive Jim Jarmusch’s tale of two fragile and sensitive vampires, who have been lovers for centuries, is a collection of sophisticated, sensual blends ranging from somber and savage, to voluptuous and brittle. Inspired by the film’s sensual photography, trance-like music, and droll humor, these perfume oils are a must-have for aficionados of fragrance, creatures of the night, and the mysteries of everlasting love. On a related note: genre fans will be thrilled to know that BPAL is releasing a line based on Guillermo del Toro’s highly anticipated ghost story and gothic romance, Crimson Peak, next month!


Paradise Lost by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, an otherworldly perfume – redolent of smoldering spice, candlewax, and faded flowers – was  inspired by Clarimonde, a vampire courtesan in Theophile Gautier’s 1836 short story, La Morte Amoureuse. Classically structured, yet full of contradictions:  warm amber/cold orris, buttery myrrh/astringent herbal florals, Paradise Lost is a stunning fragrance to bewitch your beloved and convince them that you are not, in fact, a blood-sucking fiend… even when the rotting stench of the tomb might tell another tale entirely.


The DevilScent Project, a blogging event launched by Olympic Orchids involving seven perfumers and eleven perfume bloggers, was inspired by Sheila Eggenberger’s Quantum Demonology. These perfumes represent the, “unique scent of the Devil and his ex-wife Lilith.” And why wouldn’t you want to sniff ol’ Beelz? Though I personally always thought the cumin note often used in perfumes is what the devil’s taint smells like so that might be a good reason not to smell him – but that’s another story for a different time. The five scents, ranging from cool and sharp to dense and murky, comprise a collection fraught with aromatic, diabolical passions. And thankfully, no cumin to be found.

Image: Cover art for Caroline Cooney’s The Perfume.

Summer Scent Giveaway Winner!

samples copy


Thanks to all who entered my Summer Scents For Those Who Shun The Sun giveaway, over on the bloodmilk blog last week.  I loved reading all of your beautiful, evocative scent descriptions! Alas, I can only choose one winner, and according to the random number generator, our winner of samples for each scent listed (along with several other selections!) is….#7, Tai!

Tai, please email me at mlleghoul AT gmail dot com so that I can send these fragrances your way!


In the original post it seems I neglected to mention where these scents can be found.  Allow me to remedy that! Most of them can be found on amazon.  See below for links. Regretfully, the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scent that I listed, “Danube” , looks like it is no longer on the site (I must have a really old bottle). I have found their scent “Arkham” to be strangely comparable, though..

Jean Couturier Coriandre on amazon
Annick Goutal Mandragore on amazon
L’Artisan Safran Troublant on amazon
Jo Malone Orange Blossom on amazon
Comme des Garcons Incense Series: Kyoto on amazon


Mother issues, volume 1: The smelly edition

Sometimes, when my sisters and I get together and have had a few glasses of wine, one of us will say something like “Hey, do you remember Furry Lewis? And the weird black spots on his nose? We sure had a lot of cats when we were growing up, didn’t we?  Let’s see if we can remember all of their names!” At this point we are not counting or keeping track very well, and it usually goes nowhere and we have forgotten about it five minutes later.

If pressed to do that right now, I could name: Fritz, Leonard, Tibbytabby, Rosemary Kelly Denise, Bub, Chico, Chloe, Larry, Gypsy, Leroy Parnell, Simon Bisely, Dr. Bob, Furry Lewis, Tia Marie, Desdemona, Freddy Mercury, Clyde, Random, Mandy, Omar, Annie, Paddy, Georgie, Oliver, Bill, Ebby, feral garage kitty who later became Jenny Calendar, Ginger, Carrotcake, Abby who later became Hermione (actually I lied, I had to call my sister and ask who she could recall as well)

From the time I was 8 until right up until my mother passed away, she had no less than 5 or 6 cats in her house and for a good many years it was upwards on 20+. As a matter of fact, I believe the cat population was at it’s largest during my high school years.  If I had any friends to speak of, I probably would have been embarrassed and ashamed to bring them into our smoky, cat infested, litter-box odor infused home, but as it stood, my humiliation stemmed more from the fact that when I left the house, I brought all of these horrid smells with me.

I was picked on mercilessly on the school bus for my cat-hair covered clothes and my own hair, which seemed to smell like cigarette smoke and the faint fragrance of feline no matter how often I washed it.  Actually, the entire school bus experience was wretched for me anyhow, but that is a story for a different time, and not even really one I am comfortable telling because, well, racial stuff (I was the only white girl on a non-white bus). Most of these stories make my sister cry, so we’ll just forget about that.

As I grew older, I realized two things: I was never, ever going to start smoking – obviously because it’s bad for you, but mostly because I did not want a closet of clothes or an entire house or even/especially my person to smell like smoke.  And two: AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, I WAS NEVER GOING TO SMELL BAD AGAIN.

You may have noticed by now that I seem to have a fascination bordering on obsession with perfumes and fragrances.  You would not be wrong.  Now you know why. True, I may have inherited a bit of a hoarding gene from my mother – though I prefer to think of myself as a collector – but mostly I cannot stand the thought that there are anything other than pleasant smells coming from my corner.

My mother also loved perfumes. When I was much younger, my mother’s mirrored vanity tray held a great deal of fascination for me, with its jumble of shimmering glass bottles filled with fragrant fluids. It was a constant and forbidden temptation -as I had been told, more than once, to leave it be. And more than once, caught in a paroxysm of longing and naughtiness from which there was no return, I would spray one scent, then the next, and then perhaps high from the vaporous cloud of aromatics floating round my head, would proceed to spritz myself with the remainder of those illicit essences. When later interrogated, I would have the audacity to assert that I had been playing quietly in some other part of the house the entire time.

And yet, when I survey my  tiny scented kingdom I cannot locate one perfume that I think she would have loved (which were mostly funereal roses and heavy-handed chypres).  It somewhat saddens me to say it, but those she wore the most have always been the scents I like the least.

There you have it.  800+ words on why I blame my problems on my mother*, but it’s al really just a thinly veiled excuse to share and show off photos of my current perfume collection.
Don’t thank me.  Thank my mother.

And getting back to the names of all of those cats…well, I probably wouldn’t be able to name all of my perfumes if you ask me about them, either.














*When I think about it, the entire reason I created this little spot here at Unquiet Things is because of my mother.  I originally meant for this to be an offshoot of Death Cafe Orlando, wherein I could post topical tidbits, updates on future events, write-ups of past events, etc. Unfortunately, I came to learn that the folks over at Death Cafe aren’t thrilled with people blogging using their name (which I really do understand, it just honestly hadn’t entered into my perhaps overenthusiastic thought processes at the time.) So, I turned it into a personal blog. I’ve been journaling online in some form or another for the past 15 years, ever since the days of Livejournal, so why not? But the overwhelming reason I think I decided to start hosting Death Cafe in the first place is because of my mother’s death back in 2013.  So I suppose it just makes sense to air all of my grievances here, along with all of my other nonsense and ramblings.

Melancholics on holiday

Ah, so here we are.  Spring break.  Which is a funny and deceptive phrase in the semi-tropics where I live, because truly, by the time the spring months roll around, it is already starting to feel like mid-summer.

I like the idea of being outside and going to the beach and so on, but I try to do it before the sun has risen or just as it’s beginning to set, for as a pale skinned person who hates to sweat,  that evil day star and I are not exactly on the best of terms. Also, I like being outside in the dim and dark hours because I am super weird about people looking at me.

So how does one pack/prepare for a melancholic holiday at the seashore? I have put together an etsy treasury to get us started!


Black crocheted umbrella // Fiji Mermaid solid perfume // shibori throw // Joy Division flask
Pacific photo // lucid dream caftan // tentacle pendant // lvnea lip balm
sea Witch ring // wide brim hat // jellyfish tee // black leather sandals
sea creature stationery // fern drawstring bag // black culottes // sea anemone iPhone case

For aural inspiration, I cannot recommend “Paper Butterfly” highly enough…

Stinkers and Duds


I am certainly no guru when it comes to cosmetics and beauty products; those elixirs, serums, and potions we sink hundreds and thousands of dollars in every year to keep us from mummifying or stinking or being generally hideous.  I do, however, know what I like.
That, however, is a different story for a different time.

I am here today to talk to you about some items I most assuredly did not like.

1. Lavanila – The Healthy Deodorant

On trip to DC in 2014 the airline lost our luggage and since they were reimbursing us for our expenses I figured I would splurge on a “fancy” deodorant. Of all the things on which to splurge.

Anyhow, the product itself smells very nice – a lovely combination of “fresh” and “clean” and mildly sweet. Once applied, however, I have found that the scent dissipates very quickly and after an hour or so in the warm weather, seems to disappear altogether. Up until that point I was blissfully unaware of how truly, incomparably awful my own body smelled in the absence of deodorizing beauty products. My god. That foul stench was coming from me? Unbelievable! Inconceivable! I had to keep surreptitiously sniffing myself to remind myself that yes, that vile odor was actually emanating from my person. You know the wiggly waves that come off smelly people in comics and cartoons? I am pretty sure that’s what my olfactory aura looked like during this time.

As someone who always smells pretty great (in my humble opinion), this turn of events -while disappointing and which made me a bit of a social pariah for the remainder of my vacation – was absolutely fascinating. I had no idea, NO IDEA that one human being could smell so bad. Well, I am here to tell you that they can, and apparently lacking properly effective deodorants, I am the equivalent of a ticking stinkbomb.

I cannot in good faith recommend this product. Who knows what evil lurks under our arms when we are caught unawares by an an incompetent deodorant? Steer clear from this product, and you’ll not have to ever find out.

2. Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask

I suppose it is rather unfair to judge and review a product after one usage, especially one that is not really designed to produce instantaneous results (as oppose to say, a swipe of lipstick or a spritz of perfume.) However, I am compelled to record my initial thoughts on the subject here, few though they may be.

I call upon you, if you will, to remember the film Poltergeist, when Carol Anne’s mother pulls her out of the closet and she is covered with that pinkish, ectoplasmic goo? The viscous ooze that I extracted from the small sample packet resembled that sticky slime to such a degree that I actually found myself retching a little bit as I spread with trembling fingers that rosy jellied mucous on my face. Though the smell was in no way off-putting, the texture was like so much partially digested pudding and I shuddered to think how this slithering, slippery mass might transform my familiar (if slightly reddened and visibly aging) visage.

As instructed, I rinsed the sickly substance from my cheeks with warm water and waited with mounting fear to see what would emerge from beneath that foul fluid. Would the face staring back from the mirror be deformed, disfigured…dissolved? …would it even mine?

Indeed it was. Same enlarged pores. Same dark spots. Same dull countenance.
No radiance, no dewy glow. No youthful rejuvenation.

No point to this hideous exercise.
A horrific ordeal.

3. Parfumerie Generale – Aomassai

I feel like I may be the lone dissenter on this much beloved gourmand, but I think it smells like being locked in a humidor full of Ding Dongs. Which is not my idea of a good time.

4. LUSH – Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner

In theory, this is probably a great product. It’s a decadent, heavy cream that you slather on in the shower and then rinse off and then voila! You are no longer a dry, scaly winter lizard. The smell, however, MY GOD THE SMELL. I knew it wasn’t going to work for me because it was just so sweet and fruity and awful and cloying, but when my partner pointed out that I smell like Jolly Ranchers – those disgusting candies that were enormously popular during my sixth grade year – I literally gagged. I still have 99% of a jar of this stuff sitting on the counter and it’s quite a waste because it’s definitely not cheap.  Let me know if you want it. I haven’t got cooties.

Are there any products or items that you had pinned your hopes on, spend your monies on, and then let you down horribly? Almost killed you? Forewarned is forearmed – leave a comment and tell me all about it so I can learn from your mistakes as you have learned from mine.

1 2 3 4 5