What to wear: Melancholics on Holiday

Here we are nearing the end of August, and many of you are packing up your blackest swim outfits and bundling up the velvet parasols into storage to gather dust for another season.   The summer sun feels hottest and strongest now, but it’s sputtering and fading, you’ll see. There are probably only a few good weekends left for a seaside frolic or a picnic at the lake before the slant of light through the trees bends ever so golden, and the air starts whispering autumn tales of falling leaves and All Pumpkin Everything.

(Well, of course, everywhere except here. We get one day of fall in Florida, and that usually happens for six hours in mid-January.)

Make the most of it while you can! Get out of the house while it is still warm, before the frigid winds slash through the dark, endless nights and the marrow of your bones ices over! See and be seen!

Whether excavating Fiji mermaid remains, reading Dion Fortune in a dim-lit sea cave, or exploring the abandoned ruins of a haunted beach resort you will no doubt find below the dark ensemble to perfectly complete this summer’s final melancholic holiday.

As always, click on the image for a full listing of the items.

 

K-Beauty Madness, Part Two

Continuing with my K-Beauty Madness reviews: next up we have sheet masks, super cute stuff, and a few miscellaneous items.

Sheet masks were probably my first introduction to Korean skincare products…I think.  I feel like maybe my BGF brought me a few back from one of her trips to Korea, but I don’t remember ever actually using them.  Or maybe I am imagining that scenario, it’s hard to tell with me sometimes!

Anyhow, sheet masks are basically microfiber sheets saturated with serums and a variety of botanical ingredients and/or vitamins to help diminish various skin conditions.  After just 10 minutes of using the mask, skin is supposedly noticeably springier, softer, and more radiant. I’ve read that they are best used for hydration – they don’t exfoliate or cleanse deeply, and they are not meant to replace your regular serum. And they are meant to be used but once or twice a week, definitely not an every day thing (also the effects aren’t supposed to last more than a day.)  Also, maybe not for acne-prone skin.

As for when to use these masks, I am still not entirely certain. According to a user on reddit:
“I do my nightly sheet masks after all my essence/serum/ampoule steps and before my cream/sleeping pack steps. This way, the sheet mask format can help my essences, serums, and ampoules penetrate more effectively and avoid evaporation of those products, and then the cream/sleeping.”  I guess that makes sense, right?

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The first brand I tried, Hey! Pingko Girl, is actually not even Korean! Hey Pinkgo Girl is a Taiwanese brand. But amazon told me that I might want to try them, and I threw them in my cart without knowing anything about them because I am very impressionable. There are 8 masks in the set that I purchased (for about $18); 4 of the microfiber, and 4 cotton lace variety – with ear straps!  And a total of 8 entirely different formulas.  The first mask I used well, let’s just say I am an idiot.  The microfiber masks in this set come with a thin paper backing…which I didn’t realize…so I just slapped the whole thing on my face. “Why isn’t this contouring to my face?” I thought irritably. “Why is this flapping around so much?”  20 minutes later I realized my mistake but I was too grumpy with myself to give it another try that night. Unfortunately the one I tried was the Black Rose Collagen mask, which was the one I was most looking forward to.

 

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After that I tried the Brightening White Yogurt mask with aloe and hyaluronic acid, for all skin types, but particularly dull skin. The lace was super stretchy, which was good, because I have a pretty big head. After laying back on the sofa and listening to John Diliberto’s Echoes on public radio in the dark for 20 minutes, I removed the mask. It’s a soothing, relaxing process to be certain, but with this mask, other than feeling like my face was weirdly drippy (without the actual drips? Hard to explain.) I couldn’t tell the difference.

Not pictured: The Face Shop Hyaluronic Acid sheet mask. I don’t recall anything good about this one.  I used it one evening while keeping my grandmother company.  It didn’t fit my face right and it was kind of dried out.  Another reviewer mentions it smells like Cool Water for men, and I don’t quite remember that, yet nonetheless now I like it even less.

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Now I am not entirely certain about this, but I think the main demographic for Tonymoly products are meant to be teenagers. Which is not to say that a grown ass lady can’t love the adorable packing, because more often than not, I suspect that is the case.  And you’d think something marketed toward teenagers (and I am really just guessing at that) would be of an inferior quality, because teenagers – what do they know, right? I am happy to report that this is not the case.  Out of all of the sheet masks I have tried so far, I think the Tonymoly is the best of the bunch.  These weren’t even something I picked out for myself – my BGF brought them back for me from a recent trip- so it just goes to show that I’m not nearly as smart as I like to think I am.

The only one I have tried from this lot is the Tomato Radiance mask.  This one was definitely well saturated, it fit my face well, and while it did not smell of tomatoes, it smelled pleasantly enough. I think my face actually felt nicer after wearing it, though I could not pinpoint exactly why! I am excited though, to try the rest of the masks in this line up.

What are your favorite sheet masks?  What should I try next?

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I could not order just the masks from Tonymoly, of course!  I mean look at that pink winky cat compact! And the bunny glosses! Here’s a quick breakdown of some other things I picked up.

The Petit Bunny Gloss bars are a must. So cute.  So stinking cute. I bought the entire set, though I am fairly certain you can purchase individually.  I just know myself, and if I got just one or two, they’d probably be misplaced in the span of a day. Better to play it safe. Each one is a different flavor, (cherry, apple, peach, etc.) and though I as a general rule don’t care much for fruit flavored cosmetics, these aren’t too obnoxious. If you’re curious as to the colors, here are some swatches.

As an aside, don’t you hate it when people describe soap, lotions, creams, etc. as “flavored”? If they’re not anywhere near your mouth, then my take on it is that they are “scented”. That’s not a raspberry flavored deodorant, you psycho! What, are you going to eat it? It’s raspberry scented. Jesus.

The Tonymoly Cat Wink Clear Pact is another one that I didn’t really care what it did, I just wanted it because it was cute. Which is good, because as soon as it was delivered, I dropped it and all of the powder in it shattered and fell out. That’s ok! I really just wanted a cute mirror for my handbag.  Anyway, it comes in two shades and people seem to like it, so I still consider it a good purchase.

The Etude House Kissful Lip Concealer is a weird little product. Lip concealer itself is a weird concept, you know. It’s supposed to “conceal lip blemishes”, but I got it because my lips are naturally not very neutrally colored and sometimes when I want to wear pale lipsticks, I think my lip color interferes . Also, I though the girl on the packaging was kind of creepy, so bonus points for that.

The Etude House Precious Mineral Blooming Fit has some opinions: “Brightening OK! Darkening Zero!”  This is sort of illuminating BB cream, which leads me to think that I got a bit of a bad batch.  It gave my skin a dull, grayish cast that was even less attractive than it sounds.  The packaging is really pretty, so there’s that, but I have since found some great BB creams so I just gave this one away.

The Missha The Style Under Eye Brightener works just as well as that NARS under eye concealer that everyone is wild about; I use them now interchangeably, and this is loads cheaper.

 

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Some miscellaneous items:

The Tonymoly Peach Anti Aging Hand Cream is fantastic.  I cannot even believe I am saying this.  Ordinarily I hate artificial fruit scents and fruity fragrances, peach in particular.  But I keep this little pot of cream by my desk and it is really perfect.  Wonderfully hydrating, non-sticky, and the peach smell is really, really strong. But it’s not sickly sweet, which I love, and I think that’s where so many peachy fragrances get it horribly wrong.  This is so much like a ripe peach. Also: it looks like a boob.

Another Tonymoly product I can’t get enough of is the Gel Eyeliner #1. Let’s face it; I cannot now, nor will I ever be able to draw that perfect cat’s eye swoop that so many of you are good at. That’s 50% of the reason that I bought these cat’s eye glasses frames, dammit. And I think I prefer a more smudged look anyhow. I love the packaging, it looks like a little ink well!  The brush is built in at the top, and the eyeliner is in the little pot at the bottom. It’s highly pigmented, so a little bit goes a long way, and I also like that it’s small and can fit into nicely into my weirdly tiny hands.

Last and most definitely least is the Skinfood Salmon Dark Circle Concealer Cream. Infused with salmon oil and boasting salmon undertones to brighten the under eye area, packaged in a cute retro little pot, highly pigmented and super creamy – this product has a cult-like following and I really wanted to love it, but it didn’t seem to work for me at the time. It seemed too orange-y; like I was sporting some sort of salmon-tented eye grease that the football players wear underneath their eyes (to reduce glare.  I just now found that out)  I am at this point retroactively reading all of these glowing reviews about it though, and I am starting to wish I’d given it more of a chance.  Oh well!

Up next: some other stuff!

 

K-Beauty Madness, Part One

2NE1, “It Hurts” video still

Several years ago my best good friend cheekily informed me that “Korea was the new Japan”.  This was big news, as she and I had initially bonded at the start of our friendship over a mutual love of Japanese food and culture and anime (of course anime).

Over the course of the next few years she would attempt to entice me with K-pop or Korean dramas and Eat Your Kimchi, a super fun blog by non-Korean couple living in Korea, about food, travel, adventures, and culture. Despite her best attempts, however, I never quite contracted the K-Fever.

…and I am not saying that I have now, mind you, however a few months ago, a few friends recommended some Korean beauty products to me, and I drank the K-oolaid. Fell down the K-rabbit hole.  Whatever.  All of a sudden, out of nowhere, an obsession was born.

Products to brighten your skin! Products to reduce redness! Products made from snail mucus and fermented rose petals and mushroom extracts! Products to make you look like this!

2NE1 Fault Magazine Interview, 2012

Here’s a run-down of the products I have tried over the last few months – which ones were duds, which ones have become Holy Grails, and every thing in between.  Disclaimer, and I feel I need to add this because I am wretchedly paranoid.  Anytime I write something I am plagued by doubt and insecurities, convinced that someone is going to call me out on some minor (or, major -eek!) detail that I’ve gotten wrong. Something I missed. As some sort of amateur hack who has no business voicing an opinion.

So as a reminder, I am no cosmetologist or aesthetician.  I am not a professional Reviewer of Things.  I am certainly not a foremost expert on All Things Korean (or anything Korean, really). I am just a woman with an opinion. An opinion which may not be the same as yours! But an opinion which I would like to share with you, nonetheless.

Before doing so, though, there are a few other things I would like to share in terms of resources.  Korean cosmetics and skincare is apparently a complicated business in terms of which products do what, and the multi-step processes that go along with them.

Here’s a decent breakdown from Into The Gloss, which pretty much says that you should be spending the same amount of time in the evening taking your face off and treating it after, as you do with the spackling of it on in the morning.  And here’s another really great article from Style.com in which one expert asserts that the commonly talked about Korean 10 Step Process is not actually a real thing. Here is an article that talks about the difference between tones/serums/essences/ampoules, and here is a blog that you should look at because it’s basically the most beautiful blog I have ever seen.  She talks about a few must-haves, but I just can’t stop looking at her photos. Here’s a lady at the Huffington Post who gave all of it a try. Basically any google search for Korean Skin Care Products/Routine will unearth a bunch of great information, but you can really make yourself nuts about it.

From what I understand, the process for youthful, dewy skin looks like something like this.

1. Pre-cleanse with makeup removing wipes
2. Cleanse with an oil cleanser or foaming cleanser or balm
3. Exfoliate (not an every day thing)
4.Toner
5. Essence
6. Serum (or ampoule, if you need it, for an extra boost)
7. Sheet Mask (twice a weekish)
8. Eye cream
9. Moisturizer (I think these are sometimes called emulsions)
10. Night cream before bed / SPF in the morning

Obviously, this can be streamlined for budget and time constraints, once you find the things that work best for you.  And in the morning, for example, I imagine you can cut it down to less than half those steps.  You’re probably not wearing makeup to bed.  Hopefully.

I’ve purchased all of these things on my own, except for a few things gifted to me by my best good friend.  None of these were given to me by the companies or the retailers. Also, the things I am listing below are not in any order of where they might belong in the process listed above.  I’ve sort of just been buying things willy-nilly, here and there, and so if anything, it’s in order from earliest purchase to most recent.

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The first few items I purchased:

The Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick  is a a bit of a luxury item. A low PH cleanser with fermented damask rose extract in a twisty push up container. Retails anywhere from about $25 to $40 or so. I really loved this.  The instructions say to apply directly to your face and then lather it up, but it’s probably less stressful on your skin and will use less product if you lather up in your hands and then apply to your face. My face never feels tight, or worse, flaky, after using this. The container makes it super convenient for travel, so that’s a plus too.

The Lioele Water Drop Sleeping Pack ; this and other packs (or sleeping masks) of it’s type are, I believe, applied after the rest of your night time beauty regimen, to sort of seal everything in for the rest of the night, and then you wash it off in the morning.  An oil free gel, it’s supposed to reduce bloating and redness and the particular appeal of this item is that once you massage the product onto your face, it beads up into water droplets on your skin.  Not sure I understand how that’s helpful (don’t we want to keep moisture in, not out?) and it seems kind of gimmicky.  I tried it a few times and gave it away.  It just didn’t make much sense to me.

Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream contains snail mucin, which is all about cell regeneration.  My best good friend warned me that she tried a product with snail mucin in it and it made her break out but I was so high on the idea of slathering snail slime on my face that I’m afraid I might have pooh-poohed her. The product itself is nice enough, a light gel consistency with a bit of a cucumber fragrance.  But I didn’t like how sticky my face felt afterward, and sure enough, it did break me out.  This was another one I gave away.

The IOPE Air Cushion is probably the most amazing cosmetic product I have ever used.  Sorry for the hyperbole, but I stand by it. It is basically a compact with a BB cream soaked sponge in it. It comes with a non-absorbing puff that wicks the formula off of the sponge and “…effortlessly applies evenly onto your face, for that dewy no-makeup, makeup look”.
The first time I used it, I was a little disappointed; it got patchy and flaky (like all my makeup started doing around two years ago BECAUSE I AM GETTING OLD) but then I realized I hadn’t moisturized properly. The next few times I used it, I fell in love. The coverage at first is sheer to medium, but definitely buildable. Check out this blogger’s photos for an idea of how it worked for her.  And it’s just…really easy to use. Easier than smearing actual BB cream on your face. Also, it’s got some really sturdy packaging, a pleasant scent, and out of all of the things I have tried so far, it is my number one recommendation.  At $35-$45 though, it’s not inexpensive.

Missha Time Revolution – The First Treatment Essence Mist contains fermented yeast extract which is supposedly good for skin recovery.  Many bloggers claim this helps for whitening and supple skin, but, eh…I can’t see an difference on my end.  It’s a fine mist, which is nice, but it smells kind of strange.  I can’t see that it’s hurting me, so I will probably use it up, but after it is gone, I will be on the lookout for a new essence.  Suggestions are welcome!

To sum up, or as the kids say, TL;DR -I can definitely recommend the Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick  and I strongly urge you to try The IOPE Air Cushion. If the other three interest you, be certain to read up on reviews and research on the Lioele Water Drop Sleeping PackMissha Time Revolution – The First Treatment Essence Mist , and the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream. Obviously, just because I didn’t love them doesn’t mean that you won’t, so let me know if you give them a try!

Up next – Masks! And Cuteness Overload!

Links Of The Dead

Image: a bit of deathly grammar humor from artist Siobhan Gallagher.

In gearing up to host Orlando’s third Death Cafe (sometime this November, but I like to get a head start with my dread and anxiety about things), I thought I’d post 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.

Meet the Living People Who Collect Dead Human Remains
23 Unusual Ways To Die In The US In One Handy Map
Preserving tattoos after death
West Palm company wants your hologram to speak at your funeral
More people are getting married at funeral homes.
An Ice Cream Truck at the Funeral
How to Write a Condolence Note
64 Myths About Grief That Just Need To STOP
Confronting Mortality In An Unsettling, Inspiring ‘Tour Of Bones’
‘World’s first’ crypt hotel room opens in Maine
The Ascent of Female Funeral Celebrants
The Pulp Guide to Necrophilia
6 Ways to Commemorate Your Pet
Can I Travel With Cremated Remains and Other Questions About Scattering Ashes Abroad

How to wear a date with a monster

Hellraiser Frank and JuliaWe’ve all been there. It’s Friday night, you’re tearing up your closet–shoes strewn all over the floor, blouses crumpled and flung all up in the ceiling fan. You’re growling and muttering anxious curses, butterflies flapping their stupid wings in your guts… and you just don’t know what to wear on your first date with that super cute wolf man who works in accounting.

No, seriously, he’s a wolf man. He’s in the accounting department. You walked past him a million times before and never noticed him until he nearly bit your face off that one time when you were both working late during last month’s full moon.

And now he’s asked you out to dinner!

It’s the age-old dilemma, isn’t it? What to wear on a date with a monster? I mean monsters, they’ve seen it all, right? Some have been around for millennia and certainly have been around the block a time or two. How could you, a mere human, possibly hope to wow or impress one of these dastardly fiends? Never fear, I am here to help.

See below for some fabulous wardrobe suggestions for dates with your savage sweetie or beastly bae, whether you’re sexing up the swamps, inviting them home to flay your folks alive, or just spending some quality time together destroying a major metropolis.

As always, click the link or the image to find out more about the individual items listed.

Blind date.

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Date night with Frank.frank

Date night with Godzillagodzilla

Date night with a werewolf

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Date with Death.

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Date night with Swamp Thingswamp

 Date night with a bear who used to be a man but his ex was a sorceress. Long story.

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Date night with a wolf who used to be a bear who used to be a man.wolfman

July Stitch Fix #8 and the most flattering dress

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Fix #8 is here! Or, well, to be more accurate, it arrived three weeks ago, but I am just getting around to talking about it now.  If you have somehow stumbled upon this page and you haven’t the slightest idea what I am going on about:  Stitch Fix is a clothing subscription service for which you pay a $20 a month subscription fee to receive five items of clothing (which can also include accessories.) The $20 can be applied to whatever you keep. If you do not care for any of it, you can send it back in a prepaid bag, but then you are out $20.  If you purchase all of it, you get a 25% discount off the total. Whew! I think that’s basically the gist of it!  You can read more about my previous fixes here.
{Fix 1  |  Fix 2  |  Fix 3  |  Fix 4  |  Fix 5 & 6}

For my first few fixes, my stylist was Macy, and she was doing a really great job, but she disappeared somewhere around #5 and I finally learned she is no longer with Stitch Fix. My stylist is now Natalie and I think she was terrifically on point with everything she included in this box.

This Leota Amandine dress is the most expensive item (at $138) that I have received to date …but I can’t think of one single reason not to keep it. Right now I am currently sitting on my highest weight ever and yet somehow this dress still looks absolutely freaking incredible.

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The Fate Skrilly top, size large and I totally forgot to note the price on it.  When I took it out of the box, I was fairly certain it was going to be much too tight, but it is not at all as fitted.  as I thought it might be. It’s more of a deep plum than a black, but I don’t know that you can tell from the pictures. It’s quite beautiful, but I’m not sure where I would wear it. Also, summertime in Florida.

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The Loveapella Regent crochet neckline knit top, size large, is another one for which I forgot the price. This was actually an item I had pinned on my pinterest board, and I am always so surprised when they actually take the time to peek at that, and try to find something from it. I don’t really care for tie-dyed clothing, unless it’s monochromatic neutrals, and this is beautiful and comfortable to boot. A total keeper.

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The Sam Hi Lo tee shirt in green or teal or whatever you want to call this. I received the charcoal version of this in my last box, and yes, yes, I know – I’ve already got a million tee shirts and I don’t need another…and I don’t know if it’s actually the most flattering thing in the world, but it’s so soft, I love the color, and I live in T-shirts anyhow. So it may as well be mine.

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…and holy mackerel! Is it…could it be…FLORALS? I’ve only been requesting florals and flowers and botanical prints for 3 months now, and it looks as if they finally have heard my pleas.  However, as cruel fate would have it, this is a rather unforgiving fabric and won’t fit over my bust area. Otherwise, I totally would have kept it.

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I don’t think I posted about the last fix I received, and truthfully, it was pretty lackluster.  However, I did receive what is quite possibly the best item they ever sent me, and to be quite honest I can’t believe it even came from Stitch Fix. My “style”, such as it is, is somewhere in the intersection of goth/edgy/boho, but not really any of those things. This cardigan perfectly sums it up for me. {This marks approximately the 150th cardigan in my closet}. It’s the Staccato Agata cardigan for those folks who may wish to request it in a future fix!

 

 

For my next delivery I requested some items for an upcoming trip to Portland; I am super into weird prints and hideous stripes right now, so we’ll see what they come up with. As a matter of fact, it is supposed to arrive today! I’ll be certain not to take too long to report in next time.

In other subscription box news, I signed up for the Evereve Trendsend box and I hated it so much that I wanted to set the entire box on fire.  I think it is mainly because they included a tee shirt that had a dream catcher on it (which is almost as bad as dream catchers hanging from  rear view mirrors in your car – you are not sleeping while you are driving, are you?  So why would you need a dream catcher? For god’s sake, people). Anyway, gross. I tried the Wantable Style edit box and canceled after the first box.  It was too expensive, though I did keep one item.

The culmination of the last few months of wardrobe building can be seen in the photo below, which is quite possibly my adultiest outfit yet. Skirt and cardigan from Modcloth, Tart blouse is from the Wantable Style edit, Isabelle Fiore bag is from tradesy, and necklace is from Stitch Fix.

 

In fact, so confident am I in the variety now found in my closet, I have canceled every single subscription box I have (except for Stitch Fix  because I need they’re my favorite so far)…in favor of throwing $60 a month at a wine subscription from Bright Cellars. Which arrived yesterday.  I am having company over this weekend, so perhaps we will make it a bit of a wine tasting, so I can find out what sort of wine you get for 4 bottles at $60. I’ll be certain to let you know!

On thick skin

weirdo

My sisters jest that “Sarah had a feeling once. It made her very uncomfortable.  She didn’t like it.”

I don’t know that I have always been this way.  I recall being very tender-hearted and sensitive at a young age, but somewhere along the way I must have learned that this is a dangerous thing, allowing oneself to feel things too deeply, and worse – letting the world see that you feel things too deeply.

I have known my fair share of people who value cleverness over kindness, those who would pride themselves on their “brutal honesty” and that they “pull no punches”. I believe you can’t have brutal honesty without a brute at the very core and I am no brute; rather than fight like with like, I learned that I must toughen up and develop a thicker skin to deal with these people and deflect their unkind cuts, their churlishness and rancor.

Over the years this thick skin has become an intangible but very organic feeling armor,  calloused in some places, worn through in others. I’ve learned not to cry, or if I must weep, I steel myself against my tears, allowing them to fall and harden and become stiff patches which I will harvest and use to mend those tears in my armor where the chinks are beginning to show. These tears, now fortifications, are protection against the very things that caused them – and those things will not make me cry again.

Later in life I am learning that this thick skin, this armor, does not always serve me well.  It has allowed me to only to half-feel, or not to feel at all…. and this lack of feeling, this numbness, this blocking of emotion and engagement, has stunted some relationships before they had time to flourish. Or perhaps it inhibits me from pursuing the friendship or relationship or opportunity at all.

I am learning that this skin is not one in which I can live in permanently…but nor is it one that I need to shed completely. I think it is something I can don when I know I will be in a situation during which I can become hurt, where there are people whose motivations are suspect, whose words are inconsiderate and thoughtless at best or harsh and hateful at worst. People with personalities that jab and poke and dig, and from whom I need protection

And yet I am realizing that to live fully and immersively, I need to be able to quietly slip this skin off, fold it up and stow it away and allow myself to be unguarded and vulnerable with those whom I feel safe. I do have these people in my life, and they are good people, and they deserve that part of me.  And I know I deserve that experience.  Of being fully loved, of crying if it comes to that, and allowing myself to feel.

Here’s to you, my thick skin. For growing and developing as I needed you, for protecting and preserving me, and for changing and adapting to fit my transformation as I move forward, feeling my way through this world.

 

 

devastate and unravel

A new 8tracks mix, loosely inspired by Kier-La Janisse’s House of Psychotic Women.

track list:

STILLBIRTH, Alice Glass | Desire, Modern Witch | Casual Diamond, Sleep ∞ Over | Living With The Black Dog, Emma Ruth Rundle | Be Brave, Tropic Of Cancer | Gallowdance, Lebanon Hanover | Rotary, Phosphor | Synapse, Linea Aspera | Mirage, Drift | Artificial Heart, Soma Sema | Drowning, Sixth June | Mes Démons, Galatée | Grey Days, Chelsea Wolfe | Solitude, Marissa Nadler

You’re OK, I’m not so great.

Skeletor Is Love image exclusively for unquietthings.com, created by ghoulnextdoor

As I may have alluded to in the past, and well, if you’ve been paying attention or if you know me, like, at all – you know that I’ve got some Issues.  Of course, who doesn’t, right? But your issues aren’t my problem, and I can only work on me.  Sorry about that.

And so the time has come for me to actually put in that work.  I am nearly 40 years old and that’s a long time to be hauling so many hurts and anxieties and problems around. I don’t want to continue into the next decade of my life without at least having tried to address some of these things.

A local therapist was recommended to me by a friend and I have already been to two sessions. Hooray for follow-through! Normally that’s a problem for me, too.  The office is located -literally- about three minutes from my house, in a small plaza with ample parking. She’ll see me after work in the evenings.  So many things that might make me anxious about the act and process of simply being there are already resolved! I feel good about this.

Our first visit was more or less a “getting to know you session”; she asked a lot of questions about the issues I am facing now, my history of certain things, my family and my family’s history. She told me a bit about herself, how she got started, and what she focuses on now; when she mentioned her background in addiction and substance abuse, as well as trauma, I knew this was probably a good fit.

I spent most of my second visit biting my lip and desperately trying not to sob as I found myself going on and on for nearly 40 minutes about my mother.  I couldn’t cry.  I wanted to, but I am not there yet.  And it’s not really a sad cry; it’s more an anger thing.  I can’t seem to properly express my fury, it usually ends in a deluge of tears.  But I am not there yet with this lady, and I don’t cry in front of strangers.  My sister points out that your therapist is the one person you definitely shouldn’t worry about crying in front of.

Maybe I’ll get there in time.

My initial reason for being there was my constant anxiety, however, she believes that I suffer from dysthymia – a low-level, persistent form of depression – and seems to want to focus on that. I’ll go along with that for now.  I don’t think she’s wrong, and who knows, maybe my anxieties are a symptom of that.  Maybe it stems from something else altogether.
I’m open to exploring different possibilities, and I am not so naive as to think that there’s an immediate fix to be found. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

She shared with me this article, written last year by Therese Borchard: 10 Things I Do Everyday To Beat Depression. I expected it to be kind of cheesy, but in attempting to keep an open mind I gave it a read and I think there are some really helpful things to be found in the items that the author lists, and I would definitely recommend this as a worthwhile read.
The first thing Borchard talks about is how she swims early every morning, noting that “exercise is the most powerful weapon [she uses] everyday to beat the demons”, and that all aerobic workouts release endorphins,which,”while helping to block stress hormones and produce serotonin”, also can relieve depression.

I haven’t got a pool and I am not going to schlep down to the Y every morning, but I have begun taking a half hour walk every morning around 5:30am, just after I get out of bed. Once you are actually out of bed, there is something so wonderful about that time of morning. Though people may be just waking up, the world is mostly still and silent.  No cars on the road, no children playing in the yard, and most importantly – no one is ringing me on the phone at that time of day.  It’s glorious.  I wish it could be 5:30am all day long.

I have found, in the past few days I have got much more energy and I am probably twice as productive.  Is this sustainable?  Can I keep it up?  That I don’t know.  But I did it today, so that is what I am trying to focus on for now.

I may slowly begin implementing some other suggestions from that list; for example, I like the idea of taking a minute or two to record the little joys of the day. It is the little things, so often, that provide unsuspecting moments of delight when one is fraught with anxiety and sadness.  Taking time to collect these moments and appreciate them seems like a nice thing to slow your racing heart and still your crazy thoughts for time.

Power smoothies, however, can fuck off.  Not in my house.

*The Skeletor Is Love image has been created exclusively for this post.  We are not making a comeback.

 

 

 

Current loves

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The loveliest tea sampler from Marble & Milkweed. I’m a bit of a coffee fiend, and have been for a number of years, but before that I really did love the the calming ritual of a small pot of tea.  I’m not giving up my coffee anytime soon, but I couldn’t resist trying some of their tea blends.  So far the standout is the gorgeous Forest Tea; a mélange of “organic heirloom pu-erh, organic lapsang souchong, wild-harvested douglas fir tips, and the delicate woodland character of blackberry and violet leaves.” It’s slightly smoky, subtly sweet, and really quite wonderful.

 

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Alexander McQueen Pagan Unicorn Pouch and Fluevog Arabella flats that I picked up for a song on tradesy. If you are looking for designer items and you don’t mind previously used (don’t be such a snob about your snobby high end stuff!) I highly suggest you peek around on the site.  Use my referral link for $20 off your first purchase of $50 or more! I’ve never really considered myself crazy about shoes or handbags and I would never pay full price for any of this stuff, but if you’ve ever longed for something previously thought unattainable by a super fancy designer, you might just find it on tradesy.

 

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Lovely little dishes and trays from CatsPawPottery on etsy, for stray baubles and trinkets and maybe incense, too. I like to leave safe places scattered around the house for precious things. Very reasonably priced, too! I saw these over on wolfnwhisky last year and have been thinking of them ever since.

 

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The Coven playing cards from 52Ravens, “Custom poker size playing cards inspired by the mystery of the covens witches.”  Which coven?  I don’t know, but I saw the Kickstarter for them a few months ago, and I can never resist a vaguely occult themed or esoteric playing card deck.  I don’t even play cards!  But they are really beautiful, and I suppose they make nice gifts.

 

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Kale Cafe Juice bar and Vegan Cuisine in Daytona Beach. Our little town doesn’t really have many vegan or vegetarian offerings (that I’m aware of, anyway) and so when my brother in law and sister were in town this weekend I jumped at the chance to try this place out, as I’d been hearing about it for a few years.  On downtown Beach St., it’s in an excellent location, along a small strip with some antiques shops, a taco restaurant, a coffee shop, a few book stores, and a record store around the corner.  It was a chaotic little place but warm and friendly, and the owners offered samples of just about everything on the menu, if you wanted to try something out before ordering it.  Standouts were the kale salad, the jerk mushrooms (so spicy! but good) and the seitan marsala.  It was a very different sort of meal than the one I had later in the evening which included a gourmet local cheese board. lobster, a petit filet and $18 cocktails, that’s for certain! But life is all about balance, right?

 

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My Satanic Feminist tee shirt from Nattskiftet finally arrived!  The funny thing is, I thought I ordered this months and months ago.  When it never showed up, I checked my paypal account and it turns out I never ordered it after all.  Did I dream the whole thing up?  It was very weird.  Anyhow, when it was back in stock again, I double and triple checked the entire process – I wasn’t taking any chances this time.  I might wear this the next time I visit the dreadmills at the YMCA, what do you think?

 

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New spectacles!  I have wanted a pair of cat eye glasses for the longest time, and when I saw this pair from Derek Cardigan, I knew I’d found just the thing!  They felt a little severe at first, but I think that adds to the charm.

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