(What to wear) Upon greeting Death

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Greet death
with your hands in your pockets,
slouched back, cool,
collected, and confident.
Wear a hint of a grin
and a dash of cologne.
Say What took you so long?
Say You’re behind the times, man.
Say Dead is the new black.
Coffin is the new condo.
Pallor is the new tan.
La vida muerta.

-“How To Greet Death“, Gabriel Gadfly (excerpt)

In Gabriel Gadfly’s How To Greet Death (one of my very favorite poems), it is suggested that in the event that you should meet your maker, wear a hint of a grin and a dash of cologne; another stanza adds in a pair of your father’s cufflinks and your mother’s wedding band.

Not bad, but I think we can do better.

Getting outfitted for the last moments of one’s life is an intensely personal business, but I think that to begin and end with every mother’s insistence of a clean pair of underwear is doing yourself a great disservice and perhaps selling yourself a bit short. If you’re indeed rendezvousing with the Grim Reaper, leave a lasting last impression as make your exodus!  Of course, do include the clean underwear, as well.

See below for a handful of ensembles to leave Death gasping and goggle-eyed as you shuffle (or skip, or meander, or leap, or whatever your manner of leave-taking may be) off this mortal coil. As always, click through the image for a complete listing of the items in each set.

 

 

 

 

 

A tale of three lipsticks

So, here’s my weird face wearing a few of my favorite new lipstick colors lately.  It’s taken me awhile to embrace color on my lips. Hell, it’s take me awhile to embrace my own face, let alone any sort of makeup on it. A long time ago, a jilted lover said some awfully cruel things to me, remarking, upon other things, my “fucked up mongoloid face”.  I guess it’s kind of weird looking for sure, but I don’t know that kind of language was called for.

For the longest time I shied away from lipsticks. I have crooked teeth, and a crooked smile and I don’t really like to draw attention to it. I feel my attitude has slowly been changing over the last year or two, and I don’t know exactly what to attribute this too, other than I am growing older and I am figuring what the hell, it’s the face I was stuck with, so I may as well have some fun with it.

Plus, as I may have mentioned before, I have a nervous habit of biting my lips.  Not dainty nibbles, mind you, but the sort of worried gnawing that results in ragged tears. So more often than not, I end up eating all of my lip product.  Gross.  I’ve been working on this though, and I think I am starting to have it under control.

In no particular order, here are three of my current favorites:

Kat Von D liquid lipstick in Vampira Oh my god. This red. Even the most rhodophobic amongst us (me) must acknowledge the rubeus glory of Vampira. I have never seen a more gorgeous red lipstick in my life. As far as the formula, I really love liquid lipsticks; sure, they go on slightly gloppy but they dry quickly, and matte, and they tend to stay put all day long. Or, in theory they do.  Out of the liquid lipsticks I have tried, this one has the least stay-puttage.

LA Splash Lip Couture in OG Ghoulish. I have heard this described as a “slightly pinkish ashy neutral”. Uh…I don’t know about that.  I would say it is more a “definitely grey-blue, necrotic neutral”. Very drowning victim-esque; “my lips but deader”, as EauMG might say. When I first saw this in the tube I thought it would be too similar to Limecrime Velveteen in Cashmere, but nope. I wear Cashmere quite frequently and it’s actually my favorite of all that I’ve listed here, but I just didn’t have a photo of me in it that didn’t look kind of deranged.  Cashmere is more beige, and probably a bit more wearable.  As far as formula is concerned, there is something about the LA Splash liquid lipstick that feels a little glunky.  Cashmere, though, is practically perfect.  Not glunky, stays put all day (you really have to scrub it off at night) and you barely notice you are wearing it.  My one complaint is the sickly sweet cake batter smell that all of the Limecrime Velveteens seems to have, but it fades quickly once it is dry.

Colourpop Cosmetics Lippie Stix in Feminist is a dark purple…almost black…but it ends up more like a blackberry on me, or maybe a plum… or perhaps eggplant if I were really heavy handed with it. The formula is smooth and creamy, and not at all drying.  They sell a matching lip pencil with they highly recommend pairing with it. Which I did.  And I think I might recommend it, as well.

A bonus mention goes to Teez Cosmetics Read My Lips Lipstick in Killing Me Softly, a fun, matte coral which I unexpectedly fell in love with. It’s a silly color; I feel like it’s something Minnie Castavet might have worn. Makes me want to don a tropical muumuu and gather up some cronies for a game of canasta.

For your ears

There is much that darkness knows

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Vögguvísa, a commissioned work of art by Becky Munich

Many years ago, when my sister and I were very young, my mother would sing us bedtime songs as she tucked us in for the evening.  Well, my sister really.  The little lullabye wasn’t for meant me, but I listened from the twin bed on my side of the room and was comforted by it anyway.

As my younger sibling lay sleepily, clutching a faded pink crocheted afghan in one small hand and a red wooden rooster named “Wolf” in the other, my mother crooned to her in soft, low tones:

“Well, a-hee hee hee and a-ha ha ha, and a couple of ho ho hos…”

Not much of a lullaby really.  Who knows what it meant? Harmless nonsense that she made up to send a fussy child off to dreams, most likely.

Older now, and having a lifetime of observing my mother (and yet still not really knowing the woman at all), I found myself growing vaguely uneasy the other evening, wondering what exactly she might have been thinking about as a young single mother  – and a very troubled woman -singing her children to sleep on a moonless night in the suburbs.

This came about, I suppose, due to some late night reading of an article about the somewhat horrifying nature of Icelandic lullabies.

Bíum, bíum, bambaló, Bambaló og dillidillidó. Vini mínum vagga ég í ró, en úti bídur andlit á glugga.

“Beeum, beeum, bambalow, Bambalow and dillidillidow. I rock my friend to sleep, but outside there’s a face in the window.”


From faces looming at windows, to desperate outlaw women throwing their babies into the waterfulls, to black black-eyed pigs in the pits hell*, it would seem that, paradoxically, Icelandic lullabies are the stuff of nightmares, tragic and terrible. Why is that? Why sing of such things to your precious wee ones?  And are Icelanders alone in their penchant for soothing their children to sleep with melancholy melodies of murder, mayhem, and madness?

In researching lullabies in different parts of the world, I unearthed an intensely interesting article from 2013, Why Are So Many Lullabies Murder Ballads? in which ethnomusicologist and UCLA lecturer Andrew Pettit, whose research has focused on lullabies from India, asserts that “you can take any song, slow it down and sing it to your kid to help them sleep.”

A study published in the journal Pediatrics in April 2013 found that live lullabies slowed infant heart rate, improved sucking behaviors that are critical for feeding, increased periods of “quiet alertness” and helped the babies sleep. Researchers followed 272 premature infants in 11 hospitals and found that the music, provided by a certified music therapist, offered stress relief for the parents too. The study concluded that “lullabies, sung live, can enhance bonding, thus decreasing the stress parents associate with premature infant care.”

As an explanation for the dark lullaby, it is said that “…it is that voice and the rhythm and melody of the music that the youngest babies respond to, not the content of the song. Is it the case then, that the words are as much for the parent as for the child? That the mother is singing as much to herself as to the baby? Lyrics to lullabies, Pettit said, can indeed be interpreted as a reflection of the caregiver’s emotions.”

“People have said that lullabies are the space to sing the unsung,” Pettit said. “A place to say the unsayable. You’re alone. Nobody is listening, and you can express the feelings that are not okay to express in society.”

“There is a special physical bond between mother and child in the first year of life, in which mothers feel they can sing to their child about their own fears and anxieties, but in the safety and comfort of physical togetherness,” Blythe said.

In particular, lullabies embody a mother’s fear of loss, said Joanne Loewy, lead author of the April 2013 study in Pediatrics and director of the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital in New York.

The article goes on and on, citing many examples from cultures all over the world in which lullabies and cradle songs are grim, macabre affairs: “…an Italian lullaby about a wolf devouring a lamb until “the skin and horns and nothing else remain.” An Andalusian lullaby about a rider who “led his horse to water but would not let him drink.” And a Turkish lullaby about a mother mourning her baby after an eagle has torn it to pieces, karmic punishment when the father fails to fulfill his vow of sacrificing three camels.” (And it would seem in the time I started writing this blog post, mentalfloss has put together a list of creepy lullabies from all over the world, as well.)

And of course here in America “…there’s “Hush Little Baby” with its broken mirrors, fallen horses and mockingbirds that won’t sing. “Rock-a-Bye Baby” ends with an uncertain prognosis — death? injury? — after a cradle containing a baby plummets from a treetop.”

Themes of separation, isolation, of fear and loss are common to all cultures and repeatedly show up in these cradle songs, and even the comments on this article offer some interesting insights:

“It seems to me people are thinking of this outside of the context. The child is warm, safe, in bed, attended by parents. The song, the lullaby, is clearly about a different child, a child that is outside of hearth and home, a child that is untended, alone – “in the tree tops”. The child is comforted in contrast to the child in the song, at the same time social values are reinforced.”

OR

“…Or it could be that being sole (or almost sole) caretaker of an infant is a very demanding job, however rewarding. For those first couple of years, you’re exhausted beyond belief, you lose nearly all privacy, your life disappears as you become the watchful eyes, ears, and lifeline of your small charge. You cannot express any sorrow or fear you have about losing yourself openly, and you surely cannot take it out on that little one whom you truly do love more than you love yourself. And so you sing words you would never say and don’t really mean, but it’s a safety valve of sorts.”

SO interesting!  I could read about this sort of thing all day…and I don’t even have children.

In Monsters of Our Own Making: The Peculiar Pleasures of Fear By Marina Warner, the author mentions studies regarding benefits of cradling a baby on the left side versus the right, with left-side cradling attributed to the placement of the heart, beating and pulsing rhythmically, lullaby-like, to pacify the infant. However, observations have shown that the preferred sound of both the fetus and the infant is the mother’s voice, not the heartbeat at all.The hypothesis takes as it’s premise the bilateral division of function in the brain where language, expression and communication are concerned: a baby’s brain, as it grows, learns to read facial expressions and to understand pitch and tonality with the right side of the brain, which is connected to the left ear and eye; by contrast, verbalization is linked to the left hemisphere and the right ear and eye. Consequently, this line of inquiry proposes that a baby cradled on the left, with the left ear and eye free will be “…absorbing facial and vocal expressiveness, independent of verbal meaning.

Warner cites a “strikingly harsh” example from an old Icelandic song “Móðir mín, í kví, kví”, which may clinch the argument about the phonetic importance of lullabies and nonsense songs and nursery rhymes:

The story goes thusly…

A young woman who lived on a farm became pregnant. After giving birth to the child she set it out to die of exposure, not an uncommon act in this country before it became punishable by severe penalties. Now one day it happened that the young woman was invited to a dancing party. However, she had no good clothes, so she stayed at home in a sour mood. That evening, while milking the ewes in the fold, she complained aloud that for the want of a proper dress she could not go to the party. She had scarcely spoken when she heard the following song:

Móðir mín í kví, kví,

kvíddu ekki því, því;
ég skal ljá þér duluna mína
duluna mína að dansa í,
ég skal ljá þér duluna mína
duluna mína að dansa í.

(English) Mother mine, in the fold, fold

You need not be so sad, sad.
You can wear my castoff rags,
So you can dance,
And dance.

The young woman who had let her child die of exposure thought that she recognized its voice. She took such a fright that she lost her mind and remained insane the rest of her life.

According to Warner, it may be that passing on of distinctive sounds, singing on behalf of another, ascribing speech and babble to the infant and for the infant, transmitting cadence and language, telling the child of imaginary fates it has avoided, or sometimes of fortunes lying ahead…are some of the earliest formulators of omniscient thought near a child forming that child’s fears and longings on it’s behalf.

As for myself, who knows what fears or longings my own mother had when we were too young to know or recognize such concerns. She is no longer with us, and the opportunity to ask her these things has passed me by.  If nothing else, listening to her sing to us – whether to sleep in the evenings, or while washing our hair over an old sink in our dark basement – taught me a deep love of singing, and song, and music itself.

I wish…I wish we could have learned some of these strange, foreign lullabies together.  I think she would have appreciated the sad melodies, the grim stories, and haunting imagery they conjure.  Maybe I’ll learn them anyway. I don’t have any children, but perhaps one day I shall sing them to my mother, a ghost who never really grew up, though she did eventually grow old.  I think she would love this one as much as I do.

Sofðu unga ástin mín.
Úti regnið grætur.
Mamma geymir gullin þín,
gamla leggi og völuskrín.
Við skulum ekki vaka um dimmar nætur.
Það er margt sem myrkrið veit,
minn er hugur þungur.
Oft ég svarta sandinn leit
svíða grænan engireit.
Í jöklinum hljóða dauðadjúpar sprungur.
Sofðu lengi, sofðu rótt,
seint mun best að vakna.
Mæðan kenna mun þér fljótt,
meðan hallar degi skjótt,
að mennirnir elska, missa, gráta og sakna.

Sleep, my young love.
Outside the rain is weeping.
Mummy is watching over your treasure,
an old bone and a round case.
We should not stay awake through dim nights.
There is much that darkness knows,
my mind is heavy.
Often I saw black sand
burning the green meadow.
In the glacier cracks are rumbling deep as death.
Sleep for a long time, sleep quietly,
it is best to wake up late.
Sorrow will teach you soon,
while the day is quickly decaying,
that men love, lose, cry and mourn.

Here is Damien Rice singing a not very traditional version of it, I reckon.

And lastly, I’d like to share some music from a group of young Icelandic musicians whom I stumbled across several years ago, Samaris. The first song I ever heard by them, Vögguljóð, translates as lullaby, and that is their general sounds as well: ethereal, clarinet-led electronica, conjuring images of cold nights, snow dusted firs, blinking stars and aurora, enchanted liminal spaces. The first video is the original version of the song, and the second, I believe is the re-worked version for their album.

* RE: black eyed pigs and such:  when originally reading the article that sparked my interest in this, I was particularly intrigued by the mention of this portion of a lullaby:

Sofðu nú svínið þitt,
svartur í augum.
Farðu í fúlan pytt,
fullan af draugum

Which translates to

Sleep, you black-eyed pig.
Fall into a deep pit of ghosts.

The more I read, the less I am convinced that this is an actual traditional lullaby. In some places it is noted as  a 19th century lullaby translated by W.H. Auden, and in others I gather it is somehow attributed to Halldór Laxness, a beloved Icelandic author and poet. A mystery!

 

 

The Lost World Of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

A few weekends ago, while visiting my sister and brother in law, I stumbled across an image on a friend’s instagram account, for which she commented that she was unsure as to who the photographer was, or what the photo was all about.  While doing some hunting and pecking around on my brother in law’s computer, he peeked over my shoulder and remarked that the image resembled something by Prokudin-Gorskii.  (It wasn’t; some helpful hints from other friends and some further searching revealed it is a video still from an upcoming video from the psych-folk band LUST).

“Prokudin-Gorskii?” I queried. And down the rabbit hole we went!

(The following infos have been cobbled together from wikipedia and the Library of Congress)

Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky, a Russian chemist and photographer best known for his pioneering work in color photography of early 20th-century Russia, devoted his career to the advancement of photography.

He studied with renowned scientists in St. Petersburg, Berlin, and Paris and his own original research yielded patents for producing color film slides and for projecting color motion pictures. Using emerging technological advances in color photography, he made numerous photographic trips to systematically document the Russian Empire. He conducted most of his visual surveys between 1909 and 1915, although some of his work dates as early as 1905. The Empire at this time stretched 7,000 miles from west to east and 3,000 miles from north to south and comprised one-sixth of the earth’s land mass. It was the largest empire in history and spanned what today are eleven different times zones.

Tsar Nicholas II supported this ambitious project by providing passes and transportation: by rail, boat and automobile. Each journey made by Prokudin-Gorskii is represented by a photographic album and corresponding negatives.

Around 1907, Prokudin-Gorskii envisioned and formulated a plan to use the emerging technological advancements that had been made in color photography to systematically document the Russian Empire. Through such an ambitious project he intended to educate the school children of Russia with his “optical color projections” of the vast and diverse history, culture, and modernization of the Empire. Outfitted with a specially equipped railroad car-darkroom provided by Tsar Nicholas II, and in possession of two permits that granted him cooperation from the Empire’s bureaucracy and access to restricted areas, Prokudin-Gorskii documented the Russian Empire from 1909 through 1915. He conducted many illustrated lectures of his work. His assistants are sometimes credited on prints seen in other collections.

His photographs offer a vivid portrait of a lost world—the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I and the coming Russian Revolution. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries of old Russia, to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, to the daily life and work of Russia’s diverse population.

It has been estimated from Prokudin-Gorsky’s personal inventory that before leaving Russia, he had about 3500 negatives.  Upon leaving the country and exporting all his photographic material, about half of the photos were confiscated by Russian authorities for containing material that seemed to be strategically sensitive for war-time Russia. According to Prokudin-Gorsky’s notes, the photos left behind were not of interest to the general public. Some of Prokudin-Gorsky’s negatives were given away and some he hid on his departure. Outside the Library of Congress collection, none has yet been found.

 

Hairy goat peen & other delights

Hairy goat weiners at the phallological museum

I cannot believe it was a year ago that I was in Iceland, land of trolls and Yule Lads, and kleina, donut-like pastries, twisted and fried, and so subtly sweet that one must devour two in rapid succession to properly suss out what one is tasting. Oh, and also: a penis museum.

Why, one might be inclined to ask, would you Sarah, of all people, wish to visit this particular establishment, this veritable shrine to the dingle-dongle?  Aren’t you the woman who has been insisting that “men are pigs from hell” ever since she was 17 years old? Why then, would you feel compelled to spend your time in a museum dedicated to the preservation and display of the infernal porcine (& other species) members?

That is an excellent question for which, I am afraid, I have no good answer.  I have a deep appreciation for the weird and the bizarre, though, so I suspect that a chance to see something kind of strange trumps any sort of misandry I may harbor.

The Icelandic Phallological Museum located in Reykjavík,  houses the world’s largest display of penises and penile parts. Founded in 1997 by retired teacher Sigurður Hjartarson and now run by his son Hjörtur Gísli Sigurðsson,the museum contains a collection of 280 specimens from 93 species of animals includes 55 penises taken from whales, 36 from seals and 118 from land mammals, allegedly including Huldufólk (Icelandic elves) and trolls. Of course, as Icelandic folklore portrays such creatures as being invisible, these cannot be seen! According to its mission statement, the museum aims to enable “individuals to undertake serious study into the field of phallology in an organized, scientific fashion.”

In July 2011, the museum obtained its first human penis, one of four promised by would-be donors. Its detachment from the donor’s body did not go according to plan and it was reduced to a greyish-brown shrivelled mass pickled in a jar of formalin. The museum continues to search for “a younger and a bigger and better one.” There is even a Canadian documentary film called The Final Member, which covers the museum’s quest to obtain a human penis.

 

As I recall, it seemed a rather small place, on a street corner that I almost walked straight past.  This could also be due to the fact that I don’t read Icelandic (yet) and I couldn’t read the sign.  Despite its tiny appearance, however, the place was packed with displays and wall mounts and shelves upon shelves of all the junk you could ever hope to see.  There was even functional art based on that pokey portion of the male anatomy – penis and scrotum lamps, door handles, and a telephone! And of course, a gift shop when you can purchase coffee cups, key chains, and all manner of willy-related tschotchkes to commemorate your visitation to the pecker palace.

We  probably toured the entire place in a half an hour’s time, but this is one of the occasions where upon the memory of the experience is better than the actual experience  – not that it wasn’t a bit of fun, mind you, but it was just sort of an in-out visit (pun intended because I can’t help myself) and there wasn’t very much exploring to do. And I suppose it was sort of a consolation prize, as I had actually been hoping to go to the Icelandic Museum of Witchcraft and Sorcery…but I couldn’t interest anyone in the 3 hour trip to Hólmavík for that. I would, however, definitely recommend a stop by this weird little museum, as part of your Icelandic experience.

 

2008 Icelandic handball team at the phallological museum.

Penis lamp. Move over Leg Lamp. This is electric sex.

Dick-headed goat

Various specimens at the Icelandic phallological museum

Because I am twelve and penises are hilarious.

#morningwood (Okay, that was bad and I should feel bad. I am sorry)

wind & stone, fire & bone

wind & stone, fire & bone from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

Track list: All The Land Ablaze, Laura Cannell | Moss Mantra, Pamela Wyn Shannon | Both Orphans, Elspeth Anne | Little Children, Haruko | Apogee, Johanna Warren | Darkening Bell, Emily Portman | Rain And Snow, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker | The Rolling Of The Stones, The Hare And The Moon | Great River, Children | Cardamom, Weyes Blood | Blood From The Tree, Brown Bird | I Am The Survivor Of Demon Attacks, I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE | Witches, Vaginapocalypse

K-Beauty Madness Part 3

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More tales of fripperies and frivolity involving Korean cosmetics and skincare:

When I first started, I thought oh, I’ll just try one thing here and one thing there, no big deal.  Well it turns out my middle name is “Moderation? What’s that all about?” and things didn’t quite work out that way.

I will keep this quick though, because at this point even I am tired of hearing myself go on about this.

Pictured up top are two products from glowrecipe, a website that offers “natural and harsh free” items.  I was originally looking for cruelty-free items, and  they are out there, but it’s all very confusing.  The one website I found that had a list of cruelty-free companies on it now looks like the domain is up for sale, so I am not sure how legit it may have been in the first place.  The search continues.

I didn’t feel a compelling need for anything on glowrecipe (what could I possibly need at this point?), but I was seduced by the gorgeous packaging, so I picked up a bottle of the Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner and the Blossom Jeju Camellia Seed Dry Oil. The toner is for all skin types and boasts Aloe Vera extract, Chrysanthemum extract and Oat Kernel extract, as well as fermented Dandelion and Argan Oil.  It has sort of a floral-anise scent and a …bouncier texture than most toners I’ve used.  I don’t know how else to explain it…maybe a tiny bit more viscous, I suppose. The Camellia seed oil is lightweight and fairly odorless, and to be quite honest, I have only used it once or twice.  I keep forgetting about it. It’s one of the site’s best-sellers, though, and apparently is great for hydration and nourishment.

The Etude House Dear Darling lip tint, “vampire red” was purchased for the name alone, as you probably could have guessed. I like the gradient lip trend (I think it sort of looks like you’ve been enjoying a blood popcicle) but it turns out I am too lazy to put in the work to figure out how to do it.  Also, this is a fairly sticky product, which I hate.

The Etude House Lash Perm 3 Step Volumecara is a mascara with an adjustable dial to dispense more or less product. I believe you are supposed to start with step 1, dial up to step two, etcetera, but I just skip straight to step 3 because who has time for that?  It’s actually a pretty great formula and one of the best mascaras I have ever used. My lashes are pretty skimpy and this makes them really stand out.

The Innifree No Sebum Mineral Pact makes me laugh every time I have to say it.  Probably because in my head I am substituting the word “semen” for “sebum” because I am a filthy pervert and eternally 12 years old. It contains Jeju natural mineral and mint and is a 6-free product: paraben, talc, artificial colours, animal ingredients, mineral oil and artificial fragrance free. The packaging is adorable and resembles a macaron, but the sponge is kind of low quality. I am not even sure why I purchased this; for the past few years my skin has really dried out, I’m  not nearly the greasy teenager I used to be.  I don’t really have that much oil on my face that needs absorbing anymore.  The funny thing is…when I use this product over BB cream or whatever, I actually find that I am oilier at the end of the day! Very strange.

The Holika Holika Jewel Light Pencil eyeliner in Black Plum is a really gorgeous earthy plum shade that probably makes for a great smoky eye.  It’s a nice quality eye pencil, not too creamy but not too scratchy.  I read reviewers mention that you can sharpen it, even though there is plastic around it, so that is definitely a plus.

Of the last three products I will mention, only two of them, I believe, are actually Korean.  I think I threw them in my shopping cart because I had seen beauty bloggers mentioning them as part of their routine, and I didn’t realize at the time that the Bioderma was a French product and Natural Aqua Gel Cure is Japanese.

The Bioderma is basically an eye maker remover, and as it turns out is sort of a cult favorite. After using it a few times, I can see why. No left over panda eyes, no oily residue, no red, inflamed skin. I really love this stuff.  Very gentle, very mild, and I believe they make it for both dry and sensitive skin.  I am not sure which one I purchased, but whichever one it is, I am okay with it. Highly recommended.

The Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Serum…was not actually the product I thought I was ordering. I thought I ordered an ampoule. The Time Revolution Night Repair line uses Retinol technology for “intensive 3D night care” for strengthening and moisturizing skin, while also providing it with the necessary nutrients. Also has wrinkle repairing and whitening benefits.” I don’t know about all that, as I have only been using it for a week now, and I suspect some of these products produce the sorts of results you don’t really notice until you are 50 and folks are telling you that you don’t look at day over 30. Here’s hoping. It’s a little sticky and leaves your skin feeling a bit tacky – definitely something to use at bedtime.

And finally…the Natural Aqua Gel Cure.  This one is another cult favorite, with apparently a bottle sold in Japan every 12 seconds. I’m not sure if it’s due to the efficacy of the product or the gross-out factor – which for some people (me) – is a huge selling point.  Remember those Biore pore strips that you paste over your nose for a few minutes, tear off, and when you look at them closely you can see a dense forest of your former blackheads waving in the breeze?  I always got a kick out of that. To me, the the Natural Aqua Gel Cure is sort of the same principle.  It’s a scrub-free, water-based exfoliate – a gel that you gently massage onto your clean, dry face (wash it with your cleanser of choice, first), and as you massage, you should see little white balls like spots appearing. These little balls are the dead skin cells that are being lifted from your face. Once you have completed massaging your face, then rinse off the gel with just warm and not hot water. UGH IT IS SO GROSS I LOVE IT. And seriously, my face felt pretty fantastic afterward.  This is an exfoliating product though, so once or twice a week is enough – any more than that will qprobably do more harm than good.

 

This, that, and the other thing (xvi)

A hodge-podge of stuff and things, gathered willy-nilly for your perusal…

Mary vd Reyden creates the most wonderful embroidered animals and insects

 

I love instagram user mitsunavinilos’ languid ladies.  And those eyelashes!

 

DirgeMag’s best picks for satanic cat shirts.  Required covengang attire.

 

Pollyanne Hornbeck’s Haunted Dollhouse

 

Yes! My dream of dark drone yoga is finally happening!

 

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past day or so, you have surely seen this wonderfully creepy trailer. Very much looking forward to The Witch.

Great moments in historical sluttery, courtesy the inimitable Tenebrous Kate.

Totally correct Frankenstein quotes.

How to tell if you are in an Edward Gorey Book

How To tea party like a Victorian

5 of the creepiest monsters in fantasy

Obscure and outrageous VHS cover art

Live Nude Ghouls (my new favorite webcomic) )**NSFW**

Stream Ghost’s new album, Meliora

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.

 

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