I was not super consistent in creating videos for my little channel in 2021 so I thought I’d squeak in a quick one before the year ended. This one I call: “look at all my sparkly shit!”
I have such a hard time sitting in front of a camera and thinking up things to talk about, thoughts to share, observations to make. Writing comes much more easily to me than speaking, and so I typically would record a bunch of footage, script out what I’d like to say, and then record some voiceover. But that’s all A LOT of work. And also, typically, a massive amount of overthinking. And while it will naturally end up being more organized and thoughtful and articulate, well…that’s not how I actually sound in conversation, now is it? And I did actually want some of these videos to be chatty and casual like you’re just having a little visit with your friend. So I hope that’s how this one turned out, and I would like very much to just get over myself and my self-consciousness and do more of these in the new year!
In the meantime, I hope you’ll have a watch and like and subscribe and comment and all that other stuff that you’re supposed to say when you make a YouTube video!
In this video, the following jewelers and shops are mentioned…
3. Pyrrha Andromeda 14K Gold Goddess Talisman I’ve been enamored of Pyrrha’s wax seal jewelry, full of myth and meaning, for the longest time. I recently peeped at their Goddess collection and it was tough to choose between the empowering energies of all of these beautiful talismans, but how could I not go with the dreamy, heart-following light of Andromeda?
4. Aesop Hwyl Eau de Parfum In looking for smoky, campfire scents for a friend recently, I stumbled across a review for Hwyl, which, according to the perfumer, was inspired by the calming nature of Japanese forests and “walking among the remarkable 300-year-old Hiba trees in an ancient Japanese forest and experiencing the country’s lush temple moss gardens.” The reviewer’s succinct summation describes the fragrance as “the one that smells like Totoro’s home.” Enough said. Gimme!
WOW! It’s been a long dang time since I have compiled a list of wished-for Hexmas gifts. WAIT, no it hasn’t! I made one just last year. How could I have forgotten that? Oh yeah, I know why: because last year, as we who can still joke about such things like to say, was approx. one thousand weeks ago.
I’m into the mustardy yellows now, which is a bit of a new thing to those who are used to my monochromatic palette, and overall I think in these lists you’ll see a bit more color than I’ve had a preference for in recent years. Interesting! What does it all mean? (Is a thing that I am sure no one is asking.) All in all, these lists today are a bit of a mishmash, none of it really connected or thematic… although I suppose the slippers and teas and bath related items would certainly point to a longing for calm and comfort and soothing experiences? And maybe a few sparks of magic for the kitchen and the home? Well, I guess let’s not try to overthink it.
It’s really just an opportunity to say, here’s some stuff I like! I don’t actually expect anyone to buy and gift these things for me; as I have noted before, there’s no one who can shop for you as well as you can. So I like to make these lists for myself every December, and then slowly treat myself to the things on them over the course of the winter and throughout the next year. 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 that someone is going to read my mind and get me that thing that I really, really, want. And god forbid I actually tell them!
So here it is, then. The luxuries and fripperies I’ve got on my personal 2020, utterly selfish Hexmas wishlist. I’m not sure that these things will be of any interest to anyone but me, but perhaps you will find some last-minute gift ideas here, for either friends or family…or yourself. Happy Hexmas to us!
I can’t even remember the last time I put together a list of fripperies! I say, it’s been much, much too long.
The theme for this year’s Hexmas holiday wishlist is “Hexmas Sleepies”, I guess! These are a few things I have either been lusting over, or, I have purchased and highly recommend, and they all seem to fall into that category of “soothing balms for frizzled folks” and for wrapping up the day on a lovely, luxurious note, before bed.
1. Silk Ines pyjamas from Morpho and Luna. This moody floral pajama set is from Morpho and Luna’s 2017 collection and the design is apparently a modern interpretation of the mythology of Persephone and Demeter. For two whole years now I keep peeping at them but I haven’t been able to pull the trigger yet.
2. Unwind Your Mind. This is the book that ASMRtist Emma WhispersRed of YouTube just released and if you haven’t fallen asleep to the sounds of her brushing someone’s hair or perhaps her guided meditation with Tibetan singing bowls, you’re really missing out. My copy is sitting atop a stack of books as tall as I am, but I’ll get to it soon, I promise!
5. LUSH Sleepy Lotion At first sniff, you almost think this wonderfully purple lotion is going to be too sugary, but somehow it’s not. Sleepy is a lovely lavender whose sharp herbal edges have been tamed by rich and subtly sweet tonka, and trust me, you need the matching shower gel to go with this as well.
6. Parachute Turkish Cotton Waffle Robe. This robe is an INVESTMENT. It is the most incredible thing you will ever put on your body and I cannot sing its praises enough. If you have never ever before paid attention to anything I was trying to convince you of, hear me now: this robe is as luxurious as it is practical and you need it in your life.
7. Kindred Black Immortelle I have a few other offerings from Kindred Black and I am so impressed with the quality of the oils and the beauty of their packaging, and I feel like their immortelle oil belongs on my shelf (along with the jojoba, argan, and zdravetz, which I own –and love!–already.)
The Maison Francesco Scognamiglio Fall 2019 Couture collection, with its contrasting play between excess and restraint-the undulating satin, that see-through tulle, those rivulets of crystals and embellishments!–call to mind languid lady vampires swanning around an abandoned moonlit chateau, or perhaps flickering amongst the bleached bones scattered throughout the sandy stones of a coastal cliff-side ruin at twilight.
If there is a sigh between salacious and celestial, I think it is in that whispered instant that this collection leaves you gasping.
I’ve never really understood the great love for bobby pins. I knew that many people thought them to be an important, even crucial, tool for styling their hair, but I just didn’t get it. Whenever I tried to use a bobby pin, I’d end up using all 50 of them from the package, and no matter how many I used or how tightly or viciously I jammed them into my coils or rolls or twists or buns or braids, they’d all eventually slip out, and my one hundred pounds of hair would be left hanging lopsidedly on my head.
Well, as it turns out, I was using them the wrong way. Not just the wrong technique, mind you, but they were literally oriented the wrong way. On a bobby pin, there is a straight side, and there is a bumpy/rippled/wavy side. (However you might call it. One side is straight and flat, and the other is not.) I don’t know why it does not say so on the packaging, but, the general consensus is* that the wavy side is to face down, against your scalp when you pin your your hair; the ribbing is designed to grip hair and lock it into place.
How am I only just now learning this??
I feel like there’s things in life that people never tell you, and that somehow you’re just expected to know (but how??) and this is definitely one of those things.
Am I the only one? Have you all been using them wrong, too? Or are there other, basic things that you learned late in life, which you could have been doing better or more correctly, if only someone had told you about it? Let’s pool our knowledge! It’s never to late to learn something new.
* I hesitate to say there is one right way to do something. I’m sure that some very professional, deft-fingered stylists can use it the other way, and it’s just fine.
I gotta tell you, I supported the hell out of some small businesses last night, after vowing earlier in the day that I wasn’t actually going to do any shopping at all. Funny how that works after a glass or two of wine.
I usually do a little bit of Hexmas shopping for myself, it’s true. Receiving gifts is nice, but as I’ve said before, it’s pretty unlikely that (unless you’ve given someone a detailed list, which I think is kind of lame and I refuse to do it) no one is going to get you EXACTLY what you want, so you’d better just take care of it yourself!
We are traveling to DC for the winter holiday this year, which means that whatever shopping I am doing for anyone–including myself!–had better be done way ahead of time, and for me, a month ahead of time actually is pretty early. Now that I’ve got myself covered, I can start thinking about everyone else. Isn’t that what RuPaul says? Close enough.
See below for a list of some vendors that I love and who are running some really lovely sales and discounts right now*. As always, I would never promote anything that I would not spend my own money on, so all of these items are things that I have indeed purchased for myself. Just last night, actually.
I’ve never really been one for being out and about on Black Friday, as I don’t love the crowds (and I’m not certain I can think of anything I’d actually want badly enough to leave the house for!) but I get that sometimes people make a whole day of it, and that it can be a lot of fun. And blah blah, consumerist culture whatever–I get why some people have a problem with the day and all it represents, too, but as I get older I try to be much more mindful of not shitting all over the things that people like to do, so I’m not making judgments one way or the other. For myself, I feel pretty good about supporting trustworthy, talented small businesses and artisans, and that’s never a bad thing to do, right?
Did you go out yesterday? Stay in? Shop all the things? Did you actually by gifts for people other than yourself? Feel free to share in the comments!
I have gone out, a possessed witch, haunting the black air, braver at night; dreaming evil, I have done my hitch over the plain houses, light by light: lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind. A woman like that is not a woman, quite. I have been her kind.
*In between the time I started putting these fripperies together this morning and when I actually posted the whole list, this beautiful “fashion vulture” hat sold out! I had to keep it on here though, because seriously, have you ever seen anything so amazing? In the meantime, check out all of their other gorgeous hats, they are awfully magnificent. (I bet I knew who bought this, hee hee! Was it you? Let me know!)
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab are purveyors of fine esoteric goods, perfumes, and potions–and if you’ve spent any amount of time with me, or reading my blog here, then no doubt you already know all about them. But for those who may be unfamiliar with this marvelous perfumery, here’s the gist: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has mastered the art of encapsulating allegorical ideas into singular olfactory experiences, and they specialize in eliciting emotional responses through perfume and creating unique, masterfully molded scent environments that capture legends and folklore, poetry, and the stuff of dreams and nightmares. TLDR; they make you stink real pretty in the most amazingly creative ways.
And not only do these singular scent slingers work long hours, toiling away to create compelling fragrances inspired by your favorite ghost stories/mythologies/comic books/horror movies/holidays (that would be Halloween, obviously,) for which to make your olfactive aura beautiful! The do-gooders at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab also put in a great deal of time and personal attention in the attempt at making our world a better, more beautiful place, with many years of activism, community involvement, humanitarian work, and ongoing fundraising efforts and events under their belts.
About these efforts, my dear friend Elizabeth Barrial, owner of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, shares:
“Since the day we first opened our doors, helping support and strengthen marginalized communities has been of paramount importance to me. At Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, we have never shied away from our civic duty, and since the inception of the company, we have made it a point to do everything within our power to support organizations that provide emergency aid and disaster relief, support environmental and conservation causes, help the homeless, protect civil liberties and reproductive rights, and offer succor to the LGBTQ community and marginalized ethnic, racial, and minority religious groups. It is our way of helping to protect and provide for our communities, and we feel it is our obligation as human beings to help those who may not be empowered to help themselves.”
BPAL currently offers a line up of scents inspired by Nasty Women and those who would persist; by courageous federal employees who risk their careers to ensure that the public is kept informed on issues of climate change; by those ceaselessly fighting injustice and hatred and bigotry. Scents to bolster courage as you refute ignorance and insincerity; scents to encourage kindness and compassion; scents to provide relief and recovery to those imperiled by disastrous circumstances. The proceeds from all of these scents go to such organizations as the ACLU, NCTE, Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, NAACP, the National Parks Conservation Association and the National Park Foundation, as well as hurricane disaster relief efforts, and below you will find the descriptions and links to all of their current philanthropic, fundraising fragrances.
Alternative Facts: The truth hurts — so why tell it? Muffle the blow with Alternative Facts. If you truly want to obfuscate what you really smell like, this is the scent for you! Sugar-crusted vanilla, a firecracker-blast of cherry and sour lemon, a hint of scuttling spiders, encroaching fog, and trumpets of bombast, bluff, and bluster. Proceeds benefit the American Civil Liberties Union.
Fake News: A scent of misdirection, of 140 frantic characters typed out in spite at 3am, and paranoia-clouded churlish accusations hurled at perceived enemies: crushed pink pepper pod, bitter white tobacco, gnarled patchouli, all covered in glinting, garish slashes of gold. Wear it in vigilance as you sift through the memes, trolls, clickbait, hate-speech, and outright propaganda that continually threaten to overwhelm all the world’s kindness, wisdom, and informed expertise. Wear it in courage as you refute ignorance and insincerity at every turn — even from our nation’s highest-ranking figures — with indisputable facts from well-researched sources. Proceeds benefit the American Civil Liberties Union.
COVEFE: Is it abstract nonsense poetry? Surrealist performance art? Cryptography so subtle and devious that it would make an Enigma machine blush? This perfume makes no fucking sense: orange marshmallow cream, bitter lemon, black pepper, orange carnation, and gin.
Proceeds benefit the American Civil Liberties Union.
Nevertheless, She Persisted: A rallying call: golden oudh, frankincense, iris, and steel. Proceeds from this scent benefit EMILY’s List, an organization that supports electing pro-choice Democratic women to office.
Irish Coffee Buttercream: Irish whiskey, granulated sugar, brown sugar, whipped cream, buttercream and coffee, and Spiced Rum Buttercream Coffee: Coffee and rum laced with allspice, nutmeg, clove, star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon gently whipped into buttercream. Two cheery, uplifting scents slated for a future, 2018 coffee-theme release which instead became emergency fundraiser scents in order to take an immediate stand to fight the reinstatement of the unconstitutional, immoral, and unnecessarily cruel US military ban on transgender people. Proceeds benefit the National Center for Transgender Equality and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Take a Knee: This is the scent of apple pie, as American as it gets, and a smudged grass stain. Taking a knee…this isn’t a protest of America itself, its flag, or anything that this country stands for. It isn’t disrespectful of the US military. On the contrary, it is the acknowledgement that we as a country can do better, that we must do better, and that we must renew our commitment to fight for equality and justice for all. Proceeds benefit the NAACP.
Theoi Nomioi: The National Park Service refuses to be muzzled. On January 24th, South Dakota’s Badlands National Park social media team defiantly posted a series of climate change facts from the National Wildlife Federation before being shut down. The Theoi Nomioi are the gods and spirits of the wild: the countryside, the pastures, the forests. Under their auspices, untamed nature thrives, the beasts of the wild feast and multiply, the mountains reach to the heavens with their stony, snow-capped fingers, and the forests grow thick and dark with mystery. Proceeds to the benefitNational Parks Conservation Associationand theNational Park Foundation.
And last but certainly not least, The Collected Poetic Works of Antonin Scalia, the “federal court’s beat poet of indignation and right-wing rage.” We’ve had myriad political figures throughout US history that have possessed acid tongues, but few in the modern era have provided such a constant stream of colorfully vitriolic superlatives as the Sick Burn Champion, the cranky, flamboyant, inimitable Antonin Gregory Scalia.
I haven’t sampled all of these scents, and more importantly, I don’t want my opinions on them to overshadow the fact that these scents exist in the world, doing good in the first place, so you won’t find reviews here today… but feel free to ask questions in the comments if you wanted my thoughts on any of them, and I will do my best to fill you in!
Are you a creator who gives a damn? Are you aware of artisans or indie businesses speaking up, reaching out, and creating art or goods to express outrage with injustice, promote anti-hatred, or which encourage safe spaces in their communities? Please let me know about them for future Friday Fripperies!