Fragments of Him is a playable interactive narrative where you follow the life of Will and experience how he affected the lives of those he left behind.

 

Best and Worst Demons to be Possessed by, on io9.

 

Hidden deep inside the Indonesian jungle lies an enchanted ‘church’ which looks like a giant chicken.

 

Artist Yukio Takano’s glowing fungal wonder lights.

 

    
I adore Kevin Wada’s “fashionized” comic book ladies & other assorted characters!

 

Currently adoring this solo offering by Alice Glass, Stilbirth. A powerful catharsis  Read more about it here. 

 

Marissa Nadler covers “Solitude” by Black Sabbath

 

“Grey Days”, an unsettling new offering from Chelsea Wolfe’s forthcoming album, Abyss.

 

Veronique Branquinho Resort 2016. Much floor sweeping, witchy goodness.

What people around the world dream about.  Fascinating!

Artist Sarah Horrocks writes on her approach to criticism. A thought-provoking, worthy read.

Feather Death Crowns: Appalachian Omens of Death

A Kickstarter for custom mathematical scarves. Algorithmically generated patterns, no two scarves are alike.

Two trailers for things I am VERY excited about:
Ash Vs. The Evil Dead
Attack On Titan

 

✥ 1 comment

I was absolutely thrilled today to find that the blog entries and frivolous writings I did in 2011, right before I moved, were still available deep in the internet archives! It seems a silly thing, I suppose.  It was all just observations and lists and a record of my days, but I loved my little ghostsinthegarden blog quite dearly, and I was sorry to let it go.  I am not even sure why I let it go, to be honest.  Ah well… other blogs, other times.

I have started moving old entries into my current archives here, so that I will always have a record of them. “Always”, I suppose, as long as I don’t let this one languish and become buried by the sands of time and the internet as well. I’ll be more diligent this time, I promise.

If you are curious as to what I was up to in the summer of 2011, take a look!

Cicada Weekend
A year’s mourning
Secret Summer Flowers
Coffret de médecine
Coconut Lime Ice Cream
Les Beaux Arts
A gathering of fripperies
Le Deluge

In the meantime, I am reposting an entry from August 12, 2011, in which I talked about…you guessed it. Fripperies and perfume.  I am fairly predictable.

Still Life With Adornments

There is something about a small grouping of items which I find quite pleasing.  I’ve always loved  “still life” paintings… a rustic bowl of seasonal fruit, an antique vase of hothouse flowers…there is a quiet calm to these little gatherings that I find rather soothing to gaze upon.

Lately I’ve been composing my own hushed, still tableaux with a small collection of well loved-items.  I think there is a comforting magic present in a thing well loved, which translates into a tranquil bit of beauty for the eye when it is weary of the drab in every day drudgery, or even the flash and glam of common advertising that we are constantly bombarded with.  Don’t you find those things tiresome?  I know my own eyes need restful visions upon which to fall sometimes.

Click the images for a link to individual flickr pages with detailed description of the contents of each collection.

 

✥ 1 comment

WitchesofEastwick (1)

Earlier this year I had the fantastic opportunity to contribute a cheeky piece to Witch Women, “….an exploration of the many facets of the relationship between femininity and the occult… original art and essays ranging from the esoteric to the light-hearted.” Witch Women is published by Tenebrous Kate over at Heretical Sexts, a micro-publisher of niche, print material focused on the dark and the bizarre, and contains a treasure trove of outré art, eccentric essays and salacious stories from some phenomenally talented artists and writers.

I don’t think I am being too forward by suggesting that it is relative to many of your interests! I mean, I’d venture to say that we’re all Witch Women here, of some sort.

See below for an excerpt from my contribution, Hag Couture (in film & cinema) ….if you dig it and want to read more, go buy a copy of Witch Women!  And do yourself a favor, peek around at the other titles while you’re there…you are sure to find something unique to delight and titillate! (I’m looking at you, Erotic Rites of the Nazgûl). Enjoy!

HAG COUTURE (excerpt)

Witches stirring cauldrons, stabbing voodoo dolls, ripping off their own faces – truly, depictions of witchy women getting down to business make for visually fantastic cinema fodder. Whether these celluloid incarnations take form as glamorous queens, amusing fairytale buffoons, or seemingly ordinary small-town housewives, there is something fantastically compelling about watching a film focusing on witches in the midst of ritual. Even more fabulous still, when one narrows that focus to examine their attire and costumery as it related to  those ritualistic actions and behaviors. From gilded enchantresses haunting one’s dreams to gothed-out teens experimenting with the occult , Hag Couture can encompass a wide range of aesthetics, but you must pay mind to what rites and ceremonies you pair with which styles for maximum results and wow-factor! Check out these witches most powerful and fashionable moments, plus tips for conjuring their wicked style.

You don’t always have to be dressed to the nines to draw down the moon!  Here we have Mater Lacrimarium (Mother of Tears, Dario Agento, 2007) draped in a simple black cloak. When you consider her feats of violence, carnage and tearing an entire city apart, you truly appreciate the power in the idea that less is most definitely more.  For a high-end, luxe approach, think the Yves Saint Laurent, Spring Summer capes of 2013 (you can ditch the rest of the ensemble for a sky-clad silhouette underneath.) For budget beauties, a king-size black cotton sheet set from Wal-Mart will do the trick. Bonus points if you get your partner tricked out in some avant-garde, deconstructed Junya Watanabe or Comme des Garcons. Complete this look with a spritz of Passage d’Enfer by L’Artisan.

In The Craft, a favorite for many who came into their magics in the 1990s,  we see a coven of young women experimenting with witchcraft and reveling in their newfound powers. The look and feel of the film – Lace, leather, boots, crocheted sweaters, long dresses, gothic jewelry, and dark nails and lips – is so gloriously goth/grunge nineties, but the wardrobe could use a bit of an update for today’s aspiring acolytes. Young witches in for an evening of glamours and games of “light as a feather, stiff as a board” or out for an afternoon picnic with Manon should stock up on unique pieces from dark indie designers such as Ovate, Noctex, or Morph Knitwear, festoon themselves in supernatural jewels and psychic armor from Bloodmilk or mystical talismans from Burialground and scent their persons with a bit of Snake Oil fragrance oil from Black Alchemy Lab.

Make sure you pick up a copy of Witch Women to read the rest of the piece, in which you will find 8 more of my favorite examples of Hag Couture in film and cinema…and several other fascinating essays/articles, as well as some really stunning art from the likes of  Tom BluntHeather DrainJack W. ShearDana GloverBecky Munich, and Carisa Swenson and  Tenebrous Kate herself!

✥ 1 comment

It’s true, sometimes my desire to be a part of things trumps my common sense. When I first started paying attention to subscription boxes, back in the beginning of the year, I realized I was a little bit late to the party with the whole idea, but I was immediately intrigued. I loved the novelty and the surprise of it, and the idea that some stranger was picking things out just for me! However, I also realize that my tastes don’t exactly align with the average person that these boxes are marketed to, but I somehow managed to shush that voice in my head and ordered all of them anyway.

I’ve been blarging regularly about my Stitch Fix boxes, and I am all the way up to number six now, which I will post about separately. I didn’t even bother with number five, because it was sort of a dud. I did keep one cardigan though, that I really love, so I guess it wasn’t all that bad.

I’ve mentioned the netflixian clothes rental  services Gwynnie Bee as well, and that’s actually something I have been having quite a bit of luck with, and have actually kept a number of dresses.  I have a bit of a passion for weird prints and these two are my current favorites.  I love the strange angles and geometry of the first dress (The MM2 Tangerine Prism dress), and the second dress (The City Chic Mirrored Paisley dress) looks like it houses a portal to another dimension in my nether region. And those weird pockets!  I do think they could both benefit from a belt.

 

Rocks Box is one that I had some misgiving about because I am very particular when it comes to jewelry…but as I’ve been saying, I need some more traditional pieces to add to the rotation.  Sometimes I just don’t want to be asked questions about the taxidermy eyeball earrings that I am wearing, or the baby owl skull necklace around my neck.  On the whole they sent some nice things (I kept the gold Gorjana rings from each box, and that black House of Harlow arrow necklace) and they gave me some ideas for some designers that I will seek out apart from the service, but I’m kind of picky, and I just couldn’t force myself to like their inventory.  I canceled the service after three boxes; the third one was a dud, and is not pictured here.

 

The Daily Look Elite box  appeared promising at first, but they only cater up to a size 12, so if you are on the larger end of the spectrum, your choices are limited. I hate the term “edgy” with the fire of a thousand suns, but I think that if you’ve tried something like Stitch Fix and thought “oh man, this is stuff my grandma or the girl scout troop leader or low-end ladies who brunch would wear”, you would probably find Daily Look a little bit more edgy/contemporary. My first box was such a disappointment that I didn’t even bother photographing it, let alone trying it on.  And my second box, well, they sent me two (!) pairs of shoes, one pair of sunglasses, one trench coat, one kimono, and one bag, and one tiny pair of earrings. None of them were all that awful, but it was just nothing I need. I did keep the bag because upon closer examination it appeared to vaguely resemble an Alexander Wang satchel I’ve been lusting after, but upon evaluation I realize that I do edgy and avant-garde and offbeat just fine on my own.  I actually need more grandma clothes, to be honest.  Daily Look Elite has been canceled.

 

The last box I ordered was the Pop Sugar Must Have box.  Pop Sugar is one of those sites I never really make a point to look at, but sometimes when I am looking for reviews or roundups of certain types of cosmetics or beauty products, I end up there anyhow.  Now I knew going in that this box probably wouldn’t be to my taste (especially starting in June when everything is summer! beach body! sunshine! and all of that nonsense), but once again, I silenced my better judgement and signed up anyhow.

There was nothing terrible in here, but nothing really compelling either.  The new book by Judy Blume which I will give to my grandma because she is currently reading 50 Shades of Grey and I don’t want her brain to start to deteriorate, an eye shadow palette from Pacifica, a yoga headband, some sunglasses which aren’t my style at all and anyway I wear a terribly strong prescription, a gift card for $30 off a “vintage” jewelry site (which is mostly overpriced 80’s Avon stuff), and loofa buffer pre-filled with a very synthetic smelling yuzu body wash and some gummy vitamins. I am not sure why they call this a “Must Have” box.  Who Must Have this stuff?  I would be interested to see what they do for the autumnal season, so I might give it another try. In the meantime, I think I will squirrel some of this stuff away for gifts or surprises or something. Surprise! Have some crap that I didn’t want! Ha.

For most of these boxes I managed to find instances of “get a free month when you sign up”, otherwise I might not have tried them at all.  If you poke around My Subscription Addiction you might be able to find some of those and that way if you don’t like it, well, you really haven’t wasted anything other than your time. In the meantime, here’s a code for a free month of Rocks Box: SARAHBFF951 and the url for a free month of Gwynnie Bee: https://goo.gl/LbCqJh

What are your favorite subscription boxes?  Is there one that you think I should try?  You know, I really wish they’d put together a Haute Goth box*, or a Ghost Chic box – that would be right up my alley!

*I know there’s already some sort of goth box, but when I checked it out, it didn’t impress me.  I want one that includes art from my favorite dark artists, unusual baubles from my preferred ghouly jewelers, spooky tales from writers and poets, maybe a tarot deck or divinatory devices, an unusual piece, maybe a scarf or shawl or hat from a macabre desiger.
Wow, I think this box will probably cost about $1000.  I don’t want much, do I?

✥ 5 comments

Image via mylovehauntedheart

On rainy midnights do you ever find yourself curled on the sofa, reading a worn paperback with a cracked spine, the shadowy darkness of the tattered cover providing the backdrop for a beveled tower, backlit by the moon and away from which a pale faced and wan young woman flees, her ruffled peignoir trailing and tangling behind her?

What is this poor, doomed lady running from? Could be any number of gothic romance tropes – ghosts, phantoms and strange sinister spirits. Abandoned monasteries, isolated castles. Brooding, mysterious gentleman. Wild, turbulent love and bitter betrayals.  Fearful family curses.  Dreams, illusions, obsessions, murders.  I mean…what isn’t she running from, right?

And do you ever find yourself wondering…“what would I wear if I were running in her shoes?”

Well, nothing practical or suited for running long distances, I can assure you!  See below for an array of ruffles, lace and dark baubles with which to bedeck yourself should you find deeply entangled in a highly atmospheric, possibly historical and definitely creepy love affair with a sweetheart who may or may not want to kill you.

Please note that the website where these images were originally compiled and created has since closed and sadly there is no longer a record of the items that were used! Lost to the sands of time, like so many frightened protagonist’s footprints, disappearing along a haunted coastline…

midnight

forbidden

shadows

phantom

enough

 

 

Not into gothic romance? Not to worry – I’ve got you covered! Below are some bonus wardrobes for lovers of pulp and general weirdness.

piggy

satan

weirdo

 

 

✥ 1 comment

shipping

It’s a little unfair, and even presumptuous I suppose, to speak on matters in which one is not even a semi- or quasi- expert, but I am prefacing this now by declaring there’s a lot I still don’t quite get about Gwynnie Bee.

Gwynnie Bee bills themselves as a clothing rental subscription service for women sizes 10-32.  Which really, sounds pretty fantastic for people who are looking for services which cater to a wider range of sizes.  Depending on the brand, I can wear anywhere from a size 10 to a size 14, so I fall at the lower end of this spectrum, but in perusing the selections on the site, I still found a lot of pieces that might work for me, fit wise.

I think how it is supposed to work is that:

1. You open an account. Either by invite or referral? I am not certain. I got an invite.  It might be the same thing, and I think either way the person who invites/refers you gets some kind of credit. This post, by the way, is liberally peppered with referral links, so if you decide to sign up, I may get some kind of credit.
2. You choose what sort of plan you’d like  -one at a time/two at a time/ three at a time – it’s sort of like netflix, I guess. And then start browsing through their selection and adding things you like to your “closet”.
3. As I understood it, once your closet hit 25 items, Gwynnie Bee starts shipping things to you according to your plan… but I hit a snag when I couldn’t even find 25 things on the site that I liked all that much.  So after playing around with it for 15 minutes or so, I promptly forgot it.
4. They send you the stuff, you wear it for as long as you want, you either send it back for more stuff, or you buy it.

Imagine my surprise when, a week later, I received a shipping confirmation! I wasn’t overly concerned because the first month is free and I figured well, ok, they’ll send me some stuff, I will check it out and send it back, and there’s really nothing at all to lose here, right? Alright, then.

Right off the bat I like that although you’re guaranteed that what is being sent to you is something you’ve already expressed interest in, you don’t really know exactly what is being sent to you, so there is still an element of surprise.  I mean otherwise, it’s just regular online shopping and while that’s fun, it sort of loses the element of novelty that these services really capitalize on.

The box arrives via FedEx, neatly packed with several cards that I did not bother to read, a return envelope, and the three dresses are contained within.

IGIGI

igigi2

 

The IGIGI Francine Dress In Mulberry Tapestry is pretty much exactly the sort of thing I like to wear, even though I do suffer from extreme rhodophobia.  There’s something about this particular red that is lush and opulent and I really quite love it. The ornate, scroll-y pattern is right up my alley and the dress is very flattering. It’s long enough that I wouldn’t have to wear it with leggings or tights, although that would look quite nice, too.  The tie/sash thing, however, is really long. How are you supposed to tie this?  In the front?  In the back? Hm.  On the model they’ve somehow made it look like an obi, and I’d like to figure out how they’ve done this.  They are calling this size a 14-16 and I am not sure why I didn’t just go with the 12, because I think I could definitely afford to size down. It is $53.50 to purchase outright.

Sage and Spruce

Sage and Spruce2

 

When I saw the shipping email listing the SPRUCE & SAGE Eclipse Sketch Fit & Flare Dress I thought to myself “…um, why did I think I liked this?” but in person it’s really great.  I love the print, I feel like some manic toddler really went to town on it with some ill-advised Sharpies. The fit is absolutely perfect and I think it’s the first time that a dress waist hits my actual waist, as opposed to right up under my boobs, which is what usually happens.  It’s just a smidge away from being slightly snug, but since movement is not hampered and there’s no weird stretching or puckering, I think it is probably fine.  I also think I am probably just not used to having things actually fit me.  For reference, this is the size 10-12 and $30 to purchase.  Which seems like a fantastic deal, since I didn’t have to pay the box fee during this free trial month (otherwise it would be $80 +$30?)

karenkane

karenkane2

 

The Karen Kane stripe uneven hem dress is the one that I thought I might like the most and surprisingly it’s the one I am least happy with. I love the white stripes against the black, the asymmetric hem, all of it…but it just doesn’t add up to a very flattering picture.  I got the smallest size they offered (0X) and unfortunately, it’s still pretty baggy on me.  Which is makes me a little sad, because it really is adorable and it is so soft and comfortable.  I checked on the pricing and apparently I can purchase it for $50 which seems kind of strange to me, as this seems to be the most casual of the lot, with the least bells and whistles.  Ah well, you can’t win ’em all.  And this is not really an unusual style, so I can probably find it elsewhere.  Or else gain 20 lbs so that it fits better. Hey, I like pizza and bagels, I can make that work.

So…I am still not sure what I think about this, and at this point I am not even sure what to do?  Pack up the one that didn’t work, send it back, and continue to wear the others?  During this free trial month will they send me something else from my closet right away?  Or do I have to send the other two back/purchase them first?

And I see that a lot of people write on site reviews of the pieces they have received – do you receive some sort of credit for doing this?  I mean, I’d be all over that – I have stuff to say about things, and I can go on at length, believe you me! I mean have you read my yelp reviews?  I’m just saying – I have opinions and I like to share them.

Needless to say, I still have a few questions that need answering before I would fully recommend this to anyone, but I will say so far that the two dresses I have received in this shipment are some of the most flattering I have ever owned…for what it’s worth.

Thoughts? Suggestions?  Gwynnie Bee tips and tricks? Enlighten me – I am all ears!
And hips and bosoms, if you go by the pictures above!  Sorry to subject you to that, by the way.

✥ 7 comments

group

After a weekend roadtrip, I arrived home Sunday afternoon to find a familiar package on the doorstep.  You’re probably thinking “…good grief, give it a rest, lady! Enough is enough!”  And you’d be right!  I told myself I would give Stitch Fix  2-3 times to see how I felt about it – and to build up a bit of a work wardrobe – and I think after this box I have hit my threshold. I am probably going to scale it back to every other month, or as needed at this point.

You’ve got to understand, though, that most of my clothing purchases in the past few years have been tee shirts, and I brought practically nothing work related with me when I moved back from NJ to FL.  I didn’t bring much with me at all, actually – only what I could fit in my car. “You even couldn’t find a place in your car for a cherry pitter?”  my boyfriend will incredulously ask me.  Well, no.  I’m a terrible packer.  And I was never any good at Tetris. So I stuffed everything I thought I could fit into my little car and a lot of it had to go – including work clothes…and the aforementioned cherry pitter.  I guess that could have gone into the glove box.

To review, or if you are unfamiliar with Stitch Fix: you pay a $20 a month subscription fee (which can then be applied to the items you purchase); if you don’t like 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 first two fixes here: Fix One & Fix Two.

card

 

I got Macy again as my Stylist and she really did a fantastic job with the items she picked out this time.  A monochrome palette – black and white and grey.  I am starting to think of it as Summer Goth Business Casual. AND was included the very same skirt I had seen someone else receive in their fix a few months ago.  I pinned it to my pinterest board and she managed to track it down for me.

dress
Teren Dot Print Dress

The Teren Dot Print dress by Papermoon, size large ($68) was very similar to the dress I received last month, but this one is infinitely more flattering. I think if I had gotten this one first I might not have kept the other one, but eh, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, I suppose. The material up top has more give and it creates more of a waistline, I think.  And the material for the skirt is really interesting.  Keeping this for sure.

 

skirt
Lyla Skirt

The Lyla Skirt, by Gilli, size large ($54) was an item that I’d seen another Stitch Fix subscriber receive and although we have totally different body types, I know that this is the kind of swingy-not-clingy skirt I love and it probably looks good on just about everyone.  It’s a lovely light grey, jersey-ish material, and though on the card it looks pleated, the pleats seem really soft, not stiff or severe.  Super cute with a Danzig tee shirt and a cardigan, right? A keeper!

 

top1
Astrid Spade Print Tie-Neck Blouse

I am a little unsure about the Astrid Spade Print Tie-Neck Blouse by 41Hawthorn, size large ($54). I love the black and white spade print, it reminds me of elegant lattice wall inserts I saw in a movie, maybe a recurring motif in The Fountain? The fit is fine, and I am really starting to love these sleeveless blouses.  Not because I love sleeveless tops or because my arms are attractively toned, but because I am a strong believer in cardigans with everything and in Florida, sleeves on top of sleeves starts to get pretty toasty. It’s nice to forego that extra layer of sleeve.  That tie-neck, though.  If it’s too floppy, it might start to get annoying.  However, with the discount for buying all five pieces, I am thinking it might be worth it to just keep this one.

 

top2
Esten Split Neck Blouse

People who know me well might be surprised that I am keeping the Esten Split Neck Blouse, by Collective Concepts, size large ($58).  Well, that’s assuming that anyone really cares, which I suspect they do not. But I am pretty notorious for never wearing white tops – as a matter of fact, I hate on them pretty openly.  But how cool and unexpected is this tiny lightening bolt print?  I had to have it.  Guess I will need to purchase a nude bra now.  At my age I should probably have more than just black underwear, anyway.  The fit is almost perfect, except where it doesn’t quite sit right along the bottom. it sort of flaps open.  But whatever. There’s going to be a cardigan over it.  Definitely keeping this one. Also, I think this will look pretty snazzy with that grey skirt, above, and this mustard cardigan (which I actually ordered this week).

 

top3
Leticia Lattice Detail Top

The Leticia Lattice Detail top by Fun2Fun (god, I hate the name of that company, ugh) size large, ($44) is probably the most comfortable piece of clothing I have ever owned, except for these yoga pants I am wearing right now that are ten years old and the elastic is totally shot. But this blouse is so light and airy, it’s practically like wearing nothing.  The lattice detail gives it a bit of visual interest and I bet you could dress it up a bit with some jewelry.  Keeping this one, too.

Speaking of jewelry, I realized after my last Fix that I didn’t have many baubles that I would feel comfortable wearing around the normies, and I also don’t have much in the way of gold, which even though I don’t wear it much, I know it looks nice with my skin tone and coloring. I picked up a few really pretty gemstone necklaces from this etsy shop.  I thought the prices were reasonable and they have a nice selection.

baubles
Labradorite, aqua chalcedony, green onyx, & chrysoprase

 

So, getting back to what I said at the beginning of this post – I think this will be it for Stitch Fix for the time being. I guess it looks like I am quitting while I am ahead (I’ve been lucky enough to get a few stylists who really figured me out), but truthfully, I just have everything I need right now.  I scheduled my next one for sometime in June/July, as I have a family reunion coming up around that time and I might need a few appropriate summer things to bring.  One of the things I love about this service is that in your notes to your stylist for an upcoming fix, you can indicate things like that.  Or, as I demanded: “Please send me summery dresses but no gross, bright summer colors!”

Money details: my merchandise total was $278, but minus the upfront styling fee of $20, and another $25 credit I had for referring someone, PLUS the 25% discount for buying all five pieces, I paid $168.50. I think that will probably seem more budget friendly once I start doing this every other month, or every three months.

My conclusion with this particular subscription box experiment is that it was absolutely worth it, and if you hate shopping and trying on clothes under florescent lights in unflattering changing rooms – I highly recommend that you try it out, as well. Again, if you do sign up for Stitch Fix, please use my referral link!

Now!  I think I need some new shoes…

✥ 1 comment

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!

holiday

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…

✥ 4 comments

unboxed

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of these monthly subscription boxes that seem to becoming more and more popular. For a time I was even receiving one; flicker box, which is basically a monthly box of candles, but after a year I was horrified to see that I paid $350 for an insane number of candles which I more or less gave away (they were mostly too sweet or fruity and I don’t want a home space that smells like a candy factory or a punch bowl or a produce stand).  It was a nice thought, because sure, I like candles, but I really like the ones that smell more like incense and with that being the case I mostly just burn incense and light unscented candles. So I canceled that subscription.  You can bet I always had a hostess gift or a surprise birthday present that year though.

There’s Birchbox and others like it, which I believe are focused on beauty products, but I’ve pretty much embraced my inner hag and don’t need too much of that sort of thing.  There’s also one for perfume, Olfactif, and you are probably wondering why I have not signed up for that one yet and the answer to that is because I don’t want to die homeless and penniless which is exactly what will happen if I’m offered perfume selections like clockwork every month.

I recently came across Stitchfix while doing a search for a service that provides monthly clothes subscription boxes, which – I know, it sounds like a gamble, doesn’t it?  Personal style is really tough to pin down, especially through a medium like the internet, when you don’t even know the person for whom you are choosing the apparel.  And why would I even need something like that?  I work from home, I prefer to entertain at home or…someone else’s home, but basically I am a homebody.  I don’t go out to see and be seen.  I’d prefer to be invisible and ignored for the most part. And despite all my waxing poetic about runway couture and all the time I spend over on polyvore curating delightful ensembles, it might surprise you to learn that I actually sort of dress like a hobo in real life. And in looking down at my pizza stained yoga pants and oversized band tee shirts with holes around the shoulder seams where I’ve stretched out the neck to accommodate my enormous head, I realize that is an insult to the actual hobos.

I am, however, expected to show up in video conferences, or attend out of state functions for work every once in a while, and I do get invited to the occasional party or dinner date – and in surveying my wardrobe it is plain to see that it does need a bit of an update regarding such outings.  90% of what I wear is some variation of the disgusting combination described above and the other 10% are peculiar vintage items that appealed to me for some reason or another at the time of purchase and 0% of that is appropriate to wear in front of coworkers or friends who want to be seen with me in public.

In reading the following, I will admit, I was awfully intrigued.  Fill out a profile?  I love filling out profiles!  That’s part of the reason I was always so tempted to join online dating sites – just so I can fill out a profile and tick off boxes about my personality and interests, etc.  Is that odd? I can’t be the only one.  I’m not doing that now, of course – that is, filling out online dating profiles. Not recently.

Stitch Fix is the first fashion retailer to blend expert styling, proprietary technology and unique product to deliver a shopping experience that is truly personalized for you. Simply fill out the Stitch Fix Style Profile and our personal stylists will handpick a selection of five clothing items and accessories unique to your taste, budget and lifestyle. You can buy what you like and return the rest!”

And you know, much like filling out profiles for online dating sites, there’s always that thrilling thought that maybe! finally! someone will finally “get” you. I always used to put the weirdest things about me in those things (my title on AOL Personals a million years ago was “Wark! Wark!), just to see what sort of people would respond.  You don’t always get a winner, of course, but I thought it was fun to try.

So, I went through Stitchfix‘s questionnaire and gave them my sizes and the colors I preferred and selected a few outfits that I liked the looks of {“preppy“, “romantic“, “casual“, “edgy“, “bohemian“, “glamorous” and…one that looked really colorful but I don’t know what you would call it} I think I am a combination of casual with a soupçon of edgy, for what it’s worth.   In the “notes to the stylist” section I offered the following:

“I wear a lot of black and a lot of jeans& tee shirts (I work from home). I’d like to slowly start incorporating more (darker, muted, earthy) colors into my wardrobe and graduate beyond band tee shirts.  Nothing cutesy or twee. Think reformed goth for someone who never actually was a goth.  Someone who enjoys horror movies and ghost stories and Dead Can Dance and still has a tiny crush on Glen Danzig.” 

Ha!  Try to figure that out, stylists!

So how it works is once a month, or however frequently you prefer, your Stylist at Stitchfix puts together a box of five items according to the sorts of things you indicate on your profile and then they send it out to you! You pay a $20 Stylist fee per box, which is deducted from the cost of whatever you end up keeping.  Whatever doesn’t work for you, you just send it back in the postage paid envelope that they provide for you.  I think I am describing this all accurately, but there’s tons of blogs out there where ladies are reviewing their boxes and talking about how it all works.

Speaking of all these other women who use Stitchfix, I will honestly admit that in doing some research and poking around I grew a little concerned when I saw that most of them are Mommy Bloggers. Which hey, there’s room in this world for every interest out there and that’s great, but 100% across the board, Mommy Blogger style is without a doubt, absolutely, not my style.

I’m fairly certain it was only two weeks ago that I started looking into this and yet my first box arrived today.  Inside was the inventory list with prices on each item (you can choose your budget – the most expensive thing in my box was $88), a card for each item with some styling options, the return envelope, and a personalized note from my stylist, “Emily”.

card

And here are the pieces…

Balboa Embroidery Detail Top
Balboa Embroidery Detail Top

Even though I liked the look of this, with the gold embroidery against the black crepe, the fit  was off.  I could barely get it over my head and though the width was okay, it was a little short. Also, I am not overly fond of sleeveless clothing. Still, I thought it was a nice pick for me.

2
Ava Floral Silk Print Henley Blouse

Another sleeveless number.  But…I loved the print and the the aquamarine against the navy is so pretty and the fit was perfect.  I don’t have anything like this, and I can always wear a little cardigan over it.  A keeper!

3
Humphrey Streak Print Dress

Though I actually love the colors (such as they are) and the print reminds me of creepy late night teevee static, it just hung like a potato sack on me and wasn’t exactly flattering.  I also don’t like the arms, something about the cut of the top half reminds me of a baseball jersey.

4
Bianca Fringe Cardigan and Milena Moto Legging

This cardigan was so soft and cozy, and had the long, drapey shape that I like, but wearing it I felt like the Muppet version of Dolly Parton.  Wearing a Fraggle sweater.  Nope.
The leggings were really cool looking, and I loved the ribbing at the knee, but again, there was a weird fit issue. And leggings should be comfortable if not anything else, so these were also put on the return list.

SO! Despite the fact I am returning four out of five items, I am actually fairly happy with the pieces my stylist chose for me.  There was not a single thing in there that I pulled out of the box and thought “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” and the one thing I loved and decided to keep was probably the one I never would have chosen for myself.  Which is one of the reasons why people have stylists, right?  I think this was an interesting experiment and I am pleased enough with the results that I am going to keep my subscription for a few more months to see what they come up with for me.

A few tips:

1.Stitchfix is not really plus sized gal friendly.  I am between 12-14; all of the pieces sent to me were marked “large” and mostly fit quite comfortably, except for a few weird issues.  For the time being though, anyone larger than a 14 is out of luck.

2. They encourage you to keep and update a pinterest board which you can link to in your Stitchfix profile (here’s mine, please note I put my banana suit on one leg at a time, just like everyone else), and it looks like they even pay attention to the stuff you collect there.My stylist mentioned in my note that she included that dress because my pinterest board is liberally peppered with those types of dresses. Just goes to show you that I have no idea what looks good on me.

3. Checking out is super easy.  Log in, go to the check out page, select the item you want to keep, and that’s pretty much it since they already have your card on file.  The other thing about the checking out process is that they encourage feedback on the things that didn’t work, so they can do better next time.  I informed them of all the same observations I recorded here, so now they have it on record that my flabby upper arms prefer sleeves and I don’t like floppy, froofy fringe because it makes me feel like a fraggle. Also, you can include notes as to the type of thing you might like to see next time!  I had no advice in this regard, I really want to make them work at it. Heh.

Of course I managed to choose the most expensive item in the box, but with my $20 credit, it came to $68, which I guess isn’t too bad?  I don’t know.  It’s cute.  We’ll see if I get any compliments on it. Also, speaking of money, they have some sort of referral program, where you get $25 credit for each friend who signs up and orders.  Now, I am not telling you what to do or anything – because I am certainly not the boss of you – but if you are someone who has to have their clothes picked out for them, or if you are too busy to shop for yourself, or, if like me, you have an imp of the perverse sitting on your shoulder constantly encouraging you to fill out online profiles and make people work at figuring out who you truly are, then use this link to sign up.

I’d like to think that this is not typically the thing I talk about over here, but I did want to share my experiences with other ladies who are looking into this sort of subscription box.  It’s one thing to read customer testimonials, and it’s another to read un-boxing and haul posts from mommy bloggers, but it’s something else entirely and infinitely more valuable to read about it from the perspective of your yoga pants wearing, meat-lovers pizza-munching, Glen Danzig-crushing trusted friend, right?  I hope that’s how you’ll think of this.  Just some advice from one gross, barely clothed friend to another.

Do you have any experience with subscription boxes?  Are there any I should check out?  Let me know!

 

 

✥ 10 comments

31 Dec
2014

There’s been a bit of bloodletting (painful, but cathartic) on the blog in the recent past and so I think I would prefer to wrap up 2014 on a frivolous note. Here’s a hodge podge list of things I either stumbled across or that were recommended to me, in no particular order, that I ended up being pretty thrilled with this year.

1. For some time now I have noticed my skin is acting in strange and unexpected ways. The nose and forehead that use to be an oil-slicked nightmare are now dry and tight, and the once plump, moony cheeks, well…they are still plump and moony, but they are now blotchy and flaky, as well.  Wearing any sort of makeup became impossible; no matter how I exfoliated or how much I moisturized, my visage still resembled and felt like an awful, patchy mask.  The final straw was when my sister glanced over at me, did a double take and demanded “what THE HELL is wrong with your face??”

Shortly after that, quite unprompted by me, I noticed a facebook friend waxing poetic regarding a natural line of skin care over on etsy, Naturallogic.

Truly Natural, Organic Skin Care & Body Care, handmade FRESH from original recipes based on Nutrition, Holism, Plant Medicine & Ancient Practices, using Certified Organic & Wild Harvested, Food-Grade Super Foods, Phyto Nutrients, Clinically Proven Bioactives, Botanical Extracts, Enzymes & Pure Herb, Plant & Flower Oils.

Apologies for slipping into hyperbole but this stuff is nothing short of miraculous. Within a weekend my skin had completely turned around. I was beyond ecstatic. The proprietress of the shop was super helpful and helped me put together a regimen that would work for my skin type, and thoughtfully included a few extra samples as well. Note that I am *not* getting paid to say any of these things, nor am I getting any sort of free product.  Don’t I wish! Because to be completely honest, it is not inexpensive.  But it is absolutely worth it.
I actually just placed a second order to replace all of my empty bottles – this is the first time I have ever been so happy with such things that I used them all up!  Also note: I purchased the wrong toner the second time around.  I don’t mind though, because it smells incredible.
Unfortunately, despite my skin doing much better, I am still having a hard time with makeup.
I can’t find a foundation or even a BB cream (forget about concealers or powder) that won’t eventually flake up and look awful on me a few hours after I apply it. What works for you?  Any suggestions are appreciated!

2. I don’t wear lipstick often.  Maybe four times a year.  I have a horrible fear that it will migrate to my teeth and no one will tell me and I’ll be walking around all day completely unawares, with a garish crayon-toothed smile.  I also worry that with all the lip biting I do, I actually end up eating most of my lipstick, which is pretty gross if you think too long on it.
I was intrigued though, when I saw several folks wearing Limecrime’s Velveteen lip color in ‘Salem’. (It is sold out on the site, but you can also find it at Urban Outfitters and a few other places if you poke around). It’s such a unique color and it reminds me of all of my favorite parts of the 90’s – dark floral babydoll dresses, velvet chokers, stompy boots. The formula too is really lovely; it looks like a gloss, but it goes on completely matte.


3
. Last year for the holidays my beau gifted me with Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Isa Does It, which is a gorgeous book with a million wonderful vegan recipes (we are not vegan, nor even vegetarian, but we do like to experiment!) and hands down, the recipe that I have made the most is her Roasted Red Pepper Mac & “Cheese”.  It is so, so good. Make it tonight. Seriously.  You don’t even have to buy the book, here is the recipe:
https://www.theppk.com/2013/10/roasted-red-pepper-mac-cheese-video/


4, 5, and 6. (Music)

Year end find: Tetrolugosi. I’ll admit, I was already in love when I read this described as Fabio Frizzi and Riz Ortolani by way of Gary Numan and Ladytron.

Previously mentioned: Dance With The Dead. These guys create the dark, 1980s sci-fi/horror soundtrack for your life that you didn’t know you needed.

The Bombay Royale: The Island of Dr. Electrico. “…from lonesome spaghetti to surf-rock, from psychedelia to spine-bending space disco, overlaid with the voices of our protagonists The Tiger and The Mysterious Lady”.  Ah!  How can you resist that description? I couldn’t.


7, 8, 9 and 10. (Cinema)

Only Lovers Left Alive.  You’d probably be hard pressed to find a year-end list that this did not make, eh? Somber, sad, wicked, clever, impossibly elegant. All of these things. A favorite for sure, and not just for now – perhaps all time.


Byzantium
.  Another brooding, elegant vampire film, but a bit of a peculiar take on familiar lore.


The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
. A lush, surreal, deliberately disorienting neo-giallo. the sooner you abandon hope of following the story or figuring out the plot in favor of allowing your eyeballs to be dizzied and dazzled, the better you’ll be.  The exquisite, labyrinthine apartment building made for a strange and wonderful character on it’s own.


Under The Skin. Moody and strange and mysterious. It’s difficult to say more about this one. Can you tell I am awful at reviews?  That’s really all I can tell you. That, and don’t read the book – it’s utter rubbish.

 

11, 12, 13, and 14. (Books and Literature)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  I read this at the very beginning of 2014 so most of the details elude me, but what I took away from it mostly is that it is a beautiful love letter to great art.  I found it an absolutely gripping, compelling read and with my attention span nowadays, that’s saying quite a bit.

Through The Woods by Emily Carroll. Beautifully designed, meticulously crafted tales of quiet, nightmarish horror.  An equally disturbing and breathtaking creation.

Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky. Bizarre, bawdy, brazen. Ridiculously good fun.

The Children of Old Leech. A Laird Barron tribute anthology full of terrifying things. whispered of in darkened forests beyond the safe comfort of firelight. Standout stories for me were “Love Songs From The Hydrogen Jukebox”, “Notes For ‘Barn In The Wild'”, “Ymir”, and “Tenebrionidae”

Bonus round, television series category!  True Detective, Penny Dreadful, Les Revenants, and Mirror Black.
Extra super bonus round!  Kimchi Furikake rice seasoning.  This stuff is amazing.

What are some of your favorite discoveries in 2014?  Do share!

✥ 10 comments