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

 

 

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8 Jun
2015

Aural transmissions & melodic missives from one on the verge of a something….or a nothing…I don’t even know.  Life is weird right now. Have some music.

The Hare and the Moon – Cruel Henry

 

Brown Bird, Axis Mundi

 

Ghost – Cirice

 

The Inward Circles – “Belated Movements for an Unsanctioned Exhumation August 1st 1984″(Excerpts) 

The Doomed Bird of Providence – “You Brought The Knife”

 

Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld – “The rest of us” 

 

Jasmine Guffond, Yellow Bell

 

Chelsea Wolfe – “Carrion Flowers”

 

thisquietarmy, Anthems For Catharsis

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3 Jun
2015

party’s over from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

Guiltiest pleasures: pale, languid covers of beloved favorites
Image: Brandon C. Long

Track list:

Running Up That Hill, Placebo  |  Don’t Fear The Reaper, Gus Black  |  There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, Trespassers William  |  Susanna And The Magical Orchestra, Love Will Tear Us Apart  |  Paint It Black, Anne Marie Almedal  |  The Killing Moon, Nouvelle Vague  |  The One I Love, Rosie Thomas  |  Under The Milky Way, Sia  |  Love Is A Battlefield (Feat. White Sea),  Wrongchilde  |  I’m On Fire, Bat For Lashes  |  Silver Springs, Lykke Li  |  Red Right Hand,  Pj Harvey  |  Disintegration, Big Blood

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My apologies in advance.  Anyone who is living a fun, care-free life right now: I hate you.  Do you call yourself an “International Playgirl” or something along those lines? I hate you. Are you anyone other than me, whose life feels like it is grinding to an interminable, soul-sucking halt? No? Well then, I probably hate you all.

My grandfather passed away last week.  We had just gotten the hospice bed set up so that he could pass his remaining time in a  familiar place, and the medical equipment fellow had just left, after explaining the ups and downs and ins and outs of how to operate the thing. The oxygen machine was running in the corner, a steady hum that I suspected I would get used to over the next few days.

My phone rang again, and I answered, expecting that it was the medical transport folks informing me that they were bringing him home; that they were on their way. Instead it was hospice phoning to tell me he was gone.

He was a 97 year old man.  This shouldn’t have surprised me…and yet it did.  I paced between rooms wondering how on earth was I going to share this heartbreaking news with my grandmother, who had been so happy earlier that her husband of 72 years was finally coming home. I could still hear the slow hiss from the oxygen tank, and the realization that he never even had a chance to use it sadly dawned on me.

His presence lingers in the house, his imprint still on everything.  A pair of shorts, a worn leather belt still looped through, hangs from a hook on the back of the bathroom door.  His glasses sit on a table next to his chair, which none of us can bring ourselves to sit in again.  A magnifying glass on the kitchen table, a WWII aircraft poster in the garage, a stack of bills in the office which had not yet been paid.

It is this last bit, and all items related to it, that make the grieving process difficult, if not impossible for me right now.  Despite how heart-wrenching it is that my neither my grandmother nor I nor my sisters had a chance to say a proper goodbye to a man who was everything to us, I cannot even bring myself to stifle a sob. There is nothing there.

I suspect that this is because I am utterly consumed with the care of the person who is left behind.  Who is, for all intents and purposes quite helpless, and her finances, her property, her health and well-being, it has all been entrusted to me. I know that I am not alone in this, as I have my two sisters – but as I am the only one local, most of these concerns fall squarely on my lap.  I know they do what they can, and I know I have their full support and it’s no one’s fault really, that I am here and they are there – but none of this makes it much easier for me, to be perfectly honest.

And it’s not like I don’t have a job, although granted, my job makes it a little bit easier than someone else in my situation might have it – I both have a very understanding employer, and I work from home – but 99.9% of my usual stress in life in job related and now with missing as much work as I have been missing, gosh. My anxiety is through the roof.

At the end of the day, after taking into account my grandmother’s schedule and appointments and issues, on top of doing the same thing for my job – I just can’t do any more.  I’m not exercising, I am not eating right (that’s an understatement, I have probably gained 10 lbs in three weeks but I don’t even want to think about that), bills are probably going unpaid, the house is a mess and I .  just.  don’.t  care.

I’m probably pretty depressed.  I’m sitting in front of my computer screen, I can’t even look at the things I like to look at, art blogs, new music blogs, recipe sites.  This might seem like a small thing, but I think it’s telling.  I’m not the sort of person where you’d notice a dramatic change in my personality… because I think I am too repressed to sink into a profoundly spectacular depression. Instead, it’s that loss of interest or enjoyment in things one usually might take pleasure in, a feeling of hopelessness.  Resignation. This is never going to end. This is what it’s going to be like forever and ever. And then I realize of course that is not the case, my grandmother is 94 years old and she’s not going to be around forever and I should cherish the time I have with her and what the hell is wrong with me? What kind of monster am I? Wash, rinse, repeat.

I try to go through life with a  “chin up!” sort of attitude, I really do.  But I just can’t even fake it right now.  And you many people who have reached out to me with condolences and concern and thoughtful gifts and kind words – I cannot thank you enough.  For as much as I want to curl up into a ball and disappear at the moment, it’s things like this, that someone cares enough to reach out in some way… I might not think I want these things, but you know, I desperately need them.  And I thank you for realizing that and acting on it.

And I don’t hate any of you, don’t pay attention to what I said several paragraphs ago.  I am just feeling bitter and resentful of people who don’t have these worries and who may never have them.

In the meantime, I have got to get it together on a personal level.  My bank account probably can’t handle this level of grief shopping that I have been putting it through, so I am going to have to find different, healthier ways to cope. More on that later.  Though…if new stuff and things can’t cheer me up then perhaps all is truly lost.

Friends and folks who have been through something similar – how did you pull through?  How did you not totally wreck your life while trying to take care of someone else’s? Your thoughts, suggestions and insights are, as always, deeply appreciated.

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26 May
2015

The other night I had a rare moment to myself.  Not “by myself”; I am by myself, alone, all day long, working remotely from home, connecting to an office hundreds of miles away. But rather “to myself”; no obligations or responsibilities or demands on my time, just an hour or two, to do with as I please.  I didn’t have much time, so I wanted to be certain that the minutes I did have allotted to me actually counted for something.

I feel a bit the same about poetry.  It’s an opportunity for a writer to take a few words and a small space and spark an enormous, raging fire in a reader’s heart. Its dearth of strict rules delights me – for someone as meek and timid as I can be, I resent guidelines and rules, they often annoy me and I do love to see them twisted and broken. And poetry is a vital, relevant language – at turns mystical, raw, terrifying, full of rage and longing, tender, and absurd- leaving one hollow, spent, and breathless….and I will confess to loving it all, even the bad poetry.

I dabble a bit with writing my own poems, though not as much as I did when I was younger.  And I’ve no delusions that I was ever any good or that I have improved much over the years, but it’s something I quite enjoy (to the extent that I used to participate in open mike nights, believe it or not! Even I have a hard time believing this.)

At any rate, on this particular evening, I cozied up on the sofa with a stack of books that I’d been meaning to get around to; all relatively recent offerings from some new-to-me poets, along with some old favorites.  It was an hour very well spent.

I’ve copied below a few excerpts for your enjoyment, as well.

curtiss

A Taxonomy of the Space Between Us, by Caleb Curtiss, is a heartbreaking chronicle of grief, stalked by sister ghosts. Radiant, revelatory elegies.

Sparrow {excerpt}

My sister
is not a woman, a girl, or even

a real someone or something.
Not anymore.

In her place I find a bird
nearly frozen, lying

in a field, its body
broken in some way,

and it is utterly flightless
and possibly a sparrow —

 

a0da55c515b7b343952121dccc0d5286_sex_lives_header-920-470-c

The Sex Lives of Monsters by Helen Marshall weaves together, ancient myths and familiar tales in a painful, poignant, and sometimes oddly pitiful exploration of what it means to be monstrous.

As my heart forever breaks for poor, doomed Eurydice, this excerpt from The Stairwell gave my heartstrings a particularly violent tug.

The Stairwell {excerpt}

We cannot be other than we are.
You must mount the staircase,
face toward the dawn.
and I in your shadow,
forever certain
of your turning head.

 

tmb002-janakastucky-coverart

Because I love a burning thing
I made my heart a field of fire
{excerpt from The Art of Loss is a Lost Art}

The Truth Is We Are Perfect by Janaka Stucky, is poetry of sacrifice and miracles and destruction and love is superbly and succinctly summed up by Pam Grossman over at phantasmaphile as “…Incantatory and incendiary”.  Actually, I don’t know if I can do it any further justice.  Just read her review.  Also, here is a link to a Spotify playlist that Janaka Stucky put together for this collection of poetry and a description of the playlist, in his own words, over at largeheartedboy.

 

onights

O’Nights by Cecily Parks presents a luminous, lyrical vision of the natural world through an urbane, modern woman’s eyes – pale nightscapes, violent springs, wounds and lusts, captures and release.

I Have Set Fire To The Forest {excerpt}

I put on a dress to walk
in the seeping rain, believing
that if the willows are suddenly green

I might have something sudden happen
to me. I saunter impatiently

 

Postpastoral {excerpt}

I borrowed an axe
so heavy I had to drag it 
through the woods.

Branches couldn’t catch
the geese or the sliding sun
and the mud-streaked axe blade

and my mud-streaked dress
took on a violet sheen.
I would build a house

to be lonely in.

 

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17 May
2015

The week I turned 39, several things happened.  None of them were very good.

My 97 year old grandfather was rushed to the hospital the night before my birthday with a blood clot, which they have since successfully dissolved -although from his disoriented state, weakness, and confusion, it’s not likely he will ever be coming home.  Only the day before I had been talking with him and he had been making grocery lists for me and planning meals for the week…it’s strange how at that age you’re doing just fine…until suddenly you’re not.

We are currently dealing with some significant decisions that need to be made, provisions that must be put in to place, plans that must ready to be executed at a moment’s notice.  It’s terrifying and exhausting and this is all just in relation to one person; an entirely different set of processes and considerations must be worked through with relation to my grandmother, who is still at home and cannot be left alone. All of this should probably be filed away to talk about here some other time: a sort of “what to do with your nearly 100 year old sickly and infirm grandparents when all their kids are dead and only the grandchildren are left and there’s only so much money to go around” for dummies guide.

I also had a flat tire this week.  And then something else crazy and awful is happening that I can’t even talk about.

Normally when my birthday rolls around I take a moment to reflect and take stock and I treat it as one might treat the new year; what have I accomplished, what still needs to be done going forward, that sort of thing. It’s not quite a halfway point through the year, but I figure it’s as good a time as any.

Of course, you shouldn’t expect to find anything profound here.  I am just going to tick off the books I have read and movies I have seen.  The perfumes I have gotten around to trying. Which all may seem quite frivolous in light of recent events, but I maintain that taking a moment for lightness and frivolity is an essential part of self-care in the time of crisis and conflict.

Books read  /  mid-May 2015

2015 books halfway

 

Stand out reads were Revenants, by Daniel Millls, which was an incredibly eerie, atmospheric tale.  It reminded me a bit of Blackwood’s The Willows, or The Wendigo in that sense, although I am not sure they are in any other ways similar.  Also worth mentioning is Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warnings. Short stories are my favorite kind of reading; my attention span isn’t what it used to be and so the short story format, with limited space to make a maximum impact, is ideal for me. It’s exciting to find authors who thrive in that space. I read Trigger Warning just this week, a time of distress and disquiet, and it provided many lovely, teary, unexpected smiles. Honestly, I was hooked by the introduction, and I mostly never read those, they’re mostly rubbish as far as I can tell.

Films Viewed / mid-May 2015

Movies

 

Age of Ultron is not on this list, although I did just watch it last week.  I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it. I found all of the carnage and destruction pretty appalling, actually. The ambivalence continues with regarding to many of these movies, but I will say that A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is everything that everyone is saying it is, Pontypool is brilliant, and The Lady in Red Kills Seven Times (La dama rossa uccide sette volte) is great fun and showcases ridiculously fantastic sartorial escapism. Oh, also worth mentioning, but not pictured because I didn’t quite finish either one of them is Curse of the Crimson Altar and Blood on Satan’s Claw.


Perfumes / mid-May 2015

perfumes

 

It probably goes without saying that there are many perfumes I’ve sampled and purchased this year, but the three I was most looking forward to are pictured above. I won’t get into the  official descriptions and notes, you can read that in the links provided, along with reviews from other folks.

Oriza L Legrand’s Relique D’amour smells like a watered down slurry of all the Comme des Garçons Incense series, but not as nice as any single one of them. Also sampled The Afternoon of a Faun Eau de Parfum by Etat Libre d’Orange, and it was like the excitement of watching finally watching your favorite band play live… except that they were too perfect, too flawless to enjoy. A beautiful scent, but it’s somehow lacking soul. It’s a chypre, which I think some find too challenging, but this one is somehow too accessible. Like a fruity chypre, maybe? I would have preferred a challenge.

Serge Luten’s Profundis, however – that was no disappointment. A singularly beautiful and unique scent opening with the scent of big, lively chrysanthemums in the fall -brisk, slightly spicy and musty. Delicate, dewy violets and damp loamy earth follow shortly thereafter, along with a cool metallic chill that calls to mind a brief wind, rising from nowhere, a shadow that suddenly falls across your path.  This is the scent of a pensive cemetery stroll in late autumn, crushed funeral wreaths beneath your feet, the veil of the sun struggling through the clouds, the lingering wisps of incense from morning mass. It’s probably my favorite discovery in the past few years.

Other items of note thus far in 2015

Ok, so that’s it, right?  I can be done for the year?  Well…maybe not. I’ve still got a few books to read.

What about you?  Accomplished anything of note?  Read anything good? Crossed anything off your list? Well, it’s only mid-May.  You’ve still got some time left this year.

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How to wear a tarot deck header
Another entry in my ridiculous “How to wear” category: How to wear your favorite tarot deck.

You have packed up all your cold-weather clothes and are no doubt simmering with equal parts resentment and bewilderment (also, literally simmering because it’s hot AF outside) as you survey your scant summer wardrobe–for you, a child of bleak and dreary days, are far more content to cloak yourself in layers of darkness during the winter season than you are to strip down in the hot weather to one-piece rompers and accentuating with those dreadful “pops of color” that fashion magazines and beauty bloggers blather on about.

Curse you, evil day star! Why must you shoot your hateful heat-lasers at us? These legs haven’t seen the sun in six months, it’s not safe to wear shorts! Our delicate shoulders prefer wraps and shawls and leather jackets covered with super cool enamel pins! Who can we turn to for advice on building our wardrobe for these heat-blasted days? Where can we find a fashion forecast that won’t leave us feeling disgruntled and stabby?

In our search for more esoteric style inspiration, let us not rule out a more mystical, metaphysical approach. Perhaps through a bit of practical prognostication and pattern prediction we will reveal cosmic trends that resonate with us on a deeper level. In doing so, as universal ideas and corresponding symbols unfold before us, we can interpret intuitively that which speaks to us as sacred and divine and integrate it into our summer capsule wardrobe!

The tarot is brimming with rich, iconic symbolism and gorgeous imagery of the mysterious world of our unconscious, so why not look to the art of your beloved divinatory tools for outfit expansion this season? See below for suggestions from some of my treasured tarot decks, incorporating the old-world, melancholy elegance of David Palladini’s Aquarian tarot, the otherworldly intensity of Lady Frieda Harris and Aleister Crowley’s Thoth tarot, and finally, the neon WTF-ery of Oliver Hibert’s eye-meltingly psychedelic tarot deck.

Fortune-teller fashion? Sybil style? Psychic chic? Oracle aesthetic? Who knows–perhaps we will start a trend of our own. 2016, the summer of visionary vogue.

The Aquarian Tarot, art by David Palladini.

aquarian

 

The Baphomet Tarot, art by H.R. Giger.

baphomet

 

Tarot of the Cat People, art by Karen Kuykendall

catpeople

 

The Bohemian Gothic Tarot, created by Alex Ukolov, Karen Mahony

gothic

 

Manara: The Erotic Tarot. Art by Milo Manara

manara

 

The Fantastic Menagerie Tarot, art by J.J. Grandville

 

menagerie

 

The Phantasmagoric Theatre Tarot, art by Graham Cameron

phantasmargoria
The Thoth Tarot, created by Aleister Crowley, Frieda Harris

thoth

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pile

Well, I know last month I said I was going to put Stitch Fix on hold for a while, but that was obviously a big fat lie because the poor beleaguered FedEx guy dropped off Stitch Fix box #4 today.  It was actually a bit early – it was not supposed to show up until Saturday, but it wasn’t a total surprise, as I’d gotten the shipping notification a few days early, as well.

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.  You can read more about my first three fixes here:Fix One & Fix Two & Fix Three

I pried open the box and spied nary a hint of those summer brights, huzzah! That’s actually not sarcasm. My stylist (again, Macy) knows me and my colorphobia pretty well, I think.  I’d requested a summery feeling dress but in dark (or no) colors and an airy white cardigan, as well as, the Market & Spruce dress. She also included an item I’d pinned and one that I thought about pinning…but never did.  The lady is obviously a mind reader.

fix4

reem

The Fate Reem knit top, size Large, is the one I thought about pinning but did not, and somehow my stylist picked up on it anyway. Looking at it now, I am not sure what about it I thought I liked, and after trying it on, it would seem I’m too broad shouldered (and maybe just broad everythinged) for this to fit properly. It was just too snug and shows off all of the wrong lumps. It also didn’t seem to be the same quality as the other things I’ve gotten used to receiving from Stitch Fix.  The look and feel of the material reminded me of something you might get off the clearance rack at Marshalls or Ross. This one was sent back.

rainn

rainn2

The Daniel Rainn Pelzer tie neck top, size Large,  is an item that I had actually pinned. I love that it’s flowy and light, yet dark colored with some interesting embroidery detail. And the fit was OK too, but I guess I keep forgetting I don’t like flouncy ties and bows and drawstrings. They irritate me. What do you do with this floppy shit? How does it not constantly get in the way? This one was sent back, as well.

spruce

This Market & Spruce Spencer striped dress, size Large, is one that I had seen several people receive and so I specifically requested. I thought it fit into that simple + cute category that I often turn to when I don’t want to think about what to wear. The dress is totally adorable but it seriously makes me look like Chesty McGee, and aside from that, because I’ve got a rather sizable bum, it ends hiking up several inches in the back and is way too short to be appropriate.  If this were just a couple inches longer the butt problem would be solved and I could deal with the boob problem separately, but alas, it is not to be. Will have to sadly send this one back.


alona

litana

These last two are definite keepers. She totally delivered on the airy cardigan and the summer-but-not-summer dress. The La Made Litana cardigan, size Large is slightly oversized, the way I like (and it has pockets!), and Papermoon Alona dress fits perfectly. Didn’t even have to unzip it. These two are staying with me.

This time around I am only keeping 2 out of the 5 items, and that is fine with me.  Everything else was actually things I myself had requested, and due to fit issues or my weird quirks, they just don’t work…but that’s really doesn’t reflect poorly on my stylist or Stitch Fix at all. No discount because I didn’t keep all five items, and there were no referral credits, so I didn’t get any extra monies off for that either.  I think the items that I kept were between $56 sand $68 or something like that, the total for both of them ended up being $106.

Now this time around I really am waiting a few months before scheduling another box.  I am absolutely stocked up by this point and there is truly nothing else I need.  As a matter of fact, in the note for my next box, I just told Macy to surprise me, because I am fairly certain she will do an excellent job of it.

Warning: I have been bitten by the subscription box bug, and although this may be the last of the stitch fixes you see for a while, there’s definitely going to be some other reviews coming up. Just bear with me while I get this out of my system.  I am pretty sure it is just a phase.

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5 May
2015

On some business travels last week, I took the path train into New York from New Jersey.  Every second after that 15 minute trip has been one of strangeness beneath my feet;  literally from the second I stepped off the platform until now- an entire week later – the ground still feels as if it is infinitesimally shifting and churning below me as I navigate through my day.

My equilibrium has obviously been thrown off, and truthfully I am not surprised.  If it’s not painfully clear by now – I am not a City Girl.  Looking up at the towering buildings with not so much as a hint of space between them, jostled to and fro in  crowds teeming with people more sure-footed than I, the babble of voices around me, so many of them that I cannot even distinguish my own language – it all feels completely alien to me.  When I think about people who actually enjoy that swarming cityscape I almost start to feel a little uncomfortable that there could be someone out there in the world so radically different than I am.

Isn’t that ridiculous?  Of course there’s someone out there who is absolutely nothing like me. There’s a lot of them, I should imagine!  And yet, with regard to some subjects -The Big City chiefly among them – I cannot fathom the personality that thrives on this. I honestly cannot even conceive of how these people function.

And on some level – on many levels – I find this really concerning about myself.  That I am so small minded when it comes to other people’s experiences and preferences and lifestyles. I mean it’s perfectly fine, isn’t it, if you like a thing that I don’t like? Or perhaps something I am fond of, isn’t quite to your taste? Of course it is, and most of the time, this doesn’t trip me up! But when it comes to big city living, I have to tell you, I just shut down completely.  I don’t even want to hear about it.  It reminds me of a line from the mob song in Disney’s version of Beauty and the Beast:

We don’t like
What we don’t understand
In fact it scares us!

Unfortunately, all so awfully true.  I don’t understand it, so I don’t like it, and it does scare me quite a bit.

This whole trip, by the way, was a lesson in overcoming fear. It will shock no one to know that despite my myriad, weird adventures, I’m a pretty sheltered individual.  This was the first time I’ve ever rented a car, it was the first time I’ve ever had a drink my myself in a bar, the first time I have ever spent a week in a hotel room alone, the first time I have ever met a client. And I am going to be 39 next week, for pete’s sake. How have I even gotten this far in life?

And to be honest, it wasn’t just the thought of being in the city, or meeting clients, or how to stick the metro card in the ticket thing correctly (that is seriously the type of thing I worry about), it was much more than that.  I haven’t been back to NJ for any lengthy period of time since I left, almost 5 years ago now.  I have so many unhappy memories and unresolved issues with regard to that place and I was not keen to be in that environment again.

I could probably go on, but there’s no point to it.  I did it, I went and I am back.  Did I overcome any fears? Not really. I think the people in my office who work closely with me know that I am a big baby with weird neuroses, and they deal with me accordingly. There’s a lot of hand-holding, basically. I hope that because I am kind and good natured and I get my work done – they just look at it all as lovable quirks, ha!

I was so happy to arrive back in my dumb, redneck swamptown that I nearly kissed the ground. But dang, I am going to miss those bagels. They are the best thing about NJ.

I am never going to be a City Girl, one of those poised, slender, on the go women I see rushing about on the streets of NY (or wherever). I run around barefoot all day, I never brush my hair, and it takes me 10 years to tell a story. I just don’t fit in with that impossibly chic, fast-paced, 24 hour everything city and its inhabitants.  But that doesn’t mean that I need to be afraid of them, I suppose.  That really is dumb.

Are you a city person? A country mouse? Are you even from this planet? What are your thoughts on other places and those who live there, as opposed to where you are from? Do you have the same troubles I do?  Or do you have other weird dislikes based on the things you don’t quite “get” or understand?

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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.

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