Back in 2012, my fella and I visited Portland, OR and had a lovely time -delicious foods were devoured, delightful cocktails were quaffed, old friends met for the first time. It was a marvelous trip and we have been talking about it ever since.
It only made sense then, to make a return visit -this time with several friends in tow! And since I have a dreadful habit of glossing over the human aspects of my adventures, let me say that I could not hope for finer traveling companions. Everyone’s personality is so different in our group – boisterous and exuberant; clever and droll; taciturn and brilliantly observant -but they all add up to the most wonderful circle of friends! And it feels strange to say that, “friends”. These gentlemen were originally comrades of my beau* but over time, as I’ve gotten to know them, I feel like they might actually be friends of mine, as well.
*(I don’t mean to sound pretentious, but I hate the term “boyfriend”, so I’ll use just about every other descriptor I can wrangle.)
We found a fantastic place to stay via Air BnB, a spacious and welcoming spot to call home base whilst exploring the city. A renovated 1920’s bungalow, it offered four bedrooms and two bathrooms, a large kitchen, and plenty of community space for boardgames and D&D and Dark Adventure Radio Theatre (we’re a nerdy group, you know). Again, we stayed in the Mississippi neighborhood and reveled in the chance to revisit some previous loves while staking out some new favorites with my fellow travelers.
If you’ve a hankering to visit the City of Roses, perhaps you will consider the following suggestions? Portland friends, commence the eye-rolling now.
At Mac! you’ll find all sorts of macaroni and cheese related shenanigans. We shared enormous plates of their Truffle Mac, Cheeseburger Mac, Artichoke & Spinach Mac, and Cordon Bleu Mac. Somehow we lived through it.
We had a few breakfasts at Sweedeedee, a small corner cafe which is an excellent place for people watching and listening to records and eating pie – if you get there early enough, before the place starts to fill up. Recommended: the egg sandwich with shredded lettuce and avocado on the most delicious thick-cut, molasses bread. Also, salted honey pie. Skip: the breakfast burrito (too much mealy, undercooked potato).
At Hale Pele, in the lurid glow of torchlight and under the baleful glare of the gods, we sacrificed our dignity with friends and fellow fire drinkers. I am fairly certain I had just about one of everything on the menu, and I will admit, near the end I am not even sure what I ordered. I have to recommend, however, the Corn ‘n’ Oil, which as the menu would suggest, is indeed a strange name for an amazing drink. If you are looking for a nosh, they have several things to munch on; my favorites were the fried taro chips and the tuna poke. I love tiki bars for their kitschy escapism and potent cocktails, and Hale Pele now sits at the top of my list.
Elsewhere in the city, I met thesetwo magical humans for art and cocktails; at Antler Gallery for the Unnatural Histories show – where I finally got to see one of Jessica Joslin’s exquisitely crafted bone and brass menagerie in person – and at Victoria Bar, where the drinks were Princess Bride inspired!
Normally I am not keen on photos that other people take of me, because I have only like, 1/8 of a good side and no one knows how to capture it properly. That’s not their fault, of course. I just don’t photograph well. I shudder to think that I might actually look like a poor photo all of the time… but I suppose that’s a possibility that I can’t rule out, no matter how much it bruises the ego. I do love this picture, however, taken at Tidbit Food and Farm food truck pod thingy whatever you call it. I don’t recall what we were discussing, but the look on my face is ridiculous and I love Minna for meeting up with us to visit, and for making me make that face. I also do not recall what was eaten, but there was rice and noodles and karaage and takoyaki and I felt like the heroine of an action packed food anime trying to stuff it all in. Afterward, Minna marched us over to Fifty Licks for boozy adult ice cream super fun times. Pictured above is the Velvet Shiso made with plum wine, Riesling, and their Coconut Lemon Saffron sorbet with is spiced with saffron, star anise, and cardamom. It was amazing as it sounds. The only thing missing from this wonderful evening was our good friend Robyne, who was nursing a cold. Hopefully we will see you in January, Robyne!
The Lan Su Chinese Garden is a beautiful spot to gaze quietly upon art, architecture, design and nature, and I was just enamored this time around by the mosaic courtyards with their poetic names – “Plum Blossom On Cracked Ice” being the best-loved by my ear and my favorite to speak aloud. I have heard that the guides sometimes suggest walking barefoot on the stones to feel the different patterns and such, and I think that sounds like a lovely idea and a pleasant exercise in mindfulness (…or something? At least it sounds like a nice massage for the feet!)
Also, if you ever wonder if I actually wear the things that I have purchased from Stitch Fix, I present to you Exhibit A: the Everly Peter dress from Fix #10. I wore it with leggings and an asymmetric black Helmut Lang jacket and it was super cute. This photo, by the way, was taken in a startlingly clean nerdy game shop bathroom.
Next up: roses! more cocktails! doughnuts All of the shopping!
Are you reading Tenebrous Kate’s Great Moments in Historical Sluttery over at Slutist? Well, you should be. In this column, Kate gives us a fascinating glimpse into the lives of brilliant, shameless feminist icons and visionaries; the last installment, Rose Kelly, Scarlet Woman, Wife of the Beast, and Oracle of Thelema, is too good to miss!
I love this review for Windhand’s new album at tinymixtapes. It’s kind of dopey and weird but I love it. These are the kind of reviews I like to read. I don’t want to hear about how technically great something sounds, I want to hear how about whatever it conjures up in your mind -whether it’s a memory or a dream or an experience or a sensation, maybe about that time you got beat up at someone’s funeral or your aunt’s pierogi recipe or your mother’s dying words. At the end of the review I actually don’t care if you’ve told me a single thing about the thing you’re reviewing if you told me a good story.
I missed it earlier in the year, but Bibian Blue’s Spring/Summer 2015 SKIN collection is fantastic! Perfect to wear for the opening night of Attack on Titan, heh! (ok, I stole that from Becky.)
Every time I look at this image of three startled kittens riding a catfish, I can’t help but to smile. (Artist: Ayako Ishiguro)
And because I am nutty and can’t write about someone without wanting to dress them up myself (or even play dress up AS them) here are two interpretations of some modern day Countess of Castiglione ensembles!
A new mix for the autumn equinox, inspired by the bitter business that follows shortly thereafter.
Näkin Laulu, Tenhi | serpents in the dawn, Neutral | Black moth, Of The Wand And The Moon | Sweet Olga,Moon Far Away | A Ballad, Eltan Renaxy | Tunguska, Golgatha | Paralysie Générale, Sub Luna | Lacrimosa, Spiritual Front | Hewers of wood and drawers of water, Kiss the anus of a black cat Where At Night The Wood Grouse Plays, Empyrium | A Sadness Song, Current 93 | Bunter Staub, Darkwood | Leaves Of Autumn, Backworld | Urla (Frammenti DInfinito), ARGINE | Hollows of Devotion by Death in June | Under The Yew Possessed, Sorrow | Over the Stone by Sonne Hagal
I remember you as you were in the last autumn. You were the grey beret and the still heart. In your eyes the flames of the twilight fought on. And the leaves fell in the water of your soul. -Pablo Neruda
Ah, autumn! You of the grey beret and still heart. The low, whistling winds through the branches, the blazing cascades of gold and russet leaves, the nights creeping longer and colder…
Every year, around the beginning of September, my heart skips a beat – just one small, lone beat – when I think of autumn. For a brief, flickering moment, I somehow manage to forget that I no longer live in New Jersey and I begin to look forward to the cool shift in the weather, the subtle changes in the afternoon sunlight, and the scent of embers on the breeze from chimneys or piles of burning leaves. And then, suddenly, I remember I am back in Florida with sticky sweat pooling in my cleavage on a 92-degree mid-September afternoon.
This is the only time of year that anyone will ever hear me talk about missing New Jersey.
So as you can imagine, it is business as usual down here in the swamps. Further north, when folks are pulling down their wool peacoats from storage and unpacking cabled sweaters and knee-high leather boots, I am still bumming around in my flip-flops and tee shirts (but let’s be real, I love my flip-flops). I don’t love, however, missing out on those beautiful cardigans and ribbed tights and fair isle scarves and all sorts of wonderful autumnal pieces that make up my very favorite sort of dying-year ensembles.
For now, I’m afraid, all I can do is daydream. And so, for the Autumn Equinox, see below for several – and there are quite a few – autumn wardrobe inspirations and flights of fancy. I can’t say that any of this is particularly “stylish” (ugh, I hate that word) or on trend, but who cares about that dumb crap, anyway? If you like it, wear it! Anyhow, these are all pieces that I find quite beautiful, with rich harvest colors and luxe textures, and deep, lush prints.
****Please note, most of these ensembles were created on a platform that no longer exists, so unfortunately I don’t have the details on the included items anymore. However the first two are more recent and if you click on the image, you should be taken to a URSTYLE page with a breakdown of all the things I used. ****
Sense8; actually this is just about the only thing I am watching right now. A slow surreal sci-fi dip into “dreamy conspiracies and chimerical fellowship”, and is apparently lauded by critics as both a masterpiece and a disaster. All I can tell you is that this show makes me feel all of the feels. Which is pretty uncomfortable for me, I don’t mind telling you. And I love it.
Ghost, Meliora. I have been listening to this non-stop for the past month. And I will be seeing them again live next month! I didn’t know if I was on board with this new album, but it’s pretty amazing…super catchy in a kind of syrupy, tricksy way, and this Dirge review really sums up my thoughts quite well.
Lana Del Rey, Honeymoon. Shut up. Whatever you are going to say, I don’t want to hear it. This album is sad and fucked up in an epic way. It is Lana gone full-Lana.
Some Aftelier samples; Bergamoss is a heartbreaking gorgeous oakmoss, and I am afraid to even look at what the full-size costs. (OMG I just did. It’s $240.)
The Bitterroot Shawl, from knitty 2007 or something like that. This is the third time I have knit this pattern, and I still love it. I actually even added the beads on it this time, and despite that, and the fiddliness of the stupid yarn (warning: do not use knitpick’s Diadem for lace projects), I started and finished this in nine days. It will soon be off to its new home!
Next up: hats and scarves and wristwarmers – I’m actually getting started early on the holiday gifts this year!
Other than the above, (and the full time job which I never talk about because who wants to hear about that? Ugh) I have been busy with grandmother duty, a bit of writing and the odd guest blog here and there, the struggle with wellness and mental health, and getting ready for our trip to Portland next week. After that, there are lots of exciting things coming up in the next few months- the Ghost show, the Necromancy Art show at Gods & Monsters, Bat Boy the Musical, and Death Cafe Orlando! Though now that I see it typed out like that…it all looks rather exhausting. And stressful. Hm.
How is your fall shaping up? What have you been into lately and what looms on the horizon for you? I want to hear all about it!
The scent of horror, of fear, is no doubt a caustic combination of pungent fright-sweats, highlighted by the metallic tang of boiling blood and bitter adrenaline, underscored by a host of sharp, burning pheromones. An aggressively unpleasant, acrid bit of olfactory melodrama, to be sure.
Thankfully, the following fragrances inspired by myriad facets of the horror genre smell nothing like the noxious miasma described above. These unsettling scents range from mildly pleasing to devastatingly gorgeous, yet evoke a a vague stirring of horror, a delicious frisson of fear and a sickening plucking at the nerves.
Spanning film classics to cult favorites, bodacious late night tv hostesses to obscure texts regarding olde-timey vampyre ladies, these five horror-influenced scents are certain to thrill lovers of ghoulish delights and nightmarish phantasmagoria.
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, is the inspiration forDemeter’s Elvira collection of supernatural scents showcasing dangerous flowers and plants such as red poppies, Belladonna, Nicotiana, and Davana. Demeter perfumes are not necessarily known for their complexity or their longevity – and yes, the packaging calls to mind the quote, “it takes a lot of money to look this cheap!” Or, in this case: “smell this cheap” – however, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that Vamp, Zombie, and Black Roses are every bit as sultry and sexy as the straining bosoms on the bottle would have us believe.
Room 237 by Bruno Mazzolari is a perfume inspired by the color and atmosphere in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Boasting, “supernatural green notes of flea bane and angelica haunt a base of oppoponax and costus root… Peculiar florals whisper together with soap and the scent of a vinyl shower curtain, laying a cold finger at the base of the spine,” this is a soft, reserved scent that is both highly wearable and slightly unnerving, and conjures a weird tension between the seemingly mundane and something monstrous lurking just beneath the surface.
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s olfactory tribute to Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch’s tale of two fragile and sensitive vampires, who have been lovers for centuries, is a collection of sophisticated, sensual blends ranging from somber and savage, to voluptuous and brittle. Inspired by the film’s sensual photography, trance-like music, and droll humor, these perfume oils are a must-have for aficionados of fragrance, creatures of the night, and the mysteries of everlasting love. On a related note: genre fans will be thrilled to know that BPAL is releasing a line based on Guillermo del Toro’s highly anticipated ghost story and gothic romance, Crimson Peak, next month!
Paradise Lost by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, an otherworldly perfume – redolent of smoldering spice, candlewax, and faded flowers – was inspired by Clarimonde, a vampire courtesan in Theophile Gautier’s 1836 short story, La Morte Amoureuse. Classically structured, yet full of contradictions: warm amber/cold orris, buttery myrrh/astringent herbal florals, Paradise Lost is a stunning fragrance to bewitch your beloved and convince them that you are not, in fact, a blood-sucking fiend… even when the rotting stench of the tomb might tell another tale entirely.
The DevilScent Project, a blogging event launched by Olympic Orchids involving seven perfumers and eleven perfume bloggers, was inspired by Sheila Eggenberger’s Quantum Demonology. These perfumes represent the, “unique scent of the Devil and his ex-wife Lilith.” And why wouldn’t you want to sniff ol’ Beelz? Though I personally always thought the cumin note often used in perfumes is what the devil’s taint smells like so that might be a good reason not to smell him – but that’s another story for a different time. The five scents, ranging from cool and sharp to dense and murky, comprise a collection fraught with aromatic, diabolical passions. And thankfully, no cumin to be found.
Image: Cover art for Caroline Cooney’s The Perfume.
This article was originally posted in 2015 at Dirge. The site no longer exists.
A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about in the Death Industry recently.
I can’t deal with a great deal of noise early in the morning. No talk radio, no teevee, nothing discordant or jarring as I ease my way quietly into the day. Here is a hushed, gentle playlist for earliest morning shadows.
Track list: The Words Under The Wood, Orla Wren | Tears of Unicorn, Masayoshi Fujita | Du er mit lys, Autumna | Nest Of Autumn (Featuring Sophie Hutchings), Hior Chronik | Only In The Dark, Ben Lukas Boysen | Hvönn, Veroníque Vaka | Tell Me Your Secret, Fellirium | harbor:hums, Twincities | our bodies draped in moss and cloud, Sublamp | Kompleta, Stefan Wesołowski | Matilda (album version), Oskar Schuster | Bring the Light, Abby Gundersen