Band Camp

ikeaI’ve been caught up in life stuff. We all have it; I don’t have to explain, right? I’ve been figuring things out, getting things done, and Band Camp has been getting me through.

I actually have a friend who produces on Band Camp. She’s a great person, but her music is a bit bright and folksy for my taste. (Still, if bright and folksy is your thing, give it a listen!)

Me, I’ve always run towards metal and alternative, but lately I’m all about dark cabaret and dark ambient. If you’re not Evelyn Evelyn, Kim Boekbinder* Atrium Carceri, or Kammarheit, lately I’ve not much use for you.

I’m no expert in either genre, but dark cabaret cheers me up as much as anything can, and dark ambient is the bleak soundtrack to every soul-sucking thing I have to get done. Everything is more exciting with something like these in the background. And sometimes that’s what you get–a cool soundtrack to your boring, frustrating life.

Hope everyone’s life is going well. And if it’s not, I hope you at least have a good soundtrack to your troubles. Catch you soon.

*Kim Boekbinder came out of Vermillion Lies, which was more or less dark cabaret, but she’s more than that. As most of us are.

OOTD: the Evil Peasant Look

IMG_3727On rare occasions I splurge and order custom-tailored clothes from eShakti.* Custom tailoring from that distance is not the most precise thing ever, but over time I’ve gotten better and better fit. I don’t know if I’m measuring better or they’re becoming more precise in their tailoring or what (maybe both?) but this latest order came out pretty perfectly.

I’m not feeling up to a full Show and Tell post, and I feel awkwardly materialistic showing off a bunch of stuff at once anyway, so I’ll just slowly unveil my sweet new stuff as I get around to actually wearing it. Today is a bit chilly so I went with this witchy half-sleeved dress. The embroidery reminds me just a bit of Romanian peasant blouses, which reminds me of Dracula. This dress makes me want to put on some Dark Ambient music and mix magic potions. Or maybe dance in the woods in the pale moonlight. Or possibly grab a pitchfork and storm a castle. Whatever. I can do all those things now that I have the right outfit. evil peasant

The “tree of life” necklace is from Etsy, but it’s old so I can’t remember the exact shop. Sorry.

*Sadly, I’m not famous in the slightest, so eShakti doesn’t sponsor me in any way. I had to pay money like a chump. 

Bat and Butterfly: Keeping House with Non-Goths

I’ve been revamping our bathroom. It’s slow going because I’m fitting it around a bunch of other obligations, but it’s happening. Piece by piece, our bathroom plan is taking shape.

Mr. Robot is not goth. He loves and accepts me enough that if I really really needed to paint our walls black and perch gargoyles everywhere he would support me, but he wouldn’t really enjoy it. We compromise–some things are lighter than I’d like, some things are darker than he’d like, and on some things (taxidermy and fantasy/horror landscapes) we agree.

mysterious marshAs for the bathroom, we’ve agreed for ages that it looked boring and a bit shabby, and a few months ago I discovered that fantasy shower curtains exist and my plan began to take shape. I was tempted by the graveyard scenes and spooky woodland scenes, but that was too much for Robot and the kids, so we settled on a green “mysterious marsh.”

Putting that up inspired us to finally replace our faucet (very old and starting to fall apart) and finally buy a proper soap dispenser and a few other odds and ends. Mr. Robot and I usually agree when it comes to vintage looks, so I’m aiming for a cross between Plantation style (bright colors and dark accents) and “old farmhouse” style. Lucky for us, oiled bronze and antique touches seem popular right now so stuff we both liked was easy to find.

The next, and biggest, step was the painting. I finally found a Saturdafaucety to paint the walls “Simply Seafoam” green and one of these days I’ll get the doors painted “Churchill Hotel Vanilla.” We don’t have the time or money to replace the worn floor or ivory-and-blue countertop, so we picked the paint to work with those.

One of these days I’ll probably get a new light fixture and maybe some matching towel racks, and I already have a plan for decorating the walls. I want to put up some vintage black-and-white photos, with black frames and mattes to look like antique scrapbook pages. I was searching the internet for vintage photos to buy and then realized how silly it is to buy photos when I already have a bunch of antique photos of my actual ancestors I should use. I’m excited to get it done, but I won’t have time to start for at least a week. I’ll be sure to update with the final results.

The paint color changes with the light and my camera had a hard time deciding how to capture that shade. The bat was my touch–vynil sticker on the mirror–and the butterfly was Mr. Robot’s choice. I’m actually the one who bought it, years ago on a whim, and I didn’t know he even cared about it. As soon as the walls were dry, though, he was eager to get it back up where it’s always been. Now the butterfly and the bat are friends.

Darklings with Little Darklings

glamazon2My parents had strict standards for schoolwork, for church attendance, for what they considered good character, but they didn’t much care what their kids looked like. Their attitude was more or less “if you can get a good job looking like that, go ahead and look like that.” It’s worked pretty well for me and my siblings so far.

I raise my kids with much the same philosophy. I don’t care much for church attendance, but I expect a certain amount of responsibility and what I consider good character. As long as they meet those, I’m not too worried about what they look like or listen to or watch on TV.* My goal is to let my kids be themselves, but with enough drive and discipline to be the best versions of themselves.

halloween2016So far, my kids aren’t particularly goth. Sure, they’d look cute in all black, with stripy tights or little Wednesday Addams dresses, but they’re not into it. I guess as a parent I have every right to dress my kids in what I think is adorable–they have several friends whose mothers pick their outfits every day–but it goes against my principles. I impose a lot of things on my kids, but I draw the line at imposing a style on them. They know who I am and what I’m into, and once in a while our tastes agree, but they know they’re free to like what they like without judgment. Even if what they like is pastels and Taylor Swift.

That said, they do indulge mommy’s obsession with halloween fun. halloween2015

*They’re still pre-teens, so I do put some limits on this stuff, but I try to be as flexible as I reasonably can. 

Day 30: What’s a High Street?

JCPenney

I’ve been looking at pictures of High Streets for half an hour, trying to figure out the U.S. equivalent. It looks like we sort of do–a lot of towns have cute semi-walkable “historic districts” and even more towns have long streets with lots of useful stores, though we often have huge parking lots between the stores and the actual street. But fashion-wise, it seems like shopping malls are the closest thing. That’s where H&M and Forever 21 and Hot Topic would be, as well as smaller niche chains, and in really nice malls you’d have designer labels as well.

I get most of my fashion either online or at craft fairs, but when I need basics I tend to use Target or J.C. Penney or, every once in a while, Dress Barn. So the top is J.C. Penney and the bottom is Target basics. I’m trying not to bitch about how little quality goth clothing there is, and how little of it is truly plus sized, but that’s a thing. And someday I will rant about it. The storm is coming . . .

Target

Day 29: My Favorite Brands

There’s what I love to look at and what actually works with my life and budget. My favorite realistic brand these days is City Chic. Their stuff is decently made, fits me well and is basic without being totally boring.

City Chic

My favorite brand/designer to look at is Alexander McQueen, may his soul rest in peace. I love his dark, fantastical style. I don’t usually go in for haute couture but McQueen proves for me that fashion really can be art.

Alexander McQueen

Day 28: An Outfit I’m Ashamed Of?

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high school

I can’t think of one outfit I’m ashamed of or embarrassed by. I guess some people look back at old photos with a “what was I thinking?!!?!” attitude and some goth and alternative types are a bit embarrassed by their more “normal” pictures, but I don’t feel that way at all.

I, like most people, was really insecure about my looks when I was younger. I worried a lot that I wasn’t thin enough, not cool enough, didn’t fit in, didn’t stand out, whatever. I grew up before digital cameras so I don’t have a ton of pictures of those days, but when I look back now I wonder what I was so insecure about. I would still wear some of those outfits.

Since I don’t have any shame shots to post, I thought I’d show you

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college–I’m in the middle

what I looked like before I got so old and fat. Again, I came up before digital cameras, so these are pictures of actual photos I keep in a box in my basement. Apologies for the quality; these were the best I could do.

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I look like a hippie in this one. See my gothy looking friend? She’s all conservative and boring now. So sad.
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I kind of miss that jacket. And the hat. And my old Docs.

Day 27: a Hat

hatforwardsMy head must be larger than standard. I love a good hat and would love to rock a fancy Victorian number or a Roaring Twenties cloche, but most hats don’t fit properly on my head. They either squeeze my head or sit too high and try to fall off. And then there’s the hair issue–my hair is naturally curly and must not be touched once it’s finally dried into a nice shape. Pulling hats on and off makes for an unpleasant amount of frizz. (Sure, goths are known for big, messy backcombed styles, but a halo of frizz is just not the same thing.) So much as I love hats, I rarely wear them, relying on hooded jackets and shirts instead.

But enough of the whining. I do have a proper  sun hat, and here it is. I took both bow-front and bow-back pictures, but it normally goes in the back. hatbackwards

Day 26: Mismatched Outfit

Mismatch Madness

This one was hard because, in a way, I don’t believe in mismatched outfits. At least not in the way I think the challenge suggests. To me, a mismatched outfit is one that is just not working in some way–the colors are close but not perfect, or the shoes or jewelry just aren’t popping right. Mismatching is a subtle, personal thing that doesn’t translate well in pictures.

What we usually call mismatches are really off, with patterns or colors that really clash or with radically different styles smashed together into one outfit. But I like that stuff a lot. In my opinion, really big mismatches have left the land of traditional fashion, blown right through the “slightly off suburbs” and settled right into Awesome Town. Stripes and polkadots? Totally. Leather bra with khaki slacks? Ooh, daring. Baseball cap and ball gown? Go for it. Not everything is for me, but everything works for somebody.

So I turned to Polyvore and put together some things that look crazy together, but part of me thinks they just might be crazy enough to work. I’d love to hear (or see) the “mismatch” you have a passion for.

Plan Your Epitaph Day

headstone
publicdomainpictures.net

There are actually two international Plan Your Epitaph days, so if this one has caught you unprepared you’ll have another chance on November 2. It’s never too early to plan for your inevitable demise.

Goths have a reputation for being “obsessed with death” but in my experience we’re really not. It’s more that non-goths are so obsessed with avoiding death that they get weird the moment you bring it up. Even goths can be more interested in abstract death and dying than our own plans for the future, but it pays to be prepared.

If I didn’t believe that before, it became all too clear a few Aprils ago when a good friend died in surgery. She, like so many people, didn’t have much of a plan and would not have approved of all the decisions made in her name. Since then, every April my thoughts turn both to her and to my own future affairs.

To that end, Mr. Robot and I have bought life insurance and written wills. We’ve discussed organ donation (hell yes) and what point we want each other to stop live-saving measures. And we’ve made basic plans for our funerals and remains. I plan to be cremated and, if I die too long before Mr. Robot, to have my ashes put in a tasteful urn (red and black preferred) and prominently placed in the living room. Mr. Robot is hoping for a green burial–one where they plant a tree over your grave–and I’d like my ashes spread and buried with him. Our kids like the idea that we’d be “in the tree,” continuing the cycling and recycling of life.

This plan doesn’t really need an epitaph, but I wouldn’t mind a tasteful plaque near our tree. I’d quite like this quote from the Mahabharata:

What is the greatest wonder? Death strikes every day, yet we live as if we were immortal.

May you live long, die well, and leave timeless last words. In the meantime, perhaps these epitaphs will entertain and inspire you.