Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Halloween is Here! (At Michaels)

If you're located in the United States you're probably aware of Michaels, the craft store chain. I've blogged about it before as a fantastic place to pick up Halloween craft supplies and decor items for year round Goth home design and a great way to decorate Goth school supplies for those of us still at school. Today I went into my local Michaels and found, to my delight, that the Halloween supplies have started to be introduced already! My store doesn't have everything that they usually carry yet but I'm sure they will soon.

There seemed to be the usual offerings from past years. Signs, garlands, decorative bottles, etc. from the decor sections and ribbons, stickers, and the like in the craft aisles. There are always lots of candles and some of them are nice black ones so this might be a good time to stock up.

I didn't pick up anything this trip because I was staying focused on supplies for one project that will feature on this blog soon (yay responsibility!) but I think I will be back for these Mason Jar to-go cups. They have Halloween stickers that say things like 'vampire blood' or 'zombie virus' and there's one with a skull an crossbones decal (they also came in black, orange, and purple if you want something Halloween like without the sticker.)

This year I think I'll be sticking to crafting supplies mostly because I have a few projects coming up and I don't want to buy a lot of decor when I anticipate that I'll be moving a fair bit in the coming year (spoiler alert.)

I also recommend checking the Michaels website to see if they have any coupons before you go, there are usually ones for up to 50% off one item you buy in stores.

What are you planning to pick up this Halloween season?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Review: Evil Supply Co. Mister Ghost Parcel - June

Today's review comes courtesy of those delightful villains over at Evil Supply Co. I've blogged about this particular company before back in 2012 but I have to say that in the years since then they've grown past my wildest expectations. For those of you not in the know, Evil Supply Co. is primarily a stationary, paperworks, and art company dedicated to making products with a spookier bent. When Atticus, the delightfully dark mind behind ESC offered to send me their June Mister Ghost parcel for a review, I was happy for the opportunity.

The Mister Ghost parcel is a monthly subscription of paper goods from ESC in their characteristically dark style centered around a monthly theme. In it you can find notebooks, art prints, note cards, stickers, and other treats all packaged in a reusable screen-printed folder.The June parcel's theme centered around mad science and witchcraft and, as you can see below, produced some really delightful pieces.

The entire thing came in a brown shipping package which arrived quickly and then inside of it is this black screen-printed folder in the months theme. I love these folders for spooky school supplies and they're sturdy enough to last a pretty long while if you're not over stuffing them.

Next up is this small blank notebook . I have a few of these from Evil Supply Co. and they're the perfect size to tuck into your purse or pocket to jot down thoughts on the go, or to journal smaller poems, tarot readings, shopping lists, to-do lists, etc. This one has a lovely design and the interior pages are blank, which is great for anyone who would like to use it as a miniature sketchbook.

The next two items are art prints that are covers for imaginary magazines. This first one is TELEPORT - Trends in Space and Time Travel and is a really delightfully almost-kitsch retro science fiction design, which I absolutely adore and which has earned its place on my inspiration board for sure.

The other magazine art print is for The Samhain Evening Post which is a darker, more witchy design while still being completely adorable. Both of the prints are really delightful and pretty representative of Evil Supply Co's aesthetics, I think.

Next up is a collection of these pieces of red paper that read "Embrace New Paths - We are All Stardust Studying Stardust - Study the Unknown." One side is lined and the other is blank. I'm very charmed by the design but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these just yet, I'll have to sit on it a bit more.

The next item is a greeting card which really embraces the theme of science-meets-witchcraf. The text reads 'though our tools may differ our goal, to know, is the same - You will find you way, I believe in you.' which I absolutely adore. I actually already have in mind who I'm going to mail this to, since I know she'll get a kick out of it.

Lastly is this wonderful 9" by 12" art print of Doctor Tonks Ultima, a cute retro scientist floating on a gorgeous starry space scene. This is the perfect size to frame if you happen to have a retro looking design sense for your home, or as a gift for the lovely lady scientist in your life.

I really enjoyed opening my Mister Ghost Parcel and I hope you've also enjoyed taking a peek inside. I think my favorite item was the notebook, closely followed by the Teleport art print. This monthly theme is really cute and I think Evil Supply Co. executed it perfectly.

If you want to get either a one-time Mister Ghost parcel or take out a subscription for monthly stationary goodies in this delightfully campy, villainous aesthetic, you can do so on Evil Supply Co's website here. July's theme is Netherworld Post Office.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How to Avoid In-Scene Drama

Goths are a bit of a dramatic lot, you have to admit. It's inevitable for any kind of small community to attract dramallamas but especially so for a subculture who mainly meet on the internet, in school, or in clubs. Add to that our propensity for snark and sarcasm and for being slightly, well, melodramatic, and you have a recipe for in-scene fighting. But what to do if you're a darkling who just doesn't want to be involved in any kind of scene drama? Here's a handy guide.

Don't Start Drama

You would think this would be quite obvious but evidently not. Not all drama starts with a big fight, most of it starts with much smaller incidents. Gossiping and snide comments, if heard by the wrong person, can blow up more than you would expect. Generally speaking, be kind to others, don't judge without understanding, and treat others how you want to be treated.

Don't Pick Sides

If two people you know have gotten into a fight, try not to pick sides. Most of the time this drags you into a disagreement you have nothing to do with and just reflects poorly on you. If the argument is as childish as most of them are, it really isn't worth it. Yes, this might lead to tension if both of them are your friends, but it's better than possibly losing a friendship because of it. 

Don't Try to Negotiate

If the two people who are bickering can't seem to come to a conclusion, don't try to broker it for them. This gets you involved in drama that has very little to do with you unnecessarily and, if the situation continues to worsen, you'll just get dragged down with it. 

Avoid Known Dramallamas

Most of the time you'll be able to spot people who are prone to drama from a mile away. Common symptoms include going through friends or relationships quickly, prolonged breaks from the community, loud gossiping or rumor spreading, being banned from local clubs, etc. Avoid these people when possible and stay out of their muck. 
Pro-tip: Pay close attention to the people that loudly complain about drama in the scene. They tend to be the ones that start drama (or at least escalate it.)

Pick your battles

There are going to be times when you really do need to intervene in a bit of drama, to defend someone or to stand up to someone else who is being toxic. Most of the time, however, it won't be worth the additional stress that in-scene fighting will bring, or the hit to your reputation. Know the difference between a situation that requires you to get involved and one that you can watch from the sidelines. 

Stay on Track

If you decide you need to get engaged in a situation, be careful. Make sure you fully understand the situation at hand and, when dealing with the other parties, stay on track. Insulting people on a personal level or resorting to petty insults to try to save face isn't productive.

Exit with Grace

After the situation has been dealt with, try to exit with grace. Either extend the hand of friendship and try to patch things over or keep your head high and don't re-engage. Once the fight is over, don't hold grudges over it. If you were wrong, apologize with sincerity. Give the people who were involved in the fight some space. Move on. 

That being said, when you know this isn't a battle you need to get involved in...

Ignore and Disengage

The best thing to do to avoid scene drama after you've decided not to engage in it is to completely ignore it. Not just directly, either. Avoid gossiping about it (even online), don't act passive-aggressively to the people who were involved, and try to pretend it's not happening.

In scene drama can seem like a very big deal at the time

How do you avoid drama in your local scene? 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Review: Karma Se7en Jewelry

When Karma Se7en reached out to me to review some of their wonderful jewelry I was really thrilled. Their website seemed really well put together and they have fantastic deals, including a Buy One, Get One Free deal for everything in their store. On top of that, their prices are fantastic and they offer same day dispatch. Sold. I put in my request for the pieces I would review and my package arrived after a couple of days. 

First, I have to mention the packaging. I usually don't give packaging much time in my reviews because I'm usually more excited about what's in the box, so understand how good this packaging has to be to warrant a mention. These little jewelry boxes are cute but the genius is that the earrings and other pieces are stored in these little plastic boxes inside, almost like individual eyeshadows or contact-lens cases. Brilliant! Now no worry that you're going to lose one of your earrings if you decide that the outer box is a little bulky for your storage solution. I love love love this design and will be stealing this idea when I reorganize my jewelry storage.

First up are these absolutely adorable Halloween bat enamel stud earrings. These have such a cute, happy, spooky design and they've become one of my go-to earrings. The website picture makes the enamel look slightly blue but my pictures are much more color accurate, they're plain black and white. Of course, they'd be great for themed occasions like Halloween parties too, but they're perfect for daily wear because they match so many different outfits and the Stirling silver is perfect to make sure you don't have a reaction to your jewelry.

Next up are these absolutely itty bitty black and orange bat earrings placed next to an American Dime (about the same size as a british 5 pence piece) for size comparison. These have the same great bat design in balck and orange but are placed on a hoop so they dangle slightly and I loved them. I will mention, however, that the loop is a bit of a tight fit on my earlobe so if your lobe piercings are placed high up on your lobe these might not fit perfectly.

Next up are these faux septum clickers which are really cool because you can get an idea of what a septum piercing would look like on you. Septum piercings are a piercing I've liked for a while so I was eager to try them out. The jury is still out on whether or not I like how they look on me personally. What do you think?

I got the Goddess Filigree model here and the Black Bliss model above, which are both also very well made and don't seem like they'd be easily broken at all (they certainly didn't break when I stretched them a little bit to fit my septum). 

If these models are a bit dramatic for your interest, the faux septum piercing section has a wide variety of designs, some of which are certainly more subtle. I really like the roses design, too. 

Lastly there's a piece of jewelry I can't vouch for just yet. This Gothic Bat Belly Button Bar is divine and I had to snap it up even though I won't be getting my belly button pierced until my birthday next month. When I do (and after the healing process), expect photographs of it being worn. For now I put it through its paces by tugging on the connecting pieces and holding it in my hands for extended periods to check for tarnish but it appears very sturdy and well made, so I'm thrilled to wear it myself.

If any of these pieces have caught your eye, you can buy them and more on Karma Se7en here. Even better, every single piece on their website is Buy One, Get One Free which is a fantastic deal for really nice jewelry. I'm quite happy to recommend them. Thanks, Karma Se7en!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Reader Mail: What is the Goth 'Lifestyle'?

Hello, I'm a sixteen year old girl living in Luxembourg. I "discovered" the Goth subculture some time ago, I already know some stuff about the subculture but I can't find enough information about the lifestyle. Knowing more about it would help me to decide if I really want to be part of the subculture. I would love to have an answer, I'll be waiting.
P.S.: I really appreciate your blog :)

Hi Daniela and thank you for writing in.

Unfortunately there is no consensus on what the 'Goth lifestyle' is or if we even have one. Goths respond to "What is Goth?" by referencing the music genre, fashion sense, club scene,aesthetic, subculture, and, yes, occasionally the word "lifestyle" but there is a lot of dissent as to what this means or if we can even pin down Goth in these terms.

The Wikipedia definition for lifestyle accounts for "interests, opinions, behaviors, and behavioral orientations of an individual, group, or culture." We'll roll with this definition for now.

We hit a hurdle right out of the gate with the idea that Goths have all the same interests. The Goth subculture as it exists now encompasses tons of interests and hobbies, some include:

  • 1980's postpunk music
  • Classic Horror Films
  • 'Goth' Fashion
  • Visiting Cemeteries
  • Celebrating Halloween
  • Dark folklore
  • Gothic Literature
  • Etc.

Everyone in the subculture has some aspects of Goth-related interests that they like and others that they don't. And, of course, there are people outwith the Goth subculture who are interested in the things that are under the Goth umbrella.

The next aspect of the definition, however, is where things really start to slide down. As I've made the point before, Goths don't have unified opinions. We can't even decide on a definition for our subculture, much less unified opinions about politics, religion, philosophy, or other important human queries. That's fine, of course, but how would we lead a lifestyle if we can't agree on important points?

Lastly, behaviors and behavioral orientations (or patterns.) I can say with fair certainty that Goths do not all act the same way. We might have similar hobbies, but as for how we act on a day to day basis, I'm sure I have more in common with some non-Goths than I do some other Goths. We don't have unified "Goth" behaviors however much our silly stereotypes of elitist mope-y Goths like to say we do.

Of all the Goths I've had the pleasure of meeting there is no unifying way of living that unites us all besides a mutual interest in Goth, which is why I feel more comfortable calling it a subculture-- "a group of people within a culture that differentiates itself from the parent culture to which it belongs, often maintaining some of its founding principles," according to Wikipedia. We still maintain many aspects the cultures in which we grow up (except when we deliberately strike out against them) and yet have a some of a subset of 'Goth' interests that unite us as a subculture while enjoying interests that are more mainstream.

So, should you join the Goth subculture? Well, that's entirely up to you. Do you want to be a part of the subculture? There's no membership card, so it's largely just interacting with other people who have some of your same interests, and you can decide your level of involvement. There aren't certain lifestyle activities you have to participate in to be in the subculture, so I'd say you have nothing to lose.

Readers, what would you have to say is the Goth 'lifestyle,' if there is one?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

OOTD: Making 2007-Me Proud

Followers of my Tumblr will have already seen this outfit but I couldn't resist sharing it here. Spurned on by the middle-school alternative Spotify playlist I mentioned last week, I've been enjoying a bit of a nostalgia trip. This outfit was inspired by something I would have absolutely loved around 2007 when I was around twelve years old.

I think it still holds up.

I feel like the type of girl who'd appear in a pop punk music video.  It's not a bad look, certainly a nice change of pace from the corp-goth inspired looks I've been favoring recently. 


Corset: Amazon; Skirt; Fanplusfriend, T-shirt: Target; Shawl: Vintage; Shoes: Payless, Fishnets, Jewelry: Various.

How are you all doing this week?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Five Spotify Playlists I've Been Loving

As usual, I'm about six-thousand years behind everyone else when it comes to new sites to use. For those of you like me who live under a rock, Spotify is a platform for legally streaming music on your PC, phone, or tablet. You can use Spotify for free with some limitations and ads or you can pay a monthly subscription fee and get it ads-free. I was able to get three months of premium which is ads-free for under a dollar so I figured I'd make the most of it and I've been discovering a lot of new music lately.

Gothic Splendor by Record Club - 52 songs, 4 hrs 17 min

"Take a walk on the dark side of new wave, synth pop, post punk and dark wave. Classics from Siouxsie, Joy Division and The Cure alongside more recent gems from The Horrors, White Lies and more." This could also be called quintessential Goth tracks. Not sure where to start with Goth music? This is a good first bet.

Southern Gothic by Spotify - 98 songs, 5 hr 54 min

"Deep, dark, dramatic. Roots rock, folk, and americana -- with a gothic soul." This playlist combines my love of folky music with my love of darker sounds and themes and introduced me to a bunch of new artists, it's what I turn on when I'm lounging and don't want anything too up-beat.

OccultRock.Com by Richie Katz - 274 songs, 23 hr 30 min

It's hard to describe this playlist and there isn't a description on it besides mentioning that it's the playlist for OccultRock.Com, but the music is a mix of every kind of metal with a darker, mystical bent and there's a fair number of bands I've never heard of with more added regularly.

Middle School Alternative by Bronson Kimball - 157 songs, 9 hr 20 min

Ready to take a walk down memory lane? Like many now-Goths I had a phase of listening to a lot of... angsty alternative rock during my early teen years and this playlist has it all with a variety of bands you might recall (or still be fond of, no judgement.

Dark Cabaret by Dondunken - 175 songs, 9 hr 28 min

This playlist has been a lot of fun. Cabaret music in general is playful, a little sexy, and a bit silly, and this dark twist on it makes for a very light-hearted station that appeals to the dark at heart. There are a few old favorites on there, like Voltaire, Rasputina, and Tom Waits, but it's mostly all new to me.

What music have you all been loving lately?