Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Alternative Decorative Planners (and my September spreads)

Followers of my Instagram know about my Thing about planners. Yes, I'm a planner nerd. I've written about planners on this blog before in a more practical capacity but my recent love has been decorative planning. Now, there are lots of ways you can decorate a planner. You can use colored pens to color-code or doodle, you can use stamps, you can use washi tape, you can use stickers, you can use craft paper, you can use paint. There are tons and tons of variations on styles. If you're me, that means Goth.

First, though, the basics: why would you use a planner? Well, if you're like me and many other people, you live out of your planner. I check mine multiple times a day to keep track of my blog, my school work, my social life, and more. Without a planner, I'm a mess. It's fairly common knowledge that using a paper planner helps you to remember more efficiently than just keeping it in your brain, or even using a digital planner or calendar. So, yay paper planners!

So, you want to use a planner, but why decorate it? If you use a planner as often as I do, it's nice to be able to have it look nice when you open it. Just like using a screensaver that inspires you or using a pretty bookmark, making something suit your personal style encourages you to commit to a planner. A vibrant community has sprung up around decorating your planner, especially on Instagram with a lot of Etsy stores that specifically sell stickers. If you want some inspiration (most of it not-Goth, but still great) check out the instagram tags #plannerlife #planneraddict #plannercommunity. and #plannernerd. People use all kinds of planners and all kinds of decorations.

Not everyone will decorate as much as I do, I enjoy my planner as a combination planner, scrapbook, and craft project. It's a fun activity for me, if you just want to stick a Nightmare Before Christmas sticker in the corner of one of your spreads that's perfectly fine! Don't think I'm trying to tell you that you must plan a certain way. My planner is on the expensive side (I committed big time to this hobby, not everyone will, obviously) but you can plan using a dollar store planner if you like. Evil Supply Co will be coming out with a Gothy specific planner for the new year, so keep an eye out for that. 

My planner cover, which is a protograph I took of Glasgow Cathedral in 2014.
My basics: I use an Erin Condren vertical life planner which is coil-bound and has both weekly and monthly pages. I primarily use just a plain black pen (I find color-coding distracting.) I use a lot of washi tape, as I've said before, which I mostly get from Michaels, Amazon, and Etsy. I also use a lot of stickers which come from anywhere that sells stickers, including Etsy, dollar stores, Michaels, Five Below, Amazon, eBay, or wherever else I find them. Halloween is a great time to pick up planner supplies for me, as you might imagine. 

This is what my monthly view looks like. I was unsure of how I wanted to use the monthly view so I just went with "big events, birthdays, and prettiness." All of the months in the Erin Condren planner are color-coded and September's colors are purple and gray, which is great for us spooky types. I started by using black glitter washi from Scotch over the last days of August and first days of October, then using a diagonal stripe washi from Michaels over the two birthdays I have this month. Then I marked some important days, such as the first day of Autumn, when I left for college, and some academic due dates. Then, lots of meaningless stickers and washi. Because I can.

Erin Condren's vertical view is divided into three sections (they used to be labeled Morning, Day, and Night but now they're blank so you can divide them however you want), which is kind of hard to see in this first one.  Each day is the column, not the row. I personally label them Blog, School, and Personal, but other people have sections for work, for their families, for their hobbies, etc. so it's a pretty versatile system.

Let's get to the weekly views:

August 31 - September 6th : Let me start by explaining that this is an impractical week. It was more decorative and fun than anything else because I was still on summer vacation and didn't have much to plan. The theme I wanted to go for, because this is the first week in the planner and the week I was returning for my fourth year of college, was a kind of explorer, cartographer, Steampunk-y spread. Hence all the maps. I dunno, I thought it was cute, if impractical. 

September 7 - September 13 : Next up was my first week at school so I did a relatively simple black and purple Gothy theme. Here you can more clearly see the columns divided between Blog, Personal, and School. I also went to Salem that Saturday, which was fun (and I wrote about that here.) In this view I started to use the sidebar to keep track of packages I was waiting for but that's not consistent across the whole month. My favorite detail is probably my convocation day (a school event) on September 8th because I got to use a beautiful Haunted Mansion fullbox sticker. 

September 14 - September 20: This week I tried to go for a Maleficent themed week in purple, green, pink, black, and gray, inspired by the little Maleficent stickers and the Maleficent silhouette up on the top left. I thought this was a fun week and the pink definitely added a refreshing pop of color. As you can see I started experimenting with a little bit of scrapbooking by adding the sticker I got from the Salem Witch Museum the previous week to the side bar. Once again I used the sidebar to track packages that I was waiting for.

September 21 - September 27 : This week is my black and gray Gothy themed week and its absolutely one of my favorites. I love the washi, the main kit that I used, and all the extra stickers from everywhere else. My sidebar section this week are little reminders of things I need To Clean, To Buy, To Go, and To Do which works out really well for me. Overall this is probably the most gothy themed week I've done and I'd like to do something similar probably in November.

September 28 - October 4 : Here's what a week looks like just after I've planned and before the week has properly started and things get messy. This week's theme was YAY! OCTOBER! HALLOWEEN! and lots of fun, bright colors ensued. This week I relied pretty heavily on the dollar sticker books from Michaels which I would really, really recommend for anyone wanting to get started with planning without wanting to drop a lot of money. The house, candy, bats, witch, and owl in this spread are all from those sticker books and I am definitely looking to pick up more. I ended up revising the sidebar to track packages after this picture was taken but for now it looks so bright and cute.

Now all that's left is to start planning the month of October in earnest. Here's a preview of what my planner spreads look like before I start slapping down stickers (I usually reserve the planning process and putting down stickers properly for the Sunday before I start using that week so I can theme the post all together.) These post-it notes are from the Dollar Tree, the smaller ones are events I have to do and the bigger one is notes about the theme I'm going to go for this week.

Do you use a planer? If so, do you decorate it? If yes and you use Tumblr, Twitter, or Instagram be sure to use the hashtag #gothplanner to show us your spreads! Any kind of planner or level of decoration is welcome. If you want to see more planner spreads, detail pictures and the shops where these came from, sticker and washi hauls, and more, follow me on instagram at @theeverydaygoth

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Review: Devil's Night by PERSONAL:KILLING:AGENDA

It's not often that I do music videos on this blog (in part because it seems like I'm always the last person to know about new music) but I'm pretty excited to review this album for you. The prolific music project PERSONAL:KILLING:AGENDA is about to release their new album Devil's Night which is ambient orchestral music based on horror movie soundtracks, complete with mixing to add a bit of the 'grainy' sound so classic to the genre. When the mind behind PERSONAL:KILLING:AGENDA, Shane Dunn, contacted me to review the album, I was very happy to do so.

Devil's Night wasn't what I expected at all, I thought I might be presented with a Nox Arcana clone or something like the shrieking soundtrack of a modern slasher film, but (thankfully) that wasn't the case.

The music is atmospheric and very subtly creepy at times but remains elegant at beautiful, no pre-baked Halloween shrieking tracks here. If you're a fan of movie soundtracks, especially much older horror movies from the early to mid 20th Century, you'll find these very familiar. It's not overtly creepy or scary, but darkly elegant, perhaps more so than the track titles would indicate (especially 'Mysterious Skin'. Shudder.)

My favorite track is probably The Hollow which is eerie but with really great energy with wonderful ebbs and flows that recall movie adaptations of Victorian Gothic novels. The titular track Devil's Night is also really excellent, but the tracks almost seamlessly meld together and create a lovely background soundscape that's the perfect thing to listen to when you need to work on something else. It's been my favorite autumnal reading and studying background music since I got it.

You can find PERSONAL:KILLING:AGENDA on Facebook, Bandcamp, and Tumblr if you'd like to follow more of the project and keep up to date with it. You can also follow it on Twitter @PKABAND666.

Following the bandcamp link will enable you to listen to three of the tracks on the album. If you like what you hear as much as I do, you can pre-order the album for $5 now until its full release on October 27th. Want to knock an extra 10% off your pre-order price? Use the code 'thekillerclub' at check-out.

What have you been listening to lately?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Reader Question: A Different Kind of Elitist

Dear Mary Rose,

My issue is thus: I am attending school for mortuary sciences and I do tend to dress very gothfully, lots of black, skull jewellery, and that kind of thing, but while I haven't had any trouble with goth elitist I have had issues with my fellow classmates. Their opinion seems to be that because I enjoy the darker side of things in my personal life I must not really be interested in my field and am doing it for "goth points." I try not to make a big deal of it to not give bullies the satisfaction of bothering me but it does bother me a lot that they don't take me seriously. Do you have any advice for what to do? Should I stop dressing how I wish?


Hi Marshall and thanks for writing in.

I'm sorry to hear that your classmates aren't being supportive or friendly because of your interest in the Gothy side of things. There's a very strange predicament in our society that you should find a career doing things you enjoy, but that if you choose your career based on your other interests it must not be "genuine." I had a similar comment made to me when I first started studying Art History and expressed an interest in Gothic architecture, but after making my own interest clear I didn't get the same continuing comments you seem to have gotten.

Honestly I think the only thing that will shut this kind of person down is to buckle down and do the best work you can and prove that your interest in your field is genuine and sincere, not just an effort to garner more Goth points. If you're going to be in classes with these people until your degree is finished, they will eventually see how committed you are and hopefully will leave you be. Stopping dressing how you like would probably only serve to prove their point that you were faking your interests, so I wouldn't recommend doing that.

Good luck to you!

Readers, have you ever dealt with this kind of elitism in your work before? How did you handle it?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Halloween 2015 - Pottery Barn, Pier 1, Target & More

Once again it's time for us Goths to look around for Halloween decor to add to our daily lives. While Halloween items started showing up in my local craft stores back in July I'm now starting to see the holiday creeping into all kinds of stores. In the past I've written about how to buy Halloween decor for a Goth home without making your home Halloween-themed, which you might find useful. If you're quick, you might also be able to snap up Halloween items on clearance in the first few days of November but here's what I think we can all look for:

Pottery Barn

Unfortunately Pottery Barn appears to have rolled back their elegant black and silver designs from years past in favor of a rustic autumnal pumpkin look, but there still are some wonderful things to be found in their Halloween section.

 These Spider Web string lights would be a great addition to rented housing or a teenage Goth's room, or even for grown-up Goths that want something a bit spookier than the usual fairy lights.

I love these Skeleton Hand martini glasses for entertaining, they're subtle but add a great touch.

This Full Moon Bats lumbar pillow would be a great accent either in a bedroom or on a couch somewhere. 

Oriental Trading

Oriental Trading doesn't have too many things that (at least in my opinion) translate well into everyday Goth decor, but I did manage to find a few things! First up are these black and purple spindles with birds on top which I think would be lovely on a mantle or side table or grouped with candles.

Want to add something spooky to your food? I have one of these skull & crossbones ice cube trays and I find a lot of use for them (especially for freezing coffee to add to iced-coffee in the summer.)

Pier 1

Pier 1 has started rolling out their Halloween collections and (although one of their Halloween collections is Dia De Los Muertos themed....) there is some great stuff to be found, like this beautiful doormat that I think would be great for year-round Goth homeowners.

And this pretty bat pillow from their Midnight Magic collection which has amazing teal accents that really broaden the spooky color spectrum.


Walmart generally has the best prices on Halloween goodies, that's for sure, but in past years their quality has left something to be desired. As I've said before, Halloween decor for year-round design has to be durable to be worth it. That being said, here are some things that at least look like they'd be great for regular decor:

This lace panel would be a wonderful addition to your window, especially if you layered it over other curtains in grey, red, purple, or even white to give it some contrast. Not a bad price, either.

While on the pricier side, this tree candle holder would be an incredible touch for year-round gothy design. I think I would perch it on a side table and fill it with different colored tea-lights.

Like the idea of candles but not able to burn them yourself? This LED candle has a cute look with the skulls and bones without the fire hazard.


Target came out with their Halloween designs a bit later than other stores and the selection doesn't seem to be as broad as it has been in the past but I've been appreciating them nonetheless.

These mercury glass skull string lights are really pretty and a good option for students and others who are looking for a cute, spooky lighting option that is Gothy without being overly Halloween-y.

Target has been embracing black and gold as a color scheme which you probably already know that I'm a fan of, and I think these hand votive candle holders are a great addition to black and gold gothy decor.

Also in the lighting department are these battery-operated purple bat lights, also perfect for dorm decors.

Dollar Tree

Looking for something more budget-friendly? Dollar stores are found pretty much everywhere (at least in the US) and many of them bring out a small Halloween section where you can find decor without spending tons.

My first pick would be these Die-Cut Tombstone Shaped Chalkboards which could have tones of uses, from leaving notes on your door or fridge to labeling your bookshelves.

Secondly, false flowers are a cute way to dress up a Goth room without having the commitment of real flowers. These purple and black roses are small and cute but you could also add some of these sprigs of berries or branches to make it your own.

Lastly, if you're a crafter like me you might want to stock up on washi tape, which I've expressed my love for before. Dollar Tree has lots of great, inexpensive washi designs his season, so I'm looking to pick up a few of those soon.

Have you found any good Halloween decor to incorporate into your Gothy home yet? If so, where?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Review: Evil Supply Co. Mr. Ghost Parcel - September

You know when you get really into something, a television show or comic series, for example, and it just gets better and better and when you know the next installment is coming out you get giddy excited? That's where I'm at with the Evil Supply Co. monthly Mr. Ghost parcels. Previously I reviewed the July and August installments and I expressed delight about this month's, the theme of which is Graveyard Secrets. Perfectly spooky, no?

For those of you just now joining us, Evil Supply Co. is a paper, stationary, and other delightful papery things company who specializes in, well, evil. Everyone from mad scientists to evil overlords and swamp witches are represented in a collection of notebooks, envelopes, cards, posters, and hopefully a planner to be kickstarted this autumn. Their Mister Ghost subscription is a monthly box based around a certain theme (Netherworld Post Office, Mad Science and Witchcraft, etc.) that contains blind-boxed objects that are unique to the kit and not yet on the store. They're always a delight to open, so thank you Evil Supply Co. for sending this one my way!

All of the Mister Ghost parcels come in a screen-printed folder which is designed for the new theme. I love these because they're sturdy, spooky, and extremely useful. This one is by far my favorite and I've been using it to carry about all my school papers for the day. 

Here's an overview of the package:

The first things I pulled out were these four notecards with cemetery photography, complete with gray envelopes for mailing. My dorm is currently decorated with a lot of black and white photography so I'm not quite sure if I'm actually going to be mailing them or just sticking them up on my wall. The photographs are lovely and in person they're such a gorgeous, high-quality print.

Next up are my other favorite thing about the Mr. Ghost parcels: pocket notebooks. These thin notebooks are available on the Evil Supply Co. website outside of the parcels but it's always great to get a new pattern. I use these for everything, honestly, and I have quite the collection. I keep one in my purse for spur-of-the-moment things I need to jot down, I use one for my tarot readings, I use one for to-do lists, and I love getting new ones. The prints on these are so pretty, my favorite is the one with the ghost and the bat on the right.

Next up is this rather larger art print of a skeleton with a banner reading "Spread Necromancy, Not Gossip." This one went straight up on my bulletin board on the outside of my door (along with another ESC print, haha) and it makes me smile whenever I walk into my room.

Lastly, stickers. Followers of my instagram @theeverydaygoth will know my minor obsession with stickers and using them in crafts and planning as of late. Evil Supply Co.'s stickers are great quality, thicker and very durable with great cute designs. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with these yet, but they fit the theme and I absolutely adore them.

Overall, this parcel was one of my favorites yet. The theme is near and dear to my heart as a lover of cemeteries and I found a use for everything in the parcel, which is obviously a good thing.

If you want to get your own Evil Supply Co. parcel, the next theme is 'Trick and Treat', it's their special Halloween edition, and it ships in early October. If you're going to buy just one parcel to test out the service I think now is a fantastic time to do so, as this is certain to be an incredible Halloween treat. 
Buy yours on the Evil Supply Co. website here!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Salem trip & Outfit Post

I think my college friends and I have been meaning to go to Salem since we were first years... now we're fourth years. We're not great at getting everyone together and planning (understandable, as we have a sizable group of friends) but as soon as I got back this semester my friend Kayla and I hatched a plan to go to Salem, to make it concrete and whoever could come would come. In total, four of us ended up going. Not a gigantic group, but enough to make it worth the two hour drive. It ended up being a fantastic day, so here's what we did! 

First, the crew of people who I went with. From left to right, myself, Gen, Kayla, and Bridie (if you're familiar with plus-size fashion Tumblr, you might know her as the ineffable Thriftorama.)

Our first stop was the visitor's center to find out what we wanted to go see.

We signed the guest book, so if you're in the area look for us!

Kayla led the way into the main street where we went poking around shops. Salem has, as you might have guessed, a thriving tourist industry and lots of shops devoted to various aspects of spirituality, especially Wicca and Paganism. 

Along the way we met some interesting people, like this street performer whose cunning plans to pretend to be a statue were ruined by excitable dogs who were not fooled. It was cute.

There were lots of street vendors selling t-shirts and smaller pieces of jewelry.

The standing stores were all kinds of delightful, with pretty signs and insides that smelled strongly of Dragon's Blood and patchouli. Most of them didn't allow photography inside but I'm pretty sure there was something there for everyone with witchy inclinations, religious or touristy.

One of them even had a little black cat lying on the counter named Roxanne half dozing as we browsed the essential oils and herbs. She tolerated a little bit of petting briefly, which was nice. 

I very much appreciated some of the shops, especially New England Magic: A Shop & School of Witchcraft & Wizardry.

A look at one particularly pretty shop window:

Me standing outside one of the shops. Today's outfit:

Skirt: Retroscope fashions
T-shirt: Target
Shawl: Vintage
Necklaces: Various
Purse: Primark
Sunglasses: Five Below (you can't see from here but they have studs on the frame, they're adorable.)

My goal shopping wise was to find a tarot deck that I liked. I found many and eventually settled on one, but some of them were very interesting...

Kayla is a geology major and Gen a biology major and when we found a store full of rock and mineral specimens and fossils, it took us forever to get the two of them back out again.

For my part, I found Pterodactyl Poop. $4 each.

We stopped for lunch and Bridie and I indulged in a little bit of dancing in the fountain.

Then more group pictures:

Before we left for the museum, we were approached by a reader who had recognized me and their companion. It's always super nice to find other Gothy types out and about, and even lovelier to meet people who read my blog. Thanks for saying hello!

The museum we chose was the Salem Witch Museum, contained in this beautiful building. 

The museum wasn't a typical walk-through experience. It was broken up into two presentations, neither of which allowed pictures so bear with me and I try to explain what happened and how I feel about it:
The first room was a somewhat large, dark rectangular room full of benches. On the floor was a large red illuminated circle with the names of the executed 'witches' in Salem in 1692.

Around the perimeter of the room, raised far above eye level, were un-lit dioramas. As we all filed in and sat down, a voice began to narrate the events of the witch trials in Salem. As each part of the story was narrated, the corresponding diorama would light up to illustrate what was going on. The fact that the dioramas were made (we think) out of paper mache, and slightly falling apart, the whole effect was rather creepy.

When the story of the trials was finished, we went on to the second room where our guide explained the history of the term "witch" and its connotations, from applying to pagan midwives to medieval witches to the Wizard of Oz and then onto modern Wicca and Pagan religions.  There were dioramas here too who had voice-overs but we found the presentation...lacking. A lot.

I have what my friends and I like to call "history feels" and, as I find studying folklore very interesting, the notion of witches is very near to my heart. As the exhibit tried to explain how pagan medicine women became the nightmare fodder of early modern Christians, I found it lacking. No mention was made of heresy, of medieval midwifes and christian magic, of any modern theories about how gender acted, or of antisemitism. The perilous connections the presentation made between historical paganism and new paganism/wicca (they used the terms interchangably...) were also grating. 

Not to fear though! The museum made mention of my least favorite theory about why the Salem witch trials happened........ yay. If you weren't aware, many people seem to be under the impression that the Salem witch trials and, indeed, all witch hunts and demonology in the Medieval and Early Modern periods was caused by Ergot poisoning, which causes hallucinations. Ignoring the fact that symptoms of Ergot poisoning had been known for hundreds of years before any of this happened and how unlikely it is that nobody noticed that, it's just mildly insulting to early modern peoples that their world outlook was caused by them "tripping balls" on pseudo-LSD.  

I wouldn't call the Salem Witch Museum a bad museum but it did have a lot of issues historically and the script for both the tour guide and the dioramas badly need to be updated. 

But then on from that experience we went to a nearby cemetery, full of gravemarkers in limestone and slate (many of which were either falling over or heavily weathered.)

Here are some of the stones.

This one was probably my favorite: a tiny little stone up against the back of a larger stone with a five-pointed cross on it.

Stones next to a rusted and overgrown gate.

My favorite stone carving that I found.

We also met a cute dog friend! Fittingly enough, a black dog in a cemetery. We got permission to pet him, but he had important dog business to attend to and ran off. 

Important dog business: being a goof off around the headstones.

Before we went home, we had one other mission: make Bridie touch the ocean. Bridie is from Chicago and has never been to the ocean and has been wanting to go a lot since first year. So, we made a detour to a beach not far from Salem. 

Here I am sitting on a wall. You can't see it from here, but there was about a twenty-foot drop onto rocks on the other side of the wall. We were incautious. 
Beach hair is definitely a thing.

New England:

There were also many tiny hermit crabs, if you can look past my badly chipped manicure. This guy crawled onto my foot. 

And, of course, the ever-present seagulls:

Once the sun started to set we left and headed back west towards home. Overall, it was a really great day. I've heard some people call Salem an underwhelming experience, but I think as long as you're sharing it with friends and not opposed to a bit of touristy kitsch, it's a fun one.

Where was your last trip? Have you ever been to Salem?