Surviving a Winter in Skirts

Jillian Venters of the Gothic
Charm School demonstrates.
Being an alternative fashionista* involves many accusations of impracticality, but the chief among these for us be-skirted northerners is that we will eventually have to turn to jeans or freeze our asses off.  Well, my ass is fully in tact despite not owning a pair of jeans and having spent long winters in Western Pennsylvania where it routinely drops below zero and a solid four-five months are spent in below freezing temperatures.  In the interest of knowledge sharing and promoting the slow death of the jean-industrial complex I present here a full accounting of my strategies.  I was going to post this much later (say, when it was actually cold), but I thought that this is the time when many of us are doing preparatory stock-ups for the season amid back-to-school sales, most specifically (in America) the coming Labor day weekend sales.  For my fellow knitters, now is the time to start casting on all that winter wear, if only to distract from the horrifying fact that Christmas is coming.

Fabric Basics
The key to a warm wardrobe is often the right kind of fabric.  Look for my mother's corrections to this section in the comments.
tl;dr version: chose animal fibers over plant fibers and knits over wovens.

Fiber Content and You
The whole world of fiber can be broken down into three major types (from coolest to warmest): plant fibers such as cotton, linen, and bamboo; synthetic fibers such as polyester, acetate, and nylon; and animal fibers such as wool, alpaca, and silk.  Obviously you should try to incorporate as much animal fibers into your winter wardrobe as possible (sorry vegans, you'll have to stick with synthetic insulation and knits).  Wool deserves special mention for wet climates and snowball fights as it is warm even when soaking wet.   Most westerners don't think of silk when they think winter, but is the primarily fiber for winter clothing (and quilt batting!) in China, even the really cold parts like Manchuria and inner-Mongolia.  Silk is actually very adaptable and can be insulating but not over warm, making it ideal for days when you will be going back and forth between buildings and the outdoors (so, most days).

Fabric Manufacture
There are two basic methods to making fabric: weaving and knitting.  In general woven fabrics are cooler and less insulating than knits meaning that a knit fabric can be thin and still very warm.  Some weaves, such as the twill weave used to make denim or brocade, use multiple threads in a small area making them much warmer, but also noticeably thicker.  Certain knits, such as Fair-Isle styled color-work, cables, or double-knitting, create a similar effect making them much warmer but also less flexible.

Be-Skirted Winter Wardrobe Basics 

This is how you wear fishnets in winter
under tights.
Opaque, thick-knit tights: Remeber what I said about the insulating power of knits? On their own opaque tights can get you through blustery days (say, down to the mid 50s or in Celsius upper teens).  For colorful or stripey tights go with We Love Colors and for black I can not recommend Torrid highly enough (and they are on sale now).  They are super comfortable, the only plus-sized tights I have ever bought where out the package you look at them and think "yeah, I can see that fitting around my waist", but mostly because about 2 years ago when I lived in Switzerland I went on a weekend trip to Rougemont (sort of the poor man's G'staad) and got into a major sledding accident involving a clutch of British lawyers on ski weekend.  I lost about a quarter-sized piece of flesh from my shin but the tights I was wearing at the time did not even get a teeny-tiny run and I still own and regularly wear them.

Leggings: The powerful combo of leggings+tights will get you at least to freezing cold days, add wool socks and boots and you might even push past that.  I usually get my leggings from Torrid or Avenue but there is nothing special about either and I have no fun near death experiences on the Alps with British lawyers to tell about them.

Socks, small and large: If you will to forgo the leggings+tights combo of power, long socks are a good alternative.  Your socks should reach 1-2 inches above your skirt at a minimum.  I used to have issues with them but since their size descriptions are no longer filled with vicious lies have become much more accurate and their returns policy is now allows you to return socks you tried on that didn't fit I recommend Sock Dreams.  Their Extraordinary line even fits around my footballer calves.  Ankle-length wool socks with a good pair of boots are your best friend in the snow (even better friends with a pair of leaky old boots or sneakers) and especially the slush because your feet will stay warm even if they get wet.  I have found that if your feet and head are warm you will never feel too cold.

Cable-Knit tights: These are even better than long socks.  I will only these season be adding some to my collection as they are difficult to find in adult sizes, much less adult plus sizes, but I have fond memories of them as a kid.  Sock Dreams has a few in straight sizes (even in wool!) and there is apparently a that I will be ordering from and reviewing, probably soon.

The Cure understand the importance of
proper winter attire.
Thermal Underwear: Thermal pants+leggings+socks will get you through nearly anything.  I have been in sub-zero/-10celcius temps with this combo and felt fine.  Wool is best if you will be outside all day, but silk handles the outside/inside transition better.  Silk thermals can be found at LL Bean and Winter Silks (a good place for winter basics, just in general).  Cotton thermals are not as warm as leggings so honestly, what's the point.  

The Skirt and Under: Obviously, a warm skirt helps immensely.  I have a few sweater knit skirts, and my next knitting project will likely be this fancy number in black and purples.  The warmest skirt I eve owned was made of a high-thread count flannel sheet, folded in half with a drawstring and was originally made so I could be a caroler at a colonial living history museum during my misspent youth.  Avoid long and especially trailing skirts when it is snowy (I probably didn't need to say that), generally tea-length is the longest you should wear in snow.  If you wear petticoats those let in a lot of cold air, they seem to practically draw it in, so I highly, highly recommend some flannel bloomers.  You can whip some up in an hour with this tutorial.

*Or anyway person who manages to match most of the time and has spent way too much of her time this week searching for the perfect dark purple lipstick.

OOTD and The Gothest Cupcakes ever

Yesterday was my birthday and being a non-milestone one at the end of a work-week right before classes start again for fall I didn't really do much, but I did make delicious cupcakes, which I think is pretty much good enough.  I invented burgundy velvet cupcakes awhile ago because I was under the misapprehension that red velvet cake is basically chocolate with red food dye (it's actually a very light chocolate) and so just added red dye to a chocolate cake mix.  No you may be wondering what the point of expending a lot (seriously, a whole lot) of red food coloring if it's just a chocolate cake.  Well: 1) Red is a flavor, it legitimately takes slightly different, richer, more mysterious, now whether this is a trick of perception or the fact that you have actually used enough red food coloring to affect the flavor.... 2) It is a fun way to mess with entertain guests.  Legend was it that the inventor of red velvet cake was trying to hide the true flavor of her cake, which I believe because southern cuisine is run on secrecy.  While no one will think burgundy velvet cake isn't chocolate nearly everyone seems to believe that isn't all it is. 3)There is no bad excuse to use cream cheese frosting, and 4) The real reason - It looks awesome.

Burgundy-Velvet Cupcakes (a heart-breakingly complicated recipie)
1 batch of chocolate cake batter from scratch or from a mix (I used King Arthur Flour gluten-free chocolate cake mix which is not only delicious, but the only gluten-free chocolate cake mix that does not taste of sawdust and disappointment.)  If from scratch use dutch-processed or even some black cocoa.
1/2-3/4 of a bottle of red food coloring, enough to turn the batter basically the color of fresh blood)

Mix.  Bake as usual.
Allow to cool completely before frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz each butter and cream cheese (softened)
2 C or more powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract

Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth, add vanilla and beat
Mix in powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time until it is a frosting consistency, smooth, not too stiff or dry, but not melty-soft.  I try to add as little sugar as possible because I want to retain that cream cheese tang.  Using the whisk attachment on my mixer seems to help stiffen it up with less sugar.

Frost cupcakes once they are cooled and enjoy.  If left to sit for a bit and if you have used sufficient quantities of red food dye some of the red will bleed into the edges of the frosting.  For bonus points uses some of these spooky cupcake liners.

I made this mini-cake because the batter made more than 12 cupcakes and I only have the one muffin tin.  As you can tell I have no cake decorating skills whatsoever.

I wore mostly boring work clothes actually on my birthday and so am counting the ensemble I wore for a quick trip to Sephora.  My new "backdrop" is a super-fantastic lace curtain that my mom bought me that will decorate my closet door when not being used as a fancy stole.  The skirt
is also from my mom, but is the oldest thing (which is to say thing I have had the longest) in my wardrobe and was originally made a present/buy-off when I was put in national honor society (yes, in high school, that's how old this is).  Here is also a sneak peek of my new boots.

Because I find that outre makeup makes the people at Sephora leave me alone, and I am anti-social like that I decided to try an eye makeup tutorial that seemed fun but probably un-wearable and found it surprisingly flattering (in real life when I am not making crazy-eyes as a result of not trying to blink when the camera flashes), even despite my wobbly line drawing.  I was successfully ignored until check-out.  I am sure because they thought me just too fabulous to approach.  I get that a lot actually (I assume).

Top 10 Bands

Both in the lolita and goth blogging communities there are currently 30-day challenges floating around and, while they are too much for me to get to completing, I have really been enjoying reading other people's posts.  In both challenges there is a day for posting one's top ten favorite bands or songs which I have really gotten a lot out of.  I enjoy music but I know pretty much nothing about it.  I don't really know how to describe the kind of music I like and have no idea whatsoever how to follow what is going on in the music world.  The most tragic fall-out of this was missing when Rasputina had a concert in Pittsburgh at a reasonably priced venue.  Anyway, all of my music was therefore sort of stumbled upon and people's challenge lists have really benefited my stumbling, as it were, introducing me to artists or groups that I hadn't heard of.  I got so much out of it that I felt it was only right to contribute my own list (in no particular order).  I was getting bogged down with classical composers so I am planning on making a post on classical/symphonic music for goths, as I actually know a few things about that.

My music is a pretty even split between goth (mostly old school, dark cabaret, and ethereal, and yes I hate EBM/Industrial to the point where sometimes I think about clubbing then remember that Pittsburgh is a nearly exclusively industrial scene and that music makes me stabby), and non-goth but sort of related in a six degrees of Kevin Bacon sort of way (or rather, in mood).

1. Rasputina: is pretty much my favorite band.  I am a sucker for cello music and female vocalists, so they are an obvious winner.  Their music has really changed a lot over the years, yet I enjoy their older stuff as well as (but differently) than the newer music.  Of course I also love their Neo-Victorian fashion sense.

2. Amanda Palmer/Dresden Dolls: I liked Dresedn Doll's music but it was really always about Amanda Palmer's vocals.  She has a voice and stage presence that is intense and engaging and really never fails to pull me in.

3. Sabrina Chap: here is where I have absolutely no idea how to describe her music, except that to me it has a slightly burlesque.cabaret feel mixed with high musical quality and lyrics that always make me laugh.

4. The Decemberists: actually this group is really a mixed bag for me.  I find that I either really love their songs or absolutely hate them, and while I like more of their earlier stuff, I really love some songs from each album so there is really no consistency.  They rank as a favorite band because I love the ones I like enough to make me forgive the others. 

5. Dead Can Dance: I strongly prefer their early work to the newer albums, which sound mostly like generic tribal belly dance music to me (fine for it's purpose but not something I would just listen to), but their early work is really musically complex.

6. Azam Ali: I heard of her through my favorite album ever, "Where's Neil When you Need Him?" a Neil Gaiman tribute album (nerd alert), and only recently thought to look up her other work, which is all complex, dark, and ethereal, really the sort of music that you sink down into.

7. Apocalyptica: the band I will forever love for introducing me to the wonder of cello metal.  I don't like normal metal, just cello metal. 

8. Pink Martini: are an interesting mix of calypso, lounge, and what I am going to call Cole Porter for the 21rst century, and pleasantly dance-y.  This song though is the most elaborate-French-sterotype ever.  The verse is (roughly, very roughly): "I don't want to go to work.  I don't want to eat lunch.  I just want to forget...and then have a smoke".  Anyway, I giggled.

9. Emilie Autumn: well who doesn't like Emilie Autumn?  I think a quick survey of the goth challenge participants will prove that the answer is: nobody, that's who.  While I admit to enjoying her more for her presentation style, and her art, than her music, I still really enjoy her music.

10. Couer de Pirate: I first checked out this band strictly for the name (Pirate Heart), but stayed for the hauntingly beautiful vocals set against subtle accompaniment.

PS: If you are wanting to expand your music collection I can't recommend enough. They are half-priced iTunes, basically and heavily support independent and alternative artists as well as seeming to genuinely care about their customers satisfaction and privacy.

30 Day Book Challenge: Part 1

I have been completing this 30 Day Book Challenge on tumblr (as each day's entry is too insubstantial to make a real blog entry) with the idea that I would post the summary here.  However, as it is getting pretty long, I am going to post the first half now and the rest at the end of the month.  I am sure you will all be waiting on tenterhooks of suspense. I have changed a few answers after thinking about them more.

Best book you read in the last year -- Chaos Walking Trilogy/ Monsters of Men
Really the whole series is just mind-blowing, amazing, and oh-this-part-*sob*-ing. In all seriousness it is one of the best written books I have read in years. I never would have expected that "American History in Space" would be a usable trope beyond "Firefly", but it turns out to be really interesting (This series involves really transparent parallels with the settling of North America). I listened to the audio-books, which included some intensely good voice-acting.

A book that you’ve read more than 3 times: Well, there are a few books that fit this, all of the Bunnicula books, the first Few Harry Potters (I started the series after book four came out then re-read before each new book), a few others, but the book I have read the most times is To Kill a Mockingbird.

Your favorite series: A Series of Unfortunate Events is my favorite for being dark, whimsical, funny, and deep all at once. It teaches children that life is complex and messy, mysteries don’t always have tidy, straight-forward solutions, and that one should always consult the library.  I have actually decided (after not being able to find a tattooist locally whose art style I really like) that my graduating-from-library-school tattoo will be a quote from the series: "All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk."
The movies, though, the movies……

Favorite book of your favorite series: Honestly I really don’t have a favorite. Each book has some things I love so whenever I pick a favorite I think “oh, but what about the tooth-sword fight in the miserable mill” or”Dewey Decimal!!11!”, or “that time Sunny did something completely amazing” (every time).
[spoiler alert]
However, I suppose if I had to pick it would be The End, because that is when you realize that no, these mysteries are not going to be tied up in a neat little bow and then we can all go out for sundaes, that, no, life doesn’t work like that. It is that message that in my mind makes the books so f-ing amazing.

A book that makes you happy: Wee Free Men. With it's heady mix of obscure references to traditional British folklore, adorable Pictsies, good vocabulary words, and a protagonist who decides she wants to be a witch because people in her village have an irrational fear of them and so she wants to understand them, this book is a good time.

A book that makes you sad: The Book Thief - Mind it’s one of the best books I have ever read, but also the only book that has made me sob uncontrollably for a solid fifteen minutes. Even on a scale of books about the holocaust it’s affecting, but that’s really just a testament to how amazingly written it is.

Most underrated book: This one was difficult, because I mostly don’t pay much attention to what others think of books, and ultimately I think there are many, many books that deserve to be more widely read than they are. However, as a minor Austenite I am constantly annoyed by how many people swoon over Pride and Prejudice (which I do really love) and make five bajillion movie adaptations out of it while ignoring what I consider to be Austen’s greatest love story: Persuasion. Maybe I love it because it reveals a deep romanticism buried in Austen’s cynical heart, but also, Elizabeth Bennet’s happy ending is true love and getting a fancy house, Anne Elliot gets true love and to sail around the world in a tall ship (much more awesome).

Most overrated book:Now, there are a lot of overrated books out there, so this should really be considered the most overrated one I could think of at the moment which is: On the Road. If I wanted to listen to some middle class white guy talk about how amazingly counter-cultural he is and how awesome it is to flout societie's rules, live like poor people have to, and treat women like fuck-bags I would just go hang out at the local hipster bar (except hipsters are usually less misogynistic).

A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving: Ender's Game - This was the first real Sci-Fi book I ever read because I used to be a horrible genre snob. I only read “Literature” and assumed that sci-fi was a bunch of ridiculous crap with jet packs and banging alien babes. However, my best friend in high school would not shut up about this book, so I finally read it, and it was amazing. Now I happily read sci-fi, fantasy, and comic books all the time, and have learned that some of the stuff in every genre is amazing and some of it, even in “proper literature” is total crap.

Favorite classic book: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, because I love me some Victor Hugo for dark tales of moral complexity and corruption.  Also, while I enjoy the Disney movie, it really only shares character names and a setting with the book.

A book you hated: Heart of Darkness - I have come to firmly believe that no one, no one has much of an idea what the hell is going on in this book, but it was labelled one of those “great”, “meaningful” works and so everyone pretends in an attempt to seem intelligent and well-read. When we read it in AP English my teacher went on and on about how you could use this book to answer any essay the AP test ever had, because it means so many different things. Much like everyone being special means nobody is, a book meaning everything, I posit, suggest it doesn’t really mean anything.

A book you used to love but don’t anymore:I couldn’t think of anything. When I think of all the books I have ever loved,I still love them because they remind me of the time in my life when I did. Even if I were to pick them up today and read them for the first time and not care for them at all. You know?

Your favorite writer: Neil Gaiman. I enjoy his work more consistently than any other and I love how he weaves myth and folklore into his stories.

Favorite book of your favorite writer: Stardust - This one is a bit unusual for Gaiman, but it is my favorite. It is magical and romantic and I love the ending for turning the traditional fairy tale ending a bit on it’s head.

Favorite Quote from that Book: “Have been unavoidably detained by the world. Expect us when you see us.”
So, anyone who wasn’t read the book will have no idea why that is my favorite quote, and it would spoil it to explain [so stop reading now and don’t say I didn’t warn you], but for those who have read it: this is the moment that solidifies this book as my favorite, because it subverts the implication that the awesome adventures in a fairy tale are, well, not awesome, and the happily ever only comes when the the adventure is over.
Category: 2 comments

OOTD: Goth days of Summer

This is almost certainly my favorite outfit I have posted here, worn for a day spent running errands.  I find that bright sunshiney days really make me want to break out my most black and/or spooky finery, and a nice outfit can make dull errands into a more entertaining shopping trip.  For instance, never before has anyone at the state store tried to sell me on a 60$ bottle of absinthe, especially when all I came in for was a 6$ half bottle of gold rum to make vanilla extract.  I have also never been carded before, so plus-minus.
This outfit all started when I discovered this enormous imitation jet ring at, of all places, Wet Seal, which turns out to have a surprising number of really cheap (in price, and sadly also quality) goth-able accessories.  I had always thought of them as a source for Califonria Beach Bum chic (you know, when I thought of them at all), but I bought this ring, dangley-chain necklace and giant floppy hat, along with a giant black flower hair clip, from them all for less than twenty bucks.  Of course I had to wear the hat at the first possible opportunity because my love of giant hats is vast.

Other outfit details
Top: Soma Intimates
Skirt: Rose Mortem
Fishnets: I have had these long enough to question whether anyone has ever had naturally occurring (rather than deliberate) torn fishnets and may have actually liberated them from my sister
Beads: Mark Christmas '09
Purse: Midoplhi through

Double Review: Eye Candy and Shany eye-shadow palette, and a meandering digression on visibility

Today we talk about playing with makeup.  I used to be very cautious with makeup, carefully following the "rules" laid down by ladymags about how to highlight, sculpt, and conceal various aspects of my face in order to conform to some sort of weird idealized way I was "supposed" to look.  I didn't wear black mascara or eyeliner because I was blonde*.  I was well into my early twenties before I owned my first eyeliner (now I have at least a dozen in all four formats). I avoided dark lipsticks because I was "too pale" to wear them, and I believe I even at one point purchased a subtle bronzer (which looked just as absurd as you may be imagining).  I was, in short, trying to look as much as some sort of median level of generic ladymag prettiness as I could manage.  This was not, it should be noted, in order to be attractive, but in order to be as invisible as humanly possible.  As a teen I was not a goth, not out of any lack of dark romanticism or wry sarcasm (I had both in spades), but because I was desperately hoping no one would notice me.  I am not sure exactly why.  I was never outright bullied, having a pair of seven-foot-tall brothers, one of whom is fairly protective, heavily muscled, and an occasional guest of various state correctional facilities will do that, I promise. I was just desperately insecure.  I went off to college, got more into feminism and fat acceptance, and received a serious request to be someone's nude model. I gradually became more confident, to the point that now, while I may be introverted and somewhat socially awkward, I am also fully confident of being pretty awesome and thus willing to be highly visible in public.  After an awkward college folk music and birkenstocks phase, this encroaching confidence was matched with increasing experimentation in dress, but it is really only quite recently that I have begun stepping outside a fairly narrow range of makeup looks.  I started with more extreme lipstick and eyeliner and have only very, very recently branched out into more experimental usages of eyeshadow.

The best tools in my new eyeshadow journey have been the book Eye Candy and the ridiculously cheap and highly pigmented 120 shade palette I bought from Shany cosmetics.  Naturally, one doesn't expect much from a 20$ palette of 120 shades, but this is actually some of the most highly pigmented eyeshadow I own, which compares favorably in pigmentation to Makeup Forever, MAC (although throwing yourself at the mercy of the fabulous queens at the MAC counter is still one of the most fun times you can have with makeup), or L'Oreal HIP.  it doesn't last much on it's own, but with Urban Decay Primer Potion (whose praises I will never cease singing) it stays where you put it until you take it off.  The colors are beautiful and they blend well.

Eye Candy is that most rare of style/makeup advice books which is completely non-prescriptive.  It never suggests that if you have a certain skin or eye color or shape there are certain looks or colors you can not do, but instead explains the different effects different techniques and color combos will give to different people.  The book is divided into two main sections, the first of which discusses basic technique, including blending, color choice, eyebrow shaping, and materials including brushes.  The second, and much larger section gives tutorials for a wide range of different looks, from the dramatic to the casual, although tilted towards the former.

Some are quite "runway" and perhaps not useful for many readers, but I suggest you can still learn a lot by playing with them.  These looks often boast the most interesting techniques and novel color usage.

Most qualify as wearable but dramatic

probably about a third fairly casual and easy to wear

Even if you don't find a lot of looks that you wish to wear frequently, I still think going through and playing with most of them will provide a solid education in the ways and means of eyeshadow

*In case you were ever wondering what my natural hair color really is, I believe it is still a dark honey-blonde but it hasn't been seen, except briefly earlier this year when it was not given enough time to grow out enough to be sure, in nearly a decade since I turned 16 and was allowed to first dye my hair.

All the pictures in this post are looks from Eye Candy made with Shany eyeshadow (in case that wasn't obvious).

PS: You'll notice I changed the theme.  I wanted something a bit darker as I have been tilting more towards goth than lolita, but not too dark to read (an occasional problem in the goth-o-sphere), and purple is my favorite color.

Movie Monday/OOTD: House Pride

Fair Warning: The following post contains a fair measure of Harry Potter nerdery.  If that isn't your thing you may wish to move along to another corner of the internet (or just look at the pictures).
Which House?

Do you even have to ask?
Ravenclaw: The house valuing learning, intelligence, wit, sarcasm, and creativity, and the house of Luna Lovegood, who has radish earrings.

When I went to see Harry Potter last week and decided to dress up for the occasion and I've reserved this post for awhile to participate in Sal Kaye's Movie Monday (this coming Monday, but to be posted ahead of time).  I don't usually, but being the last one and all... I went with an understated form of dressing up (from a cosplay-type perpsective, I was of course horribly overdressed for a weekend matinee in a Suburban mall outside Pittsburgh), by basing my outfit around the Ravenclaw color's of blue and silver.  Of course I have to note that in the books the colors were blue and bronze and so debate rages.  On the one hand, you can kind of see where the costumer was coming from, blue and silver look much better than blue and bronze, but on the other hand most people who identify with Ravenclaw are exactly the sort of people that say things like "that wasn't how it was in the book!"* and obviously silver is one of Slytherin's colors and you can't have two houses with the same color.  That's anarchy.  However a) I was watching the movie, so, you know, and b) I don't really have much bronze stuff.

I think this movie was the best of the franchise, although I also really enjoyed the sixth one.  I couldn't escape the thought that by the seventh book JK Rowling was really writing for the movie.  All the others, I felt there was a lot of stuff left out or missing in the movies by comparison.  The final battle, however, in the books got a little confused and hard to follow and I thought translated much better in a visual medium.

Anyway, about the outfit: Sorry, I didn't get any good pictures.  I took them after getting home and it was such a hot day/long wait for the bus that I just wanted to chuck all my clothes and bury my head in a vat of iced tea immediately.
Funny story, I have a lack of blue clothes so, this is my bridesmaid dress, but hey, isn't the ability to wear it again some sort of bridesmaid holy grail.**  The shoes were also originally for bridesmaiding (from Land's End).  The silver tights came from places unknown years ago.  They fell into the very silly category of clothes I have that I never wear because I want to save them for ...something..apparently Harry Potter.

Most of the focus of my blue/silver theme was in makeup and my nails.  I am pretty terrible at doing my nails, but this swipe of silver was pretty easy to pull off despite my ineptitude.  I used silver eyeshadow in the inner corner, from the crease to brow bone, and along the lower lid, and midnight blue from below to just above the crease and navy eyeliner on the top lid and waterline. I learned another important thing from this movie: eyelash glue is really not at all waterproof and if you can get through the scene with Snape in the penseive without crying you probably have no soul.

Eyeshadow: Shany 120 palette
Nails: Petites in midnight blue and silver
Lips: Revlon Black Cherry
Earrings: Ten Thousand Villages
Necklace: gift, but I think it's ever so slightly reminiscent of the whomping willow

I'll leave you with this:

*I, incidentally, had something of an apoplectic fit of that-wasn't-how-it-was-in-the-book-ism when I saw the preview for The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but that's a discussion for another time.
**Which I just don't understand.  I spent a third of what I spent on my airplane tickets on the dress, and I sure can't use those again.  If you aren't willing to probably take a loss on the dress, don't agree to be a bridesmaid.

OOTD: Torrid, why must we play these silly games?

Of course when I buy a corset from Torrid (or similar "mall" type stores) originally marked at 35$* I don't really expect more than a cute top that I should be able to wear without a bra for at least the first few wearings.  They use cheap plastic bones that twist out of shape over time, so they only even sort of function as shapewear a few times.  Regardless, when I got this top I was still taken aback by the chutzpah required to list it as a corset.  It doesn't even have bones in the front, just, mysteriously, boning channels.
That complaining aside, this is a cute top.  It is not abvious in the picture, but it have velvet polka dots.  The cardigan is a lightweight gauzy material with Morticia Adams-esque sleeves (always a plus).  The skirt is probably my current favorite in my collection (print detail below). I think of it as my ninja goth skirt because it always takes a second for people to register what they are looking at.

I wore this outfit for a night out of losing badly at a pub quiz with friends.  We are the worst team composed entirely of librarians in the history of pub quizzes.  It's the name that tune category.  This week's theme was the week's billboard top ten.  What am I supposed to do with that? I don't think I have been able to correctly identify a pop singer in a decade at least.  It's basically never cello rock, Gregorian chants, or Eastern European composers.  Not even Tchaikovsky, not once.  Of course we only go as a convenient place to hang out and because it seems to amuse the dj when we guess Justin Bieber for everything.

Outfit Details:
Top and necklace: Torrid (from the same clearance sale even I think)
Choker: 3/4 yard of lace from the Golden D'Or
Cardigan: egl_comm_sales
Skirt: Handmade

Bonus: I have had this song in my head for the past three days, and it is so good I am still not yet irritated.

*Although I pretty much shop there exclusively when they have 75% off clearance sales, so I believe I paid seven
Category: 4 comments

Ode to a Lost Hat

A large part of my current millinery stash
When Victorian Kitty announced her theme for August would be hats and fascinators I knew exactly what I would do.  For one thing, I don't have bunches of hats, so there wasn't much competition.  With hats I really believe in buying quality, and, since my budget is limited, buying staples that can be used in a lot of different ways.  My wool felt top hat is a perfect example.  My mom gave it to me for my birthday ages ago, actually I was a college freshman at the time.  It's from Nordstroms, and is a basic black wool topper, slightly feminine with a inward rolling brim, and detachable felt piping and flowers, and this post was going to be about all the ways I use a supply of cheap millinery supplies to dramatically change it on a daily basis.  However, when I went to the get it from the hat box it was nowhere to be seen, along with my other main winter hat.  I dug through all my winter clothes, but nothing.  Luckily in this time of mourning I still have my grandma's funeral hat (which I really need to replace the netting on).
To a Hat
Oh hat, you were a good hat
Loyal and True
You kept the me warm and the snow off my head
Even  in the truly irrational winters of Western Pennsylvania
I can only hope you have passed this veil of tears
To the great habadasher in the sky

Or are shoved farther back in my closet
Actually that would be better.

I think I may understand why I never made it into my high school literary magazine.