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Aspects of the Magician: Tarot Offerings From Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

by on Jun.22, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

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I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit that, though I grew up in a household steeped in the mysteries of the occult, and had all manner of mystical materials and esoteric knowledge at my fingertips, I spent most of my childhood at my late grandmother’s knee, primping pie crusts, dropping dumplings, and stirring steep, simmering pots of aromatic Cincinnati chili. I guess that in itself isn’t embarrassing, because those were treasured times and the best sorts of lessons and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But what I’m saying is, that despite the wealth of woo woo available to me, any actual magics I absorbed were of the more practical and delicious variety. My mother’s divinatory accoutrements, such as tarot cards and the like, were of keen interest to me only in the sense that they were emblazoned with vibrantly beautiful imagery that set my imagination alight and were woven with potent symbolism that stirred my story-loving soul–even though I never took the time to properly study their nuances and secrets and didn’t know what the heck any of it meant.

Thirty years later, just this January, actually, I decided it was high time to remedy my ignorance. Over the years, I’d picked up just enough knowledge to dabble, but now it was time to get serious. And just in time for my Taurean nature to catch up to my decision and begin implementing my studies (I won’t lie–that phase took about three months), our friends at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab have begun releasing tarot inspired scents!

To say that these creations are merely “tarot inspired”, though, is a pretty egregious understatement. From what I can tell of scents released so far (The Fool, The Magician, and The High Priestess), these fragrant interpretations are a deep dive into the archetypes of the major arcana by someone who clearly knows their way around a Rider-Waite. There were 12 scents dedicated to The Fool, alone! (Released, appropriately enough, on April Fools Day, The Fool has since sold out.)

“The Fool’s Journey” is a term coiled by Eden Gray and appears as the title of the Epilogue in A Complete Guide to the Tarot.

“The Fool represents the soul of everyman, which, after it is clothed in a body, appears on earth and goes through the life experiences depicted in the 21 cards of the Major Arcana, sometimes thought of as archetypes of the subconscious.”

The fool is you. It is me. It is all of us! And the journey of the fool is our very own adventure through these archetypal energies. For today’s segment of the journey, the steps are perilous and will contain many “teachable moments.” But fear not, for in this collection of limited edition perfume blends, The Magician is here in his many aspects to instruct, challenge, and entertain.

“The First Trump, the Master of Ceremonies, the Compère, the Doorkeeper of the Tarot. Originally the Juggler – the prototypical Trickster – he was transformed by the shifting currents of collective consciousness into the consummate Magus. He is the Carnival King and the Lord of Gamblers, the First Diviner and the Master of Chance. He is Hermes, he is Mercury, he is Apollo; he is the opening note and the final triumph of the Opus and the Messenger of the Divine. He commands, controls, and synthesizes the Four Elements; he is Aleph, he is the first substance, he is the source of all numbers. He is the intersection of Heaven and Earth.

The Magician in his current incarnation embodies action in all forms, skill and perspicacity, the utilization of innate talents, and deliberate, conscious transformation, yet he is still the Juggler – the Supreme Trickster – forever playing Three-card Monte with your fate.”

And though I’m not far enough along in my own, personal, journey to interpret the more complex aspects of The Magician and his lessons, I can sure tell you what they smell like!

The Lemniscate (frankincense and black pepper, Himalayan cedar, cognac, and tobacco) The sign of life, the sigil of eternity. Dry, chilly woods with a piperine zip and a nose-tickling, lemony cedar nip.

The Magician’s Belt (frankincense, white rose, balsam, almond flower, and benzoin) The Ouroboros, the serpent as he consumes his own tail. My notes tell me that I thought this was “a creamy, grape-y rose, dipped in sugar”, which makes me sound like a simpleton, but…there you go.

The Magician’s Garden (Flos campi and lilium convallium, Rose of Sharon and Lily of the Valley) The blossoms of transcendence and spiritual aspiration. I didn’t know this until just this moment, but Rose of Sharon is not really a rose at all, but rather a member of the hibiscus family–and which is why I don’t smell any rose in this lovely garden (which is fine with me, rose and I have a complicated relationship). Instead this is a  charming white floral that is somehow both dusky and heady, light and lacy. There’s an odd mineral tang hovering at the edges, which cuts the cloying and keeps things weird. For what it’s worth, The Magician’s Garden is my favorite of the collection. My second favorite is…

The Magician’s Robes (red and white musks alight with frankincense, white oudh, sweet labdanum, and saffron) The unification of opposites, putrefaction and individuation, the culmination of the Great Work. The way up and the way down are one and the same. Straight from the bottle, this reminds me of a sauce that comes with the naan which I usually stuff myself with and which leaves me unable to finish my cauliflower tikka masala at one of my favorite restaurants. It’s bright green and I always worry it’s going to be fraught with mint,but I’m not certain there’s even any mint in it. It’s slightly sour, slightly sweet, and slightly bitter and never fails to make my mouth pucker in surprise. On my wrist though, The Magician’s Robes are a deep. velvety embrace, utterly saturated with sweet, musky magics.

The Magician’s Tools (Clary sage and patchouli for Earth, lavender and yarrow for Air, tobacco and Dracaena cinnabari for Fire, lotus root and myrrh for Water). Wand and cup, dagger and coin. A scent lofty and bright with tinny/camphoraceous herbals, and anchored by a gritty, earthy darkness.

The Magician’s Wand (ash, rowan, oak, and elder wood, polished with sweet resins but handworn, glowing with inner fire) Energy, will, and the manifested Word of the Magus. It is the generative process, the act of creation. Lush golden resins, and pillowy vanilla musk. There’s almost something fruity about it, but it’s very elusive….maybe like some sort of fluffy syllabub flavored with the essence of a fruit that never existed.

Il Bagatella (pomegranate and Lebanese cedar, the martyr’s red rose, and an aspergillum of wine-soaked hyssop) The Carnival King, the embodiment of the liminal space that exists between the death and resurrection of Christ. *consults notes* : “…this is a punch that will really fuck you up.” A sticky, red wine-soaked pomegranate floating in the middle of your Nana’s cut glass punch bowl.

Taschenspieler (peru balsam, tobacco absolute, leather, white sage, and blackberry juice) The master of sleight-of-hand and trickery: dexterous, clever, and roguish. Darkly refreshing, an herbal draught in a wooden cup. Savory at the sip, and sweet at the swallow, it becomes sweeter and more potent the longer you drink from its depths.

The Harlequin (vetiver-steeped raspberry and red currant) The Divine Comedian, the Eternal Jester, instructing through pranks and buffoonery. A jammy, fizzy summer drink dankened by the barest whisper of vetiver, counter-brightened by a squeeze of lemon. This is, of course, served in a smiley-faced plastic pitcher.

The Legerdemain (black silken musk, dark clove, guaiac wood, black pepper, frankincense, and cardamom) The twilight in between the stage performer and the Magus; the sleight of hand trick transforms into true sorcerous skill. A sharp, funky waft from musky, brooding spice cabinet that softens to the must and dust of peppery ghosts with time and expiration dates past.

The Magus (honey absolute, Oman frankincense, and asphodel) The Sorcerer, the Cunning-Man, the Sage. Soft, green herbs steeped in honey. A taste on the tongue to sweeten your kisses as you pass through the underworld.

The Mountebank (leather, sweet balsam, white sandalwood, thieves’ rosin, and dusty lavender) The Hustler, the Scoundrel, the Grifter, using the magic of misdirection, charm, and subtlety to swindle his way through this world, and through all worlds, seen and unseen. Roguish leather, dusty from the road. Balsamic molasses. Fluffy lavender clouds. A tricky scent that keeps you guessing.

The Storyteller (beeswax, leather, hearth wood, and campfire smoke) The Raconteur, the Town Gossip, and the first character to appear on the stage in the first act. A clean, respectable sort of scent, straight from the bottle. The soft, citrusy cologne of an upstanding citizen. Once on the skin, however, it’s an entirely different story than the one you thought you were getting. Still respectable, I guess. But less rigid. Less wake-up call and more bedtime story. The soft supple leather of a well worn chair armchair, a hearth whose smoking embers signal the late hour, and the sweet, dripping wax of a candle that has illuminated an audience from its rapt, wide-eyed beginnings to its soft snores at the tale’s end.

The Magician collection is currently live and available for purchase in 5ml bottles for $26 each. As this is a limited edition series, sample sizes imps are not available.

Find Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab: website // instagram // twitter // facebook // tumblr

 

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How Not To Be Seen: Unlearning Invisibility – One Year Later

by on Jun.18, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

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It’s Pride Month and nearly a year has passed since my essay, “How Not To Be Seen: Unlearning Invisibility,” was first published here on Haute Macabre. So lately I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on that particular piece of writing which, to my surprise and subsequent joy, ended up helping more people than myself alone. I find it hard to believe that it has only been one year. In some ways it feels so much longer than that. Day-to-day life has simply been busy, to be sure, but I think it’s also because my life is richer for being more open and honest, for feeling more visible, less burdened, more comfortable in my own skin, for feeling seen and supported.

It might surprise some to learn that one of the best things that’s happened over the last year is that I’ve grown even closer to B, my cis male primary partner. He’s been my best friend for decades and we’ve been partners for…well, it’ll be 17 years this December. One of the things I tried to express in my essay was that coming out and living life as honestly as possible has been challenging for both of us. But we were willing to put our hearts on the line and put in the emotional work, even when it sometimes seemed endless. One year later, I can say with confidence that we’ve both learned even more about ourselves, each other, and about us as a couple and we’re stronger, more vulnerable, and closer for it. I’m even more grateful for B’s presence, his steadfast love, and his unwavering support. In case anyone is wondering, I’m no less queer now than I was this time last year, but, for as much as I’ve struggled to be seen and understood, I’ve also learned that B is a vital part of that visibility, not independent of it or complementary to it. Yes, it’s complicated, but that’s okay.

This isn’t meant to imply that the past year has been all ups and no downs, far from it. There’s been both love and loss. Hearts afire, heartache, and heartbreak. But, truth be told, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve learned so much. I’m still learning. I imagine I always will be. That’s okay too. That’s more than okay.

But the most important thing that came of sharing that essay – besides the wealth of support I received from people I already knew and people I didn’t know until they reached out – was that it turned out to be much bigger than myself, a discovery which also helped me feel less isolated and despairing. Shortly after the essay was posted I began hearing from people who felt that, to one extent or another, my words had voiced their own experiences, desires, and worries, their own internal conflict, and the pains of invisible existence. I received such intensely moving and candid messages, e-mails, and letters that, as its anniversary approaches, I want to share the essay here again (you’ll find it below), in hopes that it’ll reach more people who might benefit from the cathartic paragraphs I loosed onto the internets one year ago. If you’re one of those people and you’d like to talk with me about your own situation, please do. I want you to feel seen and heard, valid and loved.

—-

A few months ago Sam invited the staff writers to pen some personal pieces for Haute Macabre. I’ve since considered writing about a variety of subjects that interest me, but there’s something else, something much more personal that’s been on my mind for a very long time and this suddenly seemed like a singular opportunity to put it out into the world. So thank you, Sam, for inviting me to do some serious gut-spilling and intention-outing with this essay. And thank you, whoever takes the time to read this all the way through. (tw: sexual assault and abuse)

“In her novel Regeneration, Pat Barker writes of a doctor who “knew only too well how often the early stages of change or cure may mimic deterioration. Cut a chrysalis open, and you will find a rotting caterpillar. What you will never find is that mythical creature, half caterpillar, half butterfly, a fit emblem of the human soul, for those whose cast of mind leads them to seek such emblems. No, the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay.” But the butterfly is so fit an emblem of the human soul that its name in Greek is psyche, the word for soul. We have not much language to appreciate this phase of decay, this withdrawal, this era of ending that must precede beginning. Nor of the violence of the metamorphosis, which is often spoken of as though it were as graceful as a flower blooming.”      —Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

In a few moments it’ll officially be my birthday. I’m home alone, sipping bourbon, and re-watching Only Lovers Left Alive. It’s both Pride month and the month in which I turn 40, but I don’t feel like celebrating. That’s because it’s Pride month and I’m about to turn 40 and I feel as though, with the exception of a few precious people and despite what it says in my bio at the bottom of this page, my everyday life is more or less lived in the closet. It’s a closet built of my own silence and other people’s assumptions, but closets of convenience are no less suffocating. So how did I get here?

Like many queer kids, I was a late bloomer. I knew from very early on that I wasn’t straight and that it felt like the most natural thing in the world, but I had no vocabulary for it. When I look back on my childhood and adolescence, there were an abundance of wonderful queer influences in my life – writers, actors, artists, musicians – that I didn’t appreciate specifically for their queerness at the time, but I believe had an impact all the same. Speaking of Only Lovers Left Alive, I’m by no means the first person to declare a profound crush on beguiling, inspiring, gender-fluid Tilda Swinton, who’s had me in her thrall since I first saw Orlando in my teens, which was also how I discovered Virginia Woolf. I’m doubly glad about these queer presences because I didn’t have any queer personal contacts until I was nearly out of high school. If any of my friends at the time were somehow queer, they weren’t out (not that I’m blaming anyone for that). I had no gay relatives or gay family friends (again, not that I knew of). I was also introverted, melancholy, and often lost in my own head, which probably didn’t help matters.

I don’t recall hearing overtly homophobic rhetoric from anyone close to me as a child. But I remember lots of little things, like kids in school making homophobic jokes, laughing and reciting sing-song chants on the playground like “Lez be friends so we can walk homo together.” I doubt they really understood what they were saying, not at that age. They just thought it was funny. But these sorts of things made it clear to me that certain people were considered “other”, that girls crushed on boys and boys crushed on girls and eventually they’d all grow up and get married and have kids and it was all very, very heteronormative.

Come adolescence I knew I was queer, but still lacked a vocabulary for it. I knew what turned my head and captivated me, but hadn’t the first idea what to do about it or have anyone in whom I felt I could confide about such things. Everyone else seemed to be getting along as well or poorly as can be expected in their teenage years, because let’s not forget that adolescence is rough for everyone. I developed crushes on girls and boys my age (in retrospect, the boys tended to be pretty and delicate of feature), but I didn’t date anyone until college. The internet was a nascent thing during my teens. Life was pre-Facebook, pre-Instagram, pre-Tumblr, etc. I appreciate and sometimes actively envy the access adolescents now have to information, support resources, and potential friends, both near and far. It’s a pointless exercise, but I can’t help wondering if I would’ve figured myself out much earlier if I’d had the access to such things when I was a teen.

College finally introduced me to all sorts of openly queer people. I made new friends and met people I fancied and sometimes they fancied me back, fancy that! Unfortunately, college also brought an abusive relationship with a man and later I was raped by another. I told no one about either of these things at the time and eventually dropped out of college and got a job. I dated women and men and, a couple years later, I was assaulted again, this time by a woman. The world closed a little more each time I experienced this sort of harm, perhaps even more so because I didn’t reach out to others for help. Instead I did what I’d always done and tried to keep going in spite of things, but life became increasingly tricky to navigate. Self-loathing increased, self-esteem shrank, and who I was became less important than simply keeping my head above water.

Over time life gradually calmed down and stabilized. I moved out to Seattle in my mid-twenties, having wanted to live in the PNW since I was a teen. There I formed a deep, healthy, loving relationship with a warm and kind-hearted cis man with whom I’d been friends since college and who is now my husband (I’ll call him B). I also landed a great job for a singular company which grew into the position I love today.

So much of my 20s were varying degrees of difficult and personally unstable. By the time I reached 30 it was clear to me that I needed outside help to deal with various things I’d never actually addressed. Counseling was a life-saving source of support and guidance, helping me face and work through events and issues from my past, letting go of destructive coping mechanisms I’d developed over the intervening years, and learning how to accept, rebuild, and love myself.

But what never came up (nor did I bring up) in therapy or in conversations with my closest friends or even with B, perhaps because it was simply still higher up yet on my personal hierarchy of needs, were my sexual identity and relationship needs. This isn’t meant to imply that B wasn’t aware of my sexual history. We’d discussed it years ago and I’d described myself as what felt accurate at the time: as someone whose attractions to people didn’t concern gender, but individuals. I think that was genuinely was true for a period and remains true with regards to B, but I also can’t help but look back and consider the pressures of heteronormativity and relationship conventions, and how it was easier for me, especially while I was broken and unstable, to default to social norms. Regardless, sexuality is a spectrum, everyone has different relationship needs, and people also grow and change throughout their lives, myself included.

It was only once I finally began to feel okay with myself that I became increasingly aware of both a growing absence in my life and and sense of invisibility. Somewhere along the way of struggling to keep from completely falling apart I’d lost my sense of queerness, and the prospect of facing this felt like the scariest thing yet. Now I found myself married (albeit happily) to a man and thus presenting for all intents and purposes as a heterosexual woman. I’m in my 30s and have a loving partner who is also my best friend. I love my job. I love where I live. Life should be great. I repeatedly told myself it was too late and felt too selfish to even be considering such things. I was lucky to have as much as I did. I should’ve realized and said something to B years ago. I’d missed my window. And at the time, in the midst of all these worries and rationalizations, I didn’t even stop to consider the heteronormative privilege I experience passing as straight. Instead I’d swallow my concerns and longings, shove it all down and ignore it in hopes of forgetting about it, because thinking about it, let alone talking about it, felt pointless.

But as time passes it becomes impossible to ignore that it’s not pointless, that it’s not okay to feel like this, increasingly not okay on many levels. It affects my general well-being, my day-to-day life. It affects the quality of my relationship with B. I lose interest in my hobbies. The idea of spending time with friends feels exhausting because it means keeping up the appearance that I feel fine. Exchanging everyday pleasantries makes me scream and sob inside. I feel hollow interacting with a world that assumes I’m straight, that I’m not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but an ally. I lose sleep at night wondering if I’ll ever even kiss another woman again and preoccupied by the profound despair such thoughts bring. I silently seethe while sitting through conversations with friends or family that disturb or offend me and feel mute because, before I can address an offending topic, I’d have to start potentially awkward conversations about myself in order to discuss said topic without seeming like someone getting offended on behalf of someone else. It all feels so complicated and messy. So much of this is my fault. I know this. I’m a natural introvert with an intense dislike of confrontation. I don’t want to make people I care about feel uncomfortable and I’m scared of alienating people in my life by sharing information I’ve been sitting on for so long it now feels like an old, increasingly dangerous bomb that only I know about, that only I can see.

On the verge of a tangible internal breaking point, I did finally confide in a couple close friends and, from there, worked up the courage to talk with B. It was terrifying and very emotional for both of us and didn’t get easier from there. There was relief at first, yes, but then began the long, steep learning curve as we set about navigating an entirely new phase of our relationship, one of ethical non-monogamy. For anyone considering such a thing themselves – coming out to your partner and opening your relationship – it’s a lot of hard work that requires constant open communication. But it’s completely worthwhile, I think, especially if you know your life is on the line. But, yes, it means lots of challenging conversations with your partner and working through all sorts of worries, insecurities, and other issues as they arise. For me it also means making sure B understands that, even though I’m a lot gayer now than when we began dating, I don’t love him any less or feel less romantically connected to him because he and our connection are just that special to me.

While this was tremendous personal progress and progress as a couple, aside from B and I each confiding in a couple close friends, the change in our relationship was kept a secret. There was to be no outward evidence so as not to invite potentially awkward questions, not because of shame, but because of convenience.

During this period I met a woman who she initially seemed wonderful in all sorts of ways and I felt swept off my feet, but ultimately it didn’t work out for us. I try to remind myself that most relationships don’t, regardless of things like sexuality or relationship philosophy. Perhaps, because things with B were then so delicate, and fraught, that new relationship was doomed from the start. I think that’s part of it. Sharply differing life circumstances were another. It turned out to be an impossible situation in myriad ways. I’m abbreviating and oversimplifying the entire thing for the sake of everyone’s privacy and the ache in my heart, but (also oversimplifying) I am forever grateful that it happened at all, because for so long I didn’t think anything even remotely of the sort would ever be possible for me.

I’d also like to add – not that this is news in the history of queer love – that one of the worst things ever is experiencing profound heartbreak and grieving the end of a relationship without being able to tell anyone about it because, once again, that means first having a host of other awkward conversations and you’re too sad and fragile to even begin to consider wanting to bother. So you go about the rest of your life as you’ve so often done, behaving as though everything is fine, when all you’re doing when you’re alone is crying. The. Worst.

What do you do when you finally come to fully appreciate who you are in your late 30s but your life is otherwise pretty much set? As as result of my relationship with B and because I present as very femme, there’s little outward evidence of who I know I am: a lesbian. Some might want classify me as bisexual or homoflexible because of my committed, romantic relationship with a cis man, but those labels don’t feel right to me. B and I love each other, he’s a vital part of my life, but he’s also something of an exception in my otherwise gay existence. I’ve gone through periods of fretting I’ll be told I’m somehow not queer enough to identify as I do, but I know down to my core that I’m a lesbian and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about this or that label or how my intimate relationships might be used to argue otherwise.

That being said, I don’t know what to do with these levels of invisibility. Both my straight and queer friends take it for granted that I’m straight, so when do I just…tell them I’m not? And to what end? Just so they know? So that I’m seen? Am I over-thinking this? It still feels selfish and self-important. Shouldn’t it be good enough that I finally know who I am? I’ve tried to tell myself as much time and again, but it never lasts long. I’ve also never found a good moment for such conversations. And it’s not that I’m worried my friends might be unsupportive either, at least not regarding my sexual identity. I know the concept of ethical non-monogamy is still quite a challenging concept for some, but my need to live a complete, honest, and open life is now so great, the idea of convenient discretion feels like a burden. But it simply doesn’t come up, nor do I bring it up. I stay quiet and grow increasingly sad and uncomfortable in my own life. And on those occasional really low, dark days, where I feel like my very being exists unexpressed, I begin to understand how some people reach a point where they’d simply rather not be at all, which is a horrible state of mind.

Then there’s the curious plight of the invisible femme. Not recognized as who you are. Unsure if you’re recognizing other queer women. Assuming you’re probably mistaken about them. Afraid to offend or upset anyone, because that makes rejection feel even scarier. I also worry about being rejected, seen as unavailable or outright undesirable simply because of my relationship status. Closed off and invisible like this, I don’t know how to meet new potential partners.

All of this is how I come to find myself writing such a rambling, emotional essay on my birthday, because at this point I just need to get it all out, like an owl pellet. Because I realize there are different sorts of invisible closets in life and I’m tired, starved, and heartsick from being inside any of them. Because perhaps there’s even one person out there in a similar situation who might read this and decide it’s not too late for them to be true to themselves so they won’t wait as long as I did. Because I want to be told it’s not too late for me either. Because I don’t want to feel mournful envy when I see women together. Because I don’t want to feel like a vital part of my identity is a secret I need to discretely tend to, unbeknownst to friends and family, because that’s not actually tending to anything. Because I know I have so much more love to give. Because I want to be seen and I want to be part of the community I’ve felt largely divorced from for much too long. Where are you, my queer, dark, witchy peers? We need to support each other.

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Beauty, Horror, And Glorious Puns: An Interview With Ghoulish Delights Bath Shop (and a discount code!)

by on Jun.14, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

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If you are anything like me, the discovery of a complete stranger’s creative endeavor wherein your own various, divergent passions and fascinations intersect, is cause for much excitement and celebration. First, there’s the thrill in learning that yes–these weird enthusiasms somehow mysteriously combined to create a thing that now exists! And two–there is a kindred spirit whose wonderful brain set to work in creating these wonderful things! Such are the thoughts that whirled deliriously through my mind when last year a friend shared with me the existence of the macabre, horror-themed bath and beauty products from Ghoulish Delight Bath Shop

There’s a bit of shock value, isn’t there, in the juxtaposition of the idea of beauty and horror co-mingling? It’s a weirdly fascinating proposition, and one which I’m pleased that someone else saw the value in, as well.  Created in 2016 by a horror-obsessed, pun-loving, licensed Esthetician who saw a gap in the beauty world, Ghoulish Delights focuses on body and facial care with a dark twist. Amanda blends her adoration of horror with her personal enthusiasm for natural products, weird scents, herbs and professional knowledge to make something more than the sum of the gory, mutilated body parts which go into her offerings. (Just kidding! They’re vegan and cruelty-free!)

Created in small batches but regularly re-stocked, in the Ghoulish Delights shop you will find body washes (my favorite is Dread Seance, which smells of a sweet, dusty attic, where ghosts dine on honeycomb and vanilla); decadently moisturizing Corpse Creams (Michael Meyer Lemon Cake is a delicious lemon cruller of a scent), bath soaks, lip balms, as well as, a fantastic selection of skin care options, many of which are geared toward sensitive skin! Which is great for me, because sometimes if I even look at a new product, my face becomes red and inflamed and I start to feel a little bit like a Cronenbergian body horror monster. Amanda recommended for me a combination of the gentle They’re Coming To Wash You Barbara, soothing Misty Days Magic Mud Mask, and the fantastically de-glunkifying Tokyo Pore Police (which is the best product name in the history of the entire world, and if you’ve not yet seen Tokyo Gore Police, well, you’ve got some homework after you read this feature), and, as a careful addition to the products I already have in rotation, my skin feels amazing, like maybe I’ve been bathing in the blood of hundreds of virgins or something.

In addition to the thoughtful, relevant horror movie suggestions accompanying the various products available on the site, the Ghoulish Delights shop also boasts a blog where you can read further about spooky films and scary cinema, and which features guest writings from horror blogger @deadonarrival. Interested in learning even more about this ghoulish skincare enthusiast and her delightfully horrifying creations?  Read further for our exclusive interview, and be certain to follow Ghoulish  for future updates at @ghoulishdelightsbath, and remember to sign up for the newsletter as well!

Speaking of updates, I have it on good authority that Ghoulish Delights has a forthcoming update this Friday, June 15th, at 9:00pm EST, and Amanda is offering a discount for Haute Readers! Use HMGHOUL for 10% off of your next order of $25 or more in the Ghoulish Delights shop!

Haute Macabre: As a fellow horror nerd, I’d love to delve into where and when your obsession with horror movies began? Do you have any preferred sub-genres? Eras? Tropes? Franchises? Tell me all!

Amanda: My mom worked at a video store when I was a kid so I stared at a lot of VHS covers during her shifts. I remember being most enthralled with Monkey Shines, Waxwork, The Blob, and Dead Alive artwork. My parents were huge film buffs and I didn’t have any boundaries about what I could watch (honestly what kid did in the 80’s?) but they always kept the good stuff on the top shelf, so I’d crawl up the shelving and grab whatever I could while my mom mowed the lawn. I popped in Creepshow and it was love at first sight. My brother introduced me to Child’s Play a few weeks later and I was traumatized. My first crush was Kurt Russell after seeing Big Trouble in Little China and when I saw his face on the back of The Thing I knew I had to watch it. Queue me stealing a tape from my mothers video store!

I love 80’s to early 2000’s horror. I’m not a huge fan of classic slashers or zombies. Which is a hugely unpopular opinion. I’d take Hellraiser over those any day, which is my favorite movie franchise. It’s gorey, delves into sexuality on a non mainstream level, and is just pure magic. Other favorites are Xtro, Night of the Demons, Suspiria, Thirteen Ghosts, House, Evil Dead, The Witch, and a new favorite is The Void.
If I had to break it down into genre’s I’d say I’m a big fan of classic Italian horror, anything that comes out of Korea or Thailand, supernatural, phobia films, psychological, body horror, teen / college horror, found footage ( I can’t help myself, I was a teenager when the Blair Witch came out and it was revolutionary at the time), horror dramas , comedy horror, science fiction horror, gothic horror and Troma films which I think is a category by itself. My list makes me realize I basically like everything!

Your product range offers “body and facial care with a dark twist”; can you tell us how the idea was born to marry your passion for natural products and your professional practice as an Esthetician, with your love of horror?

I’ve been making my own products for over 10 years so I’ve always enjoyed knowing what went into a product to do a specific thing. Becoming an Esthetician was a career change after both my parents had been diagnosed with skin cancer and I just felt I had to learn how to prevent this and educate people. I loved going to school and performing services. My teacher had asked where we wanted to be in 10 years and everyone in my class wanted to work for a plastic surgeon for free Botox. Then there’s tree hugging me telling the class I wanted to start my own line of natural skincare and help people’s skin with my products.

I dance between two worlds since I’ve seen what not-so-natural products can accomplish and also what natural products can do. I don’t outwardly claim my products are all-natural since I think a fusion of science and nature is an amazing combination (plus the term “natural” isn’t regulated!). I do take the time to research every ingredient, since I do have to get crafty. I can’t use a go to natural ingredient like honey since my line is vegan, so I opt for a not so natural version that is equally wonderful. With 95% of my products you can look at the label and understand what it contains. There’s something for everyone and that is what’s great about being present in what you want on your body. You choose. I try to offer something for everyone and I am constantly learning and I think that reflects in the evolution of my products.

When I dreamed up Ghoulish it was back in 2015. I was working two jobs; a waxing specialist and at an eco salon, and spa performing facials. Where I was working as a waxing specialist I was bombarded with marketing, glitter, and so much pink. Which has its place for sure… but it didn’t resonate with me. I adored the eco spa since that was more my speed, and product knowledge there was a priority so I learned so much just by investigating every ingredient in every product we carried. I was stocking shelves and it just kind of hit me that I was miserable and tired. So that night I grabbed all of my old textbooks, went on a Google bender and just researched how to make a few things that I saw were popular in my place of work. Since so much heart was going into this, so much risk, so much passion and energy, it had to be something that I was obsessed with; horror. At the time there was slim pickings for that kind of thing and I knew there had to be other people who were like me and wanted horror and weirdness to saturate every part of their lives. Five months later, after creating until 3 am almost every night, I had made some pretty awesome stuff and I opened my doors March 2016. I started out with four products that were non-facial care so that I could work up to what Ghoulish has become now– and I’m over the moon everyday that this is my job.

What kind of folks do you envision using your products?

It started off as people that were similar to me; kind of into weird stuff, horror obsessed, people that would get my references and needed help with their skin. I’m proud to say that I have 70 year old customers who have no idea what my references are but love the product. Bridging that gap, to me, is incredible.

Honestly, I just wanted to get people to take care of their skin and sometimes people need an obscure reference or an aptly placed pun to make them realize “hey I probably should be moisturizing or washing my face everyday”. I want people to be excited about skincare and improving their skins health and if I can do it with a twisted version I’m a happy camper.

My Ghouls, as I so loving call them, have helped me make Ghoulish what it is. I created a group on Facebook called The Ghoulish Army that I wanted to be a safe space for people of all walks of life, people like myself, who didn’t ever really fit in anywhere. We’re all a bit morbid, we reach out when we’re having a rough day and the support is there, it’s wonderful. We discuss horror or I give them advice on their skincare routine or how to properly use a product they just purchased. I’m constantly asking for feedback, good or bad, and it’s because they’re honest it’s shaped Ghoulish for the better. These are the people I’m creating for, they deserve a great product that resonates with them.

So…do you come up with the product first, and then conjure a gloriously punny name for it? Or do you say, watch a film like Tokyo Gore Police and realize halfway through “man, my life has been for nothing if I can’t come up with a product or formula inspired by this bizarre, perverse gem of gory Japanese cinema?” Which comes first? The product or the name?

It differs every product. By the way, I’m glad you enjoy my terrible puns! My creative process can be watching the same movie everyday while I work for a week straight waiting for something to spark. Or I’ll wake up from a dead sleep because I didn’t write down an ingredient that I want to research that has a random connection to a random part in a movie. Or I’ll be obsessed with something and create around certain points that I want to hit. A Very Buffy Summer(s) Collection was, creatively, super hard for me. I’ve been non stop watching this show for 20+ years and I had to get everything right. For that collection I worked around a character or an episode. For Tokyo Pore Police I was on an asian horror bender and that just happened simultaneously. Everyone I told my idea to thought it was ludicrous but the horror community approved. My mind never stops. I have notebooks filled with things I want to make, ingredients, scent combinations, names of future products, one liners from movies or just terrible, terrible puns.

In your “about” section on your website, you mention a love for “weird scents”; I’d love to know what’s your criteria for weird, what are some of your favorite weird scents, and have you formulated any Ghoulish Delights products to showcase them?

I’ve never been a “normal” scent person, I definitely love gourmand type scents but weird scents are my preference. I personally want to smell like a basement most days if possible. I have found more people that are like minded since I started Ghoulish which is great when I’m looking to smell like a rock. I love the smell of gasoline and snow together, animal fur,soot, dirt, rotting leaves, dust, wet pavement, certain magazine paper is intoxicating. I’m a huge fan of the way paper products smell. I joke because I have polar opposites in scent preferences, I either want to smell like deaths door or pancakes.

Some things I have definitely integrated into Ghoulish. I’ve kind of gently forced people to rethink certain notes or what they think something “good” smells like. An example is Hot Cocoa with Pyramid Head. People wanted a hot cocoa scent for winter but I’m like “if you want hot cocoa, then you’re going to also have some metal and wet soot mixed in” and it was a huge success. Its opened doors for people and they’ve gotten more adventurous with layering their own personal collection or seeking odd combinations from other brands which makes me so happy.

I think some of my favorite scents have been from The Nightmares Of Hallows Past Collection which showcased haunted places in New England. Ghosts of Seguin Island which has salty rain, dirt, rotten wood, patchouli and chai. I envisioned what it would be like to visit that haunted lighthouse in Maine while I was holding a chai tea. My scents are a mix of normal and weird which I think caters to my customers.

What do you get up to when you’re not pouring your dark and twisted heart and soul into your creations, or watching horror movies? I want to imagine you’ve got an alternate persona crashing church picnics and PTA meetings or something, hee hee!

I wish I was crashing church picnics! I spend a lot of time outdoors. I’m cooped up most days working and I need nature to get me back on track. Lots of hiking with my significant other and Tankenstein, our massive mutt. Foraging, gardening, baking and basically anything that makes me seem like I’m a 90 year old woman! I am quite nerdy so I play video games, more specifically World of Warcraft and Sims. I attend a lot of comic conventions, Harry Potter themed markets, ren faires, that sort of thing. I have a lot of random interests, like I just started to learn how to wood burn and widdle. I’m also learning Norwegian! I’m more of a crunchy granola type person. I think when people meet me they think I’m going to be this dark witchy woman and I’m just over here being a hippie haha. My dream is to live on a mountain and homestead.

What’s inspiring you lately? Will we be seeing these influences in any new products or forthcoming updates?

I have a new collection inspired by Buffy The Vampire Slayer coming June 15th! I have a lot in the works for Ghoulish in the skincare department. I can’t wait to release that.

My biggest influence recently has been the outdoors. Being from New England I’m fortunate to experience all seasons. I love them all and they each offer up some sort of inspiration that goes into my creations. I get inspired a lot by my dreams. I have very vivid dream experiences and I conjure up some weird stuff.

Linda Lomelino has been inspiring me recently. She’s a photographer and cookbook author and she just takes the most amazing photos of her creations. Her whole feed is gorgeous. In general fellow female indie business owners inspire me daily. They’re so open to share that they are humans that have trials and tribulations but still manage to create and keep going. It’s a wonderful thing to see someone flourish.

I’m pretty excited to announce my other company Ammil Forest. It’s a perfume company that I’ve been devoting every spare moment to for over a year now. It’s been an amazing journey working with the bare bones of perfumery and building a blend from the ground up. I’m hoping to open by the end of the year but as of right now there’s no definite date. This has been such a labor of love and I’m enjoying the experience of taking my time. It’s an extension of me, or another part, that I don’t get to show with Ghoulish sometimes and it’s been such a freeing experience to challenge myself on learning something completely new and unfamiliar. Scent has always been part of who I am. I have a terrible memory but my scent memory is stellar. It has such a powerful impact on our lives and I want to recreate memories for people.

Is there anything else you want our readers to know about you, or what you do?

At the core of who I am and why I started this business was to help people’s skin and make them feel confident in who they are. I’m grateful for everyday I get to do this. It’s opened up incredible opportunities and I look forward to expanding my business next year. I currently have a work space the size of a closet where I make thousands of products a month so I’m looking forward to growing and providing even more tools to help people with their skincare journey.

Find Ghoulish Delights: Website // Instagram // Facebook // Twitter

(All images in this post courtesy Ghoulish Delights, except for the feature photo, by Maika, and the final photo, by S. Elizabeth)

 

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Beauty, Horror, And Glorious Puns: An Interview With Ghoulish Delights Bath Shop (and a discount code!)

by on Jun.14, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

If you are anything like me, the discovery of a complete stranger’s creative endeavor wherein your own various, divergent passions and fascinations intersect, is cause for much excitement and celebration. First, there’s the thrill in learning that yes–these weird enthusiasms somehow mysteriously combined to create a thing that now exists! And two–there is a kindred spirit whose wonderful brain set to work in creating these wonderful things! Such are the thoughts that whirled deliriously through my mind when last year a friend shared with me the existence of the macabre, horror-themed bath and beauty products from Ghoulish Delight Bath Shop

There’s a bit of shock value, isn’t there, in the juxtaposition of the idea of beauty and horror co-mingling? It’s a weirdly fascinating proposition, and one which I’m pleased that someone else saw the value in, as well.  Created in 2016 by a horror-obsessed, pun-loving, licensed Esthetician who saw a gap in the beauty world, Ghoulish Delights focuses on body and facial care with a dark twist. Amanda blends her adoration of horror with her personal enthusiasm for natural products, weird scents, herbs and professional knowledge to make something more than the sum of the gory, mutilated body parts which go into her offerings. (Just kidding! They’re vegan and cruelty-free!)

Created in small batches but regularly re-stocked, in the Ghoulish Delights shop you will find body washes (my favorite is Dread Seance, which smells of a sweet, dusty attic, where ghosts dine on honeycomb and vanilla); decadently moisturizing Corpse Creams (Michael Meyer Lemon Cake is a delicious lemon cruller of a scent), bath soaks, lip balms, as well as, a fantastic selection of skin care options, many of which are geared toward sensitive skin! Which is great for me, because sometimes if I even look at a new product, my face becomes red and inflamed and I start to feel a little bit like a Cronenbergian body horror monster. Amanda recommended for me a combination of the gentle They’re Coming To Wash You Barbara, soothing Misty Days Magic Mud Mask, and the fantastically de-glunkifying Tokyo Pore Police (which is the best product name in the history of the entire world, and if you’ve not yet seen Tokyo Gore Police, well, you’ve got some homework after you read this feature), and, as a careful addition to the products I already have in rotation, my skin feels amazing, like maybe I’ve been bathing in the blood of hundreds of virgins or something.

In addition to the thoughtful, relevant horror movie suggestions accompanying the various products available on the site, the Ghoulish Delights shop also boasts a blog where you can read further about spooky films and scary cinema, and which features guest writings from horror blogger @deadonarrival. Interested in learning even more about this ghoulish skincare enthusiast and her delightfully horrifying creations?  Read further for our exclusive interview, and be certain to follow Ghoulish  for future updates at @ghoulishdelightsbath, and remember to sign up for the newsletter as well!

Speaking of updates, I have it on good authority that Ghoulish Delights has a forthcoming update this Friday, June 15th, at 9:00pm EST, and Amanda is offering a discount for Haute Readers! Use HMGHOUL for 10% off of your next order of $25 or more in the Ghoulish Delights shop!

Haute Macabre: As a fellow horror nerd, I’d love to delve into where and when your obsession with horror movies began? Do you have any preferred sub-genres? Eras? Tropes? Franchises? Tell me all!

Amanda: My mom worked at a video store when I was a kid so I stared at a lot of VHS covers during her shifts. I remember being most enthralled with Monkey Shines, Waxwork, The Blob, and Dead Alive artwork. My parents were huge film buffs and I didn’t have any boundaries about what I could watch (honestly what kid did in the 80’s?) but they always kept the good stuff on the top shelf, so I’d crawl up the shelving and grab whatever I could while my mom mowed the lawn. I popped in Creepshow and it was love at first sight. My brother introduced me to Child’s Play a few weeks later and I was traumatized. My first crush was Kurt Russell after seeing Big Trouble in Little China and when I saw his face on the back of The Thing I knew I had to watch it. Queue me stealing a tape from my mothers video store!

I love 80’s to early 2000’s horror. I’m not a huge fan of classic slashers or zombies. Which is a hugely unpopular opinion. I’d take Hellraiser over those any day, which is my favorite movie franchise. It’s gorey, delves into sexuality on a non mainstream level, and is just pure magic. Other favorites are Xtro, Night of the Demons, Suspiria, Thirteen Ghosts, House, Evil Dead, The Witch, and a new favorite is The Void.
If I had to break it down into genre’s I’d say I’m a big fan of classic Italian horror, anything that comes out of Korea or Thailand, supernatural, phobia films, psychological, body horror, teen / college horror, found footage ( I can’t help myself, I was a teenager when the Blair Witch came out and it was revolutionary at the time), horror dramas , comedy horror, science fiction horror, gothic horror and Troma films which I think is a category by itself. My list makes me realize I basically like everything!

Your product range offers “body and facial care with a dark twist”; can you tell us how the idea was born to marry your passion for natural products and your professional practice as an Esthetician, with your love of horror?

I’ve been making my own products for over 10 years so I’ve always enjoyed knowing what went into a product to do a specific thing. Becoming an Esthetician was a career change after both my parents had been diagnosed with skin cancer and I just felt I had to learn how to prevent this and educate people. I loved going to school and performing services. My teacher had asked where we wanted to be in 10 years and everyone in my class wanted to work for a plastic surgeon for free Botox. Then there’s tree hugging me telling the class I wanted to start my own line of natural skincare and help people’s skin with my products.

I dance between two worlds since I’ve seen what not-so-natural products can accomplish and also what natural products can do. I don’t outwardly claim my products are all-natural since I think a fusion of science and nature is an amazing combination (plus the term “natural” isn’t regulated!). I do take the time to research every ingredient, since I do have to get crafty. I can’t use a go to natural ingredient like honey since my line is vegan, so I opt for a not so natural version that is equally wonderful. With 95% of my products you can look at the label and understand what it contains. There’s something for everyone and that is what’s great about being present in what you want on your body. You choose. I try to offer something for everyone and I am constantly learning and I think that reflects in the evolution of my products.

When I dreamed up Ghoulish it was back in 2015. I was working two jobs; a waxing specialist and at an eco salon, and spa performing facials. Where I was working as a waxing specialist I was bombarded with marketing, glitter, and so much pink. Which has its place for sure… but it didn’t resonate with me. I adored the eco spa since that was more my speed, and product knowledge there was a priority so I learned so much just by investigating every ingredient in every product we carried. I was stocking shelves and it just kind of hit me that I was miserable and tired. So that night I grabbed all of my old textbooks, went on a Google bender and just researched how to make a few things that I saw were popular in my place of work. Since so much heart was going into this, so much risk, so much passion and energy, it had to be something that I was obsessed with; horror. At the time there was slim pickings for that kind of thing and I knew there had to be other people who were like me and wanted horror and weirdness to saturate every part of their lives. Five months later, after creating until 3 am almost every night, I had made some pretty awesome stuff and I opened my doors March 2016. I started out with four products that were non-facial care so that I could work up to what Ghoulish has become now– and I’m over the moon everyday that this is my job.

What kind of folks do you envision using your products?

It started off as people that were similar to me; kind of into weird stuff, horror obsessed, people that would get my references and needed help with their skin. I’m proud to say that I have 70 year old customers who have no idea what my references are but love the product. Bridging that gap, to me, is incredible.

Honestly, I just wanted to get people to take care of their skin and sometimes people need an obscure reference or an aptly placed pun to make them realize “hey I probably should be moisturizing or washing my face everyday”. I want people to be excited about skincare and improving their skins health and if I can do it with a twisted version I’m a happy camper.

My Ghouls, as I so loving call them, have helped me make Ghoulish what it is. I created a group on Facebook called The Ghoulish Army that I wanted to be a safe space for people of all walks of life, people like myself, who didn’t ever really fit in anywhere. We’re all a bit morbid, we reach out when we’re having a rough day and the support is there, it’s wonderful. We discuss horror or I give them advice on their skincare routine or how to properly use a product they just purchased. I’m constantly asking for feedback, good or bad, and it’s because they’re honest it’s shaped Ghoulish for the better. These are the people I’m creating for, they deserve a great product that resonates with them.

So…do you come up with the product first, and then conjure a gloriously punny name for it? Or do you say, watch a film like Tokyo Gore Police and realize halfway through “man, my life has been for nothing if I can’t come up with a product or formula inspired by this bizarre, perverse gem of gory Japanese cinema?” Which comes first? The product or the name?

It differs every product. By the way, I’m glad you enjoy my terrible puns! My creative process can be watching the same movie everyday while I work for a week straight waiting for something to spark. Or I’ll wake up from a dead sleep because I didn’t write down an ingredient that I want to research that has a random connection to a random part in a movie. Or I’ll be obsessed with something and create around certain points that I want to hit. A Very Buffy Summer(s) Collection was, creatively, super hard for me. I’ve been non stop watching this show for 20+ years and I had to get everything right. For that collection I worked around a character or an episode. For Tokyo Pore Police I was on an asian horror bender and that just happened simultaneously. Everyone I told my idea to thought it was ludicrous but the horror community approved. My mind never stops. I have notebooks filled with things I want to make, ingredients, scent combinations, names of future products, one liners from movies or just terrible, terrible puns.

In your “about” section on your website, you mention a love for “weird scents”; I’d love to know what’s your criteria for weird, what are some of your favorite weird scents, and have you formulated any Ghoulish Delights products to showcase them?

I’ve never been a “normal” scent person, I definitely love gourmand type scents but weird scents are my preference. I personally want to smell like a basement most days if possible. I have found more people that are like minded since I started Ghoulish which is great when I’m looking to smell like a rock. I love the smell of gasoline and snow together, animal fur,soot, dirt, rotting leaves, dust, wet pavement, certain magazine paper is intoxicating. I’m a huge fan of the way paper products smell. I joke because I have polar opposites in scent preferences, I either want to smell like deaths door or pancakes.

Some things I have definitely integrated into Ghoulish. I’ve kind of gently forced people to rethink certain notes or what they think something “good” smells like. An example is Hot Cocoa with Pyramid Head. People wanted a hot cocoa scent for winter but I’m like “if you want hot cocoa, then you’re going to also have some metal and wet soot mixed in” and it was a huge success. Its opened doors for people and they’ve gotten more adventurous with layering their own personal collection or seeking odd combinations from other brands which makes me so happy.

I think some of my favorite scents have been from The Nightmares Of Hallows Past Collection which showcased haunted places in New England. Ghosts of Seguin Island which has salty rain, dirt, rotten wood, patchouli and chai. I envisioned what it would be like to visit that haunted lighthouse in Maine while I was holding a chai tea. My scents are a mix of normal and weird which I think caters to my customers.

What do you get up to when you’re not pouring your dark and twisted heart and soul into your creations, or watching horror movies? I want to imagine you’ve got an alternate persona crashing church picnics and PTA meetings or something, hee hee!

I wish I was crashing church picnics! I spend a lot of time outdoors. I’m cooped up most days working and I need nature to get me back on track. Lots of hiking with my significant other and Tankenstein, our massive mutt. Foraging, gardening, baking and basically anything that makes me seem like I’m a 90 year old woman! I am quite nerdy so I play video games, more specifically World of Warcraft and Sims. I attend a lot of comic conventions, Harry Potter themed markets, ren faires, that sort of thing. I have a lot of random interests, like I just started to learn how to wood burn and widdle. I’m also learning Norwegian! I’m more of a crunchy granola type person. I think when people meet me they think I’m going to be this dark witchy woman and I’m just over here being a hippie haha. My dream is to live on a mountain and homestead.

What’s inspiring you lately? Will we be seeing these influences in any new products or forthcoming updates?

I have a new collection inspired by Buffy The Vampire Slayer coming June 15th! I have a lot in the works for Ghoulish in the skincare department. I can’t wait to release that.

My biggest influence recently has been the outdoors. Being from New England I’m fortunate to experience all seasons. I love them all and they each offer up some sort of inspiration that goes into my creations. I get inspired a lot by my dreams. I have very vivid dream experiences and I conjure up some weird stuff.

Linda Lomelino has been inspiring me recently. She’s a photographer and cookbook author and she just takes the most amazing photos of her creations. Her whole feed is gorgeous. In general fellow female indie business owners inspire me daily. They’re so open to share that they are humans that have trials and tribulations but still manage to create and keep going. It’s a wonderful thing to see someone flourish.

I’m pretty excited to announce my other company Ammil Forest. It’s a perfume company that I’ve been devoting every spare moment to for over a year now. It’s been an amazing journey working with the bare bones of perfumery and building a blend from the ground up. I’m hoping to open by the end of the year but as of right now there’s no definite date. This has been such a labor of love and I’m enjoying the experience of taking my time. It’s an extension of me, or another part, that I don’t get to show with Ghoulish sometimes and it’s been such a freeing experience to challenge myself on learning something completely new and unfamiliar. Scent has always been part of who I am. I have a terrible memory but my scent memory is stellar. It has such a powerful impact on our lives and I want to recreate memories for people.

Is there anything else you want our readers to know about you, or what you do?

At the core of who I am and why I started this business was to help people’s skin and make them feel confident in who they are. I’m grateful for everyday I get to do this. It’s opened up incredible opportunities and I look forward to expanding my business next year. I currently have a work space the size of a closet where I make thousands of products a month so I’m looking forward to growing and providing even more tools to help people with their skincare journey.

Find Ghoulish Delights: Website // Instagram // Facebook // Twitter

(All images in this post courtesy Ghoulish Delights, except for the feature photo, by Maika, and the final photo, by S. Elizabeth)

 

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How To Wear A New Home

by on Jun.11, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

 

Ok, so not a literal new home. Maybe that title was a little click bait-y. I still live on the same block, in the same neighborhood, with the same old fellow behind us whose slobbery dog always escapes through an open window and somehow winds up at our front door looking for treats and walks and belly rubs.

No, my new other home is over at URSTYLE. If you’ve been following my How To Wear features for a while, you probably know my secret-weapon-that’s-actually-not-a-secret-at-all, because I’m a blabby over-sharer, and I’d tell anyone who asked: I used a website called Polyvore to create the outfits. Polyvore was a collage-making/moodboard type of site where you could save a “closet” full of items culled from your favorite shops all over the internet, and then create all manner of ensembles with them. I had an account over at Polyvore for the better part of a decade–I think many of you had, and I was poly-pals with several of you! It was, over the years, the one site I consistently checked in on, every single day; the process of creating these sets over there was a daily ritual both very soothing for my nervous disposition and it scratched a creative itch that I’d never been able to satisfy because, well, I am not a proper artist. I made a community of friends over there. I had an archive of over one thousand creations of which, while I know it sounds a little silly, I was absurdly proud. And then, without warning, the site closed down forever in early April.

I won’t get into the hows and the whys, and how broken-hearted I was; I have written it all out of my system on my personal blog already, and you are welcome to read my thoughts over there. I’m over the whinging and hand-wringing.  What do you do when a practice you love and you actually sort of need in your life is no longer available to you? Well, I don’t know what your therapist would tell you to do, but me? I work to replace it.

And…I believe that I have! I’ve tested out a few alternatives over the past two months, and I’m pretty thrilled with the URSTYLE platform (kinda hate the name though, but I guess I don’t get to vote on that.) The interface is very similar to what I am used to; they allow you to import all of your former Polyvore sets over; they’ve installed a “clipper” function, a widget which you can install in your browser to snag imagery from just about any site you are on, and whisk it away into your virtual closet; and they’ve got community forums! I’m definitely feeling at home, and life is starting to feel normal again. Laugh all you want, but this was a major disruption for me and left a massive hole in my heart.

Here are some ensembles I’m wearing in my new home, and, as always, you will find the item details under each grouping.  Please don’t yell at me if something is out of stock! They were all available in the last few weeks when I created the outfits, but sometimes things sell out quickly. I promise, I’m not dangling beautiful, unavailable things in front of your nose just to cackle maniacally when I see that you’re tempted by something you cannot have.

And I know, I know…I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color!

 

 

Striped & speckled knotted tee at Moorea Seal  / Balmain moto-style skinnies / Stella McCartney lace bra and briefs / Valley Eye Wear XVI sunnies / Rituel de Fille Written in Blood Forbidden liptstick / Alexander McQueen bird charm earrings / Golden Grove In Memory Of ring / Givenchy Lightning Bolt pouchELLIS BROOKLYN Myth Eau de Parfum / Tamar Shalem Black handmade leather flats

RUNDHOLZ Cut Out Jersey Dress / La Petite Trou bra and briefs / Charlotte Olympia zip wallet / Nutsa Modeblaze NM0062 boot / Christian Louboutin The Noirs nail color / Alicia Hannah Naomi Atlas ringPsychédélique eau de parfum 3.4oz by Jovoy / BloodMilk Snake Rib Ouroboros Small Spy Glass Necklace

Phillip Lim Flared Midi Dress  / Alicia Hannah Naomi Priestess necklace / Nutsa Modablaze NM0019 pump / Adele Mildred Diamanda sunnies / The Great Eros bralette / Journell Canopy brief / Broken Glass EDP by BlackbirdRituel de Fille Pyxis Celestial Sphere Eye SootZana Bayne Mini Signature Bag / Macabre Gadgets Black Corvus Ring

Items for this post’s featured image can be found here. As a final note, I am in no way affiliated with URSTYLE…it’s just a website that I like to use…and if you’ve found a new home over there too, please let me know!

 

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How To Wear A New Home

by on Jun.11, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

 

Ok, so not a literal new home. Maybe that title was a little click bait-y. I still live on the same block, in the same neighborhood, with the same old fellow behind us whose slobbery dog always escapes through an open window and somehow winds up at our front door looking for treats and walks and belly rubs.

No, my new other home is over at URSTYLE. If you’ve been following my How To Wear features for a while, you probably know my secret-weapon-that’s-actually-not-a-secret-at-all, because I’m a blabby over-sharer, and I’d tell anyone who asked: I used a website called Polyvore to create the outfits. Polyvore was a collage-making/moodboard type of site where you could save a “closet” full of items culled from your favorite shops all over the internet, and then create all manner of ensembles with them. I had an account over at Polyvore for the better part of a decade–I think many of you had, and I was poly-pals with several of you! It was, over the years, the one site I consistently checked in on, every single day; the process of creating these sets over there was a daily ritual both very soothing for my nervous disposition and it scratched a creative itch that I’d never been able to satisfy because, well, I am not a proper artist. I made a community of friends over there. I had an archive of over one thousand creations of which, while I know it sounds a little silly, I was absurdly proud. And then, without warning, the site closed down forever in early April.

I won’t get into the hows and the whys, and how broken-hearted I was; I have written it all out of my system on my personal blog already, and you are welcome to read my thoughts over there. I’m over the whinging and hand-wringing.  What do you do when a practice you love and you actually sort of need in your life is no longer available to you? Well, I don’t know what your therapist would tell you to do, but me? I work to replace it.

And…I believe that I have! I’ve tested out a few alternatives over the past two months, and I’m pretty thrilled with the URSTYLE platform (kinda hate the name though, but I guess I don’t get to vote on that.) The interface is very similar to what I am used to; they allow you to import all of your former Polyvore sets over; they’ve installed a “clipper” function, a widget which you can install in your browser to snag imagery from just about any site you are on, and whisk it away into your virtual closet; and they’ve got community forums! I’m definitely feeling at home, and life is starting to feel normal again. Laugh all you want, but this was a major disruption for me and left a massive hole in my heart.

Here are some ensembles I’m wearing in my new home, and, as always, you will find the item details under each grouping.  Please don’t yell at me if something is out of stock! They were all available in the last few weeks when I created the outfits, but sometimes things sell out quickly. I promise, I’m not dangling beautiful, unavailable things in front of your nose just to cackle maniacally when I see that you’re tempted by something you cannot have.

And I know, I know…I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color!

 

 

Striped & speckled knotted tee at Moorea Seal  / Balmain moto-style skinnies / Stella McCartney lace bra and briefs / Valley Eye Wear XVI sunnies / Rituel de Fille Written in Blood Forbidden liptstick / Alexander McQueen bird charm earrings / Golden Grove In Memory Of ring / Givenchy Lightning Bolt pouchELLIS BROOKLYN Myth Eau de Parfum / Tamar Shalem Black handmade leather flats

RUNDHOLZ Cut Out Jersey Dress / La Petite Trou bra and briefs / Charlotte Olympia zip wallet / Nutsa Modeblaze NM0062 boot / Christian Louboutin The Noirs nail color / Alicia Hannah Naomi Atlas ringPsychédélique eau de parfum 3.4oz by Jovoy / BloodMilk Snake Rib Ouroboros Small Spy Glass Necklace

Phillip Lim Flared Midi Dress  / Alicia Hannah Naomi Priestess necklace / Nutsa Modablaze NM0019 pump / Adele Mildred Diamanda sunnies / The Great Eros bralette / Journell Canopy brief / Broken Glass EDP by BlackbirdRituel de Fille Pyxis Celestial Sphere Eye SootZana Bayne Mini Signature Bag / Macabre Gadgets Black Corvus Ring

Items for this post’s featured image can be found here. As a final note, I am in no way affiliated with URSTYLE…it’s just a website that I like to use…and if you’ve found a new home over there too, please let me know!

 

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Dark Summer Fragrances From Solstice Scents

by on Jun.08, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

I have written before on how summer fragrances needn’t be sweetness and light and greasy coconut oil, green tea/cucumber-melon variants. Although, if that’s your thing–good for you, you’re in luck! Because there’s certainly a lot of that stuff to be found. If you’re not into it, well, you folks are in luck, too! For Solstice Scents has a handful of dark new offerings just in time for those who prefer the shadows to light, the shade to the sun, and perhaps a hot cup of strong tea to a tropical cocktail sipped through a pineapple.

Full Dark (amber resin, saffron, black rose, black musk, oud, fossilized amber, leather, smoked amber, spice) is meant to represent “the blackest pitch, the negative space, the lightless void,” and is part of Solstice Scents’ Light and Shadow: Amber series. The first in this series, Sea of Gray, was previously reviewed here and Casting Shadows, a stunning blend of amber, nag champa, and maple sugar, is another.)

While Full Dark’s opening notes give the impression of a scent both heavy and heady, redolent of resins, rich, earthy leather, and a subtle, animalic note that lends to a musky sweetness as the scent warms on the skin, it’s a scent that somehow leaves me feeling remarkably light-hearted.

During my childhood FL summers, we would at least once, usually around the fourth of July, make a visit to our Aunt’s mobile home park. We didn’t see her often, despite the fact that she only lived twenty minutes away (I don’t think she and my mother got along very well), so these trips were a rare treat. We’d spend all day in the lukewarm community pool packed with other kids like us, and their beleaguered parents, and then we’d dine on hot dogs and pretzels for supper, with a bowl of vanilla ice cream for dessert. The kind with the tiny, black vanilla-bean flecks in it–which I had never seen before, and for a 10 year old kid, seemed pretty exotic. As the sun disappeared for the day, I would sit with my bowl of unadorned dessert–no chocolate syrup for me, thanks– a shabby old towel draped over my head, goose-pimpled and freezing in that remarkably efficient air-conditioning, and flipping through my uncle’s Playboy magazines, which apparently no one thought was weird and for which nobody ever scolded me. Once my swimsuit was no longer sopping wet, I’d step out onto the open carport, where the rest of my family was softly chatting and waiting for fireworks to light up the balmy evening’s shadows. As the the chill faded from my small bones, and I drank the sweet, milky remainder of my ice cream from the bowl, I recall idly wondering about future summers and future me and where does it all lead? As the sky came alive, alight with the glittering explosions of infinite possibilities, I took my mother’s slender hand, and I felt her smile down at me in the darkness. Full Dark recalls for me those long ago evenings of warmth and sweetness and inextinguishable wonder.

 

Headmaster (apple, bourbon, oak, cedar, pipe tobacco, applewood, amber, spices) Opens with ripe, red fruits, the nose-tickling delight of high quality pencil shavings, and a blast of sweetened, unlit pipe tobacco. I imagine the experience of being trapped, as a sullen teenager, at a posh boarding school during the summertime might smell a bit like this; all of your classmates are jetting out to Amalfi or the the French Riviera, but your mother has remarried and is honeymooning in Egypt with her new husband; her final words to you, over a rushed, static-filled overseas phone call were along the lines of, “…garble garble I’m sure you understand, love you darling garble garble see you on Christmas break…!”

There’s a skeleton staff, all of the professors are on break except the creepy one whom no one but you has ever seen (that’s weird, right?) but the cook is very much a real, solid creature–she thinks you’re a dear and makes your favorite treat every night: baked apples en flambé, the secret ingredient being a generous nip of the headmaster’s special bourbon. You savor it at the bottom of the massive staircase every night, spoon in one hand, your other hand languidly sliding along the oaken bannisters, polished smooth by the hands of all of the young ladies over the years who have attended this strange institution.  The golden glow of the setting sun glimmers through the ornate stained glass set into building’s solid front doors, and between the dust motes dancing in the amber light, vague shapes begin to take form, swirling and eddying, coalescing into an almost-human shaped cloud. You rub your eyes, sleepily, and the vision is gone.

 

Russian Caravan (amber, smoked black tea, leather, pine resin, Earth, smoke, black currant, black pepper) A reformulated version of scent originally created for winter,  Russian Caravan is an impressively leather-forward scent. I don’t own any leather jackets, but I’ve smelled a great many of them (I’ve lived next door to the annual Bike Week revelries in Daytona Beach for most of my life, after all) but rather than stinking of sleazy bars and unwashed summer bodies, this is a lovely, worn-in leather that smells of an early June trek through forest greenery, a soft, piney astringency mixed with the tart sweetness of woodland berry bushes. And no hike is complete without a flask of lapsang souchong tucked into your pocket, right? (Wait, is that not a thing?) The fragrance of this dark, smoky tea takes a backseat to the other notes, but is a dry, peppery constant woven throughout.

Travelers (amber, clove and frankincense) Another reformulation, a simple but potent blend, and purportedly not as clove-heavy as the original. Smoky, spicy, and sweet–the camphorous clove is nicely tempered by the warm amber and the cool, resinous frankincense and I can’t help but to think this a perfect fragrance for summer time ren faires with your beardiest, dorkiest, D&D-est friends. Or maybe *you* are that friend, which makes the fragrance even more perfect! It immediately conjures imagery of drum circles and mead and mesmerizing bosoms popping out of their corsets and a man with a cloak and a feather in his cap who repeatedly calls you “mi’lady”. I just went to a ren faire two months ago, so this is all very fresh in my mind. By the end of the day I smelled like goats and pickle barrels; I could have really used some Travelers right then.

 

Postprandial (vanilla, irish cream, coffee, chocolate, bourbon, pipe tobacco) is a dark gourmand fragrance, an evening’s libation incorporating a medley of liqueurs, among them sweet, creamy vanilla, and woody, oak-heavy bourbon, and which contains a true cacao absolute and an organic dark roast coffee tincture. An ice-cold thimbleful of this boozy draught is a nightcap more potent than you might initially realize–so guide your midnight spritzes accordingly, and prepare for the sweetest of midsummer dreams.

Find Solstice Scents: website // instagram // facebook // twitter

 

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Dark Summer Fragrances From Solstice Scents

by on Jun.08, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

I have written before on how summer fragrances needn’t be sweetness and light and greasy coconut oil, green tea/cucumber-melon variants. Although, if that’s your thing–good for you, you’re in luck! Because there’s certainly a lot of that stuff to be found. If you’re not into it, well, you folks are in luck, too! For Solstice Scents has a handful of dark new offerings just in time for those who prefer the shadows to light, the shade to the sun, and perhaps a hot cup of strong tea to a tropical cocktail sipped through a pineapple.

Full Dark (amber resin, saffron, black rose, black musk, oud, fossilized amber, leather, smoked amber, spice) is meant to represent “the blackest pitch, the negative space, the lightless void,” and is part of Solstice Scents’ Light and Shadow: Amber series. The first in this series, Sea of Gray, was previously reviewed here and Casting Shadows, a stunning blend of amber, nag champa, and maple sugar, is another.)

While Full Dark’s opening notes give the impression of a scent both heavy and heady, redolent of resins, rich, earthy leather, and a subtle, animalic note that lends to a musky sweetness as the scent warms on the skin, it’s a scent that somehow leaves me feeling remarkably light-hearted.

During my childhood FL summers, we would at least once, usually around the fourth of July, make a visit to our Aunt’s mobile home park. We didn’t see her often, despite the fact that she only lived twenty minutes away (I don’t think she and my mother got along very well), so these trips were a rare treat. We’d spend all day in the lukewarm community pool packed with other kids like us, and their beleaguered parents, and then we’d dine on hot dogs and pretzels for supper, with a bowl of vanilla ice cream for dessert. The kind with the tiny, black vanilla-bean flecks in it–which I had never seen before, and for a 10 year old kid, seemed pretty exotic. As the sun disappeared for the day, I would sit with my bowl of unadorned dessert–no chocolate syrup for me, thanks– a shabby old towel draped over my head, goose-pimpled and freezing in that remarkably efficient air-conditioning, and flipping through my uncle’s Playboy magazines, which apparently no one thought was weird and for which nobody ever scolded me. Once my swimsuit was no longer sopping wet, I’d step out onto the open carport, where the rest of my family was softly chatting and waiting for fireworks to light up the balmy evening’s shadows. As the the chill faded from my small bones, and I drank the sweet, milky remainder of my ice cream from the bowl, I recall idly wondering about future summers and future me and where does it all lead? As the sky came alive, alight with the glittering explosions of infinite possibilities, I took my mother’s slender hand, and I felt her smile down at me in the darkness. Full Dark recalls for me those long ago evenings of warmth and sweetness and inextinguishable wonder.

 

Headmaster (apple, bourbon, oak, cedar, pipe tobacco, applewood, amber, spices) Opens with ripe, red fruits, the nose-tickling delight of high quality pencil shavings, and a blast of sweetened, unlit pipe tobacco. I imagine the experience of being trapped, as a sullen teenager, at a posh boarding school during the summertime might smell a bit like this; all of your classmates are jetting out to Amalfi or the the French Riviera, but your mother has remarried and is honeymooning in Egypt with her new husband; her final words to you, over a rushed, static-filled overseas phone call were along the lines of, “…garble garble I’m sure you understand, love you darling garble garble see you on Christmas break…!”

There’s a skeleton staff, all of the professors are on break except the creepy one whom no one but you has ever seen (that’s weird, right?) but the cook is very much a real, solid creature–she thinks you’re a dear and makes your favorite treat every night: baked apples en flambé, the secret ingredient being a generous nip of the headmaster’s special bourbon. You savor it at the bottom of the massive staircase every night, spoon in one hand, your other hand languidly sliding along the oaken bannisters, polished smooth by the hands of all of the young ladies over the years who have attended this strange institution.  The golden glow of the setting sun glimmers through the ornate stained glass set into building’s solid front doors, and between the dust motes dancing in the amber light, vague shapes begin to take form, swirling and eddying, coalescing into an almost-human shaped cloud. You rub your eyes, sleepily, and the vision is gone.

 

Russian Caravan (amber, smoked black tea, leather, pine resin, Earth, smoke, black currant, black pepper) A reformulated version of scent originally created for winter,  Russian Caravan is an impressively leather-forward scent. I don’t own any leather jackets, but I’ve smelled a great many of them (I’ve lived next door to the annual Bike Week revelries in Daytona Beach for most of my life, after all) but rather than stinking of sleazy bars and unwashed summer bodies, this is a lovely, worn-in leather that smells of an early June trek through forest greenery, a soft, piney astringency mixed with the tart sweetness of woodland berry bushes. And no hike is complete without a flask of lapsang souchong tucked into your pocket, right? (Wait, is that not a thing?) The fragrance of this dark, smoky tea takes a backseat to the other notes, but is a dry, peppery constant woven throughout.

Travelers (amber, clove and frankincense) Another reformulation, a simple but potent blend, and purportedly not as clove-heavy as the original. Smoky, spicy, and sweet–the camphorous clove is nicely tempered by the warm amber and the cool, resinous frankincense and I can’t help but to think this a perfect fragrance for summer time ren faires with your beardiest, dorkiest, D&D-est friends. Or maybe *you* are that friend, which makes the fragrance even more perfect! It immediately conjures imagery of drum circles and mead and mesmerizing bosoms popping out of their corsets and a man with a cloak and a feather in his cap who repeatedly calls you “mi’lady”. I just went to a ren faire two months ago, so this is all very fresh in my mind. By the end of the day I smelled like goats and pickle barrels; I could have really used some Travelers right then.

 

Postprandial (vanilla, irish cream, coffee, chocolate, bourbon, pipe tobacco) is a dark gourmand fragrance, an evening’s libation incorporating a medley of liqueurs, among them sweet, creamy vanilla, and woody, oak-heavy bourbon, and which contains a true cacao absolute and an organic dark roast coffee tincture. An ice-cold thimbleful of this boozy draught is a nightcap more potent than you might initially realize–so guide your midnight spritzes accordingly, and prepare for the sweetest of midsummer dreams.

Find Solstice Scents: website // instagram // facebook // twitter

 

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New Sponsor: Lost Apostle

by on Jun.04, 2018, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from | Go to Original Post

Introducing: Lost Apostle. Their humble beginnings began 11 years ago behind a
market stall in East London. Now based in Montreal, James & Nadya, the duo
behind Lost Apostle, have perfected their style with a strong presence in the
alternative jewelry world.

Take a walk on the wild side with Lost Apostle’s intricate skull collection; from
big cat skulls to bird skulls, a variety of human skulls, to the cute but morose
Teddy Bear Skull. Concious of not excluding the opposite sex, many of Lost
Apostle’s pendants and bracelets are unisex, one of the driving forces behind
creating a cult jewelry brand that both men & women can wear.

Each piece of jewelry in the Lost Apostle collection is likened to a miniature
sculpture & is cast in bronze or silver, and is created using the 5000 year old
process of lost wax casting… a true testament to James and Nadya’s love of detail
and quality workmanship.

Haute Macabre followers are being offered a 25% discount on everything in their
shop… here’s your coupon code: LOSTMACABRE25.

Shop the new & existing collection at www.lostapostlejewelry.com & follow them
on Instagram.

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