Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Brand of Choice 2016: RESTYLE

My Brand of Choice for 2016

Restyle is one of those brands that I've had an interest in for some time. Most people remember them for their highly popularized cameo purses. They've dabbled in a little Lolita, a little Trad Goth, but it seems that they've found their niche in the Nu Goth scene. I have been increasingly impressed with their emerging designs. They continuously refine their aesthetic with each new collection. Their jewelry is to die for. Take a look at their latest releases and you'll be left asking, "Alchemy who?" They are easily the best name as far as Gothic jewelry goes. Killstar can't hold a candle to them. Restyle's most recent clothing designs are leaning heavily into the bondage trend which I quite fancy. While body harnesses have been done to death, I'm taken with Restyle's ability to implement bondage in subtle and sophisticated ways. It's evident that they have a keen understanding of the female form. This is what earns them my title of brand of choice for 2016. They mix materials in ways that I cannot comprehend. If someone could teach me how to knock off their leggings, please do so, because I am freaking stumped! How do they do it without affecting the stretch of the fabric?! HOW? It's almost worth forking over the $50 USD to find out...


Restyle's most recent releases are largely influenced by geometry and occult symbolism. I'm a little over the occult thing, there are a few pieces I'm drawn to but I would hesitate to sport the pentagram when I'm not walking the pagan path. What I'm most attracted to is their latest hoodies and jackets with their unique use of construction lines to compliment the figure. They have a sort of Industrial Goth feel to them but are more simplified and feminine than the 90's trends we came to associate with that scene.

Restyle is one of those brands that is rethinking Gothic style (perhaps that's how the brand chose its name?). They are pushing the limits of design through experimentation. This is very encouraging. A brand that takes risks is exactly what we need for the future of Gothic fashion.

Unfortunately, because it's a European brand, there's little hope for Canadians to afford these pieces unless our dollar improves. Not to forget, according to their size chart I'm a large (?); this is especially confusing when American sites sell Restyle products without adjusting their size chart or making note of the differences. If you're wondering, I'm not a large, in Canadian sizes I'm a size 4/5 or small. Are girls in the EU especially petite? My hope is that in time these garments and accessories will be more accessible to North American buyers.

I'm really interested to see what new products they release in 2017 and if the brand will continue to steadily improve over time.

What do you think of Restyle?

Best,

Monday, 26 December 2016

Merry Christmas!







PIC HEAVY! >.<

Merry Christmas! Blessed Yule! Happy whatever you may have celebrated this week! Christmas went fairly well for us, the only downside was an injury sustained by our cat Nori - something with his paw, we'll have to take him to the vet once holiday hours are over, for now he wears the cone of shame. I baked my ass off. I planned on baking gingerbread cookies earlier this month. They were supposed to be for my birthday but I kept putting it off, so I baked them on Christmas Eve instead. I got this bright idea to make Nanaimo bars. When we were kids we used to eat these at Christmas, my Nana made them. I believe they're a Canadian thing, originally form BC. They're really good but super rich. They have a coconut/graham cracker chocolate base with custard cream filling and a top layer of chocolate. Super decadent. So sweet in fact that I resorted to scarfing down a bag of carrots after eating only two bars. If you plan on trying them cut them into smaller squares and not the two inch bars you see in photographs, and cut them with a hot knife to make sure the chocolate doesn't crack. There are no photos of mine because I did a terrible job cutting them lol.

I spent most of Christmas Eve day baking and decorating cookies. I started at 10 am and finished at 5:30 pm. My family came over at 7 and we watched What We Do in the Shadows while snacking on treats. On Christmas day I hung out with my guy, watched 90's cartoons and ate gingerbread cookies. We visited family briefly in the afternoon, made a delicious dinner (where I tried champagne for the first time- yuck!), drove around looking at Christmas lights and polished it off with Krampus (I didn't really care for it other than the costumes and puppets). I was saddened to hear George Michael died. I was singing Last Christmas about a hundred times over the weekend, I couldn't stop doing it. It's weird because I'm not even that big on the song but it was stuck in my head! I always thought it was Boy George who sang it because they sound similar. When it came on in the car last night I had asked "didn't he die?" not realizing it was Wham instead of Boy George (or that either man was still alive at this point). Imagine my dismay... to come home and an hour later have George Michael's death pop up in the news feed. How in the hell??!! I felt bad like I had jinxed him or something. His song "Faith" was number one on the day I was born. Rather bummed. First Bowie. Then Prince. Now Michael. :( Too many musicians lost this year.

I hope you all had a good holiday! I've been hanging out in my sewing room sewing stuff. I'm working on a velvet skater skirt, almost done, I'll share it here upon completion. Soon maybe I might sew a dress, I'm not sure. I want to get some drawing done this week before New Years. Busy busy busy. I'm also in the process of planning a mini vacation, but more on that later.

Tell me about your Christmas! :)

Best,

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Too Different to Make Friends Part 2



Finding your path out of the darkness
(or into, depending on how you look at it)

I'd like to discuss my last post where I said we should negate the effect of self defeating thoughts by using positive affirmations. I recently read a book about emotional regulation. It talked about studies that revealed simply stating affirmations like "things will get better for me," are not sufficient enough. Instead, a person should draw upon memories of positive things that have happened in their life. The author encourages that you draw upon the past because it's grounded in fact.

I liked this because it expanded upon what I was going for. In my post, positive affirmations were more about developing a plan of action to overcome a negative thought.

Example:
A: "I can never think of what to say. I'm stupid."
B: "I can listen and encourage conversation by asking questions. I can read to expand my knowledge or seek experience."

In almost every example I provided the affirmation is that you can overcome the obstacle. I want my readers to believe that improvement is within your control. You are capable! You can choose to seek knowledge and experience, you can choose to surround yourself with loving and supportive people (and get rid of those that bring negativity into your life). What I neglected to address is the emotional aspect of negative thinking. 

While none of my examples were this simplified, if someone were to think "I will never find love" they might counter it with the affirmation "I'm worthy of love." ← I've actually seen this example repeatedly in my studies. I know that my kind of affirmation would look more like this: "I can find love, but first I have to determine why I think I'm so undeserving of it." Again, I guess my affirmations are largely centered around taking control and action but that's the kind of personality I have. If something is broken, I want to fix it. I seek answers. You might not be inclined to do the same. Perhaps you're stumped and you couldn't get past the "I'm worthy of love" affirmation - and considering how many self-help/health and wellness websites push that phrase, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that that's where most people get stuck. 

Why are these simplified affirmations so ineffective? It's because deep down inside a depressed person doesn't believe any of it. You can go around telling people you're beautiful and hate yourself on the inside. Just because we state something doesn't make it true to us. There has to be a degree of belief involved and in many instances our emotions (like sadness) will inhibit that belief from taking hold. In the case of "I'm worthy of love" you have to find evidence that you have been loved in the past. Once you have your memory you can draw upon it in your time of need. If you've been through a bad breakup and believe "I'll never find love," you could remember a friend who loves you unconditionally and assert that if they love you then there must be more people in the world who are willing to show you that same degree of affection.

But there is a major flaw with this approach - some of us may not recall or have not experienced a positive event. I think this is why my method is a bit better because instead of dwelling on the past or the uncertainty of the future, you're just taking the bull by the horns and committing to action. I have read articles which posit that imagining positive outcomes can also be a good tool to overcoming emotional barriers, but it's a band-aid solution. While studies have shown that a positive attitude will boost your prospects, I can't help but worry that you could get your hopes up and feel twice as hurt if you failed. It's like seeing the world in rose colored glasses. Simply imagining that a guy will date you is limiting your receptiveness to the various, unknown possibilities. He might be gay or he might not see you that way. When you've been hoping it goes well (especially for a long period of time) it can be unbearable when it fails to meet your expectations. If you happen to be the kind of person who does not handle rejection well and can easily get caught up in a whirlwind fantasy, you might be emotionally dependent and I really don't believe that just "thinking positively" is an appropriate technique for you.

Read onward.

The other day, I learned that I'm emotionally dependent. I should stop for a moment and clarify, as I stated in my recent post I'm "fiercely independent, emotionally" - these are not the same things! To be emotionally dependent is to require validation and self worth from others, whereas to be emotionally independent (and not in the clinical sense, but in the context of my self image) means that I don't share my feelings with others. Now that that's out of the way... I apparently seek validation from other people. I don't have much self love...or self esteem...or much of anything. I had been struck by the realization that I get hung up on rejection very easily, like scary easily. So I decided to investigate. The concept of emotional dependency seemed to fit and once I began reading about it I saw startling similarities in the "profile" of an emotionally dependent person with my own personality. It was embarrassing to say the least.

After reading countless psychological papers, I came to the conclusion that it all stems from my childhood, living with a narcissistic mother. But I digress, we'll explore this further in depth in another post. The point I'm getting at is that I found the suggested self help treatment tips for emotionally dependent people mirrored that of those presented in the emotional regulation book, as well as the other articles that I read. You can draw upon memory to base your beliefs in fact, or you can think positively and visualize positive outcomes. However, in the emotional dependency article, it warned that people who are emotionally dependent will take positive thinking to a negative extreme. Instead, you should visualize all possible outcomes. This way you're better prepared for rejection. 

We all feel hurt when we're rejected. Researchers have discovered that the brain registers rejection in the same manner as physical injury. Despite what the anti-socialist wants to believe, social support and community are integral to our survival. We were dependent upon it in our most primitive form and the instinct to connect with others is hardwired into our brains. If you feel like you could die because you're so lonely, it's not unwarranted, the reality is that we aren't meant to be alone. How do we manage rejection? I'd like to explore that in depth in the next segment, but for now the easiest way is to visualize all possible outcomes and remember that everybody has their reasons for not wanting companionship. Maybe the individual(s) you're pursuing are too caught up in work life or family, have no need for more friends, or have a different religious background than you. It's not always black and white, they might have a good reason for rejecting your companionship. Or they're an asshole, and all we can do when it comes to assholes is assert that they are the product of their environment. We take pity on them.

Apparently there is an app or game that you can play which purposely exposes you to rejection so you can develop a buffer against it? I might have to check it out. 

In conclusion, the best way to defeat negative thoughts are as follows:

Step 1: Identify and analyze the problem. 
Step 2. Develop the plan to rectify the problem.
Step 3. Remember a time when things went well OR visualize the possibility of a desired outcome.

For emotionally dependent people:
If you can't find a memory to assert yourself, instead focus on the plan. Don't imagine a possible desired outcome, imagine ALL possible outcomes. You will do better if you focus on taking action instead of day dreaming.

Let's apply these new techniques to a few personal examples of mine.

Example:

A: "I'm too different to make friends."
B: "I can learn to value my uniqueness and that which makes me different. I can seek out more social opportunities to afford me a greater chance of meeting someone who does accept my differences. I remember that I once had a friend who adored me because I was just like her, a weirdo! And even still, I have another friend unlike me who accepts me regardless of my eccentricities. I'm sure there are others out there like her."

A: "I will never be happy."
B: "I can commit myself to finding happiness through personal development. I can research what might be preventing me from attaining happiness, mentally or otherwise. While I have no recollection of being truly happy, I can imagine that it's possible so long as I try."

A: "I'm seeing my new 'friend' in a few weeks. I don't think he really likes me."
B: "I don't know whether or not he does like me, I can't assume what's going on inside his head. I don't want to believe he doesn't like me but I realize I need to prepare myself for that possibility. It could go either way and I need to remember that it's not a life or death situation, the thrill is always in the experience."


Conclusion

While I am expanding upon a lesson from the previous post, I think it's an important one. Our negative, self defeating thoughts pose as barriers to entering into healthy, social relationships. We have to maintain a degree of optimism, and for some being realistic is of the utmost importance. If you catch yourself daydreaming try picking up an engaging activity, like reading or something that requires manual dexterity, to draw your focus away from fantasy. If you find you're brooding and thinking negatively, I encourage you to keep a small diary in which you can jot down your negative thoughts, then revisit them when you're more calm to analyze them and create new affirmations. Search for memories that contradict your thoughts and record them in your diary as well, this way you can revisit them when you're lacking confidence or feeling blue. Don't be afraid to share your examples or experiences in the comments below.

Best,


Saturday, 10 December 2016

La Virgen de Guadalupe


I ♥ Jesus!

I wasn't exactly brought up in a religious household. Sure I went to church a handful of times in my childhood, made some palm crosses, sang songs, but I hardly remember any of it! Can I quote the bible? Hell no. Yet a part of me has always retained a fascination with religious iconography. Especially that of Christian iconography. Spanish Catholicism (in particular of Mexico) has yielded some of the prettiest depictions of La Virgen de Guadalupe. In high school I hoarded up altar candles with stickers of Jesus on them. What can I say? They look cool. My best friend shared in this fascination and at times we would teasingly tell people that we thought Jesus was sexy because he had a beard. She bought me a lanyard that says "I ♥ Jesus" on it, which I still own. Given this brief history of my adoration, you can imagine how blown away I was when Dolce & Gabbana released a sacred heart inspired spring collection last year. It was so religious. It was so fucking hot!

I gushed over the shoes with the secret cabinets hidden in the heel, the beautifully ornate clutches, the crowns and rose covered gowns. I have never seen anything so awesome in all my life, and I could hardly give a shit about D&G. The collection wasn't as well received as I had hoped, and only a few alternative shops began carrying designs that mimicked the style. I haven't seen any amazing knock offs of the shoes or clutches featured in the collection, and in my heart I'm hoping someone will someday endeavor to make a more affordable copy of them. At a few thousand dollars US a piece, it's just too far out of my budget. That being said, I did find a few items that could make an adequate knock off. What do you guys think?




Rock n Rose 
- Jesus Vintage Cameo Ring
- Beatrice Rose Crown Headband
- Eve Vintage Cross Ring
- Cara Metal Crown
- Valentina Oversized Mosaic Cross Necklace.

Gasoline Glamor 
-Baroque Cross Earrings (right)

I Still Love You NYC
-Luxe Cross Earrings (left)

Nasty Gal
-Sworn to Secrecy Embroidered Skirt & Top (right)

Dolls Kill
-Sacred Heart Top

For Love & Lemons
-Desert Rose Maxi Skirt (left)

Current Moo
-Muerte Rose Platforms (left)

Iron Fist
-Like a Virgin Boots (right)
-Like a Virgin Sweater.

Milanblocks 
- Luxury Rose Evening Clutch


Best,

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Trends for the New Year?


Goth Fashion in 2017

As the Soft Grunge movement fizzles out, the 70's Boho girl takes a much needed break, and black and white prints hit their plateau, what can we expect to see in the near future of our Alt and Goth scenes? Rather than intuit what could happen this year, I'd like to state what I'd like to see happen.

We have seen a lot of prints, we have seen a lot of chiffon, bondage, maxi dresses and Pastel Goth stuff, and after awhile it gets old. I decided to visit Attitude Clothing's website recently to skim over their catalog - and I should note, they used to host a separate site called "Extreme Attitude" for Goths but have amalgamated it all into one website, so any of my former links to them are probably dead. As far as clothing goes, it's much of the same. I have literally seen the same dress just in various printed fabrics. Can you imagine going to a party where every girl is wearing a Wednesday Addams dress but one is in tartan, one has skulls, one maybe has bats or coffins? Would you feel a bit bored by that? I know I would. I think we need to see more range this year.


You know what I'd like to see? Black denim. Texture. Fabrics that have structure to them. Modesty - freaking hell give us some damn modesty! We literally went full swing into baring it all, right down to the g-string knickers, and I think in order to recover from that it should go to the complete opposite. I would love to see something tasteful, modest and professional. More Corp Goth friendly outfits. I think that's what gets me, if you're a Corp Goth, you of all people must agree with how difficult it is to dress yourself with today's fashions. You're not allowed to show up to the office in a bralette. Likewise chiffon shows just a wee bit more than your boss would like to see. You know you can't get away with the prints because they're too bold and "out there". The exposed midriff is a bit...much. If anything, Corp Goths have been getting the short end of the stick during the entire Nu Goth/Soft Grunge fad. And I'm a bit biased, a lot of this stems from my feminist viewpoint, but I feel like a lot of young women are dressing like slobs anymore. 

I don't mind a bit of cleavage in the right setting, but parading around in your fucking underwear is utter nonsense. 

Perhaps I'm drawn to more modest and professional clothing because I'm aging. I'm getting older and I need to bare in mind that I can't get away with crop tops for much longer. That being said, however, we're in need of a cultural shift. We've gone through this mess with young women combating the male gaze by defiantly wearing whatever the hell they want (and I don't agree with this whole "objectification" thing, because many women are denying men their right to their sexuality. Boobs are hot, okay, guys will look at them and should not be made to feel ashamed for it. Fuck, I LOOK AT THEM). We've gone too far into this sexual liberation shit that it's become more like a spectacle. Girls are upholding Miley Cyrus as a pioneer for their sexuality when they should in fact be taking a good long look at Dita Von Teese - aside from her burlesque work, when she's not pouring champagne over her ass she is a well dressed, sexy and powerful woman (I prefer her as a blonde, but you get the point). That's how you fucking dress! I mean, people are reclaiming the word "slut" like it's a good thing. It isn't. There is a huge difference between being sexually empowered and being a whore.
Please, let's show the world what real sexy is.

When I look to the high fashion couture designers I'm seeing a lot of Elizabethan/Renaissance inspired clothing. We are seeing the return of puff, cap sleeves, court necklines, empire waistlines (babydolls), and some things with a cultural Scandinavian flavor to them. There are mandarin collars everywhere. There's no shortage of lace, even in the high fashion scene they just rehash shit all the time. Fendi's 2016 Couture collection is channeling my needs for texture, albeit in ugly manifestations lol. Fur, sculptural ornamentation, I need that shit this year! Silhouettes are leaning towards a-line, straight and slender with higher collars or long sleeves. There's some 70's revival still occurring, particularly in Elie Saab collections. While I often reject the mainstream fashions, especially those of fashion house designers, I can't help but acknowledge that they greatly influence Goth and Alt ready to wear trends. It's how all fashion works. Some Parisian asshole designer thinks AstroTurf would make a good jacket and suddenly we find it the next month in Forever21. 

It'll be interesting to see if the big sleeves and high collars catch on, perhaps in a more watered down form. 

What are your thoughts for 2017 fashion?

Best,

Monday, 28 November 2016

Cosplay by McCall's Papillon & Manikin

Steampunk and Lolita Cosplay Patterns

Meant to post about this sooner, especially as I'm very excited to see yet another Lolita pattern emerge from McCall's. Just two patterns this time around. The first Papillon (I know them as dogs lol) is a Victorian inspired tailcoat and women's lined short coat. Manikin is a JSK with blouse and overskirt.


Papillon
Lined Swallowtail Coat and Lined Short Coat
M2084

Those interested in the Neo-Victorian fashion movement might be tempted to pick this pattern up. The pattern features a swallowtail coat, which I find very Jack Skellington-esque. It's a bit boyish for my liking but I figure that's the point. The short version comes in two different styles, with pleated ruffle and without, with side fastener or buttons. I quite like this short coat, I plan on making it for myself, hopefully out of a blood red velvet I've had stashed away for such a piece.



Manikin
Dress, Overskirt, Blouse and Bow
M2035

This pattern features a JSK with shirred elastic back, lace up over-skirt and blouse with bow. I really like the blouse on this, it's very feminine and delicate and has a Victorian feel to it, I can see more than just Loli girls buying the pattern for the blouse alone. The tiered dress is cute but I think the straps could be a bit wider as they seem awfully skimpy. While the over skirt is a good idea I'm not a fan of the execution, I think the back is what bothers me about it. I'm used to seeing them positioned with the lace up in the front of the dress, but more importantly it doesn't look like it fits on the model. It seems underdeveloped and tight, probably the most costumey aspect of the entire outfit. That being said I'm sure with some drafting it could be brought up to snuff. It's a cute pattern. Probably too sweet for my wardrobe but I want that blouse in black.

Conclusion

These are certainly more wearable than most of the cosplay costumes that have come out and I really appreciate that. I like this trend of feminine, Victorian pieces, but I'm going back to my fashion roots and where all my interests began so I have a soft spot for this sort of thing.

What do you think, my lovelies?

Best,

Friday, 18 November 2016

Too Different to Make Friends


Battling an Inferiority Complex and Low Self Esteem

I haven't talked much on here recently, I'm sure many of you must be thinking it's work, home life or illness. It's kind of a mixture of all three, but most importantly my social life was taking a turn for what I thought would be the best...but it nosedived as I should have known it would.

I had an old acquaintance reach out to me. We hadn't seen each other in years. I was super nervous but optimistic, yet somehow when I saw them everything in me shut down and I felt terrible about myself. I ruined the entire outing by acting like an asshat and saying the stupidest shit imaginable.

What happened here? It's difficult to summarize. There are a few major contributing factors, like who this person was to me, what they are now, and how different we are from each other. But more importantly it brought to light that I still struggle with an inferiority complex and I still battle social anxiety. If it wasn't for either of those things I probably would have made a life long friend and not fucked everything up. Then again, maybe I wouldn't have. Who knows, the opportunity is probably lost.

I have been in isolation for over a decade. After I lost a good friend to drug abuse, I entered into University and got on with nearly no one. That's not true, I made a few friends but they weren't the outside-of-school-hours kind. Even after graduation I've never managed to solidify a friendship with anyone new. The only person left is my friend Liz from the 9th grade and I rarely see her because we don't live in the same city.

I'm always very standoffish when you first meet me or catch me in social settings. I clamp up, sound like I'm snapping when I talk, or shut down entirely. I'm fearful of doing and saying the wrong things, which only inevitably leads to actually doing and saying the wrong things. That's irony for you, isn't it? I've been told to get out more and that practice will help me to overcome my social anxiety but in a city this small it seems laughable to think that would work. I've looked at meetups, none of it interests me, there's a lot of business and coding groups in my city. I found one group of introverts which only made me laugh at myself because I'm not actually introverted. I'm just different.

That word...different. I think the majority of bloggers in the Goth and alt scene can identify with my struggle of being different. You know how it is...Don't talk about your fascination with taxidermy to anyone. Don't tell them you listen to The Cure or Joy Division. When they question why you always wear black don't say it's because you're in touch with your dark side, tell them you have a black cat and don't like the fur showing up on your clothing. Or if you're really like me, don't tell them about your choice to not have kids, how you reject societal norms, and that you feel like a boy on the inside (watch the shit hit the fan with that one). 

Social anxiety has been the bane of my existence for ages. I've always put on this facade of who I am. My senior years in high school were possibly the only years I was being honest with people. As a freshman I had been trying to please everyone, constantly joking around and acting retarded. It didn't get me anywhere, just a lot of acquaintances who didn't see me as more than a joke or someone to fill in the gaps between classes. It was like that in uni too, only it changed into me being more of a crotchety bitch who was trying to deflect attention from herself. I met some nice people but I guess I was so guarded it never amounted to anything beyond the occasional chat. Now I'm so inexperienced socially I forget how to behave in public. I talk to people like cats sometimes. I'm not kidding! I don't even remember who I am anymore. Am I me, or am I my clothes? Does that even make sense?

I tried creating a workbook to review the self defeating thoughts that keep resurfacing, the qualities I think I might have, and those negative ones that I know I do. I think this could be a helpful exercise for anyone else who may combat feelings of inadequacy. Has it helped me? That remains to be seen. I've clarified a few things but I still don't understand who I am and how it relates to everyone else.


Overcoming an Inferiority Complex 

Make a list of your negative attributes.

Mine:
Self centred, igrnorant, uncultured, inexperienced, vulgar, avid non-conformist, judgmental, shy, low self esteem, brutally honest, negative

Can any of these attributes be corrected over time, are some of them exaggerations or untrue?

Am I self-centred? Probably. We all tend to be self-involved. If you're too selfless people walk all over you. I try to be more giving and outwardly interested. My vulgarity and ignorance is certainly something to be improved upon. I could swear less, talk dirty less and be more open minded. The best way to do this is to become a good listener and to think more before I speak. I could be more cultured and experienced if I only sought life experiences out, but finances and my location have made that rather difficult. The only way I've tried to overcome these barriers is by reading and trying to collect other people's experiences...it feels really fucking shameful when you can recall stories from friends but none of your own. Is my being a non-conformist a negative thing? That's deep. Maybe I reject a lot of things because of some internal struggle, like it's out of jealousy or something. Largely I'm not a non-conformist by choice, it just comes naturally and is certainly apart of my individuality and uniqueness. I think it's important to be unique. I'd rather that than being predictable and boring, so perhaps I'm being too hard on myself for being different. Shyness can be overcome in time but sometimes it's necessary to be shy. I need to stop being too honest and too open about everything, some things should be revealed over time. If I talk about the wrong things too early in a conversation people will believe that whatever it is I'm talking about is of the utmost importance to me because this is the first conversation, it's my first impression. I fuck that up a lot. Yet, there are some things that I think are important for people to know about me (this is good practice, you should try making a list of things you want people to know about who you are so you can be prepared for those first time interactions). I could also try to stay positive and change my attitude when I catch myself slipping.

What do I think is my biggest barrier to becoming socially accepted?

That is a hard question to answer, don't feel bad if you can't. I think this one takes some soul searching. My biggest problem is that I'm not receptive to socializing. I've conditioned myself to live without it and I've closed myself off from people. The reason I lost friends in university is that I didn't open my heart enough to being loved and supported. I'm fiercely independent emotionally. I act like I can do without even though I definitely can't (I might try convincing myself that I can, but the other day I said I would give up my art and everything I hold dear if someone would just "connect" with me on a personal level). I want to be more receptive, I have to determine the path to achieving that.

Make a list of positive attributes.

Mine: creative, unique, funny, caring, empathetic, sensitive, honest, trustworthy, supportive, emotionally intelligent, strong, driven, talented

This is always harder. Coming up with things that you like about yourself is likely going to take twice as long as the negative attributes list. Don't feel like that's weird, it's normal. It's also normal if some of these attributes conflict with your negative ones because we all have internal conflicts, we also over exaggerate our flaws. I'm self-centered but empathetic? Wtf? But I am. I am very interested in other people, I want to care for and support them emotionally yet I have difficulty unplugging from myself. I might talk too much about myself and not ask enough about them, although I do care to know them. Make sense? While these qualities are good I feel like the majority of them are not easily discerned by other people. There are things we know about ourselves that a stranger wouldn't. By randomly talking to me on the street you probably would not know that I am trustworthy. Some of these things are learned over time and the problem for me is that a lot of my attributes need time to be established. Someone would have to invest time in me to become aware of how loyal a friend I can be, therefore my first impression on someone needs to be freaking amazeballs. Hence, why I fucked up so supremely with my old acquaintance. He's not going to come back to find out more about me. I'd be very surprised if he did.

Analyze your self defeating thoughts.

Start with a self-defeating thought and then break it down with a positive affirmation. 

Example:

Self-defeating thought (A): "I'm not as good at art as Ladyfair is."
Affirmation (B): "But I'm far better at (x) than she is."

A: "I can never think of what to say. I'm stupid."
B: " I can listen and encourage conversation by asking questions. I can read to expand my knowledge or seek experience."

A: "No one is interested in what I think or feel."
B: "I cannot account for or intuit what another person thinks about me. I can only do my best and keep trying."

This next one is a hard one, it needs an affirmation to follow it but I feel it should also be further analyzed. 

A: "So-and-so hates me, I wish I had their acceptance."
B: "I should move on to find someone who values me."
^ If so-and-so does in fact hate me, and I'm not just over exaggerating something stupid I did, or internalizing something they said or did as an attack, then I need to determine why their acceptance is important to me. Who are they to me? What do they represent? Do I feel that knowing them can benefit me somehow? Can I find that benefit through other means (or other people)?

Every negative thought should be followed by a positive one. You need to find things you value in yourself and stop the cycle of self hatred, especially before you can make any real friends. Believe it or not, that negativity shows. It's in your mannerisms and your speech. Try practicing positive affirmations daily. You have to believe in them, though. If you catch yourself having a self-defeating thought acknowledge it as such. For instance, I struggle with OCD. I might think of setting my towel on fire. I know that I don't want to and that's abnormal, it's an aspect of my OCD and not a real belief of mine, therefore it's not what I really think. Your negative thoughts aren't real reflections of yourself, you're just having a shitty day, acknowledge them as shitty thoughts and replace them with affirmations. You might say, but Ladyfair, I really do hate myself! And that is such a fucking pussy emo thing to say. It's juvenile and unrealistic to believe that you have no good qualities about yourself. Find what they are and remind yourself about them daily. You have to change your thought process, that shit is not going to fix itself.

This is what I intend to do. I challenge my readers to do the same. Please share your experiences in the comments below. Next time I might talk about assessing your values and your ideas about friendship and socializing.

Best,



Saturday, 5 November 2016

Cosplay Accessories from Cosplay by McCall's

New Accessory Patterns

I recall perusing the Cosplay by McCall's social media sites and had seen a few suggestions regarding Cosplay accessories. I couldn't help but agree with other posters, we need more accessory patterns. Whether it may be hats, body armor, gun slings or garters, we need accessories! All too often I have found costume patterns that feature stellar outfits but less than stellar accessories (hats are the worst of it, they're so poorly drafted they seem like afterthoughts). Cosplay by McCall's has released the first of it's accessory patterns; Stash, Rove and Fatale. Let's take a look at them!


STASH
Belts and Pouches

I'm finding in my spare time my sewing doodles are leaning more and more towards a kind of punky, post-apocalyptic Tank Girl kind of thing. I have plans for making harnesses and such, so this pattern appeals to me. I have to say I'm not crazy about the waist belt. It's shaped in almost a garter kind of way, where it tapers into the ass and the hips. Kind of an odd design choice given that it's bulky and very masculine. It's not a sexy looking belt, however the skill level for this pattern is very easy and if you want to keep things accessible to the newby sewists simplification really is the way to go. I prefer the hip satchel...or fanny pack (hooray for the 80's). It's much nicer looking overall. I'm excited to make it. 


ROVE
Bolero Jackets

The bolero is a staple in many a wardrobe. This pattern reminds me of a few years back when Dieselpunk was a pretty big thing. You remember the military jackets and Lip Service's Gangsta Pranksta line (Google it). If you're itching to revive that look then this pattern might be for you. It features three different variations of the bolero, a mixture of cap sleeves, half sleeves, long sleeves, and a classic or mandarin collar.



FATALE
Collar, Shoulder Armor, Leggings and Crown

This one is kind of weird lol. It's more like a Queen of Hearts costume, although I'm sure the high collar could be used for other period costume inspired stuff. It comes with instructions on how to make the crown, which again, is decent if you're looking to make a Queen of Hearts costume. The pattern also features "shoulder armor" - new to me. It's a puff pleather sleeve with lace detailing that fastens around the chest. Neat, not necessarily my scene but okay. The "leggings" are more like footless stockings or leg warmers. They're thigh high and stop at the ankle, and it's a damn shame too because it's probably the only thing I'd make from this pattern but I prefer covering my feet. I like the cage detailing at the top and the fishnet panel is a neat idea. This definitely has a Lolita vibe to it which is not surprising because it was designed in part by Ichigo Black.  

Conclusion

I'm happy to see some accessory patterns emerging, I'd like to see more of them in the future! It's also good to see more patterns in the "easy" and "very easy" skill ratings. I feel like the other patterns in the catalog would be too complex and overwhelming for those looking to break into Cosplay, so these patterns would be a good introduction for beginners.

Thoughts?

Best,

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Happy Halloween!

Halloween 2016 in review

I wish I had some awesome stories to share, I've seen some cool stuff popping up in my blog feed recently. Sadly, my city isn't known for throwing wicked Halloween parades or parties. The museum's Fright Night is still going strong but it seems to get less and less interesting with each passing year (I don't know if the original organizer of the event ditched it or what, but fortune tellers and a DJ aren't much to hold my interest and you may recall I once explained it originally had a poetry slam, film with live band, live music all night, and a few other cool things that they for some reason retired). No, instead I stayed home and handed out candy, did nothing all weekend long except for sick up, draw and sleep. 

At my old house we had something like 100 kids each Halloween. The new house is located off to the side in a small city block that's nestled on the cusp of the city limits. It's not easy to find where I live. In fact, if it weren't for the condo sign most people wouldn't know it exists, and even at that you have to get right up on the driveway otherwise you'd assume it's a dead end. This, I'm sure, is what most parents thought as well. Because we back onto a big spooky torn up field and we're closed in with only one entry point, I feel that most parents would consider our condo community too creepy to allow their kids into. I had only 25 trick or treaters last night. I'm happy I chose to hand out two bags each immediately after I had only one trick or treater (and he showed up at around 6:30, most kids tap out around 8). Every kid had a Halloween costume on - stoked! But I guess when you have 100 kids to go through you're likely to see more kids without costumes, we also used to live in a very poor area, this new neighborhood is more affluent. The majority of my trick or treaters were girls, a lot of them were witches, one even used her hat to trick or treat with lol. I had a very adorable little girl, like little little, maybe six or seven, and she was a bloody bride. Lots of kids forgot to thank me afterwards but if their parents were around they made them remember, which was nice to see. 

We were both home sick this year, so I got to put up the decorations during the day. I never finished the wreath I planned on making, I had to hang a spiderweb on the door instead. I didn't even complete my terrarium I posted about earlier this month either. And I didn't finish my costume. The fairy costume made it to about 50% completion. I tried to do the wings myself and the stockings weren't big enough to fit over the wire. I was sewing a tutu by hand but it's so damn tedious I got fed up with it. I'll finish it this month just to put it away for next year but I'm over it. I spent nearly $70 on this costume, maybe more than that, and unless I'm going to wear it to a party I don't see the point in rushing it. Instead I wore my Bo Peep costume from a few years ago, it's super cute and looked great, fit me better than the first time too. I didn't get any pictures of it, but that's because my guy was too sick to sit upright lol. 


It was cold outside, I had planned on going for a walk but decided against it. Today will be much warmer, go figure. At least it didn't rain or wasn't super windy. I'm glad it's over, that's an awful thing to say, but this year I wasn't feeling it. Too sick to manage, maybe? I don't know. Even after I brought out all the decorations, watched all the Halloween shit I could cram into a month, it still didn't feel like Halloween. Don't get me wrong, we had fun. Me and my man watched Frankenhooker, she's totally rad and I love her goth platform mary janes. I invited the spirit of my friend into the home, hope she stopped by but didn't sense her, and if she was there I talked her ear off lol. It was nice to reminisce about her, this was always our holiday. I also ate pumpkin pie (we were huge fans of pie). All in all it was a decent Halloween, just not as outstanding as previous ones.

So, onto Christmas I guess. I'm going to take down the decor this weekend, haul up the x-mas boxes and leave them for another two weeks. I bought some new pink Christmas LED lights for outside to go with my Hello Kitty. I also got a new tree skirt of the tree which we'll do in gold and natural tones this year. And, I bought a classic white vintage porcelain Christmas tree in the summer, I hope to replace the bulbs with mostly pink ones. I would've done our Christmas tree in pink and silver - can you believe he'd allow it?! But after purchasing the tree skirt I really want to use it, so it's going to be a weird mashup of decor again this year lol.

How did Halloween go for you?

Best,

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

My First Mister

The film that broke me.

That's how it feels, broken inside, but in the best way possible. I decided to watch My First Mister last night after months of being unable to locate a copy. I found one streaming through Kodi. I came into it with no real idea in mind as to how the film would play out. It ended with me bawling my eyes out in the stairwell, clutching a carton of ice cream close to my chest and listening to The Cure's Pictures of You. Depressing. But in the best way possible.

To be honest I don't remember how I came upon this film. Maybe it was Carol Kane? I didn't know about it in high school when it came out, but it's certainly not mainstream and wouldn't have been playing in theaters around here. It obviously drew my interest due to the fact that the protagonist is a teenage goth/alt girl, something we seldom see in film. These characters are at best secondary in most stories. Forgive me if I spoil anything, I'm not great with words, so if you wish to watch the film before reading this give it a go.

The movie follows J, a 17 year old recently graduated goth girl with no real direction in life. J spends most of her time writing eulogies and reading Anne Rice novels or hanging out it in local goth bars...or were they coffee shops? We were never privvy to those kinds of things here but I guess in California anything can exist. She doesn't have any friends, she has no love life to speak of, she appears to never have been kissed and her only sexual experience outside of masturbating involved a red crayon when she was a little girl. She longs for a connection with someone, and the geeky Brian Krakow lookalike who obsesses over her at school isn't what she's looking for. Enter R, a fifty something year old man who manages a men's clothing shop. The object of J's affection and her doorway into a structured, supportive adult life. He gives her a job and helps her find her independence (something she feels she desperately needs as she loathes her family).

Now, you might be thinking, hold the fuck up, she's 17 and he's in his fifties?! (55 but I think they fucked up and had him say 57 at one point). This is where the film runs into issues. So many people have written My First Mister off as "creepy" because they make ridiculous assumptions about these two characters without even giving them a chance. Your mind might conjure up similar sounding films like Lolita or American Beauty but there's a BIG difference between this film and other films, and that's because R doesn't reciprocate J's romantic affections. He doesn't see her in a sexual or romantic way, and by no means is this a spoiler as this was made clear to me throughout the entire film. J, however, does have romantic/sexual feelings for R, or at least she thinks she does. Remember, this is a girl with no friends, no boyfriends, no sexual experiences to relate to. The only romance she's ever known is the kind that exists in Anne Rice's Vampire and BDSM novels. I believe she convinces herself that she finds him sexually attractive because she does connect with him on some level, but due to her immaturity she doesn't understand the nature of the relationship. She has difficulty seeing why he wouldn't be her lover and why he would choose older women over her. She's possessive and jealous and when he does share moments with other women she acts out either through self-mutilation or ruining things at the store.

J attempts to share her world with R because R is reclusive and leads a quite, solitary and uneventful life. She feels sympathy for him because he chooses not to live out of fear (he has serious anxiety problems) and he feels sympathy for her because she has no one to support and care for her as an individual. It's a beautiful, heart wrenching story. It's a dramadey, there are comedic aspects but in the end things take an interesting turn and will leave you feeling emotionally overwhelmed.


Why do I think it's a good film? 

Firstly, I think it's an excellent portrayal of a young goth girl. I can 100% relate to J. I wore boxers in my youth, cut myself, listened to loud music, felt like I was completely alone in the world even though I was surrounded by people. I felt misunderstood. Her character is handled appropriately, it's not annoyingly angsty, it doesn't pour it on. Her character has been criticized as being cliché but I disagree, because anyone in the goth scene will recognize that baby bats do clichéd goth shit all the time. Not all goths cut themselves or read Anne Rice novels, but some really do! For me, a stereotyped Goth character wouldn't be stereotypical because they wear black or listen to dreary music, it would become stereotypical when someone so obviously not goth would assume the character must do something stupid like sleep in a coffin, wear fake vampire teeth and quote Edgar Allan Poe poems. J could be a real girl in existence right now and that's something I can truly respect. Sure, she has some moments where she's whiny and annoying but I don't consider it a problem with the acting, it's just another aspect of her character; she's 17 and 17 year olds can be very whiny and annoying.

Secondly, I found the bond that forms between J and R to be very touching because it demonstrates that even though we may be entirely different in age, race, sex, or scene we can still reach out and connect with one another if we only allow it. It's far from creepy, it's heartwarming that a 55 year old man would give a girl like J a chance at a job and form a friendship with her. All too often these days we think of that as risky and call the guy a pedo. It's not true and films like this stand as a reminder that not everyone is a psychopathic creeper, there's beauty and friendship to be had in this world, as corny as that may sound. Although I struggle with social anxieties, this film inspires me to be more receptive of other people. It makes me think that perhaps I'm too quick to judge others. I never honestly considered striking up a conversation with the older man or woman at the supermarket but now I might have to rethink that. It also makes me want to get out more as both characters lead closed off lives. J especially so, despite having worked in a goth clothing store and attending a goth hang out consistently she's never socialized with the people there. She goes to the coffee shop so often that the guy at the counter knows her order. This demonstrates that even within our scene we can be closed off from one another. J wouldn't be so lonely if she wasn't criticizing the shit out of other people and fantasizing all the time. I think that's a problem for a lot of kids in the goth and alt scenes, you get hung up on the idea of what it is to be goth and different from other people, and it can taint the way you look at them. Instead of finding common ground your focusing on what sets you apart from other people. You start judging them, measuring your gothness against them, and stop seeing them as individuals.

This is a really good film for baby bats to watch. This is a story about personal growth. I love watching J's character grow into a woman. Her style goes from young and punky to a more refined corp goth look. Sadly there's not as much fashion to be had in the film as I would like but you get a few glimpses of hot outfits that look as though they walked off the pages of the Lip Service catalog. If you can find a copy somehow I encourage you to give it a watch, just make sure you have ice cream on hand and do it before bed so you can sleep your tears away.

Best,


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Autumn Leaves


Enjoying Fall Foliage

It hasn't really felt like autumn or Halloween for me recently, but I spend most of my time cooped up indoors so that could explain it. That being said, I don't want to let the season slip me by... I had planned on looking at the fall foliage on an outing with a friend, but unfortunately that has yet to happen and whenever that does take place I'm sure the autumn leaves will have blown away! I missed the leaves changing last year, I couldn't let that happen again. Last weekend we went on a day trip up to our favorite orchard, a yearly tradition for us. We go there for freshly baked apple cider donuts and their award-winning cider. While on our way up we detoured to Parkhill, ON where there's a lovely little lake, a park, and an awesome cemetery! Here are some photos from my adventure. :)







Conclusion

I had a blast! Even though it was rainy the temperature was rather high that day, and having cold wet shoes kind of put me in the mood for delicious warm donuts! My favorite tree (shown last) looked even better in person, sharp lime greens contrasted by vivid reds. I wish I could have lived next door to Parkhill Cemetery. Maybe one day I'll have a beautiful maple tree of my own. Have you been out taking pictures lately?

Best,


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Halloween Shopping 2016


Cool Halloween Finds!

If you're like me Halloween is every day. Many of the items being advertised as "Halloween" in the alt and Goth shop sites aren't exactly new or specific to Halloween, at least in my eyes. Much of which I would wear on any given day! Hell, I still have my Halloween panties collection and I wear my Hello Kitty Halloween jammies every month of the year. That being said, I thought it might be fun to do up two mood boards featuring pieces that I think reflect Halloween fairly well. 

Glampira

I am a huge Universal Monster movie addict. I have the blu-ray box set and I adore breaking it out on a stormy night. In my catalog search I came across a number of items that screamed Universal Monsters to me. These boots are to die for!! I love them! Sadly they are a Demonia product but if I ever came across a pair on super sale I'd be tempted to scoop them, with those adorable little bats and that clunky Franken-heel, what's not to love? Pair it with these hot spiderweb stockings from Sourpuss and matching purse from Rock Rebel (I have lightning bolt earrings which would look stellar with this bag). I love the colour green, electric chartreuse makes my heart sing! I carried it into these cute bone hair clips from Kreepsville, with a skelly cat pin and Halloween necklace. The Vampyra mask is unfortunately only for decoration, although Sourpuss offers up plenty of vintage Halloween repro items, including a remake of a classic fortune telling game, this mask is intended to hang on your wall... I think it would be better if it were a real mask, don't you?

Shoes: Demonia Camel 201 
Brooch: Creep Heart Jellybean Cat Mini Pin
Bag: Rock Rebel Frankenstein Lace Handbag
Hair clips: Kreepsville 666 Gem Bone Hair Clips
Socks: Sourpuss 17" Knee-high Web Stockings
Necklace: Dolly Cool Halloween Cat and Bat Necklace
MISC: Vampyra Girl Vac-Tastic Plastic Mask



This is Halloween!

Here are some items deserving of Halloween! They're selling out fast, too, not surprisingly as I'm sure many ordinary shoppers see these as an adorable alternative to a Halloween costume. I have been swooning over this cream coloured Halloween themed frock for almost a year now. It's on my to-buy list. I just love classic vintage themed Halloween cats. I'm a cat person, mind you, so maybe it's just another aspect of my cat lady craziness. I think it's very flattering and not too in your face, there's something very reserved and feminine about it. This Lucy Fur sweater also features my favorite Halloween black cat design. I think it really pops and would look sharp paired with a tight colourful trouser. I'm also a fan of Sourpuss sweaters as so far all of mine have stood the test of time. The last dress features fun and girly Kewpie style costumed babies. I like it but not as much as other Halloween dresses. It's growing on me a little, the colour palette is fun and I think it would largely appeal to vintage enthusiasts or cutesy Goths. 

Left: Sourpuss Black Cats Gauzy Dress Cream
Center: Sourpuss Lucy Fur Sweater
Right: Sourpuss Halloween is Everyday Skater Dress

Conclusion

I've seen a few other prints from Sourpuss that are "Halloween" themed but I find them rather drab (black and white cemetery prints). What I enjoy about some of Sourpuss' new releases is that there's colour, something almost unheard of in Goth fashion. Halloween has an abundance of colour and I think it would be nice to see more experimentation in the future, for instance, the Lucy Fur sweater in orange would've been cool to see. Some more electric green or purple! Candy corn too!!! 

What are your thoughts? Find anything cool this year?

Best,

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