Friday, September 30, 2011

Goth Challenge, Day 22

Day 22 – If you could attend any Goth event what would it be?

Wave Gotik Treffen

First and foremost, is the music. Over a hundred bands from the various Goth sub-genres and the opportunity to see more than a few. This in itself is exciting enough for me to want to go.

But there is so much more! There are the fashion events, the litterarty events, alternative markets, DJs... Leipzig turns into one giant Goth community for a few days. Just thinking about going to this makes drool... I was so excited for and envious of my friend Carmilla Voiez when she got to attend WGT this year.

One day, when I have money to get a new goth wardrobe, and can afford travel to and accomodations is Leipzig and tickets to WGT, I will go. Unless I miraculously come into some windfall of money, I don't see this happening any time soon. Until then, I will just have to dream of it and live vicarously through friends lucky enough to go.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our Brush with Unemployment

Finally, I have the time and the ability to update my blog!

The past few weeks have been a challenge. My husband lost his job, and it took longer than anticipated for him to find a new job. And the asshats at his old company keep contesting the unemployment claim - not because he isn't entitled to the money, but because it's their general practice to always contest every single claim, as a way to save themselves a buck, regardless of how badly it hurts people and their families. But this is the general climate in America - let's make everything fit the financial needs of the almighty corporation, and fuck the people.

While he was out of work, we had to make some lifestyle changes. At first, the kids didn't understand why we couldn't go out for dinner as often, or why we kept saying no to little things like ice cream or something from the dollar area in Target. And it really took some getting used to when we had to shut off the cable and Internet (thank goodness for Internet on my mobile!). While none of us enjoy the changes we've had to make, I do think this was a good way for the kids to really understand why mommy and daddy have to work, and get a concept of the value of money.

Luckily for us, I make a fairly decent wage, and with some help from my very generous family, and some from his, we were able to make ends meet, and not have to lose our babysitter either.  Sure, things have been a bit tough and stressful financially, but I am so grateful we weren't in a position to lose our home or car or file bankruptcy like so many other families are having to do these days.

Now he's found a job at a place that really fits him, and even though it's only been a couple weeks, he seems much happier there than at the old place. The future is starting to look brighter.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Goth Challenge, Day 21

Day 21 – What body mod do you have or have you considered?

For some reason, people are often surprised to find out that other than normal pierced ears, I have no body modifications.

I have considered several, but for various reasons, never got them done.

I would like to get some tattoos. I just never seem to have the money for one. Yes, I probably should have gotten my ink before having kids, but I wasn't ready. As a teen, I worked in a nursing home. I saw many World War II veterans with their old India blue tattoos that have since turned into disfigured blue blobs on their flaccid skin. I just couldn't wrap my mind around getting a tattoo for fear of what it would look like when I'm old. Now, I'm not so concerned with that - especially since removal techniques keep improving. I'm sure that if I got a tattoo now, and in 30 years decide I don't like how it's aging, there will be improved technology to remove it.

My little girl wanted to get me a tattoo of bats and the moon for my birthday last year. She knew that's what I wanted. It was such a sweet gesture. Yes, I want a moon with bats tattooed on my back. And one day, I will have this done. Just not any time soon. Perhaps after we are done paying for child care.

I've also considered several piercings. I first thought of a small nose piercing. But I decided that would be too much with my glasses (I will not switch to contacts - I tried, and hated it). And I've considered nipple piercings. I think they are lovely, and they could be lots of fun. But I'm concerned about healing and whether they will be obvious under work clothes... I still may do this, but haven't fully decided.

Other than those, I am not really interested in other body modifications. Stretched ears look nice on some people, but it's not for me. Same with other piercings. I'm not into the more extreme modifications. I just don't find them appealing in any way.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Goth Challenge, Day 20

Day 20 – If you could dye your hair any colour what would it be?

If I could? Huh? I do. All the time. I haven't seen my natural colour in oh... 18 years.

I've been various shades of blonde (I am blonde, but an ashy blonde).

I've been various shades of red.

I had platinum blonde with a red streak.

I've had temporary blue streaks.

I've been red with orange, and red with blonde.

I'm currently black with white.

I sometimes wish I could have some bright blue in my hair, but that would be pushing it too far in the office.

I also have a collection of wigs in fun colors for club going - not that I get to the club much these days.

I even let my kids (ages 4 1/2 and 6 1/2) have color streaks in their hair. My son has only had blue. My daughter has had pink, red, blue and purple.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Goth Challenge, Day 19

Day 19 – Share beauty advise and take a photo of your make up.

Beauty advice? I don't know that I should be advising anyone, but I will tell you what I do.

Quick note: I really try hard to use natural and cruelty free products.

First and foremost: STAY THE HELL OUT OF THE SUN! I try to avoid the sun like the plague. I'm a blond with pale skin. I don't tan, I fry. When I do have to be outside, I use very high SPF sunscreen, and I carry it with me to reapply later (I really like the Burt's Bees Sunscreen). I also try to stay in the shade whenever possible - and sometimes carry an umbrella for shade. (One of these days I will find the parasol of my dreams and get it).

The second most important thing for me is moisturizer. I have very dry skin, so moisturizing is essential. I used to use the Burt's Bees Marshmallow Vanishing  Creme, but it was discontinued. I couldn't find any other moisturizer of theirs that worked as well and was gentle to my sensitive skin. Now, I use the Yes to Blueberries Daily Repairing Moisturizer with SPF 30.

Now that I've mentioned the two most important things, I'll walk through my daily routine.

In the morning, I wash my face with either the Burt's Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser, or the Yes to Blueberries Brightening Facial Towelettes. Then I moisturize.

I typically wait a while before putting on any makeup. There are two reasons for this: 1. I like to let the moisturizer and/or sunscreen have time to really sink in, and 2. the DC area is rather humid and nasty in the summer, and I prefer to wait until I'm at work before putting on makeup so it doesn't melt off of my face before I get  there.

I use different foundation for work and play. I have yet to find a decent, natural toned foundation that is natural and cruelty free that works with my skin and doesn't make me break out horribly. I tried the Bare Essential stuff, and it was terrible for me. So, in this area, I have sacrificed my principles and use L'Oreal Magic Smooth Souffle in Light Ivory. When I'm going out and want to look extra pale, I use the Medusa's Makeup Geisha foundation.

Eye makeup is my favorite part. I absolutely love the Medusa's Makeup eye makeup. I use their eye dusts. My favorite colors are: Full Moon (an iridescent purplish whitish color), Blow (white), Helter Skelter (a metallic bluish black) and Black Sabbath.

Once I have my eye shadow on, I apply the black liquid eyeliner. Oh how I love black eye liner! I have tried pencils, but they never go on as smoothly nor are as black as the liquid liner. I've been experimenting with various brands lately to find the right combination of applicator and eyeliner. Sadly, I have not found any black liquid eyeliner that is natural or cruelty free (if you know one, please post about it in the comments).

Next comes mascara. I'm fortunate that I have very long lashes, so all I really need is just some very black mascara.

Last is the lip colour. I really love the Medusa's Makeup lip glosses.

Now that it's all applied, I need a place to go...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Goth Challenge, Day 18

Day 18 – Worst hair experience

I've had quite a few hair mishaps.

My hair is thick, course, somewhere between curly and wavy, and gets very frizzy when it's humid.

In the 80s, everyone had bad hair as there were no really good hair products out there to do the things we wanted with our hair. So we fried, burnt and tortured our tresses.  Curly and big was in. And like I mentioned, mine is between curly and wavy. I wanted nice curls that would be easy to maintain. So, I got a perm...

Yeah, bad idea. My hair turned out looking like Rosanne Rosannadanna. (I don't have any pictures of this in my house. My parents probably do, but they live 250 miles away.)

Gilda Radner as Rosanne Rosannadanna on SNL
My mom sent me straight to the pool with instructions to keep my hair in the chlorine all day in hopes of relaxing the perm. It didn't help much. So, she helped me iron my hair to straighten it. I remember we used to use waxed paper to help keep it straight and frizz free...

Then in 1984, I decided I wanted an a-symmetrical bob. This would have been an adorable style - if my hair were straight and manageable. Sadly, it was not. And this was a disaster. I tried a few other short styles, but none worked. So, I grew it out. And by 1987, I had typical, bad 14 year old hair...

You'd think after those failed experiments, I'd have learned to never try a short cut - especially with bangs - again, but you'd be wrong. Yes, a mere three years ago, I decided that hair products have come a long way, and I also had a fancy new Chi flat iron, so I went for a China Doll cut... um, bad move.

That was a huge pain in the ass to maintain and I hated how I looked. So I tried letting it dry naturally... again, ick!

Once it reached chin length again, I was fine. And I solemnly swear to never cut it that short again!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Goth Challenge, Day 17

Day 17 – Your favourite Goth brand

I don't really have one. I'm not one of those people who is ruled by brand names - especially with clothes. If I see something that I like, and it fits, (and I have the money) I will get it, regardless of the brand or the store.

But Goth brands... in general this concept seems wrong. For many of us, starting out, there were no Goth brands. We put together out ensembles from pieces found in a variety of places, including thrift shops, costume shops, estate sales, etc. Or, we learned to make our own pieces of clothing, jewelry, etc.

Granted, I wouldn't know the first thing about making my own clothes (though I do hope to one day) - I am more of the type to make thrift shop, eBay, or estate sale items more gothy by altering them or accessorizing. I have, and sometimes still do, make my own jewelry.

I also purchase from friends who have small businesses of hand-crafting items of clothing or accessories. I think it is very important to support these small businesses. This is where the creative talent thrives - it is these designers who spawn new trends in subculture style. Buying custom pieces also ensures that when you go to the club, there is no one else there wearing the same outfit.

Necklace by Glitterfist
Buying off-the-shelf, mass produced Goth is somewhat anathema to those of us who consider ourselves "elders." It smacks of laziness and is uninspired. It shows no real commitment to being Goth. Anyone can pop into a Hot Topic and be a Goth poseur. Dressing in this mass-produced garbage and calling yourself a Goth is like drinking only Budweiser and calling yourself a beer connoisseur.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Goth Challenge, Day 16

Day 16 – What's the most casual you've ever dressed?

In what sense? In college, I worked at a local bar until 3 am. I'd get home, sleep for a few hours then roll out of bed and head to my 8 am classes in my pjs.

When I was with my ex, I wasn't able to dress gothy, so I often just wore jeans and a tee shirt.

When I was pregnant with my children, there weren't good goth options in maternity clothes, and after a bit, all I cared for was comfort, so I lived in yoga pants, a tee shirt and a belted, long cardigan.

Since getting back to being myself, the most casual I dress is usually a black skirt and a black tee shirt. Though I have been known to walk my daughter to school in my pjs if it's a day I'm not going to the office.

I'm really more about being comfortable than really caring how fancy or gothy I look. As long as I feel like me, I'm all good.

Me in casual clothes at a party in Seattle in 2005

Me very hung over and casual in a rental car in Austin in 2007

Friday, September 2, 2011

Goth Challenge, Day 15

Day 15 – Your favourite or most expensive item in your wardrobe.

This is a sad topic for me...

I got rid of most of my favorite clothes after having children. Since then, my body shape keeps changing, and I haven't had the money to get the wardrobe I want as it all goes to child care. And when I do get to buy clothes, they need to be work appropriate.

When I no longer have to pay what would equal a second rent payment each month for child care, and have a little spending money, I am going to get some fun goth clothes from Drac-in-a-Box and Azrael's Accomplice Designs.

Until then... well, this is what I have...

I particularly like this dress, which was a gift from a friend. It's fun. I love the purple and black tulle underneath. and the clips are a nice touch. I have worn this not only to the Goth club, but also out for fancy restaurant dates.

The most expensive dress is the one I wore to my brother's wedding last fall. I rather like how it's like a Gothified 50s housewife kind of look. I like wearing my black pearls with it.

But my most favorite thing in my closet is the pair of Victorian boots. I used to wear these almost daily. The heel on one broke, but I had it fixed and was happily wearing them again for a while. Then I broke my foot. Since then, wearing heels has been very difficult. I hope the pain eases soon as I really love these boots!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Goth Challenge, Day 14

Day 14 – What was your worst DIY disaster and best DIY success?

I do love a good DIY project! And I do make many things. For example, I've made most of our Christmas ornaments, embroidered shirts for my kids, made them fun pillows, hand-made embossed birthday invites with caligraphy... I could go on for the rest of the day...

But the thing I like to do best is cake sculptures. I make fancy cakes for my children's birthdays, friend's children's birthdays, school events, etc. I made my first sculpture for my daughter's second birthday. She was very into The Wizard of OZ at the time, so I did the ruby slippers for her.

Ruby Slippers for Lily's 2nd birthday

I really wasn't sure what I was doing, but with the help of a friend (who was the former pastry chef at the restaurant where my husband worked, who also made our wedding cake and who now owns the best chocolate shop ever, Artisan Confections) I was able to get a basic idea of what I needed, where to get it and the techniques to use. And I was fairly pleased with the results, as it was my first time.

Since then, I've done many fancy cakes.

The worst disaster was the Super Mario cake I did for a good friend before he left for Special Agent training. The cake looked great when I went to bed.

Super Mario cake for Ryan's Bon Voyage

Early the next morning, my son came into my room crying that the cake was broken and vowing that he didn't touch it. I flew down the stairs to find that the back of the middle layer had collapsed over night.


I cried. I was so very upset.

Then I calmed down and assessed the damage. I decided I had enough skill and supplies that I could salvage the cake. An hour later it was repaired.


And it was a hit at the party too.

The best cake? Well, I've done some awesome ones, but my favorite was the one for my daughter's sixth birthday. She requested "Dracula coming out of a coffin with blood everywhere!" (I was so pleased that my little girl was becoming a baby bat!) This was the most fun I have ever had making a cake. I listened to Evil Dead 2 on the tv in the background, and used my Bela Lugosi doll as a model for the figure. And of course, I just happened to have mint flavored stage blood in my closet...

Dracula for Lily's 6th

I think some of the other kids were a little afraid of this cake, but, I didn't let that bother me.  And I know my in laws thought it was "wildly inappropriate." <insert maniacal laughter here>

I truly love making these cakes. Yes, it takes hours and hours, but it satisfies my creative needs. No, I will never do this professionally. It is a hobby and something I do because I want to not because I have to. If this were a job, I'd most likely end up hating it.

Just for fun, here are some of the other cakes I've made of which I am rather proud:

Dragon for Gareth's 1st

Fasery houses for Lily's 3rd

Tea Mouse for Lena's 1st

Hello Kitty for Siri's 3rd (Kitty head made of rice crispies)

Pink Grumpy Bear for Lena's 2nd

Tiana for Lily's 5th

R2D2 for Gareth's 3rd

School mascot for Teacher Appreciation Day

Death Star for Gareth's 4th

Despicable Me for Kindergarten Graduation