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Just simple shots I grabbed after work, but I LOVED this outfit. This dress is the hardest-working garment in my closet. It’s shown up on the blog at least once a month since I got it in March. But seriously, it’s the best. Vintage, perfectly fitting, only $30 at one of my favorite brick-and-mortar shops.  And it goes with anything. Any season, any color. I’ve spent so long collecting loud, loud dresses that I’ve forgotten how nice it is to have staples.


Dress: vintage, via brick-and-mortar store

Shoes: vintage, via eBay

Everything else: thrifted

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still tacky & the leibster award


This is still one of my favorite posts of all time, and I stand by it 100%. I play at elegance sometimes, but everyone should know what a tacky fuck I am. I think about it every time I pull out this sweater, which is one of the most beloved things in my wardrobe.

In other news, Kristina nominated me for the Leibster Award. It’s a “learn more about the blogger!” meme, and I love answering surveys and questionnaires, so why not, eh?

First, eleven random facts about me:


1. I’ve been working at haunted houses for almost a decade now. I grew up loving them, and I started volunteering the minute I was old enough. The rest is history. For next year, my tenth anniversary, I think I might take a sabbatical for “research & development” – i.e., going to a bunch of other haunted houses. I’m so busy working that I haven’t actually been to one in years!

2. I’m the only child of older parents who had tried for years to have kids. My mom was 42 when I was born; my dad, 38. The day after I was born, there was an article in the paper about women who are pregnant in their 40s being more likely to live to 100. My mom cut it out and laminated it, and she still has it.

3. I have Asperger’s and OCD. Though Asperger’s is no longer a distinct diagnosis, having been rolled into the rest of the autism spectrum, I feel most comfortable identifying as an Aspie. I was diagnosed in my teens after years of feeling profoundly alienated from the world. I’ve come a long way re: my social skills. Now, at 21, I can usually pass for neurotypical pretty well, with the exception of some motor tics and other stimmy behaviors.


Skirt: via costume shop

Shoes: vintage, via eBay

Hat: from a friend

Everything else: thrifted


4. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: I love Latin. I love it. In high school, Latin class was just about the only thing getting me out of bed in the morning. And, if I do say so myself, I’m really damn good at it. The language just makes inherent sense to me. I swear I was born with an extra grammar lobe.

5. I’ve been fascinated by criminology since I was a kid. I was about 11 when I first started writing psychological profiles of my favorite book & movie villains, and it snowballed from there. I took a few criminology classes, and I once had serious designs on a career in the subject, but I have a lot of complicated criminal-industrial-complex-related feelings, so that’s a ghost I’ve more or less given up. I do watch a lot of Orange Is the New Black, though.

6. I’m a really good cook! My specialty is a sweet potato, caramelized onion, and Swiss cheese pie with shortbread crust. Both my parents used to be professional chefs, so it’s in the blood.

7. I’ve made peace with the fact that I might never finish college. I love learning and I love knowledge for its own sake, but my brain isn’t well suited to academics (except for Latin). I went to college for two years, and that’s better than nothing. I have a day job I like and plenty of creative outlets. Not everyone needs a degree.


8. I used to sing classical music, and I miss it every day. I wish I could find more amateur musical opportunities! As it stands, all the choirs near me are either a) religious, b) a huge time commitment, or c) both. I’m often tempted to join a church just to participate in the choir, but that feels dishonest.

9. I’m polyamorous. I have a primary partner whom I live with, and secondaries scattered about. I could easily write a post and a half about this alone, so I’ll leave it there, but I’m willing to answer questions!

10. Two years ago, I ranted on reddit about a political issue that was bothering me. A scout for an international magazine saw it and messaged me, and that’s how I ended up writing for The Prague Revue until they took a hiatus this summer.

11. I am terrible at keeping track of my glasses. At least twice a week I misplace them for a few hours and have to squint my way through the day. My eyesight isn’t awful, but the glasses definitely help.


Now for the q&a:

1. What inspired you to start a blog?

I’ve had several blogs throughout my life. When you love both writing and attention as much as I do, it’s only natural. I started this particular one because I’d been posting my outfit photos on Facebook for a few months, and I decided to move them to a more formal platform. But, if we’re being real, the actual catalyst was that I was procrastinating my finals and in kind of a manic mood, and I decided to start a huge project instead of writing a paper about Latin etymology.

2. Who is your favorite style icon?

My absolute favorite designer is Elsa Schiaparelli, she of the famous lobster dress. I love Iris Apfel and Beatrix Ost. And even though she doesn’t really blog anymore, I really loved Solanah of Vixen Vintage. She had such a lush, cozy vintage style.

3. Can you name two of your favorite bloggers and explain why they are your favorites?

My current favorites are Nora of Nora Finds and Melissa of Specs & the City. My own style is equal parts of each, and it’s cool to see that mirrored. Nora has the best vintage wardrobe I have ever seen. She puts together accessories in ways that are almost too busy, but end up falling on the side of eccentric & elegant instead. And Melissa is a brilliant artist. Her entire world is madcap and overbright. I envy her editorial vision .

4. What’s one wardrobe essential you can’t live without?

Fit-and-flare dresses in every possible color and pattern, naturally. Brightly colored tights. Men’s oxfords. I have a uniform of late, and I’m pretty happy about that.

5. How would you describe your blogging style?

Overeager and pretentious. I’m kidding, but only kinda.

6. What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?

I won eleven Latin awards in high school, but I feel utterly lame choosing that one, given that I graduated four years ago. Honestly, I suppose it would be learning to live with my mental issues and build a life to the extent that I have. I live on my own with a partner, and a few years ago I didn’t think that would be something I’d be able to do.

7. What was the last book you read?

Incubus, by Anne Arensberg. And it was AMAZING. If you like spooky, atmospheric horror, not the bloodbath kind but the kind that settles in your chest, you need to check it out.

8. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Ireland all the way. Rebecca of The Clothes Horse moved to Northern Ireland last year, and her pictures have made me fall even deeper in love with the place.

9. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Married to my primary partner, with possibly a mortgage and definitely a pet. Having published my short-story collection, plus a few auxiliary stories. Earning at least half my income writing freelance. Maybe owning an antiques shop, maybe owning a haunted bed-and-breakfast. Maybe both.

10. What was the first book or movie that made an impact on your life?

I saw Sleeping Beauty when I was four years old, and I’ve been deeply in love with Maleficent ever since.

11. What advice would you give someone who has just started blogging?

Post whatever the fresh hell you want. Seriously. Build an audience by being you first and foremost. You can refine later. First you want to know that people are reading you for yourself, not for whatever airs you’re trying to put on.


I always feel so awkward tagging people in these things, so how about this: if you’re reading this and you want to participate, consider yourself tagged!



apples, saddle shoes, & ideological purity


Yes, I have more than one apple dress. This one’s from Hell Bunny. I got it during July’s Amazon sale, along with my cherry dress. I’ve been buying a lot more “vintage-inspired” – a.k.a. non-vintage – clothes than I used to. I still adore true vintage and prefer it, but I’m getting frustrated with how fast it wears out. My oldest dresses are unraveling under the arms and at the hems, and it’s getting expensive. I’ve been trying to invest in some really well-made “retro style” dresses.

But, even more than that, I think I’ve gotten burned out on trying to make my life a political statement.

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Let me be quite clear: I still think reusing and recycling clothing is objectively better! I still think fast fashion is destroying the planet! I still want to maintain a wardrobe that’s at least 75% vintage/thrifted! But I also think boycotting things is kinda…hypocritical. Because I still eat meat. I still – though I don’t drive – make use of others’ cars. I still love novelty Halloween crap. I am fully complicit in all that a Western lifestyle entails, and unless I’m prepared to fully overhaul it – which, let’s be real, I’m not – I have no business looking down my nose at others’ consumption.

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The perfect really is the enemy of the good. I think a lot of people who might otherwise want to cut down on meat or gas or cheap Chinese clothes are scared off by the intensity of some of the hard-liners: “if you’re not a thrifting non-driving vegan, you’re a terrible worthless person!” It becomes impossible to make small changes of any kind, because it becomes all or nothing. And I don’t want to be that hard-liner. I’d rather be approachable than strident.


Dress: Hell Bunny

Hat: old & beloved

Everything else: thrifted


And, frankly, I’m not really sold on the idea that individual efforts are terribly powerful to begin with. I really like this post on the subject:

Power rested not in what you did as one person, but what you did as many people, as one part of a large, organized, and focused movement. For him, this meant organizing workers to go on strike for better conditions, and eventually it meant winning the right to unionize. What you ate for lunch or happened to be wearing was of absolutely no concern whatsoever.

This was striking to me, because it was the mirror opposite of my culture back home in Canada. Where I came from, you expressed your political beliefs—firstly and very often lastly—through personal lifestyle choices. By loudly proclaiming your vegetarianism. By shopping fair trade and local and boycotting big, evil brands.

So I’m done preaching (mostly to the choir) the merits of vintage clothing. I’d rather donate to a garment workers’ union. Symbolic empowerment only does so much.

The bottom line: don’t worry so much about whether all your clothes are ethical or all your relationships sufficiently feminist or all your tastes in media un-problematic. Agitate for the changes you want to see, but you don’t have to internalize purity in everything you do.

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attend the tale of toni todd


This past summer, I went to a local theater company’s costume sale and bought about 25 dresses for my Etsy shop, which I’ve only just gotten around to photographing (listings will be up sometime this week). I snatched up anything I thought might be remotely salable. The directors were thrilled to get rid of everything – they handed me a garbage bag and told me to go nuts. I promised Josh I was buying to sell, not to wear. Our apartment is only so big. But I’m keeping the hell out of this vintage Toni Todd dress I found in the pile.


I’ve been waiting most of the summer to wear this dress. It’s really an autumn number. And it looks twee-in-the-best way with the saddle shoes I also picked up at the costume sale. It always delights me to find a piece with a label I recognize, a bit of history I already know. Toni Todd wasn’t a person but the name for the Misses division at R & M Kaufman. It was basically the fast fashion of its day, but you’d hardly guess that from its construction. I don’t want to be one of those “back in the day” curmudgeons, but…some things really just were better back then. Do you think a $20 J.C. Penney dress made today would ever last 50 years?


Dress: vintage, via costume sale

Coat: vintage, via brick-and-mortar store

Everything else: thrifted

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cherry bomb: nymphcore edition


So, um, as you might have noticed, all three of my cameras are currently out of commission. I swear I haven’t lost interest in this blog. Quite the opposite, in fact – I’m slavering to take pictures again. I really miss capturing myself. Every time this happens, I realize how much of my life really is conducted through snapshots. I sort of forget what I look like without outfit pictures. I forget how to live in my body. (And I got a couple of really really awesome new[old] vintage dresses that are crying out for the camera’s eye. That too.)

Luckily, I’m taking the whole lot of them into the shop today, so I should be back up and running within a week. In the meantime, have these shots that Holly took of me back in May, down by the river in the fledgling summer.


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world of stone


You guys. I have been going to Maine every summer for, like, eight years, and I have wanted to do a proper photoshoot in front of this library for just as long. One day I will sell enough short stories to buy this place and hoard mannequins & antique hats in every corner. I will wake up in the tower and shout at young women taking photos on my stoop, but I’ll secretly love it, those descendents of mine. This place isn’t the kind of secret you hold too tight.

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I have no idea where those white lines came from. I like to think an inchworm was crawling across my lens.

Post title taken from my favorite Blackmore’s Night song.

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margarita plz


I don’t actually like margaritas, but I feel like that’s what you’re supposed to drink when you’re lazing poolside in cat-eye sunglasses.

I spent most of the past week in Maine, battling the ocean and soaking in the unabashed kitsch. I love tacky tourist-trap bullshit, especially the maritime version: I am the kind of person who is easily charmed by, like, dancing lobsters.

Major picdump incoming: these shots were taken by my mom, who was into photography before I was but a twinkle in her eye.

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cherry bomb


You ever feel like certain outfits are just straight-up cursed? They look bangin’ in person, but EVERY. TIME. you try to photograph them, something goes horribly wrong?

Yeah, that would be this dress.


Fed up with how so much of my vintage seems to be simply disintegrating, I’ve invested in a few high-quality reproduction dresses. This one’s from Maggie Tang, and the construction is excellent for its price – excellent period, even. Though several reviews said “perfect for a bridesmaid”, and I had to laugh – you know I’m wearing this sucker out day-to-day, because “absurdly, inappropriately formal” is the name of my game.

The dress arrived a week and a half ago, and I’ve worn it at least five times since then, but I could not for the life of me get a good photo of it. The je ne sais quoi just wasn’t there.

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So on Sunday I put my hair in pin curls, I did a full face of makeup, and I zipped myself into the dress. Yeah, bitch, today’s the day.

And then the following happened within 20 minutes:

  • I took out my pin curls to find they had not set even a little
  • the soles of my shoes came unglued, forcing me to perform a Ministry of Silly Walks goose-step all the way outside
  • my camera fell off its *%*(&*($&^* tripod and its metal shell split almost in half
  • I got so nervous and frustrated that I started sweating through my makeup

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So I grabbed the shots I could and went inside to sulk in front of Netflix like the good Lord intended.

Cursed, I tell you. That’s what I get for buying non-vintage.

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and now for something completely different

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The last of my camp photos, taken in that nebulous neverwhere between one responsibility and the next. At least I looked really adorable. I like to think my tiny self would’ve enjoyed having a counselor like me.

But I’ll soon be transitioning out of twee!cute and into creepy!cute, because…


My haunt is expanding! As of 2015, Nightmare Vermont will officially launch Spookywood, a little sister production aimed at a younger audience, and I’ve been selected for the writing staff. I could not be more thrilled about that. Getting in on the ground floor of a brand-new haunt puts me that much closer to running my own one day. And I will officially be a ~credited writer~ on an ~official playbill~. While still doing costumes for NV, of course. Because you can’t ask me to make that kind of choice.

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