staying on your internets

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Before I pick up the mic, let us all acknowledge that I am Halloween and it feels wonderful. There we go. This is baaaasically my full-time job right now, aside from, y’know, my actual full-time job. Tomorrow I’m getting up at 6:30 to do makeup at a zombie-themed fun run. On Sunday I’m driving two hours to volunteer at a pumpkin festival and then taking Josh to dinner for his 26th birthday. Yes, the latter counts as a Halloween activity. I’m not sure Josh was born so much as sprung, fully formed, into being at Shub-Niggurath’s teat.

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So I discovered GOMI today. And no, I’m not going to give them the pageviews, so you can Google it yourself. “Get Off My Internets” is a forum for eviscerating internet personalities. (I realize every other fashion blogger already knew about this, but I am late to the party on nearly everything. I mean, I still have a flip phone.) Some of the stuff on GOMI is actually really funny. I enjoy fashion-girl parodies and lampooning of the more overt tropes. “ModCrap” has a certain ring to it. But a lot of the posts leave a decidedly skeevy taste in my mouth. The thread that made me stop reading was devoted to dragging up a particular blogger’s internet history and posting her “sexy” MySpace photos from ten years ago. There is no universe in which that is a valid critique of a person’s work.

I don’t really have anything career-killing to hide. I don’t exactly keep my nudes a secret, and I’ve never had a Tumblr or LiveJournal or any kind of ~feelings~ blog. But I despise the whole “you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide” canard. Even if nothing bad would actually come of them, I fear such invasions on principle, and I think most people do. I use half a dozen Reddit accounts because the idea of being doxxed turns my stomach.

Usually when there’s some “scandal” like this, I’m able to reason out why it would never happen to me. I’m mot high-profile or controversial or doing anything illegal. But this one actually hit home. This blogger does more or less the exact same thing I do. She got her teenage mistakes splashed around the internet because someone “didn’t like her stupid face”. Yeah, I don’t have anything to hide. But that is so not the point. The point is that I’m disgusted to have given pageviews to people who have nothing better than this to do. They’re not welcome on my internet.

Look, I’m the biggest fan of free speech and free discourse you’ll ever meet. I’m also a big fan of treating others like humans, not objects for your entertainment. I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. Fashion bloggers, like everyone else, do things worth mocking. We – at least I – can take it. We’re also, y’know, people.  Just remember that.

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to haunt and to hold

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It seems I can’t even wear my favorite sweater without being told to “go home” because apparently “it’s not even October yet”. Love you too, everyone. I just came out to have a good time and I’m honestly feeling so attacked right now. At least my sweater cares.

Even though it’s nigh October, haunt season started months ago. “Halloween is six weeks away, for Chrisssakes!” outsiders cry. Yeah, exactly – Halloween is six weeks away. I’d like to see you design, build, outfit, and rehearse an entire show in six weeks. My haunt, Nightmare Vermont, is the only one in the state that performs a complete coherent story rather than a series of skits. We write and produce a play from scratch, essentially.

…so yeah. You’d be freaking out too.

I’m so ready for fall, though. One last blaze of crunchy-leaved glory before seasonal depression settles in. Is anyone else champing at the bit for season 4 of American Horror Story?

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My friend Ruthless and I got our nails professionally done for her 21st birthday. The stylists refrained from rolling their eyes at our unseasonable choices. But it’s always Halloween for us, at least a little bit. We both serve on the production team of our haunted house, and we talked shop the whole way through our pampering. The haunt had its first meeting last night, wherein the director revealed the theme and we debated which animatronic monster to invest in. (I’m angling for something vaguely humanoid, for the record. Far more reusable.)

My new acrylics made me nostalgic for my favorite time of year. So in today’s OotD, I went full haunter. It’s high time I showed off this sweater. I got it in October and wore it faithfully through the end of the season, but it’s never showed up here. Granted, I didn’t have time for too many OotDs during haunt season, but a piece like this deserves all the love it can get. It takes pride of place in my ugly sweater collection. I want one for every holiday – yes, including the summer ones, dammit.

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Can we talk about how I’m so not used to having nails longer than my fingertips? I’ve bitten them to nubs since I could chew. I have literally never experienced overhang of any kind. How do people live like this? After thirty seconds of fumbling, I had to ask the cashier to pull my debit card out of my wallet for me. I’m dreading the first time I have to pee – or, god forbid, change a tampon.

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In other news from the “Skye’s passions” arena, I’m following Marlen’s lead and announcing that I’m working on a book! Two, actually. One is an anthology of short fiction based on fairy tales; the other is a memoir. I realize there’s something uniquely pretentious about writing a memoir after barely two decades of life, but believe me, I’ve got some stories to tell. My life tends toward the bizarre.

Storytelling is my first and foremost love. I’m one of those people who’s always writing a novel. I actually completed two in middle and high school – not that I’d ever let them see the light of day in 2014. As I’ve gotten more established in my journalism career and started getting my essays picked up, I’ve left a lot of my own projects in the dust. And I want to remember how to write for the sheer mad joy of it, not just because I’m on a deadline.

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Blouse & Sweater: Classy Closet Crinolines & Bow: Spirit Halloween Belt: Goodwill Scarf & Tights: Gifted Shoes: Dirt Chic (tutorial here!)

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And because I’m a tease, enjoy an excerpt from one Once upon a Dream, of the short stories in my anthology.

“Aurora,” Adia asked one morning, “what’s become of your body while you’ve been here?”

“The usual, I’m sure. I never lived in it much anyway. Why should it matter that I’ve vacated for good? I’d wager no one can tell the difference.”

“You are alive here,” Adia agreed. “You’re potent just this way, slithering through my blood every night. A whole body would only dilute you. You’re better as a spark, a seed, a notion.”

Adia was beginning to picture Aurora’s face. The noble girl’s features ran through her blood. She was fair and sharp and cunning, with smooth eyes that couldn’t hide her cleverness. She was the lace to Adia’s linen, the bloom to her fade, the daughter who had somehow survived. She was perfect.

Aurora set up camp in Adia’s head that night, and gave her dizzying dreams she didn’t remember.

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I’m pulling a leaf from Kaelah’s toothy little book and compling a “best of” post. 2013 wasn’t only my first full year of blogging. It’s the year my outfits and photography actually took on some semblance of a recognizable style. A far cry from 2012’s “throw some fabric at my body and hope it sticks”. I’m still a born-and-bred eccentric, but now I’ve got a bit more nuance.

This was also the year I started actually applying basic design principles to my shoots. The old stand ‘n’ pose can be fun, but I want to make art on lots of levels, not just the fashionable. I look now at my old webcam shots and want to burn every last one. I keep them on the blog because some of the outfits are passable, and also because it’s a nice reminder of improvement.

Here you’ll find my top 12 posts of 2013. Check back tomorrow or the next day for some 2014 inspiration porn. I’m also planning to list a few new Etsy items over the next couple of days.

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waterhouse heroine & windy witch 

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little red & splatter (plus a link to the bloody-shoes tutorial I did for Floral Prints + Common Sense!)

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strange doll & noontime ghost

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prairie luxe & baroness samedi’s in town

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grandma chic: dapper flapper edition & i was never here

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more mooring & keep matches away from me (plus links to Brent Gould Photography and Owlhurst Loft Vintage)

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Today I’m guest posting over at Floral Prints and Common Sense, teaching y’all how to make and style blood-spattered shoes. Head over and check it out (and I highly recommend following Floral Prints and Common Sense while you’re at it!)

no rest for the wicked

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We opened last night. And, of course, Murphy’s Law dictated that I left my camera battery charging away in my bedroom. As such, I have no evidence of the glory that was my costumes. I’ll do my best to snap some tonight, though. (But seriously, fuck Murphy.)

I took these photos last week, but I haven’t had a single spare moment to edit and post them until now. “After Halloween” has become my stock answer when invited to do anything. From now until the 31st, I operate on three settings: work, haunt, sleep. Last night Josh and I stumbled in at around 1 (his haunt opened last night too), glanced at the pile of clothes on the bedroom floor – let’s be real, they’re mostly mine – and agreed “we’ll clean it up after Halloween.”

I wanted to show you guys what a haunt in progress looks like, though. To most people, haunted houses are perfectly polished spook, but it’s funny how normal it becomes when it’s your bread and butter. The unusual nature of the work kind of gets lost when you’re clomping around all “where’s that goddamn coffin?!” I suppose the same is true for any unusual occupation: our work looks exotic, but we’re just people. And I appreciate anything that humanizes the absurd and the larger than life.

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The Forest consists of a series of self-contained scenes all united by a single theme. This year’s is Merry Olde England; particularly inspired past themes include Twisted Fairy Tales and Creepy Carnival. Groups of audience members are led by cloaked guides through a meandering trail, with scenes installed along the way. Actors do each scene 40 times on a light night.

The entire Forest is lit by pumpkins, carved by a crack team of volunteers. That’s mine second from the right.

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Our venue serves as a series of bike trails for most of the year. During Forest time, the lodge’s racks of helmets and rows of spare tires are swapped out for greasepaint, pumpkins, and capes by the dozen.

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Our super haunted headquarters, filled with super haunted things like…uh, couches, and snacks, and floorboards.

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I love that I work in a place where no one bats an eye at this label.

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My super spooky sweater. One day I will own tacky sweaters for every holiday, even the obscure sectarian ones.

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I’d really like a pet ghost.

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It’s just like any other volunteer event, except for the coffin sneaking into the frame. No biggie.

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The wax museum is one of our classic scenes, though with content modified to fit each year’s theme. As this year’s theme is Merry Olde England, the museum features the first three wives of Henry VIII. I filled in last night as Catherine of Aragon, and I got a few good scares by periodically disrupting my frozen stature to beckon to the audience.

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It’s still running! Get tickets here.

glass slippers will cut your feet

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Cindy won’t forget herself that easily. You don’t spend two decades scrounging scraps and counting every moment of peace only to slide painlessly into luxury. Cleanliness feels too naked, finery too bright. Trust doesn’t come so fast, not even for Prince Charming. Too many nights she finds herself pulled hearthward, hypnotized, drawn to some semblance of her old life.

Lace doesn’t go with ashes. She aches for a way to hide.

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I love fairy tales. I hope that’s obvious by now. I love the archetypes inherent in them. Their demonstration that humans have always been the same. More than that, I love how many ways exist to twist and queer and bastardize them. The goth in me doesn’t want to let anyone have a happy ending.

How much sense does it make for Cinderella to sail right into royalty without even a nod to her crippling PTSD? Exactly none. Part of her probably wishes she still slept beside the cinders every night. She knows embracing her new life is the clearest way forward, but she can’t let go of the rags and ash.

Under her gold and lace, she still wears that filthy frock close against her skin.

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At least as a slave she was Someone. Now she is Other.

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Dresses, Shawl: for sale at Downtown Threads Mask, Pearls, Ring, Belt: Gifted

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ravens land

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It’s not Halloween without a little Voltaire. You’re welcome.

Welcome to my second costume tutorial for Downtown Threads! My goal with this project is to design my own versions of a few classic costume ideas. Yesterday I wrote about my obnoxiously literal take on the French maid. Today I’m putting a conceptual spin on a Halloween staple: the raven.

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Too many animal costumes resort to big honking masks and bulky fur suits. I’ve never found much excitement in exact duplication. As you saw in yesterday’s post, I much prefer to costume the idea of something. I might not literally resemble a raven, but I resemble the common cultural shorthand of what ravens represent: mystery, cruelty, seduction.

Basically, I like designing costumes that look like outfits and outfits that look like costumes. There’s so much more overlap than many people realize.  It’s why I love designers like Westwood and Schiaparelli. This costume would work pretty well at a black-tie event. And most of my everyday outfits look at least a little like Halloween costumes. There’s history and semiotics in everything.

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To symbolize the cruelty and indifference commonly associated with ravens, I used this earpiece as a breastplate and layered the necklace over it. My raven proudly wears effects – a skull and a wing – from members of her own species. I might as well wear a bracelet of human teeth.

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My other goal with this look was a sexy costume for those who’d rather not show skin (or are just too damn cold to do so. Let’s be real; it’s OCTOBER). Not that there’s anything wrong with wearing a micromini, but it’s sure as hell not the only way to turn someone on. This costume is sexy in a menacing, I’m-gonna-eat-your-heart-for-breakfast kind of way. It’s always interesting to witness the marriage of sex and death, especially at this time of year.

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Remember that all these pieces will be for sale within the next few days! If you’re inspired by my costumes and want to steal them for your lovely self, check out Downtown Threads on Church Street.

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Dress, Shawl, Necklace, & Earpiece: for sale at Downtown Threads Fascinator: Battery Street Jeans Mask: Homeport Shoes: Dirt Chic Tights: Sox Market

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Caw.

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Earlier this month, I approached Downtown Threads about doing a series of costume tutorials. They loved the idea. I currently have a whole chairdrobe of loaner clothes languishing in my bedroom. Until Halloween, I get to borrow interesting/eccentric/eyesore-tastic clothes from their main store and have my costumey way with them. I get blog traffic, and Downtown Threads gets free promotion. A win-win if I’ve ever seen one.

With two weeks to spare ’til that day of days, the first post drops today. Behold my own painfully literal take on a classic costume: the French maid.

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This dress reminded me instantly of a French impressionist painting. It got me excited to design a concept rather than a character. I did some research into the artistic dress movement and discovered that this dress fits it not only symbolically but more literally as well: its structure and texture are very much in keeping with the loose, muted, medieval-inspired dresses of the pre-Raphaelites and their ilk. I love it when pieces work on multiple levels.

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For accessories, I turned to staples of the Impressionist period: summery hats, gold jewelry, and heeled shoes with narrow toes. The white tights have little historical precedent, but I think they still work. Most of the time, I’d rather capture the feeling of an era than go for strict accuracy.

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I’ve been meaning for years to get into the Society for Creative Anachronism. My friend Holly promises to drag Josh and me to an event sometime this winter. I need some motivation to refine my knowledge of historical dress. I can date pretty much anything from 1900 on, but I’m ashamed to say I’m utterly lost in older times.

My hair would probably scandalize the entire Society, though. Holly says they’re sticklers. I really enjoy having a few obviously-not-vintage things about me, though. My hair, my tattoos, the stud in my nose. It keeps my costumes fresh. No matter how timeless the rest of my look, there will always be something that breaks the flow. And I’m all about shocking people out of their collective comfort zone.

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Dress & Shawl: Currently for sale at Downtown Threads Bangles: Old Gold Hat: Gifted Shoes: Goodwill Tights: Sox Market

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two devils went a-haunting

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I’m almost sorry for the dearth of outfit pictures in this post. Almost. I think the absence is more than compensated for by the garish, ghoulish delights awaiting you after the jump.

If you’re not into Halloween, feel free to skip this one. But if you’re not into Halloween, why are you even here.

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I’m a haunter. Not only am I madly in love with a fellow haunter, but we both maintain fairly important positions at competing haunts. I’m the costume director for the Haunted Forest, an outdoor haunt held at a local bike trail; Josh is the art director for Nightmare Vermont, a bloodier event that specializes in stage combat. The Forest is the campier counterpart to Nightmare’s gore porn, and we both throw in the occasional mindfuck. Needless to say, ’tis our season for near-constant shop talk, copious notetaking, and lurking obscenely around every Halloween store in the county.

These photos are a visual record of the hours we’ve spent over the past few weeks soaking up every plastic skull and bloodstained corset this county has to offer.

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Yes, you can do this with makeup. We often do.

On the 28th of this month (which happens to be Josh’s 25th birthday), we’re dragging ourselves out of bed at seven to help with makeup for Vermont’s annual Zombie Run. Zombie Run is a 5k fun run in which the entrants are divided into zombies and victims. The whole run is framed as a chase, and we do some pretty damn intricate makeup.

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Spirit Halloween is practically a museum. I could spend hours there, and Josh and I often do, tinkering with the animatronics and exclaiming over the displays.

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I’m totally coming here on November 1st and buying every one they have left.

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When it comes to seasonal decor, I like glittery kitsch. Josh likes muted steampunk. We both like bloody and gothic.

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I was really pleased with the variety of costumes in the little girls’ section. There’s not a damn thing wrong with a girl (or a boy!) who’d rather go as a princess than a vampire, but it can be hard to find a truly creepy costume for the spook-conscious little witch. I wish I’d been able to get my hands on blood-spattered tights as a kid! Hell, I’m disappointed that Spirit doesn’t carry them in adult sizes. Josh promised to help me make some, though.

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Sometimes people just really like tiny coffins. No judging.