Middle Earth Mood

My Nana had two VHS tapes at her house that I must have watched every time we visited when I was little, and both gave me a deep love for the worlds they built (and probably sparked my love for world building in general). Those tapes were episodes of the Moomins and the Ralph Bakshi Lord of the Rings cartoon – and I highly recommend both!

I remember my gradual introduction to the world of Tolkien after watching the cartoon, moving next to the Hobbit (which I also had on audio tape), the Lord of the Rings, and then the Simarillion and beyond. I’m glad I got to live in the world before the movies came out, so I was able to create my own imaginings and visuals – which I enjoyed comparing with what the movies did.

(I have various feelings about some interpretations the movies made, but that is a whole rant for another time. In general, I adore the movies and they are one of my favourite ‘comfort food’ watches – the ride of the Rohirrim is stupendous – and the soundtracks are among my favourite of all time.)

Since mood boards are my go-to activity to de-stress and I’m not really feeling fashion trends right now (c’mon, neon and tiny sunglasses?! Get the fuck outta here with that please) I’ve turned other sources of inspiration.

Númenor

Ah, what folly. Numenor was like the decadence of the early 00’s before the crash (or, in their case, a wave). Don’t listen to pretty lies, for it will end badly.

Gondor

Admittedly, I’m a bit more #TeamRohan when it comes to the world of men but I do like the colours of Gondor a bit more. Despite missing the black wall (stickler for details), I thought the movie representation was brilliant.

Hobbiton

Who wouldn’t want to live in the cosy, comfy Shire? I totally get why Gandalf loved to visit so much and the appeal of a circular front door.

Lothlorien

If I were an Elf, I’d choose Lothlorien over Rivendell or Mirkwood. Not only is it a protected haven, but I bet Galadriel has the best stories from the first two ages.

Mordor

You cannot simply walk into it… unless you’re two Hobbits, I guess. Although I didn’t really picture Sauron quite so literally, I kind of liked the crazy big eye tower. It was certainly an impressive vibe.

Rivendell

The last homely house, where Elrond must be used to (but growing tired of) people just showing up unannounced to stay. If you don’t want uninvited house guests, don’t be super knowledgeable and live somewhere welcoming. I think Elrond secretly likes the company since his sons skipped off to the North.

Rohan Palette

Why Rohan over Gondor? Well, I like their earthier vibe (wood over stone) and you know they’d be more fun at a party. Although I like the colours and flag of Gondor more, I’d probably enjoy living in Rohan more. As if living in any of these places is a possibility… but whatever, it’s easy to get carried away when you wander into making mood boards.

But as we all know, not all those who wander are lost.

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Put up with the rain

A wise woman once said ‘If you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain’, and even if you live somewhere sunny and rainy days are scarce, you still need that rainbow from time to time.

Why yes, that is a clunky metaphor thank you for noticing. One of my personal rainbows is creating mood boards online. It’s like scrapbooking, or a more focused Pinterest page I guess, but even if I don’t share them there is a certain enjoyment to sourcing the images and bringing them all together under a theme.

It’s a window into your mind, and I love to see what others create too! As the trees and flowers are blooming here, I was inspired to make a colour wheel of petals and flowers.

owls.png

Do you have a favourite flower or season? I like dark reds and dark pink for flowers, but a well-mixed arrangement is always delightful. It’s the best way to have a rainbow nearby, and silk flowers have the bonus of never dying.

Style Chameleon: Society Sorcerer

It’s a tea party at Miss Havisham’s manor and you’re all invited. Unpack your fingerless lace gloves, costume jewelry, and best ruffles because the dress code is your best gothic finery. It’s girlie and dark, a tinge of the Elegant Goth Lolita Harajuku look but more understated and wearable. Don’t shy away from jewels or hats, and more is more when it comes to tulle and lace.

Society Sorcerer

There’s a fine line between girl and woman, which the Society Sorcerer look tiptoes along. A debutante in her mother’s art deco finery, heirloom pieces and ruffles. I love the idea of a coven having a debutante ball, with innocent silhouettes in rich fabrics and gems. Look to Helena Bonham Carter, Vivienne Westwood, and Art Deco for inspiration – even some Tim Burton movies have that fancy darkness to them (especially Corpse Bride!) and even some old fairy tales too.

Style Chameleon: Barbie Barbiturate

Barbie Barbiturate is not here to glamorize drug addiction like its inspiration source of Valley of the Dolls, but rather give a sad and tragic counterpart to the perky pinup look. 

A retro 60s housewife bored with life and tranquilized to hell, but her cat eye makeup is still flawless. She’s the kind of woman who can cry without ruining her makeup, and she does not ‘ugly cry’ but instead looks benignly tragic. 

You do not (and should not) develop a drug habit to emulate this look, but we shouldn’t ignore the missteps of the past by pretending that oppressing and overmedicating women didn’t happen. Doctors are trained to believe we are exaggerating our symptoms and need to be calmed from hysteria, which is tragic enough without you developing a habit. Lana del Rey, someone who embodies this style so well, medicates with weed and that is a much better alternative. 

Barbie

Tease your hair up high (pun intended) and setting spray is integral. Feminine clothes, layered to perfection but probably not quite in keeping with the season. Accessories are a distraction, and you can ignore Coco Chanel and let them overwhelm you. Costume jewelry because you’re acting your way through a sad life – are you a Neely or an Anne? – and don’t forget your signature scent. Something classic like Shamilar, perhaps? Wear sunglasses and a big hat to avoid the sunlight, and lots of silk to drown in. 

It seems too gauche to cite or show inspirations from the long list of women who died from barbiturate overdoses, but I recommend you learn about who they are and what led them down that path. Instead, watch Valley of the Dolls (or read the book because it’s better!) and lust after everything the gorgeous Sharon Tate wears. Watch Lana del Rey music videos, and channel any woman who made the mistake of falling in love with Don Draper on Mad Men because that’s her. 

Style Mood: Swamp Witch / Romantic Witchcraft

Did you watch American Horror Story: Coven? Witches, Stevie Nicks, New Orleans, and voodoo are all obsessions for me, so squish them together and I am on board. The glam and impossibly talented Jessica Lange made goth look chic, with Stevie Nicks and Misty Day on board to bring some floating scarves to the mix too. In my mind, this is a classic look that never goes out of style!

romantic witchcraft

Like Glitter Trash, it’s harder for me to incorporate this type of lewk into my workwear. The most I can really get away with is a chiffon shawl or wearing all black (which was much more subtly in NYC compared to LA!).

You don’t need to be a witch or practice witchcraft to embrace either of these styles. As with most looks that are a bit ‘extra’, they do tend to work best when not worn as a costume. This isn’t Halloween, and I don’t recommend wearing a witchy-inspired outfit if you aren’t partially into the lifestyle. Nobody likes a poser.

swampwitch

That said, I think witchy women (and men!) are some of the most welcoming people out there, so do not feel daunted about going down that path. Each culture has their own slightly different take on witches, so why not do some investigating around if you’re interested? The witches and druids of the UK, the witch doctors of the Caribbean, the witches and their familiars of Eastern Europe, the voodoo witches of Haiti, (to name a few) all deserve individual attention if you’re intrigued!

Floaty shawls, burn out velvet, lace, headpieces, black, dark hues, ribbons, layers, dramatic swishes, pointy toe shoes, layered jewelry, inspired by nature (like spanish moss, thorns, storm clouds), unique pieces, natural materials, animal inspired jewelry (to represent your familiar!). Who are your style icons? Marie Laveau, Baba Yaga, Mortia Adams, Stevie Nicks, AHS: Coven, The Craft (obvs).

Please respect the culture, and do not treat this like a costume.

 

Style Mood: Glitter Trash

glitter trash

Some people have a style uniform, an iconic style that they hone over many years. I am… not one of those people. I am a messy closet owner who just goes with the mood they’re in that day, or hour. Those of us who are stylistically phrenetic life are a Marie Kondo nightmare, with bulging racks of clothes that are all necessary but match nothing. However, despite embracing many aesthetics, we likely have a few different styles we group our outfits in to match our moods.

Glitter trash is one of mine. This look doesn’t necessarily require an outfit to have glitter, but rather the outfit not look out of place if you were pulled into a retro coke-fuelled fashion photoshoot at a motel in America. It’s the equivalent of the smeared lipstick at the end of the night that still looks cool, it’s unique, and it’s “totally from some awesome little vintage store you’ve not heard of” but the glitter trash girl will absolutely share the name of it, and invite you to go shopping next week. She’s not a manic pixie dream girl, but this is not an outfit for your office day job.

Chunky high heels, show off those stems, too many accessories, yesterdays wavy hair, sunglasses inside, brightly colored bra straps, lots of eyeliner. It’s boho, it’s punk, it’s a clutch purse you keep losing. Paint each nail a different color, dye your hair in a avocado green bathtub, swap bracelets with your friends, dance all night. She’s a modern day Studio 54, she is an Andy Warhol fever dream.

I don’t get the chance to rock the glitter trash look as much now that I’m older, but it certainly holds a very fond place in my heart and in my closet.

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Stay Golden

I only recently started getting into skincare products, and I know I’m late to the game. The rise of brands like Glossier and The Ordinary, as well as the collaborative community of reddit’s skincare addition board, skincare is a lot less daunting to approach.

Admittedly, I am pretty lucky in that I haven’t had acne and don’t sunburn, so I’ve been able to coast on face wipes and toner. Now that age (sob) is catching up, and cameras are HD, I’m starting to be more critical and thoughtful in my quest for poreless and ageless skin.

The most fun, in my opinion, has been learning about what things are and what they do. The difference between BHA’s and AHA’s, what rose hip oil is for, and finding those HG (holy grail) products. I am definitely not an expert, but I’m enjoying learning about Korean beauty products, and dupes of expensive brands.

The key things I’ve learned to stay golden with your skincare may seem basic, but I want to pass them on regardless:

  1. Moisturize your face. It won’t make you break out. Find a light one, preferably with sunscreen in, and do it twice a day. Maybe more in winter.
  2. Don’t freak out if you do break out after starting a new product, as your skin may be just purging all the bad toxins.
  3. Take off all your makeup, and wash your face with warm (not hot) water every night. I personally also use a different washcloth/flannel every time, which I think might help too.
  4. Don’t cake on foundation everyday. You can if you want to, but your skin will appreciate the time to breathe.
  5. Don’t touch your face. Every one always says not to pick, which is true, but I encourage you not to touch it in general. Germs from your hands can easily transfer. This includes leaning your cheek on your hand, or prodding at a zit.

I couldn’t use the expression ‘stay golden’ and not include a gold mood board, especially when this time of year calls for some shimmer!

gold mood

Hygge Mood

hygge

A vast majority of the country is very chilly right now, so I hope you are keeping warm wherever you are. I miss having a real fireplace, one that you had to build yourself and not just flick on with a gas light.

When we had a wood fire, one of my chores would be to stack the logs in the greenhouse. We’d get a delivery, and it would need carrying around to the back. It always took ages, and I soon learned gloves were a necessity to avoid splinters or close contact with a spider. That said, it was always preferable to a coal fire which ran the risk of smudging soot everywhere.

As Dickensian as it sounds, one of our ‘family activities’ in the autumn was to go hunting for kindling. On a rare dry day, we’d head to the nearby woods or forest with tote bags and collect twigs for the fire. It was essential they were dry, and I quite enjoyed it. I have a feeling this was a bit unusual even back then, so it must sound ridiculous now.

Golden Roses

rose gold mood

I feel like the popularity of rose gold is waning. Will yellow gold have a comeback? Are we due for a silver domination? I’m rather fond of mixing metals, and I’m still fond of rose gold.

There was a time when rose gold seemed to cover anything and everything. It was to accessories what mason jars were to weddings, which is to say it was everywhere. I like rose gold because it is flattering to everyone, and a more delicate metallic than its cousin bronze.

2018 is the year of ultra violet, which has a natural match with silver. That said, I wouldn’t throw all your rose gold things out too soon.