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The Twelve Days of Yule

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...


Wait. That's not quite right. I don't celebrate Christmas.

The Twelve Days of Christmas, possibly one of the most annoying carols ever (definitely up there with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), can be traced back to the late 1700's as a memory and forfeit game. At least, that's about all historians can agree on, though some believe it may be French in origin.

The carol itself refers to the oft-forgotten Christian tradition of the Twelve Days of Christmas - which begins the night of December 25th and runs until January 6th - spanning the supposed time of Christ's birth and ending upon the arrival of the Three Kings.

(Advent, on the other hand, is the number of weeks preceding Christmas. Advent has seen a surge in popularity in recent years with the interest in fun and festive advent calendars.)

Thanks to the Christmas Creep and the commercial calendar treating the 25th as the last day of marketing for the hol…
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What Have You Accomplished In The Last Decade?

As I was scrolling through my TL on Twitter this morning, a tweet jumped out at me from user @stfutony that read "there's only ONE MONTH left in the decade. what have you accomplished?" Normally, I would have kept scrolling but something about this tweet felt accusatory, seeming to say that if I didn't acheive great things from the years 2010 to 2020 that I have somehow failed as a person and it was all for naught.

I'm sure that's not how Tony means it, though, and many of the replies featured people both lamenting the fact that they seemed to have accomplished nothing and those who are just so glad to have survived to see the end of the decade that I think this tweet was designed to put things into perspective for ourselves.

Still, it hit something within me. What have I accomplished in the last decade?

2010 

~Started a Gothic Lolita blog
~Found a community of like-minded friends
~Adopted a black cat named Elvira


2011

~Escaped from Montreal (long story)
~Enro…

You go trick-or-treating for Halloween, I summon the dead.

I love Halloween. Even as a child, it was my favorite holiday.

To me, there's something comforting and wholesome about ghosts, zombies, monsters, black cats, and of course, witches. Metaphorically, they represent our darker sides...our hidden sides...aspects of humanity and existence that make us uncomfortable because they're shrouded in darkness. But darkness doesn't always have to be frightening. The dark can hide us safely away from prying eyes or those who would do us harm. The dark of night lulls us gently to sleep.

I guess I knew early on that this is precisely what drew me to the occult and witchcraft. A safe space to explore our darker sides, to draw our power from them, and to own them instead of letting them own us.

For many witches, Halloween is considered the most important of nights. It is the last harvest festival in many pagan beliefs, a final nail in the coffin to a year of planting, reaping, and sowing. A time of letting old things go and concocting plans…

20 Fall Tag Questions

What is your favorite fall drink? ~ TEAWhat’s one thing you love about fall? ~ Crunchy, falling leavesWhat’s one thing you don’t like about fall? ~ It gets really cold here too quicklyAre you a pumpkin spice fan? ~ In small doses, yes.What’s your favorite fall scented candle? ~ Cinnamon AppleWhere do you buy your fall candles? ~ Usually Target, basic I know.What’s your go-to fall beauty product? ~ Hyaluronic Acid Serums, FTWYour favorite fall accessory? ~ ScarvesWhat’s your typical fall outfit look like? ~ Ankle boots, maxi skirt, sweater, leather jacketApple pie or pumpkin pie? ~ Apple, definitelyWhat’s your favorite Halloween/scary movie? ~ Hocus Pocus, it's a classicDo you have a fall tradition? ~ NaNoWriMoWhat’s your favorite fall food? ~ Soups or stewsWhat are your plans for Halloween? ~ Spirit Divination, likelyDo you plan on dressing up for Halloween? ~ No, I don't normallyWhat’s one thing your thankful for? ~ That I'm with better people this yearHalloween or Thanks…

Can I Carve a Pumpkin? Let's find out!

Carving a pumpkin for Halloween is a fun tradition - and the modern iteration of what we've come to know and love as "Jack O'Lanterns" has an equally interesting and fun history. The original Jack O'Lanterns weren't even pumpkins, they were actually turnips! Since turnips and potatoes were plentiful in Ireland, they were the vegetable of choice to be carved and illuminated.

The name comes from Stingy Jack, a folktale in Ireland about a wicked man who tricked the devil into not claiming his soul. Since he wasn't allowed in Heaven either, he now allegedly roams the earth as an evil spirit with only a piece of burning coal in a turnip lantern to light his way.

Hence the name...Stingy Jack....Jack of the Lantern....you see where this is going.

In Ireland and Scotland, people began carving frightening faces into turnips and placing candles within them to ward away Stingy Jack or other malevolent spirits that roamed the earth while the veil was thin. When Iris…

Work Appropriate Costumes for Halloween

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to wear a Halloween costume to work, but if you're employed in an office with a creative culture or laidback bosses you might be able to get away with something both modest and spooky OR mature but cute.

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Elevated Elvira

A simple black dress, a wicked winged liner, and a bold red lip bring this understated Goth Queen look into the office without raising too many eyebrows.


On Wednesday's We Wear Black

A black dress with a white collar and some braids - you really can't go wrong with Wednesday Addams. You can easily recreate this look with a white button down worn under a simple shift dress.


A Spoonful of Sugar

You likely already have the collared white blouse and black midi skirt to comprise this easy Mary Poppins look. A trip to the local thrift store will help you procure a cute red bow and a black hat -- but don't forget a frilly parasol and oversized bag!


Twiggy

Youthful, bright, and totally mod. A …

What to do in Duluth, MN for Three Days

Duluth is considered one of Minnesota's most beautiful cities for a reason. Located on Lake Superior, Duluth is a major port city and accessible to ocean vessels via the Great Lakes Waterway. It is home to one of the most scenic lake-front trails in Minnesota and one of it's more recognizable features is the beautiful aerial lift bridge that allows vessels of all sizes into the harbor.

While it continues to be a thriving port city, Duluth saw most of its growth in the late 1800's with iron ore mining. The expansion of the railroad and the boom in lumber kept the city on the map and today its population is estimated at around 86,000 - making it the 4th largest city in the state of Minnesota.

I spent my 30th birthday in Duluth and thus far it's been one of the most enjoyable three-day weekend trips I've ever taken. Everything listed below could easily be fit into a three-day period if you're as ambitious about sightseeing as I am. Otherwise, here are some great …

The Darkling Tag - Take Two

A few Octobers ago, I took on the Darkling Tag - a series of questions aimed at illuminating all the dark nooks and crannies of a "Goth" personality. It's been a while and I've been curious as to how my responses may have changed, so I'm doing it again!

You can read the original here and then pop back to this current version.


Simple Questions: What is your favorite candle scent? - Right now, I'm loving all things lavender. I wonder if that's because I'm really stressed out these days...?Do you have a favorite book? - Bram Stoker's Dracula. Still. Forever. Are you a tea or coffee person?  - Mostly coffee, but I also enjoy tea.What is your favorite brand and color of lipstick?  - Right now I'm wearing Covergirls' EntwinedWhat is your favorite perfume/cologne? - Fun fact! I don't wear fragrances because most of them give me a headache. But I do like anything with tea tree oil or eucalyptus.Do you have a celebrity crush? - Nope. I don't …

I Finally Made The Chickpea Stew

The Spiced Chickpea Stew with Coconut and Turmeric went viral earlier this year after it was originally published in the New York Times and I can recall at least five different lifestyle bloggers who made and raved about it.

Being the contrarian that I am, I wasn't one to jump on the bandwagon.

However, with autumn fast approaching and my desire to add to my cooking repertoire suddenly at 100% now that I don't have to worry about any rigid dietary preferences, I figured I would actually give this stew a try and see if I want to keep it on rotation this season.

Spoiler alert: It's pretty amazing.


There are a couple different versions of this floating around the internet, but the linked recipe from Epicurious was the one that made the final cut. D-man (referenced in this post - *wink wink nudge nudge*) was kind enough to pick up some ingredients needed for it on his way over my place last weekend.

I attempted to cast myself as a prep cook, but I'll be honest - I've …

List of Must Read Books This Fall

Autumn is the perfect time to settle down with a book - whether you're in a study hall with a required text or on the front porch with the latest cozy mystery from a beloved series. If you're like me, maybe you don't know what to read this year or your TBR pile is so daunting you'd rather not look at it. Goodreads is a little more forgiving than that stack on my bookshelf, so let's dive right in!

Here are the books that were recommended to me by respected Twitter followers.

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House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig
"In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—a…