OOTD: Christmas

Of course I believe few enough things, but one thing is sure, that you can't open Christmas presents in anything but pajamas.  That would be wrong.  I even have a special Christmas morning shirt:

However, this Christmas being a Sunday, I did have to get properly dressed for church and all.
Slightly lousy picture, but I couldn't figure out the lighting in a new location. Anyway, at church I seemed to catch a fairly surprising amount of hostility. I slipped out to the bathroom in the middle of services between musical numbers and was given a couple of full body scans and scowls from the women standing in the back with irritated children. My sister goes to a Mormon church, but I was raised Mormon and am fully able to dress myself appropriately for church (and I had the shawl fully covering my shoulder actually in church).  I don't know if standards have changed or if hopeless spinsters like myself are expected to be more mild and, I don't know, pastel.  Perhaps the rumors we always heard about Utah mormons being more cliquish and judgy than the rest of the world, but that seems a little unfair of me to conclude with so little data.  Oh well, I think I was fabulous.

Of course I had loud bright green eyeshadow (which lots almost subtle in this picture compared to the real-life equivalent) and red lipstick.

Outfit details:
Dress: Target, a million years ago
Shawl: shady-looking Pashmina market outside the West Nanjing Road metro station in Shanghai
Shoes: Target, this season
Jewelry: Art of Adornment
Lipstick: Revlon, Certainly Red
Eyeshadow: Shiro cosmetics: Link around eye and in crease, Bulbasaur below crease, and Outright Fabrication (white with subtle but fun specks of red glitter) above.

Anyway, have a happy New Year!  I have exciting plans involving a bottle of Cupcake Vineyards Prosseco and a large bowl of shrimp and grits


I just* got back from Christmas in Salt Lake City.  It was mostly a good time.  There were pretty mountains
Mt. Olympus, which is apparently in Utah.  No word on what the Greek gods think about that.

and pretty lights:

It might have even been the perfect trip except, as happens nearly every time we visit my sister, everyone came down with some horrible illness contracted fro the small people:
The Plague rats enjoy their Christmas carnage.

*for certain quantities of "just"

Happy Holidays!

Image from: IMDB

How is everyone's holiday season going?  I am in Salt Lake City having Chirstmas with my sister and having the unique Antropological experience of observing Mormons in their natural habitat (fun fact: even in Utah, you can buy beer at the grocery store, take that Pennsylvania!, but the tea selection is crap).
Christmas is pretty much my favorite holiday: I love presents, getting as much as giving, peppermint-chocolate flavored things*, light displays, and gaudily combining red and green in my outfits (currently I have black nail polish covered with green glitter on one hand and red glitter on the other). 
I've been thinking lately about how all the winter holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, and most overtly Yule) are about the ultimate triumph of light over darkness.  While that may not inherantly seem like a very Goth-y sort of message; I would disagree.  To me, the ultimate point of gothic subculture is to acknowledge that life isn't always sunshiney and bright, but to embrace the darkness in our lives and see the beauty therein.  I think ultimately, that fits in with the winter holidays and the idea that while we may be in the darkest time of the year, that isn't permenent and within the darkness is beauty and a promise of light to come. 

So tonight, I"ll be going to see the lights in Temple Square (which promise to be appropriately stunning) and tommorow I'll be woken up too early by a horde of enthusiastic children to open presents in my silly bat pyjamas.

I hope you all will of have had an excellent holiday and (in case I don't get back here before then) a wonderful new year!

* Here is my super-secret recipie for gluten-free chocolate mint M&M cookies

Monthly Homework: Comfort and, well if not Joy, let's say sanity

This month's homework assignment from our dearest professor is to talk about what we do to relax and seek comfort during the stress of the holidays and whatnot.  Personally, I don't find the holidays stressful.  I looove Christmas and all the Christmas-y business, but that "whatnot", well there's a real grade-A bitch.
As a grad student I don't usually have finals, but instead final projects, which I find personally take a lot more time.  Maybe I am too much of a perfectionist (when it comes to my writing anyway, not really anything else, really), maybe I procrastinate too much, probably both.  Regardless I have been working on said projects pretty much constantly for the past month.  I have a few rules to stay sane: if it doesn't get done before midnight it doesn't get done, always get a real night's sleep, eat three actual meals every day and take at least a half hour break to do so.  The other rule is to occasionally (usually after finishing a project, regardless of how many are left) take actual, notable amounts of time to relax.  So, what do I do during those times:
1. Read: but here's the important part (I read all the time, obviously), read for fun.  I always have something on the go that I am reading for fun.  I usually only manage 10-20 pages a day, but it gets read.  Currently I am reading The Eyre Affair; a delightful book of such insanity I wan't even try to describe it, but suffice it to say it has enough literature in-jokes to keep me giggling.

2. Knit: I tend to retreat into selfish knitting at these times.  Don't get me wrong, I am a selfish knitter most of the time, but it's right before Christmas when most knitters are working full tilt on gift knitting and I ...well I have a stocking on the needles, it's nearly done and all, but what I have been spending most of my time on are heavyweight kicking around the house socks for meeeeee!
Wool socks are an important part of my barely turning on the heater survival strategy, but these are especially satisfying because socks usually take me a 4-6 weeks but because these are thick yarn I should have them done in 2-3 with much less knitting time than usual.  While I am knitting I like to:

3. Watch TV shows (on Netflix, usually.  I don't have a TV) or random youtubery.  I can't talk myself into setting aside enough time to watch a movie, but a 45 minute break or two in the middle of a 16 hour day of writing is acceptable. My current favorite thing is Rebecca Watson explaining how lying to children is fun and makes them smarter, also how awesome and messed up Iceland is, great, neglected Christmas traditions like Krampus and the Yule Lads, and the murderous Feline fashion police.  It is hilarious (if you are somewhat twisted) and very NSFW
4. If all else fails:
Remeber: Peppermint Mocha in the morning, Bonnard's Buzz at night
Category: 7 comments

Baby's First Tattoo

Wow has it really been nearly three weeks?  It has.  I have been thoroughly in the weeds getting ready for final projects, studying, and keeping up with the stupid f*%$#@*ing class discussion board of my most annoying class.  I am popping my head up because I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and just because.  Expect normal blogging to resume after the 17th.

I just got my first tattoo tonight to celebrate/commemorate my impending graduation from Library school.  I wanted a quote so I started looking for quotes on libraries, reading, and information.  I found a few great ones, which I still may get, but I also discovered that when it came to quotes about reading and books, when the reader was male or gender unspecific they were all exceedingly positive, but if the reader was female then they were quite negative.  There was this sense that books, especially novels, will ruin a girl for any sort of "decent" life.  Perhaps the best expression of this sense is in Charles Warnke's essay "You should date an illiterate girl", which says, among other things: "The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am.", and in this helpful Victorian infographic:
Look through these quotes long enough and you realize that the ruin dreamt  up for the girl who reads, especially novels, is the ruin of wanting more from life than is deemed proper, the ruin of expecting great passions, true love, and thrilling independence; the great an inexorable ruin of independent thought.  Such things as are grand and virtuous in men, simply ruin nice girls.  I consider myself to be a girl ruined in just such ways and so when I chose my tattoo I went with this semi-biographical quote from my homegirl Louisa May Alcott:

she is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain

Long before I got ahold of the mind-expanding and therefore obviously girl-ruining words of the likes of Audre Lourde, Carl Sagan, or, obviously, Sappho, I was already long gone.  From Sophie in The BFG and Scout Finch I learned that girls can be brave and adventurous, from Chester the cat and Matilda I learned that it was okay to be smart and bookish, even a bit weird and that I didn't have to pretend to be otherwise and conform to the expectations of others, and from Huck Finn I learned to question every bit of received morality and to trust in friendship and your own beliefs, as your teachers and preachers may all be invested in a profound evil which they are too afraid to even question.  That is just the corruption visited upon me in Elementary school. From there, it obviously got much worse.  Therefore have books turned my brain.  I might have been a normal girl; the kind that doesn't get excited by graph theory and has never tried to figure out a friend's Erdos number, but I am too fond of books, and so I went to grad school.  We all know what kind of decision that is.

Movie Monday: Downton Abbey

It is the end of the semester and that means deadlines all coming together in a rush, so I have been too busy to post anything or comment much in y'all's lovely blogs, but I thought I would quickly add a post for Movie Monday.  I just had time to collect some screenshots from the internets and add commentary, so I thought this month I would feature my current favorite costume drama.
I really love costume dramas; the more repressed and British the better.  Of course there are all sorts of great reasons for loving British costume drams: the inevitable sweeping, subtly expressed romance, the thoroughly polite but venomously bitchy matriarch, servant drama!, and beautiful scenery, but its pretty obviously mostly about the costumes.  The best costume drama I have seen in ages is Downton Abbey.  It has everything you want in a costume drama, and is executed perfectly.  There are even two bitchy/polite matriarchs and they are at war with each other!  The costumes are gorgeous.  The first episode of the first series has them all in mourning so there are elaborately jet-beaded gowns as far as the eye can see:
Above you see Dame Maggie Smith claiming "no one wants to kiss a girl in black".  One doesn't like to contradict a peer of the realm, but, well...  

No one wants to kiss these girls, obvs.

Downton Abbey earns extra costume drama points for having lots of scenes of the characters dressing, which are always fascinating to me.
The accessories are also fantastic.  I was drooling over their wonderful hair forks, but couldn't get any good pictures, but..
Don't you want to reach into the screen and snatch that necklace right off.
I need a necklace like that.
As is historically appropriate the older women, especially Maggie Smith's character, the Dowager Countess, dress more late Victorian than Edwardian
Also the hats!  All the hats!
Finally, more jet-beading! And the meeting of the warring old Ladies!

I also found this great video for anyone attempting to replicate the amazing hair in the movie without the benefit of a proper ladies maid

Naked November: Makeup and Sensitive Skin care

I am going to get all sorts of interesting search engine hits off of this I can tell already.

This month the fabulous Professeur Gothique gave out a homework assignment for us all to show off our unmade-up faces to the internetz.  By crazy random happenstance the very day she announced this was  the one where, inspired by her previous post on makeup removal and Ultimate Goth Guide's Amy's post on getting ready, I shot a crazy amount of pictures doing and then taking off my makeup.  I have a real homework assignment that required me to edit together a video composed of images, so I used this as practice.

This shows my sort of standard makeup look for work.  I vary what particular shades I use almost every day, although it is purple of green a lot, and yes, I do have 5 different eye-shadow brushes.

My skincare routine is pretty unorthodox, but also really cheap.  I have extremely sensitive skin and I used to have moderately bad acne.  After years of experimentation I learned that the less I messed with my skin the less and less acne I had.  Now I get maybe 1-2 zits a month (of course both when I was shooting this video) and my acne scars are starting to heal.  It's all about gentle care.  I use nothing to clean my skin but water (I like the rosewater as it smells nice and I spend 3$ every 2 month or so on it, so that seems worth it) and a microfiber cloth, and use pure oil on damp skin as a moisturizer.  The kind I use, kuki nut oil is non-comedegenic, rich in vitamin e and folklorically considered to have
My outfit for the day.  It was a
school not work day.
skin healing properties yet to be confirmed or denied by empirical evidence but it seems to be working for me.  I use a tiny amount and have had the same 8 ounce bottle for over a year (kept in the fridge).  I use light flavored olive oil to remove my eye makeup.  It dissolves pretty much everything and seems to be good for my lashes and eyebrows.  I do not keep this in the fridge as olive oil hardens at lower temperatures, but use it fast enough to not matter.  The only skin care product I use that couldn't be an ingredient in a zesty salad dressing is sunscreen because it is really important.  I normally buy Clinique city Block SPF 25 as the SPF 40 has some chemical sunscreens and the SPF 25 is only titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.  I accidentally grabbed the wrong tube when shopping in the Clinique kiosk in the airport.  I only use quality mineral foundation for similar reasons.  I is a bit pricey, at least compared to drugstore stuff, but it also lasts longer.  After "mineral makeup" became a huge fad a bunch of cheap knock-offs made mostly of talc (which is a mineral, but not one that is good for your face) flooded the market.  Avoid these.  You should expect to pay at least 20$ for 1/4 of an ounce.  I can be less strict with what I use on my eyes.  So that's good, because I enjoy some pretty crazy eye-makeup.

OOTD: Darkly Purple

I have an online class this semester (yes, I hate them, but it was only offered online) and the way those work at my school is that once a semester everyone meets in person for class.  Of course this in person session was scheduled right in the middle of one of my normal workdays.  I decided to off-set the annoyance of this hectic day by wearing a fun outfit.  I generally don't wear this skirt to work as the lace tails tend to get tangled in the wheels of my office chairs.
The short sleeves at this time of year are courtesy of my work building's ridiculous over heating.  I hate over heating so, so much.  I think it is totally reasonable to expect to wear a sweater or other warmer clothing indoors during winter and do not know why so many places heat their building to 70+ degrees.  I personally keep my apartment below 60, and it's fine.  I have sweaters!  I understand public buildings need to accommodate people of varying heat tolerances, but wouldn't 65 be totally reasonable? Not only does it waste so much energy but it makes getting dressed really annoying.  I can't wear sweaters or long underwear and such because I will be too hot inside, but that means being too cold outside.  It's ridiculous and a major pet peeve of mine.  I do, however, love this shirt and it is in constant rotation in my wardrobe.  I am kind of astounded it hasn't shown up here yet.
It perfectly matches my plum and black striped socks which are great and I love the stripey socks peeking out of the lace handkerchief hem.  They do, however, require sock glue to stay on, but that's not a huge burden.  I am also wearing my new purple lipstick, from Sephora #RA24 Bewitch Me, which may be my holy grail dark purple lipstick.
Outfit Details
Shirt: Old Navy
Skirt: Rose Mortem
Socks: Sock Dreams Extraordinary longer thigh highs
Boots: 20Twenty Vintage
Necklace: Things Celtic in Austin, TX
Earrings: Art of Adornment

Updos for Work (Extremely picture heavy)

I wear my hair up practically everyday.  Partially this is to keep my hair out of the way and protected from snagging on things or tangling, and partially it is so much faster to just throw my hair up in a bun than it is to engineer it to be de-frizzed or non-static-y and wavy through a full day in a humid in the summer, cold and dry in the winter climate.  Most days my hair is the last thing I do and most days I am running late by the time I get to it, no matter what I do, so most hairstyles I regularly use take 2-5 minutes or less.  Now it takes some practice to get down to that time, but not really a huge amount.  My hair is about arm-pit length, but some of these styles work for shorter hair as well.  I made a video attempting to demonstrate these, but be warned I have a terrible camera.

My number one go-to hair style is the Orchid bun, it is secure all day and looks radically different depending on the specific way I pin it or what hair accessories I use.  It can be secured with pins (generally I use Goody Spin Pins for this), hair forks, or giant clips like Ficcares or flexi-8s. My hair is only just long enough for this style.

If I have more than a minute, but less than two, I do a flipped braid.  For this style, just braid hair down the center, fold the ends towards your head, then fold at least once more and secure.  This can be done with much shorter hair, and indeed my hair is getting a bit long for it, as I have to fold it over 3-4 times.  It can be secured with a big clip or barrette of some kind or a hair stick.

With a little more time I will do a figure-8 or Infifity knot, usually the figure-8 though as for some reason it seems to be more secure on my head.  The best tutorial for these ever is here.  I usually use Amish pins to secure this, one piercing and attaching the top coil, and the other going from the tucked in end up.  The top one can be replaced with a hair fork or stick.  This is another which my hair is just long enough for.

If I am feeling slightly more fancy and not wearing a necklace with a particularly tangle-y clasp I like this style, inspired by one worn by Yvaine in the Stardust movie.  To make this, roll the hair along both sides of your head and gather into a low ponytail, pull through elastic twice, then only pull through half way, creating a loop-bun with a length of hair outside the loop.  Twist the length of this hair, then coil around the ponytail and secure either with pins or a hair comb.  For shorter hair, leave the bottom section of hair outside the ponytail then twist and coil that.

For extra fanciness I will do a crossed bun.  For this, divide the top and bottom sections of your hair, twist the top and make it into an infinity bun, then twist the bottom half into a figure-8 bun, pulling the top coil over the middle of the previously made infinity bun.  To secure, I use 3-in long Amish pins, on in through each bun.  This is a particularly messy version, usually it looks more elegant.

If I have actual time I will do heidi braids, which are not in the video because they take awhile, but I think everyone knows them.  Braid hair into pigtails, cross on the top of the head and pin. They tend to work best if your hair is long enough that the braid over lap by at least 2 inches on the top of your head.

Here is the instructional video, featuring my latest musical discovery the German Electro-Medieval (best combination ever) band Helium Vola, and played in double-time (no meth was used in the creation of this video)

Category: 5 comments

OOTD: This is Halloween!

One of the best things about Halloween is getting to dress much more spookily for work without getting any funny looks.  I wore my pastoral skeleton skirt, which is so wonderfully subtle.  I love wearing it and watching people's reactions once they realize that those are skeletons.

I tried to replicate this subtle spider web eyeliner pattern but had not practiced it and my eyeliner is drying out and has been a bit chunky so I ended up smearing it and covering with black-purple eyeshadow.  I also wore my favorite spider necklace and bat earrings.
I did my nails were done with half a set by OPI and a generic black crackle polish (I found a set with the black polish already stolen out of it and talked the manager into giving me the other polish for 2$ as it was basically un-sellable) made to give a vaguely zombie-ish look with translucent jade green peeking out from cracked black.

I had a fairly long day of work and class, and in fact was barely home before trick or treaters started coming around.  I had vague plans for a generic witch costume, but discovered too late that my witch hat was missing.  I was able to convince one girl that it was a hat made of sky, but that's because she was awesome and dressed as Coraline.  Needless to say she left my porch with candy, her very own copy of Coraline (she had been borrowing the school library's over and over) and a list of further reading, because I am a sucker.
So really, I just threw on a ruffly cuffed shirt and corset on and called it good enough for the inevitably tiny number of kids that actually came.

Goth Blog Award

I came back from a weekend away from the internet (or even cell service)* to discover that I had been given the Goth Blog award but none other than the fabulous Siouxsie Law whose own blog is one of my favorites. I am extremely chuffed.

The rules are that once awarded one must pass it on to three other goth blogs which one enjoys.  I had quite a time selecting only three, although the field was considerably narrowed by deciding to not re-award any of the brilliant blogs already so honored.  Anyway, my selections:

The Phantom Cat's Otherworld: The Irish Phantom Cat writes on everything from fashion and makeup to music and books, but my favorite posts are when she writes on Irish legend and history with a Gothic twist.  I loving reading about other cultures and places and her writing gives a real sense of place and mood.

Still Dark at Heart: this blog to me exemplifies the best of a personal blog, reading Sal Kaye's blog feels more like checking in with a friend. Her discussions on reclaiming goth identity as a professional are also extremely relevant to me as I enter the professional world.

Black-Clad in Korea: They don't post often, but the posts here tend to be in-depth and extremely interesting, and cover such topics as teaching troubles, classic gothy TV shows, and zombie walks.  It also often makes me nostalgic for my own time as an English teacher in China, for while those are very different countries there are plenty of similarities, the experience of living in a culture radically different from your own is similar. I tend to just lurk there and rarely comment, because I am weird sometimes.

PS: Happy Halloween!  If you haven't done so yet, check out this amazing Halloween light show featuring music from Nightmare before Christmas, and read Simon Pegg discussing why fast zombies are just plain wrong.

For the curious: I was on a knitting retreat deep in rural Pennsylvania (and yes, part of the driving directions included, "turn off the paved road") and spent the weekend doing nothing but knitting, watching zany movies, having absurd conversations with friends, and drinking various mulled beverages.  We were even snowed in; it was brilliant.

Take Back Halloween!

So, I am sure most all of you have your Halloween costumes sorted by now, but I found this great costume resource and project that I couldn't help but share.  It is called Take Back Halloween! and offers suggestions and how to guides for making amazing costumes based on various goddesses, queens, and notable women.  Their point is that Halloween costumes for grown up women in stores tend to be pretty exclusively limited to Sexy Whatever, and while sexy is fun and good if you feel like it, that shouldn't be the sum total of Halloween costume options for ladies.  I would also point out that the version of sexiness offered up by mainstream costume shops is pretty limited and ludicrous.  There is a whole lot more to being sexy than showing as much of your breasts as possible and it's kind of a shame that this doesn't have wider cultural acknowledgement.  Also, Sexy Takeaway box? Sexy Crayon?  How about, if you want to dress in a sexy costume don't go as a crayon, can we make that rule?  Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, so Take Back Halloween has great ideas.  Here are some of my favorites:

Persephone, they even tell you where to get black roses with skulls inside, which I think I just need in general.

Pele, because what's more badass than a volcano goddess.  I also think I need those pants in general.

Josephine Baker who is fantastically glamorous and beautiful (and pretty sexy in a non-cheesy-porno kind of way).
Boudicca! Because there is no amount of fake blood that is not appropriate for this costume.

So what are you all dressing as for Halloween?  I am currently thinking of some sort of gothy Miss Fizzle, but I actually have left my costume planning to the last minute and may have to fall back on Generic Witch, since everything I need for that is already in my normal wardrobe.

OOTD: Very Pink

As soon as I saw this sweater on the (virtual*) clearance rack last year I knew I had to have it. The color name: Parton Pink.  Dolly Parton and Miss Piggy were pretty much my original style icons, and I will always admire their uncompromising confidence and panache.  Altogether I think it is a good color to be named after Dolly Parton, it is a really full bleed PINK sort of pink, not at all baby-ish, or shocking neon, assertive but strangely orthodox.
I want to get new buttons for the sweater, the pearly shell ones it came with are boring.  I am thinking small jet beads would be perfect.
I also discovered that these socks match almost exactly.  I just realized this despite having both for nearly a year, anyway... I wore them with lace leggings, which combined powers to be surprising warm. Perfect for an afternoon spent failing to get Vietnamese vegan cult buffet (cultists have no work ethic) on a brisk fall day.

Outfit Details
Sweater: Old Navy online
Leggings: Jessica London
Dress: Target, years ago
Jewelry: Target, this season
Socks: handmade

*Old Navy only sells plus sizes online.  I mean, they can't have fat people actually showing up in the store, obvs.  They have free returns shipping so sometimes I like to order things in like four sizes, you know, to try on.  Too bad I couldn't just go to the store...

Proctor & Gamble study proves gender-based discrimination, fails to notice

Recently the always interesting Siouxsie Law wrote a letter to Proctor and Gamble about their garbage study (in partnership with Harvard, so yes, money can buy credibility) that allegedly proves you need to wear makeup to be perceived as a serious business professional.  Of course, media reporting on science-y things always turns all vaguely ridiculous and so I thought maybe that isn't what the study said.  It was published in a PLoS journal so is open-access so you too can read it here.  Indeed, the study doesn't say what P&G claims in their press release mainly at all and has even less relation to the problematic portrayal of the study in the media which Siouxsie already wrote well on. 

Okay, here is what it claims to prove: makeup production and use functions as an extended phenotype to overlay our natural traits to make an individual's features more in line with facial features which humans seem to have an intrinsic preference for (you know, assuming your makeup is normally applied by professional makeup artists under the direction of beauty scientists, differences which are heavily glossed over in the literature).  Or, in slightly less science-y speak, we use makeup as an evolutionary strategy to be pretty and people's positive reactions to makeup are intrinsic.  There is a large body of research on traits which are intrinsically attractive (all of which nonetheless demonstrates a wide range of variance by individuals).  This study used four women of different ethnicities, made them up at three different makeup levels: light, moderate, and heavy, but the same general palette and styling was used for each level.  They showed pictures of with either no makeup or with the three levels, in one condition for 1/4 of a second and in another for an unlimited time.  Results (mostly, not sure what happened to moderate makeup):
From this they concluded, surprisingly considering they were sponsored by a cosmetics company, that yes makeup does function as an extended phenotype to make people like you more (well, find you hire-able and bangable, only light makeup makes you likable or trustworthy)!

I could spend several not very happy hours de-constructing the discussion section alone which is just filled to the brim with gendered assumptions (lol your suggestion that that naturally attractive people are nice, but ladies who wear a lot of makeup to fake attractiveness are probably shallow and promiscuous*), but instead I will just make a general point.

It's moments like these that I think back to all the times any of my hard science friends made fun of anthropology, sociology, or psychology and think, yeah, this is why my field is just as valid as yours (crotches) and we should probably interact like people from different but equally valid specialties which occasionally touch on each other normally do.  These results are completely expected and explainable by anyone remotely versed in social construction of gender theory.  First, let's talk about how this study used adults from similar cultural backgrounds, obviously you have to use adults to rate these specific traits, but the reasons psychologists in this area generally use babies is in order to filter out the profound effect of encultured beauty standards.  Without that filter their studies would have been totally non-compelling *coughnudge* and close to meaningless.  The alternative to babies is generally cross cultural research, which is not perfect, but a huge improvement. They do actually have a line about that in the discussion that says: "our study included only North American subjects; we do not know if such effects will be found in subjects from other cultures".  Or: Hey our study proves nothing outside of our own cultural assumptions, but yeah perceptions of makeup are totally innate.

So now, to the study authors: In case you are wondering, this cultural beauty standard and the cultural construction of cosmetic use on women perfectly explains what you considered to be the deeply anomalous result of the profound difference between the rating of trust, likability, and attractiveness for women with glamorous makeup depending on how long study participants looked.  While 1/4 of a second is only enough time to register a vague impression of an image, when given the opportunity to look harder study participants could see clearly that those women were wearing a lot of makeup.  Wearing a lot of makeup is pretty culturally loaded (the fact that lots of makeup is more culturally significant than natural makeup also explains the profound differential between short and long looking times for "glamorous" vs. "natural" makeup), because it is perceived as aggressive and slutty.  We often associate aggression with being good at business, and sluttiness with being bangable but unlikable and untrustworthy.  So what I am saying is, all you have proved is that socially constructed beauty standards expect women to alter their appearance through makeup, but too much alteration, while still being more attractive, will cause them to be judged more harshly.  So, congratulations Proctor and Gamble you just proved Naomi Wolf right!

Also, what exactly is this studies' justification for only using women?  Seriously?  I just can't....
Shouldn't the fact that men don't use the apparently brilliant evolutionary strategy of makeup being kind of a big red flag.  I'm starting to think Harvard's Psychiatry cirrulum doesn't include any Foucault at all.

*No seriously, it says that: "In general, there is less agreement about whether beauty invariably signals social cooperation, with some studies suggesting that there is a ”dark side” to beauty characterized by vanity, immodesty, or greater likelihood to cheat on a partner. Our findings suggest that it may be fruitful to disentangle the effects of beauty from beauty enhancement, or phenotype from extended phenotype here [lol, how? how do they suggest that?]. It may be that natural beauty or natural appearing beauty leads to positive inferences of social cooperation, where more obvious beauty enhancement may lead to neutral or even negative inferences."
Okay, so technically it just says that naturally beautiful people are assumed to be nicer whereas heavily made-up people are assumed to be lying whores, it doesn't say they actually are...it just implies that if you have read the research they are referencing.

OOTD: Some Days...

I did way too much procrastinating this semester and got caught up in some paper writing and test prep emergencies this past week. I managed to get dressed (and co-ordinated!) on Wednesday in enough time to take pictures, but am I just now posting them.  This outfit is all about my boss new Moriar-Tea tee. I have a minor obsession with the BBC series "Sherlock" and a major obsession with tea so I was powerless to resist. I had a massive Sherlock Holmes phase in about fourth grade (between my Little House on the Prarie and 19th Century 800 page French novel phases) and this is a pretty great modern adaptation.  Of course I miss the completely non-sequitar anti-mormon rant dropped unawares into the middle of the plot of "A Study in Scarlet", but I guess that would make even less sense in a modern setting.  Anyway, about the outfit.  I like casual t-shirts with frilly skirts and lacy cardigans or similar.  I am still not sure about the stripy socks with the floral skirt, but I think I like it.  It's slightly off-kilter, but so am I sometimes. I have a purple sub-theme that I couldn't bring out in the photos with the most amazing black-purple eye-shadow and purple sugar skull earrings.  I am most pleased with my ridiculous teacup pendant though.
Outfit Details
Shirt: Qwertee
Cardigan: Torrid
Skirt: hand-made
Socks: Sock-it-to-me Curvy
Pendant: Baby Loves Pink

All Hallow's Read!

As your local (or internet local) goth librarian I have to announce this pretty cool new Halloween tradition.  Neil Gaiman explains:

I am completely in favor of this notion of giving scary books on Halloween.  I am in favor of giving books for all the holidays. So what books to give?  I am not a huge reader of scary books.  While I enjoy many books which are scary, scariness is not something, all on it's own, I look for in books, so I would love to hear the favorite scary books of others in the comments.  You can also find more recommendations at the All Hallow's Read website. 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: pretty close to the original scary book, and while not actually that scary by modern standards it is still a good read.
Pretty much anything by H.P. Lovecraft
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Welles
Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, although only about 1/3-1/2 of the stories within are scary, it does contain what is probably the single most unnerving story I have ever read: "A Study in Emerald"
Watchmen by Alan Moore, with it's especially unsettling comic within a comic
Affinity by Sarah Waters
Beloved by Toni Morrison

For Kids (A very short list):
The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman
Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe
Coraline by Neil Gaiman, which would also be enjoyed by most adults

Not-scary but theme appropriate, for those that don't actually like being scared:
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (or really any of the Quirk Classics)
World War Z by Max Brooks
Crocodile in the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters
Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett 
Category: 6 comments

OOTD: The First Velvet of Fall

It is finally, properly Fall and time for all the wonderful fall clothes.  I am sure all seasons have their virtues: winter has Christmas and plenty of excuses to curl up with a good book and hot cider, spring has lovely weather and asparagus, summer.....is technically necessary for agricultural production, but Fall is definitely the best.  The past weekend was truly chilly in Pittsburgh and I finally got to wear my new shawl, which I finished about three weeks ago and have since been checking weather forecasts trying to decide if it is finally cold enough to wear.  On Saturday I went out to dinner and a cheesy movie with friends, including several knitting buddies, and this was pretty much the perfect moment for shawl deployment.  It was also perfect for wearing some velvet things I bought over summer in clearance sales.  The muff turned out to be profoundly useless, but I am not sure how I have lived this far in life without a velvet bonnet.  It is the perfect head-wear!  It is warm ans pretty and doesn't interfere with my hair-do.  Perfect, I say!  The dress, like the other I have bought from avenue is just weirdly matronly.  Without the belt it is obviously kind of huge and shapeless, even though based on the size chart I would have expected it to be small-ish.

Outfit Details
Dress: Avenue
Shawl: Hand-made
Bonnet and Muff set: Victorian Trading Company
Socks: Sock Dreams, house brand

Yes, I bought the socks just to match the shawl, over-all the outfit is very matchy-matchy, but I like that.
Category: 8 comments