Saturday, September 13, 2014

Changes - Moving to a New URL

I just wanted to let all my dear readers know that I am moving my blog over to a new website.

I want to take a moment to thank all of you who followed me over the past three years. Your support over the past years has meant a lot to me. The blogging community really is wonderful, and I feel that many of you are friends, even though we may have never met each other in person. So thank you again for putting up with these changes.

I am trying to simplify my life a little and not have a bunch of different blogs. I tried having one for my dreams which didn't work, and one for spiritual and tarot posts, but I was just finding keeping two blogs to be too much and confusing. Not to mention all the different google identities and gmails - exhausting! Plus I don't want to parcel myself out into separate parts. So I will still be blogging about gothic fashion, and strange Victorian history, but I will also be talking about tarot, Wicca and spiritual subjects. If certain posts aren't your taste, that's okay, just skip them over. We don't all like the same things.

This also reflects a change I am making in my life, which is to take my skills as a tarot reader and an artist more seriously. They are two things I really love doing and want to use them to help others and make them a bigger part of my life.

If you follow me on Youtube, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram you may have noticed the name change to Enchanted Parlour. I am trying to be more consistent, across the social networks. I will be starting a Facebook page too, in the near future.

I think the new name brings together my gothic and witchy side. It suggests magic, and wonder but also reminds me of Victorian parlours where people would meet for tea leaf readings and seances.
I hope you enjoy the new blog, and look forward to our new adventures together.

I will still keep this page up as I am proud of the work I've done. I'm just continuing the blog onward at another address. 

Let me know what you think and what you would like to hear about!

Have a magical day!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Shadowscapes Tarot Review

A couple of weeks ago I went shopping with a coven mate of mine, at one of our favourite local new age stores. It was there that a lovely tarot deck caught my eye. The Shadowscapes tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.

I was drawn in by the beautiful illustrations by Stephanie. They have a light airy feel to them with lots of pastel hues. The watercolour and ink artwork is lovely and the images are fairy like with lots of fantastical characters and animals. I personally usually prefer handmade art over most of the computer type animation, so this definitely suited my tastes.
Each suit is dominated by a certain colour and features a certain animal. Swords uses purple hues and swans, Wands has red and yellow and uses foxes, Cups is blue and features fish and mermaids, and Pentacles is green with lots of plants rather than an animal. The major arcana does not feature a single colour or animal, but each image is it's own, reflecting the archetype it represents.
If you are not a fan of borders, this deck does have them, but as they are lightly coloured, it should not get in the way too much. I know there are readers who hate borders but it doesn't affect me personally.
The backing artwork is beautiful and reversible, although the companion book does not include revers meanings. But if you want to read reversals the backing art is fine for this.

Companion Book
The companion book that came with the deck is substantial and the design is lovely with full page reference illustrations. I found that the information is quite good, but I prefer it when the author breaks up the description of the symbols from the divinitory meanings. This is just a personal preference though as it makes using the book as a reference quicker.

The artwork on the box is very beautiful, just like with the cards and book. The box is not very sturdy though so I haven't been storing the deck in it. It came with the book in it and the deck plus a smaller cardboard box. I am not a fan of this style of packaging, as I find the both the large and small boxes have a tendency to fall apart.

The Backing Art

Size and Weight
The cards are not too large or small as they are bigger than playing cards, but not too big for my tiny hands to manage.
The quality of the card stock isn't terrible, but it's not super high quality either. I had my cards in a protective bag in my purse and it rained, and the dampness made them warp slightly which was disappointing.

(Is that even a word?) I would place this deck at an intermediate level as the images are not Rider Wait style and the number of objects (cups, wands etc) are not always immediately apparent when first looking at the art work. The artist does do a great job of conveying meaning in the artwork and the beauty of the images does draw both the reader and querent in.

I would give this deck an 8 out of 10. While I have some issues with the quality of the stock and packaging, the stunning art is what makes this deck, and the companion book is a good reference guide and lovely to look at on it's own.

What are your thought on this deck?

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Haul Video

Just a quick video with my latest mini haul from the long weekend.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monthly Theme Makeup!

I'm happy to see that monthly themes are back on the Sophistique Noir blog! I love Miss Kitty's themes and it's always fun to read all the other participants' posts as well.

For my daily makeup routine, I always start with Neutrogena's Helioplex sunscreen at 110. It doesn't matter if it is winter or summer I always wear it.

Next I apply liquid liner to my eyes. I prefer kinds that have a small brush rather than a pen tip. I find it is more accurate and you can get thinner lines. After the liner I apply my eyeshadow. Right now I'm using NYX brand. I apply a black to my lower kid and a complimentary colour to what I'm wearing just above that, blending the two together. (Today the colour is the light purple you see above). I then use a makeup sponge to wipe off any fall out and make any corrections. Finally I apply mascara to finish my eye area.

I move on to lips next. I use a long wear lipstick first in a red, as I want my colour to last throughout the day. Right now it's Revlon's Everlasting Wine. However it isn't quite the colour I want, and as I find those lipsticks a bit drying, I use a Mac colour I like overtop instead of the Chapstick like layer you would usually use. This way I have the colour I want and the it's long lasting. My favourite is Dark Side for a deep red.

As a last step I put in my liquid foundation. This may seem backwards, but it helps me to avoid fallout and have a more finished look. I use a fluffy makeup brush to apply for an airbrushed look. I use L'Oreal True Match in porcelain. Below is the finished look.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer Favourites

My latest vlog post with my summer favourites!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Halloween Animal Symbolism

So maybe I'm jumping the gun writing about Halloween when it is still August. I'm just so looking forward to fall and that spooky most wonderful time of the year! I thought I would write about the symbolism behind some of the animals associated with the Halloween season.

Probably the most beloved of gothy Halloween animals is the bat. This time of year you can find all sorts of home decor and jewellery featuring these lovely animals. So why have they become a Halloween staple? Bats being nocturnal, have an association with death and the Otherworld. Their keen hearing and ability to navigate at night symbolizes intuition and is associated with magic. People with bat as a totem animal are able to use their intuition well and see past illusions to the real truth.

Black Cats
Tied with bats for beloved Halloween creatures, is the black cat. During medieval times cats, especially black ones, were associated with witchcraft, which unfortunately led to many being killed. Some people today still believe the superstition that black cats are bad luck (though they are considered good luck in Britain). In Celtic mythology cats are guardians of the underworld and are considered independent creatures. In Norse mythology they are sacred to the goddess Freya and are symbols of femininity and sensuality. Use black cat decorations to invite this energy into your home.

Spiders are another common Halloween decoration, from the plastic rings, to the anamatronic decorations, to the fake cobwebs, spider symbolism is everywhere. Spiders are associated with feminine power, the weaving of fate and the ability to create, with their amazing webs. They are also patient, waiting for their prey to come to them. Spiders are often feared (I personally am arachnophobic) and can represent one's repressed shadow side.

The last couple of years I've seen more and more crow decorations. We put some stuffed ones in our office at work and liked them so much we still have them up! (Oh my subtle goth influence). Crows have long been seen as omens of death. In Celtic mythology they are symbols of the goddess the Morrigan, triple goddess of war, death and magick. The crow is a totem of magic and shape shifting. In some cultures they are believed to be tricksters.

Not as common as the crow, I have seen some owl decorations at this time of year. Obviously being a nocturnal animal, they are associated with death. However in Ancient Greek and Roman Mythology they are an animal sacred to Athena(Greek)/Minerva(Roman). They are symbols of wisdom and keen insight. In Celtic mythology they are a symbol of wisdom but also a warning against deception or betrayal. Use owl decorations to invite wisdom into your life.

Are there any other Halloween animals I missed?
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Is Normal a Subculture?

Today I learned of a new, and what I think is a bizarre fashion trend called Normcore. It apparently has been around since winter of 2013 but I just heard about it today. So what is it exactly?

Normcore is dressing as blandly and unnoticeable as possible. It is considered unisex and involves wearing plain t shirts, sweaters, jeans and sweat pants. Think colours of grey, and beige.  It is considered anti fashion, and is about blending in as much as possible and avoiding any individuality in clothing. It is the new hipster. The wearers are so hip they have rejected fashion entirely.  One fashion blogger called it "exhaustingly plain". They avoid any kind of adornment, even ties. Oddly even though they have purported to reject fashion, many wear t shirts with a brand name emblazoned on it like Abercrombie.

Besides clothes, it also ascribes to a philosophy of blending in.Whatever people around are doing, you should too, and it is okay to go to a rodeo and dress like a cowboy, then go to a football game in a jersey, but have no real interest in either. As long as you blend in, and do not stand out. I think this fashion and philosophy is silly and anti individuality, which is disturbing to me. There is something to be said about not judging people by the clothes they wear, but this goes into mindless sheep territory.

I'm not really sure what the difference is between normcore and "normal" people who dress like this anyway? Other than the fact that those who describe their style as normcore are trying to make bland cool. Maybe I'm missing something? Or is it an attempt to make normal a subculture?

I also wondered what would happen if someone blended goth and norm core? After all hipster goth is it's own thing (nu goth). I propose "NormGoth". It would be plain black skirts and t shirts, with plain tights and black flats. A plain black collar would be the only adornment, and long unstyled black hair with no other colours. Lol.

What are your thoughts on this trend? 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ms Lou the Rockstar (Sort Of) ;)

Last week I played my first show on stage in years - guitar that is. I have played guitar since I was about 17, and have been in a couple of bands during my twenties and early thirties. The first was called Exalted and we were a gothic metal band. We were together for about 4 years and played the local bars that featured live independent bands. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lit from the experience. I'll never forget my first live show, where we played after a very raucus punk band called "The Horribles". The crowd mix was not good - hardcore punks and more mellow goths. Some of the punks tried to start a fight, and a couple spent the whole show yelling at two of the guys in our band, trying to start a fight. Luckily this never happened, and I have a good story to tell about my first show.
The second band was a punk band called Plunger, and I was in that one for two years. Punk isn't really my style, but it was still fun to play.
Now me and a former band mate from Exalted are forming a new band, and I'm really excited about it. He has another musical industrial project called Groit, and needed a guitarist, so invited me to play. It was great getting my feet wet again. I made a little vlog about the event. :)

Is there something you haven't done in a while that you would like to do again?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Advice from Ms Lou

If you don't know I do have a Youtube channel. I was meaning to post my vlogs on the blog as well, but I haven't been very faithful in doing that. I intend to change that by posting my youtube posts regularly.
This week I posted two videos. One was a viewer request. She is a high school student and asked about what to do as a boy was saying sexually harrassing things to her. While this isn't particular to goth, it is something I think is important to talk about.

The second video is some general advice about what to do if your parents disapprove of you being goth. Both these videos are aimed at the 18 and under set, but I think they can still apply if you are an adult and have a difficult relationship with your parents.

Do you have any additional advice for these situations?

Monday, June 30, 2014

New Blog!

I'm excited to introduce my new blog Lilac Enchantment. You can find the new blog here. No dear readers, I am not abandoning this blog. The new blog is for metaphysical subjects and my tarot reading business. I felt I needed a separate one, as the NeoVictorian Parlour is more of a historical/fashion/personal type blog. I will continue to post on a weekly basis here.

If you are interested in the new blog, please feel free to follow of course! Also any feedback or suggestions are more than welcome.

The first post to the new blog is below.

Introducing My New Blog

I am and artist and tarot reader. I have been reading tarot cards for 20 years, along with other kinds of oracle cards such as runes, animal cards, goddess and faerie cards. I also make and interpret astrological birth charts, and read tea leaves.  I believe that all these various oracles can help us connect with Spirit and find new perspectives on our life path.

I'm also a practicing artist, who makes spiritual art - icons of gods, goddess, angels and saints.  I believe that art can be used also to help us connect with the divine. Whether you are the maker of the art, or enjoying and appreciating the piece, art can be used to lift your spirit and inspire.

So why the name Lilac Enchantment? I love the colour purple, and lilacs are one of my favorite scents and flowers. For me it evokes images of spring, the long evenings of early summer, and faeries. I felt "enchantment" also evoked a sense of wonder and connection to the spiritual that I hope to convey in my posts.

In this blog I will cover not only the tarot and how to read this mystical oracle, but also such metaphysical subjects as astrology and the lunar phases, crystals, Wicca , runes, meditation and other spiritual subjects. I hope you will find my little blog interesting and informative! My first full post will be tomorrow. :)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Victorian Fairy Fascination

Happy Summer Solstice everyone! Wether you're enjoying Midsummer celebrations in Sweden (so jealous), celebrating Litha as a pagan, or just enjoying it as the first day of summer (or winter if you are in the Southern Hemisphere) I hope you are having a lovely day.

This time of year always makes me think about fairies. After all my mother did warn me that there were fairies at the bottom of the garden. Pagan lore says that this is the best day if the year to spot them, particularly in the evening. Wether or not you believe in the wee folk, there does seem to be a fair number of people who enjoy them in art and literature, and the Victorians were no different. In fact, many of them had an outright fascination with them!

Fairies were a favourite subject in literature, plays and art during this time. Shakespearean plays like "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and The Tempest" were very popular and there was a new interest in fairy stories especially for children. With it's roots in the Romantic era, interest in the mystical was a reaction to the industrial revolution, scientific break throughs, and strict religious and social constraints. Many people sought to escape and to seek out a more spiritual and natural side to life, and fairies were an expression of this.

A whole genre of art called Fairy Art became very popular in the mid 1800s. The above painting is by John Anster Fitzgerald and was shown at the Royal Academy in London in 1845. "Fairy Fitzgerald" was typical of this style of artist, using lots of detail, fantastic and often dark imagery. Some think his work was opium influenced, but either way the work is lovely. This genre influenced the Pre-Raphaelites with their medieval and Arthurian inspired paintings.

As the Victorian era waned, so did the fascination with fairies. There was a revitalization in 1917 when the Cottingley fairies were photographed. If you don't know about this, it was a series of five photographs of two young girls with fairies. Of course it was a hoax, as they used cardboard cutouts of the fairies in the photos.

Fairy art has seen a revitalization with the explosion of the fantasy genre. Brian Froud is probably the most popular artist with his many fairy art books and cards. I actually own two sets of the cards myself and love their playful images.
What are your thoughts on fairies and fairy art?
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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Arsenic Ball Gowns and Other Dangers

Fashion in the 19th century could be a perilous endeavour. Not just for the wearers, but also for those employed in making the desired objects. Below are just some of the dangerous items that could cause discomfort, injury or even death for the wearers.

Arsenic Dye
In the 1770s a Swedish chemist by the name of Carl Wilhelm Scheele created a brilliant green dye made from copper, hydrogen, oxygen and arsenic. The vivid hue became quite popular in the Victorian era. It was used in everything from clothes, to soap, children's toys and even candy. It may be surprising, but arsenic was a very common substance to get a hold of. There was even a case of a candy maker in 1858, accidentally putting arsenic instead of sugar into lozenges causing the death of 20 people in England.

The Arsenic Ball Gown
Above is an arsenic dyed gown dated from 1860, from Australia, featured in an exhibit at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. The curators still must handle the gown with gloves so as to not absorb the dye. The gown was dangerous for the wearer as sweating would cause them to absorb the arsenic. This could cause illness and even death. If you were lucky you might get away with a rash. It wasn't only a risk for the wearer. Those involved in the manufacturing process were in danger too. Everyone from the due makers to the dress makers were at risk. Even those who came into contact with the wearer during a dance could be poisoned!

Crinoline Fires and Indecency
With the invention of crinoline in the 1830s and subsequent popularity in the 1850s and 60s more clothing related problems appeared. The good thing about crinolines is that they were lighter and more flexible then wearing multiple petticoats. This allowed the wearer more comfort and a greater circumference of skirt. One of the drawbacks was that the lightness of the cage could cause gusts of wind to knock the wearer over, indecently exposing the lady. This could also occur when sitting down if you did not smooth the dress down, it could fly up in your face like an inside out umbrella.
The most dangerous side effect was crinoline fires. Ladies would sometimes forget how large their dress was and get too close to a fire. The oxygen under the skirts of the dress would add to the flames as well as the wearer often trying to run away in panic. In England alone between the late 1850s and the1860s there was an estimate 3000 deaths due to crinoline fires.
As a side note there is one case where it appears to have saved someone. In 1885 after a lover's quarrel, Sarah Ann Henley jumped off the Clifton Suspension bridge in Bristol. The fall of 246 feet was slowed when her dress acted like a parachute.

the Holocaust of Ballet Dancers
Crinoline wasn't the only fabric catching fire. Ballet dancers died during this era with horrifying frequency, causing the above phrase to be coined. The dancers would wear flammable muslin while dancing on stages lit by torches and gas lamps. The deaths were unnecessary as flame retardant was available and cages could of been put around the lamps. The flame retardant was considered unattractive, so dancers were discouraged from using it. Many dancers were burned to death unfortunately or left horribly scarred.

These are just a few of the dangers of fashion in this era. I might do a part two on this featuring Mercury in hats, corsets cutting women and painfully small shoes.
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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Red and Black Week - work Outfits

I really meant to post during red and black week daily, but somehow that didn't turn out. Between work and family and everything else going on, my best laid plans just didn't come to fruition. Enough with excuses though!
I did take pictures of a couple of my work outfits. I mostly dress in black, though I sometimes dress in purple to mix it up, and of course red or white accents with my black wear.
The first outfit is a black and white dress, that I accented with red lipstick and nail polish. It's not my most gothy look, but I thought it fit into the weekly theme.

The second outfit is one I have shown before. It is a black kimono style dress with a rd waist ribbon. It's one of my favourite summer work ensembles.

I think my expression is a bit silly in this photo. But you can at least see the dress.
I hope everyone enjoyed red and black week, and I apologize for not posting as frequently.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Red and Black Week - Makeup

I'm very excited that Sophistique Noir's Red and Black week is upon us again. I promise you an outfit post or two as the week continues, but today I'd like to talk about the red and black I wear everyday - my makeup.

The Black
Eye Liner

I am definitely a liquid eyeliner girl. I find the pencils smudge and don't stay on and I didn't really like the consistency of gels when I tried them. I also prefer liquid liners that have a brush on the end as opposed to the pen like nub. I find the brush easier to control and the pen too scratchy. My favourite brand is NYC which is very affordable and can easily be found at my local drug store.

Eye Shadow

Another great drug store staple of mine is NYX brand eyeshadow. It comes in a variety of colours, though I stick with black most days and another accent colour which varies on my mood. I find the colours to be quite pigmented, and if you use a primer with it, it will last the day.


Right now I am using Cover Girl's Flamed Out mascara. I'm not that fussy when it comes to mascara as there's not a lot of difference I find between them.

The Reds

My two favourite lipsticks are Mac's Amplified, and Maybeline long wear in Everlasting Wine. They are my go to colours for a red lip.

Eye Shadow

Sometimes on days where I'm going for a more dramatic look I go for red eye shadow to accent the black. Costal Scents red is the most vibrant red I've had.

Red and Black

My two standard colours on my nails are red and black. Wether it's flat black, sparkly red or a black with red sparkles, I love these colours!

How does red and black fit into your make up routine?
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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Art of HR Giger

This past week artist HR Giger passed away after complications from a fall at the age of 74. His artwork had an enormous influence on a lot of people in the gothic and industrial subcultures. I think everyone is familiar with his dark and disturbing imagery due in part to his work on the 1980 film Aliens, for which he won an Oscar.

Giger was born in 1940 in Switzerland, the son of a chemist. His father apparently thought art was a "bread less profession" and encouraged him to go into pharmaceuticals. Luckily Giger pursued his interest in art, and attended the Zurich School of Applied Arts in 1962, where he studied architecture and industrial design.
He fist started doing paintings in response to night terrors he was having, as a sort of art therapy. He started using air brush, but later switched to pastels and inks. As mentioned above his most famous work was on the Alien movie, but his books of art including Necronomicon and Necronomicon II also helped make him famous.

His style is immediately recognizable with it's cold and dark colours, and mix of industrial machinery with human and animal forms. Many have termed his work "biomechanical" and you can see why this had such an influence in the later industrial goth, and particularly cybergoth subcultures.
Personally I am not an enormous fan as the work is a little too dark and mechanical, but I know a lot of people who love his work. I have good Giger memories, like being exposed to his stuff at art school by a friend who was obsessed with his work, and some of the art being used on industrial/goth night
posters when I was playing in a local goth band.

What are your thoughts on Giger's work?

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Trend I'm Seeing Everywhere - The Side Cut

A couple of years ago I started seeing people in the goth/alternative community going for the side cut and sometimes the undercut as well. Most notably I remember when goth youtuber Sebastian Columbine got hers done, though there were others doing it as well. At the the time it was something that was edgy and still underground. Something only trendy with the darkling set, but now it seems to be everywhere! This spring I've seen it on everyone from teenagers waiting for the bus, to 40 year old moms at the drugstore to celebs like Miley Cyrus and Avril Lavigne. I'm wondering if the side cut has now crossed the line from alternative cool, to so trendy it's cliche?
I know there are a lot of people out there who are still rocking their side cuts and it looks great on them. I was wondering if having a hairstyle that was edgy become mainstream makes you dislike it? Or does it make one feel more comfortable?
I personally do not have this hairstyle and have no desire to get it. I think that growing it out would be a huge pain, and because my hair is rather fine and thin to begin with, I really need all the hair I have on my head. I also think it looks maintenance heavy, especially the kind where the buzzed part is dyed a different colour - though it does look amazing.
The hairstyle though is versatile and I've seen it expressed in a variety of ways, which I will show below (photos are from Pintrest). First it definetly can go with a goth styling.

This has a bit of a rockabilly touch to it.

It looks great with vibrantly coloured hair.

It also of course goes with deathhawks and "hawks of all kinds.

The addition of the tattoo is even more edgy (and quite the commitment).

It has been appearing as I said, in main stream hair styles too, both short and long.

What are your thoughts on the side cut. Do you love it or hate it? Is it too trendy? If you have one, do you find it difficult to maintain? Let me know your thoughts!

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