Archive for March, 2016

Office Spooky

Even the dark and spooky among us need to earn a living. Whether you consider yourself goth, punk or part of any other alternative life style you still need to eat. You deserve to have a well paying career which you enjoy. Wearing exquisitely winged eyeliner or being covered in tattoos shouldn’t limit your employment opportunities.

In reality you can work anywhere you please.  If you want to be a lawyer or doctor or tattoo artist that’s what you should pursue. Unfortunately there is still a lot of prejudice in the working world towards people who are different.  You may need to do a lot of searching to find a workplace which is a good fit for you. There are some industries/careers that are more accepting than others.

Haunted Tour Guide

Almost every large city has some level of haunted history and a few walking tours to go with it. Having a tour guide in a top hat and tails or a flowing victorian gown adds to the atmosphere.

Photographer

Whether you are private, freelance, or in house many people expect photographers (and other creative types) to be eccentric and unusual.  Use these expectations to your advantage.  Nearly every industry you can think of needs a photographer at some point.  Food, clothing, people, products all need to be presented in a pleasing manor for advertising or other publications. The same idea applies to other areas of the film and entertainment industries.

Beauty & Music

The beauty, fashion and music industries are known for being open to all types of individuals.  Hair stylist, makeup artist, tattoo artist, musician are some of the more well known occupations.  Nearly every job in these industries, including those in corporate settings, allow you to show your tattoos and dress as you please.  However, the higher you climb the corporate latter the less you may be encouraged to express your spookiness. This will vary widely depending on the company.

Tech & Online

Many modern employers are embracing people who live alternative life styles. Some major companies include; Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Zappos.  Many smaller start up companies are also open to freedom of fashion expression.

Education

Depending on the school and area you might be able to find a teaching job which allows you to dress the way you like.  This requires some research to find a location which is accepting and you may not have one in your area. If you can’t find a school you can offer your services as a private tutor. If you chose to tutor children their parents may pass some judgement.  However as our generation grows up and has children of school age you may find less of this judgement. Or you can teach private lessons to adults.  Nearly any skill you have can be taught (art, music, foreign language) and you are likely to find at least a few people willing to pay you to learn.

Entrepreneur

That’s right, start your own business and make your own policies.  You’re smart and capable. Find something you’re passionate about, learn what you need to know to run a related business and go for it!  Of course I’m making it sound simple for the sake of this post.  It is a real challenge to start and run your own business.  It takes a lot of drive and dedication and you really need to know how to run a business or partner with someone who does.  However, my earlier statement still applies, you’re smart and capable.  With hard work you can do whatever you want.

Looking for even more alternative job options, check out this page by Mookychick.

 

 

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Boozy Bouquet

March winds and April showers bring May flowers. Looking for a new ways to enjoy those flowers? Put them in your drinks!

Wild Hibiscus Prosecco Cocktail

 

Hibiscus has to be my favorite edible flower.  You can find the flowers in specialty shops or oder them on Amazon. Once you have those all you need is the prosecco and you’re all set. These are so easy to make you can still get them right even when you’re knee deep in the booziest for brunches.

Borage & Pansy Cocktail

This gin based elixir is about as floral as if gets featuring 2 different types of floral syrups.  Some preplanning is required to make the borage simple syrup. The mix of flowers with cucumber and lemon this would be a refreshing treat for sunny spring days.

Chamomile Whisky

Honey, whiskey and tea make a winning combination here.  A unique way to add some kick to your next tea party.

Delft Blue

Violets are sweet and delicious, I think they taste like the unicorn horns you can find at theme park candy shops. This cocktail also features elderflower liquor which is another favorite of mine.  And I love purple, so this recipe has a lot going for it in my book.

Cucumber & Rose Gin Cocktail

This one is complex and requires some time commitment, but promises to be worth the effort.  If you are looking for something classy and impressive that you would need to make too many of, this is your drink.

Vodka Pear Lavender Lemonade 

No list of edible flowers would be complete without including lavender.  Lavender is a bold flavor that can be amazing when used in moderation.  The pear and lemon in this beverage help to add balance and keep the french flower from becoming too overwhelming.  If you are feeling adventurous you can make your own lavender syrup.  Then use it everywhere because it’s delicious.


Devilishly Good

Easter celebrations generally center around food. Deviled eggs have been a staple in my families celebrations longer than I have been alive.  I have always been amused by foods with the word devil in the name, especially in association with a religious holiday.  Eggs aren’t the only ingredients to get the deviled treatment.

Deviled Eggs

Being one of my favorite foods in general I must include a few different versions.  Eggs are incredibly versatile and can be flavored to meet almost any tastes.

Bacon Jalapeño Deviled Eggs

Beet Avocado Deviled Eggs

Buffalo Blue Cheese Deviled Eggs

Pesto Stuffed Eggs

Sriracha Deviled Eggs

Deviled Ham

Deviled ham has also been called ham salad and is generally found in sandwiches or on toast. It can be used in the same places as tuna or chicken salad. As with the other meat salads once you have the basic flavors mastered you can experiment with your favorite additional seasonings or spices.

Mirlandra’s Kitchen Southern Deviled Ham

Southern Bite Deviled Ham

Deviled Crab

Deviled crab is similar to deviled eggs in that you make the filling and then place it back into the shell.  It’s similar to a crab cake though with less breading and a nifty presentation.

Deep South Dish Stuffed Crab

Deviled Crab

Dooky Chase’s Stuffed Crabs

Devil’s Food Cake

Okay, I admit this one is not really “deviled”, but it’s super delicious and has devil in the name so I’m including it anyway. There are a lot of fun variations one can find on the classic decadent dessert.

Devil’s Food Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

Mocha Devil’s Food Cake

Devil’s Food Cake with Angel Frosting

Cheesecake Stuffed Devil’s Food Cake

Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Wicked Red Velvet Frosting

Bonus: Heaven and Hell Cake

heaven and hell cake

I found this while researching cakes and I’m pretty sure the devil himself invented it…or it is actually the devil himself in cake form.


Table Bunnies

Spring and Easter and frequently known for showcasing bright pastel colors.  I prefer to add a little darkness to my decor.  It can be a challenge to accomplish this and still have the feeling of spring, but it’s possible.

Red

Red is actually one of the most traditional easter colors in many countries like Greece and Hungary.  The red symbolizes new life and the blood of christ. Decoration often goes beyond just dying a solid color and involves elaborate hand painting. Martha Stewart shows us a modern take on the red egg with the silver and red wreath shown above.  Red, white and silver would make a stunning and elegant color scheme for any Easter gathering.

Green

I love green.  Some say it is my signature color. In spring everything is bursting with every shade of green imaginable.  Bringing all of this new life into your home and onto your table is a beautiful way to celebrate the season.  I am partial to covering everything in moss it create a forested feeling.

Blue

Bright blues are sometimes used in Easter decorations, but you can also use the darker blues and indigos with grace. Or you can mix all the shades you can find for additional fun.

Purple

This color may not be that uncommon in your previous Easter experiences. Typically it is usually used as a compliment, but it could easily be featured as the main color. To make your own galaxy eggs visit this tutorial.

Black

Black is an uncommon color for most holiday’s outside of Halloween.  What people forget is that black goes with everything!


Easter is Coming

This Sunday March 27, 2016 is Easter!  Easter is one of my favorite holidays.  Largely because I love bunnies and I’m happy winter is finally over. It’s earlier than usual this year because the date is determined by the lunar calendar.  In case you don’t already know; Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring (March 20, 2016).  Most years Easter lands in April, however, the first full moon of spring 2016 is March 23rd leading to the earlier holiday date.

Easter is also one of the few times of the year that pagan traditions are widely celebrated without judgement. Some may not even know the meanings behind these practices.  Here are a few of them.

The Name

Since antiquity pagans the world over celebrated the spring equinox and the goddess of spring.  Her name changes pronunciation and spelling depending on the tradition. Oester, Eostare, Eastre were all used throughout Europe and the Saxon religions.  Ostara is the most common name used by modern pagans for the goddess of spring and dawn.

The Easter Bunny

Rabbits, bunnies and hares have been long standing symbols of fertility for logical reasons.  Lagomorphs (these animals are not rodents) have some intense reproductive abilities. They have huge litters (up to 14 babies) every year and are capable of having more than one litter per year.  They can even become pregnant with litter number 2 while already pregnant with litter number 1!  That’s nuts!

There are a few different stories regarding who the Easter Bunny (or Hare) is and how he came to exist. Some believe that the rabbit is sacred to the goddess Ostara.  In one telling, Ostara saved a frozen bird and saved his life.  The bird survived, but could no longer fly so he was turned into a rabbit.  This rabbit retained the ability to lay eggs though they are now multi-colored.  After a falling out with Ostara this rabbit was turned into a constellation who can return to earth only once a year, during the Ostara holiday, and give away his colored eggs to children.  Other stories say that the bird was originally scared to Ostara and was punished by being turned into a rabbit after crossing her.

The Easter Bunny can also take on some characteristics from Santa.  He judges whether or not kids are good and deserving of the basket (or bonnet) of colored eggs, treats or toys and then delivers these treats the night before Easter. Though I couldn’t find what happens to the bad kids…..maybe they get rotten eggs?

The Easter Egg

The egg is another classic and understandable symbol of fertility and new life.  People in many cultures throughout time have decorated eggs and given them as gifts.  They may have been boiled with flowers to change their color and bring spring into the home. Or they could have been painted in traditional colors like red (new life) or green (new foliage).  Elaborate decoration techniques can be dated back to Africa over 60,000 years ago when carved ostrich eggs were left in ancient graves.

The colored eggs or baskets brought by the Easter Bunny were sometimes left in a predetermined location and sometimes they were hidden for the children to find the next morning. During the days of the inquisition and witch burning those who celebrated the old ways needed to hide their faith and traditions.  They would hide colored eggs in their yards for the children to find.  It was a way to celebrate the early traditions in secret.  The authorities would sometimes follow or bribe these children to find where the eggs were hidden and thus finding the heathen households.

The Ham

The tradition of eating ham at Easter is more functional than fantastical.  In the days of living off the land most people lived off of cured and preserved meats throughout the winter. They ate very scarcely to make certain the meat would last the full season.  To celebrate the coming of spring families would feast on the rest of the preserved meats including a ham.

The Treats

You didn’t think I would forget about chocolate did you? Or Peeps or jelly beans or any of the super tasty treats often found at Easter.  Sweets are a common part of most holiday traditions for one simple reason, they make people happy.  They are delicious and (especially in ancient times) occasional treats.  These days if you are an adult with money you can find treats whenever you want. If you lived a few hundred years ago you wouldn’t have been so lucky.

There are also old beliefs that consuming something in the shape of a powerful symbol would give you the strengths of that symbol.  So indulging in bunny and egg shaped treats would give you increased vitality and fertility.  And a pretty wicked sugar high.

So this Sunday enjoy all of your favorite traditions which a little more background knowledge.  And stay tuned here this week for more Easter related posts.


Dream Weaver

Today is March 18th, World Sleep Day.  This day is dedicated to celebrating sleep and bringing awareness to the wide variety of sleep disorders from which many people suffer. This year WSD has launched the slogan “Good sleep is a reachable dream.” Which got me thinking about dreams in general.

There are numerous theories about why we dream.  Everything from dreams being a consequence of biological functions to dreams being the very reason why we sleep.  There are many who feel that dreams are the minds way of working through subconscious issues.  Others believe dreams are prophetic.

Just as interesting as theories about why we dream are the theories about the meanings behind the dreams. Understanding your dreams can be tricky and is extremely subjective.  What I find the most interesting when reading about dream symbols is that many of the scariest images can have unexpectedly happy meanings.

Affair

This symbol depends heavily on the individuals involved.  If, in your dream, you are having an affair with your current partner it is thought that this represents a new closeness in the relationship.

Being Chased

While most people find this feeling terrifying and see it as a sign of being threatened it can be viewed as incentive to face a problem that has been haunting you.

Cliff

Standing at the edge of a cliff may seem terrifying, but in your dreams it shouldn’t frighten you. It can mean an increased level of awareness or fresh point of view.

Death

Similar to the death card in a tarot deck meaning change, death in a dream is seen as a symbol of transition. One phase in life is ending and making way for a new phase.  Death can also be seen as a sign of encouragement to start a new endeavor.

 

 

Spiders

Spiders have a lot of great qualities.  Depending on the placement and activities of the spider in a dream it can be sending different messages. Spiders spinning webs may indicate a pending reward for hard work.  See one climbing a wall and your desires may soon be realized.  Sounds like good omens to me.

Join me in celebrating World Sleep Day by getting some great rest and having sweet dreams.


Haunted Paris

Many cities have haunted stories. Paris just happens to be one of the more beautiful ones.

The Catacombs

In the 1700’s Paris was running out of space for living people and needed a solution so they decided to relocate the dead.  Utilizing former stone quarries which snake underneath the heart of the city the choice was made to relocate all the bones from the cimetière des Innocents graveyard and create what we now know as the catacombs. Starting in the 1780’s bones were relocated from cemeteries all over the city until 1814.  It would be another 40+ years before the catacombs became open to visitors. What these visitors would see are rows of artfully displayed human bones lining the walls of the former quarry. Skulls stacked together on one wall and femurs along another.  In many places the bones are organized into intricate patterns. Any bones that didn’t fit into the designs were heaped behind the walls. It is said that the spirits of the displaced and disassembled haunt the location. People have been reporting paranormal activity for decades. Everything from orbs in photos to shadowy figures lurking in the corridors. It is said that I have only been there once and didn’t have the time to linger very long.  It’s definitely worth seeing in person, just make sure you have plenty of time to spend.  Photography is now only permitted with special permission to protect the integrity of the bones so you will have to rely on your memory.

Père Lachaise Cemetery

The largest cemetery in Paris is home to many notable residents like Marcel Marceau, Frederic Chopin, Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. It is also the most visited cemetery in the world. Morrison is said to haunt the area around his grave occasionally showing up in photos.  Unfortunately he didn’t show up in mine above. Marcel Proust and Maurice Ravel, lovers in life, are said to rise at night in search of each other in death.  Visitors also claim that Adolphe Thiers (prime minister under King Louis-Philippe) tugs at the clothing of those near his tomb. Other orbs and disembodied spirits have also been reported through out the grounds.  I wasn’t lucky enough to see or capture anything paranormal.  Even without a ghost sighting the cemetery is incredibly beautiful.

Le Musée des Vampires

The only museum in the world dedicated entirely to vampires it is now on the top of my to do list while living here in France. It’s a small room and garden owned and operated by self-proclaimed ‘vampirologist’ Jacques Sirgent who has collected all the exhibits personally.  Exhibits include authentic vampire hunting kits and a mummified cat.  The museum is private so if you want to visit you need to book in advance.

The Eiffel Tower

Surprised to see this on the list? You shouldn’t be.  For some odd reason more than 400 people have jumped from the 1889 World’s Fair entrance. Not everyone who plummeted from the tower perished. One woman who sprung from the top floor landed on a man’s car.  After recovering she married the car’s owner. There are others who didn’t take the dive on purpose.  It is said that the ghost of a woman who was murdered by a scorned lover still stands on the spot where she was last seen alive.  Reportedly she giggles, then pleas, then screams.

There are also dozens of haunted walking tours you can find to help you explore the city.  Whether you are looking for vampires, ghosts, or just stories of notable figures you can find what you are looking for.