31 October 2011

in search of halloween, part 6 [the final chapter]

well, the day has arrived, which means that the trappings of halloween will soon be replaced by grey november skies and the inexorable advance of christmas carols. but before that happens, i wanted to share with you the last images of halloween i captured. i truly do believe that these are some mighty fine specimens, located in one of montreal's more affluent neighbourhoods.

i hope they leave their house like this forever [i would]...

these are shots from the lawn of the house above. late afternoon lighting was sort of playing havoc, so the shots aren't as crisp as i'd like, but i think you get the idea...

then, of course, there were these guys... this is actually at the entrance to what appears to be a small community of mansions. i'll bet their treats are awesome...

this guy's shirt has the word "gourmet" proudly emblazoned on it. apparently, it's a myth that the dead will just eat anything they can bludgeon to death...

a ghoul funeral! it's like halloween squared...

i really like this shot. 


30 October 2011

in search of halloween 5

yes folks, we're just hours away from the big event and i'm still hunting down the halloween in my neighbourhood. i have to say that today's search was pretty epic. i was walking and taking photographs for a few hours and, for the first time, i encountered other halloween hunters [most of whom were equipped with more than a phone camera]. emboldened by the fact that i wasn't the only one spying, i decided to venture up some choice walkways and grab some close-ups for this edition.

so on the eve of the big night out, here's a taste of what's haunting the hills of montreal...

i think somebody along the lane dismembered mummy before i got there...

i just love that he bent over for me to get a better shot...

i so wanted to just run across the lawn to get a better shot, because it's not every day you see a skeleton in a lawn chair, but i figured he might throw his tibia at me or something.

as i've already said, drinking and brooming seems to be an epidemic among witches this year. and this is how they end up... wrapped around a tree...

the bats in this were actually flying around. 


making faces :: vamping it up with tom ford

i said i would
a few days ago, when i realised that i didn't have a good photo of me wearing tom ford's "black orchid", one of my favourite vampy lipsticks, i did promise that i'd take care of that little detail. subconsciously, i think this was because i couldn't wait to do a look with this sinfully rich, deep colour so close to halloween. i'm assuming it worked, because when i wore this on friday, i kept having people ooh and ahh over my lips [more so than they do normally, haha].

i'm guessing that at least part of that is because it's just such a bold contrast to the colour of my skin, but that's one of the reasons i like really dark shades- that shock effect you get. i will say that, aside from the contrast, this is a particularly lovely colour. when i first saw it, i thought it was a deep brown. then it looked plummy. and sometimes it looks red. really, there are elements of red, purple and brown at work and which you notice most will depend very much on the light and what colours you're wearing with it. [since i tend to wear most things with black, it theoretically removes a variable, but i still find that it looks a little different on me each time i trot it out.]


29 October 2011

kitty korner :: the cattiest caturday of all!

i just found out that it's NATIONAL CAT DAY, which is actually now INTERnational cat day, since it's spread its furry angelic wings and gone around the world.

you can find out information on what that means here.

as everyone who reads this blog probably already knows, i am an unapologetic crazy cat lady [who happens to have been lucky enough to hook up with a member of that lesser-known breed, the crazy cat man] and my cats are my children. [don't argue with me on this. my shrink, who doesn't care for animals, has even admitted that i exhibit the same psychological relationship with my cats as mothers do with their children. so now it's a medical fact.]

i encourage anyone who ever has questions about cat ownership and cat care to contact me. i'm always happy to share the benefits of my experience [and the experiences of those close to me]. i can't emphasise enough just how much being a cat owner [well, pet owner, since i think that the experience is not actually limited to cats] has meant to me and how much it's shaped who i am [for the better].

in the meantime, give those furbabies a big hug [if they'll let you; if not, just admire them from a respectful distance] and have a gander at some photos from my family album...

hecubus & simon

mom, dad & seth

me & simon

seth, simon & hecubus in a bathing war

seth occupying my leg


arthur. the once and future king.

julia, the reigning queen

28 October 2011

friday favourites 28.10.11

do you ever think about the most contradictory things in your personality? the elements that seem the least likely to occur together and yet somehow happily coexist in you? does it secretly make you excited to be who you are? it probably should. i've been thinking about this a lot lately, particularly today and i just wanted to say that i hope everyone who reads this takes a moment to think about the apparently contradictory things in themselves. because those things are fascinating.

and here are a couple of other things that have really made me feel great this week...

occupy! :: while i was watching the cbc yesterday, they had a headline to the effect that tensions were growing between the various occupy protestor encampments in canadian cities and the people seeking to use the public spaces in which the camps were located. this is something we might have all expected, except that the actual story was a bit different. it basically turned on the fact that protestors in calgary were working with event planners to ensure that both a planned cultural festival and the ongoing protest could coexist in the same space. this served as a reminder to me that, with a protest camp located in my own city, i was better off going and exploring myself than making assumptions based on snippets from the mainstream media.

here's a quick look at occupy montreal:

there's an internet hub, which obviously has been crucial to this movement. 

putting a guy fawkes mask on the statue of queen victoria is pretty cool. you know what's even cooler? all the major signage is perfectly bilingual. in point of fact, a lot of big corporations can't manage that. 


27 October 2011

making faces :: the mystique of mystic

back when i did my "30 days of lips" project, wearing a different shade of lipstick every day, i closed off with mac's "mystic", my favourite mac shade of all time and one of my favourite shades period. although it had been part of their regular assortment for many years- as long as i've been a mac customer, which would mean about a decade- they discontinued the shade in 2010. since i'd never heard anyone else mention this as a personal favourite, i'd assumed that the discontinuation meant that there wasn't any real interest in the shade.

oh how wrong i was.

of all the search terms that lead people to my blog, consistently among the top is "mac mystic lipstick" or some variation thereof, especially searches for "best replacement" or "closest match". so this shade does have its fans and they're just as lost as i am trying to figure out how to fill the mystic void. ladies, i want to help you. and by help you, i mean let you benefit from months of experimentation on myself.

first, to describe the original mystic is a little tricky. i did find that the formula changed over the years that i bought it, which is one problem, but it's also just a difficult to pinpoint colour. i generally classify it as a cooler red, meaning that it has an undertone that is more blue than orange/ brown. however, when i was comparing it to other shades i thought might be similar, i did notice that it looked brownish in next to many of them. go figure.

it's described as a reddish plum and, indeed, it does kind of look like the skin of a red plum. it's what i like to call a "classic" red- not a full-on screen siren in-your-face red and not a bloodstained vampire red either. it's a very classy shade, looking timelessly conservative and at the same time very rich and sexy. it also has a lovely sheen- nicer than on a lot of mac's other satin-finish lipsticks- that catches the light and responds very well to flash photography. it's very much opaque and, while the colour can be intense, it fades to a very nice gooseberry-red shade over time.

despite my searching, i haven't come up with a true dupe for it, but listed below are the closest i've found.

l to r :: chanel rivoli, mac party time, mac mystic, ysl rouge vermillion, guerlain grenade

26 October 2011


maybe it's because i missed "friday favourites" last week [sorry about that], but i feel compelled to share some favourite things, as i periodically do. although i'm a fan of whiskers on kittens and bright copper kettles can look kind of cool, raindrops on roses are not my thing [i accept rain as a necessary evil] and warm woolen mittens have a tendency to make me break out. so, in place of those, here are the things that work for me. [and yes, there's a "dark" theme, in keeping with the season.]

music to get in a halloween mood

1. nightmare lodge :: the musical project of ivan iusco, head of italy's minus habens label is a fascinating beast. on the one hand, it very soft-edged, melodic electronic music, some of it even a little danceable. on the other hand, there is something a little spooky and unnerving about it. the first track that i ever heard by him was a compilation track called "two lovers", which starts out as a happy little synthpop track and morphs, slowly, into something that sounds like a monster eating your legs. seriously. i was hooked, needless to say.

much of nightmare lodge's oeuvre owes a debt to john carpenter's soundtracks for his own films, but that's truly not a bad thing. i will always have a soft spot for the album "negative planet", which is at once sweetly naive and somewhat unnerving [like the best 80s horror films], but if you can get your hands on it, the best release for the season is undoubtedly the "nosferatu" 7", inspired, of course, by the 1922 movie of the same name.

2. shinjuku thief :: specifically, in this case, the witch trilogy of music inspired by the age of the inquisition and attendant superstitions surrounding witchcraft and the "left-hand path". darrin verhagen, who, like ivan iusco, is the head of a label [dorobo], creates something that plays uncannily like a film soundtrack- i can see it fitting very well with something like benjamin christensen's 1913 masterpiece "haxan: witchcraft through the ages".

as a bonus, both the individual cds and the box set are exquisitely packaged- verhagen is, understand, a graphic artist as well as a musician and his label's releases reflect that.

3. the ultimate rockin' halloween party :: ah the sweet innocence of a time when the bad guys had the decency to be literal monsters. i stumbled across this by accident [i can't even remember the accident, actually] and was immediately won over. some of the tracks will be familiar, but others have been snatched from obscurity to offer spook-tacular entertainment and some excellent offbeat moments for my dj sets. i'm fond of throwing in something truly "golden era" at any time, but if this tickles your fancy, i can promise that there will be some choice morsels at the next [just barely post-halloween, but still seasonal] edition of the caustic lounge.


24 October 2011

in search of halloween 4

today, i decided to take a stroll through westmount, a decidedly more affluent neighbourhood located adjacent to mine and i have come to the following conclusion: rich people are way more disturbed than poor people. these homes are bedecked in all manner of horrors, which probably means that their psychologists are able to buy a new model lexus every couple of years and people like me are going to have a field day around halloween. i have to say that i got noticed far more than on other days and the level of concern that a stranger was photographing their houses fluttered between "whatever" and "that's cute". i'm assuming they're secure in the knowledge that anyone seeing their lawn decorations would know that they were in for a grisly death if they got caught trying to break in.

so here is halloween, westmount style:

it starts innocently, with a couple of happy scarecrows and cobwebs...

 then there are ghosts in the sky... or something...

i'd be pissed off too, if i were a midget left in a gibbet. in modern-day montreal.

i photographed this the other day, but i swear it's grown...


making faces :: every day is halloween

"ask if we're melting again, jerkface."
i think we've established that i'm a big fan of this time of year. whether it's spooky camp [now there's a place i should have gone as a child] or chilling tales of the paranormal, there is just something in me that is drawn to things that are a little creepy. of course, i don't just get this way once a year [although it's a nice excuse] and the rest of the time, i like to find little ways to incorporate that part of myself into everyday routines. so while i might not really be able to wear a costume most days, i can make little adjustments to how i look.

here are a few ideas i've tried out recently, that can help to bring a little sorcery to your life at any time.

vampy lip

nothing says "i'm trouble" like a deep dark lip. it's also a great way to get ready in a hurry, since you don't want to do a lot to distract from your statement lip. i used a mac classic here, "cyber" which is an ultra-dark blackish purple. it's a shade that has a kind of cult following- i've had people mention it to me by name.

the trickiest part about pulling off a dark lip is actually getting your lips ready for their big night out. [i do generally reserve this sort of look for night wear myself.] to give these shades maximum impact, the finishes are often on the drier side. that's great for effect, but it also means that it can be tricky to get the application nice and even. [i don't think i quite achieved that in these photos.] a good lip exfoliant helps, particularly during colder weather. lush has really nice ones, but you can also make a pretty decent one at home using sugar and olive oil. to get the best and most even coverage, you'll want to start with a liner to get a nice, crisp edge and then apply in layers with a lip brush. hands up everyone who has the patience to do that? [hint: my hand isn't up.]

like most people, i apply lipstick from the tube, because that's how i was "taught" to do it. i have a lip brush and i use it about once a year, when i'm feeling ambitious. it's by no means impossible to get a good, smooth finish without going to a lot of trouble. my advice is to do a couple of layers- light at first to form a base and then slightly heavier to build up the colour.

products used [limited edition/ discontinued products are marked with an asterisk]::

face [same for all looks] ::
mac prolongwear foundation "nc15"
diorskin nude hydrating concealer "001"

eyes ::

mac e/s "family treasure" [light peachy-gold]
mac e/s "manila paper"* [shimmery off-white parchment]
mac fluidline "blacktrack"
benefit they're real! mascara

blush ::
mac mineralize blush duo "new vibe"* [bronze gold/ rosy plum]

lips ::
mac l/s "cyber" [blackish purple]

suggested alternates :: manila paper = mac nylon [frostier, yellower], mac dazzlelight [cooler]; family treasure = mac goldmine [brighter, yellower]; new vibe = mac love thing + guerlain terra inca sublime radiance powder


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