Sarah’s Needful Things: Summer 2019
I feel like I should apologize in advance. I know we’re supposed to be all gawth and whatnot here at Haute Macabre, and looking it over, this following list is sort of …anything but? But hey–we are never just one thing, we contain multitudes, right?
So, first on the list, houseplants! Is it sort of a trendy thing to talk about your houseplants right now? Or am I just now finally taking notice of this perceived houseplant mania because I am only just at this moment in time becoming interested in them?
I was convinced for the longest time that I had a black thumb and that all of the botanicals in my immediate environs were in mortal danger. But it turns out that’s not true at all! I was just a lazy caretaker. Which is a sad state of affairs because a lot of these guys really don’t need all that much in the way of work and attention. I’ve always kept potted herbs on my porch to some degree of success or another–mint and rosemary, for example, are hearty greenies which seem to thrive eternally, whereas parsley and dill are delicate weenies that will swoon and expire if you look at them funny. When I recently realized I’d actually kept some parsley and dill alive for the last six months, I figured it was time to give indoor vegetation a try.
I’ve already lost the little paper tabs that tell you what sort of plant you got, however, I can share that the one in this photo is a Golden Pothos. Its name, however, is “lil Porthos” because that’s how I misread several friends’ recommendations. I did not invest in a botanical buddy, you see, but rather a member of the Three Musketeers.
I’ve heard all sorts of things about how plants purify your air, improve focus, enhance healing, etc. I guess those things could be true? I’m just as scattered and absent-minded as ever. But it does make me feel nice to look at them, so that must count for something.
Cocorrina dream journal I kept a handwritten dream journal for the longest time, from my late teenage years, through my mid-30s. At which point in time I discovered Tumblr (which is so weird to say because I know for a lot of people it was a college discovery, and discarded post-graduation. I still keep up with my Tumblr, believe it or not! ) For a time I recorded my dreams over on my tumblr, and made a little ritual each morning to pair a piece of art with my nocturnal adventures from the evening before. I got pretty butthurt though, when a troll accused me of making things up, so I discontinued the practice on that platform, and instead moved my dreams over to a 140 character format on the twitters, where I share bon mots such as this:
Last night I dreamed of thwarted attempts at peeing in a massive gravy boat. 9/10 of my dreams are me trying to take a wee; it’s a wonder I am not a chronic bed-wetter.
— Mlle Ghoul (@mlleghoul) December 10, 2017
When I saw that Cocorrina had a beautiful dream journal available for pre-order, I knew that it was time to take up my hand-written ramblings again. Hardcover with intricate, cosmic gold foil designs, it contains:
“150 pages of a clean, clutter-free layout that will help you record your dreams, keep a track, find similarities and hidden messages. The journal includes features as recording, date, time, title, moon phases, choosing from an extensive list of emotions and moods, space to write about your dream and so much more.”
itsblitzzz ASMR massage videos this is gonna be a hard sell for a lot of people, I realize that. But in 2016 or so I discovered the world of ASMR videos and it was a little mind-boggling, for a lot of reasons, but first and foremost is that people actually make money on Youtube by eating noodles or brushing their hair, all mic’ed up so that you can hear every slurp, every brushstroke. And viewers go nuts for it! I mean, it’s astonishingly ridiculous (AND I LOVE IT), and more power to anyone who can make their living that way, you know?
Initially I fell down the mukbang rabbit hole (mukbangs are eating shows, essentially, and a trend which originated in Korea; “a live online audiovisual broadcast in which a host eats large amounts of foods while interacting with their audience.”) And okay, I don’t blame you for thinking that’s really gross. But I don’t think it’s gross! I have always loved looking at cookbooks and pictures of food, and then later, online food blogs and crowd-sourced recipe curation sites. When Instagram came along, I’d fall asleep at night looking at beautifully shot photos of lobster rolls and cheese fondue. And then I discovered the mukbang community and it was freaking amazing. Listen, I know you’re not supposed to eat 50 dumplings in one sitting, or a dozen triple bacon cheeseburgers or whatever (though…sometimes…don’t you want to?) so I get my kicks vicariously by watching someone else do it.
Fast forward to 2019 and I’m realizing that ok, maybe I am starting to get a little grossed out by these people dipping their king crab legs in Cheez Whiz and I need to find another vice, and that’s when I came across itsblitzzz‘s channel. I believe Julia is a Youtuber who has been around a very long time, but it’s only her videos in more recent years that have captured my fancy. She’s got such a lovely personality and she’s so wonderfully warm, candid, and engaging. In the videos I like to watch, she typically invites a friend over and faces them to us, the audience –and I will just say that all of her friends are gorgeous and look like they belong in a Roger Eggers or Ari Aster film about witches or family demons or Swedish cultists or somesuch–while she, slightly off-camera, lightly massages their scalps, or brushes their hair, or wafts homemade essential oil blends about their person. It’s beautifully intimate without being the least bit sexualized, and watching these friends get gently and thoroughly pampered is just the most phenomenal way for me to unwind at the end of an evening. Julia also has “day in the life” or “what I ate today” videos and so on; sometimes I watch them, sometimes not. They’re always really interesting because I am quite nosy and love to see how other people live! But it’s the beautiful ASMR-scapes that really keep me coming back.
FYI: She incorporates lots of ASMR triggers into her content; finger tapping, hand fluttering, whispering, etc. If you dig that sort of thing, I think you will be pleased, but if you find that sort of thing foolish and irritating, then this definitely isn’t the thing for you.
Lastly, three beauty/skincare/cosmetic products I have been obsessed with lately:
-Edith “Dream Awake” nail lacquer from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Crimson Peak collection is part of a release from a few years back (but some products from the line are still available!) Described as, “gleaming metallic gold flares of a powerful imagination. The gilded sheen of a muse’s kiss, the glimmering, vivid glow of a story burning to be told,” this is a gorgeous golden shimmering shade which finally convinced me that black and silver are not the only claw colors I like.
–La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Sensitive Skin Face Moisturizer Intense I recently had been trying out a few new products, which, to my horror, left me with some dull, rough patches on my cheeks. “To my horror,” wow. Such melodrama! Well, when it’s your face, you sure feel that way, I guess. In perusing the ingredients, I believe I pinpointed what was giving me a hard time (willow bark, maybe?) and though the product itself initially feels and smells lovely, I have come to the conclusion that it is probably not something I want to be using twice, daily. I’d heard good things about La Roche Posay products and this one, in particular, is supposedly nice for sensitive skin. And it is! A week later and my skin feels even better than it did initially, and I am back to my former, doll-faced self.
The Obliphica Seaberry Hair Mask was a recommendation from Jo, whom I’m pretty sure we mention frequently in these Needful Things posts because she basically knows all the best things. And this hair mask is, without a doubt, one of the very best. I have dry, coarse, incredibly thick, color-treated hair. It’s a lot to deal with. And lately, I’ve been having even more to deal with in the form of a dry and itchy scalp ( I don’t know if that’s just body-problems or stress-problems) but the bottom line is I always just want to be scratching at my head, or preferably, asking friends with nice, long, fingernails to scratch at my head. Sadly, I can’t get anyone enthused about that.
I’ve been using this hair mask as an intensive twice-weekly deep conditioner and not only does it make my hair feel glorious from root to tip, it smells phenomenal. Or, as one reviewer remarks with disgust, it’s “highly perfumed.” That’s fine by me! I think it smells a quite a bit like the Revlon Outrageous shampoo that I used in the mid-to-late ’90s, which some folks say was a combination of bergamot, vetiver, and sandalwood. It was good stuff. Probably totally stripped the crap out of our hair, but man, did it smell incredible.
• I swapped out several of my big, heavy, fluffy bath towels for these softly textured, light-weight cotton waffle weave towels, and they are just a million times better. They’re much less cumbersome to work with when trying to dry my hair after a shower and maybe even more absorbent than the old ones, they dry more quickly in the humid Florida summers, and they take up so much less space on the shelf. I’ve got my eyes on this lovely waffle weave robe, as well, but that’s going to be a celebratory gift for when I accomplish an important personal goal.
• This is going to sound silly, and maybe even a little boring, but while I have had multiple chargers for my iPhone (and lost most of them over the years) I have never had a docking station/charger stand for it. On a whim I grabbed one and have been keeping it in my office; I make a point of putting my phone to rest before I start getting ready to turn in for the evening, and I leave it there all night long. This ensures that I’m not laying in bed with a bright screen in my eyeballs for forty-five minutes every night. It’s really amazing how much more quickly I fall asleep when I’m not looking at photos of people eating a platter full of Cheeto burritos.
• I was gifted with a swan-shaped chrome ring holder last Christmas, and while it’s not something I would have purchased for myself, I hit on a brilliant idea to keep it near the kitchen sink so that I have a place to home my wayward rings when I’ve removed them before washing some dishes. I can’t count the times I’ve knocked them into the soapy water, or down inside that wily old finger-mangler, the dish disposal. Now my shiny little swan keeps them safe and dry–and sure, I still forget about them sometimes, but at least I don’t have to fish them out of the mucky, manky drain.
• Adorable new house slippers. Pictured here with a blanket that I started knitting for my baby sister to present as a “congrats on your divorce!” gift, but she got divorced three years ago so I’m obviously running a little behind on that particular project.
• This hairbrush which was stupidly expensive but I’m obsessed with it. I’d read it was good for scalp massaging and since it seems I can’t count on my long-fingernailed friends, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.