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velkommen

Welcome. This is my blog, and you're my most coveted guest. If I seem a bit too intense, it's only because I have so much that I want to share with you, and I can see that you're eager to begin as well. So, please...make yourself at home, sip an East India cocktail (I blended the pomegranate juice myself), and sample some of my domestic and imported Arcana: useless, but fascinating information about Victoriana, Steampunk and other favoured topics; music which evokes that dark, lost Lenore sensibility; and other pleasant or, perhaps, unsettling non sequiters whispered in a darkened room. Linger long or short, leave a comment or refrain, but remember to come back soon to play a (shhhh) parlour game.
Velkommen. Dette er min blog, og du er min mest eftertragtedegæst. Hvis jeg synes en smule for intenst, det er kunfordi jeg har så meget at jeg vil dele med jer, og jeg kanse, at du er ivrig efter at begynde så godt. kan du ...føl dig hjemme, sip et East India cocktail (jeg blandetden granatæble juice mig selv), og prøve nogle af mine indenlandske o importerede Arcana: ubrugelig, menfascinerende oplysninger om Victoriana, Steampunkog andre begunstigede emner; musik der fremkalderdenne mørke, mistede Lenore sensibilitet, og andrebehagelige eller måske foruroligende, ikke sequitershviskede i et mørkelagt rum. Linger lang eller kort,efterlade en kommentar eller afstå, men husk at komme tilbage snart til at spille en (Shhhh) selskabsleg.

ABOUT ME

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I love my grown children, miss all the dogs I ever had, and I cry at the drop of a hat, I believe in true love, destiny, fairness, and compassion. If I could be anywhere right now, it would be the ocean. My favorite city is New York, but I am always longing for London and craving more time in Copenhagen. I'm drawn to desolate places, deserted buildings, and unknown byways. I don't care how society perceives me as long as my gut tells me that what I'm doing is right. I am interested in paranormal things, spiritual things, historical things, and things that glow at night. I like to drink, I smoke when I write, I can't stand small talk, and despite my quick temper, I would rather kiss than fight. I'm selfish with my writing time, a spendthrift with my love. My heart has been broken so many times that it's held together with super glue and duct tape. The upside is that, next time, I won't be tempted to give away what I no longer have to give. But I will let you buy me a Pink Squirrel.

Fuldmane

Fuldmane
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Helvede's så Nocturne

Helvede's så Nocturne
The raw, aching sadness with which the following words were typed has been reformatted to fit your screen. No need to adjust it. All names have been expunged to protect the innocent and the willfully insane.

Nocturne in G Flat major

Chopin, darkness, light, sand and wind, starlight tread. Beethoven, love, fear, madness, redemption in the night. Liszt, waltzing widows, desperate bargains, pleasure's secret plight. Now, then, before, always, forever. Promises made on lonely beaches, celestial summer's perfect kiss, passions quenched in salty breezes, the lure of distant mist-draped heights. Bitter interlude. Final, private nocturne. Burned down like a candle. Doomed bleeding beauty. Fated sacrificial night.
To be continued...

Gentle Visitor

Gentle Visitor
And now, Gentle Visitor, won't you please lend an eye (we've worked so hard)...
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
We love all things dark and mysterious, macabre and obscure, odd and unfathomable. Nothing is too strange or bizarre for our little blog. And although we would never presume to offer definitive answers to the great questions of life, we shall do our best to enlighten, inform and delight our visitors with our whimsical potpurri of facts, anecdotes, trivia and informational outpourings. We strive not to offend, but to edify those who wish to reach beyond their comfort zone and touch the fabric of another time and place, and of distant, but genuine worlds and lives. As Victorian-themed blogs go, ours may not be the most austere, nor the most comprehensive, but we know what we like, and if our readers like it as well, then all is as it should be in this ramshackle corner of our own personal Victorian empire.

A Musical Note

A Musical Note: We feel that our blog is best viewed when accompanied by one or more of the following musical selections. Then again, we also feel that our blog is best viewed when accompanied by a glass of absinthe, a bite of lemon cake, and a foot massage (preferably by someone you know). So, to paraphrase the otherwise completely irrelevant-to-our-blog Mr. Aleister Crowley, "Do what thou wilt...but be open to Chopin."
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And now we begin

And now we begin
"One must strive to show decorum even when scrolling." Queen Victoria, Buckingham Palace Blog, August 11,1879

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

BEAUTY SECRETS OF THE VICTORIANS (AND OTHER STRANGE ENLIGHTENMENTS)



What do bone marrow and lard have in common? The answer may not only surprise you, it might sicken you as well. But that's because you're not a Victorian (at least not in this life). In "Beauty: What It Is And How To Retain it", a book originally published in 1873, and recently re-released by the British Library, the beauty secrets of Victorian women are laid bare...and lard and bone marrow are merely the beginning.


In an era in which make-up was associated mainly with prostitutes and actresses (wanton creatures!), women who wanted to enhance their natural beauty walked a fine line when it came to the use of cosmetics. In fact, women who dared to indulge in the use of such things as lipstick and rouge did so at the risk of their reputations, something that most Victorian women held as dear as their very own lives. Instead, in order to achieve their meximum beauty potential, women of that era focused on natural elements to achieve shiny hair and smooth skin. In the "Beauty" book (the authorship of which is simply credited to "A Lady"), women are encouraged to wash their hair with bone marrow to bring out its sheen, and to brush it 20 times in the morning, then repeat the process at night. Women who long for silky skin are given directions on how to create a facial mask using lard, and, to keep their hair healthy, to wash it with rain water, although the author cautions that if the rain water happens to come from London, it's best to filter it to get rid of "smuts." Dental hygiene is also addressed, with readers being advised to use a "soft badger-hair brush" to clean their teeth.


Of course, it wasn't only Victorian women who were concerned about appearances. Men of the era were equally interested in looking their best when riding around leaving calling cards in fashionable neighborhoods and strolling through the park. "The Gentleman's Art Of Dressing, With Economy", a guide for men written by "A Lounger At The Clubs" in 1876 addresses such questions as how to deal with a wet top hat, and warns male readers that they should never wear the same pair of trousers two days in a row in order to avoid "a hackneyed" look. This comprehensive little guide even goes so far as to devote entire chapters to specific items of men's clothing, such as waistcoats, shoes, and shirts. Clearly, when it came to appearances in the Victorian era, both genders were committed to playing by the rules.


But that doesn't mean there weren't some who were willing to "buck the system" and take an alternate route to achieve their beauty ideals. Madame Rachel, a London cosmetician who had changed her name from Sarah Russell when she left the fried fish business to set up shop on Bond Street, was infamous for attracting wealthy female customers with the slogan "Beautiful Forever." To make good on her slogan, Madame Rachel subjected her clients to a process called "enamelling", which involved filling in facial wrinkiles with a concoction made of arsenic and white lead paste. Madame Rachel's questionable career came to an end when she was convicted of swindling a rich widow out of thousands of pounds after the woman went to her in the hope of having her face repaired following the damage that had been done to it by "the Indian sun." Madame Rachel's subsequent imprisonment for her crimes only served to bolster the firmly-held Victorian belief that cosmetics and those who used them were to be avoided at all costs. After all, why court physical and social disaster when you can just as easily rub lard on your face?


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