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Battywampus

Spooky all year 'round!

Tattoo Exhibition

My first tattoo was a mistake.  Back when the law allowed anyone 16+ to get tattoos with parental or guardian consent I chose a design that I thought I would love for the rest of my life.  I didn’t have much money at the time and anyone who has a tattoo also knows the saying: “You get what you pay for” and I have hated that tattoo ever since.  You will not be seeing that tattoo in this post.  I haven’t had it covered up yet because I’ve been busy getting other tattoos, and since it’s on my lower back, like most classy tattoos in the late 90’s and early 2000’s people don’t see it anyway.

This post is about the tattoos that I do love!  My Halloween inspired ink gives me happiness to look at every day.  I will probably be one of those fully tatted up grannies telling my neighborhood kids to chill out and think before they act and invite them over to school them at Mario Kart.

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Here’s a work in progress shot of the back tattoo that is seen completed above.  It was done by Winfield Green at Tattoo Asylum in Spring Lake Park, MN.  It’s fully colored now but I kind of miss what it looked like in gray scale.

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My werewolf was also done by Winfield over 5 years ago and it still looks great.

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Recently I was able to get something done by Gabby Maravelas at Steady Tattoo in Minneapolis, MN (seen above and below) Inspired in part by Hocus Pocus and also my love of the occult trade.

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I feel like a human coloring book whenever I get something done by Gabby and I love seeing her tattoos come to life on my skin.  I never walk away feeling disappointed.  Next up on this leg piece is adding the death tarot card and a bundle of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Maybe I’ll add a little bit of lavender to the bunch for fun.

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Jeremy Calaveras from Stay Tru Tattoo in Burnsville, MN did the memorial piece below for my great grandparents.  The flowers are pot marigolds which are my great grandmother Florian’s birth flower and the sun rays at the top represent a play on my great grandfathers name which is Ray.

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The tattoos on my arm were done in two separate sessions from each other.  He’s awesome with the Neo traditional style.  The cauldron needs a touch up but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

The haunted house wraps around my wrist, so here are some close up shots of the graveyard on the other side.

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When I worked at a tattoo parlor one of the artists who is no longer at the shop did this bat piece for me.  I drew up the bat silhouette design myself because I’ve seen a lot of bad ones that turn out looking more like birds and I wanted to make sure mine was exactly what I wanted.

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Another coworker did this crescent moon on my middle finger.  I have an identical one on my other middle finger that’s filled in all black.

I have dream artists that I want to collect ink from.  Teresa Sharpe and Erin Chance at Unkindness Art parlor in Richmond, VA.  In the future I want to have both my legs completely covered in art from them.

I’d love to see your Halloween or spooky inspired tattoos.  You can tag my FB, Tumblr, or Instagram @Battywampus to show me what you got!

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Trick or Treating: The Adulthood Fallacy

I believe it is the right of every adult to relive the innocent traditions of their childhood without fear of being ostracized for not being adult enough.  Saturday morning cartoons, cabin trips over the summer, Easter egg hunts, birthday parties, etc.

The age in which the torch from Trick-or-Treater to Candy Greeter is passed is different for each household, but most commonly happens between 12-14 years old.  I was 13 years old when my mother asked me “Don’t you think you’re getting too old to go Trick-or-Treating?”  Of course I hadn’t.  Why would I assume age had anything to do with candy, costumes, and spooky stories? This was just was the way things had always been.

I feel strongly against adult instituted traditions limited by age.  Consider that when a child is told about Santa Clause they spend their first five or six years of life believing a man in a red suit gives them presents once a year.  Parents go to great lengths to nurture this belief by forming traditions such as leaving out cookies for Santa, placing fake footprints by the fireplace, and waiting until their children are in bed to put out presents, all for the ‘gleam in their eyes and the joy on their faces’ on Christmas morning, but then dismantle that belief when they feel the child is old enough or starts questioning the validity of it.  From my own perspective as a child who believed in Santa Clause, it was the latter.  It felt like I was being punished for questioning the existence of something I celebrated and anticipated every year since I could form memories.   Easter egg hunts are similar in that children are told that the Easter Bunny leaves eggs for them to find in hunts around the yard and home. Then at a randomly selected age or when questions start to form they are told the truth.

Trick-or-treating does not have a lie attached to the tradition but instead is left ambiguous on ways to celebrate it as an adult.  When I worked at a Halloween store it was over a span of five years that I became familiar with adult Halloween traditions.  I would ask adults in casual conversation what their plans for the Holiday were and most said they were having a party.  Although the tradition of Trick-or-Treating was done for them they could not help but celebrate the time of year.

It’s not strange for adults to celebrate certain parts of the year out of habit rather than belief.  After all that’s a tradition is the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation.  Even as a non-Christian I still celebrate Christmas because it’s something I have always done and would feel like a part of me was missing if come the end of December my traditional Christmas items weren’t present.  Why do people think Halloween is any different?

Unlike Christmas and Easter where I stopped celebrating the traditions of Santa and The Bunny at 5 or 6, I stopped Trick-or-Treating when I was 14 years old.  That is 14 years of tradition I was expected to stop just because I got too old.

I decided to go out Trick-or-Treating again when I was 16 years old.  I hadn’t been able to go the year before because I decided to try out the Candy Greeter title that was unceremoniously given to me.  Turns out that not many kids like to Trick-or-Treat in apartment buildings.  Instead of dealing with the short stick I was given, I decided to go out with a boyfriend at the time and another friend. Of course I got a few comments like, “Aren’t you too old to be Trick-or-Treating?” but for the most part it only reaffirmed that the tradition would never be the same for me and I stopped going entirely after that.

There was no lie or questioning of beliefs involved, I was simply too old to be given handouts.  That’s what free candy is when you’re older. When you’re a kid it’s fun and innocent but if an adult goes through the same passages of dressing up, coming to your door to ring the bell and ask for candy, why is it considered inappropriate?

The likely story is that without a Candy Greeter there would be no free candy at all, so someone has to do it.  I would like to know what made age a deciding factor in who is a Trick-or-Treater and who is a Candy Greeter.  Is it because as an adult we can afford our own candy?  Most likely.  But why can’t adults choose which side they want to be on?

Holidays are sad affairs for adults because while we are able to form new traditions within the limitations of our adult lives, some of us never quite feel the same about them.  I implore anyone who has children to think about the way you introduce these traditions because they mean a lot and will shape the way they celebrate in the future.

Featured Fashion- The Kawaii Machine

During my research on the Pastel Goth and Creepy Cute blog I came across one shop in particular that caught my attention.  Based out of Nashville Tennesee, The Kawaii Machine makes clothing inspired by fairy kei, creepy cute, and pastel goth fashions.

I fell in love with the designs and wanted to share some of my favorites.

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This Night Creature sweater is the perfect way to show off how much you hate the sun.

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If it’s more blatant Halloween styles you’re looking for then this Pumpkin Gang shirt is for you.  Also available as a T-shirt and a hoodie in multiple color combos.

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This Every Day Is Halloween sweater is one of my favorites on the website!  You can also get it as a T-shirt and it’s available in multiple colors.

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This ghost shirt is available in both long and short sleeves with multiple color combos.  My personal favorite is the black and purple design.  This style of sweater looks so comfortable.

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Despite being a scarecrow (fun fact: scarecrows creep me out) this Jeepurrs Creepurrs shirt is almost as adorable as its name!

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I am in love with the green and orange color scheme on this Moonlight Kitty sweater.  It’s also available as a hoodie.

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These oracle leggings are pretty spectacular to look at.  According to the website their legging designs are professionally sublimated onto ultra smooth and 90% nylon, 10% spandex leggings. Sublimation provides vivid, crisp images that won’t fade in the wash

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This print is also available as a dress and various other clothing items, including a backpack 

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Or a sweater! I can see myself wearing this on a cold night while reading my tarot cards by candle light.

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These Bat leggings are a great addition to any pastel goth wardrobe.

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This print is also available as a dress and various other clothing items, including a backpack!

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This graveyard ghosts skirt is adorable and comes in multiple color combos!

I highly recommend checking out the rest of the shop.  Not everything is Halloween or spooky related.  There are also video game and magical girl designs and some other clothing items that I haven’t shown here.

The main website is here and has more information in case you can’t find what you’re looking for on the Etsy site.

 

Spring Forward into Creepy Cute & Pastel Goth Fashion!

I’ve recently become attracted to two fashion styles: Creepy Cute and Pastel goth.

  • Creepy cute mixes pretty with pretty creepy.  A zombie with guts hanging out while also wearing a cute frilly dress would be considered ‘creepy cute’ so just think gore and creepy crawly bugs mixed with cute aesthetics of lace and bows is what you’re going for.
  • Pastel goth mixes pastels colors with black as a contrast.  There doesn’t have to be anything creepy in the style but where’s the fun in that?  Think pastel pink hair and girly makeup with the Goth aesthetics of belts, buckles, and spikes.  You can add any other elements of goth attire that you want as long as you also add color somewhere in the outfit.

Combining the two creates a pastel creep show that is exciting because it’s designed to lure you in and creep you out at the same time.  There are so many possibilities!

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While I have a lot of creepy stuff lying about I don’t really have a lot of cute or pastel in my wardrobe.  My attempt to explore this style is all at a beginners standpoint but I wanted to give it a try.

It is oddly difficult to find pastel colored clothing at a thrift store.  I mostly find pinks which is my least favorite color if I’m honest, and while I’ve grown to accept it as a color on the color wheel it still barely touches my wardrobe.

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My friend Jessica was in my previous Slumber Party blog where she featured this shirt.  I reuse a lot of my clothes for different outfits so I thought this would make a great pastel goth shirt.  Add some pastel pink or purple hair with a spiked leather bracelet and you’re good to go!

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Hello Cavities is a US based Etsy shop that carries a few select sweaters.  They have this polka dotted bat sweater in various colors including the one shown above as well as pink, mint, and the inverse of the image above which is a black sweater with purple bats.

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My personal favorite is their Ghosty sweatshirt and it is only available in purple, which is fine by me because it’s my favorite color.

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Accessories are a huge part of these two styles.  They are often what sets your outfit apart from being just cute to creepy cute!  Take this Ouija planchette necklace for example.

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These bear necklaces by Moon Bunny are too cute and are definitely up my alley with their Halloween themes.  The Frankenstein bear is my favorite!

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Pair the above ouija necklace with this tye dyed magical shirt from Teen Hearts and maybe some pastel leggings for a more finished look.

 

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My favorite aspect of the creepy cute style is that you can make it 50/50 between creepy and cute or you can lean more one way or the other.  I personally like it smack in the middle where I could play up both features evenly.

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Eyeballs are HUGE in the world of creepy cute and it’s a common accessory found in most jewelry.  Necklaces, earrings, hair bows, you name it!  This necklace by Calavinister looks like just what any creepy cute lover would wear.

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Another aesthetic of the Creepy Cute style is blood and gore.  This hot pink blood drip necklace is just what you need if you want to start dressing the part.

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More gore! This hanging guts skirt would pair nicely with your other gorey accessories.

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Want something more casual?  If I didn’t work in an office I would probably wear this shirt to work if I was sick and couldn’t stay home.

One of my favorite descriptions of the differences between creepy cute and pastel goth is by Hello Batty.  Check out her video below!

Love Pain & Stitches Review!!

I discovered Love Pain & Stitches while I was browsing the internet for a solid Jack O’ Lantern purse last Halloween.  The only ones I seemed to be able to find were cheaply made ones from across the world, until I came across the @lovepainandstitches Instagram page.

The owner, Kenny Avila, makes hand crafted purses, wallets, and handbags all made to order in America.  That means each one is unique and they take a long time to get one.

My crusade to purchase one of these bags was arduous.

The owner does not keep his Etsy shop regularly stocked.  Instead items are listed in his shop once every other week on Saturdays and the rush to get one is insane.  The first time I tried to buy a bag, it was sold out by the time I entered my payment information.  With a sale every two weeks you’re bound to get one but I’ve heard it’s not uncommon to go a whole year before it finally happens.

Although it was discouraging, I contacted the owner privately and asked if he’d be interested in setting up pre-orders with some of his customers on Instagram.  Luckily he said yes! -Under the condition that we wait for his current batch of bags to be sent out which meant a longer turn around time.  Now the normal turn around time for orders is 7-8 weeks but my bags took 5 months to get to me.  I ordered my bags on July 21st and finally received them on November 7th.  Though despite the long wait I couldn’t have been happier with them.

Even though I’ve had these bags since November, I wanted to wait until after a few months of use before I wrote a review blog about them.

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So far they have stood up to daily wear and tear without any damage at all but I also store them in the same location every day so they won’t get damaged from mishandling when not in use.  I learned my lesson after my Iron Fist coffin bag was crushed by accident after leaving it in my car.

Each bag is made from vinyl which means the material is thick, durable, waterproof, and cruelty free!  I prefer all purpose items that won’t get damaged by every day activities, like going to the store when it’s raining outside.

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These particular bags are 14 x 8 x 3 which means they are incredibly roomy.  I have been able to fit a large wallet, my iPad, and two 20 oz bottles of soda inside at the same time.  Each bag has a large stretchy pocket on the inside for additional convenience.

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I’m not sure if this is standard for all of his orders but for the pre-orders Kenny threw in some glittery coffin shaped wallets. I got one for each order and I even got to choose my own colors!  I chose green, purple, and orange.

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Here is a size comparison of the wallet and the bag.  It fits comfortably inside with plenty of room to spare.  The wallets are a bit wonky for me if I’m honest.  I think if the zipper went all the way down the side of the wallet then it would be easier for me to use.

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I bought three bags total.  One has a happy face and the other two have angry faces but are in different colors.  Here is one of the angry faces in traditional orange and black.

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The Jack O’ Lantern bags come in so many different shapes, colors, materials, and textures that it’s hard to describe them all but some of the popular variations include glitter vinyl or faux alligator skin.

I wanted to stick to traditional colors for my bags because there’s no color combination more appealing to me than black and orange.

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This reverse black and orange pumpkin bag is my favorite of the bunch and I wear it the most often.  I was walking around the mall just the other day when someone called out to me and told me how much they loved it.  I get compliments on it everywhere I go.

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The hardware is durable and the stitching is sturdy.  I never have issues opening or closing the zipper and none of the seams have ripped so far.  I am expecting to have these bags for a long time to come.

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I also received some metal pins of the Love Pain & Stitches logo along with some of his business cards which I have passed around liberally.

Shelley Wynne, a friend over at the Battywampus Facebook page also purchased a pre-order bag and wrote:

“The quality and durability of the bags are remarkable. I bought a Jack O’ Lantern bag from Killstar and it’s so flimsy in comparison. I think initially I came across the bags on Etsy but forgot about them until someone on Facebook posted about them.  I waited a long time for these bags so the happiest I felt was opening the box and finally having them in my possession. My life is 365 days of Halloween so to be able to wear a purse in honor of Halloween, makes me giddy. I don’t anything negative to say about my purchase other than the wait time but it’s just part of the process of owning a bag.  I have the angry black pumpkin bag and the tombstone RIP bag. I don’t have a favorite. I love them both equally. Though I’ve used the tombstone bag over the pumpkin one only because I’m lazy.  I definitely recommend these bags and have given out business cards (a few of them in my package) to people who came up to me asking about the tombstone bag.  I want the cemetery heart purse. I love love love cemetery print stuff!”

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Here is a photo of the cemetery heart purse.

This “Graveyard Scene” bag is on my own wishlist.  I have a thing for big bags and the reviews that I’ve read on this one say that it’s much bigger than expected.

One review for this bag reads:

“This purse is huge! I bought the pumpkin makeup bag a few weeks back and it fits inside this purse along with my wallet, Kindle and other shenanigans. Highly recommend you guys to snag it when it’s available again.” -Melissa

The overall wear on my Jack O’ Lantern bags has been minimal but I also try not to use them extensively either.  Not because of poor quality but because of how difficult I imagine it would be to get a replacement.  Still I cannot recommend this shop highly enough.  Everything from the communication of purchase to the final product has been stellar.

Thank you Kenny for doing what you do.  You help me and others feel more confident in showing off our authentic spooky selves.

Valentine’s Day 2017

Valentine’s Day is a little less than one month away and stores are filling up with cheap pink and red flavored garbage.

I’d like to believe the whole point of this holiday is to show someone that you care about them but I have met some people that believe the quality of the gift equals the quality of the love.  Whereas I think of Valentine’s Day as a momentary blip on the calendar where I can express myself and my appreciation of my partner.

I wanted to showcase some of the cool ways you can give your gifts a twist that will turn this day into your own blip of happiness.

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My fiancé and I didn’t do anything big last year for Valentine’s Day so we went to Trader Joe’s and picked up a cheap small cake.

The zombie hand picks were left over from my birthday party two years ago, which I showcased on a previous blog (here).  Though you can redecorate a cute cake like this with any creepy features to suite your style.

Examples: Candy eye balls, frosting stitches, make a graveyard scene with tiny tombstones (or half eaten Oreo cookies), add neon green frosting to make it look like slime is dripping down the sides, get a white cake and put blood red gel frosting hand prints all over it, ect.

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I already showed some ways you can use these cake molds in my Halloween party blog (here) but you can get creative and make your own cake at home if you have the time.

There are plenty of molds available online to choose from if you don’t already have some stored away like me.  This skull cakelette pan is perfect for individual sized cakes!

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Teddy bears are on the top of the list of gifts to give on Valentine’s Day.

These bears are modeled after a mascot in Japan called “Gloomy Bear” and the plushes come in a variety of unique colors and styles.  There is also a pink version of the zombie bear available that might be more fitting with the color scheme of the holiday.

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Jewelry is another common gift to give this time of year and I have had my eyes on the gems from Mordaunte’s Coffin Gems for a very long time.

The owner has specially cut gems that are placed in the jewelry of your choice including pendants, rings, earrings, tie tacks, and lapel pins.

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I asked my fiancé for the 5ct gravestone ring because I know it will match with almost anything I wear.  If you want to keep it a secret ask your partner what their favorite color is or take a look at their wardrobe and figure out what color they like to wear the most.

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Restaurants are often overcrowded and noisy on Valentine’s Day. Instead of eating out maybe you and your partner can plan on having dinner at home in style!

Pick out some new dinnerware that will change up the mood.  Putting thought into things like this will show that you care about your partner’s experience and don’t want it to be just another lazy dinner at home.

Switching from the every day ordinary can be fun!  These “Witch Lace” plates from 222 Fifth are unique and romantic looking, if you’re into spiderwebs and graveyards like I am.

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These sweet chocolate bites were featured on celebrations.com.

They were made using a simple skull and crossbones ice cube trays which you can find on Amazon (here).  Though there are many different kinds of ice cube trays you can choose from, like anatomical hearts or zombie limbs!

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Set the mood with dinner and drinks at home.  This purple people eater cocktail will have you hungry for more.  I think I’m going to try making these with vodka soaked blackberries added for texture.

It’s not my favorite Holiday but it can be a lot of fun if you put your mind to it.  Be creative! You can surprise each other or come up with ideas together.  Regardless of how it’s done, it should be a night that you both enjoy.

Japanese Food

I like to wander off the spooky beaten path every once in a while, so here’s a trip into the other love of my life: Japanese food!

Every winter I start craving Japanese food.  Karaage, Ramen, Japanese curry, and Pocky become staples in my diet.

United Noodles is my favorite Asian market in Minnesota.  They have a wide selection of foods from packaged snacks to fresh market produce.  They don’t cater to just one Asian region and have items from all over, like the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, ect.  However One of my favorite snacks from Japan is called Pocky.

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For those of you that aren’t familiar with this popular Asian treat, it is a chocolate-coated biscuit stick and it comes in many different flavors.

Common flavors include chocolate, strawberry, mint, and banana.  More unique flavors are available that include green tea, peanut, almond crusted, and limited edition whiskey!  It’s become so popular in America that you can find the common flavors in most grocery stores.

I found these special Lovely Halloween packs at United Noodles this year.

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Inside the package there is a box containing nine individual packs, with three unique designs in all.  I thought they were adorable so I’m keeping mine to laminate one day and use them as bookmarks.  The box they were nestled in has a cut-out Jack O’ Lantern on the bottom!

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There is also a small restaurant inside of the grocery store called the Uni-Deli that sells Japanese street foods like Dango, Taiyaki, Char siu pork, and Gochujang fried chicken!  However they are best known for their house-made Ramen.

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If you’ve never had Dango and you enjoy the flavor of burnt marshmallows- I highly recommend them.

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If you’re ever in Minnesota and you enjoy Japanese food then check out a restaurant called Obento-Ya.

The space is modern and rather small but you won’t be disappointed.  Their Tsukune Donburi is my favorite thing on the menu (pictured above).

They also serve house-made Ramen and varied kinds of bento box lunches.  Bento boxes are just like American lunch boxes in that hold food for working class adults and school children, except in Japan they can be really elaborate and beautiful!

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However my favorite Japanese restaurant in the state has to be  Zen Box Izakaya, where they serve hands down the best Japanese fried chicken (Karaage) in town.

I’ve been known to order just a few rounds of these even though they’re technically an appetizer.  Paired with Napa cabbage, lemon slices, and a tangy dipping sauce, I could munch on these for days.  They do offer it as an entree with curried potatoes and carrots if you’re looking for something more substantial.  Just ask for the Chicken Karaage Curry!

Other goodies from this restaurant include Imo Itame (stir fry sweet potato and onion), Teriyaki Donburi, and every weekend they have a brand new house-made Ramen recipe to try out.  I’ve been told that they sell out fast!

I highly recommend this place not only for the food but also for the atmosphere which is inviting and cozy.  I am always met with “Irasshaimase!” a Japanese greeting (it means “Welcome!”) by the servers at the door and I have just as much fun sitting at the bar as I do in their dining section.  Which is not an easy thing to do for me since I dislike bars a lot.

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How can I feel uncomfortable staring at the figurine faces of some of my favorite Anime characters though?  Trick question, I can’t!

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I also like to cook my own Japanese food at home whenever possible.  Easy dishes I recommend are Japanese Curry (pictured above) with pot stickers, Teriyaki chicken, Gyudon, and Hambagu Steak (Think Salisbury steak but with Asian flavors).

**On each of the dishes I just described, I linked to either a recipe or a product that I love to use in my recipes.  For instance I don’t make homemade pot stickers so I linked a product that I really enjoy.  For the curry I linked my favorite and the world’s easiest curry sauce mix!

Other wonderful Japanese restaurants that I recommend if you visit Minnesota:

*Kyatchi
Specializing in small plates and appetizers, this restaurant has some wonderful entrees too.  I highly recommend the Tsukune Donburi.  The rice bowl has a toasted earthy flavor filled with king mushrooms and green onions.  If you’re on a tight budget or want to eat small, I recommend ordering their skewers.  The grilled shishito peppers are great!  The gyuhire (limousine steak) while more expensive is also crazy good.

*Moto-I
Since I have a deadly seafood allergy, house-made ramen can be hard to come by with broths that don’t contain dashi (fish stock).  Thankfully this place has Shio Chicken Ramen, which I order regularly at Moto-I.  My fiancee loves their Okonomiyaki.  Bonus- This restaurant is also a sake brewery and they brew all of their own sake onsite!  If you’re not into Sake, I recommend the Herkimer Rice Lager.

I want to highlight the precautions you should take when ordering foreign foods.

Be mindful and know what you’re consuming.  My allergy is not minor and has landed me in the hospital more than once for my love of Asian cuisine.
At the UniDeli in United Noodles I had to return a bowl of house-made Ramen when one of the cooks casually mentioned that they had recently changed the recipe for their poached eggs. Even though I had eaten there several times before, they were now soaking them in dashi (fish stock) overnight to give them a more ‘Japanese flavor’.  I was unaware of the tainted food and if the chef had not mentioned it then there could have been severe consequences.  So now I always ask even if I’ve been there many times before.

Don’t let your food allergens or sensitivities keep you from trying this amazing cuisine though.  Most places are more than able to accommodate. Explore more, eat more!

What are some of your favorite Japanese restaurants and dishes where you live?

Halloween Haul 2016

By mid-July a small few stores in the United States have started to put out their Halloween stock.  It’s usually home decor and fabric stores like Michael’s, Jo-Ann Fabrics, Tuesday Morning, and At Home that are first to get into the Halloween spirit.  Larger ‘big box’ stores like Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and Marshall’s follow suit in mid-September after Back to School clearances start getting stale.

If you follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and/or Instagram then you know that I post my cool Halloween hauls as I find them.  If you don’t follow me then this post is a recap of the stuff I’ve managed to get my hands on this season!

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This faux orange crystal skull was found at a thrift store and the metal Coffin with vanity lights was at Michael’s this year for $16.99.

If you’re a Michael’s regular and signed up with their rewards program they have coupons ALL THE TIME.  After using a coupon I only spent $9.00 for this thing.  The downside of this item is that the lights wear out quickly, so if you intend to keep them turned on for long periods of time I suggest you stock up on batteries.

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This skull candle holder is from Michael’s too.  I plan on using it for something more useful than candles, like filling it with soil and making a cemetery terrarium.  You know, useful.  It comes in both black and white too.  Next to it is a Spell book cookie jar from World Market.  I didn’t buy it this year but it’s a is a returning favorite that has been in stock for years.

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Tuesday Morning is a home decor store with pretty decent prices but they don’t have an online store.  This set of six ‘spooky’ pumpkins was only $12.99.

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I found these ceramic stacking bat bowls at Home Goods and each have different prices.  I believe the biggest bowl was $9.99 and the smallest bowl was $4.99.  The bat bottle opener was also from Home Goods for $9.99.  I caution you that the black coating on the bat bottle opener does flake off over time and use.  My fiancee is a craft beer lover and pointed this out to me.

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Tuesday Morning also has a small collection of Halloween themed cookware.  The brand of these silicone spatulas is called Core Kitchen and you can find some of their stuff at Bed Bath & Beyond. I saw from what other people posted online that they have other silicone spatula characters like Frankenstein, but these two were the only characters that the store near my house had.

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Nordic Ware had a skull cakelete pan at Home Goods for $19.99.  You aren’t limited to just cakes with this pan either!  I’ve made stuffed pizza skulls for dinner and for breakfast I’ve put in crescent roll dough and filled them with sausage, eggs, and cheese.  Next on my list is to make a grilled cheese skull and float them in a bowl of tomato soup.

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These ‘Wiccan Lace’ porcelain plates are gorgeous!  Made by 222 Fifth, I saw them online last year and was bummed when I realized I was a little too late to get them before they were sold out.  Thankfully they came back this year so naturally, I bought six of them!  If you can’t find them or don’t have a Home Goods near you, Replacements.com has them for sale online.

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These bone china tea cups from Home Goods are as fragile as they are cute so I don’t take them out often.

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Each of the cups has a saying on the inside at the bottom for a spooky surprise when you’re done sipping!

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This Trick or Treat platter is also from Home Goods and the small bat tumblers are gifts from a good friend of mine.

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I have a lot of food serving ceramic cauldrons but this one caught my eye at Home Goods.  Be careful when purchasing things from Home Goods because sometimes you can get products with shoddy quality paint or texture.  I didn’t notice before I bought this item that the paint hadn’t filled in around the words properly, so some places look spotty and gray instead of solid black.

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Michael’s has a lot of drink ware available and for $3.99 this skull tumblr comes in multiple ombre colors like green/blue, red/orange, or clear!

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These counter top drying mats work so well that I bought two of them!  They are available at JoAnn Fabrics.

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Those that know me are aware that The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is my favorite American folklore short story.  This snow globe and stone painted statue were calling out to me at Home Goods.  The statue was $16.99 and the globe was $12.99

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Home Goods happened to have multiple sizes of the statue available but I didn’t realize that until I had already purchased my smaller table top one.    Apparently it was also available in black so I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get the larger one to put on my dinner table.  Maybe next year it will be back in stock and I can snag it then.

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Another Home Goods beauty is this small wall hanging mirror.  It’s not very big and overall it sizes from my fingertips to just past my elbow but it’s a fun addition to the walls.

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Both of these claw candy bowls were bought at Target for around $9.99 each.  I’m saddened to say that not even a few hours after this photo was taken, someone at my Halloween party knocked the tall one over and shattered the glass bowl. R.I.P.  The standing witch statue was $12.99 and the large spell book was $14.99 at Home Goods.

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The lighting in my house made these hooks look silver when they are actually a very light yellow gold color.  I plan to use them as jewelry hooks above my shelves in my guest bedroom.  The original price was $4.99 for one pair but I bought them on sale at Home Goods for $2.50 each.

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The small stack of magic books was a gift from my fiancee.  He bought them at Michael’s for a reasonable price I’m sure.  The bat shaped stone statue is a gorgeous addition to my living room for only $7.00 on sale at Home Goods.  Original price was $14.99

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My new cat Rydia has taken a liking to my witch dolls.  The tall matronly looking doll was at Home Goods and I found the smaller white haired doll at a local thrift store.

The black and white striped chair was also at Home Goods for a whopping $200!  I didn’t want to pass it up though because it matches everything in my guest bedroom.

Can you tell I’m a Home Goods fan yet?  I enjoy the prices from there but sometimes the quality isn’t the best.  Pay attention when purchasing things from Home Goods and look for flaws in paint or texture.  I can’t tell you how many times I go back to look for new items and notice something that I recently purchased isn’t in great shape compared to another one at the store.  I have exchanged items due to damages unseen when I first bought them.

Some other places to double check for Halloween merchandise are:

Wayfair

Bed Bath & Beyond

Kirkland’s

World Market

Target

Pier1

Pottery Barn

 

 

 

 

Halloween Party 2016

My party planning has become more elaborate during the two years that I’ve been developing this blog.  My sense of style has become more defined and I’ve had to learn to say no to items that look cool but have no place at the table.

This year I went with a witch theme for my party.  I wanted to go less kitschy Halloween witch and more rustic witch.  It helped that I already had a ton of cauldrons, spell books, crystals and candles for my own personal practices.

A few days before the party I invited my fiancee’s brother and his girlfriend over to have dinner and carve pumpkins.  I’m a fan of Autumn tradition and I wanted to go to a pumpkin patch earlier in the day so I could spend hours picking out the perfect pumpkins, but time constraint forced us into making a quick stop at Target instead.

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My kitten Rydia even got into the Halloween spirit with us!

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Our pumpkins turned out great and we even made two little pumpkins for my cats!

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With kitschy Halloween witches I expect to see bright colored bottles with labels that say “Eye of Newt” or “Wool of bat”, cauldrons bubbling over filled with bugs and eye balls, cartoon witch caricatures, and creepy crawly fun foods.

A rustic witch is more earthy with magical antiques that have passed down from family members through the generations.  Tarot cards, crystal balls, candles, herbs, wooden and earthy objects, antique metals, and sure- throw in a broomstick or two!

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Cast iron or other metal cauldrons add great a great effect for realism.  I added this rabbit fur pouch that I purchased at a holistic shop.  They assured me that they only purchased fur from vendors that had killed humanely and utilized the entire animal after its death.  This is the only real fur item that I own in my entire house!

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My fiancee bought these ceramic spell books for me at Michael’s.  The bat shaped stone piece is from TJ Maxx Home Goods and it made a great centerpiece on my floating wall shelf above the drink station.

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I got three of these metal cages and I wasn’t sure at first what I was going to do with them.  I thought I’d put tiny skeletons or monsters in them as a joke around the house but the more I worked with the theme the less appealing it sounded.  Thankfully I was able to find a spot for them, but otherwise this would be a good case of “Say no to it if it doesn’t fit your theme”  I already had these wooden Ouija planchette coasters around the house and they worked quite nicely with the theme.

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We had a lot of food and thanks to my fiancee.  He focused on the heartier dinner dishes like creamy chicken stew, beefy queso dip, and stuffed pizza skulls.  I focused on everything else which included chips, hummus, pickles, olives, veggie platters, drinks, and decorating!

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The pizza skulls were a big hit!  I made them using a skull shaped cakelette pan by Nordic Ware.  The recipe is simple and easy.  Check it out here !

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I got these wicker witch hats at a thrift store and hung them around the ceiling fan above the food in the dining room.  It added a whimsical feel to the space.

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The bookshelf in the dining room was decked out too!

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The drinking station was fun to set up.  Even though the party was BYOB a lot of people forgot that the party was taking place on a Sunday and in Minnesota that means all liquor stores are closed.  The party ended up having no alcohol at all but I still had plenty of non-alcoholic drinks such as soda and Halloween themed juices like Hi-C Ecto Cooler and Ghoul-Aid (Kool-Aid) Scary Berry flavor.

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I bought this massive light up drink dispenser from Target but was disappointed to find out that it was broken and wouldn’t light up like it was meant to…

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One of my favorite party games is an online game called Jack Box and it’s available on most consoles including PC.  The hit game of the night was definitely Trivia Murder Party.  It’s like any typical trivia game except…Any player who gets the question wrong must play a mini-game where they could potentially die! After all but 1 player dies, the living player must reach the exit before any of the dead players catch up. If one does catch up, they steal their body and become the living player instead. The player who escapes alive is the winner.  It is a morbid but great game for Halloween.

Check out the game play!

Overall the party was a success but it was difficult to arrange things because of the party being on a Sunday.  I am definitely going to stick to party days being on Fridays or Saturdays from now on.

I’ll be trick or treating with some ghoulfriends tonight.  I hope everyone has a spooky fun Halloween this year!

 

 

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