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Fragifert Fragrance in Wellington, NZ

In late September,with the Capital! Steampunk group, I spent an hour and a half at Fragifert: a small, exquisite boutique perfumery in Wellington. It was a wonderful way to beguile a rainy, early spring afternoon.


Francesco van Eerd, the master perfumer at Fragifert, shows us German camomile extract – which is naturally blue!

For visitors, Fragifert is conveniently located at the top of the Kelburn cable car next to the Botanic Gardens. To Wellington perfumistas, I say: don’t be dismayed by its tourist-target location. Visitors make Fragifert sustainable as a business, but behind the fantastical Victorian displays is a deep love and knowledge of perfume as an art. Francesco van Eerd, the perfumer and proprietor, has studied in Europe and got started in Wellington’s markets before establishing his salon and expanding his range.

Van Eerd enjoys visitors, and gave us a tour and shared a video of the Fragifert concept with us. Serious perfumistas were delighted by the distilling technology, and felt our fingers itch when we looked at his “perfumer’s organ” desk.


Fragifert’s recreation of a “perfume organ” – the classic center for composing and creating scents from base notes.

You can have a sample…but you need to work for it by getting 4 out of 7 results right in an interactive fragrance quiz! We worked our way through the scents hiding in the bell jars on the wall. I was shocked to only get the minimum number right, as was my botanically knowledgeable partner.


A friend who won a sample after running the fragrance gauntlet.

Scented paper slips awaited us, but many of the fragrances underwent a profound transformation on our skins. Our favorites were the seasonal Autumn and Winter scents, velvety Satrape, and the newer men’s scents. The on-note single botanicals also had their fans. Violet and carnation spurred us to discuss popular Victorian perfumes. “This lilac! It smells exactly like the lilac growing outside my window when I was a little girl.”

For our group, Fragifert’s most controversial scent of all was the gorse botanical fragrance. “Oh, I love this. It smells like summer.” “I HATE this – it reminds me of cutting gorse, that’s a pig of a job!” We detected the warm note of gorse in the Autumn scent.


Prepared fragrance slips: a great way to share many scents with a group of 15 people.

Capital!Steampunk dressed for the occasion – between the rain and the fact that I had just come from a photo shoot for a web client, I didn’t. We were all welcome, though those who were in their steampunk finery looked perfect in the jewel-box of a shop. Afterwards, everyone was invited by Capital!Steampunk to a hotel high tea.


I was sadly short of photos of steampunk attendees on the day, but here’s a handsome couple, with the lady in red the mistress-mind of Steaming Stiches and Elisabeth vM.

Fragifert is launching a unique, custom-distilled NZ botanical range later this Antipodean spring, and provides perfumer’s workshops if you want to make your own unique scent. I’m going to sound like a commercial here but with the holidays coming, Fragifert’s scents are great unique gifts to send overseas in small packages. Important now that NZ Post has raised their rates, and now that I have bombarded my relatives and friends with fifteen years’ worth of merino, tinned butter, wildlife and plant magnets, and other Kiwiana.


More fanciful Fragifert furbelows

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Where I’ve Been

Happy Spring Equinox! What did I do in the second part of winter? I was…

…exploring the deliciously austere and windswept Palliser Bay with my fiancée…

WinterCapePalliser…emceeing two great shows in August (look, I got memed!)…

…helping out with a wonderful event, Glory Days’ Winter Vintage Fair

WinterVintage…and surviving a busy period at Ye Day Jobbe while doing a surprising amount of web freelance work. WordPress, SEO, online advertising, and content. Here’s a preview image from a freelance site in progress.

Skirt-BlackBlackRuffle-FullSmileThis lovely lady is modeling a spiral-ruffle circle skirt from Velvet Cherry on upper Cuba Street. If you like steampunk, lolita, gothic, or pinup, Velvet Cherry is ready to outfit you.

The last thing I was doing was getting my fitness back after a more-unwell-than-I-thought period in May. I have also learned that, if you’re in New Zealand, you should eat two Brazil nuts a day. Just two, to supplement your selenium. I stumbled upon doing this while following these nutritional guidelines here with the aid of a mixed bag of nuts, and now I have MUCH more energy.

I’ve got several beauty and burlesque events coming up that I’ll chronicle for you soon, including a very unique fragrance event from last weekend.

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Monday Follies: Between Friends

I admit it: the last few posts here at ESS were a nostalgia-fest. A friend of mine in the USA had her delightful wedding (sunflowers! Cape Cod! mini-reunion of university friends!), I wasn’t there, and it made me look homeward.

After reconnecting with wonderful Wellington friends over the past two weeks, I am feeling more grounded. This includes Joy from A Charm of Magpies. She of the flying crafty fingers and dancing feet has written a post about her talented Wellington friends, and I’m so honored to be one of them.

Trelise Cooper’s sale lines have many items marked down to 60% off and their very good returns policy applies to sale items.  They ship free in NZ and worldwide. Each line has its own sale category. Many of the coats and jackets are a great Steampunk Every Day look.


Still available in a size 14 at time of posting at the Trelise Cooper sale: all these jackets.

For Wellingtonians, hidden treasure Harry’s in Seatoun is also having their smashing 50% off winter sale, a good chance to pick up something posh. They stock striking NZ fashion in a range of sizes. Sale goes through Sunday the 13th! Nip into their gift shop for delicious candles and spring preview clothes, and a vintage designer rail plus vintage shoes.

Most adorable new comic book in the world: Lumberjanes! Buy it for your daughters, your sons, and your own sunkissed nostalgia for Bigfoot-chasing summers that never were. Friendship to the max! (Even I knew that Sasquatch wasn’t living in my neighborhood growing up, so I restrained myself to squinting at the skies for UFOs.)

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Book Review: Seven Sisters Style

Putting on my tatty Bryn Mawr academic robe here to review a book: Seven Sisters Style, a recent volume about the clothing worn by and inspired by women university students at Seven Sisters universities in America.


My copy on my table…keeping company with another BMC-related book.

You may be familiar with a Japanese photo book, Take Ivy, compiled by four Japanese photographers charmed by the style of young male Ivy League students in the 50s. While their contemporaries were making monster movies, they were at the campuses that incubated the academics for The Manhattan Project. A different way, perhaps, of capturing their post-nuclear monsters – the college sweatshirts and J. Press button-downs are described in brief captions with anthropological reverence and puzzlement. Take Ivy‘s combination of crisp photographs and otherworldly captions made it a long-term classic amongst style historians.

It’s taken another outsider to bring us an intended companion volume. The glamorous author of Seven Sisters Style, Rebecca Tuite, is originally from the UK and spent some undergraduate time at Vassar, the Seven Sisters university in Poughkeepsie, New York. And Vassar has been the focus of much of her fashion history study.

The Vassar connection is important. Through the history Tuite presents, Vassar also comes across as the most troubled locus of media fever-dreams about the American women’s university student. While a Bryn Mawr College article in Life magazine cemented the school’s reputation for “intensity”, a Vassar-focused article in 1937 sparked a fashion craze. These Vassar depictions reached their film zenith with Marilyn Monroe impersonating a Vassar student in Some Like It Hot and their print apogee with the novel The Group in 1963.

Back to the book: this slim volume is a history of clothing styles on Seven Sisters campuses from the 1920s through the late 1970s, far wordier than Take Ivy. These clothes have meaning: they were what women choose to wear at a time when women began to live independent, modern lives. At times Tuite’s connections between wider fashion trends and the university students come across as convoluted, and at other times, a tantalizing sentence and a small photo left me frustrated. Also, photo choices are a problem. In the second half of the book, most of the images aren’t from Seven Sisters schools or students at all, but from journalists visiting the schools or from modeled advertisements for clothes “in the style of.” Perhaps these were chosen to show that The Styles Truly Were An Influence – or perhaps because they tended to feature conventionally pretty students or actual models.


One of the book’s images that troubled me – Mount Holyoke women in 1945: posed and heteronormative (note the Dartmouth banner): in no way representative of the scintillating Mount Holyoke women I know.

Is Tuite’s book made, or undone, by her fondness for the proper, public, preppy side of Seven Sisters style? She’s certainly hit a nerve with everyone who grew up far away from American preppy but dreamed fond dreams about letter sweaters and camel coats. Dames in ragged racoon coats and dungarees are mentioned – they have to be, they were so prevalent – but Tuite only selected photos of them if they were pert-nosed or (with a caption exhaling a sense of relief) particularly neatly groomed. Instead, she lingers most lovingly over the idea of a Vassarite being swept away to New York City on the weekends, dressed in a clever town suit, with a valise containing a demure yet alluring ballgown.

Ahem. The Seven Sisters STILL ARE, Tuite, not WERE…

Tuite’s edited evocation of East Coast prep is so wildly successful that I – with my personal feelings about preppy after growing up in New Haven, CT – felt rebellious and prickly while reading it. After my first browse, I ran out to a local thrift store to feel like my present-day self again. No, wait, that’s where I shopped when I was at Bryn Mawr. AUGH!

An entire perplexing chapter is devoted to the designer Perry Ellis and … I picked up this book to see real Seven Sisters style and history and we were, it seemed, all out of that after Love Story came out.


Another image from the book that troubled me – the abbreviated preppy clothes, the pose, all summing up the ideal and inviting the viewer to see a (Vassar!) student’s body. The fantasy manifest.

The end result is a historical and social overview overwhelmed by the preppy dream: images of autumn leaves, sweaters, gowns, print books, and social status mingled with academic freedom. I truly wish I’d enjoyed this book more. Am I frustrated about the book itself, or about the perceptions of Seven Sisters universities that Tuite has revealed? Can one only enjoy this book if one hasn’t also read The Bell Jar? Tuite is at her best on Vassar, so an entire book by her on Vassar style and women would be a fascinating read. But the allure of the preppy dream led her to decline fully exploring actual Seven Sisters style and how it reflected the fun, freedom, stress, and variety of the students themselves. Ourselves.

I’d like to see a follow up by somebody less prep-invested that focuses on the style outliers and oddities and otherness consistently sheltered by these institutions. Barnard beatniks and Bryn Mawr medievalists, the millenial students going to class in their pjs (acknowledged yet dismissed by Tuit herself), the emerging trend for university-themed tattoos, and the students turning the style lens back on themselves in student-run style magazines.

Also, there was a Bryn Mawr blazer? WHERE IS MY BRYN MAWR BLAZER?

Bryn Mawr College imagery of actual students: simply irresistible. And, that blazer!

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Friday Follies: Wrong and Right

DapperQ #9, Alison Graham. Hello, papi!

Is it just me or is Wellington currently suffering from a wrong-eyebrow epidemic?  I’m not very happy after my brows got overdone recently – save yourselves from my fate with  some advice.

Poppy King’s No.7 budget lipsticks: I have tried them and come to the conclusion that they are lipsticks for people who don’t usually wear lipstick. More like a moistening gloss with some color. So if you are looking for a lipstick that won’t overwhelm your visage, give these a try. I picked up a few ($10 each!) but I’ll be saving them for softer summer looks.

Turns out three or four of my friends are also redheads courtesy of henna. They’ve all got it down, but for novices, Things You Should Know Before Using Henna is very useful.

After all that wrongness, here’s a treat that’s so very right: The 100 Most Stylish DapperQs for 2014. You may never wear a skirt again.

Ladypockets is …. I think this is parody of those shrill celebrity-focused “GET THE LOOK” features? But I find myself wanting to pick up those hints for great lipsticks as worn by Hillary Clinton and Mary Beard’s “Let It Go” hair. Until I can decide, I’ll be hiding my mediocre brows behind some Joan Didon glasses, and reading the Ladypockets’ creator’s essay The World Doesn’t Need Any More Costume Designers. She is from Philadelphia, and is one more reason I love my Philly.

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Anassa Kata! A Look Back at Bryn Mawr College

Happy May Day – the day that makes alumnae of Bryn Mawr College everywhere rather wistful for the campus’ semi-Elizabethan, semi-pagan festivities. Living in New Zealand, on the rare occasions when I am asked where I went to university, the school’s name draws a double take. Despite the Welsh name, Bryn Mawr College is a storied, stony university outside of Philadelphia, one of the Seven Sisters all-women universities. When I went there, it was a quirky feminist university with strong sciences and the problems and politics of many smaller schools. All of us emerged with strong opinions about the place, influenced down to our bones and vocal cords. To this day, many of us speak with a lightly clipped tone.

The Gothic architecture, feminist ritual, and academic stress of Bryn Mawr College.

The Gothic architecture, feminist ritual, and academic stress of Bryn Mawr College.

Aesthetically, the history-steeped campus gave me a lifelong fondness for Arts and Crafts architecture, an interest in the 1930s and in vintage scientific art, and a soft spot for a flowing romantic aesthetic that, today, is conveniently called “steampunk”. And…what about Bryn Mawr style?

There’s a new book out, Seven Sisters Style, that’s meant to be a female-focused version of Take Ivy. I don’t have my copy yet, and I promise you a review when I get it, but all the advance photos seem to be from Smith and Vassar. Possibly because Bryn Mawr has always been a rumpled sort of school.
BMC-IndividualismFor a peek at vintage BMC without having an alumni magazine in front of you, the Tumblr Vintage Bryn Mawr is all that. And Hepburn’s Closet is the current Bryn Mawr College style magazine – I particularly like the sepia-and-vintage-flavored Winter 2013 issue.

The way I remember it, with BMC style, what was important was how you looked from the neck up.  From the neck down, you could be in the black of the academic robes, the white of May Day dresses, or forgettable garb for everyday classes and your shift in the dining hall, but your cabeza was always the same. This began immediately freshman week with your photo snapped at registration and included in the Class Of book, known on the street as “the pig book.” Somehow everyone knew it was called the pig book, or that the guys at X or Y non-Haverford college nearby called it that, but nobody actually used the term. These photos live forever in your college file and make a final poignant appearance in the alumni magazine when you die.

In the 90s, piercings were admired and hair was an experimental subject – cut off, shaved off, occasionally tinted with Manic Panic back when this was actually unusual. I preferred having long hair and I slipped off campus for trims two or three times a year. Once a year, for Hell Week, everyone would apply vamp makeup. Afterwards, I’d wind up helping sophomores remove the unaccustomed cosmetics.

Once you had decided on your hair and donned a leather jacket, a pair of cool boots, and a witty T-shirt, clothes were mostly secondary.  A few of us with romantic flair wore sweeping cloaks in the winter and Indian cotton prints on warmer days. Except for a few bodysuits and a dress or two, I dressed like a crumpled origami boulder, picking up bits at rich people’s thrift stores, and trying to have enough quarters to do laundry. I still feel guilty about sneaking clothes out of the piles and piles and PILES of clothes left for charity in the hallways at the end of the year. We weren’t supposed to touch them. They were supposed to be donated somewhere. But they were so much, so many, and the piles never seemed diminished when I crept away with two or three things.

Katherine Hepburn? For all that she is the school’s anointed Retro Style Icon, I relate more to E. B. White’s adoring essay about how he feels having married a Bryn Mawr graduate. Which you should read immediately.

As deeply pleased as I am to have the Wissahickon schist fortresses of Bryn Mawr’s campus in my history, as close as I still feel to my BMC friends and Back Smoker sisters, the classes of the 1990s are very dispersed today. Wistful as I am on May Day, that feels right. It is our calling to take our uniquely practical fire out into the world. To have adventures, make changes, and work on this planet.

ButMaryLou!I leave you with this enchanting makeup tutorial that reminds me of the blue-tiled bathrooms in the Merion dormitory. It’s labeled as “parody” but, trust me, this is how it’s done, women of the consortium, for making offerings to Athena.


Fragrance Exploration: Accessory and Perfume Swap

The second part of our fragrance day, an accessory and perfume swap, was an intriguing glimpse into how perfumistas and the Internet have changed the cultivated edges of a beauty industry. First, let me announce our giveaway winner, chosen at random – Hester! Thank you everyone!

So what is it like to throw a fragrance and accessory swap? The swap came together naturally, with Made Marion Craft hosting us at their store and a local fragrance appreciator sharing her knowledge of how to sample perfumes. On the swap afternoon, we had a table of necklaces, other jewelry, scarves, gloves,and hats; some shoes; a merry widow; four full-to-1/4-full bottles of fragrance; and about 150 perfume and fragrance oil samples.

I'll have this one and this one and this one....

This is what 150 perfume samples looks like.

150 samples? Whaaaat? Allow me to explain.

These sample vials, ranging from 0.5 to 2 ml of fragrance, are what enable today’s online perfume fans. You can acquire samples and “decants” from most online fragrance vendors and there are two or three places that will send you samples from thousands of fragrance lines – all for a price, of course. But that price is modest compared to buying a full bottle of all those scents  ($2 to $6, depending). (Surrender to Chance is the favorite amongst NZ buyers; Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab was one of the originators of this practice.)

These samples are now a kind of currency amongst fragrance fans, and they are swapped or sold on for modest sums. The more rare, artisanal, and complex the sample, the more the perfumistas are intrigued. Once in a while, a sample leads to a full bottle purchase – which is often decanted in part to share with one’s fragrance friends. Fragrance producers large and small, realizing this, have gotten a lot tighter about handing out fragrance samples – I noted this comparing my NYC shopping trips in 2011 and 2013. At the same time this has given a boost to artisanal and unusual fragrance producers – their works are now mailed around the world. Many smaller producers, and I’m using BPAL as an example here again, have bloomed thanks to these samples and related e-commerce.

So we were all rapt for a demonstration of how to decant perfumes into samples ourselves, using a combination of decanting supplies and scientific equipment. Our demonstrator, Alison, took us through three methods: using disposable droppers, using small funnels, and using a scientific pipetting kit. Use recycled styrofoam to hold your sample vials in place, and tinfoil to make an improvised funnel!

The happy miscellaney of sampling fragrances: styrofoam, tinfoil, disposable droppers, travel bottles.

When swap time came, the 150 samples were like a bunch of flowers to some very avid honeybees. The jewelry and even the partial bottles were neglected for the sample box and bowl. During the swap, there wasn’t much perfume in the air – it wasn’t the best time to open the sample vials.

Jewelry started attracting attention again at the end of the swap, and the shy question was: “It’s OK if I take this apart and remake it?” Of course it was! Send it forth to find its destiny! With this answered in the affirmative, the remaining jewelry was swiftly reduced by half.

Was a fragrance swap a good idea? Yes. The biggest challenge in throwing a real-time fragrance swap in a smaller metropolitan area was getting enough perfume aficionados informed, then in the same place, at the same time. A couple of people said they’d be up for an accessory swap but were allergic to fragrances.

What’s up next for fragrance exploration in Wellington? In the springtime, another swap probably, and we are looking at a visit to Fragifert – I look forwards to trying their NZ botanical perfumes.

Wierdly my camera now smells like perfume after this weekend

If you’re sampling lots of fragrances to share, you may want rubber gloves!

The lovely Bridgette

Fragrance Exploration, Wellington: Kirckaldie and Staines + Mecca

This past Sunday, a group of ardent perfume fans descended on Wellington’s most venerable department store, Kirckaldie and Staines. We were there to sniff, share, and experience a range of fragrances while bouncing opinions and experiences off each other. We were very fortunate, because Kirk’s had set up an hour’s perfume encounter for us, and we also experienced fragrances at the Mecca Cosmetica area of Kirk’s cosmetics floor.

Even at 10 AM on the Sunday morning after Daylight Savings, there was still a crowd waiting to get into Kirk’s. Some of us were soignee; I was tired and blinky. We were met by the front door fountain by Mark Conroy, a tall, blue-eyed, career fragrance expert. He greeted us all smoothly, blinky and beautiful alike, and invited us in. We trooped past the space-age lighting of the cosmetic area to Kirk’s fragrance department, and the fun began.

The fragrances of history, waiting for us at Kirkcaldie’s


Mark Conroy prepares a scent strip for our delectation


“No, wait – smell it on my wrist!” Coffee beans to the right, scent strips everywhere.

After listening to our group and getting an idea of who we were, Mark took us through classic French scents from Chanel, YSL, Guerlain, and more. “It’s good to smell some of these as reference notes,” said Mark, handing around slips of paper sprayed with Mitsouko and Chanel No. 19. “The Italians have a very different approach to scent,” he noted, handing around Acqua di Parma, which I fell in love with instantly. Thanks to Mark, by the end of the hour, I’d learned that while I  like the idea of a “green” perfume, I’m more drawn to perfumes with a citrus or amber note and a woody base. In between sniffs, we refreshed our noses by smelling… coffee beans!

The lovely Bridgette

Sampling scent strips – the way to try

Just as marvelous as the perfumes was being able to share them with like-minded people.* Suggestions and ideas and personal perfume histories were shared. “You know what you’d really like? Can we try…?” I gained a sense of how perfumes really do act differently on different skins, and how they express personality and a subtler sense of beauty. And I learned about scrubbers – perfumes you can’t wait to scrub off your skin!

We wrapped up with some more modern fragrances, such as the Elie Saab line – extremely popular right now, but very different from the weighty classic scents. We started asking about prices – and we were agreeably surprised. Kirk’s fragrance range has become more affordable thanks to some international market changes. Some standouts from our hour of exploration:

  • Bvlgari Blue –  One of us said,  “This is what I wear when I need to wake up on a dismal winter’s morning.” It starts out as GINGER and more ginger, and dries down beautifully.
  • 24 Faubourg by Hermes – I was very taken with the cashmere-sweater-nuzzleable quality of this, along with the markedly pretty bottle. As the blogger Perfume Queen says about this fragrance, “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you the smell of money and happiness.”
  • Miss Dior Originale by Dior  – Several of us were smitten with this revived classic. Mark told us the charming story of how the fragrance was created for Dior’s sister.
  • Thierry Mugler Angel – One of several love-or-hate ones, this elicited long stories about when-I-wore-Angel and the comment “This smells like…like the sound of a 90s modem.”
  • French travel perfume bottles – Kirk’s stocks leakproof travel perfume bottles in two shapes. Transfer some of your favorite into these to take it with you securely. High-end yet affordable, most of us picked up one or more of these.

Getting ready to fill a travel perfume spray straight from the fragrance bottle. How cool is that?? The narrow pen-like shape is airport security friendly, too.

After one more hit of coffee beans to clear our sinuses, we went over to Mecca, ten yards away on Kirk’s first floor. The lovely Charlotte gave us a review of their perfume lines. Standouts from our Mecca visit were:

When store lighting and outdoors lighting collide, we all look like lemons

Getting ready to sniff some more at Mecca Cosmetica with Charlotte (left).

At the end of our visit, perfumes and travel perfume bottles were bought, and notes were taken away for future purchases. “I don’t really buy a fragrance the first time I smell it,” one of us declared. That’s why, even in the age of the Internet, the glass-and-light perfume counter is still the place to go, and for those of us introduced to perfumes online, there’s nothing like getting together with like-minded souls.

"Suede and peaches, you say?"

Sniffing thoughtfully with friends: what the morning was about.

For those of you who weren’t able to make it, and who live in New Zealand, I have a little giveaway. Courtesy of Kirk’s and Mecca, comment below, here on the blog, to be in to win:

  • A voucher for a complimentary makeup application at the cosmetic house of your choice at Kirkcaldie and Staines.
  • Nine carded/boxed perfume samples – Si by Giorgio Armani, Miss Dior by Dior, MaDame by Jean Paul Gaultier, Coco by Coco Chanel, Pleats Please by Issey Miyake, Eau de Sisley 1 by Sisley, Calyx by Clinique, and (drumroll please) two Serge Luteyns samples – L’Eau Serge Lutens and Chergui.

A random selection generator will be used to choose the winner, who will be announced this Friday.

SUPER thanks to Kirk’s – they were absolutely delightful all the way and treated us magnificently. I’ll be back, once my bank account has recovered.

Kirkcaldie and Staines, YOU ROCK.

The fragrance team at Kirkcaldie and Staines – we weren’t posing, this just happened.


*It’s not all women – several men were interested in the event, but couldn’t make it.

Forget-me-nots by William Warby, reused via Crative Commons. Thanks!

When Your Friend Dies of Cancer

….and she‘s asked everyone to wear colors instead of black to the memorial service, everyone panics in front of their wardrobe and chooses blue. And you are both sad and happy to meet the other friends and family members, who, it turns out, you get along with really well.

…social media just gets weird, for a couple of weeks. Twitter? Cruelly insufficient. Style blogging? Seems wrong, even though your friend was stylish. Facebook? So many potential faux pas.

…you get reminded. By a specific Thai restaurant, a Persian lamb coat, a blue-bound novel, the sun on the sea near Kapiti Island.

…grief takes new forms. Like extreme tiredness, and alternating between forgetting food and eating everything. You avoid your friends who never met her because you don’t know what to say, and then one of them fesses up that she was avoiding you because she didn’t know what to say, and you have a small laugh over it.

….you realize, two weeks too late, that your car registration has lapsed. In fact, when was the last time you put air in the tires? Jesus! When did your tires wear down so much? How could you not notice? Oh. You were…busy.

….a week later, or two, or three, or four, when you are at an event as an ambassador of burlesque cheer and glitter, a live friend introduces a grieving friend of your dead friend. You do your utmost to switch social gears.

…you think about your other friend with cancer. The third friend, too. Your mom.  Your fiance’s mom. And you do the breast check in the shower. Even though none of these people, yourself included, were afflicted with breast cancer.

….when you do have a good and lighthearted day again, you suddenly Remember. Through the guilt,  you take a deep breath, and remind yourself that that’s exactly what your friend wanted for you. And you go on.

Forget-me-nots by William Warby, reused via Crative Commons. Thanks!

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Friday Follies: Can You Handle This Jelly?

JellytCongratulations to our randomly chosen winner of a ticket to the Miss and Mr. Burlesque New Zealand competition – Bailey! She’ll get to see the competitors shimmy and shake on stage on March 22nd – and you can too, but you’ll have to buy your own ticket. For those of you outside of Wellington the feature stars including Sina King will be performing in Auckland, Christchurch, and Palmerston North.

Another burlesque heads up: the New Zealand Burlesque Festival is scheduled this year for early October in budget-friendly Palmerston North.

You can get Ernst Haeckel’s stunning natural history imagery on T-shirts. Jellyfish? Pitcher plants? Horseshoe crabs?? Cannot choose!!! I mean, who doesn’t love horseshoe crabs?

Bompas and Parr: incomparable jellymongers who have turned food into art. Even better, they’re hiring. Check out what they do:

The magnificient jellyworks of Bompas and Parr. I want to give that table a bump. Just a little one.

On a less wiggly note, thrifters and second-hand shoppers, hit the streets. Wellington is full of “school fairs” this weekend and next, and that means jumble. I can’t make it to the Seatoun School Fair next weekend but their clothing section is most excellent. And the region’s thrift stores, from small ones to the Rebound and Save-Mart used clothing barns, are in the middle of seasonal turnover, with jackets and sweaters arriving.