Friday, March 30, 2012

Everyone Wants to Be Famous, No One Wants to Do the Work.

So, I'm working on building my empire.  On crap days (which are currently more than the "good" days) I finish that sentiment a la Ani Difranco, "out of car tires and chicken wire/I'm queen of my own compost heap/ I'm getting used to the smell".  As we discussed ad nauseum, accepting this year is going to suck is one thing, living it is another.

I'm depressed.  There.  I said it.  It feels better every time I say it.  My mom says it's because I have too much going on and I think she's right.   But I also feel if I were doing this "right", I'd feel awesome and this depression is a failing on my part in some way.  Because . . .that's the kind of positive self talk I excel at frankly. 

So we've established that when trying to build an empire from scratch, depression is inevitable.  For me it's because none of my coworkers can talk yet and crafting (besides the selling) and writing aren't really known as team activities.  All your "usual" self care is probably super sucktastic right now.  You feel like you're accomplishing nothing besides possibly becoming agoraphobic.  If your mate is trying to build his/her/zir own empire too, congrats!  You can add irritating the shit out of each other too to the list.  And with Mercury in retrograde among other treats, everyone you know is likely acting like a self absorbed psycho like yourself even if they're not magical. 

What to do?

1. Subscribe to Marie Claire if you are female identified.   It's awesome.  It's the first mag in forever (since Sassy 1.0) to have interesting fashion, cheap buys, talk about relationships (including queer id'ed) in a realistic manner as well as serious women's issues and women kicking ass and taking names.  I felt really revitalized after reading it, like I could take over the world again.  At the very least like I could buy a few freaking velcro hair curlers ($4) and see what happens.  I would have never known this if Jow hadn't bought it for me on a whim.

2. Start an evening beauty regime (all genders, we all have skin and teeth).  First off, it calms your ass down.  I don't know why but it does.  Evening beauty regime should include: washing your face (I use CVS brand cucumber wipes because I'm lazy), moisturizing your face (I use moisture surge by Clinique) and eye cream (I use Murad eye cream because I have a sample of it), brushing your teeth and moisturizing your hands and feet.  It takes five minutes and I may have discovered this regime at 2a pawing through my makeup bag of samples while completely intoxicated and reading a French aspirational book but whatev.  It's worth it for the smug feeling of accomplishment alone.

3. Patronize local business.  Stay with me. You probably need goods for your empire.  I know I do. And I could buy some online or even at the grocery store, but that's not keeping my local Pagan brick and mortar in business. And if I want them to stay in business, I need to do the work.  So I buy shit from them. Not everything, but some things.  Yet another coffee house just closed by me taking the tally down from three semi-locally to two.  When I go to shop at Trader Joe's, I also get something at the local coffee shop because I like them and want them to stay in business.  Part of building your empire is keeping other tiny empires that you appreciate afloat too imo. 

4. Japa. It calms your brain down like whoa before bed and Shiva seems especially inclined to grant petty favors (pleeeeeeeeeeeease help me have a good attitude tomorrow, please help the baby take a long nap, etc).  All you need is a set of prayer beads with 108 beads and the correct pronunciation of "Om Namah Shivaya". 

5. Diversify.  I'm sort of working on two empires with some overlap at once.  My crafting business and my Pagan business.  With my crafting business, I'm keeping up an Etsy presence and also making sure I'm trying different kinds of craft friendly events to see where I'm making the most money.  My portfolio for the summer will include shows that are fiber arts only, farmer's markets, standard craft shows and indie craft shows.  This will help me see where I'm successful and will also help me figure out where my wares don't sell so I can map out my "bunny trail" for next season even better.  Next year will be year three so that's the real "make it or break it" year.  This year I'm focusing on buying my materials in bulk.  Next year I'll focus on buying machinery and more equipment to make my process faster and easier.  With my Pagan focused business, I'm focused on keeping up my blog presence as well as my presence on WitchVox and Witches & Pagans. I'm working on running my first class and making tangible goods as well.  I'm going to set up a pre-release book sale date so I am forced to sit down and write it.

6. Glad Game.  I started doing "the glad game" a la Pollyanna with my circle of friends when we were 21.  Picking out three things a day you're happy about keeps you from falling into a giant depression instead of a minor one.  I do it on my Twitter with the hashtag #gladgame.

7.  Accept Failure.  I have not been going to the gym as much as I want.  I'm keeping track of my calories though.  Sometimes you can't win at everything so figure out what you can win at.

Bon chance, darlings.  You're gonna need it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

For My Next Trick . . .

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Monday, March 26, 2012

[Retro Recipe Monday] Vichysoisse

I'm going to do some classics for a bit that you may conceivably eat so you can be psyched for Mad Men's premiere.  All Classic Retro Recipe Monday Recipes come from The Food Network unless otherwise stated.



  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups leeks, sliced and washed
  • 4 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cup heavy cream


In large pot melt butter. Add leeks and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are tender. Place 3/4 of soup into a blender and puree, return to pot and stir in cream. Serve hot or cold

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Abbey Night: Servant Edition

I suppose we can snottily claim more "accurate" street cred for our Abbey Night because it wound up to be closer to our actual Downton Abbey station (i.e. servant class) verses our imagined ideal (i.e. the bitchy sisters and family).

I thought Abbey night would have, like, red wine and reading my French aspirational book.  Maybe beauty regime or occult hijinx.  We'd eat dinner slowly and have sparkling conversation.

Instead, as my first craft show is this coming Sat, we got to have a little time in the morning to (futilely) try to get tickets for the Sleep No More Remix (it sold out in under five fucking minutes.  Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh) and a little time to check emails in the morning.  I felt upbeat for the first time in weeks and even a bit optimistic about the day.

Then I needed to package everything I sold.

Then I needed to press all the oils I made.  Then some decanting and labeling.

Then it was 3p.  I needed to get dressed.

Then we went to the church (errand running for the Queen Mum).

Then onto the post office (. . . like a motherfucking adult).

A short break with a lunch at Fresh and coffee at Starbucks where Jow was downtrodden and disspirited by his lot as a servant.  I was feeling pretty depressed about life as well because (a) everyone else around me is currently beaten down by life so it's hard to be all yay life with that (b) all my days off have been eaten with completely unfun errands and crafting and (c) I'm feeling like I'm losing sight of my Experiment and feel like I am destined to be fat forever and a nanny and will never have money ever again.  I was thinking about the lines that the one maid said in Downton Abbey, None of it. I'm not going to be a secretary. I'm not going to leave service. I doubt I'll leave here before I'm sixty.  Oh, you saw their faces. And they're right. Oh, look at me! I'm the daughter of a farmhand, I'm lucky to be a maid. I was born with nothing and I'll die with nothing.
No plotting against each other or the ruling family (i.e. the cats) was done, too tired to do so.

Came home, cleaned the entire house.

Made candles, finished making soap.  Can't even take la-dee-da Mormon Mom pics because it looks like a hot mess when I'm working. 

Fed the complaining ruling family who was unappreciative.

Took my bedtime pills.  Got to eat dinner around 9p.

By that time we wanted our servants' privledge of making our own fun so it was intertubes forever for about an hour until bed.  Got to get up at 6a to take care of babies.

Next Abbey night we will be part of the imagined ruling class, damnit.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Reformed Abbeyists

Cat and I grew up as bloggists starting on Diaryland.  I had no idea what she wanted with me to be frank.  She wrote things that were beautiful and amazing (even just on Diaryland!  She hadn't even written any books yet!) and she was living abroad in Japan which sounded incredibly romantic and unfathomable at the time.  I, on the other hand, was a secretary living in Jersey who used her Diaryland to complain excessively about her mother.  But through the years, we've managed to somehow be present for key parts of each other's lives and I learned she cussed a lot too and liked cookies and macros so clearly, we were meant to be friends. 

Now we're both working on unfucking our lives through our own methodology and struggling (sometimes hilariously because sometimes the only way to get through it is to tell it as a story and make it funny).  But Cat had a great idea about starting Abbey Nights in her house.  When reading about it, my brain was so fried it was crunching so I thought, what a great idea!  Jow and I should do that once a month!  And I promptly marked it on the calendar to happen weeks from when I thought about it so presumably my life will have neatly fallen into place in a wonder of perfection and I'd be emotionally and intellectually ready to handle this. 

That week is this Sunday.

Weirdly, my life hasn't settled into perfection somehow.  I thought maybe I could just, like, not mention it and Jow would forget about it and we could settle comfortably in internet forever. 

Jow: So that Abbey thing is this Sunday right?

Me:  (damnit)  Ummmm.  Yeah.  I guess.

Jow: So how will this work?

Me: Candles aren't really too practical for us.  We don't have enough and I don't want either of us to go blind.

Jow: Agreed.  Besides Downton Abbey had electricity and they're an abbey--

Me: Right.  We haven't even started and already we're watering this down.

Jow: We're not watering it down.  We're just not Orthodox.  We're Reformed Abbeyists, that's all.

Me: Hee!  It's so weird because I'm like crap, what am I going to do?  No music, no telly, no internet.  Nothing.  Since I can't do anything fun I guess I could magically cleanse the house.  Or do a puja.  Or connect with my gods individually.  Clip the cats' nails.  Read my new book.  Spin on my wheel--

Jow: Yeah just all of that stuff that's imperative but never gets done.

Me:  Yeah.  That.

I'll report how it goes!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Limited Edition Oils for Sale at My Etsy Shop

Man in Black (5 left) - $15
This oil has a complex aroma with rich sexy notes of teak, cedar, green tea, saffron and cardamom with a hint of blood orange. Each scent component was carefully chosen to bring prosperity, confidence and an air of attractiveness to the wearer.

Goddess of the Hearth (7 left) - $25
This oil has a delightfully herbaceous aroma with gorgeous floral and tea undertones. Each scent component was carefully chosen to bring prosperity, love, happiness and protection to you and your hearth. Expect notes of lavender, thyme, rose and parsley among others.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Man in Black Limited Edition Oil

 Firstly, let me apologize for being a lying lying liar.  When making oils in small batches, it's still more of an art than a science for me.  I tried math this time to make more of it but . . .if math was my strong suit I doubt I'd be a artisan.  There will only be seven five of these oils available.  Once they're gone, they're gone.  

I have consecrated this oil using traditional Hoodoo methods.  Once the oil was decanted into labeled 5 ML amber glass bottles, they have been put in my altar to "marinade".

You can use the oil for anointing candles, mojo hands, ritual use or simply as a fragrance oil.

First off, I was a little nervous about making an oil for those who are more masculine identified because I'm ridiculously girly most of the time.  But I have to be honest.  I'm wearing it right now (myself and Jow are the only animals we test on) and I'm having a hard time not licking myself.  It's awesome (and masculine) honestly.  I'm looking forward to giving the little bit I had left over to Jow for science to see how it works for him and um science because it works for me.

This oil has a complex aroma with rich sexy notes of teak, cedar, green tea, saffron and cardamom with a hint of blood orange.  Each scent component was carefully chosen to bring prosperity, confidence and an air of attractiveness to the wearer.

Monday morning I will be putting these oils up for sale through my Etsy shop with pictures of the bottles.  Each oil will cost $15 USD.

If you would like to pre-order your oil, you may do so!

Shipping costs will be:

$3 USD - US
$5 USD - Canada
$7 USD - Europe

For pre-ordering, go to Paypal and send payment and shipping to with the subject line "Man in Black".

Goddess of the Hearth Limited Edition Oil

 Firstly, let me apologize for being a lying lying liar.  When making oils in small batches, it's still more of an art than a science for me.  There will only be seven of these oils available.  Once they're gone, they're gone.  

I made these oils on the full moon which will add fullness to your hearth.  I have consecrated this oil using traditional Hoodoo methods.  Once the oil was decanted into labeled 5 ML amber glass bottles, they have been put in my hearth with a small candle lit from my stove to "marinade".

You can use the oil for anointing candles, mojo hands, ritual use or simply as a perfume oil.

This oil has a delightfully herbaceous aroma with gorgeous floral and tea undertones.  Each scent component was carefully chosen to bring prosperity, love, happiness and protection to you and your hearth.   Expect notes of lavender, thyme, rose and parsley among others.

Monday morning I will be putting these oils up for sale through my Etsy shop with pictures of the bottles.  Because of the cost of the components and time in preparing the oil, I will need to make these oils more expensive than I had originally planned.  Each oil will cost $25 USD.

If you would like to pre-order your oil, you may do so! 

Shipping costs will be:

$3 USD - US
$5 USD - Canada
$7 USD - Europe

For pre-ordering, go to Paypal and send payment and shipping to with the subject line "Goddess of the Hearth".

Friday, March 9, 2012

Emotional Cutting, the French and Your Magical Practice

Because I'm an emotional cutter, nothing says trying to unwind from a hectic schedule of nannying and a terrible fibro flareup like reading books about French women and why everything they do is awesome including, probably, pooping. 

And of course the French seem to be unbearably smug about everything from how easy it is for them to parent to not needing close friends to never getting fat to all their food to always being fashionable and having sex all the time and work life balance?  What is that?  We don't even need to worry about that.

So as always, upon completing a French aspirational book I'm torn between equal parts frothing jealous hatred and desperate desire to be like a French woman.

I was talking to Gordon about how there doesn't seem to be much in the way of magical practice on how not to be heavier than you would prefer.  We both have theories about this, mine is a lot of blahblahblah the gods from Pagan cultures don't really understand the concept of having too much food and not enough exercise so when you're like, PLEASE YEMAYA, I DON'T WANT TO BE FAT ANYMORE, HALP HALP.  She's like . . .explain?  And I'm like, NO MORE FAT!  NOT HAPPY!  And She's like, you're unhappy because of your incredible access to any food whenever you want and your ginormous boobs and hips and ass that means that you'd be a good mate and mother?  And I'm like. . . .yes.  And she's like, girl I don't even know where to start with that.

So I've been thinking a lot about the French, living well, magic, appearance, glamour and charm/Charm. 

Naturally, the French look down their nose at what I'm doing right now (working like a psycho).  Jason wrote about how sometimes you just need to accept things are going to suck in order to get the things you want.  And I agree with that as well and it's been what I've been doing so far this year.  But I'm not good at accepting a never ending suck without end for a year.  It makes me depressed and aggreviated and irritated. 

So last night I called a meeting with all my personal pantheon and just made a tearful plea to help me figure out how to not be fat, how to be happy and how to still accomplish my goals. I woke up this morning ready to take on the world a little better.

What I'm Doing (and You Can Too):
1. Glamour correctly.   My previous glamours weren't working right because as one of my mentors told me, I'm fishing in the wrong pond.  I don't want someone in particular attracted to me, I'm not looking to get down really and I don't want anyone getting all "I must have you" and I must have mace or a restraining order.  I'm looking more for light flirtation and people  to think I'm charming and attractive.  To this end, I'm making a mojo hand for this working (and I'll make them available if I like the way mine works) and I'm getting a new TAL oil.  I'm going to contemplate new sigils as well.

2. Do you feel good about how you look on a random Tuesday?  First off, I needed to get a good hair cut, so I did that.  But I don't have time to flat iron at 6a for only a baby to see it.  But I could get really cute hair ties to jazz up my ponytail and use a few bobby pins.  I needed to figure out how to look cute while still being vomited and shat on.  I got inspired from a few place to figure out what I should be wearing and created a Pintrest board to really pull my week day look together as well as figure out some pj wear and going out clothes.   It really helped to focus me for what I was going for.  I also developed a quick make up routine as well.

3. You Are Not Alone  Besides Charmers working on their Experiments, people are working on unfucking their lives mundanely on Tumblr.  I am especially fond of Cat Valente's Girl Unlocked because she's a writer too and has similar issues to me. Also she's super funny and has a great makeup routine.

4. You Don't Have to Like It, You Just Have to Do It.  This motto has helped me start to get my ass to the gym three times last week.  It really helped me shut my brain weasels off by going straight to the gym as soon as I got up.  For me it also helped to hear that it was okay to have more pain than usual with the fibro, it was better to do it. (My current flare started on Wed due to weather changes verses gym changes.  30 degree change in a day knocks me flat on my ass every time)

5. Small Changes.  Okay so the French would probably not be into us eating the same thing practically every night as we've been doing.  So I just looked up some crockpot recipes to jazz things up on my Tues/Thurs which is my longest night.  We just got a cleaning service because with both of us working 40+ hours a week, it was becoming ridic.  A cleaning service will also keep us on top of things they don't do - decluttering, laundry, etc.  I'm tired of our tea kettles always getting gross.  I just ordered an electric kettle (and some fancy tea and okay, another French aspirational book because again, emotional cutter).  

6. Petition the right gods and spirits.  I'm working on a project that might bring me closer to the right spirit/Egregor but it's still in its baby stages.  In the interim, consider Durga.  Durga may not be overly invested in your weight loss per se, but She can relate to a person wanting to be as pretty, charming and smart as She is.  Puja and mala work works for this.

7. How Important Is This to You?  Really.  I keep crying and whining about being fat, not tending to my inner garden (the French are apparently big on this), not feeling sexy, etc., etc.  But what am I doing?  To the French, it's apparently more important to look good than to eat that donut.  So I'm going to change my eating habits and try to think more about what I'm eating and why.  Daytime eating tends to be boring anyway so I have a new plan for that.  I'm also going to cut down on snacks.  I am a huge snacker.  The French don't do that.  So . . .we'll see.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Why Do We Do This?

Well Jason, as usual we're secretly in sync with each other!  In your lastest entry on Magic and Mind and Psychology you discuss the need to not just be magically delicious but to have your shit together too.  I just sent an entry to my editor for Week 13 of the New Year, New You: An Experiment in Radical, Magical Transformation on this topic as well.  I also discussed that it's okay to have mostly mundane goals there too.  Spooooooooooooooooooky.

But it also made me contemplate why do I do magic and how do I feel about psychology and magic?  Because, as Jason said, there are easier ways to get power, prestige, money, love, etc.


From a spellwork perspective, if you are more into "low" magic over "high" magic, you may not truck much with spirits.  You may ask God/dess/es or totems or ancestors for help but you may not get into the world of angels and demons and other various spirits.  You may just say, God.  (Scandalous!)  You may . . .and this is where things get touchy . . .not have any significant meditational practice at all.  (le gasp!) You may only be minorly concerned with enlightenment or magical powers and personal growth may be something you look at from a mundane perspective primarily.

I just described myself, honestly.  But not just me, lots of kitchen witches, hearth witches and hoodoo practitioners as well.  Possibly Wiccans (almost none of my sisters have a real steady meditation/power gathering format that they use outside of circle to the best of my knowledge) and ADF Druids (. . .we're totes supposed to meditate but I have a rudimentary practice at best and I still have my card but no actual dedicants' book despite the fact that I did cycle two of the dedicants program *and* contributed data to the program but oooooh Jow joins and you just send him a book no questions asked.  I'm looking at you, KirkAhem.  Anyway it stands to reason that there are many other ADF members who attend their groves faithfully as I do and suck at meditating.  Especially since ADF is primarily celebratory, at least in my grove). 

I find if you're not trying to get super into the spirit world, your spells fall under the following categories:  love, money, protection, hexing and health.  Ta-da!  Not everyone is really fantastic at communicating with the spirit world and that's okay too.  It is one aspect of a strong magical practice, but it's not the only one.  Faith can take you a long way along with offerings (especially when you don't have your hand out).  Maybe you have a steady magical practice to get ahead and keep things running smoothly and that's all you need.  Frankly, it's all I need.  And if I never get enlightened or get infinite cosmic powers, I'm really okay with that as well.  It's not really part of my bracket of goals.  I don't need a never ending amount of people attracted to me, I don't need to be rich, I don't need a lot of things.  I've learned from my divorce, mo' money mo' problems.

I do magic to (consensually) keep my relationship good, to keep bringing in money with a day job, that I can handle minor problems like a car problem, to keep things smooth in my family, to help me keep making money as a writer and a crafter, to protect my home and occasionally when I'm irritated enough, to smack someone's ass down.  And . . .that's it. That's all I need. 

Because my magic tends to be more faith based, how it works is less important to me than having it work.  Maybe it's somewhat psychologically based, maybe it's not.  Listen, I get why it's important.  I have fibromyalgia.  The way we're treated varies a lot based on whether that person thinks it's "all in your head" (psychological) or it's actual neurological damage (hard science!).  But at the end of the day, no one knows for sure yet if fibro is psychological or science based or both and no one knows about magic.  But . . .I still have fibro and magic still works.  If you ever want to be validated because someone is scoffing at you, offer v. sincerely to do work on their behalf.  Because I've found that backs that train up real fast.  Everyone in my life who has scoffed has also refused to let me do magic on their behalf.  Obviously, some part of them believes that I have the power to change their lives in some way.  Last I checked, that's what magic is.