Monday, December 30, 2013

A New Hat for the Holiday

On Christmas morning, my husband & I host our parents & his sister for brunch, & we all exchange handmade gifts. It's a casual gathering that lasts for a few hours. This year, I wore a new hat that I received at the Dickens Christmas Fair.

We had gone to that event on the previous Saturday, & I'd noticed one booth selling lovely, soft hats made of different types of velvet & satin. I looked around this shop, Chapeau Atelier, & found several hats I quite liked. However, I was wearing a big, Victorian-styled wig, & couldn't figure out what size hat would fit best -- I planned to wear the hat as everyday wear, since I'm still bald (just a tiny bit of five o' clock shadow fuzz coming in). I asked the proprietor if there was somewhere I could quickly take off my wig to try on the different hat sizes, & he very kindly let me go backstage & held a mirror for me.

When I picked out the hat I liked best in my size & took it to the register to pay, he said "no charge!" See, the shop owner is a cancer survivor too, & he regularly makes & donates hats for people who've gone through chemo. He considered this one of his donations. We had a great chat, & I was just totally gob-smacked.

So I wore that hat on Christmas Day.

What I'm wearing:
Burgundy & black velvet & satin hat, Chapeau Atelier
Rhinestone brooch, vintage, added by me to hat
Burgundy velvet dress, Macy's
Black leggings, American Apparel
Black socks, unknown brand
Black flats, Aerosoles
Burgundy crystal & silver bead necklace, gift from Mom
Black & silver earrings, random accessory store
Chanel "Vamp" lipstick

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hand in Pocket

For the usual Christmas Eve family gathering, I wanted an outfit with pockets. For the unglamorous reason that I was a bit sniffly & needed a place to hide a tissue. Luckily, this dress conveniently fits the bill & looks rather nice too. I made it through chemo without any infections, but winter chills hit & I get a little ol' head cold. Go figure!

What I'm wearing:
Purple knit dress, Land's End | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black flats, Aerosoles | Black, hematite, & silver chunky bead choker, random accessory store | Silver cameo earrings, vintage

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Classic Corp

Giving it the old college try here with a classic CorpGoth outfit. A little velvet, a little stripes, with a jewel tone thrown in. Sleek & simple. Oh & with the other wig :)

What I'm wearing:
Black velveteen jacket, White House Black Market | Purple T-shirt, Target | Grey stripe skirt, Nordstrom | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black flats, Aerosoles | Gunmetal hoop earrings, random accessory store

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

CorpGoth Is Back in the Office

For a little bit this year, at least. Yep, my company finally called me back in for the last full week before the holiday shutdown. Glad to be back to semi-normal, even if each workday is interrupted by a trip to the hospital for radiation treatment.

Those, btw, are going quite smoothly. Very easy & fast, a piece of cake compared to chemo. Only annoyance is that they are done every day, five times a week (weekends & Christmas, New Year's Day, & Martin Luther King Jr. Day off), for 33 treatments. No side effects yet, although towards the end I'm told I can expect a sunburn-like effect in the treated area. Again, nothing as bad as chemo, which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

What I'm wearing:
Black & white striped knit jacket, Marshall's
Black long-sleeve T-shirt, Old Navy
Black skirt, NY & Company
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Black & white ankle-strap pumps, Ross
Gunmetal hoop earrings, random accessory store

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Little Night Music

I'm a HUGE fan of winter holiday music. Christmas carols, Hanukkah songs, yuletide tunes, traditional music, pop songs, novelty tunes, you name it, I freakin' love it! I'm not totally indiscriminate -- I hate "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" & I've yet to hear a version of "Oh Holy Night" that doesn't make me cringe. But between the day after Thanksgiving & sometime before New Year's Eve, I have a massive mix of holiday music on auto-play. I'm forever collecting more tracks to jazz up my collection. So I thought I'd share a few of my favorites, particularly with a goth & light-hearted edge...

Gotta have this on while putting up decorations -- it's "Making Christmas" from the "Nightmare Before Christmas" soundtrack!

"Carol of the Bells" is one of the darkest Christmas songs already, & This Ascension's version from the Excelsis Dark Noel holiday CD series by Projekt Records goes extra dark.

"2,000 Miles" by the Pretenders always warms the cockles of this new-wave girl's heart. It's not strictly a holiday song, but it mentions Christmas & just has that feel.

A lot of people have been turned off from this song by Madonna's cutesy version, but the original "Santa Baby" sung by the sultry Eartha Kitt is a classic. This YouTube version isn't the best recording (try iTunes for better audio), but you can get the idea of how sophisticated & adult the song really should be.

While some covers don't work, I love how this one does -- a goth band takes a little ditty from a children's cartoon & turns it into a hauntingly beautiful tribute to the winter season with "Silver and Gold" by Faith & Disease (also from the Excelsis series).

And now for something completely ROCKIN'!!! I love Twisted Sister's version of "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." It does indeed rock!!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Comfortable Holiday Outings

Some holiday events are dressy -- time for cocktail dresses, bling, high heels, suits, ties. Others are more homey gatherings where you want to look good but feel at ease. Family events are often like this, in my experience, those are times for smart-casual outfits that are less work-a-day but not quite cocktail attire either.

For these events, I go for a dark knit dress and a pretty sweater, plus some jewelry to jazz up the outfit. This maxi dress is one of my summer staples, but it works for winter when layered.

What I'm wearing:
Black knit maxi dress, Macy's | Black & white floral sweater, White House Black Market | Black & purple stripe tights, We Love Colors | Black flats, Aerosoles | Black & purple beaded necklace, gift from Lisa | Gunmetal hoop earrings, random accessory store

Thursday, November 28, 2013


I have a lot of people to thank this year. Firstly, of course, my husband, who has been with me every step of the way through this stupid cancer, as patient as he could be, putting up with me on my worst days. I'm also infinitely thankful for my mom & step-dad, my husband's dad & step-mom, his mom & step-dad, & our extended family, who've all been super-supportive in every way.

I'm incredibly thankful for my friends, both local & spread around the world. The ones nearby have kept my hubby & I fed with home-cooked dinners & dropped by with chocolate & visited when I felt up to it. Many have sent funny cards & cute trinkets that really, honestly brightened my days.

I'm also thankful for my wider community -- including everyone here who reads & comments on this blog & my costume site. I'm awed & humbled by the support you've shown, through your messages, cards, gifts, donations, & buying stuff from my garage sale. Cancer is dark & depressing, but hearing from each of you has helped me through this immeasurably. I'm sorry if I haven't replied to each of you, but please know that every email, every comment, every card, every donation, every way you reached out to me has meant a lot to me & truly helped me get through the long, tedious days of recovering from chemo treatments.

I have to call out people by name -- thanks to all who've donated, thank you Lisa, Loren, Mary, Michele, Maureen, Irina, Sandra, Cathy, Lynne, Lori, Lyndsay, Mary, Paula, Sharon, Stephani, Emily, Sharon, Deborah, Merja, Chris, Elisabethe, Heather, Jennifer, Katherine, Franny, Kendra, Molly, Rachel, Shawna, Nicole, Tony, Vera, Katherine, Maggie, Amy, David, Elizabeth, Historic Costume Patterns, C., Jean, Julie, Kathryn, Michelle, Aisha, Aubry, Jonatha, Agnes, Alexandra, Angela, Carly, Jennifer, Josie, Sarah, Susanna, Alison, Ann, Cassidy, Cat's Meow Textiles, G., Julia, Laura, Katie, & Maria. And thanks to everyone who sent meals, gifts, & cards, thank you Sarah, Cynthia, Travlyn, Maryanne, Joyce, Tish, Noel, Carole, Linda, Rhawnie, Elisa, Melissa, Sahyre, Maggie, Wendi, Kelly, Doris, Mark, Kendra, Francis, Deb, Emily, Margaret, Cathyn, John, Leia, Jen, Liz, Laina, Radar, Leia, Kat, Truly, Franny, Beth, & Patricia. I couldn't have made it this far without all of you behind me!

I'm thankful for my doctors too, glad that my primary doctor acted fast when I discovered a lump in my breast & very glad she referred me to such an excellent surgeon & oncologist. I'm thankful that each of my specialists took time & care to explain my options & all the parts of my treatment. I'm deeply thankful for all the nurses too, especially at my oncologist's office, where the nursing staff made the chemo treatments more bearable with kindness, gentleness, patience, & good humor. I may have sucky, expensive private insurance (until blessed ObamaCare takes over on January 1 :), but at least my medical professionals are top notch!

Lastly, I'm thankful that I'm two-thirds of the way finished with treatment, & what should be the hardest part is over. Radiation starts the first week of December & is supposed to have far fewer & more milder of side effects than chemo. And when *that* is over, we're going to DisneyLand to celebrate! So I'm thankful I can look forward to that too :)

What I'm wearing:
Black & burgundy wig, gift from Sarah
Burgundy peplum sweater, gift from Sarah
Black T-shirt, Target
Black & white stripe skirt, White House | Black Market
Black tights, Calvin Klein
Black leather boots, Clarks
Beaded necklace, gift from Lisa
Silver & black teardrop earrings, random accessory store

Monday, November 25, 2013

Old Bats, New Bat

In this casual weekend outfit, I'm wearing a lot of my standard, everyday bats. The T-shirt & leggings have shown up on this blog plenty of times before.

But the pendant is new, & it was a lovely gift from the lovely people at Beneath Glass, an Etsy shop full of jewelry with artsy, vintage, steampunk, geeky, & fun prints & sayings in cameos on necklaces, rings, & more. I'm so delighted with this Victorian bat necklace, & I hope you'll check out their beautiful goods. Not an ad here, just sharing the love!

What I'm wearing:
Grey bat T-shirt, Target
Black linen skirt, H&M
Black bat leggings, Target
Black socks, unknown brand
Black laced-toe flats, Miz Mooz
Bat pendant, Beneath Glass on Etsy
Silver & black teardrop earrings, random accessory store

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Stripes & Crosses

Got out of the house for the evening with some friends, & took the opportunity to dress up a bit. Felt great to see people & be social!

Each round of chemo has been a little different in terms of side effects, but all have been exhausting, so I stay inside a lot. Friends & family do visit, but it's always lovely to see something other than my own home's walls.

While chemo is now over, & I'm still recovering & haven't gotten my energy back. I'd really like to feel "normal" again. And next week, I have my first appointment with the radiation doctor, which is my next course of treatment. So I'm not done with this thing yet...

What I'm wearing:
Black & grey sleeveless dress, Coldwater Creek | Black elastic belt, NY & Company | Grey & white stripe hooded sweater, Forever 21 | Black leggings with tiny cross print, Torrid | Black & grey stripe socks, unknown brand | Black flats, Aerosoles |  Pink scissor skull & crossbones necklace, gift from Elisa | Gunmetal skull earrings, Walgreens | Pink skull & crossbones earrings, random accessory store | Pewter bat bobby pin, random accessory store

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Oh How I Love Sweaters!

For Sophistique Noir's Monthly Theme of "sweaters" I thought I'd do a round-up of my faves.

First up, what I call 'the most expensive sweater' altho' at cost-per-wear, it's become quite affordable. From White House Black Market, I bought it full-price & haven't regretted it.

I'm also a huge fan to stripey sweaters. Very hard to resist! I have cardigans in black & whitepurple & black, pink & white, & grey & white, & a pullover/jumper in black & grey.


Then there's my exact multiples -- I have a black & fuchsia version of this vintage-style puffed-sleeve cardigan that works well open or closed.

And while I have a huge drawer full of more sweaters, I'll leave you with my most recent acquisition -- bat / cat!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Last Chemo Dance & Happy Halloween

Halloween Day was my last chemo treatment -- of course I was going to dress up! But I had some constraints, in that I couldn't wear long sleeves or tight upper sleeves because of the blood draw, blood pressure check, & the infusion itself. So I scoured my costume closet & realized I had this great big ballgown with a halter-style top. Luckily, it's pink & went with the pink ribbon "breast cancer" tiara I'd bought a few months earlier.

Many of the nurses at the clinic were dressed in costume, & everyone loved my "Drag Queen Cancer Princess" outfit. They even took a picture for their breakroom photo wall. And my husband documented the day & posted on Facebook.

Now, it's just a few weeks of side effects & recover, then I start radiation, which is much more targeted & supposed to have far more mild side effects -- so I can go back to work & hopefully have a more normal life again! Really looking forward to that.

What I'm wearing:
Pink silk dupioni 1950s-style ballgown, made by Donna | Full petticoat underneath, thriftstore | Black drag-queen wig, eBay | Pink ribbon tiara, Etsy | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black ribbon-tie pumps, Clark's | Black lace, pearl, & chain choker, bought at Convergence | Black with pink crystal earrings, random accessory store | Pewter woman symbol stud earring, bought on the street in Berkeley | Ying/yang stud earring, bought on the street in Berkeley | Pewter peace symbol earring, bought on the street in Berkeley | Black gloves, vintage | Black faux-fur cape (worn in treatment chair), vintage

Selfie on the ride to the clinic
Checking in at the office
Waiting with my sweetie, he's been there every step of the way!
Super cool medical assistant Jordan checking my vitals
My excellent oncologist Dr. Mann checks my progress
Sitting in the chair before getting the last infusion

Monday, October 28, 2013

Flying to China

Finally able to eat & taste properly, so I was thrilled to go to my favorite meal, dim sum, with my family. And that gave me a chance to wear these silly winged flats & spice up a casual outfit. Stuffed myself with dumplings & char shu bau & enjoyed a great time with my parents & old fiends.

What I'm Wearing:
Purple shawl sweater, bought at Camden Markets in London | Black knit tunic, American Apparel | Black glittery leggings, Torrid | Black socks, unknown brand | Black winged flats, PlasticLand | Silver book locket necklace, random accessory store | Silver hoop earrings, random accessory store | Purple lipstick, Sephora house brand

Friday, October 25, 2013

Scarf Time

Originally, I thought scarves & turbans were too "cancer patient" looking for me. Well, they are, but I now see the value of wearing them anyway. This style of head covering is easy to wear once it's on (tho' it can be fussy to adjust to look good), & they can be comfortable. Besides, scarves/turbans mix up the look. Sometimes, I don't care if I look like a cancer patient -- it's the truth, I own it.

I made this one from a fabric scrap a friend gave me. I was trying to copy a fitted scarf that I got on Etsy, since I liked the style & just wanted variety. Sewing stretch fabrics isn't my favorite thing to do, but the project only had a few darts to give the cap shape. I'm going to make more since other friends have donated stretch fabrics, & I'll be bald for quite a while longer.

What I'm Wearing:
Black & white knit scarf, made by me
Black & white stripe "Paris" T-shirt, bought in Paris, France
Silver filigree earrings, Target
Red lipstick, Sephora house brand

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dinner With the Family

One of the most common side effects of chemo (other than hair loss) is changes to the taste buds. It can be mild or make everything taste like cardboard. I've been lucky in that I've mostly had a sensation of burnt tongue, like when you drink too-hot coffee, so everything tastes off or a little more dull. Some things taste distinctly weird, like citrus tastes bitter. Luckily, the one thing that tastes normal is my favorite milk chocolate, so yeah, I've indulged some!

Recently, I went out to dinner at an Afghani restaurant with my parents & some old family friends (& this is what I wore). The food was great! I could taste everything pretty well -- something about those favors were just right even to my burnt tongue. So nice.

The bad tastes have usually gone away just before the next chemo infusion. And my last one will be on Halloween -- so I'm *really* looking forward to Thanksgiving this year & being able to really taste all of my mom's great cooking!

What I'm Wearing:
White & black pinstripe jacket, Macy's
Purple T-shirt, Target
Black corduroy skirt, H&M
Black & white kitty-print wedge sneakers, PlasticLand
Black socks, unknown brand
Silver book locket necklace, random accessory store
Gunmetal dangly skull earrings, Walgreens
Sparkly skull stud earrings, random accessory store
Black & white beaded cuff bracelet, bought in Kauai

Monday, October 14, 2013

Getting Batty on Round 3

For my third of four chemo rounds, I mixed old-school with new. Classic pointy boots with bat buckles and a big sweater woven with the word "BAT" on the front and "CAT" on the back. Not exactly work appropriate, but good for kicking it around on weekends & casual days.

What I'm Wearing:
BAT / CAT sweater, Forever 21 | Black knit skirt, Target | Black tights, Calvin Klein | Black leather boots with pewter bat buckles, swapped from a friend | Black & white stripe dangle earrings, Kohl's | Pewter woman symbol stud earring, bought on the street in Berkeley | Ying/yang stud earring, bought on the street in Berkeley | Pewter peace symbol earring, bought on the street in Berkeley | Black & pink wig, Miss Violet Lace

Added bonus: Rhinestone-crusted "Fight Like a Girl" travel mug, gift from The Professor. Thanks, sweetie!!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My New Favorite Hat

It's not all about the wigs -- sometimes a hat is all I want or need to wear. But finding the right ones has been tricky. As a wanna-be milliner, I'm rather picky about style, materials, & fit, but I don't have the time & energy to make all my own hats right now (the ones I have made tend to be wear-around-the-house serviceable ones).

So I was thrilled to find this cute, comfortable, & affordable one on Etsy. Plus, the seller regularly donates hats to cancer patients, & when I mentioned I was buying this to cover up after losing my hair, she threw in a funky scarf cap in a gorgeous fabric too. So cool!

This is the kind of outfit I've been wearing a lot of around the house, to follow-up doctor's appointments, to the pharmacy, & then for the inevitable nap afterwards. Nothing as fancy as I'd wear to the office, but it's a step up from the PJs I wear on my really burnt-out days.

What I'm wearing:
Purple knit dress, Old Navy | Multiple shades of grey sweater, Macy's | Black jeweled flip-flops (not seen), Mootsies Tootsies | Black beret, KnownGrewels | Silver glittery skull stud earrings, random accessory store | Bon Jour script necklace, random accessory store

Monday, September 30, 2013

Last Gasp of Summer

Going out for lunch to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday just called for a simple sundress. Summer weather can last well into October here in Northern California, so this kind of outfit isn't terribly unusual. It was particularly pleasant, tho' to have a weekday gathering as an excuse for it.

To further the family theme, I'm wearing a bracelet that reminds me of my Chinese grandfather who played Mahjong.

What I'm wearing:
Printed sundress, Target | Black elastic belt, NY & Company | Black jeweled flip-flops, Mootsies Tootsies | Black metal bat necklace, Walgreens | Mahjong tile bracelet, random accessory store | Silver & black dangly earrings, random accessory store | Pewter bat bobby pin, random accessory store