Cool Outfits I Thrifted!

Or, What this bitch over 30 is rocking like it’s her job.

I admit that my blog schedule is sporadic, but I think that is because I tend to mire myself down with ideas that I have to blog about really heavy, meaty topics with broad ramifications for the entire community.  Then, I realize, “f*ck that shit, look at my clothes.”

My world has been on a crazy upswell that started with me confronting some really mean bullying at work, and it resulted in me getting the jackass involved transferred and it got me a sweet, sweet new job with an estate sale company because I ranted on Facebook.  The star on this Christmas tree was that someone I didn’t even know gave me the most badass jacket that says “Banshee” on the back of it because I have it tattooed on my leg.  It was like the universe was reminding me that it’s okay to be a wailing harbinger of death to bad situations.  I got a new job, a new jacket, and a new friend out of the deal.  Not too damn bad.

So let’s look at some outfit posts that make me happy, and I hope make you happy, too!

Plaid Pendleton
Because I can.

I have recently been on a Pendleton kick.  I got this jacket from an estate sale with a bunch of handmade and vintage dirndls.  According to the deceased’s daughter, she used to be a former nun from Austria who had stashes of guitar books around the house.  I can’t shake the feeling I’ve heard that story before.

von trapp
It’s a Von Trapp.

Anyhoo, the Vegas t-shirt, Converse, and black purse were all thrift finds.  This picture I found on a website called  You really can find just about anything online.

Here is another awesome dress I got from the Maria “Non” Trapp estate sale:

Vintage Katie
Housecoat Schmousecoat. It’s an Austrian brand.

This dress is amazing.  It’s pink and sage green.  You can’t see the brooch and pearl necklace, but I literally got those at an estate sale the day before I wore this.  They were 25 cents each.  The brooch looks as though it was made to be worn with the dress.

vintage jewelry
Close-up of necklace and brooch.

Yes, a quarter each.  I actually got a total of six things at that estate sale – mostly Victorian.  One gold bar pin with amethysts and pearls, and another enameled guilloche sterling bar pin.  Oh, and a watch fob.  Good times.

Oh, and these are the shoes I’m wearing with the dress:

Lucite shoes
Ignore my hooves. It’s about the shoes.

These shoes cost me $2.66 at another estate sale the day before.  The purse was a gift.

I don’t just thrift clothes.  Sometimes, I can manage to sew fabric bits together to approximate a garment!

Butterick Walkaway Dress
I made this!

This is Butterick’s vintage-but-brought-back walkaway dress.  There are no zippers.  All straight-line sewing.

Vintage shoes
But you have to see the shoes and purse, too.

I made the dress, but the shoes I rummaged for a buck.  The purse, another gift.  I love vintage purse gifts.

Bakelite bangles
Gratuitous Bakelite shot.

I even ordered a green Bakelite button from eBay to finish the dress!

I will be going on a thrift diet for the next two months.  San Diego Comic Con is right around the corner, and then our pilgrimage to Pittsburgh, so I am going to abstain to stockpile loose change.  I still have a ton of cool sh!t I thrifted, though.

Speaking of, if you haven’t downloaded Thrift Stories:  Cool Sh!t I Thrifted, what are you waiting for?

Peace out, vitches!


Simple Life Hacks For Urgent Care!

When I am not being the ultra-luscious pinup/vintage/writing goddess that I am, I spend my time thrilling the unwell masses with my superior bedside manner and unapologetically rapier wit.  It’s not all buttercream frosting and unicorn pheromones, though, and after a few relentless 12-hour shifts of hearing the same sob stories of mild discomfort and slight inconvenience, people begin to chisel away at the soul like a dull PedEgg™ against a calloused heel.  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t particularly wish for people to feel like they’ve been run over by a cement mixer, but we have apparently turned into a society of sissified pussies who have forgotten that viruses happen, that they are most often not even remotely life-threatening, and they don’t even necessarily need any medical intervention (however, I am not about to give medical advice).  We also seem to have forgotten that there are other people in the world besides ourselves, so let’s see if we can’t put together a helpful (and, satirical, of course, since satire is protected and above reproach) list of things to remember when visiting a free-standing urgent care center.

tina fey
Say “hi” to the nice lady!

Listen to what the nice lady at the front desk is telling you.  If you have ever found yourself in the vestibule of a strip-mall urgent care, your first encounter is likely a nice lady or gentleman with a computer behind a dingy granite counter.  They will ask you how they can help you, and you will likely mutter something inaudible or you will tell them every sordid detail about why you are seeking medical care.  In either case, you will be given paperwork to fill out.  It requires a modicum of common sense, and the nice lady at the desk will explain exactly what needs to be filled out.  It is appropriate to listen to what she tells you.

Don’t fart around with your keys, your phone, and stop rummaging around through your purse or wallet when the aforementioned nice lady is talking to you.  She is explaining to you what information is required in order for her to sign you in as a patient.  If you listen to the nice lady, you won’t fill out too much paperwork, and she will have exactly enough information to check you in as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Don’t bitch about all the paperwork when the nice lady is explaining what paperwork to fill out.  If you are speaking, you aren’t listening.  This part of your journey is about listening.  Don’t speak.  Shhhh.

Don’t wrestle the clipboard out of the nice lady’s hands while she’s explaining the paperwork.  That is dismissive and rude.  The odds are 100% that you will need to ask a question about the goddamn paperwork, so if you would just listen, you will likely mitigate your need to then seek additional help from the increasingly-less-nice lady behind the front counter.

Don’t take the nice lady’s pen.  You are teeming with virus and bacteria.  Take a pen from the basket of pens at the front counter.  Do not take the nice lady’s pen.

When calling an urgent care, keep it brief.  The person answering the phone is busy doing everything else at the same time, so state your business and be succinct.  “I just have a quick question,” is an ironclad guarantee that you will have me on the phone for five minutes while you try to get me to tell you whether or not you should come in, and how much is it, and what part will my insurance cover, and blah blah blah…Here is an example of how a call to urgent care should go:  “Hi, how late are you open?  Okay, thanks.”  Here is another:  “Hi, do you guys have x-ray?  Okay, thanks.”  Boom.  That’s it.

I know that you have been waiting for 10 minutes and that you are in a hurry.  I also don’t care.  I am here for no less than 12 hours – no less than – every day that I work.  If you have the capacity to worry about making it to your tennis lesson or to get your kid from school, you are either not that sick or you suck at time management.  You have to decide if you can wait or come back.  I am wholly unmoved by your plight and I will do nothing to expedite your visit because everyone is in a hurry, not just you.

“I just need antibiotics.”  Oh, is that all?  Well, let me put a hustle on this one.  It may come as a surprise to people who don’t actually work in a healthcare setting, but you can’t just waltz in and tell the people at the urgent care what kind of drugs you need.  If that were the case, then “I just need Xanax and Valium and Percocet and Vicodin.”  Now, please fill out this paperwork…

“How do you guys keep from getting sick?”  We don’t.  We just work sick because we are not afforded any other options.

If you are coughing, wear a mask.  We will cheerfully give you one.  Please see above.

Waiting sometimes has to happen.  We have become a world that believes immediate gratification is an inalienable right, and none of us think we should have to wait our turn.  There are times when lots and lots of people need the same thing that you do, and they get to the urgent care sooner than you.  This is not a reason to complain.  Your impatience does not constitute a misstep on our part.  Thusly, leaving a shitty review on Yelp! is not only uncalled for, it’s downright mean.

Carry your ID and your insurance card in your wallet.  They are wallet-sized for a reason.  We will not see you without ID, and we can’t bill your insurance without your insurance card.  We are not obligated to make any phone calls on your behalf, and we don’t have the time to do that.  It is your responsibility to provide the necessary information, not ours to hunt it down.  ID is non-negotiable.

See, now that wasn’t so bad, was it?  These are all totally doable, and they won’t cost you a thing!  If you follow these steps, your visit to urgent care will be smoooooooth sailing!

Deuces.  *drops mic*


20 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30

This is the name of a pictorial blog on a website called, written by one Kallie Provencher.  Written is a strong word.  It was mostly a bunch of stock photos with some vanilla text that laid down a series of mandates regarding what is and is not appropriate for someone who is over 30 to wear.  A picture book for the interwebs, if you will.  The gist of the article is that women who are 30+ should dress more maturely.  At no point is Ms. Provencher’s definition of what constitutes maturity discussed, nor is there any dialogue about what is the most flattering way for all of us lady cryptkeepers to hide our urine-soaked Depends or jazz up our walkers with something more exciting than tennis balls.  It is simply a misguided age-shaming post written by an eager, young upstart intern at a mid-level girlie blog.

When I first saw this post half a week ago, I knew that it required a rebuttal from someone who might be able to point out why, maybe, you shouldn’t make broad generalizations about how women of a certain age should dress.  It’s a slippery slope, the landslide of which completely swallows whole the full gestalt of feminity, feminism, and self-confidence.  While I agree with her assertions that booty shorts, furry boots, and minidresses are absolutely foul, it is not limited to a particular age.  I think they look shitty on everyone who tries to wear them.  I do not discriminate.  I want to specifically address a few of the stand-out points that she so eloquently makes in her well-thought-out screed that doesn’t even remotely seem like it was written by someone with almost no real-world experience who finds herself up against deadlines and writer’s block and probably a hardass supervisor who takes pleasure in making her cry.

By age 30, women are expected to be a little more mature, and they should dress like it, too.  Here are 20 things no woman should be caught wearing after age 30.

Who, exactly, has laid down the expectation that by age 30, women are expected to be a little more mature?  Do women in their 20s get a decade-long pass on responsibility because they are not yet 30?  I wish I would have known that, because by the time I was 30, I had two small children, had buried both my parents, and was married to a guy who hit me way more often than he should have, and way more often than he will admit, to this day.  Never once have I flashed my titties, danced on a tabletop, or slurred, “Oh my God, I’m so wasted.”

Leopard print is only cute in small doses.

I agree.  That’s true.  What about being 30 influences that?  How does a small dose of leopard print translate differently on a 30-year-old body?  Clearly, the author is operating under the notion that all women become Peg Bundy when they hit the big 3-0, teetering around on stilletos and wearing the ass of a jungle cat as a sign of savage sexuality.

Regarding oversized sunglasses:

They might be fun, but they’re not mature.  Splurge a little and buy a nice pair that actually fits.

Wait, are we talking about those novelty sunglasses that clowns and English teachers wear?  Sunglasses serve one practical purpose, and that is to shield our eyes from sunlight and harmful UV rays.  Mine are oversized because I like them and they look fantastic on me, and I’m dragging 30 behind me like a body I dredged from a swamp.  Further, I am about as prepared to take life-coaching advice from an intern blogger as I am to take personal hygiene advice from a toddler.

Only girls in high school can still pull off hoop earrings.

Really?  Because I regularly have to pull off my hoop earrings when I kick a bitch’s ass.  I can’t be the only one.  Again, why can’t we wear hoops?  She keeps citing the concept of maturity as reason enough not to wear the item in question, but I can do basic bookkeeping, work a full-time job, attend school functions – all while wearing hoop earrings.  I hope this doesn’t mean I have to get rid of all of my Bakelite hoop earrings that I wear every day.  I would hate to be judged.

Regarding American Eagle:

Sure, their jeans fit perfectly, but that doesn’t make it trendy for women over 30 to be wearing them.

One of the beautiful things about being over 30 is that we rarely give a shit what anyone thinks when we buy clothes, especially when they fit perfectly.  What is it about my hips, ass, and thighs that makes them so objectionable that they cannot enjoy a pair of well-fitted jeans?  F*ck your opinion of trendy.

Grown women should not be seen in rundown tennis shoes.  If you can’t afford a new pair, then it’s time to reevaluate life as a 30-year-old.

I wear my vintage Converse by choice.  I choose old tennis shoes.  They please me aesthetically.  What you lack the life experience to question is what kind of shoes a 30-year-old woman’s children are wearing.  Part of being the magically grown up age of 30 is that you learn to prioritize.  Rarely is the condition of a pair of tennis shoes a priority, nor is it reason to reevaluate one’s life.  It is a non-issue that doesn’t even appear on the radar.  I’m glad, though, that there are people keeping track of that.

Here is some free advice from the over-30 camp to Ms. Provencher:  Right now, we understand that you are an elitist little snot who probably struggles with what shade of clear lip gloss works best with your beige hair and your beige life and your beige ambitions.  We know that you are a serious writer with real dreams and hopes.  We know that you enjoyed the Twilight series and 50 Shades of Grey.  You wear yoga pants, you put your straight hair in a straight ponytail, and you love Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  You have your whole life ahead of you and you just don’t understand how some women – old women – can’t get their shit together.  The secret is that we know what shit needs to be together and what shit is just shit.  Everything you wrote about is just shit.  Ask me if I care what socks I’m wearing when I am waiting for my husband to get out of surgery.  I sit on the couch in mismatched clothing and have wonderful conversations with my grown children, who are ten times funnier and meaner than I am.  Everything I own is covered in cat hair.  I wear red lipstick every single day.  I piece together absurd non-sequitor separates and end up with amazing outfits that always get compliments.  Yes, there are some who stay exactly the same way as you do their entire life, and they end up with granite countertops and ficus trees and minivans, but for the most part, we old folks enjoy the privilege of doing whatever the hell we want, wearing what we want, and living gloriously liberated lives because we don’t follow bullshit advice like yours.

Peace, love, and hair grease, vitches.

5 Things I’ve Learned As A Vintage Girl On Instagram.

It’s no secret that I love anything vintage.  I’ve made that abundantly clear.  I am part of a delightful community of lovely girls who enjoy full skirts, barrel rolls, brooches, and stacks of bracelets.  What I didn’t realize until after spending countless hours scrolling through Instagram is that there are a few less obvious earmarks of being a Retro Betty.

We like to take pictures of our feet.  Presumably, because we have cute shoes.  However, as with many pictures on Instagram, it’s not so much posted as “Look at my shoes,” as it is, “Oh, look at these pretty flowers that I carefully positioned my coordinating shoes next to so that you will be lulled into the idea that I go about my merry day dressed like Snow White, taking pictures of all of the pretty things!”  Pictures of boots, slippers, wedges, flats, heels…you name it.  It’s also very important to catch the bottom of your skirt in the picture to ensure that everyone sees how awesome your shoes and dress are together.  Frankly, it’s intoxicating.  I want shoes.  Works every time.

We are devoted fans of Morrissey or Depeche Mode, but not both.  Casual day for the vintage girl is generally a band t-shirt, with the usual collection of colorful accessories, vintage cardigan, and jeans with a hardcore cuff.  I use italics because it’s not just a regular cuff.  It’s a *vintage* cuff.  There is a difference.  Near as I can tell, Morrissey enjoys a huge fandom, with a slightly less compelling offering of Depeche Mode fans.  I am definitely in the Depeche Mode camp.  I have always been devoutly indifferent to Morrissey and The Smiths.  Except for How Soon is Now.  If you don’t love that song, you should probably just brush out your victory rolls and stop telling everyone how much you love Hallowen.  Seriously.  Oh, well, people are people.

Bakelite is a form of currency.  Bakelite is an enigma around which I have a hard time wrapping my tiny brain.  It is highly-sought-after and worn everyday with everything by every girl who owns enough to make a “stack.”  It is delicious and glorious.  It makes a very distinct “clack” when the bangles hit each other, and it will turn your arm yellow on a hot day.  A sweep of eBay shows that it is wildly abundant, but artificially overpriced in perceived value.  It is plastic.  We love it.  We trade it.  We photograph ourselves wearing it.  We carefully pose with a hand on the steering wheel, or cradling a drink, or simply placed on our hip to show our Bakelite off.  There are so many colors and patterns of carving.  Much like the South Ndebele and Kayan peoples, we wear our Bakelite as a symbol of status and, often, wealth (or incredible thrifting prowess), we just wear them on our wrists instead of our necks.  We certainly don’t mind it, and we drink in all of the pictures.  I really, really like Bakelite, and I love looking through all of the Bakelite hashtags.  The Garanimal of the vintage world, it is mixed and matched to make every outfit look amazing.  I’ve never tried to eat it, but I bet it tastes like sugar-coated awesome with sprinkles (editor’s note:  please do not eat Bakelite).

When in doubt, post a picture of your cat.  I don’t know of one single, solitary vintage girl – myself included – who doesn’t own at least one cat.  Maine Coons seem to be incredibly popular (I have one) as do white cats with black markings (I have one).  Also, orange cats (I have one).  Tabbys are also very common (I have one), with the rest being your general manner of rescue (I have two).  We don’t just love our cats, we love your cats, too.  We love every cat.  We want all the cats.  We want to pet all of the cats at one time.  We take pictures of our cats, because…cats.  We like pictures of everyone’s cats.  We might have dogs, too (I have one) but cats really reign supreme.

We sit Shiva over broken Pyrex.  When someone posts a picture of a broken Pyrex dish, we immediately cover the mirrors and arrange for meals for the family.  It is that serious.  If possible, we deliver the meals in another Pyrex dish to soften the blow.

Am I right?

If you haven’t downloaded my eBook – Thrift Stories:  Cool Sh!t I Thrifted – what are you waiting for?

Rose Bowl Flea Market!

Rose Bowl Flea Market
Rose Bowl Flea Market

As I sit on my bed awaiting the arrival of former hurricane Odile, I think I shall regale everyone with my adventures of this past weekend!

The original plan was to spend the weekend at Disneyland to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary by participating in Dapper Disney, but then good sense kicked in when I realized that the cost of admission for my family would actually be more than a single house payment.  Alternatively, we spent a day in Hollywood and a day at Magic Mountain and I would just have to be dapper independently of Disney, which I was – thank you very much.  The upside is that I got to go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market!

As it turns out, I have grown to loathe roller coasters with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns (which, coincidentally, was exactly the forecast during our visit to the heat wave currently happening in Southern California), but the hubby had been salivating for years over riding X2.  Because I am not a great big pussy, I decided that I would ride Full Throttle since none of us had ever ridden it and because I wanted us all to ride it for the first time together.  There isn’t enough Zoloft on the planet to convince me to ride it a second time.  It’s the coaster with the tallest loop, and you literally hang upside down in your seat, held in place by a seatbelt and a cagey lap bar.  My only defense was to play dead until the ride was over.  The longest 45 seconds of my life.  As the ride pulled to a stop, I parted my parched, stuck-to-my-teeth lips and gathered just enough lung capacity to say, “I’m so getting some Bakelite, tomorrow.”  The hubby finally fulfilled his decade-long dream to ride X2, stating (roughly), “I am never riding that again.  That sucked so bad.  I literally thought I was going to die, I was so scared.”

Now, he never wants to ride another roller coaster ever again!  Hooray!

Let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?  The Rose Bowl Flea Market is fabulous!  I was so excited to go!  In spite of some rather comedic navigational gaffes, we managed to locate it, although why in fresh hell Google maps dragged us through Chinatown sideways to get us to the Rose Bowl is beyond me.  Seriously – never use Google maps.  It failed us repeatedly.

Anyway, I loved this flea market.  Sadly, it was hot as balls outside, and I only managed to see maybe half of it.  I would really love to know who the universe has put in charge of weather this summer.  Being an Arizona resident, I consider myself a bit of an authority on what constitutes “hot.”  110 degree days are commonplace, and I don’t even have an air conditioner in my house, but that is nothing compared to the face-melting heat of California, right now.  I have never been more aware of my armpits in my life.  The f*ckers charged five dollars for a bottle of water (my bad, for not taking in my own bottle), but I still managed to take some nice pictures and get a little bit of loot.

Vintage Pyrex
Ohhh, Pyrex!
Rose Bowl Flea Market
Tons of stuff. Also, apparently I did not get the tubetop memo.
Vintage Purses
Hold me.
Vintage Santa Claus
Santa seems to have found himself in a bit of a predicament. Wait, I thought I *left* Arizona…
Audrey Hepburn
Sound advice.
Vintage Halloween
1940s table
1940s enamel. Can I just run my tongue along the side?
Mid-Century Furniture
Mid-Century Furniture…*sigh*
Vintage Halloween
I’ve been cut off on blowmold pumpkins by the pumpkin police.
Vintage Dolls
Can you spot the scary clown?
Flea Market Finds
My sweet, sweet flea market finds!

As you can see, I still managed to find some sweet, sweet loot in spite of not finishing the rounds (I came to my senses and abandoned the Bakelite idea in favor of a purse).  I got the pristine Converse hightops and carpet bag from the same vendor, and I spent a whopping twenty bucks for both.  I almost missed out on the bag.  I was discussing the price of the purse when someone walked up and picked it up.  She let her fingers loosen on the bag and my chivalrous knight handily and swiftly snatched it from the table.  It was too close for comfort.  Never take your hands of the stuff you want!!

I hope you have enjoyed the mini-tour.  Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go sandbag my doors for the hurricane.  In Arizona.  Heat wave on the California coast and hurricane in Arizona.  Someone is misunderstanding this assignment.

Stay afloat, my friends!  Don’t forget to download my thrifting book if you haven’t already done so!  You can do that here.


Arizona Onstage Productions – Les Misérables Review

Les Miserables


I think that one of life’s greatest truths is this:  never attempt to perform anything from Les Misérables unless you can pull it off with surgical precision.  Any time I am forced to suffer through some pageant or high school choir that subjects its audience to a shambling, over-performed rendition of On My Own or I Dreamed a Dream, I begin to unravel on a cellular level and feverishly search for any other earworm to take the place of the auditory napalm to which I had just been subjected – The Wheels on the Bus, the theme from The Facts of Life, The Preamble to the Constitution, a gas oven – anything to drown out the noise I can only liken to cats mating inside a metal shed.

Recently, I had the opportunity to see Arizona Onstage Productions’ preview performance of Les Misérables, and I will freely admit that I was skeptical.  I thought, “Well, I’m sure it will be nice,” assuming I would leave the theater saying, “Oh, bless their hearts,” and that would be the end of it.

Holy shit.  I was wrong.

I’m not going to give a play-by-play of the plot because I think that if you aren’t familiar with it, you need to sign off of Facebook and get a little culture and artistic diversity in your life.

The performances were spot-on.  Kit Runge takes the on the role of Jean Valjean with a very sweet sincerity.  I had the pleasure of seeing his gloriously terrifying portrayal of Sweeney Todd a few years back, and this just proves the man has some serious acting range.

In the role of Javert is Juan Aguirre.  This dude sounds exactly like Thurl Ravenscroft.  I was floored.  His voice absolutely commanded the stage in every one of his scenes.

I’m not playing favorites, here, but I loved, loved, LOVED Erin Anderson’s portrayal of Eponine.  Her voice is absolutely perfect for taking on the huge responsibility of On My Own, and she sings it effortlessly.  Not for nothing, but she is hands down my pick for Elphaba…you know, whenever that happens.

I could find a reason to name each cast member individually, but the truth is that they were all fantastic.  The point is that this performance is absolutely on par with any Broadway cast.  This is not some high school choir biting off more stolen bread than they can chew.

In stark contrast to the hugeness of the performances is the minimal set.  In reading director Kevin Johnson’s description of wanting a smaller, more intimate set in homage of the first time he saw Les Misérables in London, I thought well, that’s much nicer than saying, “We can’t afford props.” Now that I have seen the production, I see what a shrewd directorial move that was.  I don’t want to see cheaply painted props.  I want to hear the phenomenal voices tell the story.

Where they may have scaled back on props, they certainly dressed the characters in full mid-1800s French revolutionary regalia, thanks to the abundantly talented Shana Nunez.  She literally does not exist on normal nutrients.  She exists on costume design and Cherry Coke. She spins gold from thrift stores.  She is magical like a unicorn in an embroidered Xanadu jacket.  She does not sleep until everything is perfect.  Shana, you can take a nap, now.  The costumes are fabulous.

At the end of the day, you have a cast of explosively talented performers fully succeeding at one of the most challenging musicals in production.  This show is comprised exclusively of local actors who burn the candle at both ends, juggle jobs, have children and families, and are still nailing this performance every night.  Support local art.  Go see this show – playing through August 17th at The Berger Theater!

But tickets here!



All Hail The Thrift Gods!!

I did a little spontaneous thrifting, this evening.  That is really not a huge shock except that I honestly did not plan to leave the house.  It’s hot and miserable and I haven’t replaced my mascara from the pinkeye debacle.  We only went to two thrift stores, but I write this as giddy as a school girl.

I tried to let myself be lazy and not blog, something I appear to have gotten quite good at, mostly because I am way too tired after working multiple 12+ hour days in a row to bother with anything that requires effort.  Then, it suddenly occurred to me that my job doesn’t own my soul.  In those hours that I work, I have to deal with the most entitled, whiny, pitiful people outside of retail and it exhausts me.  I mustn’t let myself give in to the succubus of contrived stress that is my job.  I’m a motherf*ckin’ sorceress.

Since I live in the hot, hot desert, I had to get this vintage snap-front shirt with cactus embroidered in sparkly pink thread.  It’s not a want.  It’s a need:

Vintage Western Shirt
I even think this is technically a men’s shirt. Probably wouldn’t see this strutting about Tombstone.


Along with that one, I got this other vintage bit of sweetness for my son.  He is the perfect model for vintage menswear.  Sadly, he doesn’t appreciate it.  I will scratch him if he does not wear this shirt:

Vintage La Strada Shirt
The brand name is La Strada, but the attitude is called Badass.


Because I needed more shoes, I found this cute 1940s-esque pair of oxfords from a company called Biala.  Apparently Nordstrom sells them.  I’m okay with that:

Biala Oxford Shoes
Now if only I had something to wear with these…


Lest ye all believe that a vintage-loving girl sits around in pincurls and garters in her down time, I literally gasped with joy when I found this Teefury Daft Punk/Schroeder hybrid t-shirt.  I couldn’t even get the words out of my mouth, I was so happy:

Teefury Daft Punk Peanuts
Cue the techno Charlie Brown music…


I love this forlorn Jason Voorhees:

Friday the 12th Shirt
Poor Jason…


Not to worry, though, because we found a metric butt-ton of stuff to flip to pay for the stuff we keep.  In fact, I was perusing a rack of clothing and my hubby approached me with an item of clothing that shall remain nameless, nearly quivering with inarticulable joy, and asked, “Guess what the ‘best offer accepted’ on this exact shirt was!”  I looked.  I was shocked.  We couldn’t hustle out and get the thing listed fast enough.

Hell, that might just pay for San Diego Comic Con.

Peace out, Vitches.

OH, and don’t forget to download my e-book, Thrift Stories – Cool Sh!t I Thrifted!!



Phoenix Comicon 2014!

One of the coolest things about writing books about ghosts is, by far, the fact that I get to go to cool places and do cool things.

Such was the case with Phoenix Comicon 2014.  This year, Patrick and I were asked to host a panel called Scare-Izona:  A Travel Guide to Arizona’s Spookiest Spots which, coincidentally, is the name of our very first book.  Even though it was published in 2008, it is – imho – the best Arizona ghost book money can buy.  I am not the least bit biased, either.

Anyhoo, the turnout was great and it was an awesome time, in spite of the fact that my dog died the day before the presentation.  True story.

Phoenix Comicon 2014
Here we are, those tiny people on the stage.

That picture is only about half the room.  It was amazing and I thank everyone who came out to see us!

Donnie Darko Phoenix Comicon 2014
Here I am with Donnie Darko!

My legs look like I’m wearing tights.  I’m not.  It was ten thousand degrees.  My dress is the bomb diggity, though.  It’s from The Oblong Box shop.

Phoenix Comicon 2014
This guy has metal knees.

There was so much to look at, and yet I don’t even know how much I missed.  One con of this con (and probably others) is that in order to get a photo with a celeb, you have to stand in line and pay a day’s worth of working-man wages.  I’m an old-school convention goer, and I remember when that shit was included with your badge purchase.  I was maybe ten feet from Nathan Fillion and the linekeeper wouldn’t even let the hubs snap a pic with his phone.  That, right there, makes me never want a photo with Nathan Fillion.  I don’t know who makes those rules, and I’m not out to step on professional toes, but come on.  

Star Wars
This guy.

There was a whole corner of the convention center main hall devoted to Star Wars and different characters would pose for pics.  I even saw a grown man with a light saber dueling with a saber-wielding toddler.  Maybe the cutest thing ever.

The Fifth Element
The Fifth Element

Let me be clear.  I loathe The Fifth Element with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns.  The hubs, however, loves it, so when he saw this family (minus one who ran off), he had to take their picture.  It created a moment of awkwardness because just as he was asking for a picture, the mother was yelling to the fleeing elemental, “GIMME THE CASH!!!” in this weird, guttural mom-means-business voice.  We’re good at finding awkward situations.

Phoenix Comicon 2014
The Friday Crowd.

It was melt-your-face-off hot.  For real, yo.

Phoenix Comicon 2014
Thundercats? Maybe? *shrugs*

I loved Phoenix Comicon 2014.  It was much better than Cats.

I dedicate this post to the memory of our dear Skeeto. 7/4/99 - 6/5/14. I love you, momma.
I dedicate this post to the memory of our dear Skeeto. 7/4/99 – 6/5/14. I love you, Momma.





A Stroll Down Memory Lane

Oh, my gosh.

So, my hubby was sorting through the documents folder on the computer and found a letter a wrote to my son’s 5th grade teacher.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but I absolutely hated this woman.  She was a horrible teacher and a horrible person.  My son hated her, too.  She did nothing but scream at the kids with that deep, guttural growl that is generally reserved for when you catch your child just as they are about to dart out onto a busy street.

If you have children, you know exactly what I am talking about.

The woman spent the entire school year being nothing but an insufferable bitch.  Then she went the extra step and forbid my son from attending his 5th grade Valentine party.  This is what happened next:


                                                                                                      February 15, 2006

Ms. B***,

According to S*****, he was not allowed to participate in the Valentines Day party because he failed to finish his “5 minute math test” with a 95% within the allotted “5 minute” time frame and also because he had allegedly not turned in a particular assignment (an assignment which he contends that he did, in fact, turn in).  I will be completely honest with you when I say that I think that is cruel, unreasonable, and unacceptable, especially given the fact that he surrendered his Saturday morning to participate in the Math Matters contest.  A contest in which you encouraged him to participate and for which he won an award.  S***** is a well-mannered, kind child who tries very hard to succeed and who has an uncommonly good attitude.  These traits are exactly what have helped him to be named Peacebuilder of the Month on numerous occasions, and Student of the Month on three occasions.  This makes it particularly difficult to digest your decision to exclude him from the festivities.

I don’t like having to have this discussion with you for a second time, Ms. B***, and my patience is wearing thin.  I am sure that you feel that your reasons for excluding my son are well within the boundaries of your responsibility as his teacher; however I am not the least bit interested in hearing you vilify him by telling me that he deserved it.  I am his mother and my only interest is to act as his advocate.  When he is an adult, he isn’t going to remember whether he passed or failed the “5 minute math test”, but he is absolutely going to remember how “Ms. B*** did not let me go to the Valentine party.”

I am at a great disadvantage as I am not able to take the time from work that is necessary to discuss this with you face to face.  In case I have left any doubt, this is not to happen again, at any time, for any reason.  Any deemed disciplinary action will NOT be carried out unless I am consulted FIRST.  Please think twice before confronting S***** regarding this matter, as he has already been instructed to have you contact me directly.  I have copied Mr. B********* on this letter because he needs to take the opportunity to coach you on the importance of fairness and consistency.

Please respond to this letter in writing as I do not have the flexibility in my schedule to guarantee an opportunity for a telephone conversation.

On a side note – Since S***** was barred from the Valentine party, I am sure you won’t mind returning his unopened bag of Snickers and package of paper plates.

Thank you, and good day.


I am happy to report that my son is now an adult and has just today completed his first year in college.  Also, please forgive any punctuation errors as I wrote this in a swell of rage all those years ago.  I bet this bitch is still shambling her raggedy ass around the grade school, crushing souls and hopes and dreams.

She is going to die a lonely, bitter woman.  I’m totally okay with that.

Also, when say that writing strongly-worded letters is my superpower, y’all better reckanize.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.

Especially if it is from someone who has shaken off their mortal coil.

Perhaps I am already oversimplifying the very thing I’ll be showing you on today’s blog, but the idea is that it exists.  I’m sure you already know that I am deeply interested in the entire field of the paranormal.  Not in the hey-look-at-me-I’m-on-TV paranormal world, but rather the actual field of parapsychology.  Some fools with fancy webpages and entire careers built around glomming on to the successes of their family elders – real or imagined – might argue that a parapsychologist is anyone with an interest in the paranormal and the luck to get a few ghost memes circulated on the interwebs.  That is not true.  Parapsychology is a legitimate scientific pursuit and is governed by much peer-review and fact-checking.  I’m very, very lucky to be able to keep the company of some off the most brilliant parapsychological minds in this country, and I’m equally lucky to be able to have interviewed parapsychologist and very close friend, Mark Boccuzzi, about this new and beautiful concept that has been born of the efforts of The Windbridge Institute.  Enjoy!

Tell me a little about yourself and the Windbridge Institute.

I’m a parapsychologist. That is, I study telepathy (mind-to-mind communication); precognition (the ability to a accurately predict future events without using our normal senses); remote viewing or clairvoyance (the ability to report information about distant locations, people, and events); mind-matter interactions also known as psychokinesis (or PK for short) which is the ability to affect the physical world with our thoughts; and survival of consciousness which relates to understanding what happens to us after the death of the physical body.  The first four (telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, and psychokinesis) are collectivity known as psi [the Greek letter Ψ].

In 2008, my wife and research partner, Julie Beischel, and I co-founded the Windbridge Institute for Applied Research in Human Potential to study psi phenomena and survival.  Julie’s research is primarily focused on mediumship. Her studies look at the accuracy of the information reported by mediums, the phenomenological experiences of mediums, their physiology, and the socially relevant applications of mediumship  specifically mediumship as a potential therapeutic intervention for those experiencing traumatic grief after the loss of a loved one. My research deals with basic psi and survival-related research including Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC), Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), and reports of ghosts and hauntings.

What has your research found?

That’s kind of big question to answer! If folks are interested in our findings, I like to point them to the publications page on our website. There they can find downloadable PDF’s of our published papers, downloadable research briefs, links to media interviews, and more. For those people who are interested in mediumship research specifically, and don’t want to have to read all the research papers, Julie published a short e-book last year, Among Mediums: A Scientist’s Quest for Answers which reviews, in non-technical terms, her research and findings from the past 10 years. (And she’s really funny so it’s also entertaining!)

What current projects do you have going on?

We have a number of interesting projects going on at the moment. We have active research taking place in Basic Parapsychology, Survival, and Animal Consciousness. We are actually looking for research participants! We keep a list of projects on our site . But we just launched a new project I’m really excited about called

What is and how did this project get started? is sort of a culmination of different projects I have been working on for awhile. In short, it’s a collaborative process that allows us to visualize certain kinds of data in interesting and beautiful ways.

Currently, there are two versions. The first deals with data we collect when we invite deceased people, we call them discarnates (‘dis’ means ‘not’ and ‘carn’ means ‘flesh’), into our lab to interact with different types of equipment. This is part of our ITC research. Once we run a number of sessions, we run these data though statistical tests to see if we can detect this interaction. started when I began thinking about different ways we might visualize these ITC data. By converting the data into images, we may be able to detect interesting patterns that might not show up if we only looked at the numbers and statistics. After playing around with some ideas I developed some software which visualizes the data.  I call these software tools “visualizers.”  I was struck by how interesting the patterns were, so I posted some of the images on Facebook. The feedback was really positive.

ITC art
ITC art.

When Julie saw the ITC images, she suggested that we use a similar technique to look at intention data so I created second visualizer. The Intention Visualizer takes the output from a random number generator (RNG, also called a random event generator, REG) and converts the data into an image. The data are collected during sessions in which an operator sets his or her focus on a specific intention, for example, “Hope” or “Joy.” The result is a visual representation of the data that symbolizes the intention.

Hope Intention Art
Hope Intention Art.

Is it science or is it art?

I like to say that it is art informed by science. The Visualizer software takes some liberties with the data in order to produce an interesting image so one shouldn’t draw strong conclusions about the data from the images. That being said, there is research behind the way we collect the data for the images.

For example, there is research out of Princeton t that shows that intention can change the output of a Random Number Generator. Also, the Global Consciousness Project maintains a global network of RNGs and the data from the network seems to indicate a deviation from randomness when a major world event occurs.

From my own ITC research, I have found that there seems to be some effects on different types of devices when a discarnate is invited into our lab. I use the output of these devices to drive the Visualizer and produce the images. Of course, there is no way that anyone can confirm or deny that the invited discarnate is taking an active role in the creation of these images, but we can say that the images are generated by data which accurately reflect the environmental state of our lab at the time the invited discarnate is invited to participate in the session.

Can I get my own Psi images?

Yes, you can!

Once we started showing these images, people began to ask us how they could get their own, so we launched From there you can schedule either a custom Intention session where you focus your intention on an idea or a custom ITC session in which you invite a deceased loved one to interact with the equipment in the lab. The sessions are run remotely, so you don’t come to our lab; you can do it from wherever you are (it seems that consciousness is not confined by space or time). Each session lasts 30 minutes so we can collect the data. After the session is complete we email you a JPEG image of your visualized session data along with a Certificate of Authenticity. You can then print the JPEG from your printer. We will also place your image in a secured gallery on From there you can order enlargements and framed prints in a wide range of sizes and formats including stretched canvas prints, acrylic prints, and metal prints.

We also have some pre-made intention prints in our public gallery on that you can order as well. They are from sessions where Julie and I focused on the ideas of Hope, Gratitude, and Abundance.

How much do these sessions cost?

The cost covers my time to prepare the session, collect the data, clean the data, generate the visualization, create the finalized image, create the Certificate of Authenticity, and make your image available on The total introductory price is $95. The custom prints from start at around $25. The total price for custom prints and framing will depend on the options you select including size and framing options as well as shipping costs and applicable taxes.

I’d also like to point out that the funds raised from will go towards supporting psi research at the Windbridge Institute.

As a scientist, why are your focusing this effort on the artistic side?

Well, just because we are making art does not mean we are neglecting our research efforts. We have a number of new peer-reviewed research papers in the works and we are still performing a wide range of scientific studies. But, that being said, our goal at the Windbridge Institute is to focus on applied research; that is, to develop ways to make people’s lives better on a daily basis. We believe that art can do that, especially art that allows people to explore the non-local impact of our intentions or art that serves as a reminder of our continued connections to those who have passed.

I think Julie said it best: “In a modern world in which mystery is scarce, celebrates the limitless nature of consciousness that we are only beginning to understand.”

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me about your work!

You are very welcome! Thank you for the opportunity!

To stay up-to-date with research at the Windbridge Institute you can join their email list or follow Mark on Facebook!