Thursday, October 31, 2013

Guest Post: Freya Robertson Talks Costumes and Heartwood


Today Freya Robertson, author of the recently released HEARTWOOD is here. Epic fantasy, warriors from different lands and a quest, this one was on my TBR list the second I heard about it.  Since Freya was visiting on the most wonderful holiday of the year, Halloween, I asked her to write about the clothing of her characters and which characters she would love to see fans dress up as at a con. Take it away, Freya!

What an interesting question! First of all, I have to say that if Heartwood ever reached the stage of fandom where readers want to dress up as one of the characters, I would explode with excitement! Cosplay and fan fiction are, in my opinion, a wonderful way to compliment writers and creators of games. I can remember as a child writing to William Horwood who wrote the Duncton Chronicles because I loved his stories so much. I didn’t go as far as to dress up as a mole, but maybe I would have if cosplay had been more of a thing then!

Anyway, back to Heartwood. Like many epic fantasies, the story has a large cast of characters but focusses on a core few who take part in the adventures to rescue the heart of the Arbor—the holy tree—from the bottom of the ocean after the Darkwater Lords steal it, and who travel to all four corners of Anguis to try and get the energy flowing throughout the land again. Heartwood has a traditional epic fantasy quasi-medieval European setting, and the clothing and armour worn by the characters will hopefully seem very familiar to readers with an interest in that period.

I decided to concentrate on the early to high medieval period for clothing, and women in the novel mostly wear a long dress with a shorter tunic over the top of a contrasting colour, while men will wear leather or woollen breeches with an overtunic. One character I would be very interested in seeing portrayed is that of the man they call the Virimage, whose name is Teague. He is from the Komis lands, distinctive for his brown skin, black hair and striking golden eyes. He dresses in the usual tunic and breeches, but Teague can control the Veriditas or greening, and without any effort at all, he can conjure up flowers, leaves and acorns to amaze and entertain. I have visions of him looking like the Green Man from folklore, covered in vines and leaves and with similar embroidery on his tunic to emphasize his talent. I’d love to see a representation of him.
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mister Sandman

In case you didn't know, I am a giant Neil Gaiman fangirl. (He once said I was lovely. I'm having it put on my tombstone. It's already on my resume). Besides his outstanding novels and mindblowing short stories, he wrote one of the best graphic novels of all time. The Sandman comics introduced the iconic Endless family with brother and sister Dream and Death at the forefront. That series came out twenty five years ago and people have always wondered what ever happened to Dream before the events of the graphic novels.

The wait is over. After twenty five years, the origin of Dream is finally upon is. Today marks the release of Sandman Overture, one of the most anticipated comics of the year. I walked eight city blocks in the RAIN to get my copy today and it was completely worth it. The art is lush and beautiful, the story just as brilliant as Gaiman always is.

The story concerns Dream's early life and brings back fan favorite, the Corinthian. I can't tell you more than that, unfortunately. In the words of River Song, spoilers sweetie! Just know that it's completely and utterly amazing. 

The comic is going fast so head out to your local comic book shop NOW if you want it. And trust me, you want it.
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Birthday Jack Skellington!

I will never forget seeing The Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time. It was November 19th, 1993 and I was a mere eight years old. My grandmother, who lived in Florida, was trying desperately to reach our home in New York for Thanksgiving but a massive airline strike derailed all our plans. My younger sister and I were so incredibly upset and try as my father might, he couldn't find a way to get her on a flight that day. There was much shouting and screaming and massive meltdowns in our living room that day. To make us feel better, my parents took my sister and I out to get a Happy Meal and then took us to the movies. The only children's movie playing that night? The Nightmare Before Christmas.

I don't remember hearing about the film before I saw it but it completely rewrote my brain. I walked out of that theater a changed girl. My mother had found it weird, my sister had been frightened and my father had been bored. Me? I was absolutely enchanted. I loved it more than I had loved any film I had seen in all my eight years, easily surpassing The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins and The Last Unicorn (my top three movies, according to a diary I kept at the time). It was dark and horrific and scary and wonderful. It spoke to me on a level I'd never encountered before and I was instantly obsessed. Since that fateful day, I have considered the Nightmare Before Christmas to be one of my favorite films of all time. I know all the songs by heart and I can recite whole scenes of dialogue from memory.

Today, October 29th, is the twentieth anniversary of the Nightmare Before Christmas' theatrical release. On this day, Tim Burton and Henry Selick unleashed Jack Skellington and the rest of Halloween Town onto an unsuspecting world. It was the first time Jack would wander up that now iconic curved hill in the graveyard and sing about how weary and depressed he was, the first time Sally would lovingly watch him from afar and try to save him from himself. Santa Claus had nothing to fear until Locke, Shock and Barrel turned up at his door. It was dark, brooding and utterly majestic. The juxtaposition of Halloween Town to the bright, snowy Christmas Town was like watching Dorothy step into Oz for the first time; absolutely mindblowing.
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Monday, October 28, 2013

Lilly And Sherlock Are Back!

by Megan S.


It's the most wonderful time of the year!  Not only did Sherlock announce its return date for the long awaited third season a few days ago, it's officially time to debut my cat Lilly in her rather serendipitous 2013 Halloween costume. 

Just what is the world's cutest cosplaying kitty going as this year, you ask?  Well, you don't have to be the world's greatest detective to deduce the answer.

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Talking TV: What's Working For You This Fall?

by Sara N.

Let's talk TV, shall we? We've had about a month since the new shows premiered, and it's been a mixed bag. Some of the newbie genre programs are pretty good (heeeeey, Ichabod); others have been disappointments (we are all looking at your team, Agent Coulson).

Here's a rundown of the lessons we've learned so far in the Fall 2013 TV Season, (Mostly) Genre Shows Edition.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's All About the Candy

Tank from lookhuman.com

You might have noticed that we at Stellar Four adore Halloween (if not, then read here and here and here). The costumes, decorations, pumpkins, scary movies and stories are a huge part of the fun, but my inner 10 year old always asks, "What about the candy?"

No surprise, I like to find something new for my sweet tooth every year. I found a few fun ones that I wanted to share with you.

First up, Construction Block Candy from FAO Schweetz. I found these at Toys R Us. Legally, they of course have to call them "construction blocks," but we all know that they are candy Legos.

I first got them because the boychild not only wanted Lego cupcakes for his birthday, he also wanted me to make them. I've had a few decorating fails, so I decided to go easy on this one. It totally worked because the kids thought the end result was awesome.

Bonus - it was quick to make AND inexpensive. Woohoo!

You can actually build with the candy blocks, so that is fun. The taste isn't fantastic. It's not horrible, but was just extra sweet. They are a great conversation piece though, so if you are having a candy bar at your Halloween shindig, you might want to add these to the offering.

Next we have the Caramel Apple Milky Way bars. I found these on sale at Target and was on the fence. They sounded interesting, but I knew that they could so easily go horribly, horribly wrong. Happily, I like them. Strong caramel taste with a hint of apple. Helps that these are the bite size morsels. I'm not sure I'd want a whole bar.

Finally, we have the Ghiradelli Cabernet Matinee. The bag reads "Dark chocolate infused with a hint of natural blackberry and grape flavor." When I smell the chocolate, I got a whiff of grape, but the taste was just chocolate and blackberry, especially that all-important after-taste. I'm also a dark chocolate fan, so this was a win for me.

I saw the pumpkin spice M&M's in the store too, but did not have the courage to try them this year.

How about you? What is your favorite candy this Halloween?


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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

'Tis The Season For Fear

by Megan S.



It's beginning to look a lot like Halloween around my house. The creepy doll is placed by the chimney with care in hopes the Great Pumpkin will be there and the jack-o-lanterns are all snug and been fed with visions of murder and mayhem going on in their heads. Soon my very favorite holiday will be upon us and I want to know what you're doing to get into the mood.
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Get Your Welcome to Night Vale Pumpkin Carving Patterns Here

by Sara N.


Nobody does clever/spooky/funny like Welcome to Night Vale, the coolest podcast to hit the Internet since, well, ever. And this Halloween, you can put a little Night Vale charm on your front porch with our exclusive Welcome to Night Vale pumpkin carving patterns.


Read on to download the pumpkin stencil templates and to get carving instructions.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Update! The 52 Book Challenge

Just a gentle reminder about Stellar Four's 52 Book Challenge! We're heading into the best reading months of the year right now, as the hot summer gives way to the cozy autumn. How many books have you read?

If you don't remember or if you're just joining us, the 52 Book Challenge is an invitation to read one book per week all year. If you hit 52 book, you win! Any books, novellas, short stories, comic books and graphic novels count! Even e-books count!

I am happy to report that I am a mere TWO BOOKS away from 52! I finished my 50th today, which was Scott Lynch's outstanding and long awaited The Republic of Thieves. I'm ahead of schedule, since it's only week 43! I've recently devoured a bunch of e-novellas by Elliott James, the Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding and The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu!

So booklovers, give me your book counts! Have you surpassed 52 books? Are you lagging behind? What are you currently reading? You only have only NINE weeks left!
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Friday, October 18, 2013

Too Old for Halloween? Try Tripping Through a Haunted House

by Sara N.

Here's a sad truth: Halloween just isn't as fun for adults as it is for kids. I mean, you can't trick or treat as a grownup; the neighbors tend to frown on it. Nor can you eat your weight in leftover candy without feeling guilty. After a certain age, going to rowdy costume parties to see how much alcohol you can put away without smearing your sexy cat makeup just loses its appeal.

Sure, Halloween decorations are fun (and boy, have we had some good ideas for you over the years), and maybe you work someplace where costumes are smiled upon. You can carve pumpkins and watch scary movies and read scary books, and those are all great. If you've got kids, it's fun to dress them up and take them door to door — plus, you can swipe their candy when they're not looking — but the joy is peripheral, not firsthand. So how can you get back that gleeful Halloween hedonism you enjoyed as a kid?

This year, I tried to recapture past Halloween glory. While visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Salt Lake City, I found myself joining a massive line to walk through an elaborate haunted house.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Interview: Nightlife Author Matthew Quinn Martin

Today, author Matthew Quinn Martin has stopped by to answer a few questions. His debut novel, Nightlife, is out this Monday, October 21 from Pocket Star.

 
The blurb: "For centuries an ancient evil has slept beneath the streets of New Harbor. This Halloween, it wakes up.
An action-packed debut horror novel from talented new writer Matthew Quinn Martin, Nightlife pits a feisty bartender and a mysterious loner against bloodthirsty terrors as alluring as they are deadly.

Nightclub bartender and serial heartbreaker Beth Becker might be a cynic. But when her best friend goes missing Halloween night, Beth knows it’s up to her to find out what happened.

Her quest will take her on an odyssey through the crumbling city of New Harbor, Connecticut. Along the way she meets a homeless prophet warning of something he calls the “Night Angel”—a bloodthirsty creature that feeds on the forgotten. And she will form an unlikely bond with a hunted stranger who knows all too well what stalks the streets at night.

He tells Beth the hideous truth about the nightmare creatures that have haunted mankind’s imagination for eons—creatures the world calls vampires. Together they are the only hope for New Harbor, but to defeat what lurks in the shadows they’ll have to conquer something far stronger than fear—their own desires."
 
Action, a bit of romance, and some no-good, very-bad vampires, you know it had to go on my TBR list.
 
Matthew was a treat to interview and I am insanely jealous that he lives on an island. It's not a tropical island, but still - island! I do have better internet here in my landlocked home, and I would miss streaming Netflix, but I would probably get more done. Something to remember as Nano looms on the horizon.

KF: Thank you so much for your time and for visiting Stellar Four and congrats on the release of Nightlife!

MQM: Thank you…and thank you again for having me.

KF: I am going to go out on a very short limb and guess that you favor the monstrous vampire. Are there any less-monstrous vampires that you enjoyed reading/watching?

MQM: It’s not that I favor the monstrous vampire exactly. I just felt that now was the time for it to make a comeback. There’s an entire book (if not library’s) worth of material on why different takes on this enduring mythic archetype are popular at different times. But for Nightlife I thought it would be fun to just throw away all of the post-Dracula, post-Interview with the Vampire, tropes and think of new ways to explain the old legends.

While I was working on Nightlife, I pretty much quarantined myself from any contemporary vampire-themed fiction, films and TV shows. I wanted to avoid as much outside influence as possible. However, I did break down and watch Park Chan-Wook’s amazing film Thirst…but that’s because I’m such a big fan of his work. And after I handed Nightlife into my editor, I read my friend (and former office-mate) M.L. Brennan’s Generation V––which also has a take on vampires that deviates significantly from the standard mold––and enjoyed that quite a bit.

KF: What are some of your influences? What are your favorite "monstrous vampires"?

MQM: I have a lot of influences, and not all of them write in the horror/fantasy genre (in fact some of them don’t even write fiction). Here are a few: Harlan Ellison, Flannery O'Connor, Frank Herbert, Michael Moorcock, Dean Koontz, Jim Thompson, Donald Fagen, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, Day Keene, Kurt Vonnegut, David Foster Wallace, Walker Percy, Joe Eszterhas, Jack Kerouac, Walter M. Miller Jr…

…and, of course, Stephen King…who has got a lot of fantastic monstrous vampires popping up in his work––Barlowe in Salem’s Lot, the never named “Night Flier” as well as the various types of vampires in the Dark Tower cycle.
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall Into Fall Books

I'd like to announce that it is OFFICIALLY autumn. The air is cold, the leaves are crunchy underfoot. The days are getting rapidly shorter. If you're anything like me, all you want to do is curl up in your favorite chair with your favorite blanket, your favorite brand of tea in your favorite mug nearby. It's time to be cozy, to stay indoors. It's time for a deluge of autumn books. I, personally, can not wait.

"But Meghan B," you ask, "what books are coming out this fall that we should read?" Well, nameless and faceless person, you have come to the right place! I've got all the best books coming out in the coming weeks in one handy dandy post for you! Because I love you and because I care. Do you like romance, suspense, magic and all things generally awesome? Then this fall is going to be an amazing time for you.

Join me after the jump for all the best books you're going to want to get your grubby little hands on this autumn!
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I'm an "Angry" Drinker

by Kathy F.



I am a wee bit addicted to the seasonal variety packs found in the beer/cider aisle. For instance, even though I know that I hate the Hazel Brown and I'm not a great fan of pumpkin beer either, I still had to get the Sam Adams Fall pack so I could try the Ruby Mild Ale. I figure if I like at least half of the brews, then I'm good.

This year, however, I may have to call it the Year of the Cider. Hard Cider, that is. I discovered the Angry Orchard Fall pack and I liked everything. Crisp Apple, Traditional Dry (quite nice, it was new for me), Apple Ginger, and the one that really piqued my interest, Cinnful Apple.

Imagine throwing some Red Hots into your cider. It tasted like drinking candy.

While I did enjoy it, I would say that the 3 bottles in the variety pack were also enough for me. It's not like I can drink more than one in a night. That would be a little too much. Friends opinions have varied from one who hated it (although this person also hates anything sweet), to another who wanted to throw another handful of Red Hots  into the cider to make it taste more like candy. YMMV.

I think of it as a dessert drink. Not something I would pair with a meal, but fine on it's own. If I was hosting a Halloween shindig, I would be sure to have some on hand. It is definitely different and something that quite a few have wanted to try at least once.

What are you drinking this Fall?
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Monday, October 14, 2013

Easy and Impressive No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

by Megan S.

Modge Podge Lace Pumpkin
There are a lot of downsides to carving a pumpkin: the guts get everywhere, your arms are sticky for the rest of the day, and the gourds begin to rot as soon as you've created your masterpiece.  It's one of the reasons why I haven't bothered doing a jack-o'-lantern in the last few years. Then I saw this sweet lace and velvet pumpkin from On Sutton Place on Pinterest the other day and I felt that itch to get crafty once again.

In case you're looking for a few ideas of your own, I've rounded up my favorite new ideas floating around the web.  Most take only a matter of minutes to put together and all look amazing.  Just click on the links for the instructions.

Here's what I liked best. 
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Friday, October 11, 2013

Etsy Remembers Pooping Yourself to Death & Other Good Times With Oregon Trail

by Megan S.


You probably wouldn't have guessed this, but I was pretty big gamer back in the day.  Yep, Oregon Trail was my jam.  Computer time was my absolute favorite in elementary school because it meant risking life and limb to get the great majority of my brave digital family out west.  I say "great majority" because I never managed to get every member of my party to Oregon without somebody pooping themselves to death.  Yes, that's right, kids, one of the many lessons the game taught was the variety of ways settlers could die, the most gruesome being cholera and dysentery.

So, I thought what better way to end our first ever S4 ♥s the 80s with the best Oregon Trail goodies from Etsy.  Here's what I think you'll love.
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80s Cartoon Remakes: The Good, The Bad and the Must Have

The cartoons of the 80s fully embraced the brash consumerism of the decade and lead to a perfect storm of toys unleashed upon the Toys R Us shelves. I not only watched the shows every Saturday, but I also hounded my parents into buying me all of the accompanying toys. Castle Greyskull? Had it. My Little Pony? Oh yeah, could fill boxes with those. I was denied Voltron and Transformers, though. All I got were Gobots. Freaking Gobots. That still stings.

Thanks to Netflix, showing the beloved cartoons of my youth to the next generation has never been easier. Of course, it also means that the children find the reboots as well. Today I'm taking 10 of my favorite 80s cartoons and breaking out the Good, the OK, the Bad, and the Must Haves of the remakes.

The Good

My Little Pony: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic kicks the original's ass, picks it up again, then punts it against the wall for good measure. We are at the point that I hope the kids don't find the original. Just glory in the adventures of Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie and everypony in this wonderful, zany, yet not too goody-goody world.

And that's it for the good, my friends.
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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

10 Movies From the 80s to Remake

Movies from the 80s are some of the best in the world. While some are outrageously cheesy, many have become cultural milestones and cinematic legends.

What does Hollywood love more than a cinematic legend? Remaking a cinematic legend!

I'm here to show you how we can update 10 classic 80s movies for this generation. Except the Princess Bride. That movie is sacred.

Follow me under the cut to see how your favorite 80s films will look in 2013!

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

'80's Fashions: Triumphs of Science & Insults to the Natural Order

by Sara N.

For real, don't get too close to her with an open flame.
We put lots of things on our bodies in the 1980s. Things that nature did not create, nor ever intended. Things designed by scientists in labs. Terrible things. Dark things. Plastic things.

Join me in remembering some of the biggest affronts to the natural order of things that were ever perpetuated in the name of fashion, won't you?


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Monday, October 7, 2013

10 Totally Rad Robots From The 80s

by Megan S.


Is there anything more emblematic of the 1980s than robots? Well, probably, but those prolific little droids were everywhere -- in movies, on TV, gaming systems, your bedroom if you were lucky -- and they were FABULOUS.  It's hard to pick a favorite or ten from the multitude, but I managed to do the improbable in honor of our first ever S4 Loves The 80s week.  Did your favorite make the cut?*
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Friday, October 4, 2013

Is "Gravity" a Science Fiction Movie? Or Is It Just Fiction?

by Sara N.

The new Sandra Bullock/Gorgeous George Clooney film Gravity opens today nationwide, and so far the reviews indicate that a) it's really, really good and b) it really, really needs to be seen in 3D on the big screen.

Motion sickness: Now in 3D!
You'll get no backtalk from me on that latter point. I want to see the filmmaking wizardry that went into making the production seem gravity free as the characters deal with their shuttle being destroyed during a routine spacewalk. Plus, I defy you to name two more likable actors than Bullock and Clooney — other than Tom Hanks, of course, who is the patron saint of Awesome People Who Would Ruin My Day If It Turns Out They're Secretly Jerks Not That I Think He Actually Is A Jerk Or Anything He Is Clearly The Best.

Anyway, my friend Erik made an interesting point about Gravity on Facebook this morning, asking if it can really be called science fiction. Basically, his question boiled down to whether having a fictional story that involves science is enough to make something science fiction. My first response was, no, to be science fiction, it has to have futuristic tech. But then I started to have second thoughts on that.

So I ask you, does a story have to be futuristic in order to be science fiction? Read on, and join me in this debate.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Cover Love AND a Halloween Resolution

by Kathy F.

Yesterday, while perusing Pinterest this cover popped out and screamed READ ME!



First the title, A Barricade in Hell, got me simply because it sounds like something I would want to know more about (bravo). Some kind of battle against evil - check. Then the cover, just YES. At first glance I thought she was in a straitjacket in an asylum - the white gloves, the way she is holding herself, and the blue background. Then as I looked closer, it gave me a little "Yellow Wallpaper" feel with wondering if the prison is in her own mind. I dig this cover. I want to read this book. Of course, it comes out June 2014, so I have a bit of a wait.

That is okay though, because the first book, Delia's Shadow, is out now. I've had it on my never-ending TBR list and seeing the cover for book 2 made me reconsider book 1. This brings me to my first Halloween resolution:

I will read Delia's Shadow before Halloween.

Want to know more? Here is the blurb: "It is the dawn of a new century in San Francisco and Delia Martin is a wealthy young woman whose life appears ideal. But a dark secret colors her life, for Delia’s most loyal companions are ghosts, as she has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with an ability to peer across to the other side.

Since the great quake rocked her city in 1906, Delia has been haunted by an avalanche of the dead clamoring for her help. Delia flees to the other side of the continent, hoping to gain some peace. After several years in New York, Delia believes she is free…until one determined specter appears and she realizes that she must return to the City by the Bay in order to put this tortured soul to rest.

It will not be easy, as the ghost is only one of the many victims of a serial killer who was never caught. A killer who after thirty years is killing again.

And who is now aware of Delia’s existence."

Ghosts, murder and the fantastic San Francisco as a backdrop, this book is perfect for October.

Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer  Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound

Jaime Lee Moyer
website: http://www.jaimeleemoyer.com/
twitter: https://twitter.com/jaimeleemoyer


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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Great and Terrible Beauty

"Want to trade that voice for some makeup?"
I have a confession to make. I am godawful at makeup. If it involves more than lip gloss, I'm a mess. It's
hard to put on eyeliner when you're so nearsighted you have to have your nose pressed up against the mirror to see what you're doing. Every few months I go into Sephora or MAC and buy a few items, thinking "this is it! This is when I finally master this!". I trap a salesperson and badger them with questions, "what's best for blue eyes?" "Do I really need primer?" "What's the difference between lip sticks and lip stains?". Many of those items still sit in a bag, unopened. Such a failure.

I think this is going to be another one of those times. I saw these all over the internet today and my brain screamed "DO WANT" so loud I think it startled my nervous system.

This is it, you guys. This is when I finally master makeup!

Disney villain makeup kits! I have never been so thrilled in all my days. There is nothing I love more than a good Disney villain and I'm excited to get my hands on anything that comes out with their sneering, smirking, leering visages on it. The ELF makeup company has released four Disney villain palettes just in time for Halloween. They're only $9.99 per set which is an awesome price. They're avaliable in drug stores like CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid.

Jump under the cut for a peek at these awesome little sets! And gasp, they come with instructions on how to put this stuff on your face!

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Halloween Resolutions

After what seemed like an endless summer, October is finally here. The next 31 days will be full of crisp autumn weather, pumpkins and apples, candy and ghosts and multiple viewings of Hocus Pocus. In short, it's the most wonderful time of the year.

The beginning of a new October almost feels like New Years all over again. It has the same magical feeling in the air, heavy with potential. A new blank slate. It's a time to reflect on the past year and celebrate surviving another summer. October feels like a great reward, tailor made to those of us who enjoy the dark and spooky. The transition of September into glorious October got me thinking last night. Since it feels so much like New Years, why don't we make Halloween resolutions?

New Years resolutions are often fraught with failure and false, easily broken promises. You lie to yourself and claim you'll lose weight, stop smoking and cut out other vices you deem unsavory. Maybe you resolve to read more, internet less or catch up on projects you keep putting off. If you make a New Years resolution and manage to keep it past January 7th, then congratulations because you are probably a witch. It's almost impossible to keep one and you're just setting yourself up for crushing disappointment, laying your new failures at the infant feet of a brand new year. New Years resolutions feel cheap and tawdry.

Halloween resolutions, on the other hand, are awesome. There's no disappointment or judgment here. I feel as if Halloween resolutions are when you resolve to do things you love more, to overindulge in things you can't get enough of. Don't resolve to lose weight, endeavor to eat as much Halloween candy as you can get your hands on. Don't resolve to clean and organize your house, make it a priority to decorate it in the most epic ways possible. Reach out to old friends with warm Halloween greetings. Sit down and write actual letters to people. Find new friends to terrorize share your love of Halloween with. Watch all the Halloween movies you can. Sing songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas at the top of your lungs. Succumb to the darkness. Harness the demon steed that is your creativity and dive into drawing and painting and writing.

Maybe take your resolution cues from some of the sacred pantheon of Halloween. Should you resolve to be more like the noble Jack O'Lantern or the charming ghosts and ghouls? Perhaps take a leaf from the books of such go-getters as the vampires and werewolves? Dabble in villainy?

I think a Halloween resolution is anything you want it to be as long as you resolve to have fun and Monster Mash like no one's watching.

My Halloween resolutions? Carve a pumpkin (I usually never get to because of weather issues), decorate like it's going out of style, write spooky stories and give scary books to all my friends. I want to write letters and watch episodes of the Addams Family. I want to stay up late to wait for the Great Pumpkin because I Believe.

What will your Halloween resolution be?
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