Thursday, April 30, 2015

Halfway to Halloween + Walpurgisnacht

It's April 30, ghouls and boils, which means it is officially HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN!!

Only 6 months to go!

Please excuse me while I squeal...SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Witch by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Tonight also marks Walpurgis Night, or Walpurgisnacht, aka Witches' Night!

From Wikipedia:

"Walpurgis Night is the English translation of Walpurgisnacht, one of the German names for the night of 30 April, so called because it is the eve of the feast day of Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century abbess in Germany. In German folklore Walpurgisnacht, also called Hexennacht (literally "Witches' Night"), is believed to be the night of a witches' meeting on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains, a range of wooded hills in central Germany between the rivers Weser and Elbe."

Stay spooky and better start getting your Halloween plans in order!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Watch Now on Netflix: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

I have been DYING to see A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, billed as the "first Iranian vampire Western ever made", and it was one of my most-anticipated horror films of 2015, so I was basically counting the days until it showed up on Netflix streaming! And it finally premiered a few days ago so I rushed home from work to see it...

Here is the synopsis:

In the Iranian ghost-town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, the townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire.

This black and white film is the feature debut from writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour, and I am always stoked to see a female-helmed film, especially one as unique as this one! The film isn't your typical horror movie, in fact I'm not sure I would even call it horror. It's not for everyone, but I found it stylish and engaging, blending elements from pulp cinema, Westerns, film noir, romance, and horror. It has a languid, moody tone, some killer music, gorgeous visuals, and a misfit love (?) story.

I recommend A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night if you are in the mood for a one-of-a-kind film. You can watch it streaming now on Netflix, and you can also purchase it on Amazon!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Sweet 666th Post: Death Artwork, Death Zines and the Upcoming Death Salon

This is my six-hundred sixty-sixth post, which I wanted to recognize it by, what else, talking about death! I've got some cool things to share, like rad death-inspired artwork, an awesome cemetery zine, and the epic Death Salon coming up! Check 'em all out below!

"Bad Vibes" pin set and "Hang in There" print by
Matt Darling

If you don't know the name Matt Darling, you should! He is one of my favorite new artists and I've been drooling over his work over on Instagram. Who can resist anxiety ghosts, scaredy cats, and old hags? Not me! I finally made my first purchases of his work - I bought his delightfully downbeat "Bad Vibes" pin set (spooks, black cats, skeletons skulk around gravestones etched with phrases like "Naw Man", "Can't Win, Don't Try", "Here Lies Who Cares", and my personal favorite "Whatevs 4-evs") as well as a "Hang in There" print. So pleased with everything! You can check out his artwork for sale on!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day is Everyday if You're Vegan

Happy 45th Earth Day, a wonderful day to be grateful for our home and reflect on how we might change our habits to preserve and protect the Earth and all the lives it contains. As Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day stated, “Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”

How can we achieve this "environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures"? Well, we can start by treating everyday like Earth Day! The simplest and most effective way to do this is adopting a plant-based diet! If you decide to ditch dairy, eggs, and meat, your impact will be tremendous. Not only will you help the environment and all those that live on this Earth, but with by focusing on a plant-based or vegan diet, you will also improve your own health and help save animals from unimaginable cruelties.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Recipe: Rustic Tuscan Summer Bread Salad

Not many people know this, but I was actually born near Florence, Italy and moved to the States with my parents when I was around 4 years old (my mom was American, and my dad Italian, so I have dual citizenship). Even though we moved to the States, I grew up on Tuscan cooking, with recipes handed down to my dad from my Italian Nonna. These recipes are near and dear to my heart since I was never able to meet my Italian grandparents.

With some help from my parents, I've decided to veganize the Tuscan dishes I grew up with, and share these veganized recipes with you. Luckily, some are already vegan (like today's recipe), so I'll be sharing those as well, since many aren't commonly know outside of Tuscany.

My first recipe I'd like to share is Panzanella, which is a bread salad dish typically served on hot summer days. I know that bread salad sounds a little weird, but trust me, it's actually quite delicious! And if you're a carb queen like myself, you'll love it!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

John Carpenter's Music Video for "Night"

Unless you've been living in a far off land or under a rock, you probably know that John Carpenter released a glorious debut solo album called Lost Themes back in February. Yes, that John Carpenter, the legendary director and composer behind Halloween, Escape From New York, They Live, Assault on Precinct 13, and many more!

I love the whole album, which is very evocative of the '80s and many of Carpenter's own films and film scores. Whenever I listen to Lost Themes, I feel like it's a soundtrack that's been created specifically for me and that I'm in the middle of my very own film. It's that powerful and atmospheric!

And if that weren't enough, just yesterday Carpenter released the official music video for one of his tracks, "Night". It's one of my favorite new songs off the new album, and seeing the video was such a treat I wanted to share it with you all! Check it out:

Product Review: Balanced Guru Energy Mists

Balanced Guru's Energy Mists

I discovered so many incredible new products at last month's Natural Products Expo West! One amazing company I came across was Balanced Guru, who makes aromatherapy scents/perfumes called Energy Mists to help elevate or regulate moods and feelings. I briefly discussed them in my best products of Expo West post (read here), but I wanted to give them their own full post, as they were kind enough to send me home from Expo with a travel kit of their Energy Mists, which I've been using ever since!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The 3rd Annual Spook Show at the Halloween Club

Last month I attended the Halloween Club's 3rd Annual Spook Show in La Mirada, California. This was my first time attending this event, which brings together Halloween enthusiasts and Halloween/horror/gothic vendors, plus, a huge discount on merchandise from the Halloween Club (I believe they were offering 40% off). The vendors are all set up in the parking lot of the Halloween Club, and offer diverse wares such as art, jewelry, horror merchandise, purses, hair accessories, masks, toys, Halloween decor and props, gothic furniture, t-shirts, taxidermy, and much, much more! There are booths for those representing local haunts, attractions and conventions, people dressed in elaborate costumes, food trucks, a stage with music acts and host, and more fantastical fun! Plus, it is free to attend!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Watch Now on Netflix: Wolfcop

Wolfcop is a 2014 release that started streaming on Netflix recently and I was instantly drawn to its B-movie vibe! After watching it, I think it is a great mix of comedy/horror and is perfect for a horror movie night with friends or something to throw a few beers back with.

Synopsis: After being transformed into a werewolf, boozy cop Lou Garou uses his new powers to tangle with devil worshipers, shape-shifters and other minions of evil.

Wolfcop has an engaging story, unique characters, slapstick, gore, shapeshifting, and one hairy cop. Plus, its transformation scenes, pivotal for any werewolf movie worth its salt, are done really well! I also love how the film throws it back to '80s horror flicks, has clever little werewolf references (I mean, the cop's name is Lou Garou, when the French "loup garou" means werewolf), and the plot keeps you guessing as you try to uncover the mysteries, both past and present, that surround the town.

If you are looking for a fun horror movie, watch Wolfcop on Netflix now!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Food Review: Neat Egg Replacer Mix Plus S'mores Cookie Recipe

I previously reviewed all of Neat's meat replacement mixes (check 'em out here!), but I wanted to do a separate post to highlight their awesome new egg replacer, called the Neat Egg! I used it in all of the Neat mixes I tried, and it worked wonderfully, but I also wanted to try baking with it.

The Neat Egg is pretty awesome if you ask me! Not only is it versatile and can be used in cooking and baking, but it is also only made with two ingredients - chia seeds and garbanzo beans! That means it is totally natural, plus it is gluten-free, non-GMO, soy-free, and, of course, vegan! It comes in a dry mix, and to replace one egg you just mix together one tablespoon of the Neat Egg with two tablespoons of water and add to your recipe! It's so easy and it is a fantastic binder!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Food Review: Neat Meat Replacement Mixes

Neat booth at Expo West 2015

While covering the Natural Products Expo West last month (read my recap here!), I was lucky enough to stop by the Neat booth, where I sampled their breakfast mix and was blown away at the how good it tasted! I knew that I needed to try ALL of their mix flavors and the kind folks at the family-owned Neat were kind enough to send me all their products for review.

Neat offers meat replacements that come in a dry mix, and you just need to add water and an egg replacer (like their Neat Egg, made from chia seeds and garbanzo beans) to make them! They offer a variety of flavors to suit any occasion! They have an Italian Mix, perfect for pastas and lasagna, a Mexican Mix, great for tacos and nachos, an Original Mix, awesome for burgers and chili, and a Breakfast Mix, ideal for sausages and quiches.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Watch Now on Netflix: Killer Legends

I watch a lot of Netflix and am always looking for new things to watch, so I thought I would start this new section called "Watch Now on Netflix" to recommend titles I've recently enjoyed! All titles are streaming on Netflix at the time of posting, but you can also find them on other streaming services, on DVD or on Blu-ray (links below will lead to titles' Amazon pages).

The other night I watched Killer Legends, a documentary that follows Joshua Zeman (who brought us the chilling documentary Cropsey which I also highly recommend) and Rachel Mills as they explore four urban legends and their shocking true-life origins. They find that the truth is sometimes far more horrifying than fiction.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Food Review: NII Bars

Last month at the Natural Foods Expo West (check out my coverage here!), I was fortunate enough to stop by the NII Bars booth, where I got to sample their vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and non-GMO verified nutrient-dense organic food bars!

While I sat there stuffing my face with all the flavors they had to offer, their founder Shanais Pelka told me all about her vision and her company. As a mom and nutritionist, Pelka was always looking for a quick and healthy to-go meal for herself and her kids. She didn't want to sacrifice nutrition for convenience, so she spent lots of time experimenting to create the perfect food bar. The end result is the NII Bar, which comes in five scrumptious flavors!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Summer Beach Goth Essentials

Who knew Vampira was a beach goth?

With warmer temps heating up SoCal and spring breakers descending on our beaches, it already feels like summer is here! As you probably know since I've complained about it so much, I'm not the biggest fan of the sun, summer, or the heat. This year, however, I'm kinda looking forward to the summer season (though probably only because it will put me closer to Halloween).

In fact, I've been so stoked that I kinda started planning beach trips and browsing for the perfect gothic beach accessories. I've found some ghoulishly great goth items for this summer, so now I guess I don't have an excuse for not hitting up the beach!

Here are my picks for Summer Beach Goth Essentials:
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