Kitschy Variety: Welcome to the Sideshow Leggings


The search for a clever way to cover legs during winter without constantly relying on tights brought the discovery of a truly unique separate that I just had to use in the first Carny Style article of the new year.  Despite my aversion towards the company due to some of the designs, Sourpuss did more than hit the mark with these graphically appealing Welcome to the Sideshow Leggings, which take black and white stripes to a whole new level by covering them in an array of boldly printed slogans that are influenced by those found on sideshow banners.  It would be very easy to create an outfit that reads cartoon character, which is fine if this is the look you’re going for.  However, with a garment which makes a profound statement all on its own, one can become lost and even overwhelmed in something that is too busy.  While it seems simple, the Vavavoom Top [also by Sourpuss] is described as having the “perfect pinup fit”, achieved with a ruched sweetheart neckline and cap sleeves that comfortably hug your arms.  Since there is already plenty of blue and red in the leggings, I thought it would be nice to balance with a bit of yellow in the form of the Anna Rose Embroidered Cardigan, since the color is soft without being too distracting.  The black trim disguises  the buttons down the front while a set of roses embroidered on the back adds a nice ‘surprise’ detail.  Layering the Shadow Stripe Swing Skirt over the leggings may risk covering some of that amazing print, but the subtly striped satin skirt is another vintage styled separate from Sourpuss that focuses on the fit of the garment, which shows in the way it gives the illusion of a tight waist.

What better way to coordinate with stripes than using polka dots, particularly when they are plastered across Wanna Be Bad yellow heels, their classic shape and mellow tone putting a bit of punctuation on the mostly monotone materials.  A popular Sourpuss purse gets an updated look, the Floozy now available in gold trimmed black vinyl, the vintage inspiration gleaming behind custom hardware, a kisslock closure and the overall polished finish.  Protect the skin from sudden gusts of cold with the Merona Stripe Scarf, where an engaging mix of black and white stripes, starting with one color dominant over the other and having the two reverse positions, will make it seem as though you have a bit of magic up your sleeves.  Accent an artfully arranged up-do with Gimme Couture’s Audrey Hair Clip, faux pearls set in the center of pointed petals – the black and white striped variety – for a hint of glamour.  In fact, turn up the dial on that with hair clips from Claire’s such as the ravishing red Flower With Feathers and brilliantly blue Glitter Rose, their small sizes ideal for accenting the main piece without weighing down the hair.

Embellishing an ensemble that already has strong lines is open to interpretation depending on whether you want to look refined or like you fell out of an alternative clothing catalog.  The opulence of circus can be translated through shimmering accessories such as the Aurora Borealis Diamond Drop Earrings, which feature a cluster of stones that form the diamond shape for plenty of sparkle.  This can be another area where kitschy and campy can go too far and come across as overdone, but a Rhinestone Braided Choker gives a dash of brilliance to the neckline as rhinestones dance along braided strands.  Combining elements from both of these pieces, the Crystal and Shiny Stone Squares Bracelet has glittering stone squares that are framed in multiple crystals, with trios of links bringing them together around the wrist.  Even though they are rather trendy at the moment, I have been pulled in by the allure of Midi Rings, and this particular set offers a two different thicknesses as well as a spiral ring, all of which can be worn alone or stacked.  They can be mixed with statement rings for a very extravagant effect or in a simple layout that still accents the anatomy in just the right way, particularly when paired with the manicure detailed below.



One of the most important parts of Carny Style is coordinating an outfit to ones makeup, and this is an outfit which certainly speaks volumes on its own and can easily be lost in a sea of too many colors on the face.  Picking up on the palette that appears throughout the look assembled above, the following products are merely suggestions based on what I felt would work best to execute the idea that popped into my head when thinking about the finished ensemble.

1 – Achieving flawless skin is something that many crave, and Camera Ready BB Cream by Smashbox is a mutlitasking product that can deliver just that, providing a glowing and ethereal finish to your face in any occasion.  Enhancing the wear of makeup while maintaining moisture, the tinted cream also primes and protects from the moment you put it on.

2 – Having a choice between sheer and full coverage is what makes COVER FX Pressed Mineral Foundation ideal for layering over the BB Cream foundation.  The product is said to never dry skin, so you won’t get that ‘cakey’ look that other powders can leave behind, which is fairly impressive for a vegan foundation.

3 – Conscious of the inevitable aging process, Urban Decay offers their incomparable Eyeshadow Primer Potion in an Anti-Aging formula that actually minimizes the appearance of wrinkles.  Not only does it cover up imperfections, but it locks your shadow in place for a crease-free color that remains vibrant all day.

4 – Using the Pretty Rebel Eyeshadow Palette by Too Faced, a range of 10 highly pigmented shadows, take Ringleader and pat it across your lids, gently blending it slightly past the crease.  Grab an angled brush and swipe Jailbird from the outer corner and down into the crease, ensuring that the application is in a ‘C’ shape to avoid sharp corners.  Follow up with a healthy dose of Badass, blending the blues together and bringing the darker shade under the eye as well.  Tap a bit of Instigator on the inner corners, and then wet a brush to line eyes with Miss Sparkles and a thick ‘flick’.

5 – While completely optional, the hyper saturated pigment of Ubangi Eye Paint lays black and blue shimmer wherever you want.  Precision may be essential but with a seemingly weightless gel and the right tool, drawing lines to emphasize the previously created cat eye is a breeze.

6 – The fact that a mascara can lengthen, curl, lift and separate lashes with just a few swipes is so unbelievable that Benefit called it They’re Real! to ensure there is no trickery afoot.  Each and everyone of your lashes will be treated to a coat of luxurious jet black pigment that won’t clump or dry out.

7 – Following the application of this magical mascara, set False Feathered Eyelashes with proper adhesive for a deluxe extension custom designed faux lashes that have a severe angle and feathers that accent the sharp corners.

8 – Conceived for the Parisian Aquatic Ballet, the Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil is guaranteed to stay put, allowing the nude tones of Rosewood to define your lips while delivering vitamin E and jojoba wax in the smoothest lines.

9 & 10 – Touted as having 50% more pigment than traditional products, Rogue Artist Intense is an immediate true-to-color lipstick that delivers in one swipe, a blend of three natural waxes allowing it to glide on effortlessly yet promising a long-lasting hold.  When paired with the liner, it sort of ‘mutes’ the lips in order to allow the work you did on your eyes to be the center of attention, while also making sure they don’t completely disappear.  This can be achieved with a bit of Glossy Gloss in Royal Icing, a high-shine lip gloss packed with plenty of white and silver shimmer that gives the otherwise matte lips a wet look without making them sticky.

11 – Contouring and highlighting are becoming more common in makeup application, so why not choose a three-in-one product that allows you do it all?  Ultralight pigments in the MicroSmooth Baked Sculpting Trio blend effortlessly to enhance the skin, from defining cheek bones to giving them a lustrous highlight.

12 – 15 – Minimalism has its place in circus, such as the white faced clowns and pastel shades that occasionally grace costumes, and that is the base of this show stopping manicure.  The sheer cream porcelain of Unforgettable, part of the Translucents range by Forumla X, might seem muted, but there is a certain luminescence that radiates from the fast-drying polish.  Apply it to two of your nails and then top it with Chaotic, essentially black and white confetti that might as well be glitter graffiti found among the Xplosives Top Coats.  Crushed microsparkles and metallic pigments collide in Grandiose, a kaleideoscope of rose and shifts of bronze with plenty of multidimensional shimmer.  Allow this to take over two more of your nails and then get ready for an explosion of blue rainbow mega-glitter on one nail for an Outburst of excitment.


After Anti V’Day

[Originally written on this day in 2006]

There are random bruises and scratches on my back that were discovered while showering this morning.  There was a stiffness in my left arm that felt as though it was a result of being stuck in one position during sleep.

The past couple of days have been full of decadence and high-powered emotions, which has me on a natural high and wanting nothing more than to be with him.  Beyond the superficial details there has always been something more that has kept me loyal to this one person when so many other people have drifted in and out of my life.  The question is not why I continue supporting this friendship, but rather why I deserve his undying devotion when he could likely have anyone he wanted.  Some would suggest that I am being used yet I don’t see what he would be getting out of the friendship when he has given me so much more than I can put into words.  He might be a thief and a junkie and other things that don’t usually fall into the category of qualities you look for in a best friend, but I wouldn’t feel like much of one myself if I held any of that against him.

If I trust him so much and believe the beautiful words that have dripped from his lips, I should have been swimming in happiness and other good feelings.  Instead the back of my throat was seized by fear and I was helplessly trapped in the bed as my whole body trembled.  A few deep, slow breaths eased my mind momentarily so that I could regain control, though a self-addressed “What the fuck?” had me sitting up in bed realizing just how alone I was.

This is what you wanted, I had to remind myself, but I have also lived in small spaces with another person for the past five years and sort of got used to having someone else there.  My room is at the end of a hall and I hear more outside noises than anything else, so I laid there curled up in the middle of my bed with face half-buried in a pillow on account it sort of smelled like him.  Or maybe that was my skin.

He called me this afternoon, which is something I am still getting used to considering how we have communicated in the past, but I didn’t mention this little incident since I was lost in his voice from the moment he said hello.  We talked about some of the things that had happened recently, or I should say he wanted to let me know how much he had enjoyed it and when we could do it again.  Not sure which part he was referring to, I coyly inquired if he could elaborate on what he meant and was met with much laughter.

“You need me to spell it out for you?” he teased.

“Not particularly, but I wouldn’t mind hearing what you say it either.”

“Damn girl, you’re getting me all hot ‘n’ bothered over here.”

This time I laughed and savored a smile.  “Good to know.”

“You drive me crazy, Angel and I don’t know why, but I have a burning desire for you that just won’t quit.  Now I’m not good at this sentimental shit so pardon me for being so blunt.”  There was an awkward pause and I thought that maybe we had been disconnected.  “Darling, I love you for so many reasons I’d lose my voice trying to list them all, so I’ll just go with the fact you make my life better by just being in it and I am so thankful to have had a friend like you for so many years.”

There was silence on my end as I wiped back tears and tried to formulate a response.

“Everything alright over there?”

“Yes,” I croaked.

“I wish you were here with me,” he said with a sigh, “doesn’t feel right without you.”

He had the power to change that at any time throughout the course of our relationship and I dealt with whatever choice he made even if there were things I wanted to ask and refrained from doing so since I appreciated the time we did get to spend together.  Having him say it to me while I’m finally living on my own felt different – it wasn’t something to think about ‘some day’ anymore, but rather a present situation neither of us seemed to want to fully address.  Where would we go?  What would we do?  How would we take care of ourselves?  Would we eventually get tired of each other?  All this and more had plagued my mind for years but in those minutes we were connected on the phone, not a single one of these thoughts entered my mind when I next spoke.

“Nothing makes me feel as good as you do, Aaron,” I confessed, finding courage somewhere despite the fact my voice wavered a bit.

There was a grunt in reply and some other muffled sounds that had me curious of what was happening on his end.  “Listen, I’m getting short on time here but I love you Angel and will talk to you again soon.”

For about an hour I laid in bed repeating those words in my head and losing myself to sordid fantasies, wondering how long it would take him to fulfill that promise.

Happiness is a Journey, Not a Destination

[Originally written on this date in 2006]

A few days ago I received an e-mail from Jon thanking me for a great time last weekend, which totally made me blush since he was the one who had treated me and all.  His communication skills are improving even if he doesn’t write much and has a habit of slipping into Carny Speak when bringing up certain topics.  Being able to have such an open relationship now is doing wonderful things to him, particularly on the paranoia front, as he doesn’t request to sit facing the door and isn’t exhibiting the usual behavior that I have grown accustomed to.

He did promise that drugs were something to be left in the past, particularly since the emotions that were coursing through him were much more enjoyable.  Recovering from addiction is a process and I understand it’s something he needs to do at his own pace, but I can see that he is really making an effort and that tells me he is serious about the commitment to get clean.  That’s not to say he is going to be completely straight-edge or anything, as we still smoke when we are together and he is capable of drinking responsibly.  It just means that we won’t be drag racing and I don’t have to scream down the highway at a random a.m. hour on account he shot too much dope and wanted to make sure I was there with him in case he died.  Nights like that should be buried in the past as we continue to build a future together, and even though I’m aware that either sounds highly cliche or like I’m putting my faith in a pipe dream, it’s something I know we have both wanted for a very long time.

Relocating has only strengthened our friendship and when he talks about being with me on a permanent basis, I know he means every word from the bottom of his heart.  When he says the ones that used to feel like they could only be whispered through the roar of the ocean, I can hear the passion behind them that used to be repressed for reasons that no longer matter.  Being close to him, physically speaking, is when I feel safest, as though nothing else in the world matters and we are the only two people on this planet.  Parting is not something that causes me heartache since I can talk to him whenever I want now, looking forward to when we are together again.

While it is certainly far too early for predictions, since I know better than to excitedly ramble about all the things I want to do and set myself up for disappointment, I have noticed a marked difference in the direction our relationship is taking.  That term has been used casually here and there, but lately it has taken on a much deeper meaning that I understand how serious things are becoming.  Do not want to get carried away with fantasies and all, but he is on my mind every day and I fall into thoughts of what it would be like if we were together all the time.

Need to search for affordable source of body jewelry, as I have had the urge to downsize a lot of what I wear for a long time now.  Since this desire still remains, I believe it is something I should do, but there is no Unimax and I am unsure of where to even start looking for a place like it.  Guess that means I have some on-line searching to do after practicing for my upcoming show at Axis Lounge.

New Beginnings

[Originally written on this date in 2006]

How great is it to be living in Philly?  Oh, I could go on. There are so many interesting places to go and such sights to see; lots of parks, a few museums and plenty of other goodies.  The food I have eaten over the past few days was fantastic beyond mere words, though being treated to the meals may have contributed to their deliciousness.

My room rocks and currently I am in the process of painting it; I have a kick ass queen size mattress all to myself with brand new bedding -sheets, pillow cases and a luxurious top blanket – that was a gift from a special someone who said they thought I could use something nice for my new place.  The red blanket is very soft and keeps me warm at night so I adore it very much and think about him when I am wrapped up in it.  There is some great furniture in the basement that I am making use of, and a shelving unit in the garage that will be very useful.  The best part is that I will still have plenty of space once these items are put into the room, and the closet is organized just the way it should be.  Also have been put in charge of this enormous plant that just had its first bloom yesterday.

Oh, and what season is this?  The nights might be cold, and sure it rained today, but the weather has been much nicer than it should be for the beginning of February.  Certainly hoping for an early Spring and have a hunch it will get quite colorful around the neighborhood.

Finally relaxing after a week of organized chaos that included spending three hours packing all of my stuff, most of which was still in storage bins.  However, everything still needed to be labeled so I would know exactly what was inside which container.  Then it was either shoved into my car or put out on the deck, and I am kind of proud of how much I was able to get into the Oldsmobile.  Must have been all that experience packing trailers and the possum belly during carnival travel, though I am also quite thankful for having such a spacious vehicle.  All of that was hauled down to Philly on Friday and I was very eager to get it all upstairs into my room.

Since then I have been painting, and the remainder of my things arrived on Sunday, which saved me from having to make an awkward return trip.  The painting is now drying [even though I keep telling myself I’m going to do some touch-ups], my bed is where it belongs and I started arranging some items on the shelves to add a personal touch to the room.  There is a set of lovely wooden cabinets I am using for storage, and the shelving unit still has space available if I need it.

Yesterday I went in search of jobs and that did not go well since I did not find anyone that was hiring.  It doesn’t help that I really need a key to the house so I can go out when my roommates aren’t here without worrying the door is unlocked.

On Saturday I was surprised with a phone call from my best friend who wanted to take me out to dinner to celebrate the move.  Getting ready felt like a ritual again, my stomach bubbling with nerves while a smile danced on my face.  Being picked up right outside the house as opposed to down the block or at a pre-arranged meeting spot made the evening feel like a proper date.  Jon was on his best behavior and refreshingly sober – ok, we smoked a joint before we ate but no other substances were consumed.  The point is that it was the first of many times we would be able to sit down with one another and carve out a new experience in the concrete tomb of our friendship.  He took me to a quaint Indian restaurant where we were surrounded by red and gold walls, candle-lit tables and soft atmospheric music. The food was a bit spicy but otherwise fully enjoyed, as was the usual course of conversation that covered topics we usually found ourselves discussing.

Being so used to going our separate ways after such an amazing experience, I was caught off guard when he politely asked if I wanted to accompany him home.  It shouldn’t have made me so nervous, seeing as how we had been intimate plenty of times and our relationship was blooming much like springtime flowers.  Yet finding myself in his bed is still something I don’t feel the need to discuss in detail, but that doesn’t take away from the moments we spend together.

Sunday afternoon we returned to Philly and stopped in at a cafe with a bohemian vibe and mismatched vintage dining wear that I found rather charming.  The smile on his face was infectious and I almost felt overwhelmed by how sincerely happy we both were.  Something about Philly had us relaxed; maybe it was the lack of paranoia or wondering if I was going to be lectured for having a good time with my best friend.  In fact, I was becoming far more comfortable with being seen with him in public and could tell the feeling was mutual.

We took a walk down South Street and it was so natural it’s like we had been doing for year, hands casually holding one another while we pointed out various things to each other.  Plenty of people glanced in our direction, but it was no longer due to be the most visibly modified people in view.  It just so happened we made a visually appealing couple, even with the huge height difference, and this was acknowledged in a positive manner through random compliments from strangers.  He laughed at one point and mentioned something about how it was flattering, but having such a lovely lady by his side certainly helped.  The romantic gestures didn’t seem to end and public display of affection was something he certainly wasn’t shy about, perhaps even pushing a little too far in some instances.  Not that I wasn’t enjoying it or sort of enticing such behavior, but he does things that drive me wild and I seem to loose all control over inhibitions when I’m around him.

Yea, life in Philly is good so far and I couldn’t be happier that I get to share it with the person I love.