Elizabethan Accessories: Nosegays!

There is plenty of evidence that women in 16th century England wore nosegays – small bunches of flowers worn tucked into the neckline of their clothes: An anonymous broadside circa 1590 depicts street sellers, including a man selling bunches of flowers1; Phillip Stubbes fulminates about women covering their body odor with flowers or perfume2; there are nosegays in Marcus Geerhaert the Elder’s 1570s Bermondsey Wedding painting3, Lucas de Heere’s 1570s book of various ccostume has two images of English women wearing nosegays4, and the Hogenberg engraving of Nonesuch Palace in 1582, with the image at the base titled The English Method of Selling Pike5.

I think some of the resistance to the idea of women wearing nosegays comes from the large number of 18th and 19th century depictions of flower sellers, and the popularity of flower crowns and nosegays at modern Renaissance Faires has obscured the origin of the nosegay, being a practical way to smell nice if one could not afford expensive perfumes.

The anonymous 1590s broadside, given the name The Bellman of London6 depicts the street sellers of London, including a man selling artistically over-sized bunches of flowers, with the cry “Buy a fyne bowpot”. “Cryes”, as they were known, were a popular broadside image from the 16th to the 19th century, though after The Bellman, the sellers of flowers were generally women.

Philip Stubbes’ 1583 Anatomy of Abuses complained that “And in the Sommer-time whilst floures gréene and fragrant, yee shall not haue any Gentlewoman almost, no nor yet any droye or pussle in the Cuntrey, but they will carye in their hands, nosegayes and posies of floures- to smell at, and which is more, two or thrée Nosegayes sticked in their brests before, for what cause I cannot tel, except it be to allure their Paramours to catch at them, wherby I doubt not but they get many a slabbering kisse, and paradeuenture more fréendship besides, they know best, what I mean.”

…Essentially, his complaint was that women wore flowers in their bosom, and he was horrified. Horrified, I tell you! There do appear to be more images of middle and working class women wearing fresh flowers than there are of rich women wearing nosegays. In the paragraph before his fulminations against “Gentlewoman, droye or pussle” wearing flowers, Stubbes rages against perfumed women7; perfumes were expensive, and sweet-smelling flowers would be cheaper to obtain.

In the Bermondsey painting, there are women in the center who are wearing nosegays, and the bride and a couple of her attendant women are also wearing nosegays:

Bermondsey Fete 3 women and maybe one more CROP
Bermondsey Fete detail of three women with nosegays

Note the woman with her back to the viewer; she also may be wearing a nosegay, but the nature of the painting (the figures are small) makes it hard to see.

The bride and two of her attendant ladies/bridesmaids also have large nosegays:

Eight members of a wedding party, all in black, the bride and two women behind her wearing nosegays.
Bermondsey Fete, detail

In the De Heere book there are two pictures of English women, and in each picture one woman wearing a nosegay:

Finally, in the Hogenberg engraving of Nonesuch Palace, the woman with a basket may be selling flowers to the women gathered around her. The details that may support my theory are that the woman (who is not as richly dressed as the others) has a basket, a bunch of flowers that appear to be in her bosom, and, of the women standing closest to her, three are carrying small bunches of flowers:

Hogenber 1580s CROP
Five women, the woman in the center is carrying a basket.

The individual flowers that are depicted in aristocratic portraits were almost entirely symbolic, and akin to a coded language; the intentions of the sitter were conveyed to the viewer. Those flowers are not nosegays, nor worn to perfume themselves. The flowers depicted had all sorts of complicated meanings and messages, even down to the colour of the flower, but some of this 16th century flower symbolism has been lost or muddled up by overexcited Victorians. Multiple historians and enthusiasts have done a lot of research so we don’t have to, but still, it’s complicated.8

I have only been able to find a few  pictures of aristocratic or rich women wearing actual nosegays, but two of them are very interesting, because they are two portraits, the first  from 1545-9, the second from 1555-8. They are set a decade apart, but are of the same  woman: Mary Neville Fiennes, Lady Dacre.

I am unsure of the painter of the first portrait (if anyone knows, please tell me in the comments!), but the second was painted by Hans Eworth (also note her partlet; they’re either the same one, or she had Hans Eworth paint it to match the earlier painting).

Lady Dacre’s first portrait has a simpler nosegay of violets with (possibly) a gillyflower, and a conical flower (similar to the grape hyacinths or henbit from my wildflower nosegays) behind. Her later portrait has a far more varied nosegay, with visible pansies and violets, and indistinct yellow/pink flowers. The visible flowers in her nosegays might be a message to the viewer, but the other flowers that are almost impossible to identify in the later nosegay make that interpretation difficult. On the other had, the later nosegay might have had a political as well as a personal message to the viewer. Lady Dacre had a difficult life; her first husband was was stripped of his titles and land by Henry VIII, and hanged at Tyburn. Her son was restored to his hereditary title by Elizabeth I. She was a formidable woman, and with the knowledge of her history, her later portrait, with the wildflower nosegay creating a definite contrast to her furs and fine clothes,  might be read not only for the meaning of the visible flowers but also a commentary on the loss and restoration of her titles9.

“But enough history!”, I pretend to hear you say. How does one create a nosegay of one’s own? One way is to find flowers that correspond in general look and size to the pictures of English wild and cultivated flowers.

I made two nosegays from flowers growing around my home, so I could give you reference pictures for when you start making your own artificial flower nosegays. My first nosegay was picked this February, and has speedwell, saxifrage, chickweed, henbit, and an early wild narcissus (very close to the size of Elizabethan wild narcissus)10. The second nosegay was picked a month later, and has heartsease, dog violets, speedwell, grape hyacinth, saxifrage, and dandelions.

All of these flowers, even the grape hyacinth,11 are either analogues to English flowers, or brought over and naturalized (mostly by accident) from the British Isles.

If you do not live in a rural area with a large garden, finding areas where you can obtain  wildflowers might be a bit difficult (and you must never pick flowers in national parks or from someone else’s garden12).

Real wildflower nosegays are as ephemeral as they were in Elizabethan times; picked flowers would only last one day (those fancy little test tube pins to hold corsages are modern, but they will keep the flowers alive longer). If you are looking for a more permanent accessory, what you need is a permanent nosegay – delicate, delightful, and period-looking as all get out, while remaining fresh for countless events to come.

To do this, you are going to need equipment: Florist wire, florist tape, wire cutters, scissors, hot glue and glue sticks, and maybe some cute Mod Podge finger cots13 to avoid burning yourself on the hot glue (I burn myself a lot, and these are a finger saver)(they also prevent the glue from bonding with your artificial nails, which is really only a problem for me, but it’s good to know, y’know?).

hot glue gun and glue, florist wire and tape, fingertip protectors for working with hot glue.
Tools!

Then, you pick out and buy some small, well-made artificial flowers from your local craft store. Remember, we’re making a small nosegay, so put the roses and the peonies back, and select flowers smaller than the circumference of your thumb and forefinger:

artificial flowers laid out in a fan - lavender, pansies, eglantine roses, poppies, leaves, yellow flowers.

The leaves from the flower sprays will provide you with most of your greenery, but if you see something you like, get it. In this selection, I have some lavender, poppies, eglantine roses, pansies, white coreopsis, daisies, ferns, lamb’s ears, and something that looks like buttercups. Don’t worry about matching English flowers exactly; you can make alterations. Don’t get excited and buy all the flowers. I fail this instruction all the time, so don’t feel bad if you do, but…

…seriously, DON’T BUY OUT THE WHOLE STORE, EVEN IF IT’S ON SALE, AND EVEN IF IT IS TOTALLY WHAT I DID. (A.C. Moore was closing. I got 50% extra off the 70%-off flowers. No-one can resist that. NO-ONE.)

artificial flowers in bunches completely obscuring the piano they are sitting on.
Don’t do this! (I know, I know. Do as I say, not as I do.)

Now, select 5 or 6 flower stems off the plants you like the most. If the stem is lumpy (I had a plastic “lavender” bush, with no good stems), pop the flower head off, and cut yourself a 5″ length of florist wire. Wrap the florist tape up and down the wire, covering it two times. Put a little blob of hot glue on the end of the wrapped wire, and stick the flower head on. If your flower head looks a little wobbly, wrap a little more florist tape over the join:

Another issue that you might have is that your flower has leaves halfway down the stem, and you can’t push them up (sometimes the leaf holders are molded as part of the whole stem).  Remove the leaves, peel the plastic back spine off, and glue the leaf to the base of the flower:

This worked well with my white coreopsis flowers. Now, if you have white flowers, you can turn them into ‘gillyflowers’ quite easily! Using a marker pen (alcohol-based colouring markers work best), and tint the base of the flowers, then draw stripes slowly. The ink will blur on the white flower, and make it look more natural:

making the flower colour resize
Feel free to make adjustments to your flowers to make them look more real; use paint, markers, and scissors. It’s all an experiment, and your nosegay will be unique!

Once you have gathered and adapted your chosen flowers, hold them together and decide how you want the flowers to sit. I usually put the taller flowers in the back and balance them like any bouquet of flowers. Hold them together the way you want, and then cut the base of the stems so they are even. Use wire cutters or heavy-duty scissors so they are roughly 5″ long.

Glue the stems together about 3″ below the flowers (this will be a little messy, but don’t worry, any mistakes will be covered). Once the glue has dried, wrap the florist tape around the glued area of the stems, and then up to 1.5″ to 2″ below the flower heads, then down again and over the cut ends of the stems. This will make them more comfortable to wear.

putting it together florist tape resize

Now, the moment of truth! Is it (roughly) the same size as the real flowers? Let’s find out!

artificial nosegay next to real wild yellow narcissus
Success!! I knew you could do it!

Looking good! Once your nosegay is complete, you have the option of tying it with a little bit of silk ribbon. I don’t know if it’s period to Elizabethan England, but it looks nice. Wear your nosegay with pride – now no-one can say “that’s wrong!! Posies are a Victorian thing”, for you have HISTORY on your side!! And me. But also… history.

Siamese cat with the words "When I say it's period, it's period. Trust me, I'm a Laurel. ...Well, a Laurel's cat, anyway.
Puck, the Meme-Maker, copyright Laura Mellin, 2019.

Notes

  1. Images of the Outcast: The Urban Poor in the Cries of London, Sean Shesgreen, Rutgers University Press, 2002.
  2. The Anatomie of Abuses […], Phillip Stubbes, 1583.
  3. Marcus Geerhaerts the Elder, The Wedding Fete at Bermondsey, c. 1568-70, Hatfield House.
  4. . https://www.englandcast.com/2019/08/the-paintings-and-life-of-lucas-de-heere/
  5. Wikimedia Commons, Nonsuch Palace by Joris Hoefnagl
  6. Images of the Outcast, etc., S.Shesgreen.
  7. Is not this a certn sweete Pride, to haue cyuet[civet], muske, swéete powders, fragrant Pomanders,odorous perfumes & such like, wherof the smel may be felt and perceiued not only all ouer the house or place where they be present, but also a stones cast of, almost, yea the bed wherin they haue layed their delicate bodies, the places where they haue sae,    the clothes and thinges which they haue touched shall smell a wéeke, a moneth, and more after they be gon.” -Stubbes.
  8. https://bardgarden.blogspot.com/2014/05/elizabethan-nosegays.html. and https://symbolicmeaningofflowers.weebly.com/language-of-flowers.html
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Fiennes,_Baroness_Dacre
  10. The American wild narcissus is actually the European wild narcissus, brought over and naturalized by European and American gardeners. We’re really bad about doing that; honeysuckle, wisteria, bamboo, and kudzu were all introduced to Northern America by gardeners who went “Oooooh! That looks pretty! That will look great in my garden! I’ll be the toast of the garden club!!” (Bob’s joke. He made me snort/laugh.)
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscari
  12. Yes, I did this (my Great-Aunt Margaret’s lovingly tended cyclamen, no less). No, I shouldn’t have (but I didn’t pick all of them *whine*). My sister still wins the terrible flower-stealing cup, though; she picked all the peony flowers off a rare peony owned by one of our neighbours. There was a bit of a foofaraw about it, but she was forgiven (as was I …eventually).
  13. https://www.amazon.com/Mod-Podge-Finger-Original-Version/dp/B0087D3MKM

Other sources of interest:

http://demodecouture.com/lucas-de-heere-16th-c-costume-illustrations/ (About de Heere’s book of costume illustrations, and a link to a .pdf of the book itself.)

https://www.somegreymatter.com/wrestpark.htm – contains a much more detailed account of Baroness Dacre’s life, and her portraits.

Steampunk Builds, Part 2: A philosophical ramble with pictures at the end.

I am an artist with very broad interests, and sometimes I get caught between them, wanting to make felt frogs, or write about flowers, or, y’know, the work that actually brings in some money (Thank you, Zazzle patrons!). There’s always one thing I have time for, though, and that’s shopping for interesting things to be turned into steampunk builds.

(There’s a lot of “things that shall be used to make better things” in my house. I watch all the hoarder shows so that I remember to slow down my “this is cool! I will make a thing out of it!” tendencies.)

When we lived in Maryland, we were right near Laurel, which has some run-down bits, and therefore, some awesome thrift stores. I got into the habit of checking them frequently, along with antique stores and discount stores. Now that I live in the middle of nowhere, I look for antique and thrift stores in out-of-the-way places. I stay away from the antique stores in big tourist towns (I’m looking at you, Williamsburg!), because they are always high-priced, and part of my build ethos is getting items for cheap. I picked up two brass horns the other day for less than $22. With a little love and Brasso, they should be great. Al Hoff, author of Thrift Score (ISBN 0-06-095209-1), calls it “the never-ending treasure hunt”, and that is exactly what keeps me looking.

(Bob is also an excellent builder. He once made a 3/4 size Dalek out of cardboard and foam balls, and put an ice bucket in the head. I wish we’d been able to keep it, but we didn’t have the room, and it took up too much space in our long-suffering friends’ closet.)

So, building is all about finding weird and broken stuff and making it fun again. There’s still a big vogue for putting strings of “firefly lights” (LED light strings) in glass cloches, and this next small build took advantage of one that had chips and scratches on the base. I got it on sale (of course!) because it was damaged, and initially, because of the party deadline, all I did was put in an arch of 16 gauge black wire, wind the light string over the wire, and glued a bird finial (from http://www.victoriantradingco.com) to hide the base of the wire.

DSCF4353
Bird in a cloche (left), sitting next to a number of other pseudo-Victorian things for the 2018 Steampunk party. Photo by L. Mellin, 2018.

After the party, I went to work to make it more attractive. I painted the base black and put in a new battery for the lights. I had found a bunch of mulberry paper buds and flowers, and used those and some small matching berry sprays to decorate the arch. Considering how simple it was, I was very pleased with how it looked:

unlit bird cloche resize
Unlit bird. photo L. Mellin, 2020
Lit bird cloche resize
Lit bird! Photo L. Mellin, 2020

A close-up of the flowers.

side view 1 resize
Side view. Photo L. Mellin, 2020

Most of my work was done for me, since I bought the cloche and lights, and the bird finial, but I got them for cheap, so there’s that. It became one of the little extras we put into each room at the Steampunk party that added to the atmosphere.

Other Steampunk builds (part 1)

A lot of the steampunk things I make are geared towards room decoration and static display, because I can only carry so much around with me, and, more importantly, my friends have held steampunk parties, and decorating the rooms with interesting details is one of the things that truly appeals to me.

The first piece that really got me started on objects rather than costume was a cheap paper/thin wood board valise. I initially decorated it for a CostumeCon to hold my stuff. I picked it up for cheap (cheap is my watchword!) at a Home Goods (I think; it could have been TJMaxx, they’re all the same store). It was slightly damaged, so very affordable (I can fix almost any small damage). Initially, I just made some small ribbon holders to make things rattle around less. I don’t know why there’s a pair of calipers, but the binoculars were an antique shop find, and the large box is filled with “Werewolf Shot”. Bob made me a gun (and I will post that picture in a later post), and I wanted something silly and unusual looking. The glass pipettes were from a medical supplies catalog, and the filling is bead glitter. The box is a small fake book:

valise 2009 (1)
A ribbon holds the bottles in place, and the white vials are “silver werewolf shot” (actually glitter beads). Photo by L. Mellin, 2009

But then, I got more serious about things not rolling around (and possibly breaking), and made compartments using cardboard cut to size, covered with a set of paper placemats by EDITED: Monahan Papers (available at http://www.monohanpapers.com).  *(Michel Design Works also does paper place mats, and they are very nice, but they weren’t the company I used, so I’ve corrected that.)  I glued the lining in, then glued the covered cardboard into place with a water-based glue (I don’t recommend hot glue – it doesn’t allow you time to make adjustments, and if you make a mistake, it will rip the paper). It turned out quite nicely:

 

Valise 2015 (8)
Delightful! And reasonably simple. Photo by L. Mellin, 2020

I also adore things in cages – there are tons of cages around in places like craft stores, home decor stores (especially at Halloween!), and even places like garden centers. They may be intended for plants or candles, but one of the crafter’s sayings is “shove it in until it works!”.

 

(Actually, I’m pretty sure no-one else says that.)

I started with toy store dragons, and a lot of beads:

steampunk blue dragon resize
Blue dragon in a cage with beads, photo by L. Mellin, 2015

At first, I stayed with minimal decoration, but who wants that?  🙂

steampunk blue dragon (3) resize
Someone ate a fairy king! Photo by Laura Mellin, 2015

I made a prize for the 2015 steampunk party, using a “sea dragon”, a candle holder, and a bunch of shells and plastic skeleton bits. Bob spray-painted the “cage” copper. I added a sign (“Beware! I Bite!”). I was quite proud of this one, unfortunately, this was the only picture I took:

steampunk party 2014 resize
Sea Dragon in a cage with shells and skeleton bits, with an antique pith helmet and my goggles on the left, and a butterfly in a tiny cloche on the right. photo by L. Mellin, 2015

And I made a purple dragon for myself.

purple dragon resize
Purple dragon with many, many beads. Photo L. Mellin, 2020

I did the beading so that the dragon could be removed from the cage and held:

purple dragon 2 resize
I have a dragon accessory! Photo by L. Mellin, 2020.
steampunk purple dragon resize 2
Purple dragon with a warning sign. Photo by L. Mellin, 2020

The purple dragon was revised several times until I was (mostly) satisfied with it. I added some special beads, including a gorgeous lamp-worked bead by Azura’s Dream. I carried it with me at Steampunk World’s Fair, and someone said something snarky when my back was turned (coward!), but most people loved it.

Long post is long; fingers are tired. Next time, I’ll talk about my static displays.

Steampunk – Purple Evening Dress

I’m putting up some steampunk pictures because I applied to teach a workshop at Key City Steampunk Fair in August. (Hello, nice people! I am good at making things, and I think people will be very happy with their floral hair combs!)  If they decide to accept my proposal, I’ll be helping people make floral hair combs that are similar to the floral pieces I made for my purple silk dress. So! Photos.

I made the dress years ago, but it’s undergone some extensive improvements and additions. It was initially made for a Lost Cause (singing group) performance where we all dressed in Victorian-style duds. I also wore it to CostumeCon in 2019. Here it is on my dress form, in my sitting room, 2009:

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DSCF0690

Close-ups of the flowers (the floral pieces are similar to the ones people will make if my workshop is accepted).DSCF0695

After this point, I added led light strings, for SPWF in 2016, but I didn’t get the wires tacked down in time, so I was only able to wear the dress for a little bit, as holding my arms away from my body (to avoid crossing the streams) was painful. My dear friend Tara helped me into it, and she is amazing.

purple victorian front at SPWF 2016purple victorian back at SPWF 2016 - Copy

purple victorian at SPWF 2016 - Copy

After SPWF, I sewed the light wires down to the dress, curled the wired beads a bit more tightly, and added more lace and velvet trim. 

I had the chance to wear it again (and with my husband to lace me in!) at Vic’s 2019 Steampunk Murder Mystery party. Bob (who was playing my father! – it was hilarious) Had me fix some things to make it easier to dress me, and we solved a few small issues. 

steampunk vics photo of me and Bob2 colour correct

You can see I’m not wearing the head piece – it had some problems, and I fixed it after the party. This is almost exactly what the workshop hair combs will look like, but we will do 2-3 rosettes, not 4, and the comb will be a little bit smaller (maybe). It will even light up!DSCF5962DSCF5964

So, charming, delightful Key City Steampunk Fair people, this is the kind of stuff I do. I don’t have an Etsy store, but I do sometimes sell at craft shows. I love sharing ideas and making everyone’s experience better.

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N.B. The decor in the room at the Steampunk party is a mix of my stuff, Harv and Vic’s stuff, Kirk and Cindy’s stuff, and Tom and Heather’s furniture, including the lovely “apothecary cabinet” that is actually a reproduction of a 16th c. cupboard, made by Tom.  I do things in bird cages, bottles, and shadowboxes. You can’t see them because they’re behind us, but the cabinet is filled with my “curiosities”. I’ve been making them for several years now (Bob has forbidden any more birdcages!). I’ll post some pictures of those from various years next time.

Inktober pictures

This Inktober image (inspired by the prompt word “Injured”) comes with a poem; both are dedicated to my mother. Love you, Mum.

There will be days that go awry,
But I will hold you when you cry.
On days that make you want to hide,
I will be always on your side.
When in your heart you’re feeling pain,
I will make you whole again.
Nothing you could do or say
Will change my love in any way.
Though we started out apart,
You are the child of my heart.

IMG_0944

Inktober – the collected set

So, I posted all my Inktober drawings to Bob’s FB page –  (https://www.facebook.com/bob.mellin.1884) , but I thought I’d post them here as well. The images are available to buy in my Zazzle shop – https://www.zazzle.com/store/laura_mellin_atelier .

I have taken out a couple of the drawings I didn’t like, but most of them turned out nicely, so, here’s the first three, inspired by keyword: “Build”, “Husky”, and “Enchanted”.

Gonna start writing…

I said to myself that I would start to keep my journal updated, especially after my awful FaceBook experience, but here it is, three and a half weeks after Pennsic, and I’m still avoiding my computer (except to play games and read Cracked).

I had an amazing Pennsic. I was exhausted every day, I couldn’t handle the heat at all (Hashimoto’s kills your ability to properly temperature-regulate), I barely did any shopping, and I missed connecting with friends. But it was still amazing.

Bob has been a member of the Knowne Worlde Players (KWP) for five years now – his debut performance was a huge part in Ben Johnson’s The Alchemist – and last year he persuaded me to audition for the play we performed this year – a spoof of Forbidden Broadway called Forbidden Pennsic (written by the same playwright who wrote Hector of Troy, the play Bob was in last year). We got parts, and we learned our music, and at Pennsic, we started with a read-through Saturday of Peace week, and performed the next Friday.

It was so cool. I had so much fun. I ended up with an extra singing part in one of the songs, and Bob and I sang a duet, and we sang chorus for some other songs. The way KWP puts on a performance is hard-core Elizabethan style, going from initial blocking to performance in one week. We had rehearsal every day from 9-12, and I spent the rest of each day lying down and reading, with some occasional socializing in camp, and Bob’s filk night on Thursday of War Week. It wiped me out.

I’m not hugely fit anymore; I am tired almost all of the time, and when I’m at Pennsic, I have to walk with a cane, or else I would have to sit down at the side of the road until someone carried me back to camp. The rehearsals were literally all I could manage most days; I went to one order meeting, and I nearly threw up from a combination of fatigue and heat. I managed about 1/2 an hour at the A&S display, and almost fell over from fatigue.  Rehearsing for the play took everything I had, but I loved it enough that I’d do it all the same way again.

Aside from doing stuff with Bob, I haven’t acted in anything since high school. I’m not about to get into acting now – for one thing, thyroid/menopause brain has done a real number on my ability to memorize dialogue, for another, I’m more about the singing and writing music. But Bob loves acting, and he’s really good at it, so I look forward to seeing him in more KWP productions.

The KWP people are all lovely people, and I really enjoyed working with them. Our director, Sofia ‘Zsof’ Tyzes, was an utter joy to work with – knowing just the right direction to give, corralling a bunch of actors (which is like herding a bunch of cats who have decided to hit the vaudeville circuit – and I’m including myself in that description, trust me), and just knowing, knowing, exactly how to bring the best performance out of us. I can’t tell you how much that makes me better. Making her laugh made my day.

It was wonderful. And I’m never doing it again. 🙂

Goop: Go overboard (on) our privilege

I’ve disliked Gwyneth Paltrow ever since she butchered “Emma” (you know, the one with hunky Jeremy Northam), but I mostly just ignored her and her work after that. I knew she’d started a privileged rich white woman  “lifestyle” thing -GOOP – and I was astonished to learn the kind of things she thinks are good for women. She’s written about promoted for $$$$ terrible, terrible things; vagina steaming, jade eggs in vaginas, and other vagina-related products, and apparently they sell like hotcakes on her site. I assume the same people who buy $500 handwoven meditation shawls and decorate their house in expensive yoga shit* also frequent her site.

She can’t seem to tell the difference between the vulva and the vagina, but then, she can’t seem to tell the difference between actual medicine and nasty toxic shit that can be hideously harmful to the women she claims to be “helping”.

I’ve been down the alt.health rabbit hole – when I started to experience ideopathic pain in my arms, I went on the internet (my first mistake) and tried to find something that would help (mostly because my then-doctor, whom we shall call “Dr. Terrible” – said there was nothing to be done, and put me on Paxil). I bought so. many. supplements, and all that happened was my birth-control pills stopped working – a side effect that was not mentioned on any of the sites I read, and a very bad one, as I was taking BC for endometrial reasons (fun fact: Your co-workers really freak out when you faint in pain).

Okay, supplements, no. Maybe sugar? I went on a sugar-free diet and gained 10lbs. Vegan? I can’t eat that many nuts. Superfoods? Super expensive, but very unhelpful.

By the Dawn of Kale, I was determinedly anti-woo, and anyway, kale tastes like gritty sadness in my mouth. Turmeric makes me sneeze. Coconut oil is not nearly as tasty as olive oil, and I may as well be eating lard. Stevia tastes unbelievably bitter to me, even the “non-bitter” varieties. Dark chocolate – it turns out that guy made it up, to prove that most “scientific” journals will publish anything for money.

I don’t like dark chocolate, anyway. I’m highly sensitive to bitter flavours. Also, cilantro tastes like soap. Yes, I’m one of those people.

Science made it possible for me to function. Yay, science!

And, it seems, GOOP has some seriously nasty and victim-blaming ideas. Dr Jen Gunter went to a very expensive ($650 a ticket, which is more money than I can throw around easily) “conference” GOOP put on, and along with the “medium” and the person who claimed she came back from the dead, was some very ugly messaging for anyone who ever got sick, or lost a loved one: It seems they died because they didn’t get enough love.

To say that about anyone would be unbelievably cruel, but saying it about the kids killed in mass shootings borders on sociopathic. And this is coming from essentially, a lifestyle brand by Gwyneth Paltrow.

Turns out, “Emma” wasn’t nearly the worst she could do.

(*for why I have a problem with expensive yoga shit, see
here .)

 

A new favourite blog!

(Note classy English Spelling.)

I love Dr. Jen Gunter‘s wordpress blog. She’s funny, has no patience for woo-filled nonsense – dealing with Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP crap is one of her things – and you should read her blog. She has a glorious turn of phrase, one being

“Your reproductive tract is not a wayward bit of flotsam in the storm of life where barnacles and sundry creatures seek refuge.”

– From a post about a book claiming to help women “cleanse” with herbal remedies.

She gives excellent advice, takes down the stupid, and she’s funny. I love the funny.

Those are Bears!

We both had doctor appointments in C’ville today – I had my Botox, so hopefully the three straight months of migraines will finally stop (pleasepleasepleasefortheloveofGOD) – and as we drove out onto route 15, I saw a large animal walk across the road ahead of the car in front of us.

I said “Polar Bear” (inside joke; come to our filk night at Pennsic), but then…

“Fuck! Black bear!”

A black bear crossed the road in front of us.  I assume it crossed for one of the following reasons:

1.  To get to the other side. Because the other side has food.                                                      2.  Or Chickens.                                                                                                                                        3.  Or easily available bird seed.                                                                                                          4.  That was where its car was parked.

Whatever its unholy purpose, it’s been the first black bear we’ve seen for months.  Hope it doesn’t get run over.