Category Archives: Lifestyle

8 Dark, Eccentric & Elegant Fashion icons

karl-lagerfeld-by-megan-hess

 

Hello Darklings!

As all of you might have guessed by now, this blog’s main mission is to show the ELEGANT side of Dark/Alternative/Gothic Fashion, the one that can be worn with confidence within any kind of a demanding professional environment (e.g. legal professionals). Indeed, it is not always easy to put together a stylish outfit that does not necessarily fall into your “typical alternative/shock look”. Let’s face it, most of us have either abandoned their alternative style at the workplace or have opted for more “style forgiving” jobs (e.g. makeup artist, bartender, hair artist, musician, painter, digital artist, tattoo artist etc). The truth is, it does not have to be a “take it or leave it” situation. Gothic fashion comes from an extremely elegant and classy background. It’s enough to take a look at a few Victorian outfits to figure it out. Of course, when in a corporate environment, any temptations for excessive or non-fit accessories and clothes should not be taken into consideration. Eccentric Elegance should be the main key and guideline to our outfits.

That is why I decided to put up a list of my main Dark Elegance style inspirations/icons that help me in my everyday professional life to look both macabre and elegant! Hope it will be of use to all of you, I know it is to me:

  • Dita Von Teese
  • Karl Lagerfeld
  • Helena Bonham Carter
  • Chantal Thomass
  • Eva Green
  • Victoria Beckham
  • Kat Von D
  • Marilyn Manson

 

Gothic Metal Song of the day: Rosary Blue by The 69 Eyes feat. Kat Von D

Dark Kisses ~

Illustration credit: Megan Hess.

theodora-signature

Our Four Year Anniversary

Vince #1 (1 of 1)

Vince #2 (1 of 1)

Vince #3 (1 of 1)

Vince #4 (1 of 1)

Vince #5 (1 of 1)

Vince #6 (1 of 1)

Vince #7 (1 of 1)

 

Hello, Darklings!

I would like you to meet for the very first time the photographer behind all of my outfit posts: my one and only VINCENT SALING! It’s the 8th of August and we are celebrating our 4 year anniversary! Can’t believe it’s been THAT long! He’s always been there, encouraging me to substantiate all of my projects and dreams, always. Even when I hesitated about starting this fashion blog, he pushed me through. Always extremely supportive & motivating, always caring, always most loving. I couldn’t be luckier.

To make the occasion even more special, I would like to share with you a wonderful gift he made especially for my birthday, as we celebrated it not long ago (July 30th); it is a one of a kind and probably the only full metal cover of the song PURPLE RAIN by PRINCE. Since I am a Goth who’s obsessed by Purple (and especially DARK PURPLE), he decided to both pay a tribute to Prince and please me! And guess what? I completely and utterly loved it! The best cover of Purple Rain I’ve ever heard! So here it is, PURPLE RAIN cover by Vincent Saling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o73kKhS8yeQ ! Please, check his channel and subscribe for more cool covers and compositions!

Here’s to many years to come! Love you PUDDIN’! ❤

Dark Kisses ~

Theodora Signature

Gothic Birthday Weekend: Prague

Hello, Darklings!

For my birthday I decided to visit one of the most GOTHIC cities in the world: PRAGUE! The gothic architecture is simply breathtaking, couldn’t have asked for a better birthday celebration! It definitely felt like home. Hope you enjoy the little diary I’m sharing here with you.

Gothic Metal Song of the Day: December Elegy by Tristania

Dark Kisses ~

 

Shot & edited by me.

Theodora Signature

 

The Cosmopolitan Child: pros & cons. Co-authored post.

Serendipity text

Hello Darklings!

So this post is going to be slightly different than what you have seen so far on this young blog! Indeed, I am honoured to co-write this post with another young alternative fashion & lifestyle blogger who has just started her blog as well! Let me introduce you to my dear Leiden University colleague & friend, Kawaii & pastel goth addict: Daphne. A link to her blog will be posted at the end of this article, so be sure to check it out!

So without further due, we bring you our experiences as the children of the globalised world.

Theodora:

The first thing that has to be defined is the expression “cosmopolitan child”. A cosmopolitan child is someone who has been travelling her/his whole life, changing countries, discovering new cultures and languages. And by travelling I do not mean tourism, I mean actually moving from country to another and having to adapt to the living standards in the country at hand. Now, leading such a way of life has of course its advantages and disadvantages, nothing is all black or white.

Let me start with the advantages. When you change countries quite often, you get to keep meeting new people, new ways of thinking, new everyday life habits, learn a new language and increase your ability to fit in anywhere. Especially when you start doing this at a young age. In my case, I was born in Sofia (Bulgaria) and left the country at the age of 9, when I moved to Lebanon. At the time, I only spoke Bulgarian and a bit of English. So when I arrived to Lebanon, the cultural and linguistic shock was enormous. I had moved from a European country to a Middle Eastern one, and had to learn French and Arabic at the same time, since schools in Lebanon teach 90% of the subjects in French and the other 10% in Arabic. I must confess, learning French came naturally as it still remains another European language. As for Arabic, at the beginning I was so angry at this language because I had to be put back into 2nd grade instead of 3rd in order to learn it more easily and without pressure. The first 4 months of me learning Arabic were pure hell, it was a language that I couldn’t compare to anything else, it was in a completely different linguistic group. But 4 months later, as if a spell had been put on me, I became fluent and beat down all my other classmates in all exams. That’s the beauty of learning languages when you are young. Meanwhile, my French had been excellent right from the start, as I mentioned earlier it came easily, and I had the chance to continue learning English as it was my favourite language and in Lebanon we start learning it at a pretty young age. I had great English teachers, and of course as English is my passion, I self-taught myself even more by reading, listening and speaking. I read a lot when I was young. Hence the evoked passion for English/British literature and culture in my bio (yes go check that one out).

In all 5 countries I’ve lived so far – Bulgaria, Lebanon, France, England, Netherlands – adapting in Lebanon was the hardest because of the big difference in culture as I mentioned. It took me 4 years so I could fit it in completely into society, even though I’m half Lebanese, I was looked upon as the foreigner who weird enough spoke better arabic than us. But in the end, I managed to make friends, adapt and keep at the same time my European identity, which I feel most comfortable with. France, England and Netherlands were much easier to adapt to as they remain European countries and especially because I love and cherish England so much, for me living there for a year was a dream come true! I must confess though, France was the second hardest in terms of adaptation and meeting people. To be honest, I speak English as if it was my mother tongue, I speak it better than Bulgarian because it’s the language I feel most comfortable with; French is a matter of habit although I consider it as a second mother tongue when it comes to the fluency and Arabic is also a native language to me, although I have a more curious relationship with it (sometimes I feel like speaking it, sometimes I don’t). When it comes to the mentality, the Nordic/Scandinavian one is the closest to mine. Having lived in so many places and speaking so many languages has definitely made my personality richer, more unique and it has definitely helped me bring out more freely my dark/gothic side whether it comes to lifestyle, way of thinking, fashion or music. In a way, you become above the different cultures you have encountered, you are your own culture.

Unfortunately, for every good thing there’s a price to pay. Turning to the disadvantages of the cosmopolitan way of life. There are two of them, two sides of the same coin. Adapting never gets easier with time and experience, and leaving people you have become friends with after you have managed to adapt is never less difficult either. But for good friends, distance is nothing, with today’s technology and ways of communication, social media etc, you can always keep in touch and travelling is becoming less and less expensive, so you can always see those far away friends.

To conclude on my part, once you have started leading a cosmopolitan way of life, once you have given in to globalisation, there’s no turning back, you cannot go back and lead a steady life in only one country, you keep needing change, you crave new adventures, no matter how difficult it can be. That’s the beauty of it, the advantages are far bigger than the disadvantages. SERENDIPITY has more chances in crossing paths with you, so let’s go and meet those fortunate discoveries and coincidences. “Run, run through your life
And have fun, Olive-green rainbows above you”.

Daphne: 

As Theodora has said, I’m Daphne, and I would certainly classify mystyle as alternative, I love mixing black and Gothic styles with pastel and Kawaii. I am honoured to be asked to co-write this post, and I hope you enjoy the read! I too am a cosmopolitan child, as I grew up in 6 different countries, with vastly different cultures. I will try to follow a similar structure to Theodora, but I tend to ramble a little bit, so forgive me.

For me the advantages of growing up abroad is that I have experienced different cultures, to the best of my ability, when you live in a country you are continually immersed in the culture, when you go to the shop, when you go to town, when you go on “holiday”, and via school. This means that culturally I am very broad, I was raised on rice and curry, and honestly I still love that. In Bangladesh and Pakistan, I would hear the Mosque every day, multiple times a day, and that sound makes me so nostalgic. Sorry I’m rambling again. Any who, advantage one: being immersed in a different culture. Advantage two, I’m bi-lingual, I was raised to speak both Dutch and English fluently, at home we spoke Dutch, and at school we spoke English, so I did not have the same language problems as Theodora, but at school we also learned a little bit of the language of the country we were in, but I don’t remember much of these languages. However since I was raised bi-lingual learning a new language is not as much of a struggle for me. The third advantage for me, is the super close bond I have with my family. My siblings (I have 2) are my best friends, and sometimes were my only friends, my Mother is probably the most important person in my life, since she is the one who kept us all together when the move was hard, who made sure that we kids, were able to adapt more easily.

The disadvantages, there are a few here too, I am culturally confused, I don’t really have a culture or country to call home, I call all these places home. When people ask where are you from, I don’t know what to say, because my taste in food is Arabic or Indian, my cultural identity is all over the place and I don’t really identify as Dutch either. Leaving a country, leaving your friends, you home, your school, never gets any easier, and I don’t know if I will be able to do it again, true with social media it has become easier, but I don’t have ANY friends left from my childhood, not one. My oldest friend is the girl I met the first year of Uni, that was in September of 2010. As I got older, it became harder to make friends, as I was culturally confused, and never really fit in with the rest because of that, at some point, my only friends, were the friends of my siblings, for which I feel guilty because I may have sometimes stolen those friends.

One thing I do know, I will always love having grown up the way I did, I will always need to experience new cultures, and I get a bit of wanderlust from time to time. I will probably end up going back to that life style once I am done with University, but who knows what the future holds. And you will be surprised how many people, are the same as you, the cosmopolitan child, and those people, are friends that will last you a lifetime!

I shall leave the rest to Theodora, as this is her Blog, I hope you enjoyed hearing my experiences too!

So there you go, two different points of view about the pros & cons of being a cosmopolitan child! And I couldn’t agree more with Daphne that not having one place to call home might be a disadvantage sometimes, but I would also like to add that it can be a huge advantage as well, in the sense that you don’t have one home country, you have many! The world is your home, you hold a bit of everywhere within yourself, you come from everywhere! I hope you all enjoyed this post and do not forget to check Daphne’s blog down below!

Dark Kisses ~

Theodora & Daphne

Daphne’s blog: https://arewaien.wordpress.com/

Theodora Signature

Starbucks has finally arrived to Strasbourg!

Starbucks_7_1_of_1_converted

Starbucks_4_1_of_1_converted

Starbucks_3_1_of_1_converted

Starbucks_2_1_of_1_converted

Starbucks_6_1_of_1_converted

You've got mail Starbucks quote

Starbucks_1_1_of_1_converted

The moment so many Starbucks fans in Strasbourg have been waiting for! Better late than never as they say. I have a few thoughts to pour down on the subject though, as ever since Starbucks announced its opening a month ago, or actually every time someone has brought up its coming to Strasbourg, there have always been those who fear the competition and those so-called anti-conformists (when they actually are even more mainstream than the rest of the consumer society), expressing the most despicable comments about the 45-year-old U.S. coffee symbol.

Now, for those who are not aware of this, Strasbourg is the second European Capital, apart from Brussels, as it hosts the European Parliament (partially, although there is a separate gorgeous building for it), the Council of Europe, the European Ombudsman and the European Court of Human Rights. This makes it four iconic European institutions. Whenever we think of this, naturally what comes to mind is a very modern European city such as Brussels or the Hague (since it hosts several international institutions and is comparable). But NO, finding good coffee places in Strasbourg has been practically impossible until a year ago when a few local businessmen started opening a few more original cafés with better-tasting coffee. The truth is, you can hardly ever find coffee to-go early in the morning when you most need it on the way to work, or coffee houses open late in the evening when you are looking for a chilling atmosphere and you don’t necessarily want to drink alcohol. The few good cafés are ridiculously small, you can never find a seat, and it basically ruins the whole coffee experience for you. What this small town needs to understand is that you cannot call yourself the European Metropol/Capital if you don’t take up the responsibility for being one and acting like it. Shops and cafés closing at 7pm when actually most people get out of work at this time?! With the opening of Starbucks, which happened in Strasbourg the latest in comparison with other European cities and capitals, it remains the ONLY café which opens at 7am and closes at 9pm.

What does this tell us about the mentality of Strasbourg? A town which still thinks that it can survive in a multicultural, globalised world without adjusting to its standards? Wake up, we don’t live in the Middle Ages anymore. You can still have your small-medieval-town charm and be modern at the same time. The Hague and Amsterdam are living examples of it. Shutting yourself from the world is not the solution. And to all those Starbucks haters who go by the MacBook user/customer cliché at Starbucks, I humbly tell you after 8 years of sipping bad coffee in ridiculously small-spaced cafés, I am glad I can finally taste real bean coffee and start to feel that I actually live in a 21st century city and not some small town where time and space have stopped.

Dark Kisses ~

P.S. Do not hesitate to share your thoughts on the matter, would love to know what you think!

Pictures & Editing by Theodora NightFall.

Theodora Signature