Category Archive for How-Tos

How to be a travel blogger & what to pack: best suitcases and bags. Off to Bangkok, Thailand with Seby!

thailand press trip, bangkok travel blog

Time to pack and fly to Asia again. This time, my destination is… Bangkok, Thailand with Seby! (I like the sentiment of his t-shirt: “Naughty” and “Endless Summer.”)

Everyone’s familiar with Jpop and Kpop — but did you know Thailand also has exciting youth culture and street style? Thai Tourism is sending Seby and me to report on these trends, including a futuristic hotel, apothecary bar, and Gothic Lolita fashion boutique.

We’ll work hard to bring you unique coverage of Bangkok, going far beyond the usual tourist attractions. If you have suggestions for places to visit, let us know. (I visited the city about 10 years ago, but so much has changed and I can’t wait to rediscover it.)

scottish fold cat sitting on suitcase

Many of you have asked: how do I pack so many outfits for my trips? Believe it or not, I take only one suitcase with me. The trick is to plan ahead and bring travel-size products.

In this post, I’ll break down the essential items needed for travel bloggers with a fashionable bent. These are items that I’ve personally used and road-tested, so you can trust these recommendations. To purchase the products, simply click the blue links below.

travel blogger packing list, designer suitcases

SUITCASE. From my experience, it’s best to take a large, lightweight suitcase. Bringing only one case saves space in your hotel room, and make it easier to you get around. I prefer soft, expandable luggage (in case you go shopping and need the extra room!). Wheels and a pull-out handle are a must. If possible, try to get something colorful so that it’s easier to find in baggage claim.

1. Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 25″ (Spinner Expandable) is exact suitcase I have. It cost $550 but has lasted me for years — better to splurge once on a quality case, than on a $200 one that quickly breaks.
2. Tumi Alpha Lightweight suitcase is also stylish and lightweight. Tumi is one of my favorite travel brands, and the cute bear logo is a plus.
3. Michael Kors rolling suitcase has sturdy wheels and a waterproof PVC fabric.
4. Tumi Voyageur is a smaller case, and ideal for short trips. The bright Art Deco flowers are chic and easy to spot.

travel blogger packing list, designer suitcases

PURSES AND BAGS. I usually only take one purse on each trip. Get one with zippers and pockets, and make sure it’s big enough to hold your camera (and even laptop). For my favorite backpacks, keep scrolling down.

5. Sumo Laptop Purse is padded to protect your computer. With a pink trim, it’s a lot more stylish than the typical laptop bag, and can be worn when you’re out exploring.
6. Kipling Aleron messenger bag has lots of pockets and secure clasps. A fun, solid color like this one can contrast nicely with neutral outfits.
7. Forzieri red apple messenger bag merges cuteness with functionaltiy. It can match kawaii or Lolita outfits.
8. Alexander McQueen Heroine tote is sturdy, and the black color goes with almost anything. Make sure your purse has a solid strap or handle like this one.

travel dresses, how to pack for vacation

DRESSES, BIG TOPS, LEGGINGS. Do these coordinates look familiar? These are my staples for travel outfits. The clothes below can be dressed up or down. Look for lightweight fabrics that don’t require ironing, so that you can roll your clothing to save space.

9. L’ecole des Femmes “In the Mood Dress” is a fitted, wool black dress that is perfect for colder weather. With different accessorizing, this single item can work for a casual outfit, a formal event, or a club night.
10. Freak Of Nature Hi Lo Dress in Desert Rose Print is equally versatile. You can go sightseeing in it, then Goth up your makeup for a bar or party.
11. Miss Karmaloop The Scenario Dress is easy to layer; you can wear tights and a jacket if the weather gets colder. The black color also masks stains.
12. ASOS Swing Dress With Woven Drape Pocket has handy pockets and a relaxed fit, in case you ate too much pasta.
13. Freak Of Nature Let It Rock Lace Up Leggings. When I’m on the plane or train, I like to wear big t-shirts with leggings. That way, you’re comfortable without looking like a sweat-pants mess.

goth punk shoes, leopard creepers

SHOES. My travel filmmakers and I need to cover a lot of ground during our shoots. I always bring good walking shoes, but there’s no need to sacrifice style and height.

14. Camper wedge sandals are great for warm climates. Camper is one of favorite brands (I wore them in this Dubai post). The neutral color and sturdy heel goes with many coordinates.
15. Underground x Long Clothing Comanndo Double Sole Ankle Boots. Even if you’re not planning on hiking, it’s important to have a good non-slip sole. These black ankle boots would match all the outfits featured above. (They have a shoe version too.)
16. Bess NYC Leopard Creepers are light and give some height. Leopard print adds punk flair, and can match a number of colors.
17. Dr. Martens Stud 8-Eye Boot in Metallic Silver. Docs are the tried and true footwear for Goths. A solid metallic color, such as silver, can match more items than a multi-colored pattern print.

goth backpacks, studded black leather backpack

BACKPACK. In addition to my large suitcase (see above), I bring a backpack as my “carry-on item” for the plane. Trust me, it’s much easier to travel with a backpack than an additional small, wheeled case. Go for a quality one, or you’ll end up with sore muscles.

18. Crumpler Dry Red #5 is the exact backpack that I carry. (Naturally, I decorated it with a few cute charms.) This pack has a compartment to cushion your laptop, and designed to protect your back. Again, a worthy investment that lasts.
19. Cargon 2.5 – Black Backpack Carry On Trolley has pull-out handle so you can roll your bag behind you. There’s a zippered compartment at the bottom, with a padded laptop pocket.
20. UNIF Shredder Pack can double as your bag for going out. It’s edgy, but also has lots of zippered pockets to protect valuables.
21. UNIF Black Pack Backpack is equally cool, and can be worn anywhere.

skull goth sweater, one teaspoon leather jacket

COATS, SWEATERS, JACKETS. Since outerwear tends to be bulky, I usually only bring one large jacket and use layering to stay warm. Avoid rigid, voluminous and structured coats; they’re a pain to pack.

22. Fringed Leopard-Print Scarf. A scarf is a smart thing to carry around in your bag, in case the weather changes or you need to cover up (I’ve been denied entry to churches for dressing too scandalously!)
23. One Teaspoon Storm Rider Leather Jacket. Can’t go wrong with a sleek leather jacket. Beware of heavily decorated and studded ones, as they can be heavy.
24. Halfman Romantics Miss Fur Cardigan. I like to layer with a sweater or cardigan. This one is easy to keep in your purse, and can match many outfits.
25. White faux fur coat. This will keep you warm, without complicating your packing. This store carries a Lolita coat too.

travel kit makeup, portable cosmetic brushes

MAKEUP AND BRUSHES. For convenience, I bring compact brush kits and palettes. (Loose minerals and powders get messy, and it’s difficult to find products when they are jumbled up in a bag.) Stick to the highest-quality cosmetics and neutral colors, but don’t forget red lipstick. Invest once in a good set of makeup brushes, and you’re set for a decade or more.

26. Travel Brush Set – Chantecaille has all the basics for your eyes and face. The shorter handle helps save space.
27. NARS eyeshadow set contains 6 shades, a travel-size Eye Shader Brush, and a medium base. Perfect for building smoky eyes.
28. Laura Mercier ‘Signature Color Essentials’ Travel Set. I’m a big fan of Laura Mercier, and this kit has flattering colors for your cheeks, eyes (including mascara) and lips.
29. Bobbi Brown Caviar and Oyster Collection is a fab 7-piece brush set. I used travel-size products in day to day life as well, so you only have to purchase one good set.
30. NYX ‘Beauty To Go’ Kit contains 47 eyeshadows from matte to glitter, glosses, concealers etc. in a fold-out package.
31. GloMinerals – Deluxe Holiday Kit is an excellent option for sensitive skin.

big cat eye sunglasses, travel glasses

HAT AND SUNGLASSES. On lazy days, you can still look fashionable by covering up your bad hair and tired eyes. Big sunglasses are always in season. I usually take only one hat, since they can be hard to pack.

32. Eric Javits Maribel Cutout Sun Hat has a lovely cut-out brim, and is similar to the one I wore at Art Deco Weekend Miami.
33. Swinger Large Brim Sun Hat has a nice contrast, and accessorizes well with black or white garments.
34. Tom Ford Malin Cat-Eye Sunglasses, Havana Big. A large, cat eye shape is flattering for most faces.
35. Karl Lagerfeld round glasses. Such a fun shape, and it’s worth splurging on designer brands.
36. Kenzo big round acetate sunglasses. These black frames add flair, and match most skin tones.

leather jacket sunglasses, gladnews skirt

I hope you found these fashionable packing tips helpful! Above is an example of my tricks in action: big cat-sunglasses, leather jacket, black clothing that can be dressed up or down, red lipstick, and ankle boots that are good for walking.

Do you have any packing strategies? Leave a comment to share them with me! You can also learn more about the items I recommended by viewing the links above.

goth city, glowing art

See you in Bangkok, Thailand! Lots of travel blogs to come (above is an outtake from Montreal). You can see previews on my Twitter and Instagram. Looking forward to hearing your suggestions.

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New Year’s Resolutions & the cutest Scottish Fold cat ever! Folded-ears munchkin kitten: pet magazine photoshoot.

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Happy New Year! My Scottish Fold cat and I are determined to make 2013 a healthy, successful year.

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For New Year’s, why don’t we resolve to improve our pet’s quality of life? After all, they give us so much. January 1st is the perfect chance to make positive changes: little steps that can go a long way.

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With no further ado, here are “20 New Year’s Resolutions for Pet Owners” - by Basil Farrow and his mom, La Carmina. Please share it around!

PS: this article and Basil Farrow are in the current issue of Black Cat White Dog, a pet magazine distributed all over British Columbia. Basil is also currently in the MediaBistro Galleycat Pet Parade!

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1. Take your pets for regular vet checkups, even if they seem perfectly healthy. Prevention is essential: your vet can detect medical issues that you’ll overlook, saving your pets from illness and pain. Aim for a few checkups a year; one is the minimum.

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2. Encourage your pets to drink more by leaving several bowls of water around the house, and refilling them at least once a day. Cats don’t like their food and water to be in the same place, and dogs may act territorial around a single bowl, so this is a quick and easy fix.

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3. Take photos of your pets, and with your pets! For best results, wait until they are in a relaxed mood. Hold up a toy near the lens so they’ll look at the camera.

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4. Invest in better food for your pets. Learn to check ingredients carefully: avoid chemical preservatives, by-products, corn meal, and fillers with no nutritional value. Consider safe raw foods or cooking for your pets, and catgrass to aid digestion.

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5. Groom your pets well. Brush fur regularly: try soft and specialty brushes that are gentle on the skin but remove the under-layers. If your pets have eye secretions, wipe them gently. Don’t put off bathing your pets, or taking them to the groomer. Basil Farrow loves to be washed with a wet towel, and since he has folded ears, they must be cleaned gently and often! (You can see this on our YouTube channel.)

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6. Increase exercise. Think of creative ways to stimulate your pets, such as by making toys out of cardboard and craft materials. Go on adventures with your dog, and try new terrains for walks and runs.

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7. Fill your home with rest and play areas. In Japan, cat and dog cafes are designed for the comfort of pets. The rooms contain climbing trees, wall-mounted levels for jumping, secret hideaways, and boxes lined with towels — you can do the same.

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8. Keep learning. Sign up for newsletters and stay educated about pet care. Be aware of pet food recalls and recent discoveries. Your pet may enjoy new technologies, such as playing with a tablet!

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9. Try pet massage. T-touch massage helps soothe sore muscles, particularly around a dog’s harness attachment areas.

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10. Look for a better litter. Natural wheat and pine litter are healthier options than gravel and chemically-treated brands.

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11. Safe-proof your house, as you would for a toddler. Eliminate toxic materials, and switch to chemical-free, eco-friendly cleaning products. Learn which plants and foods are dangerous when ingested by pets.

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12. Protect your pets with a micro-chip or tattoo, to prevent them from getting lost.

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13. Connect with fellow pet-lovers. Join a community on the Internet (there are fantastic Facebook groups for breeds such as Scottish Folds), or a real-life meet-up group.

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14. Avoid putting your pets in a kennel when you go on vacation, as this is very stressful. Make arrangements for someone to come into your home and take care of them, or have a member of the family stay behind.

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15. Find the best possible veterinarian for your pets. Ask around, do research, and visit the vet. Consider a specialist who only treats your pets’ species.

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16. Take care of your pets’ teeth. Get in the habit of brushing. With the help of your vet, keep track of their dental health.

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17. Watch out for signs of fleas or parasites. If you think your pets are affected, take them to the vet and have them treated immediately. Have your pets regularly de-wormed as prevention.

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18. Keep your older pets comfortable. Provide steps so they don’t have to jump as high, and warm spaces to relax.

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19. Let your pet be the master at times. If your cat is dozing in your seat, let him stay. If your dog insists on a walk, go get your coat.

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20. Do something to help other animals. This can range from a Facebook post to raise awareness, to donating time or funds, to getting the word out on a cause. Pets can’t speak out for themselves, so we should do our best for them!

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Thanks for reading. Please take a second to pass along these tips to your loved ones. You can see more cute photos on Basil’s Facebook page.

Do you have any tips to add? In what ways can we take better care of our pets? Which of these suggestions will you try to implement in 2013?

How to fix frizzy, flat, boring hair! Hairstyle tutorial video: stylist’s tips to prevent bad hair days when traveling.


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How does La Carmina keep her sunset hair looking good when traveling? The cat’s out of the bag in my new Travel SOS video on Huffington Post!

My talented stylist and colorist, Isolde Semple of Vancouver’s Avant Garde Hair, tackles three common hair problems that arise on the road.

Watch the video above and on Huff Post Travel. If you found the tutorial helpful, please give a thumb’s up (below).

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1) Frizzy hair
Humidity makes hair stand on end. Fortunately, the frizz can be converted to curls. Isolde spritzed my hair with a small bottle of hairspray, and twisted segments around a curling iron.

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2. Flat hair
Hair loses volume from changes in temperature and dozing on planes. However, you can regain texture with a few elastic bands. Starting with damp or dry hair, twist two-inch strands like ribbon and tie them in place (yes, you will look like a Who!). Leave overnight. The next day, take out the pieces and fluff to increase volume.

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3. Boring hair

Accessories can dress up a hairstyle. Make a half-bun, and put on a hairband, bow, or barrette. If you don’t have decorations handy, try using flowers. (The clip above is actually a little boy’s bow tie!)

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Major thanks to Rob Rafuse, who did the filming, and Mujitsu for the support.

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Isn’t my lobster-print dress fun? The vintage-inspired design is gifted by Lolita Girl Clothing. They have an enticing selection of pin-up wear, including sailor styles.

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My eyeshadow and lipstick is gifted by my current favorite brand, Radiant Cosmetics. The colors are vibrant and blend marvelously.

I’m a strong supporter of Radiant’s mission to raise funds and awareness for human trafficking. You can find out more and shop their wide selection of makeup.

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Rob holds the bottle of chocolate-covered poison I got for him, from Obscura. (Evan picked it out for him, while I was filming for their Discovery Channel TV show, Oddities.)

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After filming the video, we checked out the “Deadly Sins” gallery at The Fall (Tattooing & Artist’s Gallery).

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The fetish art show, featuring creatives from Vancouver’s Goth/alt scene, included images by GlitterMachine (who did my bodypainting magazine shoots).

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Close-up on Rob’s pumpkin tattoo – the definition of spooky-cute.

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I hope you found our hair-care video helpful!

How do you keep your hair looking good while traveling? Do you have any tips to add?

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PS: for more Japan, Goth, travel and fashion videos, you may subscribe to my lacarmina YouTube channel.

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GOTH GLITTER CARNIVAL MASKS, T.U.K. SHOES & SKULL STICKERS. DIY LAPTOP DECORATION. WIN CUTE ROCK-N-ROLL PERFUMES!


GOTH GLITTER CARNIVAL MASKS, T.U.K. SHOES & SKULL STICKERS. DIY LAPTOP DECORATION. WIN CUTE ROCK-N-ROLL PERFUMES! CHERRY BOMB KILLER PERFUME GIVEAWAY! ROCK N ROLL GOTH PUNK PERFUMES & HEART CHARMS. ATELIER PIERROT DRESS. my fair lady hta, sunhat wide brim, cute hats, striped black and white dress, lolita fashion, young lolitas, lolita models, asian female model, emilie autumn makeup, red doll hair, smoky eyeshadow, how to do smokey eyes, RED HAIR dye, alternative emo hairstyles

Thanks to the DNR family for welcoming Seba to the Euro-Visual band, and giving me a shout-out. More news about their upcoming tour to come. Stay dreamer!

My Cherry Bomb Killer Perfume giveaway ends tomorrow… hurry and get your entries in. Here’s my second look, inspired by the Truth or Dare scent. Peach blossom is mixed with soft floral and bakery notes in this fragrance.

To me, wearing a metaphorical mask (whether it’s a person’s strong styling, fashion, or image) can be negatively seen as hiding the Truth — as if you’re putting on a false front. But I’d rather think of masks as glamorous embellishments that give you the courage to step out there, and live out your dreams. Personally, I know I feel more Daring when I’m decked out.

CHERRY BOMB KILLER PERFUME GIVEAWAY! ROCK N ROLL GOTH PUNK PERFUMES & HEART CHARMS. ATELIER PIERROT DRESS. my fair lady hta, sunhat wide brim, cute hats, striped black and white dress, lolita fashion, young lolitas, lolita models, asian female model, emilie autumn makeup, red doll hair, smoky eyeshadow, how to do smokey eyes, RED HAIR dye, alternative emo hairstyles

I love how Cherry Bomb’s scents are formulated for alternative girls, who aren’t keen on schmaltzy “rolling around on the beach” image of mainstream perfumes. Best of all, the heart bottles are a fashion statement: you can wear them as a keychain, necklace, or even a headband dangle.

I’m wearing blue sparkle nailpolish, and a sample coat from my Hong Kong uncle’s garment factory.

CHERRY BOMB KILLER PERFUME GIVEAWAY! ROCK N ROLL GOTH PUNK PERFUMES & HEART CHARMS. ATELIER PIERROT DRESS. my fair lady hta, sunhat wide brim, cute hats, striped black and white dress, lolita fashion, young lolitas, lolita models, asian female model, emilie autumn makeup, red doll hair, smoky eyeshadow, how to do smokey eyes, RED HAIR dye, alternative emo hairstyles

Oh! How I love the nautical baby doll heels, gifted from T.U.K. Shoes. The whole Anchors Aweigh collection is made for sailor girls and pirates.

CHERRY BOMB KILLER PERFUME GIVEAWAY! ROCK N ROLL GOTH PUNK PERFUMES & HEART CHARMS. ATELIER PIERROT DRESS. my fair lady hta, sunhat wide brim, cute hats, striped black and white dress, lolita fashion, young lolitas, lolita models, asian female model, emilie autumn makeup, red doll hair, smoky eyeshadow, how to do smokey eyes, RED HAIR dye, alternative emo hairstyles

In addition to alternative-Goth-punk shoes, T.U.K. sent me several stacks of skull stickers. I stuck them onto my laptop — instant pirate vessel.

CHERRY BOMB KILLER PERFUME GIVEAWAY! ROCK N ROLL GOTH PUNK PERFUMES & HEART CHARMS. ATELIER PIERROT DRESS. my fair lady hta, sunhat wide brim, cute hats, striped black and white dress, lolita fashion, young lolitas, lolita models, asian female model, emilie autumn makeup, red doll hair, smoky eyeshadow, how to do smokey eyes, RED HAIR dye, alternative emo hairstyles

Stickers are one of my favorite (and easiest) ways to customize items. I skulled up my passport holder, and covered a notebook with Hello Kitty stickers. (Yes, I’ll be using it for my travel reporting.)

CHERRY BOMB KILLER PERFUME GIVEAWAY! ROCK N ROLL GOTH PUNK PERFUMES & HEART CHARMS. ATELIER PIERROT DRESS. my fair lady hta, sunhat wide brim, cute hats, striped black and white dress, lolita fashion, young lolitas, lolita models, asian female model, emilie autumn makeup, red doll hair, smoky eyeshadow, how to do smokey eyes, RED HAIR dye, alternative emo hairstyles

The perfume giveaway ends soon… quick, enter now! Two lucky winners will receive bottles of Cherry Bomb Killer scents.

TO ENTER: It’s prom season… tell us, who would be your dream date to prom, and why? You get 1 point for each method of entry:

1) Comment on La Carmina’s Facebook, sharing your answer.
2) Tweet the following: “My dream date to the prom is XXX. How bout you? Tell @lacarmina + you can WIN cute Cherry Bomb Killer Perfume! LINK”
3) Spread the word about the giveaway via a blog post, Tumblr, forum, etc… Then, leave a comment with a link to your post. The more ways you promote the contest, the more chances you have to win.

Open internationally. Contest ends XXX at midnight Pacific Time. Winner will be picked at random. Prizes are gifted from Cherry Bomb Killer Perfume; La Carmina is not responsible for lost or undelivered items. If you have questions, send an email.

CARNIVAL MASKS OF VENICE: EYES WIDE SHUT ORNATE, DECORATIVE GOTH MASKS, VENETIAN FESTIVAL MASQUERADE COSTUMES. italian masks, venice carnivale, CHERRY BOMB KILLER PERFUME GIVEAWAY! ROCK N ROLL GOTH PUNK PERFUMES & HEART CHARMS. ATELIER PIERROT DRESS. my fair lady hta, sunhat wide brim, cute hats, striped black and white dress, lolita fashion, young lolitas, lolita models, asian female model, emilie autumn makeup, red doll hair, smoky eyeshadow, how to do smokey eyes, RED HAIR dye, alternative emo hairstyles

Want to see more photos of Venetian carnival masks? I did a post about the festival’s history, with photos of the masked revelers.

Have you ever been to Venice? Or worn one of these masks? (I’ll be in Venice soon with Seba.) You can buy Cherry Bomb’s Truth or Dare and Rebel Angel perfumes from Indie Scents.

Song of the Day: Savage – Only You. “Don’t leave me to die (you will survive) You hold me so tight (turn off the light)”

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