Category Archive for Alternative Canada

Gothic BC fashion! Greater Vancouver Zoo tour: feeding red pandas, bears & hippos. Brentwood Mall rainbow sky bridge.

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Life has been more colorful lately in Vancouver, BC. I’ve been emerging from my lockdown dungeon, and safely reuniting with close friends (while still wearing my mask).

Let’s do a round-up of recent Vancouver Goth escapades, including snaps from this new Rainbow Sky Bridge (Amazing Brentwood Mall’s Instagrammable spot). We’ll also visit the adorable animals of the Greater Vancouver Zoo. I’ll end with some recent writing / hosting work and podcasts — including a feature about The Satanic Chef!

amazing brentwood mall burnaby rainbow bridge

I popped into Burnaby’s Brentwood Mall, which has a new pedestrian Rainbow Skybridge. When the sunlight hits the colored panes, they glow and emanate onto the bridge’s floor and ceiling. (The shopping center also has a new dining court and other renovated areas.)

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It felt right to dress like a Goth alien to take some snaps. I’m wearing a women’s fitted t-shirt from The Satanic Temple shop; it’s a short sleeved “I am a Friend of Satan” tee designed by Lucien Greaves, in Royal Blue.

My mini backpack is Cyberdog, sunglasses Pugnale Eyewear, mask Lemonwood Luxury, maxi skirt is vintage from Burcu’s Angels boutique in Vancouver BC.

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The Amazing Brentwood Rainbow Skybridge is one of the six eye-catching “Aura” art installations in the shopping centre, designed by Canadian artist Elyse Dodge.

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Closeup on my Satan-friendly shirt. The Satanic Temple store has Hail Pride clothing, homewares, books, and other memorabilia as well, with funds going to their campaigns.

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I’ve been making furry new friends this summer… I took a special tour of the Greater Vancouver Zoo, which includes interactive experiences with the resident animals, like this kawaii red panda.

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Anyone can book an interactive tour at the GVZoo, which is located about 45 minutes to an hour from Vancouver, in Langley BC. My friends and I also got to feed the hungry, hungry hippos…

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… and hang with two types of fuzzy bears. (But not as closely as this, of course.)

OOTD: Black Inca Noir sun hat Lack of Color, sleeves Sleevey Wonders, Goth striped top Forest Ink, skirt Charli Cohen.

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In addition to regular admission tickets, The Greater Vancouver Zoo offers private behind the scenes interactions with several animal species, which you can choose when you book in advance. My friends and I were delighted to come face-to-face with the red pandas!

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Red pandas are native to Burma and China. This little guy chomped away on bamboo; that’s what they mostly eat, as well as some protein sources.

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As you can see, red pandas are polite and friendly… and adore eating sweet figs on a stick! What a treat to feed them by hand, and be right up close with their cute snouts.

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I love how red pandas always look happy. (They’re not actually related to panda bears, but belong to their own classification; they’re an ancient species similar to skunks, raccoons and weasels.)

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The Sanrio character Aggretsuko is based on a red panda. (Fortunately, this one didn’t erupt into a heavy metal rage.)

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Red pandas have curved, retractable claws and a thumb-like bone that help them get a good grip on snacks. Aren’t they the sweetest?

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We enjoyed speaking to the zoo staff, and learning about how they care for the animals and work on conservation projects. At this pond, we held up apple slices, and a hippopotamus slowly started to come out of the water.

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Hippos spend most of their time submerged in water, but this one came up to us and opened his mouth, ready for a meal.

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The other hippo got a frozen watermelon to help him cool down from the heat. He played with it, then chomped it between his strong jaws.

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Ready, aim, and throw apples right into the hippo’s gaping mouth!

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The hippopotamus kept his jaw wide open, in a bid for more fruit. (These are the third largest land mammals, after elephants and rhinos.)

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Onward to meet the grizzly bears, who are orphaned rescues. Like all the animals at the Greater Vancouver Zoo, they live in enormous natural environments.

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We threw corn over the fence, and the bears stood up on their hind paws to try to catch them!

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We also met three black bear siblings. These bears were rescued from Alaska after they lost their mother; they wouldn’t have survived in the wild on their own.

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It’s true: like Winnie-the-Pooh, bears do love honey. We dipped a wooden stick into a jar of sticky honey, and let them lick it through the fence.

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Don’t overlook the smaller animals at Vancouver’s Zoo. A zookeeper showed us a Madagascar hissing cockroach, and let it run over our hands (and Rob’s P-cross / The Process tattoo).

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“He’s a cold-hearted snake / Look into his eyes, uh-oh.” We petted the ball python, which was curled up tight to preserve heat.

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There were too many animals at Vancouver’s zoo to photograph for you — including giraffes, elk, tigers, cheetahs, ostriches… See the full list here.

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We had never seen a Patagonian Mara before — it’s the second largest species in the rodent family, and can run at high speeds. The northern lynx was a sweetheart; when we called her name, she came up to the fence with her ears twitching.

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The Greater Vancouver Zoo also has a new dino park, with life-sized animatronic dinosaurs.

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The T rex moves his head and jaws, making us feel as if were in Jurassic Park.

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The Greater Vancouver Zoo is certified globally, and is dedicated to education and conservation — they’re constantly improving the facilities for the animals, and have a safari-style park in the works. I’m looking forward to returning and seeing these new additions.

Outfit details: Black Inca Noir bucket hat Lack of Color, sleeves Sleevey Wonders, black and white striped top Forest Ink, skirt Charli Cohen.

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Let’s wrap up with some outfit features, which I’ve been sharing on Instagram (@lacarmina).

How fab are these Kubrick cat-themed tank top and leggings? They’re by Close to Human Clothing, a fashion partnership between musician Daniel Graves of Aesthetic Perfection and designer Sam P.

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The apparel line is a love letter to pop culture and cats. Close to Human offers shirts, stickers and more for men and women, in all sizes.

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The tank top is a clever, catty take on Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” film poster (the movie is a personal favorite). Put your paws on “Stanley Mewbrick’s Catwork Orange” and look real horrorshow! Find this and more on Close to Human.

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Speaking of cats and other creatures… Here’s a look at some of the cards from The Devil’s Deck, a new Satanic ritual / oracle card deck by Shiva Honey! 

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Shiva also sells Satanic clothing, like this Pride crop top from the Queer Magick, on her Serpentinae website.

the devil's deck satanic tarot cards shiva honey

The Devil’s Deck is a work of art. Gilded in gold, this 30 card ritual deck is a companion to Shiva Honey’s The Devil’s Tome. The beautiful quality cards are illustrated by Satanic Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves, artist Alexander Corey, and Shiva.

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The Devil’s Deck is a wonderful tool for contemplation. Each represents a Satanic ritual or act of introspection (such as Solo Ritual, Forgiveness, Justice), with an accompanying booklet to help interpret the meaning.

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The Devil’s Deck differs from the standard tarot: it has 17 Ceremony cards and 13 Illumination cards. (Here’s a selection of the art by Lucien Greaves.)

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The deck is designed to be used in conjunction with Shiva Honey’s The Devil’s Tome, which describes the full Satanic rituals for personal empowerment.

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You can find Shiva’s devilish deck, tome, clothing line and more on her Serpentinae website.

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If you need some Satanic Summer Reading List suggestions, I’ve got your back. I was delighted to take part in a special episode of “Hexed Texts” for The Satanic Temple TV. On this show, TSTTV hosts (including yours truly) recommend their favorite devilish books. I’m at 15:00 hailing “Rosemary’s Baby” by Ira Levin; the Mia Farrow film also rocks!

Watch our program here; it also features Dr John Skutlin, Lucien Greaves, Stu de Haan, Chalice Blythe, Citlati Soona, Stephen Bradford Long, Lilith Starr, Hadrian Flyte and more.

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I leave you with some bonus outfit snaps — it’s nice to be out and about again! This floral phone booth was part of downtown Vancouver’s Fleurs de Villes public art installation. My emo romance top is by Forest Ink; it says “I’ll find you again wherever we end up next.” My choker is Frame Chain.

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Bury me in a pyramid of flowers… Rainbow skirt by Cyberdog, sleeves by Sleevey Wonders.

Rose Briccetti art exhibit leimin space leiminspace la gallery collage

A head’s up: If you’re in Los Angeles, you can find my photo on the wall of LA art gallery Leiminspace! Artist Rose Briccetti is having a solo exhibit there, and she included my cut-out from Millie Magazine in her wall collage.

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I’m also delighted to share my profile of The Satanic Chef, Adam Ostrofsky – it’s published on Fodor’s Travel! Read my article about how a Bible-burning chef uses food events at The Satanic Temple to champion outsiders, and push back against Satanic Panic and injustice.

An excerpt of my writing: “He begins each episode (…) by burning The Holy Bible. Sometimes, he’ll tear out pages and fling them into the flames of his wok. If he’s feeling particularly devilish, the chef might dice up scorched verses with his TST membership card, and snort them up his nose.”

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And I was interviewed for the debut podcast episode of “Human Dreaming” by Britt Sheflin. She writes, “Join me as I discuss lucid dreaming, secular Buddhist dream practices, travel through dreams, and more with La Carmina.” You can find this podcast interview here as well as on Apple, Spotify and more.

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Somehow, I survived the insane Vancouver heatwave in mid-June…. and have more travels on the way. Here’s to making the most of summer 2021!


Night Owls! Which US Cities Are Staying Up Latest & Sleeping the Least? Chat me & docs on Clubhouse.

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It feels like I’m in a dream… which may be the case, as I’m a longer sleeper than most! Did you know I can spend almost half the day asleep, with intense lucid dreams? 

My “secret power” has led me to join the team, as a writer and Clubhouse moderator. I wrote about travel and lucid dreaming — and 1-2 times a week, I help host a lively and informative chat about sleep (with doctors, guest experts, and panelists) on the new Clubhouse app. 

I’ve realized just how important it is to get a good night’s rest. Since Goths are known as people who stay up late, I wanted to share some original data reporting from and Sleepscore Labs — about which US cities are staying up latest and sleeping least.

Is your city one of the “most sleep-deprived”? Check out the list, which includes key info on how to improve your sleep.

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While sleep experts recommend seven hours per night, not one of these cities even came close! Twelve American cities are getting less than six hours of sleep a night.

The city with the shortest average sleep time is Phoenix, which averages less than 5 hours and 45 minutes of sleep per night. (I wouldn’t be able to function on so little… I do best with at least 9 hours, and I can easily doze off for 12!)

My Goth friends in Phoenix are certainly night owls. But why might locals be getting less rest? The study shows population age, climate, air quality, and bright city lights may be factors.

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New York City is called “the city that never sleeps,” but perhaps we should call it “the city that goes to bed way too late.” According to SleepScore’s analysis, the Big Apple stays up the latest of all the cities profiled, clocking an average bedtime of 11:55 p.m. (I confess I stayed out late partying a lot when I lived in NYC…)

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I’m a famously excellent sleeper — I can even sleep on airplanes — so I’m going on Clubhouse on Thursday, May 13 at 2pm PT / 5pm ET to talk with the experts and find out more about this.

Here’s the link to join our discussion on Clubhouse (if you need an invite, click it and you’ll skip the line to join the app). And here’s the full story with more info about America’s 18 Most Sleep-Deprived Cities.

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I’m having a great time on Clubhouse, the audio-only chat app. Every Sunday, you can find me there with my club of friends (Sun at 7 PT / 10 ET). We host a “Sunday Scaries” chat, each time with a different health and rest topic, as part of the “Sleep Secrets” club. Check out more info about our Clubhouse chats.

Next Sunday, join us to discuss: Sleep Stages: How Much REM Sleep Do You Need (& Why)?
Sun, May 9 at 7-8pm PT / 10-11pm ET

It’s Mother’s Day, and 43% of moms surveyed told us they would choose one full night of uninterrupted quality sleep, over breakfast in bed, or gifts. And we found out last Sunday that women need more sleep than men! What are the specific brain and health benefits of REM sleep, deep sleep, and light sleep? And how much of each do we need? Neurologist and sleep expert Dr. Chris Winter and internal medicine specialist Dr. Monya De discuss with our panel (which includes your resident long-sleeping, lucid-dreaming Goth!)

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Anyone is welcome to join our Clubhouse chats, and ask the doctors and experts questions. I’m always happy to chat about lucid dreaming, sleep tips, and more!

In these dreamy photos, I’m wearing Sleevey Wonders — they make these purple 3/4 length mesh under-sleeves, which I’ve slipped on under my strappy dress. It’s wonderful how Sleevey Wonders can transform an outfit with color and texture! They’re flattering, and can add warmth or cover to make your coordinate stand out.

Outfit Details: My black hat with crosses is by Ministry of Wings. The 90s-style spaghetti strap plaid dress and spiderweb tights are Ninja Cosmico. My Morbid Debutante skull pearl choker is from Alex Streeter, and my snakeskin boots are by Acne Studios.

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Baphomet’s got my back… A wonderful bomber jacket with a Satanic red patch on the back, by my friends at Long Clothing. They conjure up devilish Goth streetwear for men and women, including a Hellraiser print and my favorite “Satan loves you for who you are” range. sleepscore sleep study us cities most least sleeping hours bedtime infographic

Here is the graphic that illustrates the sleep study — are you surprised to see where your city lies?

See the full story about USA’s most sleep-deprived cities, and tune in to Clubhouse on Thurs May 13 (2pm PT) to discuss it with our experts, panelists, and doctors.

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PS: Just wanted to share some fun press… I was featured in Nylon Magazine! The fashion mag interviewed me about how Penny Lane’s Almost Famous coat influenced my styling.

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I also wrote about one of my favorite topics: Japanese Zen Buddhist design. (It’s the Seinfeld of Buddhism — a whole lot of nothing, yet it’s everything!)

In my debut for House Beautiful, I explain principles of Zen design: from sand gardens to modern minimalist architecture & No-thing / Emptiness. My architecture article also got picked up by Yahoo. Thank you for reading.

I recently recorded some podcasts as well, and will share them with you soon.  Until then — sweet dreams, night owls!