Tuesday, July 31, 2018

You're so tough who dares to look like that!

The title of this post is something I hear - A LOT - and have done so for several years. But I don't understand it. I'm just being myself, I wouldn't say I'm brave for doing so. I think it's much harder to pretend to be someone you're not. So does that mean that people who tells me this aren't themselves? I don't know. So today I will try to speak to those people.

Before you can be yourself, you first need to find yourself. This is what teenage years is about - in many aspects, not just likes, dislikes, hobbies, style and so on. This is when you ''try on'' many different things, and see if it if for you. Often this leads to phases, which is completely fine. I went through being emo, scene, a hardcore metalhead and even tried being normal. And most likely small parts from each phase stuck with me to form who I am today. After all, I still like dark and gloomy music, I'm a colorful person, and I love metal - but I'm still just a normal human being.

So if someone reading this is at that stage in life - don't worry! You will find yourself in the end. Even though you think that you have, that can still change. People change all the time, even much later in life. And that's completely fine. But what is important is that you explore what actually interests you, and not because of your friends, to piss off your parents or because someone you think is cool is into it.. If you do those things, you will just regret it later. Sure, everyone did things in their teenage years that they are embarrassed about, but you can at least try to make it as little as possible!

Sometimes one can actually question if one is being oneself. I have, and I have talked to others who have too. Which is really weird, when you think about it! But we are affected by everyone around us, whether we realize it or not. And I'm not talking about acting differently in different settings - that's completely normal. People are often not the same person at work, with friends or with family.
So how do you know if you are being yourself? Ask yourself why you are interested in something or why you do the things you do. If it's because of someone else, that is something to reflect on. Personal preferences come naturally, sometimes you can explain why, sometimes you can't.

What I am probably asked about the most is confidence. How do I have the confidence to be myself? I'm not sure if I can explain that. Being myself isn't exactly hard, I don't need to put any effort into it, since it comes natural to me! I have always been attracted to darker things, and the music I listen to makes me happy - even though it isn't happy music! But I guess what people mean is how I look. And how I look is just an outward expression of my interests, and what I think is beautiful. I love huge hair, black make-up, big boots, and everything from ripped clothes to victorian clothes. That's just who I am, I couldn't change that if I tried. But that doesn't mean I look amazing every day - in fact, most of the time I don't. Mainly the way I dress doesn't ever change, but I don't really do my make-up and hair very often. So my everyday look is pretty boring to me - but it still may look extreme to other people. I still have piercings and tattoos. So on the days I don't bother, I at least have some permanent ways of expressing myself! This used to be my hair too, but now that it's my natural color, it looks very normal when I wear it down.

I think confidence comes from within yourself, and being yourself has a lot to do with it. If you are comfortable with yourself and accept that you are who you are, you don't care what other people think of you. Then you can look and be however you want, while holding your head up high.
A big bonus that comes with that, is that confidence radiates - and people will pick up on that. You will get a lot more compliments, and no one will ever dare to say something mean - at least in person. On the internet there is always someone who will say something negative, but I bet you they wouldn't dare to say it to your face! If you are not comfortable with yourself and insecure, people will pick up on that too. A lot of teenagers feel this way, and that's what bullies feed on. They notice a weakness and will use it to their advantage to make themselves feel better. I guess that means that have some issues with themselves too. And it's funny that if you meet those people later in life, they will suddenly be nice to you - and they are usually not very successful in life either. Makes me feel better, at least!

Before I go, I can answer another related question that I get frequently; How does one become a goth? You don't really ''become'' one - you just are. After learning what it is, of course ;)

Artist: Joana Shino

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Collision of Grief and Gratitude by Rosanne Liesveld (Interview + Giveaway)

Book Details:

Book Title: The Collision of Grief and Gratitude: A Pursuit of Sacred Light
Author: Rosanne Liesveld
Category: Adult Non-fiction, 468 pages
Genre: Self-Help, Death & Grief, Grief & Bereavement
Publisher: Illuminatio Press
Release date: May 16, 2017
Tour dates: July 16 to Aug 10, 2018
Content Rating: PG (The subject of loss is explored and some of the emotions may be too raw for young children.)

Book Description:

Day 209
"And so each day goes; the grief and the gratitude fighting for the bigger spot in my heart. The tug of war between these emotions exhausts me most days. If you see me in the grief mode, you'll think I'm a wreck. But if you see me in gratitude mode, you'll think I m doing well. Neither is 100 percent true. I am what I am most days, leaning toward finding more gratitude than grief as the days turn into weeks and the weeks into months."

After the unexpected death of her husband, Rosanne Liesveld felt a desperate need to communicate gratitude to those who helped her through the shock that death left in its wake. The day of Curt's funeral, Rosanne wrote a Facebook post expressing how, in the midst of profound grief, she found a space in her heart for gratitude. The next day, she wrote another post; then another.

Rosanne's daily posts throughout her first year of widowhood attracted hundreds to follow along on her journey. Her words inspired those who were not only grieving in some way, but those who wanted to build stronger relationships or live life with more intention and gratitude. It was messy. It was raw. And it was healing.

Rosanne's posts have been compiled into this 366-day journey and are accompanied by beautiful photos taken by Curt.

To follow the tour, please visit Rosanne Liesveld's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:
After the unexpected death of her husband, Curt, Rosanne Liesveld went on a year-long quest to find a glimmer of gratitude each day. She posted her daily journey on Facebook. Those posts become her book, The Collision of Grief and Gratitude: A Pursuit of Sacred Light.

As a coach and teacher for more than thirty years with the Gallup Organization, Rosanne has helped people discover and lean into their strengths. She now speaks to groups about how to build stronger relationships, and live life with more intention and gratitude.

Connect with the author: Facebook

Rosanne Liesveld is the author of The Collision of Grief and Gratitude. After the unexpected death of her husband, she felt a desperate need to communicate gratitude to those who helped her through the shock his death left in its wake. A few days after Curt’s funeral, Rosanne wrote a Facebook post expressing how, in the midst of profound grief, she found a space in heart for gratitude. The next day she wrote another post, and then another.
Rosanne’s daily posts throughout her first year of widowhood inspired not only those who were grieving in some way, but those who wanted to build stronger relationships and life live with more intention and gratitude. It was messy. It was raw. It was healing.
Today she answers some of our questions.

Q: Tell us a little about your background and education.
A: I was a music teacher for ten years and then started working at the Gallup Organization as a consultant in the K-12 education world. I’ve been at Gallup for thirty-two years. The past few years, I’ve spent my time coaching and teaching Clifton Strengths and its unique developmental theories. My graduate degree is in Adult Education from the University of Nebraska and I am certified by the International Coaching Federation as well as a Gallup’s Strength Coach. My late husband, Curt, and I were high school sweethearts, and I worked to support him through seminary and later grad school.

Q: What types of book do you enjoy reading?
A: I do love a good biography or autobiography. And I’m a sucker for anything that challenges conventional thinking on topics of politics, faith, and personal development.

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: I love Anne La Motte.  Other authors I love are Willa Cather (a fellow Nebraskan), Richard Rohr, Brene Brown (She keeps me sane some days!), Mary Pipher, and I’ve always loved the comic relief of Erma Bombeck!

Q: You didn’t intend to write this book. How did this book come to be? 
A: I felt a strong second wave of grief about ten days after my husband died when I realized I just didn’t know how I would ever thank the people who had helped me in those first difficult days. I could hardly remember who they were, much less thank them properly. About the same time, my son suggested that I some point I might want to look at Facebook, where people had posted some powerful words to both my husband’s page and to mine. The thought came that perhaps I could just get on Facebook once to say thank you to some people, so I did that. I also read the beautiful notes of support others had posted.
As I lifted my fingers from writing that first post, I felt a huge sense of relief and peace. So, I decided to write a second day. And a third. And the writing became my therapy and my way to connect with people. My son often said he felt better knowing that even though I alone in my home, I had so many people “out there” supporting me and responding to my posts. After about six months of posting, many people began urging me to put the posts into something more permanent, but it wasn’t until almost a year in that I gave the idea of a book any serious thought. As with so many things, it was with the words and encouragement of some very dear and important people that I made the decision to put the book together so that others might have some way to live life more fully and intentionally.
Q: How did you find something new to write about each day?
A: I honestly didn't find it hard to come up with things to share. Because I was determined to be authentic, I simply wrote about what was going on in that day, both practically and emotionally. I didn't ever plan what I would write. I would simply sit down, put my fingers on the keyboard and start to write. As corny as it sounds, my heart just poured out on the keys.

Q: What do you most hope readers will take away from your book? 
A: I think most people think this book is for people going through grief, and of course, it is. But my hope that is an inspiration for people to just take their life to the next level. So many people who commented on the posts were simply inspired to invest more in their marriages, their faith, their families, their relationships, and their lives in general. That's why I now say the book is about living life with more intention and gratitude.
Rosanne is available to chat with groups or book clubs either in person or via Zoom. Contact her at roseliesveld@gmail.com.

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Aug 18, 2018

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What Is Goth? by Aurelio Voltaire Review

BABY DON'T HURT ME, DON'T HURT ME, NO MORE! This is not to be confused with my post (that I dare say is better informationwise). This is a book by Aurelio Voltaire, who is quite famous among goths. I got this on ebay for very little (lucky), and when it didn't arrive, I was refunded. But then it showed up (super lucky)! It's been in my to-read pile for ages, but recently I've gotten through a lot of books, so now it's finally time! I know a lot of you wanted me to review this!

The book seemed promising, but I was surprised that it was such a small book (a little taller than Simen's Kindle, and thinner than it) - less than 100 pages. It has black glossy pages, which annoyed me a little, because AHH FINGERPRINTS. Also hard to take photos of, so excuse the photos below.

The introduction is Voltaire's journey into goth and his career. Then we get into the question in the book's title. The first brief description is fine, and he shows photos and descriptions of different types of goths. I loved the description of a rivethead's musical tastes: ''Anything that features angry german men chanting in unison over a distorted drum machine while someone kicks an oil drum with a steel-toed army boot (this happens more often than you think!).'' But note: A rivethead isn't a goth.

Then he goes on to explain the history of the word ''gothic''. He made the same mistake as Anne Rice did, and thought a vomitorium was a place they used to vomit in ancient Rome.
What I also reacted to was that he says the first time the term was applied to music was Bauhaus and Joy Division. Which is wrong. The first time a music journalist used the term was about The Doors. And when it comes to what is now called the goth scene, I read that it came from Ian Astbury (Southern Death Cult), who called Andi Sex Gang a little gothic goblin, because he dressed in black, listened to dark music and lived in a place called Visigoth Towers - so his fans were then called goths.
But of course, there are several ways it has come to describe the goth scene today - and most likely all of them combined is the reason that's why it's known as goth today, despite regional differences.

Then we have the gothic philosophy section, that says ''how deep is your goth?'' (I really mean to learn - cause we're living in a world of fools breaking us down, when they all should let us be...)
Anyway, this says that ''goths are often people who were victims of abuse'' - WHAT?! I don't even know what to say here. I definitely don't agree with this part. It just seems very generalizing and hateful towards non-goths, probably because of Voltaire's own experiences.

Over to some more fun stuff. A page titled DUDE LOOKS LIKE THE MATRIX! (lol) lists comments goths got between the 70s to the early 00s because of movies that came out in that time. I found that pretty funny, and a lot of people could probably relate to that.
There's a gothic name generator, which gave Simen the name Sir Byron the Liberator of Ravens.
Mine: Countess (YESS!) Lucidia the Keeper of Nobles. There are poem generators too!

My generated gothic poem:
Gloomy is the core of my left kidney.
Cautiously I walk through the terrifying forest
until mulatto clowns free me of my inner peace.
Demons, demons, demons.
Though art my destruction.

My generated horror poem:
Dead birds descend from the cliff-tops with
flailing eviscerated monkeys in their monstrous undergarments.
The sounds of breaking wind call to me from beyond the confines of decent poetry.
Decaying in the outhouse toilet...
The bridge of the beast is vanquished, vanquished, vanquished.

There are some hilarious dance tutorials (yes there are pictures) that show you: The gothic two-step, ''Who spilled a coke on the dance floor?'', cobwebs in the attic, the gothic tai chi dance, pulling the evil taffy, grab the bat, punch the hobbit! and the missing contact dance.

There's for some reason a random story about Voltaire's skull sweater that apparently is the reason he gets ''randomly searched'' every time at the airport. Ehh okay.
Other things in the book are bad goth looks, photos of Voltaire's friends, gossip, a.. goth look tutorial for a monkey? Why? Anatomy of different goths, hair and make-up tutorials and more.

There are some other things too, that I'm not even going to bother to comment on. Each ''part'' (I guess topic) of the book are really short and brief. But one thing I will comment on: His defense of Marilyn Manson. Of course he's mentioned in here, but I didn't expect him to defend him. He says he should be congratulated for bringing the goth look to the mainstream, and is a great spokesman. His argument is that because cybergoths are considered goth, why shouldn't Marilyn Manson?
If you want to listen to a GOOD defense of Manson, listen to Gothquisition 2. And here is Aytakk's follow-up article to it.

The book starts off with this page. Probably meant to be funny, but I didn't really think so. I have probably said before that Voltaire can get too silly for me - luckily most of this book isn't in a silly tone. BUT at the end of the book this quote is brought up again, and as it seems like he's going to answer it properly, he ends the book with this bomb: ''It's whatever you want it to be.''
NO NO NO. He can't fucking say that! This just ruined the entire book for me. Sure, there were some parts that dragged down, but this.. took the whole cake. You can't attempt to write a book about what goth is and then say it can be anything. Now this COULD be a joke, but it's DEFINITELY NOT FUNNY. There are tons of kids who look up to Voltaire, and they could definitely take this book seriously. I'm glad this thing is out of print! But I don't want people to spend lots of money on a used book when it's not worth it. I'm glad I got it for free! So I definitely don't recommend this book for teenagers, those new to goth or non-goths to learn about goths. It's just not accurate enough.
If you actually want to know what goth is, read my own blog post.

I guess the book is fine for goths who know their shit, and doesn't take it so seriously and can laugh at themselves. Cause I did enjoy the humorous parts. But since it's out of print, you most likely have to pay a lot of money to get it (his Paint It Black: A Guide To Gothic Homemaking is crazy expensive, probably because of his youtube series) - and since it's such a short and small book, I wouldn't.
I don't like being negative, I'd rather not say anything, but I felt I needed to with this, as a lot of people want this book and want to know how it is. I don't want people to waste their money, and definitely not take this book seriously. That's my honest opinion.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Norse Gods by Johan Egerkrans Review

I first saw this when I was helping out at a bookstore, and fell in love with the cover. It was wrapped in plastic, so I couldn't look inside. I asked for an advance reader copy, and I got one! I have the norwegian translation - there are only a few typos, not too bad.

Sol being chased by Skoll
The moment I got it (and many moments after that) I looked through and fell in love with the beautiful artwork. It's very dark and spooky, so I was a little surprised this was marketed for children. But I don't mind at all! I'm definitely gonna take some inspiration for my next tattoo (of Åsgårdsreien and Frøya)!
Åsgård (and I assume Hugin and Munin)
The written content tells us about how the world was created, the nine worlds, gods, goddesses and all the other creatures in norse mythology. And of course it tells us how the world is gonna end in ragnarok. The back of the book has a list of other books to read on the subject, and a glossary.

It's a very short book, only 159 pages, but the size of the book is pretty huge. I definitely think the main attraction of this book are the illustrations - at least for me! I've never seen artwork like this when it comes to norse mythology, and I love it. So if you like dark art, I definitely recommend this book! It's a great coffee table book, and the classic stories are just a bonus. Like I said, it's marketed to children, but I actually think adults would appreciate the art more - but all ages will definitely cherish the stories!

Click here to buy the english edition (They sadly don't ship worldwide, so please check the ''In English'' page at the bottom of the page to see if they ship to your country)

Angerboda (bringer of sorrow)
Giantess and witch
Mother of Fenris, Jormundgard and Hel

The Naglfar ship


Ægir and Ran

Ragnarok (Loke with his army from Hell)

Friday, July 6, 2018

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman Review

I read an advance reader copy in norwegian - which is pretty fitting, after all!
The last words in the book are ''Åsgård: Home of the æsirs. Kingdom of the gods.'' - and yes, that's my last name, which I find pretty badass.

When this came out I thought this would be similar to American Gods or something, but it wasn't. This is literally just stories from norse mythology written down - and since I read it in norwegian I can't really be sure of how much of Neil Gaiman's writing style shines through. But to me this is just the stories I have grown up with - kind of classic fairytales norwegians kids are told! And at school my last name was definitely pointed out a lot when we heard the tales, haha.

The book contains 15 stories from norse mythology; from before the world was created, to ragnarok. After Neil's introduction there is also a short introduction to Odin, Tor and Loke, and in the back of the book is a little word list of gods, goddesses, places, creatures, items, etc.
It's not a very long book, it's 312 pages, and since the stories are relatively bite-sized, it's pretty easy to get through. I actually think that this would fit well as bedtime stories!

If you are new to norse mythology, or very interested, I would recommend this. If not, it's probably not something you should run out and buy. And like I said, because of the translation I'm not sure if this is a must-have for Neil Gaiman fans - but if you liked American Gods, I'd give this a shot!

Links to buy: Hardback Paperback

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Art noob paints a masterpiece

Whoah there, before you compliment me on my masterpiece, let me just tell you that this is actually just a paint by numbers! I have barely touched a paintbrush in my life before, and when I saw this, I thought it would be cool to try out!

Thank you to Lillemie.com for sending me this! I guess I'm the perfect person to review this, hahah. I'm not creative, art isn't my thing. So if I can do this, anyone can!

This is what comes with the kit. A linen canvas, a smaller paper version, a photo of the motif, 19 colors, 3 paintbrushes and hooks and screws to hang it up with! Click here to get your own!

So I jumped into this with no idea what to expect. The first few colors it was a little weird. I guess what dragged down then was the fact that this painting is super detailed, so you have to look SUPER closely to find the spots with the number of the color you're using. Often I had to go back in while working with a later color, haha. I just started with the first color and continued. After I while I learned where I needed to be precise, and where I could blend the colors a little more.
I noticed that the lighter and reddish colors were a little harder to work with; The lighter ones had to be laid on thick enough so it covered the numbers and outlines, and the reddish ones became kind of transparent and lost their vibrancy if I dragged them out on bigger spots.
But you get TONS of paint, there was only a couple of colors where I used a lot - Some were barely touched! So you will definitely be able to use the paint for something else later. Maybe you could even paint the little paper version of the painting, haha! Speaking of, that really came in handy. Sometimes I would sit up at night painting, and that leads to sloppy work, so it was good to have that as a reference for spots I had forgotten, make sure I had used the right colors or if I just wasn't sure what that tiny number was.

This was definitely a fun experience! As I progressed, I enjoyed it more and more. It was amazing to see the motif come to life, and that *I* had done it! Also very nice to know how much you've progressed, and it just gets easier and easier to find spots you've missed. At the end I was just painting non-stop, while listening to a swedish paranormal tv show. Hours just flew by! And the proof was obvious progression in the painting, and bodily pain. I would sit in super weird positions (I have Simen as my witness), and clutch the paintbrushes really hard in concentration, haha.

So if you're like me, not very creative and don't know how to paint - or maybe just want something relaxing to do or kill time, you should give this a go! The kit comes with everything you need, so no need to worry about going to a hobby store and trying to figure out what you need.
I have already ordered myself another one, of London Bridge!

They sell 13 different designs, that you can see here! Something for every taste. These paintings are pretty big too, they're 40 cm x 50 cm (16'' x 20''). I also think they would make perfect gifts! Not all of the motifs available are to my taste, but it's fun to do, so maybe I'll do one as a gift for someone sometime!

Remember to use the code SUMMERPUSH (SOMMERPUSH if you're using the norwegian site) to get an additional 20% off your order! The painting kits are currently on sale for only $9,80 so take advantage of it now! Valid until july 15th.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Hardangerbunad Photoshoot

Hey! I have mentioned my grandmother's bunad (norwegian national costume) on here before, but I'm not sure if I have actually shown myself in it. The bunad is mainly worn on our national day, may 17th, but since I was at Wave Gotik Treffen then, I couldn't wear it even though it had just been made ready for me. So I decided to have a photoshoot in it! Confirmation photos 9 years later.

I got in contact with a photographer on instagram, and then I saw a gorgeous photo on my facebook feed of a couple in bunads in front of a stave church - it might even have been my local one, I don't remember. I thought THAT'S PERFECT! Stave churches are beautiful, and so unique. Fantoft stave church undeniably has ties to black metal, since it was burned down by Varg Vikernes in 1992. He used a photo of the burnt church on his Burzum EP Aske (Ash). The one that stands there today is a reconstruction. I actually know a couple that got married in it a few years back! I also have a candle shaped like the church called Kirkebrann (Church fire). And by the way, I do not approve of church arson.

I thought this combination of patriotism, history, black metal and my own personal style would go great together! I'm no norwegian ''budeie'' (milkmaid), and I don't think I could look ''normal'' even if I tried. So I decided to go with my own personal style with my bunad, even though some traditionalists would probably not like that. Most people think you should look natural in one.
But so far most people that have seen sneak peeks have loved it! So I hope you enjoy it too.

Photography by Levi Risholm of WorldWyd Photography
(Click the photos to see them properly)

The photos below are taken at Gamlehaugen.
The mansion there is used by the norwegian royal family.

Bonus: I put together this photo of my grandmother and me!

What do you think?
I'd be interested to know what international people think!
If you're norwegian, do you have a bunad? Which one?
And have you ever seen someone looking like this in a bunad?
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