Archive for October, 2019

Halloween ASMR – makeup roleplay

cosmetic products on table

Photo by Emma Bauso on

Do you know what ASMR is? Well, it’s a really long term that we abbreviate, but I bet you guessed that.

It describes a wonderful prickly-like but also relaxing sensation people experience when hearing certain sounds or seeing certain things. There are common “triggers” but they vary among people. Not everyone responds, but those who do seem to really like it, as I do. I had to experiment with it a bit. I like the whispering and tapping sounds, I LOVE the soft brushing sounds, and I like the wavy fingers. The personal experience ones are really fun.

ASMR practitioners on YouTube create videos — anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour long — full of these triggers, often with a story line or theme. Many people who like ASMR watch these to help them relax or fall asleep.

Here is one with a Halloween theme from my favorite ASMR expert, ASMR Darling. She has a huge following on YouTube. In this episode, she pretends to put Halloween makeup on your face. So much fun! Enjoy and let me know if you like it.

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Tonight is the Hunter’s Moon, the full moon of October

Do you love gazing at the moon? The moon will full at 5:08 pm, eastern standard time. In September, we had the Harvest Moon. Tonight the moon is called the Hunter’s Moon. The moon will also be full tomorrow night. If we are lucky and it doesn’t rain, the moon may appear to have an orange hue as it appears on the horizon.

You can see a calendar of the moon phases here from the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory as well as daily information about moon.

At sunset, Jewish people also celebrate Sukkot, a religious harvest celebration.

The Farmer’s Almanac is another great source of information about the moon.

Check out their 1-1/2 minute video that talks about the Hunter’s Moon and its traditions.

The New Moon will be October 27 at 11:28 pm.



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Fall flavors – German gourmet treats in Virginia and D.C.

It’s fall and that means Oktoberfest! While the official Oktoberfest celebration in Germany may have ended, in the states we’re still celebrating with brats and beer.

Where can you find the best German food around these parts? I have two suggestions.

German Gourmet – Falls Church, Virginia

The first is located in Falls Church, Virginia. German Gourmet is a store, delicatessen and bakery situated at 5838 Columbia Pike (not far from Route 7/Leesburg Pike). My son and I have been going to German Gourmet for years (when it had a location on Lee Highway).  It offers fantastic take-out from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 am – 4 pm on Sundays (the store itself is open until 7 p.m.) They have more than 20 different kinds of sausages, but if you’re thinking about bratwurst, their “homemade” offering is the most popular. You can order that as a sandwich on a Portugese roll for $6.25, including your choice of condiments (e.g., with mustard and sauerkraut, if you’re ordering for me!) Add two delicious sides for 95 cents each — I like their potato salad and red cabbage.

If you can’t wait to eat your bratwurst (and who would blame you?), there a couple of tables with chairs in the store.

German Gourmet also has a delicious variety of sweets for sale, including rugelach, strudel and fancy cakes, as well as chocolate candy from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. My son loves their pretzels!

One fun offering they have this fall is “Halloween” wine. This is a sweet, red sparkling wine imported from Germany that retails for $15/bottle. Drink this chilled and pair it with pizza, hamburgers or wieners.

Old Europe – Washington, DC

The next place I am going to tell you about is on Wisconsin Avenue, just on the edge of Georgetown, and it is amazing! Old Europe (2434 Wisconsin Avenue, NW) is the sit-down restaurant to go to when you crave traditional, authentic German food. I recommended this to a former employer once for our Christmas party and it was a huge hit! I haven’t been here for dinner, but (in addition to the company banquet) I have enjoyed lunch in this charming, small restaurant.

Old Europe is a dining experience unlike none other in the DC area. The restaurant has operated since 1948. At lunch, the small, cloth-covered tables are populated with well-dressed business men and women sharing a relaxed meal. Smiling waitresses in German dirndls circulated. I believe you’d feel most comfortable if you were wearing at least business casual attire. For its classy atmosphere, the prices are very reasonable, especially considering the quality of the food. For example, there is a Chef’s Special at lunch that includes dessert and coffee for only $12. Everything I have tried — sausages, potato pancakes, sauerbraten, pork loin schnitzel — has been outstanding. Even the house salad is unusual and delicious.

Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to lunch or dinner at Old Europe this fall. Be certain you call ahead for reservations. Just don’t plan to go on Tuesday! Old Europe is closed on Tuesdays.

On Wednesday nights through mid-November, Old Europe will offer polka music and live piano on Friday and Saturday nights.

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New USPS #HalloweenStamps are available today!

Today, the Postal Service will issue four Forever stamps, just in time for Halloween, and they are beauts! They will be officially dedicated at the Milford Pumpkin Festival in Milford, New Hampshire at 5 pm.

The Spooky Silhouettes stamps feature digital illustrations with Halloween motifs rendered as black silhouettes in eerily backlit windows. The images include a cat with an arched back beneath a raven perched on a bare tree branch, all against a yellowish-green background; two ghosts against an orange background; a spider and a web against a red background; and three bats against a purple background. Artist Tyler Lang worked with art director and designer Greg Breeding to create these stamps.

I cannot WAIT to stamp my Halloween cards with these! The stamps are available for sale at area post offices (of course) but also online.

So, you must be wondering, are these the first ever Halloween stamps? Well, the answer is no, but you would be right in supposing so because Halloween stamps are not issued every year. In fact, this is only the second issue of Halloween stamps.

The first Halloween stamps were issued in 2016. They featured four grinning jack’o’lanterns and were forever stamps.

However, there have been other spooky stamps. In October 1974, the lovely Sleepy Hollow ten cent stamp was released. You may remember the spectacular Universal Monsters 32 cent stamps from 1997. And who could forget the Disney Villians series? They were issued most recently — in 2017.

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Fun stuff to do in NoVa this weekend Oct. 11 – 13

Friday, October 11


Saturday, October 12

  • Cox Farms Fall Festival, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., $20
  • Ghost and Graveyard Tour. 7:30 p.m. Old Town Alexandria, $15.
  • Fields of Fear.  7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Cox Farms, Centreville. $20 – $35.
  • Jack’s Pumpkin Glow jack o’lantern outdoor display. Lake Fairfax Park, Reston. $23.
  • City of Fairfax Fall Festival. 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Old Town Fairfax.
  • Scarecrow Making Workshop. 12 noon – 12:45 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Colvin Run Mill Historic Site, Great Falls. $6 per scarecrow. (Bring pants, shirt, pantyhose and register in advance.)


Sunday, October 13

  • Farm Harvest Days and Fall Carnival. Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon.
  • Cox Farms Fall Festival. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Centreville, $20.
  • Ghost and Graveyard Tour. 7:30 p.m. Old Town Alexandria, $15.
  • Jack’s Pumpkin Glow jack o’lantern outdoor display. Lake Fairfax Park, Reston. $23.
  • Fields of Fear.  7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Cox Farms, Centreville. $20 – $35.
  • Clifton Day 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Festival includes arts and crafts, antiques, demonstrations, the Town Market, live music, children’s activities and lots of good food. Town of Clifton
  • Scarecrow Making Workshop. 12 noon – 12:45 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Colvin Run Mill Historic Site, Great Falls. $6 per scarecrow. (Bring pants, shirt, pantyhose and register in advance.)
  • Tonight is the full moon, also known at The Hunter’s Moon.
  • Full Moon Wagon Ride. 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m. Frying Pan Park. $10. Register in advance.

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Halloween costumes inspired by Game of Thrones and Stranger Things

If you’re like me, you binge-watched Game of Thrones and Stranger Things this year. Maybe a few times.

Did you know you could dress like Daenarys Targayren or Arya Starck for Halloween? Or maybe you’d rather attempt Eleven or Robin in Stranger Things. All these options are possible because very cool versions of these costumes are available to order online and they are available in adult sizes, including plus size.

You’ll pay a little more for these costumes than if you chose to be witch or a ghost, but the look will be worth it, especially if you are going to a party or going out with friends.

Personally, I think Daenarys would be the hardest and most expensive look to pull off (besides the Night King) because you’d have to buy the wig and boots, and maybe a shoulder dragon, but how fabulous would that be!

And there are lots of different looks so you wouldn’t have to worry about wearing the same thing. There is the bridal D, the dragon queen D, the Khaleesi D (I like that one), and the Blue Dress D.

Not a fan? There are also options for the new Wonder Woman, for the Black Panther’s sister, Shuri (love her!) and for other super heroines and villains.

Speaking of Stranger Things, Eleven’s iconic 80s jumpsuit is going to be a popular choice this Halloween. It’s so symbolic — her first mall purchase, her really coming into her own personality. Can you relate? If so, maybe Eleven is your look this year, even though she’s a young girl.

Hey, it didn’t stop anyone from dressing as Hermione!






Robin Buckley was another kind of heroine in Stranger Things. She was smart and she was brave enough to come out to a friend when being gay wasn’t as accepted as it is now.

Some things are worth wearing ridiculous Scoops sailor uniforms over. Maybe you could accessorize it with an ice cream scoop, ha ha!

You know another Stranger Things costume that would be kind of different? You’d need four people for it. What if you all dressed like the guys in Stranger Things dressed as Ghostbusters for Halloween? How fun would that be? Of course, you’d spend all night explaining it.

Have you decided what/who you’re going to be this Halloween?



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Costume Idea: The Ghost in You

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Photo by Mike on

Why are ghosts scary?

Because everyone…everyone…is afraid of death.

Ghosts represent our mortality and finality and the unknown. When you dress like a witch, you know there is no way you are going to fly through the air on a broomstick. When you dress up like a vampire, you know you are not going to sprout fangs and turn into a bat.

But if you take on a ghost costume…you are confronting your own mortality. You are addressing something actually possible.

That’s boss.

You may remember in a previous post how I mentioned that psychologists say women tend to dress in costumes that reveal their shadow side — kind of the opposite of their apparent personality, but definitely in aspects of it.

I imagine if a woman dressed like a ghost, she would have a great deal of responsibility. A ghost, to me, is a more passive figure, one that can float in and out of existence. So dressing like a ghost would allow a woman to have that bit of refuge from her duties, psychologically speaking.

Ghosts are also not as aggressive as witches, vampires or devils. The last two can appear sexually provocative. Ghosts are much more neutral. They have their own power in the ability to scare people, if they choose, but they don’t prey on people like vampires or try to control them like witches and devils do. They aren’t joiners. Witches like covens. Devils are part of a hiearchy. Vampires are created from other vampires and werewolves come from other werewolves.

Not ghosts. Ghosts don’t create more ghosts. They just are. Solitary, creepy, unpredictable.

They are mysterious and romantic, too. There are a lot more poems written about ghosts than vampires or devils. I imagine there are malevolent ghosts, but in general, I think a woman who dressed as a ghost would be at heart somewhat of a romantic. They suffer. They linger. They pine. They haunt. Think of Evanescence.


So, this dress is so romantic, even with graveyard stains. It retails on Amazon or Walmart for between $30 and $40 (I could not find this style at Party City). I usually go as a witch but I really like this ghost costume so I may order this one this year. The only thing I don’t like about it is the under dress is short. It got rave reviews for being flattering and easy to wear, from people of a variety of ages and sizes, including plus size. It’s not a sexy look, as in corsets and tutus and high heels, but it’s very much in the spirit of Halloween.


A ghostly face is not that easy to pull off. One mistake I see is using white, greasy face paint to create a ghostly face. It looks more clownish than ethereal. I looked at some YouTube makeup videos, and saw makeup artists using a light foundation instead. I tried it and the results were great!

For my ghostly look, I used a liquid foundation a couple of shades lighter than my fair and ruddy skin. It’s the lightest shade Wet and Wild makes, called Porcelain (just under $5). I then used a white powder sold in the Halloween costume section that came in a compact (not Wet and Wild brand). It is a light, matte powder (about $3) that together with the foundation, made my skin look pale.

I used a light peach eyeliner from Rimmel (Scandal Eyes) to line my lips (to cancel out any redness.Then I applied the Wet and Wild matte long-lasting color Lavender Crown (Liquid Catsuit), which I bought on clearance for just a dollar at Wal-Mart! It was the color I wanted. Its not too dark or light and it makes my lips look lifeless 🙂 (Revlon and Maybelline also make some gray, lilac and blue shades of lip color.)

I applied Wet and Wild eyeliner in Ghosted white (Kohl crayon) ($1.00) to my waterline of my eyelids (again, to cancel out the redness I have there) and around the inner corners of my eye, near my nose. I also used it to color my dark brown eye brows, which I then went over with a silver liner from Rimmel in silver (Scandal Eyes) to get a kind of gray and white effect.

Then I applied another Wet and Wild Kohl eyeliner in black to my upper lids toward the outer corners. Wet and Wild eyeliner quality really seems to have improved and Rimmel pencil eyeliners are fantastic for the price.

For eyeshadow, I used two Wet and Wild shadows I found on their Halloween display: Panther (shimmery black) and Sugar (glistening white). Both are individual eye shadows that cost $1 each. Makeup artists actually do like Wet and Wild eye shadow. They are deeply pigmented and build up well. I brushed the black on my lids and crease, winged it out a little bit, brushed some under the lash line. Then I highlighted the brow bone with the white shadow and put on some mascara.

Ghostly hair color

I have wild, curly brown hair. I wanted gray or white hair. I figured out a trick. I bought spray hair color in both white and gray ($2 – $3 each). I was going to kind of mix them both. The color was right, but when I sprayed my dry hair, my hair curdled up as if I had burnt it. It looked just awful. I guess it was the combination of the cold spray and chemicals? Well, I washed it out, and then I got the idea of spraying it on damp hair. That worked. It took a while to dry, and it dripped a bit and was messy (wear a towel or old t-shirt if you try this!) but when it was dry, I had springy curls (a bit stiff, but hey) that were kind of grayish white with some darker hair in there. Make sure you spray in a well ventilated room…the fumes are just awful. But for me, it will be better and more comfortable than wearing a wig all night, and the hair color and makeup looked great together.

For dark skin, foundation and white powder all over the face probably wouldn’t look right, but you could do some dramatic gray eyes and lips and I think that would look great with this costume. This tutorial is close to what I was thinking, but if you have other ideas, please comment.


If you want to freak people out (you know you do), move half as slowly as you usually do, glide around, don’t talk much and hold gazes longer. I think that would be hard to sustain at a party or a bar, but you could have some fun with it. Just don’t scare little children half to death when they come to your door for candy 🙂

A final ghostly note

Here’s another ghost song. The Ghost in You by The Psychedelic Furs. A love song. So romantic.

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Costume Idea: Season of the Witch

Oh yes, it is truly the season of the witch, and not only because it’s Halloween.

Witchcraft has become a thing. There are even Christian witches now. A movement of African American Millennial witches is growing. You can find more than 11,000 starter witch kits on Etsy, ranging in price from $6 to $600.

We have come a long way from Salem, baby.

So, Halloween.

Did you know that 75% of people in their young 20s dress up for Halloween? And that 55% of people in their 40s and 50s do? That’s more people than vote in Presidential elections!

If you are drawn to a witch costume, I think you are ready to embrace fantasy and wish fulfillment for a night. Why not choose to be little magical?

After all, your 21st century witch is not evil and hideous. She’s about confidently owning her power, wisdom and creativity, embracing the mystery and unknown, setting intentions and manifesting.

I picked out this costume for you. It’s pretty, it’s comfortable, and it’s flattering (love those vertical lines!). It comes in a lot of sizes, including plus sizes. It got great reviews on Amazon, and it’s affordable (between $30 and $40). Make it your own, maybe by adding your personal touches to your hat, or adding a fun necklace.

You go, you witch, you!

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Costume Idea: The Devil Inside

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Photo by Jutta Albers on

Well, there certainly is a lot of sympathy for the devil these days.

Billy Eilish recently released her single, all the good girls go to hell.

When Netflix released Season 4 of Lucifer this year, it was its most watched original series.

Amazon Prime Video aired the angel/devil series, Good Omens, to critical acclaim.

In the The Good Place, a demon is seen as a sympathetic character who decides to help, instead of torment, his designated victims.

These shows address the concept of power, as well as good versus evil. Why the appeal? Well, life sometimes feels uncertain and frightening. When we watch shows about people fending off zombies, demons and devilish characters, we feel like we might have the ability to surmount some of the challenges we face that are truly frightening, such as random acts of violence.

So, You can dress like a devil for one night and raise a little hell without risking your mortal soul, for heaven’s sake.

Given that devilish characters are, pardon the pun, hot right now, what kind of woman chooses dress up as the devil on Halloween?

Well, like Billy suggested, “good girls!” Psychologists say people tend to select costumes that reflect the shadow side of their natures. Devils are all about self-serving power. So, women who choose to dress as a devil are most likely kind, giving people who sometimes fantasize about the freedom of life without responsibilities and moral imperatives. Perhaps they are a little codependent. Maybe they are a little low on the self-care level and imagine some unfettered hedonism would be fun once in a while.

And Halloween gives them a chance to act out that fantasy! Dressing up like a devil just once a year might even be a healthy thing for them to do. So, if you recognize yourself here, give in to temptation. Embrace your devil side for Halloween.


I searched Amazon for a woman’s devil costume that was kind of sexy but that offered enough coverage so that the neighbors wouldn’t talk about you the next day. (Oh, let them talk. It will be good for them to see another side of you!)

This one received positive reviews for flattering fit, comfort and quality, and it comes in a range of sizes, including plus size. I believe it was in the $30 – $40 range. If this is the look you want to pull off, and I think it’s a great one, then order your costume and accessories early to get your size.

I think a light body slimmer would be great underneath this form-fitting dress, and maybe a silicone strapless, backless bra, or for smaller bust sizes, the lighter adhesives. That way, you wouldn’t have any bra straps showing at the shoulders. I could see nude or black hose, or even nude with a little gold sparkle. I like these inexpensive shoes with it.

If you didn’t want to wear a wig, you could add red tips with a spray-on, 1-day dye, such as L’Oreal Colorista Spray. I tried the purple shade and it did show up on my dark brown hair.

One tip I read about wrinkles in costumes — these fabrics tend to be tough to iron (they can be damaged easily with heat) but they can also look wrinkled when taken out of the bag, and that’s not a good look. You can steam the wrinkles out if you have a steamer or hang it in the bathroom during a hot shower. You can also try using a damp cloth and an iron set on low heat.

Just don’t put it in the dryer! Ironically, that would be too much heat for your devil costume!

Welcome to Halloween Costume Week on Autumn in Virginia! Every day this week, I’ll be featuring a different costume inspiration! Please join us every day and share your costume ideas!

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The Halloween Costume of 2019 is….

VSCO Girl!

That’s right. Possibly, no one else has thought of it yet. Believe you me, there will probably be 11 “Elevens” at your party. Plus, the more you are NOT a VSCO Girl (not that there’s anything wrong with that), the funnier you are going to be. Sk sk sk sk!

So, as the diagram above shows, and the video explains it’s not going to be hard to replicate the VSCO Girl look…or talk…because homogeneity is working in your favor here. And i oop!

The downside is you’re going to have to spend a lot of money unless you can raid the wardrobe and accoutrements of a well-off teenage girl.

Or you can try and cheap it out…but I think NO ONE WILL BE FOOLED.

And can we be real for a sec? This is not an “aesthetic.” Agh! Use that word again and I’m slapping you on the back your neck! This is a fad. Kids who all wear the same things the other kids are wearing for five minutes are engaging in fads. Aesthetic is a philosophy that deals with nature, art and beauty. Higher plane stuff. Not benign consumerism.

So let’s get back to being fun. (Your neck is safe now.)

We’re talking scrunchies, scrunchies, did I say scrunchies, and yes, maybe a couple of scrunchies.

The shell necklace, the over-sized t shirt (or really tiny t shirt), the tight jeans (or little shorts or enormous sweats), the birks or the crocs, the messy bun or hair brushed to over one side (guys, you might need a wig for this). What is it with the constant hair-flipping, is it like some kind of primate signaling instinct? I digress. The lip gloss, the selfie phone thingie, the iced coffee plastic cup with A METAL STRAW SO YOU CAN SAVE THE SEA TURTLES or a hydro flask. With lots o’ stickers.

But if you really want to step up your game…and it’s Halloween, so you know, you gotta step up your game…you’re going to need that little bit extra. But what? What could bring that party prize home?

You know like how they love those white fairy lights in their bedrooms. So you could get a battery-pack string and drape yourself with one of those. Or spray everybody with rose water. I don’t know. Think outside the box.

Oh. em. gee. Did I just say “think outside of the box” for a look that is so conformist, it is basically “basic”? How’s that for irony!

Camp it up and have fun because by the time this blog is posted, the VSCO Girl look may be history…

Disclaimer: Okay, true confession: I do talk and laugh like a VSCO girl, which is a little tragic in a woman of my advanced years. And when my sister and I talk, we sound EXACTLY like this. I mean, I did the sk sk sk sk thing all year and was just unaware. I was VSCO before VSCO was cool. And my sister is all about saving the turtles but she heard that someone gored themselves with a metal straw so now she just takes paper ones everywhere which is just out-VSCOing the VSCO-ettes. I don’t even USE straws anymore. Hardly. And I blog. But not on Tumblr. I am SO basic, I need to dress up this Halloween as myself.

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