Can’t Be Glamorous All the Time

posted in: glamour | 10

In the worst parody of The Scorpion and the FrogJow caught me taking pictures at home that were nothing like the pictures I usually take.  There was no angling my head this way or that way, standing up straighter than the weight of my tits ever allows for, there wasn’t even the surreptitious movement of items out of the frame.   Suspiciously, he asked what I was doing.

Oh nothing, I replied airily.  Just taking pictures of train wreck that is my life.

He sighed, the long tired sigh familiar to me from anyone who has been in a relationship with me for more than three years.  Why do you always have to do that?  Why do you have to shit on the carpet?

It’s in my nature.  I like to think it’s part of my charm and on some days it is and on some days it isn’t.  It likely makes me relatable at the very least, an aspect that’s important to blog readers according to a book I’m reading.  Relatable and glamour are not two things that go hand in hand very often in my experience but as long time Charmers will attest to, I suffer from word vomit-itis and I don’t know how to keep the less desirable aspects of my life off the internet because I started blogging when I was twenty-two and everything is on parade for the world to see at that age.

Anyway.  I’ve been working too many hours and my weekends have been too busy.  I’m getting tired, I’m getting depressed, I’m getting worn down.  I’m starting to question why I do any of the things I do, it’s like the slowest, most boring version of churning the ocean of milk.

I want glamour, I want to make an impact on other people, I want to wear my sexy shoes, I want a signed (in blood, preferably) book deal, I want thousands of Etsy sales, I want to feel desirable, I want all of my merchant events to be incredibly profitable, I want to be thirty pounds lighter, I want to have lazy days, I want more fun, I want to read books, I want to go to my pool, I want to be out of debt.  Wanting.  I’m always Wanting and burning.  I’m always exhausted.

I am so sick of falling for guys who don’t give a fuck about me! I need help! I need a facial! I need to go on a diet! I need money! I need new shoes! Oh, God, just do something! – Threesome

Usually, I escape by listening to lots of books and biographies in my car.  Lots of Tudors, some teenager spies, some teenaged rebellion, whatever takes me away from my 10+ hour days of toddler toil.  I’m listening to The Omnivore’s Dilemma Because of Reasons and I swear to god I’ma wind up wrapping my red dented 2008 Honda Civic around a telephone pole.  I need to see this through, so I will.  Just like everything else I’m desperately trying to see through.

The people closest to me (except Jow, who knows better) keep futilely suggesting I stop something, anything.  One of my day jobs, merchanting, something, anything.  No.  I say.  No.  I’ve always stopped when I got close to success and I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to stop this time.  There were a lot of things I could have been in this life that I walked away from.  I cannot this time.  I rarely talk of souls but for the sake of my own tattered soul, I can’t stop now.  Can’t stop.  Won’t stop.

I can’t have anything given to me, I never appreciate it.  So She stretches me as thin as my daily whispered prayers and then a little thinner, just to make sure I really mean it this time.  And I hang here, on this rack of my own making.   The Hanged Woman.  By this time of day, my thoughts collide into a soundless, wordless wail.

Let’s take a look at my gallery of my current day.

photo 1

I never know how I feel about this dress.  It’s a dizzying seesaw between love and hate.  Sometimes I think it makes me look willowy.  Sometimes I think it just makes me look fat.  I’ve veer back and forth between these options about eleventybillion times a day.  I still feel weird about having my arms bare.

photo 2

My nails are ragged, thin, dry and chipped.

photo 3

To encourage me in these artist pursuits that require a full time day job, my body has decided to start attacking me with eczema over my eyelids, hives and a super dry scalp.  Delicious.


photo 2-2

Our oven has not worked for several months.  The new one we ordered has been backordered of course.  Why not us?  I’m trying to be saucy here, like I’m a NYC girl on the go who doesn’t need an oven so she stores her back issues of Vogue in it.  Have I had time to read this issue?  No.  Blake Lively/Serena Vander Woodsen sure looks full of life though, doesn’t she?  She’s an entrepreneur, you know.  Oh wait, so am I.  Sads.


photo 1-2

So. The story everyone in my circle of friends likes to tell about me and my domestic skills is this one.  Bucks/Maidens/Whatever, take note.  If you are lucky/cursed enough to have the same friends ten years later, it doesn’t matter how many thousands of readers you have on your blog who think you’re domestically capable.  It doesn’t matter how many lavish parties you throw for these ungrateful motherfuckers.  It doesn’t matter that anyone who has only known you as a (full) adult thinks you’re an alterna-chick Emily Gilmore.  THIS IS THE STORY THEY WILL TELL ABOUT YOU.  So if you’re hoping for a career in the domestic arts, chose your words carefully, youngs.

When I was twenty three-ish and feeling very weighed down by working a full time job (MY MOTHER SELF SPITS IN YOUR FACE, MAIDEN SELF!  YOU WERE A WEENIE!), I had a live in boyfriend and my two besties (the triumvirate) were over.  I was trying to make cookies from scratch using one of my grandmother’s written recipes (“Use a hot oven” Thanks, Grandma).  Our apartment was so small, we didn’t even have a kitchen table.  I kept telling myself it was bohemian.  It wasn’t.  I was tired from a long day of getting yelled at in the workplace, crying in the bathroom while wearing fake pearls (tres grown up!)  and trying to pretend like I knew how to bake anything.  But I made dinner for then-boyfriend.  I carefully plated his food and set it in front of him.  What is this?  he asked.  Something inside me went snap.  WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK IT IS?  IT’S DINNER!  He looked at me for a moment.  I meant. . .like . . .what’s in it?  The girls practically pissed themselves falling on the floor, laughing at the magnitude of my hose-beast-ness for what was meant as an honest question.  Now whenever I look like I’m going to lose my shit at a party but have enough years to have my Emily Gilmore face on (until there’s been say, four martinis) one of them will whisper in my ear, It’s dinner!  What the fuck do you think it is!  This phrase is also used when dinner is a not terribly great showing, like the half eaten rotisserie chicken that was dinner, as pictured above.  I mean, I could have shown you the finished product, all pretty like in the Wegmans recipe but this is what it started from.  This is how I feel for most of my day.  Like a fucking half eaten rotisserie chicken in a plastic container.


Deborah Castellano
Deborah Castellano's book Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want is available for purchase through Amazon, Llewellyn and Barnes and Noble.
Her frequently updated catalogue of published work is available on Author Central.

She writes about Glamour Magic here at Charmed, I'm Sure. Her podcast appearances are available here.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid & The Crow specializes in old-world style workshop from 100% local, sustainable sources featuring tempting small batch ritual oils and hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers and more!

In a previous life, Deborah founded the first Neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention, SalonCon which received rave reviews from con-goers and interviews from the New York Times and MTV.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Jow and their cat, Max II. She has a terrible reality television habit she can't shake and likes St. Germain liquor, record players and typewriters.  


10 Responses

  1. I understand the wanting. Wanting both glamour & elegance (the flattering clothes, the fancy shoes & jewelry and the opportunity to wear them for other than writing erotica[1]) AND wanting Lazy Days where you can spend the whole day paging through a book *for the joy of it* rather than because you’re trying to learn something specific (like how to build your brand, or how to facilitate an ordeal ritual, or whatever).
    There comes a point where the constantly-being-thwarted outweighs the wanting for me, where it hurts so much to want and fail, want and fail, want and fail… that the wanting collapses into bitter apathy and “I Just Don’t Care Anymore”. (It’s part of why I move slowly, but keep moving, rather than push-push-push and then fall over).
    I get it that to make things happen, you have to actually work for them. You can’t win the lotto if you never buy the ticket, and you can’t get a book deal if you never write a book (just keep writing, just keep writing…) or send a query letter. I get it. But I also get that hurling yourself at a wall and getting NO results is probably A Sign that you need to put your efforts elsewhere.
    If it’s any help…
    Look, one of my figure modeling clients was chatting to me on the phone (this is a couple of months ago) and reminded me that my wife and I “live in our art studio”… so of course there’s going to be stuff everywhere, half-finished projects still on the go, and a million pieces of equipment and/or material In Use at any given time.
    I find that remembering that – unlike my friends who can do their creative work in a location separate from their homes (even if only separated by the wall of a garage or a flight of stairs) – we live IN our magical/practical/creative Workplace helps when I’m feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of CLUTTER that fills every corner of our life. (I mean, it doesn’t make the coffee table clean itself, I realize, but it *does* make me feel marginally less like a sloth, so…)

    Re: “Use a Hot Oven”… Was this hand-written recipe possibly from The Old Country? As in: Did she grow up learning it from her own mother, who was maybe cooking with wood or coal or some other direct-combustion material, what with it being about 100 years ago? That whole “cook the wood before you cook the food” thing is… relevant here, I think.

    Anyway. Still working my way towards a multi-purpose wardrobe that is both (a) elegant and potentially glamourous, AND (b) really, really EASY to just grab something in a rush and throw on. (Dresses like this one – – or the home-made, cotton version there-of at least, are starting to show up more and more in my wardrobe for just that reason; same with box-pleated, cotton skirts, cropped cardigans (and the odd shrug), and even a few blouses). The goal is to end up with a wardrobe full (but not too full – that’s the other battle, amirite?) of comfortable (so, like, natural fibres and appropriate fitting/tailoring) *but also elegant* clothes that can be adapted to a number of different contexts – temporary office work, cocktail party, grocery-shopping, hot date, digging in the dirt, you name it. Don’t get me wrong, the process is slooooooooooooooooow, trying to wear out (or repurpose) stuff that I already have, if it’s not something I Never Wear Anymore (at this point, this is the majority of my clothes… though ask me that again in March, and just see how many poly-fibre cardigans and stretched-out cotton tank-tops I’m itching to get rid of) but *is* something that I couldn’t get away with wearing anywhere but, say, working in the garden or painting an apartment (see: the crinkle-cotton summer skirt that is literally rags at this point, and will be re-purposed as (a) the lining of the new skirt I’m working on, and (b) patching fabric for the lining of another skirt that is still all in one piece on the outside).

    Meh. Anyway. As for feeling like a half-eaten chicken in a plastic container… Look, feeling like that is awful. Feeling simultaneously unfinished *and* half-gone/worn-out is awful. And I don’t have a clue what to do about any of that. But I will point out that, half-eaten or not, lacking a fabulous serving platter or not, that is still damn fine chicken.
    And so are you.
    Relatable + Glamour = CHARMING, doncha know. 😉 And you’ve got that in spades. 🙂

    Moi. 🙂

    [1] Yes, I have Porn-Writing Shoes. They are red, pointy-toed d’Orsay stilettos with ankle straps, and they’re awesome. And I can just about walk five feet in them before they start to hurt. 🙁
    Meliad recently posted..O is for Overwhelmed and “Out of Order” – Pagan Blog Project 2014My Profile

    • You always say exactly what I need to hear, A. <3 And you don't know how badly some days I need to hear it!

      I got these flat d'Orsays ( (on massive sale, I didn’t totally lose my damn mind ;p) and even after a trip to the cobbler, I’m *still* breaking them in. d’Orsay is the biggest bitch in the world to learn to walk in but they look so damn pretty.

      My grandma *was* from the Old Country! Sicily! So that does make it make more sense from a “how her mind worked” sense vs a “Grandma, you used to let us play in your (turned off) oven as v. small children. It was electric. WTF?” The recipe was similarly cryptic though my mom and my late uncle figured it out.

      I think we’re going to be fixing our wardrobes for the rest of our lives. Like, as soon as we get it down it’s going to be, “SURPRISE! NEW LIFE STAGE! START OVER! LOLLERSKATES!!!111!!!” And it can be satisfying and very zen gardening like but also really annoying. Pinterest works to calm my internal screaming because I can figure out my fashion visually that way.

      And oh do I get what you mean about living in it. I have a show on Sunday so bins are out, random projects that I had been working on, just tons of creative flotsam and jetsam and it makes me so fucking crazy.

      I just . . .need to be famous and have that generate enough money to sustain my (mostly) modest standard of living. All I want is everything, right?

      For me, I’ve had juuuuuust enough success to keep throwing myself at it like a goddamn bird at a window but not so much to feel accomplished or like I could stop spinning say three of the nine plates I’m spinning. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnoying.

      • Those shoes are awesome! 😀
        Re: “New Life Stage, Start Over!” Yeah… That. :-\
        When I got my divorce, I spent more than a year tryng to figure out what “my style” – independent of the office clothes I’d been selling for umpteen years – was. Trying to find my Maiden Style now that I had the opportunity to be a Maiden (yes, I did “Maiden” out-of-order… I think. But, hey).
        At this point, it’s like : Okay, y’know what? I actually *like* boxpleated skirts and cardigans. I just don’t want to look like an Office Drone when I’m wearing them, and they’re not the only things I like to wear.
        … Which doesn’t help me much when, say, you’ve just hit 40, changed jobs (again), and adpted a kid – not that I’m planning anything of thsort, but you know what I mean…
        I’d love to get to a point where I *know* I can get rid of my Corporate Stuff – the poly-tweed look stuff and the rayon-nylon blend cardigans and the cheapy-cheap, poor-quality ballet-flats – because I was happily ensconsed in a well-paying, part-time perma-job that I actually enjoyed and found at least slightly fulfilling… and that paid well-enough that, should I ever be changing jobs again, I would have the disposable income set aside to re-build my wardrobe as-needed. (I swear… A major part of stuff-accumulation, or at least of stuff-retention, is that I’m so used to being broke that the tought of getting rid of Thing B is *always* accompanied by the question of whether or not I’d actually be able to replace it if it turned out I needed it a year or two down the road… I have a small but growing collection of “quilting scraps” for this reason and, likewise, suspect there will be a “scrap yarn patwork afghan” in my future…)
        As far as “all I want is everything”… Eugh. Once upon a time, my brother (who is a lot less of an asshole now that he’s out of his teens) said to me “Next to nobody gets to do what they Want. Why on earth would it be you??” (this having been literally 15 years ago, if not more than that, the quote is not exact, but that was the gyst). I don’t think that wanting to sustain a modest standard of living through doing something you find fulfilling is “wanting everything”.
        My poor wife is in the same position of having juuuuuust enough success to keep going, but not enough to take a plate or two off her roster. (I need to Magic for that, actually – an easy negotiation with her day-job boss to hapilly switch her to part-time so that she can take the opportunities that are coming her way on the private commissions front without, y’know, burning right the fuck out…)
        I don’t think you need to be famous. I think that you’re doing the right thing, finding Your Tribe, so to speak, from a goods-and-services-provider possition. As a side note, Heather Dale – who is awesome sauce – has a TEDx talk about this, about “finding your people” and “redefining success” as an independed and rather niche-y artist, and you might enjoy it. ( )
        Re: Tonnes of creative flotsam and jetsam that makes you go bonkers: Yeah, that. O.O
        I swear, 3/4 of my “purge stuff now!” attacks are based on the idea that, if I can just get rid of the stuff we don’t use – the UN-creative flotsam and jetsam (really, this is only about 1.5 shelves in our own Spare Oom, but I can dream), then there would be Space for things like the rice steamer and the dehydrator to have a room of their own, so to speak, and far fewer Things all over the floor (for real) of the Work Room. I don’t actually know if that would work, but… Gosh, it’d be nice if it did…
        Re: Throwing yourself at your dreams/goals like a bird at a goddamn window: Yeah, pretty-much. I’m plugging away at my novel, because I think it’s actually a good story, and if I can just do it *right* it’ll be an amazing read. I think it’s worth theyears-long effort to write the thing properly just for the sake of honouring the story (not that I won’t love it if my query letter – which won’t be written until the novel’s done, mind you – resulted in a publishing deal from, like Arsenal Pulp + winning a lamda and/or ending up on Canada Reads… but thes tory itself is what’s fueling the writing – thank all the gods for that one!) Beyond that, though? So many of my creative pursuits (like today’s salsa marathon, or my candle-making) are things that I think of in terms of “negabucks” rather than “megabucks”… Hoy.
        I don’t know if you’d ever consider things like… I dunno… Bartering hand-spun yarn or mojo hands in exchange for farm-fresh ethical eggs, or soemthing, but is that something you could ursue (like, is that something you’d bother pursuing) as a way of expanding the kinds of income that your businesses generate? (Like… I gave my Garden Benefactors a small number of preserves last year as a thank-you for letting me raid their garden. But I also did it because I wanted to show them that I was a grateful recipeint. To encourage them to do it again this year… And it’s looking like that’s a definite probability at this point, so YAY! My canning and cooking activities don’t result in cash, no, they won’t pay a mortgage. Bbut they’ve resulted in trades for valueable things-in-themselves on a number of occasions already).
        How did the show on Sunday go? 🙂
        Meliad recently posted..Tomato-Peach Salsa 2014My Profile

        • God, my divorce did a number on my style too. It’s been a little over 5 years and *just* in the last couple months I feel like I’ve hit my groove again. And if I do have a kid? I have *no* idea what that will do to my style.

          I really have to make myself get rid of stuff too for the same reasons. I used to watch two episodes of Hoarders until my skin itched and I was like, FUCK IT! WHEN IN DOUBT, TOSS IT OUT/DONATE! Now it comes a lot easier but we also live in a small space where constant curation is needed. I’m also going to start upcycling some of my clothes into Goddess Dolly clothes too which helps but it will fit into my fabric bin.

          How crazy is this current economy that the idea of living frugally and sustaining one’s self off of a modest income via crafting/homesteading/writing is now an impossible dream? It makes my head and heart hurt that “shop keeper” may as well be Fortune 500 CEO for most of us now. >:\ As The Decemberists sing, “But still I push my barrow all the day” I’m going to keep trying until I get a reeeeally specific sign from my goddesses and spirits to leave it be.

          I’ll look at Ms. Dale’s TEDx talk!

          That’s an idea I hadn’t thought about w/r/t barter. I’m going to look into it!

          • Given that you look after Small Humans for a living, it may take (slightly) less of a toll than you’re expecting. (Or that I’m assuming you’re expecting, um…) But it will mess with your body, if you go the pregnancy route, and *that* will totally flip you for a spin. Again.

            Re: Hoarders: I know, right? I’m so very, very much the kind of weird-ball who actually thinks “but what if I NEED this piece of string later on???” There’s this book with a name like “investing for people who don’t” or something – it’s all about the different types of would-be investors who are really uncomfortable around money for, y’know, Reasons… And there are people who tend to hang onto their Stuff (physically and emotionally) who also kind of resent capitalism on a lot of different levels and who are just stressed out all to fuck when it comes to dealing with cash in pretty-much any way. And they tend to be artsy-environmentalist types, on top of that. And… yeah. That’s me to a T. Eugh…
            When I imagine my “dream life” (a la Gordon), there’s… no “job”, really. I mean there’s stuff that I do, that I enjoy, that are “jobs” and that pay me… but it’s like we own an unseen laundromat and a couple of small-but-multi-unit rental buildings (which… I have no idea how we got ANY of them…) and the income is enough to keep them maintained and while also paying a third party (possibly through significantly reduced rent) to do said maintenance, and paying us enough at the beginning of every month to cover the cost of flour, sugar, meat, eggs, and dairy + contribute to a couple of tidy RRSPs & some Ethical Investments for us while we live day-to-day largely on my wife’s shoe-repair business (possibly housed in the back half of the laundromat, actually… Hm… That could work… ) and my Amazing Gardening Skillz.
            Yeah. ANYWAY.
            You’re right about the whole “impossible dream” thing. I keep wondering how to Work the System to my advantage and, seriously, I have no idea if I’ve even *got* magic that strong…
            So, yeah. Push your barrow, definitely. Look into bartering stuff, definitely. Enjoy Heather’s TEDx talk, for sure (she’s a sweetheart). I don’t think your gods are going to tell you to quit. 🙂
            Meliad recently posted..P is for Pieces (and Parma) – Pagan Blog Project 2014My Profile

          • Oh I’m not expecting yet! I still don’t even know if we can when we do “take the goalie out of the box” (a phrase my sister taught me, meaning to stop using birth control). Right now it’s a fun super fast merry-go-round of “should we/shouldn’t we/we should!/we shouldn’t!” which is giving me literal hives that march up and down my arms.

            Thinking about investing and object clinging are not two things I thought of together but should. I need to look into more about moneys and feels so I can better pin point how I am.

            No, my dream life definitely has a rosy anthropologie (like the US shop) glow to it. As they say, after the ecstasy comes the laundry . . .

  2. I so could have written this. Well, most of it.

    In our house the line is ‘there’s still time for take-out.’ We use it when we’re not sure of a new recipe, but I think it goes for most things. Take-out isn’t the end of the world, it’s a fall-back-and-punt last resort. But it doesn’t mean we’ll never cook again. The wanting, the stopping, the fear of stopping. Order take-out, take a time-out, and pick up again the next day or the next week, whatever is needed. When we run ourselves to the edge of reason we’re doing no one any favors, especially our clients who want the best from us, meaning they need the best FOR us as well.

    Hoping the pendulum swings back to middle ground for you soon.
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  3. Just a note to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog… and that I despise cooking. I can do it if I absolutely must, but it just isn’t me. Kinda like sewing. I come from a long line of creative types, including a talented seamstress mother (among many talents with which she was gifted) but my artistic loves lay elsewhere. I’m glad someone creates the kitchen magic I don’t, and does it so well. I feel ya on the exhausted front. As a “Hanged Woman” myself at the moment, I’m sitting back and concentrating on self care. Sometimes this is the most important thing to do, even when it seems the world is burning all around you. Love ya, Deb.

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