Gift Giving

Dear Constant Reader,

The season of gift giving is upon us. A couple of years ago I made some suggestions for small businesses to support here and here. And some literary recommendations here.

This year I also suggest the following:

Marrus is always creating new art. Lithographs of her newest painting, “Depression’s End” are available for pre-order, but she has lots of other prints and originals ready right now.

Rory O’Brien’s new novel, Summerland, is now available. I got a preview of this story of spiritualism in Gilded Age Newport and can’t wait to read the rest. It’s only in print right now, but a book is so much easier to wrap and put under the tree than a Kindle download. (You’ve already read Gallows Hill, right?)

Dr. Jen at Atomic Cosmetics (good for your skin; good for your soul) is offering these great Winter Skin Survival Kits containing three of her incredible moisturizing products. You can buy them for the folks on your gift list or donate them to help the homeless in three cities. Or both!

And personally, I think classes from B.A.B.E. are always the perfect gift. We’re happy to make a custom gift certificate for classes, private lessons, or even Burly-Q parties. Just drop me a line!

Red Snapper made this list of fabulous Showgirl Stocking Stuffers. Here are some more ideas from Caramel Knowledge.

Or you could come to The Boston BeauTease Theatrical Tag Sale this Sunday for some one-of-a-kind costumes, props, and other strange things. I’ll even be selling some goodies from my personal wardrobe.


Published in: on 9 December 2015 at 3:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Recommendation

Dear Constant Reader,

The holidays are fast approaching and there’s a burlesque performer in your life. What little gifts can you give her to show you care? Red Snapper can help you out! Check out her Showgirl Stocking Stuffers on Facebook.


Published in: on 22 December 2014 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Best Present

Dear Constant Reader,

I have mentioned here and elsewhere that Scratch gave me an amazing present, but I haven’t actually spilled as to what it was. Your wait is over!

When I unwrapped it, I saw…
a small suitcase with the handle moved to make it more of a train case. When I unlatched it and lifted the lid, I saw…

a jewelry tray, which lifted out, revealing a second one.

The lower one is affixed to the inside of the case and the upper one is held to the lower one with magnets, so nothing shifts in transit.

And what it the purpose of this lovely case?

To store my pasties! Aren’t they pretty?

Here’s a closer look.
Just in case you were wondering, I made all the ones in the top two rows myself. The bottom row is, from left to right, pasties by: Betty Blaize, Holly Dai, Bonnie Dunn, Red Snapper, Twirly Girl, & Penny Starr Jr.

The whole fabulous pastie storage and transport case was designed and made by Scratch. He’s pretty freaking awesome.


Published in: on 13 January 2014 at 10:06 am  Leave a Comment  


Dear Constant Reader,

Yesterday was one of our favorite holidays: Babydollmas! It’s so hard for us to get together during the holidays, so we celebrate in early January. It was within the 12 days of Christmas, so we’re good.

We had rehearsal first. We’re working really hard on our group number for the Vermont Burlesque Festival. It’s so much fun!

Then it was time for Super Sunday Social. For those just joining in, it’s our tradition to relax after rehearsal on Sunday with some wine and nibbles, which we call Sunday Social. This being declared Super Sunday Social, the offerings were a little more extravagant: Betty brought 2 kinds of pate (duck foie gras and chicken liver with truffles), Scratch made a pitcher of our new favorite beverage (cinnamon hard cider with a shot of Fireball), I baked a King Cake (and I got the “baby”), and more.

Then came the gift giving. Stella gave everyone locally-made dark chocolate bars — I snagged one of the darkest ones. Brigitte got us all gift cards to our usual haunt down the street. Devora made beautiful magnets, painted and embellished with rhinestones, different for everyone. I made everyone zippered bags, just the right size for packing a thong and fishnets, maybe some pastie tape too. Or a tie, pocket square, and cufflinks if you’re Scratch. Or spare cable ties if you’re Hunter.

Scratch gave Stella the same polka-dot purse the rest of us got just before she joined the troupe, so we can all be perfectly matchy-matchy. Then he gave all of us rhinestone bracelets and fabulous rhinestone name necklaces, with personalized details (mine has crowns, D.D.’s has smiley faces, &c.).

Betty was the big winner in the giving department. She made us all matching bolero jackets in our favorite red and black! Scratch got a matching vest, but because Hunter wears almost exclusively black, his vest is in his signature color, but trimmed the same as the rest of us.

We are totally going to have all of this finery at the Vermont Burlesque Festival!

Here’s a quick shot of the entire haul.

Scratch gave me an amazing holiday gift, but I think it gets its own missive…


Published in: on 6 January 2014 at 11:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Wish List

Dear Constant Reader,

I’ve given you some ideas (and then a few more) for places to acquire gifts this year. So, what would *I* like to see in my stocking this year?

* Any of the books on my Library Wishlist (or any burlesque related books that aren’t already in my Library). Bonus points if you buy them at an independent bookstore.

* Gift certificates are easy. Perhaps for Atomic Cosmetics, Secrets in Lace, Trashy Diva, and Stop Staring. I can always use skin care products, stockings, and dresses. Also, dance shoes, rhinestones, and other costuming supplies…

* Interesting and high-quality chocolate, like that at Vogses Haut Chocolat. If one is going indulge, it should be worth it.

* Cage panties from Dangrrrous Designs.

* Yoga blocks and a mat to help my quest for splits.

* Tickets to Sleep No More. I’d rather see the Superior Boston Production one more time, but I’ll take what I can get.

* Rhinestone jewelry. No such thing as too much.

but really, more than anything, I’d like you to nominate Scratch for the Burlesque Top 50. He deserves to be recognized as one of the movers & shakers in burlesque.

Published in: on 12 December 2013 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Gift Suggestions Addendum

Dear Constant Reader,

After my list of authors and artisans to patronize yesterday, I was reminded of a few more, all of whom, as it turns out, make jewelry. Here’s a quick list:

Emrys Handcrafted Fynery is a little steampunk, a little geeky, and all fabulous. (Personally, I love the Poe bracelet.)

Sunspot Designs for unusual jewelry with a goth bent.

Artist Laurel Cunningham-Hill makes Capsulariums, tiny showcases with delicate artwork made from wee animal bones.

More suggestions are welcome!

Happy shopping!

Published in: on 11 December 2013 at 12:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gift Suggestions

Dear Constant Reader,

In a previous missive I recommended you buy gifts from various artists in the burlesque community. I didn’t give you any suggestions because there are so many talented people out there and I couldn’t possible include them all. I just know I’d forget someone fabulous and feel terrible. I encourage you to go treasure hunting!

Today I’m going to recommend some of my favorite other gifts sources. These are all little artists and businesses that make good stuff. It’s not particularly burlesque-y, but I like to support my friends.

I know a whole bunch of fabulous people who are authors and you should get their books. There’s a listing of individual titles here, but in brief they are:

  • Marrus (anecdotes, art, and advice)
  • Andrew Kirschbaum (fantasy detective novels)
  • Jennifer Pelland (disturbing SF)
  • Rory Raven (esoteric and spooky history)
  • Teresa Noelle Roberts (paranormal erotica, i.e. supernatural smut)
  • Andrew Shaffer (biographical sketches)

As well as having written a book, Marrus makes art for the smart. Check out her work at Marrus Art. I’m pleased to say a (very atypical) Marrus original graces Stately Babydoll Manor.

Star Cat Books is a brand new indie bookstore in Vermont. They’re in the last couple of days of an IndiGoGo campaign to help with their initial start-up costs and they’ve got some very cool rewards, including signed books from Neil Gaiman (our Twitterhusband) and Jane Yolen for top-level donors.

There’s also Rickert & Beagle Books in Pittburgh. Chris (that would be the Rickert half) is a big Boston Babydolls fan and part of the reason we played Pittsburgh over the summer. The Beagle half is the author of The Last Unicorn. Yes, really.

My talented friend Rae has a line of handmade cameos that she calls Kreepsakes. These are not your grandmother’s cameos… Some of them even glow in the dark.

The Boston Babydolls are dancers, and despite the cutsie saying that “dancers glow”, we sweat. A lot. So we’re grateful for Urban Kitchen whose workshop is just down the hall from B.A.B.E. She makes a whole variety of scented soaps, candles, lotions, and other lovely stuff that help us and the studio get sweet-smelling after rehearsal.

The designer behind Vixens Ahoy has made costumes for The Boston Babydolls for years (including the fantastic polka-dotted dresses we wore at The Ohio Burlesque Festival). I can attest that her aprons and other items are of excellent quality and sturdily made.

The Scarlett Rose made my beautiful feather fans (one pair captured here at The Teaseday Club by Rich Jarvis Photography), but she also creates fancy hats.

Chandler & Kemp makes decorated pillar candles. Nice for these long, dark nights.

And to wrap everything up, Giftable Boston, founded by Dagny Vanderlust, provides concierge gift wrapping services.

Who are some of your favorite indie artisans?


Published in: on 10 December 2013 at 9:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving! Today, the day after Thanksgiving, has become known as Black Friday and everyone is supposed to rush to the Big Box stores and spend, spend, spend! I hate it. First and foremost I hate the culture of obligatory gift-giving and the idea that buying some mass-produced junk shows somehow that you care. I’d much rather people give gifts because they find something that’s *perfect* for someone and not because they feel they have to.

In today’s Friday Tip, I’d like to propose an alternative to mall shopping:

Buy your holiday gifts from some of the independent artists and craftspeople in the burlesque community.

There are many talented people connected to the burlesque world with fabulous goods for sale. By patronizing them, you’re supporting the community and getting unique and interesting gifts for your friends and loved ones. Win all around!


Published in: on 29 November 2013 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Dear Constant Reader,

The winner of Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love is Red Snapper! I’ll be sending you your book shortly *after* the Expo.


Published in: on 28 March 2013 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  

The Expo is Coming!

Dear Constant Reader,

I know it’s Wednesday and no, I don’t have a book review for you. I’ve been so busy getting ready for the Expo. More on which in a moment.

You have until midnight today to leave a question on this post for a chance to win a copy of Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love. It’s funny, entertaining, and best of all, free!

The Great Burlesque Exposition of 2013 is just a couple of days away! I’ve been working, working away. Let’s see:

* Putting the finishing touches on costumes for The Boston Babydolls new act in The Rhinestone Revue.

* Making a batch of glamour bars for The Last Chance Speakeasy. They’re solid lotion that melts into luxurious moisturizer with a touch (that means, store them in a cool place!) and have just a hint of glitter (from Atomic Cosmetics, of course). The Babydolls like to use them as a base for more glitter.

* Packing up The Diva’s Coat for The Wrathskellar costume exhibit.

* Hemming panels to use in Toni Elling’s class.

* Preparing the B.A.B.E. sponsored drop-in classes.

* Creating ballots for the judges for The Main Event.

* Preparing materials for my class on Homemade Beauty. Come make bath products from simple and wholesome ingredients!

* Sewing adorable aprons for Brigitte and Mimi to wear as hostesses at the Tea Party.

* Planning to host the Newcomer’s Showcase.

* Agonizing over what to wear for every event!

And just to set the record straight, I am not involved in the least with organizing the Expo. I just do a lot.

Hope to see you this weekend!


Published in: on 27 March 2013 at 10:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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