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Jared's Valentine's Day Gift Guide

It’s about to be that time of year again! Where couple’s re-ignite their passions for one another, where new couples begin to blossom, where single patrons find new love, or if you’re forever alone like me, you just spoil yourself immensely on February 14th.


So whether it’s Valentine’s Day for you, or Singles Awareness Day, or just straight out Anti-Valentine’s Day, do the right thing and spoil your significant other, or yourself, to some beautiful keepsakes for this coming holiday.


Personal Ornaments

It’s obvious that beautiful handmade jewelry is a staple here at Altar. So whether you’re trying to find that special ring, necklace or pair of earrings for that special person (or yourself), I’ve handpicked some personal favorites of mine for you to look at.


Also: who would’ve thought purchasing jewelry for your partner would be the key to getting lucky??!! Did you hear that?? So if you’re trying to get it on in the boudoir, think of meaningful jewelry. Duh.   



Now, when buying jewelry for someone else, you obviously don’t want just any piece. You want something with symbolism behind it. For example, when choosing a necklace for someone on Valentine’s Day, you may want to think about the materials used in that piece. Take Morgaine Faye’s Rose Quartz Crystal Point Necklace with Lapis Lazuli as an example. Rose Quartz, a crystal that obviously represents love is perfect for Valentine’s Day, along with Lapis Lazuli, a deep blue stone that represents royalty and truth. So if you truly love your partner and want them to feel like royalty, a necklace like this one is a perfect fit.


Other great necklaces include Bones and Things’ False Rose Quartz Necklace, Crystal Vision Gems’ Rose Quartz and Amethyst Copper Necklace, and NUCULT’s Ascension Stone Opalite Necklace.


Don’t forget earrings! If you or your partner aren’t the necklace type, we have a great variety of Pigeon Heart Earrings as well! Also duh.   


Lastly, rings! I love rings! Now, I don’t know about you, but whenever I go out to dinner, or out to a formal event, I will literally wear at least one ring on every finger. I’m not kidding you. When I wear rings, I want to look like some sort of occultic pimp or royal being. I’m a big fan of Michele Lamy, and if you know who she is, then you know EXACTLY what I mean. I want my hands to be COVERED in jewelry to the point where it HURTS to move my hand from all the heavy material my fingers are ADORNED with. Maybe it’s a problem, but I don’t care.



Omnia Oddities is one of my favorite brands Altar carries. Their jewelry is absolutely so expertly handmade with intense detail and extravagant taste. Take a look at their rings with rubies, the bright red matches perfectly for Valentine’s Day, but my personal favorite is their Obscura Sterling Silver Moonstone Ring.   


Apothecary

You know what really sets the mood on Valentine’s Day? Fragrances, baths, and beauty. Live by Being has a ton of wonderful products! Other than the Release Bath Milk that I mentioned in my Christmas Gift Guide, this company also carries a Still Salt Bath made with pink Himalayan Salt, Dead Sea Salt and geranium and ylang ylang essential oils.


Imagine being with your partner in that!


Furthermore, their Calma Terra Complexion Clay Mask is equally as amazing. Made with nourishing French pink and ancient Moroccan Rhassoul clay, antioxidant-rich rosehip, and calming clary sage, it is perfect for repairing and soothing sensitive, dry or distressed skin. So slather this on to improve your overall complexion!



Other than skincare products, Altar also carries numerous oils and scents that smell ADDICTIVELY AMAZING. From bold unique scents, to humbly spiced fragrances, LVNEA has various oils perfect for any personal preference. Our personal favorite is Ghost Pine, a botanical perfume oil with notes of crisp pine needles, crushed foliage, damp moss patches and ancient woods.



Another great scent that especially suits Valentine’s Day is State of Wellness’ Supermoon Aphrodisiac Blend Body Spray. This spray is made with certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils. Ingredients include aloe, witch hazel, white willow bark, tea tree, lavender, Hawaiian sandalwood, tangerine peel, Melissa Leaf, Osmanthus flower, lemon myrtle and vetiver, all blended with intention for your own personal pleasure.



And lastly, Seidr Studio’s Scented Oils Box Set is another great array of intimate fragrances. Boxed with five different kinds of oil blends, Rose, Meadow, Visions, Forest, and Luna, each scent has its own unique style, concoction and mood.



Mystical Objects & Fashion

Last, but not least, are our fabulous collections of crystals, tarot and apparel! This Valentine’s Day, gift your loved ones and yourself some of our new totem crystals we just got! The Cactus Aura Quartz are excellent rocks to set your bonding and interpersonal intentions for the evening of Valentine’s Day, while our Rose Quartz Points are perfect for carrying soft feminine energy to target compassion, peace, tenderness, healing, nourishment and comfort. Speaking of Rose Quartz we also now have for sale Rose Quartz Candle Holders! With a candle lit, the quartz releases a very soft, warm intimate light perfect for any romantic setting, especially during a Valentine’s Day night in. In addition, we now carry Light Fluorite Points. Fluorite is a stone of mental order, clarity and proper decision making with enhanced focus and concentration. Buy one of these babies to ritually reduce disorder and instability! The last mystical object for this gift guide is the wondrous Earthbound Oracle Deck. This deck is full of beautiful images, both interpretive and concrete.  



And of course, the one thing you CANNOT forget this Valentine’s Day, is lingerie. Altar carries a lot of lacey goodness made by VAVA Lingerie, Altar Houseline and Aniela Parys.



This concludes my Valentine’s Day gift guide. So whether you’re going shopping for your significant other or yourself, (because you more than deserve it), I hope you find the time to stop by the shop and have a little fun gifting for the coming romantic holiday <3.   

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Unmentionable ft. The House of Flora

For this year’s Unmentionable: A Lingerie Exposition, we have a lovely surprise for our audiences! Happy to be a part of this art collective, The House of Flora, an avant garde drag, performance art, and dance company will be sharing the stage with these beautiful designers, as a means to contribute to the pool of amazing talent this year.


 

The House of Flora strives to push the boundaries of self-expression and works to expand the Northwest's queer community, by celebrating certain gender-sexual subjects that surpass the dominant society's binary categories. Furthermore, the house honors the notorious underground ballroom culture hailed from New York.   


Its founder and father, Brandon Harrison, also known by their alter ego, drag alien, Hydrangea Strangea, began the group early April 2016. During the time, previous houses already existed in Portland, the House of Ada and the House of Aquarius. Brandon had the idea to create his own house, and he did. He decided to name it the House of Flora, after the two most empowering women he knew, his grandmother and mother.     



And so the House of Flora began, with it’s father, Hydrangea Strangea, and first mother, Daphne Strangea. The house immediately began receiving opportunities to host and perform Northwest nightlife events such as En Vogue in Seattle, Nostalgia PDX, Boyeurism, and Stranger Disco. As time went by, the House of Flora adopted its second mother, myself, drag artist, Illuma Naughty. As we grew, we were lucky enough to perform with drag superstars Sharon Needles, Alyssa Edwards, and Laganja Estranja. Other events include Okurrrrrr, Tim Burton Ball, Critical Mascara, Darqness Ball, Blowpony with Zebra Katz, and even the Weiden and Kennedy Holiday Party.     


 

To this day, our house has grown to a total of seven members-- each with their own unique talents and personalities. I’m more than happy to a part of this troupe. Being in this performance art group has allowed us to grow artistically, without shame of what we’re ‘supposed’ to be or what we’re ‘supposed’ to look like. It is something I find very special and rare in our society. It gives me a sense of home. And being queer: we get to choose our own family. I couldn’t imagine being in any other family than the House of Flora.


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Unmentionable: A Lingerie Exposition

 

From the team that brings you the Alley 33 Fashion Event, this February 8th, is the fourth annual Unmentionable: A Lingerie Exposition!



After exploring the lineup for this year’s show, I’m particularly excited to see the collections of every.single.one of these local independent artists.


Allihalla



Stoked on the fun and cheeky Allihalla! After taking a peek at some of her designs online, Alli’s works are great for the everyday alternative who wants something colorful, bright and bombastic. Her Etsy pieces display cute pink colored hearts, form fitting garter shorts, rainbow weed prints, and of course, lots of multi-colored lace and mesh to go with it. So if you’re into lingerie that will definitely put a fun smile on your face, be sure to pay attention to these pieces on this year’s runway!


Aniela Parys  



This year’s headliner is none other than the ever beloved, ever tasteful Aniela Parys! A designer from Portland, OR now based in Barcelona, Spain. I absolutely ADORE her designs. With her focus on quality over quantity seen in the slow fashion movement, her bralettes and knickers are beautifully lacey, light and supremely delicate.


After checking out her products with my own hands (as they are featured at Altar), I began to imagine myself, sitting on the balcony of a hotel somewhere in Barcelona, dressed in her lingerie, the wind gracefully kissing my face, as my man lays sprawled naked on our hotel bed, covered in rose petals, exhausted from the magical evening I gifted him. This is the vision I get when looking at one of Aniela’s handmade works. With wonderful materials like velvet, lace and unbleached organic ribbed cotton, I am very excited to see this artist’s romantic collection.


Changewear



Imagine a brand that really sets the groundwork for good lingerie. Not only are these products cut and sewn by hand by a Portland factory that has been around for over 30 years, but the garments are designed with ‘Athleisure:’ real lingerie for the everyday real woman. With wire free designs that make the pieces comfortable, classic with excellent support, these pieces are perfect for work, play and everyday living. What’s really cool about this brand, are the 24-in-1 convertible bras with interchangeable dual color bra pads, for an endless personally-customized style and color.  Furthermore, the bra straps are detachable, allowing for cross back, halter, and traditional styles. These ingenious creations are without a doubt, high quality, functional, body-positive garments perfect for any woman out there. Be sure to pay attention to this display!


Chubby Cartwheels



I just love coming across curve fashion! Sporting happy fun styles like Mary Jane inspired bodysuits, mermaid leggings, and of course, lace, velvet and mesh pieces, Chubby Cartwheels garments are great for any deliciously curvaceous individual. Shawna offers an excellent variety of handmade basics in a multitude of colors and prints that emulate sexy rocker vibes, flowy gothic styles, and bold casual pieces, perfect for anyone with a unique attitude. Definitely a lookout for this year.


Copper Union

 


Another excellent curve fashion business is Copper Union! Created by Claire Doody, this artist creates excellent handmade pieces with an excellent knowledge of textiles and fits, perfect for making unique garments for those with shapely curves. Setting a new standard for plus-size fashion in Portland, her designs express confident, electrifying pops of color, while also supplying more dark bohemian designs like Stevie Nicks inspired shrugs and black mesh dresses. Claire’s designs are modern with a touch of edge. We are so excited to see her FIRST EVER lingerie collection, debuting right here at Unmentionable. It is sure to be a fire starter.


Fräulein Couture



Also following the slow fashion movement, Vanessa Froehling offers several styles of garments from evening wear and lingerie to couture business wear and style costumes. With a modern perspective to classic silhouettes, these sweatshop free high fashions are particularly great. Focusing on her lingerie, the use of lace is very prominent, along with velvet and bamboo knit to create timeless shaded intimates that perfectly hug any, and every type of curve, on any body.



Lille Boutique



Opened in 2007 in Portland, Portland’s beloved Lille Boutique reflects a passion for vintage inspirations with high quality constructions for the modern woman. From elegant underpinnings like silk and lace bras with graphic bold lines to comfortable loungewear like cropped pants and slouchy tees, this boutique definitely offers it all for customers looking for natural shapes, organic fibers and ethical manufacturing.


Piper Dalton



Do you love knitwear?! If so, Piper Dalton is definitely one to love. Designed and produced in her own home studio with hand- spun yarn, her pieces are influenced by the natural world with intense color combinations and soft, yet complex beauty. Initially looking at her undergarment pieces, I immediately fell in love with how raw and cozy her pieces looked. My personal favorite is the teal full bodysuit. It has a very modern metro vibe that almost looks slightly futuristic due to the all over ribbed texture and open back.


Poetic Works Lingerie



Amarantha Harrison provides her audience with exquisite silk and organic cotton underwire bras and briefs with a touch of lace. These practical garments come in a variety of colors like indigo, rich reds, light lavenders, hints of peach and other lustrous pops. These intimates definitely combine elegant luxury with everyday high functionality. Easy to wear and practical, a must have for the lingerie enthusiast.


Rogue:Minx  



A one woman shop run by the talented Anna Marie Cooper. Her lingerie works are definitely rocker. From black burnout leopard print velvet bodysuits to sheer black moon printed mesh crop tops, her pieces are without a doubt her own and unlike any other. Despite her darker style, she also uses bright colors like copper rust orange and merlot wine in other bodysuits, or playing with images inspired by night creatures like Eve and Lilith.


Seeker



Alex Harris focuses her intimates on the use of deadstock and remnant fabrics as well as organic and natural fibers to create her own unique pieces. After looking at her online Etsy account, unique: they truly are. No only does she use completely sheer lace to make her bras, but also in metallic rib knits and cashmere. One of her pieces that really stuck out to me is her Gimme Danger Bodysuit. The back is beautifully made with intricate black straps woven through each other to give the suit an almost bondage inspired low back. Her Baby Grandmothers Kimono is also equally as unique, inspired by psychedelic rock patterns during the 60’s and 70’s.


Tush and Bush



Addie Miller’s undergarments are not only well made, but full of color! After checking out her website, I have come to the conclusion that her underwear is very well constructed, offering low rise and high rise designs that look long lasting, high quality and most of all, wearable. With an athleisure construction to it, it is without a doubt these pieces are made with care but also have their own unique aesthetic. Examples include bold structured bras, with secure straps and bold lines, softened by a layer of soft white lace underneath, and happy bottoms with polka dot prints and graphic mesh lines on the sides.


VAVA Lingerie and Iron Oxide



Two of my favorite local creations in Portland, VAVA Lingerie and Iron Oxide are coming together to bring to you a tasteful collaboration, combining delicate velvet and lace intimates with eye catching accessories, perfect for a sultry evening in the boudoir. VAVA’s pieces are made with beautiful gem toned colors with tops and bottoms that excellently express any type of curve for a sexy, sultry appearance. Iron Oxide’s accessories are without a doubt in a league of their own, but for this show, Amy has decided to make some one-of-a kind show pieces that will absolutely flatter the intimates presented. Her use of crystal and metal details definitely shine bright in any light, and I can’t wait to see how these two brands work together.



As you can tell, the lineup for this show is going to be amazing! With a variety of different types of lingerie offered, some intricate and elegant, others for everyday simple wear, the coming Unmentionable presentation will definitely be a show stopper for those who indulge in intimate garments and would love to add a few more tasteful pieces to their personal collection.     
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Jared's New Year's Style Guide

The year 2017 is coming closer than ever! Are you ready for it?! Have you decided on all your new year’s resolutions?! Do you ever keep your new year’s resolutions?!

To prepare for all your fun events this coming weekend, we have decided to put together a little New Year’s style guide reflecting some of my favorite alternative trends. All of these pieces go great together so if you wanna be the cool, chic, stylish one this new year :P, please be sure to keep these trends and choices in the back of your mind.  


Sheer Gothic Romance


Goth was all over the runway in New York Fall/Winter 2016-2017, but this time there was a heavy romantic touch. Designers added touches of dark sheer fabrics like silk and chiffon, while adding details of intimacy through the simultaneous use of lace and and tulle. And here at Altar, sheer is a staple when it comes to apparel.



I absolutely love the way the Altar Houseline Black Megumi Sparkle Dress looks. Not only is it sheer, but it has the perfect amount of sparkle! Could you imagine?! Being at a New Year’s evening party, sipping on something that may or may not be alcoholic; and somehow, somewhere, a light hits you and your dress just flickers through the atmosphere of the party you’re at. An instant short lived in-the-moment show of stars and lights bouncing off you like you’re Astraea herself, the Greek goddess of stars. LEGENDARY. So be sure to check out this ready-to-wear dress!



And if that’s not enough dark romance for you, then explore Aniela Parys Designs. This brand’s lingerie is soft, lacey and light it goes great with any New Year’s event, particularly if you know you’re gonna get lucky ;P.

      

The Bold Choker


According to the most recent Google shopping searches, the 90’s are back into the folds of fashion. The choker, a 90’s style staple that made its comeback Spring/Summer 2016, is now back again this Fall/Winter 2016-2017. Seen in the romantic emulations of Oscar de la Renta, to even the gothic expressions of Puma x Rihanna, this stand out accessory, both runway and street style, is available at Altar!

My personal pick is MKO Black Leather Bondage Choker. As we step into 2017, why not make a bold statement with this thick choker. Start your new year strong with this versatile accessory to upgrade your personal style.


Bohemian Metal Details


We all know metal pieces cohesively incorporated into an outfit adds some edge, in a fun and easy way. But my favorite way to create this edgy look is actually through jewelry, rather than solely through grommets and metal eyelets in clothing pieces themselves. As runways displayed endless portrayals of punk, talisman and raw stone jewelry like Valentino, Alexander Wang, and even Calvin Klein, our store, as you may know, has an ENDLESS selection of accessories that reflect this style. What makes ours better, is that they’re independent local designs. :) Some personal picks include Iron Oxide, Theeth, Birds N Bones, The Bea Line, and Earth & Bone.   



Pair these pieces of jewelry with the Megumi Dress I mentioned earlier, and you will have an excellent dark rockin’ outfit that exacts a great combination of metal detail and raw talisman stones.



New Year’s Stationery and Decor


To reflect the coming of 2017, I’ve also decided to include some fun products to guide your resolutions. Don’t be like me and come up with a bunch of ways to improve your life by starting this new year, but never commit to any of them. Be better than me :)



One idea I really like for starting your 2017 is having a special trinket or talisman to set your life-improving intentions. I always carry a totem or crystal of some kind to aid in my ritual thoughts. My personal pick is a Pyrite Galena Sphalerite Cluster. The texture and color of this rock really matches the clothing and jewelry I’ve chose for this style guide. Altar has so many rocks for you to choose from with a variety of qualities, so be sure to stop by and choose your very own special totem.



In addition, get yourself Margin’s 2017 Lunar Calendar to keep track of this new year’s moon phases. It provides the phases of the moon for every day of the year, waxing from new to full, and waning from full to new. Absolutely beautiful, it’s great for getting in touch with our natural selves.        



Now if you are anything like me, you probably have a hard time memorizing the birthdays of all your loved ones. And what better way to keep track of them and their corresponding zodiac horoscopes with the Bison Zodiac Birthday Calendar. Each page features a sign of the zodiac, its magical constellation, and a list of the dates with that sign. I definitely know one of my new year’s resolutions is to remember everyone’s birthday to prove I care about them <3.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this style and product guide I’ve condensed for you. It lists some of my favorite products and local designers, and I really wish it helps during your time of New Year’s shopping. Have a great New Year, stay safe and blessings to all!
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The NØMAD Tarot

The NØMAD Tarot

A new year is approaching and a new you is waiting to be born!

Our winter solstice has taken place, marking this transition. The trials and tribulations we have experienced, both the happy and the foul, are coming to a close. From death comes rebirth, and it is up to ourselves to decide how this 2017 will be.

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy reading my own Tarot whenever a new stage of my life is about to occur. We have several Tarot decks at Altar for you to explore, I personally enjoy NØMAD’s Tarot Deck.

Packed for you in a hand-silkscreened muslin bag, the deck is decorated with beautiful dark images drawn from traditions of Alchemy, Herbal Medicine, Norse Runes, and Animal Totem Symbolism. And if you’re like me-- someone who is relatively new to Tarot readings--this deck is graciously set with “The NØMAD Guide to the Tarot,” an accompanying pocket reference guide to assist your personal reading.

So let’s see this baby in action. Because I am so very gracious :) and devoted to this product, I have decided to show you my own personal reading for what may come in 2017.

The question I asked while shuffling this deck was, “Overall in both career and romantic relationship goals, how can I make my 2017 the best year it can be?” Due to this broad question, I have chosen to use the very popular Celtic Cross Spread, as it displays feminine energy in its circular layout on the left, and masculine energy with its rightmost staff representation. This is an excellent spread to use when predicting your overall stance in life.



Wow! What an interesting display! As the four elements of air, earth, fire and water are present, so are the Major Arcana: The Empress, The World and Death. After gandering at this layout for a good while, I have come to a very sensical conclusion to my question.

 

 

The Irish circular cross section of this spread portrays a present challenge of mental and emotional confinement, blinding our current travels towards liberation. The Reversed Nine of Air speaks that we turn our pain and distress on ourselves, feeling such anguish as deserved, or even justified. Ultimately, such negative thoughts lead to self-doubt.

Next, the Reversed Nine of Earth card confirms that such self-issues originate from an internal empty space of indecisive goal setting. “If you don’t know what you want, you certainly won’t know the steps on how to get there.” With such a truthful realization, our recent past reminds us that we were once wild and distracted, losing work ethic. As I recently graduated college I was ecstatic that I achieved freedom from a Catholic school setting. You can imagine the actions I decided to take due to such bewilderment and joyous exclamation, breaking free of chains that once tied me down. The celebratory partying felt like a circular infinite journey of rash, impulsive decisions. This reminder really does apply to my life, among anyone else that has had such a common experience. As a result, the time has come to bounce back with intellectual discussion and responsible judgement. Bringing this feminine circle fully closed, the Death card comforts our thoughts, teaching us that from new life, changes take place. “You need to look to the beautiful mushrooms growing from rot, to know that all life is a cycle of reinvention.”



The latter part of this spread includes the complimentary masculine staff, receiving guidance about yourself and others, the life lessons and future direction. The Reversed Queen of Fire represents self, while the Reversed Child of Water symbolizes our environment and others. These two cards definitely relate to my past relationship, where I experienced heavy feelings of jealousy and bitterness, and externally, I acted on biased illusions, regrettable commitments. To seal this staff, The World card and Child of Fire card, sensibly complete my question. I hope and fear for the World. I aspire and worry about unifying my inner sense of being. To feel like a complete person in 2017, I must remember, with the Child of fire, comes “the innocent joy with which we start a new project or greet a new phase of life,” key to self-satisfaction. Our own happiness is our own responsibility.

 

 

As you can see, this deck does a great job in supplying its recipient with the information it needs; the reminders we must all take in, the self-affirming readings that commonly relate.

Personally, I think a lot of what ‘magic’ is, is ritualistic intention. If you intend for the good, if you intend for something to happen, if it sticks in the back of your mind throughout the days and nights, what you truly want and need to be happy, you will achieve. So do yourself a favor, and buy yourself NØMAD’s Tarot Deck this Winter Solstice.

P.S. Yes, this reading may seem a bit dark and sad, so if anyone of you beautiful beings wish to send me some love, I’ll always be taking flowers at the Altar shop <3.

 

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Jared's Christmas Gift Guide

Jared's Christmas Gift Guide

Can you believe Christmas is already coming up?! One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is pick the perfect gifts for my dearest loved ones. When picking gifts, not only do I think of the person I am shopping for, but also the luxurious scenarios I could possibly set them in. Altar is stocked with excellent treasures; let me personally assist you in your search for the best presents the next time you choose to shop with us. 

 

Winter Comfort Necessities

One thought that immediately comes to mind when thinking of Christmas is how frigid it will be! As we all know it’s cuffing season, and we want to be warm and snuggly. Due to this weather happenstance, get a pair of mittens or some form of outerwear to replace the bodily heat that your special someone can use to stay toasty. My personal pick is Morph Knitwear’s Shapeshifter Shawl, made of 100% wool. Wear one of these thick babes and it’ll feel like Satan’s luscious warm locks of hair, perfectly wrapped around your neck.

 

 

Related to this need for warmth during our wonderful frozen month of darkness, are baths! Imagine, all the baths your loved ones can take for as long as they want. Days and nights will go by, the air will sting with frozen water, and finally, we can take multiple hour long hot baths. So pamper yourself with BEING's Release Milk Bath, chock full of coconut milk, cocoa butter, rose petals and West Indian sandalwood essential oil, it is truly a moisturizing milk for these dry, cold temperatures. 

 

 

And do you know what your special someone can do while soaking in their nourishing Goddess milk? Use their new Stonedware 22K Gold GeoPipe and paint their nails using Palate Polish in Gold Gumdrop. Imagine, laying at home in your bath, smoking your one-of-a-kind 22k gold plated ceramic pipe, and painting your nails with a sparkling gold tone to match. To make things even better, read your tarot with Pagan Otherworld's Deck to help predict your coming Christmas season. The images are tasteful and impressively detailed to assist you identify potential coming events. To top it off, grab a bundle of our Palo Santo to spice the air with woody fragrances. The combination of these activities are an exquisite spiritual event, set and ready for your gift receiver.

 

 

Glam It Up

Finally, the best part. Adornment. Perfect for any Christmas dinner, I personally choose one of the Altar Houseline's newest pieces. A floral chiffon Velvet Burnout Flounce Dress decorated with red roses, paired with Blackhorne's Oxblood Lola Harness. Not only does the rich red from the harness match the deep maroon of the flowers on the dress, but the boldness of the harness with the sheerness of the dress aid nicely in creating a stylishly risqué combination.   

 

 

 

As a drag artist, I personally find Aromi's Matte Liquid Lipstick in Terra Cotta a favorite of mine. It offers that luscious blood red color, while making your lips perfectly seamless and matte. It also really gives your makeup that sort of 90's alternative Gwen Stefani type look, back when she first jumped on the stage and started doing push-ups mid-performance in her baggy pants, screaming something about being "Just a Girl." An excellent earring choice for this outfit would be Essie Day's Anyo Hoops

 

 

For some reason, I am just loving this red and gold color pairing for Christmas! And if you want to color match this outfit even more,  Monica Squitieri's Dracaena Garnet and Brass Earrings are an excellent choice. Did you know Dracaena plants are named after the ancient Greek word, Drakaina, meaning 'female dragon'? How badass is that?! 

 

 

And of course there's the gift for the hubby. The man that you just cannot stand, yet cannot live without. Usually in Portland, they have beards. So, check out RIDES Rêve Classic Beard Oil. Made by World Beard Champion, Madison Rowley, Rides is full of special essential oils to effectively hydrate, nourish, protect the quality of your man's facial garden. 

 


 

Christmas Decor

And then of course there's Christmas decorations! Demetria Chappo Ceramics has so many special handmade one of a kind products, and the Sgraffito Moon Ornaments are definitely one of them. Hand sculpted porcelain ornaments with sgraffito carved motifs that hang from a vegan leather cord, these keepsakes are one of the ways you can decorate for the Christmas holiday while still keep true to your dark ways. 

 

 

And of course last but not least, Christmas cards! Do not skimp on Christmas cards. I repeat. Do not skimp on Christmas cards. Can you imagine, if you had bought all of these luxurious gifts for your person, and the card you send them is some cheap, typical, ugly Hallmark Christmas card that anyone could have found? No! You want your loved one to feel special on Christmas. And Christmas cards will be the very first thing your gift receiver will see. And what better way to excite their gift opening process by exalting their soon to be pleasurable Christmas experience with Helen Mask's Krampus Christmas Cards. These gift cards are decorated with the iconic German Demonic Santa Claus in a colorful digital print, and hand embellished with tiny little sparkling snow balls.

 

 

And there you have it. My personal gift giving guide for the coming Christmas holiday!

   

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Somniferum

Somniferum

As we dabble through our daily lives this Fall Equinox, it is without a doubt that the arrival of night noticeably comes earlier, while the arrival of day noticeably comes later. And to mark this seasonal phenomenon, Cassie Ridgway has blessed us yet again with her latest lookbook designs, Somniferum, the opium poppy, both dream and sleep inducing. Thankful for local photographer Beth Olson, make-up artist Mary Alexandra, and our two beautiful models, Sarah Schroeder Conde and Nicole Lynch, the team has given fruition to this style exposé.   

Upon first glance, it is without a doubt these pieces entertain the velvet trend so popularly expressed during Paris Fashion Week this year. What makes this collection different from mainstream fall designs however, is Cassie's use of devoré, or velvet burnout. Not only does this fabric technique give a very modern 21st century renaissance woman appeal, but perfectly parallels the juxtaposition of night and day during Autumn.  

Undoubtedly, vegetation and florals inspire these pieces. But if you look at the designs with a closer lens, they start to resemble plant structures. Tops subtly hint linear patterns to that of plant stems, or even the cell wall of eukaryotic plant cells themselves. A shirt, that is entirely composed of different shades of periwinkle blue chiffon flower petals, give a light frothy texture and wispy character. And a middle crop box top colored with zaffre, Persian blue and streaks of black, is comparable to the changing movement of water, central to plant life.  

What I love so much about these pieces is, despite the use of color, the Altar Houseline still succeeds in conveying the complex aesthetic of dark bohemia. The apparel expresses to me, a sort of "moody flower;" be-draped in silk, dusted with chiffon, touched with modal and spiced with velvet burnout as the wearer sways in her personal space, dances to the beat of her own drum, and listens to something like classic rock.

 

 

 

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A Waxing Gibbous: Welcome to our New Blog!

If you're at all familiar with the Lunar Calendar and find the phases of the moon an enchanting reflection of present situations, I humbly bring to you an intermediate introduction. Similar to the Waxing Gibbous, following our New Moon Conjunction, I am beyond happy to introduce myself, a member of the growing Altar team, to offer my own contributions to this gathering's cycle.  

Graduated from the University of Portland with a Bachelor's degree in communication studies, I have always found comfort and safety in all forms of self-expression. As a drag artist I am inevitably blessed with a passion for apparel, jewelry and fine art. Personally, when you're raised watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Charmed or any other occult themed television series, the notion of magic and witches is something that remains ingrained for a lifetime. And as we grow older, we search for institutions that reflect those traits, to give us that feeling of home.

When I first walked through the vintage doors of Altar as a sales associate back in September of last year, that nostalgia came immediately. As Altar has a way of creating an atmosphere that seems almost otherworldly, it's keepsakes bring forth tastes of both darkness and light. And when you walk into a fashion boutique that strangely represents your exact personal style, you want to be a part of it.

Altar was opened in 2014 by two inspirational local artists, Cassie Ridgway and Amy Fox. I asked them both why they decided to open this business that has rapidly spread its wings. Other than the fact a rocker chic boutique wasn't present in the Portland market during that time, Cassie's enchantment with Amy's jewelry line, Iron Oxide Designs,  sparked their decision to merge together. Thus, they give birth to a darker brand, one that could parallel both their strengths, and more.

The Altar team has chosen to build this blog into one that can showcase to our audience the stories, talents, works and ideas that these local artists carry in their hearts. And if you’re at all interested in the latest studio tours, styles, trends, fashion features, artist interviews, giveaways, events and news, be sure to stay tuned for a wonderland of local excitement.

Some people think fashion is purely for the purpose of vanity. Some people think fashion is a tool used to find out who they are. I don’t necessarily agree with either of those statements. Some people already know who they are. Some people use fashion as a means to find out who they could be. So, if you too wish to learn who you could be, the kind of person you’ve always wanted to evolve into, keep this blog in the back of your mind.

Altar's goal is to offer its audience a sanctuary that provides dark bohemian styles for the everyday mystic. And as this online grimoire grows, I hope to place my own hand in, joining this collaboration full circle.

 

Sincerely,
Jared Chung

   

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