Ephemera Guide: Roses,Chocolate, Dead Meet & More

Hello, dearies, the husband and I are off on a V-Day adventure of Ethiopian food, the used book story, and napping (I know, we’re basically cats). I wanted to give you a little Ephemera nugget of common Valentine’s Day gifts, but with a twist for the mortally minded. This should hold you over until tomorrow when Part II of the Famadihana comes out. See Part I here


If wedding cakes or V-Day chocolate treats are on the brain, I highly suggest a trip to the Conjuror’s Kitchen. Their Death by Chocolate collection is a thing of wonders.

I’m blown away by the level of anatomical accuracy Annabel can achieve with white chocolate ganache. Everything pictured above is edible, even the vanitas in the upper left corner! I’ve never wanted to eat a monkey’s skull so badly.


Jewelry is a dicey gift. It costs a lot and is very easy to get wrong.

Oh my, bamboo hoop earrings with my name in then…just what I always wanted.

If you know your receiver is a bit spooky, or even better if you are the receiver, I recommend Bloodmilk and Parish Relics. They are two very different companies aesthetic wise, but both make one of a kind, high-quality items, with a particular memento mori sensibility to them. Bloodmilk has an elegant Gothic style while Parish Relics is for those that look at paintings of the 16th Century and swoon. Plus, you are supporting small businesses rather than the McJewelry store at the mall. Both of which, I believe are female owned and operated.

Some of my favorite Bloodmilk lovelies

I have been trying to buy that rose necklace from Parish since forever but it’s always sold out, you will be mine one day necklace…oh yes, you will be mine!


Perfume is another dicey commodity in the “day I give a gift to my sexual partner” festivities. If you want to convey the hope that your love will never die, try some of the scents from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s Ars Moriendi collection. I’ve been a devotee of BPAL for a while now. Out of my 400+ perfumes (oh yes, you read that right 400 PLUS) about 150 are BPAL. I think Zombi or Embalming Fluid are safe bets for the uninitiated. Sheol is a delight of heliotrope and copal. Deep in the Earth is a sexy, woodsy/mossy number and Thanatopsis has a quite dignity I love.


I always thought makeup was an odd gift for V-Day, but as a person with a lady-face that likes to cover it with stuff from time to time, I recognize that it can be a thoughtful gift. Indie makeup is all the rage these days, and I’ve gotten quite excited for Rituel de Fille. Once again this company is a small, female-owned business making quality products you can’t find elsewhere. With product names like Viscera and Prey, they aren’t afraid to get a little dark in their inspiration. They also have an excellent bundle of their best colors called The Lovers that just came out as a set, and I’m  obsessed with it. The one snag, they only ship to the US and Canada, but some friends were willing to be my mules and bring me the goods, so this should hold me over for a while.

So that’s it, Happy Valentine’s Day everyone and whether you are celebrating alone, with someone special or a lot of someones, remember that classic Gender Studies Valentine

Roses are Red,

Gender is Performative,

Commercialized Romance is Hetero-normative

so go enjoy today in your own morbid way

[note: clearly no one is paying for recommendations from the lady that talks about the chemistry of corpse smells, but just in case you need me to say it, all reviews and recommendations are unsolicited.]