Life Before the Internet!

2019-06-19-Life Before the Internet

Post and YouTube Video by Rain San Martin

(Warning. Prepare for an early 1990s flashback!)

Today trance-like eyes glaze as the masses plug-in to the matrix for search, news, banking, shopping, email, social connections and entertainment. Yet…before the Information Super highway reached ubiquity in the mid to late 1990s, society interacted in this earthy plane, on a more tactile level. Though we may dramatically reduce the amount of time we spend online, much of the infrastructure has changed the way we do banking, correspondence and research. Discovering or revisiting how people lived their lives before the internet, is a great way to learn how to live a vintage or unplugged lifestyle. Yet do note that some of these alternatives were simply using a different technology at the time, such as a fax line, television or CD-rom.

Here is a list of modern technologies (Circa 2019) and their former method of achieving that information or utility during the early 1990s:

*Google search: The library or interview.

*Map Quest: Thomas Guide, map or verbal directions.

*Online news: News paper, TV Broadcast, radio

*Movie show times online search: Saw showtimes in newspaper or called for automated list.

*Amazon: Mail order catalog

*Blogs: Magazines

*Phone number lookup: Phone book telephone directory

*Video Streaming: Block Buster video rental, TV broadcast

*Online gaming: PC software, home video game console system, video game arcade.

*Email /  Texting:  Landline telephone, office memo, regular post office mail.

*Online Job Application Form: Painstakingly filled job application out by hand. Searched listings in newspaper.

*Online banking: Mailed in check, balanced check book. Visited ATM or bank teller to deposit.

You can view my YouTube video, Life Before the Internet, here.

Rustic Autumn Tablescape DIY

Post, video and photos by Rain San Martin

Join me as I make a Rustic Autumn Tablescape. Using natural elements found out-doors, the table setting will be made in the vintage homemaking spirit. This will be for a simple gathering of four, yet can be adapted for more. The meals dishes will be served buffet style in the kitchen or on our dinning room built-in cabinet.

To make my rustic autumn centerpiece I started with a short trip to my front yard. I used my branch trimmer, (here’s a similar item: -affiliate link) to cut a few festive branches from an American Highbush Cranberry, which is not to be mistaken with the traditional cranberry, yet can apparently be cooked with sugar and turned into a jelly. I love the decorative seasonal properties. The branches I bent into 3-4 inch circles, then tied with a small amount of twine. Narrow branches are most pliable when freshly cut, as they will dry when aged. A small brown plate with scattered leaves served as a base for the centerpiece. Finally I placed an orange pillar candle into the center of the of American Highbush Cranberry ring (here’s a similar unscented candle -affiliate link).

Fill out the table. I had a roll of burlap which I cut to match the size of the wooden table. Next I added wine hued leaf place mats by Better Homes and Gardens. Then I used my everyday dinnerware set from Target (International Kenya 16pc Dinnerware Set in Brown). I did not feature any napkins, yet you could wrap matching napkins and silverware with twine or keep open.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Paper Clutter Management

Post and Video by Rain San Martin

Welcome to the Parlor! One of my key motives for writing a blog and having a YouTube channel is accountability.  When one researches a subject, takes action steps, then shares what they have learned, big changes can happen. I have seen a gradual improvement in the order and management of the home over these last few years. Flylady is know for her wise statement: “Progress not perfection.” Marla Cilley has always emphasized the importance of staying on top of paper-clutter. By the way I just preordered her latest book:  The CHAOS Cure: Clean Your House and Calm Your Soul in 15 Minutes (affiliate link). I still have boxes I need to work through in the basement from years past, yet I’m making headway.

Here’s how I manage my paper-clutter:

*Sort incoming mail as soon as it comes in. Immediately place junk mail in recycling. Put bills to pay or paperwork to process in “inbox”.

*Once bills are paid place them into an extra large manila envelope. 10 x 13 (affiliate link) is the perfect size as it allows for breathing room.   Label each envelope with two months and the year. For example: Bills / Important Papers 2018 Nov/Dec. 

*Shred papers with sensitive information. Here’s a link to the nearly identical model I have: Fellows Powershred 7C (affiliate link)

*Reduce incoming mail. Remove yourself from mailing lists, pay bills online and so forth.*Store Memorabilia into the same sized 10 x 13 clasp envelopes. Place the name of the person and the year on each envelope.  Each family member should be given a wooden crate (more vintage style) or plastic bin. Place the memorabilia envelopes into the bin. Over time you may have to purchase more containers or reduce these papers. Have an enchanting week,Rain San Martin


How to Handle Post Halloween Depression!

2018-11-05 Post Halloween Depression

Article and Video Audio Podcast by Rain San Martin

You’ve waited all winter, then spring for rumors of Halloween decor to make their first appearances in August. The flickering Jack O Lanterns, crisp autumn leaves, spooky home decor, whimsical costumes and mysterious organ music all make us think of Halloween  wonderment. After October 31st passes, many of us feel a melancholy tinge. It’s time to equip yourself with tools so you can enjoy present magical moments, get excited for the future and stay spooky!

Embrace fall as long as possible. That means abstaining from Christmas or Winter decor until December 1st.  This allows you to stretch out of the magic of Halloween or Fall for 4 full months! August is when many stores begin to get the first Halloween decor shipments.  This is when many of us Halloweenies get excited.  November is when the post Halloween Depression hits many of us. Yet, we can extend the wonderment of fall through November, and enjoy much of the Halloween Lifestyle throughout the year.

Avoid buying clearance Halloween decor in November. It can be very depressing seeing the bright discounted orange tags. More importantly you will have to walk past scores of Holiday decor to get to it. If it lifts your spirit to shop at this time, then by all means continue. For many of you I would recommend sticking with online shopping for any last minute Halloween clearance deals.  It’s best to avoid the retail scene in November as you will undoubtedly hear Holiday music 24/7.

Celebrate Valloween in February. One happy thought that can keep you going is the idea of Valloween. It’s a combo of Valentines and Halloween in one. Think Addams Family romance. Even if you’re single you can embrace a spooky romantic aesthetic.  Decorate your mantel with black and red roses. Set up decor February 1st. Valloween is an inspirational aesthetic for our bedroom. Last year when I learned of the concept for the first time I was motivated to take steps towards this decor style. The room has wine hued roses, romantic portraits taken at the cemetery, retro lights and black lace spiderweb fabric hanging against the master bed wall.  Order a romantic couple print taken in a cemetery, at a classical concert or other spooky local.

2018-08-28 Halloween Birthday Card-Winter

*Owl and moon Halloween card by American Greetings.

Give Halloween cards for other occasions.  In my video, How to Give Halloween Cards On Any Occasion, I showed a few cards I gave to my family for a birthday or anniversary. The fun thing about this is knowing you will be greeted with a happy reminder of the Halloween season. What I usually do is buy a card that is generically spooky.   Tip: Make sure you know the recipient will appreciate receiving these whimsical dark aesthetic cards, there not for everyone!

Celebrate Half Way to Halloween (AKA Spring O Ween) On instagram the hashtags: #springoween and #halfwaytohalloween will bring you to other like-minded Halloweenies who are celebrating Halfway to Halloween. It’s a reminder to stay inspired and think of creative ways to embrace a spooky or gothic aesthetic during spring.  There are Gothic Gardening DIY projects you could get involved in where you could make a gothic flower crown. Also be sure to research how to dress Gothic in the summer. Here is a lovely black rose flower crown (affiliate link) to get you in the mood.

Make a Countdown to August 1st.  The countdown to Halloween is lots of fun, yet why not make a countdown to August 1st, when the first rumors of Halloween decor begin to surface.  Many Instagramers will begin their Halloween countdown as soon as Forth of July has passed.

View old eerie films and classic spooky TV shows. The Addams Family and The Musters will give you solidarity when facing Post Halloween Depression. Morticia and Lily Munster know how you feel! Have a monthly or bi-weekly movie night. Date Night? You can rotate between a romantic outing on the town and staying home for a tasteful spooky classic. Alone? Have a solo movie night and pamper yourself.

When December arrives focus on winter wonderment. I personally try to avoid heavy themes of Santa and other highly commercial Christmas decor.  However I have had to make a compromise with the family. We still have a small Christmas tree, I would prefer to only have wintery or log cabin themed decor during the cold months in the northern mid-west. I have found I continue to enjoy the spirit of Father Christmas, therefore I raise my hot chocolate mug to this benevolent archetype.  I myself am a Christian and Easter is the most spiritual day for me personally, out of the year.

Appreciate the magic of each season. Autumn for us Halloweenies is the most wonderful time of year! Yet, each season gives contrast and dynamics in life. Make a bucket list for each season. This will give you a sense of anticipation. Winter is a time to cozy up with hot chocolate by the fireplace. Spring is a month of rejuvenation. A time to rethink health, fitness and to remove excess clutter in our homes.  Summer has fireflies  glowing on a warm evening and smores are roasted over a campfire.  This makes the season of Halloween that much more profound! Pinterest is the best place to find these lists.

2015-07-25 Catholic Cemitary Ass-Rain 01-B&W

*Photo by husband Sage San Martin, Catholic Cemetery Association,  Fort Wayne, IN  -2015

After the winter frost visit a local cemetery, or go on a road trip to a historic spooky local. If you live in a climate that has four seasons most likely you’ll want to ride out the snowy weather until spring. That’s when you can reward yourself with a mysterious outing.  Check google maps for local cemeteries then expand your search to nearby cities.

Set goals for the year, month and day. A cure-all for any form of depression is to get excited about the future. This is your most powerful way to combat Post Halloween Depression. See your life as a story and think about the legacy you would like to leave behind. Time can quickly slip away. We must purposefully live out each day working toward our lifetime goals, as well as tackling necessary tasks we would rather put off. If you don’t know what your working toward that’s OK! Just try to make some kind of action daily on a small creative, domestic or entrepreneurial task. Log by log a cozy secluded cabin was built by philosophical writer Henry David Thoreau,  (affiliate link to the book Walden) in his quest for simplicity.

Appreciate present moments. Now your equipped with glimmers of hope to keep you going all year long. Your morning coffee ritual. The music that motivates you on Spotify.  The momentary golden hues of sunrise and sunset.  Orange, brown and purple leaves of fall, spiny trees of winter, busy morning birds of spring, and outdoor picnics in the summer.

Until the next Halloween season arrives…

Stay creative and spooky!

Rain San Martin

Vintage Gothic Accessories

2018-11-02 1280 x 720 Vintage Gothic Acce

Post and video by Rain San Martin

Accessories have the amazing ability to define a wardrobe style. Without them my wardrobe would have a dark and romantic look, yet with them it is more clear that I am going for a Gothic Steampunk / Antique Gothic or Romantic Gothic style.

The core of my jewelry comes from Etsy. I especially love the hand assembled cameo’s, set in antique brass. I do have a brass pocket watch (affiliate link) from Amazon however. Thin scarves or lace trim are my go-to for sashes and belts. A Victorian Gothic corset or Medieval Waist cincher may be worn over my top or dress. Flowing black crochet or lace sweaters give instance warmth and mystique. A long velvet cloak is nice for a chilly evening out.

I keep my shoe selection at a minimum. About a half dozen pairs, that’s it! When you make your color scheme simple, and stick with a specific look, you will find that there is no need for dozens of shoes and hand bags. This is one of the reasons I love the “Gothic” look. Eighty percent of my wardrobe is black.  Personally, I may pair the Raven Black with a rich autumn palate of Branch Brown, Burlap Taupe, Wine or a dash of Pumpkin Orange. I stick to the color scheme year-round!

Only keep the accessories you truly love and use! Donate or toss anything else. This is in keeping with a simple minimalist wardrobe. If you love frilly clothing, then that is what you should keep in your closet. There is no rule that states that being a minimalist means you must dress in plain fashion styles!

Two Sided Pumpkin-Jack-O-Lantern-Wall Projection DIY

10-25-2018 Boo JackoLantern02b

Post, photo and video by Rain San Martin

Come carve a pumpkin with us as we create an amazing projection effect against the wall! This old fashioned technique involves carving one side with a “Boo!” word, then cutting a classic Jack O Lantern face on the opposite side. I am joined with our 8 year old son Orion, who also narrates in the video. We followed a Martha Stewart tutorial, yet I changed up a few things as I always do. For the sake of simplicity we used the tools we had on hand, rather than owning an additional pumpkin carving kit.

Here are the basic steps:

Step 1) Print or draw out a “BOO!” template ( and Jack O Lantern template (  I myself free-handed the template instead of printing it.

Step 2) Cut out a large hole, big enough to easily fit your hand and candle votive through.   A stainless steel 1/3 cup measuring tool worked great at scrapping the pumpkin seeds out. We also reserved our seeds in the fridge to bake for another time!

Step 3) Tack on the “Boo!” sign to the front side of the pumpkin.  A tack was also used to prick the image of the template directly onto the pumpkin.

Step 4) Scrape out the word “Boo!”A small screw driver was effective for this. Yet do not go all of the way through.

Step 5) Turn your pumpkin around and tack on the Jack O Lantern face template. Prick the shape of the Jack O Lantern with a tack or pen onto the pumpkin.

Step 6) Use a small steak knife or similar tool to cut out the eyes, nose and mouth, all of the way through.

Step 7) Place a lite candle votive into your Jack O Lantern with the face against a wall. The “Boo!” side should be facing forward. You should see the sign dimly lite and the Jack O Lantern face will project against the wall, if it is dark.

Tips:  If I were to do it over, I would draw the image directly onto the pumpkin with an erasable marker. Only for a more complex image would I do the pen prick transfer method. If you followed this video tutorial please let me know in the comments. Have fun carving your pumpkin!

Martha Stewart “Two Faced Pumpkin With Wall Projection” Tutorial:

Here is a link to a Moroccan Style Candle Lantern, similar to the one I used in the video: (affiliate link)

This is a link to the exact Retro Table Lamp sitting on our living room table: (affiliate link)


Vintage Gothic Wardrobe

2018-10-20 1280 x 720 Vintage Gothic Wardrobe

In this video I’ll show you my “Vintage Inspired” Gothic Wardrobe. My style is classically feminine as I wear skirts, lace, dresses and tights. One way to describe my style is Antique Gothic Victorian or Romantic Antique Gothic, which is simply Gothic Steampunk without the gears or goggles!

This wardrobe is minimalist as I only keep a certain number of pieces in my closet at any given time. I also have subtle bohemian and modern influences. Stay tuned for my accessories video. Here is a link to black lace trim which you can use as a quick and beautiful sash belt. Simply wrap it around your waist a couple of times and tie a bow. (affiliate link)