Offbeat New York City! Sushidelic kawaii restaurant, Edge observation deck, Paradise Lost Satanic bar, Inter_IAM art.

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New York City is one my favorite places in the world for eccentric, artsy, offbeat attractions. Every time I return to NYC, I have a giant list of new bizarro places to explore.

Such as this Harajuku kawaii sushi parlor (SushiDelic), founded by Tokyo’s Sebastian Masuda (the mastermind behind 6% DokiDoki and the now-closed Kawaii Monster Cafe)…

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… as well as Edge observation deck at Hudson Yards, a devilish tiki bar called Paradise Lost, Inter_IAM immersive digital art museum, and more. Read on for my alternative food and travel guide to NYC — there are Seinfeld spots at the end, since I’m a mega-fan of the 90s sitcom!

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Let’s start at SushiDelic, which lives up to its promise of sushi + psychedelic decor. This funky Japanese restaurant opened up in New York’s SoHo / Little Italy not long ago.

Address: 177 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013, United States

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At SushiDelic, the food is as colorful as the Harajuku-pop decor. (We came on a Sunday to try their special sushi brunch menu, which includes this tiered tower).

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The decor at SushiDelic is eye-popping, candy-colored cuteness. I’d expect nothing less from Sebastian Masuda, the legend behind the kawaii boutique 6%DokiDoki, Tokyo’s Kawaii Monster Cafe, and other Jpop meets art projects.

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A pink conveyer belt goes round and round the counter, bringing out stiletto heels, jelly bags and other fabulosities (as well as plates of food!)

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SushiDelic restaurant aims to be an immersive kawaii experience… these rotating, long-eyelashed cat heads certainly delivered that.

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Kaiten sushi gets glitzed up at this New York sushi restaurant of dreams. (Here’s a video of the conveyer belt in action.)

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Electronic music throbs as the cat-heads turn and the screen flashes with cute animations… What a vibe! (All photos Joey Wong)

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At SushiDelic, even the dishes come in bright colors and shapes. The menu puts creative spins on sushi, such as a sushi parfait (made from raw fish and seasonal vegetables, but decorated like a layered dessert), and a decadent assortment of “Delic rolls.”

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We had the sushi tower that included a sashimi assortment (salmon, tuna, scallop, hamachi) and a sampling of California, veggie, eel and wagyu rolls.

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Watch my SushiDelic video on @lacarmina Instagram for footage of the NY restaurant (you’ve got to see the adorable pastel kitties in motion).

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Sebastian Masuda’s restaurant serves drinks as well. I adored the yuzu mimosa (juice from my fav Japanese citrus fruit with Prosecco).

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Aren’t the lipstick lights and vinyl record place settings fabulous?

Dine at SushiDelic for a playful sushi extravaganza that brings a taste of Harajuku to New York City.

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Then, I got closer to the edge… I’m standing 100 stories above New York City! Be sure to watch our Insta reel about the Edge NYC experience.

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This thrilling NYC observation point is Edge, located at 30 Hudson Yards. (You can see the sky deck jutting out from the top of the skyscraper).

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The infamous Vessel is still closed due to jumpers… thankfully photographer Joey Wong and I shot inside the beehive in 2021 before it shut. (See our Vessel NY images here.)

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This time, we were psyched to get to the top of Edge. It stands out from New York’s other observation decks because of its outdoor sky deck, which is the highest in the Western hemisphere (100 floors up).

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From outside, these 360 degree views are the definition of cinematic. (You can go inside as well, for panoramic views of the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan, and New Jersey).

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Edge has several V-shaped suspension points edged by glass, which are the perfect photo spots. (It’s one of the most Instagrammable viewpoints in the city — here’s my reel about it).

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Come in the late afternoon and stay for sunset to see the light and shadows shift over the tall buildings.

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Walk all around the Edge platform to see famous New York landmarks and skyscrapers over the horizon.

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Thrill-seekers can scale and lean out over the skyscraper as well. You can also walk over a glass floor area and look down at the ant-like action below.

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So much fun to take trippy photos while leaning on these angled glass walls. (Are you afraid of heights?)

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You can book timed tickets to Edge at Hudson Yards online. We recommend staying until nightfall so you can see the twinkling lights over New York, New York.

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For another type of New York magic… enter the INTERverse at Inter_IAM, an immersive / digital art museum in SoHo! Guests interact with two floors of high-tech generative exhibits, which respond to your movements and shift as you take part in them.

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Inter_IAM lets you enter various rooms filled with multimedia works — such as this infinitely mirrored one. Please watch our video of the journey so that you can see the artwork in motion.

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We received 3D glasses, which you can put on to enhance the INTERverse in prismatic ways. (It felt like dancing in another dimension with aliens!)

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Loved the wide variety of imaginative, sensory spaces, which made for interesting portraits. Some of the exhibits even emanated heat!

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Put the 3D glasses over your camera or phone lens for a filter effect.

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Have you ever been to an immersive art experience like New York’s Inter_IAM?

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The space disco vibes were immaculate.

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How many of me can you handle at one time? Explore the beautiful, digital participatory art at Inter_IAM in NYC (and see our video of the museum visit for a preview).

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Speaking of the devil… Did you know New York has a devilish tiki bar, Paradise Lost? Descend into an East Village tropical hellscape inspired by Milton’s saga of the fallen Lucifer!

Watch our Paradise Lost video for a sense of the vibe: you can drink fiery rum cocktails out of Baphomet’s head (or sip tasty mocktails), snack on international bites, hail Satan at the goat head altar, spot sigils in the bathroom… This “hell on Earth” is my type of New York speakeasy!

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Finally, as a Seinfeld obsessive, I made my rounds of New York locations associated with the 90s TV show. “Look to the cookie, Elaine…” I had a black-and-white cookie at Culture Espresso, a NY snack featured in one of their episodes (and it was spectacular).

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And I went to my old stomping grounds at Morningside Heights / Columbia University to shoot Tom’s Restaurant. You may recognize it as the exterior of the diner where Jerry Seinfeld hangs with George Costanza, Kramer, and Elaine Benes.

Address: 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025, United States

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I went here ages ago and ordered a big salad, of course (there are Seinfeld-themed menu items). The restaurant interior doesn’t look like the set on the television series, but the outside of the American diner is exactly the same.

Take a look at my IG video of New York Seinfeld food spots to see Tom’s and other spots.

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“No soup for you…” I also dared to step into the lair of the Soup Nazi at his “Original Soup Kitchen!”

Address: 259A W 55th St, New York, NY 10019, United States

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Known as The Original SoupMan in the 1990s, this soup restaurant was the domain of Ali “Al” Yeganeh. The hardcore Soup Nazi character is based after him!

You can order jambalaya (Newman’s favorite), mulligatawny, and other hearty favorites of the Seinfeld gang. (That is, if you behave — or it’s “no soup for you!”)

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Walking around and trying street food / cheap eats is my fav thing to do in NYC. Joey Wong took a big bite out of the Bear Donut, while I tried my first ever pistachio latte at Maman Cafe.

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So many excellent bakeries, bagel shops, and of course — pizza. (I’m partial to Joe’s Pizza, and also had an excellent mushroom New York slice at Andiamo Pizzeria).

We’re also fans of Los Tacos, Joe’s Steam Rice Roll, and other affordable snacks.

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I also returned to St Mark’s Place, the seminal Goth punk neighborhood. Ah, memories of Search & Destroy and eating at Kenka with my spooky friends over the years!

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For more alternative, Gothic and offbeat NYC tips, browse the New York category of my blog, and see my NYC videos on @LaCarmina Insta. I’m already as excited at this pink cat at the idea of returning soon!

Skincare & beauty routine! Vancouver Pure Light Laser IPL skin clinic, HigherDose LED mask, ULike Air 3 hair removal.

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I’ve recently been getting kind feedback on the state of my skin (you can see recent photos/videos on this blog, and @LaCarmina Instagram). Quite a few people reached out asking for my skincare routine — specifically, how to achieve an even tone and healthy, hydrated glow. If you’re curious about my skin and anti-aging treatments, then read on… as I reveal all!

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In addition to high-tech treatments like lasers, I drop my day/night beauty routine further down, so keep reading. (Hint: being a sun-avoidant Goth is key.)

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What has made the biggest improvement to my skin health? Undoubtedly IPL, or intense pulsed light therapy! For years, I’ve been going to the lovely Rita Moldovanos at Pure Light Laser Clinic in Vancouver, BC. She has over 20 years of experience as a laser technician, and was recommended to me by both a local dermatologist and plastic surgeon — so I knew she was someone I could trust.

Rita provides a variety of laser treatments for the face and body, using top-of-the-line equipment. Her Pure Light Laser clinic is bright and spotless, and she always welcomes clients with a relaxed, kind presence. And she offers free 45-min initial consultations, which are a great way to get to know her services, space, and approach.

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Rita has a top-of-the-line Cynosure Icon Laser, which can safely deliver higher pulses if they are appropriate for the client. People with Asian skin can react differently to lasers, but because of her decades of expertise, Rita has always known the best IPL settings for me (I’ve never experienced burning, or any negative effects after seeing her).

I go to her approximately once a year for IPL photo-facials to zap brown / sun spots and broken capillaries, and stimulate collagen production. You lie down in the chair with light-blocking goggles, and she zaps problem areas (the pain level is nothing more than a rubber band sting).

Thanks to her treatments, my skin has never been so clear and even — I couldn’t have achieved these results without Pure Light Laser Clinic in Vancouver! (Address: 777 W Broadway #606, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4J7)

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I’m also a big fan of at-home laser hair removal, which works remarkably well for people with light skin tones and dark hair. I’ve been doing DIY laser hair removal for over 10 years now, and the results have been beyond expectations: I simply do touch-ups a few times a year (on the couch, while watching shows).

Home laser hair removal devices have come a long way since they first came onto the market. I was thrilled to upgrade to the current gold standard: Ulike Air 3.

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The sleek ULike Air 3 Sapphire IPL hair removal device is high-powered and safe. The latest incarnation has a handy AutoGlide Mode: you simply slide the head across your skin, and the laser automatically fires. The device also delivers a sapphire ice cooling effect after each zap, making the process painless, and comes with a razor and light-blocking goggles.

The ULike Air 3 has been the most seamless and sophisticated at home laser hair removal I’ve used — people generally experience a 90% reduction in body hair in weeks! (If you have questions about the ULike or any tech item mentioned in this post, leave me a comment.)

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Can you tell that I love scientific skincare treatments? In recent years, more studies have come out showing the effectiveness of red light LED masks. This convinced me to try the HigherDOSE red light face mask — and the Halloween vibes are an added bonus.

As with any skin device, I urge you to research alternatives carefully, and avoid some cheap version or knockoff. For at-home red light therapy to be effective and achieve results close to what you’d get at a clinic, you need a well-designed mask with greater irradiance. As this company’s name suggests, your skin gets a higher dose with this top-end mask.

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HigherDOSE’s red light therapy mask uses LED lights to deliver red (630 nm) and near infrared light (830 nm) to your face. Research shows that this rejuvenates cells, stimulates an anti-inflammatory response, and support collagen production: perfect for combatting red, uneven and blemished skin.

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The flexible, silicone mask charges easily, and attaches to your head with adjustable Velcro straps. HigherDOSE suggests wearing it for 10 or 20 minutes, a few times a week: the wavelengths of light are safe and don’t deliver heat or UV rays. (I like taking this time to zone out with a podcast… and I’m into the spooky vibes!)

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Have you heard of LED / red light skincare masks, or tried any? I’m excited to add HigherDOSE to my skincare repertoire to combat fine lines, boost collagen/elastin, and increase smoothness and glow.

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While lasers do the heavy lifting for me, I also use topical products — the most important being mineral sunscreen and prescription tretinoin. Here’s a run-down of my daily routine:

MORNING: Wash face with cool water, moisturize (see products below), and apply Cosrx advanced snail peptide eye cream. And mineral sunscreen before going out (see SPF details after the next photo).

– I use a variety of moisturizers, depending on the weather and need. I use La Roche-Posay Lipikar lotion (which is heavier/creamier), and The Ordinary NMF Natural Moisturizing Factors (which is lighter). After a bath/shower, I apply La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 hyaluronic serum on wet skin.

NIGHT: Cleanse, moisturize (see moisturizers above), and apply prescription tretinoin (details below).

– I double-cleanse with an oil cleanser (I like Japan’s Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil) and then a gentle cream cleanser (currently The Saem natural daily avocado cleanser). No need to spend big bucks on cleansers, as long as they don’t contain irritating ingredients.
– I’ve worked my way up from retinol to prescription tretinoin 0.05%, which is the well-researched gold standard for building collagen and reducing wrinkles (you can get it through telehealth and legit online pharmacies, or over the counter in some countries like Mexico and India). Be sure to start slowly at the lowest percentage and work your way up, as retinol / prescribed tret can make you peel and purge.
– About once a week, I gently exfoliate with Biologique Recherche P50 PIGM, a non-abrasive toner that contains niacinamide and lactic/mandelic/salicylic acid.

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And I’m the sunscreen queen… There’s no point to do any of these skincare routines if you aren’t shielding yourself from UVA and UVB! I wear mineral sunscreen year-round, even in cold and gloomy places (as UVA rays still penetrate through clouds). I also wear sunglasses and hats all the time (I might take off the hat for a photo, but put it right back on in sunny weather).

Above is what I wore for a boat day with Granville Island Boat Rentalswatch our reel here to see our speedboat adventure in Vancouver, BC.

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My current sunscreens: Supergoop mineral mattescreen and La Roche-Posay Anthelios mineral tinted SPF, layered for extra protection. I prefer physical UV blockers (zinc and titanium oxide) over chemical sunscreens, which can have hormone disruptors and produce negative environmental effects.

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I also take some supplements that are backed by research to support skin health. I put a scoop of Organika collagen  (flavorless hydrolyzed collagen peptides) in my morning coffee, matcha, or tea. I take hyaluronic acid pills to help the skin retain moisture (an effect proven by studies, particularly in Japan). And in the winter months, I supplement with vitamin D3.

And don’t forget to exercise, eat well (lots of nutritious whole foods, protein, veg, fruits), sleep a lot, and reduce stress as best you can!

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Do you know anyone as committed to skincare as yours truly? The effort truly pays off… If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

Outfit: my Goth Y2K era continues with a handmade crochet bolero / shrug, baggy cargo jeans by Kuwalla Tee, and a linen corset by Windsor Store.

Photos of me by Joey Wong at Henn Na Hotel New York; see more photos from our stay here.

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I buy a lot of my skincare and makeup in Japan, as the products are well-formulated and scientifically sound, yet inexpensive. I tend to go to Don Quijote (the everything-store with many locations), which has shelves of products — bring your passport so that you can take advantage of tax-free shopping.

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Many people in Japan get into skincare from a young age. Sun protection is also emphasized here: it’s not unusual to see people shading themselves with parasols on hot days, which keeps their skin looking young and sun damage free.

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Speaking of ageless witches… I realized that I had still some Japan 2022 photos with Mistress Maya in my blog drafts! We had a magical day at a fierce Buddhist temple and alt-Goth boutique Kikirara Shoten — so I figured it’s better late than never to share the story.

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Mistress Maya took me to Fukagawa Fudoson temple, dedicated to the fierce Shingon Buddhist deity Fudōmyō-ō (who scowls in his determination to protect and liberate all beings from suffering. Also known as Fukagawa Fudou-dō, the complex is located at 1 Chome-17-13 Tomioka, Koto City.

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Also known as Acala, the immovable protector tends to be pictured holding a sword or stomping on evil spirits.

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We watched the Goma purification ritual, a performance that would put a heavy metal band to shame. The monks engaged in powerful taiko drumming and guttural sutra chanting, and burned sticks over huge blasts of fire!

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Outside, these giant straw sandals warn evil deities that the temple is protected by giant guardians (imagine the size of someone who could wear these flip-flops!)

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We weren’t allowed to take photos inside, but you must go into the inner gallery to see a giant Buddha statue — as well as scroll paintings depicting the fiery torments of Buddhist Hell. (Remember when I went to the Osaka Senko-ji Hell Temple?)

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Love visiting Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines whenever I’m in Japan. I recommend avoiding the most famous tourist-packed ones, and going to lesser-known but fascinating ones like Tomioka Hachiman Shrine (located right across from Fudomyoo’s temple).

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Of course, the hanging wooden wishing boards (ema) had kawaii drawings and art on them.

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There’s a Yokozuna Rikishi Memorial Monument (dedicated to the highest ranked sumo wrestlers) at Tomioka Hachiman Shrine.

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Thank you to Mistress Maya for always taking me to offbeat, otherworldly spots in Tokyo.

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She also took me to visit Kiki, fashion designer and subculture icon. She’s the creative mind behind Kikirara Shoten, an haute couture artwear label inspired by Goth, carnival, vintage and alternative aesthetics.

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I felt like Alice in Wonderland, as I took the tiny elevator down into her lair filled with treasures.

Kiki is known for her handmade coffin boxes — I had to get a small one, which I use as a jewelry holder!

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Kikirara Shoten boutique is designed to feel like a dark fairytale.

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So many roses, ruffles, corsets, bonnets, tutus, and other decadent fashions — all hand-crafted by Kiki!

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The selection of crosses and candelabras is sure to appeal to any Goth.

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Address: Find Kiki’s boutique at 1 Chome-17-1 Minamirokugo, Ota City, Tokyo

If you aren’t able to make it to Kikirara Shoten in Japan, you can browse her webshop (she ships overseas).

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And don’t forget you can shop my closet on Depop @LaCarmina! I’m letting go of this mermaid holographic rave backpack, and other fun Goth / alt / mermaid fashion. Check out all my listings on Depop @LaCarmina and email me (gothiccarmina at gmail dotcom) if you’d like anything (no need to use the app if you prefer to do a direct sale).

PS: Student Pocket Guide interviewed me about travel and food writing. I spill the tea on my favorite destinations, content creation and social media.

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Coming soon… more of my new NYC offbeat / kawaii art explorations (here’s a throwback from 2017). And I’m now off on a new trip, including to my seventh World Wonder — can’t wait to take you along for the ride! For the latest videos and snaps, add me @LaCarmina Instagram.