11.29.2013

New Uses for Vintage Items

BnB: New Uses for VINTAGE Items!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all had a good one!
I'm going to show you some nifty uses for some unique, but more commonly found vintage items.

Columbia Record Holder + Mail = His and Hers Mail Holder 
 photo hisampHersmail_zpsdc18c769.jpg

I found this record holder at Goodwill for $1.99 and decided that it made a great "his and hers" mail organizer. It was way cheaper than purchasing one of those fancy mail holders at an antique or vintage store and it holds a ton of mail. You could also use it for craft paper storage or as a recipe file.  

Vintage Ashtray Stand + Keys and Phone = Wallet Caddy 
 photo ashtraywalletcady_zps2a3cc3e8.jpg

I found this ashtray on sale at an antique store. It was a little pricier than I expected, but it was too cool to pass up. I don't smoke and my husband doesn't smoke in the house, so I had to figure out what to do with it. I decided to keep it by the front door as a wallet caddy. It comes in handy when you're coming in the house with groceries.

Head Vase + Makeup Brushes = Brush Holder 
 photo skunk_zps90a10242.jpg
I found this little skunk head vase for $10 at an antique store. It makes the perfect make up brush holder! I was especially excited because these guys sell for $25 + and I got this one for super cheap!

Jadeite and Custard Glass Refrigerator Boxes + Bulky Jewelry = Jewelry Boxes  photo fridgejewelryboxes_zps0a95cd0a.jpg

These refrigerator boxes were used to store leftovers or food from the market. The Jadeite boxes are from the 1930s and the custard dishes are from the 40s or 50s. I love the look of these dishes and they're not SUPER easy to come by, so I snatch them up when I can find them at a reasonable price. I use them for bulkier jewelry (I have a ton of large earrings if you can't tell...). They're also great for storing craft supplies like spools of thread or pom poms. You can usually find the brightly colored Pyrex fridge boxes more easily!

Jello Molds + Bath Bombs = Bath Bomb and Soap Molds  photo jellomold_zpse36e1a10.jpg

This year, Christmas money it a little tight so I've been trying to come up with some fun crafty projects to make stuff (that doesn't suck) for Christmas presents. I was lucky enough to find some cheap Jello Molds at Salvation Army (25 or 50 cents a piece). I've been using them to make soaps, bath bombs, and solid lotions.

Vintage Photo Frame + Fancy Paper = Drink Tray 
 photo vintagephotoframe_zpsa00bf8cd.jpg

You can find frames like these at any thrift store. The only problem is they're usually missing the stands on the back. All you need is some fun paper, glue, and some tape to make a fun and unique drink tray. You can also find some smaller frames and use them as coasters.

The Mid-Century Modern Planter + Remotes = Snazzy Remote Holder
 photo remoteholder_zps6786b0bb.jpg

I found this planter at a vintage store for $10. It looks great on our danish modern coffee table, hides TV remotes, and the best part is that you never lose your remote in the couch!

- Steph @ Calamity Layne

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11.27.2013

Vegetarian Potato Tacos!

Vegetarian Potato Tacos

At Lisa's surprise party a couple of weekends ago, we had food from Big Star in Chicago.  It was freakin' delicious.  The taco that I built had potatoes in it, so I went to their website to investigate, and they're called "Tacos de Papas con Rajas," which is a potato/pepper combination.  So good.

I quickly became obsessed with the idea of putting potatoes in my tortillas and making my own homemade version (translation: not as good, but an acceptable substitute).  I did think that they were pretty gosh darn yummy, and easy to make.  I would also be remiss if I did not mention the heavy influence of this recipe from Bake and Destroy's Brussel Sprout Tacos, one of my all-time faves.

I'm not sure this even really counts as a "recipe"... because it's just frozen stuff combined together... but here, I'll share it with you anyways:

Vegetarian Potato Tacos & Rice with Corn

Vegetarian Potato Tacos
Ingredients:
1- avocado
1 - dozen corn tortillas
1 - bag frozen diced potatoes with peppers and onions
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 - envelope taco seasoning
sliced almonds
shredded lettuce or cabbage

Directions:
1. In a large skillet over med/high heat, sautee frozen potatoes in oil.
2. Add packet of taco seasoning mix. Stir, and continue cooking potatoes until completely heated through.  (Please note: If using Trader Joe's brand taco seasoning, only use about 1/3 of the packet.  It is EXTREMELY spicy. And I like spicy food. You've been warned.)
3. Warm your tortillas (I use a small skillet for this).
4. Peel and slice avocados into slice/wedges and set aside.
5. Set out the almonds and lettuce/cabbage alongside the avocados, potatoes, and warmed tortillas so that everyone can assemble their tacos as desired.

If you can't find frozen diced potatoes that already have onions and peppers, you can always just use plain diced frozen potatoes and add your own onions and peppers (fresh or frozen).  You can also omit the additional veggies if you're weird about it.

I find that these tacos do not need cheese or sour cream (hey, that means that these tacos are actually vegan as listed), but I suppose if you felt that you needed it, go for it!

In searching for potato taco recipes online (I was unsuccessful in finding anything that didn't require frying or fancy roasting of peppers, which would surely cause me to start the kitchen on fire), I did come across a really easy side dish idea for rice with corn (shoot I can't find the original link anymore - I'm sorry!), which Todd loved, but I would jazz up a bit, along the lines of this listed below...

Vegetarian Potato Tacos & Rice with Corn

Cilantro-Lime Rice with Corn
Ingredients:
2 cups vegetable broth (I used one small can)
1 cup rice (I used white Jasmine rice)
1 cup frozen yellow corn
1 lime
fresh cilantro, to taste

Directions:
1. In a medium-sized saucepan on med/high heat, boil vegetable broth.
2. Add rice and corn to boiling broth.  Stir.
3. Turn down heat to simmer, cover.
4. Simmer rice for 25 minutes or so, stirring every so often until broth is fully absorbed and rice is tender.
5. Sprinkle rice with chopped cilantro and garnish with lime wedges.

Note: the photo above is one I took while the rice was mid-simmer; the broth is not yet fully absorbed... and I didn't have the cilantro/lime juice combo in there.

Todd said that he really enjoyed this dinner, and even went up for seconds, which is my meter for whether or not it really is good - because he's pretty nice and doesn't usually complain if I cook.  This would be a pretty good dinner for having friends over, too, since they can build their own tacos, and you can throw the rice into a crock pot to keep it warm.  Yum!

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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11.25.2013

Derby Lite Action Shots

Derby Lite Action Shot: Ronnie Maims Dio
photo via DTKindler Photography


...yep.  That's me.  My first reaction when I look at this is "I can't believe I actually DID this!"

But then another part of me is pretty gosh darn proud.  I've always liked roller skating, and I look forward to Tuesday nights like you wouldn't believe.  And I hatehatehate exercise.  Wait, multiply that by about 1000000000x.  I wish I wasn't so damn lazy.

But rollerskating is FUN.

Derby Lite Action Shot: Ronnie Maims Dio
photo via DTKindler Photography


If you haven't been reading along for a while, I skate with Derby Lite, which is a rollerskating/fitness class where we learn derby skills and drills.  I'm not on a league, and I don't play in bouts.  Maybe one day, but right now I'm trying to finish the beginner class (for the second time, since my first try was cut a little bit short...).

The awesome news is that I think I'm ready to move up to intermediates next round, and that makes me really excited.

So when we had the offer to have "action shots" taken of us skating, I was hesitant at first... not really looking forward to photos of myself in leggings and kneepads that give my legs their own muffin top... but then I told myself to just shut up and go for it.  And I'm glad that I did.

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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11.22.2013

Thrifty Vintage Christmas Gift Idea

Hello All!
I will get to the good stuff in one second, but first I wanted to just wanted to share this link with everyone. My husband grew up in Washington, IL and his family and friends still live there. Fortunately, his parents' home was not destroyed, but dozens of his friends where not so lucky. If you want to help out the families affected by the storms, you can donate to the red cross here.

Now for what you're here to read!...

This year I'm a little strapped for Christmas present cash, so I decided to make soy candles with vintage glasses and teacups I found at Goodwill. You can make some very cool looking candles in various scents and colors. Just check out your local craft store for candle making supplies. For this project, you will need the following:
  • Vintage glass or teacup of your choice
  • Candle wax ($12 for 2 blocks at Hobbly Lobby)
  • Candle dye ($3.45 for 3 colors at Hobby Lobby)
  • Candle wicks ($2.99 for 12 wicks. Make sure they're long enough for your cup)
  • Tacky glue or wick stickers ($2.99)
  • Double boiler (or pots and pans...make sure you use a pot that you don't want for melting wax) $2.99 for the melting pot from Goodwill
  • Measuring cup with spout (.99 at Goodwill)
  • Wooden spoon (.49 Goodwill)
This is a vintage juice glass I found at Goodwill for 49 cents. I used it to make my candle.
 photo vintageGlass_zpsc3c046a0.jpg
Once you've found your favored glass or teacup, clean it and glue the wick into place on the bottom of the cup. I used quick dry Tacky Glue, but you can also use double stick wick stickers. You can find all of these items at your local craft store.
 photo TackyGluewick_zps926148b1.jpg photo teacupwithwick_zps4fb4ba4b.jpg
After your glue has dried (this stuff takes less than 15 minutes), you can start melting your wax. I used Soy wax and soft creamy candle wax for my candles. I don't have a double boiler, so I bought an old pan at a thrift store for melting the wax and I used a pot I had at home for boiling water. I also found a SWEET vintage plastic measuring cup for pouring wax into the cups.
 photo Meltingwax_zps02ffd2cf.jpg
Melt your wax (Hey! Wax can easily catch on fire, so make sure you read the heating directions on your wax!!!) and add your dye when the wax is close to completely melted. Because your wax melts clear, you might need more dye than you'd expect. It all depends on how vibrant you want the color to be. Once the wax is completely melted, remove the pan from the boiling water and add the scent of your choice to the wax.
 photo Candlesupplies_zps86ec32cc.jpg
Once you have added your color and scent, it's time to pour your candles! Pour your wax into the measuring cup and then pour the wax into the cup with the wick in it. If you have a taller cup (like this one) the wick will not stay straight. In order to keep the wick in the middle of the candle, I fold the top of the wick over a utensil of some sort...In this case, I used an icing spreader.
 photo Pourwick_zps581d1517.jpg
Let your wax dry for over an hour and don't mess with the wick because it will cause dips and ripples at the top of your candle. If you CAN, it's always good to keep a little extra of the wax that you're using for your candles. This way if you have any imperfections once your candle dries, you can use the wax to pour over the top.

Once the wax is dry, all you have to do is trim the candle wick and you've got a candle!!!
 photo finishedproduct_zpsb66ab67a.jpg  photo merrychristmas_zps852f4b82.jpg
Steph @ Calamity Layne
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11.20.2013

More stripes... in purple

Betties N Brimstone: OOTD
dress - Target / tank - Old Navy / jacket - Torrid / boots - Torrid / tights - Halloween store / earrings - Tarina Tarantino
Yeah, you read that right.  I rock the Halloween tights year-round.  And, based solely off of how excited my derby friends were to go shopping at the Halloween store for tights and socks this year, stores really need to look into offering this stuff year-round, because there's a market for it.

Maybe that's what I need to be doing?  Selling Halloween tights and socks year-round, alongside my eyeball and skull hair flowers.  Just to my kind of people.  Okay, who's got start-up fundage for me?

Betties N Brimstone: OOTD

So, Lisa has this jacket in another color.  I found out last weekend.  My reaction?  "Oh yeah I have that one in blue!"  Evidence here.  I had actually already taken these photos even.  Ha!  My dress is a cheapie Target score that was too long so I hemmed it using white thread and a zig-zag stitch.  Yeah, if you look closely, you can totally see it.  No shame.

Betties N Brimstone: OOTD

None of my blues and purples quite matched this day, but I went for it in the name of analogous colors. Cool colors.  Not, "hey man, those colors are really cool," but cool colors all on one side of the color wheel. Analogous means colors next to each other on the color wheel.  Boom.  Now you're all art-smart. You're welcome.

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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11.18.2013

Purple and Black

Betties N Brimstone OOTD
shoes - Shoe Carnival / dress ASOS curve / tights - We Love Colors

Today is kind of a plain OOTD.  But I love this dress.  You first saw it here, in January, with black tights and some real swanky shoes.  I've been brainstorming ways to wear if differently, but because it has long sleeves, I worry about it being too bulky with a sweater over... also, if I wear a scarf, I'll lose the awesome collar detail.  So we'll see.  I'm sure I'll wear this on the blog again.

Betties N Brimstone OOTD

I got lots of compliments on my purple tights this day.  I like wearing colorful tights with my otherwise-neutral dresses.

Betties N Brimstone OOTD

These shoes are a nice break from my usual ballet flats.  But they have a nice sturdy sole, so my feet aren't aching terribly by the time I get home.

I had an okay kind of week last week.  I've been really busy, as in, I had something (if not several somethings) to do every night of the week, and I don't really enjoy that.  I did a vendor event last week that was ok (in the sense that I made my money back for the table fee), but I didn't really do well overall.  I clearly didn't fit in amongst the other vendors, and many of the women shopping simply passed me by, if even giving me a fleeting glance - as though if they came "too close" to my table, they might "catch" it - my tacky tacky halloween skull and eyeball merchandise.  Ugh.  I hate feeling like that, and I kind of would have preferred to just have my night at home.  But live and learn, right?  If I didn't try it, I wouldn't have known that it wasn't really for me.

I hate feeling like I don't fit in.  I don't feel like that around my friends, which is why they're my friends, and I love them!  But stepping out of my comfort area is hard to do, and when it doesn't go well (like at a vendor event where I clearly don't fit in!), I'm really quick to retract back into my shell, and it's hard to take chances again.

Ok, done feeling sorry for myself.  I had a LOT of awesome things this past week, too.  A surprise party for my friend Lisa!  It was so much fun.  I felt very lucky to be there, a part of her group of close friends.  It made me feel special, and I was so happy for her and to see her get surprised by everyone!

I also went to a derby class on Saturday morning and had ACTION SHOTS taken of me skating!  So, assuming I'm not horribly embarrassed by them, I will share them with you real soon, too.  That was really fun.

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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11.13.2013

Striped Sweater

Betties N Brimstone OOTD
sweater - Target.com / boots - Torrid / leggings - Forever 21+ / dress - Target / tank - Old Navy / cat skull flower - Hell Razor / earrings - Nordstrom

Hey, I took outfit photos at home in the art studio this time.  Must've run out of time that morning before school.  Sigh.  It's been so busy at work, even though I feel like your job should get easier the longer you do it... right?  But no.  The more I know, the more it weighs on me.  Both literally and figuratively.

But at least today I had a cute new sweater.  It's black and white striped, and I totally bought it online after I saw my friend Lisa wearing hers and it was too cute on her.  So I give kudos to Lisa for this ensemble.  Even the flower brooch was her styling choice that I copied.  Oh, and we have the same earrings, too.  Dorks.

Betties N Brimstone OOTD

One day when we hang out I think I'm going to ask her what she's wearing, so that we don't wear the same thing, only I'm totally going to wear EXACTLY the same thing.  Just to make it awkward awesome. :) So be prepared, Lisa!

Betties N Brimstone OOTD

When I get a little bored making skulls, I mix it up by adding other things, like in this case, cat skulls.  I also paint eyeballs when I get bored doing too many of something else.  There's always different things to do, so I can mix up the tasks on the ol' to-do list.

Betties N Brimstone OOTD

I have a LOT of things going on right now, actually, in regards to Hell Razor:

  • Tomorrow night I'll be vending at a pop-up boutique/vendor event, called "Gypsy Chicks Fall Market" at Mattone Restaurant in La Grange Park.
  • I collaborated with Chained by Carrion by sending her some flowers to create a unique design for her line of adult accessories.
  • I'm sending more jewelry to Strange Beauty Show very soon for the holiday season!
  • I'm sending a couple of flowers over to Xanthia Pink to wear (she was makeup artist on the Danger Ninja shoot for the Chained by Carrion design).  Don't you think she'll look cute?


Betties N Brimstone OOTD

I really can't say enough how much I love these boots from Torrid.  See similar styles here.

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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11.11.2013

It's A Sweater!

Betties N Brimstone: Outfit of the Day
dress - Forever 21+ / sweater - JCPenney / leggings - Torrid / scarf - gift (Kohl's?) / boots - Torrid
If you caught my nod to the Three Amigos in the post title, twenty gold stars for you! :)

I think I've mentioned wanting a red-orange sweater for a while now, so I decided to go and hunt for one.  To my surprise, JCPenney.com actually had one - AND it came in an XXL.  Kudos to you, JCPenney!  You can also have twenty gold stars.  It's that kinda day.

Betties N Brimstone: Outfit of the Day

I bought this sweater very purposefully to wear with my glasses dress, but since I've already shown you that dress twice, I'll hold off on styling it up again, even though I super love that darn dress...

This sweater goes well with a LOT of my clothes, which surprised me since I do not own much of anything orange, and it's not my favorite color (although this red-orange shade is growing on me quite a bit...), but it complements lots of the other colors I own, like black or blue or purple.  I have a lot of those.

So today was the galaxy dress.  This dress is very lightweight and flowy and layered, so I enjoyed juxtaposing it with a heavier and chunky knit sweater, which made the whole ensemble very fall-appropriate.

Betties N Brimstone: Outfit of the Day

Art teacher pro tip: blue and orange are complementary colors, which means that they are opposite each other on the color wheel, and make each other look the most vibrant, which means it's always a good pairing!

Betties N Brimstone: Outfit of the Day

The first time I wore this dress, it was still way too freaking hot outside.  I like this second version way better.  And it's comfy, too!  The sweater + scarf combo is like wearing a blanky all day.  Ready for a nap at any time!

Betties N Brimstone: Outfit of the Day

On this day, I decided to get a little crazy on the eyeshadow front, even though my makeup photography is somewhat lacking.  Can you see my rainbow lids?

Betties N Brimstone: Outfit of the Day

Ah, there's a close-up.  Yep, that's pink, yellow, and turquoise shadows, which will give you a slight orange blend/overlap at the pink/yellow border, and a green hue at the yellow/turquoise meetup.  So much art teacher nerdery going on this day.  Enjoy.

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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11.08.2013

Make Up Tutorial - Bright Beautiful Bombshell

 photo Pic2_zpsb83d4576.jpgThis look is perfect for fall! Big bright eyes and a fresh face adds a little pop to a fall or winter outfit!

For this look, you will need the following items:
foundation and / or primer
under eye concealer
eyeshadow primer, shadow, & liquid liner
eyelash curler
mascara
 photo makeup1_zpsbac488a9.jpg Light and Fresh Face
I REALLY hate foundation...EVEN if it's "light." I use a mixture of a mattefying colorless primer, a little daily moisturizer and a tiny drop of concealer mixed together with a foundation brush. The key is to cover redness, smooth pores, and stay true to your natural skin tone. Using a foundation brush will distribute your foundation evenly and help keep your coverage light.

Rosey Cheeks
I love Benefit's Benetint for a fresh and natural glow, but in this case I used Nars' blush in Orgasm.
 photo shadow_zpsfaa9ffdb.jpg Big Beautiful Eyes
I always start with an eyeshadow primer because I refuse to reapply makeup throughout my day (too much work). I've found that THE best eyeshadow primer for me is Urban Decay's Potion. Lightly cover the lid from lash line to crease. For eyeshadow, I'm using Rimmel's HD shadow in Heart of Gold. You can use any bronze and light shimmery shadows of your choice. Apply the bronze color across the lid from the lash line to the crease. I like the fan up the sides a little bit and then add a little of the dark brown shadow in the crease. Take a little of the lightest color and swipe it across your brow bone.

Liner
I use a black liquid liner for the top and bottom lash lines. The key to keeping your eyes looking bright and big is to only line the top from the outer edge to about a third of the way in. I like to fan up the outer edge into a little cat eye for some drama. Line the bottom from the outer edge to a third of the way in as well. Curl your lashes and top it all off with any black mascara!
 photo me3_zpsced48740.jpg Luscious Lips
I used Clinique's Black Honey Almost Lipstick for a natural looking lip color.

Steph @ Calamity Layne
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11.06.2013

Guest Post: Rule of Thirds

Ever wondered how to get better photos?  Today I have a very special guest post, written by my husband, Todd.  He's going to share some basic composition tips in this blog post, originally written for his iPhotography group, called "AMPt."  You can check out Todd and the rest of the AMPt group at amptcommunity.com

Getting Started: Photo Basics > Composition > Rule of Thirds



The Rule of Thirds is the most widely known fundamental rule of composition. Knowing this rule will allow you to make informed decisions about where to place elements in your picture that will create more interesting images and direct the viewer to what you want them to see.

The rule of thirds works by splitting the picture plane into thirds, both vertically and horizontally. The grid (shown above) highlights four points where you will begin to place your subject/object. You can also use the lines of the grid to place the subject/object on, or to level your image.

Above is a screenshot of the viewfinder on a native iPhone camera with markings added to highlight the intersections. The grid can be turned on or off by tapping “options” at the top of the screen. The same feature can be turned on with most Android camera apps.

I have used the same object below in all of my images to help demonstrate the use of the rule of thirds, both incorrectly and correctly.
Figures 1 and 2 demonstrate an incorrect use of the rule of thirds by placing the subject matter directly in the center of the frame. The image feels static and allows little room for a second point of interest, keeping the viewer in one place. This is what you’re trying to avoid.


figure 1; figure 2

Figures 3 and 4 utilize the rule of thirds correctly and place the intersection of lines directly between the eyes of the skull. Research has shown that the viewer’s eye travels more frequently to the areas where the lines intersect, and can make the overall composition feel more natural and balanced. Another option would have been to place the intersection in one of the eye sockets.


figure 3; figure 4

In figures 5 and 6, I have also utilized the rule of thirds, but this time I’ve placed my object slightly lower on the picture plane and directly on the left vertical grid line. The image is now balanced from top to bottom and allows the opportunity for a second point of interest to the right, depending on the background.


figure 5; figure 6

Take multiple pictures to provide yourself with choices. Having a series of images that you can compare will put you in the place of the viewer and help you choose your best shot. Although it is not necessary to always use the rule of thirds, it is a rule of composition that every mobile photographer should know how to use. The old adage of practice makes perfect is true, and eventually using the rule of thirds will become second nature. Keep in mind, there’s not a filter in existence that can improve a poorly composed image.

Stay Awesome!
Todd
AMPt profile     Instagram     Twitter     Tumblr
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11.04.2013

Day of the Dead: OOTD

Betties N Brimstone: Outfit of the Day
dress - ASOS Curve / sweater - Torrid / tights - We Love Colors / scarf - Torrid / boots - MooShoes / hair flower - Hell Razor
Betties N Brimstone: Outfit of the Day

Ok, so I didn't actually wear this for Day of the Dead... it was actually an outfit I wore a week or so before Halloween, but it is very appropriate for the theme.  It's something I would wear any day, year-round, but if you're reading this, I suppose that you already know that...

Betties N Brimstone: Outfit of the Day

This dress has made several appearances on the blog so far.  This current version is a little more accessorized than others, but it was a lot colder this time around (wearing it) so I was able to layer a lot more.  And I had one of those "What the heck?!" kinda days where I decided to just go all out with the skulls theme and such.

Disclaimer: this close-up skull flower photo below is REALLY crappy and blurry.  I'm sorry.

Betties N Brimstone: Outfit of the Day

I had the "macro" setting on the camera and just assumed that it turned out ok, until I looked closer later - but it was too late.  This flower was sold at one of my recent events (after taking these outfit photos) before I saw my mistake.  And I never photographed it previously, which is weird, because I typically post photos of almost everything on the Hell Razor Facebook page... hmm...

So I feel like a jerk posting really sub-par photos like this one, but it's all I've got.

Betties N Brimstone: Outfit of the Day

On this day I wore my fake Docs, which I super love.  When I'm wearing tights, I like to layer socks over them, but I stayed kind of neutral (for me) with just plain black.  Also, here's a close-up of my sugar skull scarf.  Glad I snagged this one a few years ago, because a new version was up on Torrid.com for sale and I totally missed out.  It was in-stock, and I waited until the next morning to place my order, and it was too late!  Let that be a lesson to me.

Rock on,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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