3.31.2014

Dress DIY: Look what I did!

DIY Dress Length
dress - Target + DIY alterations / boots - MooShoes.com / cardigan - Hell Bunny via Hot Topic.com / leggings - Target

I'm really excited about this dress today and I want to share with you what I did to make it! I've worn this dress on the blog before - it's a white lace dress with a yellow-green underlayer, but the exact same style as my favorite black lace dress. Well, I'm not sure why, but the length of this dress seemed to shrink up more in length than the black one, and I felt weird wearing it, so I stopped. I even put it in a bag destined for donations, and I offered it up to Lisa with a bunch of other stuff. When she rejected it (just because it was white lace), I wondered if there wasn't something that I could do to fix it... everything else about it was fine, it was just too short.

Then I remembered that I had a pink lace slip from a thrifting outing with Steph a long time ago. It was a size large, so it was too snug to wear, but I had always loved the color and lace trim, so I had kept it. Ooh! I wondered if I could just add the pink lace to the bottom of this dress! 

And an idea was born.

DIY Dress Length

You can see here that I did not have enough pink lace to match up to the hem of the white lace dress. Thankfully, the FCS (aka Home Ec) teacher at my building had some fabric in a closet I could root around in, and I found this white lace, which I used to make little side inset pieces so that the bottom hem was wide enough to go all the way around. I kind of like how it turned out!

DIY Dress Length

Now, if you're the layering type, and you had a slip the right length, you could just layer a longer lace slip under a shorter dress, thereby creating a no-sew version of this look. But I like that this is all-in-one, and that I now saved two pieces destined for the donation bin and turned them into one awesome dress that I love to wear - for just a couple of hours of my time! (I'm an amateur sewer - if you know your stuff, you could probably whip this up in like 30 minutes I bet.)

Here's a close-up of the lace:

DIY Dress Length

And the white lace inset pieces on the side. I think I did a pretty good job! Luckily, I had access to a sweet serger machine, which makes awesome finished edges and trims off the excess, which is amazing and handy for a job like this (see detail below right). But if you are patient, a regular machine will do the job, too.

DIY Dress Length

My black leggings needed something black on top, so I paired this dress with my Hell Bunny cardigan that has pink accents, matching the pink lace trim of my dress. I love the bow details on the wrists of this cardigan!

DIY Dress Length

Oddly enough, I just realized that the last time I wore this cardigan, it was also with a different lace dress. Huh.

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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3.29.2014

Bananas for Vegan Muffins!

Vegan Banana Muffins on Betties N Brimstone Blog

book

So, what do you do when your bananas start to look like this? Invite a bunch of monkeys over? Freeze them to make banana ice cream? Or, do you make your favorite baked banana recipe? Mine comes from my cute friend Natalie Slater, who happened to write an amazing vegan cookbook (check the acknowledgments! I was a recipe tester!), called Bake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans.

Now, this recipe is actually a cupcake recipe, but to me, a cupcake without icing IS a muffin... so there you go. My goal was to make these for Gunnar (my 2 year old son), who really needs more fruit in his life and less cookies. I did make some slight changes to Natalie's original recipe (I know, I messed with perfection), but the changes worked for us.

ingredients

Ingredients!

1/2 cup of mashed overripe banana
1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 sugar (I used coconut sugar, as I heard it is better for you than cane, but the debate goes back and forth...)
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup soy milk (I used almond)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Smoosh!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then...

Mash up that banana with a fork! Get your aggression out! Then, take a bowl and mix up all of your dry ingredients and set aside.

mix it up

Get a bowl and mix up your wet ingredients and add to the mashed banana.
Now, mix up both of those (the wet and dry) together till incorporated.

bake me

I used a mini muffin pan, so that the muffins are just the right size for Gunnar to SMOOSH in his mouth. To get the batter easily into the little pans, I poured the batter into a liquid measuring cup. (The mixture is a little too thin to use the cookie scoop method.)

If you are making large muffins or cupcakes you would let them bake for 20-22 minutes in the oven. With these minis, 14 minutes was the magic number!

I have to say these were such a hit with Gunnar that I made another batch today!

In today's batch, I added a little PB2 for added flavor and a little protein. This is a great recipe as you can play a little with it to make it your own. I even thought I may add some oats next time to be even more filling for my pain-in-the-tush eater!

doughnuts

Speaking of "pains in the tush"... I took a little bit of the mix and used my doughnut pans to make some treats for Shane as well. They came out pretty cute. I just used a little agave as a glaze.

So that is this week's recipe. We are really trying to cut down on sugars and sweets here, but its been a struggle. Natalie's book has been a great help. Seriously, check it out...word on the street is that she is making a second book! (...and I'm already plotting a way to get mentioned in that one as well!)

Stay Sweet,
Lisa
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3.28.2014

Vintage Accents for Spring!

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Spring Has Sprung!
Ok…Maybe it’s more like…spring  has happened and it still looks like winter. :( Either way, we can still put a little spring in our step through fashion! Here are my top tips for adding a little springy vintage flare into your every-day look!

Bold Playful Lip Color
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This month, I was lucky enough to be chosen by Influenster to try Rimmel’s new Moisture Renew Lipstick in the color As You Want Victoria! I think it’s the perfect pop of color for spring! It's moisturizing, long-lasting and works with casual and dressy outfits. It's also great for those of you who are not ready to take the red lipstick plunge! My biggest tip for Moisture Renew is use a lip liner or make sure to blot after you apply. This lipstick had a tendency to run a little on me.  

Vintage Clutch and Scarf photo photo1_zpsb5bf5a57.png
Add a little vintage Hollywood to your outfit! Sporting a vintage clutch and a light colored scarf with some black cigarette pants and a sweater makes for a classy spring outfit. You can pull your hair back, add some large shades, red lipstick, and flats for a classic spring look.    

Vintage Flower Pin & Pearls
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Just because it's STILL freezing outside, doesn't mean you can't enjoy some flowers! These large 60s flower pins are the perfect fun touch to a cardigan, spring jacket, or turtleneck. You can also spruce them up a bit with a strand of vintage costume jewelry pearls.

Gloves
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Short 50s & 60s gloves in white, yellow, or lavender make a great low-key vintage outerwear addition for Spring. These bright yellow gloves are my go to for the spring season! They are the perfect addition to any trench or short-waited spring jacket!

Vintage Umbrella
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 I am a sucker for vintage umbrellas! This one was my grandma's and I love it. It has cute little vintage rose buds and flowers on it...Perfect for spring! The fun thing about spring is that you can carry these fun accessories and no one will think twice. Even if the forecast calls for clear skies all day a vintage umbrella and just look "prepared and organized!" ;)

Stay tuned for more vintage at Calamity Layne!

~Steph @ Calamity Layne


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3.26.2014

Leopard Dress and Tying Scarves...

Leopard Dress
dress - Target / boots - MooShoes / leggings - Target / cardigan - Forever 21+ / scarf - Kohls?

I've been getting kind of lazy with my outfits, I think because the never-ending winter was bumming me out so much. At least now we're starting to get a tiny little glimmer of just maaaaaaaybe it's warming up? But I hesitate to say it, because I'll jinx it and boom, more snow.

The ultimate bummer is that this year, Todd's spring break and my spring break do not line up. At all. Two completely different weeks. It's like no spring break at all. Yippee.

Leopard Dress

So, this outfit is really similar to a previous version of another time that I wore this outfit, but this one is way more goth. It's actually the only good thing that I got out of a horrible professional development day last year. The only thing I remember was that I saw another teacher in a leopard dress and I thought to myself "oh hey she looks cute in that outfit... hey wait, I have that dress!" and I realized that it was the same Target dress that I owned, but paired with a black scarf and cardigan. The combo was so simple, but it had never occurred to me.

Leopard Dress

Leopard Dress

I've been playing around with tying my scarves in new ways, thanks to this scarf video (it's actually almost a year and a half old) posted on Facebook by a friend of mine. I like being able to spend no money and feel like my wardrobe has new excitement to it! Have you seen this one?



Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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3.24.2014

#AutoAwesome!

Auto Awesome

I wanted to share with you my favorite new technology trick that I learned a few weeks ago at a tech conference for work. Google+ has a neat-o feature called "Auto Awesome" that creates animated gifs from your photos anytime you take a series of at least 5 photos in succession.

Now, in order for this to work, you need to have a Google+ account. I recommend using the auto backup feature on Google+, which is a great way to automatically sync your photos to your Google+ account (all of your photos are private unless you set them as otherwise).

Auto Awesome

Above, you can see a screenshot of my auto backup: the very last thumbnail has a little icon with stars in the upper right hand corner. That's my Auto Awesome gif! I can click on it to view full size, and download it, share it... whatever I want!

This Auto Awesome gif was created from a series of photos of Iggy jumping on the couch to Leslie Hall's "#1 Cat in America," which he mis-hears and thinks is all about CAPTAIN America, so he gets really excited and "dances" (aka jumps on the couch) whenever it comes on.

Enjoy:

Auto Awesome

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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3.22.2014

Back from NY

Back from NY

So, I played a vanishing act for a couple of weeks… a broken computer, and a crazy trip to see my parents on Long Island in NY will do that. But I am back and have so many things to share in the next couple of weeks. First, I will tell you a little about my trip!

Shane, Gunnar, and I flew in to visit with the family, but very importantly to tie a lot of the wedding details down! It will be in October this year and on Long Island, so we really needed to complete a ton of the important tasks so it won’t be too crazy for us. I REFUSE to become a “Bridezilla” and have given my bridesmaids and family permission to smack me if any “Zilla-ness” comes out of my mouth.

Back from NY

The first detail was seeing where the ceremony and reception will be held. My parents booked it with my OK, as I only had seen pictures and heard good “word of mouth." Well, I was blown away! It is going to be at Raphael Vineyard, which is just beautiful and the wines are delicious. We did the tour and chat one day, and then returned another day for the food tasting. Well, I can tell you this… my guests will eat well! I cannot wait to see it all come together!

Back from NY

I also tackled the photographer, florist, and the ordering of my dress all in one week! My dress is a custom piece from an amazing place - Wedding Dress Fantasy. I will not tell any details, of course, but I will tell you that I did not try one dress on. I feel like I may need to be silly and head to David’s Bridal or something just so I can have that weird moment when all the ladies fuss over you, but I am happy with my decision. I brought my headpiece with me, and WOAH! I am excited!

So, that is the wedding stuff. Other than that, I enjoyed time with friends and good food (so hard to keep the diet up last week, NY pizza and all!) My family lives on the North Fork of Long Island, so I was able to see Buffalo, goats, sheep, turkeys, and horses every time we drove down the road. On top of that, they are right by the outlets and a ton of other wineries, so I am never bored out there. It really is a great place to visit - I just wish I was not so cuckoo crazy every time I go.

My favorite things I found this trip were the Riverhead Farmers Market, which I went to twice. You can get fresh seafood, growlers of craft beer, fresh cheeses, pasta, and more. They even have local chefs doing food demos every week. I was lucky enough to grab a delicious seared tuna salad. I fell in love with a local company that makes Greek yogurt… when I took a bite I was like “forget the wedding cake, let’s have yogurt!” Yep, it’s that good! I picked up pickled pumpkins and wasabi sauce there as well. I cannot wait until my local farmers market starts again.

Back from NY

Another favorite was going to Greenport. About a zillion years ago (1996), I owned a store in this town called In The Buff, I carried bath and body products and cosmetics. Sadly, it did not last long, but part of my heart still lives in this town. They have an amazing coffee shop where the owner roasts the coffee on site and bakes the best biscotti ever. I remember mornings that the town smelled of those biscotti! In the center of the town is a carousel that I love taking Gunnar on.

Back from NY

Also in Greenport, there is a jewelry store that I love. They have pieces with mixed media and vintage elements. I always love to pick something up for myself there - this time I selected this beautiful black necklace. My aunt also bought me a pair of earrings for the big day that are made with Jadeite from the 1950's. (I may or may not have picked up Jen a present here as well.) Seriously, check out their baubles!

And that is the short version of my trip home! I look forward to going back in August to see my dress and attend my shower. Right now, I am just trying to screw my brain back on! Being gone for almost two weeks will do that. Next week I will share a fun recipe!

3.21.2014

Monthly Pamper Package from Julep!

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Happy Spring, everyone! 
Last month, I made a resolution to grow out my nails (I have a habit of peeling them). Anyway, in order to help myself achieve my goal I subscribed to a monthly nail polish goodie box from Julep for $20 a month. 
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Julep’s Maven Boxes are a fun and semi-cheap way to try out multiple FUN nail colors, skin care, and cosmetics each month based on your personal style profile. You start out by taking a style quiz where they ask you to choose various products and colors that are closest to your style. Once you've finished your quiz, they will assign a style type to your account (I'm "Classic with a Twist"). You can take this quiz a few times if you don't agree the first time...don't worry! ;)
 photo polish_zpscc69a871.jpg After you're style type has been assessed, you can explore the boxes for that month. I started in March, so my box came with classic red and light shimmery pink polishes and a full sized cuticle treatment. The cuticle treatment smells great and I've noticed that my cuticles are in much better shape after using it twice a day for a week.  photo cuticle_zps7a0b5fbe.jpg
If you are thinking about joining, there is a deal going on right now. You get your first Maven box for free (I paid $3.99 for shipping) and you can opt out whenever you want. The box also comes with coupons, literature on the company, and an overview of their products. Each month you can log into your account and choose a Maven box (from any style) and add on extra stuff at a discounted price. Your new box will arrive with new nail colors and a different skin care or cosmetic product for you to try!
 photo Photo1_zps80d9a97a.jpg The other nice thing about being in this program is the fact that you get a discount on various items and first pick of some of their new colors and cosmetics. If you're interested, Click Here and get started! 

I like this program because it's an inexpensive way to try out new products and gives you a little something fun to look forward to for yourself each month. Go ahead and pamper yourself! You deserve it!

Until Next time!

~Steph @ Calamity Layne
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3.19.2014

DIY: Paper Mache Letterforms

Paper Mache Letters

Today I'm going to share with you a DIY crafty-project that is actually one of the art assignments that I complete with my 6th grade students. These letterforms are awesome for home decor, or for kids' bedrooms. They look really substantial, but are super lightweight and surprisingly easy to make from simple materials! You will have to work on it over the course of several days, as it requires drying time between steps. For this project, you will need:

  • Empty cereal box cardboard (approximately 2 boxes per letter you plan to make)
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Newspaper or newsprint
  • Paper towels
  • A pencil
  • A bucket for paper mache (gallon size)
  • Paper mache paste (I use this kind, but there are a variety of recipes out there)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Puffy paint
  • Tempera paint (optional)

Paper Mache Letters

First, open up one of your cereal boxes by opening up the flap along one of the skinny edges. Cut the box along the folds to create four sections, as shown above: two long skinny sides and two large rectangles.

On one of the large rectangles, draw a block letter of the letter you choose to make. Cut it out, and use it as a pattern to trace and cut a second letter exactly the same size as the first. These letters will become the front and back of your letterform. The long thin sides will then become the sides of your letterform.

Paper Mache Letters

Two long thin side pieces will not be enough to go all the way around your letter, so use your second cereal box to trace and cut several more long thin pieces the same width as your original two side strips.

Paper Mache Letters

Now you may begin assembling your basic letterform, as shown above. use masking tape and your long thin side strips to create a 3-dimensional form, all the way around. It's a good idea to stuff the inside of your letterform with newspaper or newsprint to help keep it from sagging when coated with wet paper mache in the next steps.

When your basic letterforms are finished, they'll look something like this:

Paper Mache Letters

Now you're ready to cover your form with paper mache! I like this art paste made by Elmer's because it doesn't get moldy like flour + water can, and it takes me almost a week to do this step with sixth graders. But on your own, you can do this within two days, no problem. The art paste is a powder that you mix with water, and then let set up for 15 minutes. It becomes like slimy hair gel. Ew.

I also like to use those nasty brown paper towels from school as my paper mache strips, because it dries solid and gives a good surface for painting. If you have plain white paper towels at home, use that. You could also use newspaper or newsprint, but newspaper will require more base coats of paint to cover the printing.

Paper Mache Letters

If you've never used paper mache before, you drip the strips into the bucket of paste, and then squeegee the excess off with your fingers (like your fingers are a pair of scissors) and lay/press the strips down onto your form, carefully laying them flat and folding the edges around and over. It's a good idea to overlap and get about two layers over the entire form. We usually do one side of the form on day one, and the other side on day two. Plus a day for stragglers... and a day for absent kids... and then that kid who was on vacation for three days, and that other guy who was called down to the office during class and missed the whole period... sigh...you get the idea...

When the paper mache is dry, we use PUFFY PAINT to create raised textures on the front surface of our letterforms. Doesn't matter what color you use. Here's a preview of an unpainted letterform, just paper mache and puffy paint:

Paper Mache Letters

Once your puffy paint has dried, you can finally apply the paint to create the final effect! This is achieved by using two layers of paint: a base coat of acrylic paint, and a "wash" (or "drybrush"/"sponge" coat) layer using tempera paint.

The letters below both have a black acrylic paint base coat with metallic tempera paint wash top layers. The "B" has gold paint, and the "L" is copper.

Paper Mache Letters

Here's a better view of the copper-colored finish:

Paper Mache Letters

I've also had really good luck with white/black combinations to achieve an antiqued/whitewashed effect, and I've even experimented with using a foil covering on the letterform in place of the paper mache layers. You can have a lot of fun with this basic technique by changing up colors and media applications! Try it out, and let me know how it goes!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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3.17.2014

Hairdryer Love!

Hairdryer Love!

It might sound weird to be so attached to something like a hairdryer. But I am. I LOVE my hairdryer. And a few weeks ago, it died. I was beside myself. But there's a happy ending here, and I want to share the story with you - because when you find a company with AMAZING CUSTOMER SERVICE, you share it. Because it is so rare these days.

I was NOT given anything for free, nor was I paid to write this post. This is my honest 100% true story that I wanted to share because I love this product so much.

Hairdryer Love!

My story begins in 2006 in Las Vegas. I went on a girls' trip to go see NIN play at the Aladdin. We lucked out upon checking in and were granted this primo rockstar room with an amazing view and like five rooms and a spa bathtub that opened up from the living room area out into the bathroom and bedroom. What the heck were we gonna do with that? Whatever.

But with all of this amazing stuff, we still had a crappy little dinky hardly-working hotel hair dryer. Argh! I hate those things! I would've at least expected our rich-people suite to have had a full-size model... but fate was waiting for me...

While out shopping, I went into Sephora and picked up this little T3 travel dryer (see above). It wasn't cheap. I think I paid $100+ for it. But hey, I was in Vegas, I needed a good dryer, and you do weird things in Vegas, right?

It was AMAZING! It worked so well! This sucker dried my hair SO fast, and it made it look so good! Static electricity be gone! Weird cowlicks be gone! Awesome straight hair with volume! Heck yeah! And bonus: The handle folds up on itself for easy packing - how cool! See below:

Hairdryer Love!

When I got home, I used this thing. To death. I burned it out within three months, I think? So I wrote to them online (it has a warranty). I expected I'd probably hear nothing back, which is what I get back from most companies. But to my surprise, they responded back really quickly, with instructions on how to send it back and get a replacement model! So I did. The one in the photos above is that replacement guy, that I've had ever since. (Here's the current version of this dryer, FYI.)

I realized my mistake. The little travel guy isn't meant for everyday hard labor that is my thick long hair - it's a travel dryer, after all. So I decided that I needed to invest in a full size dryer. I went to Ulta and checked out the other T3 models available. Turns out that they've won all kinds of Allure awards for beauty and stuff.

I bought the top-of-the-line model, which in 2006-07 ish (I can't even remember exactly when I bought my original full-size dryer) was a white dryer with rhinestones embedded in the handle. Fancy! It cost $250+, but I wasn't married, didn't have kids, and was sick of paying $50-$60 for hairdryers that were sub-par and still made my hair look "meh."

I have never once regretted my purchase. This has been my ALL TIME favorite hairdryer and I gush about it to anyone who will listen. I hate going anywhere without it.

So, as I stated up top, a few weeks ago, Todd plugged it in, and POP! a huge mega-spark and a fuse blew in the house. Turns out that I'd worn the cord through right where the plug is and the wires had become exposed. Oops.

Knowing full well that my dryer was no longer under any kind of warranty, I went online to see if T3 had any kind of repair service. I figured it'd be easier to pay to send it in and have the plug/cord repaired than to buy a new dryer.

Even though it's been 6-7 years since I've last needed customer service, and a lot can happen with companies during that time, they responded to my inquiry within 48 hours, telling me to send it in, and that although my warranty was expired, they would offer me 50% off on a replacement model of equal value (my model is, understandably, no longer available)!

Whoa! How cool! Seeing as they didn't "owe" me anything, I was really impressed with their customer service. I sent in my old dryer, along with a form they provided and payment for a new dryer at 50% off. Within a couple of weeks, this arrived:

Hairdryer Love!
Hairdryer Love!

A T3 Featherweight Luxe 2i dryer! It comes with a barrel brush and a concentrator attachment. Not long after my initial T3 full-size dryer purchase, I bought a set of three T3 hair brushes (including one of these), so I was pretty stoked to see this extra accessory!

Hairdryer Love!

I'm such a fan of good design, so I love little details like a velcro strap to hold the cord when it's all wound up, or a loop at the base of the handle, if you're the type to hang your dryer. The handle has high and low settings, plus three levels of heat and a "cool shot" button. The only part I haven't quite figured out yet is the back of the dryer, which kind of reminds me of a jet engine. My old dryer had a plastic vent that was hinged with a filter that I could open up and clean every so often. If I can't clean out the dust and lint on this, I do worry that I'll burn out the motor sooner than I want to. I showed it to my friend Megan and she said that maybe because this is a newer model, it vents more efficiently and it's not a concern? But I am skeptical.

Hairdryer Love!

Here are some close-ups of the concentrator piece and the brush. Megan said that the concentrator is very good to use because you shouldn't put the barrel so close to your hair anyways. But I'm not sure if I like using it just yet. The brush, however, I love very much. Especially for my bangs, because I always dry them with a slight roundness thanks to a barrel brush.

Do you have an appliance that you just can't live without? Even more importantly, have you had a super awesome experience with a company that really impressed you? I start to feel like it's more and more rare these days!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor
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