8.31.2015

Swirl & Sparkle!

Swirl & Sparkle

I love to support small businesses, and especially LOCAL small businesses! Marii Lang of Swirl & Sparkle contacted me (I found her on Instagram - we have almost matching dogs!) to test out some samples of her makeup brush cleaner, so of course I said yes!

I have to admit, even though I am pretty good about cleaning my makeup brushes daily after use, I get kind of lazy as to the HOW I do it. Usually just hand soap from the pump at the sink. If I'm being really good, I use baby shampoo. So it was nice to have a REAL product for cleaning brushes to test out!

Swirl & Sparkle

First of all, these cleaners come in awesome scents, like toasted marshmallow, samoa cookie, and coconut mandarin. But the packaging is super cute, too! Just these tiny sample packs had cute puffy hearts and sparkly rhinestones on them, but the larger versions from the Swirl & Sparkle etsy shop come in all sorts of cool designs, like sugar skulls, Hello Kitty, or even an animal rescue benefit edition!

Swirl & Sparkle

I waited to write my review of these cleaners until I really had a chance to try them out. Embedded inside the cakes of soap are tiny plastic crystals that help scrub the bristles of your makeup brush to get them extra clean. I was able to use up most of an entire sample jar. The smell is awesome!

After applying makeup, you rinse your brush under water, and swirl it around in the soap. Rinse your brush and the soap, and reapply if needed. Give your brush a final rinse, and shape it before setting it out to dry.

Swirl & Sparkle

I noticed my brushes felt soft and conditioned after washing them! They kept their shape really well, too. I used to use really pricey brushes, but lately I've been enjoying this colorful Sonia Kashuk set from Target.

Swirl & Sparkle

I'm super happy with my Swirl & Sparkle brush soap, and plan on buying one of those cute sugar skull editions very soon! The biggest benefit is that I can clean my larger brushes with it, since the sample soaps are good for smaller (eyeshadow-sized) brushes or less.

Swirl & Sparkle

Support your small (handmade) business ladies - especially the Chicago ones! Stop by Swirl & Sparkle and grab some brush soap today!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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8.28.2015

The Wizard of Flaws

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Hey guys!
My friend is one of the writers for this show at Second City! I'm so happy for her and wanted to share her hard work with everyone. Check it out!

Following the yellow brick road may lead you to the Emerald City, but there's no guarantee you'll like what you find once you arrive. This show's unlikely gang of misfits pulls back the curtain on success, love, and self-acceptance. Because we all woke up like this.

The Wizard of Flaws
A Second City Training Center Writing Program Revue

Featuring: Sarah Gorman, Jake Gunst, Aadam Keeley, Tim Metzler, Sarah Price, and Allison Reese

Written by: Brandon K. Foat, Theresa Gibbons, Neta Harris, Kelly Ann Johnson, Julia Johnston, Brookes May, Max Nedved, and Rachel Pokay

Directed by: Anthony LeBLanc

Fridays at 9PM starting August 28th

Friday, August 28th at 9pm
Friday, September 4th at 9pm
Friday, September 11th at 9pm
Friday, September 18th at 9pm
Friday, September 25th at 9pm

UPDATE: The Friday, 8/28, show will be held at the Cards Against Humanity Theater, 1917 N. Elston Ave, Chicago. Location for future shows TBD.

Buy tickets now! http://www.secondcity.com/shows/chicago/the-wizard-of-flaws/

Until next time!
~Step @ Calamity Layne

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8.26.2015

OOTD: Orange and Black... and Blue

Denim, Orange, and Black: OOTD on Betties N Brimstone Blog
dress - eShakti / denim jacket - Gap / leopard shoes - Vans / pins - assorted places

Is it bad to say that the best part of being back at work is having an excuse to pick out dresses each day? Because it's kind of true. I mean, no one likes to be back at work. Unless you're like, an ice cream tester, or the guy who wears the Brobee costume at Yo Gabba Gabba shows (I've always wanted to do that!).

So, I've showed you this dress before. I love that it's Halloween/not Halloween. Just because it's orange and black. I decided to pair it with my denim jacket because how else can you wear a zillion buttons/brooches at once and have it be totally acceptable?

Denim, Orange, and Black: OOTD on Betties N Brimstone Blog

To my surprise/delight/disappointment/whatever, this jacket is now technically too big on me. I remember all too well when it was "fat guy in a little coat" status. Proof here. I am not going to buy a new one, though. This is good enough.

Denim, Orange, and Black: OOTD on Betties N Brimstone Blog

These photos were my OOTD on a Tuesday. The dead giveaway is the braids. I refuse to wash my hair on Tuesday morning since Tuesday night is roller skating. I just smash it all under a sweaty helmet, so what's the point of washing? Braids do a really good job of disguising dirty hair...!

Denim, Orange, and Black: OOTD on Betties N Brimstone Blog

I have a couple of new pins on my jean jacket to share! The first is my enamel King Tut Diamond pin from Creepy Co. It's no secret around here that we LOVE King Diamond.

Denim, Orange, and Black: OOTD on Betties N Brimstone Blog

My second new pin is a tiny roller skate with wings from Plasticland - it's on clearance!

Denim, Orange, and Black: OOTD on Betties N Brimstone Blog

And I really love wearing sneakers at work if at all possible... so much more comfortable. So I paired it all with my leopard printed Vans.

Denim, Orange, and Black: OOTD on Betties N Brimstone Blog

Work has actually been going really well. A change of pace has been good for me. I like not dealing with all of the supplies and management of STUFF in the art room. This simpler, paperless curriculum is the way to go!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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8.24.2015

Bento Report, V.10 - Back to School!

It's back to school time! One of my most loved/hated things about going back to work is packing my lunch. It's fun when I have good things to eat for my lunch, and I don't have to think too much about what to pack. I like making it look cute using my bento boxes and accessories. But I also hate packing lunches when I'm short on time, or when I have an evening event and get home late. It also stinks when I have lunch "block," and can't figure out what to bring/what to pack in my lunch.

The fact that I photograph my lunch after packing it is actually kind of helpful, as I can look back and see what I took, and get ideas for the future. One of the things that I notice seem to trend is that I utilize leftovers, or elements of the previous dinners, to fill out my lunch boxes. Here are some recent lunch collections:

Bento Report, V.10: Back to School Lunches

  1. Shredded brussels sprouts with black beans and taco seasoning, aka leftover brussels sprouts taco fillings.
  2. String cheese. Probably smoked string cheese from Mariano's
  3. Fresh strawberries! One of the best things about summertime.
  4. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
  5. Leftover grilled salmon. I love leftover fish when it's cold - seriously!
  6. Dessert: Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Truffles. Oh yeah.

Bento Report, V.10: Back to School Lunches

  1. Raw cauliflower bits.
  2. Granola in a tiny sauce cup (for the yogurt).
  3. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
  4. Plain greek yogurt with a drizzle of agave syrup, for sweetness.
  5. Tiny skewers, made from a cut up veggie dog, cheddar cheese cubes, string cheese (cut into chunks), and a couple of garlic-stuffed green olives. 

Bento Report, V.10: Back to School Lunches

I thought I'd share the actual containers, closed, from this day's lunch. I have a LEGO bento box, and although I love it, the amount of food it holds is kind of lacking. I supplemented with a bunny snack box, which was a gift from Lisa. Here's what was inside:

Bento Report, V.10: Back to School Lunches

  1. PB+J Greek Yogurt from Trader Joe's. (Not as good as the homemade version.)
  2. Hello Kitty rice crackers. (for the record, $10 online shipped is NOT a good deal. Find them at your local asian market and only pay like $3-4 for the bag.)
  3. More smoked string cheese. I think I single-handedly keep this place in business.
  4. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
  5. Leftover homemade cole slaw.
  6. Leftover teriyaki tofu (from Trader Joe's) - from this Teriyaki Tofu Sliders recipe, along with the cole slaw. 

Bento Report, V.10: Back to School Lunches

  1. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
  2. Tiny LEGO-inspired container, filled with some salt (for the cucumbers).
  3. Cheddar Cheese popcorn. Guilty pleasure.
  4. Sliced fresh cucumber. I like to peel them so they're stripey. Because it's fun.
  5. Teriyaki tofu and smoked string cheese mini skewers. I actually buy this tofu (it's from Trader Joe's) quite a bit, because I can eat it right out of the package and it packs well for lunch.

Bento Report, V.10: Back to School Lunches


  1. Cubed fresh watermelon and crumbled feta cheese. 
  2. Tuna fish (leftover from a can I didn't finish) mixed with some cooked broccoli. 
  3. Balsamic vinegar. I drizzle this on top of the watermelon/feta mix, and it's freakin' DELICIOUS. This salad needs its own blog post, it's so good.
  4. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.

The Bento Report is a regular feature on the blog where I show you what's in my lunch for a few select days over the past couple of weeks. It's informational because I am a post weight-loss surgery patient who is also a vegetarian/pescetarian, but also fun because I love the idea of bento lunches and have fun making my lunch look cute and/or making it fit into unique lunchbox container constraints.

You can view past posts of my Bento Report series here. Information on where I buy bento boxes and accessories in this post here.

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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8.21.2015

Seriously, Read This Book!!!

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I'm not gonna lie, I was introduced to Felicia Day through Supernatural...She plays one of my favorite characters and (because I'm obsessive about stuff I like...) I did a little Internet research on her and decided I had to pre-order her book.

I primarily read biographies (auto or otherwise), memoirs, and "How I got to where I am" stories. I love to explore how people obtain their idea of sucess. My favorite part of You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) was that she really is honest about HER process of going after something she loves and how doing what you love isn't always easy.

I've spent time on so many books, blogs, and videos about "passion in your business" and "doing what you love"and blah blah blah...They all kind of gloss over the whole...THIS IS FUCKING TERRIFYING part. Felicia Day tells it how it is and is brutally honest about her experiences. I really appreciated that. I also admire her tenacity and will to keep going when the times got tough...AND the fact that she was honest about not always being "ON IT" 24/7. She talks about gaming addiction, real anxiety, and the toll it can take.

I found her writing to be extremely readable and relatable. It's written kind of like her vlogs...She's not snobby or pretentious AT ALL (which is refreshing) and she lets you in on her hilariously awesome inner dialogue (which I love...). All in all, I found this book to be a fun read that was truly inspirational and eye opening. A must read!

Until next time!
~Steph @ Calamity Layne

OH! P.S. If you haven't watched "The Guild" Check it out!
 
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8.19.2015

OOTD: Let the Halloween-ing begin!

OOTD: Halloween Style - Bat Skirt!
bat skirt - Sourpuss / shirt - Target / shoes - Dr. Scholl's via Zappos / cardigan - thrifted / belt - thrifted / roller skate brooch - Heidi and Gretel

So, with school starting this week, I've had to make some executive decisions. I may not be able to get to posts beyond regular outfit posts for a while. Even doing that is proving to be slightly difficult, so I've instituted a system where I take my photos after getting dressed in the morning, but before I leave for work. If I start running late in the morning though, I'm going to really be S.O.L.

OOTD: Halloween Style - Bat Skirt!

I'm not a huge fan of doing my photos indoors, as the lighting suffers. I guess I will probably have to suck it up and buy some photo lights, especially since it will get colder soon and I couldn't go outside anyways.

OOTD: Halloween Style - Bat Skirt!

But HALLOWEEN! Let's focus on positive stuff like that. Stores are juuuuuust starting to bring out their stuff, and I'm on the hunt. I have accumulated quite the collection of Halloween-y themed clothing (because I don't need Halloween times to wear that stuff), and I've been entertaining myself by seeing how many days in a row I can go with this theme.

OOTD: Halloween Style - Bat Skirt!

I may or may not own this Sourpuss Spooksville Bat Skirt in both skirt and shower curtain form. It can also be purchased as a dress, or in a red color way. But hey, let's not go crazy here.

OOTD: Halloween Style - Bat Skirt!

Bruised legs (presumably from roller derby class) are unintentional. But it is too hot to do tights or leggings just yet.

Today is the first day of school with kids. Send me positive vibes plz.

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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8.17.2015

Monthly Craft and Vintage Market @ Friendly Lounge, Berwyn, IL!

Friendly Lounge Craft + Vintage Market

This weekend I participated in an awesome local vintage and craft market at Friendly Lounge in Berwyn. Prior to coming here, I didn't even realize that this cute little coffee shop existed! They kept us caffeinated and filled with yummy snacks (seriously... I had a vegetarian burrito that was so good!) from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday. My friend Jessy coordinates the event, which is a monthly occurrence on the third Saturday of every month with rotating vendors - so there's always something new and fun to see!

Friendly Lounge Craft + Vintage Market

Friendly Lounge is a cozy coffee shop/cafe/hangout spot that is attached to the Friendly Tap next door (that means Bloody Marys later in the afternoon - yay!). Six handmade vendors and one vintage vendor gather here to sell their goods. This month's vendors were:

Jessy Laubis Handmade
Megan Lee Designs
Sabine Krauss
Honky Tonk Star Vintage
Vayas Homegrown Health & Beauty
Sheriff Peanut
Hell Razor (that's me!)

Friendly Lounge Craft + Vintage Market
Friendly Lounge Craft + Vintage Market

Although the space itself is small, I think we did an excellent job of putting our wares on display and still allowing for traffic flow! The day started out with weather lovely enough to open up the front window wall, although we ended the day with an epic downpour!

Friendly Lounge Craft + Vintage Market

I'm pretty proud of my setup this time around. Every show I do has been completely different, as my space is always different. Sometimes an entire 10x10 tent, sometimes an 8 foot table, a 6 foot table, or even a tiny 4 foot table! This time, I had two cute table levels and a garment rack of screen-printed flannels.

Friendly Lounge Craft + Vintage Market

Some new items I had for this sale were painted donut bundt pans, and a few new Halloween wreaths, besides my usual hair flowers, jewelry, stem and framed flowers, battery-operated skull candles, and the aforementioned flannel shirts.

Friendly Lounge Craft + Vintage Market

My "busy" season for Hell Razor is Halloween, so even though I participated in this month's craft + vintage market, I'll be back for the October 17th market! Check out some of the other cool vendors below:

Friendly Lounge Craft + Vintage Market
Vayas Homegrown Health + Beauty

My derby wife Megan swears by Vayas Homegrown Health + Beauty products. They're all-natural products that smell pretty amazing! I personally love the lip balms and linen sprays.

Friendly Lounge Craft + Vintage Market
Megan Lee Designs

Megan Lee Designs is not new to the Betties N Brimstone blog. You would have seen me wearing her designs previously herehere, and here. They're so comfy!

Friendly Lounge Craft + Vintage Market
Sheriff Peanut

Sheriff Peanut designs are ADORABLE. I think Nora's Chicago hot dog t-shirt and hand-stitched bibs are my favorites!

Friendly Lounge Craft + Vintage Market
Jessy Laubis Handmade

Jessy has shown up (in name or face) several times on the blog - most notably as my vending partner at the 2014 Brauerhouse Hearse Show. Her hand-stitched fabric collage pieces (I own a sugar skull pillow, of course!) and funky ornaments (I have a couple of those, too) are super cool.

Friendly Lounge Craft + Vintage Market
Sabine Krauss (pssst... Sabine, do you have a shop link? I used your Instagram account here!)

Sabine's designs are so fun - I'd been dying to get one of her doll arm necklaces ever since I crossed paths with her last holiday season. Today was the day! Woo hoo! She also sells tiny terrarium necklaces and photography - most notably of local places. Way cool.

The hardest part (for me) of doing these kinds of shows is that I typically end up spending more money than I actually make! Between awesome snacks and drinks from Friendly Lounge, plus a beautiful vintage dress from Honky Tonk Star (to be featured in a future blog post, I'm sure!) and a doll arm necklace from Sabine... let's just say that I didn't hold back!

The Friendly Lounge Vintage + Craft Market is the third Saturday of each month, from 10 am to 4 pm.

Upcoming dates include:
- September 19th
- October 17th
- November 21st

Hope to see you there!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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8.14.2015

Spruce Up Your House Number

 photo IMG_5846_zpswen8cpki.jpgHowdy!
It recently came to my attention that it was very difficult for visitors and delivery people to find our house number. It's prominently displayed right on our garage, but in the evening...apparently it's too dark to see. SO, I decided to do my own little project to help with this conundrum. It turns out, people no longer have any issues AND I'm super pleased with how it turned out. If you have the same issue or want to spruce up your front yard, this is how I did it!
 photo IMG_5825_zpsqzqazakz.jpg You will need:
Your house numbers (by far the most expensive part of this project)
One deck post ($4 -$8 depending on height preference etc..)
A plant hanger ($5)
A sample sized paint or stain ($4)
Screws and a drill (already had)

Step one:
Stain or paint your deck post. I did about 4 coats of stain and let it dry for 24 hours.
 photo IMG_5827_zps2npctyj7.jpg Step two:
Adhere your house numbers to the "front" of the deck post. There are usually directions that come with the numbers you purchase. This was tricky for me because my numbers were some cheapo bullshit from Home Depot...BUT some elbow grease, perseverance, and (eventually) superglue came through for me in the end!
 photo IMG_5832_zpszjkmyuk4.jpg Step three:
Mark where you want your plant hanger to be and then screw in the plant hanger. My plant hanger was $5.00 at Home Depot and I ended up spray painting it to match my numbers.
 photo IMG_5842_zpsunj0kshq.jpg Step four:
Dig a hole (shovel or post hole differ) deep enough to bury about a quarter of your post. If you want to get crazy, you can cement it in there...but I tend to change my mind a lot and might want to change it up sometime soon so I just buried it.

All done! It's super cute AND your pizza will always be delivered to the correct house (always a plus)!

Until next time!
~Steph @ Calamity Layne


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8.12.2015

#OWWWA: Space Invader

#OWWWA: Space Invader
shirt - Target / mix tape brooch - Heidi and Gretel / skirt - Modcloth (w/DIY alteration) / shoes - Dr. Scholl's via Zappos / belt - thrifted
I'm really trying to keep up my #OnWednesdayWeWearArt posts! I know I missed last week, but if I can get at least a couple in per month, that's good, right? This week's artist is Space Invader, a contemporary street artist who creates pixelated retro video game images in public spaces using tiles.

#OWWWA: Space Invader

I love retro video games! When I was teaching art, I had several projects inspired by retro video games/pixelated artwork. Now that I'm teaching computers, it's the perfect marriage of the two subjects.

#OWWWA: Space Invader

This skirt has quite a story to go along with it. I bought this pac-man skirt on Modcloth (it's called the "Playful Feeling" skirt), and I was surprised to find that it was too big. So I sent it back for a smaller size, and crossed my fingers that it wouldn't sell out of the size that I needed while waiting for my exchange to take place (this is pretty common with certain items on Modcloth, so I've found that it's usually best to place a new order, and to return the other item for a refund... but I was feeling lucky). The exchange went through smoothly, and I wore the skirt once. Then I washed it. I swear it got way shorter, and I'm only 5'1"!

#OWWWA: Space Invader

...but I love this Pac-Man print, so I decided it was worth a sewing attempt to add a red "border" in cotton, since the rest of the skirt is cotton. How hard could it be, right? One trip to Joann's and about an hour and a half later, and this was the result! It isn't perfect, but it's passable, and I love it!

The red fabric on the border matched the red belt I snagged at Savers for $1.99. My favorite new thrift store items are wide belts in various colors, and a rainbow of cardigans (I'm currently only missing orange and charcoal gray!) for between five and ten dollars each!

#OWWWA: Space Invader

Oh, so back to Space Invader. That's the name he goes by. His identity is a secret, kind of like Banksy. You can follow him on Instagram to see his latest pieces! He creates a whole range of retro/pixelated video game-esque images. I love how even though on one hand, his work is a form of "vandalism," it's not exactly the kind that you'd mind because it's happy and cheerful and in many ways makes the buildings and structures that he adheres his tiles to look even better...!

#OWWWA: Space Invader

I saw a dress on instagram from Silly Old Sea Dog that was made of this Pac Man fabric, and I fell in love... until I saw the price, plus international shipping. Wahhhhhh. So I did what every obsessive online shopper girl does, and Googled "pac man dress" until I came across the Modcloth skirt. I thought that it was a good consolation prize.

#OWWWA: Space Invader

Today I wore my mix tape brooch from Heidi and Gretel! I originally had Ms. Pac Man dangle earrings on instead of a brooch, but it just felt like too much. So a simple black and white brooch on a black and white shirt was just the thing.

#OWWWA: Space Invader

Because Space Invader's work is becoming more well-known and popular, sometimes his work is taken down by others in an attempt to sell for profit. It does not always survive the attempt to be removed in the process, which is kind of sad. I like to think that this kind of artwork is for everyone, and not to be sold into a private collection. I'd be pretty darn excited if one of these pieces randomly showed up on the side of my house. I definitely wouldn't try to take it down!

#OWWWA: Space Invader

This boatneck shirt from Target is my favorite thing. In fact, I ordered two more in black, one in purple, and one more in black with white stripes (the black stripes are wider than the white... looks different from this one). You can't go wrong with the price, especially compared to $48 via Pinup Girl? I mean, I love me some P.U.G. don't get me wrong, but I've gotta save a few cents somewhere.

#OWWWA: Space Invader

Now that I've "mastered" lengthening my skirts, I think I might have enough confidence to tackle a bigger project, like a circle skirt! I have some awesome black Halloween fabric that would be perfect for one!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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