10.30.2015

5 Halloween Costumes for the "No-Costume Enthusiast"

It's Halloween again!

I'm ready for bite sized Snickers, scary movies, and (the best part) costumes! I've been planning my costume for a while now and I made it all by myself (with a little help from Goodwill and an electrical engineer). This year, I didn't spend insane amounts of money at the overpriced costume stores (I'm going as KITT from Knight Rider...yes the car) and my entire costume cost about $25 complete with red LED lights. Ok...I realize the costume part is not everyone's cup of tea. However, you may find yourself needing a costume last minute this year. I came up with 5 inspirational style boards for the non-costume enthusiast...complete with items you might already have in your closet!

1) Classy Black Cat

Classy Cat Costume


2) WereWoman


Were Woman


3) Franken-Cutie


Franken-Cutie


4) Vampira


Vampira



5) Little Devil

Little Devil


Good luck, happy haunting, and have a fun and freaky Halloween!

Oh! P.S. - I made a Halloween playlist especially for you...You know, just in case you need some tunes for your impromptu Halloween party. See link below!

 Until next time!
 Steph @ Calamity Layne

now playing: 
Happy Halloween Playlist - Various 

10.28.2015

RocksBox Jewelry Review and FREE Month Offer!

RocksBox

Recently, I was given the opportunity to try out Rocksbox, which is a monthly subscription jewelry "box" of curated/styled pieces that are tailored for you according to a style "quiz" that you take. You have the option to buy the pieces, send them back, or just wear them for a while (like rental-ish) and then send them back whenever you like. It costs $19/month, but you get $10 in credit to spend towards any jewelry you wish to keep and buy each month.

I was pretty excited to receive my first box. I tried out similar "style" boxes before, like Stitch Fix, with some pretty decent results, so I was interested in how this would turn out.

RocksBox

First of all, the packaging is pretty cool. The inserts are personalized, and the padded mailing envelope is made for re-use when you send your box back (with a pre-paid label!). It's all wrapped up very cute!

RocksBox

Your Rocksbox contains three items personally selected by a stylist. There is a "wishlist" option on Rocksbox, where you can favorite pieces, and they will be sent to you, if available. One of my items, the ring, was from my wishlist:

RocksBox

Of course, I liked the ring, then:

RocksBox
RocksBox

If I didn't already have some awesome rings, including a splurge in the last year on my favorite Alicia Hannah Naomi ring, I would likely purchase this one. I do love it!

The next piece was an interesting selection... a "bow" necklace made from rhinestones:

RocksBox

It's cute, yeah? But rhinestones? It's not me. It's a little bit Claire's from the shopping mall for my taste. I suspect that my stylist probably thought that it fit into the "retro/vintage" style I requested... but my idea of retro/vintage is more like plastic brooches and bakelite bangles...

The biggest problem I'm finding with these subscription boxes is that they almost 100% cater to mainstream, skinny-jeans-tucked-into-riding-boots-and-a-blanket-cardigan-style ladies of Pinterest fashion sense. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But it's not ME.

Excuse me, where are your goth-girl-avant-garde-abstract-metal-pieces? No? Ok then, how about your kitschy-retro-plastic-and-or-enamel-goodness? No?

Argh.

This last selection actually made me kind of mad:

RocksBox

What?!!! Blingy rhinestone earrings? Uhhhhhh no.

This was frustrating. Again, I seem to think that maybe my stylist mistook the term "retro" and "vintage" to mean rhinestones? But here's where Rocksbox is kind of redeeming: you go online and review the pieces that you got! So, let's just say that I think that my stylist is pretty clear on my distaste for rhinestones right now.

I worry that Rocksbox might not have any inventory other than rhinestone-y stuff. Don't worry, I'll keep you posted.

In my dream world, Rocksbox would carry Alicia Hannah Naomi, Hvnter Gvtherer, Sisters of the Black Moon, and Blood Milk Jewels. Get on that. :)

So, in conclusion, my final reviews:

RocksBox

Now, I realize I haven't gushed on and on about how much I LOVE this service, so you may not be chomping at the bit to sign up, but I like to be honest. So there you go.

What I DO like about Rocksbox is the concept, and I am hopeful for future boxes to see how they adapt to my preferences.

Would you like to try out Rocksbox for yourself? I have a special referral code that gives you one month FREE! Enter jenniferlebanxoxo when you sign up at https://www.rocksbox.com/ to get your free trial! And be sure to let me know what you think when it arrives!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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10.26.2015

Pretty Girls Make Graves

Graves Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog
dress - Sourpuss / cardigan - thrifted / shoes - Kenneth Cole via Zappos / collar clips - Creep Heart / spider brooch - Creep Heart / lipstick - "Motorhead" by Kat Von D Beauty via Sephora

I thought I'd interrupt Sam's blog takeover with an OOTD post, since I haven't had one in a while, and this graveyard border print dress is amazing and perfect for Halloween. I'm actually starting to get super sad that now that Halloween is almost over; awesome clothing will not be coming at us left and right. In fact, it'll probably be Christmas-y stuff. Whomp whomp.

Graves Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog

My new thrifting item is cropped cardigans. I was searching out standard cardigans previously, in a rainbow of colors, but then I realized how much BETTER cropped cardigans are with my dresses. So I've been hunting... they are harder to find, but this black one is pretty great. I also own a yellow one. Plus, being short means that cropped = pretty much a "regular" length... I'd like to possibly start belting them over my dresses, so that my dresses act more like a skirt, and I can get more variety out of my existing stuff. Not that I don't own a ridiculous amount of stuff already (I've been trying to purge a lot of unnecessary items...), but it's nice to have options to switch stuff up!

Graves Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog

Speaking of purging stuff, are any of you on Poshmark? I just started. My name is jenleban9 on there, and I'm currently trying to sell my Kreepsville666 spiderweb skirt (seen here) and my Rodarte for Target mustard tulle skirt (it's too big for me).  Anywhoo, I put a little widget on the right sidebar if you're interested. I'll probably get around to putting more on there, soon.

Graves Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog

One of the awesome features of this dress is the black peter pan collar. I love that it strays from the traditional white collar (I've already got one of those!)... and I can wear my sweater/cardigan/collar clips on it. I have an awesome set of clips from Creep Heart, along with an amazing spider on a heart-shaped web brooch that I first was drooling over here. I can't control myself sometimes, seriously...

Graves Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog
Here's a better shot of the accessory awesomeness. I couldn't get a close enough shot that wasn't blurry or poorly lit while I was wearing them.
Graves Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog

Here are my pasty white legs so that you can get a better view of the gravestone border print on this dress. I would say that it's kind of on the edge of "Hot Topic cheesy-ness," but the black and gray color selection and black peter pan collar keep it on the side of awesome for me. So I'm for it. Also, this dress is kind of stretchy, so it's comfortable, too! I highly recommend if you're thinking about it.

Graves Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog

Not only does Sourpuss have awesome Halloween offerings, many other stores do, too. Amongst my favorites to shop are ASOS, Pinup Girl Clothing, and ModCloth...

ModCloth’s Halloween Shop is brimming with style, gifts, and beyond. What’s more, they’ve got a special code for getting your treats in time for the big day! For a short time, use code BOOYAH at checkout to get free Express Shipping on your order of $150 or more. Whether you’re picking up statement-makers for a spooky soiree, or nabbing some scary-cool looks to flaunt all year long (#everydayishalloween), you won’t want to miss this offer!

I've had some of these super cool Halloween items on my Modcloth wishlist for quite some time now... I wonder which ones will actually make their way to me???

Graves Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog

  1. Feeling Playful Skirt in Festive Felines
  2. Flair De Lune Tights
  3. Bat's The Spirit! Dress
  4. Baby Got Bat Bag
  5. Writing By Night Mug

*** This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links. ***

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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10.24.2015

Asylum II Haunted House Review: Antioch, IL

Asylum Haunted House Review Antioch, IL

Sam is back again with yet another haunted house review! This time, Sam visited Asylum II haunted house in Antioch, IL.

Asylum II
Antioch, IL

This haunted house was completely out of nowhere. Annie and I had decided to go to our first corn maze/pumpkin patch in Spring Grove, IL. It’s touted as being the largest corn maze in the world, and is known for their elaborate designs, this year being a Chicago Blackhawks picture for their 2015 Stanley Cup Win (Go Sports.) The corn maze was interesting, not as big as I anticipated, but still interesting. I had hoped it would be more spooky, but alas, it was family-oriented. We were able to get some really solid pumpkins, and all in all, it was an enjoyable time. On the way, we had seen a billboard for Antioch’s Asylum 2. Now, I rarely drive over an hour to ANY haunted house. It’s just hard to justify when being near Chicago means there are at least 10-15 houses within 30 minutes. We figured, why not check this out, this could be the only time we are in Antioch anyways.

We went through the website and read some reviews. I would say that it looked decent? The website was horribly done, so I wasn’t anticipating much. We bought our tickets online, and off to the house we went. Upon arriving at the house we were greeted with numerous fire trucks and police cars. One of the traffic directors came over to us and explained that the building across the street was having issues with gas tanks and it was setting off alarms all over the building. He ensured us that the haunted house was open and that we would have fun, we just needed to park our car elsewhere just in case there was an “incident." I happily agreed, and parked my car down the block. If my car exploded due to a gas explosion, I figured it would at least make the house memorable. The house looked amateur at best from the outside, but I’ve learned my lesson from other houses that you really can’t judge a book by its cover.

While walking up to the line, we were stopped by three girls all dressed as what I assume were dead soldiers from the 1940s, they explained the rules to the haunt, and like that, we were in line. One strange note is that you are not allowed any bags whatsoever. You will not be admitted with a bag, so leave it in the car if you decide to go. The line didn’t seem like much, but my god was it cold outside!  We waited for almost 45 minutes to get in, and meanwhile, actors rotated in and out to entertain the crowd. My first and major point of contention with this is that due to the line being outside, everyone was smoking. [editor's note: I freaking HATE that. It's kind of a deal-breaker for me. Ugh. I hate cigarette smoke.] People in line, the actors, it didn’t matter, you were going to be choking on smoke. The next point of contention was the music while waiting. I know this is minor, but music is there to keep you entertained while you stand in line. It’s like you either play Halloween stuff, or the generic metal, but you at least switch it up some. This was like someone was just playing the Slipknot discography in order, not even the original stuff either. It wasn’t very mood setting.

So again, we waited in line for quite some time, and it seemed like no one was really moving, and that’s when I noticed it. This is the first haunted house I’ve ever been to where they just sent in your group. So this meant at times, just two people were getting let in, other times it was eight. That’s always been one of my major gripes with haunts. You sometimes get stuck with large groups and some of those people really take the fun out of it. You know the types, you either wind up with the teenage girls that scream the entire time and you can’t even tell whats happening, or you wind up with the alpha bros that have to tell you how not scared and cheesey it is. I was pleased to know this wouldn’t happen. The other bizarre occurrence here was that more than half of the crowd was middle aged+ adults. I’ve never seen so many like childless parents at an event like this, but maybe that’s all that’s available in rural Illinois... Before we knew it, were next in line and in we went.

Annie and I had talked before entering what our expectations were considering the house, and we both agreed that they were low. This was definitely not the case. This haunt had some of the most interesting rooms I’ve ever seen. The actors were definitely into it, and made the experience that much better. This is only the third year that the Asylum has been open, and you can definitely tell that they are not your typical big-budget house. I want to be careful when I say this, because I’m not criticizing them for not having the most expensive props or high tech items, because they did a fantastic job with what they have. The haunt had some amazingly creative rooms, including things I’ve never seen before, and actors that wanted nothing more than to scare you. I never once felt like we were being rushed through the house, and was just all-around a good time. This is a prime example of not judging a book by its cover. For instance, a haunt like 13th Floor in Melrose Park is promoted everywhere, has lots of big budget props, but just fails. It lacks the human aspect of the house and it’s obvious their main goal is to make money. Asylum seems to be put on by people that love haunted houses, and that’s something I can always get behind.

In retrospect to the house itself, the only complaint I had was the finale of the haunt. You typically want to end big, or get one last unexpected scare in there, but this did neither. The ending was weak and awkward. That being said, the rest of the house makes up for it tenfold. Great time. Now I’d say the real determining factor here is if it’s worth the drive. As I mentioned earlier, being around Chicago means there are plenty of houses to choose from, some of those are great, and others not so much. This wasn’t the best, but it was entertaining. The drive is what makes me think you may want to skip on this one. The price point was great, and the house itself was very entertaining, but compare that to the hour+ drive to get there, and the lousy time I had waiting prior to entering the house, and I feel like you’d find better houses closer.

SCORE: Three smokers in line out of Five.

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor (on behalf of Sam)


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10.21.2015

31 Days of Halloween: Days 1-15

31 Days of Halloween Horror Films with Sam on Betties N Brimstone blog
Sam returns with more Halloween reviews.

"31 Days of Halloween" has become a sort of tradition for me. My goal is simple; watch a horror movie every day starting on October 1st and finishing on Halloween itself. I don’t make a list beforehand, so most of my decisions are spur of the moment, at least until the last week. Then, I have a very specific list I go through. It all culminates with watching Hellraiser on the 31st, my all-time favorite horror movie. Below is a brief summary of those films I have watched already.

October 1: Monster Squad (1987)
A childhood favorite. A group of preteens come together to stop Dracula and the rest of the Universal Monsters from destroying the world. Just about the most "80's" movie I can think of, and it was one of the first “scary” movies I was able to sit through as a kid.

October 2: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
Literally the gay-est ANOES film in the series. I watched this one after seeing the documentary (Never Sleep Again), which details just how many gay undertones were put in this movie, and apparently made it through the censor board without them realizing. I hadn’t seen this movie in years and it’s actually pretty good and really took an interesting look at horror in general. This movie essentially told a story about struggling with sexuality (and homosexuality) and reversed the typical roles of the man rescuing the woman. This was something very ahead of its time.

October 3: Deathgasm (2015)
The most metal horror movie of all time. A misunderstood teen from New Zealand starts a black metal band that unknowingly unleashes Hell on Earth. This is a horror comedy with a huge emphasis on both. This movie has fantastic gore and special effects, all while being genuinely funny. Highly recommended.

October 4: Stage Fright (2014)
Think Glee the horror movie. Meat Loaf is in this movie, and he’s pretty good. Another horror comedy that was genuinely funny. I was expecting to be disappointed by this movie because, again, Glee the horror movie, but instead was treated to a very well done movie. Not many negative comments to be made about this movie. Check it out!

October 5: Behind the Mask: the Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Wow, another horror comedy. I saw this movie when it first came out and fell in love immediately. This movie brought something very unique to the genre and should be seen by any horror fan. The premise is a documentary crew follows the next slasher icon who gives them a behind the scenes look at his method and all the work he does to establish this. Awesome!

October 6: Graveyard Shift (1990)
I have no idea. I bought this movie a while ago and just got around to watching it. It’s Stephen King, so that’s something? It’s hard to even explain with this movie is about other than to say there is a factory built on top of like a giant cave system that is the home of a giant bat creature that eats people in the factory? I don’t know if that’s even accurate but that’s about all I took from it. Cool effects at least? Largely forgettable though. Many better movies than this.

October 7: We Are Still Here (2015)
This movie appears to be a throwback to late 70's horror. It starts off like a traditional slow burner, but then it goes nuts. I love this movie, and this it has one of the most interesting and unique ghost designs in recent history. Just see this one - don’t look it up - just see it.

October 8: The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
This movie is brutal. This movie is uncomfortable. This movie is unsettling. It does everything a horror movie should do. Alexandre Aja is probably my favorite of the next generation horror directors. I would argue this movie is better than Wes Craven’s original. This is not for the faint of heart. Highly recommended!

October 9: The Final Girls (2015)
Horror Comedy again! This movie is like a love letter to 80's slashers. You can tell the movie director knows the genre well and really loves it. Much heavier on the comedy than horror (PG-13), but I think any horror fan will greatly appreciate and enjoy this movie.

October 10: Children of the Corn Genesis (2011)
Well, this was my first big misstep of the season. I LOVE Children of the Corn and I find myself wanting to watch the movie regularly. So, instead of watching something that I know I’ll enjoy, I went for this garbage movie. There is nothing redeeming about this movie. It feels like it was just some random story that they just tacked Children of the Corn on. Don’t ever watch this movie.

October 11: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: (1989)
I’m not really sure what to say about this one. For the 5th film in the ANOES series, it was strangely serious. This entry has a lot of really weird subtext concerning teen pregnancy and abortion. Probably my least favorite in the series, but Robert Englund is fantastic as always.

October 12: The Nightmare (2015)
A documentary about the phenomenon known as sleep paralysis. This tells the story of different people from different walks of life from all over the world suffering from the same issue. To make matters worse, they all report being stalked by similar malevolent presences. Deeply unsettling.


October 13: Argento's Dracula 3D (2012) 
Well, this is a thing. So you may know Dario Argento as the legendary horror director from Italy with credits such as Suspira and Deep Red. Argento is known for having some of the most beautiful cinematography in horror cinema. His work is idolized and he earned his place in the annals of horror. That being said, this is..., I just..., well..., Dracula turns into a praying mantis. I can't get past this. Like yeah, that's a spoiler, and its not even a major part of the movie, but he turns into a giant praying mantis. I just can't. The movie doesn't have great special effects or anything, and the story is Dracula, but, again, GIANT PRAYING MANTIS. His daughter, Asia Argento, is a main character in this movie, as she is in most of his movies, and I do have a rather large crush on her, but even having her in the movie can't come close to saving it. Maybe it isn't fair to say that the movie needs saving, because it really isn't bad, but again, praying mantis. At what point did someone say, "You know what? Let's just have him turn into a praying mantis, but not just any praying mantis - a giant one." And even more bizarre, other people were like, "Yeah that's a great idea!" Eh, stay away from this one, as there are infinitely better Dracula films out there. 

October 14: Wrong Turn 5 (2012) 
So, at some point in my life, I saw the original Wrong Turn movie and thought, "meh this is decent at best."  Then I started collecting more and more horror films, and at some point I was able to pick up the 4th one for like a dollar, so being the collector I am, I wound up buying the rest. It seems like there is another entry in this "franchise" every time I look (not that anyone is asking for them).  The story is essentially just retold in each movie, mountain men killing teens, the teens die, mountain men live, the end. What shocked me with this one is that Douglas Bradley, Pinhead himself, stars in this movie. Douglas Bradley is an absolutely fantastic actor, and it's crazy how much he carries this film. The film itself is very hokey and cheesy, some cool kills and effects at times, but other than that, just a forgettable direct to dvd movie. Then you have Bradley, who just changes the tone of this film anytime he's in the scene. His presence is so commanding and authoritative that it seems out of place with all the goofiness of this film. Its worth watching just to see him, but other than that, its just the same movie we've seen time and time again.

October 15: Goosebumps (2015)
Just let me say this to start: I know I'm biased. Goosebumps was my entire childhood, and one of my most prized possessions is the original book series from when I was a little boy. We are talking 20+ years old, and most of them are in perfect condition due to me being obsessive and collecting at even that young of an age (all my money went to buying new Goosebumps). So to the movie. I love it, simple as that. It is genuinely funny, like laugh out loud in the theater funny. The story itself is very fun and it was great to see all the characters come alive. I HATE JACK BLACK, like with a passion, but in this movie he does a fantastic job. I can't say enough good things about this movie. The only complaint I can come up with is that I was a bit surprised by some of the monster choices, and even more so, some that we didn't see (How do we not see Carly Beth!?).  Other than that, which again I say is a minor gripe, this move is a blast. Take your kids to see it, take yourself to see it, just get there. I liked it so much I plan on going again. Also love how Slappy is setting up to be the new Crypt Keeper (so many puns) The 8 year old me and the 29 year old adult couldn't be happier.

*  *  *  *  *

...I can honestly say that whenever I'm looking for a horror movie recommendation, I text my brother. Although we will occasionally disagree with our opinion on films (I disliked It Follows, but Sam loved it), he rarely steers me wrong. I look forward to seeing what days 16-31 will bring! Thanks Sam!

EDIT: You can now find Part 2 of Sam's 31 Days of Halloween here!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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10.19.2015

Sam's Haunted House Review

Haunted House Reviews on Betties N Brimstone blog
My brother Sam, in his natural state.

Sam is taking over the blog in the weeks coming up to Halloween!

My brother Sam is one of the people that is probably a bigger Halloween fan than I am. And he's way braver. I don't do haunted houses. Can't handle them. If I went, I'd just close my eyes and bury my head in the back of the person in front of me and go as quickly as possible through. It's a waste of money to take me. I don't like "jump" scares.

Sam, however, is a HUGE fan of haunted houses. He goes to lots of them. I asked him to write some reviews for the blog on some of the haunted houses that he went to this year. So, if you're in the Chicago area, you may want to check out some of these places... assuming that you're a haunted house fan like Sam, and not a huge wuss, like me.


Haunted House Reviews on Betties N Brimstone blog


Psychosis Haunted House
Elgin, IL

This was my first time going to Illinois’s so called “Most Interactive Haunted House,” and I can say at this point it very much is the most interactive house I’ve been to. I picked this one out due to its offer on Groupon and the fact that it was one of the few haunted houses open the first weekend of October. My girlfriend and I arrived around 9:30 PM on a Friday night, and almost missed the house completely. All we saw was one man sitting on a folding chair in front of the door. I was concerned that maybe the house wasn’t even opened yet, but he ushered us in. We gave our Groupon to the two ladies at the counter and walked around the corner to a darkly light corridor and silence. That was the most concerning thing to me, silence. Usually at a house you hear spooky sounds, or screams or aggressive music, something to help set the mood. This had none of that, instead we were greeted by one normally dressed man and an actor dressed head-to-toe in Hot Topic circa 2001 (you know, straps that went nowhere, buckles, giant legs etc.).

Almost immediately, we were brought to the threshold of the house. It was us two and another couple. We were informed we would be meeting the mayor of this town we would explore and that we should listen and pay close attention to what he has to say. We were then ushered into what looked like an abandoned movie theater and the mayor came to greet us as give us the rules of the house. It was funny and engaging, and at that point my hopes were lifted. I don’t want to spoil the house, so I will only mention briefly some of the things in the house.

What made it truly unique was that we were told we would be asked to touch, smell, and even taste things, and as adults, we could refuse, but if we accepted, it is at our own risk. The house was a bit bare on the decorations and atmosphere, but it felt very intimate, and it could have been based on the small size of our group, but it made for a wonderful experience. You were given options and made to make decisions, it felt personalized. I personally at one point was sent out ahead of my group with a gun to help “thin the zombie ranks” which made for a delightful experience. I walked into a hospital room where a nurse shouted at me to give her the gun and open my mouth which I mistakenly did and was treated to a rather strange tasting solution.

The actors at Psychosis were fantastic. It didn’t feel like the typical haunted house, where you are pushed through a line as quickly as possible while people jump out and try to scare you. The actors conversed with you and made sure that any other actors knew who you were and gave them any information you may have foolishly let slip about yourself. The best way I can describe this house is that it was one of the best amateur haunted houses I’ve ever been to. I don’t mean that as a bad thing either, it is just very apparent that this house doesn’t have the budget most do. While they may have lacked on props, they definitely made up for with entertainment and spirit.

SCORE: 4 pairs of Tripp Pants out of 5


The Great Room Escape
Morton Grove, IL

The Great Room Escape doesn’t really fit in the category of haunted house; it’s more of an interactive event. I bought tickets for this one with absolutely no prior information, it just sounded interesting. The website states; “Trapped with no way out, chain link by chain link, a brain-crazed and bloodthirsty zombie invades the room. You and 11 others must solve the room before the time runs out and the zombie is unleashed. With only sixty minutes and your brains, you must uncover clues, decipher riddles, and discover the keys to unlock your freedom.” I love games, I love puzzles, and I love horror, so this just sounded right up my alley. So with that being said, I made reservations to go with my girlfriend. Unfortunately, due to some conflicting circumstances, Annie [Sam's girlfriend] was unable to accompany me. I wanted to take another one of my close friends who loves horror, but she too had to cancel. I was having some people over that night for a get together and because I didn’t want the ticket to go to waste, I asked my good buddy Bob if he would want to come with. Bob isn’t a horror person, but he’s big into puzzles and games so I figured he may enjoy it. He was already coming over that night, so he agreed.

The reservation was at 3:30pm on a Saturday, I had no idea what to expect, so I put the address in my phone and away we went. I was beyond excited when I realized the Great Room Escape was being held at Fear City. Fear City is by far the best haunted house I’ve been to and the only house I wanted to go back through IMMEDIATELY after finishing last year. Apparently, it is called “House of Torment” this year, but after talking to the people there, it is still operated by the same group. I will definitely be going to it again this year, and will have another write up for you to enjoy later on, but back to this. The two of us arrived and were brought into a holding room where we met eight other people. We were told it would be a bit later than expected as the past group had destroyed a bunch of items. That statement took me by surprise. Again, I had no idea what to expect, but shit was being broken? What in the hell does this entail? We started talking with the others in our group and found out they all knew each other. Everyone in the group was over 20 and about half of them seemed to be upper 40s or 50s. While we waited we were told that a national television station would be filming the haunted house so who knows, maybe you’ll catch us on the show (which they wouldn’t tell us what show it was, but I’m guessing it was something on TLC). The small talk continued until the woman working the room escape was ready to go through the instructions with us.

There would be no videos, no photos, and we had to leave our cellphones in a locked case. We had a goal, and that was to survive the room by escaping. The room would be locked, and hidden throughout the room would be several keys. Four of those keys would be needed to unlock the door. We wouldn’t know what keys worked until we tried them in the door. In the room with us would be several items, the butler who would act as our moderator so to speak and the zombie. The zombie was chained to the wall and as time progressed the chain would get longer and the zombie would be able to cover more of the room. If the zombie touched you, you died. You would be able to rejoin the game after the butler allowed you. The butler would allow you back in after doing something for his own amusement (which for me meant, he asked me trivia questions, I was made to propose to the zombie, do jumping jacks, etc), and with that the door was opened and we were ushered in. The door was locked behind us and the butler welcomed us in.

The butler set the scenario and the theme for us. The previous owner of this house was working on some experiment and one way or another he developed this serum that turned his mistress into a zombie who was now locked in the room with us (in the bathroom to be precise) and now she was hungry. We had an hour to get out of the room or we would all be eaten. And just like that, the clock started and the game begun. We didn’t have any idea how to approach the game and it was challenging. I felt like for the first 30 minutes we struggled to figure anything out, we scoured the room finding potential hints and clues while the butler gave us information that may or may not have been helpful. He also mocked us. A lot. Once we got the first clue and opened our first item the entire group was pumped. Like that we found our groove. We were shouting out information and trying desperately to find the keys, meanwhile the zombie got closer and closer. We were coming together as a team and working against the clock to make sure we found those keys. We wanted nothing more than to win.

We didn’t win. We made it to two keys before the clock sounded and we all died. We were told only three groups in the last three months had made it out. I was sad, I wanted so desperately to beat the room, but I had a fucking blast trying. I don’t want to say too much about what actually happens in the room because I recommend this to anyone and everyone. This was the most entertaining Halloween event I’ve ever done. If you come into this with an open mind and want to enjoy it, you will have the best time ever. I was 100% immersed in the situation and gave it my all. At one point I even "Dukes of Hazard"-slid over a table to avoid being killed by the zombie. The group worked together so well and everyone had an amazing time. It was very cool to see the group dynamic of working together while all feeling the stress of the time running down and that zombie getting closer and closer. I died a bunch during the game, but I also found a lot of the keys. You would be shocked at how physical this game is when you have a zombie trying to kill everyone in the room. My only gripe with this event was that some of the clues were nothing more than red herrings, or essentially clues to throw you off. I guess it’s possible though that none of our group could figure out what they actually meant...

I can’t praise this enough. You owe it to yourself to go out and do this. This was one of the most fun Halloween activities I’ve ever done!

SCORE: 5 chained zombies out of 5


*  *  *  *  *

Wow - after reading through this, I almost want to go to the Great Room Escape! I hope that you enjoyed Sam's guest post reviews! He'll be back later this week with his "31 Days of Halloween" horror movie reviews, and be on the lookout for even more haunted house reviews to come!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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10.16.2015

See You at the Craft and Vintage Fair Tomorrow!

 photo sign _zps8mkx7w6t.jpgHello there!
I'm pleased to announce that Calamity Layne and Hell Razor will both be present and vending at this month's Craft and Vintage Fair in Berwyn!

Where:
Friendly Lounge 
6731 Roosevelt Rd.
Berwyn, IL 60402

Time: 10AM - 4PM
Saturday October 17th

Pop Up Shops Attending:
*Kristen Roof Fachet with Sur Le Fue Handbags & Accessories
~Handmade, vintage handbags & accessories. Made in Berwyn, IL.

*Jennifer Leban with Hellrazor
~Unique accessories & home decor inspired by Day of the Dead, religious artifacts, all things vintage, heavy metal & horror.

*Sabine Krauss
~Locally made, amazing pendant necklaces and other Berwyn inspired artworks.

*Stephanie Layne with Calamity Layne Vintage
~Vintage clothing, housewares & home decor.

*Vicious Cake
~Wired hair ties, clip on ears and other unique hair accessories. Made with love right here in Berwyn.

*Jessy Laubis Handmade
~Fabric- collage, hand-drawn & painted pieces, put an artful spin on everyday items. Made in Berwyn.

*Sara Marie with Fangs & Bangs
~Embroidery tattoo inspired art pieces & zombie prints.

*Earth+Art
~Thoughtfully assembled terrarium gardens. These portable worlds are designed with succulent & air plants.

This is a free, family- friendly event. Bring a friend, grab a coffee (or a Bloody Mary) & shop your heart out! Come and support local art, local business, and your girls at Betties N Brimstone!

Until next time!
~Steph @ Calamity Layne

Now Playing: 
(Yes, I know it's a Beatles song, but this is my second favorite version
AND...Spotify doesn't have a huge Beatles selection). ;)

10.14.2015

Voodoo Vixen Katnis Dress

Voodoo Vixen Katnis Dress on Betties N Brimstone
dress - Voodoo Vixen / shoes - Chelsea Crew via eBay / hair flower - Hell Razor

I've wanted this Katnis dress from Voodoo Vixen for a while, and I initially purchased one on eBay, using the Voodoo Vixen size chart, only to find out that it was too big. Whomp whomp. Luckily, I found someone selling theirs (and I also sold mine) on a Facebook group that was a size smaller. I had it hemmed professionally, but now that I look at these photos, I kind of wish that I had another size down. It looks really cute on girls that wear it when it fits more cinched in the waist... Maybe I'll put a belt on it?

I kind of hate discussing size on here, because I don't intend for it to come across as humble-bragging, or straight bragging. I have lost a bunch of weight as a result of my weight loss surgery. But that's just the physical. The mental results are pretty weird, and sometimes awkward, and anxiety-inducing. One of the weird mental side effects of weight loss is that in your brain, "you" (in the physical sense) do not always match your actual size. So stuff like this dress tends to be happening more to me recently. I refuse to even try a smaller size because there's "just no way" that I'm a size *** (fill-in-the-blank to suit your own pre-conceived notions).

Voodoo Vixen Katnis Dress on Betties N Brimstone

But let's talk about the dress itself. This pattern is really cute, and I first saw Donna from Heidi and Gretel wearing it somewhere in her Instagram feed... she looked too cute in it! The scallop trim on the neckline, pockets, and sleeves is super cute (albeit a little out of my usual comfort zone?).

Voodoo Vixen Katnis Dress on Betties N Brimstone

Ooh, and I have to tell you about my shoes! I got them on eBay for less than $20 shipped and I'm pretty psyched about them. They're a nice deep purple color, which is a nice switch from my usual black, but also they have a low chunky heel which makes them totally comfortable for an entire day of work! I check for auctions on my favorite shoe brands almost every day, and I'll bid if something comes up that I like and is in my size, but it's not too often that ALL of the things align and I actually win a great bargain like this! Yay!

Voodoo Vixen Katnis Dress on Betties N Brimstone

Also, I made my own hair flower in this post! I typically sell them though the etsy shop, but I won't be listing any more until after Halloween since I have several in-person events to go still this month and my stock is dwindling (not a bad problem to have, right?)!

If you really want a flower and can't wait, go ahead and send me an email (info in the right-side column) and I can make and ship you a custom piece!

Voodoo Vixen Katnis Dress on Betties N Brimstone

Today also marks yet another attempt at a wet set... still haven't quite gotten the hang of it. Or I set it weird because this one has lots of sticking up pieces. So far I prefer setting my hair with the hot rollers, but it doesn't have nearly the staying power of a wet set. Back to the drawing board...

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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10.12.2015

Halloweenie

Sourpuss Halloweenie Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog
dress - Sourpuss clothing / petticoat - eBay / cami - Target / belt - Pinup Girl Clothing / glasses - Coastal.com / shoes - Dr. Scholl's via Zappos

So, no surprise here, I get very excited when Halloween stuff comes out. Not just decorations, but clothing, too. So I splurge a little with the promise to myself that "it's just because of Halloween" and that I'm "stocking up" for other times of the year. If you're a store with exclusive Halloween pieces, you might want to email me because I am a sucker and will probably buy one of each.

Anywhoo, this dress from Sourpuss Clothing is one of those things. This Halloween print is AMAZING, and it was made into like three different styles of dresses, and I actually held back and only bought ONE version of it. Ha! It was the stretchy "skater" dress. Maybe it's because I'm so used to longer skirts now, but I was kind of surprised how short it was when I got it - keeping in mind that I'm like 5'1" - so if I think it's short, what about girls of average height and above?

I used a trick that I'd seen on Miss Victory Violet's blog, where she often wears her petticoats peeking out from under her skirts (presumably to add length, or just a little ruffle trim), and decided to layer my black petticoat under my skater dress, just to see if it looked ok, and I was pretty pleased with the results!

Sourpuss Halloweenie Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog

Above is the "formula" I used to turn my skater dress into a retro, fifties style of outfit. I wore a black camisole/tank and a black petticoat under the dress (it's a little too low cut to wear to work, so the tank does the trick to raise the neckline), and added a wide black belt on top to cinch and define the waist. I also like belts because they help break up an allover pattern that might otherwise be a little too overwhelming.

Sourpuss Halloweenie Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog

I like the petticoats that are not as puffy/triangular as most of the ones that I find. Typically, it's the Malco Modes 580, or Zooey, style of petticoat, or the Sam's (I think it's the 500?) similar style. These petticoats are NOT the cheap-y $9.99 Leg Avenue or Amazon ones you might find... they typically run around $50, so I like to stalk eBay for deals on previously owned ones. Apparently they're very big in the square dance world... So far I have white, black, pink, and red. The other bonus of these petticoats is that they usually have an adjustable waistband that allows you to put the elastic in a higher/lower waistband "track" that shortens or lengthens the skirt an inch or two. You can probably guess that I wear mine in the shorty setting. Of course.

Sourpuss Halloweenie Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog

This vintage-inspired Halloween print was too cute to pass up, even though I typically would shy away from a mostly white dress (or especially beige-y... anything that is too close to my skin tone is weird in my opinion). I get lots of people that ask me where I got it from. Even though the dress is Sourpuss brand, I've seen it at a few other stores online too, like Cats Like Us or Unique Vintage, so if you shop around you may just find it elsewhere in stock...! I know that it sold out pretty quickly this year, so I'm glad I snapped on it when I did.

Sourpuss Halloweenie Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog

Soon I'll do a post on this year's Halloween decor at my house, but I've been scouring thrift stores for fun older (vintage-y) decorations, and came across this pack of old paper window decorations which seemed perfect as a photo prop. Dork city.

My biggest claim to fame so far is that Sourpuss actually re-tweeted my instagram post of this OOTD, which was pretty cool because I was pretty proud of how I styled this one.

Sourpuss Halloweenie Dress on Betties N Brimstone Blog

Yayy!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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10.09.2015

Classic French Madelines

 photo 0ne_zps4ydlpzsn.jpg


...I found the BEST recipe for classic French Madelines from the Kitchn!

You will need:
  • 4 oz (1 stick), plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

What to do (via The Kitchn):

 photo two_zpsupukmdkq.jpg

1. Melt the butter. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. If you feel you can get it slightly toasty brown, go right ahead and do so by leaving it to bubble in the pan until it smells toasty and starts to color. Just remember that the butter will turn very quickly from toasty to burnt and that it will continue to color after it is off the heat unless you pour it into a new container. Spoon 3 tablespoons of butter into a small bowl or cup and set aside. Let the rest of the butter cool slightly.

2. Prepare the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients in separate bowls. In a medium bowl, whisk together one cup of the flour and the sugar, and set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk the two eggs with the vanilla, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest until the eggs are frothy.

 photo five_zpsujist1rk.jpg

3. Combine the dry and wet ingredients. Add the eggs to the flour. Using a spatula, stir until just combined. Add the 4 ounces of melted butter and continue to stir. It may take a minute for the butter to blend into the mixture but do not over mix.

4. Rest the batter. Cover the bowl with a plate (or plastic wrap) and place in the refrigerator to rest at least one hour and up to overnight.

5. Prepare the pans. Add the remaining one tablespoon of flour to the 3 tablespoons reserved butter and stir to combine. Using a pastry brush, brush the interiors of the shells with the butter-flour mixture so that they are well coated. Place the pans in the freezer for at least an hour.

 photo three_zpsvopv9jat.jpg

6. Preheat the oven and fill pans. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the batter from the refrigerator and one pan from the freezer. Fill each well in the madeleine pan with 1 tablespoon of the batter. Remove the other pan and fill in the same way.

7. Bake the madeleines. Place both pans on a baking sheet for easy handling and place in the oven. Check after 8 minutes and rotate plans. Check again 5 minutes later. The madeleines should be browning around the edges and puffed up a little in the middle. Using your forefinger, press lightly on the center hump -- when the madeleines are finished baking, it should spring back at your touch.

8. Cool and dust with sugar. Remove the madeleines from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes. Using a fork, gently loosen the madeleines from their molds and then tip the whole pan out onto a cooling wrack or tea towel. Once cool, dust lightly with powdered sugar and serve. If you are freezing or storing the madeleines, do not dust with the sugar until you are about to serve.

 photo four_zpszs4olxz4.jpg

9. To store. Store cooled madeleines in an airtight container for a few days or freeze them in a double wrapping of plastic wrap for several months. Let the cakes defrost before dusting with sugar.

Enjoy!

Until next time!
~Steph @ Calamity Layne
Now Playing: Faded Love - Bob Wills

10.07.2015

It Glows in the Dark.

This Dress Glows in the Dark, Seriously on Betties N Brimstone blog
dress - Folter via ShopPlasticLand.com / cardigan - Hell Bunny via eBay / shoes (unknown - old)

I remember seeing this dress on ModCloth long ago, and wanting it, and even signing up for an alert when it came back in stock. But it was priceyyyy. So when I saw that Plasticland had it for less, and you use a sale on top of that, VOILA! New glow-in-the-dark dress. It's called the "I See Through You X Ray Dress" if you want to be really specific in your search. Pro tip: the sizing chart on Plasticland is kind of messed up. I was mislead and ordered an XL, but I really should have bought this in an L. At the time, there weren't any in stock, so I had this tailored in for me. I still think that a L would have been even better, but oh well. Still awesome.

This Dress Glows in the Dark, Seriously on Betties N Brimstone blog

My sweater is another epic clothes-hunting story. I wanted this Hell Bunny spiderweb cardigan for a while now, but all of my searches online yielded only the plus-sized range (not bad for my bigger girls though!). So I scoured online and eBay, and ended up finding it on an international eBay site, which means international shipping, which can totally suck, but it was one of those items that you start to want so much that it's worth it in the end. And this was, because I LOVE Hell Bunny cardigans, and I especially love the spiderweb design. Hell Bunny cardigans are really nice quality, and they retain much of their original value, I've found. The couple I had that were too big I was able to sell for a good 2/3 or more of their original price.

This Dress Glows in the Dark, Seriously on Betties N Brimstone blog

So, here are those same black and white shoes again. Sorry I don't have any more info on them. I think that if I did find them, I'd probably buy a second pair! They're that comfy. Speaking of shoes, I snagged an awesome new (to me, they were used) pair of Chelsea Crew shoes on eBay for less than $20 shipped that other day! I'll get to show them off here soon, but I love when stuff like that happens.

This Dress Glows in the Dark, Seriously on Betties N Brimstone blog

Dressmakers and fashion designers everywhere need to understand the importance of pockets in their skirts. Especially the larger, fuller ones that I am favoring at the moment - seems silly not to, right? All I need is a place for my phone and my lipstick. Otherwise I feel naked without a place to hold my phone on me. And purses are cool and all... but sometimes I just wanna be without one. This dress has pockets, so we're cool.

This Dress Glows in the Dark, Seriously on Betties N Brimstone blog

As soon as Halloween is over, I am imposing a strict budget on myself. I am thinking that my next hobby might have to be extreme couponing. There's got to be a better way to channel my obsessive hobbying into something good! :)

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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10.05.2015

Bento Report, V.11

Happy October everyone! I haven't had a Bento Report post in quite a while, so I had some photos waiting to post and figured it was high time to share. I don't photograph my lunch every day, because I don't do a nice bento every day. ...Like today, when I was rushed and ate a can of tuna for lunch. Yep, you read that right. A can of tuna. Classy.

The funny part of this story is that I finally sit down to write this post, and the photos are randomly photographed over the course of time from my last bento post to present day, and I notice odd repeating themes... which make sense if I'm eating lunch several days in a row and trying to use up food, but in this case, that wasn't the situation. Evidently I was in a rolled lunchmeat phase and didn't even know it. The more you know.

Bento Lunch Report (V.11) on Betties N Brimstone Blog

  1. Smoked string cheese. Probably one of my all-time favorite foods. 
  2. Faux lunchmeat (turkey or something-ish) rolled around pickle spears!
  3. Cherry tomatoes. Because doesn't it dress up the arrangement and make it look fancy?
  4. Ricotta cheese with agave syrup drizzled on top.
  5. Strawberries (For the ricotta. I mix them together.)
  6. (Not shown) There's a mini Tupperware O'vitamins somewhere, but evidently not in the box on this day...

Bento Lunch Report (V.11) on Betties N Brimstone Blog

  1. Leftover BBQ Jackfruit (Thanks Natalie!).
  2. Cheddar cheese cubes.
  3. Grapes (Have you tried the cotton candy kind? Excellent!).
  4. Mini Tupperware O'vitamins.
  5. Mozzarella, tomato, basil, and balsamic vinegar caprese salad (recipe).

Bento Lunch Report (V.11) on Betties N Brimstone Blog

  1. Pumpkin Noosa yogurt (note: I like the Chobani kind better, and it has more protein, so score - but I had bought a 4-pack of these and wanted to use them up).
  2. Cute skewers of cheddar cheese and grapes. I usually eat these as a snack around 10:30.
  3. Mini Tupperware O'vitamins.
  4. More of that balsamic Caprese salad from the previous lunch. I ate it like four days in a row to use it up. It was delicious though!

Bento Lunch Report (V.11) on Betties N Brimstone Blog

  1. Mini Tupperware O'vitamins.
  2. Nectarine wedges.
  3. Cheddar cheese curds. 
  4. Rolled lunchmeat (again). Probably turkey-esque. 
  5. Finishing up that pumpkin Noosa.
Guess I didn't feel like making lunch cute this day. Just kind of put in into containers. I did, however, take another photo sans yogurt squishing my lunchmeat rolls so you could see them in their full glory:


Bento Lunch Report (V.11) on Betties N Brimstone Blog

For one of my more recent lunches, I pulled out the LEGO bento box. It's an odd size (deep... like I wish it had two layers...):

Bento Lunch Report (V.11) on Betties N Brimstone Blog

  1. Smoked string cheese (cut into shorter stumps).
  2. Pickles! 
  3. Random cherry tomatoes from my dying backyard plant. 
  4. Mini Tupperware O'vitamins.
  5. Kalamata olives and the remaining cheese stumps. 
  6. More rolled lunchmeat. I put cute skewers in them to keep them from unrolling.

So there you have it! Some of the latest and greatest in lunches. One of my favorite new bento lunch discoveries is the cutlery from the Target dollar spot. I bought like three sets of the Halloween themed ones because they're the perfect length for my bento box. Plus, Halloween. And the price is right! Aw yiss.

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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