1.30.2016

Bento Report, V.13

Thanks to my friend Beth's new bento-lunch packing initiative (Hi Beth!), she has renewed some of my bento energy, and therefore, I have been busier than usual making cute lunches and actually remembering to photograph them. This is a bigger bento post than usual, so get ready!

There are, of course, some running themes in the food, as I am apt do do when packing for several days in a row. Gotta use up the leftovers! I've also been on a heart-shaped kick, too, which will be more obvious below:

Bento Report, V.13 on Betties N Brimstone Blog

This particular bento above was inspired by a delicious New Year's Eve treat of honey goat cheese spread on crackers and topped with dried cranberries. As I was snacking on it, I thought of how nicely it would pack into a bento for lunch!
  1. Honey goat cheese and a heart-shaped grape garnish.
  2. Dried cranberries. 
  3. Afore-mentioned crackers. Triscuits to be exact.
  4. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
  5. Blueberries (in a heart-shaped silicone cup!)
  6. Strawberries.
  7. My favorite smoked string cheese, cut into chunks.
Bento Report, V.13 on Betties N Brimstone Blog
  1. Cucumber slices
  2. Tomato hearts on picks.
  3. Quinoa fried rice with pineapple.
  4. Almonds.
  5. Smoked string cheese, cut into chunks.
  6. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
Quinoa fried rice (well, quinoa in general - you saw my breakfast quinoa, right?) has become a favorite thing this month for me as well. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly, but added pineapple. Later down in the photos you'll see my second batch that had faux chicken (I think it was Quorn). The next step is to try cauliflower fried rice, which I'm sure is good, but I like that the quinoa has protein. 

And, oh yeah, HEART SHAPED THINGS:

Bento Report, V.13 on Betties N Brimstone Blog

The trick for me here with the tomato/grape hearts on skewers is to use TWO grapes or tomatoes, and slice them so that they come together to form a heart. Just cutting one in half doesn't quite give you the right shape. Here are some cute long food picks, great for your own tomato hearts or mini bento skewers!

And although my carrot hearts are somewhat off, I'm working on it! Here is one tutorial you could try. Another version, more like the tomatoes and grapes, is listed here.

Bento Report, V.13 on Betties N Brimstone Blog
  1. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
  2. Teriyaki Salmon (I buy this pre-made from my Mariano's deli... it's amazing).
  3. Grapes. Not heart-shaped.
  4. Cucumbers, sandwiched with jalapeno cream cheese! Lettuce just to hold it in place.
  5. Tomatoes. Also not heart-shaped.
  6. Chunks of smoked string cheese, with carrot hearts garnish. Ah, there's the hearts.
Bento Report, V.13 on Betties N Brimstone Blog

The concept behind this lunch was "choice." As in, the hummus and cream cheese were interchangeable with the pepper strips and/or Triscuits. Because it's hard the night before to know how you're gonna feel the next day at lunchtime.
  1. Hummus.
  2. Jalapeno cream cheese.
  3. Triscuits.
  4. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
  5. Heart tomatoes.
  6. Green pepper strips.
(Not on the numbered list, but also for lunch, off to the side, in the black and white holder: hard-boiled egg.)

Bento Report, V.13 on Betties N Brimstone Blog

This cute two-tier strawberry bento box was a present from Lisa. 
  1. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
  2. Hard-boiled egg.
  3. Smoked string cheese chunks.
  4. Apple, splashed with lemon juice to try to avoid browning.
  5. Peanut butter (I bought the Skippy "natural" version with honey! Yum!). Oh yeah, in a heart-shaped cup.
Bento Report, V.13 on Betties N Brimstone Blog

More silicone heart cups! Also, here are the tiny cutters I use for cheese shapes.

  1. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
  2. Canned Jackfruit, cooked in taco seasoning.
  3. Refried beans with cheese garnishes.
  4. Cheese (cheddar slices in flowery-star shapes, and smoked string cheese chunks).
  5. Triscuits (for the jackfruit and beans).
  6. Broccoli (cooked, leftover from the previous night).

Bento Report, V.13 on Betties N Brimstone Blog

  1. Hummus.
  2. Green pepper strips
  3. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins
  4. Cheese chunks: cheddar and smoked string cheese
  5. Quinoa fried rice with faux chicken. So good!

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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1.29.2016

You Need This Album - You're Dreaming by the Cactus Blossoms

 photo IMG_6886_zpsdmlrenbj.jpg

I will never claim to be a real live music journalist... Even though that’s what I studied for 3 years in college (until they told us we’d all be writing obituaries and cutting down stories for ad space for the rest of our careers). I decided to switch my major to Music Business & Talent Management because I was already working with bands. That actually worked out well for a little while. I got some pretty sweet gigs at a few Chicago recording studios and helped out bands along the way. I mean, that really was my ultimate goal all along -- helping the musicians I believed in and who made the music I loved most. After all, I am more passionate about music than anything else and I wanted to devote my life to making meaningful music accessible to all. However, a bout with thyroid cancer forced me to find affordable health insurance via a 9 to 5 (yeah...bubble...popped). Anyway, like I said, I’ll never call myself a music journalist because A) I get WAY too excited about the music I enjoy and B) I get way WAY too annoyed by the music I do not enjoy (and man, do they make it easy for me to bitch now-a-days). These two things do not a good music journalist make...However, I still believe in supporting the artists who inspire me. There are still imaginative musicians out there making remarkable and intellectually stimulating music. Which brings me to the ACTUAL subject of my post this week...




I know I’ve mentioned the Cactus Blossoms before (and if you follow me on any social media site...you know about them) and I think what they did with their new album,You’re Dreaming, is unique and deserves some recognition. Jack Torrey and Page Burkum are the two brothers responsible for the exquisite and captivating harmonies that give the Cactus Blossoms their one of a kind edge. To me, their sound is an ever evolving mixture of the genres I revel in...Roots country, 50s & 60s soul, gospel, and a little touch of rock n roll. You can definitely hear an Everly/ Louvin Brothers quality, but there are some other major legit roots country and soul influences in there too.

You’re Dreaming is their third album and stands out from the other two as it does have a honky tonk vibe, but also evokes sentiments from music of the late 50s or early 60s. I could listen to “Powder Blue,” on repeat and never get bored. Seriously, it’s probably one of my absolute favorites. It kind of reminds me of The Great ImposterThe Fleetwoods plus We Belong Together – Ritchie Valens, with a little I Only Have Eyes for You - The Flamingos...Oh! and a pinch of twang thrown in for good measure. (Hey, I never said I was normal...I also think “Adios Maria” has a Juanita by the Flying Burrito Brothers vibe even though I know there are better options for comparison...I embrace my weird).



One of the things I really appreciated about this album was the collaboration of artists and the use of their various talents to create it. The Cactus Blossoms are from Minnesota and (from what I understand from a random article I read) they worked with JD McPherson (who also produced You’re Dreaming) to find Chicago musicians Alex Hall (drummer and sound engineer), Joel Paterson (Guitar and Steel), and Beau Sample (bass) for the studio recording at Reliable Music.

When it comes to production and recording, I’m not much for bells and whistles. I have a greater appreciation for music that sounds “real” to me. That doesn’t mean that it has to be devoid of effects...I just appreciate when a record doesn’t feel like they had to overcompensate with a ton of extra fluff to make it sound a certain way. This album does not disappoint. No fluff in sight! Not only is it rich in quality musicianship, but the entire album sounds warm, impeccably spacious, and genuine. I bought You’re Dreaming on vinyl and CD (that’s right, folks! BOTH) and I say, it’s worth picking up both if you’re a sound nerd like myself. Just sayin.’

They are going back on tour February 12th (they’re hitting up The Hideout this time too). You can check out their entire tour schedule here. Buy the album HERE!

Until next time!
~Steph @ Calamity Layne

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1.27.2016

Leopard is a Neutral.

Leopard is a Neutral via Betties N Brimstone blog
dress - Lindy Bop / cardigan - Sourpuss / glasses - Derek Cardigan via Coastal.com / belt - Pinup Girl Clothing /
tights - Kohls / shoes - old (unknown) / petticoat - Malco Modes via eBay

I'm relatively new to the Lindy Bop brand, although they've been around for quite a while and are known for being a more affordable vintage reproduction company. The first dress I bought from them was late fall this last year, and I gotta say, I was disappointed. The bodices seem to be for taller/longer torso-ed ladies, of which I am definitely not. My first dress was the "Ophelia" style - beautiful, no doubt, but not flattering on me.

Then I bought a striped "Lana" style I'd been eyeballing on other girls for a long time. It was on Amazon on super sale. But, too big. Because it was Amazon, I returned it and took a shot on the smaller size. Bingo! Now that I finally know that I need to size down in Lindy Bop, I'm all set. I promptly snagged this "Audrey" style dress (also via Amazon) in pink leopard print! I'm in love!

Leopard is a Neutral via Betties N Brimstone blog

Side note: I still have to take my dresses to the tailors to be hemmed. Full skirts run me like $30 a pop. Sheesh.

Now that I know how much I love this style, I'm daydreaming about it in the all-over cocktail novelty print version!

Another piece I'd been thinking about for quite a while is this cropped cardigan from Sourpuss in pink leopard print. Not only was it already on sale, there was an additional discount code after the holidays so I applied it towards my purchase! Woo hoo!

Leopard is a Neutral via Betties N Brimstone blog

At the time that I bought it, I just knew that I loved it, but wasn't sure how I'd wear it other than with a black dress. THEN THIS DRESS CAME. Oh yes.

They're both pink leopard print, and not too different in pattern scale, but the pink background against the white background of the dress was just enough contrast to make the pairing work! There was also a little bit of "Whatever I do what I want!" that went with my getting dressed this day. It matched simply because I said so.

Leopard is a Neutral via Betties N Brimstone blog

Secret of the day: my glasses (although super snazzy with this ensemble) were a necessity as I discovered a chunk missing out of my last right-eye contact so I had no choice but to wear glasses. Good thing I own like a bazillion pair. Currently lusting after these, btw.

Leopard is a Neutral via Betties N Brimstone blog

I am still annoyed with static electricity in my petticoat. Spring get here quick! Part of me feels bad saying that because we've had a relatively mild winter, but ughhhh...

Leopard is a Neutral via Betties N Brimstone blog

I went for total pink here. Pink eyeshadow, pink lips... ALL THE THINGS!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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1.25.2016

Overnight Quinoa Breakfast

Overnight Breakfast Quinoa on Betties N Brimstone blog

So, I'm sure you're familiar with overnight oats, or refrigerator oatmeal, as has become popular within the blogging and Pinterest communities. I'm a big fan, and I love the idea that I can make my breakfast for the entire week ahead of time, and that there is a huge variety of flavors to eliminate breakfast boredom. Not to mention the money (and time!) I save by not buying breakfast from the drive-thru each morning!

Since I'm supposed to up my protein intake whenever possible (see here), I wondered if I could take the idea of overnight oats, but swap the oatmeal for quinoa, which has more protein?

The answer is YES!

Overnight Breakfast Quinoa on Betties N Brimstone blog
Heart measuring spoons here, and heart measuring cups here. <3 td="">

Making overnight breakfast quinoa is pretty much just as simple as the oatmeal counterpart. You just have the step of making quinoa ahead of time, but then you're set. I do five jars at a time, enough for the entire week!

I use jars like these (8 oz size) for preparing and storing my overnight quinoa in the refrigerator. I also swap out the metal lids for these plastic ones because they clean up well in the dishwasher and won't get all weird tarnish-y and rusty-like.

Here are your basic ingredients:
  • cooked quinoa, about 6 oz per jar
  • chia seeds - 2 tsp per jar
  • milk (you choose your fave kind) - 1/4 cup per jar
  • maple syrup (I use sugar-free) - 1 tsp per jar
I make a whole batch of quinoa in my rice maker during the day on Sunday and let it cool down before I prepare the week's breakfast. (My rice cooker/steamer recipe is 1 cup quinoa + 1 1/4 cups water + pinch of salt, and I set the timer for just over 40 minutes.) You'll then add whatever flavorings you want to this basic mix. Here's how I do it:

Overnight Breakfast Quinoa on Betties N Brimstone blog

1. I fill the jars 1/2 way with cooked quinoa, so about 4 oz. worth.

Overnight Breakfast Quinoa on Betties N Brimstone blog

2. Then I add 2 tsp of chia seeds. These also have protein, and they absorb extra liquid to bulk up the mix.

Overnight Breakfast Quinoa on Betties N Brimstone blog

3. Now I add 1/4 cup of milk. I use regular milk because it has the most protein, but you could definitely use almond milk or soy milk or any other kind that floats your boat.

4. Also add a teaspoon of maple syrup (not pictured). Adjust according to your desired sweetness. I recommend that you just do 1 tsp the first round, and if it's not sweet enough, add more next time.

Overnight Breakfast Quinoa on Betties N Brimstone blog

5. Now, you add whatever flavorings you desire. Pictured above is my PBJ quinoa, which means that I just add a tablespoon of peanut butter (or whatevs nut butter you want) and a tablespoon of jelly. I used sugar-free strawberry, but again, you can choose and customize to your tastes.

Overnight Breakfast Quinoa on Betties N Brimstone blog

6. I then top off whatever space is left (about 2 oz worth, I'd guess) with additional quinoa to fill to the top. I don't pack it in, just lightly fill.

7. Cap off your jar with the plastic lid, and SHAKE!

8. Stick it in the fridge overnight.

9. In the morning, you may need to do a little mix/stir before chowing down. I usually eat this cold, but I've found that the PBJ version does well with a quick 45-60 second nuke to soften the peanut butter so it all mixes in thoroughly.

Here are some of my favorite flavors to create - just use the basic quinoa/chia seed/milk/maple syrup mix, and add these ingredients:

Overnight Breakfast Quinoa on Betties N Brimstone blog

I try to use sugar-free options for stuff like maple syrup and jelly, if possible, since I'm supposed to limit it (as well as upping the protein content). See more posts about stuff I eat here.

Feel free to experiment with additional flavors (I'm still working out something coffee-like... and I think peanut butter + banana would be awesome... or chocolate peanut butter!), and let me know if you come up with something super tasty!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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1.23.2016

Pinup Pinstripes

Pinup Pinstripes OOTD on Betties N Brimstone blog
skirt - The Oblong Box Shop / tights - unknown / shoes - Dr Scholls via Zappos / belt - thrifted / shirt - Target / hair scarf - vintage

I look very pinup-y in these photos. That's good. I feel like I waited FOREVER for this skirt to be re-released by The Oblong Box Shop, but it was worth it because it is super cute. Oh! But I did order it a size smaller than my previous skirts since they were too big and I had to move the button to take them in quite a bit. But then this one arrived and I thought it was going to squeeze me to death. Too small. But instead of sending it back, I moved the button over a tad to loosen it up. I know that the skirts from here are specially made for this purpose, so that's awesome, but I am still surprised at how much difference there is between the two sizes!

Pinup Pinstripes OOTD on Betties N Brimstone blog

I also love the length of the skirts from here because I don't have to have them hemmed. (You can see me wearing the puffer fish skirt from TOBS here.)

I've had an issue lately with dresses where I can find them for a steal - like $30 - but then I end up spending the same amount, if not more, to have them hemmed or altered. Lame. My bargain dresses are not so bargain then.

Pinup Pinstripes OOTD on Betties N Brimstone blog

At least I can make up for it with Target tops, thrifted belts, and hair scarfs passed down from Grandma... right?

I have a pinstriped vintage purse that I think I need to pair with this skirt:

Pinup Pinstripes OOTD on Betties N Brimstone blog

So cool.

My hair for this day was a total fluke. It's my messy bun up-do just dressed up with a hair scarf. I did a much prettier version of this style on Christmas Eve that I forgot to photograph but my hair was curly, so it was kind of a modified poodle style.

Pinup Pinstripes OOTD on Betties N Brimstone blog

I like that you can see my sharp cat-eye points in these photos. :)

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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1.20.2016

Planner 2016: The Happy Planner!

Happy Planner 2016 Preview on Betties N Brimstone blog

Like a lot of new hobbies I get into, I'm super super psyched at first, but then things start to mellow out. Sometimes things stick around, and sometimes they just kind of fade away. My planner obsession died out considerably during the last year, but it hasn't faded completely. I've just decided to try to stick to one thing/type of planner, and use the supplies that I have... which is still a lot!

Happy Planner 2016 Preview on Betties N Brimstone blog

So, for 2016 I've decided to try out a Happy Planner, which is a "disc-bound" style. That means that you can add/remove pages, but still get the fold-over benefits of a spiral bound book, which I really like. Last year, I tried out a ring-bound (binder-style) Filofax planner, an Erin Condren planner, and a traveler's notebook-style planner. I liked all of them, but I'm pretty excited about this one, too.

Happy Planner 2016 Preview on Betties N Brimstone blog
Weekly layout in the Happy Planner. Those binder clips are from Target Dollar Spot, btw.
Happy Planner 2016 Preview on Betties N Brimstone blog
"Follow Your Heart"... Really? Who got paid for that one?

I do wish that I had slightly more options with covers and such. I'm just atypical enough that the sayings and designs on most of these types of products makes me groan slightly... I'm over it, really. Can we just have covers with designs, and no sayings?

In the same vein... the dividers are the same way with the "inspirational" words and phrases on them. Sooooo... I just had to get creative and use my gigantic stash of supplies to customize those, too. I'm pretty proud of the outcome:

Happy Planner 2016 Preview on Betties N Brimstone blog
Ahhh... that's better.

The advantages of this new planner for me are:
  • removable pages (I can sort pages/sections in any way that I want)
  • large sheet size (lots of room to write!)
  • ability to fold over on itself
  • colorful plastic rings with tiny hearts in them
  • optional accessories available (folders, pre-printed pages, etc)
Happy Planner 2016 Preview on Betties N Brimstone blog
Some cute accessories. This divider thingy is waaaay better than those stupid inspirational ones. 

I am a sucker for design, and those rings are pretty darn cute. I want to buy a second set of rings just so that I can alternate the colors on the spine. 

I have a large stash of Halloween supplies to last me through the year, so my planner can stay just goth enough always. Right now I am really enjoying the Valentine's day stuff, too. Oddly enough, my favorite decorating "scheme" after Halloween stuff is Valentine's Day! 

Happy Planner 2016 Preview on Betties N Brimstone blog
Month layout in the Happy Planner

Do you have a favorite planner brand or style? Do you hate those inspirational designs, too? If so, we can hang.

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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1.18.2016

This is My Jam

This is My Jam on Betties N Brimstone blog
dress - Tatyana / cardigan - MAK via ModCloth / belt - thrifted / ouija brooch - Deer Arrow / tights - ??? / shoes - Dr. Scholls via Zappos / petticoat - Malco Modes via eBay

I saw this dress online and I had that "OMG I have to have that!" moment so I stalked it on eBay and was super psyched to get it at a good sale price (originally $100) and then like a week later it went on super super sale on the original Tatyana website. Such is my life. So although in the end I did get a good price, I didn't get as good of a price as I could have... oh well.

Tatyana used to be called Bettie Page clothing. So you get the idea as far as the styles you might find there. Definitely right up my alley.

This is My Jam on Betties N Brimstone blog

So when this dress finally arrived it was even longer than this, so I had it hemmed. And I probably should have bought a size smaller (durrr as usual) but I wear a belt with this and it is ok. The first time I wore this I was kind of "meh" about it, despite loving it online because the shade of pink I thought did nothing for my skin (if it's too close I really dislike it) - but now here, wearing it the second time, I kind of like it. So maybe the green cardigan is what it needed. It's interesting what the right styling can do for a dress.

That being said, I need to go back to this dress and re-style in in a similar way with a belt and a sweater because I was feeling "meh" about that one, too. I bet I'll like it a bunch more then.

Isn't this pattern great?

This is My Jam on Betties N Brimstone blog

Bonus points for it actually being called the "My Jam" dress, although when I really look at it, maybe it should be called the "My Pickles" dress?

And my Deer Arrow ouija brooch doesn't necessarily go with the pickle/jam theme, but I liked how it looks so whatever. And thrifted patent leather belt. I like the zig zag contrast stitching on it. Just different enough from a solid black belt to make it snazzy.

Sometimes I match my petticoats, like here:

This is My Jam on Betties N Brimstone blog

But sometimes I will purposely choose something contrasting. I only own four colors though (the petticoat I like only comes in four): white, black, red, and pink. I know that you can buy other colors in other styles of petticoat, but I worry they'll be puffy to the extreme, especially for a short girl like me... I don't want it to get hokey. If you look at the top photo of this post, I don't think that the petticoat is obvious, and that's what I kind of like about it, the subtlety.

I realize as I write these OOTD posts that I put a lot of thought energy into an outfit. Not sure what that means. Maybe I should post OOTD photos and talk about something completely unrelated. I'll get back to you on that.

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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1.16.2016

Release the Bats

Release the Bats on Betties N Brimstone blog
cardigan - thrifted / skirt - Sourpuss / shirt - King Diamond / brooch - For The Love of Vintage / lipstick - Nayeon by Kat Von D / boots - vegetarian combat boots by MooShoes / belt - Pinup Girl Clothing / petticoat - Malco Modes via eBay

This OOTD was something that I wore over winter break, when I was just getting over a cold and decided that I was going to actually put forth the effort and "get dressed" for the day, even if I didn't have anywhere to go.

The result is an outfit that might be one of my all-time faves and one that I think most accurately represents myself in fashion form. I wore this skirt in a previous post here. You may have also seen this skirt on Meagan Kyla here.

Release the Bats on Betties N Brimstone blog

I was inspired to pair this skirt with a petticoat underneath when I saw @munchkinbooo on Instagram wearing it in a more puffy style (not to be a creeper but I think she is adorable and her fashion sense is spot-on), and I wanted to try it on me, too.

I also really like when I see girls wearing their circle skirts with t-shirts, and my King Diamond shirt is one of my faves (we even wore them in our Christmas card family photo!), so I decided to go that route.

Release the Bats on Betties N Brimstone blog

Here you can see the black petticoat that I put underneath my skirt. I wear petticoats a lot, but only recently am I actually remembering to show you how I paired them up in my outfits.

I also decided to go ahead and throw on my combat boots with this outfit, but I am slightly disappointed to discover that they are actually sorta kinda too big for me. I need smaller ones... but you know how your boots get broken in and are in that perfect state of wear? That's how these are for me. And they have steel toes so I can kick butt.

Release the Bats on Betties N Brimstone blog

I love the idea of black lipstick, but as soon as I put it on it's like, "oh no you don't - I'm gonna smear ALL OVER THE PLACE!" Such are my lipstick woes. But Annie gave me some lipstick advice last month and I'm going to actively try to wear lipstick NOT like a jerk. This one here is studded kiss lipstick in Nayeon by Kat Von D for Sephora. It's black, but with a gunmetal metallic sheen. I have an actual black lipstick that I purchased at Halloween (of course), but I haven't ventured there just yet.

You can see the slightly transparent fading of my lipstick already in the photo below:

Release the Bats on Betties N Brimstone blog

My brooch is from For The Love of Vintage, which I featured in my brooch shopping guide. I love this black heart brooch so much that I bought two more: one that says "goth" and another custom one that says "Hell Razor" which I think will be amazing for craft shows.
:)

Hey I thrifted this cropped black cardigan! Did you catch my post on Pinup Persuasion all about thrifting? I actually wrote it after the shopping trip where I scored this cardigan!

Release the Bats on Betties N Brimstone blog

Lastly, I am practicing my scary threatening goth kid look. Still needs work.

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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1.15.2016

Pin Up Girl Style on a Shoestring Budget Part 1 - Makeup



This year I've decided that I will actually SAVE money! I'm sure that may be on your list of resolutions for this year as well...and if you're anything like me, it's easier said than done. Especially when there is a new lipstick to try out or a vintage bag that you just CAN'T pass up. That is why I've started my three part Pin Up Girl Style on a Shoestring Budget series. The first part being maybe the easiest of which to blow your money...Makeup!
 photo IMG_6871_zpsjv52tk3j.jpgThe first step to great looking makeup is skincare. Taking care of your skin is the most important part of your makeup routine. I had recently run out of my fancy schmancy skin care and was looking for a cheaper, healthier, and effective alternative. I found this natural Everyday Coconut line at a local health food store (also available through Whole Foods). Each item (cleanser, toner, day moisturizer with SPF, and night cream) was $6.99 totaling $28 plus tax. I'm so glad that I decided to give this line a try! My skin is so soft and is loving the coconut oil (more on the Betty benefits of coconut oil to come). photo IMG_6813_zpslwznvxsn.jpgThe photo above is about $203.00 in cosmetics before tax (I filled a Sephora shopping cart for the total). These are all name brand items that I use on a semi regular basis. While I love the shiny packaging and luxurious look and feel of new cosmetics, I do realize that they can get pretty pricey REALLY fast. SO...I did a little experiment on the look of fancy vs drugstore cosmetics. Two of the photos below are the result of using the pricey items above and the other two items are the result of cosmetics I bought on the cheap at Wallgreens and Sally's.   photo collage pin up_zpsc2ek1z48.jpgCan you tell which photos are the fancy cosmetics and which are from the drugstore? The two photos on the bottom are the drugstore brands. The items i used are pictured below. (I did cheat a little with the eye primer and the mascara...only because I thought I had a Maybelline Volume Express mascara in my makeup bag...which turned out to not be the case. You get a similar result from either mascara). The Urban Decay eye primer is my all time favorite shadow primer and I feel like a primer (no matter where it's from) is a MUST for any eyeshadow. I DID buy this tube of primer at Nordstrom Rack for $9. Can you say DISCOUNT!? ;)  
 photo IMG_6827_zpsislqncz6.jpgThe total price of the drugstore cosmetics above (substituting the mascara) is $55.24 before tax. That means you save around $147.76 by stitching over to drugstore brands. You may need to do a few extra touch ups throughout the evening, but I think that saving $150 is worth the little extra effort.

I suppose the moral of these story here is, don't be afraid to substitute some of the smaller items like eyeshadow, mascara, and lipstick for cheaper versions. They're not THAT different. Not only will it keep you looking photo shoot ready, but it will also keep more money in your pocket!

Want more "Pinup Style on a Shoestring?" Check out Part 2: Pampering here, and Part 3: Health and Well-being here!

 Until next time!
~Steph @ Calamity Layne

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