5.30.2016

My Awesome Skirt has Pockets and Bats!

Green Bats Skirt
skirt - Hell Bunny / shoes - Chocolaticas / belt - Pinup Girl Clothing / shirt - Target / moon brooch - Heidi and Gretel / petticoat - Malco Modes via eBay

I realized that I have quite a few clothing pieces in my closet that I've never worn (and taken photos) as an OOTD on the blog, so I guess one of my summer goals is to do more of that. Did I mention that I'M ON SUMMER BREAK YOU GUYS?!

Aw yiss!

In case you're thinking, "Oh wow that's super early?" know that I go back to school sometime ridiculously early like August 10. So there. So I have to cram as much fun and relaxing stuff as possible in two months time. And even though I didn't take a "summer" job this year, I'll still have to go in and do curriculum writing and other school-related responsibilities during the "break."

Green Bats Skirt

So spring and summer weather is great and all, but I'm usually thinking about Halloween. This OOTD was a nice subtle nod to my fave holiday with the bats as pockets and coordinating green crescent moon brooch. I'm super happy that I have my Heidi and Gretel brooch collection, as she has stopped production on her line indefinitely and is now designing for Erstwilder. I would be super sad if I didn't already have so many great pieces from her!

Green Bats Skirt

I have NOT hemmed this skirt, and it shows. I really like the green and black combo, so I really wouldn't want to lose the green border. I think I'd have to have the green part removed, the skirt hemmed, and then the green border re-attached. Too much trouble. I'll just deal with this instead.

Green Bats Skirt

Another one of my goals this summer is to get my art room straightened up. What you see here in the photo backgrounds isn't so bad, but if you were to turn around and look at the piles of stuff on my table and floor, it's a little bit hoarder... I've been just using the room as a catch-all and it needs to be purged.

I've also been thinking about all of the merchandise I want to make over the summer. I've got a new batch of screenprinted flannel shirts, I'd like to make some new hair flowers, I have a bunch of tiny drawstring gift bags I'm planning on hand-painting, there's a whole stack of bundt pans awaiting donut-izing... and I just want to make some plain old art!

So cleaning the art room is imperative to being able to make stuff. I think not teaching art in a year has given me energy to want to make things again, only this time for myself!

Green Bats Skirt

Here are some details from the outfit. These bat pockets are the best thing ever. It's what made me buy this skirt in the first place! They do need to be ironed down carefully after washing, otherwise the bats kind of fold and flip up. But the bonus side of this is that the skirt has pockets! Always a plus.

In the pic above, you can also see the glittery acrylic that makes up the crescent moon brooch. I know green isn't a traditional Halloween color, but I'm really digging it.

Green Bats Skirt

This outfit also called for the second appearance of these Chocolaticas by Hot Chocolate designs (first seen here).  They're going to be excellent summer footwear, as I've decided that I prefer not to have my toes hanging out as much as possible. I feel like playing roller derby means giving up hope to ever have nice toes, even after a pedicure. Ha! Anyone else have this experience?

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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5.28.2016

Rock Out to The Best Pump Up Playlist!

Rock Out to The Best Pump Up Playlist!

One of my strategies for dealing with roller derby game-day stress is to listen to some music that will get me pumped up and in the mood to kick some butt! So I thought I’d share my “Pump Up” playlist with all of you!

There are a ton of “Jock Jams”-like playlists out there that are super common and easy to search out, but I think my list is extra special because I’ve tailored especially for rock and metal fans like me - my name is Ronnie Maims Dio, remember?

Enjoy!



Do you have Apple Music? I do!


Listen to Pump Up Music by Jen Leban on @AppleMusic:


Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor

5.25.2016

Where Did You Get That?! The Ultimate Shopping Guide.

Ultimate Shopping Guide

"Where did you get that?" is a question that I hear a lot, actually. I'm not sure it's because people actually want to go out and buy the thing, so much as I think they can't quite wrap their brain around who or where some of the things that I buy are sold...

But occasionally, I know people are interested in finding similar items, or at similar prices (I'm a pretty decent bargain hunter, I think...), or it could be that I've had decent luck at finding discontinued or harder-to-find items.

Therefore, this post is born. Some of these resources aren't "new" places to shop, so much as sites to check for specific brands for sales and coupon codes when several retailers are all selling the same brands. For example, Hot Topic isn't exactly a "new" place to shop, and may not even occur to you to be a "good" place to shop unless you're an emo high school kid... however, they sell Hell Bunny online, and they have sales from 20%-30% fairly regularly, and you can snag awesome pieces at fantastic prices by taking advantage of this fact!  I know because I've done it!

I think what I'll do here is first list WHERE I shop, with the site links:

Pinup Girl Clothing - has their own unique designs of clothing. I own a LOT of pieces from this site. There are a few other places you can score these pieces online, but typically they're international and will cost you a ton in shipping. It's a good idea to search out Swap/Sell groups (try Facebook) if you're looking for discontinued or out of stock items. Sign up for their newsletter to get 15% off, and once you make your first purchase, you'll get a returning customer code for 10% off after that so you'll never have to pay full retail again. Woo hoo!

Oblong Box Shop - Denialle Von Fitch designs her own novelty print circle skirts that you can almost exclusively buy through this site. Again, signing up for the newsletter will score you a discount code. If there's a design you like, snap on it, because they'll go out of stock and may not come back. Occasionally you can find some of her designs on Unique Vintage (see below)... but I always go direct to this site for Denialle's stuff. There are other brands here, too, like Banned Apparel or Sourpuss purses, so this is a good place to search for accessory pieces when you're doing a price-comparison or hunting for coupon codes.

Restyle - Restyle.pl is the coolest gothic clothing brand! But because they're international, I hesitate to order directly from them unless I have a bunch of items I want to order all at once that are in stock. I'm not sure it's economical to ship one piece here or there. I do search my re-sale websites for the Restyle brand though, and I was able to snag a bag I'd been eyeballing for a lower price. 

Deandri - This is another site for awesome gothic Wednesday Addams style fashion... I placed an order with them once, and I'm honestly not sure I'd do it again. The ordering was sketchy... I got an email saying the item was out of stock, even though it was still listed as in stock on their website at the time I was notified. I alerted them to this, and they were all "oh yeah, whoops" - and then it took a strangely long time for the order to get to me. The shirt was a tad too tight, but I'm too afraid to send it back that I might never receive my exchange. So... love this brand's design aesthetic, but I now only search it out on my re-sale sites.

Sourpuss - Sourpuss has great sales if you keep an eye on their site. Not only do they sell the Sourpuss brand, but they carry a lot of other awesome brands, too, so I check them out a lot when I'm comparing prices and availability of stuff: Iron Fist, Folter, Hell Bunny, Killstar, Kreepsville 666, Lucky 13, Steady Clothing, Collectif, and more!

Modcloth - ModCloth sells B.A.I.T. Footwear shoes, and if you can be patient, you can get them at sale prices and/or with a coupon code! Modcloth also sells cute dresses from Tatyana, Folter, and Retrolicious, but they will re-name your favorite designs, so you do have to be searching with a keen eye to spot the styles you're looking for. Also, Modcloth will sometimes sell 1-2 designs from a brand, not necessarily a whole line of clothes from a brand, so selection will be sporadic. This is why I always check ALL the sites when I'm shopping!

Tatyana - Formerly Bettie Page Clothing. If you are patient, there will occasionally be INSANE sales on this site. Like, dresses for $30-$40. Or, they have 40-50% off sales. I bought my coffin shaped purses from here. And I paid like $30 each. Yeah. Sweet!

Unique Vintage - There is a wide mix of stuff sold on this site. They have their own line, but they also carry pieces from a lot of other brands. In fact, I grabbed an Oblong Box Shop skirt from them on sale. They sell Collectif, Lindy Bop, Sourpuss, Bernie Dexter, Banned, Erstwilder, Hell Bunny, and a bunch more, so this is one of the sites I check to do price comparisons or watch for sales when there's a specific item that I have in mind.

Doll Me Up - This is another site like Unique Vintage; they carry a bunch of different brands and will often have sales, so if you have a specific piece in mind, this is a good place to check. I think I've gotten several of my cropped cardigans from them, as they had a good color selection. 

Cats Like Us - A smaller boutique site, but they have great customer service, so I like giving them my business! They sell a wide variety of pin-up/retro/rockabilly brands like Sourpuss and Hell Bunny items, so they are in my rotation of sites to check for prices and sales when I have a certain item on my wish list!

Lindy Bop/Amazon - Lindy Bop is a great retro brand, but they're international, so I strongly recommend buying from Amazon, as you won't need to worry about crazy shipping, and returns/exchanges are super simple. Mark your faves and put them in your wish list... I've seen Lindy Bop dresses go on sale on Amazon for as low as $25! Side note: go down a size if you order - I actually wear a size small in this brand, which is kind of unheard of; you'll thank me later when you don't need to send your too-big item back! 

Chocolaticas/Amazon - This is another brand to purchase via Amazon. They do not go on sale often, but after sucking it up and buying a pair (these specific black/white spectator ones), I'm so happy that I went for it. I really love them! Super comfy yet super cute flats: I wore them in last Saturday's OOTD post.

Voodoo Vixen - I love Voodoo Vixen dresses! I have the Katnis in green (now available in BLUE!) and the Connie (red dress with all over cat-eye glasses print!). They are international, so keep an eye out for sales. 

BAIT Footwear - this is kind of the "standard" for most pin-up style ladies. BAIT makes the two-tone spectator styles in all kinds of colors. I own 3-4 pairs from them, and I gotta say... they're a little painful to wear. I think there's quite the break-in period, which I'm not so patient for. I've been not wearing mine because I can't have hurting feet at the end of the day and THEN go to derby practice...! BAIT had a great sale on their site for Black Friday, but for the rest of the year, stalk some of these other sites listed above (especially ModCloth) to find random pairs on sale at various times.

So, those are my fave brands/stores to shop at, currently. They do change frequently, and I'm finding new ones all the time, do feel free to add your faves for me to check out in the comments below!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

...Sometimes, despite all of your searching, your favorite item is SOLD OUT or discontinued. What do you do? Well, I have a few options for you that have been fruitful for me in the past...

Etsy - Have it made! When I couldn't find a certain Lady of Guadalupe skirt, I went to etsy and happily discovered that I could have an even better version, custom made to fit me! Thanks Vintage Galeria! Seriously, if you're looking for a circle skirt in a specific fabric/pattern/theme, check etsy for your options first. It may be less expensive than you think!

eBay - Good old eBay is a great place to find girls who are selling their gently used but excellent condition wardrobe pieces. If you're patient and use followed searches to check periodically, you can snag an item at an incredible price! This is also a good place to check for discontinued items, although you might still pay full retail for it. Depends on how badly you want it!

Poshmark - I've raved about this site several times now, and I even sell my own items - which I use the credit to turn around and buy other items - it's like getting free stuff! If you want to try out Poshmark, we can both earn $5 credit to buy new stuff if you use my referral code: PMSHD when you sign up!

Depop - Depop is pretty much like Poshmark, but sellers have more control over shipping charges. They can add it into the sale price, or they can add it as a separate charge from the item. I shop at Depop, but I have not sold through them yet. I think it's just a preference thing, and since I started at Poshmark, I just kind of stayed there. Depop and Poshmark are both apps for your phone, as opposed to full websites, so it's better viewed on your mobile device.

Thrifting! - My absolute FAVORITE way to find awesome wardrobe items is by thrifting! I posted a whole explanation of my secrets as to how I thrift, what I look for, and which departments are my faves over on Pinup Persuasion back in December, so check that out for more info!

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

This was a long post, and I'm sure I've left some stores/brands/options out of this list! I didn't even really dig into accessories, now that I think of it... but let's continue the list! What OTHER places do you go to shop?

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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5.23.2016

The Secret to Getting Me to Buy Stuff from You...

Cemetery Dress
combat boots - Moo Shoes / socks - Gold Toe / tights - Anna Sui via Poshmark / dress - Sourpuss / cardigan - thrifted / collar clips - Creep Heart / sunglasses - Lindsay Lowe Eyewear

Ha! I love when I take outfit photos, knowing that I've worn something similar before, but thinking that I've mixed it up somehow... only to find out later that I'm basically wearing the exact same thing the second time around! Sheesh. Proof here. Not as original as I thought after all. Slightly (very slightly) different sweater, and added tights + boots.

Cemetery Dress

I guess I decided that I really like this dress with my Creep Heart cardigan clips and a black sweater. :)

I wore this to Iggy's pre-school graduation. I think sometimes when I wear my poofy skirts out in public I stand out too much. Sometimes literally, like I knew we'd have to sit on folding chairs in tight rows. A puffy skirt would have been kind of cumbersome. But the other kind of "stand out" is a thing, too. I wear it to work and people don't even flinch, but in public, sometimes I can feel the eyes, and it's just easier to try to dress more... hmm... I don't even know how to finish this sentence.

This outfit isn't blending in (at least, I don't think so?) or normal... I guess it's just less retro? More modern? The silhouette, at least. Maybe that's what I'm going for here.

Cemetery Dress

I bought these tights on Poshmark quite a while back. They're Anna Sui! And I really love the tape measure design going up the back of the legs, although I struggle to get them placed quite right. Or, you get them to look ok, but as soon as you have to go to the ladies room... ugh. But they're fun.

I think Anna Sui might be my favorite designer because she uses fun prints and designs like Betsey Johnson, but she still has a gothic/dark side to all of her work. Unfortunately, it's a lot harder to find pieces of hers (I think I own the entire Anna Sui for Target collection) at a price that I can afford. So I snag small items here and there. Accessories, like tights or my iPad case, seem to be easier to acquire. When Starbucks came out with the Anna Sui line, I think I bought almost every piece from there, too.

Also, I always loved the original Anna Sui fragrance, but that doesn't seem to be a thing anymore? Meh.

Cemetery Dress

Haven't worn my Moo Shoes combat boots in a bit. They used to be a daily thing, especially when I was having foot problems prior to my surgery. They even seem a tad too big now, but I can't bring myself to part with them or buy new ones. Breaking in boots is kind of a big deal.

Cemetery Dress

For my birthday, I bought myself these Ouija sunglasses from Lindsay Lowe Eyewear. Technically, they're called "fright board" glasses. But we all know better. If you want to sell me something, put a Ouija board on it, and I'll probably bite. I'm kind of sucker like that.

Lindsay Lowe also has rad yellow leopard-spotted-ish frames that I love, too, but I just couldn't pass up the Ouija ones.

Cemetery Dress

I actually snagged this pair from Angry Young, and Poor, because they are a Lindsay Lowe reseller and there was a 10% coupon. And YES, they glow in the dark!

I'm fascinated by the idea of getting these frames with prescription lenses, but after my gold glitter frames incident (they cost like 5x what I expected to get lenses put in, even though I just went to Target), I'll probably only stick to places where I can buy glasses with the Rx lenses already in them. Going the separate route is not cost-efficient for me. Whomp whomp.

Cemetery Dress

It's not exactly like I'm hurting for cool glasses, right?

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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5.21.2016

If You Like Evil Things, You're Going to Hell

Cthulhu Dress
dress - Pinup Girl Clothing / belt - thrifted / tights - Target / shoes - Chocolaticas by Hot Chocolate Designs (via Amazon)

I rarely buy online without some kind of discount, I buy used, or I wait for a sale most times. But there are some pieces that are just SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY - of which this Cthulu print by Pinup Girl Clothing was one of them. In fact, the only hard part was deciding which to buy: the dress, or the skirt version? (There's now even a peasant top with this print!)

I honestly was leaning towards the skirt at first. Because as I get "up there" in age, sometimes I feel silly for wearing dresses in a younger style like this. But then I thought, I WEAR WHAT I WANT, and I have a mint colored dress in this same style and the length is 100% perfect. So I knew if I bought this dress, I could wear it straight out of the package. If I bought the skirt, it would be additional time and money to get it hemmed shorter.

Also, I could technically wear a different top or sweater over this dress, act like it's a skirt, and call it a day.

Cthulhu Dress

Despite everything I said above, I actually still got 10% off due to the repeat customer code that PUG offers, which is nice. It's not a lot, but it's something! Not all companies offer that, so I totally appreciate it!

This print was designed by comic artist Evan Dorkin. Tiny Necronomicons! Baby Cthulhus! I die!

Cthulhu Dress

One of the funniest things about this print is when people at work are like "Oh your dress - it's so cute! What is that pattern?"

And I'm all "Oh! Little baby Cthulhus! Tiny horror monsters! It's awesome!"

And they're all "Ohhhhhhh..."

LOLOLOLOL Awkward. Why do I find that so amusing?

Maybe because I know a few people who would never "like" something in the vein of horror or demons or anything even with a hint of being slightly evil... why? Will you end up going to hell? Gasp! But this dress totally disguises it as something cute and it sort of tricks them and that makes me giggle.

Cthulhu Dress

Anyways... this dress came with a coordinating yellow belt that matches the trim and collar of this dress, but I like wide belts, and I think that this red thrifted one goes well with the whole look here.

I kept to my red theme with red lipstick and a red petticoat under the dress:

Cthulhu Dress

I could have stuck to my basic black petticoat, but sometimes I like to do a little color pop action.

Let's talk about my new shoes! I know I've been whining about needing new flat shoes, especially for summertime, so I decided to take a chance on these cute Mary Jane-style flats from Hot Chocolate Designs, aka Chocolaticas, in the black and white spectator design.

Cthulhu Dress

I have been eyeballing these shoes for a very long time. You can buy them via Amazon, but not too many other places. Also, I haven't been able to find them on sale anywhere either. I just sucked it up and bought them with fingers crossed that they'd be comfy, and with some hesitation as the reviews varied about sizing. I'm usually a size 8 in shoes, and these only come in whole sizes.

Not a problem, right? Well, so many reviews online said to size down if you were between sizes. SO I got really worried that a size 8 would be too big, but I also didn't want to buy a size 7 and have them too tight. Argh. I took a chance on the 8's, and honestly, they fit perfectly! Not too loose, and not too tight. I'm a big fan. And yes, they are comfy!

I've worn them with tights, and with those short footie socks (so it looks like no socks), and both ways were totally comfortable. Looks like I have a winner here. My only concern from this point forward is keeping the white clean: one important aspect of note is that the shoes are fabric, not leather or vinyl, and that the designs (in this case, the black-white spectator look) is just printed right onto the fabric. The black and white are not separate pieces. I wasn't sure how I felt about that at first, but I did know about it prior to purchasing, and I bought them anyways. In the end, I'm ok with it, and I think I'm going to really like these.

The bad part is figuring out which style I'll want to buy next!

Oh yeah, one last thing:

Cthulhu Dress

Hey, in my last gif post, I promised you more ridiculous gif action. So here ya go.

Have you tried Chocolaticas before? Even heard of them? What do you think?

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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5.20.2016

Dollar Store Aloe Plant “Terrarium”

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I really wanted a terarrium to display in my new living room…Unfortunately, I didn’t have $90 to drop on a pre-made one. SO, I used a little ingenuity and bought stuff to make my own! Originally, I was going to go full terrarium with this aloe plant, but when I got it home I liked how tall it was just growing out the top of the container. So I adjusted my plans a little. If you wanna go full terrarium, just follow this little tutorial and plant the aloe plant where the top of the leaves are sitting just inside the container.

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You will need (supply amounts will vary depending on the size of your container and number of plants):

  • Dirt – free…I dug it out of my garden 
  • Rocks (3 packages) - $1 each; dollar store 
  • 1 white sand packet - $1 dollar store 
  • A large clear container – thrift store find, $1.99 
  • Aloe plant - this was the most expensive at $9.99 from ACE Hardware…but it’s owned locally and I don’t mind paying more to help a local business owner! 
Total Investment = $16

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The Container: You can make a terrarium out of any clear glass container…Mason jars, wine glasses, fish bowls…Just use your imagination! I bet you can come up with a cheap alternative to the fancy schmancy geometric containers.

The Plant: I chose aloe because it has healing properties and is great for your skin. Plus, my grandma used to have one in her windowsill and I remember her using it for all kinds of things. If you’re not into aloe, you can use any type of plant that can be planted shallow (succulents…cacti…anything that isn’t a huge fan of water). Aloe likes to be in well-draining potting mix and doesn’t like to be in direct sunlight. So I chose some natural looking rocks to mix in with my dirt to help with drainage.

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What to do: The design will ultimately be dictated by how deep your container is. My container was tall and I ended up filling it almost completely, so I decided a few “natural” looking layers of sand and rock would look nice and help with drainage. I started out with a layer of white sand at the bottom of my container. I made sure it wasn’t perfectly straight across because I wanted it to look more natural, but if straight lines are your thing, go for it! I then proceeded to add a layer of rocks and then added a layer of dirt with a few rocks mixed in.

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I continued adding dirt in the center and then putting rocks around the outside to make it look like a rock layer and planted my aloe plant in the center. I filled the center with more dirt and filled the top with a layer of rocks and white sand. I placed a few nicely colored large rocks I picked up in the back yard on top of the white sand for a contrast and placed it on my record shelving unit in the living room!

 Until Next Time!
 ~ Steph @ Calamity Layne

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5.18.2016

Bento Report, V.16

This Bento Report post is a clear indication of how obsessed I get with eating the same thing over and over and over. Part of it is buying food for a week, and trying to "use it up," but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I also just get stuck in food ruts where I only want to eat one thing over and over again. Sometimes until I get sick of it!

Four out of six of these lunches have cream cheese stuffed peppers in it.

Bento Report, V.16 on Betties N Brimstone Blog

  1. Grape tomatoes. 
  2. Cream cheese stuffed peppers. This was an idea from my friend Beth that now I can't seem to stop eating. The cream cheese is chive and onion. 
  3. Fruit salad. I couldn't stop thinking about making fruit salad using only fruits that I like (aka get out of here, canteloupe!) - so watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, grapes, and mango.
  4. Salt shaker in the form of a chicken. For the tomatoes. 
  5. Smoked string cheese tucked into the utensil spot of my lunchbox. 
  6. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins. 
Have I talked about bento lunch utensils before? Forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but the Target dollar spot is my hands-down FAVORITE place to score small utensils for lunchtime that are also cute and inexpensive! I have Halloween sets, Valentine's Day sets, and even an Easter set with cute bunnies on it. If you look closely, you can see all three represented in the photos in this post. You could save your utensils for those specific holidays, but I just use them whenever. 

Another option for (free-ish!) lunch utensils are the plastic spoons from yogurt places, like Yogurtland or Red Mango. They are also cute and of a good size for lunch-packing. 


Bento Report, V.16 on Betties N Brimstone Blog

  1. More fruit salad.
  2. More smoked string cheese.
  3. More cream cheese stuffed peppers.
I got a new lunchbox! This cute little box is from Michael's. I had seen it a while ago (it's not online - I found it and a few others like it in-store in the gift-ish section, by all the Betsey Johnson stuff), but I waited and waited until it was 50% off to snag it! Yessss. I think the "Yay Lunch!" part really sold me. It's a smaller lunchbox, but string cheese is the perfect divider for sections. :)


Bento Report, V.16 on Betties N Brimstone Blog

  1. Leftover eggs with veggies from Sunday morning breakfast trip.
  2. Smoked string cheese.
  3. Chicken salt shaker.
  4. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
  5. Tomatoes. 

Bento Report, V.16 on Betties N Brimstone Blog

  1. Wheat thins.
  2. Honey goat cheese (to spread on wheat thins). Have you tried this stuff? It's amazing.
  3. Grape tomatoes.
  4. Chicken salt shaker.
  5. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
  6. A combination of two Tasty Bite brand Indian food pouches, left over from the previous night's dinner. 

Bento Report, V.16 on Betties N Brimstone Blog

  1. Hey, more cream cheese peppers. On this day, I made a combination of stuffed chive and onion cream cheese peppers, and stuffed salmon cream cheese peppers.
  2. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
  3. Tiny container filled with chili-lime salt, for my fruit salad. Oh geez this is so good. Do yourself a favor and try it!
  4. Craisins, smoked string cheese, and raw almonds. This was a separate snack for the morning. 
  5. Fruit salad, round 2: watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, and kiwi. 

Bento Report, V.16 on Betties N Brimstone Blog

  1. Mini Tupperware O'Vitamins.
  2. Cream cheese stuffed peppers.
  3. Pickle spears wrapped in faux lunchmeat (turkey, maybe?).
  4. Smoked string cheese.
  5. Red grapes.

So I know I harped on eating cream cheese stuffed peppers so many days, but that's not the only food I eat consistently... hello smoked string cheese and grape tomatoes! They're just so easy to pack!

*     *     *     *     *

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 (more here) 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 some of my bento boxes and accessories in this post here.


Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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5.16.2016

How to Use Color Wheel Smarts in Your Wardrobe

Leopard PUG Dress
dress - Pinup Girl Clothing via Poshmark / tights - Target / shoes - Dr Scholls via Zappos / belt - Pinup Girl Clothing / sweater - thrifted / necklace - Baccurelli / petticoat - Malco Modes via eBay

People will often ask me where I buy my clothes and how I find things online (I'm sure there's a detailed blog post on this exact topic coming soon...) but the truth is that I put a lot of effort into finding things. I check different websites frequently for specific searches. Like eBay, Poshmark, or Depop. There are certain brands or patterns I'll specifically be on the lookout for.

One example is the Isaac Mizrahi for Target dress. I kept searching those terms on a variety of different sites until I came across one in my size. If you stick with it long enough, you'll eventually likely find one. But it does take some effort and persistence.

Leopard PUG Dress

Sometimes my search is more casual. For example, I know that I love Pinup Girl Clothing, so I will search these terms on those same websites mentioned above... not looking for anything specific, but to see if something pops up that I don't own at a really good price. This dress today was one of those things.

I wasn't looking for the "Lana Cocktail Dress in Melting Leopard Canvas," but it appeared on Poshmark in my size at a steal of a price! So I jumped on it. I also did my own alterations on it by shortening the straps. It made the bodice wayyy too long. But the hem length was perfect! That part was awesome, because I am almost always having to have skirts hemmed if they are not custom made.

Leopard PUG Dress

The pattern on this dress is pretty interesting. It's leopard, but not leopard, hence the "melting leopard" description. I like leopard, but I also have a tendency to stay away from anything in the beige-peach-light pink range, because I worry that it's too close to my skin color and will wash me out. But looking at these photos, I think there's enough black in the pattern to make it ok.

Leopard PUG Dress

Another thing that I do that is extremely purposeful and thought out is what colors I choose to wear with dresses, particularly if it isn't an obvious "this-matches-this-color" type of arrangement. I can tell you that I chose the blue color specifically because of the orangey tones in the beige leopard background. Why? Well, former art teacher will tell you that blue and orange are complementary colors across from each other on the color wheel, and therefore, when placed next to each other, will create the strongest contrast. In plain English: they always look good together!

Complementary Color Wheel
The most common complementary color pairings are shown above, but any two colors across from each other on the color wheel are considered "complementary."

Leopard PUG Dress

Since I already had a blue sweater on, I went with my Baccurelli Lily Munster pendant (also seen in this post) to further carry the blue theme. If I wanted to do even more, I could have worn blue shoes. But comfort seems to be trumping all other shoe choices at present, since I will often have to go to derby practice after work in the evening, and it's not a good idea to show up to roller skate with your feet already hurting from the day.

Here's a closer look at the necklace (please forgive my lack of sharpness... I'm still working on my photography skills):

Leopard PUG Dress

Contrary to my all-purple OOTD post, I have found that recently I've been drawn to not matching colors, but instead creating these coordinating color themes, as shown in this post.

Do you have any favorite color pairings when putting together an outfit?

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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5.14.2016

I Like to Snoop in People's Purses. Do you?

What's In My Bag?

Hey, my latest vlog post is up on YouTube - I decided to shoot a "What's In My Bag?" video. I'm still trying to decide what types of videos to feature on the channel, so I'm experimenting with a variety of topics and ideas and such... feel free to give feedback here, as I turned off the comments feature on YouTube (because YouTube).

I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. :)

But if you have ideas or questions about anything there, please feel free to let me know here. Thanks!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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5.11.2016

What I Wore: Same Skirt, Different Look

Pink Cats Skirt OOTD
shirt - Melvins concert / cardigan - thrifted / belt - Pinup Girl Clothing / skirt - Heart of Haute / petticoat - Malco Modes via eBay / tights - Target / shoes - Dr Scholls via Zappos

So I seem to remember complaining in the not-so-distant-past about how it was getting too warm for tights and I was going to have to start wearing skirts and dresses without them. I was just getting used to it, too.

Well, scratch that. It got all stupid cold again. I hate Chicago weather. But by the time this posts, it'll probably be like 90 degrees and I'll be mad about that, too. Blargh.

Pink Cats Skirt OOTD

I have been practicing my short-sleeve t-shirt with circle skirt idea, first brought out this season here. I actually did it another time, too, but I got home and forgot to take outfit pics. You know those days where you get home and you're barely in the back door of the house before you're all like "OMG pajama pants!!!"

Yeah, it was kind of like that.

Pink Cats Skirt OOTD

If this skirt looks familiar to you, it's because it was one of the very first circle skirts I ever purchased. I wore it on the blog here, with a black scoop-neck top... so not thaaaaat much different from this day's look, although I think I've mastered the art of wearing the circle skirt a little bit better now.

Wide belt? Check. Petticoat? Check.

Pink Cats Skirt OOTD

This Melvins shirt is one of the oldest clothing items I own; I bought it at a show when my husband and I were dating. It was one of the pieces that went into a box when I gained weight, hoping to one day get back into. So that's a fun accomplishment. There's something about a pink octopus cartoon that makes me love this shirt so much.

Another thing that I love about this outfit (and circle skirts in general):

PPink Cats Skirt OOTD

I can't believe I haven't done a stupid gif like this before. LOL. Expect more in the future.

Do you have a favorite really old t-shirt that you've held on to for years and years?

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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5.09.2016

Monochromatic Mood: An All-Over Purple Day

PUG Purple Dress OOTD
dress - Pinup Girl Clothing / sweater - MAK via Doll Me Up / brooch - Luxulite / shoes - Dr Scholls via Zappos / belt - Pinup Girl Clothing / bracelet - FitBit / glasses - Coastal.com / lipstick - NYX Cosmetics

For those who follow the doings over at Pinup Girl Clothing, they recently re-released some of their most in-demand discontinued styles as proposed by their fans - #proposedPUG - and this dark purple "Jenny" dress was one of them. Not only was it re-released, but it was IMPROVED upon via the addition of pockets (yes, Jen, pockets!).

As usual, upon ordering and receiving my dress, I promptly had to have it hemmed a good two and a half inches or so up from the bottom (hence my never wearing any of the border print designs). There are two downsides to this: 1) it costs me additional $$$ for the dress when you have to factor in tailoring costs - and circle skirts are NOT cheap to do... and 2) my dress arrives in the mail and I'm all "Yay new dress!" and then I realize I can't wear it yet; probably not for another week due to said tailoring that has to be done still. Whomp whomp.

PUG Purple Dress OOTD

But it's here, I had it hemmed, and I really love it! I have this style (the "Jenny" dress) in a bunch of other colors and patterns: turquoise harlequin, purple harlequin, black, and Snow White print... Huh. Which I never did an OOTD on the Snow White print? Go figure. Soon.

PUG Purple Dress OOTD

So I went all monochromatic with the purple on this day, which is funny because it's not the first time I've worn all purple on the blog. Or purple lipstick for that matter, although I think that I did a much better job this time around. Still getting the hang of the lipstick thing. Thankfully, my brother's girlfriend picked me out some awesome liquid lipstick for my birthday which will hopefully help me along on my lipstick journey.

PUG Purple Dress OOTD

My Luxulite brooch is a Halloween design. But most of my Luxulite pieces are from the Halloween line. I bought a ridiculous amount. But they are my favorite, and I do wear them frequently, so I think they're justified.

Also, I have been using my trusty brooch reinforcement fix all of the time now. Things just seem more secure this way. Have you tried it?

PUG Purple Dress OOTD

Maybe it was the all-over purple, but whenever I wear matching glasses with my outfits I seem to get more "ooh you look nice today"s than other days. LOL. These purple glasses are one of my absolute favorite pair. Even as I'm typing this, I'm wearing my all-time favorite black version of these frames. For more details on my glasses, go here.

PUG Purple Dress OOTD

My lipstick shade today is a NYX Liquid Suede cream lipstick in Amethyst. These liquid lipsticks seem to have more staying power than regular lipsticks, although I have to be very very careful with the initial application. They have those doe-foot applicators, which mean that I either get a very light coat of color, or a freaking glob. I swear there's no in-between. Does anyone else have this problem? Just me? No?

PUG Purple Dress OOTD

I do like this lipstick very much, and bought it in like four other shades. So expect to see more soon.

Have you tried these lipsticks? Have any tips for those who are inept at using the doe-foot applicators? I am using a lipliner first...

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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5.08.2016

Happy Mother's Day!



I'm so proud to have gotten to be a part of this amazing film for my roller derby team The Chicago Outfit Roller Derby.

Happy Mother's Day! 

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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5.07.2016

My Middle School Experience, Summed Up in a Comic

Last summer, I was going back to grad school, and had to take a couple of “middle school” classes, despite having taught middle school for 13 years already. Yeah, thanks Illinois teacher licensure law… But anyways, as a project for one of the classes, I made a comic illustrating my middle school experience. I’m pretty proud of the result, and surprised that I never shared it here on the blog! Now seemed as good a time as any. I hand-drew the entire comic in pencil, then outlined and filled in the designs in black marker. I had an awesome time making this, and I’d love to do more comics like this.

I’m also including excerpts from a reflective essay that I wrote about middle school to accompany the comic pages below…

Middle School Comic

I graduated from MacArthur Middle School in Berkeley, Illinois in 1993. Our school mascot was the MacArthur “Redmen,” which was illustrated by a clip art image of an American Indian in a headdress - which I have also learned has since been changed to the less offensive “Generals.”

From the best of my memory, my school day consisted of a homeroom class, a two-period language arts class (I’m pretty sure one was called reading, and the other called language arts), one period each of science, social studies, math, physical education, and a rotating quarter-long elective class: music, visual arts, computers, and home economics. Somewhere in there was a lunch period, and I do remember that the grade levels were combined for lunch, which often provided for some interesting drama and love connections. Our school day seemed consistent in time to present day: beginning sometime between around 8:30, and ending around 3:30.

Middle School Comic

I spent all day every day with the same 25 (or so) other students, and we just traveled to different classrooms and different teachers for our different subjects. Our class makeup did not change for the entire school year. The only time we were with other classes was during physical education and during lunch.

I feel bad that I’m a middle school teacher and I do not remember a lot about my own teachers in middle school, other than the ones that I really liked, and the ones that were notoriously mean! I do remember that middle school was a time when I began to realize that there were certain teachers that would be more casual and “friend-like” with students, and others that seemed more distant, scary, and/or “stuffy.” I remember beginning to see favoritism between students and teachers, and trying to decipher the social cues that determined whether or not I could make myself become a “favorite.”

I remember being very aware of my appearance, and I like to joke to my current students that I had the “trifecta” of what was considered awful at the time: glasses, braces, and a bad perm! Trying to adjust to new expectations (showers in P.E.?!), and trying to fit in was a theme that started in 6th grade and kind of wove throughout my middle school experience.

Middle School Comic

The Hillside Mall (re-named West Point Center in 1992) was still in existence, and on a Friday night, we might be lucky enough to have a parent drop a group of us off to eat dinner at the food court, to browse the racks at Deb, take a stroll through Woolworths, or view the new releases at Rose Records. I dreamed of one day being cool enough to work at the record store in the mall.

Middle School Comic

I also remember middle school as being a very difficult time for me, socially. I remember spending a lot of time in the guidance counselor’s office. I liked getting to spend time talking to her, but I was embarrassed to have anyone find out that I was there. I suspect that I probably had some type of undiagnosed clinical depression, but my parents never sought out further help for me, and now as an adult, wish that I had at the time. But I was a kid - what did I know? I trusted my parents, and if they said that I was ok, who was I to question it?

Most of my social issues came from fellow females in middle school, and my own (lack of) self-confidence. I was a smart kid, and I’ve always been confident about being (book) smart, but that’s where it ended. I did not think very highly of myself from a physical/appearance standpoint, and during adolescence, when children are just discovering the opposite sex, this can be extremely detrimental. My self-confidence and awareness of my physical being declined horribly… and unfortunately, I also experienced the heartbreak of having an attractive, popular best friend who, upon deciding that I liked a boy, would promptly decide that she also liked him and would begin “dating” him (of course, in middle school, “dating” didn’t really mean much, except that you could call someone your girlfriend/boyfriend - you never actually went anywhere together).

*     *     *     *     *

Reading back over my reflection, it sure seems like middle school wasn’t that great. It’s interesting what we end up remembering from our experiences in childhood. I know that my high school experience wasn’t necessarily an improvement (see “Letter To My 16-Year Old Self”), but I also know that if I hadn’t had the experiences of my past, I would not be the person that I am today. And I’m pretty ok with that.

How was middle school for you? Do you remember much? What were the most significant experiences or relationships for you at that time?

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor


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