Ah, nothing like amazing, super sparkly nails. But what a pain in the ass to remove. I tested out Elmer's Glue as a base coat to see if it made removal any easier. Instead of spending forever with remover and cotton balls that end up gunked up in glitter, the glue base coat is supposed to peel right off the nails.

I started by using an empty top coat nail polish bottle and filling it with just Elmer's Glue, no water to dilute it or anything. It's not as thick as I thought when I applied it. For application, I simply used it as I would any base coat but a little thicker. That didn't work out too well because it pooled up on the sides of my nails and I had to go back to take some off. There was also some areas where the glue wouldn't stick at all and I had to go over several times. I waited until it was clear before I used any nail polish, which took a really long time to completely dry.

My glitter nail polish of choice was L.A. Girl Glitter Addict in Inspire, it has multi-sized glitter in a pink-ish, almost rose gold color. I used three coats, which was about 1/3 of the bottle. I forgot how much my nails needed of glitter polish! It dried surprisingly fast and I topped it off with NYC in Grand Central Station, my new favorite quick dry top coat - it's just under two dollars and I can't recommend it enough. The manicure held up well over several days. One of my nails, the shortest one on my right hand, had some peeling but other than that, it wasn't any different than without the glue base coat.

Earlier today, I removed the nail polish by peeling it off and using some remover. It wasn't easy. My right hand has nails with more cracks and breaks since I'm right handed, so I use a little nail glue to keep them together. My left index finger and thumb nails have also been glued back together. I think the Elmer's Glue bonded with it more than the nail so any part with the nail glue had to be crumbled off most of it. I used a wooden cuticle tool and an x-acto knife for the tough spots. Any part of the nail polish that was slightly wrapped around the nail also posed a problem since there wasn't the glue underneath it. I went around with remover on a q-tip before I attempted to peel it.

Once I had a piece to peel off, I went around the perimeter of the nail then worked into the middle so I wouldn't rip my nail off. It was actually easier on my longest nails. You can see they mostly came off in one piece in that last shot. The peels are pretty creepy because they feel almost exactly like my nails, as if I had ripped them off. I had a tiny amount of glue left on my nails, easily removed with water or remover.

That doesn't sound too bad now that I've written it out, but the worst part was how dry it made my nails and stripped off parts during removal. It makes me sad. My natural nails were very smooth and shiny, but now they have this weird texture in areas. Ugh. Just for that, it's really not worth it. I've tried buffing, and will continue to, but it isn't the same. I would much rather spend the time to use remover than to do this again because I know it won't mess up my nails. Sigh.


My lips have been a mess lately. After my usual EOS lip balm rolled off my desk for the millionth time, I decided to give it up because of the fussy packaging and try something new. I tried three products: Burt's Bees lip balm, Zum Kiss shea butter lip balm, and Sugar lip treatment. Burt's Bees lip balm has to be the worst product I've had the misfortune of putting on my lips, even worse than the painfully drying Hourglass liquid lipstick and NARS velvet matte lip pencil. At least those didn't burn my lips and give me dry patches in the corners of my mouth. It was so bad that it hurt to open my mouth and eat. The Zum Kiss lip balm was greasy and chunky and the Sugar lip treatment was like vaseline that never soaked into my lips. On top of all that, I have allergies and was over-exfoliating and biting my poor lips because the products were so irritating.

Now I'm at day two or three back to using EOS and my lips are already better and the dry patches are almost healed. I can deal with the spherical shape if it means my lips will be fine.

Even with all that going on, I still wore lipstick which surprisingly helped. Wet n Wild Megalast Lipstick in Cherry Bomb has been my favorite. It's a deep, almost bloody red, however it leans a little more pink-ish on me to be a true blood red. It's usually semi-matte and more opaque, but I had EOS lip balm mixed in here.

On my nails, I used Elmer's Glue as a base coat for an all glitter look with L.A. Girl nail polish in Inspire. Since my nails are longer, it takes even more time to remove glitter and I wanted to try a glue base coat which supposedly enables you to peel off your nail polish. I'm not sure if that works yet since I haven't tried taking it off, but I'll probably have a post about it soon!

Urban Decay Primer Potion
Coastal Scents Hot Pots in Brownstone, Wild Raisin, and Pomegranate Red
Sugarpill pressed eyeshadow in Bulletproof
L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black

Wet n Wild Megalast Lipstick in Cherry Bomb

Elmer's Glue (base coat)
L.A. Girl Glitter Addict in Inspire
NYC in Grand Central Station (top coat)

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garter SWANclothing | pleated dress, sweater Forever 21 | leather and wool turtleneck thrifted/vintage | socks off brand | undies Aerie

I was so excited to be offered to shoot garters by Tara Bethune-Leamen and her shop SWANclothing! I crossed paths with her on Instagram quite a while ago and I always silently sob over the beauty of her creations and her and just everything she posts. It was a little surreal for me to see the garters in person and have them on my legs. They're stunning and the quality is amazing. Here, I'm wearing the Double Rose garter in gold plated steel from the Floralis Brutalis line. I was also sent the Rosebud garters in black and took a few photos, but I don't feel like my photos or outfit did them justice and I'll be shooting them another time soon.

My legs seem to be slightly overwhelmed by the garters since I'm so short (5'3") and a bit flabby, so it's a challenge - one that I gladly welcome - to style them. For my look with the maxi dress, I went with the simple approach of the garter being hidden away but revealed if I lift up the skirt. The dress is also partly sheer which didn't translate into photos. When I shoot the Rosebud ones, I think I'll have a similar concept but maybe in a way that's easier to show off the garters without flashing my undies. And regarding the garter-over-the-eye shot, I had to do it, haha! Plus, it shows the inside part of the piece, which has the lovely swan logo in it.

As for wearing them, socks are super important. I didn't have any luck finding actual over the knee socks in person so I took advice from Tara to cut tights/nylons (click for her tutorial). I tried two different ones, plain black tights and gold lurex tights, which I used for this shoot and turned black. I found the lurex ones to stay up much better. I was running and jumping around and they still stayed up relatively well. I'm still on the hunt for more, I'm addicted to socks right now!

For my photos, I was inspired by Helmut Newton and Hans Bellmer since their work is quite leggy. I'm not used to showing off my legs, so I tried to emulate their work for some shots. In one of the other photos, I really liked the gold reflecting on my skin and how it reminds me of a brand in a way. I also wanted to do the impressions from the garter so I made it really tight and sat in a weird position. I don't remember having any marks from actual wear, it was only while there was pressure applied while sitting.

Urban Decay Primer Potion
Coastal Scents Hot Pots in Brownstone and Violetta
Darling Girl Cosmetics in Obviously a Wig and Cupid's Bow
Sleek Supreme palette in Wah Wah White
L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black

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coat French Connection | fur collar vintage/secondhand | top Forever 21 | jeans BDG | boots Maison Martin Margiela

I have a minimum of one fur or leather item for every outfit now and I think I have a bit of a Game of Thrones vibe going on. I don't care for the show too much (though I have watched it all), but they do have some awesome furs. I've become addicted to expanding my collection of vintage and secondhand pieces so I've accumulated quite a bit. One of my latest favorites is this fur collar that my mom found for around $7.99. It's the most gorgeous color - a reddish brown and black with subtle violet and mauve tones. I'm not sure what kind of fur it is. I'm familiar with the texture of most common furs but this one is a little unusual for me and I need to look into it more.

For makeup, I've had bad allergies and kept my eyes to a minimum: no mascara on my top lashes, a sheer coat of lip gloss on my lids for shine, some eyeshadow under and around my eyes, and mascara for my bottom lashes. My lips in the last few photos were inspired by makeup worn by Bianca Casady in a photo I came across a few weeks ago. I've been wanting to recreate it and I'm really happy with how it turned out. It took like two minutes. I always forget how much better things can look when rushed. There are more genuine imperfections, rather than ones that I try to take the time and perfect (yes, trying to perfect things to look imperfect.) I used a black lip liner by NYX, fake blood, and red food coloring. Note to self: I need to stop being such a lazy ass and do more fun/experimental looks.

Urban Decay Primer Potion
Coastal Scents Hot Pots in Brownstone and Burnished Brunette
Smashbox lipgloss in Crystal
L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black

Dior Extreme Lipstick in Black Tie
NYX lip pencil in Black Berry

Orly Top 2 Bottom
Revlon in China Flower


Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Shameless | Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid Lipstick in Brazen Berry | OCC Lip Tar in Hoochie | Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Lavender Voltage | OCC Lip Tar in Belladonna | Maybelline Color Elixir Lip Color in Vision in Violet | Illamasqua Lipstick in Kontrol

I didn't realize I had so little lip colors in fuchsia and violet, especially since three were recent buys. Drugstore brands have been coming out with awesome lip products lately, by the way. I'm obsessed. I like the color and texture range among them, which has been such an improvement. There are usually too many muddy pinks, but darker and more vivid shades have been included in new lines. It's exciting. I think violet-y, fuchsia colors are gaining some popularity everywhere though, maybe with the help of MAC's re-promote of Heroine a few months ago. There's also By Starlight by Melt Cosmetics on a smaller level, which is always sold out. It looks lovely in the official photos, but from swatches I've seen online, it looks more like Heroine than it does a vivid yet deep, true purple color.

Anyway, I'll talk about the products I do have! Revlon has two new lines of balms, Lacquer and Matte, which seem more like lipsticks to me. I tried Shameless, a medium eggplant shade with a matte finish. It's the odd one out of this set and I thought it might be close to a few of my berry lip colors but nope. The formula is a little finicky, more so than other matte products. It accentuates lines and dry lips, which isn't uncommon among similar formulas, but it's also streaky and won't stick to the softer part of my bottom lip where my lips meet. It's odd. I've tried blotting, using layers, lip balm, no lip balm, and lip liner. Lip liner has the best result. Not perfect, but wearable. I really wish this would work for me since the color's gorgeous and it's comfortable to wear. I should add that it has a strong peppermint smell and slight tingle within the first few minutes of wear, so some may not like this. However, I have sensitive lips and usually can't wear lip products that tingle, for example: Buxom lip gloss burns, but I've had no issues wearing this.

Maybelline's Color Sensational Lipsticks typically have around 80% opacity and a creamy finish with slightly greasy feel while OCC's Matte Lip Tars are usually completely opaque and have a semi-matte finish. I've reviewed these formulas many, many times before and those descriptions hold true for these, except Maybelline's Lavender Voltage. Maybelline's Brazen Berry lipstick and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics' Hoochie lip tar are pretty close neon fuchsia colors, with Brazen Berry being slightly sheerer and pinker. When I wear Hoochie, I like to carry Brazen Berry with me in case I need to touch up, even if the finishes are different. Maybelline's Lavender Voltage is a limited edition shade for Fall 2013 and it's a vivid pink-ish violet color. It needs a few more swipes than the usual Color Sensational lipstick to look opaque and can look a tad streaky until it sets.

Now, onto the more true violet and blue leaning colors. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics' Belladonna lip tar is a vivid violet shade and one of the best shades of lip tar they've offered. Unfortunately, it's been discontinued. Maybelline has a new line called Color Elixir with pigmented glosses. They look like they could be similar to YSL glossy stains but they're not at all close formula-wise. I have Vision in Violet, a vivid violet gloss. It's not a dupe for Belladonna, but the color is very close, maybe somewhat brighter actually. It also needs at least two layers to achieve full opacity. I used about one and a half layers in the swatch. Regarding the formula, it's kind of glossy, creamy, and goopy (not in a bad way) and I can move my lips around with it still looking good. It feels a little drying for some reason and it's most comfortable with a balm underneath. The smell is very odd and strong, but it doesn't bother me too much. Another odd color out is Illamasqua's Kontrol lipstick, which is a dark, bluish violet. It has a matte finish yet feels creamy and comfortable. It's one of the most unique colors in my lip color collection, although there may be dupes out there. I've never come across any, though the formula is hard to beat anyway.



Orly has quickly become one of my favorite nail polish brands of the moment, although I really need to try more from them. The formula is perfect with what I've tried so far. Orly's Frolic is a neon fuchsia creme color. Not quite pink and not quite violet. It's like a nail polish version of OCC's Hoochie lip tar. I also discovered it's among the most vivid colors in my collection under black light. It's amazing. I'm wearing two coats of Frolic with American Apparel's Matte Top Coat*.

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Lauren Thurman-King

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