mom who works

the joys and challenges of being a working mom trying to find "balance"

Chanel Le Vernis Lilac Sky 210 nail polish July 31, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 3:19 pm
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Chanel Le Vernis Lilac Sky 210 nail polishI started on my Chanel nail journey only at the end of 2011, so there are a number of nail colors that I have missed out on, some of recent vintage and some of not-so-recent vintage. Of those, one of my more obtainable desires was Chanel Le Vernis Lilac Sky 210. I say more obtainable because it was still available in other countries at retail pricing and at a small markup over retail in the US, versus a shade like Jade, which is going for nearly $300 a pop on eBay.

Thanks to my Canadian polish fairy, I was able to pick up Lilac Sky along with my Les Jeans lemmings, and I was chomping at the bit to try it out.

Introduced in Spring 2006 as part of The Color World collection, this is a beautiful color, and is unique in my small, but growing, collection. At first it looks like it could be a scary frost, a la grandmas and the 1980s, but alas, this is a CHANEL frost, which is really more a pearlescent shimmer. I really hesitate to even call it a frost, but I feel I need to distinguish it from a straight-ahead creme finish.

This is a sister clearly to Chanel Le Vernis Pearl Drop, and also likely for the new Chanel Le Vernis Skyline (part of the new 2012 Bleu Illusion collection, not yet available in the US), from what I’ve seen of swatches online. All three seem to have that same, ivory shimmer undercurrent, highly visible in the bottle and more subtly so on the nail.

This is Chanel nail color the way I love it, an absolute PLEASURE to apply. Non-streaky, no pulling, no brush strokes. The color is a straight ahead lilac. I actually imagined how beautiful this would be in an Easter-themed skittles-type mani with Coco Blue, Pearl Drop, May and maybe Mimosa (Chanel’s yellow creme nail color).

I’m not aware of any direct dupes, and although there are plenty of lilac creme polishes I’m not aware of any with an undercurrent of pearlescent shimmer.

This is two coats over Barielle Pro Argan Oil Nail Fortifier and topped with Out the Door quick dry top coat. Chanel Le Vernis Lilac Sky 210 is not currently available in the US, but if you’re traveling to Canada, Europe or Asia, you should be able to readily find a bottle. It’s currently available for US $27 on IzzysBeautyShoppe, but since it’s no longer a current color in the US, stock, and pricing, may vary.


Summer colors – Chanel Le Vernis Orange Fizz 307 nail polish July 26, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 8:49 pm
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Chanel Le Vernis Orange Fizz 307I was thinking of putting on one of my new, untried polishes for my current mani, but this beautiful orange kept calling me from my polish drawer. It just seems so “summer” to me.

Chanel Le Vernis Orange Fizz 307 nail polish was part of the Cote d’Azur collection in Summer 2009. It’s a beautiful, mid-tone coral creme. No obvious, or hidden, shimmer in this one. At first I thought that it would be too similar to Le Vernis Distraction 549, but while there may be a slight similarity in undertone, Distraction sports a decidedly pink cast and a blue hidden shimmer. Very different in real life.

Much like Distraction, however, Orange Fizz was a bit of a pain to apply. Not impossible, mind you, but more like what I expect from China Glaze than what I expect  from Chanel. First thin coat was a bit streaky, and the second coat had to go on thicker in order to compensate. This is 2 coats of Orange Fizz over Chanel Base Protectrice and topped with Seche Vite quick dry top coat.

Chanel Le Vernis Orange Fizz 307 is available at Chanel counters and on for US $26.

My reviews are of products I purchased, and that I (usually) love. Other than affiliate links with Amazon, I receive no compensation, samples or other products of any kind.


Cuticle care July 24, 2012

Filed under: beauty,general — Deborah @ 1:54 pm
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Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter

Image courtesy of

I am obsessive about moisturizing my hands. Wait, let me take that back. I’m obsessive about washing my hands, and therefore obsessive about moisturizing them after I’ve washed them 8000 times.

All this washing, and then the cold weather we get in these parts, and then the blistering hot weather we get in these parts, and then of course the cooking, the cleaning, and the DISHES (even WITH gloves, it’s still DISHES). Well, let’s just say that without my obsession with moisturizing, my hands could compete with an elephant’s foot for most wrinkles.

I’ve always been a fan of cuticle oil, or at least a fan ever since I had a manicure once in San Francisco and the tech kept admonishing me that I wasn’t moisturizing my cuticles enough and I needed oil, oil, oil. So, even before my recent mani obsession I always had a couple of bottles of cuticle oil laying around the house and office.

But with all the oiling and the moisturizing I was doing,  I felt like my cuticles should look better. Like they should be non-existent. Like they should like as they do on so many of the photos of amazing nail bloggers I see all over. But they don’t.  I have big, honkin’, tough-azz cuticles. And still dry patches of skin around my very-short thumbnails. And that didn’t seem right.

So internet research later, and I found out that a lot of cuticle oil (read: the cheapy stuff you can pick up at Walgreens or Target which is the stuff I was using) often has petroleum-based oil in it, and petroleum-based oil can actually DRY OUT your skin (!) not moisturize it. The solution, of course, is using plant-based oils, which include argan oil, almond oil, coconut oil and olive oil, to name a few.

These plant-based oil cuticle oils, however, are EXPENSIVE. And believe it or not, notwithstanding my obsession with Chanel polish, I’m kindof a cheapskate. Meaning I don’t like to waste money or spend it unnecessarily (note, Chanel polish is NOT unnecessary, in fact, it is QUITE necessary to my happiness!). So rather than shell out megabucks for fancy cuticle oils, I did the Midwest cheapskate thing and started filling up my empty and near-empty bottles of store-bought cuticle oil with extra virgin olive oil. From my kitchen. That I cook with. And do you know what? That stuff is AMAZING! I’ve noticed a huge difference in just the few weeks I’ve made the switch, and now find I only have to do massive cuticle removal once per week instead of with every mani.

Sometimes though you need more than oil, so in those instances (or to “seal in” my oil) I turn to LUSH’s Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter. This is pricey (US $14.95 for a 1.5oz tub), but a small amount seems to go very far and boy is it buttery. It moisturizes like nobody’s business, smells fresh (duh, lemony), and really seems to take my moisture odyssey to the next level.

Extra virgin olive oil can be purchased at your local grocery store (prices vary). LUSH Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter is US $14.95 and available at LUSH counters and And my $0.02, well that’s absolutely free!


Chanel Le Vernis Frenzy 559 nail polish July 23, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 10:08 am
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Chanel Le Vernis Frenzy 559Up for consideration today is one of the nail polishes Chanel is introducing for its Fall 2012 “Les Essentiels de Chanel” collection, Frenzy 559.

Frenzy is an odd duck. In some lights, it looks grey, in others, a brownish-greyish taupe, in others a light violet and in still others a light violet greyish taupe. I haven’t decided yet if I like it on my skin tone or not. Par for the course, in some lights I really like it, and in others I’m afraid it gives me corpse hands.

Two things I will say about it though. First as per usual, this is an amazing Chanel formula, and second, it could be another staple office-appropriate color.

As for the formula, even though Frenzy is a light color, there was virtually no streaking on the first coat and beautiful opacity on the second (this is 2 coats, over Chanel Base Protectrice and topped with Out the Door top coat). I had always stayed away from light colors on my nails because of the “Essie effect” (or that’s what I call it anyway) – an inferior formula that streaks and pulls to high heaven and requires a nail tech license to get to look good. Chanel has made me not only reconsider, but fall in love, with lighter colors (such as Ballerina, Frisson or Beige) on nails. For that reason alone I pay the premium price for Chanel (in tune with my general philosophy of quality over quantity).

Secondly, the world needs more office-appropriate colors that go beyond pale pink. Many women have restrictions (real or perceived) in the nail colors they can wear to work, and Frenzy is definitely a neutral, but a neutral with an “edge.” That’s also what I love about Chanel, is they take what’s “accepted” and put just the tiniest little twist to it to make it just a small bit special. Frenzy 559 definitely falls into that category.

Chanel Le Vernis Frenzy 559 is available for US $26 at Chanel counters and at, as part of the Fall 2012 Les Essentiels de Chanel collection (along with Suspicious 561 and Vertigo 563).

My reviews are of products I purchased, and that I (usually) love. Other than affiliate links with Amazon, I receive no compensation, samples or other products of any kind.


Chanel Le Vernis Suspicious 561 nail polish July 20, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 6:30 pm
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Chanel Le Vernis Suspicious 561 nail polishI recently picked up all the Fall 2012 “Les Essentiels de Chanel” Le Vernis nail polish, which includes Suspicious 561, Vertigo 563 and Frenzy 559.

Chanel Le Vernis Suspicious 561 seemed the most “summery” of the three colors, more suited to the 100-degree weather we’ve been suffering through here in the Midwest than a greyish taupe (Frenzy) or a near-black grey/brown vamp (Vertigo). Plus, and this is an important plus for me, Suspicious goes well with my Diwali pedicure. Call me weird, but I actually like my pedi and mani to somewhat coordinate (note, not match usually), or at least not clash.

My strange predilections aside, I had has some initial misgivings about Suspicious when I first saw the promo shots of the fall nail collection from Chanel. It seemed at first that it would be a dead ringer for Tentation (although a creme not a jeeeellllyyy like Tentation is). And even though in some lights (weird, florescent or incandescent interior lighting I think) the bottles look similar in color, these two, while dark pink sisters, are definitely not twins.

It is difficult to show in photographs the intense blue/purple shimmer in Tentation, but trust me, it’s there. And that addition, plus the difference in formula between jelly and creme, makes for a significant difference between the two on the nail. In my opinion, they aren’t even close.

I’ve included for reference bottle shots and swatch stick shots of one other sister of Suspicious, which is April, part of the Spring 2012 Harmonie de Printemps collection (along with May and June). April, like Suspicious, is a browned, darkened pink, but while April is much more leaning to a very dark, almost vampy, berry color, Suspicious is more of a mid-toned berry color.

Suspicious seems intuitively to be a readily dupable color, and that was proven correct when Polish or did a comparison post of Suspicious, and showed tChanel Le Vernis April Suspicious Tentation bottleshat it was identical to Essie Plumberry. So for those of you who are good with Essie (I am NOT good with Essie, after many attempts to deal with her sub-par formula), you may want to pass on the Chanel. For me, formula and ease of application are almost as important as the color, which is why I will almost always go for the Chanel.

True to Chanel form, Suspicious applied like a dream, a really good dream in fact. It could have actually been a one-coater, if I didn’t mind a bit of visible nail line. I do mind VNL, however, so I used two coats. This application is two coats of Suspicious over Chanel Base Protectrice and topped with Poshe Super-Fast Drying Top Coat.

Chanel Le Vernis Suspicious 561 nail polish is available at for US $26 and also at Chanel counters worldwide.

My reviews are of products I purchased, and that I (usually) love. Other than affiliate links with Amazon, I receive no compensation, samples or other products of any kind.

April Suspicious Tentation swatch sticks

Chanel Le Vernis April (left), Chanel Le Vernis Suspicious (middle), Chanel Le Vernis Tentation (right)


*Experiment* of the day – Chanel nail art July 19, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 10:57 am
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Chanel nail art experiment Diwali DragonI am not a fan of much nail art – I can appreciate the artistry and skill that goes into a lot of what’s seen on the web, but I don’t have the time, patience, skill or office environment that would allow me to try it myself.

A month or so ago, Cafe Makeup took photos of the windows at the Chanel Rue Cambon boutique in Paris highlighting the Bombay Express de Chanel collection for the summer. I jumped all over the nail art that Chanel showed there, which was a platinum gold Diwali Le Vernis base topped with a true red diagonal. Unknown what the red is, but I had a hunch that the one-coat beauty that is Dragon Le Vernis would work beautifully here.

As my Diwali manicure needed to be removed anyway, I thought I would take a few minutes and try my hand at the Bombay nail art. This literally was just one coat of Dragon Le Vernis drawn freehand over two coats of Diwali as the gold base. I am sure you could get a much sharper, nicer edge if you used tape. I just wanted to do a quick test to see how it looked.

I really like it, and I am definitely going to do this for a special event or the holidays. I think when I do it again I’ll leave more of the gold showing. For my office, it’s a bit too *flash,* but I think it’s a classic yet unique way to spice up an ordinary manicure.


Chanel Le Vernis Diwali nail polish July 17, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 8:44 am
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Chanel Le Vernis Diwali

Notwithstanding my craptastic application as noted on the photo at right (WTH happened to my ring finger?? And what happened to the cleanup on my index? This is what I get for over-40 eyesight!), Chanel Le Vernis Diwali nail polish is a nail newbie’s metallic foil polish DREAM.

I know, I know, I know that there are 8,000 dupes of Chanel polishes, yet I keep coming back to Chanel because (1) they’re usually, not always, but usually, the first with a beautiful, unique color, and (2) their formula is AWESOME. Diwali is no exception.

You would expect a metallic foil like Diwali to be difficult to manage, but with Chanel Le Vernis, it’s just like an ordinary, day-in-the-park creme in terms of application. Not too thin, not too thick. Just glides on and perfectly coats the nail. I could have actually gotten away with one coat, but did two because that’s just what I do (with the exception of Dragon, but more on that in a different post).

I’ve found Diwali to be a very wearable gold metallic, with significant silver in it to not make it too yellow. Put up next to Chanel Le Vernis Delight, it’s definitely the pale gold sister to Delight’s bronzy, coppery, red-headed gold first cousin. I’m not big on bling on my nails, but Diwali (and Delight) are just perfect glowy neutrals for the summer heat.

Finally, my DH, who barely tolerates my nail polish habit, (1) noticed my nails, and (2) said “they look like Cleopatra,” which to him, is a good thing. So GO Diwali!

Chanel Le Vernis Diwali is a limited edition nail polish as part of the Bombay Express de Chanel collection, and is available at select Chanel boutiques and for a limited time for US$30 at

My reviews are of products I purchased, and that I (usually) love. Other than affiliate links with Amazon, I receive no compensation, samples or other products of any kind.