mom who works

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

Red jellyiscousness – Chanel Le Vernis Pirate 08 nail polish August 29, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 10:23 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Chanel Le Vernis Pirate 08 nail polishPrior to this year, I had no idea what a “jelly” nail polish was.

Then I tried Chanel Le Vernis Tentation 541 and I was like, “oooohhh, THAT’s what a jelly nail polish is,” and I was instantly hooked.

And the other thing I’m hooked on? Red nail polish. I have always, always loved short red nails. In fact, of my original “collection” of 8 nail polishes, 4 were pale pink neutrals and the remaining 4 were varying shades of red. Prior to my discovery of quick dry top coat, however, it made a rare appearance on my fingers because of the maintenance issues involved. I do NOT love chipped red nail polish (even though I realize I am very uncool for saying that because even the New York Times has said chipped nail polish is “in” – yuck).

Enter Chanel Le Vernis Pirate 08. I almost didn’t buy this beauty, because I also have Chanel Le Vernis Dragon 475 which is nearly identical in color to Pirate. But all you nail-heads know that “nearly” is not “the same,” and while in the bottle it’s hard to tell the two apart, on the nails it’s something very different. Why, you ask? Well, because Pirate is a JELLY. And jellies, well, jellies are squishy, and juicy, and look very different on the nail than a straight ahead creme.

Introduced as part of the Rouge Allure Velvet collection in 2011 along with Rose Exuberant 519, Rose Cache 521 and Top Coat Velvet Mat Top Coat, Pirate is just amazing. The color, the formula, the application. Love, love, love, love, LOVE. If I wasn’t concerned about making sure I get through wearing my entire collection of polishes at least once, I would probably wear Pirate every day. It’s that good.

Chanel Le Vernis Pirate 08 is available at Chanel counters, and for US $26 on

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.


Tiffany on the nails – Chanel Le Vernis Nouvelle Vague 527 nail polish August 25, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 8:29 am
Tags: , , , ,

Chanel Le Vernis Nouvelle Vague 527 nail polish*Le sigh.*

Did you ever have something that you really, really wanted, but was seemingly unobtainable?

Did you ever then get that unobtainable thing only to find that it couldn’t possibly meet your expectations?

Chanel Le Vernis Nouvelle Vague 527 is NOT that. While the formula is a bit of a pain to apply, the color, oh the COLOR of this polish just makes me swoon.

And I am really not a big fangirl of “non-traditional” nail colors. I have a few blues, a few greens, but mostly my collection consists of neutrals, pinks, reds and vamps.

Introduced as part of the Les Pop-up de Chanel collection in Summer 2010 with Riviera 537 and Mistral 517, Nouvelle Vague was an instant hit and near instant sell-out. Which meant of course that by the time I got interested in Chanel polishes they were only available if you were willing to shell out crazy money, or, if you were very, very patient. And patient I was.

I personally think it’s crazy enough to spend US $26+ on nail polish, and I also think it’s certifiable to spend into the hundreds for very rare colors like Jade. But Nouvelle Vague was one of the few of Chanel’s discontinued polishes that I had on my wish list. I set myself a limit of what I would spend, and saw bottle after bottle come up on eBay for nearly twice that. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would likely never own it.

Then one day, the same day in fact I found the other polish on my short wish list, Chanel Le Vernis Steel, I happened upon a bottle that, when factoring in shipping, was exactly at the limit I set myself to spend. And I even negotiated with the seller to include shipping in the price, so it dropped to US $5 below (ever the lawyer, I know). I couldn’t believe it. I honestly thought I’d never get a bottle. And then, a few weeks later, here it is.

And it is beautiful. The color of a Tiffany box, it is much more flattering, in my opinion, than the other light blue in my collection, Chanel Le Vernis Coco Blue, which can have a tendency on me at least to look a bit chalky. I wore silver earrings with a tiny turquoise bead in them on the day I took this photo, and the nails matched exactly. Not quite blue, not quite green, it is just a lovely color that looks beautiful and really “pops” when wearing neutrals like beige and black (Mlle. Chanel would be proud).

The formula is a bit more challenging than I am used to with Chanel. I had to be much more careful with application to get good coverage in 2 coats – there was some pulling and a few bare spots I had to touch up. Kind of like the picky China Glaze polishes I’ve tried.  That seems to be the case with many of blues and greens I’m noticing, regardless of brand. Maybe something in the pigment contributes to these wonky formulas. Mind you, it’s not terrible, but I am just used to a standard of formula with Chanel that when I don’t get it, I pout a bit.

But then again, the COLOR makes up for it all. This is 2 coats of Chanel Le Vernis Nouvelle Vague 527 over Chanel Base Protectrice and topped with Seche Vite quick dry top coat. A perfect way to close out summer.


Chanel Le Vernis Graphite 529 nail polish August 23, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 10:28 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Chanel Le Vernis Graphite 529 nail polishI’m an organized sort of person, and with my newfound nail hobby, I found that as soon as I got over about 20 polishes I needed a spreadsheet to keep track of them. As part of that project, I am trying to go through and get photos of every polish I have, so I can link to the swatch on the spreadsheet.

So while I’ve had and worn Chanel Le Vernis Graphite 529 for awhile, it was calling to me as summer is nearing the end and I’m starting to tire of pastels, corals and brights. Graphite fit the bill – not too vampy, but definitely not “summer” either. Plus as an added bonus, I hadn’t photographed it yet either!

Introduced in Fall 2011 as part of the Illusions d’Ombres collection (along with Peridot 531 and Quartz 525) I think it’s the most wearable of the three colors. Regardless of all the hoo-ha about Peridot, it’s a weird color, in my honest opinion, and only looks good on me in certain light and while wearing certain color clothes. But that’s for another post, when it’s Peridot’s turn in front of the camera.

As for Graphite, it truly looks like a very shiny bit of graphite (duh), and I know this because my daughter has some in her rock collection. It’s a dark silver metallic that looks great with everything, and in every season. It even looks especially fetching on toes (but don’t worry, I won’t subject you to photos of my feet!).

Much like Diwali and Delight, Graphite is a metallic that Chanel does very, very well. It doesn’t have that overwhelmingly gritty texture that you can get with full-on metallics, and the application is spot-on perfect. Not too thick, not too thin, it covers beautifully in two coats.

Chanel Le Vernis Graphite 529 is US $26 and is available at Chanel boutiques and on

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.


Office-bound: Butter London Yummy Mummy nail polish August 8, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 6:21 pm
Tags: , , ,

Butter London Yummy MummyI hadn’t yet tried any Butter London nail polish, but was curious as I had heard good things about them. Then Nordstrom ran their buy-2-get-1 sale on Butter London, so I figured it was a great time to give them a whirl. I picked up Knackered, All Hail the Queen and this beauty, Yummy Mummy.

First off, the formula. You know how important it is to me that a polish (especially one that’s a high-end polish) have a great formula. This Butter London Yummy Mummy has an amazing formula. As good as the best of Chanel – even though the color is light there was no streaking, no pulling, no pooling at the cuticles. Easy peasy, as the Brits say!

Second, the color. Yummy Mummy is a nice, mid-toned taupe. Perfect for the office, but with a slight edge, which is really my sweet spot. What makes it special is a veining of silver shimmer throughout. It adds incredible shine and depth that takes this beyond an ordinary creme but doesn’t stray into glitter territory. I don’t have any dupes – I’ve pulled a few that are similar in tone, including Chanel Frenzy, Butter London All Hail the Queen, China Glaze Fast Track and Chanel Beige. These are all different enough that it’s certainly worth having Yummy Mummy in addition to all these others.

This is two coats over Barielle Ridge Filling base coat and topped with Poshe top coat. Work appropriate with an edge, indeed!

Butter London Yummy Mummy is US$14 and is available widely, including at Sephora, Nordstrom, and of course,

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 Steel nail polish August 6, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 10:52 am
Tags: , , ,

Chanel Le Vernis Steel nail polishJust by happenstance I was browsing the internet and saw this bottle of Chanel Le Vernis Steel nail polish for sale for a reasonable price (less than retail). There aren’t a lot of discontinued Chanel polishes that I am really lusting after, just a few, but Steel was one of them (so was Nouvelle Vague, and I was able to snag that one at a great price as well – over retail, natch, but far below what it’s selling for on eBay!).

Released as part of the SoHo Collection in Fall 2010 along with Strong, a dark vampy burgundy, Chanel Le Vernis Steel is a beautiful dark charcoal grey polish with a vein of silver shimmer that’s highly visible in the bottle but the classic Chanel “hidden” shimmer on the nail.

In certain lights Steel most definitely looks black, in others it looks charcoal grey. It’s a very versatile and office appropriate color – a dark neutral that doesn’t look goth. The hidden shimmer keeps it interesting and provides depth. I’ve included a comparison swatch below with some other dark polishes I have – again, how these play in the light is everything. In direct sunlight they appear similar, in shaded light they are less so. Chanel Black Satin is just a straight ahead smooth black creme with no hidden shimmer. China Glaze Smoke & Ashes is a black creme with a more prevalent green micro glitter and Chanel Vertigo is a brown-black with a red shimmer.

Steel comparison swatches

From left: Chanel Black Satin, China Glaze Smoke & Ashes, Chanel Steel, Chanel Vertigo

What’s perhaps most remarkable about Steel is the formula. Classic Chanel the way I like it – smooth as silk, no pulling or streaking – in fact, this application is one coat. I could have applied two coats as I normally do, but when I saw how it looked with just one I decided to go for it. I used Barielle Pro Argan Nail Fortifier for the base coat and Seche Vite for the top coat (as you can tell by the shrinkage on my pinky!).

In all, I am so glad I was patient and was able to snap this up when it became available. This will definitely become a staple in my office nail rotation.

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.


God bless the amazing sales associate… August 2, 2012

Filed under: general — Deborah @ 5:45 pm
Tags: , ,
Chanel No 18

Image courtesy of

.. and curse the ridiculous Chanel corporate policy!

A bit of background. I have been lusting after some of the Les Exclusifs de Chanel fragrances for about a month now, ever since I first heard about them on the web site.

Normally, I would get myself over to my local Chanel counter and get some samples first, because I like to wear a fragrance for awhile before I decide if I like it or not. Problem with Les Exclusifs is that they are “les exclusif” and only available at SELECT Chanel boutiques. My nearest Chanel boutique that carries them is about 150 miles away.

No problem, I thought, I’ll just do what I always do in these situations. Place a quick phone call, get the samples shipped up to me, then decide and order the fragrance I want. I was foiled, however, by a ridiculous Chanel corporate policy.

Apparently, the Chanel boutique cannot mail ANYTHING (not even samples of products) if you have not first purchased physically at a Chanel boutique. “But, but …” I replied, “I have purchased on, and I am planning on purchasing one of these fragrances, and the nearest boutique is 150 miles away from me.” No matter, the SEVERAL different Chanel boutiques I called said (including Chicago and 2 in New York), corporate policy is we can’t mail you anything if you aren’t in our “system.” But you can’t get into the system until you actually TRAVEL across country to a Chanel boutique, walk in, and buy something.

Never in my life has a company made it so hard for me to give them my hard-earned cash.

It’s ludicrous, really, and leaves out, oh, I don’t know, 90% of the US population, or at least the population of the upper Midwest.  It’s 2012 people! I would love to have been a fly on the wall for those meetings at Chanel headquarters. What were they thinking? “We don’t actually have to sell anything. Oh no, that’s far too bourgeoisie. No, let’s make it so exclusive, that no one can actually buy the products we are purporting to sell.”

To be fair, Chanel offers the various Les Exclusifs eau de toilette on their web site for sale. But who is going to order a fragrance they’ve never even smelled? I don’t know about you, but about 90% of all fragrances I smell I think are very unappealing for one reason or another. The odds were not in my favor.

Undaunted, however, I gave one more Chanel boutique a try, the one in Las Vegas. Believe it or not, my thought process was that the economy is down, especially in Vegas, and they may actually appreciate a real live customer who actually wants to spend money with them, so they may find a way to help me out here. And boy was I lucky I got Michelle on the other line. At first she told me the same information I heard from all the other sales associates at all the other boutiques. But she took my number anyway, and said she would talk to her management to see if there isn’t anything she could do. I really didn’t ever expect to hear from her again. But much to my GREAT surprise, she called me about 15 minutes later and found out she had a solution – a way for me to provide them the information they needed to get me into the system and still send me the samples I needed.

And you can believe that each and every Chanel product I purchase in the future I will be ordering directly from Michelle at the Chanel boutique in Las Vegas. And that my friends, is customer service!


Chanel Le Vernis Black Pearl 513 nail polish August 1, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 10:40 am
Tags: , , , ,

Chanel Le Vernis Black Pearl 513 nail polish swatchI love, love, love the color of Chanel Le Vernis Black Pearl 513 nail polish. I mean, I really, really, love it. It is easily one of my favorite nail colors of all time, and that’s saying a lot because I love a lot of colors.

Introduced in 2011 as part of the Les Perles de Chanel collection (along with Pearl Drop 511 and Peche Nacree 515), it works so well as a neutral, yet it is so very interesting, shifting depending on the light from a mid-toned black to a steel grey to a darkened teal. And teal is the definite undertone, but it is an undertone. I think the color really does reflect that of a black pearl.

Chanel actually recommended Pearl Drop as a pedicure and Black Pearl as a manicure, and that’s exactly what I did. A sophisticated black and white combo.

Gushing about the color aside, however, Black Pearl is a pain to apply. This is not the impeccable formula I’ve come to expect from Chanel Le Vernis. There was a ton of dragging and pulling, and in some nails I had to spot apply a third coat just to fix the “holes.” I apply my polish pretty much the same way, regardless of color, so I blame the polish. I don’t have time to babysit a polish that wants to be difficult. Let’s just say Black Pearl is darn lucky that it is such an amazing color, or she’d get tossed into the swap or sell bin.

Chanel Le Vernis Black Pearl 513 is on the discontinued list at, for US $26, so you should pick up a bottle sooner rather than later. And you should pick up a bottle, if for no other reason that the color is beautiful!

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.