mom who works

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

Classic: Chanel Le Vernis Vamp 18 nail polish October 20, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 10:32 am
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Chanel Le Vernis Vamp 18 nail polishYes, the one that started it all. Worn by Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction in the mid-90s. For you young’uns out there, time was that a *nice* girl only wore pale pink nail polish, and maybe a clear, bright red if she was going on a hot date. None of these vamps, or blues, or greens, or other colors that you see today.

Then. Chanel. Changed. It. All.

When Vamp was introduced in 1994, it set the world on fire. It was US $15 at the time (oh, for the good old days) – Pam at has a great post about the history.

Regardless, true to form, and in the great tradition of Mademoiselle herself, house Chanel rocked the fashion and makeup world in the mid-90s and caused the earth’s axis to shift. Now, anything, and I mean ANYTHING goes with nail color.

But me, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. I dabble a bit in blues and greens, but not too much. Really only because my Chanel collector gene kicks in do I pick up any of those shades. I wear them rarely. But the vamps, well, let’s just say I’ve never met a vampy shade I didn’t like. And although there have been slight variations in the color and shimmer between the original 90s version of Le Vernis Vamp 18 and the current 2003-era re-release of Le Vernis Vamp 18, and let’s not forget the non-US version of Le Vernis 18 which is called Rouge Noir, this deep brownish blackish burgundy shade of nail color (whatever it’s incarnation) is a classic.

Also true to Chanel form, the formula and application of Chanel Le Vernis Vamp 18 is perfect. Great coverage with one coat and beautiful depth and opacity with the second. No streaking or pooling. Makes even an amateur nail polish enthusiast like myself look like a pro. It’s a very wearable shade that looks equally great on tips and toes, and blends beautifully with the traditionally darker color tones of fall and winter.

This is two coats of Chanel Le Vernis Vamp 18 over Chanel Base Protectrice base coat and topped with Butter London’s Hardware top coat. Chanel Le Vernis Vamp 18 is available for US $26 on and at Chanel counters throughout the US. It’s sister shade, Le Vernis Rouge Noir 18 is available in the rest of the world.

Uma would be proud.


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 Delicatesse from Fashion Night Out 2012 October 7, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 2:49 pm
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Chanel Le Vernis Delicatesse nail polishYou all know that I am now a confirmed Chanel Le Vernis collector. Well, at least I now know and admit this. I’m just envisioning a 12-step program … “Hi, my name is Deborah, and I paid $300 for a new bottle of Jade.” Wait! I’m not THAT bad. No, I am leaving the Jades of the world to those more fortunate than I.

Regardless, I have now admitted to myself that going forward, as Chanel releases new collections, that I will have to get the entire collection. Ergo, I am a collector.

Which is exactly what I did for the 2012 Fashion’s Night Out releases – Les Twin Sets de Chanel – Delicatesse, Provocation and Infidele (“Twin Sets” because they were released with companion lip colors).  Only really Provocation, a deep vampy berry purple, really called to me, but I knew I couldn’t just get one. As is frequently said on the interweb, few things are more costly than Chanel regret (note comment above RE Jade) and heaven knows I didn’t want to add that to my list of neuroses.

Surprisingly, however, once on the nail, all three colors really are very beautiful, even if somewhat meh in the bottle. And the one that surprised me most of all, was this lovely dark beige creme Delicatesse.

The formula is among Chanel’s best – this application is two coats, and it applies flawlessly. The color is difficult to describe. Depending on the light, it’s either a mauvey brown, or a dark beige, or even a greyish pink. Regardless, it’s more than office appropriate, and different enough from the standard issue neutrals and pale pinks that you feel slightly special wearing it. I know I sound like a broken record, but it’s a perfect “office appropriate with an edge.”

I thought it was easily duped, but to date, I haven’t seen any either in my collection or in others. As per usual, Sabrina at (who has a much bigger collection than I do) did a great job with comparison photos.

Delicatesse, along with Provocation and Infidele, is a limited edition available at select Chanel boutiques and also for US $26 on If you like it, and you will, best to get them now while you can. Don’t forget about Chanel regret!


Coolest product EVAH – the Handpresso portable espresso maker October 6, 2012

Filed under: food,work — Deborah @ 3:45 pm
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Handpresso WILD

Photo courtesy of

I love good coffee.

You could say (and many have) that I’m a bit of a coffee “snob.” Now I often say (as I often have) that I’m not a coffee snob, but I really only like to drink good coffee. If they don’t care and will drink the dreck that’s in the office cafeteria, who am I to judge?

My workplace does not allow employees to have “personal appliances.” So my dream of a nice little Nespresso or other good espresso maker tucked in a corner of my desk were dashed, and I had resigned myself to mediocre, or WORSE, coffee from the office cafeteria.

Then I discovered this little beauty – the Handpresso WILD. Looks a little weird, to be sure, but it produces, WITHOUT USE OF ELECTRICITY, a very decent cup of espresso. On par with what you’d get from those stovetop Moka pots you can buy at Italian grocery stores. Which is much, much better than what I get from the office cafeteria.

It’s ingenious, really. You use the bike-pump type handle to pump up to 16 bars of pressure (minimum you need for good espresso with crema). You put hot water in the little resevoir (readily available from our kitchen coffee maker’s hot water spout), then pop on an ESE pod (pre-fab espresso tea-bag type thingies) and voila! You have in your hands a nicely poured, hot espresso to enjoy – anywhere! They have a great story on their web site about how it was invented, and it seems they are coming up with new products all the time (I have my eye on the new Handpresso AUTO – so cool!). Well made product, that makes great coffee. What more could you ask for?


My date with the Mouse October 5, 2012

Filed under: family,travel — Deborah @ 2:25 pm
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Mickey Toys by Tim Wang

Photo by Tim Wang. Used under Creative Commons License.

We have recently returned from our first ever trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Yes, we actually survived Disney, and we were even surprised (hubby and I) with how much fun we had. Our 10-year-old daughter, suffice it to say, had an absolute blast.

A trip to WDW, as those in the “know” call it, is overwhelming on its best days. We made the decision to go somewhat at the last minute (with a mere 5 weeks to plan), so I of course immediately downloaded the 2012 version of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World to my Kindle and got to reading. We planned a 4-day trip – one day for each park – and we also went with hubby’s cousin and his family, as they live in Florida and are Disney veterans (plus their daughter, who is also 10, is my daughter’s best buddy).

We went in mid-September, which according to all accounts, is one of the least crowded times of year to go to WDW. What surprised me is how crowded it still was – I cannot even IMAGINE what it’s like over the summer, spring or winter/holiday breaks! The other big surprise was how blazing hot it still was, too. The temps hovered around the high-80s, low-90s, with what felt like 100% humidity. It’s a kind of heat that you cannot escape. At least here in the Midwest, when it’s hot out you can find shade, or even sometimes a cool breeze, and get relief from the heat. In Florida, it’s all hot, all the time. The final thing that surprised me, although I should have been thoroughly prepared for it, was just how skilled the Mouse and his friends are in separating you from your money. I have two words for you – pin trading.

By the end of the second day, we had stopped at the gift shop at the Grand Floridian Resort to pick up some gifts we wanted to bring home for friends and family. The very helpful cast member checking us out offered their special deal on one of their “starter pin” lanyards for $18.95 (with a $40 purchase that we were already making). These normally retail for about $40. We really didn’t know what the deal was with the pins, so she cheerfully explained the “rules” to us, how you can trade pins with cast members and other guests (with cast members no more than 2 pins per day per cast member). It was interesting, and a good deal, so we picked it up for our daughter. The cast member even gave her her first pin from her lanyard (said our daughter didn’t need to trade one). Our girl promptly (and proudly) put the lanyard on, and on the monorail leaving the Grand Floridian actually made her first, and very cool, trade with another guest. And so it began.

Several 100s of dollars later, our daughter had a second “trading” lanyard, and a separate lanyard for her special pins that she wants to keep. We ended up getting her a pin case (like a portfolio with pages you can “pin” the pins on to keep safe and secure), and a number of really cool pins that have meaning either because of rides we went on or experiences we had.  It’s been fun in the weeks since we’ve been back to look at her pins and reminisce about where she traded it, or the ride or park it signifies. Lots of money, sure, but lots of memories too. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.