mom who works

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

A real-person’s view of the Apple Watch August 5, 2015

apple watchFULL DISCLOSURE – My lovely hubby and daughter got me an Apple Watch for my birthday a few weeks ago, and I LOVE it. I’m not a fashionista, and I’m not a tech guru, just a busy working mom with a slight tilt toward early adoption (not the type of bleeding edge where I will wait in line for hours to be the first to get the latest gadget, but I’m open and willing to try new things). This is not an in-depth review of the Watch, but instead my thoughts about it after using it in the real world for a few weeks.

Activity Tracking

My initial impetus for wanting an Apple Watch in the first place was for the fitness tracking – I have to admit I just hate the look of the typical FitBit wristband that just screams “I’m trying to get in shape” to everyone who sees the black plastic lump on your wrist. I had actually resigned myself to the FitBit One, which I at least could hide somewhere under my clothes, because I just couldn’t justify spending US $600+ on an Apple Watch. Lucky for me, hubby justified it in the name of my birthday!

And as far as the fitness and activity tracking goes, I’ve been thrilled with it! The built-in Activity and Workout apps (they get “turned on” on your iPhone when you first pair your watch to it) offer all a desk-bound mom with no time to work out needs to get off her behind and start moving. They track your general activity (i.e. steps), how much you stand during the day, and your exercise (moving at a quicker pace/heartbeat then normal walking). And darn it, I WANT to get those little achievement awards! I’ve already lost 2 pounds in 2 weeks, just through the Watch prodding me to move a bit more.

Customization and Style

One of the other things I am really enjoying about the Watch is the customization. apple watch simpleThe Watch comes with 9 standard watch faces, but with most of those you have an infinite number of additional customizations you can make, and what’s great is you can save them as well.

For example, for the Simple face, which, as its name implies, is pretty simple, I have several iterations saved that I can call up depending on what color outfit I’m wearing. I frequently wear Mickey Mouse on the weekends, and while we were recently experiencing a blue moon I was wearing the Astronomy face to track the moon’s phases.

As a *girl,* I love being able to customize my watch to match what I’m wearing. Both in terms of the watch face but also in terms of the band, which is so simple and easy to remove and replace (just one small button on each end of the underside of the watch). My Watch is the Stainless Steel with the Milanese Loop band. I’m so glad hubs chose that instead of the Sport watch, and let me tell you why. I’ve found great aftermarket Sport-type rubber bands for Watch that you would never know are not the real thing, but the third-party aftermarket Milanese loop or other stainless steel bands leave something to be desired. Apple has made much about the materials they’ve used with Watch, and they’re right. The quality of the leather and stainless Apple bands I’ve seen is really nice, but when I can get a Sport-like flurolastimer band for $4 that looks like the real thing (vs. $49 at Apple), I’m in. I’ve already purchased 2 colors of the MoKo band, and I may just get each one at that price!

Apple Pay

I’ve tried a few times to use Apple Pay on my iPhone and in all honesty, it’s just as clunky to pull out my phone from my purse and fiddle with Passbook as it is for me to pull out my wallet and fiddle with my debit card. Other than the security aspect, I haven’t found using Apple Pay on iPhone to be worth the trouble most of the time. On Watch, however, it’s a much more elegant, seamless and enjoyable experience.

The credit cards on your iPhone passbook don’t sync with your Watch, so you do have to set them up separately. Once they are set up, though, using Apple Pay is as simple as tapping the button on the side of the Watch (the one below the digital crown), and gently holding your wrist above the card reader. That’s it. I’m actively LOOKING for places to use it now because it’s just so much simpler and easier that digging in the black hole that’s my purse for my phone OR wallet.

Connecting by Disconnecting

One of the most surprising aspects in using the Watch, however, is how it’s actually allowing me to put my phone DOWN for a change. I’ve set up my Notifications so that I’m only getting the gentle wrist tap and *ping* for VIP emails and certain text messages, and as a result, I find I don’t need to constantly look at my phone anymore. I can leave it in my purse or on my desk, and know that if it’s important, Watch will tell me.

Another unintended benefit is that I almost never can hear my phone ring when it’s in my purse, but Watch taps me to let me know when a call is coming in, and with a quick glance at my wrist (rather than fishing through my ever-expanding bag) I can see if it’s something I need to answer right away or can let go to voicemail.

As a result, I can relax more, knowing that Watch will let me know when I need to pay attention to my phone, rather than feeling like I have to constantly check and recheck it just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. In the end, adding this subtle, wearable tech has allowed me to let go of more intrusive tech.

And this is really the most important benefit of Apple Watch, but it’s also one that is hard to explain. It is really transformative once you experience it. One of the most thoughtful reviews on this that I’ve seen is Ben Bajarin’s My First Week with the Apple Watch on Techpinions. He really nails the experience with Notifications that I’ve had as well, just in a much more eloquent and tech-savvy way.

Thinking about the Watch, or not? Let me know in the comments below!


MORE Chanel nail art from the Fall/Winter 2012/13 Show – UPDATE July 4, 2012

Filed under: beauty,fashion & style — Deborah @ 8:57 am
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Both and reported on the new looks and nails presented at the Chanel 2012/13 Fall-Winter Haute Couture Show, and I’m definitely noticing a trend in how Chanel is presenting nail art.

Between the Chanel windows in Paris displaying Diwali (pale gold metallic) with a red creme (possibly either Coromandel or Dragon) diagonal accent, to now a silver metallic base (color unknown) acting as a sort of “outline” to a mid-toned cool pink (looks to my eyes a lot like May but it’s likely a new color), Chanel’s combination of metallics with cremes is refreshing.

As an aside, I was looking at the photos from the show at and let me just say I love the color palette Karl Lagerfeld chose. I know it’s not unique to use shades of grey and pink together but it somehow seems very fresh as a fall/winter collection. I’m used to seeing it more with spring clothes.

Anyway, back to my favorite subject, Chanel nails. What I love about both of these presentations of nail art is that they are classic and subtle, yet slightly edgy and trendy. The “toning down” of a metallic polish by the subtle introduction of a creme makes these nails appropriate for the office (know your office!) but yet still communicates style.

And while I can appreciate the skill and artistry in a lot of nail art, I never, ever thought I would ever do any kind of nail art myself. I don’t have the skill, the time and frankly, I never really want to have nails that are THAT distracting. These nails, though, I could definitely do!

Peter Philips and his team at Chanel really have nailed (no pun intended) the Chanel brand promise in these presentations. They took what is a definite trend (nail art) and made it classy.

UPDATE –’s Beauty Counter blog had an exclusive interview with Peter Philips after the show, and quotes the following regarding the nails:

“The show’s theme was best realized through Sam McKnight’s silver-lined, forties-era hair nets and the nails, where Philips took the idea of the classic French manicure and gave it a touch of now, thus ushering in Chanel’s first foray into fashion’s continued embrace of the nail art revival. “When we were playing around with the idea of doing a nail polish, we evoked the idea of using two shades on one nail,” Philips explained, employing a discontinued chrome color that launched in 2007 to outline the entire nail bed, rather than just the tip, which had been lacquered with two coats of May, a melon varnish from the Spring 2012 show. “[New vintage] is…preparation for something that could last,” Lagerfeld explained to our intrepid runway reporter following the show, which we’ll take as a sign that nail art isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. At least now we have a new design to challenge our manicurist with.”

Well as I noted above, I would disagree that it’s their “first foray” into the “nail art revival,” but let’s not get technical.

So I was right about May 535 being the pink – although I would seriously debate with calling it a “melon” color. Now Le Vernis June 539, I would call a “melon” color, but May, that is decidedly a mid-toned pink. The silver, well, debate on the interweb is that it could be Kaleidescope 479, and it could be Silver (special edition). Kaleidsescope 479 was a Fall 2008 release (and Phillips said in his interview it was a 2007 polish). After looking at online swatches (sadly, I don’t own either, or any silver metallic chrome), I think it could be either one.

In any case, Phillips certainly did not hint in his interview (and the blasted interviewer didn’t ask! They need to have ME do these interviews – I would grill him to within an inch of his life! Chanel fans MUST know!)  that he would be re-releasing said “chrome color” polish. However, I think the look could be easily replicated with other metallics, either gold or silver, and any number of other mid-toned cremes (with silver, I agree that May is a good choice, as is June, and possibly Coco Blue for fun!). I’m sure there are tons of OPI, Essie and China Glaze dupes of a silver metallic, chrome-finish polishes as well if you wanted to dupe the nail art exactly while we wait with bated breath to find out if Chanel will re-release or dupe a silver metallic chrome polish.

One can only hope.


Chanel Nail Art for Paris-Bombay Collection June 18, 2012

Filed under: beauty,fashion & style — Deborah @ 9:14 am
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Chanel Windows courtesy of Cafe Makeup

Photo by Cafe Makeup

The amazing team at Cafe Makeup recently took photographs of the windows at the Chanel boutique on Rue Cambon in Paris (lucky!).  Be sure to check out their full post – the photos of the clothes and accessories in the window are just stunning. Most importantly for me, though, is the beautiful manicure on the mannequins – a delicate gold polish with red diagonal tips.

I am not one for most nail art but this is something I could get away with. Since it’s the Paris-Bombay collection I am assuming the gold polish is the new Diwali Le Vernis, currently only available in a few boutiques in the US and elsewhere.  The red appears to be Dragon Le Vernis, which is a beautiful true red creme in the permanent Chanel Le Vernis collection. As always, Chanel is classic, beautiful and just a tiny bit edgy. Love it!


The quest for the low-maintenance manicure June 29, 2011

Filed under: beauty,fashion & style — Deborah @ 1:55 pm
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Shellac manicure - day 13

Shellac manicure - day 13

I love manicured nails just like the next hard-working mom, but do NOT love (1) the time required to do it yourself, (2) the money required for weekly salon manicures, or (3) the time and effort to maintain nail polish during the very busy work week (and equally busy weekends!).

I am now on my fourth Shellac manicure in a row. That’s 8 weeks mind you, 8 WEEKS, with beautifully manicured fingernails. Hassle-free, beautifully manicured fingernails, truth be told.

This photo shows my current Shellac manicure at Day 13 – I’m scheduled for removal tomorrow. And I am a gardener, and chief cook-and-bottle-washer at my house, so these babies do NOT get pampered.

The only thing preventing me from going for Shellac manicure #5 is the time required for the salon visit. For anyone in the Milwaukee area, I drive out to Invitalize MediSpa in Franklin because they have killer deals on Shellac manicures (30% cheaper than other nearby salons), but it’s a good 35-minute drive one way from the office. The search is on for a salon nearby that does Shellac at a good price.

If you haven’t tried it, and you love manicured nails but hate the hassle, you HAVE to try Shellac. You’ll be hooked.


*This post is not sponsored in any way and is just my personal, un-funded opinion.


What makes an outfit look dated? June 28, 2011

Filed under: fashion & style — Deborah @ 12:56 pm
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Great discussion today on on What Makes an Outfit Look Dated? In addition to what you would think of in terms of overly trendy styles (think exposed zippers, shoe booties and shoulder pads – ’80s anyone?), the discussion is ranging from wearing bright tops with black bottoms (hmm… but not the inverse?) and clothes that are too big/too small.


Rushing the seasons September 4, 2010

Filed under: fashion & style,general — Deborah @ 11:49 am
Tags: ,

Why is it that at the first hint of crispness in the air we are so quick to abandon our summer clothes for fall? It’s not even Labor Day yet, but here it is, temperature in the 50s, and I am considering abandoning my favorite summer sandals for socks and booties.

We do the same thing in the spring, quickly drop the tired clothes of winter for the lighter, brighter clothes of spring and summer, even if there is still a chance of snow.

This year I intend to savor what little bit of summer that’s left. Fall will be here soon enough.


What to Wear at Your First Big Job January 27, 2010

Filed under: fashion & style,work — Deborah @ 1:14 pm
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navy suit

Image from Corporette

Last week I enjoyed this guest post on Corporette by LPC of Privilege on What to Wear at Your First Big Job. The advice given was valuable not just from the “first job” perspective, but also the “new job” and the “I want a promotion” perspectives as well.

Especially important to note is the fact that men in the workplace really do pay attention to what you wear and what you look like, whether you like it or not. This idea, How Men Perceive Women in the Workplace, was explored a bit further recently on MSNBC.

Check it out.