mom who works

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

Neutral LOVE – Chanel Le Vernis Secret 625 nail polish July 16, 2014

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 12:16 pm
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Chanel Le Vernis Secret 625Is it weird to be in LOVE with a neutral nail color? For the last 10 years, I would have thought so. But no longer. I am madly, deeply in love with Chanel Le Vernis Secret 625 nail polish. I have finally found the “my-nails-but-better” soul mate. And not only is the color perfect but the formula is perfect as well. Le *sigh.*

Chanel Le Vernis Secret 625 is part of Chanel’s Fall 2014 Collection Etats Poetique, along with Chanel Le Vernis Orage 631, a gorgeous dusty grey black creme and Chanel Le Vernis Atmosphere 629, an intriguing pinkish purple pearlescent topper. They make for a solid nail color collection, that many, on first glance, would say is rather boring.

But with Chanel, all is not usually as it seems at first glance. I always like to have a few “go-to” nudes at my fingertips, no pun intended, for when I’m looking to wear something unobtrusive and low-maintenance. So I was glad to see another neutral option in Secret. But what surprised me, was how BEAUTIFUL Secret actually is on the nail. It’s an immensely flattering color, so it’s more than just unobtrusive, it’s actively beautiful. And it is apparently flattering on many different skin tones, as Sabrina from demonstrated with her swatches as well.

And the formula. I’ve already waxed rhapsodic about how Chanel KILLS the formula with their pale, sheer colors, such as Ballerina, Frenzy and Frisson. Unlike my multitude of experiences failures with the paler shades available through Essie or OPI, Le Vernis Secret 625 didn’t even streak with the first coat! Flowed beautifully, no streaks or pulling. This photo is with 2 coats.

Do I even need to say how office appropriate this is? But it’s equally appropriate with cocktails and a LBD, or frankly, in any situation. I even think it will look beautiful as a pedicure.

Chanel Le Vernis Secret 625 is US $27 and is available on and at Chanel counters worldwide.



The quest for a manicure that lasts longer than 2 days – Deborah Lippmann’s Gel Lab September 23, 2013

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 10:39 am
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Deborah Lippmann Gel LabCall me one of the unlucky ones (okay, you’re unlucky). While some people can use any old base coat and top coat and have their manicures last 5-days plus, I’m one of those poor souls where it’s a GOOD day if I’m on day 2 of a manicure without chips or serious tipwear. I actually have a spreadsheet (a SPREADSHEET!) where I track the results of my base coat/top coat combination experiments. I have even color-coded the results (i.e. number of days before first chip) as red (1 day or less), yellow (1.5-2.5 days) and green (> 2.5 days). Very, very few greens on that sheet and lots and lots of yellow and red.

I do all the prep work that you’re supposed to, and I moisturize like crazy, and yada yada. Still, chiptastic after a day or 2.

I have done Shellac gel manicures in the past, and I am never again going to get on that application/removal roller coaster and the damage that can cause to your nails. Soaking them in pure acetone for 10+ minutes isn’t helping nail health, that’s for sure.

Lucky for me there are several new products on the market that have separated me from my hard earned cash and are dangling in front of me the promised land of week-long manicures. The first one up for review is Deborah Lippmann’s Gel Lab.

Promoted to give “gel like results” and “5+ days of wear” without the issues of gel manicure removal, I was excited to try Deborah Lippmann’s Gel Lab, even though it had a US $45 price tag. In order to make the test as “scientific” as possible (she said half-jokingly), I prepped my nails as I always do, and used a polish color that I’ve used before and had no issues with (Chanel Le Vernis Vertigo). I specifically chose a dark color so chips and tipwear would show right away.

And unfortunately, show right away they did. I had minor tipwear in about a half a day, and the first serious tipwear within a day. Chips started a’comin’ on day 2, and by the end of the second day, I ended up having to do a quick tip repair and repaint of the top coat as I didn’t have time to redo my whole mani. Less than a half day after the repair, the thumb started chipping again.

In addition, application was not pleasant. The base coat is very goopy, and made my color look a little lumpy. The top coat didn’t help much either. It’s about as thick as Seche Vite but without the self-leveling and shine you get with that best-in-class top coat.

In all, it was an epic, epic fail, and this set will be returned.

Next up, CND Vinylux. Maybe lady luck will cut me some slack.


A green I can love – Chanel Le Vernis Mysterious 601 September 9, 2013

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 11:16 am
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Chanel Le Vernis Mysterious 601I am not a big fan of green nail polish. And yes I have the obligatory Peridot, because no self-respecting Chanel collector would be without it, but it’s not like I reach for it with any regularity.

But Chanel Le Vernis Mysterious 601, introduced as part of the Fall 2013 Superstition de Chanel collection along with Alchemie 591, a beautiful mid-toned green metallic, and Elixir 589, a gorgeous dusty mid-toned pink, is a green nail polish I can truly love.

Mysterious 601 is a dark – super dark (nearly black) – olive green creme.  It’s so dark it operates as a neutral, which of course, I love. The green acts more as an undertone than as a “look at me I’m wearing green nail polish” kind of color, which in certain conservative environments (I’m looking at you, office of mine) can freak some people out. The formula was perfect – great, in fact, my notes read. This is two coats (one thin, one slightly thicker) over Revlon Colorstay Gel Coat Base Coat and Dior Gel Coat Top Coat.

Chanel Le Vernis Mysterious 601 is available at Chanel counters and on for US $27. If you love dark neutrals, be sure to pick this one up before they’re gone.


The “yang” of Chanel’s Hong Kong Collection – Chanel Eastern Light nail polish May 31, 2013

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 8:17 pm
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Chanel Eastern Light
It is apropos that I took this picture on my first trip to China, as Chanel Eastern Light Le Vernis nail polish is the “yang” of Chanel’s Hong Kong Collection – the white to Western Light‘s dark.

I am not personally a fan of white polishes (although I do love Chanel’s Pearl Drop, but that is more a pearlescent ivory than a white, in my opinion), but they ARE very “in” this season, and you know I can’t pass up on a new Chanel Le Vernis collection.

Introduced as a special limited edition in Spring 2013, Hong Kong de Chanel included two le vernis, the pure white creme Eastern Light and the beautiful dark brownish/black jelly Western Light. Tongue-in-cheek on the part of Mr. Peter Philips to make them light and dark, yin and yang.

The application on Chanel Le Vernis Eastern Light was beautiful, nearly foolproof, and I can be quite a fool when it comes to nail polish application. This was a rush job in my hotel in Shanghai before we were leaving to catch our plane later that afternoon, and it still looks beautiful (it didn’t look so great after man-handling luggage and getting through customs, however).

Do you need to have THIS white cream polish, probably not. Dupes abound I have no doubt. But what I have heard on the web is that this is one of the best formulas for white cream polishes.

Chanel Le Vernis Eastern Light is available as a special limited edition in Chanel boutiques (only) and in the US for $3o on


How do you do, Taboo? Chanel Le Vernis Taboo 583 May 13, 2013

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 8:11 pm
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Chanel Le Vernis Taboo 583“Nailheads” can be a picky lot. Especially the ones you find on internet boards such as Makeup Alley’s Nail board. They love their glitter, they love their shimmer, they love their bling.

It’s hard for Chanelophiles to participate in that world (speaking from experience here). I’m of a “certain” age, and don’t personally find glitterbombs on my nails to be particularly appropriate. For me, I value the spot-on formula, color consistency, and slight (but still appropriate) edginess from Chanel polishes.

There are few releases from Chanel that prompt any sort of cred on the nailboards, primarily because (1) Chanel polishes are often rapidly “duped” by less expensive, and frankly, IMO, less quality brands, and (2) Chanel only occasionally comes out with “must have” colors that cause a stir on the interweb. The recent spate of classic creme-polishes-with-an-edge neutrals such as Infidele and Provocation from this past Fall’s Fashion’s Night Out don’t make the gals of the glitter world get all swoony.

But Chanel’s one-off Le Vernis nail polish, as part of the Revelation de Chanel collection, has caused a bit of a bump in internet credibility on the part of the Chanel Beaute crew. This baby’s got some microglitter goin’ on. It’s a deep, dark purple creme (think Chanel’s Vendetta 483) with shots of red, gold and blue microglitter thrown in for good measure. It’s an actual REAL shimmer, not the typical “hidden” shimmer that you see in many, many of Chanel’s classic nail colors. This looks like a galaxy in a bottle, with the inky-dark purple sky backdrop and tiny glittery stars of various colors sprinkled throughout. It’s just beautiful.

And while Taboo has the glittery goodness to tempt the glitter-bombers, it also has enough subtlety to not freak out those of us with a bit more of a classic bent when it comes to our beauty products. It’s got bling, but it’s a subtle bling that’s only really detected in good light or closer inspection. In fact, my photo, which HAD to be taken on an overcast day (me of the manis that don’t last more than 1-2 days) in no way does justice to this beauty of a color. This is ONE COAT of this lovely polish, application being the best of Chanel best in terms of pigmentation and control. In fact, as I write this I am 2 FULL days into this manicure and I have nary a chip or tip wear to show it. That’s unheard of for me and my very productive hands.

How do you do Taboo? You do very well, thank you.

Chanel Le Vernis Taboo 583 is available for US $27 at many Chanel counters and at, and miraculously (incredulously) this is not a limited edition, so should be available for some time.


A cure for rainy days – Chanel Le Vernis Blue Boy 555 nail polish April 17, 2013

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 10:55 am
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Chanel Le Vernis Blue Boy

Introduced as part of the Les Jeans de Chanel collection for Fashion’s Night Out in 2011, along with the pale blue Coco Blue and darker Blue Rebel, this was my first opportunity to wear Chanel Le Vernis Blue Boy 555, and I have to admit I love the color. Which is surprising because I’m not generally a huge fan of blues.

Blue Boy is the perfect color for this cold and rainy spring weather. Not too dark, moving toward lighter spring colors, but yet still muted in tone and reflective of cloudy, rainy skies.

This is a very wearable blue polish, and in my opinion, can be office appropriate if you have the freedom to wear anything other than pale neutrals on your nails.

The formula on this is excellent. It’s a creme, but has a slight jelly consistency to it (the “crelly” that Chanel does so well) which prevents the color from sliding into chalkiness. Application was a breeze, and there was no streaking, pulling or bubbling, or any of the formula problems that sometimes plague unusual colors like blues and greens.

Blue Boy was a limited edition in 2011 and is no longer available in the US other than from eBay and other resellers, but is available as Blue Boy 555 in Canada, Europe and Asia as part of the regular collection. I was lucky in that I had a Canadian polish fairy who could feed my desire for the Les Jeans that I missed in 2011. If you can get your hands on it, do. It’s my favorite (so far) of the three in the collection.




Loodie dishes the goods on Faux Zoya Remove+ nail polish remover July 6, 2012

Filed under: beauty — Deborah @ 8:00 am
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If you like to do nails, you also know that you pay the price when it comes time for removal. I quickly learned, even in my nail newbie days, that using a non-acetone nail polish remover was an exercise in futility, as I would have to scrub my poor nails so hard to remove all the polish they would be sore for days.

So I switched to 100% pure acetone for nail polish removal, which is seriously effective, and seriously drying. Nail polish is removed quickly (no more sore nails), but my nails and cuticles are so dried out by the process that I end up oiling and moisturizing for days just to get everything back to normal (and just in time to start it all over again as I am one of those unlucky souls with chippy body chemistry).

As I was just starting on my renewed nail polish journey about 6 months ago, I came across many reviews for Zoya’s Remove + nail polish remover. Renowned for being both as effective as 100% acetone but not as drying, I was intrigued. I got a sample size of Remove+ in a mini Zoya set I ordered around the holidays, and was certainly convinced. What I was not convinced of was the price – US $9.99 for 8 ounces. The way I go through remover? That’s a lot of cheddar that could be used to purchase my Chanel pretties!

Thankfully, the MUA nail board came to the rescue, with links to the blog of a beautiful scientist named Anna, otherwise known as Loodie, and her magic recipe for Faux Zoya Remove+. I was intrigued, and lucky for me, there was a CVS very near my Sally’s Beauty Supply, so it was easy to get my hands on some glycerine and try it. And try it YOU should. Loodie’s a genius, and this works just as well as Remove+ at a fraction of the price. I was even able to pick up a “pump top” dispenser at Sally’s, much like the one they use for the Zoya product.

There are tons of great posts about nail care and nail treatments at Loodie’s blog. You should go there and get schooled. All hail St. Loodie, patron saint of nails.