Month: September 2011

Nailing it

I know I am probably very late to this particular bandwagon, but having seen it a lot recently in various magazines and blogs, I decided I had to give the “accent nail” manicure a try. What am I talking about, you ask?

When it comes to my manicure, I am generally a pretty conservative gal. A French manicure (as un-stylish as it is these days among the nail cognoscenti) is what I sport most days, courtesy of my nail technician who transforms my mangy digits into something presentable thanks to the miracle of gel nails. I would occasionally add a couple of coats of polish if I was in a particular whimsical mood. Things are now changing; my new obsession with Chanel nail polish has motivated me to invest a lot more time into my mani-routine (so many colours to try!), and to take some risks too. So, whereas before it would not have crossed my mind to wear two different colours of polish at once, that is precisely what I’ve been experimenting with recently. Specifically, painting all but two nails (typically the ring fingers) in one colour, and the remaining in another (the accent nails).

Usually, people tend to go for colours in the same family, which creates a more subtle effect. I wanted to try something a little bit more daring for my first attempt, so I decided to pick my colours the way I would if I were trying to put together an outfit. Red is a perfect accent colour when it comes to clothes, so I decided to use it on my accent nail. I wanted a neutral colour for the rest of the mani, and my old favourite – greige – seemed a great fit.

I loved the overall effect, and can’t wait to try more combinations. 

For this experiment, I used Chanel nail polishes from my quickly expanding Collection: Dragon and Particuliere. For a similar look, if you have very fair skin like me, you could also try Essie’s Russian Roulette and Mink Muffs.

For me, this is a great alternative to the same old, same old manicure. I’m not sure that the more dramatic combinations would fly in a conservative work environment, but something a little more subtle might pass muster. After all, the possibilities are endless.

What do you think – would you try it?

The guessing game, birthday edition

And now, for the big reveal … drum roll, please … 


 …………………
Yes, I went with the Gabriel!
The lining tipped the scales – I couldn’t resist such a happy print (perfect for all those Monday office blues): 

For anyone interested, both the Gabriel (on sale for $187 in a number of colours, including this blue) and the Mary Clare (now on sale for $267) are still available online, but be warned: shipping for Kate Spade is fairly pricey ($50) and is done via UPS, which adds on crazy high “brokerage fees” on top of customs, the latter being payable on delivery (so keep your credit card handy).

Cherchez la bag

So, by now, you might be saying to yourself, “Hey, isn’t this supposed to be a style/fashion blog?” and pondering the glaring recent absence of, well, just that. In my defence, I will say this: when people tell pregnant women bemoaning their expanded waistlines that their children’s birth will provide a weight loss bonanza of unmatched proportions, what they don’t say is that, pounds aside, things are not quite the same afterwards. At least not immediately. At least not for those of us lacking round-the-clock trainers and a PR agency on speed dial. Me, I am trying to be pragmatic (and still have my cupcake) and I’m choosing to focus more on things that don’t require me to pay too close attention to body parts that are now much jigglier than they used to be. [I believe the technical term is “wobbly bits”, per Bridget Jones. By the way, did you know that they’re making a third movie? Anything that gets Colin Firth on my screen can never be a truly bad thing, but really? Has Hollywood learned nothing from Sex and the City 2: Debacle in Dubai?] So, basically, there might be slightly less clothes talk on the blog, at least for a little while. 

While my interest in clothes is somewhat minimal these days, that is not equally true when it comes to accessories. In the last little while, I’ve gone accessory-crazy. Well, that shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise; I’ve been a “bag lady” for a long, long time, after all. And after 9 months of wearing flats, I have a terrible hankering for heels, though I have to be careful with this one. Wearing heels might be a skill like riding bicycles, but one still needs an adjustment period after a long hiatus. As for jewelry – you know I’m a sucker for anything that sparkles. And hey, at least it doesn’t require me to consider the logistics of hoisting up and tucking in things that never required an advanced degree in engineering before. Ahem.

First things first, though. And that means bags. 

My (31st for anyone counting) birthday last month was something of a non-starter, seeing as it came up smack dab in the middle of my “new parent” panic period. I had, to say the least, other things on my mind (including working overtime to not lose my mind). Luckily, I had the foresight to take care of at least one thing – my birthday present to moi – ahead of time. I’d been saving up my pennies for months in anticipation of my next bag acquisition, so this was a no-brainer. I just had to find the right bag. I was initially planning to “go big”, but the pennies took a while to add up, and in the meantime I stumbled across the Kate Spade website. At the time, I was in the midst of a mad obsession with aquamarine. So I was immediately drawn to this bag:
Kate Spade Vanston Small Mary Clare


In addition to the colour, I love its classic, simple design, and I’m a big fan of the leather used in Kate Spade bags, which I find wears extremely well. The only downside was the handle drop; the bag can’t easily be worn over the shoulder, which makes it somewhat less practical. 

Browsing the website (always a dangerous thing), I came across another bag with potential:

Kate Spade Grand Street Small Gabriel

The big plus was the fact that it was on sale. The colour was not quite the “Tiffany blue” that I was after, but it looked promising. Better yet, the handles were longer, and it had an awesome paisley print lining. The size was a bit smaller than I usually like, but it did have internal compartments that would help with organization. The sticking point, ultimately, was the colour. To give you a better sense of the difference, the Vanston was closer to the colour of my nails in the photo below (Essie, “Turquoise and Caicos”), and the Gabriel was a lighter shade of the scarf colour.
I hemmed and hawed over which bag to pick for a few days, enlisting friends and family in an informal poll to help me decide. After finally pulling the trigger, I still had some residual doubts about my choice while waiting for my booty to be delivered.  This was unusual for me, because I rarely second-guess my choices, once made (regardless of how long the choosing process might be). Happily, all ended well; once the bag reveal day arrived, I was very pleased with the newest addition to my collection.

So … think you can guess which bag I picked?