Month: December 2013

Manicure of the Week: Chanel Nouvelle Vague

Nouvelle Vague is one of the most sought after Chanel polishes of the past 5 years. Released as part of the 2010 Les Pop-Up de Chanel collection, Nouvelle Vague quickly attained something of a cult status. Needless to say, it’s long sold out and nearly impossible to find anywhere but eBay – at outrageous prices. I was lucky to find one for sale through a Facebook polish group after nearly two years of lusting for it. Was it worth the wait? Oh yeah!

Chanel Nouvelle Vague
Chanel Nouvelle Vague (camera flash)

This is, hands-down, the best “Tiffany blue” polish out there. The formula is fantastic; on the nail, Nouvelle Vague has none of that chalkiness that many light blue polishes of this type can have. It’s soft and yet intense at the same time. My aptitude for colour descriptions is terrible, so I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Chanel Nouvelle Vague
Chanel Nouvelle Vague (natural light)

Application is excellent; I did the usual two coats and had no issues. I also had great wear with Nouvelle Vague, which came in handy because this was one polish I was in no rush to take off.

Chanel Nouvelle Vague
Chanel Nouvelle Vague (low light)

For my inspired outfit, I went with the Tiffany allusion, and picked an outfit that made me feel as though I could feasibly star in an Audrey Hepburn movie. As an extra in a crowd scene, perhaps, but you get the idea.

Chanel Nouvelle Vague
Dress, Isaac Mizrahi for Target (via eBay); shoes, Lauren Ralph Lauren; pearls, gift

I adore the silhouette and details of this dress. Check out the back:

Chanel Nouvelle Vague
A dress with a view

My mom -slash-photographer for these shots pooh-pooh-ed my outfit/polish combo, saying that the latter was too edgy of a colour for such a classic dress. I agree to some extent; red nails would have been a more traditional choice. But. Tiffany blue is a kind of classic too; besides, with an outfit this simple, you can probably pick almost any nail polish your heart desires.

Chanel Nouvelle Vague
Bracelet, Swarovski
Chanel Nouvelle Vague
Earrings, gift (from Austria)

Funny story about the earrings: my parents went back to the Old Country for a visit in 2010, and on the way back enjoyed a quick side trip to Vienna. I was getting married a few weeks later, and my mom bought these earrings for me as a sort of engagement/wedding gift. Ok, that’s not so much funny as sweet. The funny part is that she bought them at a museum gift shop; they are inspired by the hair jewels worn by the Empress Elizabeth of Austria in one of her most famous portraits. And a funny coincidence: one of my earliest memories is of watching the Sissi movies (starring Romy Schneider), based on the life of Elisabeth.

Empress Elisabeth of Austria
Empress Elisabeth of Austria
Chanel Nouvelle Vague
NOT the Empress Elizabeth

What do you think of Chanel Nouvelle Vague?

1 Item 3 Ways: Emerald Blouse

I thought it would be fun to bring back the 1 x 3 feature to show you some of the new items I’m adding to my closet as part of my wardrobe overhaul, as well as some of the ways I plan to style them. Think of each of these posts as a capsule Remix Challenge.

Today’s piece is an emerald green blouse I found on the clearance rack at Winners. The brand is Joseph A., and has the tag line “qu’est-ce que c’est silk?”. The fabric is a synthetic mix (predominantly rayon), which does indeed have the feel and weight of a silk jersey. Not bad for $20. The colour is lovely – a true emerald green – but does pose a bit of a styling problem for yours truly. I rarely wear green, especially a rich jewel tone like this, so my first instinct is to pair it with black. Not a terrible combination, for sure, but one that does seem to dampen some of the green’s vibrancy. So, for this 1x 3 post, I tried to think (and colour match) outside the box.

Take One: charcoal + pink

one item three ways
Pants, Adriano Goldschmied (via Kijiji); sweater, J. Crew Factory; belt, J. Crew Factory
one item three ways
Shoes, G by Guess (via Winners); bag, Rebecca Minkoff (via eBay)

Remember that Nadri initial signet ring I put on my Weekend Shortlist a while back? Well, as luck would have it, I stumbled onto a cheapie version (sans rhinestones) at, of all places, Old Navy. I love how delicate it is – perfect for stacking.

one item three ways
Bracelet, Simons; ring duo, Old Navy
one item three ways
What IS going on with my hair?

Take Two: plum + leopard

one item three ways
Pants, Not Your Daughter’s Jeans (consignment); necklace, Tiffany; shoes, Anne Klein (via Marshalls)
one item three ways
Bag, Coach (vintage)

Here is my take-away from this outfit: leopard goes with everything.

one item three ways
Oops, gotta watch those heels!

Take Three: burgundy + plaid

one item three ways
Skirt, Winners; blazer, Theory (consignment); necklace, H&M; shoes, J. Crew Factory

I’ll be honest: I’ve had and loved this plaid pencil skirt for many years now, but I’m no longer loving how it looks on me. The almost-midi length went better with my old hips, lets just say. Alas, those are now gone the way of the dodo, and I think that I had best embrace knee-length pencil skirts along with my new curves. Thanks for the memories, plaid skirt!

one item three ways
Rings, Swarovski and Cartier

In happier news, burgundy continues to be one of my favourite accent colours. Considering how much of it I’ve added to my closet lately (like these gorgeous J. Crew Factory wedges), that’s a good thing – a really good thing.

one item three ways
Sans blazer

Beauty Product Review

Time to review of few more of the beauty products I’ve tried recently.

L’Oreal Studio Silk & Gloss Curling Spray ($6)

Ever since I got my perm, I’ve been looking for hair products to keep it looking its best (i.e. not a frizzy mess). I’m at a bit of a disadvantage, because I haven’t really used hair products (other than shampoo and conditioner) for years, and I’m not really familiar with what’s out there. Also, I’m cheap; I hate spending tons of money on products that may or may not work. After endlessly perusing the drugstore hair products aisle, I decided to pick up this spray on a whim – it promised to give my waves a bit of bounce, and it was attractively priced at $6. With my perm, I’ve found that the waves/curls are well-defined right after washing, but seem to flatten out after a day or two. Slightly wetting my hair can revive them a bit, but not for very long. They always end up looking something like this:

Before
Before

I decided to apply the curling spray on slightly damp hair (not freshly washed), and scrunch it up a bit. It really did seem to make a difference!

After
After

The curling spray doesn’t seem to weigh down my hair, or dry it out. I’ve become a big fan of this product, and it’s one of my go-to’s when I need to perk up my perm.

Benefit Yes They’re Real Mascara ($33)

I got a sample size of this mascara as a “with purchase” gift, and I have to say that I was impressed. Unlike a lot of high-end mascaras, this one actually delivers on the promise of so-big-they-look-fake eyelashes (my preferred look, of course). It not only builds well, giving eyelashes a lot of volume, but also provides great separation and definition. I think the secret for the latter is the brush; it reminds me of the Maybelline Lash Stiletto brush, which I use for a similar effect.

beauty product review
Benefit Yes They’re Real Mascara

Which brings me to my other point: this Benefit mascara, while great, doesn’t achieve noticeably better results than my usual drugstore combo (L’Oreal Voluminous + Maybelline Lash Stiletto), and it’s more expensive. It does save time when it comes to application, but I’m not sure if that’s enough reason to splurge. I am tempted, though … so time will tell.

Batiste Dry Shampoo ($7)

While I’m still rocking my perm most days, I’ve started to occasionally straighten my hair again – just for a bit of variety. The perm actually makes my hair look bouncier after being straightened … but only for a while. After a day or two, I am reminded of why I permed my hair in the first place as my (straight) hair proceeds to deflate like a bungled souffle. I only wash my hair once every 3-4 days (and prefer to keep it that way), so I’ve been searching for a way to keep it looking good between washes.

Enter the dry shampoo. I had been hesitant to try it for a long time because I had a vision of myself looking like I’d been dipped in flour (not sure why I assumed that dry shampoo would have that consistency, but there you go). Anyway, I finally bit the bullet and picked up a can of Batiste Dry Shampoo at Superstore, and put it to the test. This is what I started with – three day old hair, straightened:

beauty product review
Before

And this is what it looked like after:

beauty product review
edit

I’m not going to lie and say that there was a huge difference. My hair doesn’t get super-greasy (which is why I don’t wash it every day), so I can’t really speak to the dry shampoo’s grease-absorbing powers, although it did leave my hair feeling “fresher” for lack of a better word. In terms of volume, there was a slight improvement, but my hair didn’t have the same “bounciness” as immediately after being washed and straightened. All in all, this dry shampoo makes my hair look a little bit more presentable for an extra day between washes, but it’s not magic in a bottle either. For $7, that would have been asking for a lot; I’ll take what I can get.

Have you tried any new beauty products? Got some new faves?