In Life, Style, What I bought, What I read

August 2013: What I bought, watched and read

WHAT I WATCHED

Nada. On vacation I don’t watch much TV, particularly because TV sucks here if you don’t have satellite and I am not really into TV that I can’t control (e.g. watching specific TV series).

WHAT I READ

30 Things Every Woman Should Know Before 30

[AGE GUIDE – WOMEN]

 

I am of the right age to read this book and found the title intriguing and dove right into it. Took me about 30 minutes to finish it.

Unfortunately, other than 2 of the pieces of advice, I found the rest of it trite, and I especially hated Taylor Swift’s idiotic, fluff piece on what being 30 would mean to her which is sad, because I like her as an artist.

The two pieces of advice I liked:
1. The realization you are going to have a retirement — and some money set aside to help fund it*
2. A purse, suitcase and umbrella you are not ashamed to be seen carrying.

*This one irked me as a PF blogger. “Some money” means crap to me, especially if you are from the U.S. and not from Canada. It should have said: “..and enough money set aside to help fund it.”

Perhaps it just speaks to a different type of woman but it wasn’t my kind of thing, talking about wild one-night stand mistakes (never happened in my case), or a range of other, banal pieces of advice like knowing how to use a screwdriver, hang a picture, or a set of power tools for putting up curtains for instance.

Seriously? Man or woman, everyone should know how to do the following in no particular order:

1. Cook from scratch (microwaving prepared foods does not count)
2. Clean a house
3. Do laundry
4. Use basic power tools
5. Manage your finances and save more than “some money set aside”

I don’t know.


The whole book sounded like a lot of Glamour magazine marketing to me but it seems to have touched millions of women who may have no had such an independent spirit from the start of their young lives.

It just didn’t really appeal to me. I can’t say I recommend it, but if you can get it from the library or from another free source, give it a once over.

Finding Myself in Fashion [FASHION – BIOGRAPHY]

finding-myself-in-fashion-jeanne-beker

I love Jeanne Beker. Ever since I saw her on Fashion Television (FTV) in Canada, I’ve liked her. I especially enjoyed her biography because she is just so.. refreshingly candid and honest about everything in her life, which is rare to find in someone who also shares their name and face with the world.

It’s easier to tell the truth when you’re Anonymous ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, it’s just a good biography to read, even if you don’t know who she is. She shares some interesting insights on life.

Living Beauty: Bobbi Brown [BEAUTY / MAKEUP GUIDE]

bobbi-brown-living-beauty

I thought it would be more of a biography on her, but it turned out to be one big makeup and beauty book. Not that I hated it, but it didn’t teach me anything new that I didn’t know.

It covers how to live and age beautifully, and if you decide to, it goes over all the cosmetic surgery and laser options, as well as other natural ways to age, and how to apply makeup based on what your “flaws” are.

If you like makeup, want to preserve your beauty, want to learn about what kind of different surgical options there are out there and how it made other real women feel when they went through it, as well as how to choose colours or apply makeup, this is the book for you.

Beauty and Cosmetics: 1550-1950 [HISTORY – BEAUTY]

 

If you enjoy reading about history and like learning about beauty, as in how women used to do without modern makeup, and what the standards of beauty were like in the past, then this is the book for you.

It is by no means dry, so don’t be put off by the rather awful looking cover. It is pretty funny at times and very easy to read.

Scatter my ashes at Bergdorf Goodman [STYLE – ANECDOTAL]

scatter-my-ashes-at-bergdorf-goodmans

I thought this would be more of a history on the shop itself, the Goodman family and how Bergdorf created the burgeoning business, but it turned out to just be people chatting about their experiences with the store.

Funny things that happened, celebrities, customer service stories, how they grew up in those stores and felt like family there.. that sort of thing.

It was a still a good read but it was more fluff than substance for me. If you’re planning on dreaming and stepping vicariously into a luxurious other world where people like Yoko Ono buy 70 thousands-of-dollars fur coats in one go, then this is the one to read.

Women from the ankle down [HISTORY – SHOES]

women-from-the-ankle-down

This book is all about shoes and style. No, correction.

This book is MOSTLY about shoes and style, because it does veer off into talking about celebrities, giving a brief biography and some insight into the people who made certain shoes or ideas famous.

Great, GREAT book if you love reading about shoes (and the history of them). I learned quite a bit about how shoes evolved over the years, and how we went from looking at older generations for style cues to realizing that anyone has style at any age, and you don’t need style role models if you don’t want any.

The Accidental Feminist [STYLE ICON – BIOGRAPHY]

elizabeth-taylor-accidental-feminist

Elizabeth Taylor was a style icon, so I picked up this biography on her to see what I could learn. After I got through the book, I knew a bit more about ET as a person, and it made me kind of sad she was misunderstood and abandoned when she tried her best to help those afflicted with AIDS.

It was a bit dry to read, so I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you are interested in ET.

The Botany of Desire [HISTORY – FOOD]

the-botany-of-desire

Michael Pollan (maybe his very auspicious last name had something to do with him always writing about plants and food!) is an excellent, engaging writer who clearly shows a passion for food. In this particular book, he writes about the importance and history of the apple, tulip, cannabis plant, potato.

My favourite history is of course the one about the potato because it is one of my favorite vegetables to eat. Coming in second was about the apple because it gave me a richer description of who Johnny Appleseed really was.

An excellent book for gardeners, food lovers or people who just like history, especially the history of things (like me!)

The Lost Symbol [FICTION – MYSTERY / ADVENTURE]

The-Lost-Symbol

Dan Brown is a great writer, but I hated this book.

I think his Da Vinci Code was excellent and a real riveting piece of work, but this one was just a repeat of DVC with a few changesโ€ฆ although I didn’t expect that twist at the end.

So .. recommended? Not really.

Empress of Fashion [BIOGRAPHY – FASHION]

 

Diana Vreeland was the former editor of Vogue and curator at The Met in NYC, and is was basically hailed as a revolutionary breath of fashion air.

She changed a lot of things, supported and started plenty of careers of models and designers (e.g. Oscar de la Renta, Manolo Blahnik, etc), and is universally known as being a “jolie laide” a French term for a woman who is conventionally ugly, but by the force of dress, personality and attitude, becomes attractive, powerful and interesting.

I liked the biography even if I found it a bit dry and plodding in some parts, and I enjoyed getting a feel for who “DV” (not DVF!) was as a personality, a force and a person.

Would I recommend you read it? Only if you’re really into fashion and style. Otherwise, it’s a pass. It’s not interesting as a biography otherwise.

WHAT I BOUGHT

NAT & NIN BAGS

Made in France of Italian leather, I picked up 2 bags in this gorgeous brand. A larger kind of messenger bag and a smaller suede clutch.

NAT&NIN LANA BAG IN BORDEAUX – 125 EUR

nat-and-nin-bordeaux-lana-bag

 


I love that it has so many pockets (3 in total, the 4th is an inner pocket), and is compact but stylish. The colour Bordeaux is far more red and wine-y than what’s pictured above, and way prettier.

See?

nat-and-nin-bordeaux-lana-bag-inside

NAT&NIN GABY BAG IN BLEU PERSAN – 200 EUR

FABULOUS bag. LOVE the blue, which is what attracted me to it. It’s slightly larger which is nice, and it’s a messenger style.

I love the pocket in the front on top of the flap for easy access!!

It also has great space inside for the bag

and the sides are fab too.

ERIN TEMPLETON ELK BAG – $200 CAD

Saw this on the Ossington strip in Toronto and I love me a super soft tote bag, so I picked it up. It’s huge, roomy, and absolutely fantastic.

It fits a bottle of wine (for cooking, not drinking!!!), 2 packages of pasta, my wallet, e-reader, sunglasses and a sweater without breaking a sweat.

Erin-Templeton-Tomboy-Large-Elk-Leather-Tote-Cinnamon

Erin Templeton is also a Canadian designer in Vancouver, and her leathers are done by her, which makes it even better.

It has no zipper in the front, it’s just a magnetic clasp but it’s a great tote to use for quick trips or errands.

SAINT JAMES BOUTIQUE — GARDE COTE II STRIPED SHIRT — 66 EUR

Also picked this up in Paris. It’s UVA/UVB protection in a stylish top. Made in Paris.

Saint-James-Boutique-Garde-Cote-II_Ecume-and-Navy

I decided to fork over about 66 EUR for a Saint James striped UVA/UVB SPF 50 shirt. It’s normally $200 – $250 including taxes in Canada, and 66 EUR is already with taxes included, which works out to about $86 CAD.

MATERNITY WEAR THAT IS NOT MATERNITY WEAR

As per my great news, it meant that I need to start thinking about maternity wear, which I frankly find hideous.

Maternity wear is just so ugly, plain, and even if they’re trying to make it stylish, it looks frumpy and gross to me. I mean everything kind of looks like it was made for a dollar store, but then they added extra fabric in the front and ruched it for the belly bump.

Everything is stretchy but not in a chic way, it’s usually polyester and ick.

Then they jacked up the prices by 500% and call it “maternity wear”.

It is the same scam as when they make a huge cake, and just because it has a bride and groom on top, it’s jacked up by 200% because it’s for a wedding. Or when you book a venue .

SERIOUSLY?

So.. enter my budding maternity wardrobe that will be pieces I can wear even after I have kids.

(They look great even now with no bump showing.)

ARITZIA: BRUNI DRESS – $60 EACH

Named after Carla Bruni perhaps?

Anyway, this dress is AMAZING.

I bought two — one in a heather blue and another in a heather grey.

Wilfred-Free-Bruni-Dress-Heather-Tempest-Dress

Wilfred-Free-Bruni-Dress-Front-Heather-Black

Super stretchy and comfortable, it is the ideal dress for being pregnant. If I need to, I will layer the two dresses so that they don’t become too sheer as my bump gets bigger.

I am LIVING IN THESE DRESSES.

A PLAIN MATERNITY TOP – $25

It was on sale, can you believe it? A plain maternity top with ruching.

ruched-maternity-t-shirt

 

This one is quite modest and I figure I can wear it when a tank top won’t do.

It was the only 100% cotton top that was not frilly, ugly, hideous, polyestered.. you name it.

Just a PLAIN. NORMAL. TOP. with ruching. $25. I will live in this and tanks if need be, then layer with sweaters and lots of scarves.

J BRAND MATERNITY MAMA J JEANS — $245

Ooowwwcccchhh!!!!

j-brand-mama-j-maternity-jeans

I have never paid that much for jeans in my life, even with my Citizens of Humanity I got on sale, so this was an real pain in the wallet, but maternity jeans NEVER go on sale because you’re kind of stuck with what you can get, right?

My mom was surprised they had jeans for pregnant women. She lived in muumuus while she was pregnant, and said she did NOT show her bump whatsoever because all you could fit into was basically a huge long shift.

Anyway, every mommy blogger seems to say that this is the most comfortable pair of jeans with the side stretchy panels over the one that pulls over your bump, and I’m trusting the masses on this one.

I bought a super dark rinse so that I can wear them even after I am not pregnant (they still fit nicely the way they are), and they’ll become a staple in my wardrobe that just happens to expand when I eat.

Perfect for buffets and other times when I know I want to go all out and don’t want to unbutton my jeans.

FRYE MELISSA BACK BUTTON ZIPPED BOOTS – $350

I sold my old boots in a wardrobe cleanout, and bought these Frye boots instead in half a size larger, which works really well because I can wear wool socks now at my size, and when I get bigger and my feet are swollen, I can wear thinner socks.

frye-melissa-back-button-zip-boots

I was going to have my boots custom made at $1000 a pop but now that I’m pregnant this is not a fab idea because my feet might swell and permanently expand, and I am out $1000 with boots I can’t wear again.

So in the interim, I bought these boots on sale and will be wearing them to death.

ARITZIA DIAPHSON SWEATER – $55

Same stretchy material as the faux “maternity” Aritiza dresses above.

Wilfred-Free-Diapason-T-Shirt-Heather-Black

I am going to wear these sweaters over my regular dresses and so on, and it’s nice because it has rounded panels in the front and the back, which helps give me a little more length when my bump gets bigger.

That’s it so far.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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24 Comments

  1. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life

    I’m impressed, that’s a lot of reading in one month. By the time I finish reading blogs for the day I feel like I can’t read anything else ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      There’s where my trick lies — I try to cut down on the number of blogs I read ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  2. Jane

    I snagged a copy of Glamour’s 30 things at the local library. I agree with you that it didn’t have much in the way of content. In fact, I’ve read a similar article in Glamour magazine and was surprised that the book was pretty much the exact same thing.

    I certainly didn’t have any amazing revelations reading that book, but it was an easy and somewhat amusing read. I guess I could say that it was a little break from my usual reading list.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      It wasn’t a book I really wanted to buy and give to my girlfriends, you know? It’s why I don’t think highly of it.

      Reply
  3. Michelle

    I want the top with the ruching! Even though I’m not pregnant. Super cute.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      It’s why I got it — it was just a regular top that looked nice anyway.

      Reply
  4. Erin @ Red Debted Stepchild

    Love the boots! I am saving up for the Melissa Button boots in cognac. I have the Carmen Harness short boots and I freaking love them. Frye is my favorite :).

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I like Frye a lot but find them a bit baggy. I am used to a boot fitting a lot tighter…

      Reply
  5. Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle

    I only had maternity pants and made do with whatever tops I could fit in to. I did steal my then-husbands long sleeved dress shirts and wear a scarf or a belt under the bump with jeans. The longer shirt covered the unattractive stretchy fabric at the top of the Wal-Mart maternity jeans.

    Either of those large bags that you have purchased will double as a diaper bag.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I am not planning on a diaper bag. It’ll be a waste of money seeing as I already have great bags to use.

      Reply
  6. Pauline

    Can’t seem to be able to open the baby post, so congratulations!! that is amazing news, I am really happy for you. Hope it is an uneventful pregnancy.

    Reply
  7. Amanda

    As a first time reader to your blog, I’m not sure how long you have in between your book reviews. Regardless, that is a long list of books you’ve read, presumably all rather recently! I think the only person I know that reads more is my boyfriend, and he reads… “heftier” books, shall we say.

    Also, I didn’t know there “maternity jeans”.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      This is just what I read this month in August. Each month I post what I read in that particular month…

      I don’t really read hefty books which is probably why it’s so easy to get through them ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes, mat jeans exist!

      Reply
  8. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans

    I love that you read so much! I’ve always wanted to invest in Frye boots but haven’t done so yet due to the price.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I’m a bookworm if given the chance. September was a good reading month too, although more baby books made the list.

      Frye boots are nice, but I find them a bit too roomy / casual for the look I tend to like. I am still going to buy those custom made boots but in a different colour and once my feet are permanently sized.

      Reply
  9. Tania

    Bookmarking this, love the book pics except for the “by 30”. I’m 45 so been there, done that, and I still can’t hang a picture but I can use a drill for minor stuff like putting together furniture. I won’t win any Martha Stewart awards for house cleaning too but know enough to keep the joint from feeling like a pigpen. My cooking skills leave much to be desired but again I know enough to get by and if not, there is always google & youtube! I remember the old days when I used to have to pick up the phone and ask my mom what saute meant, now I just pick up the iPad.

    Btw, many of my friends love the “bump band” by Maggie Maternity (just google, they have a site). It’s made in the US (you can order online) and it’s a piece of stretch jersey to provide some additional coverage at the tummy and waist when tops start getting too short in the front due to the bump. It looks really cute, like you’ve layered your top over a tank. You could have a local seamstress make you one if you don’t want to order from the US. They also have wardrobe “sets” that they say will last you throughout your pregnancy. Very cute. My blogger friend Sarah (theohanamama) also posts very cute maternity and nursing gear from indie companies on her blog. You can just run a maternity search on her site. She’s not a mama blogger per se but does feature kids/mom stuff from time to time.

    Reply
    1. Tania

      And oh yes, I’m in love with that squooshy leather tote. Beautiful! @Tania:

      Reply
      1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

        I practically use it as a pillow.

        Reply
    2. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I am not really keen on that book by “30” to be honest. I found it to have trite advice but it seemed to resonate with a lot of women who follow it like the bible.

      I am thinking about the bump band but only if my tank tops don’t make the cut. I just don’t like wearing extra layers and having them slip down or go around… They call it the “Bella Band” here.

      Reply
  10. storia

    In my two pregnancies, I never bought maternity wear and wore my normal clothes. Granted I am petite so I have that advantage. Personally I didn’t feel the need to shell out money for clothes I would wear a few months (yes, that’s the frugal in me). For work, I had to give up my office pants at 6-7 months (when the rubber band over button trick stopped working) and just wore dresses, loose skirts over tights….I wore the same pieces repeatedly, but it didn’t matter because I was comfortable. Those Aritza Bruni dresses look beautiful, though. Totally could see myself wearing those while pregnant.

    This is a perfect analogy, btw!: It is the same scam as when they make a huge cake, and just because it has a bride and groom on top, itโ€™s jacked up by 200% because itโ€™s for a wedding. Or when you book a venue .

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Thank goodness someone thought along the same lines as I did.

      Pants are out of the question for me, unless I wear my maternity jeans. I simply cannot get them across my belly right now even with a rubber band (it HURTS.)

      I’ve stuck to dresses so far and will continue to do so although I am going to have to find a pair of maternity tights to make it through winter.

      (Maternity / Baby anything is a scam.)

      Reply
  11. AdinaJ

    Finally! Something I can speak to … maternity wear. Tip #1 I wish I had followed: look for mat jeans on eBay. No one uses them for super long, so you can get onesin great condition for good prices. As for the style, I was personally a big fan of the full panel; if you happen to carry low, as I did, the panel is the only way to go, especially as your pregnancy progresses. Tip #2: you will probably be able to wear regular clothes (perhaps a size or two bigger) for some time if you are petite to begin with, but the problem will end up being length – thing will start being too short in the front. With tops, you can layer a long (maternity) tank top underneath to extend the wear of your regular tops. It’s cheaper than buying a ton of (ugly, polyester) maternity tops.

    Btw, love the blue bag! Gorgeous colour!

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Arg! I already got the maternity jeans!! Still they were pretty expensive.. I am planning on wearing them AFTER I am back to my normal shape, which is why I am not too concerned about them being used.. although that’s a good idea for if I want a second pair.

      I don’t know if I will be carrying low, I guess I will wait and see.

      I did end up seeing my tank tops start to shorten a little, so I got tank tops to wear underneath them. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do NOT want to wear maternity tops.

      Reply

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