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
[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]
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 😉
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]
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]
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]
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 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]
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]
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 changes… 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
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.
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 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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.