August 2014: What I bought, watched and read
WHAT I WATCHED
I LOVED this movie. The actor Domhnall Gleeson as Tim was a fantastic, superb actor across Rachel McAdams as Mary.
It’s a romantic comedy but instead of waiting for eternity for the guy to get with the girl, he gets with her straightaway, and the whole thing is a wonderful twist on a classic — a great love story.
PROJECT RUNWAY: SEASON 13
I am currently watching Season 13, and you know what?
I really like Sandhya.
Don’t get me wrong, I think her designs are hideous and her aesthetic is way out there, too high fashion and totally NOT MY THING… but she is a strong personality and a fighter. I LOVE THAT.
In that one episode where they had to design a dress for Heidi Klum, I LOVED that she hustled and asked all the other designers for their money to be able to spend $432 on fabric the second time around.
One of the designers, Mitchell, called her selfish for not sharing the money, and another jealous one Korina, said that if she had $400 to spend on fabric it would be amazing too… but .. y’all didn’t HUSTLE for the money. She did. She totally deserves that cash because she asked for it, and it was fair game.
As for the designers themselves, I think the only one I really like is Sean. The rest are .. meh & a hit and miss for me.
Update: Sean is an ass for not acknowledging that Kini was the one who made that top in the last challenge. What a douche.
GAME OF THRONES
I’m starting in on Season One and loving it so far.
Update: Since writing this post, I’ve watched all 4 seasons! What a great show.
(I had been resisting getting addicted to the series, because I don’t have a lot of free time and the free time I had, I wanted to nap… Baby Bun only sleeps in 30-45 minute intervals and by 7 p.m. when he knocks off to bed, I’m exhausted and ready to sleep in an hour or so.)
I read all the books a longgg time ago so I kind of remember the plot but it’s much nicer seeing the characters come to life on screen.
Danerys Targaryen is my favourite character already, along with Tyrion Lannister (quite witty), and Arya Stark (a fabulous little girl who is both tough and resourceful).
From the start, I felt an affinity for her, not to mention her perfect hair and minimalist, super cool, ROCKING outfits.
WHAT I READ
Someone asked me how I read all these books in a short amount of time.
Truthfully? I read very quickly. I’ve always been an avid, super fast reader since I was young, and I devour books like macarons.
[ FOOD / BIOGRAPHY / BUSINESS / CHAMPAGNE ]
An EXCELLENT book. I really enjoyed reading about the history of champagne, and Widow Barbe-Nicole Clicquot’s unlikely rise to fame (and riches!!!!) from selling a dream in memory of her husband Francois.
Really good read. At one point I was thinking: OMG.. that stupid Napoleon. Why can’t she catch a break!?
It’s well written and I learned a lot about alcohol and champagne’s history along the way.
[ HUMOUR / MEMOIR / FOREIGN / TRAVEL ]
I really enjoyed this book. It’s not for everyone I think, but having been to Hong Kong, I really loved reading about how he saw it through his eyes (with his family), what they had to go through as foreigners, the way he described watching his kids struggle and grow up.
It was really lovely, quite funny in a lot of places and well-written. As an immigrant child, I can totally relate to their alien-ness in being in a very weird, new-to-me country.
[ FINANCE / FOOD / ANALYSIS / GLOBALIZATION ]
A great book that really is what the title says — how food stopped being food.
You’d be surprised but finance plays heavily as a theme in this book and you will learn a lot about the markets and how commodities are traded near the end of this book.
We all think that the solution to global hunger is to make food cheaper and cheaper, but it turns out that may be the opposite of what we want. Beautifully laid out arguments for why our food chain is becoming bloated and totally effed up (half the world is obese, the other half is starving), and how food stopped being.. well.. FOOD.
If you’re interested in globalization, food, and world issues, this is a great read.
Food = Money … Becomes a World Hunger problem.
[ SHORT BIOGRAPHY / PHOTOGRAPHY / FASHION / ICON ]
This is a book that is best if you can see the photos on a big page.
On an e-reader, I had to squint to see her photos and I really liked her minimalist style, but I didn’t get the whole essence of Audrey Hepburn because it’s more of a coffee table book to be honest.
[ BIOGRAPHY / FINANCE ]
This was a hard book to read and to put down. It was hard for me to read because it was so explicit and rather disgusting in many areas, but like a train wreck I couldn’t avert my eyes away from the destruction happening in between its pages to its author Jordan Belfort.
Think: Prostitutes, Drugs, Macho Behaviour on Wall Street, Excessive Gambling, Excessive Spending, F*cked up relationships (between him and his second wife), Messed up Friendships….
That said, it’s a gripping, good read.. it’s just not for everyone. I myself wouldn’t pick it up to read it again. Once was enough.
[FOOD / HISTORY / JUNK / BUSINESS: MARKETING / ADVERTISING ]
Quite an excellent book if you are interested in how the industry markets junk food to us.
It’s also filled with a lot of great insight and research into why we love salt, sugar and fat; the work and research that goes into making junk food so palatable (and what it tastes like WITHOUT salt, sugar or fat), and the history of how hard / clever the industry works to make money.
After reading this book you will either crave junk food or be totally disgusted and never want to eat it again (I was the latter).
[ ECONOMICS / CONSUMER / SOCIOLOGY / PERSONAL FINANCE ]
An excellent book that everyone should read. It started off a little slow and I was about to throw in the towel about a chapter into the book but then it turned for the better and it started reading a lot more like a Malcolm Gladwell book.
Patel describes and lays out clear, concise arguments for why free things aren’t really free, and that they have a cost to society that we don’t see.
Would you believe that a McDonald’s hamburger with all of its costs baked into it, should cost a consumer $200?
Great read. Don’t be put off by the slow start. It also makes you rethink how you spend your money.
[ BIOGRAPHY / HISTORY / WOMEN ]
This is one of the best historical biographies I’ve read in a long time. I like biographies in general but only if they’re well-written and this one was.
Schiff makes an interesting (probably very true, but we’ll never know) point about how Cleopatra wasn’t a seductress who wrapped men around her finger with her looks and beauty… but with her brain, instead.
However since history is written by victors and by men, her story twisted into something else and no one really knows for sure.
I’m inclined to believe that Cleopatra was not a “whore queen” as described by disgruntled Roman males, but someone who was independent, brilliant, and equal, if not better than most of the men around her, which frightened them, as Roman women weren’t really allowed to be smart and independent.
She was also the richest person / monarch of her time, and Alexandria was the most beautiful and technologically advanced city in the world.
[ DARK FANTASY / FICTION ]
I love ALL, EVERY SINGLE ONE of Anne Bishop’s books but never got around to reading these. I think I tried but my brain was too foggy to comprehend a NEW world she had created with “landscapes” and so on, and I put it on the back burner.
Then.. I picked it back up again in my Kobo Glo and devoured all the stories in short succession. This was the first one and like many of her books, it features a tortured, strong female character who overcomes adversity, coupled with a brooding but equally supportive male character who just wants to find love.
Cliched? Perhaps, but I like reading stuff that I already know.. if that makes sense.
[ DARK FANTASY / FICTION ]
The second in the series above. Read above.
[ DARK FANTASY / FICTION ]
This is a short story that was somewhat connected to the other two above, but was only 100 pages. VERY short, and a great read.. if you like dark fantasy fiction.
[ BEAUTY / BUSINESS / SOCIOLOGY ]
I like books that mix teaching me about the business and industry, with a topic I enjoy (beauty), and this one was perfect.
It goes into how beauty companies started, like L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Maybelline and Revlon to name a few, and how they continued to become powerhouses today.
It will come as NO surprise to you that a lot of brands you buy out there aren’t as diverse as you think, they’re all basically owned by the same 5-10 global companies in the world. Every new start up (like MAC for instance) gets snapped up (by Estee Lauder) and owned as part of a bigger conglomerate portfolio, while keeping its independent status.
Great read. HIGHLY recommended if you like learning about business, history of companies, and the beauty industry.
[ TRAVEL / FRANCOPHILIA / ANECDOTES ]
A fun read. Goes from “A – Z” with anecdotes under each letter, talking about what it’s like to live in Provence. Easy to read, funny in some parts, and still not better than his book French Lessons, but not bad.
[ BUSINESS / PARENTING / SPORTS / HOCKEY ]
Amazon won’t let me link to the photo of this, but it talks about how our beloved Canadian sport (hockey) has become a nasty money making business where the players, children and parents lose out.
The game is no longer fun, it’s a way to make millions if your kid can get into the NHL but the chances of that happening are slim to none. Quite an interesting read, and the cost of hockey will make your eyes roll back in your head.
WHAT I BOUGHT
COD LIVER OIL PILLS – $25
I bought these so I could pump and give good nutrients to Baby Bun like DHA to help build his little brain and body.
… the unexpected, beautiful benefit of these pills seems to be that my skin has been improving.
I wonder if it is also my not eating as much cake, cheesecake and deep fried samosas, but I think it’s a mix of the two.
My skin has started to clear up a little, feel softer, pimples are disappearing or not becoming as bad (not cystic acne, but white ones)… I know this is all very TMI but it’s helping and maybe it will help some of you too.
I did a little research and apparently these cod liver pills are meant to help with hormonal acne as well, which I know I definitely have.
If my slightly more aggressive nature doesn’t belie it, I have higher testosterone/androgen levels and that is very clearly linked to acne (why do you think a lot of teenaged boys have bad skin!?)
(Side story: When I became pregnant, my entire face broke out in pimples around the 6 week mark. I had huge, red bumps all over and I had no idea what I was doing to cause such a reaction on my face, as I was vegan for a month before and my skin was fine. Then I thought it was my birth control pills that I had stopped taking which I am sure didn’t help as well, but it turns out that my hormones were out of whack with Baby Bun inside, which is the main reason why I broke out.)
TARGET LIZ LANGE MATERNITY MAXI DRESS XS – $10.90
So.. I said I wasn’t going to buy anything, but I went into Target looking for a manual breast pump (just in case the motor in my electric one stops working), and I came across the liquidation / clearance rack .. for maternity wear.
(I also broke my retail ban for this. But I had to, y’all. $11!!!)
I am not pregnant, but a lot of my maternity wear I am still wearing now, post-pregnancy, and back to the size I was 15 months ago (when I got pregnant).
I had also been kind of enamoured with maxidresses as of late. It looks SO GOOD on everyone and for some reason I really hate it on me.
Until I saw this dress.
In an XS. The ONLY XS left.
FOR ONLY $10.90 on liquidation!!!!!
(made in Indonesia.. out of mostly rayon and a tiny bit of spandex)
….and I knew it was fate.
I was MEANT to have this maxi dress.
I bought it without trying it on, and took it home.
The minute I put it on it flowed over my body and made me look and feel like a serious Grecian goddess.
I think I finally had an epiphany. I HATED wearing maxi dresses before, because the slit was either up to mid-thigh, or there was no slit at all, and when I walked, it would wrap around my legs and annoy the $#(*%( out of me.
This maxi dress however, has slits on both sides, up to about mid-calf, and it has rounded corners.
I can actually walk in it.
The braided neckline goes all the way around, and although I am not keen on the tie that came with it, I can just swap it out with an obi belt instead.
I love, LOVE.. LOVE THIS DRESS.
My only two tiny critiques would be that the elastic inside is a bit scratchy but is not a problem if it is belted (it then doesn’t move or rub against you), and that it is about 2″ too long on me. I have to hike it up ever so slightly so that it is an inch off the ground and it doesn’t get dirty.
Love it. LOVE IT!!!
HANDMADE JEWELLERY IN INDIA – $100 for 3 (taxes included)
Let me preface this with: I couldn’t resist.
Since we’re breaking my retail ban this month ANYWAY…
I had been eying Stella and Dot necklaces and totally feeling sick over the prices ($200 for a necklace? REALLY?!!?!?)
So I took a little walk to the Singh Boutique in Old Montreal and wandered in there.. and saw these gorgeous necklaces for sale, ranging from $35 – $45 each.
I tried to only pick one, but my eyes.. well.. my eyes went to these 3 and I negotiated a little discount (everything in life is negotiable!)
I like this one because the gold plays beautifully with the yellow and gives it another shape when it’s knotted at the bottom..
This one is knotted at the top so it fans out and gives a different look:
And this one was just because I really wanted a bib necklace. Desperately. It looked a lot like the Stella and Dot one I wanted too.
ATELIER NUNCA NETTIE DARK GREY SANDALS – $87
Speaking of breaking my retail ban, I went for a little walk with Baby Bun just to get some fresh air.. *cough cough*.. and happened to wander onto a sale… at a new store… *guilty look*.. of 40% off super comfortable sandals.
Not that I really NEEDED a pair of new sandals, seeing as I already have casual, neutral, tan sandals, but these were dark grey, and SO COMFORTABLE.. and did I mention 40% off?
Oh and they’re SLIP ON. I don’t need to do up any zippers or buckles. *heaven*
The leather is super soft and reminded me of the Chie Mihara sandals I originally wanted to buy.
We can chalk these casual, dark grey sandals up to being MORE casual than the ones I already own, less dressy and dark grey, which means they go nicely with darker ensembles and look great with pants.
No more wandering for me.
I am done shopping now. I promise.