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

December 2013: What I bought, watched and read



She is simply my kind of person.

Engaging writer, articulate, witty, ruthlessly honest, self-deprecating…… need you ask for more in a blogger? I hope not.


Start with this snowflake button story.

The scary part is it could have been me, if I even owned a car to begin with (I never figured out what all the buttons were for when I did own a car for a brief period of time).

Men, you could also mosey down and fill out an application to date her (she’s a single parent blogger).

Bonus aside from a brilliant brain? She’s smokin’ hot.

Evidence below:




I liked the movie a LOT, but it didn’t quite grip me the way I thought it would. It was missing a little something. The whole film was beautifully executed, directed, full of colour and captured the essence of all you could imagine from a film like Hugo, but… there was something lacking in it for me.

Maybe a connected storyline with the father or something. It didn’t have a good flow for me.

The Bling Ring


I guess even if you’re the daughter of a famous film maker it doesn’t mean you know jack squat about filming.

Can you tell I hated the movie?

It was boring and there was nothing to it in terms of character development. Just a lot of music (good music), gratuitous shots of “celebrity homes” and closets, and me going: WOW! SHOES!!! CLOTHES!!!

That’s about it.




If you only read one non-fiction book in your life, make it this one.

I was HOOKED from page one. I couldn’t put it down.

He goes into how he used to float cheques at the age of 16, how easy it is to fool others into giving up valuable information about themselves, how peoples’ identities get stolen…

This book will make you paranoid at the end but I am happy to say that I passed his test at the end and only scored 5 points out of a possible 100.

I am paranoid enough for him, apparently.


Vow: A Memoir of Marriage (and Other Affairs)


I do not know what drew me to this book on the Toronto Public Library e-book system (Overdrive), but I am fascinated with all things psychology / sociology, and it seemed like an interesting book.

..and it was.

I know it doesn’t have fab ratings on Amazon but  I found it thoroughly engaging, hard to put down, and Wendy Plump (the author and adulteress) brought me through all of her stages of emotion, justification and infidelity very easily.

It’s kind of scary reading it, to learn and understand how many people cheat on their significant others or spouses, and it makes you reflect on your own relationship (of which I am very happily ensconced in).

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants


Malcolm Gladwell can do no wrong as a writer. He can pick any topic and make it sound interesting, I am sure.

Another gem. A good one to read too, about how you can’t always assume the stronger one wins, sometimes it’s the underdog because they had to be creative to battle their way out of unusual or dire circumstances.

REALLY. ENGAGING. Do not start this book if you cannot finish most of it in a day or two.



Very anecdotal and I couldn’t put it down.

(Note: I think this book might only be sold on and available only to Canadians for now. It’s a VERY new release.)

I love reading about how other people start businesses, and Arlene goes into a few examples of how entrepreneurs think, what they felt, what they failed at, and what they consider to be THE MOST important things to take away if you want to start your own business.

If you are thinking of becoming a business owner, this is a great book to read. Very engaging, easy, clear and helpful.

I found myself nodding along with a lot of what these entrepreneurs were saying. Granted, I did not make millions or billions from what I started as a kid, but I do see a lot of what they’re saying to be true to what I experienced when I ran my various businesses when I was younger.

I should write a post on what businesses I started.

UNBROKEN A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption


My GOODNESS she is an amazing writer. THANK YOU for recommending this book to me! I loved it. LOVED IT.

It’s about Louis Zamperini that lived through unimaginable circumstances and survived during the World War II, first by being shot down and then captured by the Japanese in a concentration camp.

Extremely graphic.

Couldn’t put it down.

A lot of sections in it made me cringe, want to gag (especially while pregnant), and cry. Yes, cry. I don’t blame the baby hormones on my waterworks because you’d cry too if you weren’t pregnant.

Very well written (I’m stalking her books now, just as I stalked Tess Gerritsens’), and it was just so.. beautifully put together, choreographed in a symphony of words, and detailed. SO detailed.

If you don’t come out of that reading experience thanking the world that you did not have to go through that and feeling grateful for your life, no matter how low you feel right now, there is something wrong with you.



Quite an interesting read. I wouldn’t say run out and get it immediately, but give it a read if you like history, Marie Antoinette-anything, hairdressing and just learning about how things were done back then.

It’s interesting how a hairdresser kind of had such a role to play in history and helping out Marie Antoinette before the French Revolution, and I rather felt bad for him at the end.



Excellent book. Quite engaging, easy to read, hard to put down. It’s basically a guy that used to work as a clerk at a hotel and he tells you what hotels do and don’t do behind the scenes, along with some entertaining customer stories.

The language is a little bit too strong for me at times, but it was still an enjoyable read.



I wouldn’t call this “reading” as “following along how to tie a scarf”. It’s pretty good at showing how to get the result of each (named) scarf knot, and I found myself referencing the book throughout the week to try out new scarf styles.

Ultimately, I settled on memorizing about 5 of them and discarding the rest (one of them makes me feel like a stewardess or flight attendant or something).

A nice scarf-reference style book for when you want to do something different with what you have on hand.

The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones


I love Bourdain’s writing and memories, even if they’re disjointed little essays. That is all.

I devour everything he writes, because it’s just so darn engaging…

The Vogue Factor: The Inside Story of Fashion’s Most Illustrious Magazine


I wouldn’t say this is the best book I’ve ever read on fashion or the best book EVER as fashion biographies go, but it is a biography of a former Vogue Australia editor.

It was nonetheless interesting enough to read, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and came out feeling like I understood Australians and Clements a bit more.

A fun way to pass the time, but not a must-read-this-minute.

That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor


I didn’t know much about Wallis Simpson until I watched the movie W.E. directed by Madonna (also not a bad film to pass the time).

She made me so curious as an icon that I read her biography and thoroughly enjoyed it. She was interesting, and it was really .. dare I say, sweet and enchanting to read about how one can be captivated by another for the whole of their lives to the point where they couldn’t live without each other.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)


I LOVE Mindy Kaling. I’ve stopped watching her TV series The Mindy Factor, but I still like her very much as an actress and even as a person.

Through this book, I feel like she could have been a good friend or a best friend to hang out with. She’s fun, honest, refreshing.. all the qualities I admire in another and try to cultivate for myself.

A very funny book, right up there with Tina Fey’s Bossypants.


Linwood Barclay – Never Saw it Coming



An awful writer.

I am no longer taking book recommendations from Toronto (TTC) subway posters and advertisements.

The writing for me was passable.. at least it was better than Twilight, but it was a bit disjointed, the storyline was crap, it kept changing without having a real suspense or purpose.

It really felt like a 10th grader wrote it.


I finished it anyway because I like to know how things end.


DYSON HOT + COOL HEATER – $350 ($100 off plus a $50 reduction off the first one we bought)


I bought another one for the baby’s room. It gets cold here for us, so the baby will need one too.

We also managed to get a $50 reduction off the one we purchased originally at $400.

MACLAREN TRIUMPH STROLLER – $150 (ON SALE! $50 off on Boxing Day)

Another future Baby Bun purchase — this MacLaren Triumph Stroller.

Super lightweight.

In between now and the time the baby can use the stroller, I will be carrying the bundle.

We bought it the minute we saw it was on sale, even though it is quite a few months away before we’ll be buckling a baby in there.


Have you ever tried to find women’s, knee-high, waterproof (that is, rubber) winter boots that are insulated and not made in China?

Then you should know the kind of pain I was feeling, searching all winter for these mythical boots.

I spent 4 months doing this and they simply do not exist.

My best option for this winter were these $40 Canadian Tire, made in Canada Kamik Boots (oddly enough only the hunting boots are made in Canada, the other Kamik boots were made in China for women).


They’re kind of ugly and utilitarian, and not SUPER comfortable (the height of the boot hits mid-calf in an awkward spot. I’d prefer it to be up to my knee, and femininely-curved to my calf, but for $40 you cannot ask for the moon.)

I find my Aigle Miss Juliette rainboots a LOT more comfortable to walk in and wear, but they are not insulated.

I wore them for a bit in Autumn with wool socks and they did just fine during the rain, but when winter hits, these things are FRUH-EEZING my toes off.

(Note to all manufacturers out there especially Aigle — you could make a killing on me and many others if you’d make some bloody rainboots with thicker tread, and an insulated sheepskin liner or something NOT made in China.)

They are gonna do the job, and that’s all I care about.

I’ve noticed a lot of people wearing rainboots in the winter as well, mostly Hunters and other galoshes, but it’s apparently an untapped market.

Update from a rep from Aigle:

I need to reassure you: fur lined boots, Neoprene lined boots and fleece lined boots From Aigle do exist and are handmade in France.

To name a few:
– Aiglentine fur
– Parcours ISO
– Carelie Fur
– Chanteblle ICE
– Etc.

And I believe the Miss Juliette A will also be available with fur lining starting this fall.


Glad you asked!

  • Leather boots, no matter how cute the marketing is, are not really waterproof. The water/salt/slush will EVENTUALLY soak into the boot.
  • Insulation is a must. My toes are always cold, even with thick wool socks on.
  • Easy to clean — just hose down the outside; salt stains begone!

These reasons are why I did not want to look at anything that was NOT a rubber boot, or at least, had a full rubberized bottom half so that they can walk in slush, snow, and on ice.

Water resistant is not the same as waterproof. I do not buy that UGGs from Emu Australia (also made in China) are truly waterproof, nor do I buy that lace-up boots (*cough*UGG I am looking at you *cough*), and leather uppers can be waterproof without a rubber outer.

Sorry. Can’t convince me.

Science and common sense tell me otherwise.


8 sets of cutlery of the brand Degrennes in the “Beau Manoir” style, and they’re made in France.

We got these on sale at Williams-Sonoma for about 25% off during the sales before Christmas.

FINALLY! Grown up cutlery to use for the rest of our lives.


The. Best. Earmuffs. EVER.

I have purchased cheap earmuffs, moderate earmuffs ($50) and anything in between, but to find these little soft balls of goodness that are made by hand in the U.S. from sheepskin sourced from Texas?


My ears are SO warm. I can’t recommend them enough. I will warn you that their Etsy page is in dire need of a major overhaul because .. frankly, the pictures suck and don’t do justice, they don’t give enough information (clear information), the colours are not properly displayed with names, and … you know typical Mom & Pop Shop stuff.

I’m still recommending them because these earmuffs are THE BOMB.

For $22 USD, they are a steal.

A must have for anyone who lives in cold weather, likes having warm ears, but avoids wearing hats like me unless it’s snowing and you don’t want your hair to get wet from melting snow.


$111 with 25% off and it ended up being $158 after shipping & duties


So it was originally $148, but with a 25% off coupon, I got it for $111.. but with shipping and taxes to Canada, it came  to $158.

This is STILL a deal because in-stores in Canada, it would have worked out to $168 (if they even sold it which they don’t because they don’t carry the Kate Spade range).

Still saved $10!

I have wanted this scarf for such a long time… Since February actually!!


It’s basically a stone flower. STONE. FLOWER.


Very cool. And pretty.


It is easier and cheaper to buy the pendant than the necklace. Then you just add a chain and bada-boom, you saved about $30 – $35.



I bought a Swiss Army Knife because it’s practical and handy to have.



I bought this while on vacation actually and finally received it (I know, who the hell shops online.. WHILE ON VACATION?!?!)…but I couldn’t help it when I saw it.

I love the idea of doctor’s bags, and this one is an unusual one, repurposed from old U.S. mail bags and old European doctors’ bags, this is the ultimate in recycling chic.


I really like how it looks.

And the reviews are outstanding at 5 stars.

I also like that it isn’t all leather (all the bags I buy these days are leather, but it sucks when it rains and I need a big bag to go out with).



When I got it in the mail, I was thrilled, but it is NOT a duffel-sized bag at all. It’s definitely the size of a medium-sized purse which is not what I expected (duh I should have measured it out like I always did).

Still, it is perfectly made, it is interesting, unique and definitely up my alley. The handles were a bit small but you can adjust them with the notches. I had them made in a longer strap ($50 addition) so that I could sling it over my shoulder instead of having to carry it by hand (very annoying).


I really needed a Size 2 if I would be honest, because my shoulders are wider than normal (am an inverted triangle), but this jacket still fit well.

It was less than $200 but with taxes, shipping and duties, it came out to about $200.

It’s simple, and elegant.


I normally take a 00 in everything for my bottoms and one size up for my tops (due to my broader shoulders).

You just can’t find this kind of quality any more in a blazer, especially at J. Crew these days, so hunting down vintage blazers that are WELL MADE has become a mini obsession of mine.

Just look at the popped collar! That’s actual silk underneath. What a nice detail.


I don’t have a grey blazer, and have been looking for one for quite some time now.. but could never find the quality I wanted until now.

I also liked the lapels are thinner (doesn’t emphasize the width of my shoulders), and it comes with waist cinchers on the side which can give a different shape to the jacket.


Love the Robert Noble logo.


And here’s the patch on the other side, along with the wonderful lavender lining (the workmanship is impeccable).


[THRIFTED] MANOLO BLAHNIK BLACK NEWCIO HEELS – $200 (including shipping, duties and taxes)

These are basically like my dark brown heels but in black.

Now I have the perfect shoe / heel wardrobe — brown and black.

They were actually customer returns, which means they aren’t broken in (boo!) but they are extremely new.

So new, you can feel how stiff the leather is.

[THRIFTED] MANOLO BLAHNIK ANKLE BOOTS – $240 (including shipping, duties and taxes)

I have been looking for a long time for mid-calf boots in a classic style, but it turns out what I want doesn’t really seem to exist on the market as:

  • Not made in China
  • High quality
  • Reasonably priced (no more than $300)
  • Comfortable
  • Low-heeled!

… until I saw these thrifted Manolo Blahnik ankle boots.

They’re used (I think of them as already broken in), but compared to what they cost before? A deal.

I like them because they’re pull-on, but also because they don’t have a strange seam line running down the front of the toe.

I want a smooth, uninterrupted line, NO SEAMING!



They’re not exactly mid-calf which is a bit of a minor point.

See, I wanted them a bit higher than actual booties so that my pants would just cover the boot and they won’t get caught in my heel when I go up stairs.

I think these are sufficiently high enough that they don’t look strange if I were to sit down in pants, and they would ride up a bit to show the top of the boot (I just find it to be a strange look, when you wear trousers).

Hence why I wanted mid-calf, but this I think is high enough to appease me. They aren’t really ankle booties.

The original retail price is $695 although I found a very similar Manolo Blahnik Side-Elastic Ankle Bootie one here for more than that, around $1100.

They already had Vibram soles on them (yay! $40 saved), but the heel and the toe do look a little scuffed, but I am not concerned with that, mostly because Manolo Blahniks are SUPER COMFORTABLE.


I can always get the heel repaired and have the toes buffed in black for maybe $20.


I can’t seem to wear any other brand now, and I am not willing to shell out $700 – $1200 for a pair of shoes so I will take what I can find if they’re used.

Also, they say Manolo Blahniks tend to run a bit smaller but that has not been the case for me.

I am a US 7 and I buy US 7 in Heels in Blahniks and they fit perfectly.

However, I tried on a US 7.5 in the Blahniks and they were just a bit too big and kept slipping off my feet when I walked, even with Dr. Scholl’s padding at the heel.

Therefore, go for your actual size — US 7 in heels, would be my recommendation.

I did however, buy these at a US 8.5 and not a US 7 but this is less of a concern for me because it’s a boot which means I can wear a thicker sock with it, maybe add in a Birkenstock sole if I wanted.

With boots it is a lot easier to buy a size or a size and a half larger because you can add thick socks, or put in an insole. In heels, this is not an option.

Therefore I’ve determined I’m a US 7 in general, and a US 7 in Manolo Blahnik Heels, but I should go anywhere from US 7.5 – 8.5 for boots (US 7 in boots would be too tight, as I would definitely be wearing socks with them).

I don’t like wearing thin socks in boots, in Autumn I prefer a thick wool sock, and if the shoe is not big enough to accomodate it gets pretty tight after a few hours of walking.

They’re also broken in, which I like, and the heel is fairly short, which makes for a comfortable boot.


I tend to prefer a slightly looser boot, but a very tight-fitting heel (so my foot doesn’t slide out).

I tend to always buy my boots at least half a size, if not a full size bigger for comfort.

I can also wear them with pants tucked INTO them which will give it another look.

I will need to spend about $10 to get the heel tips replaced and maybe another $20 to get the toes buffed and the heels redone, but overall, I am quite happy.

It would have been very difficult otherwise to find exactly what I want for under $300 at retail, considering that my feet have a penchant for higher end shoes.


If you are interested in buying a pair of Manolo Blahnik heels in a 37.5 I am selling a pair here:




My stupid Optex SD Card reader I bought in June for $3, has already died, 6 months later.

I bit the bullet and bought a new SD Card reader, for $12.50, but it was originally $30.



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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using 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 with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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  1. Tania

    Yet another great reading list, I can’t keep up with you :-:

    I have looked up the damn snowflake button before but have since forgotten its purpose, I’ll definitely hop over there and check out her blog. She is hot & shouldn’t have any problems getting enough “applicants”.

    Completely agree on the bling ring flick. It wasn’t very good. Honestly while I got sucked in by the media around that whole story, it was not good material to work with. While we could try to intellectualize the situation with ties to social media, consumerism and celebrity worship, I eventually summed it up to spoiled drug fueled teenager behavior. Not very interesting. I did enjoy a few of Sofia’s other movies though (Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides) and do like her somewhat geeky arty fashion sense.

    Agree on Gladwell. I also enjoy sociology and any business books that deal with behavior.

    Thumbs up on the Kate Spade scarf and also the MB finds. I’ve been looking for a black bootie (although a flat or little stacked heel one) that doesn’t chop off my leg and make me look stubby for some time. I’d wear mine with slightly rolled jeans and with dresses. Boots are the only show I can wear (besides sneaks) that my feet aren’t dying by the end of the day.

    I’m a sucker for anything druzy and bags made out of upcycled materials (what a find girl!).

    You’ve probably seen it already as I think you follow Wendy, the fashion blogger. Her youtube video on scarf tying is the bomb.

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I have a lot of free time when I don’t work, so I read.. a lot. 🙂

      I still can’t remember what the snowflake button is for either, to be honest.. and I read through that post! I think if I had to, I’d just grab a label and label everything to be something more coherent for me.

      You know, I think Coppola is not my style of director. I also watched Lost in Translation and didn’t quite like or get it. For the Bling Ring, I just enjoyed the fashion (like when I used to watch Gossip Girl).

      Boots are extremely comfortable if they fit you right. They really grip onto your ankle and foot, and I find that in almost any height, I could run in them if I had to, versus pumps (they keep sliding off my heel).

      Druzy = pretty. As for the bag, I mentioned it being smaller than I expected but I do like how different it is.

      YES! I once posted Wendy’s video on her scarf tying. It must have been back on my old blog a long time ago. She’s awesome.

  2. MelD

    That Swiss Army knife is the genuine officer’s knife, btw, not the red one 😉

    I read Vow and can’t even remember enough about it to recognise your description. I guess it didn’t leave much of an impression – from someone who has been through these kinds of rough times. You think you know it all. You don’t. (as in not you specifically, but “one”!) And you don’t react the way you think you will, either. So not on my list of relationship books!!

    I put a thick sheepskin sole in the bottom of all my winter boots, though obviously that doesn’t affect whether they’re waterproof or not, but it’s very helpful in the cold!

    Wallis Simpson I already knew something about, generally (being British and all..!). I read this book, too. There is nothing in it that I would judge as cute or sweet or aaah – she was a screwed up, weird woman and the POW was just as screwed up and weird. Nasty people, imho. Interesting, but nasty. Just my impression.

    Love that scarf – but then I am very taken with most things Kate Spade, fortunately neither available to me nor would anything likely ever fit me, phew… (also I am too old – I’d just look frumpy!!)

  3. jane savers @ solving the money puzzle

    I don’t wear scarves because I can’t tie scarves. I am not sure I could learn from a book. Someone needs to run a weekend workshop because I learn from doing.

    If you are looking for a new show to watch the new Canadian werewolf drama Bitten is my new favourite show. It is the worst thing I have ever seen on television. It is so bad I just couldn’t stop watching.

  4. SarahN

    I hate it when you recommend books that aren’t at the library! GRR! Now the book about tying scarves – I got one when I bought my Hermes, which I promptly framed after a few wears. But I still have the ‘how to’ cards.

    I have a very similar swiss army knife, but it has a USB that’s now useless, but worked well in 2006 when it was given to me. I’ve had it replaced once under the warranty, when I told them the pen ran out (and the scissors weren’t springy enough)!

    I’m surprised by your stroller choice, just very ‘basic’, but as you said, you’ll sling prior to it. Oh, yes, Uggs are way more popular with tourists than us – we just pick up ‘pretend’ ones from Kmart/Target than pay for the branding! And I wouldn’t expect them to be waterproof. In snow in the Netherlands I forked out for Crocs, but when my feet got warm and swelled, they were too small (the boots and the ballet flats), thankfully I’d not worn the ballet flats, so I could return them. I love Europe’s returns policy!

  5. Simply Save

    I need to stop reading your posts about books because there are so many I want to read! I love Malcolm Gladwell and his latest has been on my wish list…same for Unbroken! Someday I will finally make time to read them…

  6. anna

    I’ve been curious about the David and Goliath book – I’ll have to check it out. Love the jacket, too!

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @anna: It is a really really good book. Anything Gladwell writes is well-done and inspiring

      I love that I found that jacket too! 😀 Thrifted, no less.

  7. AdinaJ

    Ooh Manolos! I still haven’t found a pair yet, but I should get around to doing a dedicated eBay hunt one of these days. I do need a pair of cognac pumps … Hmmmm….

    Have you seen Catch Me If You Can? It’s based (loosely I think) on Frank Abagnale’s life. Leo DiCaprio is really good in it.

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @AdinaJ: MMm hmm.. cognac pumps? 🙂

      I have a pair of Manolos in brown and black. It’s my entire shoe wardrobe for work.

      I LOVED the movie Catch me if you can. It is definitely based loosely on Abagnale’s life.. it’s kind of the reason why I know who he is and why I picked up the book to begin with.

  8. Jane

    I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed “Unbroken” as much as I did! Seabiscuit (same author) is also a great read, though I’m a biased horse girl. Also wanted to add that Angelina Jolie is directing an adaptation of “Unbroken.” The movie is due to hit theaters in December 2014. She did a good job with “In the Land of Blood and Honey” so I have high hopes for this endeavor as well.

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I am saving Seabiscuit for the hospital. I think I’ll need something to occupy my time in between trying to catch up on sleep 🙂

      I haven’t watched In the Land of Blood and Honey but it’s mostly because I am squeamish / too soft hearted to watch such movies without reliving the pain of the movies for weeks afterwards.. like when people are tortured and so on. It’s hard for me to forget such scenes… especially if they’re done well.

  9. Christina Majaski

    Well, thank you for this. Although the Manolo Blahnik’s and that awesome blazer CLEARLY deserve to be before that big crazy photo of myself ;). Lots of great stuff you have over here (and I am not talking about me). I will definitely be checking back.

    Thanks again for the shout out,


    1. save. spend. splurge.

      You’re welcome. I like good bloggers especially ones with good taste 😉


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