February 2013: What I bought, watched and read
All of the following was bought before this happened: I am not purchasing anything from China any longer.
I am currently going through my wardrobe and weeding out things that I know are too cheap to be true.
WHAT I “BOUGHT” TO READ = $0
All free, thanks to Swagbucks and their Amazon.com gift cards (my referral code is in the link!).
I’m fascinated with all things money-related, but especially when it comes to social or anthropological looks at money (debt included).
This book got pretty high reviews and from a quick flip through, I liked it enough to use my Swagbucks (free) money to buy it.
I think Stephen Fry is an excellent actor with a wonderful, dry British wit (my weakness!). How could I NOT buy a book on him and his life?
I like history books as well, and that includes the history of languages. This one looks to be particularly interesting, or so the Amazon reviews lead me to believe.
WHAT I WATCHED
If you’ve ever watched Amelie, and liked it, you will like this movie. It’s pretty funny, very whimsical, and an excellent way to test your French comprehension.
I understood about 90% of the whole movie, WITHOUT SUBTITLES in French OR English!
*pats self on back*
There were some words and instances where I had to pause the movie and ask what they said or what they meant.
It’s the slang that gets me.
WHAT I BOUGHT AS STUFF…
Let me start with a little story….
MY “INSANE SPEND DAY”™
The 1st of February was an INSANE SPEND DAY™, or ISD. We had been eying this set of pots and pans for a long time now.
About 2 years, but could never fully pull the trigger to spend $2356.70 on them (they’re amazing, and NOT made in China, made in the U.S., actually).
To make matters worse, a certain unnamed family member (not BF or I), ruined our 2 rather expensive pots and a pan the other day by carelessly using them, but not caring WTF happened to them on high heat.
I don’t even know how they managed to BURN stainless steel to the point where not even a super-tough scrub could get the burn marks off.
$600 in the trashcan later, fuming angry and unable to believe that we didn’t even get a single “I’m sorry” out of them, we were left with cooking with a huge pot (pasta!) or a casserole dish in the oven (baked-anything!), which severely limited our choices, and made me quite cranky.
So when we saw a sale happening for the pots at $1050, plus an additional 10% off, we did the math and realized we’d never see a deal like that again for such high-quality pots and pans that we will keep forever.
Oh, and we’ll be sure to keep this unnamed family member WELL away from these purchases, because there is no way in hell I am shelling out another $500 because of some stupid, idiotic, careless cooking behaviour.
(I’m still angry, can you tell?)
Anyway, this is what I bought, and did NOT pay.
We went to an independent store on Bloor Street in Toronto (William-Ashley, that bridal registry mecca for rich folk), and found it for $1067.85, taxes included.
In contrast, if we had bought it at Williams-Sonoma “discounted” price of $1477.48, even with their 25% annual discount (if you wait until certain days, and are patient) it would cost: $1252.16.
We saved a total of $1288.85 in total or 54.69%!!!!!, without waiting for a sale, and thankfully, able to eat something other than oven-or-boiled food.
THANK GOODNESS! I DO NOT WANT TO PAY THIS PRICE EVER AGAIN.
I CRACKED, 46 DAYS INTO SEEING HOW LONG I CAN LAST WITHOUT SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES
Now on to the clothes.
I cracked, 46 days in. It all started when I had to run some errands (ironically to pick up and deposit cheques from my earnings this month), and then I thought I’d you know… pop into some of my favourite haunts on Yonge Street, and drop by a few thrift stores.
About $80 later, I came out with:
- Bionic Uki Tweed Wool Teal Ruffled Skirt
- Bionic Monique Red Wrap Sweater with Bishop Sleeves
- [Thrifted] Silence & Noise (an Anthropologie / Urban Outfitters brand) Grey Moto Sweater Jacket
- [Thrifted] Guess sweater that looks & feels exactly like the Vince Moss Knit Sweater I wanted
- [Thrifted] 3 Silk Scarves
I think I did quite well.
$80 for 7 items, is nothing to sneeze at. It’s about $11.42 per item on average, seeing as the silk scarves were only $2 each.
BIONIC UKI TWEED WOOL TEAL SKIRT — $20
A serious. Serious. Sale. @ Cat’s Cradle.
Bionic is a Canadian brand, by a Canadian designer who makes everything in Canada with Canadian-sourced fabrics (as far as I am told).
It flounces out at the knee and makes me look less wider on top shoulder-wise.
Not thrifted, but I gave myself a pass because it’s Canadian-made and sourced… for $20.
I also thought it’d be fun to show you how I’d wear it with things I already own in my closet!
Why this works for me:
The black in the long-sleeved top and the blazer picks up the black in the tweed skirt, and lets it look a bit more muted.
I added a few neutral accessories in a oatmeal pashmina to stop it from looking too somber, and in the same vein of that brown/beige tone, my dark brown boots.
To keep it all from looking too boring, I added a red handbag to it, and some really simple accessories to keep in line with the whole look.
I wanted the ruffle in the teal skirt to shine, and this outfit of colours is the perfect backdrop for it.
I could alternatively add a long silver necklace, and get rid of the ring and the pashmina to leave it looking very simple.
THE COMPLEMENTARY COLOUR PALETTE
Why this works for me:
My inspiration was the colour wheel and complementary colours.
This one has the teal playing off the deep, gorgeous violet of the top.
The super saturated dark purple-y violet is within a few colours of the blue-ish teal in the skirt.
They are both perfectly saturated colours and ideal for each other in an outfit.
I threw on my Aritzia Birch (Ivory) Petit Chevalier jacket to lighten the look, and kept the rest of my accessories neutral and simple. The top already has a lovely kind of patterned neckline to it, so I don’t really need a necklace.
I could always add some drop earrings in a neutral silver if I wanted, or some dark brown wooden ones to go with the boots.
TOUGHENING UP & BRINGING DOWN THE FLIRTINESS OF THE SKIRT
Why this works for me:
The skirt is really flirty with the ruffle at the bottom, so I thought about putting a casual grey moto sweater jacket and a plain white tank top with it.
I picked up the black in the skirt with the black tights, but I’d wear that look with I could forgo them and just wear them with bare legs and dark brown flats.
The Lululemon Potion Purple gym bag is casual enough for the whole look, but adds a pop of colour (similar to the example above).
The necklace is a black multi-chain metal necklace to match with the moto grey sweater jacket.
BIONIC MONIQUE RED WRAP TOP SWEATER – $20
Same serious sale. $20! Again, @ Cat’s Cradle.
How can you say no to such a gorgeous wrap sweater?
You can’t see it, but there’s a lining inside that feels a bit fleecy. Lovely sleeves, everything is beautiful about this sweater.
AND BISHOP SLEEVES! I’ve wanted something with bishop sleeves for a very long time, but never found anything appropriate.
Not thrifted, but for $20 and for a Canadian product, I gave myself a slide on these purchases.
A SIMPLE, CASUAL WEEKEND OUTFIT
Why this works for me:
You can’t go wrong with this outfit. It’s so easy. A no-brainer really.
Dark skinny jeans, dark brown boots, and a dark violet purple necklace to contrast with the gorgeous dark red sweater.
A COMFORTABLE & CASUAL WORK OUTFIT
Why this works for me:
It’s so comfortable, but easy to wear, especially to work!
The skirt is a great graphic black & white ponte skirt that looks effortlessly great with a red sweater.
I don’t like wearing tights, but I will if I have to.
Dark brown bag, heels, accessories. DONE!
THE PERFECT OUTFIT FOR RUNNING ERRANDS
This is also a simple look because it just pairs the red sweater with a graphic skirt.
Why this works for me:
Then you just play off the theme with a dark brown graphic scarf, a simple, casual tote that is lightweight, and I can run around town all day doing errands in this.
I also really love the graphic skirt, and the dark navy blue all ties in with the scarf, bag, and in the skirt.
[ CONSIGNED ] SILENCE & NOISE GREY JACKET – $30
I think Silence & Noise is a Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie brand.
At any rate, I found it in a shop for $30.
It looks and feels a lot like my Forever 21 (old, OLD purchase) of a similar black moto jacket.
But this one is much better made, with seaming down the front, tighter sleeves, and a higher back (not so flat, more fitted).
You can see it in the last outfit above with the teal tweed skirt, and here are two more:
A NORMAL ERRAND-RUNNING OUTFIT
No brainer. 🙂 Not much to say.
[ CONSIGNED ] GUESS DARK CHARCOAL GREY SWEATER – $5
It is 5% cashmere, but mostly wool. NOT itchy AT ALL.
It was actually originally $10, but I found that the knitted shoulder came out a little and I didn’t know how to fix it.
She gave it to me for 50% off at $5, AND SHE FIXED THE HOLE.
She had a crochet hook in her bag, she looped it and knitted the hole up, and sewed the whole thing up.
Looks like there was never a rip in the first place.
The colour is exactly this photo, but the fluffballs/pilling drove me mad.
So I spent an hour slowly snipping off all the pilled little fluffballs on the sweater (my cheap, horrible Evercare Sweater Shaver just stopped working even with fresh batteries after.. what… 15 sweater shaves?), and my sweater looks like new!
(I’d still like to buy a fabric shaver, a real one this time, to go over it..)
I also recently discovered another cool style feature of this sweater that I like.
You can roll up the sleeves so that it looks tight rather than bunched up and floppy, and it looks great beside a watch.
It’s a minor point, but it makes me happy because it looks great as a styled feature.
I can imagine putting one of my Equipment silk shirts underneath it, and having it rolled up around the cuff to give a pop of colour.
It also looks a lot like this $465 (original retail price) Vince Moss Knit Sweater in Charcoal Grey.
It’s almost an exact replica.
Check out the paneling on this Vince sweater!
….but I think I enjoy my Guess sweater more because it has a more defined knitted panelling on the sides and under the arms, which gives it more flexibility, movement and it feels more fitted to my body.
SIMPLE AUTUMN LOOK
Why this works for me:
Why wouldn’t this work for me? Maybe it’s a bit too much leather (I don’t like boots, with a jacket, with a bag), but it’s neutral, simple, warm and comfortable.
I could wear this, run errands and still keep my neck covered with a silk scarf.
No accessories because I like the scarf to stand alone.
THE POPS OF COLOUR AT THE NECK AND WRIST
Why this works for me:
So it starts off pretty simple.
Teal ruffled skirt with hints of black, that are picked up in the Guess dark charcoal paneled knit sweater.
I added my Equipment silk shirt in that very bright, saturated blue just to give a pop of colour at the collar and at the cuffs.
The blue in the Equipment silk shirt is the same tone as the teal in the skirt, and it gives a little bit of interest, and is not too matchy-matchy and monochromatic.
The tones match, and they’re in the same pool of green/blue.
I could also switch it out for a white shirt instead.
In the same tone as the Equipment shirt, I paired it with a tiered multi-layer of blue stone necklace over the honeycomb sweater, and it ties in the collar all the way to the front without overpowering the whole outfit.
Throw on a simple watch, boots and a bag in a neutral brown leather (they don’t all match as colours), and I’m out the door.
LAYERED SWITCHEROO AUTUMN WORK OUTFIT
Why this works for me:
I started with just the charcoal sweater and my Mandala black and white hatched stripe pencil skirt as the base of the outfit.
Keeping in mind that my work environments are business casual, bordering closer to casual most of the time, so I can’t look too fancy, but I can’t look too casual either (t-shirts and jeans won’t do it).
The sweater is a perfect way to make the whole outfit more casual without going too casual, and I added the Aritzia Blouse I bought last year underneath in an ivory instead of a bright white that would match with the skirt, to give some interest.
What’s nice about that blouse is it has something at the neck in place of a necklace.
Kind of like a fabric necklace.
I can also remove the blouse altogether, and just wear the sweater with the skirt, to keep it simple and a lot more casual.
This is also perfect layering for me because if it gets too warm, I can just remove the sweater, and the ivory blouse can stand on its own, tucked into my pencil skirt.
Red coat, Gloves and Tights are optional, depending on how cold it is. I can add them all, or remove them depending on how cold or warm it is.
The rest is simple — plain black watch to break up that brown/black theme I have going on, matching nicely with the skirt, a brown work bag and brown heels.
3 SILK SCARVES — $6
They were $2 each. I had to dig through a crate of silk scarves and I found these 3 gems. I found some nicer feeling silk (higher quality), but the patterns weren’t as nice.
ELLEN TRACY OBLONG SILK SCARF
LIZ CLAIBORNE MAGENTA STRIPED SILK SCARF
MICHELE MORGAN PARIS ORCHID PRINT SCARF
I WAS DONE UNTIL I WAS DOING YOGA ONE MORNING….
I was just about done with shopping until I was doing yoga in Downward Dog position.
BF comes downstairs, does a double-take and says:
Did you know that your leggings have a growing hole on the right side of your butt?
I sewed up the hole, but seeing as they are on their last legs (har har), with the leggings about to travel into becoming sheer pantyhose territory, I decided it was time to buy new leggings.
Spent about $100 after taxes, with a $20 off email certificate at Jacob (you have to spend a minimum of $100).
2 X BASIC BLACK LEGGINGS – $29.40
I really liked the last pair I bought 2 years ago from Jacob, so I decided to go back and buy them again. I had purchased cheap $10 Dynamite ones a long time ago, but they didn’t last as long, and died after about 5 months of heavy use (I wear them to sleep and around the house).
These basic leggings are made in Canada, which makes me VERY happy.
They’re also a bit sheer (even on skinny legs and a flat butt like mine), so I would NOT suggest wearing them outside of the house unless you are sure the butt is covered (can you imagine bending down / over ? It would turn even more sheer).
I was about to buy 2 more pairs of leggings in grey just to get the $100 limit, when I realized two things:
- I’d be spending about $20 more to reach the $100 limit, just to get a $20 discount
- I don’t need any more basic leggings — I don’t plan on wearing them as-is outside the home
But I was stuck with about $40 left to go to spend, to get $20 off (a good deal overall if you look at it).
And I remembered I really wanted to try and see if I could wear leggings underneath dresses with boots during the winter, and I picked up a slightly fancier (not as sheer) pair of leggings.
JACOB HYBRID PONTE LEGGINGS – $49
The waistband is an ugly sort of black band, but it bothers me less because at least it lays flat and won’t bulge out underneath dresses.
I also don’t plan on wearing them alone unless the band is covered.
I really don’t enjoy wearing tights because I find them too tight (ironically), and very constricting on my eczema-prone skin, and pantyhose (emphasis on the ‘panty’ part) makes me feel very constricted and uncomfortable.
Wearing these particular leggings for warmth instead of tights, will be a more comfortable deal.
I am considering going back to get the grey ones as well, just so I have grey leggings to wear underneath my dresses, but I may just forget about it and stick with black leggings.
WHAT I WANT TO BUY
I’ve also kind of been on a bit of a Wardrobe Lust streak, namely these items:
I can get 15% off the $198, which makes them still too expensive right now at around $169.
I love these pants so much, I am writing in huge letters.
I own them in Gunmetal, and when you love a pair of pants so much, you need them in the other colour too.
Or so says my Inner Shopping Self. I will probably regret it forever if I don’t end up buying them, but I can’t pull the trigger without having an income flowing in.
I also tried to go out and find cheaper substitutes but NONE of them come close to these pants.
HUNTER RAINBOOTS – $160
So the same “unnamed someone in my family who is not BF or I” who ruined my pots and pans, ALSO tried to stuff their oversized feet into my rainboots which I have been using because of our wacky Canadian weather (during snow they’re great with some wool socks, in slush!)…. and there are huge holes and a gap at the back which totally defeats the purpose of a rainboot.
Out another $50 due to this unnamed member of the family’s carelessness.
Now, I am “hunting” (har har) for these to be cheaper than $160, and hunting for them on eBay.
With a 20% off, even a 30% off sale, they are $112. Plus taxes of 13%, they will be $126.56 in my best case scenario.
I want them only in navy, grey or aubergine (NOT BLACK). I can even go for merlot (red) or the bright red on the end.
The rest of the colours don’t appeal to me.
Update: Pretty sure they’re all made in China, so there goes that idea…
THE MONET NECKLACE — $325
OUCH on the price tag, but it’s still beautiful.
I can still lust after it even though I don’t want to buy it.
Yet. Ever. Yet.
Oh forget it, I can’t make up my mind. Let’s just leave this one alone.
Horribly overpriced, I know.
…but just look at how pretty it is!
I’ve always wanted something with the map of New York on it.
It’s pretty and I want it.
That’s pretty much my justification for everything.