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

July 2013: What I bought, watched and read


Nada. TV is not a big thing for me especially in hotel rooms. I saw reruns on TV5 Monde of “Nues et Culottes” but nothing particularly exciting while on vacation.


Instead, I had plenty of time to read believe it or not, and I blew through the following books in July.

Overdressed: The High Cost of Cheap Fashion



Excellent, EXCELLENT book. I really recommend this if you are into fashion and style, or even if you aren’t but are curious about the true societal cost of cheap fashion.

It tied in very nicely to my new life philosophy of not buying anything ridiculously cheap, specifically items made in China (still going swimmingly well for me!), and it heightened to me the dire situation of what we consumers are doing to our own selves.

We’re basically killing our own industries, promoting and supporting the unsatiable lust for cheap crap. Cheap, falls-apart-after-2-uses, plastic crap produced all over the world in Third World countries.

Forget about the suffering in these countries to produce these items, the book outlines that you’re basically wasting your money buying cheap crap, and you will always pay for it in the end, which is something I’ve aways strongly believed in.

Even now when I go into H&M to browse (I like to see what the new trends are), I touch a stylish polyester blouse and can’t bring myself to even want to try it on, no matter how enticing its $10 price tag is.

Kitchen Confidential [BIOGRAPHY – FOOD]


He is no doubt a fascinating man but I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain (chef) to begin with.

I find him funny at times, but rather abrasive and too blunt without the need to be at times (I know, as if I can even call myself the Queen of Tact and Diplomacy, right?).

His need and flare for extravagant showmanship sometimes overpowers basic human decency and manners, which rubs me the wrong way.

That said, the book was riveting. RIVETING.

I want to buy every one of his books now. He tells the most salacious, deprecating stories, and goes into such detail, even telling you WHEN you should go to a restaurant to eat (Thursday to Saturday is safe), when you should order fish (never on a Monday or in a “special”), and how to tell if a restaurant is clean (just look at the way they take care of their bathrooms).

Even if you don’t enjoy cooking or food, it’s a good read.

1000 years of annoying the French [HISTORY]


I just liked the title which is why I picked it up.

I didn’t expect it to be as dry and as witty as it was, then again, it WAS written by a Brit so I suppose we should also take his view on the British & Americans versus the French with a grain of salt as well.

He revealed a lot of interesting tidbits about history, and overall if you do NOT enjoy history especially “modern” history (as in, not a book on ancient civilization), you will not enjoy this book. He has a lot of dates, a lot of information, and somehow manages to weave it all into an interesting book that was for me, someone mildly interested in the social aspects of history, not in the least bit dry to read.

The 3 biggest takeaways I got from the book were these:

1. The French have a way of hiding their faults and trumpeting their victories.

Take for instance their cowardice during WWII, they will pretty much universally tell you that they were all waiting for Charles de Gaulle to come and save the country, so they were just PLAYING along with the Nazis. Even BF agrees that when he was a kid, he found the way they presented it a bit suspicious, and didn’t quite believe their stories about having a secret intention behind welcoming the Nazis into their country.

2. Charles de Gaulle was not the hero everyone in France makes him out to be.

In fact, he sounds downright annoying and bothersome. He annoyed the Brits and the Americans, and had to be shuttled away into London and given busywork so he wouldn’t blab and give away secret plans and screw everything up. How much of this is totally true (as I said, it’s written by a Brit), I will leave it up to you to take it with a grain of salt.

3. The Francophones are always somehow against the Anglophones, yet their histories are linked pretty closely.

French versus British. French versus Americans. French people even helped the Americans at one point to be free of British rule during the American Revolution, something they keep on the down low, but played a part in.

Then the French turned around, rather liked the American way of not being under a king and took inspiration from the Americans for their own French Revolution. How’s dem apples? 🙂

First to Die [FICTION – MYSTERY]


I’ve heard so much about the author James Patterson on “Castle”, that I thought I might as well start branching out into other mystery writers and finding a new source of fiction to read.

I thoroughly enjoyed his style of writing.

In fact, this book reminded me a lot of the fictional books written by Richard Castle on the TV series “Castle” of Nicky Heat — strong, independent woman who finds it hard to find a boyfriend, and has a best friend who is a medical examiner who is a black, independent woman as well. Sound familiar?

Anyway, I liked the book and am looking forward to devouring his entire range.

The Beauty Experiment [SOCIOLOGY – BEAUTY]


This was written by a white American ex-pat who moved to Hong Kong for her Chinese husband’s job, with a new baby in tow, plagued with the common American problem of self-image and worth and surrounded by what she describes as tiny, fit, gorgeous Chinese and ex-pat women. She felt tired, fat, awkward and not at all very beautiful among these women and wondered why our society made us feel as though being “natural” was a bad thing.

In an effort to feel beautiful as a woman no matter what, she cut her hair very short like a man’s, stopped wearing makeup and using a lot of toiletries, stopped shaving her legs (although her husband timidly protested her furry legs)

I can’t say that I really connected with this book as a result.

Truthfully, I really don’t have a problem with self-image and confidence. I did when I was a teenager but that has pretty much become a memory of my gawky adolescence.

Yes, I am really into being more natural these days, but I don’t see the point of trading one extreme (plastic surgery, heavy makeup, diet fads) for another (going entirely natural with no shaving, refusing to use skincare products or any minimal makeup at all).

The book seemed to be more of her way to find peace with her looks, which she ends up doing, but I can’t say I would recommend it because I personally didn’t like it.

Maybe if you do suffer from self-image issues, you should read how she battled with these problems and perhaps you can come up with some ideas of your own to change the way you feel.

The Hunger Games Trilogy [SCI-FI FICTION]



I give it my highest recommendation. I actually saved this trilogy for when I was on vacation because I knew I would have time to read and this trilogy would be perfect for long periods of time with nothing to do.

I had purchased what I thought was the Hunger Games Trilogy, when in fact it was just the FIRST book in the series. By the time I devoured its pages, I pressed my Kobo Glo to get to the next installment only to be shocked that the book finished!

I luckily had a spot of internet, quickly surfed to the Kobo Ebook store and forked over $27 for the other two books in the series so my reading momentum would not be broken.

THAT, is how good this trilogy is.

It is like a modern “Lord of the Flies” meets the resourcefulness and creativity of the Harry Potter series with a good sci-fi Orson Scott Card’s “Enders Game” twist.


Not much, in France for July. Wait until my August post. EPIC.

I couldn’t find many things of fantastic value. I also saw that the grand sales were on, which meant that they were putting out on display ALL the things they wanted to get rid of during the sales, and hiding the good stuff (new collection, or too-nice items to go on sale) for after the sales were over.

I decided I would come back and do a quick look around the stores in August when the sales were done to see if I could find anything nice.

2 scarves at Galeries Lafayette – 300 EUR (They were NOT on sale!)

I was under the impression they were on sale but apparently not THESE specific scarves which made sense to me, seeing as they were seriously gorgeous and I would have been shocked had they been on sale for 30% off, to tell you the truth.

Something I’ve learned is that the best stuff never really makes it to sales very often.

One is extremely luxurious, soft, made in Italy with different patterns mixed around so you could twist it to get a different style of scarf (and look!) each time from Pierre Louis Mascia:


I was in line holding and stretching out this scarf and wondering if it was really worth 135 EUR, when an elegant French girl descended on me and demanded to know where I found that scarf.

Surprised, I pointed over to the area where I had found it, knowing that it was the last one I picked up in this deep purply, inky blue. Usually, when I get accosted by French people who want what is in my hands, I consider it a confirmation that I have chosen something of good, universal taste.


The other is a simple linen and cotton scarf made in Italy, but I just really liked the striped colours and pattern of it. It was cheaper, as in half the price of the one above, which is still expensive in my opinion, but it just looked like the perfect scarf for Spring or Summer.

inouitoosh-etole-blue-coral-liberte-scarf inouitoosh-etole-blue-coral-liberte-scarf-2

I bought more in August which you will see in my post 😉


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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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Posted on July 29, 2014

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  1. Erin @ Red Debted Stepchild

    Those scarves are absolutely gorgeous! Can’t wait to see your August purchases :).

  2. Shandi76

    Just wanted to point out that Stephen Clarke is more specifically an English author and it is a history of Anglo-French relations rather than UK-French relations. The Scots have generally had a good relationship with the French through the ages e.g. the Entente Cordiale, and regularly teamed up to fight their common foe – the English.

    I’ve also been meaning to read The Hunger Games Trilogy for ages. I loved the film so much. But I’m still working my way through the excellent Song of Ice and Fire series (currently on book 4) trying to stay ahead of the tv show.

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Oh, good point! I should have clarified between English and UK. 🙂 Thank you.

  3. SarahN

    More books to add to my reading list – the Hong Kong expat for sure. The others, if I can find them. The overdressed one is overread :p <- what I mean is I have read heaps of reviews, so I feel if I read it, I won't be as likely to be able to use it for blog fodder!! France and no longchamp – sad 🙁

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      You should read Overdressed anyway, it was such a good book, I was nodding along with it.

  4. The Asian Pear

    I love Anthony Bourdain!! Thanks for heads up on the book. I am totally going to read it now. 😀

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I’m reading his other book now, Medium Raw. He’s such a frank writer. I love that.

  5. Michelle

    The Hunger Games Trilogy is absolutely fantastic. I just read another dystopian book that I think you would like: The Bone Season. I read it in 3 days. If you read it, let me know what you think!

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I will put it on my list!!

  6. Alexandra @ telltaleblog

    I love the Inooitush scarf! The colors are amazing.
    If you’re looking for a much lighter read about the French, I suggest “A year in the merde”. It’s super funny. And it’s true about de Gaule, apparently he got lost on his way to the liberated Paris and the Allied Army had to wait for him outside Paris, while he was finding his way. Crazy!

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      HAH! I am definitely reading that book.

  7. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans

    I’ve been looking for some books to read! Definitely going to add these to the list.

  8. debtfreeoneday

    Wow, those scarves are gorgeous! I haven’t read a book in around 6 months, I never seem to get the time. But I have seen the Hunger Games and liked it, so maybe I’ll try the books. From my experience, the books are always better than the films!

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I did a LOT of reading on vacation. Books are always richer and better than films, but the Lord of the Rings’ and the Harry Potters weren’t so bad.

  9. Cassie

    I’ve been meaning to get my hands on a copy of Over-Dressed for a while now. I think I’m going to put it on my Christmas wish list (the family will start asking in the next month or so)

    That first scarf you purchased is absolutely gorgeous (and I loved the little story about the French girl demanding to know where you got it). You’re right about the best stuff never making it to the sales. The same can be said for the classics as well. How often do you see a white shirt marked down as agressively as a lime shirt?

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Or you can just download the ebook version from your local library 🙂 If you have an ebook reader that is…!

      I’m realizing I should just buy what I like because when it goes on sale, my size is never in stock 🙁

  10. matthewchat

    Especially in electronics, and way too frequently, China is the only place to get certain things. This made me feel a bit better though – the tide is turning:

  11. anna

    I’ve been meaning to read the Hunger Games trilogy before the second movie comes out – thanks for the reminder. Beautiful scarves!

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      You are going to LOVE the trilogy. Put time aside because you will not want to stop.

  12. AdinaJ

    I just read Overdressed too! It has further spurred my determination to henceforth avoid the usual fast fashion culprits (H&M, Zara, etc.), and “upgrade” my entire wardrobe, quality-wise (slowly but surely). I don’t think I will be able to avoid China-made products entirely, but I am paying a lot closer attention to provenance than before.

    Can’t wait to see the August post!

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I know you’re paying closer attention I’ve been reading your fashion blog! 🙂

      Overdressed was THE book that nailed the last nail in that coffin for me.

  13. Michelle

    France is fantastic, isn’t it? When I visited Paris, it was a completely different way of life. Galeries Lafayette is amazing, I love the clothes they have in Europe.
    Thanks for the review on Over-Dressed, I’ll give it a read! I’m very much into fashion (especially designer) but don’t like the excessive price tag. I believe in buying quality items for a bit more money than cheap fashion. It’s hard to not find something made in China, keep us posted on how that goes!

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Well to be fair, I mostly like independent French brands, not designer ones I can always find in North America.

      As for not buying anything made in China, so far it’s going well. You just have to check the label and avoid falling in love with it before knowing where it’s made. And you have to pay more money.


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