June 2014: What I bought, watched and read
Witty, stylish, and clad in affordable ensembles made up of thrifted designer duds and mainstream retailers, this blog is one of my favourite, real style bloggers who shows actual outfits that are easy and realistic for a mom of 2 to wear.
I love the most is her personality, wit, and overall humour with an unabashed love of fashion on a budget.
(A true budget. Not a fake budget, like the one I’m on. I have a fake fashion budget because I don’t really restrain myself.)
WHAT I WATCHED
This is a fantastic movie because Cate Blanchett is just… phenomenal as her role as a delusional socialite. She is incredible!!!
I also drooled over her outfits in the movie. My goodness.
Just check those outfits out:
I am coveting a Chanel tweed jacket now.
A serious Chanel tweed like that one. That EXACT ONE.
What a lovely sheath dress..! I hear a lot of it was Fendi.
This is beautiful too, a lovely draped silk dress and her ubiquitous Birkin.
And this dress in particular.. OMG!
WHAT I READ
[ HUMOUR / PARENTING / CHILDREN ]
SERIOUSLY hilarious. I highly recommend reading this.
I do not have a toddler yet, so I can’t relate to some of these stories but a lot of them seem very familiar / plausible.
I was laughing out loud in a lot of spots, Bunmi is a truly gifted comedian and writer.
[ TV SERIES / MYSTERY / CRIME ]
I love.. love.. LOVED the Mr. Monk TV series and was sad when it ended.. but now I get to indulge myself in reading the fiction from the show.
I am going to read every single book.
[ TV SERIES / MYSTERY / CRIME ]
..even though I’ve started reading these, it’s kind of obvious from the start who did it.
I dunno if you’ve read these books, but I find that either I have a sixth sense as to knowing immediately within a few chapters who the suspects are, or … they really do make it too easy.
STILL LOVE reading this series!
[ CHILDREN’S BOOKS / ROALD DAHL MINI BIOGRAPHY ]
I don’t even know if Roald Dahl ever thought he was interesting as a person to write about, but his biography (Boy) and the short story in here about being at Repton Academy are fascinating. He was such an iconic storyteller, if only he were still alive today. *sigh*
It’s also marvelous that C.S. Forrester is the one who basically discovered he had a gift for storytelling. What fortuitous chance! For that, we can thank Forrester for discovering an author who has written great classics for children to read.
<3 Roald Dahl as a children’s book writer, but I have a lower opinion of him as a person after reading the next book….
[ BIOGRAPHY / ADVERTISING / MAD MEN (TV) / BUSINESS / WORKING MOTHERS ]
Speaking of Roald Dahl, I was surprised to read about how he was a bit of a jackass in this book. Basically he was married to a famous actress named Patricia Neal and he broke her heart by running off with a wardrobe stylist (Felicity) from an ad agency.
He cheated on his wife with whom he had 5 children.
Anyway, he negotiated on her behalf and while I am partly in awe of his negotiation skills, he was one cheap SOB.
Case in point: He made General Mills give the funds for 2 first class plane tickets to NYC but then would pocket the money and buy a SINGLE economy ticket instead and send Pat Neal to go for the commercial shoot.
Goes to show how people are portrayed in books or in their biographies aren’t indicative of how they are in real life.
Anyway, this book was recommend to me by Girl in a Trenchcoat, but I had already downloaded the book and was waiting to read it. She reminded me of its title and I started on it 2 days ago.
I was HOOKED! It’s told by Jane Maas, a former Ogilvy VP who actually worked in the time of the TV show Mad Men in advertising.
It was really heartbreaking to read how stigmatized and hard it was for working mothers back then, how guilty they were made to feel (and felt), and then having to come back home and do it all — cook, clean, cater to whims of the entire family and act like a house elf.
It’s of no surprise, but it was still painful and sad to read. Kind of reminds me of what my mother went through although she was not a working mom in that era, her plight was still about the same about 30 years later.
An excellent read, both engaging, funny and full of great anecdotes.
[ FICTION / TERMINAL ILLNESS / LOVE STORY ]
I must be missing something because I just didn’t get the book. I read it, but I wasn’t engrossed and totally in love with the characters and the whole way the story flowed through its pages.
I liked some of the ways Green described certain interactions or had characters give observations but beyond that?
I can’t see what the hype is all about. Maybe the movie is better?
[ BIOGRAPHY / BUSINESS / ENTREPRENEURSHIP ]
This is a fabulous book. I LOVE Richard Branson. He is such a business icon for me and a self-admittedly unlikely businessperson.
I highly recommend reading his book even if you aren’t a small business owner. He’s engaging and admirable.
(I also have Virgin Mobile as my cellphone before I read this book, and I love it!)
[ FRANCOPHILIA / TRAVEL / FOOD ]
I REALLY liked Mayle’s previous book French Lessons:
….so this one was a HUGE disappointment for me. It was still interesting with anecdotes and tidbits, but nowhere near as dry, witty or as funny as French Lessons.
I say read French Lessons but pass on Encore Provence.
[ BIOGRAPHY / HUMOUR / FAQ ]
She is hilarious. Debbie Travis made me snort with laughter throughout the entire book.
Affable, down to earth and totally cool. She’s someone I could be friends with, based on reading her book.
[ PARENTING / FRANCOPHILIA ]
Brilliant! Quite an interesting book to read. I am not sure how it will work if you aren’t strict with your kids but what she wrote in there was basically what I was planning on doing anyway.
When we were young, we didn’t have a choice of things to eat. What my parents made, was what we ate. If we didn’t like it, we just ate less of it, but if we were hungry, it was our only choice.
We didn’t have substitute meals made for us, my mother was not a short order cook and we all grew up to be fairly easy going eaters.
The ONLY person in my family who is picky about food is my brother. Apparently as a kid, he went on some sort of food strike and refused to eat for 2 weeks. In the beginning, they let it go, but then my parents, desperate to get him to eat SOMETHING, told him he couldn’t leave the table until he ate a certain amount of food.
I wonder how he managed to starve and be okay with it. If I am hungry, nothing stands in my way of getting to food. I’m extremely cranky when I don’t eat.
[ BIOGRAPHY / ENTREPRENEURSHIP / WOMEN’S ISSUES ]
Some parts of it I didn’t agree with, but overall, I do think women need to speak up and employers need to stop being jackasses and instead of expecting women to be soft pushovers to treat them just as they would treat men in the workplace for good or for worse.
WHAT I BOUGHT
I said I wouldn’t buy anything, didn’t I?
I SAID IT.
I SAID IT…
And then.. I decided to browse my favourite consignment shops (baaad .. baaaaad idea…) and came out with this…
[THRIFTED] BURBERRY LONDON WHITE COTTON TWILL BELTED SHORT JACKET WITH 3/4 SLEEVES – $226
Ever since I saw this shot of Kate Beckinsdale in a short white coat, I’ve been enamoured with the idea of a white coat or jacket of sorts:
It looks really similar to my 2 other Burberry coats, but just in white with black buttons and shorter. I wanted something different in a white coat, so when I came across this gem in the shop, I was SOLD!
It looked like.. well, nothing on the hanger. Kind of weird and boring, but once you get it on…!!
It is a draped front, so there’s no buttoning required, but that also means if I wear it open, it looks a bit boxy..
It looks much better in-person and on a body, belted.
I would have just taken a model’s picture of it but I can’t locate any photo of this jacket online in this exact style.
In my defense it as $226 and originally retailed for $900.
How do I know this?
Because I’m a Burberry coat fiend and I love looking at jackets online, so I have a good inkling that this jacket retailed at $900 – $1035 originally.
It was also originally priced at $345 and then marked down TWICE, and generally speaking, prices of these jackets are a 1/3 of their retail cost, so…
$345 x 3 = $1035 (original retail)
I have no idea why no one snapped it up because it was my size — US 4 — and it was stark white ….. oh wait. I think I just answered my own question.
Anyway I love it, all the way down to its 3/4 sleeves, because it’s the perfect summer coat without being too summery or too coat-y (is that even comprehensible?)
I can’t even figure out what season it’s from or anything but I like how clean and minimalist it is with its gold buckles and lack of buttons (I tend to gravitate towards lots of buttons on coats).
Oh and get this.. I am not even done.
There’s an even bigger purchase I made, if you’ll care to keep reading…
[THRIFTED] RAG AND BONE BLACK SILK MAXI SKIRT WITH LEATHER TRIM — $51
I er… have to confess with a red face that I didn’t think I’d win this auction.
I bid on it blindly in a haze of (milk) pumping fury at 2 a.m. and then promptly forgot all about it.. UNTIL I WON!
I’m going to blame this on the Olsen twins because I follow this blog to see what they wear (shapeless, baggy things), and they are ALWAYS in black maxi skirts.
Let’s blame those poor pint-sized billionaire celebrity twins whom I used to watch on Full House ALL THE TIME.
Anyway I like the skirt A LOT, but I will have to probably take it into a tailor to get the slit sewn up to a more modest length, like just above my knee. I’m not really a fan of flashing a lot of thigh a la Angelina Jolie because I don’t plan on walking the red carpet any time soon.
Love the leather trim, the zips, the black maxi skirt of it all. It’ll be my FIRST maxi skirt ever.
If I hate walking in it, and hate it in general, then my Plan B is to take it into a tailor and get them to turn it into a knee-high skirt.
Update: I hated walking in such a long silk skirt, so I got it sliced to my knee. Way easier and better to walk in. Also turned the skirt work appropriate, strangely enough!
I love the zippered leather pockets — they’re REAL.
RETURNED — [THRIFTED] VINTAGE CHANEL IVORY TWEED SKIRT SUIT – $326
*sigh* Yes. My FIRST Chanel anything, ever. I don’t own Chanel bags, shoes or anything, and am not really a fan of being too prissy-looking.
..then I watched Blue Jasmine (see review way above), and I started lusting after Chanel tweed.
Let me recap your memory of how good Cate looked in a Chanel tweed jacket:
Then after I started lusting after Chanel tweed, I realized that at retail their jackets are around $7000.
I know it takes 80 hours to sew a Chanel tweed jacket by hand but.. I just.. ..can’t even!
There is no way in hell I would ever shell out $7000 for a single blazer, even if it was sewn by fairies under a blue moon in France.
I just can’t.
Maybe if I became a billionaire.
(Although to be fair, they sell for $1000 – $2000 on eBay)
Anyway I thought my dreams of owning a Chanel jacket ANYTHING were dashed until I eBayed “Chanel Tweed” and came across this vintage skirt suit.
I think it’s perfect. It isn’t the classic jacket I am still coveting but.. CHANEL. IVORY. TWEED. SUIT!
In my defense, I bought this suit before I bought that Burberry coat above, but the style of the blazer looks familiar right?
3/4 sleeves.. ivory… wrap style… 😐
(I have a problem!)
But before you start pitchforkin’ at me for being a really.. REALLY spineless PF blogger to give in to such temptations, might I direct your attention to the buttons on the suit?
See those buttons?
They’re not interlocking Cs, they’re gold lion head buttons which means I can date the suit to have been made before 1970.
Considering Madame Chanel died in 1971, it’s safe to say that she at least designed it, being a Type A control freak.
Anyway, the reason why I am pointing them out to you is because each button is actually quite rare.
How rare you ask?
Rare enough that if I were to snip off the buttons from the coat and sell them, I could get anywhere from $68 – $119 PER BUTTON.
$68 x 6 buttons = $408 or more than the cost of the suit ($326)
$119 x 6 buttons = $714 … and I am rollin’ in the dough!
So you see.. it actually was an “investment”, literally speaking. Not a fake investment in clothing where you buy it and it’s supposed to be something you wear for life, bla bla bla…
This is an ACTUAL investment. A wearable one.
I could make money off this suit by reselling just the buttons.
Update: I returned it. I LOVED the skirt because it had pockets, draped beautifully and was made impeccably with a metal zipper and all (1950s I guess) but it had some serious red staining on the pocket and hem.
The jacket was also made very well with signature panelling in the jacket but the wool was SO ITCHY on my arms through the lining that I couldn’t have worn it comfortably without a shirt underneath….. so it went back!!!
VINTAGE 1970s (?) SILK GEOMETRIC PATTERNED SKIRT – $30
It is more purple than blue in this photo, but my camera can’t capture it:
I had to get it hemmed slightly because it was a midi skirt and not a knee-length one (very unflattering length on me), but the print just jumped out at me when I saw it.
I love the colours, the shapes, and I like how it’s repeated at the waist, a detail that skirts today would not really have any longer.
It also has a kind of Kenzo-look to it. Or Missoni on drugs.