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

May 2013: What I bought, watched and read

Before I get into this, just check out this awesomeness of 5 minutes (skip ahead if you’re impatient like I am).

This guy recreated a classic painting in 5 hours on an iPad mini with his finger:




I watched all 3 seasons of Departures, a TV series created by Scott Wilson (far right) and Andre Dupuis (middle), traveling with Justin Lukach (left) all over the world.

(They also look better than pictured in the photos above. I don’t know why they’re soaked. It isn’t very attractive and it looks kind of weird like they’re about to go into an Ultimate Fighting Championship ring with a camera.)

They go to places I will never visit — India, North Korea, Cooks Islands, and all these remote in-the-middle-of-nowhere places. It’s nice to see what it looks like even if it’s just a video instead of being there in person.

I can see how much WORK they put into doing the videos and it is no joke. They obviously did it out of the love of traveling and it’s pretty cool to see people totally up for anything, totally bitten by the travel bug.

I’d also say that they make it look…easy. Not that it IS easy, but they make any boring country or landscape look amazing, when I know it was hours and hours of mind-numbing traveling in a car, RV or plane. What I am watching is just a half hour to an hour of 2 weeks of footage, and anything looks cool when it’s compressed like that.

Well worth the watch. I highly recommend it!



My Week with Marilyn was a decent film, but mostly for Michelle Williams’ OUTSTANDING acting. She was just fantastic in it as Marilyn. Not that I ever met the movie star, but she just embodied her so well, I was fooled in a couple of scenes.

After watching it, I have mixed feelings about the movie, but also about the actress (Marilyn Monroe that is, not Michelle Williams) herself. She just seemed so…. flightly, breathless, fawning and dumb when in fact she really wasn’t.

It’s just sad that she had to take so many pills to get through her life, but was such a famewhore (yeah I said it) she couldn’t give it up, even though it’s linked to her need to be loved because she wasn’t really loved as a child.

I don’t know.. but this kind of acting from Williams that makes me really see the portrayed Marilyn Monroe for who she is is quite fantastic.

Still have mixed feelings. I’d watch it for the outfits, she had some killer ones on.




A classic that I have never read. I don’t think I quite “get” the book, but he has some really beautiful sentences in there that paint a perfect feeling and image in my mind.

Now I just want to watch the movie.


I didn’t buy much… ish?

J. CREW – BALLET FLATS – $300 for both (this is after 30% off)

Finally used up my gift card balance, during a sale to boot!

I couldn’t ask for it in cash or else I wouldn’t have bought anything at all at J. Crew, so.. yeah. *sigh*





Both made in Italy and the best I can do at J. Crew considering pretty much everything else is made in China there.



Cheapest I could find, even on Craig’s List.




I bought them in-store, liked them (wore them for a week), and now am going to return them and buy them online.

Yes, I am unscrupulous in finding deals, especially at $150 off just by ordering ONLINE.




I actually got it for $4.49 because of this one sale at Mark’s Work Warehouse (I KNOW right? OF ALL places to buy lip balm), but you can find it for as low as $4.99 in places like Essence of Life in Kensington Market.

The retail price says $5.99 however.


General EWG Score for this specific Burt’s Bees Rhubarb Lip Shimmer: 2

(May contain/Peut contenir):

  • CI 77019 (mica)
  • CI 77491
  • CI 77492
  • CI 77499 (iron oxides)
  • CI 75470 (carmine)
  • alumina
  • CI 77891 (titanium dioxide)


I really don’t like that tingly, peppermint oil in there and I wish they had left it out…. but it goes away after a while.

This is a more pigmented, more like a lipstick hybrid (closer to a lipstick) lip shimmer.

The colour itself is pretty true-to-colour as depicted on the cap and on the tube. I wish these darn places had testers but.. I just took a gamble and picked the most natural looking ones.

I’m one of those who tends to shy-away-from-lipstick because it just bleeds everywhere and I never think about applying it perfectly, which is why lip balms and shimmers work better for me than actual lipsticks that require brushes and a deft hand.

If you want to see it on actual lips you can see it here at Embellishments Beauty.


burts-bees-tinted-lip-balm-hibiscus-colour-swatch-tube burts-bees-tinted-lip-balm-hibiscus-colour-swatch

This is the cheapest I found at Essence of Life, but the highest price I’ve found is $7.95 near the rich areas (St. Clair and Yonge for instance).


Definitely a more natural colour, more sheer and not as pigmented as the Lip Shimmer.

Very easy to use, don’t be fooled by the seemingly “natural” cover in paper for the lip balm because it comes in a plastic tube form, NOT in the paper form.

General EWG score for Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus: 3

(Yeah I started to get a little lazy trying to get each EWG score..)

I think I’ve pretty much found all the “lipstick” I will ever, conceivably wear. Something dark for “events”, and something lighter and more natural for everyday.


Not that I don’t love my Jane Iredale pencil eyeliner, but liquid eyeliners have a different, harsher, stronger look than a pencil.

They also don’t melt off your eyelids and run down your face.


May contain:


I tried it yesterday and while I like the end result, it was a bit finicky to use. It’s not really a brush, more than it is a felt-tip marker of sorts.. but with liquid.

It isn’t as easy to apply as a felt-tip marker, and I had to wipe it off twice to get it right, but once you get the hang of using this marker-tip with liquid, it becomes easier.

My tip would be to start in the middle of your eye, work it to the outer-end of your eye, and THEN fill in the inner-eye part until the middle of your eye.

Don’t try and go all the way across in one long swipe, it won’t work.

I confess to not liking it as much as my Dolly Wink liquid eyeliner from Japan, but maybe it’s because I just have to get used to learning how to apply it without making it cover my entire eyelid.

It lasted pretty well the whole day, but when I went to go curl my lashes, it came off on the eyelash curler, much like my Urban Decay Sabbath liquid eyeliner, and left a bit of a patchy mark that I had to re-touch up post-eyelash-curling.


I am looking for wipes for when I travel.

I can’t really carry coconut oil and my reusable wipe pads when I travel because coconut oil is almost like a water and is SURE to leak in my bag.

Wipes are just so much easier and better to refresh myself with, and even better if they are biodegradable so I don’t feel bad about “wasting” them.

Hunt is still on-going. THEY ALL SUCK in comparison to my Costco makeup wipes.

I’m going to try Korres next, even though I have a nagging feeling that their “Parfum” ingredient is not essential oils. Maybe I’ll hold off and try Burt’s Bees next. I’ve had great luck with their lip stuff so far.

So far I’ve tried the following and here are my mini reviews for natural makeup wipes.



Cute name, cute marketing gimmick to help polar bears, smells  great… BURNED MY EYES.

I don’t know WTF is going on with these natural wipes, but I swiped it on, it removed my makeup and burned my eyes. I thought I had poured chili pepper oil on them, it was so painful.




Smells great, love lavender, ALSO burned my eyes. Just slightly though, a bit of a sting and not too bad.

Now that I’ve used it a bit more, the sting has gone. I don’t know what happened with the first wipe, or maybe I was just really sensitive.

Update: So far these are the winners for makeup wipes specifically, but I still want to see if I can just buy baby wipes instead.



I tried these again after hating them before in December 2012 (Review) because they were so dry (must have been an old sample lying around at Pure and Simple that dried out) AND TINY!

This time I managed to get one with a lot more liquid than before, but the wipe itself is just too small. I need at least 3 to clean my face properly, but at least they didn’t burn my retinas.

For now, I won’t buy them because they’re so small. SO SMALL. They need to be triple the size to be worth the purchase.

If I try Burt’s Bees AND Korres and I find out that neither of them work as well, I’ll bite the bullet and buy these, but use 2 of them rather than just one.



I tried these on a hunch that wiping a baby’s bum might be just as good for wiping my face (although not as messy).

They’re okay, with very few ingredients, but they seem to suck all the moisture out of my face. My eyes turn into two dry balls and they go slightly red.

My skin also turns super dry after using these, and I have to immediately wash and moisturize my face.

I think I might be slightly allergic to the aloe being used in these natural wipes to cause such a reaction.

They just don’t clean well enough, but they’re the best I have if I don’t want to spend a fortune cleaning my face with bamboo wipes that aren’t big enough for a cheek.



Biodegradable in 21 days! They also smell great.

They work just about the same as the others, but are a lot cheaper. I will say that “makeup wipes” as they are named, have more stuff in the liquid to get rid of your makeup, but baby wipes are a bit drier..Tail



This might be TMI but it could be helpful to the rest of you with hormonal acne.

I’m going off the pill because long-term effects are not good on your body (or so research says, although I received an email from Bridget saying that it actually prevents cancers), and I don’t want to rely on chemicals to regulate my hormones for the rest of my life.

Birth control pills are not a long-term solution anyway.

Now the problem with going off pills is that my hormones get out of whack.

They’re so used to getting a daily dose of estrogen and androgen-blockers that my acne just flares up something fierce.

I’ve gone off them cold turkey and have replaced them with these pills instead.

I’ve been breaking out like crazy, and I’ve opted to try going on these pills for 3 months to promote good estrogen, break down bad estrogen and block androgens.

I’ve read a lot of articles, reviews and notes, and these pills are supposed to help regulate your hormones to get them back to “normal”, by feeding them a lot of these items:

  • Indole-3-carbinol — breaks down bad estrogens
  • Calcium D-glucarate — detoxes bad estrogens
  • Diindolymethane (DIM) — breaks down bad estrogens
  • Sulforaphane — From broccoli sprouts to help stimulate your good estrogens
  • Green Tea extract — caffeine free and apparently good for your body
  • Turmeric — proven to help with inflammation (I was drinking turmeric teas before)

You can read about it here.

I know my acne is NOT from my diet, NOT from stress and NOT from toiletries/products I use, because it mostly shows up on my chin, mouth and jawline which is linked to hormones.

3 months of this stuff is pretty pricey, at about $50 a month but at this point, I am willing to try anything.

I will let you know once August rolls around how they worked. I’ll write a review if anyone is interested.


Not going to buy any of it but it’s so pretty.

Look at this gorgeous Burberry cashmere and wool white trench coat worn by Natalie Dormer!


She was playing Irene Adler on Elementary for the finale and I LOVED ALL OF HER OUTFITS. I wish there was a blog somewhere to show me what they wore, and so on.

This is a lovely jacket over a sheath dress. I could probably replicate this one easily.


This is a loose button up over a dress, another easy replication.


Ditto. Just need a sheer linen shirt and a grey tank top.


It looks like a really nice khaki-brown trench coat (Burberry again I bet) with a crossover top underneath.



This one is just a silk kimono but it looks perfect as a house coat. Sorry the stills are so dark.natalie-dormer-elementary-irene-adler-outfit-wardrobe-kimono


And the last one is a bit too German SS solider for me if I were to wear it on my own, but I liked the whole look for the show especially at this part.


And then I found some pretty things online…santorini-dress-tailor-stylist-white-dress-shopping-greece-vegan-leather-lined

Santorini Dress

How gorgeous is this dress? Seriously?

If it wasn’t Polyester, and if I could verify it not being made in China, AND to get free shipping I’d totally buy this.

And I like really odd jewellery like this:


Tailor Necklace


If anyone is looking for vegan purses, Matt & Nat from Canada creates a line of recycled plastic bags that seriously look and feel like real leather.

That’s the one bonus we have in Canada over the U.S. I guess. Mat and Nat! 🙂


By the way, don’t be surprised if this bag ends up in my arms next month:


That does it!

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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. Eri

    Sorry for suddenly sent a message. Do you know a site that sells silk kimono?

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      Used or new? Used kimono can be found on Etsy.

  2. Sunshine

    Did you find the Estrosmart helped? Also did you break out MORE the first couple months on it? I am in the same position that you posted about here. I am about to go off birth control and I know I will get some cysts on my chin. I went and bought Estrosmart and am thinking of trying it for 3 months and then going off my birth control. Looking forward to your reply! I just found your blog! 🙂

    1. save. spend. splurge.

      To be honest I cannot be sure if Estrosmart helped or not because just as I started taking it, I got pregnant immediately and my baby hormones went berserk. I broke out like CRAZY all over my face (worst in years), and I am still breaking out while pregnant.

      I’d like to say that it helped regulate it, but I had to stop right after I found out I was pregnant, so I cannot even give a 3-month timeline of that.

      What I will say is that I later read that Estrosmart also helps women get pregnant (which I did not know), so if you are sexually active, use another form of birth control while on Estrosmart just to be sure, if you are going off the pill.

      Try Estrosmart for 3 months, and then go off the Pill and continue taking Estrosmart. That seems to be the best way to do it, as Estrosmart is meant to regulate your estrogen, and you are already pumped full of it with the Pill. If you take Estrosmart with the Pill THEN stop the Pill and Estrosmart cold turkey, I suspect you will break out like crazy and worse than before because it’s like having both dosages of estrogen (The Pill and Estrosmart) drop down to a 0 in your body.

  3. The Asian Pear

    I have Burt’s Bees too in Hibiscus. I’m not a fan of the scent of bee’s wax but it’s very moisturizing and it is natural.

    Mmm. I love Matt and Nat bags.

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @The Asian Pear: Matt and Nat bags just look good. Period.

  4. Sarah Li Cain

    Man, kind of wished I knew about the estrosmart (will be waiting eagerly for a review!) earlier. I went off birth control almost a year ago and the first few months SUCKED. My jawline and neck had eczema flareups and I don’t know even know where to begin with the emotional stuff hahahah….

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Sarah Li Cain: To be fair, I don’t even know if it works yet (or at all). I am JUST finished the first month and I have huge cysts on my chin and eyebrows.

  5. SarahN

    Mobile experience is way better esp cause you reference your comment replies so it doesn’t matter as much that they don’t nest.

    I don’t think the baby wipes are a bad substitution, sad you had so many issues. I don’t generally use wipes, even traveling I keep a washer with me and (toxic) make up remover. Oh and my coconut oil is pretty much solid in the jar.

    I use red dhalia in the brown burts bees and rhubarb in the yellow after seeing a friend in the US trying it. The brown one is a bit too greasy but a milder color for me. The peppermint tang was also an unexpected surprise for me too! Lipstick just feels too grown up (like something my mum uses) even though I’m 28¡

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @SarahN: Oh GOOD! I’m happy your mobile experience is better. It was long overdue, thanks for the kick in the butt to have me make it happen 🙂

      My coconut oil stays solid in the jar but in the summer and hotter temperatures, it melts into a liquid and gets everywhere (I’ve been through this… twice).

      I’d have to travel with it in a glass jar, but then the glass jar has to be 100 oz or 100 mL to fit in my carry-on of acceptable liquids.

      See where this is all going? 🙂 It’s a hassle.

      Red Dahlia sounds pretty. I don’t really like the peppermint tang but I can live with it. I MIGHT buy Red Dahlia…

  6. cosmogirl2100

    With regards to the makeup removal wipes, have you maybe tried a micellar water (like Bioderma)? I’m not too sure about the ingredients, but I have really sensitive eyes/skin and they work really well just soaked on a cotton pad. And now after that wipes just seem a complete let down, and all the tugging at my skin makes it feel really raw :/

    Hope you find something suitable though 🙂

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @cosmogirl2100: I have not tried it but just hearing “micellar water” makes me think there’s a lot of stuff I am not sure about 🙂

      I will take a look at it though!

  7. Tania

    I love Matt & Nat, thank you for reminding me about them. I haven’t seen that line on Maui but used to see it in Honolulu. Really cute vegan pieces.

    I thought Michelle was great in the Marilyn movie. Before watching it I found it really difficult to imagine her in that role. She always gives off that adrogenous hipster vibe to me and I just couldn’t picture her as Marilyn. I agree I think Marilyn was a lot smarter than she is sometimes given credit for but was so very lost. I don’t see her as a fame whore but do see her as thinking that was all she is good for, definitely low self-esteem. Someone very close to me used to always go out with the wrong guys and never be without a guy and I know part of that seeking affection was because of her early childhood and being passed from one adoption or foster home to the next. That type of rejection in your first five years of life is very hard to work through. Btw, do you ever watch her old movies. I just watched “How to marry a millionaire” on Netflix and was reminded of how great the actresses were of that time period. Plus I was dying over Marilyn’s cat eye specs, so great.

    I never thought to use wipes while traveling! Great idea because of the liquid restrictions. I’m living on a trip on 6/20th so if you could please find a good natural version before then, ok? 🙂

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Tania: Mat and Nat is just amazing. I’ve known about them for a while but I haven’t been looking at purses (have all I need, just need a CLOTH crossbody, although the plastic Mat & Nat might be good.)

      I have not watched any of Marilyn’s movies but I want to. Everyone says she was a fresh, new actress. I thought it was just because she had big (natural) boobs and that personality that made her famous.

      I am definitely using wipes (biodegradable) while traveling. It gets around that restriction as you said, but it’s also easier…

      So far the best option are the Kaia bamboo wipes but they’re VERY TINY. So if you don’t wear a lot of makeup (eye makeup especially), give those a whirl. They’re amazing.

      1. Tania

        @saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.: Thanks for the reference to Kaia, I’ll look for those, I leave for DC next week so it’s perfect timing. I wear almost no makeup but I do like to wash my face and brush my teeth when I land (flying from Hawaii is minimum 6 to 8 hours anywhere). I just feel so much fresher and awake.

  8. AdinaJ

    You’re braver than me in trying baby wipes on your face. I don’t think they’re that gentle despite what they say about babies’ bottoms. And keep in mind, you probably rub them on your face/eyes longer (at any one time) than someone would on their kid’s behind (unless we’re talking about a, um, not so-fresh diaper).

    I can’t believe I just wrote that!

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @AdinaJ: I am a trooper! Well so far they have been just as gentle as the natural makeup wipes, if that makes any sense. I will note that the natural makeup wipes tend to be a little soapier, or foamier than the baby bottom wipes 😉

  9. Manda

    Ah, hormonal acne. I went off the pill and my face broke out like CRAZY the following months. It’s a lot better now, but the first few months was AWFUL. Like, worse than when I had bad acne as a teenager. Ugh.

    Also, I love Natalie Dormer. She looks flawless in ANYTHING and I would be the happiest girl if I got my hands on her wardrobe.

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Manda: How long did your acne last for the breakout? I am hearing 3 months but I don’t know….

      Natalie Dormer is just perfection.

  10. Gen Y

    Please write a review on Estrosmart. I would love to hear how well it works. : )

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Gen Y: This will have to happen in September when the 3 months are up (yes 3 months on this stuff!) 🙂 I will certainly write a review.

  11. cj

    The Great Gatsby is indeed great. We bought 2 copies for about $3 at a Half Priced Books and had a book club over it. One scene that has always struck me was the cold chicken and beer scene where Tom and Daisy simply agree to keep the accident a secret and carry on with their miserable existence.

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @cj: I think it might make more sense to me if I watched the movie then re-read the book. It was written at a time that I don’t quite understand yet. I need CONTEXT!

  12. Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle

    A coworker now uses coconut oil to remove her eye makeup. I use the Costco makeup remover towelettes but I looked at the big jar of Costco coconut oil and I may try it when my current towelette supply runs out.

    If the coconut oil doesn’t work out I can use it as hand cream and a hair conditioner.

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle: Give it a shot but make sure that you wash your face well afterwards if your pores clog easily.

      The Costco Makeup remover towelettes are THE BEST I’ve ever tried, but I am trying to find natural options, otherwise I’d just use the Costco ones.

      Coconut oil is also good as a body cream, and a hair conditioner on the ends only.

    2. Joy

      I’ve been wearing my glasses since high school, so that’s about 11 years ago. Back then, eyeglasses are so dull looking and boring that wearing one makes me look like a geek. Later, I came across and it offers different variety of shapes, colors and styles for different individuals with different styles. Now glasses become an accessory and a fashion must-have for me. I love this website and highly recommend it.


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