May 2014: What I bought, watched and read
FAVOURITE BLOG OF THE MONTH
This is just a hilarious site. They had me at the first comic:
And I ABSOLUTELY do this but it hasn’t annoyed anyone yet…. I think.
I also found this comic on paying, really funny, and this is hilarious too:
Yep. I hear ya.
Just look at what I bought this month.
WHAT I WATCHED
CNN: PARTS UNKNOWN WITH ANTHONY BOURDAIN
It is incredible all the things that people cook and eat around the world. What wonderful recipes, traditions and gusto for life!!!
This TV series will make you drool like crazy. Especially the French one (season 3, episode 3)
I loved this movie!!!! It was hilarious, it was heart warming and thoroughly enjoyable. It’s one of the very rare movies that I’d actually consider having on DVD and carrying around with me.
It’s a movie filled with legendary actors who are fantastic.
My favourite scene is with Morgan Freeman (Archie) on the dance floor.
It is scary how good they are as actors especially Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence.
It’s a very good movie and the ending was surprising and so.. damn.. SATISFYING.
I didn’t think I’d like this movie but I LOVED IT. Ben Stiller is such a fantastic actor, and his character was perfectly played. I totally connected with the character and the movie, and enjoyed the ending as well.
I kind of wish there was more of a climax or something more dramatic before the end in the scene with the boss, but otherwise it was fabulous.
WHAT I READ
Note: I don’t buy any of these books. These are all FREE E-BOOKS available from my local Toronto Public Library online.
[ HUMOUR / FOOD / FRANCE / TRAVEL ]
I am SO pleased I found this author. Mayle is one of the funniest writers I have ever had the pleasure of reading at 3 a.m. in the morning while feeding Baby Bun.
Every page made me snort with laughter that I had to muffle in fear of waking Baby Bun and seeing his bright, shiny brown eyes stare questioningly up at me, wondering if a) Mommy has finally gone mad from having to wake up in the middle of the night to feed him and pump milk, b) Mommy is sleep-deprived and can’t be trusted to feed him, or c) If it is time to wake up and party hard with a dirty diaper and all.
He depicts the French so perfectly I could imagine being there, and his way with words can only be admiringly classified as “British wit” because that’s exactly what it is. He just has a fabulous way with words.
I want to read EVERY one of his books now, so I’ve put them all on my list to read.
[ HUMOUR / PARENTING / DRINK RECIPE BOOK ]
Since I don’t drink, I’d rename it: “Reasons why Mommy stuffs her face with cookies and cake at 3 a.m. in the morning while feeding you your bottle..”
Obviously from the title it’s meant to be funny. It’s also about 50% true, albeit slightly exaggerated… but then again apparently I am one of the very rare, lucky mothers who ended up with a baby who could sleep 5-7 hours at 2 months old.
The nights he started sleeping longer than 2-3 hours, were the nights I finally got more than a half hour to an hour’s rest (seeing as it takes me about 10 minutes to fall asleep anyway).
I obviously didn’t agree with some of the funny aspects like “drawing the eco-line at using cloth diapers”.
I use both cloth and biodegradeable disposables, and I prefer cloth because I can feel when it’s wet, I am not generating smelly waste (yet!), and I haven’t had a poo or a pee blowout in a cloth diaper once I learned how to use them properly..
I’ve only had these problems with disposable diapers.
I surprisingly prefer cloth diapers, and disposables are only for at night when I don’t want to change him and wake him up or if someone else takes care of Baby Bun other than I (I can’t subject my poor mother to cloth diapers after she had to do it the hard way with super thin cotton and safety pins, not the fancy kind of super easy cloth diapers we have today with snaps and cloth inserts).
[ COOKING / LEARNING / FOOD ]
A writer goes to the Culinary Institute of America and comes out feeling like a chef. It’s an engrossing read to understand what people learn there, how they learn, what they’re taught… it’s fascinating!!!
I don’t envy chefs at all. It’s a profession I could never hack because I have no skill and I am too lazy for the job. I prefer a work-life balance rather than having to work holidays and give up my life for my passion.
[ TV SERIES / PHILOSOPHY ]
I read it and liked some parts of it but found it disjointed because it’s mostly essays or short articles written by people on the topic, rather than an actual book that has a theme, subjects that go in order and make sense.
It wasn’t for me, even though I did learn a little bit about philosophy through the eyes of Mad Men.
[ BIOGRAPHY / FASHION / STYLE / SHOES – JIMMY CHOO ]
Utterly engrossing. Couldn’t put it down, even though I was sleep-deprived from taking care of a newborn.
I love biographies and this is no exception, but Tamara Mellon really knows how to use words. She’s frank and very candid which is surprising. As I was reading it, I was thinking to myself: This just proves that money doesn’t solve or buy anything. These people are all f*cked up!
I also very much enjoyed learning how Jimmy Choo ( the brand ) was built and was a bit shocked at what a lazy, ungrateful jackass Choo himself seems to be in the end, although it is written from her perspective so I take it with a grain of salt.
[ POLITICAL HISTORY / WATERGATE SCANDAL ]
An interesting book but I wouldn’t recommend reading it. Despite it’s title, it’s pretty boring.
I mean it’s interesting, but only if you’re REALLY interested in reading about the Watergate scandal with Richard Nixon and seeing another angle of it.
[BIOGRAPHY / FOOD / COOKING ]
I will be the first to admit that I don’t really like Marcus Samuelsson from what I have seen of him on TV, on shows like Chopped, or Top Chef Masters. There’s something about him that rubs me the wrong way and makes me dislike him.
That said, you can not like someone but have total respect for them, and this was the case. His story is pretty extraordinary coming from Ethiopia and being adopted into a wonderful Swedish family. He also works really hard and has a drive you can’t fault, which I admire greatly in a person. I really like reading biographies especially on food personalities and it is interesting to read how they started and came up in the world.
Overall, a good biography and memoir to read for someone who is into food like I am.
[ FOOD / BIOGRAPHY / RECIPES ]
I obviously loved this book. I salivated over the descriptions and Ann Mah is an EXCELLENT writer. It’s partly a biography of finding herself in food in Paris as a foreigner and being exposed to different regional specialties. She even includes recipes and I was salivating over that cassoulet….
Highly recommended as a foodie read.
Made me want to travel around France and stuff my face.
[BIOGRAPHY / PHILIP LEONETTI / MAFIA ]
I liked this book (if you’re into reading about mafias like I am), but I would recommend Confessions of an Ice Man instead.
It was a better read and well-written. This Mafia Prince book was … okay. I mean it was engrossing but there were too many names being shoved in my face within the first chapter with no character introduction, to the point where I got to the end of the book and couldn’t distinguish between one Tony from another.
[ BIOGRAPHY / CRIME / NON-FICTION ]
An excellent book if you are not squeamish about death and so on. It’s quite graphic in some sections. At the end, you kind of feel bad for him.. or at least, understand WHY and HOW he turned out the way he did with the way his parents abused him.
There’s no excuse for what he did, but he was psychologically traumatized for a good 18 years before turning into who he eventually became.
*hugs her Baby Bun close to her*…
This book makes you want to love your children and care for them even more. You definitely won’t want to pass up any chance to nuzzle, kiss and otherwise nibble on their soft baby bellies.
WHAT I BOUGHT
You are all going to freak once you see what I bought this month!!
First the “boring” stuff. This Mauviel made in France steamer and pot… crafted in France by hardworking French fairies sitting on sweet little toadstools under the light of a blue moon… of course.
MAUVIEL STOCK POT WITH LID AND STEAMER INSERT = $750 TOTAL
The prices are shown in USD but in CAD, it came out to about $750 after taxes.
THRIFTED DIANE VON FURSTENBERG HARLEQUIN WRAP DRESS – $200 (retail was $400 before taxes)
This gorgeous DvF dress made of silk jersey, thrifted, of course.. as I am on my retail ban.
It’s a US8 but I find DvF dresses to run small and low cut, so I always size up.
Even the US 4 is a slightly tight fit on me and I’m a normal US4.
The US6 would be my “perfect” size to be honest (my inverted triangle shoulders are what ruin everything), but I can wear anything from a US4 – US8 in DVF dresses. The US8 is just a little looser in the shoulders and arms (even with this cheesecake-eatin’ baby-weight-laden body of mine), but it still hits me at the knee (I am 5’5″, 5’6″ if I straighten my back), and feels very comfortable.
The great thing about wrap dresses is that if you get a slightly larger size it won’t look strange even if you wear it when you’re a smaller size.
You can just belt and wrap it tighter around your body!
I absolutely love the print and colour of this DvF dress from the 1980s. This colour palette is one of my favourites!
[THRIFTED] 3.1 PHILIP LIM LEMON YELLOW TUXEDO SILK BLOUSE – $80 .. I am guessing the original retail price was $495
It still had all of its tags on!!
I feel like this is cheating because it could technically be considered “retail”, but … I bought it secondhand. I guess someone bought it and never wore it, so she put it up for sale at the store.
I snagged it.. and love it! The lemon yellow colour makes me smile and makes me think of the sun when I wear it.
The sun, or lemon cake.
Mmmm.. .lemon cake……..*drool*
I can absolutely imagine tucking it into a white pencil skirt like the one I bought a while back (gotta lose some baby fat first), or over jeans… anything really.
It can even be belted.
…then.. *drumroll*.. THE BEST ITEM I FOUND OF ALL?
[THRIFTED] MUUBAA REVAL BLACK LEATHER JACKET – $400 (retail was $700 before taxes)
The PERFECT leather jacket in black, found.
I already have a great minimalist leather jacket (perfecto style from m0851) in cognac brown, but some outfits I’ve noticed, need a black jacket, not a brown one… so this one completes my Bucket Wish List of things I wanted to buy.
Okay so it’s pricy even for a secondhand jacket (GACK.. $400), but my GOODNESS HOW COULD I SAY NO?
I have been eying a black leather jacket for a good while now (at least a year) but could never really buy one because of various reasons (money / price not withstanding).
It’s normally retailed at $700 plus taxes so I think this is what you call a deal, no?
Note the awesome buckle at the neck and the two buckles on the sides of the jacket, a detail I LOVE in the front.
It’s a little bondage / S&M without being too overtly so.
And this is how I will pretty much wear the jacket all the time. Open.
I also wanted it in black or a very dark grey, so the medium concrete grey version didn’t cut it for me (even if I wasn’t on a retail ban).
HOW I ARRIVED AT THE DECISION OF BUYING A MUUBAA REVAL LEATHER JACKET
I had been eying the Mackage Kenya in an XS for a long, LONG time.
I had wanted to buy it originally for about $650 (taxes in) 2 years ago or so in this Gunmetal Grey but couldn’t pull the trigger because $680 after taxes was just sooooo much money.
The Kenya jacket looks like this and is a very thick but soft leather. It’s a standard style with very minimal details versus the Muubaa Reval above.
It looks pretty much like my cognac jacket, just in black, in a thicker leather and with snaps at the neck.
I absolutely kicked myself and regretted it for a long time afterwards because that Gunmetal Grey was a perfect dark shade of grey, it was almost black but not black, and it was in an XS which is a size that is perfect for me, but I had wanted it tighter in an XXS and they didn’t have it.
Plus the price tag… youch.
Anyway, fast forward to today, and everyone and their sister owns the Mackage Kenya jacket.
I wanted something not necessarily unique but different enough that you could look at it and say: Wait.. that .. that isn’t that ubiquitous Kenya Mackage jacket!!
(Yeah I’m a snob who likes to be a precious, individual snowflake).
Enter: Research into other leather jacket brands.
I looked at All Saints, Balenciaga, IRO, Rick Owens, Helmut Lang, Burberry, Doma, Danier.. you name it, I scoured their sites and read reviews.
I was gasping at the $2000 price tags on a lot of the designer ones, and the All Saints jackets were too stiff and thick for my liking, I like a really REALLY soft leather.
NONE of them really appealed to me because I wanted a softer leather like the Mackage Kenya jacket, but much lighter / thinner because let’s face it, that thing is monstrously heavy and thick (which some people love).
Anyway, I started reading forums on leather jackets and found out that most people consider this brand Muubaa to be a hidden gem, as it only really exists in the UK. The leather is raved about to be super soft, thin, and extremely well made considering the price (as opposed to designer leather jackets).
So.. I started scouring all sorts of consignment, thrift, and online shops for this elusive jacket and found it!!
SIZING FOR THE MUUBAA JACKET
I am a US4 in general, but my shoulders are wider than my bottom half, so I tend to wear a US0 – US2 on the bottom and a US 4 – US 6 on top especially if things are fitted / tailored like button up shirts.
The jacket is a US4 and it feels like an XS in the Mackage Kenya jacket.
It’s a LITTLE tight but I figure 2 things will happen:
- I will lose this baby weight (20 pounds to go)
- I will stretch the jacket, as lambskin is very supple and will stretch, hence why I wanted the XS Mackage and not the S.
Update: It isn’t tight any more.
WOO HOO! Okay.. for real now, no more spending.
WHAT I WANTED TO BUY… BUT DIDN’T
Naturally I wanted these two robes from Agent Provocateur that are ridiculously priced and I WILL NEVER EVER BUY THEM (close to a thousand per robe):
On my list ( a more realistic list)… along with those Frye 8R or 12R Engineer boots, are a pair of casual summer sandals with a bit of a wedge heel.
I have these sandals as possible contenders:
NANETTE LEPORE ABSOLUTE WONDER WEDGE HEELS – $268 CAD
CHIE MIHARA SUSPIRA WEDGE SHOES – $411 CAD
Made in Spain of Cowhide, but the heel is 2.5″.. which is my max. I am unsure about this.
VIC MATIE T-STRAP WEDGE SANDALS – $603 CAD
These look perfect but the price is not. O_o
Without a doubt, I like these ones the best… because I have super expensive taste and these are the most expensive of the three I am looking at (around $600 CAD).
Made in Italy of calfskin.
What I could do is just order all 3 and return them if I hate them.. only if they have free returns that is.
Does anyone in Canada have any experience shopping with ShopBop and returning items for free?
Speaking of shoes, these custom-made ones from Poppy Barley are interesting. They custom-make boots and shoes.
I COULD consider buying a pair out of curiousity but only after I make some money, ‘cuz they cost a lot.. but this retro-style slipper looks very cool even for $188 USD.