May 2016: What I bought, watched and read
NOTICE: MY OUTFITS ARE NOW CATEGORIZED & CATALOGUED!
You can find it by clicking this link in my header:
….which will then bring you to this page where you can see all of the outfits on the bottom or you can filter through them by the tags I’ve created (see above).
WHAT I WATCHED
NETFLIX: CHEF’S TABLE
Netflix: Chef’s Table Season 1
What an EXCELLENT series on food.
I tried watching ‘Cooked’ but couldn’t get into it. The storytelling (yes I’m a shallow sucker like that) in this series Chef’s Table was far more engrossing and amazing.
Please, PLEASE do watch it.
It talks about chefs, their thoughts, their history, and how they came about to be who they are and cook what they cook.
HBO ABOUT FACE SUPERMODELS THEN AND NOW
What a fantastic documentary. I LOVED hearing the models then and now talk, and I have a huge crush on Carmen Dell’Orefice now. She is fabulous.
Oh and Christie Brinkley. She is SO sweet.
HBO: SECRETS OF THE TRIBE
Link here: Secrets of the tribe
A fascinatingly disgusting, sickening documentary about our treatment of the Yamamomo tribe.
I’m disgusted at being human and in my fellow human beings and our selfish needs in watching this.
I had to stop 3/4 of the way through because Lizot just sickened me. My stomach turned. Sorry. I couldn’t watch it, having a little toddler at home.
Still, if you can stomach the whole thing, give it a shot. I really found it engrossing.
THE TRUE COST OF FASHION
Link here: The True Cost
All about fast fashion and the fashion industry.
I don’t know what happened recently after my April go-crazy-and-buy-everything splurge but I have started to feel revolted by my behaviour. Disgusted and sad, really.
I really need to step back, take a breath and calm down on the shopping, and this coming from someone who loves shopping? Yeah. It means I had gone too far this time, spending without ANY regard as to cost and whatever else.
Anyway, my new goal that is more exciting to me, is creating a dividend portfolio that will be able to replace part of my income.
$50,000 in income is the rough goal…
I want to be in stocks that pay out a decent dividend but not extravagantly and to not go out of business and lose my capital.
Some quick math:
- 2% dividend payout = $2.5 million saved
- 3% dividend payout = $1.67 million saved
- 4% dividend payout = $1.25 million saved
- 5% dividend payout = $1 million saved
5% is doable. I can do that in 5 years. Let’s rock that.
WHAT I READ
Even though THIS is what my toddler is like 95% of the time when I am trying to read a book…
…. and he grabs my e-reader, turns it off (yes he knows how to), and says: “No..! Mommy.. No! Book! No… ”
Constant, 100% attention and just watching him pretend to diaper and change his stuffed animals..
I still managed to read all of these books:
THE THIRD PLATE
This is such. SUCH a good book on food.
Anyone who is interested in living healthy, eating well, eating GOOD, DELICIOUS food and doing it in a sustainable manner, should absolutely read this.
You don’t need to be a vegetarian or a vegan, Dan Barber is the chef at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and he is the face of farm-to-table cuisine.
If you ever want to see / hear more about his operation, you can try and watch Top Chef Season 5’s episode 8 – where his farm, his products, and his farmers are featured.
Barber is an excellent storyteller. I have never read a book quite as complete, concise and as organized as his on food (haven’t read Pollan yet, am on the waiting list at the library). He is on the level of Malcolm Gladwell for pulling you in, giving you SPECIFIC facts, research… it is breathtaking.
I have so much more respect now for food, and understanding how Nature works. Makes me want to become an organic farmer..
(But I’ll aim for one day making it to Blue Hill at Stone Barns to eat instead).
THE WHOLE BRAIN CHILD
I actually really hate parenting books because they make me feel so bad that my child is not acting the way he should or the way other kids act.
EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT.
Repeat that to yourself as some smug Yummy Mummy gloats about how her child is somersaulting down slides like some ninja and how super active and awesomely fearless he is.
That said, this is hands down one of the best discipline book I have read to date.
I started (the day I was reading it), implementing strategies from it and it has made a huge difference.
I am calmer, Baby Bun screams and cries but then he stops the MINUTE I ask him what happened and try to help him put words to it.
E.g. Your banana broke in half? Is that why you’re crying? Do you want to eat a whole banana instead because it is more fun rather than the pieces?
…and it has helped. He stops pretty much 90% of the time crying and screaming, nods, or says “Yes” very softly and then we talk about what happened.
I either tell him: Baby, we have to eat the banana even though it is broken. The next one you eat, we will be more careful but this one is still good and yummy. It is a special crumbly banana!
..and it didn’t work, but he stopped crying at least, and ate the banana in pieces in a bowl, sniffling here and there, but finishing his entire bowl and refusing to share. LOL.
Anyway, all current parents, soon-to-be parents who want other disciplining strategies other than ones you are used to or don’t want to implement because of bad childhood memories, give this book a shot.
I also learned that my toddler acts up THE MOST with me and sobs and cries because he is the MOST secure and comfortable with me enough to try things he wouldn’t try with strangers, for good or for worse.
This is another book on Coco Chanel (Can’t get enough of this savvy businesswoman), and it goes more into the political and oft-ignored side of Chanel who comes off as being quite anti-Semitic.
It of course is very well written, objective, and goes into great detail about Chanel’s upbringing, lies of fantasy to avoid being classed as an orphan and dreams of being nobility to eradicate her peasant past.
It does not at all, gloss over any of the hard details that people like to ignore when talking and waxing poetic about Coco Chanel, and I found it a very engrossing, enlightening read into the woman, and now the brand.
I am not really into the style of Chanel with long pearls, and have discovered that tweed jackets make my upper half look huge… and so on but I do appreciate her minimalist chic approach to style.
I enjoyed reading more about her. Am a little more ambivalent now about her as a person and as an icon, no matter how long she has been gone.
WHAT TO WEAR FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE
This is not a book that is applicable to me right now in this period and time of my life. I want to re-read this when I am older and my body changes from menopause etc.
These frank, REAL-LIVE style tips about how to dress your body NOW to be stylish, not too young or too old, and to be as you as much as possible.
It talks about what looks good on aging, changing bodies and what doesn’t or how to dress for occasions like going to your daughter’s graduation or wedding where the mother of the groom is much younger than you and you feel the need to compete somehow. (All real things I see happening to myself in the future).
I admittedly only read this book because I saw Carole on Real Housewives of NY and loved her attitude and her style (the first season she was on, the second one, she seemed to have changed slightly.. or have been ‘made over’ by the show to be a little more housewifey).
Anyway, she is an excellent writer. Her stories are gripping, her writing is concise, descriptive, engaging without being overly verbose or too little.
I felt like I was actually there in her stories, and I was experiencing it all firsthand, which is the greatest compliment I can give any author.
The part that made me burst into tears was the page with the Teddy Bears Picnic song.
(I won’t spoil it for you.)
I bookmarked it, and re-read it over and over again (yes I’m a sucker for tears and pain).
That page, near the end, was the most poignant, well written page of the entire book.
The whole book was a page turner. Highly recommended. Just stack some tissues beside the bed.
I want to read everything she writes now.
YOUR BEAUTY MARK (DITA VON TEESE)
Link here: YOUR BEAUTY MARK
Dita von Teese’s book on how to achieve glamour, and her style of 1940s glamour with rolled hair dyed blue black bi-weekly, red lips, alabaster skin and tight corsetry etc… is a hell of a read.
She and I are kindred souls in that we at least look presentable when we go out, no sweat-anything because it takes just as much time to put on jeans than sweats (she doesn’t wear jeans though)… but I do sometimes go out without even lip balm. *shrug*
I was under NO SUCH illusion that Heather Sweet’s (her real name) transformation into Dita von Teese was easy, but I had no idea she did SO MUCH WORK.
(Her waist is insane.)
From food, to watching her weight, to constant working out (but not to obtain muscles), and her clothing, to heels, to what she does to her skin daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly…
It is exhausting. A full time job. I was reading it, and was tired at the end.
I don’t think that it is unattainable, but for someone with a toddler, there is no way I will ever be able to do all she does without a nanny and two other helpers to organize my life.
That said, she gives GREAT TIPS (skincare included), and her best tips are summarized below from what I got from the book:
- Wear sunscreen daily and don’t forget ANY INCH OF SKIN exposed to sun at any time (guilty as charged for my arms, hands and tops of my feet)
- Lather up your hands with lotion and slip them into washing gloves before doing the dishes (the heat really does make the lotion absorb better)
- Take care of your skin from the inside (green smoothies, I have been drinking more lately)
- Buff your skin / exfoliate on a regular basis (I do this when I remember, which is every 3 weeks or monthly..)
I highly recommend the read, if only to just appreciate how much work goes into being “Dita von Teese”, and what she does to maintain her entire character and body.
WHY NOT ME?
Mindy Kaling is funny and I really liked her brand of humour in general. Sometimes it veers into potty territory which is really crude and not my style, but 90% of the time I can relate.
It’s a good book to read for some laugh-out-loud moments.
A BOOK OF WALKS
I don’t know who Bruce Bochy is and I am definitely not the sports type but I enjoyed this rather offbeat unconventional book of him documenting his different walks, his memories, experiences and advice on one of his favourite stress releasers (and mine as well).
It is a nice book to read and use to reflect upon your own life.
CRAZY RICH ASIANS
CHINA RICH GIRLFRIEND
Old news but I really like Kevin Kwan’s writing because he does such a great job describing the outfits and style.
Oh and the storyline is good too.
I re-read these books but this time back to back rather than leaving months in between.
I couldn’t keep all the names and family bloodlines straight the first time as it was a while since I had read the first book, but now that I am reading it one after another, the second book is becoming more interesting because now I can place the context of each person and character.
A classic. I have read Tolstoy before but never Anna Karenina. I found it strangely engrossing for a classic, and the ONLY THING that kept tripping me up was not knowing how Russian names are constructed.
A name like “Vronsky” can change to be feminized as “Vronskaya” and it threw me because I thought it was another name completely.
Then you have other names where they’re referred to by the last name of their father like Anna Arkadyevna instead of Anna Karenina (her husband).
WHAT I BOUGHT
Update August 3 2017: I cannot recommend them any more.
They moved to a subscription based monthly fee payment program. While I do still use and like the app, I think they’re not worth $20 a month. I mean, at least make it reasonable! Or charge a higher fixed rate. *shakes head*
GAIAM YOGA STUDIO APP – $5.50
I decided to stop making excuses. I tried to find classes for yoga, I tried to see if I could do it at home with free apps or Youtube videos but I realized that I need to have REAL, professional yoga apps to guide me along.
I plan on doing yoga daily while Baby Bun naps… since this will not happen, my more realistic plan is yoga 3 times a week.
I looked at a whole bunch of them and every site recommended this one first: Gaiam Yoga Studio App.
At $5.50 I don’t want to make 10 mistakes buy buying the bad yoga apps but I am willing to give it a shot.
It looked good, and we will see how it pans out.
BATISTE DRY SHAMPOO
RUN TO BUY THIS STUFF for an emergency.
There are some days where I actually forget to wash my hair the day before, and I wake up late and need to make it to work/appointment/playgroup and my hair looks just a little too greasy and gross but not to the point where it looks like a thick oil slick, it just looks a LITTLE greasy and not too clean.
I WANT to wash it, but I can’t muster the energy to do it at that moment and wrangle a toddler.
This is for those days.
I sprayed JUST a little right on the roots, it felt really cold when I did it, and the scent was not overpoweringly strong.
I flipped sections of my hair, sprayed it right on the roots at the top, the sides, anywhere where I know my hair gets greasy and mats down in oil.
Then I brushed it out (you can see slight white sprayed spots) with a brush and it looked like I had presentable, non-greasy hair. It fluffed right up. I was thrilled.
It doesn’t look like super freshly washed hair, but it looks like you have clean-ish hair, like on the second day after washing your hair.
Not SUPER clean but clean.
Even the next day (second day of batiste and the fifth day of not washing my hair), it looked fine. Presentable even.
I am so impressed.
Disclaimer: I should note that I only wash my hair every second or third day. I don’t wash it daily because it doesn’t get that greasy, so maybe that helps as well.
MAYBELLINE BABY LIPS IN QUENCHED (SPF 20) – $3
Baby Lips is a great lip balm, moisturizing and it lasts without feeling like it just coats your lips in a layer of moisture, but it soaks in very well.
The smell is delicious like a citrus flower and for $4 you can’t go wrong. Smells a lot like that brand Fresh’s Sugar Lip Balm which is 10X the price.
SEASIDE ISLES MAXI DRESS – $250
This is a perfect summer event dress.
I am 5’6″, I wore 4″ heels and the back was hemmed perfectly already (just touched the ground), but the front was oddly longer than the back, I would have to go up an inch or two in alterations.
I will note that the bust is as pictured, a little open and loose. I don’t have a big bust (A cup) so it kind of gapes a little if I don’t yank it down so that the empire waist is just above my natural waist. I am not sure how to keep it down, but I am thinking Top Stick will work. Otherwise it naturally sits a little below my bust, but if I pull it down so that it is tight and sticks to just above my natural waist, the fit in the bust is perfect and it doesn’t gape or come open.
The empire waist is detailed in little metal discs and beads, it is not cheap looking at all, it looks expensive and bohemian.
The front has two slits as pictured, and when you walk you will be able to see your legs peek out in front (if hemmed properly so you don’t fall).
The back is perfect, with a smocked back so that it stretches for us women with inverted triangle shapes (my shoulders are larger than my bottom half) by a full size.
The pleats are gorgeous, they’re really thin and well done.
It is handmade in India of viscose chiffon and lined halfway in a green cotton.
The effect is flowy, mermaid-like, and absolutely stunning.
This is not a dress I can wear casually though, I think I’d have to save it for an event because of the way it looks.
I took the XS (my normal dress/ entire size), and was hesitant because I would normally need a size up because of my shoulders but correctly guessed that with a smocked back it would fit well without having to size up (thankfully).
I am normally a designer brand US 4 all over (but a US 6 in the shoulders), and I took the XS.
For mainstream brands, I am usually a US 0 all over, but US 00 on the bottoms.
[THRIFTED] SANDRO LEATHER BLAZER – $250 — or only 19% of retail price (originally $1300)
I have been dying for a leather blazer in a tuxedo style ever since I saw this image of Emmanuelle Alt (one of my style icons):
I was hunting for her exact blazer, but it’s Balmain, it runs into the thousands, and I am not a fan of that gold button on the side. The blazer itself looks strange to me if you were to button it up:
So I snagged this Sandro leather tuxedo style blazer instead, and it is amazing, it looks just like this but it is in 100% leather, not a mixed fabric:
I took the Sandro Size 2 in this blazer because I usually take a true US 6 for my shoulders and then I tailor in the front as my shoulders are larger, but my body is more like a US 4.
I will note that I also tried on The Row for blazer sizes in their Schoolboy Blazer, and their US 6 is TIGHT. It is more like a US 4, and I would have to take a US 8 in the brand The Row for it to fit properly in a blazer across the shoulders and chest.
It is strange how the sizes are not consistent, and it is kind of annoying. US 8 for The Row, US 6 for everyone else, then Sandro comes up with this sizing as “2” .. WTF.
Sandro’s sizing runs BIGGER. I would have normally taken a Size 2 in this for the shoulders in Sandro, but in fact I needed the Size 1. It ran big.
I’m going to try and take it in to be tailored to make it fit better. It makes my shoulders and upper half look huge.
[THRIFTED] FRYE VERONICA SHORT BOOTS – $125 or 33% of the original retail price
They’re used (from Ebay) and I actually went to The Bay to try on the sizes first in the Frye Veronica Short Boot (the Veronica style has a lot of versions).
My true shoe size is US 7.
I normally take US 8 in Frye boots because I like to wear socks, and I find that I like the extra space especially after walking all day, my feet tend to swell and it feels tight in anything fitted.
I ended up realizing that since these are PULL ON boots, they are way too loose in a US 8 and I would end up walking as though my shoes are falling off.
The boots are too loose in a US 8 even though I like sizing up, and the US 7 is perfectly fitted to my foot without being too tight (to account for foot swelling)
I like the look of the boots as well, very motorcycle chic, and I found them VERY light compared to the Frye Engineer boots which were extremely heavy and way too hard to walk lightly in.
[THRIFTED] THE ROW LEATHER LEGGINGS – $215
I’m going to confess two things here and now.
The first is that I have secretly been coveting leather pants / leggings for a long time now. I keep staring at, putting in my basket, and eying high quality, high-end leather leggings from Theory, The Row, Vince, etc..
I really like the look of them, I think they could work even on casual Mommy days, and I WANT THEM. But I didn’t want to pay $1000 – $2000.
The second is that I’m a former eBay sniper. I am certified, platinum-level in this because I have honed my skills from years of playing video games that I have a click faster than light.
Anyway, I saw these leggings on eBay and they were originally starting at $25.
They look completely sad, and rather old looking in the photos that were taken (seriously?) so at first I was not interested.
I mean look at how sad they are with an elastic waist that looks grandma-ish, and a butt that looked really strange.
until I saw how they could look on a body.
Whoa. Way nicer.
They’re also 8.75″ in a rise (I need about 10″ as a high-rise, for regular jeans but mid rise is still OK on me)…
Plus, The Row has a way of creating clothing items that look totally meh on a hanger or in real life, until you put it on and see the exceptional stitching, detailing and tailoring that goes into each piece.
I own one shirt dress from The Row and the belt was something so strange until I realized that it was part of the dress to create faux pleats in front when you belted it.
Anyway, these leather leggings are sure not to disappoint because they come out season after season, are SOLD OUT each time at $2000 USD a pop.
Plus they aren’t that hideous faux leather shiny style that I keep running up against in stores in an attempt to score them for under $300.
They look cute-ish in the photo above, but when I had them on my body, it was like I had shrinkwrapped garbage bag around my legs. Ugh.
You can’t beat real leather for this kind of look.
I scored these leggings for $215 (eBay sniper Platinum-level certified), and they normally sell for $2000.
You just can’t beat 90% off. 🙂
PROVISIONS AND GOODS JUTE TOTE – $30
It’s a rough jute tote for the car to carry groceries and things in.
It has nice long handles…
I especially like it because it is a nice square bottom and it HOLDS A LOT. So when I go shopping or when I am out with Baby Bun and don’t want to sort anything in the car (would rather do it inside), I toss it ALL in there, and carry the whole thing up on my shoulders.
Excellent tote. Very handy for little baby things & shopping.