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

November 2013: What I bought, watched and read

MY FAVOURITE BLOG OF THE MONTH

URBAN DEPARTURES

I can’t believe I didn’t stumble across this PF gem before.

I immediately added them to my blogroll (see right sidebar on every post).

Not only is this Torontonian (woo hoo!) family super, freakin’ adorable, I love their writing, their layout, images, and entire style.

I’m really looking forward to devouring their archives.

(I even love their blog name! Can this get any gushier?)

Urban-Departures-Favourite-Blog-November-2013

WHAT I WATCHED

Animals being jerks

Hilarious. Seriously funny stuff. Jerks are everywhere, even in the Animal Kingdom.

Here are my three favourites:

animals-being-jerks-dog-cat

animals-being-jerks-monkey-banana


animals-being-jerks-panda

THE HUNGER GAMES

Loved the books.

The movie didn’t quite capture everything I had read in the book (obviously, it would turn into something ridiculously long, maybe Lord of the Rings long), but I still enjoyed it, although the actor who played Peeta did not fit who I was expecting in my mind from the book.

ROBIN HOOD

robin-hood-2010-movie

Not an awesome movie, not a bad one. It was okay. I’m not gushing over it, but I found the acting fine, and the movie enjoyably good.

JUNO

juno

Being pregnant, I thought it was rather appropriate to watch the movie, even though I am not a high school student who got knocked up.

My favourite line ?

“I’d totally give you the baby right now if I could… but it [the baby] probably looks like a Sea Monkey right now, so maybe we should wait until it gets a bit cuter.”

It was a great movie and I like that not everything turned out hunky-dory in the end because I find a lot of movies tend to sugarcoat too much.

LETTERS TO JULIET

Typical chick flick. I watched it, enjoyed it, but wouldn’t want to re-watch it again. It’s enough soppy sappiness for one go-round.

Amanda Seyfried is one of my favourite actresses, which is why I watched it to begin with, but her male counterpart was a bit stiff.

The entire plot was predictable. At the very start, I knew what was going to happen, and just waited for it to unfold.

WHAT I READ

As a reader pointed out, I seem to read a lot.. and I do. I have a lot of free time and I have been getting more and more into my Kobo Glo, reading like a maniac.

Kind of a maniac.

12 TESS GERRITSEN BOOKS AND COUNTING [CRIME / MYSTERY / THRILLER]

tess-gerritsen-books

As many books as I can find, I am reading everything by Tess.

So far, it’s been the following this month because they are basically the only ones free from the Toronto Library as an e-book format.

I have been devouring them and I can’t even put them down at night. Here’s what I have read so far in this month alone:

The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way

[ GLOBAL EDUCATION & HISTORY / PARENTING ]

the-smartest-kids-in-the-world-amanda-ripley

Frankly, I picked this book up on a whim and didn’t expect much out of it.

I was blown away.

I couldn’t put it down, and finished it in about 2 days, while excitedly parroting facts and interesting bits of the book to BF, sparking great discussions about education in general, from his perspective and mine.

It is the perfect book to underscore my recent rant against parents who think their job is just to ship their kid off to school and yell at the teacher.

EVERY. SINGLE. NORTH. AMERICAN. PARENT should read this!!!!

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

[ PARENTING ]

bringing-up-bebe-pamela-druckerman

One of the best parenting / baby books I’ve read. Sane. Rational. Normal.

I don’t agree with everything 100% (I plan on breastfeeding a lot longer than 3 months, and avoiding formula as much as possible), but I do consider what she’s saying to be very rational and practical.

I didn’t even think you could be any other way, to be honest, until I read her examples of American parents contrasted against French ones.

Bebe Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting

[ PARENTING ]

bebe-day-by-day-pamela-druckerman

A good companion book to the one above. No pun intended, but without reading the original “Bringing up Bebe”, it lacks a certain.. je ne sais quoi.

It gives you the 100 keys to “French Parenting”, otherwise known as “Common Sense”, and is a good quick book to read if you don’t have time to read her journey to discovering how to handle her kids in what I always considered to be a normal way.

Ugly Beauty: Helena Rubinstein, L’Oréal, and the Blemished History of Looking Good

[ BIOGRAPHY MAKEUP COMPANIES AND FOUNDER ]

ugly-beauty

An excellent book going over the (rather dubious and shady) history of how Helena Rubenstein and L’Oreal became such power players in the makeup industry.

Helena certainly sold a lot of snake oil, but it seemed to have worked because she became filthy rich many times over. A great biography and even a history lesson of the makeup industry.

Prisoner of Tehran: One Woman’s Story of Survival Inside an Iranian Prison [ BIOGRAPHY – IRAN WOMEN ]

prisoner-of-tehran

I wouldn’t say the book was gripping the way Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil was, but it was a good book to read to understand the mindset of what women in Iran have to go through if they aren’t Muslim or don’t conform.

I read it pretty quickly, and there were parts where you just felt your heart break.


Conning Harvard: Adam Wheeler, the Con Artist Who Faked His Way into the Ivy League [ EXPOSE OF A CON MAN ]

conning-harvard

 

Not very well written in my opinion, but a good book nonetheless.

It’s amazing what Adam Wheeler did to con Harvard to get in, and his compulsive nature to want to con more and more people just did him in, in the end. All the things they have as checks, and the way he skirted past them… this is an interesting insight and look into how he did it.

Definitely a good, interesting read, but the author is a bit bland in my opinion.

Memoir of the Sunday Brunch [ LIFE – BIOGRAPHY OF SORTS ]

memoir-of-sunday-brunch

 

She tried to make the book interesting, but unfortunately I found it disjointed and hard to finish. I mean, I read it all, and some parts were funny and interesting, but she is not an interesting writer and the thoughts were all disjointed for me.

I particularly disliked near the end when she repeats sentences over and over again in block paragraphs to drive home a point. VERY Annoying. I get the literary point of doing it, but I hated it.

Do They Wear High Heels In Heaven? [ FICTION ]

do-they-wear-high-heels-in-heaven

I thought this would be a different book for some reason but it ended up being a good work of fiction. I was a bit teary-eyed in some parts, and it is something worth reading if you like heartwarming tales that make you cry in a good (and in a bad) way.

The Bone Season: A Novel

[ FICTION – SCI-FI ENDER’S GAME STYLE KIND OF SCI-FI ]

I loved Ender’s Game, so don’t think I hate all sci-fi stuff or learning new vocabulary for a sci-fi world.. but this book was just weird and confusing for about 1/3 of the book.

(I do lean more towards fantasy however.. the David Eddings or Anne Bishop kind.)

There were too many things to learn in terms of vocabulary just to understand what the book was about. Frankly, I didn’t even get half of the vocabulary down, I just skimmed through those technical sections about mental gifts with a general understanding.

It was too complex of a world to dive into without having been given an introductory lesson in the first chapter. Instead, the writer jumped right into this world of sci-fi weirdness.

That said, I finished the book and was weirdly engaged. I couldn’t put it down until I KNEW WHAT HAPPENED.

That’s a sign of a good writer. I just wish she would write and lay off the complex world-creation with new names and concepts.

Machiavelli for Moms: Maxims on the Effective Governance of Children*

[PARENTING]

What a friggin’ awful book. I couldn’t even get through 2 chapters, and I normally NEVER give up.

She advocates using psychology and mind games on your kids to get them to do what you want. Why don’t you just cut to the chase and tell them what you want them to do and explain why?

I hated this book so much I didn’t finish it (a rarity). I also hate her writing style.

The Headmaster’s Wager

[FICTION – ASIAN SETTING]

Couldn’t finish this one either. I tried to power through and got about 1/3 of the way, but then gave up because I just couldn’t get into the groove of the book.

It’s about a Chinese headmaster who works in Vietnam and has some gold-digging ex-wife who plays a typical Chinese Madame Butterfly stereotype of sorts…. gah. I can’t even describe it, it was that awful.

The writing itself wasn’t bad at all (very engaging), I just hated the context, the story and the characters.

WHAT I BOUGHT

DYSON HOT + COOL FAN – $400 (Originally $450, but cheaper at the Future Shop Black Friday Sale)

We caved and bought a space heater. It is far too cold in the winter without one, and without being wrapped in a goose down duvet all the time.

Luckily, it also cools down a room as well.

dyson-hot-and-cool-fan-review So far, it works wonderfully. Quiet, no spinning blades (safe for future baby!!), and is just damn cool.

Plus it isn’t made in China, it’s made in Malaysia, is not heated up with oil (it causes a weird stink, that stuff) and the heat distribution is pretty good. You can also set a temperature which is not available on other space heaters.

CORDITO WRAP CORD CASE IN GOLD – $50

Gold because I’m a girl and it was the girliest yet most neutral colour there (plus you can’t miss it in your bag when it’s GOLD!)

This-is-Ground_Cordito-Gold-Folded-Buckle This-is-Ground_Cordito-Gold-Folded This-is-Ground_Cordito-Gold-Half-Open This-is-Ground_Cordito-Gold-Open

 

I mentioned coats right?

CANADA GOOSE TRILLIUM – $675

I bought another Canada Goose as a gift for my mom.

Same coat. Now she won’t be cold.

canada-goose-trillium-graphite-jacket-review

SMYTHE NAVY / NEPTUNE CLASSIC PEA COAT – $595

I couldn’t resist bagging yet another Smythe coat. I already bought their amazing Camel-coloured Reefer coat, but this one spoke to me as well.

I love this Toronto designer!

Smythe-Les-Vestes-Classic-Pea-Neptune-Coat-Alone

The blue isn’t a dark, dull, boring navy blue, it’s quite nice actually and has a nice colour/shade to it.

It isn’t as bright as the above picture it is more blue like the second one below.

Smythe-Les-Vestes-Classic-Pea-Neptune-Front

I also really like the cobalt blue sleeves, and I figured that when I get older and it looks dated or too trendy, I can just have the cuffs tailored by removing them and flipping them over to be that dark navy blue side rather than it staying that cobalt blue.

Smythe-Les-Vestes-Classic-Pea-Neptune-Side-Front

I saw another woman who bought the exact same peacoat and before I could register it was just like my own, my instinct was:

Wow, what a gorgeous coat..

I really love the colour and the …

OMG THAT IS MY SMYTHE CLASSIC PEACOAT!

I bought that exact same coat!!!!

Huh. Guess it confirms how good it looks and it isn’t just in my head.

Smythe-Les-Vestes-Classic-Pea-Neptune-Model

Got it in a Size 4, it’s been selling like hotcakes, I had to special order it into the Bay/Bloor location at Holt Renfrew.

Smythe-Les-Vestes-Classic-Pea-Neptune-Model-Back

 

Lastly, I love the peplum-ish bottom and that it has no buttons at the back (looks simple).

It balances out my inverted triangle shape because my shoulders are normally larger than the rest of my body like my hips, and every. single. peacoat. I have tried on, accentuates that. 😐

All normal peacoats tend to be a straight line down to your hips which gives a boxier look, rather than flaring out from the waist over your hips…

Smythe-Les-Vestes-Classic-Pea-Neptune-Model-Side

This would be fine if I had proportionate shoulders…  but I really like that this jacket flares out a little instead.

It even looks good over a dress and I never think these things look nice over a dress.

[RETURNED ONE] 3 ARITZIA DRESSES (WILFRED FREE) LISIERE AND UPTON DRESSES – $250 $170

I bought 3 more of these amazing dresses, because they’re long-sleeved (unlike the other two), and v-necked or crew necked.

Wilfred-Free-Lisere-Dress-Graphite-Pencil I returned this one below (the second one), because it turned out more muddy brown than being a nice stone grey.

$78 plus taxes back in my pocket!Wilfred-Free-Lisiere-Dress-Heather-Grey

Wilfred-Free-Upton-Dress-Heather-Grey

They are perfect maternity dresses that double wonderfully post-maternity as bodycon, super stretchy, super comfortable dresses. Lots of ways to dress them up.

CASHMERE SHOP CABLE KNIT CAP IN OATMEAL – $132

It was 20% off with a MasterCard, and it’s super thick and warm. Perfect for my perpetually cold head and ears.

I tried to buy one for my mother too and she told me I was crazy for spending that kind of money on a hat. I told her we lose 80% of our heat from our heads but she refuses to budge and let me buy her a hat.

The-cashmere-shop-heavy-cable-cashmere-oatmeal 2

ARITZIA DRAPED SILK MAGENTA TOP – $125

I bought this on a whim. A whim that made me look at the colour and go: OMG.

Aritzia-Wilfred-Magenta-Draped-Silk-Top

(Sorry for the crappy picture..!)

The perfect, magenta pink. It’s draped in the front which looks odd right now because of the bump, but when I tried it on in the store and belted it, it changed completely.

The magenta pink also goes really well with navy blue (which I have a lot of in my closet), or even black.

DANIER DARIA LEATHER-SLEEVED JACKET – $179

Okay so this is not maternity wear at all, but ever since I saw the trend years ago of leather sleeves mixed with fabric, I’ve been hooked.

I just couldn’t find something that looked nice and timeless, you know, with a BIT of leather but nothing too trendy or cheap-looking that I couldn’t wear until I was 50 or older.

Enter: This luscious sweater in a jersey knit (Lycra) with soft leather sleeves. HEAVENLY.

(Did I also mention it’s made in Canada? YAY!)

It fits like a dream and looks great on. The only thing I’d consider is getting rid of those front tails, because I’m not really a fan of hanging strips of cloth, but I could wear this over any outfit and have it look like I’m wearing a HINT of a leather jacket but not too much of it where it becomes awkward.

I’ve pictured wearing this mostly with a uniform of skinny jeans, simple tank tops, and wild jewellery.

It also isn’t cheap looking which makes it timeless for me (trendy or not, I’ll always like the look of leather sleeves mixed with fabric), and it’s SUPER COMFORTABLE.

Comme Ca Porte-Monnaie (Wallet) – $88

Comme-Ca-Wallet-Felt-Porte-Monnaie-Quebec-Recycled-Leather

The one on the far left, very bottom in a light grey felt with a dark brown leather strap is the one I bought.

Made in Montreal Quebec Canada of German felt with recycled leather, this is a simple, elegant purse that I haven’t seen before. I was immediately drawn to it because of the felt but also because I could stuff it full and it would still stay closed.

It looks like this inside with 3 credit card slots (too few for me), and 3 more in front (still too few), and ample space (perfect for receipts, a passport, bulky foreign ID, with a zippered compartment in front.

Comme-Ca-Wallet-Felt-Porte-Monnaie-Quebec-Recycled-Leather-3

I liked the simplicity of it, and I have been searching for a wallet to hold my foreign money, ID and all that stuff that I want to keep in case I decide to go back to Europe or Asia.

I love supporting local designers!

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, 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 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 November 29, 2013

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30 Comments

  1. Jessica

    I’m obsessed with that peacoat. I even had commentary on other parts of this post, but I can’t even think straight after seeing that beauty! 😉

    And, now, I’m off to watch animals be jerks.

    http://bedknobsandbaubles.com/

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I love my peacoat. I even like the blue details at the wrists that I said I would flip to the other side with a tailor if I didn’t like the pops of colour any more.

      I saw another woman wearing it the other day and I immediately though: What a nice peacoat. … and then I realized I owned it!

      Reply
  2. Cindy

    I saw the Catching Fire movie too!! I thought it was much better than the first movie. I’m also going to have to read the Ugly Makeup book! Sounds interesting.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      The first movie disappointed me a little… just a little. I really want to watch Catching Fire if it’s better.

      Reply
  3. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans

    I LOVE the Hunger Games books. I was definitely underwhelmed by the first movie, but the second one made up for it! I wasn’t a fan of the actor who played Peeta until the second movie.

    Reply
  4. Tania

    Ok personal finance girl, you just made me want more things. Damn you 😉 Especially that cord wrap, my silicone organizer thingies just are not working the way I need them too.

    I’m a bit jelly (the only time) that you read so much. I need to stop watching Prison Break on Netflix and get back to reading more. An illuminated EReader! (I had to google it). I still have my 3rd Generation Kindle & it’s in wonderful condition but I always lurk on newer models. I’ve also started doing more Emags using Zino on my iPad. Trying to have less stuff but I’ve always been and always will be an avid mag reader (it’s why I like to blog, my own little mag).

    I have Hunger Games on my phone, the audio book. You’ve reminded me I should start that. All my favorite podcasts are on holiday hiatus so I’ll listen to that on my commute. Will definitely check out a few of the above books too including Ugly Beauty. Downsizing & simplifying my beauty and makeup routine made such a difference for me. It’s the one area of life I can firmly say I’m a minimalist.

    Those dresses look fantastic! I love a good stretchy dress, so versatile and fits over a range of weight fluctuation.

    I hopped over to Urban Departures a little bit ago when I saw the link on your blog roll (the name grabbed me, it’s awesome!). I really like their blog too.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @Tania: Did I also mention I am an enabler????!

      The illuminated e-reader I got is the Kobo Glo. Saves my life. Honestly, I can’t do without it. In dim light, I turn on the light… it’s just so much easier to read than to try and angle yourself towards a window.

      Zinio on my iPad works too but I am avoiding wifi while pregnant…

      The Hunger Games is VERY HARD to put down. I suggest starting it when you have a lot of time. I was devouring every page like it was my last day on earth.

      Urban Departures is a very professionally-run blog I must say. More professionally done than mine .. in terms of the writing 🙂

      Reply
  5. Michelle

    1.) I’m super excited that you read The Bone Season!! It is a bit complicated with the language but I LOVE that book. Am waiting for the next book.
    2.) I must, and I mean must have that leather jacket. And if I weren’t doing a No Shopping Challenge-I would buy it without a second thought.
    3.) I still can’t believe that panda flipped the other one. Ruthless.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @Michelle: I am willing to give the second installment of Bone Season a try just because it was so engrossing, but the terminology gave me such a headache.. I may avoid it.

      That panda just did it with one paw too!

      Reply
  6. Kandice @ The Simple Year

    I am so checking out the cashmere beanies. Love. And the books. I need new reading material.

    Have you checked out Seamlyco? Made in the USA, sustainable fashion. I’ve got 4 of Kristin’s pieces and they are lovely and comfy and gorgeous. Labels are hand numbered like limited runs of art pieces. I bought two wrapped cardigans, pinstripe leggings and a versalette. The cardigan can be worn 3-4 ways and the Versalette 30. Freaking amazing.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I actually prefer earmuffs but when snow falls, it is not an option to have snow melt on your hair and then your head into an ice cube.

      I will check out Seamlyco!

      Reply
    2. Tania

      @Kandice @ The Simple Year: I remember Seamlyco from their Kickstarter campaign! Thanks for the reminder, I’ll need to visit them again now that they have more items.

      Reply
  7. Tracy

    I love your spending posts too. Surprised those dresses aren’t made in China though since a lot of Artizia’s stuff is.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @Tracy: Vietnam, not China. Not the best, but 100% of the maternity wear I came across so far has been made in China except for jeans, etc.

      Reply
  8. Simply Save

    So many of those books look interesting…ahh now I’m adding to my already monstrous book wish list!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @Simply Save: You’ll have an insane list if you follow my books… I have a lot of time right now to read, so I’m doing my best to power through it all.

      Reply
  9. Erin @ Red Debted Stepchild

    I added Bringing Up Bebe and The Smartest Kids in the World to my reading list!

    And that navy coat is TODIEFOR. I love these posts 🙂

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @Erin @ Red Debted Stepchild: Excellent books to read. You won’t regret it, especially if you are considering kids in the future. Plus they’re fun reads as well.

      I know you do. I do too. *cuddles coat* Too bad it’s Canada Goose season right now…

      Reply
  10. Emily @ Urban Departures

    Thanks for choosing Urban Departures as your favourite blog of the month; it made my day (:

    I really enjoyed reading Bringing Up Bebe but I was surprised the “French” way of parenting isn’t the norm. While reading the book I constantly did a double-take with a “what?! Parent’s don’t do that?”

    I’m adding The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way to my reading list. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @Emily @ Urban Departures: You’re welcome! 🙂

      Tell me about it — I read the book and thought: “But some parents don’t discipline their kids? Why not? OH because you might damage their SELF ESTEEM? … *confused look*”

      That Smartest Kids in the World book is really a good one. I was blown away, as I said.

      Reply
  11. anna

    I LOVE that peacoat – such great details, especially the cuffs. Thanks for the recommendations on reads, as well, I’ll have a few days off and looking for book suggestions.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @anna: I figure if I hate the cuffs when I am older I will get them tailored and flipped around to remove the cobalt blue (underneath it is navy) 🙂

      Reply
  12. AdinaJ

    Your coat collection grows more gorgeous every month! And I love that Danier one in particular – I think it’s going to be very versatile.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @AdinaJ: REEDONKULUS coat collection.

      That Danier sweater is surprisingly versatile with its leather sleeves.. although I may get it tailored to remove those tails.

      Reply
  13. jane savers @ solving the money puzzle

    The dog pushing the cat in to the bath tub may be the best video I saw all year.

    I would have the hanging bits on the sweater with the leather arms taken off after a few wears. It looks too trendy with them on but could be come a classic with a more traditional bottom.

    Have to go to the work Christmas party Saturday night but I don’t own any party clothes. I will have to buy some clothes in 2014.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @jane savers @ solving the money puzzle: I agree. I was just saying that to AP below that I would remove the hanging bits.. but you can also twist them up to be draped in front which is why I might keep them.

      Meh. We’ll see.

      For party clothes, you really only need something like a fancier blazer, and you can wear jeans and a t-shirt underneath. DONE.

      Otherwise, a fancy dress is very one-note…

      Or just a nice necklace works too.

      Reply
  14. The Asian Pear

    I saw that Danier jacket in store and LOVED it. 😀

    PS – That’s you in the pink shirt!?!? I can barely see your bump at all. :O You weren’t kidding when you said you were small! :O

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @The Asian Pear: I KNOW RIGHT? How can you NOT buy it on sale?

      That is me in the pink shirt. Tiny bump 🙂

      Reply
  15. neurosciency

    omg – that panda flip! HAHA! i had to watch it a few times. lollll!!!
    those dresses look soooo comfortable.
    and that. peacoat. is. amazing.
    so much good stuff! i loved this post 🙂

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      @neurosciency: Everyone loves my shopping posts.. vicarious shopping without the money flying out of their wallets I suppose.

      I’d totally be that Panda Mama.

      Reply

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