October 2016: What I bought, watched and read
WHAT I WATCHED
I absolutely love this new TV show I discovered on Amazon Video: My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
I don’t totally love all the singing (it’s funny though), but it is HILARIOUS.
Predictably, it’s about a lawyer who was almost made junior partner to snag a salary of $545,000 a year, but ends up chasing an ex-boyfriend all the way to California.
Isn’t that rather a pathetic? It sucks that she is portrayed as ruthlessly brilliant in the film at her job, is not a Hollywood skinny size 000 (thank goodness), and is just ridiculously gorgeous, but has this flaw of being a crazy ex-girlfriend. Someone who is as amazing as she is, funny and smart, would NOT be pining over old boyfriends. It’d be the other way around, no?
Women chase men for love, in our society, and I find it hilariously pathetic.. but also such good TV comedy.
What can I say? I’m a cliché.
I am working through the episodes now while Baby Bun naps, and will let you know if I tire of them and her annoying inability to see love in front of her nose.
WHAT I LISTENED TO
Every time I leave Baby Bun at his playgroup, I hear this song in my head playing when his little face turns to watch me leave:
Anyway, it’s a good ‘un.
Love me some James Brown.
I also discovered this song recently and I cannot stop replaying it obsessively.
I heard it in David’s Tea and obsessed over it. She has a beautiful voice, very retro:
WHAT I READ
Other than tons of Agatha Christie? She was such a prolific writer that my brain became exhausted after 2 weeks of her works. I now alternate between non-Christie works.
This is a must-read for anyone, not just travelers or people interested in the service industry.
It is well written, has a bit of celebrity dirt here and there, and is most of all, an excellent book on ‘hustle’ and entrepreneurship. Fazio is a born entrepreneur even if he doesn’t know it, he has the sales skills, resourcefulness and all of the other things that make you sit up in admiration.
It also has great tips on how to get upgrades, how to get into the hottest places and restaurants (if that is your thing), and it is a true lesson on the word: chutzpah.
Sometimes, you just need to ask, and “no” means you have to get creative in figuring out how to turn that “no” into a “yes” for outlandish schemes or events you want to host.
Really a fantastic read.
It was so witty that I couldn’t put it down, and read it while I did EVERYTHING.
It reminds me a lot of this book: Heads in Beds which I also enjoyed.
KITCHEN COUNTER COOKING SCHOOL
For anyone who doesn’t want to cook, like to cook, or likes to cook but feels like they’re in a rut and could do better, THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU.
It is a bit of a story (I almost typed “histoire” when searching for the word haha) as she goes through how she helped these different students for free as part of her kitchen project, and the lessons they learned in there are actually quite helpful.
After reading the book, I was inspired to cook more, cook different meals, and learn how to hold my knife properly (it is a bit painful, I can’t seem to get the grip right), and most of all, to learn how to chop and dice like a professional (I know how to do it, I just am not very fast as I haven’t practiced).
Really, an excellent read for foodies as well.
It also has a few rather easy recipes to do in the book, and it is most of all, inspiring for people who want to eat and cook better food.
I am now far more picky in going out to eat, and will only go to places for pho (Vietnamese noodles) for instance because it takes so darn long to set the entire thing up to make soup that it’s easier to just buy it.
HARRY POTTER: CURSED CHILD PARTS ONE AND TWO
I hated the format of this book. It’s a play and set up to read as one, but …. my goodness I really just wanted to read a story with proper descriptions.
Still, I enjoyed the story arc very much (as usual, Rowling is a genius), and although the format soured me on the book, the story was impeccable. I just wish she would re-write it for people who hate the script format and want a story format instead.
ALONE IN THE KITCHEN WITH AN EGGPLANT
I’ll admit it, the title caught me first before I actually wanted to read the book.
It’s all about single eating.
What you eat when you’re alone, what you cook for yourself when you’re alone and your strange, single-behaviour habits.
I TOTALLY DO THIS. Who doesn’t?
(Psst.. the only thing reading this book I cannot find out through Googling is WHO Courtney Elridge’s ex-husband was, a fancy chef named Michael with a former super model turned food critic mother. I’m dying for gossip & info here. It is like they have been carefully wiped clean from the Internet.)
My favourite meal to make and eat when I am alone is a bowl of ramen noodles with an added eggs, leftover vegetables I can scrounge up and some tiger shrimp prawns if I happen to think of buying any.
My second favourite, is a broken rice soup called congee, or substituted with oatmeal if I am too lazy to make rice and don’t have any old rice knocking about for that week. I add an egg (obviously) and prawns, and vegetables.
I also liberally season both dishes with soy sauce, although these days I am a huge convert to Bragg’s Seasoning which is FAR FAR tastier than soy sauce and not as salty…
This stuff is AMAZING, it tastes like … meat juices after you cook a steak but in liquid form.
My third favourite single dish is either raw salmon on top of white rice and some miso paste, or cooked salmon (microwaved, if I am to be honest with all of you here), on top of white rice and some miso paste.
However this week, inspired by the book above, I am going to make spaghetti alla carbonara because I am dying for some creamy bacon pasta now.
Let this book be a lesson to anyone who listens to the radio and thinks that their book recommendations are from “professionals” and should be read out of cultural sensitivity.
It is based in Toronto, it has 15 dogs in it, and that’s pretty much all it had going for it.
I rather hated it. I tried so hard to like it and get into it, but after the third chapter, I gave up.
I think if you love dogs, and are really into the mentality of dogs turning into humans in their brains, this is the book for it. Unfortunately, I don’t LOVE dogs (I think they’re cute), but I have zero attachment to animals in general because I’m allergic and unfortunately that sours every interaction I have with animals who make me extremely sick (throat closing, red eyes, sneezing, coughing, asthma starting…)
I couldn’t read it. But it comes highly recommended by CBC and seems to be doing great on Amazon.
KNIVES ON THE CUTTING EDGE
This is the first book in a long line of food/service books I have read over the years that I put down after chapter 2.
Talk about a BORING SUCK UP of a book.
Not only am I getting angry reading about how it is impossible to get reservations at these places, but I am imagining these meals costing $1000 a pop (once-in-a-lifetime for sure), but it describes meals he has eaten there (which makes me hungry and combined with angry, I become HANGRY)… but the final straw is that this guy has eaten at over 40+ of these places!!! I guess it’s a hobby. An expensive, envious hobby to jet set to these places, get a reservation, and to have chefs meet and know who you are.
All that aside, this description is a like: “A respectful yet unvarnished tribute to the greatest chefs in Europe and the United States”
Respectful yes, UNVARNISHED? NO. It was a book that chefs love to read if they are in it, because he gushes and goes into (unwitty) lengths to suck up to them in this book.
I love reading chef stories. I love reading about amazing dining experiences. I love reading about the backend of how a restaurant works and how things function in the food world, what I don’t love to read, is a boring account of every meal eaten at every Michelin star restaurant.
What a yawn.
ADVENTURES IN EATING
What an interesting take on food around the world; it’s anthropologists that go and eat different foods from different cultures, and I LOVE how they addressed issues they have/had problems with (eating whale), or the psychological ramifications of being a vegetarian (kosher, really) in a meat-eating country, or trying something they find completely abhorrent (durian… which I also share a kindred hatred).
It is not your typical food book, and reading all of it made me curious to try llama, eat ants in Brazil at Alex Atala’s restaurant (not in the book, but related to this topic as Netflix featured him in Season 2 of Chef’s Table), and just be more open-minded about things I thought I would hate.
Honestly, I hated cheese, pizza, yoghurt and octopus when I was growing up.
I now love them.
I was also introduced to beef tongue, and while I had some initial gag reactions to eating a TONGUE of a COW.. I quickly got used to it, and put it out of my head. Now I thoroughly enjoy eating beef tongue although it does give me a little turn on occasion when I see my partner boil & peel the skin off a whole tongue to cook it.
(Keep imagining my own tongue..)
WHAT I BOUGHT
JOBY GORILLAPOD TRIPODJOBY GorillaPod Original – Lightweight, Flexible Tripod For Point & Shoot Cameras – $30 – $40 CAD
When I found this Joby GorillaPod, I was thrilled.
I resisted buying a mini tripod for SO LONG but when I started realizing that trying to balance my iPod or my camera on a table to get videos or shots of Baby Bun or the family, was really tough (you really only take pictures of the counter in half the shot), I threw in the towel.
I wanted something lightweight, flexible and easy to carry that I could use with my iPod AND my digital camera.
I looked into tripods with sturdy legs but those aren’t flexible to wrap around a park fence, tree branch or wherever I want (stroller hood!) to take a nice shot without any assistance.
This one has a nice attachment you can increase to hold the iPod touch, and the screw for the camera.
Excellent purchase. SO LIGHT. It is lighter than my Kobo Aura, and it has such flexible, grippy legs.
BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 35 WIRELESS HEADPHONES – $500
I couldn’t take it any more.
These stupid headphones of mine are fine with wires when I am at home and not outside.
When I am outside with a jacket, sunglasses, maybe also a toddler squished under one arm kicking and screaming, I need complete and utter SILENCE.
I also need to be able to do things without having the iPod fall out of my pocket into the sand because the wires are tugging on it, and I was set on wireless headphones then.
I started doing some research and I was SO SET on these Wireless (more comfy) headphones because I really wanted them in rose gold, but they were not over the ear and they didn’t fold up at all and aren’t meant for travel as well (a consideration in all of these expensive headphones that go over the ear):
Then I found these, my favourite brand for noise-cancelling headphones — BOSE.
Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones that FOLD UP for easy travel.
They are incredible. They really are.
Review to come!
MICHAEL KORS STRIPED TIE NECK SHIRT – $116.72
I tried this on, on a whim. I don’t LOVE the tie in front, but it does look interesting and more feminine.
What looks really good is when I tie it BEHIND my neck, and leave the front open, and clean. The little “tails” hanging off my back looks far more interesting to my eye, and the v-neck looks much nicer all alone without the ties.
It was a little discounted (not much), but the French cuffs are what sold me, it is very hard to find good quality shirts made well and designed so well.
I took the XS, with US 6 shoulders, and the small was too large on me.
Following my one-in, one-out rule (new rule), I got rid of a striped sleeveless shirt from Contemporaine that I bought on sale, but ultimately felt like the shoulders are a little too tight.
SPORTMAX CACAO SCRIBBLE PRINT SHEATH DRESS – $79.35
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?
That’s with taxes in.
$79.35 to be exact.
It originally retails for $895 USD plus taxes or $1300 CAD with taxes in and it was on the liquidation rack at Holt Renfrew.
It’s a US 6, but it only gapes a tiny bit in the bust (I have a small bust), so a little tailoring may be needed or I’ll just get a silk camisole underneath it.
I can see why people passed it over.
It looks strange on the hanger.
Peplum, scribble print, the print isn’t even cohesive from the top to the bottom, but if you look closely, the top is black on white, and the skirt is white on black (it’s actually more like a deep navy on the fabric).
Even I wasn’t sure I would like it when I took it in to try it on, but it was just so well made that I had to give it a shot.
I fell in love the minute it was on. I found the print a little strange at first, but now it’s interesting, having two different styles of print on top and on the bottom.
100% silk top and viscose blend skirt, beautifully constructed (it is just stunning), and there’s a peplum piece at the back to make it look seamless.
Such attention to detail.
I also love the peplum because it COVERS YOUR BELLY. If I eat too much or sit, and get a little belly roll, you can’t even tell it’s there, the peplum conceals it.
I paired it with a Burberry belt to see how it looks and I love it:
My one-in, one-out rule dictated I get rid of something, so my thrifted red BCBG Max Azria skirt went out to make hanger space.