What I bought, watched and read – Winter 2018 Edition
In the past few months I have read garbage (mostly chicklit to give my brain a break) and eaten garbage (gummies were a meal for me), and I know it.
Don’t judge please.
Or really, why am I judging chicklit as garbage? It is very good escapist fiction that my very non-fiction brain NEEDS. Craves even.
I can and will never be that woman who flips open a long, boring ‘intellectual’ book and reads it for the sake for having said she read it.
Life is too short to read intellectual books to impress people you don’t even like.
(I’ll need that on a t-shirt one day.)
FOR LITTLE BUN
I discovered Edoki Academy when I was searching for a way to teach Little Bun how to tell time. He gets it in a broad sense but I think the concept of 60 minutes to an hour is very difficult to grasp at first, and then seeing numbers from 1 – 12 on a clock face doesn’t really match up.
I went through their app bundles and picked this Primary Box Bundle one with clocks and this super cool Smart Gears thing that he is now obsessed with:
WHAT I READ
This is the only umm.. non-fluffy book I have read thus far, and I REALLY REALLY enjoyed it….
MARKET MASTERS – Robin Speziale
Recommended by a reader in the comments (thank you <3), and it is targeted to CANADIANS which is a rare, rare thing to read these days.
Market Masters was a great book. Like, really good. If you are interested in investing, and learning about it, furthering your knowledge or just curious about what the niches are and who they are, this is a good book for you.
It is VERY easy to read even for a finance newbie, because it gives terminology in the front, and it goes through all the main money men and women (mostly men, to be honest) and how they invest. It is a fun read, well written, condensed and interesting.
At the end, I ended up having a sharper idea of who I wanted to be as an investor — dividends + long-term capital growth + a little risky + alternative sources of income — and I started thinking more about macro trends in the economy and culture that bears down on the market, and how we humans react to it.
And that was all I could fit into my brain while I was working like crazy. Then it all went downhill from there into SUPER Pleasurable Easy Reads on Style, Fashion and Chicklit.
THE WAY SHE WEARS IT – DALLAS SHAW
I did not think I would enjoy this style book – The way she wears it – as much as I did. I sort of put Instagram ‘influencers’ and style folks in one bucket – interesting to ooh and ahh over, but ultimately a lot of them are incredibly boring style-wise.
How many times have you seen the EXACT SAME OUTFIT over and over again? Jeans, sweater with a half tuck in front with super high heels or booties, and a designer bag? Done.
There is no effort in any of their styles in the sense that it is always the same uniform in different variations and not really practical for a working mother like myself, who CAN wear heels but not 4″, who CANNOT wear tight leather leggings to work (but likes it off duty), and will not be wearing lingerie bras as legit tops with a blazer in the office.
That said, I picked up this book on a whim, and really enjoyed her style suggestions. I went through and wrote down all of the possible ideas for future outfits. Just things like: pair a jean shirt (now that I have a chambray one!) with a pleated skirt and heels..
I know the outfit but it wouldn’t naturally occur to me to pair those two items together, so I have to make notes to try it out to see.
SUE GRAFTON – ALPHABET MYSTERY SERIES with KINSEY MILLHONE
The entire alphabet of the Kinsey Millhone detective series by Sue Grafton. I would link to each of them individually but I am a full-time working mother with a full-time blog.
I love that Kinsey the detective is a very modern feminist (she totally speaks to my independence), and the writing is clear, concise yet with a bit of dry acerbic wit which I love. There is a little bit of romance but it isn’t the forefront of the book.
What REALLY grabs me about these books is THAT I DO NOT KNOW WHO DID IT. Usually I have a good sense about 3/4 of the way through but it isn’t until the last chapter where the killer is ACTUALLY REVEALED that I think — OMG yes. That makes so much sense now!
Really REALLY good twists and turns.
All 3 by GEMMA BURGESS
This is pure chick-lit and not terrible at all, in fact, it is the best out of the three I read by Gemma Burgess.
I think I was very “meh” on those two books because the girls seemed like such TRAINWRECKS. I really felt like they would not have survived in real life and therefore were not relatable in the slightest. I need my heroines to have a bit something that isn’t so pathetic and wimpy to be able to make it in life and in my head. Also, the plots were terrible. Really, awful. Far too outrageous.
I don’t hate her writing, but she isn’t engaging the way other chicklit writers are (Kevin Kwan and Sally Thorne are my favourites now, truth be told) and then her books lacked actual frisson and fire of building a romance. It just seems half-heartedly thrown together at times. I was OKAY not reading it like some maniac, and OKAY with stopping halfway through the book to do things like sleep, eat and go to work. That doesn’t happen to me when the book is really good.
I will give her other books more of a go though, I don’t hate them that much that I stopped after page 2. I finished it and just shook my head because I would refuse to voluntarily re-read them again.
I wouldn’t read any of these again.
This is Sleeping Arrangements written by Madeleine Wickham (whose pen name is the famous Sophie Kinsella).
It was a GOOD book. Very mature in content (not x-rated, but emotions-wise), and extremely thoughtful. I wasn’t sure which way to go when I was reading through the book and even near the end I wasn’t sure who to pick or not.
I will say that there is a character in the book that bugged the living daylights out of me. I hated her character and awkward development so much that the book would have been much stronger without her in it. I think if you read it, you are welcome to come back to this post and tell me who it is I wanted to cross out in red pen as I read.
I wouldn’t read this one again. It felt unsatisfying as a book, with the plot and so on.
THE NERDY AND THE DIRTY
What a weird effing book, the Nerdy and the Dirty (totally awesome cover design though). I read it to the end because I couldn’t not finish it to figure out what happened, but it dawned on me that this is why men do not make good chicklit writers with the exception of the amazing Kevin Kwan ,,,
The focus on sex in such a juvenile manner is ridiculous, especially when you are considering that it is relations between YOUNG teenagers. *shudder*
I am not a prude but I am not interested in thinking about 16-year olds (or whatever age they were) doing it. This feels too child-pr0ny to me.
Pass. I wouldn’t read it again. The only other thing I will point out is I hated how the character development between the best friends was pushed off to the side like some unwanted beet. He had a real chance to make it into something strong and interesting, but he just ignored it for gratuitous descriptions and outdated examples of what ‘sexy’ was.
I would DEFINITELY not read it again.
MY NOT SO PERFECT LIFE
An interesting twisty plot, a little unrealistic but at least believable to some extent and kind of charming (I love how she goes into such details about things that shouldn’t matter like decorations, and yet I ENJOY reading about these little touches…)
It is a fun, fluffy read, and I always love her parent-child relationships in her books because it is so so heart-warming and sweet to hear about how much parents love their children and the lengths they will go to.
Would I read it again? Maybe. It is not a hard stop NO for me.
What a strange book, “It had to be you“. I found it both interesting and yet distasteful. It felt a bit misogynistic in some of the pieces of writing, and objectifying, stereotypical and very… TRADITIONAL as stereotypes go in regards to women.
I am not saying all my chicklit has to be feminist empowerment, but it also can’t be so glib in the sense that any woman with a pinup body is immediately a bimbo and any woman who is “mousy and plain” is the “perfect mother figure”… I had to roll my eyes a lot at these stereotypes.
Can’t a woman be both a motherly type AND a beautiful, smart, witty person? I’d like to think so.
It also touches on some pretty heavy sexual misdemeanours so if you cannot handle that kind of thing even in fiction, don’t read it. I found it hard to read some pieces.
Would I read it again? No. That says it all.
I loved this book The Newlyweds because it covers a whole range of topics from being newly married, dating, past ghosts, history in relationships, and then other stronger things like culture and how it plays into being ‘other’ and ‘foreign’ when you are in a new country and unfamiliar.
Thanks for the rec, Adina!
WHAT I BOUGHT
RETAIL NOT ON SALE
Zara striped top – $45
It was really really luxe for the price. It looked and felt like a designer piece I have been lusting after for a long time, with the draped front, the cool striped lapels.. in navy and white. VERY chic.
Wore it here. I took the small (my usual Zara size) and it fit well. It was also the last one on the rack O_o
RETAIL BUT ON SALE
Huma Blanco Hollis Flats Metallic Silver – $135 USD
I already own these Huma Blanco Hollis flats in Caramel, I know. I wanted them in Silver originally, they “sold out” then got restocked again….
I received the Caramel ones, LOVED THEM and had to buy them in Silver too because I am a multiples kind of woman.
They are very soft, very comfortable. I put insoles in everything I wear, so now they are DOUBLY comfortable.
GLOSSIER BOY BROW IN BLACK x 2 – $12.80 each
They were 20% off so I bought two tubes of the Glossier Boy Brow. I love it. A brow mascara – easy to wear and awesome… I LOVE IT.
I take it in black (it is more dark grey than black), I brush it on and that’s it. You just have to learn how to apply the brush so it doesn’t deposit TOO Much product and turns your eyebrows black or very kabuki-like. Took me a few weeks to get the hang of it.
GLIDER TEXTING GLOVES IN GREY
I got them in black as well as light grey. I really didn’t like the black because it looked too weird, so I am keeping the light grey pair because the black one had olive green thread woven through it and it looks so WEIRD.
As for the sizing, I’d take a size up.
I took the small because I NORMALLY take and small and have very very tiny hands and wrists (I have to punch holes in all of the watch bands I wear save for Olivia Burton watches) and I find the small… SMALL.
I would have preferred the Medium I think, but the Small is still fine. Just a smidge too snug.
RADHA ROSEHIP OIL
I put 9 dropperfuls of this Radha Rosehip Oil all over my body — one for each limb…. etc. I rub it in, then follow up with a thick body cream that melts into my skin from a local artisan.
MAYBELLINE SUPERSTAY MATTE INK LIP STAIN – Pioneer, Lover and Ruler…
(Al the things I love to be actually……)
This stuff is incredible, this Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink. A super super THIN layer, let it dry without touching your lips together or else you will get this sticky tacky feeling all day.
It stays on like no other. I have to use serious makeup remover to get it off.
I got it in Pioneer (deep red shown above), Lover (lighter pink shown below) and Ruler (deeper berry after it shown below)..
[RETURNED] Jimmy Choo Black Heeled Boots – $180 USD
There are outfits especially in autumn and winter that cannot go without a pair of heeled boots.
I got rid of my last pair of heeled boots because they were on their last legs (har har)… the inside leather was peeling off, it was really a mess.
I started hunting online for some heeled boots and found these Jimmy Choo ones in black, almost like new, very few creases, and we will see.
It is my first foray into Jimmy Choo as a brand so we will see how it goes.
I needed a 38.5 to be honest. 38 fit, but 38.5 would have been perfect to add insoles in.
They were VERY nice and VERY comfortable but they had white paint splotches on the heel. I can’t forgive that, even at a $200 price tag.
So, they got returned. I had to pay $30 to learn this lesson, but I am happy I did. Now I know.
Stuart Weitzman Lowland Black Suede Over-the-knee Boots – $210 USD
I did not think over the knee boots would be wearable but they SO ARE when they look like this…. Looks fantastic like a shoe sock 😉
When I finally got them, I pulled them up over my knees AND THEY STAYED.
They are very comfortable, very well made, and I am a true US 7 with a normal sized foot. Not narrow and not wide.
I took the US 7 in these and they JUST FIT perfectly. I think for a little more space I could have gone up to 7.5 and it would have given me a bit more room in the foot area I suspect.
Otherwise, it is like it was laser-cut and fitted to my foot like a GLOVE.
Perfect TRUE TO SIZE. Unless you want to wear thick wool socks, don’t size up. These can’t be worn during winter anyway, they’re suede.
Stuart Weitzman Lowland Londra (dark grey) Suede Over-the-knee Boots – $281 USD
I actually don’t know what to do with this pair.
I got them in the mail, and they looked fine, but in natural light, they are CLEARLY two different colours. One is a bluish grey and the other is a taupe.
I could keep them and dye them a darker grey (both) so that they look similar, or I could return them… I have no idea what to do.
The odd thing is that the code on the boots MATCH. They are BOTH the colour Londra, the stickers both say “Londra” and the box said it too. It must have been a factory error or something to have mixed up the boots or to have it had been a mistake that no one caught.
Or am I crazy?
I feel like the boot shown in the photo on the left looks like the Praline colour and the right is the Londra colour… right??
I don’t know. They look close enough but also NOT close enough to be the same damn boot.
I guess we will see what the seller says, because the only option is to wear them as-is or dye them a darker grey, maybe like an Asphalt so that they match, but the two colours are already slightly off, so would the darker grey also be OFF!?!? O_o
Helmut Lang Shirtdress – $29 USD
I know I own two other shirtdresses in silk and cotton. I know they’re both white. This is HELMUT LANG and it has the coolest buttons up the back….
This dress is nice but kind of see-through. I am not sure I am going to keep it. I might try it with a slip and see… for the summer.
I LOVE the row of buttons up the back.
Alice + Olivia Tasia Floral Silk Dress – $90 USD
Still selling in stores for $526 CAD….!
Gorgeous orange red, stunning florals all across the front…
MM Lafleur Jungle Green Blixen Top – $70 USD
I had to buy it. I had to because I already own the Blixen and the Soho skirt in the same colour and love it.
This gives me a sleeveless option now!
I can have a cute bodycon dress without sleeves, feel comfortable, draped…
Ralph Lauren Purple Label Ivory wrap cardigan – $25 USD
Super soft, retailed at least in the thousands (purple label!!!), and it is exactly what I need because I keep reaching or wanting a topper for my dresses or skirts but only have one — a navy blue Adam Lippes one.
So comfortable and sleek….
Ralph Lauren Purple Label Linen Safari Coat – $49 USD
I have a similar coat with 3/4 Sleeves in cotton from Burberry (also secondhand), and this jacket is gorgeous. It has mother-of-pearl buttons and is in a stunning high quality linen.
At least cost a thousand at retail. It is still like new.
It is incredible. So soft, like new, and with the most amazing drape.
Grey Calvin Klein Striped Coat – $50 USD
A great grey coat, interesting lapel, great stripes at the bottom and looks interesting to boot.
Size 6 is too large for me, even though I am a US 6.
I would have needed a US 4 but I can wear a chunky sweater underneath it and not feel constrained….
Brand New – Smythe Reefer Coat in Royal Blue – $589 USD
I have it in Camel already, and I bought it in Royal Blue because I love the coat so much and this colour is striking – close to navy but not actually a dark navy…
They are normally around $900 USD… it is not used, brand new.
It is also a discontinued colour, and normally retails for $650 USD…
It looks like a very deep bright cobalt blue. Not navy, but a very nice blue that isn’t a pure icy cobalt blue but a cobalt one with black thread woven through so it has a darker shade.
Frye Melanie Slip-On Flats Grey Antique – $85 USD
Some of the most comfortable flats ever. I tried them on numerous times in store, and each time I couldn’t buy them, but I finally did in grey.
I also like them in natural but they are too close to a pair of neutral flats I already own if it is in that natural beige.
They are SO. SO. Comfortable.
YVES ST LAURENT SAC DE JOUR IN GREY – $1100
I snagged it off The Real Real (referral code here to get $25 USD as a free credit to start shopping, must use it within 7 days though).
I basically ONLY shop on The RealReal for consignment / designer items because they ship to Canada (OMG YES), their stuff is authenticated.
They charge a flat $50 CAD to ship to Canada –> no matter how much you buy, so it is a good idea to round up all your possible purchases, and just make a big purchase to save on shipping.
Yes. I did.
Secondhand, in like-new condition, expensive but not as pricey as at retail. Beautiful grey, a nice neutral!
Super practical with lots of compartments, the softest grey inside and gold hardware… it is stunning.
AKRIS PUNTO WOOL HIGH-WAISTED FLANNEL PANTS – $72 CAD
Another The RealReal purchase. I LOVE THIS SITE! <3
Akris Punto flannel pants on major sale, and they normally retail for $390 USD….
They have an elastic back which I normally hate, but I think in wool pants it would give me a bit of give and still stay on. Plus there are pockets. YAY!
I have wanted a pair of gray flannel pants for a while, I have navy, black, white, but grey is an elusive and hard shade to find in the right fabric and style.
ANTHONY THOMAS MELILLO (ATM) cashmere sweater – $75 CAD
I am a cliché I know. I bought the exact same cashmere top but with long sleeves…. At least my tank top will match if I have to wear it underneath.
ERDEM AUTUMN FLORAL DRESS – $114 CAD
I saw it on the rack, was immediately drawn to it, and then not drawn to it.
I am normally not a fan of dark florals. This one gave me serious autumn flower vibes — looked like maple leaves floating around the dress to be honest.
I also like that it is very pop-art and looked like daubs of paint on a canvas. When you look at the print closely, it is far prettier than your initial impression and each flower is so well painted that it is clear it wasn’t a run-of-the-mill old Grandma style flea market floral.
You know this is legit expensive AF when you see this: Fabric SPECIALLY designed by Erdem.
SPECIALLY DESIGNED. Very unique then.
Plus I got it for about $100. A normally $2000 – $4000 dress. FOR ONE HUNDRED BUCKS.
ETSY CASHMERE WOOL SWEATER WITH GUNMETAL ACCENTS – $223
Custom-made. I took a Medium. I love a good white ivory cowl neck sweater, I wanted it looser, and the gunmetal accents with the different weaves at the neck and elbows SOLD IT FOR ME.
This is a modern yet classic sweater with a twist. I love it.
GUCCI TURTLENECK SWEATER – $43 CAD
No for real. $43. Can you believe this? Etsy sellers sometimes do not know the strength of their brands. Other cashmere sweaters that are not brand-named, went for the same price.
As IF Gucci cashmere is the same as J. Crew Cashmere…
This is an OVERSIZED grey cashmere turtleneck, because I clearly have a thing for oversized sweaters these days, and I am planning on tucking this one into a tight skirt or two… or with a pleated skirt.
J. CREW CASHMERE NAVY BLUE V-NECK $34
I love navy blue and I love a good v-neck cashmere. I couldn’t resist. I’d save on shipping, so I picked this one up too.
Vintage / older J. Crew cashmere is far better quality than the recent crap they put out these days. I have an old J. Crew cashmere that I love wearing and is still soft.
I tried on a more recent J. Crew cashmere top at a consignment shop and was turned off by how itchy and thin it was…
THEORY BURGUNDY CASHMERE WITH MAGENTA NECK & CUFFS – $150 CAD
Burgundy cashmere. I don’t own a burgundy cashmere sweater but I have found myself wishing I had one with certain skirts instead of the boring neutrals I always seem to wear.
I also like that it is Theory (their cashmere is THICK and HEAVENLY), and the interesting magenta ribbed cuffs and v-neck section.
This is also oversized. I can’t help myself….