Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hey Winter, Kiss My...

Deep freeze, southern shutdown and weeks of sub-zero temperatures have really made me think, "hey winter, kiss my...."

This is the time of year that I start dreaming about warm weather, cotton dresses, and summer BBQ's. But, those dreams have been dashed by freezing temperatures across most of the U.S.  - and those beautiful spring blossoms looking as sad as my summer shoe collection.

So, is there a silver lining to this intensely cold weather? The answers is yes....and the answer is kick ass boots.

Not only are boots in high demand this frigid January, but this month is prime time sale season, and you can get some of your favorite boots for great prices. As you bundle up over the next month, get yourself a pair of these awesome boots, and tell winter to kiss your ass!

(Ash boots - find them here)

(or a similar pair for 1/4 the price - find them here)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

When Closets Attack

Today is the day. I have been procrastinating, and pushing this day off for the last month. But, the time has come, and I must tackle my biggest project of the closet.

It's a scary endeavor...enough to cause anxiety in the strongest of souls. 

So I did what anyone in this situation would do. I turned to the organizer of the stars, Linda Koopersmith of the Beverly Hills Organizing Bible.

I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. But, once you try some of her methods in organizing, you will be amazing at the new space that you find. Her book is on amazon, but she also has some great online tutorials here.

One of my favorite online blogs, Cupcake and Cashmere also has a great article called Closet Clean-Up.

So, with a strong cup of coffee and a full day ahead, I re-read my book, watched some online tutorials, hit up the container store, and was ready to begin.

I imagined my closet to soon look like Mariah Carey's....

Or, very close to Christina Aguilera's...

Or even from the Vogue closet like in Sex and the City

And so, with some homework, inspiration and a little help from Destiny's Child (oh yeah, going old school)...I will tackle this closet.

Oh, I think I can handle this. Stay tuned for my closet slaying results...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hate Running? Love Shoes? Read this….

I hate running. No, I don’t. I REALLY dislike running. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the effects after running. The feeling of accomplishment…the runner’s high…the caloric burn. All of that is great. But what I hate (or extremely dislike) is all the in-between. 

There are those people that genuinely love running. I am not sure if it is innate in their bones, or a love that has grown over time. I truly wish I could inherit of learn to love this sport, but it escapes my hold.

Running is good for you - take a look at the cardiovascular benefits and damn, the calorie burn is like no other. But, what if that isn’t enough to motivate you…and you need more. It all comes back to shoes, doesn’t it? Shoes really can save the world’s problems, and particularly this lack of love to run. 

“How can shoes be my running savior?” you ask. Let me explain.

Sure, I love to exercise. I’ll try anything once - yoga, mud-runs, barre, pilates, SUP, surfing, rowing, cycling - none of those intimate me. But running….it’s just running. No words can really describe the intimidation and dislike I have for running. But I do it, with the help of shoes.

There are few things that can get me over runners block, thank goodness for shoes.

About six months ago, a friend of mine had the bright idea to run a half marathon. “Just think,” she mused, “this January half marathon will force us to get in shape over the holidays.” 

 It wasn’t an entirely bad idea. I had succumbed to many holidays where substituting workouts with eggnog and swedish meatballs were common place. And the fallout was not good.

“So, a half marathon,” I thought. “I can do this. 13.1 miles? No problem.”

But I needed something other than the impeding onslaught of 10 holiday pounds to get me motivated. “New running shoes,” I thought. That will help.

So I proceeded to scour my favorite running stores websites to find the perfect pair of running shoes. Fit, arch support, width - those were secondary to my love of fashion. I decided pink, as I wanted those shoes to be visible as I took each stride. And, low and behold, I can across Nike’s website, where I could design my own shoes (read about running shoe design here). 

Hot pink laces, check. Animal print upper, check. A bit of teal accessories, check check. And on my way to checkout, I had the option to personalize my shoes. “What to write,” I thought. It wasn’t as permanent as a tattoo, yet I couldn’t decide on a saying. 

“I have an idea,” a friend said. “What about Happy Pace? You know, it’s your little happy place while running. Your happy pace,” she exclaimed.

I never thought of running as a happy place, yet I had no better ideas, and so it was.

Once the shoes arrived, I began my training schedule with my new fancy shoes. I have to admit, I was hoping for for increased speed, motivation, something. But they felt like any other pair of running shoes.

And so the training began. And, to be honest, the training had some undisciplined moments. No, I didn’t fall off the horse into eggnog and swedish meatballs, but it was just hard to find time to run during the holidays. As the January 19th race date approached, my anxiety grew. 

I did a couple of longer runs, hating each moment of the run. I even asked a good friend how he managed to have a “love to run.” 

“Jenny,” he told me. “Get your mind out of it. Enjoy it. Stop thinking so much.”

But I had a horrible practice run, and the blisters and sore joints were nagging in my mind. 

“Think positive,” he told me. 

As I was bent over after the run, my shoes were starting straight at me. “Happy pace. Happy pace,” they whispered. Were they mocking me? There was no #$!@@@ pace that had just ensued. And at that point, I knew that inspiration background music should be playing on my iPod, and that that “ah ha” moment would come to me. As the sweat dripped into my eyes, tears of pain (from the salt and body) came out. 

The race was a week later - long enough for my body to recover, and for the running anxiety to build. The shoes sat out all week, reminding me of the long run to come, and the unreliable saying I had imprinted on the shoes. Maybe I should have done, “this sucks” on the shoes. Or, “pray - for me.”  Or, “my friend signed me up for this race at a moment of weakness.” But that wouldn’t fit on the shoes.

As race day approached, the shoes began to be a source of comfort. Sure, my toes would blister, and my arches ache, but those shoes would take me the entire 13.1 miles, and even as that saying mocked me, it started to inspire me. 

What was my happy pace? The race began, and there was no going back. I don’t know if it was the spectators, bands, other runners, or my fancy shoes, but I was finding my happy pace. 

As the miles passed, my feet began to ache, hamstrings tighten, and passion dwindle. At mile 11, I stopped to stretch and came face to face with my shoes. I don’t know if it was adrenaline, love of pink laces, or that damn saying, but I began to love running.

As I crossed the finish line, I wondered what the other runners used as their source of motivation. Family members, health, competition - it didn’t matter, each person had their own inspiration. 

As my feet ached in my shoes, I felt that runners high, vowing that this would be one of many races to come.

And so you ask, am I a running junkie? A run lover?

 No, not yet. But, like many of you out there that don’t love running, but wish you did…I found my motivation, my shoes that led me to my Happy Pace.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fendi Look 1

One Shoe, Three Ways

My favorite new gift from Santa this year are my calf hair geometric pumps. The black and white stripes are a classic color combo, yet the calf hair stripes give the shoe an edge. The heels have a sculptural diamond shape that catches light at day and night. After unwrapping these beauties, my next step was to pair them for as many outings as possible.

But, they can be a bit intimidating. Like one of those shoes that you love in theory, just can't figure it out in the real world.

But not to fear, your shoe fairy is here. I pair these pumps for day, work and night. Some people call it shoestifcation (shoe justification) - I call it increasing your wear per pair.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Beating the Blues with Faux Shopping

Oh no...It’s that time of year. The big three have ended (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s), college football is over (additional reasons to eat and drink poorly) and now the New Year resolutions begin...

Eat healthier, exercise more, worry less, read more books, love more and so on. And then there's that one resolution we women make. The scary one that we sometimes say, but never mean.

Resolving to shop less...or sometimes not at all for an entire month.

Oh sure, I have tried this no shopping in January thing several times, and all attempts failed. A month of no shopping seems doable in the bright fresh light of January 1.  You feel strong, like you can conquer the world, and no shopping for 31 days should be a piece of cake (don't eat that, though. You might be breaking resolution #1.)

But then there are the sales...the continual influx of emails telling you about the 50% off, must buy, going fast. At first I am strong. “Delete without looking,”  I tell myself. “Don’t look at the body of the email.”

“Net-a-Porter additional markdowns,” one email taunts me. Net-a-Porter, little beautiful black box shop? I must at least check this out. And then, like holding plank pose, one knee drops, and then the other, and next thing you know you have five different sites up exploring the end of year sales. The seal is broken, and the once apparent strength to not shop has subsided.

Oh, there are those white lies you can tell yourself. Like, if I use PayPal instead of a credit card, it doesn't count. Because the mere action of reaching for your wallet instills guilt in your soul, and foreshadows a broken resolution. 

One year, I had a bright idea. NOTE: The idea you are about to read is not recommended by physicians. I made a deal with myself that I had to lose those nagging 10 pounds before I could begin shopping in the New Year. That would give my pocketbook time to heal from Christmas shopping and sales, and also help with the fit of my clothes. Win-win, right? I knew I could hit those 10 pounds in 2 weeks. I was so confident, that on my trip WHILE in India, I purchased a sweet little pair of Lanvin heels. They would arrive 2 days after I landed back in the States, and I was confident that this Delhi-belly would get me to that 10 pound goal. Low and behold, the one time you actually want a stomach bug you escape the wrath. So, I ended up home, having broken my resolution yet again.

So how do you keep a New Year resolution to not shop? Creativity, my dear.

If you are among those that made the unenviable resolution not to shop this month, here are 10 ways to beat the January blues with Faux Shopping.

1.     Shoe Ghosting – you go on a website, pursue and add to shopping bag. At the last moment, you close out and walk away.
2.     Speed Shoe Dating – head to Nordstrom Rack or DSW and try on multiple shoes for a couple of minutes, and then walk out somewhat fulfilled.
3.     Sister Sharing – find a girlfriend with a similar size shoe, and go over to her place to try on shoes that will be new to you.
4.     Ebay Browsing – online shop on ebay, and find a pair of shoes that you know you will end up the lowest bidder.
5.     Internet Hiatus ­– don’t look at any shoe store email ads online for a month. Stay far away from Pinterest.
6.     Hibernate – yes, for the entire month. No shoe shopping is hard stuff.
7.     Shoe Show – kill two birds with one stone here by taking all your shoes out of the closet, trying them all on, and then really thinking about what you holes you may have in your closet (no buying yet).
8.     Shoe Love – after #6, you will notice that you have been neglecting certain shoes at the back of the closet. Take those lavender suede ballet flats out and find opportunities to wear.
9.     Make a Deal – make a deal/goal with yourself if you can go 31 days without shopping that a strappy pump awaits you on February 1.

And last, but not least…

10. Inflict Pain – put on your most uncomfortable pair of shoes and go grocery shopping in the kale section of a grocery store. You will come home temporarily pained from the shoes and fighting over kale with January juicers.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Deep Freeze

A deep freeze is about to hit most of the U.S., with temperatures getting close to the zero degree mark in over half the country. They say by Wednesday, over half of the country will be feeling temperatures of zero and below.

While I live in the other half of the U.S. that won't experience those chilly climates, I thought it was simply my duty to write a blog about being fashionable in this deep freeze. There are some points where the weather is so cold, that no amount of clothing, wool or booze can warm up. In those times, I do advise staying inside by the fire, with something warm (or if you are a wine drinker like me, merely 56 degrees). 

Keeping your feet warm is one simple way to stay warm in these cold temps. One of my favorite boots are Matt Bernson, and his practical yet stylish designs. These boots will take you inside and out, and the more wear, the better they get.

 So, stay warm out there this week...there are plenty of online deals to keep you busy!

In the World of...Cha Cha Shoes

(Photos: Keir McKnight)

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