Monday, April 28, 2014

Peacocks and Pumps

Peacocks  - a beautifully colored bird, known for their bright and iridescent tails. The tail feathers and the colorful eye are really the functional part of the bird, and what the male uses to attract his mates. The size of the train can be more than 60% of the total size of his body, and females are typically attracted to the symmetry of the eye and the size of the tail.

While the color is beautiful to most observers, the females really go for size, not dazzling green and blue hues. Which brings me to shoes....

While I love a shoe with a pop of color, a nude shoe can be subtle, and typically let the rest of your outfit shine. And, maybe like peacocks, it's more about the symmetry and the size of the heel that attracts the mate.

Cowboy Boot Splurge - Part 2

Ready to make an investment in some of the most comfortable boots you will ever wear? Then go no further than the Lucchese brand of boots.

I have personally owned several pairs of boots, and none have been as high quality and as comfortable as the brand Lucchese.

The brand was established in 1883 (hence the name you will see on some of the shoe styles) in San Antonio by Sam Lucchese, Sr. and his brothers. He immigrated from Sicily (aren't all Italian shoes amazing) and traditionally sold to the U.S. Army. Lucchese boots have been worn by movie stars, U.S. Presidents, and people like lil 'ol me.

They typically range from $250, all the way up to $2,000 depending on your leather choice. For those of you that want the quality for a lower price, there is a great selection on ebay (both new and used) for a discounted price.

So, if you are in the mood for a serious splurge - here are my top 5 cowboy boots:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cowboy Boot Basics - Part 1

Are you a cowboy boot newbies?? If you are a beginner boot buyer, there are a few simple steps that can ensure a perfect boot selection. 

I take you through the steps during a recent visit to Boot Barn in Oceanside, California. Boot Barn is a national chain, with a very good selection of boots ranging from $160-300. You can watch for sales and clearance for some better deals, but a good pair of leather boots will run you somewhere between $150-200. If you are looking for a cheaper option, check out leather alternatives - although these won’t last as long as leather uppers and soles.

During my visit to Boot Barn, I am greeted by a friendly salesperson named Cheynne who tells me the major considerations when buying boots.

1. Assess Your StyleGoing back to the SIC (Shoe Investment Calculator) take an assessment of your needs. Are you a once a year boot wearer, or a once a month? Do you wear them casually with jeans or paired with a dress? Are you getting a pair of boots to wear to Stagecoach or the 100th Anniversary of the Clovis Rodeo? Luke Bryan or Jamey Johnson?
Once you get an idea of your boot style and price range (don’t forget to be realistic here), you can now look at sizing and boot structure.

2. Go Toe to ToeWho knew there were so many toe options! Here are three of the most popular toe options - with the more fashion style with the pointed toe, and the square or rounded toe traditionally used for more functional purposes.

3. No Two Left Feet
Cheynne reminds me that most people have some variation in foot size. She recommends measuring both feet, and making sure that you have a slight lift in the heel as you walk. She also recommends wearing some sort of socks with your boots - as this can help with moisture in the boot. Also, don't forget a boot tree ($20 at most stores) to keep in your boots to help maintain shape. 

4. These Boots Are Made for WalkingNow comes the time to purchase and give those boots the life they deserve on the road! A good pair of boots will last you over 10 years - and they can be as versatile in Dallas as they can be in New York City.

Check out the next blog where I take you to the next level in boots - I explore Lucchese boots - some of the most expensive, but utterly amazing boots that will change your life….if SIC pencils out.
Here are some of my favorites from my Boot Barn Visit:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Boots & Spurs

Although I have a deep love for outrageous stilettos and sandals, one of my true love's remains the cowboy boot. 

Functional, comfortable, and a great compliment to jeans and skirts, cowboy boots have a prominent place in my closet. Because of this deep love, I had to break the blog post in three so that I could adequately describe everything there is to know about cowboy boots. I tackle it in three posts:

1. Cowboy Boot Basics - consider this for beginner boot buyers. I will tell you how to pick a boot, fit, toe styles and general care.

For example, buy this:

Not this:

2. Cowboy Boot Splurges - women - if you are looking for a investment piece that will last your whole life - I will show you one of my favorite boot brands, Lucchese, and why you should skip that latte (or several) and save your money for these boots.

3. Cowboy Boot for Men - if you are looking for a shoe they will actually love, buy a man a cowboy boot. Whether they have spent time dirtying their boots on a farm, or a newbie, I will show you the top men's boots under $200.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

In My Easter Basket...

Happy Easter weekend to everyone!

As I trolled through the grocery store, I admit that I was lured into the candy isle. Three bags of candy later....I realized that what I really wanted in my Easter basket was something made of leather and metal.

I never subscribe to the rule about waiting to wear white until after Easter - and mixed metals with white and pastel shades was the perfect way to only partially break the rules. The shoes and the bag are previous seasons, but there are plenty of stunning pastel sandals out this season.

I wish everyone a happy Easter filled with Italian leather and studs.

Photos: Tawny Anaya (Foto30)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dali - ance

 You know, the best part of a vacation is forgetting where you are, and wandering through a foreign city without pressure of time and expectations...a dalliance.

If you ever find yourself in the Barcelona area, head just a short 60 km north to the town of Figueres, Spain (more info here). Up until 3 weeks ago, I had never heard of the town - but it is certainly a spot on the must do places to visit in Spain.

In addition to amazing food (check out El Motel for amazing food), therein lies the Salvador Dali museum - one of the most intriguing museums that you will find.

There is really no way to sum Salvador Dali's work up in a blog post - and I will not be the first to do so. I can tell you that he was born in Figueres in 1904, and was best known for his surrealist work. One of my favorite quotes from Dali was his love of art...attributing his "love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes" to an Arab lineage. Again, without debating the history of the quote...I can tell the man had an eye for extraordinary ideas.

The next set of pictures will be mostly without words, as there is not much I can add to the beauty and genius of Dali.

// Entrance to Dali Museum //

//  Gala Dali //

// woman at the window // 

The Best of Dali's Jewelry

// Dali Portrait of Picasso // 

// Dali Drawings // 

 And last, but not least, Salvador Dali's annual Christmas cards:

 What an amazing exhibit - literally one of the best art museums I have experienced in the world.

For those of you that may never get to see it person...enjoy the small pictorial peek  into his art.

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