Friday, March 29, 2013

And have a truly 
wonderful weekend


Friday for blog

3.29.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $222.93 What I Paid: $40.44

3.29.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $222.93 What I Paid: $40.44

Red cashmere 'Jacyln Smith' v-neck sweater - Hand-me-down from my mom!  (R-$49)
Black 'Celebrity Pink' skinny jean - Ross $12.99  (R-$18.99)
Black suede 'Margit' tasseled loafer - Just Fab (sale) $19.95  (R-$59.95)
Navy blue wool 'Old Navy' pea coat - Reuse shop $4.50  (R-$69)
Red seed and silver chain necklace that I made for about $3  (R-$16)
Silver stack bracelets - Walmart (sale) $3  (R-$9.99)
Red tote - Gift from my mom!  (R-$16)
Red lip and nails, black cream liner

Thursday, March 28, 2013

3.28.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $488.95 What I Paid: $43.93

3.28.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $488.95 What I Paid: $43.93

Cream 'Notations' sleeveless blouse - Burlington Coat Factory $7.99 - (R-$15)
Black 'Jones New York' cropped fitted jacket - Hand-me-down from my mom!  (R-$119)
Cream herringbone 'Jessica Simpson' wide-leg trouser - Ross $12.99  (R-$79)
Black suede 'Margit' tasseled loafer - Just Fab (sale) $19.95  (R-$59.95)
'Pearl' bracelet and earring set that I made for about $3  (R-$16)
Black 'Juicy Couture' baguette - Gift from My Person!  (R-$200)
Black cream liner, red lip, pastel shadow pallette

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

3.27.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $207.94 What I Paid: $44.43

3.27.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $207.94 What I Paid: $44.43

Black chiffon 'Julia's Closet' tank - Marshall's $11.99  (R-$28)
Black 'Valia' slacks with white pinstripe - Ross (sale) $6.49  (R-$14.99)
Black/tan tweed 'Kate Hill' fitted blazer - Reuse shop $2.50  (R-$36)
Black t-strap 'Madelyn Stewart' pump - Ross $18.95  (R-$59.95)
Black 'Nine West' tote - Reuse shop $4.50  (R-$69)
silver choker - Gift from my mother-in-law!
Silver lattice pendant that I made for about $2  (R-$16)
Silver stack bracelets - Walmart (sale) $3  (R-$9.99)
Red lip and nails, black cream liner

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

2013 Fashion Trend Must-Haves

3.26.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $354.90 What I Paid: $63.86

3.26.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $354.90 What I Paid: $63.86

Olive animal print 'Vivienne Tam' tank with zip back detail - Ross $6.99  (R-$39)
Olive 'Casual Corner' double-breasted blazer - Reuse shop $6.99  (R-$69)
Black 'Express' skirt - Reuse shop $5.49  (R-$69)
Black suede 'Margit' tasseled loafer - Just Fab (sale) $19.95  (R-$59.95)
Dark Navy blue 'Macintosh Collection' overcoat - Reuse shop $12.95  (R-$98)
Necklace, bracelet, and earring set I made for about $6  (R-$19.95)
Black stockings, red lip and nails, shadows in olive/brown pallet, black cream liner

This is the perfect outfit to display how professional one can look shopping nothing but sales and second-hand stores.  Everything here was purchased at one of the other.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Best Girlfriend EVER

Last night as I'm running around madly trying to get everything that I'd heretofore put off the entire weekend finished up by bedtime on the Sunday, I stopped everything long enough to watch 'Romy & Michele's High School Reunion'.  Again.  I hadn't seen it in years, but remembered it being one of the best girlfriend flicks I'd ever seen...and also one of those high-school-reunion-fantasies-a-good-number-of-us-wish-we-could-have.  Down to the three-person dance at the end.

If you've not seen it (and if you have 92 minutes you won't later mourn), look this one up.  We meet Romy White (Mira Sorvino) and her roommate Michele Weinberger (Lisa Kudrow) roughly 9 years and 8 months after high school graduation.  Best friends in high school, they moved to Los Angeles together after graduating from a hick school in Tucson, AZ ("This town is so un-hip!") and are living 'the glamorous life' in LA after their particular brand of style wasn't widely accepted by fellow classmates.  Heavily influenced by Madonna, the girls make their own clothes which, frankly, are fantastic but bring them nothing but ridicule.

While working at her job at the Jaguar dealership, Romy  runs into an old classmate, another 'Not A-lister', Heather Mooney, played by Janeane Garafalo, who lets slip that the 10-year reunion is coming up in a few months and asks if she's going.  And the movie takes off from there.

This isn't an academy award-winning flick.  It's not even the best movie you'll ever see.  But what it reminded me of the most is that amazing relationship we have amongst ourselves as women.  That person (or, if you're lucky, persons) in your life who, no matter what horrific thing happens, will not only find the bright side of the issue, but make you feel like you've already mastered it before you even realized you could!  That girlfriend who, if you called in a complete panic to confide you'd just committed the bloodiest of murders would, by the end of the the phone call, not only have absolved you of all guilt, but would convince you that you'd done the world a tremendous favor and are now to be revered at the same level as Gandhi,  Mother Theresa, and Al Gore.  And you'd hang up the phone with a smile on your face feeling absolutely freaking fantastic about yourself and the entire situation.  You know what I'm talking about: that indefatigable optimistic-ness that is so uniquely a part of the best girlfriend role.

For instance:  Having just showered and preparing to go out to the clubs, Romy and Michele are standing in front of a packed closet lamenting that they have nothing to wear.

Michele: "Did you lose weight?" 
Romy: "Actually, I've been trying this new fat-free diet I invented.  All I've had to eat for the past six days are gummy bears, jelly beans, and candy corn."
Michele: (with a look of absolute admiration) "God, I wish I had your discipline."

I met my Michele when I was living in El Paso going to college, working part time waiting tables at a popular local dive called The Surf Club (get it?  Surf Club?  In a land-locked state? Rolling eyes here...).  I'd been there for a few months when Lisa walked in  just after the lunch rush to apply for a job.  I was standing at the bar going through receipts when she came in for her interview and said hello to her and we stood talking for just a bit.  I remember telling her "You'll get the job... the pretty ones always do!".  Of course she got the job, and we were best friends from that point forward.  

She'd packed up her car and driven from her home in Michigan to marry her soldier before he deployed to the first gulf war...this was back in the late 80s.   I'd moved there from Alaska on the pretext of going to school, but was really just trying to get out of my home and do some growing up.  We spent the next few years of her husband's deployment completely inseparable.  

That was some 20+ years ago.  The bulk of that friendship has been spent on opposite coasts as she moved back to Michigan once Karl got home, and I just moved.  But we rarely lost touch.  And those few times we did, one of us would track down the other and we'd pick up our conversation where it left off, even if it had been months since we'd last spoken.

She's that kind of friend.

A lot happens in the course of 20+ years.  We both had children (I unwittingly naming my firstborn male Zach which, unknown to me, was the name she had picked out for her son should she have one, and now we each have a Zach), got divorced, got remarried...and the huge varieties of life's  ups and downs.  No matter what, Lisa's always there for me without question and with complete support.

Over the years the topics of our phone calls, which would oftentimes go for the entire lifespan of a cordless phone battery (and then the cell phone if available!), covered everything from "Zach's going to be an ax murder!" (no, he's just a normal boy) to "I just walked in on my husband cheating on me with my friend Karen!" (that bastard!) to "I don't know if I can do this [life] anymore" (a heartfelt long-distance hug and a good long cry).  One of the other of us hasn't always had a solution to whatever issue prompted the phone call, but we've always had the support in spades.  No matter what happened, we could call the other, scared, heartbroken, in tears, sometimes even at the end of our rope.  But we'd leave that conversation smiling, laughing, and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt we were loved and could conquer anything.

I honestly don't know what I would have done without her over the years.  What I'd do without her now.  And as close as we might be with the men in our lives, it's a different closeness that we share with our sisters, especially those women with whom we remain close our entire lives.  They know us, most times, better than we know ourselves.  They know that sometimes two months in between phone calls means something's terribly wrong.  They know our secrets; those things that would immediately disqualify us from holding public office were they common knowledge.  They know by the tone of our voice if we're not truly as okay as we say we are and wouldn't dream of letting that observation go by without broaching it head-on.

I got a text a few weeks ago while I was at work that simply said "I miss you.  I'm coming out for a visit.  Can you take some time off?" and within half an hour, the time off was approved and the reservations were made.  She'll be here in three weeks, staying for about five days, over a weekend that that I was surprised to find My Person will conveniently be out of town.  We'll sit on the couch and talk for hours, drink Bailey's Irish Cream, talk about our kids, memories of days both better and worse, and thoroughly catch up.  We'll go for a drive up in the mountains and find some haunted hotel in which to spend a night, and I'll do the driving because there's nothing of the sort in Michigan and I know the roads here scare her.  We'll talk about ex-husbands, old lovers, and friends in common.  We'll talk about how lonely it can be at times living so far away from each other and hope longingly that someday that might change.  We'll talk about that cruise we promised we'd take once the kids moved out on those days said kids had frayed our last nerve.  We'll talk about how happy and content we both are in the relationships we've finally found and laugh about how horrible our ex husbands were.  (I actually really mean that in the present-tense).  And on the day she has to get back on the plane, we'll both try valiantly not to cry until we see the other off knowing that it might be another few years before we have this pleasure again.

There's a part of the movie where the girls are on the dance floor, together, at their senior prom, Michele in her bullet-bra'd lace mini a'la Madonna, and Romy similarly dressed with looonnnggg hair extensions done in a high bun and long ponytail.  Romy starts twirling her hair as she dances whipping Michele in the face.

Michele:  "Ow!  That hurt!  But it looked really good!"

Only a girlfriend would be so generous.

3.25.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $293.84 What I Paid: $64.89

3.25.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $293.84 What I Paid: $64.89

Red two-pocket button-down blouse - Reuse shop $2.50  (R-$23.95)
Black 'Joe Ben-basset' slacks - Ross $9.99 (R-$36.99)
Black 'Kenneth Cole' blazer - Ross $24.95  (R-$99.95)
Black 'Guess' belt - Ross $4.50  (R-$18)
Red bead necklace I made for about $3  (R-$16)
Red basket-weave 'Leah' platform bootie - UrbanOg (sale) $15  (R-$29.95)
Black 'Nine West' tote - Reuse shop $40.50  (R-$69)
Red lip and nails, black cream liner

Happy Monday!  
(At least there's only one of these a week!)


Friday, March 22, 2013

3.22.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $387.94 What I Paid: $74.87

3.22.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $387.94 What I Paid: $74.87

Sheer brown/tan/black animal print 'Marisol' blouse - Ross $12.99  (R-$24)
Black 'Celebrity Pink' skinny jean - Ross $12.99  (R-$18.99)
Long black 'Lauren Conrad' cardigan - Kohl's (sale) $17.95  (R-$69)
Black 'Guess' belt - Ross $4.99  (R-$18)
Black suede 'Margit' tasseled loafer - Just Fab (sale) $19.95  (R-$59.95)
Spiral pendant on leather that I made for about $6  (R-$16)
Black 'Juicy Couture' baguette - Gift from My Person!  (R-$200)
Red lip and nails, black cream liner (the usual!)  :)


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Birchbox - A Box Full of (expensive!) Surprises Every Month!

A few weeks ago I was looking for something on YouTube and, as always happens on YouTube, I ended up somewhere completely off the beaten track on this amazingly hilarious vlog by Nicola Foti, a man to watch!  I mean that literally as well as figuratively!  As in, right now.  Go watch.  His monologue will have you rolling, and he's someone with whom you instantly want to go shopping.  I love his work.  But I'm getting off on a tangent again.

Nick was giving a review of a product called Birchbox and I was instantly curious, so I looked them up.  Birchbox is, in their own words, "...the best way to new grooming, beauty, and lifestyle products".  The premise is this:  Beauty and fashion retailers want you to try their product, some of which most of us lowly worker bees can't afford and wouldn't even stop at the counter in Dillard's to check out because, well, we can't afford to even walk in to Dillard's, much less look over their merchandise!  So these retailers create sample bottles, think travel-size, not the little tiny dab sample that you normally see, in the hope that they've given you enough of the product and you'll love it so much that you'll spring for the real thing.

Birchbox is a monthly subscription.  But the subscription price is only $10!!!  There is a waiting list.  I applied for the invitation about a month ago, and was sent my invitation a few weeks later, luckily in time to have gotten in under the March box deadline, and I got my first Birchbox last night.  I really didn't know what to expect and was so impressed!  Nicola knew what he was talking about!  The stuff was just amazing.

First of all, the packaging was just delightful.  The hot pink box sitting on the table with the rest of my mail literally brightened my day. 

And opening it was even better!  Inside that box was this cute and quite sturdy smaller box with the Birchbox stamp (that I immediately felt horribly guilty for tossing in the trash as it was just too cute and too sturdy not to recycle!) and, inside that wrapped nicely in hot pink tissue paper were a number of great little samples, all of which I would certainly use!  

There was a Madewell Emory Board, full size, a sample of the new Juicy Couture "La La" perfume just right to fit in a purse (about half the size of a Bic pen!), a tube of Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow skin illuminator (full size retails for $27), and the sample was fairly substantial!  This is used to target dark spots and smooth out the complexion, and it did a great job of that, though I don't use base makeup which this reminded me of.  There was also a good-sized tube of Nick Chavez Beverly Hills Color-Saver Sulfate Free Shampoo which I'm holding out to try until I can get in for a color!  Just so you get an idea of the sizes here, the yellowish tube on the far right in the box pictured below is this particular sample.

The item that literally got me hooked however is the Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator, 4.23 oz of which (a normal sized bottle) retail for $32 and are worth EVERY PENNY.
Let me preface this by saying that I've had a bit of a rough work week.  And by that I mean, if it could go wrong, it went wrong.  I'm having software issues at home that are literally making my usual 6 hour job in which I can generally get all of my work done and turned in on time and hours under deadline, have been late every day, and I currently have a backlog of about 9 hours of working waiting for me from last night that are going to be equally late.  And that's not counting all the work that will be uploading from today by the time I arrive home to begin another fun-filled night of horror.

Now.  Having said that, when 1115p rolled around and I was so tired and stressed I literally couldn't see straight, I headed to bed and, for some reason, decided to wash my face first.  I generally just remove my eye makeup (really all I wear besides lipstick) and call it good.  But I opened up the little bottle and found this creamy, bright white scrub that felt like it was full of miniature grains of sand.  Yes, smaller than actual grains of sand.  But the stuff was thick, just a little bit sticky, and I could literally feel it sloughing off all the dead skin on my face.  After I rinsed it off I could SEE the difference it made.

I don't generally...well, no.  I NEVER get excited about a product unless it's a big deal.  THIS product is a big deal.  I have very sensitive skin and have to be very careful what I put on my face as I tend to break out instantly in a horrid red rash that will stick around for days.  But this stuff did exactly what it purported to do and nothing more.

After I patted my face dry, I applied the Acure Day Cream that I've mentioned here before (see below), and even this morning when I'm standing at the sink brushing my teeth looking at myself blearily through the fog on the mirror still fresh from bed and wishing I wasn't, I did a double-take, at myself, in the mirror and was shocked at how great my skin looked!  Definitely buying the full-size bottle of this stuff.  I'm guessing that since it's only recommended that you do it a couple of times a week, even the sample size is going to last me quite awhile!  But, being totally honest here, the stuff is amazing.
I would recommend Birchbox also.  Well, I guess that's what I've just done!  But it's only $10 a month, you can cancel any time so there's no commitment, so you really have absolutely nothing to lose!  The items in my first box were of FAR more value than the $10 I spent, and the free shipping makes it a no-brainer.  I also went in and purchased the men's version for My Person as he likes to try new things and actually takes quite good care of himself.  The Men's subscription is $20 a month, so I'm curious to see what comes in theirs that makes it worth double what I pay for mine!

I'm definitely excited to see next months' box and thought I'd share.  Click here if you'd like to join!  And don't forget to check out Nick Foti at the YouTube link above.  (His review of Tom's Toothpaste and deodorant is a scream!!!)

3.21.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $234.94 What I Paid: $26.97

3.21.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $234.94 What I Paid: $26.97

Black 'White Stag' v-neck sweater - Walmart (sale) $5.99 n (R-$14.95)
Cream herringbone 'Jessica Simpson' wide-leg trouser - Ross $12.99  (r-$79)
Black/tan 'Bordello' platform spectators - Gift from My Person!  (R-$69)
Antiqued silver pendant on matching chain - Gift from my mom that she found at a reuse shop for $4! (R-$29)
Silver hoop earrings - Walmart (sale) $1.99  (R-$6.99)
Black cream liner, red lip and nails

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Ideal Bag

Just a quick drop-in to show you this amazing Mondani Audra Ostrich Tote (well, faux ostrich) available now from Ideeli for only $39.99.  If you haven't joined this site before now and been exposed to their great deals, now is the time.  Click here for your personal invitation.  (the bag also comes in blue!)

3.20.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $74 What I Paid: $23.98

3.19.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $74 What I Paid: $23.98

Fuchsia cashmere 'Carol Roth' cowl-neck sweater - Ross (sale) $8.99  (R-$36)
Charcoal 'Joe Ben-basset' cuffed and pleated trouser - Ross $11.99  (R-$26)
Pearl necklace I made for about $3  (R-$12)
**Black 'Ganessa' buckled pump - Shoe Dazzle $39.95  (R-same)
Black cream liner, fuchsia lip

**Cost of shoes not included in cost of set as retail and actual cost are the same.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Getting Creative

After deciding to follow the book 'The Conscious Cleanse' in late January, I've been reaping the benefits that come with taking better care of myself.  In a nutshell, I've cut out all processed foods, processed sugar, gluten, fats and oils...basically anything that isn't a fruit, a vegetable, nut, or non-gluten grain.  I've learned a lot about how my body reacts to processed foods and am finding that my weekend 'free eating' is getting to be a lot less worth it come Monday morning!  I've also found that I'm getting really bored.  Time to think outside of the pizza box.

Now that I've done the 'cleanse' portion of the eating plan and have added in those things like dairy and gluten and taken note of how my body reacts to them (not good), I'm beginning the actual 'lifestyle change' process.  One can only eat so many dressing-free salads and whole-fruit smoothies before one gets incredibly bored.  I shop the edges of the grocery store, with just a quick nip down a couple of the middle aisles for brown rice and quinoa or these really good non-gluten crackers made by Blue Diamond called 'Nut-Thins' (the box weighs, like, really feels like it's full of 'nothing'!), and though I was raised a vegetarian, I wouldn't go so far as to call how we ate particularly healthy.  A great majority of the foods that were available in the 1970's for vegetarians, namely the products put out by the Loma Linda Company and Morningstar Farms, were very high in sodium and additives   In our new, more enlightened age, cutting out every nonorganic 'food' that has more than one syllable should help extend our lives.  But I'm learning why so many American's are overweight and why every restaurant we go to of a weekend has a line waiting to be seated!

Eating well requires some time.  Picking out fresh produce at the store, preparing meals from whole foods, and making sure that you're consuming all of this while it is still at its nutritional peak can be a time-consuming task!  I work two jobs and tell myself that I don't have time to work out, as the only 'free' time I would be able to scrounge would be part of my sleeping time.  As it is, I'm getting up 10-15 minutes early every morning in order to prepare food to take to work with me.  And this is after the couple of straight hours on a Sunday that I spend trying to prep some of this ahead of time!

But I'm learning.  I've been cruising some good vege and vegan blogs (I'll do a post here soon about which ones) and am getting some good ideas on ways to dig my way out of the salad slump and truly make this a lifestyle change.

Today's lunch was the result of this branching out and I must say was thoroughly enjoyed after yesterdays' sad leftover fruit and quinoa.  Spinach, romaine, red and green peppers, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, grape tomatoes, and half an avocado spread between to slices of pita, a little bit of a quick spread that I made from Vegenaise (click here for info on that particular gem!) with garlic powder and chopped chives, and I can honestly say I'm full after topping it off with a cup of the microsalad (recipe here)

But the reason this post is on the home page and not in its usual spot is that the most noticeable benefit so far is my weight loss.  I've lost 14 pounds in two months.  So much so in fact that I've had to cull my closet as some of my favorite work slacks and skirts were so large as to literally fall off of me and are therefore no longer wearable!  I'd almost lost hope that I would get back to the size 7 that I used to be.  But I'm now down to a size 9 (did I mention in only two months?!) and am fast on my way to pulling out the rest of my 'skinny clothes' from the garage storage.

And that's a great fashion story....right?

3.19.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $292.99 What I Paid: $84.45

3.19.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $292.99 What I Paid: $84.45

Sheer bright red 'Timing' Georgette blouse - Ross $12.99  (R-$32)
Black 'Skinology' pencil skirt with kick pleats - Resale shop $5.25  (R-$69)
Black 'Calvin Klein' cardigan - Ross (sale) $1.99  (R-$36)
Iron Fist 'Foxtrot' platform heel - ShoeDazzle $39.95  (R-$79.99)
Iron Fist 'Foxtrot' handbag - ShoeDazzle (sale) $19.95  (R-$60)
Red bead on silver necklace that I made for about $3  (R-$16)
Black stockings, red lip and nails, black cream liner

Monday, March 18, 2013

3.18.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $295.95 What I Paid: $43.93

3.18.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $295.95 What I Paid: $43.93

Cobalt blue 'Timing' georgette button-down blouse - Ross $12.99  ($R-$29)
Black 'Jones New York' cropped jacket - Hand-me-down from my mom!  (R-$119)
Black wide-leg 'Jessica Simpson' trouser - Ross $15.99  (R-$69)
Cobalt 'Eve' peep-toe platform - Shoedazzle (sale) $14.95  (R-$39.95)
Antiqued silver pendant on antiqued silver chain - Gift from my mom (R-$39)
Black cream liner, red lip, red nails

Friday, March 15, 2013

3.15.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $83 What I Paid: $24.93

3.15.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $83 What I Paid: $24.93

Kelly green single-pocket chiffon tank top - Ross (sale) $1.99  (R-$16)
White 'Celebrity Pink' skinny jean - Ross $12.95  (R-$25)
Long white '88th & Madison' cardigan - Ross (Sale)9.99  (R-$49)
**White nubuck 'Qupid' sandal with wood platform - ZooShoo $30
silver Pandora bracelet - Gift from My Person and my boys! <3
Silver Celtic pendant on silver chain - Gift from My Person!

**Cost of shoe not included in cost of set as retail and actual price are the same

Have a Happy & Safe 
St. Patrick's Day!  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Running Away From Returns - Part Deux

As promised, just a couple of more tips on how to make sure that those adorable pumps you've been lusting after on line will be every bit as wonderful when you receive them as they appear to be on the website!

Making sure a shoe fits you when you purchase it sight-unseen from an online retailer can be tricky, as we discussed a few days ago, particularly when we're talking about high heels.  Of course you're not going to win every time.  There will be times that something will come up that you just couldn't have planned for, like the big bubble of glue in the toe of the last pair of pumps I purchased that no amount of gel pads could make more comfortable!  But there are ways to minimize your risk and avoid incurring the disappointment of having to return those babies you've awaited so anxiously when you find they don't fit as they should.  

It starts when you first begin looking at the online pictures.  I'm going to use ShoeDazzle as an example.  (you can click here to get your invitation to join if you haven't already!)

A.   Read The Reviews

This is one sexy boot!

 By VANESSA W on 03/11/2013
I tried these on for my boyfriend and he instantly loved them. They are super sexy & fit really well. They come up a bit higher than some boots but would look great over jeans or with a dress.


Most of the shoe clubs allow their patrons to post a quick review of the shoe, and they don't seem to edit them a whole lot which works to our advantage!  Read what other women have said about this particular shoe.  Was it tighter in the toe box than is reasonably comfortable?  Does the pair run a little bit small?  Can you dance in them?  Most women are really good about helping a sister out, and I've found these reviews to be very reliable.

B.   Look At The Picture...No, REALLY look at them!

Check out the shoe from every angle given on the description page.  Notice especially the angle of the shot of a model actually wearing the shoe, and look carefully at the angle of her foot. 

1. Angle of Shoe Too Steep :(

1.  Does it look like she's standing and walking on her toes?  If so, the angle of the shoe is probably really not going to be comfortable.  I've had more than one pair that I've tried on in person and realized very quickly that, no matter how cute, the steepness of the shoe from heel to toe was so extreme that I wasn't going to be able to walk in the shoe even a short distance, much less for an entire workday or dinner outing.  Even in heels, a comfortable and reasonable distribution of your foot should be about 40% the toes/ball, 40% midfoot, and about 20% your heel.

2. Squished Toes  :(
2.  When looking at the 'toe cleavage' in relation to the tip of the shoe, does it look like the toes would be crammed into the toe-box?  Probably not the best shoe to be in at the office for 8 hours!  Having your toes crammed into the shoes and feeling them rubbing against the front for an entire workday will make one grouchy.  Believe me! :)  I've had a pair that literally made the toenail of my big toe bleed by the end of a workday.  And no matter how adorable they are, no shoe is worth bleeding over!  (Yes, I said it).

3. Toe of Shoe Tips Up Slightly  :)
3.  Does the toe of the shoe tip up just a bit?  If so, this is going to make the shoe a little more comfortable to walk in and make you feel less like you're going to topple forward.  The angle of this shoe is just a little steep for me, but even just a lightly upward-tipped toe-box can make a balance difference when wearing a higher heel.

4. Consider The Platform  :)
4.  Regardless of how high the heel is, does the models' foot look like she's standing naturally and in a reasonable degree of comfort?  In this pair, there is a significant platform attached.  And though the heel itself is VERY high, when you look at the angle of the models' foot, she's actually standing at what, in a different shoe, would be about a 3" heel rather than this actual shoes' 7.25" including the heel and the platform!  Looking at weight distribution, this looks almost as though she's at 50% toes/ball of foot, with the rest evenly distributed throughout the rest of the foot.  These are shoes that are going to be comfortable enough to wear all day at work, then to the grocery store afterward, and out with friends for a drink on the way home!

C.   Know Your Styles

A few just extra little tips:
  • First off, if you're not comfortable wearing  a 5" heel, don't try.  At least not until you've worn them around the house enough that you can walk comfortably and confidently in them without having to look at your feet in deep concentration.  No matter how smartly a woman is dressed, if she can't walk in her heels in almost the exact fashion she walks in her running shoes, the focus will be on the awkwardness of her gait and not on the desired overall affect.Trust me on this one.  We have a woman at our office, an executive, who is always nicely dressed.  But whenever she wears higher than a 3" heel, she totters when she walks, and I find that I'm so busy being worried she's going to fall that I completely lose the affect that she was after when she dressed that morning!  There are plenty of gorgeous 'kitten heels' (under 2") that are up-to-the-minute stylish that you can break yourself in to without frightening everyone around you.
  • If you love heels but aren't comfortable wearing stilettos all the time, go for the wedge!  A wedge heel will give you more stability when you're walking and standing than that of a stiletto heel.  They're just as gorgeous, come in just as many styles and colors as their more pointy counterparts, and you can wear them literally for hours on end without feeling the least bit uncomfortable.
  • Want to wear a higher heel without feeling the pain?  Shoes with platforms were made for you!  You can see in the picture in #4 above the huge difference a platform can make in a heel.  You're literally then only wearing a heel that, no matter how tall it looks on the shoe overall, is really only as high as from the bottom of your foot to where the heel connects in the back, most times over half the height of the total heel.  And platforms, like wedges, offer quite a bit more stability for the foot during a long workday allowing you to feel at 5p about how you felt at 8a. Well, your feet at least!
  • When buying a pump (closed toe or peep toe), start of course by reading the review.  If the general consensus is that the shoe is true to size (TTS), the go up a half size. This will help cut down on the possibility that the toe box is going to be unbearable or the peep-toe hole just too small.  If you find that they're just that wee bit too big, this is nothing that a gel pad to the heel won't fix instantly.  But there's just really not a huge fix for a tight toe-box.
I'd be happy to hear any other ideas that you've found work for you when purchasing shoes on line!  Please leave them in the comments section below.  

I haven't really purchased anything new for spring...having looked at all these adorable shoes in writing this post though, I may need to remedy that.

Be back shortly.  I'm goin' shoe shoppin'!

3.14.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $276.94 What I Paid: $48.43

3.14.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $276.94 What I Paid: $48.43

Sheer black 'Have' blouse with 3/4 sleeves - Ross (sale) $4.99  (R-$16.99)
Cobalt high-waisted 'Max Studio' pencil skirt - Marshall's (sale) $15  (R-$79)
Short black 'Calvin Klein' cardigan with 3/4 sleeves - Ross (sale) $1.99  (R-$36)
Black 'Margit' tasseled high-heeled loafer - Just Fab (sale) $19.95  (R-$59.95)
Blue and grey enamel on silver bracelet - Gift from my mother-in-law!
Multistrand blues on silver necklace I made for about $2  (R-$16)
Black 'Nine West' tote - Reuse shop $4.50  (R-$69)
Black stockings, red lip and nails, just a hint of cobalt shadow at
outside corner of eyes, & black cream liner

3.13.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $277.95 What I Paid: $69.88

3.13.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $277.95 What I Paid: $69.88

Black and white 'Croft & Barrow' chiffon blouse - Reuse shop $2  (R-$36)
Black 'Jessica Simpson' wide-leg trousers - Ross $15.95  (R-$69)
Long black 'Lauren Conrad' cardigan - Kohl's (sale) $17.95  (R-$69)
Black 'Margit' tasseled suede heeled loafer - Just Fab (sale) $19.95  (R-$59.95)
Black 'Guess' belt with pewter buckle - Ross $4.99  (R-$18)
Black bracelet that I made for about $6  (R-$16)
Silver stack bracelets - Walmart (sale) $3  (R-$10)
Red lip and nails, black cream liner, charcoal shadow

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

3.12.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $311.95 What I Paid: $71.41

3.12.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $311.95 What I Paid: $71.41

Black 'Julia's Closet' chiffon tank - Marshall's $11.99  (R-$28)
Red/white/black argyle 'Charter Club' cardigan - Reuse shop $5.49  (R-$45)
Black 'Jessica Simpson' wide-leg trouser - Ross $15.99  (R-$69)
Black/red crystals necklace that I made for about $5  (R-$16)
Red 'Leah' basket-weave platform bootie - UrbanOg (sale) $15  (R-$29.95)
Dark navy blue 'Macintosh Collection' overcoat - Reuse shop $12.95  (R-$98)
Red pashmina scarf - Ross (sale) $4.99  (R-$26)
Red lip and nails, black cream liner

Monday, March 11, 2013

Running Away From Returns

I bought THE most adorable pair of grey Chinese Laundry strappy sandals awhile back and awaited with bated breathe the arrival of that bright pink box on my doorstep.  There it is...I can see it as I pull my car into my spot.  Sitting on the doorstep in all its glory...YAY!  Yay, yay, YAY!

Picture: FashionRouge
Juggling my huge purse, my lunch bag, and the rest of the mail, I drop everything at the top of the stairs, grab a knife on my way to the couch, and cut the tape on the box.  They're every bit as beautiful in person as they were on line.  No.  They're even beautifuller! (shut up)  I kick off my pumps and slide one onto a foot...and I can't get the back strap over my ankle.  O...m...g...  They don't fit.  And no amount or combination of shoving, pushing, or breath-holding I try, they're just not gonna.  And suddenly the fact that they were on clearance makes a HUGE difference:  I can't return them.


It's always a great thing when you find something you love for a steal.  Even more of a great thing if you can actually use the item once it arrives! Since that purchase a couple of years ago, I've gotten ordering shoes on line almost down to a science.  And a bad fit is only one thing that can go wrong when ordering shoes sight-unseen.  Too big, too small.  Too tight.  The back doesn't sit right on your heel.  A buckle is broken.  The glue on the bottom shows.  The color wasn't near the color in the picture online.  There's a small knick on the back of the heel platform of those brand new black pumps.  Or, my favorite, the angle of the heel is far too steep to stand in, much less walk!

For some of these, there's just no help for it; they'll go directly from your sad, disappointed little hands, to eBay for resale.  Or, in my case, to my girlfriends who love shoes as much as I do!  But if you find that you just can't see donating them in any form, resale is usually the pain-in-the-hiney work-around for those disappointments.

Fortunately though, a lot of this can be mitigated.  Naturally misrepresentation such as shoe color appearing different online than in person can't really be dealt with.  It is what it is.  But there are some tricks you can use when shoe shopping in the cloud that will minimize your chance of experiencing that disappointment with which we're all familiar!  We'll look at some of them here.

Too Tight in the Tootsies

If the shoe is leather (and sometimes if it's man-made but malleable), using this trick can stretch out that toe-box enough to make them wearable without damaging the shoe itself in case, gods forbid, that doesn't work and you do in fact end up having to sell them.  No harm done either way, and there's a fine chance that this might make them roomy enough to be usable!  I did this with the adorable pair of spectator pumps (below, right) that I purchased from one of the shoe clubs and made them wearable as I just couldn't stand the idea that I'd never ever be able to wear them!

  • Take a GOOD quality gallon-sized Ziploc bag.  This isn't the place to skimp, girlfriend; buy the heavy duty ones.  
  • Stuff a corner of that bag (careful not to puncture the bag with a well-manicured fingernail!) into the toe of the shoe, and carefully fill that corner of the bag with water from the tap until you see the water in the bag has reached about halfway to the midfoot of the shoe itself. 
  •  Carefully  squeeze out any extra air out of the bag and zip it tight.  
  • Clear out a nice space in the freezer, and set the shoe in gently with the water-filled toe pointing slightly lower than the rest of the shoe so there's no chance that water will move out of the toe until it's frozen good and solid.  
  • Do this with both shoes and allow them to sit over night.  
  • Remove them the next day and let them sit out so the water can melt enough to remove the plastic bag completely intact. 
The waters expansion while freezing gently stretches out the toe-box just that wee bit and has, for me, been the difference a few times in keeping a shoe I just couldn't bear not wearing.  If this doesn't resolve the issue for you though, you can just remove the plastic bag and go on to the next step: mourning their loss and listing them on eBay!

Check out this great how-to video for specifics.

Too Loose in the Caboose

I recently picked up this pair of Iron Fist Death Dance Platforms that I loved.  I looked at them every few weeks and just couldn't get them out of my head, until they went on sale and I snatched up the last pair (literally!) that they had!

They arrive at my house, and I try them on and realize that the back of the heel isn't flush with the sole of the heel; there's a weird 1/2" gap where the back part of the shoe pooches out beyond the actual sole of the shoe leaving a noticeable gap between the back of my foot and the back of the shoe.  And walking in them felt like a marble rolling around in an empty jar.  I felt like the shoe was going to just fall off my foot.

And like I've said before (and will say again!): "If you can't walk confidently in a pair of 5" heels (in public), don't even try!"

So I didn't.
I got right back into my car and drove the block to the Walgreen's and purchased these: gel heel inserts.  And yet another pair of gorgeous heels are saved!  They're sticky on one side, comfy-cushy on t'other.  And they fill that little gap perfectly!  That along with the matching gel inserts for the toes which give me just that little bit of extra 'grip' to keep the foot steady, and Bob's your uncle!

These come in a number of different shapes and sizes for every shoe-fit issue you might find, from ball-of-foot (right) for those bits that might not be just as comfortable as you'd like, to the full foot comfort gel pads that run from heel to toe ($8.99 at Walgreen's) .  These will work for nearly every uncomfortable situation you might find yourself.  Or, at least, your feet.

Just After The Knick Of Time

So you just pulled out the pair of black pumps that just arrived from your shoe clubs latest BOGO sale, and as you're counting all its figurative fingers and toes, you notice that this had to have been a return from someone else, and that's why you got it so cheap!    There's a tiny little spot on the back of the heel that isn't as black as the rest of the pump.  But it was clearance and you're stuck.  You can't return it.  Too small to be seen by just the casual observer?  Maybe.  But you'll know it's there.

The quick solution is to grab a Sharpie.  Black Sharpie is your friend (or red if you're holding a red pump, purple if it's get the picture), and go to town on that sucker.  If the knick is slight, this will make it disappear.  

This is the pair I'm wearing today, my favorite go-to black tasseled loafer.  Unfortunately, I'm a little hard on my shoes, and these are a pair that are worn often.  The back of the heel is starting to show a little bit of wear especially down toward the bottom.  You can see the patchy areas where the faux 'suede' has worn a little bit on the picture on the left.  Literally 1 minute with a black Sharpie and, to the casual observer, that wear disappears!

Using common sense when ordering, checking the pictures and reading reviews, and then doing some quick internet research if you've received something you're afraid you might not be able to use, will cut down on the disappointment!  And eventually you, like me, will get to the point that those disappointing events become fewer and fewer and you've found that you can order shoes on line, sight-unseen, with confidence!

Tomorrow, we'll look at ways to make sure the box you receive on your doorstep contains a shoe that fits you well and is exactly what you thought it would be when you excitedly ordered it.  (Yes!  There are ways!)

3.11.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $401.94 What I Paid: $35.94

3.11.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $401.94 What I Paid: $35.94

White stripes on black 'Covington' blouse - Reuse shop $3  (R-$42)
Black 'Jones New York' blazer - Hand-me-down from my Mom!  (R-$119)
Black 'Joe Ben-basset' slacks - Ross $9.99  (R-$36.99)
Blue 'Coach' clutch - Gift from My Person!  (R-$89)
Silver hoop earrings - Gift from my mom!  (R-$29)
Silver cuff bracelet - Reuse shop $3  (R-$26)
Black 'Margit' tasseled loafer - Just Fab (sale) $19.95  (R-$59.95)
Red lip, black cream liner, red polish

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Nailed It!

It had been a few weeks since I'd had the time to get my nails done, and by the time I got in the other night on my way home from work, they looked as though I'd been in a particularly brutal fist fight and lost.

As usual, I had them shorten the nails, and this time decided on a bright, fire engine red having been most disappointed with my previous choice, a bright blue that looked entirely different in the bottle than it did on my actual nails.  Once finished, top-coated, and dried to perfection though, they were lacking that something that I like to see when I leave the shop.  There's a Sally's Beauty Supply right next door to my salon, so I dropped in just to see what might catch my eye, and found these cute little appliques that are made to look like lace overlay!  Aren't they adorable?  

They come out of the package looking very similar to these for under $5, though I was unable to find the exact brand and style that I picked up.  You paint your nails, make sure the pain is nice and dry, and then cut the strip to fit each nail, apply where you'd like them to be, and then coat with a topcoat of clear polish to set the applique.  

I found that one package provided enough of each strip to complete a single hand with matching style, so my right and left hands don't technically match.  But I was able to apply this myself without any assistance, and really liked the look!  Now that I know, next time I'm in I'll pick up two of each package so my hands will match!

3.7.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $237 What I Paid: $33.98

3.7.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $237 What I Paid: $33.98

Sheer brown/black/tan animal print 'Marisol' blouse - Ross $12.99  (R-$24)
Brown 'My Michelle' slacks - Burlington Coat Factory $14.99  (R-$29)
Brown 'Axcess by Liz Claiborne' blazer - Reuse shop $4  (R-$79)
Brown/tan 'Bordello' spectator pump - Gift from My Person!  (R-$69)
Square lattice pendant on choker (gift) that I made for about $2  (R-$36)
Various gemstone wrap bracelet - Gift from My Person!  (R-$49)
Black cream liner, shadows in a brown pallet, red lip and nails

These pants -- like those on Tuesday! -- are being worn for the last time, happily far too big to to wear to work anymore!  So excited to be finally losing the weight I've been trying sooo hard to dump!!!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Ok, Maaaayyyyybe...

maybe might be spring.

This morning while I was getting ready for work, the news was running in the background and I happened to overhear that this weekend is Daylight Savings time.  Or, as I like to call it, How DARE You Steal An Hour of My Sleeping Time (I kill you).

So the sun is up on my drive to work now.  We're having the odd day here and there that actually tops out around 60 degrees. The sun is shining most of the week and hasn't technically set on my drive home at the opposite end of the day.

All of this means that I might actually begin talking about spring fashion.  I know that technically we're still a few weeks out from solstice yet (March 20 for those of you who are counting), but honestly, I've cheated a bit and done some window shopping recently and LOVE the new colors!  That gorgeous mint, the pastel corals, ruffles that are just that tiny bit girly without being girly, polka-dots, cream-on-white, blue the color of the sky on a spring day when there are just those mare's tail clouds floating lazily by and just looking at the color makes you hear bees....Did I mention I love the new spring stuff!

Yes, I wear a lot of black.  But I think it may be time to bring in some of the more girly colors into my wardrobe.  I was at Ross last night and picked up this gorgeous dusky rose-colored cardigan with 3/4 sleeves and a lace ruffle (not too ruffly of a ruffle...just a gorgeous, serpentine-type combination of sweater and lace running along the edges) picturing it with grey cuffed slacks and a cream-colored tank, and thought that I might be more 'girly' than I've previously been willing to admit.  For some reason, I've always equated that with 'weak' in my mind and tend to have a little edge to how I dress.  But the colors I'm seeing on racks right now aren't making me think 'weak'.  They remind me of sunsets.  And colors I've seen on the beach.  My favorite Monet paintings.  And kittens.

Yeah, kittens...not sure why.

But I'm gonna jump into this one wholeheartedly I think.  And now that I'm losing weight, there's actually a need to replace things that are slowly becoming far too big to go unnoticed.  I'll keep you posted!

3.6.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $252.99 What I Paid: $54.91

3.6.13 - Today's Outfit ~ Retail Cost: $252.99 What I Paid: $54.91

Tan on cream 'Have&Have' polka-dot blouse - Ross (sale) $6.49  (R-$19)
Cream herringbone 'Jessica Simpson' wide-leg trouser with cuff - Ross $12.99  (R-$79)
Tan long-sleeved 'Julia's Closet' cardigan - Ross (sale) $6.49  (R-$24)
Wooden hoop earrings and necklace set - Walmart (sale) $5.99  (R-$12.99)
Brown 'Pink Duchess Loaf' spectator booties with ribbon ties - Burlington Coat $19.95  (R-$49)
Black 'Nine West' tote - Reuse shop $4.50  (R-$69)
Assorted wooden bead bracelets - Walmart (sale) $3  (R-$8.99)

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Incredibly Sexy...

Don't'cha think?

My Person does this for me whenever I ask, and it always seems so decadent to have someone you love paint your toenails.  

I'm a lucky girl :)