Archive for April, 2008


Now Approaching Pedicure Season

I won’t be offending any New Englanders when I say we are hopeless when it comes to warm weather dressing. While the meager amount of summer sun may be an excuse for our incompetence, it still doesn’t make the streets any prettier. If girls aren’t tarting up for these brief moments of good weather (step away from the plastic wedges), they’re strolling along the Charles in those sweatpants with the big letters across the derrière. Add the paler-than-pale white skin and the puritanical attitudes towards grooming and well, it’s not the French Riviera.

But I have to wonder: if every Beantown girl had a pair of these slinky Stuart Weitzman sandals, would this city be a happier place? Thin and strappy, there’s plenty of curb appeal, while the flat sole suggests a walk through Boston Common, drinks on the waterfront, or just a trip to the grocery store with dignity.

A little summer sandal that could go anywhere, and with anything–except those sweatpants. Perfect.


These May be Combat Boots

But I’m not trying to fight you.

I’m late to meet friends uptown and it’s pouring. I fly by everyone picking their way down the slick subway stairs and push onto the packed train car.

With each stop more people crowd in, jostling me to the middle. Mine is next. I shove through soaked bodies, praying to get out in the short time the doors stay open. The final woman ahead of me is moving so slowly I can’t tell whether she’s exiting at this stop or not.

I drop my shoulder in an attempt to squeeze by her. She slips a little and ends up off the car and on the platform, landing on her purple galosh-ed feet, thank God. As I’m about to follow her and apologize, she turns and in the most motherly, heartbreaking southern drawl, scolds, “Yew. Are out. Of control.”

I’m pink. No one has ever said this to me. I’m easygoing. Really. Ask anyone.

In the very next millisecond I see it. Her accusation is profound. It isn’t that I’m out of control. It’s that I have too much control. Because of my girly-fied combat boots—a surprising find on a Sears shopping trip with my dad last winter—I haven’t so much as wobbled in even the slipperiest of circumstances in a year.

I have so much control that I’m oblivious to everyone else’s smooth, slippery lack.

Called the Reese by the Sears brand, Canyon River Blues, these are the most comfortable, roughly stylish, oft-worn shoes in my entire rotation. I curse them for being so magnificent.

Instead of pulling the woman aside to buy her a warm churro and explain my theory, I mutter an untrue and extremely lacking, “It wasn’t my fault.” She disappears ahead. I go on outside to the rain and before I can control myself, cry, just a little.


Life in Shoe Rehab: Day 1

“A day without heels is a day wasted”
– Me

I don’t know how Paul convinced me to join him for an ice skating date, but I gave in after he called last Saturday to ‘hang out.’

It was two weeks after my sabbatical from the coffee shop, the one I had purposely taken after learning his ski instructor was a potential lady friend, and realizing I had no interest competing with Barbie.

I did ask about her when he called – Melissa is her name– but he told me they’re just friends, and she really is just helping him pick up the basics with Skiing 101 lessons. In fact, he’s setting her up with an old college buddy, and they’re turning out to be a great match.

I’m usually not the one dishing up the benefit of the doubt, but for whatever reason – maybe those dark eyes, that irresistible smile I know is cropping up while he’s talking to me on the phone, or his great taste in shoes (the boy deserves a little credit for his ECCO slip-ons) – my instincts told me to roll with this one.

So I accepted, we made plans that afternoon to head out to the ice rink for a fun and casual date.

With no experience in skating, I knew I was setting myself up for a challenge. Still, I had the courage to trade my 4” Moschino Peep-Toe Pumps for the gleaming white rental skates for the afternoon. Paul insisted that this was ‘child’s play’, and I trusted he would help me learn the art of balance on these dangerous-looking shoes.

One step at a time, I told myself, and managed to slowly walk out onto the ice without trouble. I did have practice trotting along on 5”+ heels after all, so my calves were well trained for an awkward stance or two. He stood right by my side, walking through the motions, showing me how to slide and step, step and slide, until we got a really good rhythm going.

Slide, step; step, slide; it was beginning to feel like fun, and I envied the little kids speed skating their way around the rink and even throwing in a jump now and then.

Until one of them came up behind me to give me a nice old nudge – a big push, actually where my rhythym turned into a semi speed skating event and I barely managed to catch my breath as I sped forward, slowly turning my head to see Paul over my shoulder as the look of ‘help me!’ spread across my face.

Of course, I was still moving at speeds I never knew existed, and hadn’t learned how to use the brakes – my only recourse was to hit something.

And I chose the railing up ahead to catch me.

It did a great job as I hoped to grab onto it and break my speedslide, but ended up hitting it with my skates first, and tumbled backwards onto the ice.

A little dazed, a little confused…

But in a great deal of pain, as I realized my left foot wasn’t exactly bending forward anymore.

Paul comes speeding up behind me. “Are you okay?” he asks, staring at my left ankle that looks, well, slightly out of place.

‘Umm, no?’ I glare back, my eyes questioning why he didn’t speed forward and save me forgodsakes.

‘We should call an ambulance’, he says and punches away at his cell phone.

And so I’m off to the ER for a full checkup, and the doctor affirms my worst nightmare for the day (besides missing the shoe sale at Neiman’s this afternoon for this moment);

“You’ve twisted your ankle. We’ll have to put a cast on it, so you’ll be off your feet for at least 2-3 weeks minimum”…and trails off with his do’s and don’ts of wearing the cast, when to visit next, etc. etc.

And so here I am, a twisted ankle from these ridiculous ‘shoes’ they call skates, and now stuck with only slippers or flats to get through my days.

I’ve entered shoe rehab.

Doctor’s orders require that I stay here for at least two weeks, fourteen gloomy days without any heels, two weeks of missed opportunities to strut with my latest and greatest.

And no sir, I don’t like it. I’m left with no choice but to dabble in the world of ballet flats – a pair of shiny metallics from Sigerson Morrison may just hold me together.


Frat Boy Fab

Worn khakis, ragged tees, sweat-stained ball caps—frat boys aren’t exactly known for their fashion sense. When it comes to shoes, though, they might just be on to something.

As I strolled amongst the brick buildings and white columns those first few days of college, I noticed that all the boys either wore flip-flops or these moccasin-type shoes with a rubbery wedge sole. I did some research at a local shoe store and found that they were called Wallabees, they came in women’s sizes, they were really comfortable, and I needed a pair! A shoe that debuted in the 60’s, I later found out they were also a favorite of my mother’s back in the old days. I wore my Wallabees all through college, but figured they would go into post-college retirement along with my lucky Beirut (beer pong) ball.

Since entering the “real world” I’ve realized two things: my dining room table converts nicely into a Beirut table, and Wallabees are quite work-friendly.

With the onset of spring, there are many days when finding the right footwear can be rather challenging. Many days are too chilly for flip-flops, not rainy enough for wellies, and you are most certainly not going to expose your beloved Choos to the elements! My favorite thing about Wallabees is how well they blend with work attire, so you don’t even have to schlep along an extra pair of “work shoes.”

As I channel my inner frattiness, I depart for work in camel pants, a navy blazer, a pink shirt, and Wallabees; only my boss and blackberry stand between me and an afternoon game of Beirut.


Channeling Betty Boop

I never look forward to saying sayonara to luscious leather and suede boots for spring, but the latest patent leathers and satins are making the transition bearable.

High priestess of fashion Betsey Johnson has really outdone herself with the Clovis pump, which is begging to be paired with a jersey knit LBD (little black dress). The merit of this she-devilishish peep-toe is that the actual pee

p is so slight that it doesn’t reveal much toe, which is great for me because the look is unabashedly spring-y while disguising my dominant second toe. What’s more, it doesn’t necessitate a perfect pedicure and allows me to forgo self-tanner for nylon stockings on days when I’m feeling lazy or cold.

The exciting thing about this particular pair of mass-produced shoes, is that odds are slim you’ll run into someone else wearing them, despite the fact they’re sold at Nordstrom and Betsey Johnson boutiques across the country. They’re not for the faint of heart, or for wallflowers, or for women who don’t want to attract stares because stare they will. The d

esign channels Betty Boop with bold color (think floral-inspired pops of red and green on noir satin) and a chunky, rather cartoonish build.

Full disclosure: The heel is high maintenance. High gloss gives it the appearance of patent leather, but the

black, acrylic-like material is easily chipped and revealing of white underneath so you have to be cautious about where you walk, or how your legs dangle when you’re sitting on a bar stool. The box includes a set of studs for the bottom of the heel so that you can replace them when you wear the first ones out. I’m not sure what will happen when those replacements run out, but I guess that’s a price I’m willing to pay for stand-out shoes.


Posh Chucks

As a proud Converse enthusiast, I have to say that while the shoes are comfortable, they’re not exactly posh.

You can wear them with jeans and T-shirts, cargo pants and tanks, even denim skirts, but you can’t dress them up.

If you wear a pair of chucks with a dress, you just end up looking like an undergrad at NYU.

Well, I’m not an undergrad at NYU (no matter how hard I sometimes I wish I was), I’m a journalist pushing 30.

I just became a godmother again.

One of my oldest and dearest friends had a beautiful baby girl named Raiann a few months ago and she’s being baptized this weekend. While I’m deeply honored, I’ve had the toughest time picking out a gift for little Rai-Rai.

They say you should gift something religious for Christenings, but I don’t really feel too comfortable with that for a number of reasons:

  1. I’m not Catholic, which is what Raiann is going to be raised as. Is it right for me to pass on something that I am not even sure I believe in (as in, something Jesus-related)?
  2. I don’t know the Christian rules. (If I buy her a rosary, does it need to be blessed or is it good to go? If I get her a bible, are their different types of bibles — for denominations, for age groups, for gender?)
  3. Should the gift be representative of the kind of godmother I’m going to be? It may sound shallow but I want to be Raiann’s style godmother. I want to give her pretty dresses, give her style advice, show her how to use makeup, etc.

See, I don’t know these things. So I went on a hunt — virtually, that is. I came across a couple of things that I am considering for Raiann’s big day on Sunday. They are as follows:

  1. A gorgeous diary (for girls only, of course) from Lenox … I want Raiann to be the kind of girl who never stops expressing who she is to the world, as well as herself.
  2. A charm bracelet with her name engraved on a heart (for when she’s big enough to wear it) … In typical girl fashion, this is probably the sort of gift I would have loved growing up. It would be a defining sense of self for the woman she’s going to be someday, wouldn’t it?
  3. Bejeweled chucks … Yes, I found a company that blings out Converse for little girls.

I still have yet to decide what I’m going to purchase the precious little one, but there’s one thing that I know for sure: I envy my goddaughter — now I want bejeweled chucks! If anyone knows of a company that blings out adult chucks, let me know!


Reality Show Shoo-In

ABC’s latest Bachelor is a bona fide British hunk and I’m swooning. Let it be known that this is something I rarely do. Let it also be known that I’ve got a little personal history here. Yes, reader… I was a bachelorette… season eight.

And I’m still peeved with the producers for sticking me with the goody two shoes Doctor.

Given my crazy dating history, I was a shoo-in for casting.

Was I a match for Tennessee’s Travis Stork? Not so much.
Rewind to 2005. Network producers have sequestered me and 24 other Bachelorettes inside separate rooms at the Sofitel Paris with only a

disconnected telephone, a bathroom and French television to keep us entertained. I spend most of my time devouring croissants in the bathtub while devising my strategy. Four nights later, we’re dressed to thrill (me in my new glass slippers) and riding in limos en route to a cocktail party at the Bachelor pad, a 14th-century château.

At the entrance stands our supposed soul mate, a doctor from Nashville, who at first glance is a living mannequin.

A split-second assessment of his uptight demeanor and the surrounding obstacle course—mossy stairs and cobblestones—tells me the odds of falling on my behind are greater than the chances of falling in love with this stranger. In any case, I’m nervous. I get out of the limo and, doing my best goddess-walk, make my way toward the thirtysometing star. Maintaining my balance is a real feat in the slippers, but I manage.
Making friends with the other women is the fun part. They’re hilarious and most of us share a distaste for our Bachelor’s last name (not to mention the shaggy pre-makeover pic we discover of him on the Internet upon returning to the US). Upon saying a few snarky remarks, I’m summoned to give an on-camera confession outside. That’s when my prized glass slipper (okay, so it was really a gold, strappy Stuart Weitzman) slips hard—down the stairs. The entire weight of my croissant-loving being lands on my ankle. My shoes look even sadder than I do, all splotched with mud and scraped up at the heel.
The swelling is immediate and the pain is unbearable, but I must keep up appearances for my public: “I’m not crying! I’m a brave soldier!” I limp back inside on my perilous heels in search of ice and I’m devastated when the doctor Bachelor is of no assistance. Is he a quack, I wonder? Or just consumed by all of the cameras and girls revealing nipples through their dresses? [Note: I’m so candid about my ankle, which swells to resemble an eggplant, that during the several months leading up to the show’s airing I can think of nothing but how the editors will find a way to use my words out of context. Fortunately, they left my fall—and my squabble with Stork over the merits of fame and fried chicken—on the cutting room floor.]
Later, the ladies assemble for the climactic elimination ceremony—the one featuring the famed “rotten egg” debacle. We gather around a pedestal bearing precious few roses (symbols for romantic potential and a guaranteed appearance on next week’s episode) for the Bachelor to distribute.
Thus commences the largest contestant exodus in the show’s history. Thirteen of the 25 women will be dismissed over the course of two or more hours, and I can’t bear all this standing around: I’m now swaying in my stilettos on the weight of my one good ankle. Stork sighs as he makes eye contact with me then offers the final flower of the evening to the woman in ringlets next to me.
Cue the Prozac commercial.
[Note: Allow me to digress once more to mention that Dr. Phil has since hired Stork as a correspondent, which disproves my quack theory and lends credence to the nipple theory. My friends joke that I should call in for some advice about methods for healing a broken heart and a ruptured ankle.]
Needless to say, this whole experiment in romantic roulette did force me to confront the question, Is the slight possibility of finding love worth the risk of looking like a fool?
The answer is a resounding oui.
Was it worth ruining a new pair of shoes? I’m not so convinced.

(ed’s note: You can find current badboy Brit Bachelor, Monday 9:30 pm on ABC. You can find Stephanie, Shoetube is sure, at home at that time, eyes glued to the screen. Don’t call, don’t text. Wait til after.)

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April 2008