Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


6 Days in Clarks’ Soul of Africa

Clarks' Soul of Africa Mules Warming Up in Somerville

Yikes! Once I freed these mules from their box, they got quite a workout.  For a few decadent minutes, I warmed them on the marble slab above our heater. Barely an hour later, they zipped through the x-ray machine at Logan and headed for Amsterdam.

Less than 24 hours later with water stains waiting for the train in Amsterdam

My socks slid against the slick leather insoles and the tips of my toes got a bit soggy as we  slogged through the snowy streets in Holland. If I had realized that Europe would be seized by such uncommon storms, I might have packed something more sensible for our brief layover. Thankfully, we did not get stranded there.

In Casablanca, we joined up with the rest of  the Somerville-Tiznit Sister Cities delegation and hopped on a plane to Agadir. After a sumptuous feast by the ocean, we boarded a bus bound for Tiznit. At around 2AM, after over 26 hours of traveling, we checked in to the Hotel Idou Tiznit where we stole a few hours of sleep before we launched into a four day marathon of magnificent activities. Our group meandered through an ancient medina, viewed artists’ studios, bounced to irresistible Berber beats, toured schools, explored cultural centers, and attended lavish meals with local dignitaries. Believe me, my jet lagged tootsies were tremendously grateful for the supple cushions in the soles of these mules.

Lounging in an artist's studio in Tiznit

Returning home to the throes of winter, my hand-stitched Soul of Africa slippers were replaced by my Sorel boots. Frankly though, I think they are praying for Punxsutawney Phil to spot his shadow on Tuesday so they can enjoy the quiet sanctuary of the shelf as long as possible.

To comply with recent legislation regarding blogging, you should know that my trip was sponsored by University of the Middle East Project, The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in concert with Sister Cities International, the City of Somerville, the City of Tiznit and the Moroccan American Cultural Center. Please realize that most of my experiences would not be typical for anyone else.


DIY Shoetube Style Part 3: Success!

After battling through chipped paint, chipped fingernails, and certainly chipped pride, my Gucci-hued door is finally finished! Fortunately, the paint was dry in time for the Holidays, and I recruited one of my fave florists to create a snazzy coordinating wreath. I’m quite pleased, if I do say so myself.

Avant et Après

As all worthwhile projects eventually come to an end, I find myself satisfied with a job well done and eagerly looking for my next  endeavor. I have lots of projects around the house, since basically everything needs spruced up, so now I just need to figure out what is safe to tackle sans professional help. However, given my slight obsession with shoes, I think it’s safe to say that most of my DIY projects are going to end up being sole-inspired.

Think about it:

Kitchen a la Kate Spade!

Bathrooms by Balenciaga!

A Lanvin Living Room!

A Dior Dining Room!

Kind of makes you re-think that story about the old woman who lived in a shoe…


Women + Shoes = True Love

The blog Shoewawa writes, “According to a recent study, women are more likely to remember the first shoes they purchased then the name of the first person they kissed.”

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The study, published in The Daily Mail, caused a ripple around both the science and shopping blogospheres. Possibly the first time that’s ever happened.

“Ninety-two percent of women could remember the first pair of shoes they bought, whilst only 2 in three could remember the name of the first person they shared a smooch with,” Shoewawa posts. “Ninety-six percent of those surveyed regretted throwing out a pair of much loved shoes, whilst only 15% of those regretted dumping a boyfriend.”

BlogCatalog added these numbers: “Statistics show that about one in two women own more than 20 pairs of shoes – with 8% having more than 100 pairs in their wardrobes. One in every 5 women admits spending a whooping $1,000 on shoes each year.”

Chevy Traverse "Raining Shoes" ad

In 2008, The Daily Mail estimated that “Shoe-mad women will splash out more than £33,000 on footwear over a lifetime, according to new figures.

“Each year, women treat themselves to eight pairs of new shoes, and with each pair costing an average of £65.88, that adds up to more than £527 every year – or £33,204 over a lifetime.” (That’s $852 U.S. dollars annually; $53,333 spent in a lifetime. Hey, it costs roughly a quarter million to raise a child, and shoes won’t tell you they hate you and wish they’d never been born. Just sayin.)

But enough about what we spend; back to why we spend it. “Experts say women’s fondness for fabulous footwear comes from positive feelings associated with purchasing new footsie covers. Women also remember the special occasion for which the shoes were purchased and anchor the shoes to the experience,” says Rev. Roy’s Blog. The good Reverend adds, “Do women love shoes more than men, probbably not.”

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But women do love shoes more than many things. A 2008 blog discussion posed the question, “Why do women love shoes? Ladies, help us guys understand. What is this phenomenon all about.” Responses included, “They’re fun to wear, they make our legs look great, they compliment our style, their expensive and fun to buy” and “I love buying shoes more than buying jewelry.”

But there were also some non-shoe-lovers: “I don’t like shoes. I prefer motorcycles” and “90% of the time I wear the same pair of flat black shoes that I bought at WalMart for something like $13 a few years ago (to replace a similar pair that wore out).”

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To the biker I would answer Harley Davidson makes some very cute boots. To the Wal-Mart shopper I would suggest, just once, a trip to a non-big box shoe aisle. That’s just me, though it seems I’m not alone in both my personal love of shoes and my desire to share the obsession.

Six months ago, before the More-women-remember-their-first-shoes-than-first-kiss study emerged, Associated Content writer Madeleine Francis listed “The Top Ten Reasons Why Women Love Shoes so Much.”

It’s a good list, a practical list. Variety, style and durability number among the reasons. But my favorite reason is number 10: Friendship. “If diamonds are a girl’s best friend than shoes are a woman’s best friend,” Francis states. “Shoes will always be there for her. They will never shun her or treat her wrong. They will never try to steal her boyfriend or call her fat. They will never let her down. The bottom line is a women needs as many of these friends as she can get.”


DIY Shoetube Style Part 2: Can I get a gallon to match my Gucci’s?

When I walked into Home Depot with a single Gucci stiletto in my handbag, I knew I was going to get some odd looks at the paint counter. What I didn’t anticipate, was causing a total scene involving gates, a Hazmat crew, and some rather angry checkout ladies.

As discussed in Part 1 of my DIY series, I decided to paint my front door the same color as one of my fave pairs of stilettos. Granted, it has taken me awhile to get around to actually starting le project, but it’s not like my front door is going anywhere, right? So last Saturday I decided to finally bite the bullet and get to work.

Walking into Home Depot, I figured that surely people have asked the paint guys to match paint colors to much odder objects than a shoe, right? Wrong. The guy at the paint counter looked at me like I was crazy when I nonchalantly sat my stiletto on the counter and asked him to do the “paint match thingy” and give me a gallon of semi-gloss that matched my Gucci. He looked at the shoe, looked at me, and then had the nerve to tell me he didn’t want to touch it! It’s not like I was asking him to handle smelly gym shoes: this was a pristine patent leather Gucci that spenda most of its time being toted between points A and B in a dust bag. I finally talked him into putting it in the “paint match thingy” only to have the machine produce an ugly shade of red. So my new buddy, the paint dude, and I went to plan B: perusing existing paint palettes. I actually managed to find a pretty close match with Jasmine’s Gems from Behr’s Disney collection.

All awkward business finished, I figured I would just do self-checkout and head on my merry way. I scanned my painting accessories and then went to scan the can of paint, only to have “Jasmine’s Gems” gush all over the self-checkout machine and pretty much everything else in sight. Apparently dear, sweet paint dude had not properly fastened the lid on the can of paint. Obviously this

The "Secured Area"

disaster was not my fault (for once), but the clean-up crew sure acted like it was! As if it’s not embarrassing enough to spill paint everywhere, the little old lady on self-checkout patrol got on her walkie-talkie and paged someone to “secure the area” and that they had “a potentially hazardous situation.” At this point, I wanted nothing more than to silently sneak out of the store, but I still needed to get more paint! I went back over to paint dude, who watched the whole scene go down, and had to ask for a new gallon because somehow my lid was not secure and it spilled EVERYWHERE. I swear he smirked as he handed me my new can of paint. All I have to say is he had just better be glad that none of the paint got on the infamous Gucci’s, because my wrath would have been far worse than those checkout ladies.

Needless to say, I’m not going back to that Home Depot for a while…


GoodShop & Give Back on Black Friday & Beyond

How would you like to pump up your Black Friday buying power and give back to nonprofits in need at no extra cost to you? Well, if you do click over to GoodShop before you hit over 900 online stores, you can take advantage of stash of coupons. It only takes a few extra seconds and up to 30% of your purchases will be donated to the nonprofit of your choice. (There are over 85,000 charitable organizations registered with the site.)

Trust me, I realize that this sounds suspiciously like a scam but my dance organization, Monkeyhouse,  has worked with this site for three years. Checks really do arrive each fall and somehow they are always slightly larger than we were expecting.  In fact, Monkeyhouse just received another Goodshop donation on Monday.  I am so encouraged by this passive revenue stream that I have personally offered to match all the money that Monkeyhouse earns through GoodShop in November and December.

GoodShop has teamed up with over 180 participating shoe stores, and they have got deals for you whether you are into stilettos, sneakers, or retro roller skates. For instance, if  you got inspired by Shoetube’s recent Tess Tuesday post,

you could cut $10 off a $100 purchase and send 6.5 – 8% to your favorite school, charity, or religious organization with GoodShop.

Or, if Wendy’s romp through nostalgia reminded you to revamp your running shoes, you could save 20% if you rush to GoodShop by 11/29/09. But don’t worry if you miss out on that deal’s deadline, there are several other coupons and they will always kick back 4-8.5%  of your total to a worthy nonprofit.

Even if you have got to get golf shoes after this week’s Quick Fix, you can support your favorite cause by swinging by GoodShop beforehand.

So hop on over to GoodShop and discover how easy it is to give this holiday season.


Breaking the Black

I like boots.  This should come as no surprise given the outrage I felt last week when my cat sprayed five pairs last week, effectively destroying them.

Still, I have always been a pretty conservative boot buyer.  Even though I had a variety of styles, they were all either a shade of brown or good old black.  Because they are usually an expensive wardrobe addition, I always thought this just made good sense.

Last week, my husband approved a little boot mini-spree for me given the tragic state of the boots Melvin (the fat cat) ruined.  I headed to Nordstrom where I found a pair of Via Spiga, six-inch spiked heel black boots and a more practical wedge from Steven by Steven Madden

At first I tried both boots in black, as is my custom and while the Via Spiga ones were hot, hot, hot (and totally impractical for a mom who never gets out), the Steven ones were very cute, comfortable and perfect for both park and playdate.

I hemmed and hawed for about 20 minutes, debating the merits of spending $400, but since both boots were on sale and it would have been $600 normally, I decided to seize the day.  Boots be mine!

At checkout I made an even crazier decision.  I have a casual pair of black boots.  Why not try the grey?  I know I missed the boat on the super trend (that was last fall), but I do not have a pair of grey boots.  And neither did Nordstrom.  They special ordered them for me and yesterday, these arrived:

To say I love them would be an understatement.  They are just to the knees, a little slouchy, super comfortable and also kind of hot.  In short, they are perfect.

Last season or not, I am rocking the grey boots and feeling pretty good about it, to boot.  Thanks Melvin.  Your inability to control pee has blessed me in the strangest way.





The Cat Must Die

For most parents of very young children, there are few personal pleasures.  Our lives are consumed with diapers, feedings, midnight wakings and the needs of these mighty demanding munchkins.

I took my pleasure in shoes.  In boots, to be exact.  Suede ones and leather ones, tall ones and flat ones, wedges and heels.  After a long day, a simple glance at my boots could make all the work worth it.

Until last week.  That is when my cat (pictured here as the obese urinating machine he is) decided to pop a squat and spray five of my boots, all from different pairs, including my brand new fringe Minnetonka, suedes and another suede pair I just bought and am too sad to reveal.

My corpulent, evil shoe ruiner:

The fact is, cat pee is notoriously hard to remove and even though all my shoes spent the evening soaking in our second bathtub in a mixture of vingegar, baking soda and “nature’s miracle,” I am not holding out hope that any of these shoes are salvageable.

To say I am devastated would be an understatement.  How does one recover when they lose $2,000 worth of shoes to their 10-year-old cat?  They say the first step of grief is denial and I am there, scrubbing and washing and hoping that I can once again wear any of these boots without attracting a small gaggle of female cats hoping to become impregnated.

Until then, my spraying fattie sleeps outside.



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April 2020