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Two questions in one!

Dreamgrrl asks:

Do you have any recommendations for a simple black flat to wear to work that is actually comfortable AND stylish? My biggest thing I need right now, all my black flats are terrible in one way or another.

And Jenn wants to know:

Help! I can’t stand to wear heels every day and unfortunately I’ve taken to wearing black ballet flats to work every day. It does not look good. So basic black dress shoes…..except they have to be comfortable AND super-professional! Oh, and somewhat affordable…

Ah, the black shoe. Footwear’s equivalent to the Little Black Dress. Everyone woman should one at least one pair.

Let’s start with the flats first. I have one pair of black flats that I have worn to death. They’re actually kind of gross right now and probably something I should throw away if I plan to continue handing out shoe advice.

Just because they’re flat, does not mean they need to be boring. Black flats can be just as cute as red, green or pink with the right details. However, flats usually have very little to  no support so if your job requires a lot of time on your feet, it’s important to remember a few things:

Buy leather. Why? It breathes. With warm weather upon us you most likely will be wearing your shoes with bare feet. There’s no way around it, bare feet and shoes make a stinky foot. But you can lessen the odor by going with leather. They also hold up better to wear and tear and the occasional rain shower.

Also, look into additional shoe padding. Any insert for the foot care aisle at CVS will do. You want to be as comfortable as you can while on your feet.

Indigo by Clarks, $69.

This is an ideal work flat. Leather upper, teeny bit of a heel, just enough to give a little foot support and they’re made by Clarks, who are known for their comfort and durability.

D-Luxe by Dollhouse, $60.

Love the little chain detail. Instantly dresses up work attire and can just as easily be worn with jeans.

And of course, if you don’t wear leather, there are plenty of adorable options in synthetic materials. You just might want to add some odor eaters as they will NOT breathe.

Now on to the dress shoes. According to Jenn, they need to be comfortable, super professional, not heels and affordable. Here we go…

With work shoes, I really want to stress that a focus on quality is important. You’re going to wear them a lot. It’s not like car-to-bar heels that you just want to look good, comfort aside. While I am totally a fan of super affordable shoes, I also suggest looking at high quality, slightly higher price as an investment. If you wear an $80 shoe four times a week, you’re really getting your money’s worth.

Back to your question…

I’m going to assume that since you need SUPER professional shoes, your office doesn’t approve of open toe. It’s sad, but often true.

Isaac Mizrahi for Target, $29.99.

I know it’s a heel, but it’s a low-ish heel — good for a long day — and the little buckles make it just unique enough.

Nadine Wedge Pump by Ralph Lauren, $108.95.

Pricey, yes. But high-quality and a gorgeous, sophisticated shoe. We’ll put this one at the very top of the “affordable” scale, yes?

Caesar Wedge Pump by Jessica Simpson, on sale at endless.com for $52.47.

Another wedge, good for comfort and super cute.

Got a question? Email me at tlmoments@gmail.com.

I dreamt about a chocolate donut last night. A delicious, moist, chocolate-covered 300-calorie each Entenmann’s donut.

When I was at the grocery store the other day I walked past the donut display. I couldn’t help it, they stick it right in the middle of the aisle between the frozen vegetables and the crackers, taunting you to make the wrong decision while surrounded with healthy options. It’s been a long time since I had one of those donuts.

They were calling my name. I picked up the box and looked at them longingly. Then I put it down. Then I picked it back up. Then I turned it over to look at the “nutritional” information.

Then I put it back down.

It’s bad when you dream about baked goods.

Becoming a buff bride has been a challenge. I started the week after I returned from Vegas in January and to date, I’ve lost 10 pounds, gained muscle and have hardly any nice work clothes that fit me anymore. But that doesn’t stop me from looking in the mirror and not liking what I see.

I’ve been a major gym-slacker these past two weeks. When the weather got nice the last thing I wanted to do was be inside a gym, so Jen and I tried to play as much tennis as possible before the gray-ness came back. I know that tennis is still exercise, but it’s not the same as the sweat I build up after a go on the elliptical.

Sometimes I miss the carefree attitude I used to have about weight and food. When I was in high school I never gave  it a thought. I didn’t have to. Hours of dance a week kept me fit and lean and my body had no qualms eating a big bowl of pasta for dinner.

Even after gaining weight in college, I never did much about it, naively thinking that I was naturally thin and could basically eat whatever I wanted to as long as it was in moderation.

Um, I can’t. We’ve all had a turning point, right? When you look at a picture of yourself and think, I actually look like that?

Mine was a very specific picture from my first trip to Vegas in July 2007. I hate this picture, but I’m sharing it with you anyway.

At my heaviest, I was all chin, arms and boobs. Three places you really can’t hide weight. But even after seeing that picture, I wasn’t kicked into high gear. I don’t know — maybe I was lazy. Or maybe I wasn’t ready to admit that I actually had gained weight.

As the year went on, I lost some weight naturally. When I got engaged, I lost a good amount of weight. I know you can lose weight when you’re depressed, but I didn’t know it happened when you were happy, too. But I did. And then I was stressed over a new job so I lost a little there too. But I was still heavier than I wanted to be.

So here we are, five months into a gym routine and six months away from my wedding day.

It’s not exactly where I want to be, but I’m getting there. I still slip up — a few extra cocktails here, a fried Chinese food dinner there, but I’m trying.

And as much as I know that I must stay away from those donuts, damn, do I want one.

Back in December, Kodiak had surgery to repair a cruciate tear, the equivalent of a torn ACL in humans. The immediate aftermath left him with a gimpy leg in a bright blue cast.

It also required us to lay down ugly gray office carpet on all non-carpeted floors to avoid him slipping and hurting himself while he healed. The healing process was to take 4-5 months and in that time he could only go outside on a leash. No more puppy freedom — running, barking and jumping in his precious yard. He was not the only one who suffered. I took for granted a dog that could go outside on his own to use the bathroom.

It was a long winter.

As the weeks went on, the cast came off and Kodiak slowly stopped limping. Although he appeared much better, we still had to wait until the final sign-off from the surgeon before letting him out on his own again.

The final appointment is in two weeks!

As we’ve gotten closer to the appointment, the weather has changed from a wintry gray to warm spring air and sunny afternoons. And boy, does Kodiak know it. He spends his days with his nose pressed up against the window screen, yearning for the outside he knows and loves.

I too am yearning for him to play outside, as he is now blowing his winter coat, leaving hair ALL OVER my house (and all the additional rugs we’ve had to add) and causing the need for vacuuming to occur at least every other day, which is three more times than normally necessary when he is shedding normally.

Kodiak does not like the vacuum. Or maybe he loves the vacuum. I can’t tell. Either way, he thinks it’s fun to chase it, jump over it, lie down in front of it and anything else that makes it difficult to clean a house.

Observe (and please ignore my pajama get-up of sweatpants and Michael’s shirt.) (Also, there’s no sound so don’t worry about turning on your volume. All you would have heard anyway is the sound of the vacuum and me asking Kodiak to please stop lying down in front of it.)

Kodiak and the Vacuum  (I’ve had the WORST time trying to post this video so just click on the link to see it!)

After cleaning I decided to do the only thing I could think of that might buy me an extra day without vacuuming: brush him out. So out to the deck we went, brush in hand. Which resulted in this:

No, it’s not a small animal.

Because the day was so beautiful and with proper supervision he’ll stay put on the deck, we decided to sit outside with him while enjoying our morning Starbucks. Gratuitous puppy cuteness ahead.

 

Of course later, he not-so-cutely begged for my Poptart while showing off his giant eye boogie.

Oh, dogs.

So it’s Friday. And I’m taking a half day so I get to leave in 2 hours. Woo! I was supposed to have lunch with a very dear friend of mine,  but he cancelled. Because he smells. A lot.

Or maybe he just had to work on his basement to stop it from flooding.

Either way, I’m disappointed. But I’m not letting the day go to waste. Instead, I will spend it with my darling fiance and big dog. Sounds like a good Friday to me.

In the meantime, I leave you with something I wrote for work because the topic cracks me up. Happy weekend!

***

In London, Burger King is about to offer a burger for £85. That’s $167.45 US dollars. As part of a strategy to boost their premium market, the burger we’ve come to know will now likely contain wagyu beef and foie gras.

To make it fancy.

The driving force behind the initiative is two-fold: to convince diners that Burger King is not just a one-stop shop for grease, fat and carbs, but to also prove they are more high-scale than McDonald’s. In addition to the burger that costs more than I would ever spend on shoes (and I love shoes), plans for a number of exotic burgers using ingredients such as tiger prawns, steak and guacamole are in the works.

But McDonald’s is fighting back. UK execs have hired design legend Bruce Oldfield (he has designed for Princess Diana and Sienna Miller, among others) to revamp the uniforms you know and love. The goal? To reflect a more affluent, sophisticated image.

This means that bright colors will be replaced with muted blacks, beiges and browns and female management and front of house will wear high heels, pencil skirts and scarves. Men will wear suits.

Are you laughing yet?

The Chief People Officer for McDonald’s said, “The new uniform reflects how there is now a more up-market feel to the business. You still have the value meals but there are also the premium ones, and these uniforms give a more premium feel.”

Still laughing? Me too. Because working for an agency that caters to an affluent market, I feel like I need to send these UK fast food chains a message:

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.

Just as I would never pitch high-end electronics to a publication looking for design on a dime, these restaurants should know that their “clients” want the food they know and love – quick, easy, familiar and affordable.

Know your demographic. Can Burger King customers afford a burger with such a hefty price tag? Perhaps some, but all? No way.  Seems to me like this PR team was standing a little too close to the frialator.

As for me, I don’t think I’ll be frequenting either establishment. I’m much more of a Wendy’s girl.

I’m wearing leggings today. I know what you’re thinking. Molly? In leggings? But Molly hates leggings! Well, I do. I mean, I did. I mean…

I hate leggings as pants. In my opinion, leggings are NOT pants. Unless you are under the age of 12. It probably has to do with flashbacks from fourth grade, because any girl my age went through the leggings/big shirts/scrunch socks look. There may have also been sweatshirts with puff paint and mirrors on them. Oh, the humanity.

So as much as leggings bother me, I have to admit that every time I see a girl in a cute dress with leggings and flats I secretly want to wear them. But then I think, if I wear them, aren’t I going against what I stand for?

(OK, yes, I have a stance on leggings. So what.)

Over the course of the winter I bought some very cute, very summery dresses that I have been longing to wear every time I open my closet. The bright colors looked so inviting and happy in contrast to my dull winter wardrobe that I was so over. So when the weather took a turn for the better and finally brought us sun! and warmth! and happy!, I was determined to bust out the dresses.

Except there was one problem. The dresses leave both my arms and legs pretty bare and even though I have a very casual office, I didn’t think anyone wanted to be exposed to my see through whitey-white legs.

The internal struggle continued. Until Monday, when my friend Ashley walked into my cube and demanded I tell her the truth: did her cute skirt look ridiculous paired with leggings? No, it did not. And so I was convinced.

Later that afternoon with Ashley in tow, I walked into Marshalls (with blinders on because, shoes! Oh, the glorious shoe section!) and bought my very own pair of leggings.

The first night I left them in the car, to think it over. The next day I brought them in the house, but left them in the bag, just in case.

And today I put them on with my kicky and fun kelly green dress. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “I can do this. I look cute!”

I walked downstairs and as I rounded the corner, Michael took one look at me and said, “leggings? Really?”

I decided to take that comment as “I’m surprised you’re wearing leggings, given your very vocal opinion on them,” instead of “Wow, you look like an idiot. Please take those off.”

I still don’t know if I love them, but I certainly don’t hate them. At least not anymore.

Except if they’re worn as pants.

Because leggings are NOT pants.

The other day someone left a comment saying it seemed like I was begging, just BEGGING for comments. That made me laugh. It also made me think of a great t-shirt idea. Maybe I should sell them!

We could all get together and wear them en mass. I think it would be fabulous.

Lisa asks:

Hey Shoeru!

Another wedding related question for you! My sister is getting married this summer, and I’m in the wedding party! We have tea-length canary yellow dresses. Here’s the issue for shoes, though: the wedding is all outdoors… there will be uneven ground, and if its rained recently then we can’t wear heels because they’ll just sink into the ground.

We all also are pretty athletic, and not looking for any sort of shoe that might be describe as “cute” or “princess-like”. My sister, the bride, was thinking flip flops, but I think we can do better than that. Also I’m probably never going to wear them again, so maybe suggest something on the cheap side!

Please help soon! The wedding is less than three months away!

As much as I like you, Lisa, I have to say I’m a little upset that you don’t want to wear “cute” shoes. I hear you on the princess-like, but come on.  You’re in a wedding! Your shoe is going to be cute whether you like it or not because the opposite of cute is…un-cute? Not cute? I don’t know…on to your question…

To get a little more background, I asked Lisa what her sister’s accent color was. It’s poppy red! How fun! So to clarify, they girls need a shoe that is relatively flat, is not too cute (!) and are very affordable.

For outdoor weddings I always recommend the same thing: wedges. You cannot go wrong with wedges because they still give you the dressy edge, but with a flat surface replacing a heels you won’t sink into the ground. And guess who has a selection of affordable wedges? Payless! Now take your nose out of the air. Payless is not the same store it was 10 years ago — with an abundance of knock-off Keds and clear plastic jellies. They’ve really stepped it up in the style department and especially for shoes you might not wear again, they’ve got some good stuff.  Like these:

They come in brown and white and are $22.99. Pair them with capris or a skirt later in the summer and you’ve got a lot of wear for a small amount.

Or what about these red wedges from Newport News? They’re on sale for $24!

And what about flats?

Also from Newport News for $19, these sweet eyelet flats would match perfectly with the yellow dress.

And these red ballet flats from Payless would tie in nicely with her color scheme and at $15.99, even if you never wear them again (although I would!) you didn’t break the bank.

So there you have it, a wide assortment of affordable, cute — but not TOO cute — non-heeled shoes that are definitely better than flip flops.

Happy Shopping!

Makeup like Katherine’s.

Hair like Jamie’s. (Minus the bangs.)

Interesting boutonnieres. I LOVE the dahlias!

Floating candles in the centerpieces.

Kodiak on the table numbers?

Cute umbrellas if it rains.

Alright so this one is just a dream. But look how amazingly gorgeous that is!

Discuss.

Because the best must be shared…

From Lynda Lang on this post:

“Going to a male strip show while you are engaged to be married is a profoundly immoral act. You have a very light-hearted attitude about the way you probably hurt your fiance’s feelings. He was probably concealing how he truly felt, which is a characteristically male response to a pride and ego wounding. Like most contemporary American women you have very little concern for men’s feelings while thinking that your every thought and feeling is sacred. Your fiance should dump you immediately and find a decent woman who respects men, rather than a witch like you. Wake up, Michael!”

Remember when I wrote about lacking confidence? It doesn’t help that a lot of you have seemed to disappear lately. Where did you go? I miss you! Truly, this blog would not be what it is without you guys. I heart you lots. I think what’s missing is the opportunity to get you talking.

That being said, I’m going to take a step away from the lighthearted moments to talk about an article in the Yale Daily News that really fired me up yesterday. I’d love to know your opinions on it too.

“Art major Aliza Shvarts ’08 wants to make a statement.

Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself “as often as possible” while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.

The goal in creating the art exhibition, Shvarts said, was to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body.” (Read the full article here.)

This gets under my skin. Let me make it clear that I am decidedly pro-choice and also pro-art (can you be anti-art?), but this is taking things too far. Purposely getting pregnant while taking drugs to miscarry? On purpose?  For art?

Not only is this physically disgusting, it’s a slap in the face to every single woman who wanted to bring a baby into the world and miscarried. For the millions of women that want to conceive and can’t. It also discredits the severity of abortion and miscarriages. They’re not a joke!

“I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity,” Shvarts said. “I think that I’m creating a project that lives up to the standard of what art is supposed to be.”

Fine, but what exactly is her message here?  The story goes on to describe her project:

“The display of Schvarts’ project will feature a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery of Green Hall. Schvarts will wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around this cube; lined between layers of the sheeting will be the blood from Schvarts’ self-induced miscarriages mixed with Vaseline in order to prevent the blood from drying and to extend the blood throughout the plastic sheeting.

Schvarts will then project recorded videos onto the four sides of the cube. These videos, captured on a VHS camcorder, will show her experiencing miscarriages in her bathroom tub, she said. Similar videos will be projected onto the walls of the room.”

With our current administration the way it is and the future of our country unknown, I feel a project like this is very dangerous to women. The possibility of Roe v. Wade getting overturned is always there. Right now, women have the right to choose what they do with their body. I don’t think choosing this is what women who came before us had in mind.

So…what are your thoughts? For or against? Why? I’d really love to hear all sides.

UPDATE: After all that, Yale is now claiming that the whole thing was STAGED, but Schvarts won’t give a clear answer saying:

“No one can say with 100-percent certainty that anything in the piece did or did not happen,” Shvarts said, adding that she does not know whether she was ever pregnant. “The nature of the piece is that it did not consist of certainties.”

 Accompanying article here.

UGH.

(Steps off soap box. Puts it back in closet.)

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