secret style envy & the search for cute, comfortable shoes

caro issa lk bennett e1427214691355 secret style envy & the search for cute, comfortable shoes

|  Caro Issa for LK Bennett…aka, the ones that got away (image via Natacha Steven)  |

We all have one, don’t we? That style we secretly admire over and over again out in the world and wish we could wear, but for whatever reason, we’ve absolutely-positively-100% ruled out. Maybe it’s skinny jeans, or mini skirts, or floppy hats or spaghetti straps. For me, it’s a great pair of heels.

Now, a lot of women get heels wrong. Horribly wrong. They clop through a parking lot in pumps that are clearly too big, too tight or too high, wincing and flailing their bodies about in a way that is, well, decidedly un-stylish. And yet. When they’re done right? The air of confidence, authority and – yep – sex appeal they immediately convey…it’s undeniable. Also, they’re so preeeettttyyy. The shoe department at Neiman Marcus is like visiting my favorite museum. Those gorgeous colors, the luxuriously soft leather, a contrast heel here, a light smattering of beads or intricate embroidery there…everything is so sculptural, so ornate, so available for purchase. Truly, I think 75% of the reason I watched Sex and the City was to see Carrie strut so effortlessly through the streets of Manhattan in pair after pair of jaw-dropping $500 heels.

Yes, whenever I clap eyes on a gorgeous pair of 4″ Manolos (don’t click…I’m warning you…), I get positively weak in the knees….and the hips and the ankles too. For no matter how much I adore them, no matter how much I want to strut through Union Square in a sky-high stacked heel sandal or a bejeweled stiletto, my newly arthritic body rebels (ah, this autoimmune nonsense just keeps giving and giving). My joints these days are an aberration, much better suited to high tops than high heels. Even wearing ballet flats is a treat for me now, and I’ve lately found myself veering toward that dark, spooky corner of the shoe department typically reserved for grandmothers and the stylistically oblivious.

This very week, in fact, while I should be celebrating the advent of spring the way God intended – by binging on Easter candy – instead, I’ve been torturing myself with a little sandal shopping. Where in years past, I’ve been willing to throw on the cutest thin, flat sandal I can find, this year, things are different. The joints are worse. And though I’m loathe to admit it, I find myself combing through page after page of, cough, “comfort” shoes. Let me just say, friends – it’s a bleak business. In my next life, I’m coming back as a shoe designer, and so help me, I’m going to design shoes with soles and arch support that don’t make me look like your Great Aunt Ethel, freshly rejected from a Portlandia casting call.

At present, there are a hilarious number of shoes headed my way for audition purposes – oh, my poor UPS man. While I haven’t made my way through them all yet, I thought I’d share a few of the styles that…well, at least came as close as possible to chic, without resorting to Birkenstocks (well, okay…one pair…).

But in the meantime, friends: what’s your secret style envy? Come on…I know you have one.

|   COMFORTABLE SPRING SANDALS THAT AREN’T (TOO) UGLY   |

350 secret style envy & the search for cute, comfortable shoes

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postcard: new glasses

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|  via Instagram  |

Can’t decide which I love more: The Royal We (out next month, but nab the first seven chapters for free right here!) or the adorbs new glasses I had to buy to speedread it. (You guys…they’re pink!)

I have a major soft spot for Fetch Eyewear – they’re a super-sweet Portland co, and proceeds go to save homeless pets. So I get cute glasses and I save a dog. No better excuse to shop, if you ask me.

Want some? You lucky ducks can save 30% on any style you want w/code SHOPCARDIO all this month. So, what are you waiting for? Go Fetch!

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elsewhere: the tropical vacation edition

chaize 846x1024 elsewhere: the tropical vacation edition

| Image via Christian Chaize |

Phew! One of those weeks, my friends…remind me to tell you the one about trying acupuncture for the first time and finding myself immobilized for two days. I guess I’d better stop calling it “hocus pocus nonsense” at this point.

But. In case the weather’s getting you down, I have a couple of pieces of news that might help you do a little tropical vacation daydreaming. First, I’ve updated my Maui travel guide after my most recent visit there earlier this year. It was amazing, as always, and I found loads of wonderful new things to tell you about! So, head right over here for that.

And since you’ll need something cute to wear, I also updated my 100% foolproof “How to Pack for a Tropical Vacation” story. New product links where necessary, and a couple of minor modifications, but honestly, this bad boy is tried and tested by me (and by a lot of you!), and every time I stray from this list, I regret it. Bookmark it and save yourself a whole lot of grief when you’re ready to hit the beach.

And because I’m starting to officially get the itch for spring, I’ve put a few of the newest things I’m dying to add to my cart on my Shop SMC page (since I’m still mad at Pinterest). Is it possible the fashion universe has finally heard my plea for grown-up hemlines? Check out all my current coveting there…and a few extras right here:

350 elsewhere: the tropical vacation edition

Have an absolutely wonderful weekend, friends. Do something special for yourself, would you? Take someone you love out to brunch, sit on a park bench and read a book, or open the “good” wine. You’ve earned it!

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zen and the art of birdwatching

elena lyakir zen and the art of birdwatching

| Image via Elena Lyakir |

Meditation isn’t for everyone – and, though I’ve tried more than I care to admit, I’m finally realizing it probably isn’t for me. I’ve tried, really I have. In yoga classes, with special CDs, in total silence, in an actual Buddhist temple…you name it. After reading Eat Pray Love (both times), I tried to “smile in my liver” as the author’s Balinese healer/guru tells her. It lasted about 15 seconds. My brain just isn’t built for silence. Read on

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postcard: stowaway cosmetics

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|  via Instagram  |
Could not be more obsessed with these itty bitty pots of adorableness from the super-smart ladies behind Stowaway Cosmetics. Highlights: the best BB cream I’ve found, cheek & lip pot in peony, and a concealer so effective, you’ll have to fight me for their last pinky-sized tube. I look like I actually got a full night’s sleep for the first time in two years.
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how bloggers make money, and why pinterest is evil

pinterest graphic 2 how bloggers make money, and why pinterest is evil

I know that, for a lot of you, the whole world of “how bloggers make money” is this big, bouncing question mark you’re dying to know more about. In the wake of some news I received yesterday (more on that pile of Pinterest douchebaggery in a moment…), I’m going to spill the beans.

The sad truth is, it’s really not all that exciting. Sure, there are bloggers who make grillions of dollars from ad campaigns and get free Gucci handbags from brand partnerships. There are about 20 of them. For the rest of us? We sell the occasional ad, but these days, most brands are “moving beyond” direct advertising (translation: they’ve figured out we all just tune those sidebar ads out). They’d rather buy a sponsored post…which, for those of us who are picky about our content and aren’t willing to lie to our readers, is like trying to catch a unicorn in a net made of grasshopper legs. (No, I’m not going to run a story about how much I love your cheap polyester miniskirts in exchange for a $50 store credit. Tempting, but no.)

So, if ads are passé and sponsored posts are few and far between, how’s a girl supposed to make a living? Read on

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postcard from nyfw: fashion vs. style

11008013 1404403746531157 344098850 n postcard from nyfw: fashion vs. style|  via Instagram  |

Am I the only person wondering what the fug is happening at the J.Crew NYFW presentation today? Purple culottes, yellow fur and a suit/jumpsuit/snuggie aberration that defies all rational thought. No. Just no.

Fashion vs. style, friends. I say it all the time, but if this doesn’t bring it home, I can’t imagine what will. I’m all about fashion as art – the design, the eccentricity, the sheer creative genius of it all. But loving a portrait by Picasso doesn’t mean I need to have my ear surgically relocated to my lower cheek.

The next time a designer or a model or a magazine or a blogger tells you something should be in your closet, just take a moment. Think about whether you love the art of that “something”, or whether you love how it would actually make you feel in the real world. Think about what you wear that actually makes you look and feel your absolute best, that makes you feel the most you. Does that “something” fit the bill?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever try new things. I swore I’d never venture into skinny jeans, but here we are three years later and I have a closet full of them. I’ve found cuts I love, and ways to wear them that make me feel sophisticated and stylish. Pencil skirts, on the other hand? I have a closet full of those too…but no matter how many magazine editorials tell me they’re sexy, I never feel anything but chubby and self-conscious when I wear them. So, I finally started buying A-line skirts, and it was a revelation.

There’s a reason we all love that French girl style, and more often than not, it’s because they know better than to succumb to every fad that comes their way. Find your style, be true to it, and if a trend happens to pique your interest, dip your toe in. But also, feel absolutely free to walk on by.

 

|   A FEW STYLE CLASSICS THAT CAN’T MISS   |

350 postcard from nyfw: fashion vs. style
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the best love advice i never got

best tenth anniversary gift e1423675844247 the best love advice i never got

(Warning: the following is not gender-neutral. Not because I’m a big insensitive jerk, but because writing that way is surprisingly hard. Please read with whatever pronouns you love best.)

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day, friends! I know, I know. Every year, I preach about how we should use this “holiday” (such as it is) to celebrate much more than our romantic relationships, so I’ll keep this year’s tirade brief. But. Remember in grade school, when everyone in your class got a Valentine? Even the fat girl everyone made fun of got a card and some conversation hearts. (That was me, by the way – not that I’m bitter.) I try sometimes to remember at what point in our childhoods Valentine’s Day stopped being about everyone, and started being about The One. It’s a travesty, if you ask me. I miss conversation hearts.

As God and Hallmark intended, this week I’ve been thinking a lot about love. Which, in turn, means thinking about my darling Hubs. Not long ago, we had a pretty big anniversary – the kind that makes you sit back and think about all you’ve been through together. And phew…have we been through some shit. Sure, I might occasionally want to strangle him with the dirty socks he leaves on the floor, but when I think about what we’ve survived together during the last decade-plus? We are most definitely MFEO.

And yet. Read on

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