24 June 2013

Shoes Glorious Shoes!

I will admit here and now that I LOVE shoes.  Granted, I have a hard time finding them, with a wide front of the foot, narrow heel, and high arches.  Add to that plantar fasciitis and other issues (osteoarthritis, tendon problems for example), and I can't just go to any store and pick up a pair and wear them.  A lot of times, the shoes that feel the best are pretty expensive.  I have learned the hard way that with shoes, you often do get what you pay for.  However, that doesn't necessarily mean that I have pots of money sitting around.  When I do "spring" for a pair of shoes, I have to really feel that it's worth it.  And I have to be able to return them if I get them home, wear them around the house, and realize it just isn't gonna work.

Having said all of that, I have had some luck this summer.  One of my recent purchases is one that I wanted to share, since I think these particular shoes are both attractive and ones that could be dressed up or dressed down.  I give you the Tsubo Olisa:

This is my first pair from this brand, and if they are any indication, I will be checking more of them out when they are on sale.  The Olisa is a wedge/platform type of sandal, with a toe separator that doesn't actually show when you have the shoes on your feet.  You can read the specifications here on the brand's website, but I can tell you a couple of things just based on my experience:  they are sturdy when you stand in them, because the wedge is not skinny; and, the platform makes your foot nearly flat when you are wearing them.  The foot pad is soft, and your foot doesn't slide forward, leading to them a) looking awful, and b) feeling painful.  It's really just about a 1-inch difference for your foot.

I bought them in the Infinity shade, which is a pretty navy blue.  They work for my high arches, because the part going over your foot is at just the right spot for me.  Also, that part helps keep them on your foot (I usually can't wear sandals that don't have a t-strap or something to keep them on the top of my foot).  From what I have been able to see poking around in several places, they also come in black, green (Moss), and bright orange (Fire).

I found mine on sale at Benjamin Lovell Shoes, which is near my house.  They were $99.00, reduced from $145.00  I also found them for sale at the following sites:

Tsubo brand site, for $140.00
Zappos, for $140.00
Amazon, for $94.97 to $140.00 (depending on size and color selected)

This is one that I think is worth saving up to buy.  I have been getting a lot of wear out of mine, and they will easily still look nice next summer as well!

16 June 2013

About My Dad

On Father's Day, I always wish my father was still around so I could call and wish him a happy day.  I'm sure he knows I'm thinking of him, but it's not the same as the person being physically around.

Anyway, the reason I thought I'd write this post, was because my dad was as much responsible for my persnickety-ness about appearance as my mom and/or sisters were.  In photos of him as a young man, he is slim and quite handsome; in later photos, he is plump with a crewcut, and the way I remember him.  (He looked a lot like Drew Carey in the very first incarnation of his show!)  He was always well-groomed and nicely dressed, and though he was not an executive or anything, he did have an office job, so wore suits to work every day.  I do remember his "cookout" outfit, which just sent my sisters over the edge:  tan shorts, a bright orange and white plaid shirt, and matching orange socks, with the kind of sneakers men wore back then.  He absolutely loved this outfit, while my sisters were just appalled by it.  I think my mother probably had just given up thinking about it.

Anyway, one Saturday when I was probably in 3rd or 4th grade, my mom and sisters were going downtown to do some shopping, and my dad was in charge of me.  He told me I could go with him to run some errands, and if I waited for him while he went to an appt at the barber shop, then we could go to lunch.  Sounded great to me, plus I would have my father all to myself!

We got to the barber shop, and that's where the shocker happened.  I was assuming that he was getting his hair cut (though with a crewcut, it always looked the same to me ...).  However, that wasn't the case.  No, my father - who was not particularly macho, but was also not anyone I would ever describe as girly - was getting a MANICURE!

Even to this day, I can remember how shocked and surprised I was.  For one thing, it just never occurred to me that men would get manicures.  And secondly - my father????  I didn't say anything to him, because I didn't want to act surprised, but when I told my mother later, she told me that yes, he got a manicure about every two weeks!  I'm guessing that it wasn't overly expensive, since a) we had very little money, and b) it didn't involve nail polish, only shaping and buffing, but it was still one of the big revelations of my life.  My mother had gorgeous hands and nails, and always did her own manicure.  She was a secretary, and her polish usually got changed not because it had chipped, but because she was tired of the color!  (Unlike me, whose manicures - DIY or professionally done - seem to start chipping as soon as I take a breath.)

So as I think of my dad today, I am grateful that he showed me something that was very different for the time.  And helped to give me the sense that it does make a difference to be well put together, whether you are wearing designer clothing or hand-me-downs.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.  Here's hoping they will always have a surprise or two for us.

07 June 2013

A Lesson Reinforced

This past Tuesday, my sister-in-law Sheila died.  It was a surprise, in that this time last week, she was still alive.  But apparently, when she was leaving her office on Friday to go to her car, she fell in the parking lot and knocked herself out.  Turns out she had thrown a clot from DVT in her leg.  They sent her home Sunday, she fell in the house again, and was found by a friend on the bathroom floor, unconscious but with a pulse.  The doctors at the hospital said it was a massive brain bleed, and they were just keeping her comfortable.  She died early in the morning on Tuesday.

Last summer, Sheila's husband Dave died from congestive heart failure and cirrhosis of the liver.  He was four years younger than she was.  From all accounts, she just gave up and didn't even try to move on, other than going to work every day.

About ten years ago, Sheila was asked to be the matron of honor in her younger sister's wedding.  She and Dave embarked on a mission to get into shape.  They showed up, both the picture of health and fitness, and apparently were able to keep up with that for years.

Until about two years ago, when Dave was laid off from his high-level publishing job.  From what I can tell, it sounds as if he became broken.  He stopped caring about taking care of himself, or making any effort to be active.  It sounds as if at some point Sheila thought that if he was giving up, she might as well give up too.  My husband's younger sister told us this week that Sheila was huge - losing 60-75 pounds once Dave died, and it didn't make much of a difference.  But she also said that Dave was incredibly obese when he died.

I was sad to hear this, not just because I loved both of them dearly, but because they had been able to remake themselves into healthy and fit people for several years.  Unfortunately, they could not get the incentive to keep going when times got tough.

So now they are both gone, and there is a huge void in our family.

But as strange as it sounds for me to say this, there is a bright side.  My husband has decided that he needs to get back to his activity and healthier eating.  He told me that he sees their lives in the past couple of years as a cautionary tale.  He is now recommitted to a healthy life, and has been inspired to get moving and paying more attention to his health.  This is a relief to me, as he had become pretty lazy in the past 8 months or so, and I was worried.

In the end, then, the deaths of Dave and Sheila made a point in his life that will likely stick.  I just really wish that the lesson didn't need to be learned this way.

Rest in peace, Dave and Sheila.  We love you, and will miss you.  Here's hoping that you are both happy and at rest now.

03 June 2013

Pretty and Good

Yesterday, the Sephora near my house had a fund-raising event for the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society - PAWS, as it is more popularly known.  For someone like me, this was the perfect intersection of two things I love - makeup and animals.  They were collecting both monetary donations, and donations of things needed for the shelter animals.  Since PAWS is the only no-kill shelter in the area, I like to support then when I can.  I took up a bunch of towels, which was one of the things on their wish list.  In thanks for my contribution, Sephora gave me a raffle ticket for each item.  No, I didn't win, but it really didn't matter - I helped the animals the way that I could, since at the moment, I couldn't have made a monetary contribution.

PAWS also has the PAWS Club, where participating merchants give discounts if you are a member.  I've been a member for years, and to be perfectly honest, I usually forget to check and see if places I am buying something/taking advantage of a service/eating a meal are participants - I just see it as another way to help the animals!

Do you pay attention to whether or not your cosmetics or skin care products are tested on animals?  I have always tried my very best to only support companies who do not test on animals.  It used to be pretty hard to determine, but things have gotten much easier over the years, with more companies becoming aware of alternative testing methods.

All of us are responsible for the other beings on this planet.  I am more than well aware of how nature works, the circle of life, etc.  And I can accept that.  But I do not see a single good reason for animals to suffer so that I can have eye shadow, or face cream, or anything else.

So if you are local, please consider supporting PAWS; if not, please look for organizations in your area, and do whatever you can do.  It really is possible to be pretty AND good.