Monthly Archives: October 2014


One of my closest and dearest friends was inspired to send me some photos of her favorite GNO (girls night out) black kitten heels.  She admits to having paid more for these than is her custom but also says they get a lot of wear.  I’m very impressed.  Quite chic and flattering on her.  I’ve never heard of the brand; BeautiFeel.  They’re made in Israel.  She agreed to let me share them here on SS.IMG_6069IMG_6070IMG_6071IMG_6072IMG_6073

So, let’s hear it for the cute little black kitten heel.  Move over LBD, here comes the CLBKH! Here are some I’ve collected on my Pinterest cutout pumpsRepettoRoseMaryJane_832911etsy pumpscoclico on amanocydwoqchie black bow pumpFrom left to right, top to bottom they are: Image found on Pinterest from the website Refinery29 (brand?); Repetto (Rose Mary Jane); Keymandesign on Etsy (Clementine); Coclico (Sarah); Cydwoq (Calamity) and Chie Mihara (Retama).

Thinking of starting a CLBKH Friday…. or maybe Tuesday.  Still thinking about the day, but send me your photos.

Ordinary Oxfords

IMG_6053IMG_6055Back in August I had some luck at another shoe store in Florence where I found these seemingly ordinary laceless oxfords.  Cynthia Kowal runs a shop called Diva Shoes at Via Guicciardini 10/r  just off the Ponte Vecchio.  I was immediately drawn to her collection.  Oxfords were plentiful inside her doors so the only questions were; which style? and what color?  She gave me a great tip.  “Choose the darker ones.  They’ll go with everything.”  I’m beginning to think that truer words were never spoken.

I’ve been avoiding the wearing and purchasing of shoes in the colors of black and dark brown for several years.  I’ve retired my black Dansko clogs and traded them in for colorful leather shoes from makers such as Chie Mihara, John Fluevog, Art, Fidji, Liebling, Fly London and Esska.  Since I spend hours of my work life under the tent of a burgundy colored choir robe, dressing my feet with some unexpected pizzazz has been an innocent rebellion.  Ever notice that the shoe bins at most consignment and thrift shops are littered with the black and brown cast-offs from your friends and neighbors?  Walk into any Payless Shoe Store and find row upon row of generic black and brown knockoffs with very little in the way of color variation.  Where’s the imagination?  Let us take the road less traveled.  For example, here’s a pair of Chie Mihara oxfords from the  2013 spring/summer collection.  I convinced myself they must be mine.IMG_6057 IMG_6058Where do I start with the lovefest?  First of all, they are oxfords.  Secondly, they have a perfectly reasonable yet uplifting heel.  Then there’s the trifecta of materials which make up the vamp; the patent leather toe, the woven (yes, woven) blue and white leathers in the middle and then the perfectly saturated shade of complimentary blue leather which wraps around the patent leather tongue all done up with a slender black lace.  I saw these in a few different color ways that season but this version could only be purchased online at the British based women’s clothing company called Toast.  I spent a lot of hard earned choir conducting cash on these which included that shipping bill from London.

So why have you rarely seen me in these?  Sadly, it’s because they hardly go well with anything.  You might have seen this coming but I was honestly shocked.

Maybe if I was a little younger or the owner of a hipster art gallery in Portand, Oregon?  Maybe if I lived in Finland and was editor in chief of a bikram yoga magazine or a waitress in a Morrocan/Thai fusion restaurant in the West Village?  Maybe then I could wear these shoes with just about anything and get away with it.  As it is, It’s hard work avoiding the clown vibe.  Even worse, a middle aged female clown vibe.  One has to be very careful.

The trick is to make the non-shoe part of the outfit very quiet.  Business on the top and middle with the party on the very bottom.  But it can’t be business with a capital “B” as the shoe recommends a somewhat eclectic approach. It also helps if the pants are on the long side.  Let the shoes peek out.  Avoid cropped or ankle length pants (see note about avoiding clown look).  Don’t even try these with skirts and dresses (see note about not being 20 years old).  There’s not a whole lot of options left but I’ve managed to wear them now and again.

But those dark elephant grey oxfords from Diva Shoes?  They’re gonna get around town.  I’m starting to lean in to the black and brown options again.  Perhaps I cast them aside in haste.  A girl needs her go-to shoes as much as she needs a little kick of color.

Thanks for the advice Cynthia.  And…thanks for the shoes.

Taking Steps

When it comes to regular exercise I think most of us fall into one of two categories.  Either you’re chomping at the bit to get out the door or you’re willing yourself to get out the door.  More often than not I fall in with the latter group.  I’m trying hard to re-acquaint myself with this pair of shoes.

IMG_5949As I approach my 55th birthday I find myself thinking about what kind of old person I want to become.  I also find myself wondering if I’ll get to become an old person at all. More than any other year of my life, this one has been punctuated with the deaths of aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, husbands of cousins, husbands of friends, sisters of friends, and old boyfriends.  Most surprising has been the deaths of those in their 50’s and 60’s.  Some have come after long battles with cancer and such.  But, others have come in the form of a heart attack that sneaks up from behind or an on coming car that crosses the middle line.  If I’m lucky enough to live to a ripe old age, I’d like to be able to walk the streets of Florence and Paris with my family at least a few more times.  I need to lace up these shoes and get out the front door.

And the thing is, I’m always so happy when I do.  I have a 2.5 mile loop which I like to walk in my neighborhood.  It often goes something like this.  I head out my front door and down my long driveway.  In the first few minutes I have this overwhelming feeling that I can’t do it. Being outside and alone scares me.  I feel completely small and insignificant as if the trees are going to swallow me up.  This and I’ve barely begun my walk.  Things begin to change once I’m out on the road and heading for the first hill.  It’s a small hill but it never fails to get my heart rate up into the aerobic zone.  I know exactly the point at which the hill starts to flatten out and I convince myself that if I can make it to that spot the rest will be a piece of cake.  I’m huffing and puffing but I push through. I make it and miraculously the climb ends exactly as I have predicted.  Within four or five strides I begin to feel a rush and I pick up the pace.  I look around and feel so happy to be outdoors.  I love the sights and the smells of the season as well as the sound of my footsteps on the pavement and the thumping of my heart.  I feel grateful and happy as I chug along.  Before I know it, I’m turning back down my driveway and I’m planning my next walk.  I have no regrets.  So why is it so hard to get back out the door again?

I’m trying something new.  I got my husband a fitbit for his birthday and picked up one for myself as well.  I’m not completely sure how this tool is meant to help me but I figure it’s something new to try.  It’s on my wrist right now.  The hubby set me up and showed me how to navigate the website.  It mostly acts as a high-tech pedometer.  I start out with a goal of 5,000 steps per day and I can track my progress as the day goes on.  Later, if I want, I can increase the goal.  I’ve had it on for less than a week but I find myself thinking about those 5,000 steps and how I can get them in.  I figure that’s a good thing.

It also tracks sleep which is an additional concern.  It tracks calories but that is for another day.  Right now, my goal is to get out the door more often.  Besides improving my health, I also get to look at things like this along the way.IMG_5961It’s a nice bonus and those leaves are not going to be hanging on for much longer.