Messy in Fabulous Shoes

Messy in Fabulous Shoes

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Different Shapes and Sizes

As I sat in Christmas mass last night, I looked at all of the families filling the pews. In front of me was a family of 4 plus grandparents. To the left of them, a mom and 2 daughters. Behind me, a couple with a very cranky toddler. To the right, a woman about 10 years older than me who cried the whole mass. And me.

All I've ever wanted was a family of my own, and I had always imagined it would mean me, a husband, and a kid or 2. But as I looked around Holy Trinity, I realized that families, like shoes, come in all shapes and sizes. I guess I've always known that, but never applied it to my life.

As the priest talked about Jesus bringing light to the world when it was in its darkest time, so did that realization bring light to mine. So this morning, I watched Sophie and Stella investigate the toys "Santa" left for them under our tree. It is Christmas morning. It is a time to be grateful for the blessings in my life... my differently shaped and sized family. And I can't wait to see what is on the horizon for me and my pups in Christmases to come.

I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

"You Got a Real Tree???"

This weekend, I put up a Christmas tree. I have to admit, a few of my friends actually seemed surprised by this. Part of the surprise was the expense (it's a 7 foot Frasier Fir from a fancy nursery not far from my house), part was the labor (sometimes it is easier to find a strong man than you think), part was the idea of decorating a tree for no reason other than my own enjoyment (I do have girlfriends coming over this holiday season). I get it, I do. But getting a tree was important. First of all, I've never NOT had a tree. I remember my first single girl's tree trimming party when I lived by myself in Yonkers, NY. I wore the cutest red dress and got hammered on blackberry schnapps as my friends said "Ding!" every time we drank (the sound of a bell ringing can send me into dry heaves to this day).

So why should this year be any different? Yes, I am in transition. But Stella and Sophie deserve a tree. And having their stockings hung by the chimney (gas fireplace) with care (if I can ever find stocking holders that I actually like). Besides, how will Santa find us if we don't have a tree?

So I'm decorating and tree trimming. I hope Santa comes after all this effort. And what do I want for Christmas? Happiness and health for myself and those I love. Maybe a little more patience - particularly with myself. And faith. And hope. Because my current situation may be reality right now. But it's not forever.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

It is amazing how much has changed in a year. Last Thanksgiving, I made my first pies. Today, I not only made pies but cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner from scratch. And it all came out at the same time and was actually yummy!

This time last year, I was unhappy and not living the most authentic life. Today, I am smiling and relaxed after spending the day with my parents, Stella and Sophie. I have so much to be thankful for - family, friends, a roof over my head, a good job.

I still have ups and downs, don't get me wrong. In fact, I was on the phone with my girlfriend Luanne during one of my downs last week (which happened to take place in Target). As I was chatting with her, I fell in love with these amazing slippers but decided not to splurge as I am trying to stick to a budget. Imagine my delight and surprise when I opened the mail yesterday to find those awesome pink plush slippers with sequins in a box from Luanne. How blessed am I to have such an amazing friend? My wish for you is that you have that special friend who would surprise you with fabulous footwear - and for whom you would return the favor. Now that is something to say thank you about!

And as I reflect on how much has changed in the past year, I can only imagine how much will change in the next. Who else will be at my Thanksgiving table besides Mom and Dad? One thing I know for sure, I will be thankful to have them there.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

For My Niece

12 years ago today the world was given a gift, my niece Grayson. I was not there for her birth having chosen instead to visit Mr. Right Then's family for the Thanksgiving holiday. I remember crying a lot because it was the wrong choice.

3 weeks later, however, I was sandwiched in between Mr. Right Then and his very large roommate in the front cab of a U-Haul. Yep, I was hitching a ride between Smokey and Smokier from Boston to St. Louis where my baby niece awaited the arrival of her favorite aunt (OK, yes I am embellishing here - writer's prerogative!) My brother and sister-in-law had moved to St. Louis and I was going to live in a hotel room with them for a week to help out while they looked for someplace permanent. So 14 hours on the road and I finally had Grayson in my arms. My traveling companions would tell you I didn't even say goodbye to them. It was love at first sight.

Grayson has grown into this incredible person. Not only is she smart and beautiful, but she is caring and earnest. She loves animals and fashion (she's currently OBSESSED with the knee-high brown boots Grannie bought her). I know she is going to make a huge difference in this crazy world someday - bigger than she already has to those who love her.

I've lived a very complicated life and the moment I met my niece, it all seemed to make sense. Perhaps I could save her from some of the heartache I have gone through just by being a presence in her life. It's a nice dream to dream...

I don't see her nearly enough and hope to change that moving forward. But today, on her special day, I wanted her to know that even though I don't see her as often as I'd like, I love her more than she'll ever know. And I'm amazingly proud to be her Aunt Messy. Happy Birthday, Grayson!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lady in Red

I just completed a year long journey called Leadership AAHSA. Meant to help me transform as a leader, this program didn't just change me professionally. It forced me to reflect on my life - where I've been, where I'm going, who I truly want to be - and thus changed me personally.

3 weeks ago in Los Angeles, the Leadership AAHSA fellows were "celebrated". I was so blessed to have people at the reception whom I truly care about - best friends, colleagues, mentors, coaches - and who truly care about me. In a sense, it was a "re-emergence" for so much has changed for me in the past year. It wasn't just a celebration of the journey... it was a celebration of those who helped me along the way.

I am not the same person I was a year ago. (For one thing, I'm blonde.) I am dedicated to living the most authentic life I can. And I am choosing happiness. Happiness isn't something that just happens - you have to seize it by getting out of your comfort zone and taking risks.

6 months ago, I journaled that I wanted to "wear a red dress and be noticed, be loved." I had forgotten that journal entry until the plane home from LA. And do you know what I wore on that celebratory occasion? A red dress and these black patent leather Calvin Kleins with a red tortoiseshell accent. As I was told by some, "that dress is fierece/those shoes are killer".

So I was noticed. And I am loved.

Friday, October 22, 2010

If the Shoe Fits... Or Even if it Doesn't

I LOVE these Gigi Favellas. I mean I coveted them when I saw them at a sample sale. Between the cherry red patent leather and the gold heel, how could I not buy them? Except for one small problem... they don't actually fit. In truth, they are too small and I have to scrunch my toes to wear them. Therefore, I don't often. As a matter of fact, I only bust them out for truly special occasions.

What type of occasions, you might ask. SPECIAL occasions. Super secret sassy special occasions when I don't have to walk very far. As a matter of fact, these are shoes that I should be carried in when I wear them. I'm not saying. I'm just saying.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Steady as We Go

I have issues. I don't trust easily. I have walls around me. I don't know how to budget. I am incapable of not being generous to those I love even if it means I have to go without. I am impatient and stubborn. I hate to clean. I am almost incapable of admitting I am wrong or need help. Believe me, there are more.

A very good friend of mine often says, "wait on it. wait on it". It drives me and his fiancee insane at times but he is right. I am a Sagittarius - translation, extreme. Hot or cold. Black or white. Happy or sad. Sky is falling or the possibilities are endless. Moving or sitting still. In other words, waiting is not necessarily a natural thing.

Right now, I am at a crossroads. I can continue to calculate every next move and assess the risk associated with it. Or I could just say "f*(! that". I'm going to trust, have faith, plan to the best of my ability and believe everything will work out for the best. After having your heart broken and being betrayed multiple times, it is hard to do that. But what if it is worth the risk? How do you know you won't end up in more pain than before? (yes, at this point you should slap me and say, "Welcome to the human race, Melissa.")

Like the thigh high sequined Manolo Blahniks. You don't wear these if you aren't willing to take a risk. And if you can pull these off, imagine what else you can accomplish? And by you, I mean me. At the end of the day, isn't it just about putting one super sexy 5 inch heel in front of the other? I mean, I trust I won't fall down. I trust no one will laugh at my style. Maybe it really is all about taking it Steady as we go... What do you think?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

(Wannabe) Tough Girl

I have this friend and he is, quite possibly, the toughest person I know. I'm talking motorcycles, race cars, hitting the you know what out of a golf ball, etc. I'm convinced he can do anything and, as a matter of fact, I used to be slightly intimidated by him. Now that I know him, I aspire to be stronger and a little bit tough like him. And you know me, I start with foot wear.

These Giuseppe Zanotti's are steel toed with actual metal studs all over them. I mean these are what you would call "ass-kickin'" shoes. That is, if I got into a fight. Which I wouldn't because I'm kind of a wimp. And, also, I'm a grown woman. But wearing these fierce heels, I feel like I could do anything.

I'm not saying I'm going to go drag racing, but I just might be able to tackle the next big challenge that comes my way. Perhaps even bring a tough guy to his knees...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

And so it began...

I had to find a baby picture for our staff appreciation celebration and discovered one of my favorites (left). Favorite that is until reality hit... My mother put me in white tights and white shoes IN DECEMBER??? Now I don't totally subscribe to the whole "white before Labor Day" rule but, if I recall, that was GOSPEL circa 1973, wasn't it??? Can this be defined as abuse?

Now I know what Grace would say, "what other color shoes would you have worn? The white matched your blouse!" Might I suggest black patent leather? Or how about my very first pair of candy apple red footwear? Something, anything but the predictable white?

OK, ok, I'll give Grace a break. She was doing what was "fashionable" back then. But if I could build a time machine, this photo shoot would be my first stop. Then I could turn myself into a rockin' fashion forward baby! Now, if only I could figure out how to photo shop this picture to give it the sass it truly needs...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Happiest Happy Place

As I got ready to see Dave Matthews at Wrigley Field, I really wanted to wear my new HD boots with skinny jeans (read my earlier blog Biker Chic) but since we were taking the El and walking, I decided to be practical (yes, I was feeling alright). Thankfully, practical means wearing my uber-cute Kangaroos sneakers!

I've mentioned before (My Happy Place) how cuckoo for Dave I am. Actually, I was at a conference earlier this year when Zeus called me from seeing Dave at Fenway. A guy at my table said, "who's Dave?" I replied, "Dave Matthews". And he said, "you're on a first name basis?" Uh, HELLLOOOO....

So going to Dave concerts has always been a place where I am happiest. Earlier this year, I saw him in West Palm with one of my best friends and we had an AMAZING time at the 3 hour show. I never thought I could top any of his shows... until Wrigley.

Picture the Chicago skyline on a gorgeous night seeing Dave through the eyes of someone who has never seen him before but who you pray will love it. Now imagine dancing the whole time. Not to mention the fact that he opened with One Sweet World!

It is a memory I will not soon forget for many reasons. To be perfectly honest, I was so happy being there that I forgot altogether what was on my feet.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Creepy Crawly Things

So, you should know I am a complete wimp. I don't like adventure. I'm scared of spiders, crickets, snakes, pterodactyls, alligators, etc., etc. If there is a bug in my hotel room, I will head for the hills - and the nearest exterminator! If you even mention on a walk (or on a trip to the aquarium) that a snake is in my vicinity, I'll probably squeal like a girl. And since I am, you can't hold it against me!

So it genuinely surprises me when I actually do something out of my comfort zone. Ok, so golf may not count for you but it does for me. How about riding a Harley? To some, wearing 5 1/2" heels is quite the adventure, so maybe I'm a thrill seeker after all!

While I'm not going to try and climb Mt. Everest or go swimming (again) with sting rays anytime soon, I would love to sashay in these 6 inch Brian Atwood Python Stilettos. That may be the closest I'll ever come to a snake (by my own choice) but I have a feeling wearing these shoes could definitely bring me some adventure!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Biker Chic

There's nothing sassier than a pair of leather boots bought on vacation. Unless, of course, they are these leather boots. Yes, I am the proud owner of knee-high, Harley Davidson leather boots. I know, I know, you are shocked. How can a Giuseppe Zanotti gal like me fancy a pair of HD boots? Well, let me tell you...

While I LOVE my designer runway worthy stilettos for their glam and curb appeal, I still have an eclectic collection of footwear. And these boots fit in. They represent freedom, risk, abandon... not to mention how hot they would be with skinny jeans and an awesome jacket riding on the back of a 2003 100th anniversary special edition fat boy. (oh, yeah, be jealous - I am SO down with the lingo!)

I've always had a fascination for Harley Davidson. Not like a Sons of Anarchy biker club fascination (although I have recently discovered how awesome this show is - Netflix, send me the first 2 seasons post haste!)... more of a that looks awesome and I bet those riders feel no stress at this moment and I want that feeling kind of fascination.

Since I don't have a hog at my ready disposal right now (yes, you read correctly. I said right now. It isn't out of the question forever!), these boots will have to fill the void. When I wear them, I feel sexy, confident, a little rebellious and like taking a risk. When was the last time you felt that way?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Confident in Polka Dots

When it comes to my job, I am completely confident. Yesterday reinforced that when I facilitated a retreat for a challenged board that couldn't have gone better if I had scripted it in advance. And the confidence didn't come from the peep toe polka dot wedges I was sporting either. It came from somewhere inside of me. The shoes are just a cute bonus!

In my personal life, however, I don't have the same confidence. In fact, I can be totally insecure at times. A very good friend of mine asked me why I can't carry the confidence I have at work into all aspects of my life. Good question!

So I'm resolving to do just that. To be honest, it really boils down to trust. Do I trust myself to make the right decisions? Do I trust when people say they care about me they are really telling the truth? Do I trust that I am a gift to those in my life? It sounds simple, right?

But it isn't simple. It's something I have to be intentional about. I shared in an earlier post that I often wear high heels because I feel more sure of myself in them. They help me take risks. So I'm going to harness my inner stiletto when I start to become insecure, scared, unsure (fill in appropriate adjective here) about my life. I'm going to stand tall and remember everything happens for a reason. And, in the end, everything is going to be OK.

Thank goodness I have people around me who keep me in check when needed... (And yes, I better print this out and keep it with me at all times as a reminder of what I have vowed today.)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Very Girlie

It has recently been brought to my attention that I am very girlie. High heels, dresses, make-up, etc. I can't help myself! I love sparkles and fashion and feeling pretty.

But just because I'm girlie doesn't mean that I'm not tough. Beneath the frills is a strong, independent woman who has survived many trials in life (often of my own making). Sometimes it is easy to forget that... at least it's easy for me to forget and I need a reminder. Sometimes that reminder comes from a friend. Sometimes it comes from my footwear.

Take these star-studded Jimmy Choo stilettos for example. The strappy sandal is as girlie as it gets but the studs give them just enough edge to be tough. That is just the combination I need to get me through difficult times. Well, shoes plus a fabulous friend who reminds me how strong (and delicate) I am.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Do you have any nicknames? I have a ton! You may think Messy is the only one but there are more: CB, CC, Honeybee, Shooter, Mel, Bestie... just to name a few! And, I, of course am the queen of giving nicknames. I am involved in a yearlong leadership development journey and nicknamed everyone on my team.

I guess my fascination with nicknames started with my dad. I don't think he has ever called anyone he cares about by their actual name! My grandaddy also never calls me by name. Instead, he calls me Mess or Sweetheart. And there is nothing like hearing him say, "I love you,too, Sweetheart."

And that's what these bone colored peep toe platform pumps say to me. Sweetheart. They even have hot pink soles! Wearing them I feel sweet and want to show my heart.

Who calls you Sweetheart?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Rainy Day Wish

As you know, I wrote a bucket list a few months back. It includes places I'd like to go, things I want to accomplish, etc. One specific thing on it may shock you. I've never been kissed in the rain. Seriously, in all my 36 years on this planet (including the years spent dating and married!), I've never been kissed in the rain. I've golfed in a monsoon but have never been kissed in the rain.

Now if you have done this, you'll probably want to tell me it is overrated and not at all like you see in the movies. And just like the bride who says if she had to do it all over again she wouldn't have the big wedding, I don't believe you. (just so you know, brides only say this because they HAD the big affair...) In my mind, it is more romantic than in the movies.

Which begs the question, what footwear is appropriate for such an activity? You have to be prepared for such a spontaneous occasion, don't you? I mean, you'd hope it would be a summer shower so as to not freeze to death. That means I'd be wearing a dress, right? Or shorts and a t-shirt? Perhaps golf attire? (hmmm... now there's an idea - kissing in the rain on a golf course! The shoe question would already be solved for me then.) I've always wanted Hunter wellies (pictured above). They would keep my feet dry (practical) and red is sexy, right? But does anyone want to kiss a girl in bright red golashes?

I sure hope it doesn't take another 36 years to find out...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

You Think You Know Me, But...

Just because I am obsessed with fine footwear, does not mean I'm obsessed with fancy. I mean, it is easy for people to think that expensive shoes equals snobbery or highfalutin attitudes (and I didn't even know how to spell highfalutin until now!) but that's not all there is to me.

Beneath the stilettos, highlights and makeup is a pretty simple girl. I love my comfy clothes. I love a night out with pepperoni pizza, onion rings and cake. As a matter of fact, more than a night out, I like a night in with those same ingredients. Plus somebody to laugh with while stuffing my face.

I am not a champion of many things but am definitely #1 at il dolce far niente - Italian for the Sweetness of Doing Nothing. (If you don't know that phrase, run, do not walk to see or read Eat Pray Love immediately!) I love to lay like broccoli under a tree on a spring day or chill like squash beneath the moon on a starry night.

And the perfect footwear for all of these simple things? Flip flops, of course. And yes, it is OK if they have glitter on them! Is there anything wrong with making the simple things sparkle after all?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reigniting the Passion

I'm an extreme person. I can't help it - I'm a Sagittarius! Seriously, though, there isn't a lot of gray with me. I'm happy or I'm sad. I'm angry or I'm not. I'm laughing or I'm crying. It's not the most relaxing way to go through life but, as one of my favorite people often says, "it is what it is."

With an extreme personality, however, comes an incredibly passionate nature. I'm fiercely loyal to my family and my friends - I would do anything for them. I throw 110% into my work because I love the job so much... even when I hate it.

Sometimes, however, I go through slumps. Times when it feels like life is passing me by and I can't catch up or keep my head above water. It's times like those when I need a jump start. Over the past few months, I've discovered new ways to get the fire going. Taking a moment to lay like broccoli and enjoy being outside (my version of stopping and smelling the roses). Golf (yeah, I said golf). Walking on a beach in the moonlight. Visiting a museum to see amazing art. Spoiling someone I love for no other reason than to see them smile. Seeing Dave Matthews play for 3 hours and remembering that is one of my favorite happy places. Allowing myself to close my eyes and dream... about incredible things that have happened and adventures I haven't yet taken - but know I will.

And I can't help but dream one of those adventures will take place wearing these 5 1/4" Christian Louboutin knotted suede pumps. How could you not feel passionate in a sexy black heel with that fire engine red sole? Oh, yeah, thinking what I will do in these beauties gets my furnace cranking!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"Sensible" Shoes

So I have a question. How do you define "sensible" shoes? I mean isn't "sensible" subjective? Isn't "sensible" in the eye of the beholder?

I think these tall, black Donna Karan platform boots are more than "sensible". I can see over crowds in them. The platform sole makes them totally comfortable. The suede gives you something to run your hands over when in a boring meeting. They look incredible over skinny jeans or with a short skirt. Oh, and you feel like a million bucks wearing them. What could be more sensible than that?

Where couldn't you wear these boots? Besides the obvious: swimming, golfing, etc. You can wear them in a car. You can wear them on a plane. You can wear them on the street. You could even wear them on a Harley... couldn't you? I mean, could they be any more "sensible"?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Save a Horse...

When I was in High School, I was OBSESSED with cowboy boots. Ever since the movie Footloose when Ariel's bad boy boyfriend said, "does your daddy know you wear red boots?" And she responded, "my Daddy hates these boots."

Fast forward to college in the early nineties and my life was made when people actually wore plaid JCrew shirts and cowboy boots at BC. I immediately headed to Nordstrom and bought my red cowgirl boots (OK, they weren't authentic but I couldn't get to Texas!)

I haven't seen a pair in years but recently started thinking of them again. I've mentioned my bucket list to you before, and visiting Austin is on it. Not only do I want to go for the music, but to find an authentic pair of red cowgirl boots. And PETA can't object to me buying authentic boots, can they? It's not like I wear a size 15 and they would have to skin a bunch of iguanas to make them... I mean a size 8 is like what, one snake?

And yes, every time I start thinking about those boots I can't help but hum Big & Rich Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy. After all, that's what Ariel was doing before she put those boots back on :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

But I'm Not Even Wearing Shoes!

I am currently on the road for 15 days. Not all work, of course, but a heck of a big suitcase. Can you imagine how tough it is to decide what shoes to take for 15 days??? But I learned a valuable lesson in Boca Raton.

As I walked on the beach under an almost full moon and watched the light dance across the ocean I thought of happiness. The kind of simple, unadulterated happiness that we don't often recognize or allow ourselves to stop and experience. Now, don't get me wrong, I can lay like broccoli with the best of them but my typical vegetation time happens in front of the TV when I come home exhausted from a trip.

So imagine my delight when, I took off my gold gladiator sandals, slipped my toes in the sand, sat on a beach chair and just looked. Sat and soaked in all of the beauty and wonder around me. And you know what I felt in that moment? Peace, happiness and hope. And an excitement to see what lies ahead.

So what's the moral of my story? That you do indeed need to drop the stilettos every once in a while. You never know what joys await...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Walk in the Clouds

I know I don't have a normal opinion of what it means to wear fabulous shoes. However, we all know that these blue satin Manolo Blahniks Carrie wore on her second wedding day in SATC are nothing short of perfection. I actually think wearing them would feel like walking in the clouds.

Ok, ok, you think I'm exaggerating. But these shoes are gorgeous. Like when you take a drive in the mountains and the sun shines through the clouds to illuminate the earth as if God himself is peeking down, and you think you've never seen anything so beautiful. I mean a ride in the mountains is nothing short of exquisite. So what's wrong with killing two birds with one stone? On my next journey into nature I'm going to be wearing fabulous shoes - on a skyline drive or down the boardwalk before I take them off to put my toes in the sand. If you are going to do something heavenly, why not wear the proper footwear?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What's In the Bag?

There is a running joke in my family that I cannot see my parents without my father saying, "I have a bag for you from your mother." Today when I went to their house before golfing with Dad was no different. Typically the bag has books, old mail or something Mom is looking to get rid of in it. Today, it held a gift.

I was blessed to have all 4 of my grandparents in my life until 1994. As I pulled the books and People magazine out of the bag this evening, I discovered a journal titled "Grandma Remembers" that my dad's mom filled out for us. As I flipped through it, I cracked up at some of the things Grandma wrote and had to call my dad to clarify one story (apparently hospitals were a luxury in the 20s when your kid set fire in a closet...)

On the page called Funny Events is a picture of my grandparents from 1945 (which puts them in their 30s) and my grandmother wrote, "acting as Bob's caddy when he played golf in Warm Springs, VA in August 1945, while visiting his sister." Now if you'll recall, the first tournament I played in last month, the tournament that catapulted me into wanting to call myself "golfer" was in Hot Springs, VA at the Homestead. To think that my grandparents had one of their funniest memories close to where I had one of mine! Did I tell you about the torrential rain we had during the tournament? Thank God I wasn't wearing white!

It's amazing the little gifts life brings you at the right moments. I certainly owe a larger debt of gratitude than I realized to my friend who invited me to play in that tournament. Or perhaps it is Grandma and Grandad I owe the debt to... I do sense their hand in all of this. Regardless, I will look forward to the bags my parents always have for me. You never know what they might contain!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bucket List Boots

I recently wrote my bucket list and will share it in a future post. Obviously, golfing was on it, and I got the swift kick in the butt I desperately needed to start playing when a friend invited me to play in a tournament. I've been pretty consistent since - taking lessons and playing with my Dad.

Most of my bucket list is based on places I want to see and experiences I'd like to have. These over the knee Jimmy Choo stiletto boots would fall under the experiences I'd like to have column.

Can you imagine what those experiences could be?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Return of Nine West

I lived for Nine West shoes in my 20s. I loved nothing more than hitting the Nine West outlet and grabbing a couple pair of heels and a couple pair of clouds (do you remember that sub-brand?).

When you are in your 20s, everything is new and exciting. You think you have it all figured out... then a decade or so later you realize you knew nothing then. You question if you know anything now, but you are absolutely sure you didn't know anything in your 20s! I took youth for granted. I took the fact that I didn't know any better for granted. I took friendships and relationships for granted. I figured they'd always be there.

In your 30s, the stakes are higher. You find yourself saying "I love you" to those you'd least expect it because you are desperate for them to know the difference they've made in your life. You wake up one morning and realize that life is short and you have to embrace what is working and seek out what is missing. Sometimes it is easier to live in complacency... change is tough. We all say "we want more" but how often do we actually take the risk to go after what that is? The saying is "with great risk comes great rewards" so we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and decide what we want and go after it. I remember doing that in my 20s...

Hence the return of Nine West to my closet. I didn't buy these 5 1/2 inch python platforms just because they are cute. I bought them because they are an homage to my 20s... to a time when I wasn't afraid to go after what I want. A reminder that risks can be taken - in stilettos or flip flops. I'm going after what I want. Will you?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Vertical Confidence

If you'e ever walked into a room wearing 5" stilettos, you will understand how it adds instant confidence to any situation. I don't wear sassy shoes just because I love them... I wear them because they make me feel like I can handle any situation, any obstacle. I wear them because they make me feel like a door could open at any minute that will invite me to saunter through.

So I bought these brown, 5.5" strappy BCBG platform sandals. I didn't wear them until I went to a conference in New Bern, NC. (leave it to me to wear shoes like this during a reception on a dock at a sailing club - not smart!) But amazing things happened that day. A friend and colleague accepted a new challenge. I gained respect I didn't know was available. I understood another friend from a perspective I had never tried to recognize before. Basically, I didn't just grow vertically... my heart grew as well.

So I think stilettos open you up to adventure. They give you confidence to walk into a room that may be intimidating. And confidence to sit on a bar stool near someone you don't think likes you. They give you confidence to take risks... and with any great risk can come a great reward. So go on, invest in some 5 inch heels.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Back to Basics

So I've been contemplating life a lot lately... A LOT. Attribute it to getting older, the leadership course (which is more of a journey than anything) I'm taking or good old fashioned soul searching; but I am extremely introspective lately. I've been asking myself "what does it all mean" and "what do I want" among other questions.

Some answers have been easy to come by. I want to be happy. I want those I care about to be happy. I want to work hard and make a difference. I want to be healthy - eating better, working out, getting enough sleep, etc. I want to spend time with those I care about doing the things we love - theater club, shopping, eating, drinking, traveling and definitely golfing. I want to have more art in my life. I want to make time to write and to read. I want to walk on a beach and pick up sea shells with no time constraints. Really, it's about getting back to the basics and seeing where the basics take me.

Just like a good pair of basic black heels. Everyone needs a pair - they are the basis for any wardrobe. So I'm going to think about what it all means while revisiting the basics of life that make me happy. It won't be easy. I have to commit and be intentional, but I think it's worth a try. Don't you?

Monday, June 21, 2010


I have never used or even heard of this term before but an awesome friend of mine coined it today. (not awesome because of coining messyism - he was already awesome...) We were discussing texting/emailing while driving and he chastised me for even considering it. He then met me with one of my "messyisms" - safety first!

That got me thinking about other "messyisms" I use... such as I love it and I couldn't agree more. Or, more importantly, you won't believe what I paid for this ________ (insert dress, shirt, etc.). Or of course I have a need for 5 inch platform peeptoe pumps!

Do you think I could create my own messyism drinking game? Every time I say a messyism, I have to take a shot? Or wait, maybe you should take the shot. Heck, the more the merrier, let's all take shots!

Summer Days

Today is the first day of summer, and what better way to celebrate than by breaking out some fabulous navy and white striped strappy sandals? I must admit that I have not been my usual chipper self lately but it is impossible to be in a bad mood wearing these! Actually, I heard one of the phrases I like the most many times today... "I love your shoes!"

I think we should all celebrate the first day of summer by sporting our sassiest footwear! And by buying another pair for the second day of summer.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The More the Merrier?

When Paul called me last week and asked if we could babysit Finnegan, an almost 10 week old Pug puppy, of course I said yes. I felt that pang of motherhood you feel when you think of holding a new pup and missed those days with Stella. (Sophie came to us at 6 months so was never really tiny). Of course, I didn't stop to think about the fact that Sophie prey's on vulnerable dogs at dog parks and pups need to be walked every 2 seconds.

Regardless, Kathleen and Steve brought us Finnegan on Thursday evening and it was love at first sight. He's such a sweet little guy. He slept on my lap the entire ride home and was perfectly potty trained... for 36 hours. Now to his credit, he only had accidents on the hardwood or tile, thus saving our carpeting so I can't complain.

Sophie spent much of our first evening together in the crate. We didn't think delivering the news that Finnegan had been eaten would go over well so felt best to isolate my "loving" pumpkin. Stella totally embraced having a new playmate. They ran around like crazy!

Friday, I worked from home so used an alternate crating method during the day. Finn out, Sophie and Stella in and vice versa. When Paul got home that night, Sophie started to understand that she can growl but not attack. And growl she did. Every time Finn came near her, the furniture, her toys, me, a magazine... you get the picture.

Fast forward to our last night together, Sunday. Stella was over playtime and clearly wanted her house back. Sophie followed Finnegan everywhere he went. I think she started to think of him as her baby. Finally, they fell asleep on the couch - all 3 cuddled up together.

So what did we learn? With a lot of attention, Sophie can rise above the urge to eat unsuspecting dogs. Stella loves playtime but only up to a certain point. Finnegan is a good boy and all puppy... and he can come back anytime. Of course, I'll need to send Stella & Sophie somewhere for a few days :)

Monday, June 14, 2010


So walking home from a baby shower next door Sunday, I twisted my ankle. It was the combination of the hill and these fabulous Via Spiga sandals. Then, while watching the Tony's, I slammed my toe into the coffee table. I was shoeless at the time. Needless to say, I'm happy yoga can be done barefoot because I can't wear a real shoe today. I also can really only stand on one foot so it will have to be one-sided yoga. Does this girl have issues, or what?

Monday, May 31, 2010

"Swimming" with Stella

Stella was diagnosed with hip dysplasia a few years back. Thankfully, the daily joint supplement seems to keep her on the straight and narrow (so to speak). Eight weeks ago, Sophie was diagnosed with a luxating patella. The vet prescribed rest and weight loss. HUH? If you could lose weight while resting I would be thinner than Kate Moss. Apparently the only way for Sophie to lose weight is through aquatic therapy. Immediately, visions of Sophie in a bathing cap and tutu performing synchronized swimming with her sister danced in my head. How wrong was I?

Sophie took to it like a fish to water once she got comfortable. Sophie will basically do anything to please us. That is why she is my little love bug. Stella, however, is a different story. She is stubborn and rarely does anything to please anyone but herself. She is my little apathetic cuddler and I adore that she marches to her own beat. (I don't know where she gets that from.)

So Stella took to the pool like a cat to a bath. Panicky, stoic and refusing to move. It was as if she had turned to stone. Once she was moved off the steps, (not of her own free will) she was like a frog in the pool and she had one goal and one goal only. No, it was not to please her proud parents who were saying supportive and loving things. It was to get back to the step and get the heck out of this oversized bathtub.
After surviving such trauma, Paul bought a series of 10 visits. For Sophie AND Stella. Without a professional's help. He thought it would go a lot better if we were in the pool with them next time. No, there will not be video of that. And yes, I will be swimming with Sophie. Stella can be "daddy's girl" that day.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Better Late Than Never

When I was little, I loved to dance. My mom often jokes that I was dancing as soon as I was walking. She started me with tap and ballet when I was 4 and I continued to dance over the next 11 years. My line competed all over the mid-Atlantic region and I was in 10+ routines during our ridiculous 5 show recitals at the end of the year. How did my mother ever sit through all that? (and yes, there are videos, and no, you can't see them.)

As I mentioned before, my dad loves to golf. When I was little I thought I would like to golf with him. So one year, after my Linda Natoli Dance Recital, when all of the other dads showed up with flowers, my dad showed up with something I had been coveting. A pink and grey golf bag. He bought it for his dancing daughter who wasn't yet ready to commit to golf. But he bought it as a hope, a wish, a support and a dream.

Fast forward to yesterday, 20+ years later. My dad and I had the best day. I hadn't picked up a club in 2 years, but I did OK. And today, he gave me a gift like he had all of those years ago, he emailed to tell me he was researching golf instructors and would treat me to two lessons.

Why after all of this complaining do I still want to golf? Three reasons. One, I think I could be pretty good if I practiced. Two, I like the challenge the game poses for me. Three, it means lots of time I can spend with my dad doing what he loves. That is the ultimate reason golf is on my bucket list - I can share it with my dad. It is the gift he has given me - even if it has taken 20+ years to realize it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Why are Golf Shoes so Ugly?

So I don't golf. I own clubs. I own a hat. Until recently, I owned a pair of shoes. But I don't golf. It frustrates the heck out of me and the only 2 people who could ever keep me calm on a golf course were my brother and my father. For some reason, their patience and reassurance always put me at ease.

My dad is a good golfer. Steady, consistent, loves the sport. I think he is probably happiest on the golf course. So once a year, I dust off the clubs and play with my dad. I moan, groan and complain but secretly I love every second of it. It's awesome father/daughter time.

To be honest, I dream of golfing regularly. The stupid sport just intimidates me so much. I have no upper body strength (circuit training will soon fix that!) and feel like for every time my dad swings a club, I swing twice.

So you can imagine what a huge leap it is for me to agree to pay in a tournament with colleagues. I texted my dad and asked him what I had to do to be ready in 3 weeks. His response? "Visit the driving range twice, play 9 holes with me and practice drinking beer." I've got 1 of those 3 tasks covered!

So today I went to buy new golf shoes because I lost one of mine in the move. I was really upset - I loved those shoes and, in case you don't know, golf shoes are hideous. Why can't Giuseppe Zanotti or Christian Laboutin design them? Michael Kors or BCBG? I'd even settle for Steve Madden! Unfortunately they don't, so I am stuck. Plain, white, pink-trimmed Footjoy in a size 8 for me. They are comfy but I am convinced they make my feet look humongous. I don't know that for sure because there weren't any mirrors to look at when trying them on. Dick's Sporting Goods should take a lesson from DSW!

Tomorrow I'm going to the driving range and to play 9 with my dad... in my ugly shoes. Wish me luck!

Change Your Hair, Change Your Life!

There is a running joke among the people I see a few times a year during my travels. As soon as they see me they see things like, "you've changed your hair again!", "I didn't even know it was you until I got close enough to see your face...", "did you change your hair again?", etc. etc.

I have had the misfortune to not only have 2 fabulous stylists since I was around 23, but to also be able to call them friend. Therefore, I trust them as a stylist and, more importantly, as my friend. I mean, it's their job to make me look good. And have you ever noticed that stylists only hang out with beautiful people?

They say a man has gone through a break-up when he shaves his goatee and a woman when she cuts her hair. You can never judge what's going on with me through my hair because I change it every 6 to 8 weeks. Well, I'd love to chat more, but I'm off to the salon!

Here's to Victoria and Betsy. Thanks for many years of helping me look fresh!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Do You Feel the Love?

After traveling for 5 weeks, I have to admit that Mother's Day really snuck up on me this year. We had taken Grace and Jerry to Pinehurst for Easter weekend, which was really nice, and I had given her a massage for an early Mom's day gift; but I still wanted to so something special for Grace. So she came over to spend the night, drink wine, eat great food, play with the girls and get waited on hand and foot. I have to admit, we really do love spoiling her when she comes over. She has sacrificed so much for me over the years...

Anyway, halfway during her first glass of wine on the porch, she looked at me and said, "You know, Melissie, you aren't nearly as high maintenance as you used to be."

Moms. They really can make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside... Now go pour your own glass of wine.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Road Warrior

It is a beautiful Saturday morning and I'm home, home, home. I've been on the road for a few weeks... Greenville, Cleveland, New Orleans, Greensboro. Coming up are St. Pete and New Bern. It is so sweet when people seem sympathetic about all of my traveling; despite the fact that it is the very basis for how I earn a living.

Now, having acknowledged that this is my job, I must admit that it does get draining. Many Sunday afternoons and Friday nights spent in airports. Lots of early mornings and late nights. Believe me, it is not all glamor. Therefore, it is important to splurge on things that make you look and feel good. This week I was pampered with a manicure, pedicure, and later today, a facial. Paul thinks these are luxuries; however, spending so much time in dry hotels and at 30,000 feet, I think they are necessities.

My brand new Italian made hand-painted shoes shown above, however, that's the luxury. As Paul said, "you spent more on these shoes than we did at Costco last weekend..." You bet I did! These will last way longer than the TP and paper towels! I think of them as an investment.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Unconditional Love

As I'm cleaning the kitchen from last night's fajita fiesta, I walk into the family room to find that Sophie has just thrown up. On my Ugg boots. Yep, my relatively new (2 months), charcoal gray, short Uggs. And what did I do? I asked Soph if she was OK. I pet her little head and calmly walked into the kitchen to remove the mess from my boot.

I've always thought how blessed I am because our pups have never thought of my shoes as chew toys. But now I understand the horror finding half-eaten shoes must evoke from shoe-obsessed moms like me. And it is the unconditional love for our furry beings that keep us from screaming, yelling or harming them in any other way. How can I be mad at that little face?

Maybe I'll soon be ready for motherhood after all...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

To Write or Not to Write...

I don't know about you, but I've always dreamed of writing a book. I'm not convinced that anyone would read it, nor is that really the point. I just have a lot to say. I'm thinking of a pseudo-memoir where the reader wouldn't be totally sure if what I was writing was based on my life or fiction (think A Million Little Pieces by James Frey except I would admit to Oprah that I had embellished...)

I haven't told you a lot about my life before Paul... let's just say it was colorful. As a matter of fact, on the morning of our wedding, two of my bride's maids had a great time recounting my romantic history and the theme was "thank GOD that one didn't work out!"

So I'm thinking that would be the premise of an interesting book. A "what not to do when dating" type of epic.

Like we need another one of those. At least it would be a great way to embarrass my future children... In advance.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stop and Smell the Flowers

So we planted flowers at our house yesterday for the first time. As we wandered around the garden center, it became apparent that we were choosing the same flowers we had at our wedding. Hydrangeas, Calla lilies, Gerber daisies. A vision of pink, purple and blue. Now every time we drive up to our house, we have a visual, floral reminder of that special day.

If we have an argument (OK, maybe I should say WHEN we have an argument) the pups always walk into the room and make us stop and assess what we are really upset about. Now our garden can do the same thing!

Friday, April 9, 2010

If I were a Curator...

I thought I was going to be a curator at some fancy shmancy art gallery in NYC when I was younger. Instead, I was the assistant to the curator at the Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale in the Bronx. Then an assistant curator at Columbia University. Then on to Boston to be an art consultant at Boston Corporate Art. None of that was very fancy. Although I did have big fun living the high life (on credit) in my 20s in Boston. Then I moved back to DC, got a position at AAHSA, and the rest is history.

I love my job. I love our mission, working with the members and knowing we are making this country better for people like my grandparents and Paul's dad. I love knowing we are transforming aging. But sometimes, I can't help but wonder, what life would be like if I had stuck with the art history. Would I be at the National Gallery right now? Would I have gone to Europe? Would I work in a swanky gallery in NYC?

None of this is regret, mind you. It is just an exercise in wondering... do you ever do that?

Regardless of where my path would have taken me, I know I would have owned these fabulous Joan & David pumps!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dog Park Mayhem

So I woke up yesterday morning giddy with anticipation. It was the first DMV (DC/MD/VA) French Bulldog Meetup of the Spring and it was being held at the dog park in our very own town. The girls were so excited! Stella was shaking with anticipation the whole way there. It was already crowded and Stella took off running as soon as she was through the gate. Sophie was right behind her. For about 15 minutes. And then, Sophie spotted her nemesis in the form of a 12 year old, blind, deaf, miniature Pincher wearing a pink jacket. Apparently no dog is too weak for Sophie to attack and attack she did. I heard that horrific aggressive growl from clear across the dog park and then everyone else heard an equally scary sound... SOPHIE!!!! Yes, I screamed like a maniac, ran over to her and put the leash on. Time out for the Toph Monster. (If you are wondering what Paul was doing, he was drinking his Starbucks Bold. He thought I had it covered.)

After a while of Sophie watching everyone else run by her, and the arrival of more bullies (including an awesome white English that looked like Meaty from Rob & Big), Paul decided it was time for Sophie to have another turn. She did great until the Labradoodle went after the ball Paul had thrown for Sophie to chase. (Side note: If you throw a ball Sophie will chase it. If she doesn't want to play anymore, she will put it in her toy box instead of bringing it somewhat within your vicinity. She doesn't really understand how to bring it back to you. Her brain is very small.)

So this Labradoodle goes after Sophie's ball and she's like, My Daddy threw that ball to me and I'm either going to get it or take you down, Sucka. Needless to say, we heard that horrific roar again and the next thing I know Paul has her by the collar and is reattaching the leash. Tophie Time Out Part Two. We hear another ruckus break out, grab Stella and head for the car. Where I burst into tears because I don't understand what is wrong with Sophie and am sad she didn't have as much play time as Stella. (Look, I know this isn't rational, but she's my little bundle of love and I'm not rational when it comes to her. Sue me.)

Once home, it becomes apparent that Sophie has developed a limp. She is once again our concerned little being and we are massaging, petting, hugging to make sure she is OK. Without words, we agree that she needs to sleep in our bed (they are normally crated at night. they like it. oh, and they snore like bears.) So Sophie slept beautifully and was all better this morning. I, on the other hand, tossed and turned while she snored to full volume and look like a fright this morning. But at least Sophie is happy.

Next week, Paul's taking them to the dog park by himself. I'll go back once Sophie doesn't have to go to time out. Isn't that what dads do? Take their kids to the park?

Friday, March 26, 2010

"How do you Walk in Those?!"

I often get asked this question. I normally laugh and say "one foot in front of the other"! I get that the majority of people I work with don't wear 3.5 - 5 inch heels on a regular basis. But is it really that much of a mystery that a grown woman can walk in heels? Does this mean I'll get further in life because I have such a "special gift"? How does anyone walk in anything? Isn't it the same no matter what footwear you are sporting? OK, I know, I should probably be flattered by the question but for some reason this week it is really bugging me. Am I overreacting? Probably. Sometimes I just can't deal.

I do love these Calvin Klein, suede, platform sandals though. I feel powerful in them: I am woman, watch me walk!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shoes Before Breath

Have I ever told you about Grammie? Grammie was my mom's mom and I loved her more than words can say. She died 6 years ago and I think of her almost every day. Grammie loved to shop. We always had the best girls' day out - especially when I got older. For the last 5 years of her life, Grammie was on oxygen (she had COPD and emphysema) so we would have to take her portable tanks with us. I will never forget a time we were in Marshall's (yes, Grammie LOVED Marshall's, and passed that love down to me) and I looked at her tank. The gauge read it was empty! I freaked out, ran to the car, got the other tank, ran back and we switched. I asked Grammie why she didn't say anything about her tank running low and she responded, Because, Melissie, we are in the shoe aisle.

Now do you understand where I get my priorities?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Oh Christmas Shoes, Oh Christmas Shoes!!! (part 2)

I can't believe I forgot to update you on my Christmas shoes. Well, I initially thought the leopard print, platform Michael Kors peep-toed pumps implied a little more pole dancer than I typically like to showcase, so I returned them. (Even Paul agreed when I tried them on that it looked like my toes were doing the Olympic ski jump!).

Behold my gorgeous burgundy Charles by Charles David Prissy platform sandals. Now if you can just explain why they are called Prissy!

Spring is Sprung

It is impossible to be unhappy when the weather is as beautiful as we have had this week. However, the change in season can be tough when you haven't gotten a pedicure yet. That's why I broke out my Nicole Miller "they're like BUTTA" beauties for a trip to the office and a big meeting yesterday. They are perfect for the weather and put a spring in my step without my toes having to peep. What are your favorite shoes for this time of year?

And, yes, I did get that pedicure today!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rainy Days

I'm not sure who invented golashes but they can be the most fun way ever to express your personal style. Or show off something silly about yourself. A colleague of mine surprised me with these awesome purple bulldog golashes from JCrew. I was equally delighted when I found the matching flip flops. How did we ever go out in the rain without protective footwear before? I have another pair which I will share in another post. How many pairs of golashes do You think one woman should own??? Enjoy the puddles today!

Monday, March 1, 2010

This Just In!!!

I stopped by Nordstrom on Friday evening to (finally) exchange the Christmas shoes Paul bought me. My grey Cardy Uggs are being shipped to me so that just left a replacement for the leopard print Michael Kors (see Christmas Shoes blog post for more details). I stopped and picked up a pair of purple Charles David and then my eyes fell on these (picture left). It was instant chemistry. As I tried them on, all of the sales people crowded around me as they had just hit the floor that day and I was the first to try them on! Not only was it love at first sight, but love at first fit. Can't you just see them paired with a cute summer dress or skirt? Not to mention a perfect pedicure and tan. When will Spring be here???

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow Days

Thursday night, as responsible grown-ups were stocking up on toilet paper, eggs and milk due to the pending blizzard; I was addressing a bigger crisis. No snow boots! Can you believe a woman obsessed with footwear does not own water-resistant boots? I own boots that "claimed" to be snow boots but have never seemed to truly live up to that name. So I headed to Mecca, I mean DSW. As I walked up the boot aisle, it was as if a spotlight appeared from above to show me the greatest gift to snowy weather. Uggs makes rubber boots with that amazing sheepskin lining? I held my breath as I looked for my size. Women were multiplying like bunnies all around me as they reached for this coveted snow boot. Not only did they fit (as if that truly matters) but they are a beautiful pearl white (not represented well in this picture) that perfectly matches my favorite coat. I wore them yesterday to walk the dogs and felt fabulous. Then it started to snow. They have been sitting by the front door ever since. What, you don't think I'd actually leave the house in blizzard conditions, do you? Luckily I bought Paul snow boots that look lovely with his matching shovel :)

Party Shoes

Black velvet dress.
Green tango shoes.
Fancy purse.
Let's party!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's On!!!

So I am sick of myself. Seriously. I have been a sloth for way too long. I know it is trite and predictable, but I have started working out (like every other human being on the planet this time of year!) My mode of torture: Jillian Michaels. She will not break me. OK, so she already has.

Some things you should know about me. I am not athletic. I danced as a kid and was a cheerleader but didn't make the volleyball or softball teams in high school. Well, technically, I didn't complete volleyball tryouts because when my friend Becky and I tried to get out of bed the day after our first tryout, she fell on the floor and I couldn't move. Talk about pain! I also love anything made with a potato and wine. What I don't like a lot of is fruit. So this is not a recipe for fitness success. Luckily, God blessed me with a crazy good metabolism so I've always been able to maintain my weight. But gravity is setting in and I don't want to hide from mirrors after a shower for the rest of my life.

So I am logging my food and working out. I have bookmarked Jillian Michaels' web site and am drinking the kool-aid. OK, I am drinking water but that doesn't sound as fun.

I should definitely use this as an opportunity to invest in some new sneakers... don't you think I deserve them?