Messy in Fabulous Shoes

Messy in Fabulous Shoes

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Turning 40 is a big deal.  Everybody knows it.  As my big day drew near, people kept asking me what my plans were.  I knew Todd and I were taking the day off and going to dinner but hadn't gotten any further than that.  And my "drinking crew" girlfriends said we would celebrate at our annual cookie swap.  My bestie and I were planning to do lunch at some point and I'd see my family around Christmas. Plus, we had a girls' night out planned to see the Chippenelves.

Chippenelves you ask?  What's a chippenelf? A Chippenelf is a good looking man on whom you and your girlfriends can bid to be your personal butler at Ladies Night Out.  Money raised goes to support CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) and 4 of us went last year.  There is food, drink, silent and live auctions.  I got a little carried away last year and ended up buying the world's most expensive and hideous wreath.  I was very excited to re-wrap it this year and take it back to the event so some other generous (read competitive at auctions) lady could take it home.

So last Thursday night I was dressed and ready to go!  Amy had the tickets, Mindi was riding with me and our other friends were meeting at the event. Unfortunately, Stacey had a sick child so couldn't go.  When I picked up Mindi she asked if we could drop something off to her husband not far from the venue. Of course! So we rolled up to a restaurant and hopped out to say hi to Jim and be on our way.

"SURPRISE!!!" What?  Holy cow!  I was stunned.  Not only was Mindi's husband Jim in the room but so were my drinking crew friends plus husbands (no, Stacey's daughter wasn't really sick and yes Amy had cashed my CASA ticket to keep me off the surprise scent), my bestie and her husband, my parents, my friends from NC, a former colleague... you get the picture!  And later, other gal pals walked in including those from Chicago and Florida.  Even my CEO braved 2+ hours in the car with two of my girlfriends to be there.  Open bar, great food, an amazing cake made by my friend Heather, a special hat and sash and presents!

I really had no clue this party was happening.  My friends are devious liars! (in a good way) And Todd surprised me beyond anything I could imagine.  I never would picture him planning a party for me.  But he did.  And it was perfect.  And I am the luckiest 40 year old in the world.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Oh, and if you are wondering, the hideous wreath is going to be stored until we next year - we are SO going to see those Chippenelves next Christmas :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

30's Last Night

On the eve of my 40th birthday, I can't help but reflect on who I've been, who I am and who I hope to be. My teen years were spent following the rules.  My 20's were focused on rebelling, taking risks (sometimes really stupid ones) and thinking I knew it all.  My 30's have mostly been spent being who I thought I should be.  Not understanding my true spirit.  Finally learning to stand up for myself and realizing the truth truly can set you free.

And now, as I sit here on the last night before I turn 40, I am thinking about who I want to be.  And it sounds simple:

  • A better daughter
  • A better girlfriend and partner
  • A better friend
  • A better citizen
  • A better Christian
  • A better aunt and Godmother
  • A better colleague and employee
  • A better listener to those in my life and to my own instincts and heart
  • A better mother to Sophie and Stella
  • A forgiver
  • A mother
  • A wife
  • A step-mother
If I could change one thing about myself it would be to worry less.  My mother says it is a genetic trait but perhaps I could do it if I trusted myself more.  I'm sure I could do it if I let go of all the loss in my life - loss of loved ones to death, betrayal, delusion and fear.  Loss of self to co-dependence, denial and fear. But somehow it seems that the more I figure myself and life out, the more I worry.  A good friend told me she went through the same thing when she became a mother.  Something about suddenly having everything you want, of finding yourself happy, can cause you to fear the loss of all that is wonderful.

So my hope for the next decade is that I can let go and do better. I know there are things about myself I can't change and that's OK.  It's what makes me me.  But I'd like to do better.  And I'd like to be some new things as well.  I think I have a lot to offer and know I have a lot more to learn.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A "Runner's" Story

Trying out for the cheerleading squad in high school required running a mile in 10 minutes or less. I did it, but during the run some of the baseball players who were standing around watching us started quacking. According to them, I ran like a duck. 11 years of ballet helped turn my feet out but I had no idea I looked like that until that moment.  To say their quacking really hurt is a gross understatement. I vowed never to run again unless in an emergency. (I later learned at BC that running for a cab when it was raining constituted an emergency).

Fast forward 20+ years and I still was not a runner. But a few months ago, while reading my daily newsletter from The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans, I decided to check out the Couch to 5K app.  I wondered, could I do this?  What would be the worst outcome?  I have a treadmill in the basement so no one can see me and quack.  And so I started.  I did have a 3 week break so even though I began in July, I am just now on week 7.  That means running for 25 straight minutes or 2.5 miles. And I'm doing it!  I may be slow (I am only running 2 miles in 25 minutes) but I am completing each challenge.  I hate every minute of it except for when I am done.  Then, I feel an incredible sense of accomplishment.

So of course I had to get fitted for real running shoes.  And for the first time in my life, I didn't pay attention to what they looked like but only how they felt when I bought them.  Now that's transformation! And when Ian at The Running Store showed me my running video I couldn't believe my eyes.  I DON'T RUN LIKE A DUCK!!! So my feet are slightly turned out but that's OK.  It's not noticeable.  20+ years of trauma for no reason.  Some boys are mean!

My Bestie's 8 year old daughter is currently training for a 5K through Girls on the Run.  This incredible program helps girls learn self-confidence through physical activity.  And as a grown woman, my C25K app is doing the same for me.  I never realized how much I needed this until I started doing it. And I am so proud of my niece for trying running too!

It just goes to show, we can learn something new at any age.  And the key is simple, believe in yourself and you can do it.  The only person holding you back is you.  Shutting up the voice in your head telling you can't is the biggest challenge of all but with each step on that treadmill, I am doing it!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mom's Day Out

Since my Mom's spinal reconstruction surgery last year and my hectic travel schedule, we haven't had much time for our mother/daughter days out lately. But last weekend, we got our chance.  Lunch with Todd, Homegoods, DSW, movies, Wegman's, wine and a sleepover.

When I told Mom about my shoe blogging dilemma and Todd's response, she said "let's go to DSW. I have a coupon!"

So off we went, and I was thrilled when I found exactly what I was looking for as I had been reading my newest copy of In Style just that morning.  Ballet flats with an ankle strap are one of THE shoes of the season - perfect for cropped jeans and maxi-skirts. And you can imagine our delight when we saw them marked 40% off.  So Mom walked to the register, purchased my shoes and said "now tell Todd you have something to blog about".

Moms.  They rock.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

One Man's Perspective

When Todd read my last blog, he said "didn't your blog used to be about shoes?" 

To which I responded, "shoes have always been used as a metaphor for my life." 

"Well, why don't you just write about shoes." 

"Because I haven't bought any new shoes in a long time."

"Then why don't you go through that stack of fashion magazines and pick some out to write about?"

Touche' my friend. Touche'.

Friday, October 4, 2013

I Have NO Excuse

Everyday I think, "today is the day!" Today is the day I will have a creative thought and turn that into a blog. Unfortunately, it has been 4 months and that hasn't happened so I'm no longer waiting for creative inspiration. I've decided to attack my writing like the exercise I never want to do but keep making myself. If I keep getting on that treadmill or doing Pilates I always feel a sense of accomplishment even if I mentally complaint the whole time.  And I think my blog deserves the same attention because creativity is as instrumental to health and wellness as exercise is, isn't it?

So I'm back.  Why have I been away?  Honestly, it has been because of a tension between what I think about writing and how much of myself I should continue to put out there for "public" consumption.  Because, really, it isn't just me I'm putting out there.  It is the people in my life who love and care about me.  I can't really tell stories that only affect me because my life is richer than that.  So when do you know what to say and what not to say?

Beyond that, the past few months have been challenging.  I've been faced with loss, grief, happiness, big life decisions, travel, work... the list, like yours, goes on and on.  But really I think it boils down to the fundamental question I just posed - how much can/should I share?

I don't know how I will come to a conclusion on that question without starting to write again.  So I'm back. I've missed you.  Have you missed me too?

Monday, June 3, 2013

What Do You Want to Be?

Always looking for blog inspiration, I never expected it to come from a video shot at our recent PEAK conference.  But John is right.  At a certain age, we do stop asking ourselves what we want to be.  I've been spending a lot of time trying to answer this question for myself and know I will do more exploration as I begin My Desire Map in the coming weeks.  But for now...

I want to be trusted.  I want to be loved and accepted.  I want to be patient and kind.

I want to be a good friend, daughter, sister and aunt.

I want to be paid for what I am passionate about (thankfully, I already am).

I want to honor those who have paved the way for me.  I want to help those who are in need - human and canine.

I want to be called Mom.  I want to grow old with Todd.

That's what I want to be.  I doubt this will change but I'm glad John posed the question so I could contemplate my answers.

What do you want to be?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hooker Heels

Last weekend I went to see Spank a play that spoofs 50 Shades of Grey.  If you haven't seen it but have read the books, get tickets.  It is hilarious!  Since it was a GNO, I decided to up my usual weekend game and donned my BCBG black patent peep toe stiletto Mary Jane's.

Upon arriving at my girlfriend Edie's house, her husband exclaimed "Melissa, nice hooker heels!"  Now I realize he was giving me a huge compliment but his statement certainly gave me pause.  Are they really inappropriate?  After all, I wear these to the office!  And what about the other stilettos in my closet?

(OK, so the last ones are pretty bad.  They are going because I almost maimed myself walking through Georgetown in them.)

But the others, are they appropriate for daytime at a meeting or am I completely off?  Mind you, I'll keep wearing them because I love them but I am curious about your opinions...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Time to Stock Up...

The fashion world listened when Sarah Jessica Parker said she can only wear stilettos on the red carpet now due to years of running around in them and the damage they have caused her feet.  So it is time to put our sky high heels aside and embrace this spring's trend for our feet - the Kitten heel!  Yep, 1 to 2 inch heels are the perfect height for spring fashion and that's awesome for our comfort level.  Unfortunately it isn't awesome for my wallet because at last count I have only a few pair that fit the bill.  Thank goodness stacked heels and wedges are in too!

Ralph Lauren chocolate brown suede I found unworned at my favorite consignment store, Chic Envy.

Golden mustard ankle-wrapped low heels by Nicole Miller.  Perfect for spring!

Comfy and cute neutrals from Dana Buchman,  I have them in black too!

You can't beat these Charles David wedges for summer.

These Dana Buchman's are the perfect height for this season.

But you know the above just can't get me through spring and summer so, it looks like it is time to go shopping!  

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Tribute to Grandaddy

Good Morning.  I am Bud’s Granddaughter Melissa.  Well, to him, I am Messy.   On behalf of our family, I want to thank you for all the love, support and prayers you have given us during this difficult time.  Your presence here today is a testament to who Grandaddy was.

I promise I won’t take too long because we all know that Grandaddy would want to move  this along to get to the main event – the Famous Dave’s BBQ waiting for us downstairs. 

But I have to be honest that I struggled to write this tribute.  You all knew him so you know how incredible he was.  How can I put into words all that he means to me, to all of you?  This in no way encompasses everything about him but it is my small attempt to honor him.  I hope he will be proud.

A couple of months ago, I was at a meeting and was asked who I admire most in the world.  What a no-brainer because I admire Grandaddy.  When asked why, 4 words came to mind:  Service, Generosity, Humor and Love.

When he was 17, Grandaddy joined the United States Navy serving his country as a Radioman 3rd class during World War II.  Later, he joined the Washington DC Metropolitan police department.  After 25 years he retired as a sergeant from serving the city in which he was born.

This church was one of the biggest parts of Grandaddy’s life.  He loved the community within it.  He did everything around here – set up for mass, painted the rectory, counted the offerings, read at mass, was a Eucharistic minister.  He was dedicated to this church and to his faith.  As a matter of fact, I called him St. Francis sometimes.  When the new pope was named, Grandaddy told me the pope called him to ask if he could use his name.  Of course, Grandaddy said yes.  So we now have Pope Francis.  One of the things I will miss most is sitting in the 4th pew with Joan and Grandaddy and hearing him sing during mass.  Over the past year, each time I heard his voice, I would thank God and pray I never forget the sound.  He was so strong in his faith and truly believed he was going to a better place. 

When I was in kindergarten, Santa came to visit us.  I sat on his knee and told him what I wanted for Christmas.  Years later, I learned that Santa was actually Grandaddy.  Now the fact that he always walked into my parents house saying ho, ho, ho and that my brother Jay was his elf should have been my first two clues but how could I know the difference?  As generous as Grandaddy was, of course I would mistake him for Santa.  All of us would.

He not only gave to this church but he gave to the many charities in which he believed.  But it was his family who received the bulk of his generosity.  Need a car? Grandaddy was getting a new one anyway so here you go.  Need a room painted or a leaky pipe looked at?  Grandaddy would be right there.  Your car caught fire at the inspection station?  No worries, Grandaddy would give you a ride to the mechanic.  And yes, that happened to me and no, it wasn’t a car Grandaddy had given me.

And he was hilarious.  Hilarious but mischievous.  When we were kids, I remember him hiding behind clothes racks at Hecht’s and jumping out to spray my brother with ladies perfume.  Wow, did they smell!  And he would tell stories about when he was in the Navy but sometimes you wouldn’t get the ending because he would get that twinkle in his eye and say, “no, better keep that one to myself”.  And he loved to talk about his trips to Myrtle Beach – particularly the one when bike week happened.  He said there were lots of fights and bikes.  Actually, the last thing he said to my boyfriend Todd on Easter was, when you get back from vacation; drive that motorcycle over so you can take me for a ride.  But make sure you are careful when my granddaughter is on the back!

Grandaddy loved life.  He loved going to the horse races and card games with his buddies Charlie, John and others.  He loved animals – Spot, the beagle he had when I was a kid, Pretty Boy, Uncle Johnny’s bird, my pups Stella and Sophie and Honey, the dog Joan brought into his life.  He loved Honey so much he would floss her teeth.  And he loved to eat his evening ice cream with her.  Joan spoiled them both. 

Grandaddy loved the water – going crabbing, body surfing, and riding a big tube behind a motor boat.  As one of Joan’s son-in-laws shared with me – they had an outing on the water one day and had to ask Grandaddy to get out of the raft so the kids could have a chance to ride. 

And Grandaddy loved food.  Not only to eat it but to prepare it.  He made the best homemade crab cakes, French fries, and chicken soup.  I remember going to the Chesapeake Bay Seafood house as a kid and watching him eat his weight in all you can eat crab legs.  And later, we would go to the Drift Inn where he and my mom could pick crabs for hours. And never get between him and his hot dogs with mustard and onions on 4th of July!  Joan can tell you cooking for him was one of her great joys because he just loved to eat.  Of course, she kept him healthy so when we would go to IHOP after church he would ask for 2 orders of crispy bacon since he didn’t have that at home.  And she never said a word. I will miss making his favorite pie – mince meat – this Christmas.

But what granddaddy loved more than anything was… us.  He was devoted to Anne, Grammie, and cared for her until her last days with us.  He never complained – not one time.  She was his first angel and they taught us what the word commitment means – in sickness and in health; for better or for worse.

He loved taking care of his kids.  My mom, Grace, my late uncle Johnny, Aunt Mary and my dad.  There was nothing they needed that he wouldn’t do.  When dad went to Vietnam,  mom had to move back home.  She told  granddaddy she was in labor one day and, after showering and shaving, he took her to the hospital and waited for Jay to be born.  Now I know mom could have done without waiting for him to primp but… he did get her there in time.

And he was a great grandfather.  He adored Grayson, Tyler, Sam and Ben.  He was so proud of each of you.  And I know you loved him just as much.  And that pride extended to Joan’s grandkids as well.

When Grammie passed away 9 years ago, despite the fact that Uncle Johnny lived with him, we wondered how Grandaddy would move on.  And as Joan says that is when her Frank and Bud’s Ann got together in Heaven and told the Lord it was time to bring these two crazy kids together.  And so one day, on the steps of this church, Grandaddy asked Joan on a date.  Less than 6 months later they were married.  Joan, if it weren’t for you and your dedication to Grandaddy, I know we would have lost him years ago. It is because of you that we were able to enjoy these last years with him.   He loved the simply silly fun you had together each day. Thank you for the gift you have been to us. And thank you for again teaching us what the words in sickness and in health truly mean.

And so Grandaddy was given his second angel, Joan.  And with her came a big family.  He loved each of you as if you were his own.  He was so proud of all that you are.  Thank you for loving him back.
And then there were his grandkids, me and Jay.  I cannot describe the feeling that comes over me when I think of Grandaddy.  Quite frankly, he hung the moon.  I’m not sure how Christmas will come this year – I’ve never known one without him  - He is my Santa Claus.  He spoiled me rotten and made me laugh.  He is one of the greatest men I have ever known. 

I’m lucky, you know?  The last thing my grandfather said to me, was “I love you, Baby”.  I will always have that.  And he loved each of you.  His country, his community, his family and God.  That is who my grandfather was.  A man of service, generosity, love and humor.  And the most beautiful baby blue eyes you have ever seen, which he thankfully passed on to me.

My grandfather died a happy man, a blessed man.  And I hate to lose him.  But I know he is here, with each of us.  How do I know that?  Because he taught me faith.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Funny? Adventuresome?

I'm not adventuresome   I know I seem that way judging by my footwear but I'm really not.  I'm not a risk-taker and suffer from chronic worrying - a trait I inherited from my maternal grandmother.  And I am plagued by this fact.  Yesterday, in our Innovations Team meeting at work, we were asking to name a truth about ourselves and something we wished was true and I responded, "funny and adventuresome."  I think you know which is fact and which is wish already.

So I am vowing to change that. The real reason?  I think my life is too cocooned.  I have work, work, work, boyfriend, pups, friends, family, reading, TV and work. Quite frankly, I am so blessed but I feel like I should be doing more.  So I have officially become a volunteer with the French Bulldog Rescue Network.  And last night I was elected Secretary to my Homeowners Association Board of Directors.  I can't tell you how hard it was to apply for both opportunities due to my fear of rejection but I did it and am now thrilled to be developing new relationships that are mission based.  I'm even going to try Bikram Yoga with some girlfriends although I am desperately afraid of the heat and can feel the panic rising just thinking about it.

And next week, in St. Thomas, I will take a boat to St. John even though I'm afraid of the water.  If not, Todd and I could miss out on a beautiful day and I can't let that happen.

So none of this may seem adventuresome to you but it sure feels that way to me. So what is true about you and what do you wish was true?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pretty in Pink

I am not a sneaker wearer by nature.  I mean, I wear them for working out, but I'm not a fan of jeans with your workout sneakers.  Now a pair of cute Pumas, that's a different story.  But last weekend I had to concede that my feet needed some TLC.

I was preparing Easter dinner for my family and didn't anticipate I'd be standing in my kitchen for 6 hours.  My feet and back were ACHING and the next morning, as we were dressing to take all the food to Mom's house, I had no choice.  Yep, I donned jeans and my new hot pink Asics.

I love Asics.  They are my go-to workout shoe.  They are so comfy and I can always find them on clearance at DSW.  So when my niece and I saw these two weeks ago, I had to get them.  Especially since I had a merchandise credit so they would be free!  And I have to admit, I'm still not a fan of jeans with workout sneakers but these beauties certainly did brighten up the kitchen!

And from now on, I won't judge people who are sporting this look.  Maybe they spent 6 hours the night before cooking too!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I Have Enough Shoes?!?

This morning I was in my closet picking out my clothes for the day and suddenly a realization hit me like a thunderbolt... I have enough shoes. Now I know enough is a relative term and some might say I have more than enough. But I think I simply have, well, enough.

And you should know I have been downsizing. In the past few months I have purged clothing and shoes alike. Purple Heart and Vietnam Vets of America have certainly benefited.  But I also benefited as I took advantage of consigning for the first time. Chic Envy - a fabulous shop - opened a location less than a mile from my house.You can consign 20 items at a time and I couldn't believe they chose 16 of mine. Including some shoes that I just don't wear anymore even though they are still fabulous:

Tahari Ivory/Black Patent

Via Spiga Camel Patent with Ivory Piping

Calvin Klein Micro-Suede Strappy Sandal

It's not that I don't love each of these it's just that I don't wear them so why shouldn't someone else enjoy them (and I'll enjoy the 50/50 split!)? So yes, I think I have enough. I know T is worried that this purge means there will be a later surge but I don't think so. I think I'll just live with what I have for a while. Unless of course something REALLY special catches my eye ;).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It's a Sign

I don't have any hobbies. Well, unless you count shopping, napping and drinking wine (which I know my gal pal Luanne totally counts!). Oh, and I watch TV and read.  But I don't have hobbies. Like my guy - he golfs, he drag races, he works on cars. I mean, I've scrap booked a few times but that can hardly be called a hobby since I need a cocktail just to get through a session (Every year I make T a homemade Christmas gift. Who knew this was the gift that keeps on giving?!).

So we've been talking about a hobby we can do together and I came up with hiking. Now I have no idea whether or not I will like hiding - especially since I don't like heat or bugs - but I said I'd be willing to give it a try.  We haven't yet but I've got a girls' trip next weekend that may involve hiking if the weather cooperates.

I have a credit at DSW so popped in to see what was available.  And I found this (kinda cute but very comfy) pair of J-41 Trail Blazer sneakers.  On clearance.  And with my rewards certificates they only cost $2.06.  Yep, you read that correctly.

So it's a sign right?  God and/or Mother Nature is telling me I should try hiking.  And if I hate it, I'm only out 2 bucks.  But with these awesome shoes I'll love it, right?  I mean, how can I not?  Especially with a bunch of hysterical girlfriends who believe our reward should be wine, vodka and the like?

Now what hobby do you have?  I've ruled out stamp collecting but am always looking for something new!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

These Old Things?!

Last year (it seems so weird to write that!), I had the privilege and honor of being the Social Media Host at our Annual Meeting in Denver.  By the end of the week I was even promoted to Maven!  This meant being on stage at our general session each day and asking our members to tweet, text and Facebook about their experiences at the conference.  Oh, and I was talking in front of a few thousand of my closest (not really) friends.

One of the highlights of the experience - and there were many - was when I read a message from one of my Academy classmates.  She talked about good friends, making the most of the week and even going home with a new pair of shoes.  Of course I commented I hoped I could go shoe shopping too so my chair, who was on stage with me, pointed at my black patent leather Calvin Klein Mary Janes with the red tortoise shell embellishment and said, "those?"  And I replied, "these old things?!"  (yep, the crowd even laughed!)

And, quite literally, they have been in my closet for a few years.  I wore them when I finished the Leadership Academy experience in 2010 and they are my excuse to wear a red dress and feel sassy and confident in front friends, colleagues and complete strangers.  These old favorites never let me down!