fashion

5 Best Nude Sandals for Summer!

The benefits of nude color shoes are numerous. While they can be worn with any color you might wear, they are also masters of misdirection! Wearing a nude shoe can make short legs (like mine) appear longer and therefore, leaner, and long legs appear even longer. Of course a good heel can also help a girl out by lifting the tush, creating longer, leaner legs, and giving us some inches so we are taller. So my favorite nude shoes for summer are all of various heel heights, (even some barely a heel for those who don’t like heels). While I do not own all five, I am only selecting ones I have tried and really liked and that felt comfortable, (and where to buy them). Because, after all, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the shoe is if we can’t last an hour in them!

5. Louise et Cie – Karisa Ankle Strap Sandal $100

louise et cie karisa ankle cuff sandal
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This beautiful sandal features a higher ankle strap balanced out by the open toe. The strap over the toes is nice and wide so your toes remain secure, (no weird pinky toe sticking out in the wrong places!) And the strap shape allows for comfort, no cutting into your toes and it shows of your pretty pedicure! It is about a 2.5 inch, wrapped stacked heel for maximum comfort. The best part about this shoe is that is comes in the matte (shown) and a nude patent as well! So super cute, and at $100, I loved this sandal, even the ankle strap, but if you have large ankles or no ankle, I have some better options!

4. Splendid – Justin T-Strap Thong Demi Wedge Sandal $78

splendid justin wedge sandal 79
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Who doesn’t love the everyday comfort of a cushy t-strap sandal? This one is a great brand at a great price. Splendid is known for its comfortable pieces made if great materials that really hold up. This shoe is no exception. It is super comfortable and the slight wedge heel (1.75 in) and minimal straps means legs will look long and lean whether your ankles are slim or not. These sandals will look excellent with a little sun dress or paired with wide leg crops. The ankle strap has a bit of elastic for added comfort. I highly recommend these!

 

 

3. Vince Camuto – Fauna Sandal $119

vince camuto fauna sandal
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I personally love a tie up sandal! This is a style that I have really loved. Free People has been doing tie up shoes for years now and I was thrilled when it became a popular style. This particular pair is, of course, comfortable, featuring a 2.25 in heel. The tie is light and thin enough that it doesn’t dig into the skin, (like some shoelace ones do), but also textured so that they aren’t loosening up all day as well as finished at the end so the string doesn’t fray. They are a higher rise on the ankle but have a large opening for the heel and minimum constriction. Great buy from Vince Camuto!

 

2. Ann Taylor LOFT – Cutout Wedge Sandal $90

loft
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Nothing says summer quite like a perforated shoe. This particular shoe was love at first sight. I love the perforated detail, but not too big that the leather will suffer or weaken. The round buckle perfectly compliments the feminine beauty of this shoe. The wedge is 3 inches high to give a nice lift. But since it is a wedge, the shoe remains comfortable and easy to walk in. This shoe would look wonderful with anything you would wear, especially a feminine sundress. But the feminine details of the shoe would also bring femininity to a basic shift dress or slip dress.

 

1. Free People – Under Wraps Sandal $68

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This sandal is not so much a light nude color. it does come in a white gold which is a very neutral color, but I am so in love with these sandals I needed to feature them. They do come from one of my favorite brands so I know I will be fully satisfied with them. But I also love how unique they are. T-strap on the foot makes for an interesting line that goes into the ankle strap. But the front of the ankle is left exposed to allow for a clean line down the foot making the legs appear longer despite the lack of a heel on these. They are also an excellent price for a nice pair of leather sandals. They have a bit of elastic that allows them to be easily pulled on and comfortable.

 

All five of these sandals are comfortable and totally on trend for the season. Nude shoes are one of the essentials every woman should have in her closet. The five I picked or amongst my favorites of all I have seen available at a reasonable price. There are many many more that I love that are more that $150… If you want those recommendations I would be happy to supply them! But for an everyday shoe, these are my favorite five that will hold up and be comfortable.

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Questioning “Enough”

Just the other day I was driving in my car listening to the radio and The Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden” came on. I have grown up hearing this song and am very familiar with it and the lyrics. But for some reason, this time I heard it the lyrics really spoke to me. Much of the song is questioning “Am I rich enough? Am I strong enough? Am I rough enough?” He asks questions like this several times and it was really making me think.

So, not to launch into some rant about self-esteem and ‘everybody is equal and wonderful,’ I did want to comment on this. Many songs, books, poems, and pictures are focused on whether or not one has reached this threshold of “enough.” What is enough anyways? And how has this term come to be how we judge and base ourselves? Why are we constantly wondering if we are enough?

Enough – the English dictionary defines it first as a determiner and pronoun with the definition, “as much or as many as required.” In my opinion, there are several issues with using this word as a self determiner with this definition. First, this definition implies that there are indeed “requirements.” That is fine if you are discussing whether you have enough units to graduate this semester. But when applying it as a self determiner, you are saying that there is a requirement for how thin, rich, strong, rough, etc. you are. While there are guidelines, there is no such requirement for these.

enough

So, enough, we use it thoughtlessly to self determine value, appeal and worth. But I think this is a problem. This constant struggle to be something we aren’t currently leads me to question whether using terms like “enough” so thoughtlessly is to blame. With social media, (I have talked about my feelings about this in past posts), we are constantly bombarded by pictures of people who we have chosen to look up to, idolize, or become obsessed with. I follow several fitstagram people and I will admit that sometimes I judge myself with their bodies as the standard. This can also happen with feeling someone on social media has more shoes, a better social calendar, goes to more concerts, or travels more. We look at ourselves in relation to this person and use that self determining word “enough” to decide whether we are worst, just as good or better than the other person.

In the process of judging ourselves we are also judging the person we are comparing ourselves to. And then we do this over and over and over again. So much so that we begin to break down your self-esteem and feel insignificant. Because, regardless of who you are, there is always somebody who has more of something that you do. You may hold 100% of Apple’s shares and will never have to work or consider money again, but there is likely someone out there who has more of something that you desire than you do.

This process of determining our enough-ness breaks down our self-esteem and any ability we have to truly be appreciative. It also hard wires us to constantly be comparing ourselves and others and then making determinations and judgements based on those comparisons, regardless of whether they are fair or equal. 

What should be done about this? Well, I would call for the elimination of enough from self determining vocabulary. I will not wonder if I am enough in anyway, instead I will view myself (perferably objectively) and ask myself if I am happy with how I am  and if not, how I can work on improving myself so that I can be happy with how I am. Removing enough from our vocabulary may lead to less harsh judgements on ourselves and the feeling like we can’t measure up so we can lead happier lives. 

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Met Gala Fashion Review

I am sure you have heard that the Met Gala was on May 1st, the first Monday of May. It has been the talk of fashion magazines around the world in the few days since the event as pictures are published online and through social media. From very demure gowns to outrageous fashion statements, the Gala brings them all out in celebration of fashion. 

The Met Gala is something I have always admired and would like to attend. Hopefully, someday I will have the opportunity. I don’t think I would go bold with my choices though, mostly because I am not that bold with my choices in general… but there is a point to be fashionable and flawless at the Gala. Since I didn’t have the pleasure of attending, I thought it would be fun to discuss some of the looks we saw this year from our favorite designers and celebrities.

My absolute favorite look is a sheer black custom Thai Nguyen Atelier gown worn by La La Anthony. The gown features what appears as a expanding cracked design done in delicate bead work. According to interviews and her Instagram, the dress served to make a statement about her strength in light of her recent breakup with basketball star Carmelo Anthony. She captioned her photo on Instagram with “Unbreakable” fitting with her recent breakup and the cracked look of the dress itself. The gown perfectly showed off her amazing figure. Anthony complimented her look with nude lipstick and a subtle smokey eye. Certainly a powerful look.

la la anthony in custom thai nguyen atelier.jpg
La La Anthony in custom Thai Nguyen Atelier
If you were unaware, every year the Met Gala has a theme that the guests are encouraged to dress within highlighting the exhibit that will be launched. This year, the Gala celebrated the opening of the Costume Institute’s exhibition, “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.” This is the first exhibit that the Met has featured a living artist since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibit in 1983.

Rihanna stole the show with her three dimensional floral ensemble by Comme des Garçons. Of course she is known for her unique fashion choices and she regularly garners attention for her outfits… but I wasn’t a fan of this personally. However, I understand that this is the keynote designer and she is showcasing her new jewelry line with Chopard.

rihanna in a comme des garcons dress and rihanna loves chopard jewelry and dsquared2 shoes.jpg
Rihanna in Comme des Garcons, Rihanna Loves Chopard jewelry and desquared2 shoes
There are a few more pictures of my favorite looks at the Met Gala. Which ones were your favorites?

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All photos pulled from Vogue online slideshow.

inspiration, thoughts, Uncategorized

You and Success

I had the pleasure of attending a training for Junior League of Riverside this afternoon where the illustrious Vicki Clark spoke to us about organization and how to see projects through to fruition. Although I learned a great deal that will lead to successful futures for League members, I found what she had to say about Leadership and Success to be extremely advantageous. She spoke about how to view success through alternate perspectives and touched on how media is training us to view success in certain ways – for instance, basing success on money and possessions.

So, what should we base our successes on? Is success really something that can be represented by the amount of money in a bank account? The designer labels we wear on our backs? Our shoes, purses, and what shopping bags we carry around when we are at the mall? Social media has opened up a new world for the younger generations and it has caused us to be hyper aware of our “successes.” There are countless studies about how people who post everything on social media are likely sociopaths. But, does this mean that everyone who posts on social media feels this?

Personally, I post random things on my social media. I don’t plan posts and I don’t post an overwhelming amount of selfies. However, when I have a great workout or I am spending an awesome day at Fashion Island, I like to post those things. In other words, I suppose I am saying that my social media profiles are more representative of what is contributing to my happiness or what I am doing while happy.

Bringing this back to the question of what is success… For me, success is the ability to do things. I feel successful when I can spend a day reading, at the mall, the beach or Disneyland. These things remind me of the quality of life I am working for. Although we all struggle from time to time, I am happy that I have generally been in a decent position for someone my age. Yes, I struggle with the repercussions of poor financial decisions in the youth,  but I have made sure that I have the means to continue to grow and become more successful.

So what is success? I suppose, I think of successes as the crossing of goals off my list. I would like to get back to Europe and see countries I have yet to visit. If I come to a place in my life where that would be feasible, that would be a success for me. Marriage, having children – those things would be successes as well. Growing in my professional career, completing my first text, publishing, making friends, all of those things would be successes for me. But keeping that in mind, I have to remember that certain success comes with time and experience. We can’t all be a Kardashian or a young pop star. Success usually comes from working hard and putting in the time to gain the experience and the knowledge that is necessary to grow within ourselves. This might even mean that our goals, and therefore, our eventual successes will adapt to our growth. And that, to me, is a success in of itself. That you can understand that you have grown and your desires have changed as well.

Yes, I wish I was rolling in money and could have everything I could possibly want and never have to think about whether I can afford to spend money. It would certainly make life easier not having to be concerned with bills and the cost of living. But, ultimately, where is the joy in that? If you can have everything you want, those things begin to lose their value. Success is ultimately a feeling. A feeling about how you are doing at this stage in your life. The people we follow on social media that help us to feel inadequate are just in a different stage of their lives, their careers, hobbies or values. We shouldn’t rely on other people, our bank accounts, cars or sneakers to determine whether or not we are successful. We should allow our personal feelings of success to guide us and help us to feel free enough to enjoy where we are currently. Focusing on how successful (or not) you will be in 5, 10, or 15 years inhibits you from enjoying any success you have attained now.

So, my advice: Be happy! Enjoy the ability to buy a latte today. The fact that you can go to dinner and a movie tonight. Not everyone has the ability to do the things we may take for granted. I can’t buy Gucci tennis shoes but I can buy Nikes. That is a success. And, if I do purchase Gucci tennis shoes someday, I will know that I worked hard and I attained many levels of success on my way to that. But the shoes won’t represent that success, the personal joy I had along the way doing the things I could do, will be representative of my success. 25_quotes_about_success_18

thoughts, Uncategorized

The Retail Race

Let me be clear – I am a shopaholic. Confessions of a Shopaholic? Yes, that brilliant idea visited me in my sleep before it jumped the pond and landed in Sophie Kinsella’s brain to be developed into the Shopaholic franchise. (I will discuss this more when I review Big Magic… once I finish reading it) And to fuel this addiction, I spent many a year in specialty women’s retail (fancy name for LOFT & Chico’s) … mostly for the discounts.

But, because I have spent many years in retail, I understand the game they play with us. I understand the trickle down effect fashion has on the retail industry. Point in case, Fashion Week shows us the newest and hottest trends about a year in advance. By the time our local stores get on the trends, it is almost a year later. What’s worse, their marketing campaigns serve to make women feel as if they need a brand new wardrobe every season! I don’t know about you, but I sure cannot afford that (although I shop as if I can).

I follow A LOT of fashion bloggers on Instagram because I admire their style and their fearless fashion sense. But I also believe that many of them are sporting sponsored duds. I cannot believe anyone purchases new clothing that much and then just wears it to take pictures. I mean, why buy something if you don’t intend to wear it numerous times? Why spend the time to find items you truly love?

But as I write that, I am reminded that I spent a great deal of money in high school and my early years of college purchasing items because I loved them in the moment but then never actually wore them, or wore them only once. I understand and again – I don’t do this anymore. Instead, I have developed a returning issue. Meaning, I return probably 10% of what I purchase on a regular basis. Usually 15-45 days after I purchased it. Hey! I really liked it! I just realized I don’t a) have the proper additional items to pull of the look b) hadn’t eaten any food when I purchased it and now, after eating breakfast, it looks terrible on me or c) it no longer speaks to me.

This is the part that probably truly betrays the depth of my addiction to shopping and clothing… the items speak to me! They say to me “Buy me,” “I will make you happy,” or “I will emphasise all those squats you have been doing.” And I fall into it every time! However, I have found a compromise for myself. I only buy items I love, I don’t rush out and wear them right away, and I utilize the Cluise app, (no this isn’t sponsored, I actually really use the app). Basically the app is a digital closet. It can assemble outfits for you based on weather and event, but I rarely use this feature. Instead, I take pics of everything I purchase, (and am slowly adding everything I currently own), and add them to my digital closet. Then I construct outfits with what I have. Honestly, I don’t generally stick to these outfits, (because I am not an outfit girl, I am a separates girl), but it really helps me see what I have and how the new pieces with incorporate into my current wardrobe. Bonus: I can “see” my closet when I am in a store debating whether or not to buy that super trendy piece. And that is my coping secret.

I have also made an effort to limit my shopping at places like Forever 21, Hollister Co. and Tilly’s. I have realized that I purchase the items at seemingly cheaper prices, just to find the items don’t last and really don’t look good after you wear them once. Of course, it is quick fashion and is meant to only satisfy the season’s trends. And that is great for many women. However, I have found that I can find better fitting and higher quality pieces on sale for the same or less than the items sold by stores such as Forever 21. Such retailers? Madewell – they don’t always have a sale, but they do sometimes. And when they do, (such as an additional percentage off sale items), I shop heavy. I also use my student ID because they offer 15% off for teachers and students all the time, on everything, (don’t quote me, they may exclude third party merchandise). So, top was $68, marked down to $50, additional 50% off that AND THEN an additional 15%? That top is now about $21… And the top at Forever 21? $28.80? No return and may self destruct after first wear? No thank you!

Being a more full-figured woman, (a healthy 12/14, L/XL), fit and quality really matters to me. But I am also basically skating by financially so I really don’t have the room to purchase things at full price. So I try and do my due diligence and follow sales. For instance, Ann Taylor LOFT, (whom I worked for in the past), allows for price adjusting. When I began building my professional wardrobe, I did purchase some items at full or near full price. (Caveat, if you do shop there regularly, you really should have the credit card. Rewards system is fan-freaking-tastic!) So, I watched for when the items went on 40%. Sure enough, they did.I went and price adjusted. (My sister and her boyfriend went with me and had a cow… It was a process) In the end, I ended picking up double what I purchased initially AND I walked out with $1.25 in my pocket! I had a $300 budget and I ended up with nearly 1k in merchandise at ticket value. I should say, I used Cash Cards as well, and that helped quite a bit. But moral of the story, if you do your due diligence, you can really win and make out like a bandit.

Anyways, the point of all this. I think retailers put too much pressure on women to buy new things and to buy them immediately. Obviously, they have sales goals every single day that compound into month, quarterly and annual goals – I get that. But so do we. We have school, new tires, kid’s baseball fees, whatever it may be that we need to prepare for as well. And, I will admit that seeing women with their brand new Chanel, Louis Vuittons and Hermes bags on Instagram sometimes makes me feel inadequate. But, that is okay! I am so thrilled that those bloggers have reached that level of success. But I have reached my own level of success and you have to! So be proud of it and rock your new and old wardrobe staples and show the world that you are feeling good in your duds! And please, be smart about your shopping. The retailers give you the tools, you just need to use them!

In case you are curious, or follow my Instagram, I frequent Ann Taylor LOFT, Madewell, Free People (generally sale online), Banana Republic (by far the best credit rewards system I have seen) and JJill. 

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Human Traffiking

Human Trafficking is a huge topic amongst countries and world leaders as well as police and regulatory organizations. On the surface, it is common sentiment that trafficking of men, women and children is inherently bad. But when the topic is broken down, it becomes clear that there lacks a common moral ground on every social level.

I had the pleasure of hearing a speech on the topic by Jeremy Vallerand, CEO and President of Rescue: Freedom International. The goal of the non-profit is to “empower the rescue and restoration of those suffering in sexual slavery.” This is an excellent goal, however, it is also quite broad. In his speech, he discussed a multitude of facets including pornography. It is here that I would like to focus this post on.

Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry. Yes, I could throw some numbers at you in order to incorporate that shock factor so many of these presentations incorporate. But I find I tire of context-less numbers thrown at me. I want to know the nitty gritty, I want to understand on a personal level. That doesn’t mean I need to experience it, but I do want to be able to grasp the ideas and magnitude of the issue.

On the other hand. I also want to make a difference. But there are thousands of people trafficked every single day. It seems like a loosing battle to fight, but I have to believe there is a way to insight change – to save women, children and men from becoming trafficked across the globe.

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Dreaming out Loud

I recently came across a travel blog written by a flight attendant, or whatever the politically correct terminology is now… She catalogs all of her travels, where she goes, what she does, what she eats and what she thinks of those places she travels to.

I thought this was an intriguing career path and one that I, with a serious case of wanderlust, would be interested in. However, just this past year I was a passenger on an airplane to Philadelphia, PA that experienced extreme turbulence. As a result, (and after hearing the flight attendants yelping), I quickly decided that a that career path was not for me.

I traveled to Pennsylvania for a journalism conference and I have greatly enjoyed it. This particular conference was made up predominantly of professionals in writing, publishing, design, and management. This was an interesting group for a group of university students to be immersed in. I was thrilled at how receptive the attendees were and how willing they were to sit and talk with us about our future aspirations and how we believed their businesses could be a part of our journey.