Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Search For Pretty, Comfy Shoes

I have no idea how I used to go to work everyday in heels when I was in my 20s. Maybe it's because the heels then were thick and chunky, maybe my feet got worn down with two pregnancies, or maybe I was just younger then!

Anyway, it seems like no shoes with a non-wedge heel more than two inches is comfortable nowadays. But there are occasions when I don't want to show up in Dansko Mary Janes (even though they are cute!).

Since I've been going to conferences several times a year -- and these events require me to both be on my feet much of the day and also look professions -- I think I need to search for some new shoes.

I had a pair of Cole Haan Air Tali patent leather wedges, but even though the wedge heel was very low, they didn't stretch with my feet and very really painful. I ended up donating them, after walking around the French Quarter barefoot -- these were so uncomfortable.

Cole Haan is still one of my favorite brands for dressy shoes that are also easy on the feet. The particular Air Tali style I had (with a patent covered wedge) has been discontinued. Zappos still sells a newer version, but they mostly have cork or wood heels and the leather doesn't look as nice. However, that doesn't stop me from coveting a pair in nude or the tan snakeskin.

Cole Haan Air Tali wedge, $168 at

I bought a pair of higher heeled Cole Haan pumps last summer, but decided the events I've been going to involve too much walking, and have yet to wear them.

Recently, I discovered the brand Corso Como, whose shoes are also supposed to be designed with comfort in mind. I bought a pair of their boots last fall (they were $100 at Costco), and while they did feel great on my feet, my husband notice they didn't fit my calves right, and so were returned.

I'm eyeing a pair of their nude patent leather pumps now:

 Craven pumps, $129 at the Corso Como website. 

These choices are more expensive than I generally like to pay for shoes, although I did see some similar Corso Como styles at Nordstrom Rack, although I didn't stop to try them on.

However, I'll say that I've learned that shoe shopping is one situation in which it is totally worth it to buy exactly the size and style that fits you and that you like. A good deal on ill-fitting footwear is no bargain.

What do you think? Have you tried Corso Como? What are the brands you like for polished looking shoes that don't hurt your feet? 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Somewhere, someone is laughing

A few days ago, I received a phone call from my credit card company, asking me to verify a purchase made from a direct marketing company in Europe on my Visa account. Nope, didn't make any purchases like that.

The credit card company blocked the charged and cancelled my account number, and a new card would be issued in a few days, so all in all, it wasn't too big of a deal.

Then, today. Cyber Wednesday... or whatever we now call the day before Thanksgiving. My email box and Facebook page have been filled with coupons and offers promising percentages off and nice treats for buying stuff -- mostly for myself.

One I could refuse, from Shu Uemura, a Japanese makeup brand that doesn't sell in the United States anymore. This is the maker of some of my favorite products, such as the only eyebrow pencil Asian women should ever use and a foundation stick that covers up sun damage without looking like spackle. So of course, it was time to re-stock.

I got all the way to the checkout, typed in my code, and chose my samples... only to find out... they don't accept American Express.

Somewhere, someone is laughing. And it isn't me.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What I'm Packing to the DNC

Tomorrow morning, I'll be on a plane to Charlotte, North Carolina to cover the Democratic National Convention for BlogHer. I have many other things to do right now... but let's just call this stress blogging, okay?

I like to lay out all my clothes before I start putting anything in the suitcase. And since this is the South, and it's still nearly 90 degrees and humid outside, I'm mainly packing dresses and skirts. To make shoes and sweaters (for those air conditioned conference halls) easier to coordinate, I picked a color theme: blue, red and orange. I feel kind of weird wearing a red dress to a Democratic convention, but the color red has always made me feel happy and alive, so I'm going with it. It's an Asian thing...

These coral Dansko sandals were part of the motivation behind the color scheme. With a mile of walking between the convention center and the Time Warner arena, I need foot friendly shoes. I ordered the bronze Worishofer sandals recently, after my old black and white Worishofers literally fell apart during BlogHer '12.

Admittedly, I've been picking up a few new clothes over the past few weeks, thinking, "That would be great to wear at the convention!"

Like this fabulous turquoise Vince Camuto dress on sale for $30. But then I thought about the Trina Turk silk blouse that got damaged while carrying a heavy camera and laptop bag on my shoulder during another trip, and decided to leave it at home. It's very flattering, and I'm sure I'll find a use for it sometime...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

So I kind of want to blog about shopping again...

I know.

Like I really need to write more blog posts!

But there's something very appealing to me about clothes, shoes, and beauty. And balancing the appreciation of beautiful things, sartorial expression, and being a mindful consumer.

So keep checking back. I'm not done yet...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Find Me at HapaMama or BlogHer

Well, hello there!

You may have landed on this page from one of my comments on a blogger or site. It seems those platforms always reject my Gravatar and other logins, so I use my Google account, which takes you here.

My Year (Almost) Without Shopping is over. But you can still find me writing about Asian mixed-race families and fusion food at HapaMama, and about general race and news over at BlogHer.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Epilogue: The End of the Year (Almost) Without Shopping

January 1, 2012 has come and gone I didn't run out to the mall New Year's Day, mostly because we had an all day drive home after spending the holidays with the in-laws. And you know what? I'm okay with that.

We took a long drive up the coast on Highway 101, stopping by Mission Santa Barbara to help my fourth grader get some ideas for his California history project, had lunch with my husband's cousin, and stopped at one of our favorite wineries.

I've already bought the big purchase for which I've been saving, which is...

Canon 7D from B&H Photo

Ta da! A new camera that I have been wanting for a very long time, but was convinced I could not afford. At the end of December, I also decided that it was time to upgrade my cranky computer, which has led me to wonder whether I'm just displacing my clothes-obsession with a tech-obsession, but I think they are different. The gear is all equipment I've been pondering for some time, that will help me be able to work better and more efficiently (I hope!) in my career path of writing, blogging and photography. Aside from being a vocation, it is also an avocation -- something which gives me a tremendous sense of fulfillment.

I did eventually make it to the mall. Twice, in fact. The first day, I grabbed an armful of clothes at Banana Republic and was completely overwhelmed by the choices (shiny, pretty colors!). There was one thing I kept thinking about. In fact, I went home and put in my cart on the BR website. Then I slept on it. In the morning, it was sold out. So I went back to the mall. If it was meant to be...

Red dress

And it was.

Um, I liked it so much I bought the gray one, too. It was on sale.

In all seriousness, I think I'm going to need to take my return to shopping slowly. Also, I don't think I need that much. My plan is to buy things seasonally, instead of here and there (and everywhere). And if you're reading this and you think either thankful that you don't need/want to ever have to give up shopping... or you have that little nagging voice that thinks maybe you could do this too... you never know what's possible until you try. My fellow BlogHer Morra  Aarons Mele is embarking on a year without shopping (for clothes or cosmetics!) -- for the second time.

For now, I want to thank you all for your support, encouragement, and sharing with me stories about your own relationship to shopping and clothes. There were moments when I cringed and thought, "Did I really write that? On the Internet? For everyone to see? Even people I know?" Yes, yes, and yes. Because I think that if you really want to make a change in your life -- whatever it is -- you need to be honest with yourself, let other people know, and accept their help and praise and be prepared for criticism. It's been an incredible year, and no one is more surprised at what I've been able to accomplish as I am.

So now what? I created this blog on a complete whim, and named it A Year (Almost) Without Shopping because:

  • A Year Without Shopping was already taken
  • I wanted to give myself a little leeway the (almost) part
  • and I wanted to chronicle my 365 day journey.
This past year has been a significant turning point in my life, but the journey's not over. But I named the blog A YEAR (Almost) Without Shopping, not TWO YEARS or a DECADE or a LIFETIME. Should I continue writing here? Would that be weird? I'll probably keep stopping by here once in a while. At least until I get my bearings. 

Until next time...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

One More Week!


Calendar, by Daphne Cholet on Flickr

Merry Christmas and Happy Everything!

It is hard for me to believe that it's almost one full year since I set out to do this no-shopping thing. What's even harder to believe is that after the first few months, it really wasn't as formidable as I thought it would be. What I didn't expect to have such a hard time with was paring down my closet. There's so much stuff in there, some of it was just stuff. I must have taken four bags of clothing to the local shelter this fall, including my favorite Aran cardigan that I accidentally shrunk in the wash (right after I started this clothing diet).

Shopping for gifts over the past month has been full of challenges. There were many trips to the mall under the auspices of finding a shirt for my husband or a present for my mom... which would somehow lead me to take a peek at my department "just to see what's there". There were shiny tops for holiday parties, beautiful boots without nary a scuff, and snuggly sweaters. On more than one occasion, I thought, "It's December. Close enough."

But I'm a person who believes in the power of symbolism. The time and energy I've diverted away from shopping during the past twelve months has been tremendously fruitful for me -- in my career, in my spiritual life, and in my sense of self. I honestly don't think I would be the person I am today without this experience of separating myself from my clothing. And I want to see this thing to completion.

Having said that, I am also somewhat of a shabbier person than I was back in January. The right knee of one of my favorite jeans is being held together by a web of threads. I have gained more weight than I'd like to admit.

I almost put a trench coat in my shopping cart (electronically) today. Actually, I put it in. I just didn't proceed to checkout. I'd be lying if I said I'm not looking forward to New Year's Day like a starving person anticipating a buffet. But I've been to a few buffets in my day, and I've learned a few things about them. The anticipation is always better than the eating. You know, the rows and rows of roast beef, crab legs, sushi, dim sum. You can get bloated and sick in a hurry. I've decided that when I find myself at a buffet, I have to ask myself, "What do I feel like eating today?" or "What really, really looks like it's well made here?" Sometimes, I mentally pick a theme, such as Italian or Chinese, and choose a few things that complement each other. And while I used to skip the salad and fruit (more room for fried chicken!), I now try to pick the same balance of foods I would during a normal meal.

So what I'm getting at is that I'm trying to pace myself as I prepare for re-entry. There are so many darn things I want: a new trench coat, a sweater that's not black, red or earth-toned, black skinny pants, a new pair of boots. Not to mention fresh socks and underwear! There will be some purchases coming up. Perhaps not everything on my list, but hopefully the right things.