February 26, 2009

The Comfort Factor

Before you call me a fashion victim, know that in my more “mature years”, I’ve come to appreciate comfort. While I’ll never deny my love for sky-high stiletto heels ala Christian Louboutin, the ability to actually take grown-up steps is much more important these days. Last spring, I had a month long mid-life crisis. I had secret online affairs with Zappos, Endless and Piperlime. It was so bad that I knew our UPS guy’s children’s names. Shoe boxes took over my closet and most of the floor space in my bedroom until my boyfriend found out and subtly suggested therapy. I willed myself to stop the compulsive shoe shopping long enough to realize I was so out of control that I could actually open a fully stocked boutique. But in the midst of the psychodrama, I rediscovered a shoe company that has long been associated with comfort but had lacking on the fashionable style side. Clarks, the British shoe company known for its hearty, superbly constructed footwear, has a line sold in the US called the Artisan Collection. It’s starting to show some real fashion-forward consciousness.

The “Navan” (pictured above in Red), has a walkable 3 inch heel with a sexy cross strap upper and a cushy foot bed. I feel supported in this shoe and it comes in a great selection of colors (I own them in Brown too!). The “Korbin” sandal (shown at right in Brown) has a trendy Grecian flair and is so cute, you’ll want to wear them everywhere. You can get a pair in colors to match every outfit. Let's just say these are not in short supply in my closet! Not all of the shoes in the Artisan Collection are adorable but I think Clarks is heading toward the chic zone with some of their Spring ’09 additions. Prices range from $80 - $95. I believe Zappos has the biggest and best selection of the Artisan Collection but you can also purchase them from Piperlime.

Formula for a happy fashionista? Comfort (always first) + Fashion = ☺

February 23, 2009

How I Got My Mojo Back

I was in a slump. I'd stopped writing Style Baubles blog posts a little over a month ago. Not on purpose. Let’s say I thought that cliché excuse “I’ve been so busy” actually did apply to me. It’s not just the writing that stopped. Many times I’d find myself sitting at my design table with multitudes of gemstones in infinite colors but my creativity had taken a vacation. I stopped finding fun in my regular Sunday brunches with a true friend, a comedienne, who’s been with me through thick and thin. Some of my favorite foods had lost their appeal. For me, a TRUE foodie, that’s an alarming signal. So when I took some time to find out what what was at the root of my lackluster-ness, I examined what had changed in my life. After analyzing my daily routine, I realized that exercise had taken a back seat on an increasingly regular basis. My first Twitter tweet on most mornings used to be either something about the pain I was experiencing after a particular workout with a trainer or how I dodged a particular class with a tough instructor at the gym. I guess I was operating on the principal that if I couldn’t actually get to the gym then workouts were non-existent for that day. Basically, I lost my own mojo by not being creative about how, when and where I get the exercise I so obviously need for my total well-being.

Now that I’m being realistic about my daily challenges, I’ve become a huge neighborhood power walk enthusiast (weather permitting) and a devotee of some really cool exercise DVDs. Crunch Fitness offers a series of short but extremely effective workouts by instructors who won’t bore you and work hard to keep you motivated from beginning to end. One of my favorites of the series Total Resculpt, is taught by Kendell Hogan whose infectious smile, rockin’ body and motivational prodding will keep you going even while he’s killing you with endless bicep curls and leg lunges. Dance your way to a healthier heart and a better attitude with Giselle Roque de Escobar in her Cardio Salsa class. Burn some fat while kicking some booty with Super-Charged Kickbox Party and bundle of energy, Jeanette Jenkins. The selection is huge (I own them all) and include yoga and Pilates instruction as well. Most are suitable for all fitness levels. Because they average 30-45 minutes in length, I find it much more difficult to come up with believable excuses for missing my workouts. I purchase my DVDs online from the Barnes & Noble website because I’m a member and I get great discounts but you can buy the Crunch Fitness series and other wonderful workout DVDs from Collage Video and Amazon.com.

Since I got my fitness mojo back, I’ve returned to my clear-headed, motivated, creatively stoked self. And although there are times when even sliding a DVD in the player is a struggle, at least I know that later in the day or at a more convenient time my exercise options are easy and will be there for me whenever I need them. It's very cool!

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