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I was tempted to do 21 and use the lyrics from Alanis Morissette’s 21 Things, but I have to start doing my face in a minute so I don’t really have the time for that.
5 Things I am going to attempt to do today:
1.) Stay in a good mood (whatever nonsense work my bring). I slept really well, so well I don’t remember what I dreamed, which is… so weird and rare for me. I feel like I can handle today.
2.) Buy a bathing suit. This may very well undo #1… Seriously, seriously. Ugh. I’ve made the choice to go with something more athletic than frilly. First, because I’m not ready for frilly, I still have lots of work to do. And second, I’m about to start swimming laps with a friend and I feel like that calls for functional more than frills, and I don’t want to have to buy two.
3.) Wear turquoise eye liner. This is actually something that doesn’t require an attempt, I’m just going to do it, and I do it pretty well, to tell the truth.
4.) Enjoy the moment I am in. That sounds a lot more flowery than I mean it to… ugh. I just want to take time to realize that there are good things around me.
5.) Eat a lot of vegetables.
I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah…
spoken ranted here many a time about the frustrations of shopping for pants when you’re only 5ft and I’ve just about given up finding pants off the rack in the right length. This means that I have to either accept having to pay to have all of my pants hemmed… or do it myself, something I’ve shied away from in the past.
I got to thinking that if I have to have all of my pants hemmed, the it wouldn’t be so unreasonable to find a good seamstress, but I was curious about seeing just how hard it would be on my own before I shell out the extra cash.
As I don’t own a sewing machine (and my encounters with them in the past have been less than favorable) I would have to do them by hand. For this instruction I turn to my sister, Kristin, who is my researching magician. I can always count on Kristin to have posted a youtube video on how to achieve something on my facebook page after I’ve mentioned in passing that I’m curious about something.
Thus I give you:
I found this video extremely helpful and my attempt at a hem came out quite successful! The only thing I didn’t do was finish edge of my pants (because as mentioned I don’t own a sewing machine and to finish it you have to have one), but it worked fine without finishing the edge first.
I have to say that while I don’t know that at some point in the future I might go ahead and find a seamstress anyway, I feel a great sense of satisfaction in knowing I can do it myself if I need/want to. =)
I would just like to preface this post by saying that I don’t mean for these photos to give you a real sense of what I purchased on this trip, they’re more for decoration of the post than anything else. My plan is to capture the actual outfits while I’m wearing them later on. This post is specifically to mention that at long last I have had a thoroughly successful shopping trip! Hooray!
Dallas is a great place to bargain shop if you know where to go. Having spent the first 28 years of my life in one small metroplex, to say that I still don’t know my way around DFW would be a huge understatement. For this trip I decided to be PrettySmart and enlist the help of a tour guide. I cannot emphasize enough, this makes a world of difference!
The friend/co-worker I took along with me knew all of the best places to find what I was looking for and that would work for my budget, I was both thrilled and amazed!
We visited Grapevine Mills Mall (an interesting sort of indoor outlet mall) and The Parks Mall. Over the years I’ve learned not to judge a garment based solely on the way it looks on the hanger, but to try things on before I decide on them. Some of the best looking clothes on a curvy body look absurd on a hanger. This same rule can apply to stores as well.
I’m an aesthetics kind of person, in many cases I base where I shop on things like the look of the store, the way it’s organized, the lighting (I’m not kidding, lighting should honestly be the first thing on this list). I have found myself deciding in the first 30 seconds of walking into a store whether or not it has anything to offer me and in most cases turn and walk immediately out. This is detrimental to budget shopping. It would be awesome if all stores made lighting and visual appeal to suit my personal tastes a priority, but this isn’t realistic. And especially not in outlets or discount stores. In an environment where the objective is to get rid of as much product as possible as quickly as possible, ambiance is simply not going to play a major role in the shopping experience.
To successfully shop on a budget a person like myself must determine to move past that initial urge to turn around and walk out, and instead roll up your sleeves and dig. It helped me to think of it as being on a hunt for diamonds. =)
The majority of my time and money was spent in the JC Penny outlet store. Now, JC Penny’s doesn’t even make my list of go-to department stores to begin with and at first glance the outlet would have definitely been a turn-around-and-walk-out situation if it had not been for the gentle prodding of my tour guide. Fortunately, her guidance proved wise and after some hunting I found exactly what I was looking for and for much less than I had been prepared to spend! This method of forgoing the urge to cringe and walk out based on first impressions also has its rewards, I spent so little money on the list I came with that at the end of the day I could afford a splurge item!
In the end I spent right around $150 and got:
- 2 pair of slacks
- 1 pair of jeans
- a blazer
- 3 blouses
- a cotton jacket
- a sweater
- 2 bras
- slim wear
- a necklace
- a watch
- and my splurge item- Marc Jacobs sunglasses from Nordstrom Rack
This is really more like day 7 I think, but as I’ve not had anything good to report, I just haven’t been keeping a record, and as you can see from this photo, Day “4” isn’t turning out to be much of a success in the way of actually wearing the heels.
What have I learned, you ask? I have learned that heels that are uncomfortable from the moment you put them on are NOT going to feel any better after any length of time and forcing yourself to grin and bear it.
What this means is that when you’re shopping for heels, no matter how cute the shoe is, if it isn’t tolerable when you first put them on, don’t buy them.
I’m not saying that breaking in is completely impossible, it’s absolutely possible for shoes that fit reasonably well to begin with (these are the ones that feel alright when you put your foot into them and might rub the wrong way in one spot after several hours of wear).
The greatest lesson I learned through this practice was a simple one- in order to break any pair of shoes in, you must, in fact, wear them. If the shoe is so uncomfortable that you can’t wear it for any length of time, then there’s zero hope of ever breaking them in.
Buy the right size ladies, even when it means forgoing a -really- cute pair, because at the end of the day cute wont matter when it’s sitting in a shoe box in your closet.
So “breaking in” day 3 didn’t exactly go according to plan. The pair of heels in question apparently has a stronger will than mine. Another internet suggestion was to apply steam to the shoes to help soften them up. I’m not 100% sure but I felt that steam + satin = not a great idea. So I skipped that step and just decided to go plain and just put the shoes on.
For all of the lotion of the previous day and sock wearing of the day before that, for all my feet could tell these shoes had just come hot off the shoe making conveyor belt. I wore them as long as it took to make breakfast (which was a banana) and then opted to step into the pair of shoes you see above and go for a walk.
One thing I’m starting to really come to understand is that a half-size makes a world of difference. In trying to decide which pairs of shoes I wanted to work on breaking in, I’ve tried on and walked around in all of my shoes and I have two pair of properly broken in heels (one of which is the pair I mentioned in this post). Both of my properly worn pairs are a size 6 and a half, and the pair I’m dealing with now is a 6. I’ve said all along that getting the correct fit down is important step #1 and so it may very well be that this adorable pair of shoes is giving me trouble not only because it needs breaking in, but also because it’s too small. I will keep trying for a solid seven days and then we will decide one way or another at the end.
As for my walk yesterday, that was very comfortable! That is until a storm started rolling in and my little dog, who’d been all for it when we left the house decided that she was not thrilled about the thunder, or the prospect of getting her paws wet. =/
Having felt unsuccessful in my attempt at breaking my shoes in while wearing socks, I decided to go back to the internet for advice. The next gem on the list was applying lotion to your feet, the result of which should be two-fold, making both the shoe more comfortable and the inside of the shoe softer so that it stretches more readily while being worn.
I beg you, from the bottom of my heart, please do not try this method at home. DON’T DO IT.
What happened after having applied the lotion to my feet (Lush fair trade foot lotion) is a combination of pure evil and mind-numbing pain. Who ever first recommended this procedure clearly hates feet.
We’ve spoke about how wearing shoes that are too big will cause your foot to slide down into the toe, well, the lotion has the same effect on your foot in the shoe whether it’s too big or not. I felt as though my entire foot were crammed into the toe of my shoe and trying desperately to burst from the peep. Not only that, but my feet were so slippery inside the shoe that it made it impossible to walk.
My shoes do NOT feel more broken in and it’s amazing I didn’t fall flat on my face! Please, PLEASE, for the love of your feet, do not try this.
My first pair for break-in drills are a lovely pair of Guess satin peep-toes I was lucky enough to find in the clearance area of DSW (the clearance area of DSW and I are on very friendly terms). I absolutely adore these shoes. I feel very elegant and feminine in them, and they also look really good on my feet. They are the sort that fit perfectly but after an hour of wear start to feel a little snug around the ball of my foot. This is the area they just need to stretch a bit for my feet.
I decided to start with the internet-suggested method of wearing a thick pair of socks with them in order to help stretch them and make it easier on my feet. After having looked at this picture for a while I’m almost certain I’ve seen people wearing shoes like this with thick socks out in public. Maybe they were trying to break in their shoes too?
I don’t know if my socks were too thick, or what, but wearing the socks did not make the work of breaking in the heels any more comfortable, in fact it did the opposite. Maybe this only works if you buy shoes too big for you. Where without socks my foot fit into the shoe like Cinderella and her glass slipper, the socks made me feel like a step sister trying to cram her foot in. I was able to get the shoes on, but it felt like they had been stuffed in and it wasn’t a good feeling.
I got in an hour of wear on this round, which isn’t enough to really break a pair of practically brand new heels, so later today I’ll be going for round 2. =)