Tip: What to do when you REALLY, REALLY want those shoes

4 04 2014
Envious? You don't have to be...  Photo: www.hcs.harvard.edu

Envious of these Christian Louboutins? You don’t have to be…
Photo: http://www.hcs.harvard.edu

A co-worker of mine came into my office the other day to complain about her daughter’s prom wish. “She wants a pair of red bottoms,” she exclaimed. “I didn’t even know what that was, and when I looked it up, I said hell no! You’re not getting shoes that cost $1000 for prom!”

Her indignation made me laugh, but I completely understood the concern. That is a lot of money for someone who a) doesn’t have a job, b) is still in high school, and c) should be taking any extra money she gets to put towards college. To calm my co-worker down, I suggested a few places she may be able to find a pair of Christian Louboutins for cheaper than $1000, and also what she could get as an alternative. She seemed to see red in her eyes just a little less after our conversation, so I was pretty happy. And then it hit me — I’ve never shared these with you all, so here we go!

I think we’ve all been there, right? It may not be a pair of Louboutins, but we’ve all seen a pair (or two or three) of shoes that we absolutely want, but we know we shouldn’t spend that kind of money on. Heck, I’m going through that dilemma right now (!) with a few pairs from the SJP collection. So what do you do when this happens? Well you can curl up in bed and cry and wish for a money tree, or you can try some of these suggestions instead:

Find legitimate sample sale websites — Hey, listen, the internet is your friend. And on the internet, you will find sites like Outnet and Gilt to help you with purchase designer shoes at a discounted price. Now, fair warning, if the shoe is from this year’s collection — it probably won’t be on any of these websites. But if it’s not, you may just luck up and see your favorite pair on there.

Go discount shopping in person — I know I just said the internet is your friend, but if you’re blessed to live in or near places like NY, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, or really any major US city, you can probably find sample sales in person occurring on at least a monthly basis (NY is more like daily). In person, you also have the option to check out some of the higher end consignment shops that will feature designer shoes that richer folks have decided to part ways with.

Set the purchase as a reward for achieving a goal you have — Remember how I told you all about the SJP shoes I want? Well, I decided a good way for me to get a pair and not feel too bad about my splurge was to tie it into something else I’ve been wanting to do: create a gratitude jar. So that’s what I did. I started a gratitude jar this week (well technically, right now it’s a vase, because I couldn’t open the big jar I have in my house), and I told myself that I wouldn’t buy those shoes until the vase has been completely filled. This way, it’s a win/win for me. It gives me time to decide if I really want the shoes as badly as I think I do, save the money for them, and appreciate the things and people I currently have in my life right now.

If all else fails, check to see if your favorite boutique or department store has a similar version — I know this will sound sacrilege, but no item is one of a kind. So while it may not look exactly like the shoes you have your eye on, chances are you can find a pretty good alternative version at stores like Dillards, Nordstrom, Macys, Aldo, or Lord and Taylor. I almost said Neiman Marcus, but they would have the original ones you wanted, and then you’d be back to square one.

Those are my top tips for when you really want a pair of costly shoes. Do you all have any to add to the list?

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Quick blog update — I will be heading out of town for a spring vacay next week, so this will be the last blog post until the week of April 14th. In addition, when I get back, the blog will be downsizing to two posts a week. This is so that I can spend a little more time focusing on completing my book (!!) and living life outside of writing. I hope you all will still come through and join in our discussions. In the meantime, please take this time to catch up on any posts you’ve missed and find some fun in the sun!

 





The Danger of Always Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

2 04 2014
Do you ever sound like this? Well, read on... Photo: phoenixajournal.wordpress.com

Do you ever sound like this? Well, read on…
Photo: phoenixajournal.wordpress.com

This week I learned quite the interesting fact: where the popular phrase, “waiting for the other shoe to drop” originated. In fact, in Brene’ Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, she says:

That expression originated in the early 1900s, when new immigrants and people flooding to the cities were crammed into tenement housing where you could literally hear your upstairs neighbor taking off his shoes at night. Once you heard the first shoe hit the floor you waited for the other shoe to drop.

What was so fascinating to me was that a) I’d been using this phrase for so long and had no idea where it came from, and b) the original meaning really had nothing to do with how we use it now. Sure, it spoke to a foreboding anticipation in a way, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve used the phrase in the context of being afraid to be too happy about something  — which has absolutely nothing to do with anticipating your neighbor’s second shoe to hit the floor. Now, the “shoe” we speak of is so much more terrifying for us.

It’s funny when I think about the concept of being afraid to be too happy. It sounds crazy to say out loud. Heck, it looks crazy typing it for the blog. But I think most of us can admit to feeling that way at some point in our lives. Maybe it’s not something you struggle with a lot, but I’d be willing to bet we’ve all worried something was too good to be true at least once. And if you haven’t, well I’ll go on and admit that I have on several occasions.

In fact, one of the things I used to say to a good friend of mine was that I could handle anything, but I hated being blind sided. And she understood exactly what I meant, because she too hated being blind sided. Together, we both went about mastering the art of planning for what could happen to ruin our good vibes. All the damn time.

Which, of course, led to a lot of worrying. This meant that when a job opportunity would come along, I’d worry that I’d had too many great bosses, and so I was obviously due for a horrid one. When a raise would come through, I’d worry that I couldn’t possibly live up to whatever expectations my boss had for me being great, and that he/she would inevitably find out I wasn’t as good at my job as he/she thought. When a guy I was attracted to asked me on a date and that date went well, I’d worry that he didn’t feel the same way, and I’d never hear from him afterward or just in general, that something, anything would happen that would inevitably mess things up.

I mean geez, talk about a kill joy!

But you know, as I read about the origins of the phrase, what it really showed me was the cold, hard truth about all the time I’d spent waiting for all my shoes to drop — every single second was time wasted.

You see, the ironic thing about me worrying about what bad thing was waiting for me around the corner was that usually, 9 times out of 10 in fact, there was no bad thing waiting for me! And when something did happen that was unfavorable, like the guy not calling back or the date going very, very wrong, I still managed to be okay.

Life still went on.

The dangerous part was that while life was going on, I’d managed to miss out on so many of my life’s celebrations. Not always, but just enough that I when I look back, I can see distinct times when I didn’t allow myself to enjoy the good in my life because I was so concerned about the bad that might follow.

But life, a fulfilled life, is all about stringing together the combination of little and big moments that work together to tell your story. So if you can’t be present in your own moments, then how are you enjoying your life? You’re really not.

Have any of you ever struggled with what Brene’ calls foreboding joy? You have something great happen to you and then you get a worrisome feeling that something is going to take that happiness from you? That you’ll fall from cloud 9 and hit the floor with a bang? If so, what did you do to get over that feeling?

And did you know about the origins of the expression before today? Was I all by myself in not knowing? haha





#ThatAwesomeMoment When I Finally Wore My Perfect Date Dress

31 03 2014
We didn't exactly look like this, but it felt prett darn close... Photo: http://knowmore.tv

We didn’t exactly look like this, but it felt pretty darn close…
Photo: http://knowmore.tv

It was a little less than a year ago now, but I still remember it like it was yesterday — the day I finally wore my perfect date dress.

If you’ll recall I’d purchased this dress some time ago, not with the knowledge that it would be a perfect date dress at all. But once I got home, tried it on with some heels and a cardigan, I knew. I knew that the only place it could be worn was a date so perfect that it suited how I felt in that dress.

And how I felt was happy, sexy, confident, giddy, pretty, alluring, and more. It was, in a phrase, a dress that made me feel special.

So I waited and waited and waited to wear it because the last thing I wanted to do was to waste that kind of dress on a date that wasn’t worthy. You may think that’s a lot of pressure to put on a dress… and you’d be right. What I inadvertently did was put so much pressure on the notion of wearing the dress, no potential date became good enough.

In fact, I went on quite a few dates between when I bought the dress and when I wore it. And each time I had a chance to wear it, I thought, hmmm I don’t know — I don’t think this guy or this date is special enough. And so I put it back in the closet, maybe to wear for the next time.

What I should have realized at the time, and what I realized much later on, was that the dress was symbolic for how I felt about those men in general, but also about me. I mean, who says to herself, “this guy isn’t special enough for a certain dress”? I should have immediately asked myself afterwards, “well then why are you going out with him?”

But because we rarely realize those things in the moment, I didn’t ask myself that question. Instead, I dated… and I waited… for the guy and the date who would make me want to feel pretty and alluring and sexy and confident and happy and giddy and special all at once.

That date finally happened last summer.

What’s remarkable is that there was nothing particularly special about the date. It wasn’t some grand production or fancy occasion. We basically walked around the city, talking and joking while my arm was wrapped inside of his, and finally made our way to the restaurant where we had dinner and pretty much spent the next four hours laughing.

It was fun, sure. And we had a great time. And the dress did make me feel everything I thought it would when I finally wore it for more than just my eyes to see.

But what was most important to me about that night (and actually what was the part that made the moment so awesome) was that I finally stopped waiting to wear the danged thing. I realized something that I’ve also since realized about my writing and my work and my heart — that until you share it with others, it’s just a pretty dress hanging in the closet. It has no meaning and no memories associated with it. It is, for lack of a better word, dead.

It’s not until I wore it and allowed someone else to see how beautiful it looked on me that the dress truly came alive. Now, it is not just a generic perfect date dress, one where I could imagine how I would feel wearing it with the guy I like. It’s the dress I was wearing when the guy I like looked at me and couldn’t stop smiling. It’s the dress I was wearing when I took the initiative and slipped my arm around his (that’s big for me, yall!).

It’s the dress I was wearing when I decided to stop waiting for life to be perfect before I enjoyed it.

This dress has memories now. It has a story. And even if it wouldn’t have turned out well that night, although I’m very glad it did, it still would have been for the best that I finally pulled it out of the closet.

Do you all have anything like that, that reminds you of a time when you made a pivotal decision for yourself?





On Fitness and Feeling Sexy

28 03 2014
This is how a lot of people feel after a workout... but not ME! Photo: http://www.womansday.com

This is how a lot of people feel after a workout… but not ME!
Photo: http://www.womansday.com

Do you remember how I told y’all I feel like Xena Warrior Princess after a workout? Well, I lied.

Not in a bad way, though. More like as in that wasn’t the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

You see, I do feel like Xena immediately after a workout. In fact, sometimes (when my legs don’t feel like complete putty), I feel like jumping and screaming and shouting things like “YEAH, TAKE THAT! HUUUH!” But maybe like 10 to 15 minutes later, I feel something entirely different.

I feel sexy as hell.

Maybe it’s the adrenaline that I’ve built up or the confidence boost when I’ve slayed the treadmill or kick-boxing beast. Maybe it’s that the very last thing I want to do after working my ass off in an intense workout is eat some bad food to ruin all of my good work, so my desire for food turns into a different desire? I don’t know. But whatever it is, your girl gets very, very frisky.

Like as in future hubby should probably think about having some gym equipment in our home, because I may just want to tear off his clothes and jump his bones 15 minutes after I finish every work out. Every. Single. Workout. (Post-shower, of course, unless he wants jump in there with me.)

I think maybe it’s something about feeling extra toned in that moment. Like the fact that everything is as tight as it’s going to be right then and there makes me want to take advantage of the timing. It could also be that I start thinking about my guy working out too and you know, the sweat dripping all over his bawdy, and that gets the engine revving up as well. Or heck, it’s very possible it’s the songs I listen to while I workout. I mean, when Beyonce’ is singing about feeling comfortable in her skin, it makes me feel comfortable and sexy and hot and bothered in my skin too! And then I want to sit my —— on something and… let me stop.

All I know is that it’s not really a phenomenon I would have expected to happen for me. I don’t usually equate the gym with sexy time, but these days, I most definitely do.

Hmmm. Maybe it’s also something to that whole “women reaching their sexual peak later in life” thing.

Either way, it’s an extra bit of motivation to keep going. And hey, that can’t be a bad thing.

What about you all? Am I the only one who gets a little excited post workout? And is there something you never expected to get you going but absolutely does? Let’s share!





Tearing Off the Mask

26 03 2014

“Whenever I feel my emotions getting the best of me, I simply picture an empty box, and I take whatever I’m feeling and put that in the box. And then I picture myself putting the box away in a big empty closet and closing the door. Then, if I have time, I go back and empty the box and deal with the emotion… in private… like a lady.” — Bree Van De Kamp, Desperate Housewives

A while back, I admitted to you all that a co-worker of mine had once described me as being like Bree (the cold and calculating housewife in the hit ABC series, Desperate Housewives). Her rationale was not that I was cold or uncaring, but rather that I, like Bree, had mastered bottling my real emotions up and presenting this very nice, very happy, very demure facade. I hated this characterization at the time, but I think I hated that much more that she’d pulled my card when no one else had.

I thought about this the other day while in the midst of two separate conversations with some of my closest friends. In one conversation, we were casually joking about the characters we’d received after taking one of those addictive Buzzfeed quizzes, this time on the topic of which Grey’s Anatomy character you were most like. We all, of course, got people that neither of us expected. In fact, we’d all at some point found ourselves identifying with certain characters on the show, and none of us got those characters after taking the quiz.

My person had always been Meredith Grey. She was going through a dark period when the show started, and so was I. She’d fallen in love with someone else’s man, and so had I. She’d gone around telling everyone just how fine she was, at the same time I was lying as well. She climbed herself out of that dark and twisty period, and so had I. But whenever I said that I identified with Meredith to anyone who watched the show, they always looked at me perplexed. How was the bubbly person who found the upside to everything relating to a character known for being quite gloomy on Grey’s Anatomy, they’d wonder.

Well, the same thing happened in that recent conversation too. “You know, you’re not as dark and twisty as you think you are,” said one of my friends when I mentioned that it was funny I got Callie and not Meredith. “Hahahaha, yea, maybe not anymore,” I responded. “But I was.”

In a second conversation, I mentioned to a good friend how great it felt to really be happy these days. And that part of that happiness included finally owning the times when I wasn’t thrilled about something or I was downright hurt or angry. Her response? “But I’ve never thought of you as anything but a happy person anyway.”

Both of those conversations revealed to me the extent of how much and how long I’d been wearing the mask of someone who was fulfilled and happy — so much and so long that even my friends had no idea just how sad I really was. I’d learned to portray this image of an upbeat person so well, and meanwhile, I was hurting inside and afraid to show it.

I mean, heck, I didn’t even want anyone to hug me, remember? When I think about that fact now, it blows my mind just to know how closed off I’d let myself become.

But thank God, bit by bit, I worked to tear down that mask. This blog is part of that. Being able to admit my fears to myself and loved ones who I trust helps too. Committing to be me and love me and be in my truth (whatever that is at the moment) is part of that as well. And so it’s funny now when people don’t know the difference, but I’m thankful that I do. I know when I smile nowadays or I laugh from the pit of my stomach, it’s real. It’s honest. And I do that so much more often now without it being a ruse for the tears I’m holding back.





On Being Best Friends with My Boo

24 03 2014

One of the things that has gotten a bad rap over the years is the idea of figuring out what is most important to you in a relationship. On the surface, that seems wise, right? It’s similar to how we approach interning in college — some of them are meant to show you what you want in your career and some are meant to show you what you absolute do not want. Either way, you begin to create a list in your mind of what makes you happy in a job. Over time, though, some times folks have gone too far with this concept and created lists the size of encyclopedias for relationships that no one on this Earth could possibly live up to. And thus birthed this stereotype that if you do have a list of wants, you’re looking for the perfect person or someone who doesn’t know what the word flexible means.

Yet, even with the bad reputation it’s received in the past, I tend to believe there’s a great benefit to knowing what you do and don’t want for yourself. There’s a balance, of course. I’m not saying that you become this stringent person that will only date men over 6’4 who have a graduate degree or higher and have been to at least 3 other countries.

But it’s good to take what you’ve learned from past relationships and to be able to apply it to the future, understanding what works for you and what doesn’t. For example, I’ve learned that I am most happy when me and my guy have a relationship where we support and push each other in whatever goals we’re reaching for at that moment. And I have no desire to be with a guy who puts me on a pedestal and makes me his sole goal in life.

These are things that are good for me to know going forward so I don’t waste either of our time. But I probably wouldn’t list them as most important. No, for that I’d need to dig a bit deeper.

Now, there are a lot of great qualities that could be listed as “most important” when one thinks about what they want in their future boo and/or relationship. Things like trust, for example. Or for the person to have the same belief system as you. Openness. The ability to make you laugh. Kindness. Respect. Etc… And all of those are great and very important.

But I’ve found that the most important quality I need/want in a relationship is for my guy to be one of my best friends. For me, that encompasses all the rest of those qualities and more. It means that we can laugh together about nothing, we have fun with each other, we’re always honest, we trust each other, we give unconditional support, we inspire each other, we respect each other, we’re there for each other even if we don’t necessarily agree with each other, we love each other, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we can have serious conversations where we learn from each other, we bring out the best in each other, we enjoy spending time with each other, we don’t expect each other to be perfect, but we know our lives our better when they include each other and so much more. If we’re best friends in the truest definition of that word, for me, all those other qualities that everyone says they want fall into place anyway.

At least that’s how it is with my best friends. We do all those things together anyway, and mean all those things to each other as well. In fact, I’ve been blessed with some pretty amazing best friends, and sue me, what I think I want more than anything right now is to eventually be able to include my guy on that list. For as one of my friends recently said, “relationships and attraction go through cycles, but if you can come back to the foundation of friendship, you can get through anything.”

What do you all think? Is there a quality that’s most important for you in a relationship? If so, what is it and why?





Choosing the People in Your Life

21 03 2014

“You will be shocked, kids, when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever. That’s why when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.” ~ Ted, How I Met Your Mother

I’ve been talking a lot about choices on the blog lately: choosing to be happy, choosing to step out on faith, choosing which priorities are more important to you, etc… Shoot, even my church is in the midst of a sermon series about the choice to be healed right now, so those who know me in real life know that I’ve been talking about choices in person a lot too. But I realized while watching How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) the other night that I hadn’t actually talked about one of the most important decisions we make daily — on the people we allow to be in our lives.

Now, if you don’t watch HIMYM, I should tell you that while it is a comedy, it’s also one of those shows that typically has a lot of quotables about life in it. Such was the case on this penultimate episode before the series finale. The episode was designed to give us more insight into the relationship of the main character, Ted, and his would be wife (the mother of the title of the show). But in showing us more about their first date and the connection they immediately had, it also highlighted an important choice made at the end of the night by the would be mother, a choice that was juxtaposed to one seen in a flashback of someone leaving the wedding Ted attended just a few days before. The choice was to make sure that person remained.

Or as Ted put it while relaying the wedding story and the night of the first date to his future kids:

(flashback to the wedding) Barney: Blauman will cool off eventually. We’ll see him again.

Marshall: I don’t know, we might really never see him again. I remember at our wedding (looking at his wife) and thinking, man everyone here means so much to me. A bunch of those people, I haven’t seen them since.

(back to the present) Ted: And that’s how it goes, kids, the friends, neighbors, drinking buddies, and partners in crime you love so much when you’re young, as the years go by, you just lose touch. That being said, I did manage to keep in touch with a few people… (goes into montage of flashbacks and updates on friends)… You will be shocked, kids, when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever. That’s why when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.

As soon as I heard that, it struck me like a lightning bolt. And it was in line with what I’d read in the book, The People Factor, that I told you all about earlier — that when you find the people you need in your life, you don’t let them slip away.

I believe we all have those people. The ones who God has put in our lives to journey with us for a lifetime. The ones He blesses us through. The ones for whom we wouldn’t be who we are without. And I think it’s our duty to figure out who those people are and choose to do something about keeping them around. That’s not an endorsement to hold on tight to no-good people, or to try to force someone who doesn’t want to be around you to remain. But, instead, it’s a reminder that we make choices every day that effect our lives.

And when you have a chance to do something that ensures you don’t lose one of your important people (or covenant partners as Van Moody would say), whether that’s a text saying I love you, a call just to hear their voice for 5 minutes, an email encouraging them on an endeavor they are facing, an impromptu visit, whatever that thing may be — you do it.

You just do it.

It’s that important.








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