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?


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!



Custom-Made NFL Nikes? Yes Please!

18 10 2013
My customized Saints Nikes. Photo: Nike Store

My customized Saints Nikes. Photo: Nike Store

We’re right in the thick of football season now, and while I still hate talking about the Saints game last weekend against the Patriots just as much as I hate discussing football with crazed Falcons fans, I will always love me some pigskin. And since you already know how I feel about my shoes, you have to know that when I found out Nike lets you customize your favorite Nike Dunks with your favorite football team’s colors and logo, I was all IN!

Then, I went on there and actually made mine? Listen, I can’t promise these kicks won’t get purchased by the end of the year. It’s not the most sensible thing to do, but damn it, they’re so hot! And now after creating mine, all I can think of are ways to wear them. Should I wear them with my black matte liquid leggings, white Saints jersey and black Saints undies from Victoria’s Secret? Or with my skinnies, a white tank top, and black leather jacket? How about with some jean shorts, black t-shirt, and large gold hoop earrings?

All of those sound like a YES to me.

And there are soooo many other combinations I could come up with if I needed to find something to wear with them to a football party.

I mean, these kicks are the 2013 version of the Starter jacket! Which means they are pretty much awesomeness personified. Do yourself a favor and take a minute to customize your own pair. You will definitely thank me later.

Here are some other views of my new favorite kicks!



#theCuddles Part 2 – Really, People???

24 06 2013
Photo Credit: marchtomastery.com

Photo Credit: marchtomastery.com

(Some) People will do anything to keep from feeling lonely.

This past weekend I learned that this includes paying someone to come over and cuddle with them. Like, literally – paying to have a stranger come to your home and wrap her arms around you for a specified portion of time. What part of the game is that, y’all?

Now, you may remember that I have a love-hate relationship with cuddling. But despite the fact that I typically ran away from even the thought of cuddling with someone I didn’t have strong feelings for, I have recently begun to have a bit of a change of heart on the matter. Maybe it’s because I’ve stopped running from a lot of my feelings within the past year or so, but the truth is (and get ready for a shocker) – I actually really enjoy cuddling.

I think it can be something really amazing between two people. It’s relaxing. It has restorative power after a long day of work. Heck, it can even be quite sexy if done with the right person.

But y’all – you will never get me to change my belief that it’s still intimate as all hell. I know that may not be the case for everyone, but it is for me.¹ To me, there is something uniquely intimate about allowing someone to wrap his or her arms around you or lay on your chest, breathing your breaths, falling into synch with your cadence of inhale and exhale. And while I have somewhat relaxed my standards on who I cuddle with nowadays, there’s no way I can condone paying for a stranger to come to your home and perform this intimate as hell act with you.

The company that provides the service speaks highly about the “simple restorative pleasure of touch” and even uses this lovely line –> “Though science has unquestionably supported the psychological and physical benefits of non-sexual touch, Americans distinctly lack it.” when seeking to make its case for the okay-ness of the service.

But for real, y’all? It’s just not. I can understand how they get clients though, because cuddling can be really enjoyable. And they are right about the healing powers of touch. In fact, I just learned that a hospital in Kentucky gets volunteers to come and hold many of the premature babies throughout the day, because doctors have found that it helps them heal faster when they have a human connection holding them and rocking them throughout the day. But… but, those babies are not grown-ups with options to actually meet people and create real life intimate partnerships.

I mean, is this what we’ve come to as a generation? We’re so hard up to experience intimacy with people that folks are really out here paying to fake it? I know there’s been lots of talk out lately about how we seem to have lost a lot of the human connections with people, because we spend so much time on our computers, on social media, on the phone, watching TV, etc… but there just has to be a better way than this.


1 For example, some people may think that kissing is a more intimate act.

Sandal Season is Here!

29 04 2013
Photo Credit: Victoria's Secret

Photo Credit: Victoria’s Secret

Spring isn’t just for dating; it’s also the season for sandal wearing! So that means it’s time to get out your favorite nail colors, get those pedicures, and pop on your best sandals while the sun is shining down on all of your activities. But Spring can also mean shopping for you (like it does for me), and the best things to get right now are … you guessed it, sandals!

Here are some of my faves I’ve peeped recently: there’s a mixture of heels and flats, sparkles and bedazzles, prints and solids – but they’re all fabulous and potentially statement making.

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Are there any sandals you have your eye on these days? And what are some of your go-to nail colors to wear with them?

Put My Name On It… #SoIKnowItsReal

15 02 2013

darby shoes

Okay, ummm… I’m sorry – I just had to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming posts to let you all see this. I love it! Now, I’ve seen a lot of shoes with regular names lately. Heck, my sisters and I bought my mom a pair of shoes for her birthday last year that had her name. But my name?! My name is rare (well, not as rare as it used to be – but it ain’t Becky!)… so when Tdot sent me this email, I pure screamed at my desk.

You gotta love it, right?!

And it doesn’t hurt that I like the shoes. Dear Lord, please help me to resist purchasing these shoes. Be with me in will power, and do not let me succumb to J Crew’s temptation. Amen.

Anyway, do any of you have shoes named after you? If so, put the link in the comments section. I’d love to see them!

PS: Choices, Voices, and Sole will be on a break this coming Monday for President’s Day, but it’ll be back on Wednesday! Have a great weekend!

The Sallie Mae Generation

20 06 2012

Photo: blog.peacemagazine.com

“Hell naw, got a degree but what that cost you, you make a good salary just to pay SallieMae, that’s real as ever, ducking bill collectors like Jehova’s witness…” J Cole/ Blow Up

I know the recent trend has been to call my generation (the adults who graduated from college between 2005 and present) the Boomerang generation. The idea behind that classification being that many of us have found ourselves moving back home right after graduating, even if it’s for a short amount of time, and not necessarily moving into our own places right away.¹

But I think there’s an even more accurate description for us – the Sallie Mae Generation. That classification gets to the heart of the matter a little better, and may even explain more fully why so many 22 year olds feel as if they have to move back home to get their footing before completely venturing out.

If you listen, you can hear how those loans come up in the conversations we have all the time, and the debt that many of us have taken on to attend institutions of higher learning is always present in the decisions we make in our lives. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard friends refer to their school loan debt as the reason they can’t get a better apartment or buy a home, can’t move to the city they want to live in, can’t travel as much as they would like, or any other host of opportunities squandered because they’re paying between $400 and $1000 a month on loan payments.

Think about it for a second. Howard University is a public/private school in DC that costs anywhere between $27,000 and $40,000 a year to attend, if you want to include things like books, room and board and living expenses. But Howard is actually considered a smaller university with less costs. To compare, Georgetown University (a completely private school) is in the same city and can cost anywhere between $50,000 and $65,000 a year.

Even if you get a partial scholarship to either of those schools, you’re leaving that school with massive loan debt that begins to weigh on all your decisions going forward. Can you take that job you really want in the non-profit field if you know that you owe $60,000 or more? Or how about move to San Francisco (one of the most expensive cities in the country) without thinking that you may have to live with ten roommates or in an apartment the size of a moving box?

And that’s before you even get to post-graduate degrees. Once you start calculating, it can quickly become clear as to why the school loans are affecting us so much. Our generation is the same one that was constantly told that we needed higher education to get where we wanted to be. We’re the ones killing ourselves to get not just the undergraduate degree, but also the master’s, the PhD, the law degrees, and the medical degrees. Heck, I know some people with 3 out of 4 of those. I don’t even want to think about how much they owe back.

Generations before us were getting post graduate degrees as well, but for our generation – these degrees are almost becoming synonymous with the undergraduate degree because so many people have them. It almost becomes a reinforced cycle – the more people that get them, the more people feel they need to get them to continue to compete in the job market. And while we’re stacking up on degrees, we’re stacking up on debt as well.

And Sallie Mae tends to be the company behind it all.

I know President Obama has put some steps into place in an attempt to help solve some of this loan problem, but in reality, I think most people are going to go along doing the same thing J Cole said in his song – going to work just to pay Sallie Mae.

It is a part of our generation now, just as World War II was a part of our grandparents’ generation and the Civil Rights movement was a part of our parents’ generation. It is beginning to define us, in good ways and bad. It definitely drives our decisions and might be one of the main causes for us getting married later.  We’re so focused on our careers, so focused on making more money so that we can pay off those loans. It is a part of what drives our generation now. Maybe it’s why so many of us are so ambitious in our dreams. Maybe it’s why some people have given up on those ambitious dreams and settled into just “making a good living.” And maybe we’ll look back on this time and see that it sparked some grand movement amongst us.

I don’t know all of these things for sure. But whatever will be said about it in the future, one thing seems clear – it will be talked about and it will be seen as a defining piece of our generation’s culture.

1 I definitely moved home for a summer after undergrad and let me tell ya – I love my family and I love my city, but I couldn’t wait to get back up to DC to start grad school by the end of that “boomerang” situation. So I’m pretty sure no one looks forward to going back home, feeling like you couldn’t quite cut it on your own (whether that’s actually the truth or not).

Summer Sandal Showdown

11 06 2012

If your city is anything like DC, it’s 90+ degress outside today and while it’s not technically the beginning of summer yet – you can’t really argue with weather. So let’s go ahead and get ourselves ready… here are 6 sandals I’ve seen lately that make me want to go shoe shopping (not that it’s a hard task to convince me to go shoe shopping lol).

Colin Stuart Rhinestone Gladiator Sandal – Victoria’s Secret

These shimmery sandals are currently on sale for $99, but normally cost $128 from Victoria’s Secret.

Ginger Studded Sandals by Sam Edelman

These studded and strappy sandals can be purchased at Ann Taylor Loft for $100.

Steve Madden Saahti sandals

You can get these dark tan and neon pink sandals at Zappos.com for $70.

Cybele sandals by Dolce Vita

You can get these nude leather sandals from RevolveClothing.com for $169.00.

Jack Rogers’ Harbor Sandals – Last Call (Neiman Marcus)

Save an extra 30% off the already sale price of $89 if you get these sandals today from LastCall.com.

BX by Bronx Woven Sandal – DSW

Head to DSW to get these leather woven sandals for $54.95.

Are you excited for the summer now? Purchased any new sandals this year?

PS: Do you remember when I highlighted these sandals? Yep, still want them. Darn my shoe addiction!