The Bass Wayfarers Won the First Round

I’m still undecided on the sandals from Wednesday’s sandal smackdown but did decide to keep the Bass Wayfarers in silver. Today is the first day wearing them…no complaints. I’ve been meaning to try Polyvore (I’m so outdated, I know). I figured today would be the perfect time. I couldn’t find the silver Wayfarers in the Polyvore dashboard and went with some much more expensive ones from J. Crew. If you like the look of silver penny loafers, I would highly recommend paying less and buying from Bass.

Running Errands
Running Errands by shoemuse featuring super skinny jeans

J Crew v neck t shirt
$20 – jcrew.com

Forever 21 long cardigan
$13 – forever21.com

Banana Republic super skinny jeans
$80 – bananarepublic.gap.com

J.Crew kitten heels
$248 – jcrew.com

Miso waist belt
£5 – republic.co.uk

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Sandal (and Loafer) Smackdown

Friends, I have a dilemma here. If you follow me on Twitter or know me in the slightest, you know I have a thing for shoes. And by “thing” I may mean a bit of an obsession. Who can blame me, though? I did grow up in a shoe store and I have worked for shoes.com and Brown Shoe. You can’t blame me, right? Last Thursday I got tired of debating the same four pairs of shoes and did something very uncharacteristic of me. I ordered them all. Now I’m not stupid enough to ruin my budget by keeping four pairs, but I am totally up for keeping at least two. I’m partial to the Sam Edelman Sophie and the Miz Mooz Macey. I have to admit that the Bass Wayfarers hold a special place in my heart. During my humble beginnings, I wore pink and white Bass saddle oxfords quite a lot. We’re talking circa 1985 or so, and I felt retro cool back then. I think the silver Wayfarers may need to stay but let’s see what you think.

Oh, and if you like what you can see of the jeans, they are American Eagle jeggings in yellow. Not too tight, not too loose…perfect for spring and the price is crazy good.

Bass Wayfarer in silver from Bassshoes.com ($130 less 50%)
They are so comfortable and the silver is a little more subdued than they show in the picture. Ironically edgy? That’s what I’m going for. I see them with black ankle-length skinnies right through fall 2012 (or until the Mayan calendar runs out). Size-wise, I usually wear a 9 1/2 and boughtt that size. They are a little big but nothing that an insole can’t fix.

Sam Edelman Sophia from endless.com ($119 less 20%)
In my book, Sam Edelman can do no wrong. Every pair I’ve ever bought feels comfortable right out of the box. This pair features both neutral leather and silver…huge for summer. I’m usually a 10 in Sam Edelman styles but the 9 1/2 fit perfectly in this style.

Kork-Ease Bette in Natural from piperlime.com ($150 less 20%)
These are pretty classic. I mean I think my 60-year-old cool aunt wore them in the ’70s. The color is a perfect nude. I usually wear a 9 1/2 and ordered these in a 9. They are a little snug but I think they would stretch.

Miz Mooz Macey in Whiskey from endless.com ($109 less 20%)
After buying my first pair of Miz Mooz sandals last year, I became hooked. They run about 1/2 size small and a little wide but the styles are retro-fabulous. This is the pair that Eddie loves. I don’t know…maybe it’s because they are a little Ginger and a little Marianne all at once? I’ll admit that they are super comfortable. They also come in lemon yellow, which makes me want two pairs of them.

So what do you think? If you have an opinion, leave it in the comments section or tweet me @shoemuse. I’ve never left a big fashion decision up to the universe, so I’m anxious (and a little scared) to see what everyone says.

Spring Trend DIY: The Neon Necklace

I’ve been keeping something from anyone who reads this blog, and it’s time that I have to come out. I am a fashion freak. I really blame my mother (sorry, Mom). She bought that shoe store eons ago and I was hooked. I would ride the bus “home” to Shoe Country (she inherited the name from the previous owner), then spend the afternoon creating window displays and trying on shoes. It didn’t help (or maybe hurt), either, that The Attic, a women’s boutique, was next door. The owners were extremely gracious and let me hang out and try things on there, too. Ignoring some of the obvious bad events, it was really a great time for me.

Cut to today. My fashion appetite is nearly insatiable. Since I’m certainly not a millionaire and I have no desire to go into debt, I usually have to find inventive ways to feed my interests (not petty theft). Often that’s shopping on sale, and these days it can be DIY projects. With a hefty price tag, Tom Binns neon painted jewelry is TDF (to die for). After looking around the web and at my local outlet mall, though, I found a way to reproduce them for my own use and thought I would share.

Here was my inspiration, ranging from $500-$700:

And here is my own, about $20 (a bit more subdued):

Not knowing how it would turn out, I chose a cheap-o rhinestone necklace from Charlotte Russe ($12.99). Gaudy is really the name of the game, so pick out something a little over-the-top but wearable for your style. I think the costume jewelry superstore Charming Charlie might be a good resource for rhinestone and chain options.

I purchased plain acrylic craft paint at Hobby Lobby for about $5 and some cheap detail brushes. Neon is so big now that neon paint is easy to find. I actually preferred the package name Caribbean Colors over the pure ’80s neon. From there, it was literally a process of painting the acrylic paint onto the rhinestones. These were big and easy to paint. If you look closely, I did get some paint on the prongs. No big deal. If you look closely at the most expensive painted rhinestone necklaces, you’ll see that those artists painted the prongs, too. The goal is uniformity. It took an hour and two coats of the paint for the finished product.

It’s been a blast to wear with nautical styles just for a little extra punch. If you decide to make one, please share! Tweet me a picture @shoemuse or message me.

Packing Up and Moving Away from My New Roots

I know, I know. You thought I had stopped blogging, huh? Nope. My mom always told me that if I couldn’t say anything nice, I shouldn’t say anything at all. Oh, I’ve been saying plenty for my contract blogs and sites but, personally, I would’ve just griped had I actually opened up my blog dashboard. I finally feel like writing something…more for me than for anyone else.

As a military family, we’re accustomed to moving and even accustomed to moving to practically the middle of nowhere (hello, Ft. Leonard Wood, Ft. Knox, Ft. Riley, and Ft. Rucker) but the darn manager told Eddie we were headed to one of our top picks in the Southeast only to assign us to Ft. Hood, TX. I have nothing against Texas per se but, by golly, I was looking forward to some good job opportunities, tons of education options for Zoey, and (yes) some world class shopping spots. Instead we’ll be at least an hour if not more from anything “me.” After looking at school reviews in the Ft. Hood/Killeen area, it’s a safe bet to say that I will find a way to homeschool (and I am against homeschooling as a whole) before I’ll enroll Z in one of those. So here we are.

So besides the letdown of moving, I’ve realized that I do kind of like it in St. Louis. Even my tiny house is pretty nice when I consider what we’ve gone through here. I brought a new baby home here. I lost a baby here. I learned how to tile and put down flooring and decorate. And I learned to put down roots. I’ve made friends, which is NOT something I can usually say. It’s my fault 100%, but I break up with friends (totally without telling them) every single time I move. I promise to write, I promise to call. Then I disappear. I don’t want to lose track of some of my St. Louis peeps. They helped me through all the said events above.

This one is going to be a toughy. My realtor will be here in a few minutes. I’m ready but I can’t say that I’m really happy with everything this time. And I will get over it and move on but for now I’m already missing these small moments in this place I never expected to live to begin with. Maybe I’ll be saying the same about Texas in a few years?

 

Cheesecake Update

Well, this is a first. I always, and I mean always, overcook my cheesecake, leaving a Grand Canyon-sized crevasse in the top. Besides just feeling defeated, it’s really no big deal with my Chocolate Amaretto Cherry Cheesecake recipe because the top is covered in a thick layer of cherry pie filling. But I know, and it drives me crazy. The cheesecake-baking gods were smiling on  me yesterday ’cause this little gem came out perfect! I would say that I’m so proud of myself but it was a total fluke, I’m sure.

So, here it is…

See...no cracks!

A (Marginally) Healthy Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe Just in Time for Valentine’s Day

Remember back in the ’90s when “low fat” and “no fat” meant something was good for you even if it had cups of sugar and sky-high sodium? Okay, we were sorely wrong about all that but the trend did give me a pretty darn good cheesecake. I’m talking good by even full-fat, full-calorie standards. Chocolate, Amaretto, cherry pie filling…you really just can’t go wrong. One year Mom made it for Valentine’s Day and the tradition caught on. I’ve made it every year since. I must be totally dedicated, too, because it really should be made the day before you want to eat it. And so here I am, racing to finish my freelance work before I pick Zoey up at daycare all while constructing the Chocolate Amaretto Cherry Cheesecake that I’ll dive in to this time tomorrow.

I thought I would share the recipe here. As you peruse the ingredients list, I can promise you’ll be shocked because this puppy has cottage cheese in it. I hate loathe detest cottage cheese by itself but here it’s pretty unrecognizable. It takes the place of bricks upon bricks of cream cheese, and while you aren’t going to get that silky cream cheese cheesecake texture, it isn’t exactly gloppy like cottage cheese (we’ll call it artisanal since that term seems to mean coarse in terms of texture these days). Oh, and you’re going to need a good food processor. A mixer will mix but the food processor delivers the very best artisanal texture.

Since I’m in the process of making my own, I’ll be back later with pictures. Let me know if you try it!

Chocolate Amaretto Cherry Cheesecake

Crust:
1 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
3 tbls. white sugar
1/3 c. melted margarine

Cheesecake:
1 1/2 c. light cream cheese
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. Amaretto
1 c. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 c. low fat cottage cheese
1/4 c. plus 2 tbls. cocoa powder
2-21 oz. cans of cherry pie filling

1. Pre-heat over to 350 and prepare 8-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Mix graham cracker crumbs, 3 tbls. white sugar, and melted margarine.

3. Pour into springform pan, spread, and compact to cover the bottom.

4. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool. Turn over down to 300.

5. In a food processor, add cream cheese, sugar, cottage cheese, cocoa, flour, Amaretto, vanilla, and salt. Process until smooth.

6. Add egg and process just until blended.

7. Pour mixture over cooled crust.

8. Bake at 300 for 65-75 minutes, or until set. (If the top cracks, it’s overdone.) Cool.

9. Cover and chill 10 hours or overnight.

10. Spread cherry pie filling over cheesecake, remove springform pan sides, and serve.

Becoming a Barre Fly…Again

When I was 3, I began what turned into a life-long love of dance. Once a week from 3 until age 16, I went flying up the steps at the Gail Herring School of Dance and then Chelle’s Dance Studio (after Gail moved) with tap, ballet and jazz shoes haphazardly thrown (with love) in a navy blue tote bag. Admittedly, about all I did the first year was hang from the barre like a little orangutan, but later I began to appreciate the grace and strength dancing gave me. Even when I became a chubby teen, I still had killer leg muscles and rock-hard abs. You couldn’t see them with a few pounds of tub but they were there.

The crazy thing I’ve learned is that despite being thinnest in my adult years, I’m much less toned than I was as a dancer…even when I was chubby. And that’s why I picked up Xtend Barre off Amazon. Both running and walking are good for me and I do enjoy it but ballet is just zen. That ache you get where your hamstrings meet your gluts after 50,000 plies? Heaven in muscle fatigue form.  Even the ab session was divine because it wasn’t just a crunch here and there. It was intense and yet comfortable all at the same time.

The result? Great! I am a big believer in muscle memory both because I know it is physiologically possible and because I’ve seen it work on my own body. I completed one (yes, 1) 55 minute session of Xtend Barre on Monday. Talk about feeling it! I generally have defined arms but they looked even better the next day. Best of all, I had great posture without much effort because I had forced myself to pull in, tuck under and lift up long enough to remember how to do it.

I’m of the opinion that a great fitness routine is NOT built upon a single method of exercise. This is going to be the one I go to when I don’t feel like exercising. If you’ve been a dancer (and even if you haven’t), this may be a great option for flexibility and strength. If you try it, let me know what you think.

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