Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Winter Inspirations

Living in San Diego, I don't have the opportunity to experience the winter season like most Americans, unless I drive at least 1.5 hours to the mountains.  I'm talking about crispy cold temperatures outside, snowfall, icicles hanging from trees, roaring fireplaces.  I long for those experiences to be right outside my front door.  My early childhood was spent in Virginia, where we basked in the four seasons : fall, winter, spring and summer. I also experienced the four seasons living in Dallas, Texas as an adult.   I miss those days, but I do find inspiration in things to get into that winter state of mind.

  • Sipping wine after a long day of holiday decorating, gift shopping, and cooking and baking.

  • Plaids and flannels - a fall and winter fashion must-have, and they're so warm and cozy! 

  • Stowe, Vermont -- the most idyllic town no matter what time of year you visit.  It's the most iconic winter landscape in America.  I've never been there but it's on my Wanderlust list. When I look at this photo, I think of quilts, red, white & blue folk art, Ralph Lauren, old wooden things, woodpiles, hot chocolate, and sitting around a table playing board games.

There are traditional American films that I love to watch each winter.  These films combined tells us to make the best of every situation, that helping others is paramount to having that wonderful life, and that family and friends must stick together through difficult times.  A little romance doesn't hurt, either.

 What will inspire you this winter?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Shoe Shopping After Surgery

Almost two months following my foot surgery, I am able to walk around but with a slight limp, and after a while, walking that way gets a bit tiring.  The scar is ugly but, in time, it will fade.  My foot is swollen so I'm not able to wear any of my shoes except my house slippers.  My orthopedic surgeon said I'm not to wear my thong sandals for a long time, not until I'm completely healed, which is like another 8 months!

So.........what to do?  I have to go to the shoe store and buy something new and comfortable!  YES, who doesn't love shopping for shoes??  I went to my favorite shoe store, DSW, to take a look around.  The doctor said to try clogs.  My foot couldn't fit well in any of them because of the swelling.  I walked up and down each aisle in the store, and tried on various styles and it was useless, even when I went up a shoe size.  It really was kind of hopeless, because what was going to happen is I'd buy a shoe size to fit my left foot, but my right shoe would be loose.  I had to find a style of shoe that wouldn't slip off my right foot when I walked.  I found it in the Clearance section, and it was a wonderful pair of black strappy sandals that would work well with my dressy and casual looks.  Great, but I soon realized that walking in them for four hours was a bit much, and was becoming quite uncomfortable and sometimes painful.  I needed another option.

Knowing that I'd be going to Disneyland next week for a special event, I needed footwear that would be uber-comfortable.  I already had something in mind, but instead of ordering it online, I thought I'd drive to Nordstrom to see if they carried it.  They did, I tried it on, and I loved it.  My husband said they looked like house slippers (well, they do) but the Toms catalog says the slippers work real well outside with their sturdy soles.  Besides, my jeans will cover the the fleece portion of the slippers, and the slippers will look like super-comfortable boots.

I don't know how, but I always make it work.  It's all about the little things you add to your outfit to make your style super-chic.  More important, it's all about "attitude".

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Foot Surgery Follow-Up: Blame the High Heels

I can't believe I'm doing it.  My fabulous shoes.  Being disposed of.  I'm sad.  But it has to be done.  First I got rid of five pairs, shoes I haven't stepped into in years.  Then I got rid of my 4" heels, pictured below.  I wore the black pair to a wedding to go with my red dress.  I just loved that slight curve at the top of the heel.  Real sexy-looking, right?  The gray heels got more use, and I sometimes wore them to work.  Yep, I worked in 4" heels.  Ouch.  But they looked so good on my feet.

That pin you see in the photo beneath the 4'inchers is the 4" pin that was inserted into the toe bone during surgery.  It was removed 4 weeks post-op.  How did my doctor remove the pin?  Before I knew what was happening, the doctor simply yanked the pin out.  Let me repeat.  He put his finger in the hook, distracted me, and pulled with a jerk.  I'm happy to tell you that I did not feel a thing.  That was crazy surprising!

For days, during recovery from the surgery, I'd enter my walk-in closet and stare at my shoes.  I have shoes on a door organizer, shoes in a wall organizer, and lined and stacked on the floor.  So many kinds of shoes, most of them with heels.  It was inevitable that I would no longer be wearing most of them.  It's been five weeks since my foot surgery for a condition called hallux varus, a deformity of the great toe joint.  I first posted an article about this a couple days after my surgery.  If you missed it, you can read about it here.

Basically, a hallux varus is the opposite of a bunion.  A bunion is where the big toe is forced inward (inside of foot), and the hallux varus is where the big toe is forced outward.  The hallux varus occurs following the correction of a bunion deformity in which there is an overcorrection.  Hallux varus symptoms usually occur while wearing shoes which crowd the tip of the big toe on the inside aspect.  It becomes very painful, believe me.

My foot didn't heal according to plan.  The sutures should've been removed two weeks following surgery, but the wound was looking infected.  My podiatrist/surgeon took two swabs of clear fluid draining from the wound to the lab for testing, and it tested negative for infection.  That's the good news.  The bad news is the sutures had to stay in another week.  Days later, the wound wasn't looking any better.  He removed a couple of sutures and an unbelievable amount of clear fluid flowed from the wound.  The wound wasn't fully closed, but he removed all the sutures anyway,  and said it was necessary for all of the fluid to drain well.  I was given antibiotics to help me heal.  Since there was no infection, the doctor and I agreed the slow healing process had to do with a disease I was diagnosed with in 1998 called lupus.  Basically, my body was attacking itself.  You can learn about lupus here and here, and in a future post, I will share with you what it is like to live with lupus.

It is almost two months post-up and my foot is healing very nicely.  Still swollen, and the bruises are almost gone. Soon, I will get rid of my shoes with 3" heels.  Then I'll try on the shoes with 2" heels.  Any that give me pain will be given away.  I'm having a hard time with this, but it has to be done.  I won't wear them ever again.  I don't want anymore foot surgeries.  Everyone should heed my advice -- avoid bad shoes.  If you have any questions regarding my foot surgeries because perhaps you're having issues with your feet, please let me know.

Be kind to your feet.    
Source:  Bing Photo Gallery

Saturday, November 1, 2014

My Summer Fashion Favorites

When I shop for clothes, I am very particular, as I'm sure you all are, too.  I don't head to the mall to buy a complete outfit, unless I want something completely new for a special event.  My favorite thing to do is to head to the sales racks.  I love rummaging for that one great piece that will go with what I have in my closet.  I am all about saving bucks, and I want that one thing that will look great with a jewelry set or denims, and so on.

I consider everything I buy a favorite, or else I wouldn't buy it, right?  Well, I want to share only the items that I received so many compliments on this past summer.  I'm talking about complete strangers who felt compelled to walk up to me to say "I just love that top you're wearing," and "May I see your watch?".  Then there's "Where did you get your bag?  It's so unique.  I love it!".  One more thing, I always receive compliments on my hair.  My layered style was waist-length until I trimmed it up five inches two weeks ago.  I must say that I feel so free and am happy to not have to deal with the length of it.  So here are my favs for Summer 2014:

I bought this Guess top on sale at Ross.  It's lightweight, comfortable, with eyelet detail in the neckline and sleeves.  My fish bag is a fair trade item from South America.  Summer, my oldest daughter, spotted it in a museum in Balboa Park, San Diego.  She thought I'd like it and wanted me to check it out.  This bag was so unique but not on sale.  I felt it was quite pricey, and I didn't want to spend the money on it.  My son took one look at it and said I had to get it.  Okay, so I broke down and bought it because we all know that this is how I roll in fashion.  Anyway, by buying fair trade, I'm helping a talented artisan build his/her sustainable business.  I like spreading happiness!  Unlike some women I know, I'm brave enough to wear things that are too bright, or have bold patterns or, well, this fish bag says it all!  I'm also wearing a Michael Kors gold-tone tortoise acetate watch that ladies just love.

This is my hair before I had it trimmed.  I asked to have 5" taken off the length.  My hair is naturally straight but this is how it looks after using a 1-1/2" non-taper curling wand.  It looks great, doesn't it?  I'm asked a lot how I get my hair to look like this.  I brush my hair and separate into four sections -- lower scalp, mid scalp, upper scalp and crown.  Taking my wand, I take small strands, curling the lower section towards the back center.  The next section up, I'll curl the strands in the opposite direction towards my face.  Next section up, curl towards the back center.  Lastly, the crown strands are curled towards the back.  Let cool, don't brush unless you want to style it up.  I hardly ever brush my hair.  Sometimes, I'll rise out of bed and not brush my hair all day long!

What were your summer favorites?