Do Your Feet Hurt?

images-5A new study from the UK has just concluded that more than half of women and one third of men have purchased shoes that do not fit properly. This is shocking considering that most of us buy several pairs a year and that so much of our comfort is tied to happy feet.

Surprisingly, people’s feet tend to get larger as they age. Most people have not had their feet measured since they were in grade school.   The article recommended annual measurements to check your foot size. Even if your feet do not grow larger, they often change in small ways that can cause shoes to fit improperly.

I remember as a child having an adult cousin who had only one source from which to order her size 9 AAAA.   Not only was the length unusually long for a lady at that time but the narrow width was very rare.   Today Nordstrom is taking note of demand for larger sizes while manufacturers such as Stuart Weitzman and Cole Haan are adding extended sizes to their inventory. Sadly, this does not address those ladies with very small feet who now have to find shoes in the children’s department. images-7I have a narrow foot and find most manufacturers who used to carry a nice selection of AA or AAA shoes, no longer offer them.   Marmi in Lenox Square still offers a good selection of widths and lengths that are reasonably priced.

Shopping on line is used more and more by busy people lacking time to search through store. Unfortunately, it often results in choices that would not be made if one had been in a store.

images-9Most specialists concerned with foot health agree that over a 2” heel can cause foot damage. The pointed toe tends to crowd toes and cause pain. Since a pointed toe helps create a longer, leaner leg line, I find the modified pointed toe most wearable unless you have a very wide foot.

A wedge gives a more solid foundation for the foot and offers better support. Sandals generally offer very little arch support. Nor do ballet slippers, especially those with really flexible soles.

My suggestion is to take the time to shop for your shoes, try them on and walk around the store for a bit. Most stores will allow you to return shoes that do not fit as long as you have tested them on carpet and they have no evidence of wear.images-6 Yes, this takes more time but how much better to have shoes that fit properly without causing permanent foot damage.

Happy feet last a lifetime.

Do you “Cocktail”?

 

images-5

Makeup “cocktailing” has become a trend that cosmetic manufacturers are learning to accept. No longer is the average customer loyal to just one brand.

There is a reason why department stores place the cosmetic section near the busiest entrance door. Ladies love to see the new colors, test the latest fragrance or succumb to an invitation to have a quick make over. Each company has a well-trained representative who skillfully shows you how beautiful the whole line is on you and convinces you that the best result can only be achieved by using their brand.   This process helps the cosmetic section maintain its distinction as being the most lucrative department of the store.images-6

But, change is happening. Thanks to Sephora, who offers over 200 brands of cosmetics, customers have a wide variety from which to choice. The sales people are knowledgeable in all of the brands and the customer is allowed to browse each section of the store, testing and experiencing various products.     A customer may use three different brands of mascara, to create the look she wants and another brand of foundation. She may use a variety of eye shadows or lipstick, mixing them to create her personal color. The cocktail customer may actually purchase more cosmetic without brand loyalty.

I really like the idea of mixing makeup brands to achieve your best look.  However, moisturizers and lotions are one area where I choose to be very selective. I want a product that is free of chemicals. Your skin is your largest organ through which lotions and creams absorb into your body. Many products, even expensive high-end ones, are loaded with chemicals. I get enough pollutants by living in a city so I look for natural products that work with my sensitive skin and are chemical free. imgres-4Some of the brands I have researched and trust are Arbonne, which is developed in Swiss labs but manufactured in the US. Kiehl has been around for many years and is carried by department stores.   They use word of mouth rather than advertising, which is reflected in their pricing. A new product that I really like is Neal’s Yard Remedies (NYR), an all natural British product that has recently become available in the US. Both NYR and Arbonne are sold by individual reps.  Natural lotions are also available at Whole Foods and some health food stores.

Maintaining beautiful skin provides a perfect canvas on which to paint your most beautiful portrait.

Comeback of the Bucket

 

imgresAfter seasons of handbags the size of suitcases, lady-like clutches, cowboy rivets and fringes and other iterations, the bucket is making a resurgence. Love it or hate it, it’s back.

What is simpler than to grab your bag, toss it over your shoulder and rush out the door? The image of these bags is easy and practical. Now, of course, finding anything in them might be another matter.

From an image standpoint, they present a casual image, which might not be the best look for everyone. The more soft and slouchy the bag, the more casual the look. That said, the Louis Vuitton pictured has structure with a classic appearance.  If your style is classic, this could be a great choice for you.

The red bag has soft pleats closing the top giving a softer look, yet tailored. It could work for a romantic or elegant style, while the snakeskin bag has a dramatic, earthiness to it. The brown bag with tassels is a great choice for a more casual, sporty look.images-3

When choosing the right style handbag for you, consider your personal style and the right scale for you. If you are tall and large boned, a larger scale is appropriate. If you are small boned and petite, go for a scale that mirrors your personal scale. Next, consider what will be the best look for your lifestyle.   You may enjoy changing purses each day depending on your activities. If this is you, go for it. I prefer having a basic purse that works the majority of the time to eliminate the frustration of leaving out something important when making the switch.

images-4Another consideration with a bucket bag is organization. Nothing is more irritating than sifting through the bottom of your bag for your lipstick, a pen, your cell phone or reading glasses. Individual bags are often a great solution. Notice the Louis Vuitton accompanying bag. Many bucket bag interiors have some zip pockets to hold specific items.

Then, there is the issue of security. An open top on a bucket bag is an invitation for someone to quickly reach in and help themselves.   I will never forget carrying a bucket bag in Italy with an open top and glancing down to see a hand slipping down inside the bag – and it wasn’t my husband’s! Fortunately, I saw it and reacted so the thief disappeared into the crowd. I had also placed all of the important items inside zip pockets on the interior but the experience still gives me chills.imgres-1

No matter what style you choose, half the fun is in the hunt to find the perfect bag. Happy hunting!

Happy Birthday, America!

imgres-4 Looking forward to celebrating July 4, the founding of America, I was reflecting on the importance of our flag colors: Red, White and Blue.     Red: A symbol of courage and strength. It also symbolized blood spilled to keep our country safe.images-4 White:   The symbol of purity. Blue:   Symbolizes success. We “shoot for the moon” and “reach for the stars”. It also denotes spirituality. God is in the heavens.   Our founding fathers must have put a great deal of time into choosing the right colors for our country.

images-5 May we reflect on the importance of why these colors were chosen as we celebrate our country’s birthday.