Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Help for my skinny, kangaroo feet

This is a review for the Parent Bloggers Network and Ryka. Ryka is giving away 50 pairs of sneakers a day until Oct. 25. Fifty pairs of shoes a day! Why wouldn't you enter a contest like that??


I have a hard time finding shoes that fit me. A really hard time. With the width of my feet a staggeringly narrow quadruple A it's difficult to find a shoe, especially a sneaker, that will fit the narrowness of my foot to my liking. Most sneakers are so wide I need a couple pairs of socks to keep my feet from slipping around. Not very comfortable to exercise that way, let me tell you.

So I was cautiously optimistic when I received a pair of MC2 running shoes from Ryka. I'm not a hardcore runner, more of a fast walker when I'm not on my elliptical trainer, but due to my freakishly skinny feet I've found running shoes fit me better. And I am very pleased to say the MC2s fit me really well.

The heel is narrow so my skinny, kangaroo feet don't slip. That is extremely important to me as my feet are always slipping in shoes (remember the two pairs of socks?).

One (small) problem I had with the MC2s was the arch support. In addition to having long, bony feet they're also flat. As in flat as a board. No arches. Nada. And due to my flat feet I have chronic back problems, so I need serious arch support or I have to add inserts. The MC2s did offer some pretty good arch support but not enough for me. But outside of an orthotic shoe I have yet to find a sneaker I don't need to put inserts into.

The arch support must not be too bad, however, because I've worn them to run errands for the past two days and I haven't had any back pain. That's pretty good for a non-custom, non-orthotic shoe. Any day that doesn't end with me in pain is a good day.

So I guess that wasn't a problem after all? Huh. Go figure.

Did I mention the MC2 is a good looking sneaker? It really is very attractive, but not in that loud, obnoxious way that some other sneakers have to be. Let's face it, if the shoe is ugly I'm not going to wear it no matter how well it fits me (and believe me I've worn some ugly shoes and sneakers in my day because of my wonky feet). It's nice to see a maker of footwear, athletic or not, who realizes you don't have to sacrifice style for fit and comfort.

Ryka sneakers do run on the small side so as a size 8 1/2-9 I requested a 9, and even then I probably could have gone up to a 9 1/2. The first few times I wore them I felt like my pinky toe was cramped but that feeling went away quickly. I guess they just needed to be broken in a bit. So just remember when you order a pair of sneakers from Ryka order a size up.

Hint, hint - when you order a pair - hint, hint.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nina Garcia's Little Black Book of Style

Nina Garcia (yes, that Nina Garcia) has branched out from magazines and television and lent her expertise to the book world in the form of The Little Black Book of Style and I'd like to get down and kiss her Manolo Blahniks for doing so.

I received this book at just the right time in my life. My daughter is no longer a clingy baby and I no longer feel the need to wear to wear my mommy uniform - khakis and a dark t-shirt (to hide stains) - any longer. I want to look good again. I want to feel attractive and put together. I want to be a hot mama.

But less about me and more about the book.

Between the size of the book (portable, small enough to fit in your tote), the heavy weight of the pages and the timeless illustrations by Ruben Toledo, I know this is a book I'll want to keep for a long time. It feels like a potential heirloom, something I'd want to pass down to my daughter one day.

And speaking of mothers and daughters, Garcia starts the book by sharing her very first fashion inspirations: her mother and her father. Her stories about her mother and father really made me open my eyes and recognize that the me I show to the public is also the me my daughter sees. I don't want her growing up believing the epitome of style is crew neck tees, jeans from the Gap and flip flops. With Garcia's ten rules that every fashion icon knows, I'm already on my way to making my daughter proud to be seen with me.

I'm on a budget and you probably are too, so lest you think the Fashion Editor at Elle is only pimping names like Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, and Prada, think again. Okay, she does mention those, but she also mentions Hanes (As in t-shirts! Purchased two already and she was so spot on! They are must haves.) and Target. It's not always about the designers but working with what you can afford and making it fabulous. Garcia even writes favorably about the L.L. Bean tote bag, and being a woman from New England that thrilled me to no end. I've been fashionable all these years and didn't even know it! But, Nina, lay off the duck boots, OK? You can't wear three inch heels when there's a snow storm.

In case you're concerned that this review is favorable just because I received a free copy of the book through the Parent Bloggers Network to review, don't be. I have reread this book three times and it sits on a place of honor near my bed, where I can grab it when I some courage while skimming my closet for something suitable to wear. And I've already put some of her advice to work. I've already mentioned the Hanes t-shirts, but thanks to The Black Book I'm also more discriminating when I go shopping. No more throwing my money away on that fifth pair of khakis.

One tip I took away from Nina Garcia's Little Black Book of Style - fashion is not all about the essential trend according to the latest fashion magazine but what's essential to your own personal style. Buying the "it" bag this season is ridiculous, but finding that perfect piece to compliment my entire wardrobe for a few years to come while creating my own style? That's priceless.

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