Shiny. Pretty.

Last week, the fine folks over at solestruck.com asked me to peruse their wares. I was excited to do so, as they carry many of my favorite footwear brands including Camper, Faryl Robin, and Seychelles. Their selection wasn’t the best for those brands, which turned out to be a blessing because it forced me to explore some names I’d never even heard before.

I ended up with this stunning pair of Vince Camutos:


Which I wore for the first time yesterday with this outfit:


You can just see the glistening patent peeking out from under my massive widelegs.

While I adore how these shoes look – especially that tapered heel, meeeOOW! – they were tough on the tootsies. I was 100% ready to trade them in for my Natty Old Lady Sandals by the time I got home from work. However, when I first slipped them on to make sure I’d requested the right size, they felt great: Cushy and walkable. So since patent is stiffer than matte leather and may take a few wearings to supple up, I have not given up hope. No, no, not at all.

Additionally, I’m keen to wear these into fall with patterned tights and skirts. It’s a look I NEVER thought I’d crave, but I’m pretty sure these glossy little numbers will look so fun offsetting nubbly hoisery and a sleek pencil skirt. And, as a friend pointed out, wearing them with tights will hasten the breaking-in process.

I know Vince Camuto isn’t exactly a newcomer, but this is the first time he’s popped onto my radar. Some of his designs are a little TOO shiny-shiny for me, but overall, I dig his aesthetic. Here, in the midst of the stiletto’s second coming, is a line that provides stylish heels with some heft. Since I look like a bear on stilts walking around in thin, tall heels, I prefer a nice CHUNK, thank you. And our man Vince has some great options.

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Preventing a Binge

I have never used makeup. It wasn’t until after college that I put ANYTHING in my hair to prevent it from looking like abundant brown Brillo. About 5 years ago, I walked into an Aveda store to talk to someone about why my face kept breaking out, and the nice lady informed me that washing my tender complexion once a day with Dial soap and using zero moisturizer might be contributing. So, overall, I’d classify myself as a beauty and personal grooming nitwit.

I did, however, decide to invest a rather appalling amount of money in pulsed light hair removal treatments for my legs. I won’t go into the gory details, but suffice to say that I’m a dark-haired half-Jew who felt this was an extremely worthwhile use of my hard-earned buxx.

This Saturday afternoon, I drove the 20-some-odd miles down to the office where I get my treatments only to find the parking lot empty. I called the office to be buzzed in, hoping against hope that there were staff cars stashed in another location. The phone service had been shut off. Drove home, frantically punched in their website, and discovered that the business had gone under two weeks ago.

Nice of them to call and let me know.

To add insult to injury, this lovely business insisted on payment upfront. So even though my treatment regimen wasn’t complete, I must continue paying down my CareCredit card for another 6 months. And girls, it’s a LOT of money.

My very first instinct upon discovering that I had been financially screwed? TO SHOP. To spend money that I do not have to console myself over the money I had just, essentially, lost.

And that’s normal. Normal humans have enragingly counterproductive reactions to stressors. We feel fat, so we eat more. We are confronted with our dire finances, so we shop more. We feel lonely, so we hole ourselves up at home and don’t talk to anyone. We want to feel better, yet we instinctively behave as if we want to feel worse. It can be a real battle to stave off the wallowing/worsening tendencies.

So here are some things I do when I feel the undertow kick in. You’ve likely heard many of them before, but maybe I’ve got a few ideas that’ll be new news.

For feeling body-bad:
- Eat. FRUIT! If the sight of wiggly arm flab or a belly pooch prompts frustration-hunger, force yourself to eat some fruit. Fructose often sates sweet cravings, which can help you avoid OD-ing on Ben and Jerry’s. And since you want to eat anyway, you’ll dampen the binge desire while consuming something healthy and tasty.

- Move. Walk around the block, do the stairs three times, or throw a ball for your dog. A full workout is great, but if you need a quicker fix, just do something to get your blood flowing and your endorphins dumping. Your “need” for a deep-dish pizza will likely subside once you get active.

- Breathe. Lie down in a quiet room and take 10 slow, deep breaths. Think about the forest or the ocean. Take another 10 slow, deep breaths. If you’re not sound asleep yet, you’ll at least be considerably calmer and more centered. And less fake-hungry.

- Masturbate. The squeamish/modest among you will please pardon my being so direct, but a little alone time in the bedroom will remind you of something entirely perfect that your body can do for you every single day. In addition, you’ll get a nice dump of oxytocin – a neurotransmitter that will flood your systems with warm, positive feeling. Some of us get hungry after orgasm, but a physical-neurological distraction this powerful will have knocked aside the urge to binge.

For financial woes:
- Distract. Dive into a novel, a favorite TV show, or a movie. Focusing your attention on someone else’s story can prevent you from obsessing about your own. Since the desire to binge is usually emotional and fleeting, you may only need an hour’s worth of stall time to get yourself out of the danger zone.

- Make contact. Call a friend or relative that you trust, and talk about how you’re feeling. If you’re all alone in a silent storm of thinking and fretting and shopping-contemplation, you’re more likely to buy something you’ll regret. Get a second opinion.

- Move. Taking a walk is, in fact, an excellent remedy to nearly every anxiety-related ailment. Just make sure you don’t stroll past any of your favorite shops.

- Thrift. If you absolutely CANNOT stave off the desire to buy, hit the local Salvation Army. Allow yourself 3 items, or make a short list of things you’ve been wanting before you go inside. This will prevent true binge behavior. Thrifting at charity shops means the money you’re frittering will fund a good cause, and low prices at such shops prevents you from racking up yet more debt.

There are plenty of other activities that may prevent binge behavior. Taking a long, hard, naked look at yourself in the mirror might keep you from polishing off that bag of Cheetos, and making a list of your debts might keep you from clicking “buy” on anthropologie.com. But since you’re stuck in a spiral of negativity already – feeling like butt and punishing yourself emotionally – I’d encourage you to chose something gentler. Distraction and physical activity are some of the best methods for keeping yourself from indulging in impulsive behaviors.

Saturday afternoon, post-discovery, I read a couple of chapters of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon to prevent myself from spending. And I am no poorer today than I was Saturday. Though I am, sadly, hairier.

(Image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net)

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