Learn To Dance Ballet And Eventually Get Into Pointe Shoes

Both younger and adult beginners dream that they can learn to dance ballet. They picture the tidy look of the black leotard, the pink tights and the satin pointe shoes. Hip hop, modern and ballroom dancers learn ballet technique to build strength and avoid injury. And some adults who start late work hard to eventually start pointe. Needing to understand basic classical ballet, is what they all have in common.

If you want to learn to dance ballet, start with finding a reputable dance studio. Many dance academies will allow you watch a class if you like.

Hip hop, contemporary dance classes, and ballroom dancing and many more forms of dance are supported by basic classical ballet technique.

The correct use of your posture, turn out and learning correct placement will help you to build strength and avoid dance injuries.

Even football players learn ballet to prevent sports injuries!

Simple ballet wear is preferred by teachers because they can see how you use your muscles (or not), and they can easily see how your joints are aligned. The visual result is important in ballet, but the proper technique is also related to preventing injuries.

The freer forms of dance depend on good technique as much or more than ballet, because dancers are asked to do more innovative and untested movements, repeatedly, in modern choreography. The risk of strain and sprain are less predictable.

If you are an adult ballet beginner, have a couple of soft ice packs in the freezer! You will feel soreness and stiffness the day after your ballet class. Ice is soothing to your muscles, a drug free solution to the results of your exertion. Unless the ice pack is fabric covered, be careful not to put it on bare skin.

There are specific foot muscle exercises, which will move you toward dancing in pointe shoes safely. Understanding your foot type, what the intrinsic foot muscles are, and finding out about the flexibility of your ankle and foot joints is important.

Also realize that any ballet move you do that is a little awkward will seem much more so on pointe, and must be corrected before you get into toe shoes.

If you have time to study a little anatomy and movement mechanics you'll understand why some things are easier for you than others. Go to The Body Series for excellent guides on movement anatomy and the benefits of stretching.

If you want to learn to dance ballet, start where you are. Get the best start possible with the dancer's guide to learn to do ballet and get into pointe shoes.

I'm Coming Home!!!

What a rad trip to China! And I'm not even being sarcastic. We have a new designer doing our newly acquired Jill Stuart license and she is so much fun!! It is so nice to have another girl around in the China office to hang out with and bounce ideas off of. :) Plus we laughed more than we worked so it was a nice change of pace. We actually ended up missing our husbands so much that we slumber partied in order to have some company. Sleeping alone sucks!

Anyway, it was a quick trip and I was only in the office 3 days. It's nice to not stay long, but it's also a little stressful as you have to work super fast. I'm really excited about this JLO collection- I found some really cool leathers and my shoes looked pretty awesome in the sample room. Woo! Now the best part... time to go home.

I'm sitting in the airport, waiting for them to call my flight number. I've decided not to be terrified of flying anymore because it's silly and irrational. My goal is to not pop the xanex thats waiting in my handbag so lovingly incase I should need it. It's crazy that I've been coming to China for about 4 years now, and I'm always scared of the flight. Not anymore. Time to get over it. 

Ding ding! United flight 63 to Los Angeles! Thats me! See you guys soon


Should One Provide Slippers for Guests?


In some Eastern European and Asian countries, guests change from their shoes into slippers provided by the host.

Some argue that if you intend to have a shoes-off policy in your home, you should keep some slippers for guests to wear. It is argued that this will make them feel more comfortable and prevent embarassments such as foot odour and holes in socks.

I am not so sure about this one. If slippers are provided, then they must either be disposable plastic slippers or else slippers that can go in the washing machine. It would be quite unreasonable to expect guests to wear slippers that have been worn by somebody else that day. I am not sure whether most slippers are machine washable. Some guests might not even trust you that they really have been cleaned and may prefer to stay in bare or stocking feet.

I think the practise of providing guest slippers might be just a bit too weird for British. Many British people will have been to a house where shoes-off was required, but not many people will have been offered guest slippers to wear, unless it was in another country. I think a lot of English guests would prefer to go barefoot, rather than wear slippers that are not their own.

I think it is a good idea to buy slippers for family and regular visitors and keep them at your house. These should be worn only by the person they are provided for. Hopefully, one's family and close friends would be delighted by this consideration.

Providing clean socks is a different matter. I would suggest keeping a supply of clean socks in different sizes by the door for guests who are not comfortable going barefoot.

I think it is very sensible to let visitors know in advance that one has a shoes-off rule in one's home. That way, they can be sure to wear socks without holes or bring their own slippers if they prefer.

Dinner Party Suggestion

Yesterday I invited a couple to dinner next Sunday. I put a question to them:

Matthew: Is there anything you really don't like to eat?
Wife: Peas
Husband: Olives
Wife: Sprouts
Husband: Sprouts aren't in season, darling.
Matthew: Okay, no peas, olives or sprouts.

Guess what I said to them next?

Matthew: I do ask people to take their shoes off. You might want to think about what socks you wear.
Husband: That is fine. We never wear shoes in our house either.

Notice what I did with the question? I asked them to state a preference. I gave them a say in what took place in the dinner party by inviting them to comment on the food they did'nt like. I showed that I was concerned about their enjoying the occasion.

Having done that, I was then in a strong position to state my own preference, which was for them to remove their shoes.

I think if you invite people over to dinner, this can be a really effective tactic. It is negotiation. By showing initial concern for the guests comfort, your guest will be more willing to respect your need for shoes-off.

More donations

jillian_w-shoes, originally uploaded by One World Running.

Jillian Roberts, a ninth-grader who runs track and cross country in Miami, sits with some of the roughly 100 shoes she collected this spring. It was Jillian's first shoe drive and she did a great job. Jillian put up boxes at three stores in the Miami area; the New Balance store at 8888 SW 136 Street; Footworks at 5724 Sunset Drive in South Miami, and the local JCC at 11155 SW 112th Ave.

"I really enjoy collecting shoes, and already feel like I have accomplished so much," Jillian wrote us.

Indeed she did, and her shoes went on several shipments, including our first shipment to Craiova, Romania. Olympic marathoner Luminita Talpos and her husband, Daniel, brought the shoes over to a school in Craiova. (watch for photos). The rest of the shoes went to Haiti and Honduras ... Congratulations to Jillian for her good work. We hope to continue working with her in the future.


I work in a drug rehab clinic which offers alternative therapy. One of my colleagues is a vegan and another practices organic gardening and alternative medicine. I think one has to be a bit of a hippy to work there. I suppose I express my hippiness in wearing flip flops or sandals to work.

Hippies are often associated with going barefoot. While hippies are not reputed to be bothered about dirt, I am sure a lot of people who have a shoes-off policy could fall into the 'hippy' category. After all, many of them worry about pollution and chemicals. And many hippies are interested in Asian cultures. So having a shoe-less home can really fit in well with an hippy lifestyle.

While I mentioned wearing sandals and flip flops, my own hippy credentials are severely limited, being a critic of Organic food and a supporter of Genetically Modified food technology. However, when I was at sixth form (high school to you Yanks) I had a reputation for being a hippy on account of havinng long hair and being into 'peace.'

I do tend to get on well with people who could fall into the categories of hippy or punk; people who are a bit counter-cultural. I suppose because my Christian fundamentalism puts me outside mainstream attitudes.

Jeri's Organizing & Decluttering News: Leaving Your Shoes at the Door

Jeri's Organizing & Decluttering News: Leaving Your Shoes at the Door

A reader just raised the issue of storing shoes. Personally, I think a collection of shoes at the door has a certain aesthetic quality. However, those who disagree with find some helpful ideas on this page. It even links here, which was very nice of the author.

The Benefits Of Stretching - Avoid Injury In Ballet Shoes and Pointe Shoes

The benefits of stretching is taught to all athletes. In school, safe stretching needs to be taught for physical education classes.

For classical ballet, safe stretching helps you avoid injury. Once soft tissues are torn, inflammation and scar tissue will form. In ballet shoes and pointe shoes, and in most sports, you want uninterrupted training. Whatever kind of ballet/sports/fitness you love, you can build strength, stretch, and avoid dancing in pain.

If you like to stretch before class, some warm up is absolutely necessary. Some loose leg and arm swings, and easy bending forward and sideways is a good way to start. Deep breathing while you do this adds to the warm up.

If you feel stiff from sitting at an office desk, or driving, walk on the spot for one minute. Lift your feet and pump your arms a little, this gets lots of muscle and joints moving.

The end of the class or workout is an ideal time to stretch. If it is not possible because the next class is starting, and you cannot find another place in the studio to stretch, wear leg warmers or sweats home. Sometimes you'll feel warmed up for quite a while after class. You can stretch at home immediately or take a hot bath then stretch. Soaking with epsom salts or sea salt is healthy for the muscles. The minerals help draw the acids out of your tissues.

Active stretching is where you stretch your own muscles. If you're sitting in second position, you can hang over each leg, and then hang forward. Stretching over each leg is going to stretch your hamstrings, and all the muscles, ligaments and tendons around your pelvis and hips. You can lean out sideways keeping your torso stretched long to stretch the hip joint area. Then you can do a side bend over the same leg, and you'll feel the stretch in the hamstring and the opposite hip and side of your torso. If you're stretching to the right, be sure to keep the left hip on the floor, and the left leg stretched.

Deep breathing provides enough movement to apply pressure to the stretch, you do not need to bounce.

If you can reach your feet in a second position stretch, you can pull yourself over the leg, hold the position for a minute or more, easing back if you start to feel real pain.

Passive stretching is when someone else stretches you. Stretching with a partner is not recommended until you are very advanced. A physiotherapist can stretch you properly, but if you avoid injury, you won't need that.

Stretching causes discomfort. Before you get to the point of pain, you are already stretching. You don't need to push to the point where you see lights before your eyes.

Get this amazing and simple to learn DVD to enjoy the benefits of stretching. If you avoid injury to your soft tissues you will dance in ballet shoes and pointe shoes, or enjoy your favorite fitness workout for many years.

The Gardener

Our gardener need to come in to use the toilet in the house. He removed his shoes without being asked.

Gardeners are usually great ones for removing their shoes without being asked.

Degrees of Firmness part 2


I think for friends I would go for the very direct no.6 (Could you take your shoes off, please?) and for people I did not know, I would use the more restrained no.4 (Are you alright with taking your shoes off?).

It may be that you are just too shy to use the more direct requests. However, you might find that the softest approach no.1 works a lot of the time. If you are barefoot and there are a lot of shoes by the door, you may get the right reaction just by saying:

You can take your shoes off here, if you like.

Degrees of Firmness


1. You can take your shoes off here if you like.

2. We take our shoes off here.

3. We do like visitors to take their shoes off.

4. Are you alright with taking your shoes off?

5. You don't mind taking your shoes off, do you?

6. Could you take your shoes off, please?

7. Take your shoes off, please.

8. Shoes off.

9. Shoes off now!

Follow-up on Flip Flops

I raised the question in the last post about whether flip flops were going out of fashion.

I went to my university yesterday to see my supervisor. As it happened, there were still plenty of students wearing flip flops.

Flip flops may not be as fashionable as they have been in recent years, but they are evidently still very popular with students.

Of course, students tend not to worry much about shoes being worn in their lodgings, but when they are working and paying mortgages on their carpeted homes their attitudes may well change.

Time to Go to China Again...

See you guys after May 1st... don't miss me too much


Musicality In Ballet Class Facilitates The Difficult Aspects of Dancing

There is a lot that is difficult about classical ballet. Musicality in ballet class training makes it easier. What exactly musicality is, can lead to lengthy discussions about music, personality, and more.

I once had a teacher who described it as "technically dishonest" to use or feel the music in any way in order to perform a step better.

You mean we should have been able to train with someone just hitting a pencil on a pot lid to keep us working together? Or have a metronome clicking in the studio?

This same teacher made sure that her pianist played a battement tendu type of music for jumps - a little plonky, a little pedestrian (though there were pianists who, luckily, could not play without feeling). It seemed that inspiration was a way to cheat.

There are dancers who will catch your eye in class, even when they are not the best technical student, and are not among the most physically gifted ones. Their musicality is more than being on the music. Some people describe it as being "in" the music, or inside the music.

In performance, there is an element of phrasing. A soloist or principal dancer can adapt the timing of virtuoso sections in the ballet, to their individual technical highlights or qualities. Some dancers will work this out in rehearsal, and do it exactly the same every time.

And yet, in the less definable area of timing, there is poetry, there is a quality that isn't just good phrasing, that reaches a soulful level. The dancer, the music, the drama, the audience, are all in the same stream.

Such a quality does not require narrative drama to be visible, or tangible. It can occur in abstract choreography as well. It is not just that an experienced performer can "let go". Musicality can be apparent during ballet class when a performer or student is working hard.

Sometimes musicality can be invoked in students as they train. Movement imagery and mental tricks work. For example, giving an allegro exercise in a waltz, and saying "just stay in the air for two/three and land on 1" will bring out a better height and quality of jump. It will not be exactly staying in the air for two beats and landing on the first beat, but it will cause a dance student to reach for that timing and their work gains a quality.

Hearing the "and" between the beats of music is a technical necessity for petit allegro, for battus. But when there are several "ands" in between the beats - where do you choose to put the movement emphasis?

Musicality makes it easier. Of course practice makes it easier, but musicality makes it delicious for those watching, because some can feel what their eyes see and their ears hear, even without drama or emotion.

If you love watching ballet, you know what I mean. If you are extremely musical you may not know what I mean or why I would write about musicality in ballet class. You would ask "doesn't everyone do it like that?"

Yummy As a Candied Apple!

I did some MAJOR shopping today and I'm exhausted! I know, poor me. But seriously- I felt like I saw so much good stuff out there, including this amazing platform wedge from Giuseppi Zanotti (which I can't find anywhere online).

It's way more amazing in person. The red is a high-shine red Japanese lacquer. The yellow bit is a separate plastic piece and they look so cool together! The upper is mirrored metallic leather... I'm telling you, this is one of the coolest shoes I've seen in a while and I highly recommend you go see it in person. It's that good.

They're so super high too. They make me like 6 feet tall! haha I'm taller than my husband, but he seems ok with it. Thank God, cause I love high shoes. In fact, the higher the better in my book. 


Here is what Santa Rosa, Calif., journalist Chris Smith wrote about the Great Shoe-In Sendoff Celebration last weekend:

SHOE-IN: That was some scene in the parking lot of the new hillside Shomrei Torah temple Saturday. Dozens of kids from the Santa Rosa congregation's Jewish School danced and sang alongside a colossal heap of used (and a few new) shoes. The students had hoped to collect a few hundred pairs for people in need. But their quest caught on, and soon people all over town were collecting shoes too. Saturday's celebration was a send-off for 2,383 pairs. Some will go to homeless people, and most will be sanitized and shipped to children and adults in Africa. Definitely worth dancing about.

Will post photos later. Many thanks to the enthusiasm and competence that Barbara has brought to the project. The old record was set by Eric and his high school cross country buddies in ohio in 2006, roughly 1,800 pairs.

A Little Off the Subject, but...

Every shoe girl needs her down time, right?

So I totally ditched work today and went and got a facial. Not just any facial, THE absolute best facial ever! And I swear I'm totally not exaggerating. If you're in the Southern California area... any part of it... it is worth your time to go and visit Jennifer Smith over at Cody Rose Salon. I have had many facials in my life but none compare to hers. I told her that her hands are magic, and I really think it may be true. There's no other explanation! ;)

How does this relate to shoes you ask? Well... it really doesn't, BUT while a mask is doing it's work on your face, Jen gives a killer foot rub. So there- it relates!! So go treat yourself cause The Shoe Girl said so! I love giving my best girlfriends gift certificates for these "magic" facials too. Who wouldn't love 90 minutes of bliss?

Flip Flops

Flip flops are definitely my favorite kind of footwear. As I am an administrator in a pretty casual office, I can wear them to work these days.

I expect a lot of people who want shoes-off in their homes like flip flops, as they are easy to put on and off and are minimal enough for people who like being shoeless. The only disadvantage is that in very wet weather, your feet can get muddy and you need to wash them after coming in.

I did wonder if flip flops had gone out of fashion. A couple of years ago, people seemed to be wearing them all year round, even in winter. However, among girls, they seem to have been overtaken by ballet pumps and Ugg boots. Nevertheless, I saw quite a few people wearing flip flops today. This probably had a lot to do with the glorious spring weather we had. We British really relish the change in season. I suspect as the weather warms, many girls will find flip flops a lot more comfortable than ballet pumps.

I have mentioned before that the popularity of flip flops and sandals today shows that most people are not embarassed any more about their feet. It seems doubtful that many people would mind being asked to remove their shoes.

A great comment

An anonymous reader from the Republic of Georgia wrote:

I do believe shoes are not to be worn indoors. Their function is to protect us from street dirt, so wearing shoes indoors is improper.
Walking at people's homes with one's stockinged feet is comfortable and cozy. It is so nice to feel a carpet under your feet! You enter into a physical and emotional contact with your host's home when you're without your shoes. This custom develops home intimacy and, therefore, is beautiful.
Those who say they lose their outfit when shoes off could be replied: why don't you then leave your coats and hats on indoors? Socks and nylons are components of our appearance as well; they can be both elegant and fitting the whole appearance.
As many people, unfortunately, still don't share this logic, it is often considered rude to offer visitors "remove your shoes please". Yet I think one should always help other people to follow ideas he/she believes in. Allowing other people's stay in their shoes only looks polite; in contrast, it only indicates the host fears seeming rude more than breaking his/her own values.

Victoria Beckham Disorder

Times: How bad is your VB?

Victoria Beckham Disorder is apparently a disorder which causes women to need to control every aspect of their lives.

According to this test, featured in the Times, asking visitors to remove their shoes is a symptom of VBD.

I do object to people making out that those of us who want shoes-off in our homes are control freaks. I think it is the people that want to keep their shoes on all the time that are the control freaks.

Does Victoria Beckham have a shoes-off policy? It would be a wonderful coup if so great a celebrity as she kept a shoeless home. I do know she likes to wear slippers at home. However, she wore high heels on her yacht, which is utterly contrary to yacht etiquette.

Her husband is supposed to be obsessive-compulsive, so maybe he might be keen on keeping their home clean.

Green Mamma: A Pesticide Free Home

Green Mamma: A Pesticide Free Home

I like this person's idea for a sign:

“Pesticide Free Home. Please leave shoes at the door.”

Note to commentors

I treasure all your comments and it would be lovely to receive more feedback, but I must not be greedy.

This blog welcomes anonymous comments. It is your privilege to share or to not share as much information as you please. However, I would really appreciate it if you could tell me which part of the world you are from.

This is not because I am nosey, but just because it would be of great interest to me to know about how widespread shoes-off in homes is in different countries.



Some people are of the opinion that it is very important that guests have the choice of whether to keep their shoes on or not.

However, it is not as simple as that. Some choices may impose on the choices of others.

Some visitors may want to take their shoes off, but may fear that doing so will be considered rude. Being informed that shoes-off is encouraged will be a great welcome for these people.

The shoes-on folks might then argue, "Yes, but you can still let people keep their shoes on without imposing on the people who prefer to go shoeless."

However, this is not the case. Firstly, those people who want to take their shoes off may fear, if there are lots of other guests, particularly at a party, that their feet may get squashed by other peoples' shoes. In a crowded party, it can be hard to avoid having people tread on your toes.

Secondly, people who take their shoes off will prefer to walk on a floor that is cleaner. In fact, there is another issue here, as Angie pointed out in a previous post. Some guests will enjoy sitting on the floor. And sitting on the floor is a much more pleasent experience when it is clean. So allowing guests the choice of wearing shoes imposes on those who like to sit on the floor.

The simple truth is that no host can please everybody. However, there are far more good reasons to insist on shoes coming off at the door than for allowing shoes to stay on. Let guests chose between slippers, socks ot barefeet. That is choice enough.

Do These Remind You of Anything??

Suuuuuuure, I'm a little biased. I mean, I do work on the line- but I had nothing to do with these shoes. 
That said, I love these shoes! They're so cute and sassy. Ok, but do they remind you of something? Something maybe that you wore in the late 80's? Something that you might have worn with two or three layers of brightly colored tube socks while dancing to Olivia Newton John's Physical?

Yea... thought so.                                                                      

So for a throwback to your younger years in the form of a hot peep toe pump, head over to zappos and get these babies from L.A.M.B. while they last!

Village.com: Should you have to take your shoes off in another person's home?

Village.com: Should you have to take your shoes off in another person's home?

A video with some people's opinions.

Notice the Swedish guy looks really baffled by the question. It probably had'nt occurred to him that some people don't take their shoes off.

Ballet Is Difficult - Prevent Dance Injuries For Advancing Or Getting Into Pointe Shoes

It is no secret that ballet is difficult. Years of ballet class training are carefully planned so that you can prevent injuries and get optimum results. If you do not understand something in your ballet classes, communicating is necessary.

Never be afraid of asking your teacher if you feel like you need some better defined direction in your ballet class. Different ballet moves are more or less difficult for different students. Teachers love to know that their students want to work harder or smarter, and are committing more than a recreational presence in their ballet studio.

Ballet IS difficult. Its technical demands override what other athletes consider proper muscle recovery time. Its fashion demands override sensible eating habits to a huge magnitude.

Fortunately both these issues are more widely addressed in most dance schools at this time.

The basic technique and quality aspects of classical technique are designed to build strength and prevent dance injuries.

Understanding the particular short comings of your physique and personality (everybody has some) will help you advance better, maybe faster, and more safely.

Feeling impatient to get into pointe shoes, or into a more advanced boys' class is a good thing. Do your best to study some anatomy, some cross-training like Pilates or weight training, in order to practice sensibly.

Doing foot exercises, core strengthening exercises, or upper body weight training (pas de deux prep) are things you can add to your home practice. Balance this by choosing days where you have no class, or lighter classes, to exercise outside of the ballet academy.

The finer details of cross-training, pre-pointe work at home, self-assessing your weak points, and understanding how dance injuries happen, are all available thanks to superbly-credentialed dance medicine writers.

Optimum health for dancers is available with the help of chiropractic, physiotherapy, a fresh/whole food diet, and medical diagnostics when you need them.

Experienced teachers know that the more mature and sensible students often go farther in ballet than the uniquely physically and spiritually gifted, sadly. But happily, there are the mystically endowed talents that also have, or develop (thanks to good people in their life) a streak of common sense. This helps a great deal with stress management from the competition for jobs and status in the ballet world.

In the pool of the more, or less , gifted ballet dance students, those who are not afraid of asking for individual guidance do better. And if you cannot get it - change dance studios.

You have accepted and feel wonderfully challenged that ballet is difficult. You can learn how to prevent dance injuries - even if your teachers don't know.

Get the right dancer's guide so you can learn to assess your strength for getting into pointe shoes - even if your teachers don't know. (adult beginners included!). There is nothing to stop you from learning more.

I am proud to be a Sheep

I read a blog that said those who are happy to remove their shoes at airport security are 'Sheep People.' I guess I am a sheep. A dumb social conformist who is silly enough to think that maybe sometimes governments have our best interests at heart.

I thought readers might be interested in reading some stuff on the TSA Blog about removing shoes at airport security.

The TSA are the people who manage airport security in the USA. Over there, removing shoes is mandatory, while over here you might have to take your shoes off or you might not. As somebody who believes in being prepared for terrorism, I think the American way is better.

There was an interesting statement about Athlete's Foot on the TSA blog:

Evolution of Security:Shoes

Great first question on the ability to pick up foot fungus at the checkpoint and a very common one at that.

Believe it or not, TSA actually commissioned a study in 2003 with the Department of Health and Human Services to look at just that issue. I'm paraphrasing here and will have the actual letter posted tomorrow but they found that if the floor isn't moist then the possibility is, "extremely small to remote" to contract athlete's foot. If there are checkpoint floors that are moist, we generally have bigger issues on our hands than foot fungus.

This foot fungus thing comes up a lot when removing shoes is discussed.

The fact is that you can only get Athlete's Foot in damp conditions. That goes for people's homes as well as airport. I don't want to hear any more people claiming that you can get Athelete's Foot from taking your shoes off at somebody's house.

Readers, do not be afraid to ask your guests and visitors to remove their shoes. Neither you or your guests are going to catch foot fungus from your carpet, laminate flooring or hardwood floor.

Drink Driving

It looks like the government is seriously condidering reducing the amount of alcohol one can drink before driving. If they do this, I predict a lot more people are going to find themselves in their stocking feet- in the police cells.

Personally, I do not think they should reduct the limit. Rural pubs will lose practically all their customers. I think that would be very sad indeed.

It is not Selfish to ask Visitors to Remove their Shoes


Some people claim it is selfish to ask visitors to remove their shoes. They think that it shows excessive concern for one's carpet or flooring.

On the contrary it is not selfish at all.

Firstly, there is an health issue involved. Peoples' shoes pick up dust and animal excrement which is not good for one's health and especially bad for the health of one's children. If one has babies or small children that play on the floor it is extremely sensible to keep one's home shoe-free.

There are many worries today about the health risks posed by pollution, toxins and chemicals. Personally, I think many of these health scares are exagerrated. Many of the supposed health risks have not been scientifically verified. However, it is best to keep as much nasty stuff out of the house as possible.

Secondly, the notion of selfishness here is relative. In a country where shoe-removing is the norm, like Finland or Russia, it would hardly be selfish to insist on shoes-off.

In Britain or the USA, where keeping shoes on is the norm, there are many people who would like to insitute a shoes-off policy, but who are afraid of causing offence or being deemed 'selfish.' If a person is brave enough to insist on shoes-off, she makes it easier for those other people who feel that they would like to make their homes shoe-free. In time, the norms of the UK and the USA may change and shoe-removing may become as normal as it is in Thailand or Sweden.

Is it Just Me, Or is This Getting Ridiculous???

So, it's no secret that shoes are expensive... but they are getting more and more expensive every season! When I was browsing net-a-porter for their new arrivals, I saw these Roberto Cavalli wooden wedges for $1,850!! Almost 2 grand for a pair of shoes?? AS IF!

I'd guess their reasoning for the outrageous price tag might be that huge chunk of metal on the back, but I say keep your 50lb shoe, and I'll keep my $1,800 thankyouverymuch.

Enerch'i Sisters: Shoes off!

Enerch'i Sisters: Shoes off!

Being a Fundamentalist Christian, Feng Shui is not something I would endorse or encourage. However, I can agree with many of the practitioners of it that removing shoes in homes is a really great thing to do.

We shoes-off people are a diverse lot, Feng Shui people, Muslims, Hindus, environmentalists, conservatives, Roman Catholics, punks; even ferret breeders!

This post could be linking to your blog

You may have noticed that I post lots of links to blogs and websites that mention the subject of removing shoes in homes.

If you write a blog post that is pro- or neutral on shoes-off, there is a good chance I will post a link to it. Please feel free to advertise your posts in the comments. I might even post links to stuff that is anti-shoes-off if it is interesting or funny.

Some readers may be disappointed to know that I will not post links to stuff that is more about kinkiness than cleanliness. You know the sort of thing I mean!

I want to get peoples views on the subject. As usual, I welcome all comments.

Improve Your Ballet - Basic Ballet Positions

If you want to improve your ballet, the simplest way is to first check the basic ballet positions.

Start with your normal standing position. Before you put on your pointe shoes or soft ballet shoes and go to the barre, try this.

In ballet wear so that you can see your posture, just stand in front of a mirror, relaxed. You'll see the qualifying factor and know if there is something basic to correct to improve your ballet classes.

Sometimes the simple things are the hardest to explain, but here goes:

Stand with your chest lifted, your shoulders relaxed, and your feet hips' width apart. Get your weight positioned evenly at the ball of the foot, the outside near the little toe, and the center of the heel (like a tripod). Notice how your hips and legs are positioned, naturally. If your pelvis is neutral and your ankles, knees and hips stack up symmetrically, you have the minimal requirement to proceed with nothing to fix.

If a hip or shoulder is lower than its opposite, you may have a skeletal misalignment, residual tension, or both. See a chiropractor, or you will be fighting this condition with lots of unnecessary tensing. It is also possible that one leg is shorter than the other, and it is good to know that, so you know how to work properly and use foot levelers if needed.

If your knees rotate in a little, causing a slight bow shape to the legs, then you need to use your rotator and thigh muscles to get your thighs and knees facing front, in line with your feet. Also note where your pelvis is here. (You can get a special book on how to increase ballet turnout).

Now keep that placement and turn sideways. Turn your head, relaxed neck, and see if you have a plumb line going down through your body, from the top of your head, through the natural curves of your spine, hips, legs, and to your ankles. See if anything is pulling out of line. This can be very subtle if you are already trained. Your skeleton should be able to line up well without much work. If you are feeling a little tense, shake everything out and then place yourself again.

If your knees over-straighten and curve backwards, you have hyper-extended knees. You must learn to hold them straight so they can support you with strength. If your knees are bent a little forwards you can work on stretching and relaxing your all your hip and leg muscles and you will get gradual improvement.

Regardless of your training level, you can always check this basic posture to see if there is any misalignment or extra tension. It truly affects the quality of your work. It also affects your risk of getting injured.

Checking postural habits and skeletal alignment is how you know if your good work, or talent, is hiding a potential problem. The qualifying factor may be the need to build strength in your core muscles, or do better relaxing and stretching.

Get the most important ballet tips to improve ballet work, and you will be progressing with confidence that you are doing things right.

The Nest- Do You Have a No-Shoes Policy?

The Nest- Do You Have a No-Shoes Policy?

You likey??

My AMAZING talented hubby made me a logo for my blog! What do you guys think??


I totally rocked my creepers today! ...I have the blisters to prove it too. I wore them with my new latexy looking black leggings and a super long Harajuku Lovers wife beater. I felt pretty good about the outfit, even after I got a dirty look from my husband as I left for work. ;)

Nearly everyone at the office had something to say about them, and I was glad to hear that it was all good stuff! So to Ben, I'd like to say "HA! I win."

Classical Ballet Training - Recreational Dance - Mechanics and Quality Go Together

The mechanical, or technical aspects of classical ballet training and recreational dance, are meant to be taught together with the quality, or traditional grace of ballet. Whether professional or recreational, classical ballet is a source of elegance for our culture.

I remember a friend's story about doing a Classical Stretch workout at home, with her 4 year old daughter. They were doing warm ups with gentle arm movements. Her dad came along and joined in for a second. "No Papa" she corrected sternly. "It's like water is falling off the ends of your fingers!"

Being a soccer and karate jock, he moved on quickly.....

When I look at the many classical ballet studio websites, I love to browse the photo galleries or the videos they put up. All the aspiring professional ballet schools and more recreational or amateur dance studios show high energy, colorful performances and tons of enthusiasm. It is easy to see from their navigational bars that many have parent committees, and volunteer groups for every kind of support. Those ballet schools which do not contribute dancers to the pool of professional arenas definitely contribute volumes of inspiration and involvement in their communities. Such is the importance of dance and all the arts in our culture.

The inherent quality of grace in classical ballet and other dance forms has inspired the development of movement imagery, a whole field which addresses injury prevention, and pain management in rehabilitation - and much more.

Learning the quality of a demi plie, a tendu, and the way the arms are held in the basic ballet positions should be synchronized with the technical or mechanical details. In fact, how to separate the two should be a problem. Yet I've seen that happen.

I feel sad when I see a gifted dancer show off multiple pirouettes on a you-tube video - where her arms are stiff and her descent is abrupt. Why would she be so neglected, to remain at her current regional level?

I feel the same when I see virtuoso leaps and spins from young male dancers, then see them at the barre slamming into over-crossed fifth positions, knees bent, hips rotating, in a speedy series of tendus. No time for foot pressure or thigh work. Why so fast when there are degages and frappes to develop skills for petit allegro? Will there be knee injuries?

Quality, as much as technique and mechanics, prevents dance injuries. Synchronous mechanical and quality development IS the grace of classical ballet.

Get the best ballet tips to integrate mechanics and quality in classing ballet training and recreational dance.

The Penny Lane Blog: My kind of clean

The Penny Lane Blog: My kind of clean

Another blogger who prefers shoes-off in her home.



I believe there is an issue of stewardship here.

All that we have is a gift from God. We may enjoy our posessions, but we do need to give account to the Lord of how we have used them.

Carpet cleaning services are necessary to keep homes really clean, but they are very expensive. Replacing carpets costs even more. Having a shoes-off policy considerably reduces the need for maintaining carpets and other kinds of flooring. Therefore, as stewards of God's gifts, I would suggest that Christians ought to strongly consider the benefits of having a shoes-off policy in their homes.

Clean homes can also be more effectively used in the service of the Kingdom. Homes can be put to so many uses; entertaining visiting speakers, providing shelter for those who need it, hosting fellowship meetings (I think a good case can be made for holding all church meetings in homes) and Church lunches. Keeping homes shoe-free means that larger numbers of people can be accomdated at the home with minimal impact. It also makes the floor a safer place for small children and babies.

The Perfect (almost affordable) Flat Sandal...

So as you all know, I was shopping LA this past weekend. I saw a LOT of great shoes and spent over nine-thousand of my company's dollars on designer shoes! What a great feeling!! Talk about retail therapy. ;) All the shopping, none of the guilt or buyer's remorse.

Anyway, among all the amazing shoes we saw, this Givenchy leather flat stood out as one of my favorites. It is the perfect Spring to Summer sandal, and at only $380, it's at least semi-affordable as far as high end designer shoes go. If you have a hard time imagining summer without wearing flip flops, this is a great alternative! You'll look a lot more put together with a leather version of your old fall back. TRUST ME. Plus, I have it on good authority that miss Gwen Stefani herself will be seen running her cute pregnant ass around town in these!

A side note: If you're ever in LA shopping for shoes you MUST stop in at Barneys and ask for Jason. He is the sweetest (not to mention cutest!) salesmen on the floor, and he'll help you find the perfect shoe. Tell him Celine sent you ;)

Terminal 5

Those of you from Britain will have watched with dismay the endless stories about the chaos at Heathrow's new terminal 5.

Some good news (though some of you may disagree). I just read in a discussion forum that people were being asked to remove their shoes at security checkpoints at the new terminal. While I know this policy is not popular, I do think it is a good idea. Flying makes people vulnerable and we need precautions against terrorism. Besides, it gets people used to taking their shoes off!

The End of Formality?

In a number of ways, Britain has developed quite an informal culture. I understand in America it is usual to address one's boss as Mr- or Mrs-. Here in Britain, however, I have addressed every boss I have worked for by their first names. I would find it really weird to have to address a boss as Mr- or Mrs-.

I used to lament for informality of modern Britain. I used to wear a suit to church every Sunday. Then on a warm sunny Lord's Day, I decided this was just silly and wore cropped trousers and sandals.

When I started my first office job, I wore a tie to work every day. These days, I wear baggy combat trousers and flip flops.

I think it is significant that in Europe removing shoes is very strong as a custom in the Nordic countries, where culture is in a number of ways even more informal than in Britain (not necessarily in every way of course). When I visited Helsinki, Finland, I visited Stockmanns, the Finnish equivalent of Harrods department store. I noticed the staff wore a uniform of yellow t-shirts and a number of them were wearing flip flops.

In Japan there is no tension between formality and removing shoes. While I was in Japan, I attended a formal party in a public building. Most of those who attended dressed rather smartly. Yet we all had to sit on the floor in our stocking feet.

Here in the West, however, the demand for formality is one of the key enemies of the practice of shoes-off in homes. Going shoeless at a party is seen by many as inappropriate. Some of the main opponents of shoes-off are the self-appointed guardians of manners and etiquette. Recognising this has lead me to question the need for excessive formality.

It is good to be comfortable. It is good to chill out and be natural. People should be able to go shoeless in homes whether there own or those of others (wearing shoes in a house with a soft carpet is just silly and unnecessary).

Likewise, people should be able to ask their guests to remove their shoes without feeling that they are breaking some silly made-up rule.

Thank You Dwell Magazine, for Ruining My Sunday...

It's a warm sunny Sunday, and I'm still feeling a little sick. Bummer, but it's still a nice day. I was relaxing on the couch with Benjamin and flipping through our new Dwell, hoping to find some new ideas for the house, when a full page ad caught my eye with the caption "What a Croc!" and I think, ohh! some Croc bashing! 

The ad goes on to say "It's hard to believe the parents were so ugly, but it's not hard to believe that these might be the most comfortable four-inch heels in history."
My hands start shaking and my right eye begins to twitch. 
"Ben! Oh my god, do you see this!?" He knows, and shares my hatred for crocs.
"I've got to go get my computer! this needs to go in my blog!"
So here I am. And I need to rant.

First, I'd like to say that I'm glad the people at Croc are willing to admit that the croc is "ugly". They say it themselves. But to try to call this monstrosity of a nasty beast a four-inch heel??? I mean come on! Technically, this thing may measure 4inches, but how DARE they call it a heel!? I am outraged! Would you call a Hershey bar gourmet chocolate? NO! Who do these people think they are? They know nothing about footwear! Let's call a spade a spade. This shoe is an effing kitchen clog for short chefs that cant reach the grill! NOT A FOUR-INCH MOTHER EFFING HEEL!

I am insulted. This is a new low for the footwear industry. It's bad enough when you see people wearing crocs out in public, but if i have to see people wearing elevated crocs and trying to pass them off as fashionable, I may just loose it. Comfort is NOT everything people! We women can not forget our duty to mankind! We are one of the only cases in nature where the female of the species is more attractive than the male. We should be proud of that, not hide it in ugly clunky comfort shoes! Our RIGHT as a woman is to wear a pair of killer sexy shoes! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!!

Putting glitter on dog poop doesn't make it prettier. Croc people, I beg you... Please stick to what you know and stay out of my world. You don't know who you're messing with.

Get More Flexible With Ballet Tips

You want to get more flexible for doing the splits. Getting the 180 degree line for a jete or a penche does not come naturally to many dancers. So how do they make it look right?

One of the biggest reliefs I had when I went from amateur to professional training was that hips do not have to be square in a derriere (behind you) position. Including doing the splits.

When I got into professional classes at The National Ballet School of Canada, I was elated to find I could open my working hip. The waist, upper back and shoulders had to stay square, but not the hips. I finally and instantly had a professional looking line in arabesque, attitude, etc. When I explained how I had been taught they said "no one can do that!"

Some people will never do the splits due to hip deformity, and should not over work the issue.

Doing the splits depends on overall hyper-mobility. Not only hamstrings and quads need to be extremely flexible, but your postural muscles, the iliopsoas, needs to be very flexible. Hyper-mobility of the joints (meaning longer stretchy ligaments), is an extra blessing for doing the splits, but creates a lot of problems too.

A professional ballet dancer will do whatever it takes to get a good line in a split jete or penche. Those who cannot do the splits perfectly open the hip more, and sometimes slightly bend the leg so that their foot lines up with the hip, and even though the entire leg is not lined up, the illusion of the splits is seen.

The hard and fast rules of classical ballet training are for safety - to prevent dance injuries. Getting the right line allows for accommodations that skilled teachers know how to teach.

Stretch after your ballet exercises when you are warm. Relax your muscles first. Use a rubber ball to knead out the worst tension. Then stretch gently in correctly aligned positions. You will improve your muscle flexibility, and you may end up doing the splits. But if you never do, it is not going to kill a dance career.

Here is a wonderful DVD produced by a dance expert, Deborah Vogel which will help you get more flexible. It is excellent for non-dancers too.

Hooked in Amsterdam: Date Week. Adventures in Water.

Hooked in Amsterdam: Date Week. Adventures in Water.

Another American moans about the Swedish custom of removing shoes. Strangely, Americans in Asian countries seem to accept the custom of removing shoes and don't tend to complain about it. Yet many Americans seem uneasy about it in Scandinavian countries. Maybe because they do not expect to meet the custom prior to going there.

She mentions the practice of removing shoes in swimming pool locker rooms. I think that is a really good idea. They ought to do it in swimming pools here, but I don't think it would occur to the English mind so easily. I mentioned before that I was so surpised years ago when I was required to remove my shoes before entering a shower room at a caravan site in France. I was really uncomfortable about it at the time.

Twinstuff Forums: Do people take their shoes off when they come inside?

Twinstuff Forums: Do people take their shoes off when they come inside?

A reason for removing shoes that would never have occurred to me

Hope's House Ferret Rescue and Adoption: Ferret Care Tips

Apparently ferrets are easily injured by people treading on them with shoes and so going shoeless near the creatures is recommended.

I have heard about people who keep puppies and kittens not allowing shoes in their homes to protect their pets, but ferrets would never have crossed my mind.

I am not at all an animal lover myself, though I quite like cats.

Still Life with Wyliekat: Tue-shoe-tree.

Still Life with Wyliekat: Tue-shoe-tree.

A Canadian expresses bewilderment at the American preference for keeping shoes on.

Illinois House Hunter: Rainy Day Real Estate

Illinois House Hunter: Rainy Day Real Estate

This post affirms that it is fine to ask people viewing one's home to remove their shoes.

Interestingly, it says that shoe covers are ineffective in wet weather, because mud and water can soak through or drip off the exposed part of the shoe.

9 Tips Before You Travel to Israel

9 Tips Before You Travel to Israel

The writer of this says that in some homes in Israel, shoes are removed.

I have not read anything about shoes being removed in Israeli homes before. I suppose the writer could be just referring to Muslim homes; however, the Jewish population of Israel is very diverse. I am sure some of the Israeli Jews from Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East prefer shoes-off.

I believe you need to remove your shoes in Sephardic (middle eastern) synagogues and Karaite synagogues, but not Ashkenazi (European) synagogues. I am afraid I did not do the module of Judaism when I took my Theology degree.

Hyper-extended Knees - Understand Them Before You Dance In Pointe Shoes

Hyper-extended knees - I will help you learn how to build strength and how to hold the legs correctly. Understanding neutral spine, neutral leg, and understanding the support system of your core muscles is vital. Every ballet exercise requires a neutral standing leg. Dancing in pointe shoes, especially, requires a strong neutral leg and perfect alignment.

Explaining a neutral leg, in the first few classes, is as important as explaining a neutral spine, whatever words the teacher uses. (Unless there are no hyper-extended legs in the class, this is necessary).

A neutral leg is: knee above the ankle bone, pelvis above the knees. A line drawn down through a photo of you standing, taken from the side, should reveal a postural plumb line, from the center of the skull, neck, spine (through your natural curves), pelvis, through the knees and ankles, or just in front of the ankles, depending where you rested your weight.

With over-straight legs, the knees stretch back behind this line. While this curving out at the back of the knees is an admired line in a dancer's gesture leg, it causes many problems in a standing leg.

First you tackle the feeling of the legs being bent, when held in a straight position. However, in this straight position it is much easier to hold the turnout and have the pelvis in a neutral position where you can build strength in your center.

When the knees rest back in hyper-extension, the thighs turn in, and often the pelvis tucks under. Now you have compromised the safety of your low back. (In this position you may develop bulky thighs and bulky hip muscles). From here you destabilize your balance. You can compensate for this distortion in many ways in soft shoes, to a degree.

When you get into pointe shoes, all kinds of problems will show up, if they haven't already.

If you are a few years into training, it's extra work, it's reprogramming neural pathways. But most dancers do this all the time as they progress through their training and careers.

There is also a lot of talk about overdeveloping the quads or inside knee muscles, or some other deformity, because of holding the leg straight. Not so. If your pelvis is neutral, you can use your muscles properly. You don't need to grip or clench.

You want your thighs pulled up long. You want a feeling of pushing down through the center of your leg bones into the floor. And imagine a space between your hip bones and the top of your thighs. You will achieve a real lengthening by doing this, your deep lower abs will pull up and in nicely, and now your core muscles are supporting the length you want.

You will be able to hold your turnout and have a strong supporting leg. When you get into pointe shoes, you will have your body aligned well, over that tiny point on the floor.

Always remember in your ballet stretching, to relax and lengthen all your muscles. Use a soft rubber ball to knead the muscles, leaning on a wall, or use it with the floor. Deborah Vogel demonstrates this on her DVD as to how to get more flexible and release tension.

Get a guide with expert ballet tips for working with hyper-extended knees.

What the FUG?!?

Ok, back on the Negative Nancy train. These are for sure the most hideous things I've seen in at least... oh... 5 or 6 hours. (lots of not so hot samples came in the office today)
Anyway. Total hideosity. When I think of Givenchy I think of sexy, fashion forward footwear. Um... not so much with these things. 

First off, I hate jellies whether or not they are a kick ass designer brand. They need to go away. They look like some manly shower shoes that escaped from some gay men's day spa. I don't see how these are supposed to be fashionable. Am I alone here?? US Weekly featured them as one of their favorites, though what the hell do they know about fashion? They should stick to celeb gossip, which they DO know about. ;) Apparently fashion know-it-all's Cameron Diaz, Kirsten Dunst, and Ashley Olsen are fans of the shoe. Another thing they have in common may be fashion stylist Rachel Zoe? I could be wrong. I digress. 

The point is I'm not a fan. I think I've made that clear. Any arguments? Along with the black seen here, they also come in a shitteous pink color- both available at Barneys for a mere $165. A certain shoe blog, which will remain nameless, is reporting that these are "cute". Yea, sure. And so were those Nine West clogs they were lusting after last week. HA! Maybe I should re-name myself the shoe blog snob? 

Pursuing a theme? Can Skinheads have a shoes-off policy?

I recently asked the question of whether punks can have a shoes-off policy in their homes. But what about skinheads?

The obvious practical difficulty for skinheads is their liking for Doc Martens and combat boots. It is time consuming to unlace big bovver boots.

As it happens, I do own a pair of 14 hole Doc Marten boots (which I wear with my bomber jacket). However, I would never wear them if I expected to visit somebody's house. I would not want to be standing in somebody's hallway wrestling with my boots.

Being a skinhead is all about celebrating working class culture. Removing shoes is not necessarilly a part of that culture (though I am sure plenty of working class mothers and wives will not stand for shoes soiling their homes).

Nevertheless, the skinhead movement has historically been open to other cultures. Back in the Sixties and Seventies, skinheads embraced sould and ska music, which are of Black origin. So I suppose skinheads could embrace the practice of shoe-removal. It should also be remebered that the skinhead culture has spread to Europe, including shoe-removing Scandinavian countries.

The Stripper Shoe Look?

I got these because I am all about the look of snake skin. I loved them! They looked good on inteh store and when I got then home, dirty Fila said she was not too keen on them because they look like stripper shoes. What do you think? Do they? Now these are black and red poka dot. Imagine these in snake skin. That is what mine are. Do they look like stripper shoes?

They are Madden Girl shoes. I have yet to wear them. I am waiting for just the right outfit to jump out of my closet and say, "they go with me!" I am not going to be discouraged. I love these shoes and I plan to wear them. I guess I will have to wear something conservative to tone them down. Then, you know what! I do not care. I love these shoes. I will wear them when and I want. Stripper like or not!

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

Pinched to Death!

I wore these for the first time on Monday. My toes were pinched to death all day. They were on sale for only $6.00 at TJ Maxx. They were a steal. Anne Klein. Suede. Beautiful. They felt fine when I tried them in the store. They felt good for the first two hours I had them on. They pressure began to set in as I sat at my desk. Well, I did not have my trusty crocs with me to switch out, so I was in shoe hell for the afternoon. With each step I took to the fax or the copier, they seemed to shrink even more around my toes. I just hope that this is just the pain of breaking them in.

Suede is supposed to give, or so I thought. Maybe after 3 or 4 more wearings they will fit like a glove. I sure hope so. They are lovely shoes and will go with so many winter things.

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~



You may not have a baby at crawling age
But if you ask visitors to your home to remove their shoes, you send a message that it is acceptable to keep your home shoe-free. That makes life easier for those who do have crawling babies.

You may not have a new carpet
You may have an old carpet that needs replacing or a wooden
floor that is covered in scratch marks. But if you have a shoes-off policy, it will make it easier for those who do have a new carpet to do the same.

You may not live in an area where there is pesticide on the ground
But if you have a no-shoes rule in your house, it will make those who do need to require shoes-off feel more comfortable about it.

The " Too Old To Start Ballet " Age - And Build Strength To Dance In Pointe Shoes

Who is too old to start anything? How to choose a ballet teacher is more the right question. Some dance studios have classes for older teens and adults to start ballet, and some do not. Some teachers enjoy teaching older beginners and some do not. So maybe an older teen/young adult can start and even build strength to dance ballet in pointe shoes. Do not let fears about weight, age and muscle tone hold you back.

Whatever art or workout you choose, you start just where you are. How to choose a teacher is what deserves the first careful focus of your time.

If there are several studios in your area, check out their site, and then phone and visit them. Ask if you can watch part of a class.

While most older students will not immediately produce the right look or execution of any ballet position or movement, the teaching should be the same. Accurate technique should always be explained.

The pace and presentation of 'late starter' classes will be different. There may be an assumption that certain aspects of ballet will never be achieved, and working safely is the priority. The more imaginative teachers will be able to present an adult beginner class with simple, artistic and elegant exercises.

Fears about weight should be dealt with from a health point of view. Ballet is definitely more difficult if you are overweight. If you are still growing, cut out the junk food and extra breads and carb snacks. Eating real fresh food is best, and you need never be starving.

An adult who wishes to lose weight might add an aerobic workout to their daily routines, 2-3 times a week. And if eating fresh whole foods without breads, potatoes and pasta does not achieve weight loss within a few weeks, see a medical doctor. Low thyroid, blood sugar irregularities and other hormone imbalances, and medications may be playing a part in this. (This could be true for teens too).

If you want to eventually do classes in pointe shoes, you simply must persist with the basics of ballet technique until your work is correct and strong. How long this will take depends on the teacher, how many classes you take per week, and your ability to concentrate.

So not being too old to start, choose a ballet teacher, build strength, deal realistically with fears about weight, and perhaps you will study in pointe shoes one day.

Go here for many articles on ballet technique and how to choose a ballet teacher.

El Salvador Race and Shoe Distribution

DSCN0731, originally uploaded by One World Running.

A little girl waits with her mother to start her first race. During a mission to San Salvador in March, One World Running volunteers Ana Weir, Mike Dwyer, and Mike Sandrock distributed shoes and organized a series of youth races.

Shawnee Mission Northwest Key Club

Key Club Shoes 036, originally uploaded by One World Running.

The Key Club collected over 1300 pairs of shoes during a winter drive in 2008 and also provided financial assistance for shipping the shoes. Some of the shoes are on their way to Haiti and Honduras.

Shawnee Mission Nortwest Key Club Shoe Collection

Key Club Shoes 018, originally uploaded by One World Running.

Shawnee Mission Northwest Key Club collected shoes for One World Running. At the girls’ and boys’ basketball games the coaches donated their shoes and coached barefoot.

I'm sorry...

I haven't forgotten about you oh dear blog of mine... You are always on my mind. It's just that this week at work is insane and so super hectic that I can barely think. I am so stressed right now!! On top of that, I'm starting to feel sick. You know- that achy feverish burning hot eyes, sore throat kind of sick. Yuck is right. 
I've got a big week and an even bigger weekend. Our LAMB designer is flying in with samples Thursday. As soon as he gets there it will be a mad rush to get all the samples photographed, and put onto linesheets to go out to salesmen in time for the shoe show. Then, he and I have to go shop LA all day Friday to find inspiration for our meeting with Andrea Lieberman that will take place all day Saturday and Sunday!! 
Andrea is AMAZING. If you know who she is you'll understand why every time we work with her it's super intimidating!! (here's a little bio) She's awesome to work with, but no matter how cool she is, it's hard not to feel like you don't know shit about shit when you're around her! So anyway, needless to say, I'm a bit stressed. Oh, did I forget to mention that's not even my full time job? Oh yea!
So I help out with LAMB (lucky for me) but my main focus is JLO footwear. As I am typing this I am in the middle of sending emails to China describing colors and materials for the upcoming Spring '09 collection. Yes... 2009. I just finished sketching the 35 shoes that were needed to make the collection. Now it's on to detailing and checking prototypes and blah blah blah. 
Wow. No wonder my body is shutting down. Anyway- back to work. I just wanted to check in on you. ;)

Dance Injuries Can Be Prevented By Pre-training For Ballet In Pointe Shoes

Common dance injuries such as sprained ankles, inflamed Achilles tendons, and shin splints can be prevented. To build strength in the foot muscles, a deliberate and separate routine of practice can be included in your daily routines. Strong foot muscles prevent muscle exhaustion in the calves, and in the feet.

Not all ballet teachers emphasize the use of the floor in the zillion battement tendus and battement degages that you in the first few years of training. In fact, every brushing movement you do for a grand battement, a glissade or a jete or assemble, should work the sole of the foot muscles.

Even if you are taught to use the floor properly, foot exercises added to your daily routines ensure that you build the strength needed to begin pointe work.

The common ballet injuries mentioned above can be prevented. In practicing foot exercises, reflexes are built along with muscle. Your body's proprioception is enhanced. Proprioception is a vast subject. Suffice it to say that your brain has a communication system with the muscles, joints, and inner ear, (part of your balance system ) that is automated. It allows instant perception and adjustments to muscle behaviour so that you can function in the world without deliberately monitoring every tiny move you make.

Since we are so brilliantly engineered, let's do all we can do to take full advantage of it.

For example, Achilles tendon injuries are a symptom of deficient muscle activity, or overtraining/muscle exhaustion in the feet and perhaps lower leg muscles too. Or full body exhaustion.

The Achilles tendon will become inflamed in response to the strain and resulting lack of support in nearby muscles. The use of the foot, ankle and calves must be reviewed in order to recover, and prevent future misuse.

Take full advantage of the information from current manuals that discuss anatomy, foot types, foot exercises, and all the requirements for advancing to dancing in pointe shoes (and also lead to excellent footwork for male ballet virtuosity). Muscle exhaustion and injuries can be prevented.

Go here for a wealth of information and ballet manuals.

Some Serious Theology- Are you a Tramplian or an Offalist?


If you are an Evangelical Christian, you may be sick of the Calvinist/ Arminian debate, so let me introduce you to some new theological terms; Tramplian and Offalist.

Tramplians like to trample the carpets or flooring of their homes with their shoes on. They find it rather objectionable to be asked to remove their shoes when visiting somebody else's home.

The central principle in Tramplian theology is the freedom of the will. They believe that they should be the ones to decide whether they take their shoes off at a dinner party. Their attitude is "I decided what outfit to wear. I decided what shoes to wear. I should be able to keep them on if I like". They do not believe that a hostess should impose shoelessness on them.

Tramplians have a strong belief in the goodness of hosts. They consider that a hostess should be above all concerned for her guests wishes and convenience above keeping her home clean. They believe that if a hostess likes them enougth to invite them into her home, she will accept them with their shoes on.

Tramplians believe in the power of their own ability to keep their shoes clean. They consider themselves to be grown-up and to be careful about what they tread on. They do acknowledge that their shoes can be tainted by the corruption of dirty streets, however they hold that this can easily be dealt with by wiping their feet on their hostess' doormat. Their shoes can be restored to cleanliness by the exercise of their will.

Offalists in contrast, always remove their shoes at the door. Offalists believe in the Total Depravity of the soles of their shoes. The corruption of city streets has completely ruined the condition of their shoes, they argue, and the only hope is a change of nature for their feet, namely into slippers or clean socks. The Offalist pays heed to warnings about the health risks of pesticide, lead paint and animal excrement.

The Offalist upholds the sovereignty of the host. The hostess has been very generous in inviting her guests, however, she is sovereign over her own home and has the authority to set the rules. She will not allow anything corrupt to defile her home. Those who would enter her home must not come in their own shoes, but must meet her condition of a change into slippers or stocking feet.

The Offalist holds that the root problem of the Tramplian's theology is human pride. The Tramplian is proud of her ability to make decisions about her outfit. She is proud of her Manolos, her Prada heels or her Jimmy Choo boots. She is too proud to combine her outfit with stocking feet. She resents the idea that her hostess would not accept her in her own shoes.

The Offalist argues that if the Tramplian would only forsake her pride, she would actually find that she was far more comfortable in slippers, socks or bare feet. Her determination to remain in her stilettos will in the end hurt her feet and drag her to destruction. She may well remain outside the dinner party in the outer darkness.

The Perks of Being a Shoe Girl...

So my awesome friends at the company next door, Hale Bob, hooked me up with this AWESOME shoe today! It's so cute and right on trend. I love it. If it reminds you of the hot Marni pump that was out of your budget last season, you know your shoes! Its the same shape and basic style only, in my opinion, even easier to wear!

Best news? They are only $120 and they're on backorder- so you have plenty of time to lust after, and then purchase said shoe. Victoria's Secret will carry them and the girls at Hale Bob Footwear tell me you can pre-order them now! They have a few other styles on there too, including some super sassy flowery sandals. Check it out! If you enter the code "TRENDSVS" you'll get $15 off! Now you have no excuses.

On a totally unrelated subject, I'd like to give a little shout out to my sister Katie who turns 24 today! Yay Katie! I love you sweetie. :)

Productive Routines - A Step By Step Approach To Pointe Work

Whether you are a beginner in ballet classes and you are under ten years old, or a young adult beginner, you can start some clever planning to achieve your goal of dancing in pointe shoes. Productive routines done at home, with a step by step approach, will help you build strength for all aspects of your ballet technique.

Anything that enhances the strength and accuracy of your ballet technique will get you closer to doing pointe work, if you are a female, and get you closer to the male virtuoso steps if you are a male.

If you are over about 12 years old and have been doing ballet for three years or more, it will also help you get towards classes on pointe faster.

If you are under 12, there is no rush. You need to grow, and there are a zillion finer details to work on in the meantime.

However, you can begin learning as soon as you can read! There are foot muscles to learn about, and posture, and turnout.

There are "flexers" and "extensors" and "rotators".

There are foods that help you grow and there are foods that weaken your muscles instantly! (sugars, and various chemicals in foods).

There are French words for ballet to learn.

There are ways to learn to relax and stretch, ways to warm up, and ways to ice and rest exhausted muscles (while you are watching your favorite ballet movies) .

Be optimistic and excited, but be methodical too. The way has been prepared for you by many teachers who have shared their expertise with books, videos, and excellent practice regimens.

I have seen students with the ideal ballet physique, good stage looks, the money to study, ("born to dance") and yet poor ability to concentrate. They are more likely to get injured and lose time. Or, they just cannot absorb the many details and keep up with the demands of ballet training.

Thus, students who seem less talented at first, but who can work well, gain consistently.

A step by step approach and clever planning, will result in productive routines that will advance you better, perhaps faster, and more safely.

Click here to view ballet manuals that will guide you with the information you need.

You Tube: Remove Your Shoes

You Tube: Remove Your Shoes

A brief video with excellent advice.

Don't worry- I won't be doing this to you

Metro.co.uk: Woman pulls gun in shoe spat

It is nice to see that the practice of removing shoes has spread to Texas.

37 Reasons for Having a Shoes-Off Policy in Your Home


37 Reasons for having a shoes-off policy in your home:

1. Carpets are not easy to clean.
2. Carpets absorb dust and become breeding grounds for dust mites, causing the development of asthma and allergies.
3. If you do not have a carpet, the dust will not be absorbed and you are likely to breathe it in.
4. Shoes can leave marks on wood, PVC and marble floors.
5. Shoes can scratch wood flooring, especially if they have high heels.
6. Boots and high heeled shoes can cause wear and tear to carpets.
7. That goes for rugs as well.
8. Shoes pick up small particles of grit that cause wear and tear to carpets.
9. Shoes pick up traces of petrol fumes and industrial pollution.
10. Shoes can pick up pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals.
11. Shoes pick up traces of animal excrement.
12. Ever noticed how much chewing gum there is stuck to the streets?
13. In a square mile, there are more insects than people on the planet. How many do you think you have squashed on your shoes?
14. If you have a crawling baby, do you want him or her to be exposed to the dirt from people's shoes?
15. In rain or snow, you are less likely to get the floor wet.
16. If you live near a beach, you will bring less sand into the house.
17. If you have a crawling baby, you will do less damage if you accidently step on him or her.
18. If you get mad and kick the cat or dog, you will do less damage (apologies to animal lovers).
19. If your children play rough, they will do less damage.
20. It creates a less formal atmosphere.
21. It creates a greater sense of relaxation.
22. Your guests will become more like you by removing their shoes and will feel part of the family.
23. An oriental, Scandinavian or East European visitor will feel more at home.
24. It teaches children the importance of respecting and looking after things.
25. Psychologically, removing your shoes helps you to enter a frame of mind where you keep your everyday troubles outside your home.
26. It is more comfortable.
27. It is healthier for you feet to take your shoes off during the day.
28. Small children with growing feet should wear shoes only to the minimum.
29. If you wear high-heeled shoes, your feet badly need a break.
30. You can put your feet up on the sofa without taking your shoes off first (Dont tell me you put your feet on the sofa with shoes on?).
31. You can put your feet up on the coffee table without taking your shoes off first.
32. If you ever visit Japan, it will seem less weird.
33. If you are ever arrested and they confiscate your shoes, along with your belt and jewellery, it will seem less weird.
34. Your feet smell less if you do not wear shoes all day.
35. When you lovingly chastise your children, you will have a slipper to hand.
36. It was a Biblical custom (come on, did they wash their feet with shoes on?)
37. Do you really think the Saints in Glory are going to trample the sparkling, clean New Jerusalem with shoes on?

I Think I'm Feelin' Creepers...

No, this isn't another April fools joke. It's just that sometimes I get these feelings about trends. Sometimes I feel like they come out of nowhere, and sometimes I know they enter my brain subconsciously from all the shopping and research I do. THIS trend however... well, I'm just not sure.

I know that Creepers showed up in men's ready to wear recently, but I don't think I saw them on women. I dunno, even looking at the picture above I can't help but think "hmmmm, I dunno" but a bigger part of me is saying YES! Maybe it comes from the men's oxford trend that I just can't seem to back. They are too masculine for this girly girl. And I realize that these Creepers may be just as masculine, but at least it's in a more punkish and unexpected way. Where women are paring the men's style oxfords with dresses and wide leg trousers, I see myself in these paired with a super skinny jean, a latex legging, or even a high waisted mini!

I haven't worn or even thought about wearing Creepers since my 'I think I'm a rebel' phase in high school. But again, I have a feeling about them. The difference I guess is that in high school I would wear the super chunky round toe high up platform version. I actually hated the low pointy ones. But now, those are the ones I'm feeling. Hmmmm.

Well, anyway, I went out and bought me a pair at a favorite high school shopping spot, Electric Chair. When I went in there was actually a kid who was obviously there on Spring break cause he had an obvious Jersey tan that those boys are famous for, along with the disgusting moose hair do. He was asking about getting a tongue piercing and almost ran the eff out. Sorry, I digress. So now I have these Creepers and I'm not sure what to do with them. Ben (hubby) hates them, which I was sure he would, but I'm determined to prove him (and any of you nay-sayers) WRONG. So when I come up with the perfect "creeper outfit" I'll be sure to take a photo and post it. I have these high wasted charcoal grey skinny pants that I haven't worn yet that I think may work well. ;)

I hope you are all enjoying my little blog. Sometimes I feel like nobody is reading and that the 200 something hits I've gotten are just Ben being super supportive. Please don't be shy about commenting, you can do it anonymously.


Scattered Shoes

Like rats on a sinking ship, people are resignign left and right at work. Today another will resign that the bosses do not know about yet. He told me. Work is a very different place. The shoes here are just crazy. I have been here as a new pair of heels for about 6 months now. The big shoes are rubbing heels the wrong way. Now there are all sorts of strategy meetings being held in the morning to figure out what is wrong. If anyone would ask me I could tell them. They do not know how to treat a shoes with kid gloves. Whether old or new, if you want people to stay in a job, treat them well.

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

When Sexy Style Meets Comfort!

Nobody can argue the sex appeal of a mid-heel unit bottom wedge like this strappy Donald J. Pliner number! I mean, come on people... This just screams sexuality! And, lucky for us, comfort too. 

This is a shoe lovers dream come true and at only
$214 this little slice of heaven is budget friendly too! I found them here at Zappos. I mean, sure, you could spend your $214 on a Marc by Marc Jacobs shoe, or a sale priced Chloe or something... but who wants that!? Those shoes are hardly ever comfortable and they are too funky to last more than one season. 

This sandal is a timeless classic and will be a staple in your wardrobe for years to come. This shoe is rated 5 stars on Zappos for all 3 categories: Overall, Look, and Comfort. WOW! 5 stars! And if you look under womens dress, then sort by popularity, this shoe is #1! Can you believe it!? Of all the shoes on their site, THIS is #1. So awesome.

Anyway, I just ordered mine in black AND in red (the red I'll save for a special occasion like a sexy date or a night out on the town) and I'm counting down the days until my package arrives!

Oh.... one more thing... APRIL FOOOOOOOLS!!!! hahahahahhaa. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that I wouldn't be caught dead in this hideous mess of a shoe. HA! Ok shoe lovers, enjoy your day. My work here is done. ;)