Time to Wrap it Up!!





It's my last day in China! Yippee!! Well, until I come back on the 15th anyway. ;)
Ana (Jill Stuart designer) and I stayed late last night finishing details and correcting samples while the other designers went and had a lovely Italian dinner. 
...oh well. 

OMG! Funny story... So Ana and I got to the hotel late last night and I had the key in my back pocket. Well, I guess I had sat on it at some point and it broke in half. So my dumb ass tries to stick in the half with the microchip in the slot anyway. Bad idea. 
So the key half is stuck inside the key slot but a piece is sticking out. So Ana goes for her tweezers to pull the piece out but NoooOOoOO... I have to go and stick the other half in to jam the thing up. Why?? I don't know.
Now we're screwed. We go to the information desk and we try to tell the girl what happened, but I don't speak Chinese and she, of course, doesn't speak English so I sort of gesture to her- KEY...BREAK... BREAK (as if I speak slow and loud she'll get it)

"prease waitamoment"

Ok... so I go sit down on the floor in front of our room with Ana. 
The lady comes back, stares at the door and then "prease waitamoment" again.
It was WAY more than a moment.

We're just sitting there waiting... la la la.... when Ana gets a brilliant idea! 
"Vat if vee had superrrrglue!" (Russian accent)
"Ohmigod! Brilliant! Do you have any??"
"... vell, no"
"oh."

But then another brilliant idea...

"I do have zis wax stuff for my teef. Vee can stickit on za card and zen pull out the other half!"
"YES! Ok, gimmie!"

Ok, so that didn't work so well. Back to sitting on the floor. That's when we decided that this would be a funny moment if we were doing a reality TV show about shoe designers in China. Ana's idea. I'm telling you, she's a genius. I mean if Dion Sanders can get a show...

Anyway, so finally a handyman came and took our door apart and looked pretty annoyed with us. We ordered room service and called it a night. 

That is the most excitement I had in China. :)

Purple Reign

After the Fall 08 fashion shows style mavens everywhere were making the prediction that purple would reign supreme. Whether you prefer aubergine or eggplant, violet or mauve this color promises to pop up everywhere. Designers like Gucci, Prada, and Miu Miu (to name a few) are showing it in shoes.



Other designers are sure to follow suit so be on the look out and get a pretty little pair for yourself.

Don't be afraid of the hue. Purple looks great with all the neutrals and will add the perfect pop of color to your wardrobe.

Medical Conditions

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If you read internet discussions about the subject of the shoes-off rule, you will find countless people who claim to have a medical condition that means they must wear shoes all the time. If these discussions were representative of the population; nearly half the people in the USA have such a medical condition. I do not believe a word of it.

Yes, there are some people who do have a genuine medical reason for not removing their shoes. We must make exceptions for them.

Some people say having a shoes-off policy causes embarassment for such people because they must reveal their condition. However, this is quite unnecessary. A person with a medical condition can simply say:

I am sorry, I can't take my shoes off. Doctor's orders.


She does not need to reveal the nature of her condition. She does not need to give any embarassing details. There is really no problem here.

Time to Detail...

 


Soooooooo, it's finally come down to my last few days in China which means its time to detail my line. That means I get these things called detail sheets with pictures of each shoe on them. I tell them what leather or fabric I want for each style. I detail the upper, the trims, the sock, the heel, the outsole... every little detail. It's super tedious and a little overwhelming, but it has to be done. 
It's funny cause it's both my favorite and least favorite part of designing. It's where your shoe becomes something real. It goes from prototype to actual real shoe! ;)


How to Avoid Developing Chronic Joint Pain If You Are a Dancer Or an Athlete

It is vital to understand the role of inflammation in the body, for anyone, but especially would-be ballerinas, men in ballet, and athletes. Whether you are looking for a career builder or just enjoy the challenge of training, it is important to know how to maintain the soft tissues of the body that get worn out on practically a daily basis. To prevent ballet and sports injuries, good training and good work habits are required. For better rehabilitation, once an injury occurs, adding omega 3 oils to your nutrition is a tremendous help to diminish the natural inflammation response.

Inflammation occurs naturally as a response to injury or immune attack. It is temporary, and we recover. In a healthy body, damaged tissues are removed and replaced with new tissue.

In a body that has a low grade chronic inflammation, in the blood and soft tissues, better recovery may not be as speedy, and may never be complete. Joint injuries are supposed to give you trouble for the rest of your life, although maybe not until you are older, then you are to expect arthritis in a damaged joint, if not in every joint. Why is this?

What causes chronic inflammation in your body? Why would a young vibrant person in a developed country who has access to good food, good water, vitamin and mineral supplements have a low grade (or not so low) chronic inflammatory condition?

Sugar is one issue. And artificial sweeteners. Don't eat them. Sorry.

Bonnie C. Minsky has an excellent article with more detail about this.

Andrew Weil, holistic health M.D., Nicholas Perricone, M.D., an anti-aging expert, Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D, an allergy nutritionist, all write about inflammation as a major cause of disease. But you can avoid it.

Think a moment about all the good stuff you eat - lean beef, chicken, cold water fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines. Salads, vegetables - are you not doing everything right? How could you not rehabilitate quickly and completely from a minor dance or sports injury? You are eating all the right stuff! You are working out in pointe shoes or shooting baskets daily. Why would you not recover one hundred per cent?

Here's the reality. We eat beef and poultry and eggs from the poultry, that are grain fed. That means that the fats from those foods are predominantly omega 6 fatty acids. They are not bad fats. However, omega 6 oils in the body support pro-inflammatory pathways. They promote inflammation.

But grass fed beef and poultry do not fill us with so much omega 6 fats. And as lean as you want to eat, for weight loss, or weight maintenance, some daily animal fat is crucial for your health. Eat the grass fed as much as you can.

More bad news - fast foods and processed foods contain omega 6 oils. So much for that convenience.

More bad news - you cannot eat too much cold water fish because of the pollutants in them, mainly mercury. But the good news is, you can now get ultra purified or pharmaceutical grade, fish oils as a nutritional supplement.

You can also decrease your ingestion of omega 6 fats by avoiding all the bottled salad dressings and most bottled vegetable oils that you find at the grocery store. Except for olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil and flaxseed oil, (and I'm only including here the more typically available oils, there are more), vegetable oils too are omega 6 oils and will promote inflammation in your body.

This sounds pretty hopeless, but here is the good news. Omega 3 oils are anti-inflammatory and are also readily available. If you are willing to make a small lifestyle change, or get your mother/child/wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/cook, or whoever does the shopping and food prep at home to do so (they will thank you big time), you can switch to omega 3 oils,

If your current training is a career building plan, this information is crucial. If you are training for personal enjoyment, it is important for health too. Being athletic doesn't make arthritis a given in your future. Joint pain can be relieved by decreasing inflammation. Inflammation can be decreased by diet. It is really pretty simple.

I hope that if you are a young ballerina, among the men in ballet, or a young athlete, that you will have your parents read this article. I can only touch the tip of the iceberg here, in the topic of omega 3 oils and their anti-inflammatory properties. But the facts seem to indicate that balancing omega 6 fatty acids in your diet with omega 3 oils, would affect your family health for the better. Dance and sports injuries may be in their past or present too.

Bonnie C. Minsky's article is at http://www.consciouschoice.com/2004/cc1706/healthconscious1706.html.

For an excellent source of omega 3 ultra purified fish oils, click here.

Splurge vs. Steal

Love the look of high end designer shoes but on a budget. Check out these finds below.

Now I know I already talked about the Dior Extreme Gladiator (See post "Let's talk about SEX baby!) However I failed to mention that on the same day I received my Nine West version I spotted this pair by Steve Madden.


Steal Carrie's look by pairing them with a flirty floral dress and studded belt or create a look of your own.

I love the idea of pairing these with something super feminine and girly.

Next I spotted these little gems by Guess on Piperlime. BTW they are having a sale on select styles right now. Up to 40% off!

The Guess version is very reminiscent of this pair, below, by Giuseppe Zanotti wouldn't you say? I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the tortoise shell detail on the heel but the pretty pair pictured above is definitely more budget friendly.




Got a suggestion for Splurge vs. Steal, let me know in your comments to this post.

When the dirt stops at the door, you know you're in a shoeless house

When the dirt stops at the door, you know you're in a shoeless house

Article by Jeanne Malmgren

This is a Last...






For those of you who don't know, this is called a last. It's the base for the shape of the shoe. Kind of like a mold of a foot. plus added room for shape. For every different shoe there is a different last, no matter how slight the difference may be.

Lasts are made one of two ways... expensive shoes have custom lasts made by last makers, or "modelistas". For those brands who can't afford custom designed lasts, or who are just not fashion forward enough to lead the way in shoe shapes- lasts are copied. 

We as designers go out to the market and we shop for shapes that we love. If it's a wedge or a heel or a pump or whatever, we buy it and send it to China to have a mold made of it.
If its an entire shoe shape we want, they pour a sort of hardening liquid into the shoe and it makes the shape. Then, the last maker refines it and tries to make it as close to the original as he can. When we see it we'll sometimes tweak it a little to make it our own. It's all a crazy involved process. Same goes for copying heels. A heel maker will make a wooden carving to match the original shape and when we OK it, they will send it out to have plastic molds made for mass production.

After the last is to our liking, we start to make shoes on them. Pattern makers take the last and develop the upper patterns according to the shape and measurements of the last, along with standard measurements for footwear. Then, they cut the leather, send it to the sewers, then the sewers hand all the pieces to the lasters, and they "last" the shoe. Which means taking the upper and stretching and nailing/gluing the upper to the last. then the bottom is attached and the last is slipped out. Then your foot goes where the last was. 

I hope this is all making sense? 

They bring the shoe to me, usually in groups, and a fit model with standard measurements comes in and tries on the shoes. I then adjust the patterns to make the shoes look and fit the way they are supposed to. The shoe I posted yesterday was a "first proto" which is the roughest proto. You can see my notes on the shoe. I corrected the top line of the shoe with masking tape. You can see the new line I want cause it was too low before. Then you can see that I am making the two straps a little wider and curvier. I am also changing the last that this shoe is on to make the toe shape a little wider since this is for a junior brand. This shoe is cute the way it sits, but I think it's a little too sexy for our girl. I will probably see 3 or 4 protos of this shoe before approving it.
Crazy, right? This is what I do.


Lust-Worthy Wednesday



*SIGH*

"Hello, Lover..."

It's not hard to see why these Louboutins have earned the top spot for the debut of "Lust-WorthyWednesdays". From the gorgeous red satin to the sky high heel and passementerie detail my jaw hit the floor when I first spotted these.

According to Wikipedia passementerie is the art of making elaborate trimmings or edgings of applied braid, gold, or silver cord, embroidery, colored silk, or beads for clothing or furnishings. (Who knew I'd be learning new things???)

With their hefty $1,125 price tag they won't be finding their way into my closet anytime soon. They will simply have to remain "Lust-Worthy".

If you would like to get yourself a pair you can find them here. Just don't let me see you in them. I'm not opposed to knocking you over the head and running like the wind, shoes in hand.


Let's Follow a Sample...

Ok... so this is what I'm doing in China.

First, you make a sketch...




Then you color it up and send it to China...



Then comes the first prototype...




Next come the corrections. I'll keep you posted :)



Torrential Downpour...




So as you've all heard, I'm sure... there's a big ol typhoon hitting Southern China (me) right now. It's pretty scary sometimes, but I think it's supposed to be on it's way out. 
"From June 6 to 16, nine provinces in the country's east, south and southwest had experienced torrential rain, leaving 63 people dead, 13 missing and 1.6 million people displaced, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs." China News

The crappiest part about it is that we were in the middle of moving our office over the new office right in the middle of it. So basically, I've been here for 4 days and I've been sitting on my ass... waiting. I have 55 shoes to see, correct, and detail before I leave. Yikes. 

So... since I'm here with a whole lot of waiting to do- is there anything you guys wanna see or know about? Now's the time to ask...

Little BOW Peep




According to style.com designers for the Fall 08 collections are fit to be tied. Designers like Philip Lim, Blugirl, and Jil Sander featured bows on their runways. Before we know it bows will be turning up everywhere. From blouses, to skirts, to - you guessed it - SHOES! See below for some of my faves.


Shoes-Off at Parties?

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There are some people who are strict about no-shoes in their homes who make an exception for parties. They feel that parties are an occasion when people expect to dress up and this must include shoes. I disagree with their view. I think it is perfectly reasonable to require shoes to be removed for a party.

In Canada and Scandinavia, it is common for people to attend formal parties with a special set of party shoes that are not worn outdoors. This is not really feasible in the UK. I doubt that many British folks have shoes that are never worn oudoors, unless they keep a pair of sneakers to go to the gym. And if those formal party shoes have high-heels, they are unacceptable anyway.

Some people say that part of a party is clearing up afterwards, so you should not make a fuss about mess from people's shoes. This seems a little silly to my mind. People will make more than enough mess at a party without them bringing in dirt on their shoes. There will be plenty of spilled wine and crumbs ground into the carpet without chewing gum and dog dirt from peoples' shoes as well. Also the main party season in the West is Christmas and New Year, when there will be plenty of rain and snow (maybe not snow in England, but plenty of rain). The party season is a wet season.

Some argue that people will feel silly and uncomfortable at a party without their shoes. It is true that people might find it a little odd. But they will probably feel more comfortable for having removed their shoes. If it is made clear in the invitation that shoes willl need to be removed, then it will not come as a shock. Furthermore, if there is alcohol at the party, then most people will be feeling more relaxed.

The main argument levelled against shoes-off at parties is that people dress up for parties. A lot of people, particularly women, will chose their outfits very carefully and they the choice of shoes is part of that selction. For them, a party is an occasion to show off their good taste. They would not want to combine their cocktail dresses with barefeet.

In response I would say that parties are hardly the only occasions for dressing up. Ladies can show off their fancy shoes in restaurants or at the races. Not all parties are such formal occasions. If a party is a smart-casual event, it is actually quite rude to dress up more smartly than other guests.

The host sets the theme of a party. If it is meant to be a fancy dress party, then you should make the effort to find a costume or stay home. If it is an informal party, leave the suit or cocktail dress at home. If it is a no-shoes party, leave the kitten heels at the door.

I keep making this point, but I will make it again: it is best that guests know in advance that shoe-removal is required. If you are printing fancy invitations, make it known there (with some clip-art maybe?). If people know that they will have to take their shoes off, it will not come as a shock and they can plan their outfit with this in mind. They can bring some nice slippers that complement their outfit if they want and they can avoid long trousers that only look right when worn with high heels.

There is the question of whether it is really possible to hold a formal party while people are shoeless. It may be difficult in the West to maintain an air of formality when everybody is without their shoes, but is that really such a bad thing? Is it not better to be relaxed at a party? Certainly, the host and guests can make an effort to keep the party formal. Men can look reasonably smart by combining respectable slippers with their suits and women can look pretty elegant in stocking feet. So all is not lost. If shoes-off in homes becomes more common, shoe-lessnes will probably become less associated with being casual and informal.

There are some people who will certainly be far more happy and comfortable to party without their shoes on. As I argued in a previous post, it is not simply a matter of giving these people the choice. At a shoes-on party, those who take it upon themselves to remove their shoes are likely to get their feet squashed and to have to walk on a soggy carpet. Shoes-off for all guests makes it easier for those who want to take their shoes off.

Tokyo to China














Tokyo was awesome, although pretty hard to take in in only 2 days. I hoped to see more of those awesome "Harajuku girls" in costumes. You know, like in that Fruits magazine? The weather was pretty bad so maybe that was to blame? Anyway, the shopping in Harajuku was pretty amazing. Suuuuuuper expensive, but cute. It was weird though, it was like cheap looking American style clothing that cost $80 a t-shirt.

Something I didn't expect though was the terrible shoes! We noticed that about 95% of all the girls had ill-fitting or just plain ugly shoes. It was so weird. They were either too big or too small. Plus, it seemed that nobody knew how to walk in heels. So funny. 

OMG! Get this- our first day we went to Starbucks and ran into two designers from Roxy that live in Huntington and totally know my hubby! Talk about small world, huh? So crazy.

Now I'm in China to really work. :( We're in a new office and it's like 5x bigger than the old one. Plus, no rats so far so thats good. Haha. 



Refuseniks

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If asked to remove their shoes, most people are polite enough to comply. However, it is always possible that there may be some refuseniks.

If somebody refuses to remove her shoes, the host has several options:

1. Not let them in.

2. Let them in, but express one's unhappiness. Not invite them in again.

3. Let them in, express one's unhappiness, but invite them again hoping that next time they will comply.

4. Let them in and say nothing. Not invite them again.

5. Let them in and say nothing. Invite them again in hope that next time they will be more polite.

There is not right or wrong response. Whether you let them in and whether you invite them again entirely depends upon your wishes.

You have every right to refuse to admit somebody to your home. If a person is visiting to sell you a product or service, or to promote their religious organisation (usually Jehovah's Witnesses are polite enough to offer shoes-off) then you might well refuse to let them in. On the other hand, if your boss is visiting, it might be a bad idea to refuse to let her in!

If the visitor is not a close friend, but a person you have invited to dinner in order to make close acquaintance with, you have every right to never let them darken your door again. On the other hand, you may not want to loose a close friend over the issue. However, you might feel more comfortable expressing your unhappiness to a close friend than to a occasional visitor.

There is simply no right or wrong response to refuseniks.

Would you let somebody in your house if they refused to remove their shoes when asked?

Let's talk about SEX baby!

I am, of course, referring to SATC - the Movie. I realize I'm a little late in the game but I know you will cut me a little slack. A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were visiting with my roommate from college and her husband. While the boys enjoyed a golf outing the girls enjoyed spa treatments, shopping and SATC - the Movie. It absolutely exceeded all of my expectations! Like many others I picked up on the fact that SJP wore this shoe many many times and like many others I knew I HAD to have them.
Now in a dream world I would be able to afford the hefty $770 price tag for the Dior Extreme Gladiator. Unfortunately my budget is not quite there yet! So it was decided that on Monday when I got back to the STL this girl was on a mission.

I quickly scoured some of my favorite shoe websites and found these by Nine West on endless.com. Not an exact match by any means but they definitely share some of the same elements from the studs to the strappy details. I convinced myself they would be immensely more flattering on my feet than the above so I ordered them in bronze.

The best part is, thanks to the free overnight shipping that endless has everyday, I received them the very next day!

Homegrown: Important information for flooded gardens

Homegrown: Important information for flooded gardens

Recommends leaving garden shoes at the door.

Babycentre: No shoes in my house

Babycentre: No shoes in my house

Treating other people with respect

We should always do our utmost to treat other people with respect.

All of us have little things that we are sensitive about. Other people might find it hard to understand those things and may think we are oversensitive about them. However, that does not mean that we should not take those things into consideration.

For instance, some people may not like to hear bad language. If so, you should try as hard as you can not to swear when in that person's company. You may think that is silly. You may think they have the problem, not you and they should deal with it. I disagree. I think that you should respect the fact that those people do not like bad language.

Some people may not like you to smoke when there children are present. You may think that is silly, after all they are not going to be affected by you smoking just one cigarette in front of them. However, perhaps these people do not want you to set an example to your children. You should respect that.

Likewise, some people do not want shoes to be worn inside their homes. This is something important to them.

You may think this is daft. If it is for cultural reasons you may think "They are living in the UK not in China." If it is to protect the carpet you may think "Carpets are meant to be walked on." That is fine. You are entitled to your opinion. However, you should still treat their preference with respect. They are fellow human beings who have the right to their preferences and opinions as much as you do. So please don't complain if you are asked to remove your shoes in such homes.

We should also not be afraid to state our preferences. Nobody is going to know that you would rather they avoided using bad language in front of their children unless you tell them this. In the same way nobody will know that you would like shoes-off in your house unless you make it clear. There is nothing wrong with expressing how you feel and asserting your wishes. You have the right to be respected.

Encourage but not insist?

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Some people say that it is fine to encourage people to remove their shoes, but one should not insist that they do so.

There is a fine line between insisting on people removing their shoes and encouraging people to take them off. There are a number of things one could say that are subtle encouragements:


We take our shoes off here.


You might like to take your shoes off.


These imply strongly that the host wants the guest to remove her shoes. I do not see that insisting or asking is worse than encouraging. If you encourage people to take their shoes off, then you have started from the assumption that people will be willing to take them off. By encouraging, you apply a degree of moral pressure to comply.

I think a lot of people would not want the uncertainty of just being encouraged. I was dating a girl a few years ago when I was not 100% sold out to the shoes-off rule. She asked me if she should remove her shoes. I told her that we removed our shoes but she did not have to. She was actually uncomfortable at this answer and asked me whether I wanted her to take them off or not.

Sometimes it is simpler just to be straight with people and ask them to remove their shoes. No need to beat around the bush.

My first post!

I'm not sure where my obsession with shoes stems from. I don't know that I can really pinpoint it to an exact moment or perfect pair. Take today for example. I had been coveting a certain pair of Coach peep toe ocelot print shoes since I received the Coach catalog in the mail last winter. So much so that I tore the page out of the catalog and pinned it up on my cubicle overhead at work. I looked at them on the Coach website and argued with myself for weeks over whether or not I could afford these little gems. At $248 the price didn't seem outrageous but I also didn't think I could justify spending that kind of money at the time. So I didn't buy them. Coach sold out and I thought my dream of owning these gorgeous shoes had died. I would google the style name from time to time in the hopes that I could find them somewhere but my quest seemed hopeless. Fast forward to May 2008. About a month or two earlier my husband had discovered the joys of Ebay. Then he turned my mom on to it who then turned me onto it. As Mother's Day was fast approaching she had found a purse that she wanted and sent me the link. It was on Ebay. So I created an account, bid on the purse, and won! About a week or so after the purse arrived I was back on Ebay and thought what the heck I'll give it a shot so I entered the name of my beloved Coach shoes into the search and lo and behold a miracle occurred. There they were. The Coach Daisey Ocelot size 6.5 AND they were $100 below the original retail price. I don't think I could have hit that "Buy it Now" button fast enough! They are making their big debut today. (I'm wearing them to work for the 1st time).

Off to Distant Lands...







Ok everyone... the time has come. I'm leaving for Japan in a couple of hours, and then it's China and making all my Harajuku Lovers and JLO samples. I'll be gone for a couple of weeks but I'll try to update as often as possible. :)
I wanna give you all the inside scoop of what it's like working in China. It's pretty crazy.

Anyway, Here I go. I'll talk to you guys soon! I can't wait to see how the Harajuku collection looks. I'll try to post pictures of the sketches, samples and finished product so you get a better idea of how shoes are made. Wish me luck!

Bare Feet

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In the UK and the USA a lot of people feel a sense of disgust and abjection towards feet. Of course, in many Asian countries, the foot is considered to be unclean. However, this is in connection with the fact that the foot touches the ground. Thus, shoes are considered to be far more unclean than the naked foot. In an Asian home, barefeet are acceptable, but shoes are not. This is actually the very opposite of the western abjection of the foot.

It is very common in internet discussions about shoes-off in homes for the subject of barefeet to be raised. It is argued that barefeet are disgusting, more so than the dirt on peoples' shoes. Of course, if you do feel that feet are disgusting, you can still ask visitors to remove their shoes if you lend then flip flops or socks to wear. Angie mentioned this in a previous post.

It is very likely that the sense of disgust about barefeet will decline. Sandals and flip flops have become incredibly popular in the UK and the USA. People are becoming more used to exposed feet. And ladies (and maybe some men) are spending good money on keeping them looking nice.

The argument that feet are more unhygienic than shoes is quite wrong. Unless a person has been going barefoot outdoors, they will not have been picking up the awful things that the soles of shoes pick up (though sandal-shod feet do get a bit dusty). You may think your feet are disgusting, however, you undoubtedly have more germs on your hands than on your feet. Feet are usually remarkably cleaner than the average pair of hands.

Have You Been Searching For a Way to Make Your Baby Look Like a Whore??








Well the folks over at Heelarious have your solution! High heels for babies!
No, I'm not joking. I think I might puke. 

In this Bratz day and age I'm truly not surprised to see this, but still- I am disappointed. I think we need to leave high heels, makeup, hair extentions and all that crap to us older girls. The sexualizing of children is getting way out of hand. Plus, that aside, they are just plain ugly! Little babies are chubby with plumpy little feeties that do NOT look good in "sexy shoes". Look at that picture! The baby looks like an obese woman cramming her feet in a pair of heels.

Now sure, I know this is supposed to be funny, as the name suggests, but I just don't think it is. What's next, baby thongs? I'm not a mom, but I plan to be someday, and I know I would never put my baby in these. What about you moms? What do you think??

Does Recreational Ballet Dancing Exclude Dedication in Dance?

Recreational dancing and recreational ballet dancing come up in the top ten of many national sports and recreational lists. World wide, people love to dance. There is intense dedication in dance with students, including adult ballet students, that adds quality to their lives, and quality to our cultures in general.

Ballet training is a kind of boot camp. Especially a summer or other holiday intensive. There is no complaining about heavy schedules, schedule conflicts, demanding teachers, sore toes or aching legs. Everyone is jubilant to be there.

No one has to explain to another dancer why they are there, why they love dance. Everyone else understands the blood, sweat and tears of it. The agony and the ecstasy...shall I go on? The good, the bad and the....nitty gritty.

I spent many years in ballet schools where the chosen very few got picked to be trained. In fact, as time progressed, the ballet staffs I worked with knew less and less about how to train all but the very few, because it was no longer required of them.

Gradually evolution swung back again in favor of the recreational ballet dancer, and as schools grew, non-professional courses were accommodated better than before. And the fact that there are now so many full-time teachers' courses, that shows the cultural appreciation for well-taught classical ballet and other dance styles.

Many adult late starters choose ballet for fitness classes. They get a full-body workout, a kind of pace, or interval training, and stretching. Along with all of that, women and men in ballet get to experience their own capacity for artistry and elegance.

Dedication in dance shows up in all of these individuals who make the base of dance in our cultures. After all, who is putting out $150+ for the tickets every season? While I occasionally read a snarky comment on the fans' forums, the general attitude toward the favorite ballerinas and premiers danseurs is more like worship.

I went to a local dance recital and saw the most amazing accomplishments on stage, by students who would have been considered totally unteachable in a more elite school. Which proves the point I've always made - if you don't tell someone they cannot do something, they will, in their ignorance, go ahead and learn how to do it.

It takes special teachers to draw the talent and finer details of artistry out of a highly strung, perfectionist, self-doubting top-talent professional student.

It also takes special teachers who will get a whole school of lesser or "ugly-duckling" ballet students, motley crews of physiques and late starter men in ballet, to perform excerpts from the classical ballets in their recitals with considerable polish.

If you love ballet or dancing in general, how to dance ballet your best is what matters. If you study recreational ballet dancing, your dedication in dance is your dedication to yourself, and the inner world where you dance. Thanks for letting us catch a glimpse of it.

Your carpets or your guests?

The article linked in the post below quotes a cliche commonly uttered in the debate about shoes-off. That is that, if you ask your guests to remove their shoes, you must regard your carpet as more important than them.

I would suggest that those who insist on the carpet v guests dilemma are making a zero sum fallacy.

A zero sum fallacy is when one assumes wrongly that if you have more of one thing, you have less of another. Often people of generally Left-wing views make this fallacy about economics. They wrongly assume that the fact that some countries are wealthy and some are poor means that the rich countries must be taking wealth from the poor nations. However, this ignores the economic reality of wealth creation. There is no fixed amount of wealth in the world, but rather wealth is created by economic activity. So if some have more, it does not necessarilly follow that some have less.

Coming back to removing shoes, those who ask 'do you prefer your carpets to your guests' wrongly assume that being concerned about your carpet necessarilly means that you are less concerned about your guests' comfort.

It is not necessarilly the case that the two things are in conflict. That is because not all guests, or necessarilly even the majority of guests, would be unhappy to remove their shoes. Many guests will be indifferent and many will be far more comfortable after removing their shoes. Therefore, to ask guests to take their shoes off to protect your carpet is not necessarilly to disregard the comfort of the guests.

The same may be said about food. Some guests may love brocolli, other guests may absolutely hate brocolli. Does the fact some people hate brocolli that if you serve brocolli at a dinner party mean that means that you care more about brocolli than your guests?

How dirty are your shoes?

How dirty are your shoes?

This article focuses on bacteria tracked in on shoes. Some readers would query whether keeping out bacteria is desirable. Personally, I would prefer to point out the benefits of keeping out dust, pollen, animal excrement and chemicals rather than germs.

This article also quotes some negative comments about shoes-off etiquette.

Has Steve Madden Gone Too Far???










Ok, so I found this this morning and it fired me up. I don't understand how he can just blatantly knock off designer shoes and get away with it! The shoe shown in this post is an Alexander McQueen shoe, and the shoe of the week is Steve Madden's "interpretation". 

This is basically stitch for stitch the same shoe. The buckle is different but I'm sure that's only because Steve Madden didn't want to open up a mold for a new buckle. 
I've put this up as the shoe of the week cause I'm interested to see what you guys think (and for some reason you don't like to leave comments, with the exception of 3 or 4 of you) 

Honestly, there's a part of me that thinks that designer knock offs are great. It's a way of bringing high style to the masses. (am I repeating myself, I feel like I've said this before?) But then you have to realize that it effs up the whole scheme of things because by definition, high style is such BECAUSE it is elevated from the masses. Make sense? 
Snobby? Maybe, but you know I'm right.

What do you think???

Hayfever

I am getting really bad hayfever at the moment.

One thing you can do to reduce hayfever is to remove your shoes at the door and ask visitors to do the same. That way you will avoid walking pollen into your house on your shoes and grinding it into the carpet. Another blogger has testified to me that this really does make a difference.

Are You Over the Gladiator Trend?




Do you say thumbs down to gladiators? They are everywhere right now! Usually the sign of the death of a trend is when it saturates the market so much that it trickles down to places like Payless. And what do you know... Payless has not one but a few gladiator styles. 

I dunno... I'm still feeling it. Especially the higher versions! And what do you think about studs on shoes? I'm surprised to still find styles I like. Like this Lanvin shoe that hits both of these trends. A studded gladiator. Pretty cute, huh?

So where do YOU sit on the issues? Thumbs up or the dreaded thumbs DOWN...?

You Tube: Healthy Byte - Leave Dirt at the Door

You Tube: Healthy Byte - Leave Dirt at the Door

This video is a bit short, but it makes the right point.

How to Define Talent Vs Knowing Your Talent

There is a great deal of argument on how to define talent. When investigated, the topic is more discussed amongst management (whether artistic or business) than among artists. For an artist, the thoughts on this topic are very personal. Between awareness of their gift, and awareness of functioning in a huge arena of gifted colleagues, the challenge for you, the artist is one of knowing yourself and knowing your talent.

I believe that humans all have a part of themselves that is "In reserve". It is a part of us that not everybody sees right upfront, and often we don't either. But as life demands unexpected things of us, "more of us" shows up to meet the demands. Part of this is growing up and learning, but part of it is our own unique energy, or personal power, that comes forth to deal with life in a new and creative way.

I think that for some reason artists know about this part of themselves more than other people. Usually as a small child, an artist starts to either drift in a certain direction, or KNOWS exactly what they want to do, and won't do much else. Adults can be quite impressed - or distressed! - when a child is focused this way.

You, a dancer, you have a special challenge. A dancer must learn all the corps de ballet roles and blend into the style of the company she or he is in. And at the same time, the dancer must be able to show that she/he is somehow "more" unique than the other dancers in the corps. How is that supposed to be revealed?

Usually the talent shows up when a child is selected for training. Being physically gifted helps, but teachers and choreographers spot talent because some students you just can't help but watch. There is a magnetism present.

Many teachers instruct students to project out to the audience - what does that mean? I would say to a student performer, just completely do what you are doing - if you are dancing Giselle, it is your whole world while you are doing it. In other words, you are not a dancer in front of an audience, you are totally Giselle, where she is. You are completely young, naive, and defenseless with this sophisticated prince, and you can't hide it. You create this anew, every time, and the audience is enthralled.

If you are dancing an abstract part - say like the corps de ballet in Balanchine's Serenade - you can dance the steps like everyone else - but you can also give yourself a story - who are these ladies dancing behind the leads and why are you with them? You are physically not going to do anything different, but what you are thinking and being while you are there, your intensity and focus on that, is magnetic.

Everyday when you go into class, you work as hard as you can, and the teacher sees a student working hard. But, just as an example, if you are thinking as you work "Giselle, Swan Queen, Coppelia", or "Siegfried, Romeo" (etc. etc.) "all are inside of me just waiting to get out!" - the teacher is looking at something else besides you - but she/he doesn't know what it is, it's that "extra" thing. You are building up an energy and an intention, and one day the situation will be able to accommodate it. Ambition may be present, but this is something else.

This may sounds like it's confidence I'm describing, but I'm not. If confidence is present, it's still more than that. (and many gifted students lack confidence). It's an energy in you that you almost have to restrain, until you get into one of those big roles. The audience, and an experienced director knows exactly what they're looking at when they see it.

If you are not physically capable of becoming technically adept to do the roles that your talent, or gift, can accommodate, you should go into a field of performance where you do not need that technique. Why waste yourself?

I trained with two students who each had an almost perfect body for ballet. Flexible, long legs, nice arches and all that. One was spotted as a prima ballerina when she was 12, it was so obvious. The other was capable, and became a soloist after a few years, but didn't really shine. She was well trained and could do everything, but - not special. A few years before she retired she decided to take acting lessons. After that she came out on stage and everything disappeared but her, when she danced her solo. She just stole the scene, so to speak. Something "got out" that she had not been able to release before. I don't know how she would describe it, but that's what I saw. I thought then, that if she had been able to do that as a child, she would have become a principal dancer before she retired. She learned how to "be more" and let the audience in on it. It's something that an audience feels. "She was just electric". "He is mystical".

The more you feel, the more the audience feels. If you feel SO MUCH that you restrain it, the audience feels that too. And they love it. Because they know about the "reserve", they have it too. And they have to restrain it sometimes too. But they experience its expression through you, the dancer. That's the reason someone will pay $200 a seat for the ballet. You allow them to experience themselves. Even in a non-dramatic role. Because we are all "more" but someone working in a non-creative field can't express it, or thinks he/she can't.

Of course there are those who are uniquely creative in a perceived non-creative line of business. They are known as "the talents", or "the giants".

If you stop for a few seconds before every class and just think about this, it is going to start becoming more visible. You don't have to push it. "She's just got this thing about her". Isn't that what people say? "He's got IT". There is no word for it, so we call it talent.

People who don't have that much ability or opportunity, love the arts and will do something on an amateur level their whole life. They are expressing themselves, though they may make their living doing something else.

How to define talent will continue as an ongoing discussion with those who have a requirement to describe it and measure it and link it to artists' prosperity (and their own). But knowing yourself and knowing your own talent is your private sphere.

WTF?





Ok so ya, this is old news but since I have yet to address it... it's still news on this here blog. What is up with Marc Jacobs and his effed up ads. Does this make you want to buy his product? Cause I personally love the MJ, but his ads... not so much. He might as well not put any ads out, right? 

It's not even like his ads are avant garde or controversial. They're just riding along on the fug train. I dunno, what do you guys think??












SALE!!! Shoe Seen in Sex And The City: The Movie





This super sexy Proenza Schouler shoe (similar to the one SJP wore in SATC) is on SALE (!!!) at Barneys for $435 right now! Get 'er while she lasts! This is the 2 strap version, where the one SJP is wearing is the cross strap. Anyway... close enough, right?
Just a heads up for my girls. ;)

Hospitality part 2

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Guests are aware when they visit a home that the hosts have boundaries that cannot be crossed.

Guests know or should know that they cannot go wandering about upstairs, looking in their hosts' bedrooms. They ought to be careful in conversation that they do not mention subjects that may cause offence to the host. If the host has strong views on a subject, it is best not to argue with him or her. Guests know that they cannot bring their pet dog to somebody else's home unless the host has expressly said this is acceptable. Even if the host is an animal lover, permission to bring a pet dog must be sought.

It is now recognised by most people that when you visit the home of a non-smoker, they should not smoke inside. If they need to smoke, they should put their coat on and go outside. There are still some people, probably mostly from the upper strata of British society who think it is rude to forbid smoking in one's home. However, this view is very much in a minority.

It is important to recognise these boundaries when one visits a home and if hosts prefer, even if they do not insist on it, removal of shoes, this should be complied with by guests. To ignore this boundary is, as stated in the previous post, taking hospitality for granted.

Some people would object to comparisons with smoking pointing out the health risks of smoking, compared with the minor ill effects to health of wearing shoes past the door. However, it is not so much the health risks that should deter smoking in a non-smoking home. Nobody is going to get lung cancer because a few guests smoked at a dinner party. They are unlikely to even develope a cough because of it. No, the reason one should not smoke in a non-smoking home is simply because the smells and mess are not convenient for such hosts. It is simply impolite. Likewise it is not convenient to impose the dirt and dust of your shoes in the home of a person who would object to it.

Some would argue that it is polite for guests to remove their shoes if this is what the hosts do, but it is impolite for the host to request shoes-off. They feel that it is better to leave the responsiblity of politness to guests. To my mind, this is not quite logical. If guests have the responsibility to comply with the preference of their hosts, then it is surely quite reasonable for guests to make their preference known.

Part of the reason why a verbal request for shoes-off may be necesary is because etiquette is so uncertain and in such a state fo flux on this point. While it may be a good idea to remove one's shoes when one is welcomed by a shoe-less host, as this may be a shoes-off home, such a gesture might be taken as impolite by some. There are some who go shoe-less in their home who would be surprised by guests going shoe-less. It is probably necessary for those who desire shoe-removal to make their wish known.

This Shoe Has My Name on it...







... literally. It's by Celine. Unfortunately- me no likey. I do appreciate the beautiful craftsmanship of the shoe, (as cheesy as that may sound) but I hate the dingle thingy. It looks like a lanyard. You know, from summer camp? For such a sophisticated looking shoe I think it's an odd choice of ornament. Do you agree?

 

I do like the pop of color against the classic brown and white. Who knows, maybe someone more sophisticated (a nice way of saying older) could rock the shit out of this shoe. If you think you could, you can find it at net-a-porter, here for $900.

Hospitality

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There are some who think that asking guests to remove their shoes is contrary to the principle of hospitality.

This is a culturally relative matter. Albania and Turkey are countries in which hospitality is greatly valued and yet it is expected in those countries that guests remove their shoes.

The shoes-on people argue that a hostess should primarily be concerned with her guests comfort and not with the state of her carpet or floor. However, most guests will feel more comfortable after removing their shoes. They may, admittedly, be uncomfortable because they are embarassed about their feet or they feel their shoes are part of their outfit. Those problems can be dealt with by letting guests know in advance that shoes-off is expected and so they can either bring slippers or plan their outfits with bare or stocking feet in mind. Any embarassment should be minimal if guests are not taken by surprise.

In my opinion, those who insist that guests should be allowed to keep their shoes on take hospitality for granted.

When I get my own house or apartment, I may well invite you. I will give you the best seat. I will cook for you. I will serve you the best food I can. I will give you whatever you want to drink, whether it be alcoholic or not. I will give you my undivided attention. I will entertain you with conversation. If you live nearby, I will drive you home in my car. If not, I will let you stay the night. I will wash up the dishes and cutelry you have used and clean up any mess you make. Given that I am willing to do all this for you, do you really think it is so unreasonable that I ask you to take your shoes off?

Simple Mom: Going Barefoot

Simple Mom: Going Barefoot

The relationship between host and guest

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Some people seem to see the shoes-off rule as an unfair restriction on the freedom of guests. I think that is a very sad attitude.

I rather see the removing of shoes as a beautiful and peaceful exchange between host and guest.

The guest removes her shoes when she enters the home. She shows respect to the house she is entering. She does not treat it like a restaurant where her custom is king. Nor does she treat it as her own home, where she may do as she pleases. She has entered the home of another family and she must respect the fact that their lives are lived here.

The hostess is in turn delighted by the respect that the guest shows her. In removing her shoes, the guest has entered into the environment of her family. The hostess will treat her guest with all the courtesy and kindness that she would show to her own family members. She will take care to look after her to the utmost while she remains under her roof. She will serve her the best food, give her the best seat. If necessary she will drive her home in her car or let her stay the night.

In removing her shoes, the guest becomes like the hostess, who is already shoeless. She identifies with the hostess who has welcomed her into her home. In their both becoming shoeless, the host and guest enter a fellowship and unity. They are both without shoes; they are equals. This is true friendship.

I'm a BAD BLOGGER!!!




I'm so sorry for not updating. I'm working super hard on finishing all my details for my lines and that's all I have time for!!! AHHH! Oh yea, and some birthday madness of course. ;)

I'll make up for it I'm sure. Until then, enjoy these cuties...


Hardwood. Hard to Clean?

Hardwood. Hard to Clean?

How to clean hardwood floors. Recommends removing shoes at the door.

Weed Killer

My father sprayed some weed killer on the back patio today.

If you ever walk on a patio or drive with weed killer on, you should remove your shoes before going into your house. You do not want to bring that stuff inside.

What about your visitors? You cannot be sure that they have not walked on a weed killer sprayed drive. Ask them to remove their shoes before coming in your home.

Churches in India

At preaching class this morning, an elderly gentleman who travels around the world to preach in different countries, gave us a presentation on the subject of 'Preaching in a different culture'.

He mentioned that in India, it is common for congregations to remove their shoes before entering churches. Even if they do not, it is expected that a preacher will remove his shoes before delivering his sermon barefoot. This particular preacher felt that this custom was very precious in giving a strong sense of the sacred nature of the task.

Elegance in Ballet Depends on How You Build Strength in Core Muscles

Making classical ballet dancing look effortless and elegant is the goal of any dancer, including for men in ballet. Effortlessness indicates strength , and men in ballet must strive for elegance while showing muscular prowess as a rescuing prince or charismatic villain. Ballerinas strive for fluidity in their arms, upper back, and other movements requiring suppleness, yet depending on the strength of their core muscles.

Naturally, for both men and women in ballet, elegance also depends on the finesse and finer details of professional footwork and strong leg muscles. The whole body works as a coordinated unit, and this coordination depends more on the core muscles than any other area of muscles.

As a student is developing and learning the ballet body positions and the many port de bras (French words for arm movements) he or she must also have core muscles that can support the elegant and floating movements required, just like a tree trunk supports a tree when it sways in the wind. Or a swan's long neck is supported by its sturdy body weight. (perhaps that is a better metaphor!)

Classical ballet dancers easily have the abs of steel, buns of steel and all those things. But they don't want to look like it!

Daily routines in ballet training usually produce what is required to do classical ballet choreography. But unusual body proportions, starting training later, and other factors lead dancers to cross train to catch up, get ahead or get an edge on the competition. And, always, prevent dance injuries.

There are several Pilates gurus promoting their DVD courses so that anyone can work at home. Mat work courses, stretchy band work courses, and even Pilates machine courses are available, with small light weight home-version machines.

So if you are too busy to get to a Pilates studio, that is no problem. Pilates is a wonderful type of cross training for ballet dancers, as it produces the balletic elongation of muscle and builds strength. It also contributes to the fluid quality of movement that dancers strive for.

Slow motion weight training can help dancers too. The slow motion speed is to trigger the best use of the muscles, and also prevent injury. No sudden or jerky movement is done, and this protects the joints and soft tissues around the joints. Slow motion weight training has also shown to contribute to a healthy metabolism and the release of enzymes into the body that is rejuvenating in many ways. It is a detailed and fascinating subject unto itself.

Whatever stage of classical ballet training you are in, or aspire to, you can achieve elegance in your ballet dancing. How well you build strength in your core muscles will also affect your work in pointe shoes, and for the men in ballet, your partnering skills and princely or villainous virtuosity.

Girlsaskguys: Do any of you guys have a wife or partner like this? If so what do you do?

Girlsaskguys: Do any of you guys have a wife or partner like this? If so what do you do?

A question from somebody who thinks having a shoes-off policy is weird.

Tomorrow's the Big Day!






No, I'm not talking about the fact that tomorrow is my birthday... even BIGGER! Tomorrow is the day when all my hard work pays off. Well- hopefully anyway. ;)
Tomorrow I'm presenting the proposed Harajuju Lovers line to Gwen and her team! I'm super excited and I REALLY hope they like it. My stomach hurts and I can't eat. I'm super nervous!! 
I've been working on the line for about a month now and assuming everything is approved, I'm going to Japan and then China at the end of this month to have the samples made!
We will be launching the line at the August shoe show! (for more info you can check Titan's website)
Anyway, wish me luck! I guess either way I get to spend my birthday hanging out with Gwen so it can't be all bad, right? ;)

BNP going Asian?

Lancaster Unity: Of Barnbrook, his cream carpets and the mystery of the twenty year-old DNA...

It turns out that the British National Party man who got voted onto the London Assembly has cream carpets and a shoes-off policy in his home.

For those of you who are not British, the British National Party are a far-right group with a Neo-Nazi history who are totally opposed to immigration. I think they are a blight on this nation. They really leave a bad taste in the mouth.

It seems odd that somebody who is against immigration should be adopting a custom that is being brought into this country by Asian and East European immigrants.

I used to be very right-wing in my views. I used to be critical of immigration and a litle xenophobic. To my shame, I once had a friendly conversation with some BNP activists. Then when I found that having a shoes-off rule made sense, I began to think that maybe immigration might be a good thing. If foreigners had excellent customs like removing shoes at the door, maybe muliticulturalism was a good thing.

So a BNP man has a shoes-off policy. So do millions of Chinese people, millions of Indian people, so do Black Muslims, so do New Agers and environmentalists, so do some Jehovah's Witnesses and some Roman Catholics, so do Polish plumbers. So does a Fundamentalist Christian in Worcester who is a member of the Conservative party.

This blog is all about diversity and celebrating it. Removing shoes is a custom practiced all over the world by many different cultures. And it is a great one. The people who read this blog and agree with shoes-off may have very different ideas about a lot of things, but we all believe in treating homes with respect. And that means treating people with respect too.

Kitchen Table Medicine: The Naturopathic Management of Asthma

Kitchen Table Medicine: The Naturopathic Management of Asthma

Recommends removing shoes to avoid bringing in pollen and pollutants. A blogger has testified to me before that this really does make a big difference.

How to Stay in Shape and Keep Your Muscle Tone While on Vacation

For athletes and dancers (classical ballet and others too), time off without a daily class brings the double-edged sword of relief and anxiety. Relief to have relaxing time, and anxiety about not staying in shape and keeping the muscle tone they've worked so hard for. So without turning time off into a working vacation, here are some suggestions for daily routines to help stay in shape.

If you're staying at home and have a spot that you usually exercise in, then you are set to practice. If you are a classical ballet student, the challenge is great - there is really nothing to replace the demands of a ballet class. However, you can customize a daily routine to challenge your muscles.

If you are intermediate or advanced, it is easy to get a ballet class DVD to workout with. However, many are instructional with breaks in between the exercises. There are some ballet workout DVDs which are pretty demanding, but if you don't want to customize a routine that works on your particular ongoing corrections from class, you will get a good workout. Also, you'll get warmed up enough to stretch safely.

If you choose to do a regular barre routine, make a simple barre workout that emphasizes your weaknesses. For example, if you have any balancing problems, put in a slow rise and slow lowering into a demi plie in every exercise. And repeat without using the barre. If you understand where the shift in balance is coming from, you can correct, repeat super-slow-motion movements.

You can also include core muscle exercises every day, to help with the balancing problem.

You could sign up for local Pilates classes - they are wonderful for the elongating type of exercises, core muscle strength and stretching too.

If you are traveling in hotels or in homes, and will have a restricted space, take a stretchy band. With the floor space required to sit, move into second position, or lie down and lift your legs to the front back and side, you can do slow leg raises with the band, and developpes with the band. This challenges your leg and core muscles.

If you are preparing for pointe work coming up in your next session of classes, use the stretchy band for foot strengthening. Sitting, legs stretched out in front, pointe your ankles but not your toes. Run the band behind your flexed toes, and stretch your toes long against the resistance of the band. You increase the resistance as you need, and work out all your foot and ankle muscles.

This is good for men in ballet too. Strengthening the feet means you will not be over working your calf muscles, which pinch-hit for the foot muscles when they are weak. This leads to strain and tension, which in turn decreases the ankle flexibility and the degree of point that you have.

Swimming is great for endurance - if you enjoy it, swim a lot.

Stay hydrated, and eat good whole food to keep those electrolytes up. Dehydration affects your muscles tone, your energy, your brain function and leads to retaining water. Real food provides minerals you can digest, avoid those sugary sports drinks with a couple of token minerals in them.

I hope this has given you some ideas as to how to enjoy your time off without feeling like it is a working vacation, and with no worry about staying in shape or how to keep your muscle tone.

Read more here about daily routines, corrections, The Perfect Pointe Book, The Ballet Bible, and ballet DVDs for working out and staying in shape.

How to silently remind your guests to remove their shoes

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1. Cast your eyes downwards at the guest's feet for a few seconds.

2. Make a faint smile with gritted teeth.

3. Look down at the guest's feet again.

4. When the guest looks down, nod.

This is unlikely to work on first-time guests. This is only for reminding people who already know you don't want shoes in your house.

Healthy Eating Habits During The Stressful Time of Ballet Rehearsals

Ah... the final realization of all that work in ballet shoes and pointe shoes, or your other dance styles. The ballet recital, lights, costumes, the audience. Healthy eating habits matter even more during the stressful time of the final ballet rehearsals. An athlete's food choice is critical for your long classical ballet rehearsal hours. And aching limbs can bring on sleeping problems without the intake of proper nutrients.

The gruelling repetition of staging, lighting and full out classical ballet rehearsals can be enjoyed more if you are well fed and well hydrated. For one thing, those sneaky self-doubts about your readiness to perform, your shape, your hair, etc., etc., will have lot less power if you keep up your energy in a healthy way.

For example, and believe it or not, celery sticks with peanut butter is a way better snack than the average power bar, full of useless carbs, processed protein and a few lab-made vitamins. Celery is one of the best salty foods we have. When I say salt, I mean all those mineral salts that you lose in perspiration. If your peanut butter is real (no added high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils) it is full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and a healthy fat. That fat will give you energy to handle the stress and demands on your muscles.

A light and energizing lunch could be a can of wild caught salmon with a little real, but unsweetened mayonnaise, and dark leafy greens. The omega 3 oil in the salmon is food for your soft tissues and joints. It also is great brain support. The dark green leafy salads or vegetables are full of calcium, vitamin A and trace minerals that support your metabolism and all of the extra nervous activity that the excitement and demands of the situation brings forth.

Hydrating means sipping water all day long. Popular sports drinks are extremely acidic. They do not hydrate you like water does.

Using sea salt instead of table salt keeps up your electrolytes. There are 12 mineral salts to replace - not just the one or two included in sports drinks. Lack of minerals can lead to muscle cramps that keep you awake. Also good salt is necessary to prevent water retention.

Lack of good fats increases pain in strained and fatigued muscles.

Eating breakfast is vital. Eggs with the yolks soft provides essential fatty acids. This is not the place to count calories and get rid of that egg yolk.....if you cook the yolks hard you will damage the enzymes needed to digest them. Protein is also provided by this wonderful food. A flourless sprouted grain bread will give you some B Complex vitamins without bringing on the swollen stomach caused by wheat flour.

Sugar weakens muscles. Instead of carbs and sweets, eat fruit. Fruits contain vitamins and minerals and natural sugars.

One thing from your fridge that you can't eat but can use, is a soft ice pack. When you get home from a stressful time at the theater, eat your good athlete's food, and bring out the ice pack to wrap around sore muscles and joints.

Find out how to get the right pointe shoe sizing and how to prevent dance injuries.

The Loss of a Legend...


"What I would like to do is to go away, go away for a long time, without doing anything in particular, forget everything, and then come back to see if I still want to make dresses."
- Yves Saint Laurent's reply on a questionnaire that is part of an exhibition of his works at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts












Yves Saint Laurent, born Aug 1st, 1936. He left home at the age of 17 to work for the French designer Christian Dior. Following Dior's death in 1957, Yves, at the age of 21, was responsible for saving the Dior house from financial ruin. In 1983, he became the first living fashion designer to be honored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In 2001, he was awarded the rank of Commander of the Légion d'Honneur by French president Jacques Chirac.
YSL had been the first to put women in pants, the first to give them tuxedos, and the first to use black models for his catwalk shows. He was a pioneer and a legend.
Yves Saint Laurent retired in 2002 and became increasingly reclusive. Paying tribute to his mentors, including Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Schiaparelli and Chanel, he said that his decision was based on a disgust with an industry that had become ruled more by commercial gain than art. "I have nothing in common with this new world of fashion, which has been reduced to mere window-dressing," he said. "Elegance and beauty have been banished."
From then until his death he spent much of his time at his house in Marrakech, Morocco. He later created a foundation with his lover and business partner, Pierre Bergé in Paris to trace the history of the house of YSL, complete with 15,000 objects and 5,000 pieces of clothing.
He lost his battle with brain cancer on June 1, 2008 at his home in Paris. 
The world of fashion was deeply changed because of YSL's genius and for that, he will live on forever.

Shoes still Need to Come Off in Summer

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Some people may be of the opinion that shoes-off in homes is a good idea in the damp of winter, but is quite unnecessary in summer, except when it rains (which it certainly does here in the UK).

However, on the contrary I maintain that shoes ought to be removed even in summer.

It is true that the weather is drier in summer,so there is less chance of bringing damp or mud into the house. However, in summer, shoes will still pick up small particles of grit. These particles gradually wear out carpets.

If you have laminate or wood floors, there is still the risk of making scratches (watch out with those high-heeled sandals, ladies) or leaving marks (why do you think you are expected to wear deck shoes or go barefoot on a yacht?).

Dust is still a problem in summer. Dust is not good for your health or your children's health and the less of it in your house, the better. There is likely to be even more dust in summer, as the ground dries up and cracks.

Dog dirt is still a problem in summer. In winter, many people will walk their dogs to the minimum that is necessary. In summer, people will be spending longer outisde with their dogs, increasing the risk of fouling up. Dog dirt is extremely unhealthy stuff. Not good for crawling babies. You may try to avoid stepping in it, but your shoes will still pick up small traces and then grind them into the carpet if you do not take them off.

There is also pollen, which is only a problem in summer. Your shoes will pick up lots of the stuff. If you suffer from Hayfever or you live with Hayfever sufferers, I recommend having a shoes-off policy in summer.

Of course, on a hot summer's day, nobody ought to mind taking their shoes off!

Neat Freaks?

re-post

It is commonly thought that people who insist on shoes-off in their homes are neat freaks who are obsessed with keeping their homes clean and tidy.

I dare say that there are some people who prefer shoes-off who are genuine neat freaks. And those who are Obsessive-Compulsive about cleanliness may well be among the shoes-off community.

Of course this is culturally relative. In Japan it is thought that money is dirty and unhygeinic because it is handled by untold numbers of people. Japanese people also regard any objects placed in bathrooms, such as books or ornaments to be 'dirty'. A person in a western society who held such attitudes would almost certainly be regarded as Obsessive-Compulsive.

I have known a number of people who really were excessive in their desire to keep their homes clean. Interestingly, these people did not require visitors to remove their shoes. I suspect that they probably spent so much time in cleaning their homes that they were happy to waste time cleaning up afer their visitors.

Many people who keep their homes shoe-free are not domestic goddesses who like nothing better than spending whole days doing spring cleaning. Rather, they are busy working people who have far better things to do. They do not want to clean up for the sake of it, but they know that living in a clean environment is healthier and far more pleasent. Knowing that time is precious they would rather keep the mess to the minimum and spend as little time as possible cleaning up after their visitors. Prevention is better than cure.

Nobody needs a house that is spotless, but it is pointless to allow dirt and dust to accumulate when it could easily be kept out by leaving shoes at the door. A floor is meant to be walked upon, but that does not mean that one should not reduce wear and tear and save time and money.

SALE ALERT!!!






Remember these??? Well, they're now on SALE at Saks for $800!!! YIPPEE

I'm just looking out for my girls. ;)

Super Cute and Pin-Upy!




How adorable are these? So sassy and right for summer! I'm loving cork right now and these are so super cute. I love the vintage pin up feel with the oversized bow and sexy ankle wrap.
They're on sale at Zappos for $171.00! Go get um!

;)

Professional Footwork, Muscle Memory For Ballet, and Neural Pathways

Improve your ballet dancing and pointe work, and even your tennis footwork. Tennis players learn ballet to refine their professional footwork, too. By understanding the part of the foot in finely reflexive movement, you will prevent muscle exhaustion in the lower leg. Muscle memory will be precise, and your neural pathways will be well built for all that ballet traffic.

The finer details for strong pointe work starts in your first ballet classes, years before most students progress to dancing in pointe shoes. If you are an adult late starter in ballet, this information will help you get ahead. Here are some items to review that pertain to you building strength:

1. The foot bearing the body weight, on flat and in demi plie, in a tripod balance of between the ball of the foot, the point between the little toe and fourth toe, and the heel;

2. The intrinsic muscles of the foot being strengthened so as not to exhaust the calf and tibial (shin) muscles. This allows the foot muscles to be capable of, for example, pressing up to full pointe, pressing back down to demi pointe and back up to full pointe for at least 8 repetitions before getting exhausted. And in turn, this creates a controlled and soft descent from pointe into demi plie or flat.

3. Keeping the toes long in soft shoes and pointe shoes, not buckled;

4. Always having the ankles in a straight line, never sickling out the supporting feet for the curved line dancers like in a working foot;in other words always being on the center of the foot in demi pointe, and fully on the platforms of the pointe shoes;

5. Getting exactly the right fit and type of pointe shoes so the feet are not fighting the shoes: this includes toe levelers or spacers if needed. Avoid dancing in pain!

I have to mention that the correct postural plumb line and turnout must be maintained, or the foot and ankle muscles will be exhausted and over compensating, fighting for balance. So dancing ballet in pointe shoes is a full body workout!

Consider a healthy diet to support your training. Healthy fats and oils must not be avoided. Omega 6/omega 3 balance is vital. These oils naturally help strengthen cell membrane integrity, repair cellular and tissue damage, help optimize neurological transmission and brain function, help improve heart and circulatory function, and ( a wonderful bonus anyone would want) help produce supple, moist skin. These oils also help in lubricating joints, and are anti-inflammatory - the exerciser's dream food.

Developing correct muscle memory and neural pathways is like building the best software program for your computer. Safe and agile movements become automated. This means you are much less likely to injure yourself if you are dancing on a day when you are tired or distracted.

Whether learning classical ballet or tennis, you can excel in professional footwork by understanding your brain and your feet. You can learn how to improve any aspect of your training.

If you would like to learn more about healthy oils read here.