Scatter-shot

This is just a quick, drive-by post.

Do you have broken windows?  (Click over… they’re more akin to pet peeves than shattered glass.)  For me, it’s missing a wog – walk-run – with the dogs due to circumstances beyond my control, having a cluttered front porch, hand/fingerprints on doors and walls, not finishing my to-do list at work…

I have an FO (finished object for non-knitters), but no photos.  Stand by.

I have read several books and am lost in Trenton, NJ at the moment.  So far, I’ve been unable to make myself sick of Stephanie Plum and her zany friends and relations.  I think it’s because I can relate.  I remember the first time I told my father I was going to be a writer.  His dark mocha eyes twinkled and he said, “It’ll have to be fiction, even if it’s biographical; no one would believe it was true.”

41MA5cxy7xL._SL190_SY246_CR0,0,190,246_I wear a size larger in Sanita clogs than Danskos.  Oh… and when I say clogs, I always mean closed-backs.  These are shinier and sparklier in person.  My idea of a great pair of shoes – or boots – is when the Knight and my (male) co-workers say something obnoxious about my footwear.  Maybe that’s why I like our “guest” technician; he seems to genuinely appreciate my slightly flashy choice in shoes.

51OM+b6ku+L._SL246_SX190_CR0,0,190,246_And speaking of boots…  I might have snagged another pair of Ariat boots.  These are kiddo sized, and they fit perfectly.  Ariat boots really are built for all-day wear.  I’ve tried to explain to one of my co-workers that my “wooden clogs” and my “stiff boots” support my feet well and aren’t just a fashion statement.

Yeah, they’re PANK and calf-hair leopard, and they’re ridiculously comfortable, right out of the box.  Now, if the snow would GO AWAY so I could wear them more…

And I still owe you a CAbi post too.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Oh – and you absolutely have to try this recipe.  A friend brought it Sunday night, and even though I thought I hated mango, I shoveled it in, maybe even with both fists.  Eating well doesn’t mean suffering… until I think about the good ol’ days when I ate shrimp two times a day sometimes.

What’s new with you?

 

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The Boot Goes On

Okay.  I’m done boot shopping until after the holidays.  In fact, short of one more pair of jeans, I’m done shopping for me until after January 10th.  Why that date?  Well, because FIL, a family friend or three and Sissy’s lost left eye all claim the 10th, so…

dreams...

dreams…

Today, I’m purging my shoe closet.  Oh how I wish they had their own closet, but that’s another post for another day, and something I can loop dear Krystle in on after her wedding… because hopefully by then, my own life will have stabilized.   The Knight already has an idea of how to flip-flop our bathroom layouts (the “main bath” is more than twice the size of the master bath, and as the only humans regularly in this house, that’s just silly) AND steal closet space from what is now his office (formerly the center bedroom) to turn my/our closets into more functional spaces, so I’m guessing that if he and the designer put their heads together, we’ll have something truly awesome without too much fuss.

Anyway.  As with my clothes, if it doesn’t fit nicely, make me happy and/or serve some undeniable purpose in my life/wardrobe, it’s going in the rummage sale room.  Yeah…  I hope no one is planning to spend the holidays with us, because the guest room is quickly becoming a JLC rummage sale storage area.  No, not for the League at large (although why not at this point?!), but for us.  Hopefully when I’m done, all those extra running shoes that are no longer good for running but could – in theory – be good for casual wear, all the boots that pinch and any other shoes I just plain don’t wear and never will, are going away…

image courtesy of MH

image courtesy of MH

… to make room for the two new pairs I accidentally on purpose bought this week.   I know I said I wasn’t going to buy the Ariat Billies because I was holding out for mid-calf shafted red cowgirl boots, but…  My Habit, a division of Amazon, had them on super-sale and… they should arrive any moment now.  (Warning… that link will earn me credit if you sign up for MH.)

But see…  the deal was THAT GOOD, and I’m finding that while I might love the look of taller boots, the ones I pull on every day are ankle boots or nearly so.  I wear the Sissy puke snot out of my brown leather basic, flat ankle boots, (similar style here; mine are several years old and evidently, not available) and my little Johnny Poppers are a close second.   They’re great under jeans, over leggings, tights and skinny jeans, with cropped pants, and maybe next summer, I’ll boldly wear them with skirts and bare legs.

I have it on good authority that Ariat is THE brand for on-your-feet-all-day comfort, and that’s what I need.  I’ll report back.  I can assure you that Dan Post (via John Deere and the Johnny Poppers) doesn’t flinch from 9 hours of standing, trotting, etc. on concrete, and my back appreciated the support.  I hear Twisted X is also good for support, but I’ve yet to find a pair that wants to live with me, so… maybe next year?

image from Zulily

image from Zulily

I also took a gamble on these Smoky Mountain zebra boots from Zulily.  (That link is an invitation that earns me “store credit” too.)  If you don’t know Zulily and like a bargain… you should.  I missed out for a long time because I thought the were mom and kid -centric, and perhaps they are, but given that I can wear a big kid’s 4.5-5 shoe when I can find it, and I can wear a girls XXL in unfitted tops, that’s probably a plus for me.  Those of you who are full-grown and don’t have littles will still find a lot of your favorite brands on deep discount there too.  Another of today’s specials was dog tags, so they’re quite diverse in their offerings.  (While I benefit *IF* you sign up, I am not being compensated for my opinions.  I just like a bargain and know many of you do too.)

Now…  I know calf hair shoes have been on trend  for at least a year now, but I’ve always though non-leathered hides are best on the lodge and/or trophy room floor/wall.  But the description leads me to believe these hairy shafts might not be REAL hair.  The fur-girls don’t seem to give a hoot about leather, so we’ll see how this goes.  If they freak me out, someone else with a size 7 foot might get a shot at them, because alas, part of the bargain is they are not returnable.

Zulily isn’t the fastest shipper in the land.  It’s a little slower than Sierra Trading Post, my favorite bargain site.  For instance, I ordered a Land’s End tunic from them earlier in the same day I bought the Billies from My Habit, and the boots will be delivered today (anyone else a little OCD about tracking packages?) and the tunic hasn’t even been giving a tracking number that tells me the shipment hasn’t been processed yet.  (See?  OCD.  I own it.  And if it bothers you, don’t EVER get in a TSA line with me, because I nearly have a stroke every time.  Can’t stand my nearly bare feet walking where all the other bare and nearly so feet have been.  No, I don’t shower or change at the gym, firehouse, or anywhere else remotely “public” either.  I almost need sedatives to use a toilet outside my home or office, and we won’t talk about the stress of showering in a hotel.  Now you know more about me than you ever cared to…)

So maybe wearing boots in the summer will work for me.  I can’t curl my toes (a neuro deficit from all of my back problems), but I sure try to when I’m wearing sandals and the sidewalk/floor is scary.

What’s going on in your world?

Practical Boots

So…  Sissy’s vet report actually sets the stage for this post.  Don’t read it while you’re eating though.

I got chilled to the bone on Thursday at work, in no small part because I wore cute flats on the morning of the first really hard fall frost.  Not so slowly, I’m figuring things out with the new job, and it seems that wearing footwear that allows for socks seems to be rather critical now, as the men I work with were all evidently born in barns and leave doors open all over the place.  I’m also realizing that my cute fashion boots really weren’t built for trotting on concrete and asphalt; boots that have never pinched my toes did on Friday.  (But my feet were warm, and that was what really mattered.)

Then today, as the title on the girls’ blog suggests, my boot wearin’ was vindicated, with no small assist from Sissy’s new issue – car sickness.  (I’ll leave it at that here, and again, if you click over…  I tried not to be too graphic.)  Even on the weekends, I lead a life where practical footwear makes sense, except for those times when I’m dressed to the nines and don’t have the dogs with me, am not going to be stopping by the fire house, etc.

Courtesy of Chico's

Courtesy of Chico’s

I first saw these Old Gringo Leopardito boots on Chico’s site, but I’m seeing them “everywhere” and I’m drooling every single time.  They’re out of my budget (especially for “work boots”) but Christmas is coming and a girl can dream.  And that’s the beauty (seriously – leather works of art!) of well-made, leather boots.  As one reviewer (of another style, another brand, on totally different website) put it, This looks to be a boot that can handle being knocked around a bit at the barn and in the saddle, but still be dusted off and look fashionable on the town.

That’s true of most leather, authentic “cowboy” boots, and it suits my evolving lifestyle.  No, I’m not working in a barn, but Sis proved today that even on my personal time, I need footwear that can withstand some abuse, get wiped down and allow me to carry on with whatever comes next.  If the Knight had been with me, I definitely would have been comfortable scooting into the outlet mall to check out the Dooney (and anything else?) sales, despite what the left boot went through at the vet’s.

(Thankful Saturday?  I’m SO grateful that she didn’t have THE INCIDENT over the summer, when I was probably wearing almost nothing on my feet.  I honestly don’t know how I would have handled that, and I tend to be pretty good with gross…)

Anyway.  While the Leoparditos are more than I want to spend on work boots right now, they are almost perfect.  I like a low heeled “work boot” – check.  I like a … medium-height shaft – 10″ on the Leoparditos – check.  They’re pull-ons – check.  Zippers just add another patch of leather that might rub if it gets wadded up or something odd.  (I do have larger calves, but not so much so that I have to seek out the large calf boots.)  Where the Leoparditos give me pause is the toe.  It’s rather pointy, and I think for work, I prefer a square or truly round toe for the walking.

Courtesy of Shepler's

Courtesy of Shepler’s

For less than half the price of the above, Nocona makes something pretty similar. The shaft is much higher – 13-14″ – enough so that I’m not sure they’d fit my short calves, and the heel appears to be about the same, within my comfort range for work day wear.

I might have to actually go boot shopping.  And I might have to take the Knight with me for accountability.  I’m not sure I trust myself in Bootville alone.

Johnny Popper

john-deere-footwear-johnny-popper-cowboy-boots-ostrich-print-for-youth-girls-in-ocean-blue-pink~p~5330w_01~220.3We have a winner!  I bought a pair of John Deere Johnny Popper boots from Sierra Trading Post last week.  Yes, they’re “youth” boots, but they’re made by Dan Post.  When I was reading reviews, it seemed that Dan Post and Ariat got the consistent, best marks for comfort, so it was good fortune when I found the cute little John Deere boots for under $40.  (Yep.  That’s not a typo.)  Couldn’t hurt to try, right?

RIGHT!  What I didn’t realize is that both Dan Post & Ariat have their own special insoles so that as kids grow, they can stay in their quality (read: expensive) boots a little longer.  What that means for me is that I have a little flexibility with sizing, AND when I guess correctly, I have extra cushioning for my ankle, back and other aging parts that groan when I’m on my feet too long.

I wasted no time breaking them in.  The Knight made fun of me for walking around in the house in the boots while I was doing laundry, but it worked.  I was ready to give them the ultimate test… grocery shopping.  For whatever reason, walking/standing on concrete gives my back fits in no time flat.  I was eager to see how these little boots would stand up to my Waterloo, and they did at least as well as my Danksos, which previously held the “most likely to get me through” spot.

Untitled

Foot selfie – hits just at the start of my calf

So.  My size 6.5 – 7 foot (or Euro 37) was very happy in the JD/DP size 5 boot.  I think I could have worn a 4.5, but then I would have had to think about which socks I was wearing.  With these, I don’t know that I’ll wear just tights, but on cold days, I can pull on thick, wool socks and still get the boots off at the end of the day.   The shaft is a little short, but booties are trendy, and Ariat and Justin have been selling shorter “barn boots” for women for YEARS.  While the offerings in very large youth sizes are few and far between, I’m delighted with my find and think I got an incredible deal on a premium pair of ostrich boots in fun, funky colors that will suit my feet and wardrobe.

I don’t feel at all that I “settled” by buying youth boots.  They are remarkably comfortable and seem to be well-made.  I expect them to last for years and years, as my other boots do.  My only complaint is the John Deere logo and its placement, but considering the deal I got on ostrich and cowhide boots, I’m not REALLY fussing.

Next up, those Ariat leopard girl boots.  I might have already ordered them… maybe.

Women vs. kids

Ariat Kids Legend Courtesy of Zappos

Ariat Kids Legend Courtesy of Zappos

I’m talking shoes here.   I wear a women’s size … most often 6.5 M/B.  Some charts suggest going 2 sizes smaller for kids, some, 1.5.  What say you?  I know some of my other little-footed friends sometimes wear “youth” sizes, and some of you have not-so-littles with a foot in each world.  I haven’t tried it in years, but I’m considering it now that ladylike heels are becoming less and less a part of my footwear.

Pros?

Cons?

Help!!

Pull-on Boots

Ariat Bille courtesy of 6pm

Ariat Bille courtesy of 6pm

Not all boots are created equally.  Clearly… since my favorites are actually a half size smaller than the shoe size I wear, and are up to 1.5 sizes smaller than some of my boots that I *think* fit just fine.

Now, regular readers and old friends know what’s coming.  My analysis paralysis and I are into boots right now, leather pull-ons in the western and/or harness styles to be precise.   If you’re looking for cute, trendy, fashion boots, this post isn’t going to be too applicable, but if you want something functional in nature that will last for many years… let’s talk.

Laredo Miss Kate courtesy of Amazon

Laredo Miss Kate courtesy of Amazon

It starts with fit.  Here’s a great, brief explanation of how pull-on boots should fit.   I like to try pull-on boots on with a thin, knee-hi sock, no matter what I plan to wear with them once they’re broken in.

And here’s Country Outfitter’s fit guide for the major brands.  Some have a great little synopsis about the company too.  For instance, I now want to try Ariat because the fit model says one could run a marathon in them, and I want to try Nocona because the founder of Justin Boots daughter started THAT company after her father’s death, when Justin moved out of their home town.  You’ll have to go read the fit guide to learn what happened next!

I also think pull-ons HAVE TO BE leather, and the best you can afford.   Other boots – again, especially the fashion sort – can be whatever works for you and your budget, but for pull-on boots, the magic happens as the leather stretches ever so slightly and makes for a custom fit.  That won’t happen with synthetics.

Heel and sole are highly personal.  I like something in the less than 2″ range, but not slick on the bottom.  I don’t want work boot lugs if I can help it, but I don’t want to tiptoe on wet concrete or high-gloss wood floors either.  See above… the right sole will also conform to your foot and be uniquely supportive.

Justin Gypsy Square Toe courtesy of Amazon

Justin Gypsy Square Toe courtesy of Amazon

Toe is another consideration.  I like an almond toe, which is a little pointed but not so much so that your boots are inches beyond your big toe.  I don’t mind a square toe or a rounded toe.

I’ve been in boot meccas and have tried on just about every major brand that has been in business more than a decade or so, and those of you who know I don’t enjoy the traditional shopping experience will be shocked to hear that I think most of you who are new to pull-on boots should go try on as many brands, styles and even a couple of sizes in each.   Given that my weight and shoe size now is about in line with what it was when I did my last big boot sensory overload shopping trip, I’m going to try to avoid some analysis paralysis and sit ‘n shop… and appreciate free return shipping.

What say you?