It’s All About the Shoes

Some of you have commented in my last post about the shoes I was wearing when I met Gretchen Rubin. They are lovely, aren’t they? Here’s a close-up:

Guess Chappel Platform Peep-Toe Pump

They are very comfortable. I wore them all day. But then I think maybe I have feet of steel. My friend Karen says I have Barbie feet.

These shoes also happen to be the very same ones that I was wearing when I caught the heel in the old floor boards at Harrod’s in London and fell headlong into a rack of clothes. The irony? It happened to be a rack of dresses from the designer Chloé.

 It really is a wonder I ever leave my house.

Getting Ready For BlogHer 2011-Pretty Toes

Pretty Toes

I was reading my friend KayKay’s blog yesterday and she gave a great SEO tip that I’m totally stealing today.  I’m not sure if she knew she was giving out a great SEO tip or not, but she sure as shootin’ was.

(If you don’t know what SEO is then grab your first born and sacrifice him or her in the name of the founders of Google. Because once you know about SEO you can’t unknow it. I’m not going to tell you what it is. You’ll have to eat that apple yourself.)

For good or for ill, I do know about SEO. I also know about Alexa and Klout. Klout’s now my Gangsta Pimp and I’m his dirty, low self-esteemed whore. Just for kicks I went to see what Klout’s Gangsta Pimp name would be and wasn’t surprised to find out that it is:

On a daily basis, Cow-Tippin Monkey Hunta lets me know what the other kids on the playground people in social media think about me.  Every day Monkey Hunta sums up my social worth in a random number based on some inexplicable metric that nobody really understands.

Yesterday my magic self-worth number was 54.  Here’s Monkey Hunta’s Social Media advice to me based on this number:

Now the truth of this is that my Klout went up day before yesterday, but does Klout reassure me that I’m Okay, You’re Okay?  NO!  Monkey Hunta is quick to remind me that the other kids are less likely to trade their HostessTM Ding Dongs for my bologna sandwich today because I SUCK. But it holds out the carrot that if I just try harder maybe the other kids WILL like me. Maybe.

Since I learned about this number out there that rates my social value, I wake up every morning and promise myself that I won’t care what Klout says about me. But every day I look and I end up caring. But that’s not our topic.

Our topic today is our new SEO: Pretty Toes.  I figure if I can become the Pantyhose Queen, over and over, again, then the title of Pretty Toes Princess is within my grasp. Maybe I can lure some more guys here from Google’s search engine to come and ogle my blog and make vaguely suggestive comments that scare me a little bit.

I’m not a total sell-out. I needed to do a pedicure anyway. That’s because I’m going to BlogHer and I know for a fact that the other women there will decide in 3 seconds whether I’m a person of worth or not based on my feet.  Having my worst fears confirmed, I know that my entire blogging future rests not on my ability to turn a phrase or make links out of images but on the appearance of my feet and the footwear I place upon them.

Men don’t have these problems. My husband has never anguished over the state of his feet or the cuteness of his footwear. EVER. And he never, ever will. But then he’ll never get to know the joy of having his genitals ripped wide open giving birth to another human being or having sore and bleeding nipples either. Poor man.

Now that I blog like a demon, meaning that I live in terror of waking up one day and having nothing to say, not that I’m actually a demon, everything in my life is a potential blog topic. And today’s topic is feet. Pretty feet.  Specifically, pretty toes.

Of course, you are saying to yourself, “Hey, Chloe, go get yourself a salon pedicure!”

I used to love getting salon pedicures. That was until Paul (I don’t think that was his real name since he was Vietnamese and didn’t speak a lick of English) gave me an STD-FF (Salon Transmitted Disgusting Foot Fungus). While Paul’s magic hands were bringing me more pleasure than should be legal in a shopping mall, he was also giving me a nasty fungal infection that took months to cure, leaving me to lament that while there is Safe Sex in this world there apparently is no such thing as Safe Salon Pedicure. So, just like the 80s all over again; I’ve had to learn to do myself.

Since it was a rare lovely warm summer day on the Mountain, I decided to do the deed on my front porch.

So here it is, the obligatory humiliating before picture:

Looks like a foot mug shot from this angle.

I keep all my nail supplies in this little organizer.

I lay out my supplies real neat-like:

And then the cat that I hate comes and ruins everything.

You’re thinking, “Oh, what a sweet little cat, why would Chloe hate him?” But I do. One day I’ll tell his sad tale of woe, but for now let it be known that I HATE this cat with the heat of a thousand suns. Maybe you’ll understand why in a minute.

And here’s the money shot:

Yes, you can keep your cat-loving ASPCA-threatening hate mail. I’m not the one picking him up this way and I’m not the one who took the pictures. It is just what happened.

And then I could soak my feet in peace.

Then my daughter graciously did the polish for me.

But the cat came back and nearly ruined my polish.

But he still wouldn’t leave.

Now this is the part that gets really real. I thought it would look great to get a picture of my feet from my hammock, but my daughter just thought it was hilarious. I almost messed up the polish again. Don’t look at the part where I’m bra-less and wearing pajama bottoms at 3 in the afternoon, okay?

I hope these feet are good enough for Blogher.

I can’t wait to see if I end up with +Cow Tippin’ Monkey Hunta for Pretty Toes.

How to Wear a Scarf Like a French Woman

Let’s face it ladies, nobody is googling, “How to Dress Like an American Woman.”  In fact, if you google, “How to Dress Like an American Woman” you’ll mostly get articles on how to dress like a French woman.  There’s a reason.  French women know how to create a personal style and they know how to rock it.  You can do it too.  It isn’t all that difficult.  And all you need to begin is a beautiful scarf.

The scarf is the quintessential French accessory.and EVERY woman in Paris wears one.  We were in Paris for six full days and every day I wore one, too.

I must admit that mine were on the slightly more colorful side than most Parisian women were wearing, but I certainly felt chic just the same. A big part of being chic and stylish is being aware and sensitive to fashion trends, but also being comfortable with who you are and refusing to be a slave to someone else’s fashion sense. I like colorful scarves and I wore mine with pride.  And who knows?  Maybe next year really colorful scarves will be worn on the Champs-Elysees and you’ll know who started it first.

Scarf-tying is its own artform, and I almost came to wonder if every woman on the streets of Paris had her own signature scarf tie.  There are tons of videos on youtube about scarf-tying, but I found this quick one I wanted to share with you today.

There is also a really good (and short) video here; I especially like the last one because it looks like a braid.  And check out 37 Ways to Tie a Scarf  located in my sidebar.

The bad news about scarves is that really nice ones can be a bit spendy, but the good news is that they are so versatile that you can wear them over and over again with lots of different outfits giving them a good price per wear fashion value.  As you all know from my constant whining, my access to great stores near my area is limited, so I do a lot of my shopping online.  Here are a couple of pretty scarves from ShopBop that I really liked.  The grey one on the right is almost identical to the one I did buy for myself in Paris, and I like the one of the left because I’m just head-over-heels in love with that color right now.

The Real Reason French Women Don’t Get Fat

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French women are world famous for their beauty, their elegance, their style, and their innate sensuality.  They are notorious for aging gracefully, and we’re prompted at every turn to envy them and attempt, if possible, to try to emulate them.  Of course it isn’t possible.  They are French and we are not.  They stay slim and we get fat.  That’s the way it is.  Right?

What are we told about this mysterious breed of women who apparently can gorge themselves on cheese and swill wine all day with abandon and never gain an ounce?  
We’re told they eat smaller portions and drink a lot of water.  Yes, we’re informed that French women smoke, about 30% of French women smoke, among the highest in the world, but they still outlive nearly everybody else, coming in second only to Japanese women for longevity.  And we’re told that they walk a lot.  But they don’t actually exercise.  In one week canvasing huge swaths of the city I never saw a gym and, in a city of 2 million people, I witnessed less than five people running.  I haven’t researched this, but I’m pretty sure there is no Jillian Michaels counterpart in France.

But none of these are the real reasons that French women don’t get fat.  I know the reason and I’m going to tell you.
Their toilettes. Their toilets are teeny, weeny, teeny, tiny.  I am 5’4″ and weigh 120 and I could barely wedge myself into their public toilets.  According to my husband, the men’s rooms were equally as narrow.  It became a running gag between us to check out the public toilettes of the restaurants we patronized and come back and compare how small the bathroom was.  My husband said that one was so small he could barely move his arms enough to unzip his pants.  That’s a small bathroom.  But it isn’t just the bathrooms.  Their restaurants have tiny chairs and teeny-tiny tables all crammed together tightly.  In fact, their whole society is like a pair of freshly washed, tight blue jeans without any of that forgiving spandex.
It is my opinion that French women don’t get fat because their surrounding environment immediately lets them know if they’ve gained an ounce.  Gain weight and you will immediately become ungainly and ungraceful in a society that worships grace and elegance.  You won’t fit in the toilette; you will turn over tables and chairs as you’re trying to make your way to your table at the cafe.  
American society is, by comparison, like a nice, comfy pair of stretchy sweatpants compared to France.  In fact, in America it is okay to wear those stretched out sweatpants in public whereas no French woman would be caught dead where people could see her looking like that.   French women are expected to dress up and look the part.  And they do. 
The French do to obesity what we’ve done to smoking in this country: They use social pressure and make obesity a social embarrassment.  
It is a fallacy that French women don’t diet.  French women do diet.  Somehow.  I didn’t see it, but I know they must because the laws of physics demands that they must.  Energy in must equal energy out or the energy is stored as matter, period.  That’s it.  
In every restaurant we ate, every Frenchwoman we sat next to ordered dessert.  I paid attention because I wanted to know how they did it.  How do you eat cheese and dessert and not gain weight?  I still don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that all the reasons given in the bazillion articles you can find on the web are why  They eat smaller portions, they drink a lot of water, and they walk a lot.  But they also don’t let it get out control because they have societal cues all around them to alert them to changes in their weight. 
I did notice there are plenty of diet aid displays in drugstores.  Here’s just one of the many I saw prominently advertised all over the city:
I also suspect that French women have an entirely different relationship to food than we Americans do. Eating a delicious, perfectly crispy/chewy croissant while sitting in a lovely cafe and chatting with a friend or a lover is much more soul-satisfying than gobbling down chicken fingers with a diet soda while chauffeuring your kids to and from soccer in your car. 
But it is the social pressure that provides the impetus.  Social pressure is a very powerful tool to manipulate public behavior.  In France, it is simply unacceptable to be fat. 
I grew up in Pacific Beach, California, where bikinis were mandatory and there was a great deal of pressure to be thin.   When I was 16, I was sent to Southern Indiana to live with my grandmother for the summer.  During that summer I gained 20 pounds and didn’t even notice it.  At the end of the summer, I was still significantly smaller than most of the people around me.  When I came home to San Diego I immediately became acutely aware that I’d gained that weight.  How is it that I could gain 20 pounds in three months and not even notice it?  My perception of my weight was altered by the society I was living within and the people who surrounded me.  
Of course, we can’t expect our culture to change overnight, and I highly doubt we’d even allow it to happen.  But you can do a bit of the same thing for yourself that French society does for the women there with just this one little piece of advice:  Do not wear elastic waistbands; they are the bane of weight control, especially as we reach middle age.
If you liked this, you might enjoy this:  Paris is for Lovers.

Pippa Middleton Wears Pantyhose

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Did Pippa Middleton make a fashion statement or “commit the ultimate pantyhose sin”?  You be the judge.



But I told you. You heard it here first: Pantyhose are making a comeback.  Back in April, on this POST, entitled, I Bring Good News From the Fashion Capitol of the World, I told you that pantyhose were going to make a big comeback, and soon.  I had no idea how soon.


Some of you poo-poo’d me, but the legs of the women on the Champs Elysées do not lie. Not only did I see pantyhose being worn on women who looked terrific in them, I passed several hosiery shops in Paris while walking around looking for raspberry tarts to eat.  You got to be selling a couple of pairs a day to keep an entire store open, you’d think.  If they were growing in popularity enough to support entire stores dedicated to them that could only mean one thing: we’d be seeing them here soon.

And it wasn’t just in Paris.  I saw plenty of pantyhose in London as well.  In this London clothing store in Soho, where I shopped with my friend, Julia, we passed a large selection prominently displayed in the front of the store:

They aren’t called pantyhose though; they’re called “tights”.

Tights by any other name are still pantyhose

Pippa gets chided in the press for wearing shiny pantyhose, but it looks to me like she might have been wearing a pair of these “oiled” ones.

Apparently some so-called fashionistas here in America are still in denial, but New York Fashion begrudgingly confirms what I told you nearly a full two months ago: Pantyhose are making a comeback.  And on the the legs of Pippa Middleton in Paris, no less.

Of course, Pippa Middleton, as a European, knows well enough what women are wearing in Paris.  And if you’ve been reading my blog you knew it, too.  And you also know that Pippa wasn’t making a fashion faux pax; she’s at the cutting edge.

Like most of you, I do not want to become a slave to hot, sweaty pantyhose in the middle of August, but I would like to have the freedom to wear them with dresses when my legs don’t look their best, or when it is cold.  I’d simply like to have the choice.

Pippa’s pantyhose, with flats!, harkens a new age of legwear freedom for all.

And the women everywhere rejoiced!

Or did they?

What about you?  Are you a hater or a lover?

Make a comment.

Let’s get a consensus.

Inquiring bloggers like me want to know.

Can I now wear pantyhose or not?

Are pantyhose gauche or godsend?

Pantyhose are going to make a comeback.

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Bonsoir, Mesdames et Messieurs.  After one week in Paris I feel I can confidently come to you with Good News!!!  Our days of hoselessness are almost over!!!  Hallelujai!!!

The streets of Paris are filled with chic women wearing everything from opaque black tights to sheer black hose.  They wear these with short skirts and knee-length skirts (Nothing longer unless you are over 65).  I’ve even seen black tights and hose with shorts, short shorts, (Quelle Horreur!  Do not you dare attempt this look unless you are under 25.  I’m not even sure the under-25 set ought to be wearing this heinous monstrosity of a combination.)

There are such things as hosery shops here selling real hose, mostly the black ones, but sheer hose are displayed in the windows and I did see a couple of ultra-chic women wearing sheer hose (not those fake tanned ones from the 80s) with knee-length skirts  (again, right at or above the knee, not a hair below) on the Champs-Élysées.  The lady to your left was spotted at the park, yes, the park, on a Saturday afternoon. 

Patterned hose in taupe are rare but represented.  And I even saw black hose with peep-toes and it looked good (the rule has been no hose at all if you are wearing open-toed shoes).  No hose with sandals, but then I didn’t see any sandals yet (too early in the season, I’m sure).

We might have to wait a bit longer yet, but I wanted to get this good news out.  Pantyose are coming back.  Eventually.