Freezing my shoes

View of SF from a boat on the bay.

I’ve been horribly remiss about posting photos of new outfits lately. I feel a little shy asking random colleagues to take photos of me, and my fashion photographer (aka, the woman who introduced me to Raja), is out of town for work. I have been mostly wearing more stylish/flattering outfits, though, and finding it easier to do so. I even bought an accessory (a turquoise necklace). I will say the following about the long weekend, and my 21 Day Challenge:

  • I wore dry-clean-only pants on a sailboat (rocky waters = salty pants. lesson learned!).
  • I missed an opportunity to wear a new outfit on a day when I was only planning on swimming (as it turns out, I ended up spending way more time walking around in Berkeley than originally planned) — and I missed an opportunity to show off Raja’s talents. Le sigh!
  • I am getting better at advertising Raja’s services, but not better at judging who wants them. I went to a Labor Day party a friend of mine was hosting and her husband’s mother sounded really interested. As it turns out, she was just making small talk, because when I offered to give her Raja’s info, she poo-pooed it. Oh well!
  • I froze my shoes. Apparently, this is a tried-and-true method for breaking them in. You fill up two hole-free, fully sealable ziploc bags with water, and stick them in your shoes, making sure to cover the toe to the heel. Then, you stick the shoes in the freezer overnight. My shoes are not 100% broken in yet, but they’re definitely closer!
  • I won’t give up my Patagonia down jacket when standing outside for hours. Freezing in SF is just not worth it.
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Another day, another outfit

This post is third in a series of entries about Raja’s 21 Day Challenge, which is to wear the fabulous new clothes she helped me purchase every day for 21 consecutive days, in hopes that I will form a fashionably sensible habit. Find out more about Raja

This outfit is a lot of things: a splash of color, a scoop neck, very comfy skirt, a blazer thrown in for good measure (because it is inevitably always cold in the city–but not in Marin)…and a pair of shoes I’m not entirely sure works, but that are worn-in and comfy. New plan for the weekend? Break in those cute new shoes I bought!

Pink!

This post is second in a series of entries about Raja’s 21 Day Challenge, which is to wear the fabulous new clothes she helped me purchase every day for 21 consecutive days, in hopes that I will form a fashionably sensible habit. Find out more about Raja

I own many different varieties of flat black and brown shoes. My main criteria for purchasing shoes is comfort and practicality. However, my shoes never really “pull together” an outfit. In fact, they probably detract from it more often than not, as I’ll wear them down until the soles start coming apart and the leather scratches on the surface make them look more like an art project than a black shoe.

Lucky for me, these new pink flats have the potential to be comfortable* and stylish. AND…pink. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago when pink shoes would have been the norm for me. When I was 10, pink covered my walls, my pink-barret-covered-head-to-my-pink-ruffle-socked-feet, and my everyday existence. But why should 10 year old girls get to have all the fun?

*Throughout the day, my feet went from mildly irritated to extreme pain, making even walking to the printer a challenging task. These shoes should be comfortable, though, so I’m just going to chock it up to the “break in period,” and hope the blisters go away in time.

Fashionably fractured…to functional (hopefully!)

First, a running update:

My left foot has been bugging me since I ran the half marathon. It acts up after I’ve engaged in weight bearing activities (which are, essentially, the things I do for exercise/stress relief/my social life/you name it: cooking, climbing, hiking and running, for instance). All last week, I tried resting. I tried icing. I tried muscle rubs. And after all of that, my foot still ached at the end of a sedentary workday.

I decided to break down and visit my new bff, the podiatrist.* She made me move my tiny foot muscles. She poked each area of my foot, pulling each individual toe to see if it caused pain. She targeted the problem area (i.e., I was in pain). And then she took an x-ray of it. I learned a lot from that visit. My second metatarsal is bigger than my first. It’s not apparent on visual (like a morton’s toe), but it is obvious when you look on the x-ray. That means, my second metatarsal was doing way too much work while running and could have caused a hairline stress fracture. Inconclusive, because one xray said maybe, the other said nothing, but consistent with my symptoms.

This has all been very frustrating, as you can imagine. I finally figured out that swimming is an amazing low impact/low foot use workout, but I’m going to have to put a hold on my climbing gym membership for a month and NOT GO CLIMBING. OR HIKING. OR RUNNING. It’s good, in a way, to change my routine, but I will really miss those other things. They were such a central part of my life, and I look forward to the time when I can do them again.

*My sports therapy doc visits have definitely increased since I started training. I am not concerned, but I do wish I had better health insurance. I mean, chiropractic is preventative care, people! It should not be a $30 copay/visit. Don’t even get me started on the $60 copay for podiatry. I digress…

Fashion to the rescue!

In the meantime, I’m focusing on other things (like cello, swimming, fashion, etc.). For awhile now, I’ve been wanting to update my wardrobe with classic items that can be worn to work/on dates/at home. However, every time I entered a store, I got intimidated (in general, I feel metaphorically fractured when it comes to accessorizing or even matching items to make outfits). I kept delaying the inevitable shopping trip for various reasons (I’m sure I used the fav excuse: “I don’t have time; too busy running,” or “I’ll probably lose weight from all this running; I should wait until that stabilizes.”). It was time to make a change — after all, it was almost a year since I bought many nice work/date appropriate items at once, and I wasn’t really losing inches drastically, just gaining muscle tone.

This all led to one amazing evening with Raja, a desk warrior turned fashion consultant and painter extraordinaire! In 3.5 hours (ish), we covered many topics…including how not to hide behind baggy clothing, where shirts should fall on the pants, accessories, the every-day blazer, how to incorporate a sleek dress or two…just to name a few. She was gentle and firm, and very encouraging. At the end, I had a brand new wardrobe and a challenge: to spend the next 21 days wearing new clothes. The small print? I am to wear a blazer at least three times a week. And at least one accessory (my choice will generally be a necklace).

After putting everything away in its proper spot (blazers first, then dresses, then shirts, then pants) and moving old clothes to the smaller closet, I glanced over my main closet and felt a bit daunted by the actual item-pairing exercise. Then, I checked my email and found that Raja had laid it all out for the next 7 days. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and selected the items I put on today: skinny jeans, check shirt, black soft blazer, beige shoes. I put on a pearl necklace and a watch, and took a couple of photos (below).

I’ll do the same thing for the next 20 days and maybe this will turn me into a “fashion functional” human. Probably not a better fashion self-photographer, however.

Laundry

I seem to be doing a lot of laundry these days. So much so that I go through perfectly-sized standalone hampers like they’re going out of style, and I spend hours at places like the Container Store, thinking about the pluses of a $30-$60 laundry hamper and wondering if it would last me more than 3 weeks like my $12 version.

Side note: does anyone have a good recommendation? I need something sturdy and small/flexible enough to fit in my closet and my small laundry cart, but light enough to be able to lift, with a good strap for carrying two blocks.

I have a lot of workout clothing, but not enough to last me more than seven days (unless I start using the really old stuff, or I do what my college roommate did — just wear the same thing all week and wash once). All of my workout clothing has this great, sweat-wicking quality to it. In other words, sweat doesn’t stick to it like cotton, and the fabric doesn’t stick to you, allowing for full movement without too many fabric-related woes*. This sweat wicking fabric needs to be hang-dried, however, both before and after doing laundry (before, to avoid mildew or massive hamper smelliness; after, to avoid dryer-induced shrinkage). Therefore, the only time something is not hanging in my room is when I have guests over.

I don’t really know what to do about this situation. I could:

a.) get a washer and dryer of my own, and a room to house them in

b.) hang my clothes in the living room

c.) tough it out and just be happy I live in a place where there is more than a smidgen of room for hanging clothing

Since I really like my apartment and my roommate would not appreciate having clothing hanging in the living room, I’m going to stick with c. but occasionally daydream about a. Some people want to purchase houses for the freedom. Others for the space. Me — I would really love a washer/dryer room, spacious walk-in closets and, since we’re daydreaming, a meditation room, a large kitchen with an island and a surround-sound speaker system.

*Fabric-related woes include, but are not limited to: chaffing, itching, wedgies, clinging, smelling and bunching.

Retail therapy

I work dangerously close to Athleta (and many other great, yet on-the-pricey-side, athletic stores). So, in honor of my new running routine (and because, everyone knows that wearing fashionable workout clothing makes you want to work out more)…I bought a skirt/capri combo. Did I spend too much? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes!! I ran my first run in this yesterday morning. I felt great, and I think it was one of my better runs, too. The fabric was so sleek — I don’t think this thing will ever cause chaffing. There’s even a pocket for a key, should I desire to bring one with me.