Tuesday, ShoesDay! Vol. 2: DKNY Mary Jane

Happy ShoesDay! I decided to write a series on shoes this summer. Join me as I reflect on my favorite- and least favorite- shoes.

Sometime after my first child was born, I happened upon a delightful pair of athletic Mary Janes. They were perfect in every way — cute, comfortable, casual, and suitable for dressy. Is this not the miracle shoe? I felt fully and truly myself in them. They were reminiscent of my younger days, bridging my whimsical ways whilst functioning for practical days. My post-childbirth mirror wasn’t reflecting my pre-motherhood identity anymore, but still I held on. They looked like a ballet flat, felt like a tennis shoe. I brought them to Alaska in summer of ‘04 where they worked for a baptism, rehearsal dinner, wedding, reception, and hike. I danced the Electric Slide in these shoes whilst holding my then-toddler! My cousin, the bride, told me they were great for travel. If only she knew they were for every day. These were great with jeans, pants, skirts, or dresses. I particularly liked them with a midi floral sundress. Perfect for an evening at the theater.

If only I had taken better care of them. If only they didn’t have that sneaker toe flaw. (You know what I mean- the sole curls up over the toes and that part peels and separates- kicking stroller brakes only exacerbated this already fatal flaw.) If only I’d thought to take them to the local cobbler. If only they weren’t discontinued after a year.

The next year DKNY replaced them with the Muse. Even the Macy’s salesman told me, “It’s just not as good as last year’s” and it wasn’t. Unfortunately this is the model name I remember. It wasn’t as cute. Still lighter than a tennis shoe and passable for work. But not the same. By this time, Skechers were everywhere and everyone was trying to sell me those. Skechers are ok, but I mean DKNY is DKNY. What I liked about the DKNY was that it had a raised ankle tab like a real athletic shoe, which was very comfortable for the sudden plantar fasciitis which I now sported post-childbirth.

I wore them to work, and on the weekends. Becoming a new working mom, I’d had to minimize any time-consuming routines, and that meant tying my own shoes. Goodbye, granny boots. Hello, slip-on pseudo-sneakers. (Check back later this summer for my reflection on the granny boot.)

Skechers are fine and I’ve owned many since. Dansko is where I seem to land these days- again I wear them nearly daily and so they last only a year. Softwalk is cute and comfortable, as well. But these are merely facsimiles.

For years it’s been difficult to even find an image. But I decided to look on eBay- where- lo and behold- they are for sale. I don’t think I’m size 8 anymore- but as my Auntie Ling used to say- “Even if don’t fit, FIT.”

Should I buy them?

What are some of your favorite shoes? Tell us in the comments!

Inspired by the book Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman.

Tuesday, ShoesDay!

Happy Tuesday, Friends! 👠

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes? Do you remember slipping them on for the first time? Did an angel chorus sing? Or did your fairy godmother squeal with delight?

Were you sad when they finally wore out? Were you upset when they were discontinued? (I’m talking to you, 9west.)

This is the pair that comes to mind when I think about my favorite shoes. Baby pink patent leather chunky heel Mary Janes. Behold.

I had these in my mid-twenties, in the 90s. I remember I felt so confident in them. I was not really a shoe girl, but I had my favorites. This was a perfect mix of whimsy and sensibility. They were playful, but not reckless. I had just earned my graduate degree, and I still liked Hello Kitty, thankyouverymuch.

The picture above is very close, but truth be told mine were more pink/ less blush, and had a round toe. These babies took me from my bookstore day job to my evening choir director responsibilities. I wore these with a pink skirt/ white top combo, or jeans, or my favorite spring dresses. I recall one Easter dress that was mint with pink flowers: cap sleeve, v neck, fit-and-flare midi. Perfect for conducting the choir and musicians. I never felt like I would topple over, as the heel was nice and sturdy.

My then-boyfriend, now-husband, didn’t appreciate them. (He is a trained mechanical engineer.) He had even discussed them with his mother. In a rare motion of solidarity by my future mother-in-law, she made sure to wear all pink, including pink tennis shoes, next time he visited her. “Nice, Mom,” he said, and smiled.

The pink patent leather became worn and scuffed grey. Sadly, mine went away with donation.

But soon after, I would get them in white for my wedding. And my bridesmaids got them in velvety midnight blue. I still have my sister’s pair, which I wore for my 40th birthday recital with a wide strap sleeveless blue velvet sweetheart neckline hi-lo midi dress. I stood center stage and sang, but I could also rock out at the piano.

And last year I picked them up in gold. More about those in a future post.

What about you? Tell me about your favorite shoe.

Inspired by the book Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman.

Monday Music: Open Mic

Welcome Back, Friends!

I have been away from the blog for some time, and I am sorry about that.  I took some time to work on my career, and that has proven fruitful.  I am still planning creatively, writing intermittently, and micro-blogging on Facebook & Instagram. Life continues, presenting us with one opportunity after another. Can you see it?

This morning on my commute, I switched radio channels and happened upon some lovely acoustic guitar picking. On the 80s channel, this can only mean “Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi.  Isn’t it funny how just a few notes from a song can take you back in time?  I was instantly back in a dark, windowless downstairs pub, sitting in the corner with my big 80s hair, surrounded by a bunch of rowdy collegians, facing my first “open mic. ”

(I bet I have a pic in an album at home- check back again- dear reader!) (I WONDER- might I even have a recording of “Love Song” ?  A few years ago, I had some tapes converted to dvd. HMMM.)

Please enjoy this excerpt from my book Dee’s Dishes.

Way Back Wednesday

During my freshman year, two friends and I entered in the Open Mic Contest at The Pub, which was then downstairs from the Brickpile (grille) at St. Mary’s College. We were underage, but that didn’t seem to matter at the time, they let the three of us in. I was not prepared for how rowdy it would be. Did I mention that we were all in the Chapel Choir? I recall vividly how I wore my pink turtleneck sweater and my big hair somewhere between Deanna Troi and Elaine from Seinfeld, complete with a big pink scrunchie atop. [It was still the 80’s.]
The emcee was stirring, the first act a nasty comedian. The 2nd act: 2 dudes with guitars singing Bon Jovi’s Dead or Alive. The 3rd act: 2 dudes lip-synching air guitar to Bon Jovi’s Dead or Alive. The crowd booed them off the stage. We three lowly and somewhat naïve freshmen were completely distinct from the scene. I asked my friends several times if they wanted to bail. They said no. It was soon our turn to perform my original work, simply titled, “Love Song.” Amazingly, the crowd quieted respectfully, as I began playing the introduction on the old, out- of- tune upright piano in the corner of this dark and dusty pub. As the composer,  I had the unique advantage of substituting notes on the fly, as not all of the piano keys worked! I subbed an A in the bass line- that’s okay, I remember thinking,  A minor is close enough to C major… My two confident friends aced the duet, singing sweetly and dramatically. The crowd cheered respectfully.
And soon after, we left. We didn’t even stay to see if we had won. It so wasn’t our scene.
So now whenever I hear Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi, I recall that night of uncertainty, with a smile.