Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book # 4

My fourth book to read this year was Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross.  It was just an alright crime thriller.  Nothing too exciting for me in this one.  I even forgot to write this post even though I finished the book last week.  Decent, but not thrilling.  I've read other Andrew Gross books that were better than this one, and I'll still give him a chance in the future.  After all, I'm okay with reading and okay book to have a little escapism. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shoe Collector - List # 6


Originally posted on my facebook October 21, 2011:


My guy, Neil and I were watching an episode of “Hoarders” that featured a cute blonde girl from Tennessee.  She’s in her early 30’s, presents herself well, and holds a professional position, but her apartment home is too small of a space for all her belongings, and it has become an overwhelming mess.  (I’m not judging; I’ve been there.)  Her disorganized, (and in places) downright dirty home was causing her much anxiety, and it was affecting her job performance and relationships.  Prior to this show, she never allowed anyone she dated into her home.  The television show “Hoarders” introduces their counsellors/therapists/organizers in order to help.

When they reached the point that it was time to tackle her clothes and shoes…well…let’s just say that I could relate to some things I was seeing.  She had a lot of clothes.  She had a lot of shoes.  She had 55 items of clothing that had never been worn and still had store tags on them.  Needless to say, all of these items were in an unorganized mess.  But, the part that really got me was the topic of shoes.  She had 140+ pairs of shoes.  The counsellor/therapist/organizer (CTO) expressed how excessive that was.  The CTO herself claimed to have 10 pairs of shoes and that she felt that was all that is necessary for someone to own.  Up to this point, I absolutely agreed that the girl needed some help, appeared to be overwhelmed, and that this show could offer her some sound advice.  But, 10 pairs of shoes?!?  For a woman?!?  My reaction was “that is just ridiculous!”  Neil felt that 10 or 15 pairs of shoes were an acceptable amount for someone to own who lives in a smaller space.  I replied that no female that I know (or very, very few females that I know) only own 10 pairs of shoes.  I feel like the goal of the show should be to help her attain some organization and relieve some stress and anxiety, but it needs to be in a realistic, reasonable manner.  And, in my opinion, only 10 pairs of shoes are neither realistic, nor reasonable.  Neil and I discussed some more, and this got me thinking……

Am I correct?  Or am I just trying to justify my own shoe addiction and hoarding tendencies?  I began thinking some more…  Is this a cultural thing?  In America, there is an overabundance of choice and variety on almost every consumer item available.  So, are American females more likely to buy more of those varieties that are available?  I kept thinking…  Does someone’s profession or age or interest in clothes/shopping/style influence the number of shoes they own?  Another thought… In America, prices of shoes are SO much less expensive than here in Australia (or countries in Europe that I have visited).  For example, Nine West and Steve Madden shoes in Australia will cost a minimum of $100 a pair.  Boots would cost $200+.  But, in the US, you can find either one of these brands on sale or at a store like DSW for $19.99 and up.  Does the cost of shoes affect the amount of shoes that are purchased?  Do my Aussie friends have less pairs than my American friends because they cost so much more?  And, I thought some more…  Does a single female with no children have more shoes than a mom who also clothes and buys shoes for her growing children?  Again, am I having all of these thoughts and asking myself all of these questions to further justify my personal excessive ownership of shoes?

I decided I needed help.  I needed help from my family and friends.  Where better to reach out for help than facebook?!  I could conduct my own social experiment on this social networking site to examine females and their relationship with shoes.  I believe that I have a good cross-section of the female population in my friends list.  I couldn’t remember the exact number of friends that I have, but I knew it was over 400.  I assumed that I had at least 200 potential female friends and family to participate in my shoe study.  (Actually, I have 284 females on my friends list; I’ve counted now.)  I have friends from the age of 13 and up.  I have friends that are wealthy, friends that are scraping by, and everything in between.  I have friends that are trendy and fashionable and friends that couldn’t care less.  I have friends that are in the professional world, retirees, stay-at-home moms, and more.  I have friends that are heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual.  On my friends list, I have females that live in every continent except Central America or Antarctica.  I have single friends, married friends; mothers and those of us who aren’t mothers.  I decided that my group of gals from facebook sure could help me answer some of these questions swirling in my head.  At least, it sure would be interesting to me to hear their replies.

On three of my facebook status updates, I said this:  “To my female fb friends – how many pairs of shoes do you own?  There’s no right or wrong answer…from 3 to 300…I’m totally curious what answers I’ll receive, so please participate in my little social experiment here.”

Unfortunately, I did not get as many answers as I wanted (only 36 people gave actual numbers with 2 others admitting that they had too many to count), but I did get some insight to a few of my developing questions, and I did reinforce some of my beliefs.  For the results of those that participated, if I was given a range, I went with a number in the middle (i.e. my sister-in-law said “between 130 and 150”, so I counted her as having 140).  The answers ranged from 10 to “at least 150”.  Way to go Tiffany!, although I bet if Stephanie had actually counted she would have been over 150 as well.  :)  Only one person said she owned 10 pairs, the amount that the “Hoarders” CTO recommended.  I think it is important to note, this girl is from the UK and temporarily lives in Australia, so my guess is she didn’t bring all her belongings, and she’s kept her amount of clothes and shoes to a minimum.  Only 4 females said they owned 10 to 15 pairs, the amount that Neil felt was enough.  Of this group, one is Scottish who says she’d definitely own more if she could pay US prices for shoes; one that has 15 pairs commented “obviously no where near enough”; one is the 10 pairs of shoes friend I mentioned before; and one explained that she moves a lot so she keeps herself “pretty pared down”.  By adding all the pairs of shoes and dividing by the total that answered, my average female friend owns 59 pairs of shoes.  So, I feel justified in my belief that the advice of the CTO who said on “Hoarders” that she should only own 10 pairs of shoes was in fact unreasonable, ridiculous advice. (Okay, okay, I admit that it’s not a fact.  It’s only my opinion, but it is an informed opinion based on my highly scientific study conducted on facebook.)  And, based on my study, Neil has been proven wrong too.  Sorry Neil. :)

I received answers representing 8 different countries, and without a doubt, the ladies living in America have more shoes.  The exact reasons, I can’t be certain, but I do believe the large availability of decent to good quality shoes at reasonable prices are a contributing factor.  After receiving answers from a 14 year old and people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, I don’t think age seems to matter.  Based on my study, someone’s interests didn’t exactly contribute to the amount of shoes they own, but surely it does.  I do know that most of the mothers with children still in the house seemed to have less pairs than the ones without kids or children no longer in the home.  That makes sense to me.  Of course there are exceptions to each of these findings.  This is best exemplified by Lisa, an Australian who just informed me that she bought 5 pairs of shoes yesterday (her count is “100+), Cass, another Aussie friend who editted herself a couple of times after she purchased 2 pairs of shoes on 2 different days this week to bring her count to 75, and Stephanie who is a stay-at-home mother with 3 kids still at home.  Girls, I support you.  Everyone needs a hobby!  :)

Another contributing factor that I hadn’t considered became very evident to me – family influence.  My grandmother probably could have “won” this list.  She was constantly shopping for shoes, but I bet she never purchased a pair at full price.  She definitely didn’t need any new shoes, but if there was a shoe sale, she was buying.  She regularly hid Christmas gifts in the top of her closet tucked away behind her shoe boxes.  Also, she regularly lost Christmas gifts because there were SO many shoe boxes.  Shoe shopping and collecting (some may call it “hoarding”) was and is a family past time.  As a kid, I went shoe shopping countless times with my grandmother, mom, and aunts.  This family tradition continues along with my cousins, sister-in-law, and nieces.

I finished my count last night.  Admittedly, there are still a couple of boxes unpacked, and I have one box of clothes and shoes to be donated that has sat at the door for close to a year.  So, I estimated what was in each of those boxes to the best of my ability.  My count:  130ish.

I admit my love of shoes and the amount that I own is excessive, and I could survive on less than I have.  I admit that I have hoarding tendencies when it comes to shoes (and clothes and make-up and handbags).  I accept these traits about myself.  For me, it truly began in my junior high/high school years when I owned an assortment of high-top Reeboks (as Flo Rida says “the Reeboks with the straps”).  I don’t remember how many pairs I had, but I remember yellow, red, blue, black, white, purple, pink, and lime green.  Thank goodness that trend hasn’t come back in my life.  Now, I like that I have 11 pairs of black boots (high heels, super high heels, suede flats, soft leather flats, cowboy boots, wedged heels, motorcycle boots, Doc Martens, lace ups, Uggs, some novelty ones with flames on them that I got in London).  I enjoy choosing what pair I feel is appropriate according to my outfit, where I’m going, what I’m doing, and the weather.  I like that I have snake skin hot pink ballet flats that can make a boring black, white, or gray outfit look bright and fun.  I like that I own 3 pairs of cowboy boots (black, brown, and snakeskin) because being away from Texas, I can put on a pair of cowboy boots and feel a little piece of home.  I like that I share my love of shoes with female family members.  Lastly, I like that the first compliment that Neil paid me was that I have “nice footwear”.

So, for the Tennessee girl on “Hoarders” and to all my family and friends who participated, thank you for your contribution to my examination of shoes!!!!  (If you made it to the end, and actually read ALL of this, I thank you even more!!!)

Since I make lists on this blog, here's a list of my favorite shoe designers, some practical, some lust worthy:
Alexander McQueen
Betsey Johnson

Brian Atwood

Christian Louboutin


Diane Von Furstenberg

Givenchy

Guiseppe Zanotti
Iron Fist

Jessica Simpson


Jimmy Choo

Lanvin
Louis Vuitton

Lucchese

Miu Miu


Sergio Rossi
Steve Madden



Valentino

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book # 3

The third book I've read this year was the modern Australian novel by Christos Tsiolkas The Slap.  I read it because it's received a lot of publicity and was made into an Australian mini-series.  The moral dilemma/what would you do? premise was intriguing: At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own. This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the event.

Sadly, I didn't enjoy it.  Not at all.  The characters range from unlikeable to despicable; annoying to pathetic.  Stereotypes and prejudices are exaggerated.  Even with the characters that I could somewhat tolerate, I still didn't find myself caring a whole lot about the outcome of their situations.  Maybe that's the point:  when surrounded by negativity, bad things happen. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

List # 5



I like pretty dresses; I like jewels; I like hair and make-up; so I am totally guilty of checking out the ladies' looks on the red carpets.  I haven't even seen the televised portion.  After all, I'm in Australia, and I'm 15 hours ahead of Los Angeles.  This list is from what I've seen online.  That means you're getting my opinion before it's biased by what Kelly Osborne or Ryan Seacrest have to report from the red carpet.  I gotta say, for the 2013 Golden Globes there were some shocking looks (and not in a good way), but I'm all about keeping it positive.  So, here's my fashionable females for the 2013 Golden Globes. 



Carla Gugino in Rami Al Ali - Unique, spectacular, and fits perfectly; for me, this is flawless.




Claire Danes in Versace - This color is fabulous and the dress suits her beautifully.  I love how soft and bouncy her hair looks to contrast with the dark eyeliner.




Hayden Panettiere in Roberto Cavelli - She takes some risks sometimes, and I admire that.  This is a safer choice, but I think she looks young, vibrant, and incredible.  Big props for the pink clutch!




Jennifer Garner in Vivienne Westwood Couture - Most pictures we see of her these days are family shots of her being a mommy.  I think that's great.  But, I almost forgot that she "cleans up" so nicely.  She is one hot  mama that's for sure!  I love the yellow gold jewelry with the rich color of the gown.






 Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture - Exceptional color and perfectly accesorized.  She's a beautiful girl that looks even more amazing than expected.




Jessica Alba in Oscar de la Renta - PERFECTION.  The dress, the bag, the hair, the necklace, the make-up, the skin, the ring, the color...it's all perfect. 




Kaley Cuoco in Zuhair Murad - The dress is so pretty and feminine, she almost looks like a princess.  Almost.  She adds a dark lipstick and eye to give a different twist to such a soft dress; I love it.




 Kate Hudson in Alexander McQueen - I have a feeling people will either love this or hate it.  I happen to love it.  She looks magnificent and edgy and gorgeous. 




Lea Michele in Elie Saab - I admit it...Glee annoys me, so this girl annoys me.  I can't help it.  But, this is the absolute best I've ever seen her look.  The dress is exquisite, and she is superbly styled.  Her hair and make-up look naturally flawless.  I lovvve that bracelet and those shoes.




Lucy Liu in Carolina Herrera - Another one that I think people will love or hate.  It's a bold risk to take, and I think it works.  She looks absolutely darling.  




Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Saint Laurent - High fashion from a fashion model...isn't that what we expect?  Yes, but Rosie doesn't disappoint.  This dress is beyond amazing.  It is tough, yet feminie.  Totally cool, but doesn't seem try hard.  I only wish I could find more pictures from more angles.  Extraordinary!




Salma Hayek in Gucci PremiĆ©re - This woman has such a killer body, and this dress shows it off beautifully in a sexy, yet elegant way.  I love the fabric.  I adore the bow.  I die over those earrings and diamond cuff. 



(photos from www.fabsugar.com.au and www.redcarpet-fashionawards.com and reuters)










Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Book # 2

I'm one of the millions of readers who read James Patterson books.  They're quick and easy to read.  They usually have a somewhat suspenseful plot.  They usually have an intriguing character...(or two)...(or three).  Some are definitely better than others, but I read most all of them.

NYPD Red was just so-so for me.  The plot was interesting enough.  The biggest problem I had with the book was that I never developed any real interest in any of the characters.  Oh well.  There's about 3 or 4 more Patterson books on my "to read" list.  I'm sure one of those will be better.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Book # 1

Goodness gracious, I sure have abandoned this blog.  Well, I'm back (for today) with yet another change in the original premise of the blog, but oh well...it's my blog, and I can blog what I want to!

A friend of mine has challenged herself to read 100 books this year.  I think that's awesome!  I read a lot, but I know I couldn't come close to that.  It got me thinkin' that at least I could keep track of what I read this year.

So, the first book finished for 2013 is this:  My Appetite for Destruction: Sex and Drugs and Guns N Roses by Steven Adler .  I'm  not going to write my own book review; read the one attached because I pretty much agree with what it says.  I will say this - drugs are bad...very, very bad...and ugly...very, very ugly.  I wish Steven Adler all the best in his attempt to stay clean.  I believe he is truly one of those who will have to fight the battle every second of his life.  I've read Duff's book and Slash's book previously, and by adding Steven's book to the mix, it shows that there are many layers, many versions, and many perspectives to the same experiences.  I will also add that I am one of the many GNR fans who hope for and dream of the day, the 5 original  guys will tour together.  Doubt it will happen, but it seems like 4 of them would be willing participants.........
I met Steven Adler in 2009; he seemed sober and was all smiles.  (man, my hair was long, red, healthy, and I was skinny, but this isn't about me)