Trying Not to Let Yourself Go

April 20, 2015 in LOOKBOOK

Time continues to fly by. But that’s not that bad. It means that I’m closer to finishing residency. Sometimes I feel like I can balance everything and don’t mind the “challenges” of residency. But during the busy busy months, I lose all semblance of balance. Each day is the same: wake up… get dressed… go to work and work hard… go home… work out if possible… shower… sleep. Most special occasions go by without notice – birthdays, holidays, popular sporting events, weddings, baby showers… Some people say that wishing for time to pass is bad. I wouldn’t say I’m wishing this time in my life away, but I will say I won’t be the least bit sad on my last day of residency.

draped asymmetric long sleeve shirt
Like I said, I try to find balance, and a huge part of “balance” is self-care. But everything must get prioritized, and as I’ve mentioned before, health and fitness are my number one priority. So when I absolutely have to, things like shaving, cutting/coloring my hair, doing my nails and essentially making myself even the least bit presentable get put on hold. But, I have been saving like crazy (no time to spend!), so I have some extra money sitting around for some pampering and some shopping! So after these next two weeks of craziness pass, I’ll be all ready to start fixing myself up! I’ve already made appointments for, uh, everything (you probably don’t want details, haha). And new items are slowly making their way into my closet. I’d been waiting for the Elsie Pumps to come in a d’Orsay version for months and it finally happened! I picked up the nude suede pair (because I’m not cool enough to try the cracked foil ones, I’ll just continue to stare at them thanks). I’m ridiculously excited for them! And because I had some extra money on that gift card, I have a metallic tee coming my way as well (I’m thinking it’ll dress up perfectly for work). I’m still on the fence about which flats to get this spring. I was certain I was going to get the bohemian espadrilles I mentioned in my last post… until I saw their cheaper cousins on Yoox. And from there I came across these spider moccasins (all the same brand), which most people would hate but I love. Weird, yes. Maybe I’ll just buy them all and do the return-what-doesn’t-work thing (hopefully something doesn’t work…). I do have the extra money at the moment. Hmmm, ok fine, I’ve convinced myself (that wasn’t hard, lol)!

Self Care Challenge, Starting Now

April 11, 2015 in LOOKBOOK

Well, I’m back in the Intensive Care Unit! It’s been quite a while (1.5 years!). The ICU can be an interesting and rewarding place to work, but its guaranteed to be intense and time consuming. It quickly gets exhausting (I’m already exhausted after only a week!). When I’m on consuming rotations like this I really try to focus on self care – eating well, exercising, and sleeping as much as possible. Following through on self care takes planning, especially during busy times. I’m the type of person that performs better if I have a plan, so I decided to create a few simple daily goals for trying to stay healthier (and fit for my upcoming vacation). So, until the end of May (vacation time), I’m attempting the following goals:

burberry brit trench coat
Burberry Brit Trench, Mother Jeans (similar with a bit more distressing), Manolo Blahnik Pumps, Fendi Bag
Healthy eating is obviously important, but we all struggle with it at times. Sweets are my vice. Its so difficult to avoid the free breakfast muffins, plentiful lunch cookies or delicious looking desserts in the cafe. And during a crazy work day I have even less self control than normal and often give in to that extra sweet snack (it was a daily occurrence for a few weeks there). I know avoiding sweets altogether isn’t going to work for me. Instead, I’m going to bring a healthier version of a sweet snack to work (like these coconut flour muffins or this skinny banana muffins, both delicious!), and avoid giving in to any additional sweets while at work. This will be difficult for me, but I think its achievable. I feel so proud of myself when I eat well, hopefully that will keep me going.

Next up, exercise. I really love exercising. But after doing the same workouts for over a year, my body is craving something different. I’ll continue to work out at my same yoga studio most days due to convenience (its 1 block away). But once a week I’ll try to do a different type of workout. Whether that be running, weights, outside sports or an indoor class at a new studio (cycling, HIIT, crossfit, etc). I think I’ll need to expand my workout gear!

It seems silly to mention sleeping more as a goal, but I’m doing it! I try to get a least 8 hours of sleep per night. It usually doesn’t happen. But I feel significantly better after allowing myself to get that extra rest. Many residents don’t do this, but my goal is to allow myself to sleep as much as my body needs on my day off, and not feel guilty for putting off other tasks. That dry cleaning or car wash can wait.

Manolo Pumps
You know what has been going quite well, though? Saving money. Being this busy is really putting a break on that spending! My spring style is going to be pretty basic this year with a strong emphasis on comfort. I loved my go-to spring/summer shoe last year (so so comfy!), but I think I’ll switch it up this year to an espadrille, something with a touch of uniqueness like this toucan embroidered pair or these bohemian ones. I’ll pair them with an ankle pant (a distressed version like the ones in these pics for casual wear, or just some basic black ones for work) and a comfy tee. I’m really trying to add to my t-shirt collection and would love any recommendations! I really like the look of basic muscle tees (perhaps I subconsciously want to show off my huge triceps?… no, I don’t think that’s it) and plain long sleeve tees (wear anywhere, anytime). But I’m open to anything!

burberry brit trench coat in beige

Nothing else too interesting to share, at least that I can think of (my brain is slow today without coffee). Back to work tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, especially if you’re getting awesome weather like we finally are over here!

How To Make Your Heels Comfortable

April 1, 2015 in comfortable womens shoes, Shoe Reviews

I’ve always been a fan of wearing heels… something about feeling taller. When I was younger I would suffer through wearing any pair of heels, thinking that there was no possible way to make them more comfortable, and that was the cost I had to pay. Well, that was crazy. Since then I’ve done some research and lots of experimenting, and have found ways to make at least the majority of heels tolerable. Here’s what I learned.

best food cusions for heels

The Pre-Steps… Finding a suitable pair

Finding a pair of shoes with certain characteristics right off the bat makes this whole process a lot easier! There are a few things I look for when buying a pair of heels. First I set a limit on the heel height. Through trial and error, I’ve found that anything over 4 inches will create too steep of a slope to allow a comfortable stride for my size 6 foot. So I aim for ~3.5 inches, maybe a touch higher. Alright, easy enough. Next I look for a toe box that doesn’t squeeze my foot at all and allows all of my toes to lay completely flat with a little bit of breathing room (aka swelling room) to spare. Often this requires going up 1/2 size, which creates a tiny gap in the back of the heel… that’s ok, its actually just what we’ll need! Beyond this I just make sure the shoes doesn’t squeeze or rub in any funny places, and that I can easily walk around in them without any significant heel slippage (again, feeling a little loose is good). If you frequent this blog, you’ll know that these are my go-to, wear-all-day-at-work pair. They’re amazing. Other similarly priced styles that people seem to have luck with are Stuart Weitzman’s Nouveau Pump, Kate Spade’s Licorice Pump (can’t stop staring at the neons they have out), and Diane von Furstenburg’s Bethany Pump. If you’re looking for a more sure fit, there are tons of backless mule options available now, like these gorgeous Via Spiga ones.

Step 1: Break them in

If your shoes are a touch too big (which will make them ultimately more comfortable), you will likely skip this step. But if they fit snugly in any area, you’ll want to stretch them out just a bit. To do this, put on a pair of socks (or two pairs, depending on how much you need to stretch them out), blow dry them for a minute, focusing on the areas that are too tight, then walk around with the shoes (and socks) on until they completely cool and for a few minutes after. This will allow the shoes to mold to your feet more quickly to prevent future rubbing. If you’re still having problems with certain areas feeling too snug, try a stretcher like this Foot Petals one.

Step 2: Add some cushion

No matter how comfortable the heels are, after 8+ hours on your feet, the balls of your feet start to get sore. To prevent this, its important to find the perfect foot cushion. The cushion you’re going to want to use will depend on how big the shoes are. If the shoes are already pretty snug (and the stretching technique above isn’t giving you a whole lot of extra room), you’ll want to go with something that doesn’t have a lot of bulk. The best cushions I’ve found for this are the Fabric Tip Toes or Gel Tip Toes. These will give you an extra few hours of comfort. If you do have a bit of extra room in the shoes, you’ll want something that will take up some extra space to make a more snug fit overall. Pedag makes the best leather insoles for this! Their Princess 101 insoles come in different sizes to fit your shoe perfectly – I use this one for my shoes that are about 1/2 size too big. They actually have no adhesive and can be transferred from shoe to shoe, which I love. If the shoes are more than 1/2 size too big, than the Pedaq Galant insoles may be a better choice with their larger amount of cushion at the ball of the foot. Both of these Pedag insoles will keep your feet happy for many many extra hours.

Step 3: Know about the extras

If done with care, the above steps will be enough to make most heels reasonably comfortable. But sometimes the fit just isn’t perfect. If the shoes are too tight with the inserts, either the stretching method described in step 1 with the inserts in place, or use the stiletto stretcher to do the work for you. If heel slipping is a problem even after finding the best fitting shoe insert, you’ll have to use a heel grip like this one to keep them in place. Heel grips are a last resort, but they can work. If certain areas are rubbing during the break-in period I usually just put a band-aid or something on to protect my foot. If the rubbing doesn’t improve after a few wears, small Pressure Pointz cushions can easily fix that.

Step 4: Protect the shoe

So, you’ve done all of this work to make the shoes comfortable. Now you have to make them last! Its important to protect your shoes from the elements. Before wearing, its important to preserve the shoes with leather or suede protector. When needed, I clean all of my leather shoes with a shoe cleaning kit (brush alone for suede), and for plain leather (not suede or patent), I maintain suppleness by intermittently using a leather conditioner. Make sure to re-apply the shoe protectors afterwards! If the shoes have a leather sole (or a slippery one), you can consider adding a sole stopper to them as well.

Whew, that’s all I have! Hopefully you find these tips helpful. Feel free to share what works for you, too!