Friday, September 21, 2007

RYKÄ: Athletic Shoes For Women

"If your shoes don't work out, neither will you." That was one of the first things I read on the RYKÄ website. And I get that. I really do. To be fair and honest, I believe women also have a number of other obstacles to exercise..."schedule" being my current ginormous issue. But, I have to say, a great pair of shoes can make anything more fun. Especially working out. I don't know exactly why this is, but it is. Plus, when it comes to exercise, I'll do anything for that extra bit of motivation.Of course getting a new pair of shoes in the mail from RYKÄ via the Parent Bloggers Network did provide a little kick in the pants. I mean, when you get new shoes, you HAVE to wear them right? It's the law. And the MC2 Walk shoes I received were so cushy and white (and dare I say bouncy) that I really did have a sudden urge to run up and down my street. Because they fit. They felt good and I felt good in them. Almost athletic. And for me that is really saying a lot. Because some women are extremely talented in the athletic department, but this woman is not. Plus, I never find athletic shoes that I really love. And I'm not alone there.

A woman named Sheri Poe created RYKÄ twenty years ago because she was sick of athletic shoes that didn't fit. And who can blame her? Most of us would do the same, only we don't. Otherwise, we'd all be starting bra, bathing suit and jeans companies, wouldn't we? So okay, Ms. Poe is a super overachiever. And we get to benefit from her shoe discomfort. Because, her creations, well, they fit. And although the company is now owned by American Sporting Goods Corp., it seems they are still motivated to make excellent athletic wear. And they're committed exclusively to women. You gotta love that.

According to their Web site, "all RYKÄ shoes are made on a woman's last (the mold or shape of a woman's foot), and are designed and developed taking into account a women's unique fit needs - narrower in the heel and wider in the forefoot." (Plus, they have a shoe finder, which is kind of like a Cosmo quiz. And who can resist a quiz? Especially when it deals with shoes.) But even better, the site swears that RYKÄ is committed "to helping women enhance their lives through fitness." And really, how can you not be motivated by something committed to helping you enhance your life? They're like the Oprah of athletic shoes.

And this is what I currently need. An Oprah. Of athletics.

As I've mentioned, Karen and I are training for the Houston Marathon. To walk it. That's right, to purposefully walk it. Because, as I've said before, if I run it, I'll still be walking it. So we're being deliberate about the walking from the start. However, even still, we are forced to train. Because that's what responsible adults do when they lose their minds and walk 42.195 kilometers (or 26.2 miles). I believe she is doing better than I am, but I think it's fair to say we both have a long road ahead of us. Figuratively and literally.

And on that 26 mile trek, I'll be wearing RYKÄ.

They're that comfortable.

And don't worry, I'll keep you posted on how that all works out. Between now and January, I'll be spending a lot of time with these shoes.

But even more exciting and relevant to your life, between now and almost All Hallows Eve, Ryka is giving away 50 pairs a day. That's right. 50. 50 shoes and 50 shirts. They're also giving an equal number to a fantastic charity. So I say you should visit the site and register to win shoes of your own. I will be. I'm feeling like I might need a back up pair. Or two. At least.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Little Black Book of Style

Yes, it’s true, I wore three outfits in one afternoon.

1. A cool little sleeveless bathing-suit-cover-up-looking thing (that is all the rage, I swear) over dark jeans with my super cool new Superhero necklace and super pumps. With my hair pulled back in two knotted up and tucked under pigtail bun things. Very artsy. Very cool. Very much how I wanted to feel at the preschool mom’s coffee gathering. So when anyone wonders why I haven’t done my assigned scrapbook pages (from last year), it’s because I’m artsy and can’t be confined by deadlines. Not because I’m the suit working mom who thinks she’s too busy (and who doesn’t love her children enough) to do the scrapbook pages. See? Working mom image crisis averted with one simple outfit.

2. Suit.

3. Jeans and tee to have dinner at family friendly restaurant. Because suits and kids’ menus don’t mix. Ask anyone.

Even as all the costume changes were happening (just call me Cher), I felt ridiculous. And then, I thought. What would Nina do in the situation? Lucky for me I now have the answer to this (and many other) question(s) in The Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia, the latest Parent Bloggers Network goodie I received in the mail.

“This book will change your life. Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. Maybe it won’t change your life. But it will change your closet, which will in turn change your attitude, which can in fact change your life. So maybe it’s not a bit dramatic. You be the judge.”
- Nina Garcia

The little black book (which is literally a smallish black book) is itself as stylish as anything else on my bookshelf. So much so, I think it’s starting its own clique that the Jane Greens, Sophie Kinsellas and Candace Bushnells would all gladly give up their dust jackets to get in (while the Sylvia Plaths and Virginia Woolfs are scowling in the corner, Anne Lamott is just annoyed it doesn’t have a chapter on Northern California, and Ayn Rand thinks I’m an idiot.)

More importantly, and back to the most popular book on the shelf, it promises to help build your style confidence and awake the fashion editor in you. Nina is a fashion editor after all. So she should know.

And she apparently does.

Because what follows is the smartest, sleekest, and most inspiring look at unique looks and creative expression that I’ve seen.

"Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she’s beautiful."
-Sophia Loren

The first chapter is “Be Your Own Muse” which essentially made me want to channel Holly Golightly and dress with heart, soul and creative energy. I’m sure it has a different effect for everyone. Since each muse is different. And all.

The next bit talks about fashion rules. "The Basics." Some are fairly predictable. (Invest in essential staples, etc.) But some are not.

Because her ‘staples’ are fantastic and might even include a Hermes Birkin, and really, how can you argue with that crackpotastic logic? I for one can not. But despite that little distraction which sent me searching online for the best discount designer handbag websites (email me, I’ll forward them to you), the first and the overall theme to me was learn how to edit. She then goes into specifics about how to do this. I can not express how much I love this concept. As someone who lives in a house built in 1928 with a closet that is approximately 1928 millimeters wide, I completely appreciate and connect with the idea of editing. What’s more, her process is brilliant. I can’t wait to put it in action.

She then moves into “Inspirations” and gives you a number of film, music and art suggestions to get you going. Then follows that up with a Lot of “What to Wear When” ideas. And finishes off with “Insider Tricks and Tips.”

And what’s great is, it’s all packaged in a great outfit.

"One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art."
- Oscar Wilde

Love the illustrations. Love the typographic treatments. This little book of style is a little work of art. Even my art director colleagues were raving.

So, if you haven’t figured it out yet, my advice is, you should invest in yourself by investing in this little book. It will lift your spirits to consume it. For yourself. For your best friend. For your other best friend. In fact, this is my staple gift I’m giving for every fantastically wonderful friend’s birthday party I’m attending over the next year or so. Seriously.

My favorite part. The book is full of smart, relevant, quirky quotes and quips from everyone you could imagine. They’re all true stand-outs, graphically and topically. And in the end, they all come back to being yourself, no matter what they say (Sting). Nina Garcia knows this, and she wears it with style.

Plus she’s obviously brilliant.

“You can never have enough high heels. You just can’t.”
- Nina Garcia

Did I mention how much I love this book?

GIVEAWAY ALERT!!! Because I love you, I'm giving one copy of this to an extremely lucky winner. Just leave a comment here between now and Sunday night at midnight CST and you're registered. And as always, I really hope you win.


And while you're in the mode, check out sk*rt's Up-and-Coming Eliza magazine giveaway. Because voting is the new black.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Win a Subscription to Eliza Magazine from Sk*rt

There is a new up-and-coming fashion magazine out there. It’s called Eliza.

Beautifully shot. Beautifully printed. An excellent addition to your collection. And since it is such an up-and-coming periodical, we thought a free, year-long subscription to Eliza would be a great way to draw your attention to the sk*rt Up-and-Coming section. The section where stylemakers, divas and mavens decide what is worthy of the sk*rt Popular section.

Think you can spot a good link when you see one? Then you (yes you!) can be a sk*rt stylemaker, a sk*rt diva, a sk*rt maven too. All you have to do is go to the Up-and-Coming section and scroll through the pages, all the while keeping watch for the best of the best links. Then click “love-it” and show that your opinion counts.To enter your name for the free subscription to Eliza, just share your point-of-view with fellow sk*rt users by voting for at least 10 items in the Up-and-Coming section by this Saturday, September 22nd. Then send us an email to: and let us know you entered. Be sure to include your sk*rt username so we know it’s you. We’ll announce the winner next week.Happy voting you trendmakers. And if you can’t wait to see if you won, get your own subscription to Eliza here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cool Mom Picks Has a New Outfit.

Have you been to Cool Mom Picks lately? If not, you should totally go check out their new look. It was designed by Laurie Smithwick from Leap Design and Upside Up and sk*rt. And it's as fab as the selections the cool moms pick. Check it out.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Make Your Own Model

Think Weird Science. Only without the creepy teenage boys. So, on second thought, maybe you should just think online paper dolls that you can create and dress with the latest from H&M. Because that's more what it's like. Check it out under the Dressing Room link.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Rain Rain Go Away

It's officially Hurricane Season around here. (And I'm not talking about the beverage.) And there's no better way to celebrate Hurricane Season that with a snappy red umbrella.

Unless it's with a snappy pink and white umbrella.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I'm sure somewhere you have a book you'd like to give away. On the other hand, I bet there's some book out there you'd like to receive. And where there's a yen, there's a yang. And now there's an online book swap called Bookmooch. And I found it on sk*rt.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Friday, September 7, 2007

Pumpkin is the New Handcream.

Pumpkin Desert Essence Hand Repair Cream is made with Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil, with high levels of vitamin A, C, E and K, plus zinc, helps to combat daily environmental stress on the hands. In the immortal words of Jessica Simpson...I don't know what it is, but I want it. Plus, it's only $3.99.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hang-Ups, Hook-Ups, and Holding Out

If I remember correctly, I had more hang-ups than hook-ups or holding out when I was growing up. But then, I "grew up" in the 1980s. When people wore lots of neon and spiral perms. So that might explain a lot. But you know who didn't explain a lot. My mom. (Sorry mom, but you didn't. Love you.)

How much would I love to have had this book then?

I'm not sure why I agreed to review Girlology: Hang-Ups, Hook-Ups and Holding Out when Parent Bloggers Network asked, because from the mom's perspective I may never need it. See, I have a little boy. And he's not even two.

But I was interested in it as a former girl. A current and future best-aunt-ever to girls. A person who is, if I'm honest, a bit intimidated by "the talk" when (or if) it all comes us. Because (once again, sorry mom) it was never really modeled to me how you handle these types of questions.

What Types Of Questions?
We sort-of had the 'don't ask, don't tell' philosophy when I grew up watching Thriller and wearing jellies. But, this book radically breaks the 'don't ask' law and is organized into questions. Things like:
  • My doctor says I'm a good weight, so why do I still feel fat?
  • How can I make my parents like my boyfriend?
  • When should I see a gynecologist instead of a pediatrician?
  • Am I the only girl who isn't having sex?
  • What are date rape drugs?
And so on. There are approximately 200 questions that the book asks and then answers in smart, no-nonsense, non-parent-sounding sound bites, even though they're written by really smart girl doctors, Melisa Holmes, MD, an ob-gyn and mother of 3 girls, and Patricia Hutchison, MD, a pediatrician and mother of 2 girls. I love it. They offer "the quickie answer" and then "the full scoop" on everything from sex, to drugs to body changes. They don't leave anything out and they seriously know just how to put things. Up front. Honest. Smart.

So Why Ask? Why the Book? Why Bother?
Looking through, I really remember (and realize) how many questions I had growing up (that, sadly, I had answered by watching Madonna videos). The point of this book is to get the answers from M.D.s not MTV.

I guess the book also made me realize how fast kids grow up these days. That said, I'm going to go ahead and say this book is a must-have for pre-teens. I'd actually like to say it's a must for teenagers...if I'm honest, I'd really like to say it's for college students...but I'm thinking that would be way too late. So I'd want to have this book on hand when my nieces start reading US Magazine. Which, I think happens around the age of ten these days right? Maybe we can push it to 12.

It just seems kids are exposed to things earlier than ever, so you might as well give them the correct information up front. But be warned (and yes, sisters-in-law, I will get your permission and approval before gifting it into your households), there are very specific questions in there about sex. So don't freak. Because honestly, that's the whole point of the book. To start conversations. Open communication. Offer information. Because it seems to me, the more real, honest, and specific you can be, the better. After all, if they don't get it here, they'll get some version of it somewhere. The girl doctors seem to agree. And I have to believe, like me, they initially got most of their vital information from Judy Blume. And they know there's a better way.

Giveaway Time.
Want a better way? Want to win a copy? Leave a comment. I'll give away one copy next Monday.