Monday, May 19, 2014

How to Walk in High Heels

Whether you wish to wear them daily or you only pull them out of your closet for special occasions, every lady needs to know how to walk in high heels. I see many women who love the look of high heels but have never properly learned how to walk in them properly, it's evident by both their body posture and the manner in which they walk, neither which come across as elegant, often clomping along like a horse, leaning too far forward while sticking their behind out.

On the contrary, when one has mastered the art of walking in heels it only enhances and adds to her beauty, creating a lovely, feminine silhouette. Let's face it, heels just automatically make you feel more dressed up, even if you're just in a pair of jeans and a simple tee. High heels have the power to transform not only an outfit, but often our attitude and how we carry ourselves as we feel more beautiful in our heels.

1. Heel to Toe- Always walk as you would in any other pair of shoes, heel-to-toe vs. toe-to-heel which can appear very awkward. Practicing on hardwood floor is perfect as it will allow you to hear how light or clunky your are walking. You want to stride gracefully instead of clomping along like a horse (this happens a lot to some women, especially with chunkier heels).

2. Walk a Straight Line- Runway models have such an effortless way about them for two reasons, one is that they walk in a straight line, placing one foot in front of the other which actually creates a very flattering and elegant silhouette and shows off one's curves as their hips sway. You can practice this at home by using a line on tile or hardwood floor, you can also run a line of painters tape across carpet or test it out on a sidewalk edge. If you're walking indoors, just be sure the soles of your shoes are clean first.

3. Perfect Your Posture-The second reason why runway models make walking in heels looks so easy, is because they maintain good posture. Once you've mastered the first two points, good posture while walking in heels is essential. If you're slouching, hunching over, sticking your behind out or leaning forward, not only will this affect how you walk but it looks anything but classy. Stand up straight, hold your head high while looking forward at eye level at least 1/3 of the way ahead with your shoulders back to prevent a slumped-over look. Next, keep your core tight which will allow you greater overall body control. Now, walk forward heel, to toe and in a straight line and you have the 3 most basic essentials of successfully walking in heels. Exercising will improve your posture. By incorporating more core strength exercises into your workout routine you'll build a stronger core and back as well as increase balance which will make walking in heels much easier.

4. Pace Yourself-When it comes to stride, remember that you'll be taking more steps as your stride is shorter. This will prevent you from accidentally doing the splits should you lose your footing. Generally speaking, the higher the heel, the shorter the stride. Expect to walk slower than you wood in flats or tennis shoes.

5. Mastering Uneven Surfaces-It's one thing to walk on flat, even surfaces such as flooring, asphalt, sidewalks, etc., however it becomes tricky when the surfaces are bumpy and no longer flat and even. Whenever possible, inquire when attending a venue so you'll know what you're in for before you arrive and can select your footwear accordingly. Here are a few of such surfaces and how to tackle them gracefully.

Grass-It's by far one of the trickiest surfaces and yet many will encounter it while attending a sporting event, wedding, local outdoor venue, etc. To avoid sinking into the grass (which is softest after it has rained) is best to walk heel-to-toe but keep the weight on the balls of your feet (or the toe box area of the shoe) as if you are tip-toeing, walking lighter and slower. If you'll be outdoors on a grassy area for a special event such as a wedding, you may also want to consider the type of material the shoe is made from. Satin, while beautiful, when it become wet or dirty is much harder to clean then say leather.

Cobblestone-While architecturally beautiful to look at, cobblestone can be a nightmare for those wearing high heels. If possible, avoid wearing stiletto style heels on such a surface as it can not only take longer to walk on and cause damage to your heels, it could invite an injury such as a twisted ankle or even a fall. Wedges are a great option because they provide a flat surface in which to walk and cannot get caught in grooves. The best way to walk on cobblestone is to again, put more of your weight on the balls of your feet and throughout your foot, avoiding the heel as it can get caught in the cracks and being mindful on walking on the most flat and wide surface area possible. You'll be spending more time looking down at your feet but be sure to look ahead as well.

Slick Floors-Whether it's a slippery surface by nature such as marble or it happens to be slick due to water, the key is to take very small steps should you find yourself in such an environment. Here's a tip though on making the soles of your shoes less slippery: when you first purchase them, you can rough up the soles on concrete or have flat rubber adhesives added for this purpose, especially if you work in an office or frequent areas that tend to have floors that cause you to slide. I know of one place that has slick floors-the hair salon I visit. I try to always keep that in mind when choosing footwear before I go.

Boardwalk/Dock-Planks of wood with tiny gaps in between pose a challenge when wearing heels, thankfully the boards are generally wide enough that you have a large surface area in which to walk, it will just involve looking down more to ensure you don't get your heel caught in between and leave your shoe behind as you fly forward-not only embarrassing but potentially dangerous also.

Gravel-Completely avoid this unforgiving surface while wearing heels. Nothing good can come of this! Due to its round nature, gravel can slide, causing your heel to roll and it's an ankle fracture waiting to happen. Not only does it put your safety at risk, but it will destroy the soles, heels and outer material of your beautiful shoes. If you must get to the front door of a house that has gravel, walk on the grass beside the driveway instead.

6. Walking Up & Down Stairs-Firstly, when walking up or down a set of stairs, ALWAYS use the handrail, even once you feel you've mastered walking in heels, it just helps provide the support to keep you balanced as falls can happen to the best of us. If you find yourself in an area without a handrail where there are steps, use the wall for balance if alone, or your friend or significant other who is wearing flats for proper balance. A gentleman will take you by the hand and put his other arm around you. Use a slow, steady pace. Stepping up or down is different than walking forward, you're pushing off with the opposite leg to move up to the next step so do so on the balls of your feet when walking upstairs, putting weight on the heels could cause you to fall backwards, especially if you are on the edge of the stair. Putting the weight on the toe box of the shoe will provide a more firm, secure footing. Walking downstairs will involve you doing the opposite so you don't fall forward. Distribute the weight evenly throughout your whole foot.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice-No woman will walk in heels perfectly the very first time she slips a pair on, it takes practice to get a feel for where to place your weight, work on your posture, walking with one foot in front of the other and master daunting uneven surfaces. I highly recommend first practicing in your home. Find an area that is more narrow and long like a hallway, preferably with a mirror so you can see your progress, such as in a front entry or towards a mirrored closet door. Not only is this important to do upon first learning how to wear heels but a great way to feel more confident in a new pair too. Maybe you've mastered wedges and kitten heels but have never worn stilettos before, it would be beneficial to practice before going out into public. Once you feel comfortable indoors, take it outside. You don't need to practice at an event you're attending or on your way to work/school but rather outdoors on a sidewalk, the grass and even in your driveway or another public place until you feel ready. The more you wear heels, the more they will become like an extension to your legs and will feel more natural. When they feel natural, you'll not only feel more secure but will appear more confident and then you can even tackle running in heels when necessary (although not necessarily recommended). I've been there several times before when almost missing my train into the city which only ran on the hour.

8. Gradually Increase Heel Height- The best advice is to start out small and not attempt the 5" stiletto if you've never worn a 2" heel or even a 1" kitten heel. When you are practicing and have never worn heels before, the easiest way to learn is to gradually increase the height of your heels. Start out with a 1" chunky heel, next try a kitten heel which is a skinny heel but quite short, after this you can try 2-3" then increase the height to 4-5" should you so desire. As a tall woman at 5 feet 9.5 inches, I find anything over 4" makes me personally feel a lot less stable and as though I'm towering over everyone so I typically wear 3-4" max.

9. Find the Right Fit- Just because a shoe comes in your size doesn't mean it will fit your foot properly. Try on many different pairs, some designers just create shoes better than others or fit your foot in a nicer way. Some people naturally have more narrow feet, and other more wide, be sure that the heel you choose fits your foot comfortably and nothing is rubbing which will create blisters later. There should be a bit of room in your shoe, it shouldn't be so tight that your foot can't slide out a little bit but should still be snug. Wearing heels naturally puts your foot at an arch which causes your foot to slide forward, for this reason you may find that you need to go up a half size. If you find you are between two sizes, you can always use gel inserts in the area where the ball of your foot goes. They are also made for the heel area if you have a shoe that just won't quit rubbing. Invest in quality, after all we wear shoes for long periods of time and if our feet aren't happy we won't be either. Leather stretches and can mold to your foot shape, so it's ideal when shopping for a new pair of shoes. Synthetic materials often don't stretch and also don't breathe well and can continue to rub on your feet for a while after first purchasing them. Avoid boat bottom shoes, instead look for soles that have a completely flat bottom that touch the entire surface of the floor so they won't wobble when you walk. If you are most comfortable in 3" heels, you need not suffer in pain in a 5" stiletto. Wear whatever feels most comfortable to you because when you do you will feel better and appear much more confident. If it's uncomfortable you will not wear it and in the end it will be a poor investment.

10. High Heel Etiquette- From time-to-time after a long day on our feet or a night on the town dancing, our feet will become painful after wearing heels for an extended period of time. While some may take their shoes off on the dance floor at a wedding venue, it is not acceptable to walk outdoors in bare feet carrying one's shoes. It is not only unhygienic but not at all classy and potentially dangerous as broken glass, sharp bits of metal and more could be stepped on. A lady is prepared, she need not suffer in pain with blisters just to leave in the shoes she arrived in but she brings backup. Simply carry a fold-up ballet flat in your clutch and you'll be prepared when your feet become sore. My personal favorite high quality fold-up ballet flats are Tieks  by Gavrieli brand. I just discovered them a couple years ago as they were on Oprah's O List, they are made of soft Italian leather which come in a beautiful variety of colors/patterns and can soothe sore feet as they have thick padding and can be worn as a regular ballet flat every day as they are ultra-comfortable, they are a bit of an investment but worth it because you are getting an amazing shoe and they can be stored in the little dust bag they come in and popped into your handbag or clutch. There are also lesser expensive options, none that come close to the same quality but will provide the role of backup fold-able flat in a pinch.

For those who are visual learners like myself, I wanted to include a video that would reiterate the points I've shared here and allow you them see it in action. Instead of recreating the wheel myself, after looking at several videos via YouTube, I've chosen this one by Michelle for you. She is a fashion and beauty blogger who has created videos on a variety of topics and they are always concise and informative. Of course, you can find many more on YouTube for inspiration too.

One last tip when it comes to heels! Be sure to pamper your feet! After all, they work hard after being inside shoes all day. It's important to soak them in hot water, massage them, moisturize them and give them a pedicure regularly particularly if you'll be wearing open-toed heels such as peep-toe or strappy sandals. The more often you care for your feet, the better they'll feel. If you know you'll be standing or walking for a longer than usual period of time at an event, during the workday, etc., give your feet a break the day before and the day after or even longer so you won't be in tremendous pain from too much consecutive heel-wearing.

Here's a little shoe lingo for you. In case the writing is hard to read, the various areas are: 
tip, shank, collar, counter, heel seat, heel breast, heel. heel lift and out sole/sole. 
Although not labeled, the area where your toes sit is called the toe box. 

For your viewing pleasure, below are a few of my favorite pairs of heels that have caught my eye recently and are now on my wishlist. Also, here is a link to stylish, affordable and foldable flats! I'm loving all of the ankle-strap and ankle-wrap heels this season. Not only are they pretty but practical too, they stay on your feet far better and act like a natural extension of your leg. A must-have in my opinion!

Are you a high heel lover? What is the typical heel height you feel most comfortable in?

Let's Socialize!

Thanks for stopping by!


*image + video credits: (1), (2), (3) 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Manners Monday: A Classy Woman Uses Discretion in Her Conversations

Have you ever got off the phone or walked away from a conversation and thought 'Why did I share that?' in regret. Maybe you tried to put someone else at ease and make them feel less alone in their dilemma and realized you probably crossed a boundary in how much you revealed? Perhaps you were on the receiving end as a colleague, friend, neighbor or family member went a little too far with an issue or event in their life making you squirm in your chair? Today we're talking about what is means to use discretion in our everyday and private conversations. 

It's such a blessing to have ultra-close friends that we can confide in, trust and share things with that we wouldn't dream of revealing to others. However, even within such a safe relationship, there is some level of discretion that must be exercised. Just because everything can be talked about doesn't mean it should be discussed. Some things make others feel uncomfortable, even hurt at times and can put them in an awkward position at the expense of being real, open and honest. 

A classy woman doesn't let it all hang out, while she is transparent and makes others feel comfortable as she can relate to where they are at, she is both thoughtful and tactful while still being genuine and true to herself. I'm a big believer in talking things through and using open dialog especially in marriage, however some things are better left to discuss with a therapist; counselor and the most high counselor up above-God. :) Sometimes it's a matter of sorting ourselves and our thoughts an feelings out first before we decide what exactly we wish to share with another.

It is up to each one of us to use good judgement in conversing with others, a topic that may be off limits in one relationship is completely acceptable in another. That being said, there are certain boundaries that a lady knows she shouldn't cross as it pertains to particular matters. I'll list 3 specific topics below.

1. Sexual Escapades & Extramarital Affairs-While shows such as Sex & the City have glorified open friendship where women all talk at great length and in specific detail as to their sexual partners, positions, fetishes, etc., most people feel uncomfortable hearing about what goes on in someone else's bedroom, how often they make love and what their partner excels at, etc. This definitely crosses the line. Some friendships have allowed for such discussion freely but it is not something a classy woman participates in or initiates. If a woman finds herself having an affair and her friends are also close with her partner, that puts them in an uncomfortable position as they are left to choose who they will 'side with' even though they may want to be loyal to both parties.

2. Salary & Wages-There may be times when someone asks us point blank how much we earn. It really isn't anyone else's business besides ours, our employer, our spouse and the IRS. Revealing information about how much money you bring in (whether we initiate it or it was asked of us) can make others feel less than, jealous, angry and they may act on those feelings such as choose to exclude you from certain functions or in fact the opposite could happen as they include you and then expect you to pick up more of the tab. There is nothing good that can come from it. If the fact that you have a tighter budget than the others in your circle needs to be addressed as they constantly invite you to expensive restaurants and outings, it can be done in a tactful way that will hopefully make them more mindful of ideas such as dinner parties at home, lunch in the park, and other events that won't break the bank or not extend an invitation to those that would make you feel down for not being able to participate in.

3. Addictions- There is nothing wrong with being transparent and sharing with loved ones where you are at should you find yourself consumed by addiction, but it depends on the nature of issue. The more common and acceptable forms are cigarette smoking and food addictions. Those such as gambling, sex, recreational drug use, alcohol, prescription drug use, pornography, etc., should only be shared with others using the utmost discretion. Even though it's only natural we'd feel safe talking to those who love us most, they are by no means qualified to handle such issues, and while they can encourage, inspire and uplift, it's best to seek professional help. It's important to share such things with a spouse of course as these things directly affect them also. I'm not recommended that someone should isolate themselves or live a lie and keep secrets, but caution must be used. I have only experienced dealing with an acquaintance turned friend once in my life who had an alcohol addiction and while she clearly wanted friends that would hold her accountable, it created awkwardness in our friendship as she waffled between asking me to hold her accountable and then when I did (and tried to be as supportive as I could) she became offended and became defensive of her behavior and actions reasoning that I couldn't understand what she was going through. 

What topics do you wish others would use more discretion when sharing? 

Thanks for Reading!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

We Bloom When We Stop Competing & Comparing

I shared this quote last week on Facebook and thought I'd do the same here for those that missed it as it's a great reminder. I love how nature just exists peacefully with its earthy counterparts and all grow together in harmony benefiting one another. We could benefit from doing the same. 

Healthy competition can be good at times, it helps us grow and strive to learn more, do better, become more skilled /creative/stronger/healthier, and a whole lot more. However, where we run into problems is when we focus our time and energy on comparing who we are with the person next to us and ultimately end up competing with them. We were all designed to be unique with our own special talents and gifts and while some of them may overlap with others, we were meant to bring those gifts forward to not only obtain our own sense of fulfillment and success but to bless others along the way. When we compete and compare with others, we often take the very joy out of what we're looking to accomplish in the first place. 

The only REAL comparison we should have is with the person we were yesterday. Be your beautiful self & bloom! :) 

Thanks for Reading!


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Classy Gifts for Mother's Day

1.  Watch   //     2.  The Ultimate Moisturizer    //     3.  Tea for One
4.  Statement Earrings   //     5.  Perfume   //     6.  Bow Slide Sandals 
7.  Chevron Picnic Basket   //     8.  Jasmine & Mint candle   //     9.  Cross-body bag

Every year I try to find just the right gift for my mom as well as helping hubby select something for his stepmother. There are so many options for women, for that reason I always find it hard to choose but even amid an array of choices I always try to stick to practical and classic gifts that I know will be enjoyed over and over again daily or for years to come. I've carefully selected these 9 choices as part of this year's gift guide, timeless items that any mother would love! 

Below are a few more of my favorites, whether you're buying for someone else or treating yourself to something special for all of your hard work as a mother. :)

I'd love to hear what you're giving your mom for Mother's Day this year!

Thanks for Reading!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mother's Day Thoughts & Nominate A Mom!

{Last year while 25 weeks pregnant celebrating my 1st Unofficial Mother's Day}

I have to say that the past eight months have really flown by since Lily's birth. As I get ready to celebrate my first official Mother's Day with my husband and sweet baby girl, I've been in a reflective mood. I also wanted to send my own mother something a little extra special this year as I have a new perspective on what it means to be a mother. While I've always appreciated her for being so caring, loving, patient, attentive, comforting, encouraging and generous with her time, it is at this point in my life that I cannot help but think of her almost daily. During the long days and nights of feedings every two hours, rocking my little one to sleep, soothing her when she cries or just keeping up with her much more active self these days as she learns how to sit (and currently trying to figure out crawling while rolling all over the room), I can't help but be grateful for my own mother, knowing she did all these very same things just a few decades ago to care for me. It's a big responsibility, it is all-consuming but oh, so worth it! I'm also thankful for the advice my mom has been able to give me now when I ask her for it. I'm so happy to have such a wonderful mother.

Being a mother has taught me so many things in just these short months and it has caused me to grow in ways that I never thought possible but also in ways that I did expect such as with increased patience. There's something about bring a new baby home that causes you to become more patient, while some days can admittedly be exhausting and trying, everything just melts away as I focus on my daughter and her needs in the present moment. I've become stronger while raising my baby girl solo for the past 3 months, never having a babysitter for her and doing every single thing on my own has stretched me. What is truly important has become clearer, after all what is more precious than a child? I try to remember that this time will only be experienced once as they grow so quickly. Each day my goal is to become the best mother that I can be to her and continue to build a beautiful relationship with my sweet girl, one that will last a lifetime. I am forever changed for the better having become a mother to my darling little ladybug. :)

{Our sweet Lily at 7.5 months old}

In honor of Mother's Day and wonderful mothers around the globe, today I wanted to share with you an opportunity to nominate a special mother who means a lot to you. Do you know a mom who goes above and beyond to make others feel comforted? If you wrapped a certain mom in your life — whether your own mother, grandmother, or a mom friend you especially admire — in a big bear hug, whom would you choose? What makes her special to you?

Helzberg would love your help showing moms the love this Mother’s Day. Nominate your favorite Mama Bear — whether a mom, grandma, wife, or other special mom figure — to receive a #BearHug. Whether through a heartwarming or humorous story, share why she inspires you and she could receive a special surprise #BearHug in the mail from Helzberg Diamonds on your behalf!

One deserving mom, nominated each business day between April 21 and May 9, will receive a special surprise #BearHug. One grand prize winner, selected at random from all nominators, will receive a Helzberg Diamonds’ Circle of Love 1/3 CT. Diamond Pendant in 10K Gold, valued at $799.99. The grand prize winner will be announced on Mother’s Day, May 11.

To submit a deserving mom, via Twitter or Instagram, tell us all the reasons why your favorite Mama Bear deserves a #BearHug, for a chance to win. Don’t forget to tag #Helzberg, include #BearHug, and complete the submission form, when prompted, in order to be eligible for all prizes.

You can also follow Helzberg Diamonds on Facebook to see what's new and participate in other upcoming draws and see some of their most beautiful pieces on Pinterest.

To celebrate my mom this year for Mother's Day, I selected a beautiful pair of earrings from Helzberg's collection. Since she lives in Canada so I shipped them out today with a pretty card hoping they'll arrive in time (as the mail from FL to Toronto seems to take far longer than vice versa) and I can't wait to hear her reaction when I speak to her about her new gift. :)

Thanks for Reading!


*Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Helzberg Diamonds however all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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