Once Upon a Dream

April 29, 2008

I left work at mid-day today, struggling with a migraine. I’m not even sure what I told my boss before I left. It probably did not make much sense. I had to stay about an hour later to process a few orders and make some phone calls. Now, after 3 hours of sleep, an overdose of ibuprofen tablets, and a hot shower, I finally feel better. I cannot tell you how much I wish my health would return to me. I’ve always been a naturally tired person (need naps!), but I haven’t felt 100% in a long, long time. I need to start exercising, but I think I might have mono, and I don’t want my spleen to erupt. How’s that for an excuse?

All that aside, I love my apartment. It was a glorious day, and now the wind is blowing through the palm leaves and into my bedroom through the balcony door. I especially love the night-time. Summer evenings are some of my favorite things. I can’t wait to return to Minnesota for a family reunion in August. We’re totally camping at this hoe-down of a fair called the Threshing Bee, which celebrates old methods of farming. My grandfather built a windmill on the grounds where the Bee is held, and one of his tractors, an old green  and yellow John Deere is one of the focal points of the train, tractor, and antique car parade. It’s a great ol’ time of threashin’, blue grassin’, and barbeque-in’. I am trying to convince D that it will change his life. We have been dating two years this July, and he has still not been to my hometown. He has still not met my dad. Send him nasty notes, please.

Speaking of D, the other day someone googled “my boyfriend is a model,” and it led them to my blog. It showed up in my stats, and I felt this amazing breadth of anxiety fall from my weary shoulders BECAUSE IT’S ABOUT TIME. IT’S ABOUT TIME SOMEONE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT MY BOYFRIEND IS A MODEL.

(thank you)

And also speaking of D, I am going to be single this weekend. D is going to a retreat for a class at school, and that means plenty of margaritas and inviting the pool boy up to my bedroom to fan me with palm leaves. It also means that I am going to spend the whole weekend sleeping, eating ice cream, and looking very, very closely at my cuticles. Oh, and I’m hoping to go to the one and only Newport Beach community garage sale to see if I can find, among other things, a bicycle built for D. That, and a Free Box full of Gucci bags. Oh wait. I am not really looking for that. That was just what I dreamt about last night. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure if I actually have a pool boy.

Inspiration

April 8, 2008

Yesterday evening one of my favorite art bloggers, Emily Martin of The Black Apple, posted a link to a podcast of an interview on Craftsanity. The interview is a long one — over an hour and a half — but inspired me at this I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-with-my-life period because Martin took something that she loved and made a successful business of it in just a few years. I listened to part of the podcast last night before going to bed, and while I enjoyed hearing about the process of her business, I was struck by how similar her experience living in Brooklyn for a few months was like my recent experience moving to L.A. Martin says that when she moved to Brooklyn, people never asked her what she was doing in Brooklyn — the moving to Brooklyn in and of itself was the large accomplishment. I’m not patting myself on the back here in saying that moving to L.A. was some gigantic feat. It’s just that what Martin said about it resonated with me. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that anyone besides my mother asked what I DO at my job. A year ago when people would ask my parents what I was doing, my parents would have to tell them that I was working at a church in Arkansas. Now they can just say, “She moved to L.A.,” and that is interesting enough. Perhaps it is such a huge accomplishment because of the sacrifices one must make to live in cities like New York or L.A. or Chicago or San Francisco. The cost of living is so high, the traffic is so crazy, parking gives you ulcers… I paid $400 a month back in Arkansas for my huge one-bedroom apartment with two walk in closets and abundant parking. Now I live with two other people and pay… well, that’s my secret. It’s shameful for a mid-western girl to admit how much she pays for rent in L.A. I’m doing all right though. Working at a church for a year back in Arkansas and getting paid on the non-profit organization level taught me a lot about what my mom likes to call, “living on a shoe string.” Plus I’m not too far removed from the student stage of my life when having $60 in my checking account was a solace.

So, what do I DO here? And more importantly, is this job contributing to the big scheme of my life? Well, I work at an organic juice company in Santa Monica, as I’ve stated before. It’s a small start-up company, but it’s quite successful, and the products are high-quality and sold nationwide. The company has grown 50% in sales since last year. It feels weird for me to be talking about all this because business never really interested me until I took this job. My official title at said job is Administrative Assistant, but I mostly assist on the financial side of things. This is a new realm for me, and even though the thought of entering numbers and searching for missing pennies and balancing accounts once sounded like prison to me, I have to admit that I sort of like it. My last job was almost entirely creative, and while I loved it, my creative energy was completely sapped at the end of the day. It’s kind of nice to have a job that is one giant formula, so all I have to do is plug the numbers in.

And the real reason I am kind of liking my job is because I’m learning a bunch of things about running a small business. Now, I’ve only worked there a few months, but I did grow up in a small business as well, so I’m catching onto things pretty quickly. And even though this job isn’t the answer to my quarter life crisis, at least it seems to be leading somewhere. Which brings me to another somewhere:

Today I signed up for a beginner and intermediate sewing class. It’s an adult evening class at a nearby elementary school. It starts April 21 and will continue for 5 Mondays, 6:30-9:30 p.m. I know how to sew already at a rudimentary level, but my skills need some refinement.

And this class, small as it may be, fills me with excitement. Maybe I’m not doing exactly what I want to be doing right now, but in some ways I believe this class may be the beginning of something very fulfilling.

Emily Martin’s podcast

LOST and Savers

January 9, 2008

Today the job search continues.  Next week I think I will just go up to the Santa Monica area and scout and drop by a few of the places where I applied that didn’t specify “No walk-ins.”  This morning one of the relatives I am staying with told me that I don’t need to be anxious. “The right job is waiting for you,” he said.  Last night when I got home, I shared with the relatives that I’m the type of person who is very focused and likes to know what she is doing when she is doing it.

Yesterday I was feeling anxious, so I indulged in two things that always make me feel less anxious: purse shopping at a thrift store and watching several episodes of a favorite television show on DVD. The purse shopping I did in the morning, on my own, after spending about three hours at Panera searching for a job via the internet while intermittently playing Scrabble on Facebook. D took me out to Chick-Fil-A for lunch the other day (what a guy), and we drove by a giant thrift store called Savers. Yesterday I decided to return to Savers, thus widening my radius of daily activities. I tried on some clothes but found that Savers is a little expensive for a thrift store. In fact, I probably have the money-saving savvy to find similar items brand new for the same price or less by shopping end of season sales (I’m little, so I generally have good luck finding extravagantly cheap prices in my size, especially in shoes). If I would buy anything at Savers, it would have to be exceedingly unique and a perfect Ann-item. I found just such an item in a beautiful needlepoint purse. I forgot to bring my digital camera to Panera with me this morning, but I will try and remember to take a photograph of my new bag for my post tomorrow. It was made somewhere in China, which really isn’t that remarkable, except that it was probably sold in China as well. The tag brand name is written in Chinese characters. It’s super cute and very much my style.

In Savers, a woman about my age was ushering around an elderly woman (probably in her eighties) who was blind. I noticed them when I was flipping through the skirts, but didn’t overhear their conversation, so I didn’t realize that the woman was blind. When I was looking at the purses, they were behind me perusing a rack of jackets. The younger woman was enthusiastically describing a soft, cream-colored jacket to the older woman. She guided the woman’s hand to the jacket, and the woman touched it, murmuring at its softness. “This is so much fun,” the older woman told the younger woman.

After that I went to D’s house. For Christmas 2006, I bought him the first season of LOST. It has taken him this long to watch it, probably because I have scared him away a little bit through telling him all about how he’ll get addicted. I’ve never before encountered a more addicting show. Let’s not mention here how many classes I skipped that week I watched the first season a few years ago. After D and I were done with the first four episodes, three of his roommates watched the first disc, so we are all at the same point today and can watch the second disc together. I’m excited. Even though I don’t have a job yet, people have been encouraging me to savor this time of unemployment. The relatives reassured me of it yesterday evening. I’m welcome to stay there as long as I need to.

I am so very thankful for the people in my life.

For Reals?!?

December 21, 2007

The shower is generally a prime location for deep thoughts, and this morning was no different. Today it occurred to me that most reality shows on television are about people who, in many ways, don’t have a lot of common sense or may lack some of those down-to-earth qualities that average people have. Do people ever get turned away from reality shows because they’re too smart? Do the producers meet their quota for smart people after just a few and send the rest home? Or are smart people just too smart to even want to be on the show in the first place?

Now, you may or may not agree with me on the brain-state of most reality TV stars. But let me support my assertions by naming off just a few of the many reality shows featuring people who are less-than brilliant: America’s Next Top Model, The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Girls Next Door, and even America’s Most Smartest Model is pretty iffy. If you gauge smarts on whether or not you can name a river in France (and most of the contestants can’t) or whether or not you can name an Italian designer (um, think just about any designer… Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace, Roberto Cavalli… and most contestants can’t), well, then I guess these models aren’t really smart. Would they even be considered smart if they could merely recall rote knowledge, as the questions ask them to?

I haven’t watched any of these shows extensively except ANTM, but they all have the same idea. America likes watching stupid people compete, or watching rich people who are also stupid live their daily lives. Now, these rich people may have the tenacity or insanity to make a lot of money, but they do not have the intelligence it takes to raise smart, hard-working children or solve conflicts within relationships.

So, what if we created a show called Smart People, and it was all about, well, smart people. My first though was that I should have a reality show made about me, moving to California. Because I’m smart. And I have smart friends. And we’re funny. It would be about a writing group that gets together for editing, or what we talk about on the weekends, or about the huge argument D and I had the other night about the meaning of the word prolific:

Ann: No, you’re wrong. Prolific has nothing to do with quality. It’s all about the quantity of things. When Dr. B told me I was a prolific writer, she didn’t necessarily mean that it was good — she just meant that I do it a lot.

D: No. When you call something prolific, you mean that it’s good.

Ann: No, D, let’s look it up in the dictionary.

D: I am looking it up in the dictionary.

Ann: So am I, but my dictionary is better than your dictionary.

D: What makes you say that?

Ann: Mine is a $2 dictionary I bought at an antique shop, and it’s like 8 inches thick.

D: Whatever. Yours is just old. Here, let’s ask John [D’s roommate]. John has his master’s degree. You should listen to him. Hey, John, what would you say the word prolific means?

[John’s muffled voice is in the background, but I can’t quite hear what he’s saying]

D [speaking to John]: So, you wouldn’t say that it has anything at all to do with quality?

Ann: YES! I KNEW IT! D, JOHN HAS HIS MASTER’S DEGREE, SO YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM!

Our reality show could also feature us taking IQ tests and looking up things in our dictionaries. We could have specials about writing research papers, and subtitles with definitions of the words we use so the common public could understand what we’re saying. This would especially be helpful with D’s Philosophical Phriends. And if we ever got into fights, the show would feature us having debates in suits, with notecards.

EDIT: My friend Lee Ella posted this video on my MySpace in honor of my upcoming (5 DAYS!) move to California.

The funniest part about this is that the cows’ accents are exactly like those of the middle-age farm wives I worked with at the fruit packing company.

Handmade Christmas Sneak Peak

December 20, 2007

So, I totally had another closeup shot of a different gift I made to give away, but I accidently deleted it off my camera before I had a chance to put it on the computer. Why didn’t I just take another? Because I got overly eager and already wrapped the gift. Oh well. I’ll take another picture after the recipient opens it.

So, this is all I’ve got for you:

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I’m super excited about the gifts I’m making. It’s been a great past few days just being creative. I leave for California in six days!

Minnesota has been very cold lately, so I decided to counter-act the frigid by taking a really hot bath when I got home from work today. It was just the ticket, but now I’m so relaxed and sleepy that I just want to curl up in my bed. While I was in the bathtub, however, I thought of a new topic to blog about for the next week or so. It may not be quite as interesting as long-distance dating, but just the same, I get asked a lot of questions about it, so I’ve decided to unlock this mystery of mysteries: Homeschool.

In church yesterday, there was this litttle girl who was sitting in front of me, wearing this gauzy, sparkly, pink little dress. I’m betting she had dressed herself that morning, and if her sister’s fuzzy Elmo sweater was any indication, she had done the same. I love, love, love it when kids dress themselves. The outfits crack me up because I see so much of myself in those girls, so much of the little girl who wore purple jogging pants all the time and refused to wear socks. Stirrup pants were my wardrobe staple for a while, and I owned a neon green sweatshirt. Remember scrunchies? Yeah. Had ’em. Wore ’em as bracelets.

Most of you probably don’t know that I was, indeed, homeschooled for most of my life. But mark my words: I swear that I never wore inordinate amounts of denim.

Tomorrow I will begin writing about the things that made homeschool a successful experience for me. And I have a pretty good grasp on the particulars that made homeschool difficult at times. So, if you’ve been homeschooled, are thinking about homeschooling, or just plain think homeschoolers are crazy (my boyfriend D claims to be in this camp of people, but guess what, he’s still dating me), catch me tomorrow when I plan to be well-rested and ready to share all the deep, dark, dirty secrets of homeschooling.

When I began this series, I wrote down a number of points in my journal that might be good to cover. For the most part, this will be the last entry of the series, but I might come back to it every once-in-a-while when I learn something new or if anyone has a topic for discussion that they would like to share. I do have a few more things to add, however, and most of them are practical things.

1.) Never underestimate the U.S. Postal Service

USE THE MAIL. There is nothing like receiving a good old-fashioned letter from the sweet dumpling in your life, or even a care package. As many of you know, I’m really into fashion (I write a fashion column on finding discount fashion at ZIA), and I really like dressing people. I especially like dressing guys. I try to stay away from getting clothes for D because he has two sophisticated sisters who have taught him well. Plus, he’s just got good taste. But I have sent him a few surprise articles of clothing: an excellent shirt that I bought at the GAP when I worked there and had my tremendous employee discount, and a red and grey scarf that I crocheted:

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D is excellent about sending me mix CDs. In fact, one of the ways that we got to know each other so well over the phone in the beginning is because he sent me a bunch of mix CDs with playlists like…

“To Be Young” by Ryan Adams
“Sugar Magnolia” by The Grateful Dead
“God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys
“Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan
“Ocean Breaths Salty” by Modest Mouse
“Novocaine For the Soul” by The Eels
“I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” by Wilco
“Thank You For Sending Me” by the Talking Heads
“Baby Blue” by Gene Vincent
“Down By the River” by Neal Young
“I Hope I Don’t Fall In Love With You” by Tom Waits
“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman
“Visions of Johanna” by Bob Dylan
“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd
“Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star
“Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen

They were excellent. I reciprocated by sending him some of my favorite music, and we had a good time discussing what we like and dislike, etc.

We also tried something that kind of flopped, but it might work for other people. D had the idea that we should send each other brief homework lists once a month with a book to read, music to listen to, and movies to see. We each sent one another one homework list, but neither of us ever completed them. I am still chipping away at Crime and Punishment, and D still has not sent me those Seventeen Magazine-style, heartthrob photographs of himself that I requested. I guess we can tell which of us is the one with depth in this relationship.

Speaking of photographs, digital cameras make it a lot easier to share photographs of events family, or yourself. D loves it when I send him pictures, even if they’re just my outtake photos from masthead pictures for this website. I also send him pictures of stuff I’m doing because he lives so far away and often can’t be there.

D and I have also sent one another books and DVDs for borrowing so we can read or watch them and then discuss. Also, we both listened to his copy of the audio book of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. That gave us a lot to talk about.

2.) Use email extensively because it’s free!!!

D and I email each other articles, notes, messages on Facebook, links to short stories and poetry, and basically anything that interests us. It’s a great way to touch base on a daily or weekly basis. Also, Facebook now has applications where you can engage in a little bit of healthy internet competition with your significant other and friends. D and I often play Scrabble with each other over the internet. Nothing beats playing a game with him in person, but Scrabble on the internet is just one of the little things we can do to keep in touch and have fun together without having to talk on the phone all the time.

3.) And lastly….

When you’re in a long-distance relationship, it’s easy to get in the rut of being extremely gushy and relationship-y when you’re on the phone. You know what I’m talking about… those people who get all mushy every time they talk to each other. People in close-distance relationships do the same thing, but because they have to spend time with other people on a regular basis, it doesn’t have the chance of happening as often. I’ve learned, however, that at least for me, it’s better if I don’t say, “I miss you,” unless I really mean it. If I say it constantly, it diminishes in value. I want it to surprise D and make him feel good. I don’t want it to become a routine.

In a long-distance relationship, it’s also really important to make an effort to be vocally affirming. People who live close to one another don’t have to be quite as intentional because they can hug and kiss each other at least once-a-week. D and I don’t have that privilege. If I want to tell him that I like him, I have to tell him. I have to say things like, “You’re my Little Cracker, and I’m your lady, and you’ve got some seriously symmetrical elbows there.” Or whatever works.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. I’m not saying that I know all the answers or anything, but I know several people who read this blog are in or have been in long-distance relationships and could also provide some advice.

Thanks so much for reading this series! I’ve enjoyed writing it and enjoyed your comments.

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On Saturday, friend MS and I went thrift store shopping in Mankato. I wasn’t feeling too well — coming down with a cold that has had me lying down for the past day — but MS said he wouldn’t go if I didn’t, so I took some medication and decided to tough it out. My trooper tendencies were profitable indeed. I couldn’t buy a whole lot because 1.) I am moving and can only take what fits in my car and 2.) I am saving money for that big moving trip. But I did buy a few nice things:

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This lovely sweater is brand new and reminded me of a cheaper something I might find at Anthropologie. Obviously cheaper because it was only $3, but also because it doesn’t quite have the unique, one-of-a-kind look that Anthropologie’s stuff has. So, I decided to add a little class to it:

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I bought a bag full of vintage buttons off of Ebay a few years ago for $2, and they have served me well in embellishing many-a garment. They did not disappoint me this time either.

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I’d also like your opinion on the color of the sweater. I’m considering tea staining it to give it more of a muted color. I’m just not sure if the pale pink will work with my already pale skin tone. What do y’all think? Tea stain or no?

I also found this lovely Marilyn Monroe-style dress that was quite the jackpot.

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It’s bright red velvet and so lush — the photograph doesn’t do it justice. And even though it was probably originally sold in the late ’60s, it still has its tags:

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I have some altering to do on it. First of all, it is floor-length, a length which drowns short people like me. So I am going to cut it off at the knee. Also, when I was first looking it over to see if it was a good purchase (it was $15 — a little pricey for thrift stores, but if I had bought this in a vintage clothing store rather than at the Salvation Army, it would’ve been more like $40-$50, at least in Minneapolis), I found this horrendous add-on:

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It’s a mangled little bow on the ties. Last night I removed the bow with a seam ripper while lying in my sick bed, watching Project Runway. The bow was badly, badly made, as were the eye hooks that someone sewed on. I doubt the dress was made with these eye-sores. The eye hooks bunched up the fabric. So, I removed all that, and because I don’t feel comfortable wearing a halter dress if it’s just tied on, I’m going to add yet another vintage button. I’ll show off the finished product when it’s done.

I also bought a furry hat for while I’m here in Minnesota, but I’m thinking I might use it for a new masthead photograph, so I’ll save it for a later date. It’s super cute and oh-so Girl From the North Country.

Yesterday I wrote a post with the title, “The Shoe Diaries Entry 1: I’ve Got a Wedge.” I also write a column at ZIA, an online magazine, about finding affordable fashion. Lately I have been succumbing to the post-college epidemic of Feeling Flaky. You college graduates may know it well, especially if you pursued a highly academic, research-oriented field that throttled you to the highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. In college, you had your group of Intellectuals with whom to be Intellectual in class, over coffee, after watching foreign films or reading Proust.

Post-college, you are left with nothing but a desk job and marathons of The Real Housewives of Orange County on television.

My friend Devi writes about important topics on her blog. She writes about politics and religion and oppression, and her writing style is so lovely and straight-forward and well-crafted (and she doesn’t constantly use the word “and” while creating lists) that I want to read whatever she writes.

A few weeks ago at my cousin S’s wedding, I spoke with my cousin’s husband’s brother P for a while. After all, I had to walk down the aisle with him, so I might as well get to know him a little bit. I asked him the general small-talk questions about location and work and school. P works for an organization in Washington D.C. associated with a cause that he believes in so much that his entire Facebook is devoted to it. Now, I must admit that I know very little about the topic other than a liberal-arts-college-American-Government-class understanding, but one must admire his Roman-soldier-like devotion. My Facebook page is devoted to the life of Ann Clipperton, complete with photos of cat Francis and status statements like, “Ann is hungry.” I guess I’m rather low on Maslow’s famous hierarchy.

When P asked me what I’m doing with my life, I told him that I want to be a writer. “What kind of writing do you do?” He asked. “Oh, lots of kinds,” I answered. Because I have. I’ve written poetry and even had some published, and I’ve written short stories and news articles and magazine articles and columns. When I thought of things I’ve been doing lately, I could only think of the blog and the column for ZIA. So I told him, “I write a fashion column for an online publication.”

And for some reason, I felt a little twinge of shame, a little sense of I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world. Let’s get something straight — P did not make me feel that way. He was very kind. It was all me, inside, thinking about what my goals are and wondering about what exactly it is that I’m doing with my passion for fashion. Or even with my passion for intelligent thought. Or just for caring about other people.

Like Kate Hudson’s character Andy in How To Lose a Guy In Ten Days, I would hope that my goals in life stretch farther than writing a “How To” column for a glossy magazine designed for glossy women with little else to be concerned about than color coordination and How to Know If He’s Into You. And I would hope that my goals for writing stretch farther beyond Shoe Diaries or columns about discount fashion. Like to something that really matters beyond Ann’s amusement.

At the same time, I don’t want to diminish the importance of fashion and all the thought-provoking questions that come from it:

Does the act of first wearing and then burning a bra have a significant psychological impact on its owner? Does the wearing of pants influence a woman to have a career more like a man’s? Maybe not today, but did it in the ’50s? Did that individualistic style that emerged in the late 1990’s have anything to do with existentialism and advances in technology that make relationships far less relational (i.e. I imagine that I have never met many of my readers, yet they get a glimpse into my life on a daily basis)?

Does philosophy influence fashion, or does fashion influence philosophy?

Once my dear and much-quoted friend Ali told me that perhaps I shouldn’t spend so much time reflecting on things because sometimes I dig myself into my own black hole, an abyss of my own making. Indeed, I have 14 years of journals to prove it. Ali also once told me, “Sometimes you just need to talk about cartoons.” These are wise words, coming from one of the smartest women I know, a woman who is currently pursuing a PhD.

Perhaps my Shoe Diaries are my version of cartoons, and I need them as an outlet for the deeper questions. Perhaps my life is a little more balanced when I can set aside those ideas about the over-sexualization of America’s teenage girls and write about “What to Look For in Thrift Stores” in 1000 words or less, complete with quippy jokes about Saved By the Bell and the nineties.

In society, women’s flakiness seems to be the new black. I imagine that I will encounter this to a greater degree in California, but even in the Northwest corner of Arkansas, I noticed how materialism seemed to cancel intelligence. I hope that my posting of fashion items and purchases does not influence others to materialism, the flakiest of all flakes. That is not my intention. My intention is for images to bring inspiration and creativity, as they do for me. My shoes make me see my clothing in different ways. They make me appreciate the new twists I can put on old items rather than going out to buy new things constantly. The contentment they bring is not from having more but from rearranging what I already have. My brilliant Basic Economics professor, a sweet man named Dr. Balla who spent a year in Mexico living among the poor, once said that having a lot of stuff is dangerous. “The more you have, the more you want,” he said. “And the more you have, the more you’re afraid to lose.”

The constant thirst for more is a dangerous place to be because that thirst will never quench. I hope that any fashion ideas or photos on my blog or in my column will influence readers to create rather than covet. Your life is fine without this stuff. Cute shoes will bring fun but never fulfillment.

We’ll call this particular pair of shoes the Purple Pizzazz… mostly because I like the word pizzazz. If anyone has not seen the Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire film Funny Face, those deprived persons ought to go out and rent it. It’s a fantastic film about fashion and finery… and the editor of the fashion magazine, played by Kay Thompson, is always yelling, “Pizzazz!” She also sings a song called, “Think Pink!” Anyway, back to the Purple Pizzazz:

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These shoes have a little surprise when viewed in profile:

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The wedge eliminates that pesky little problem of getting your heels stuck in street grates (or pulling a Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner and meeting your soul-mate) However, the wedge also prevents the possibility of using your shoe as a means of self-defense: If you tried to hit a guy with them, they’d probably just bounce off his head.

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The Purple Pizzazz have this adorable little toe design and even came with a dust bag to prevent dust from settling in the ridges.

The Purple Pizzazz are made by Seychelles. Most probably have not heard of the brand — they are mid-level. Brand new, these shoes probably would’ve cost $80-100. Seychelles began in the 1994 and re-invented itself in 1999, supporting a new fashion movement that emphasized individual style. In the late ’90s and early ’00s, shopping at boutiques and finding hot vintage fashion started becoming vogue again. Seychelles creates cute new shoes that have a vintage twist.

I do find a dab of irony in the fact that a shoe manufacturing company supports individual style.

Purple Pizzazz Greatest Moment: Being bought. My best friend L and I were shopping at this awesome discount store in Rogers, Arkansas called Dollar Saver. On the outside it looks totally ghetto, but inside are a bunch of terrific designer clothes sold for dirt cheap because they are from a few years ago or from stores that went out of business. I’ve gotten some of my favorite clothing at this store, and the adorable luggage in the shoe rack photo below is from the store. L and I now have matching luggage because of Dollar Saver, and we have matching Purple Pizzazz. At first we started negotiating on who would buy the Purple Pizzazz because what type of friends wear matching shoes? Third-grader friends, that’s who. But then I told her I wouldn’t buy them unless she bought them, and now we have an agreement that we will be sure we are not dressed alike when going out together.

There was that one time when we out to Starbucks both wearing teal and brown stripes with yellow purses, but that was just an unfortunate fluke in the system.