Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shoes

Oh my god. Shoes. How I have not written about this yet boggles my freaking mind.

Let's talk about shoes. For real. One might say I have a shoe problem. I see it as more of an obsession. Or a statement. My shoes say so much about who I am. I'm fun. I'm funky. I stand out. I like to be noticed. But most of all, I embrace my height.

I am a whopping 5'10". For a female, that's pretty darn tall. And don't even get me started about trying to buy pants long enough (seriously, where do tall women shop?!)  It took me a long time to be comfortable with my height. I always towered over the boys in my class. In kindergarten I had to sit at a special singular desk (think vintage school chair with desk attached) away from the grouped desks because my legs wouldn't fit under the table. I was the only girl; the rest were all boys. I always was the last girl in line when they put us in height order because I was the tallest. Kids would make fun of me. I would point out their "bald spots" to make them insecure because with my height I clearly could see them. (Okay so that was a lie but now that I think about it I totally should have). I wished I was a "normal" height. But alas, I kept growing.

I don't think I got comfortable with my height until almost the end of high school (coincidentally, boys actually started to get taller then me, but I still towered the girls). I believe that's when the shoe obession began. I realized that no matter how many times someone said to me "Why do you wear such high shoes, you're already so tall?", I needed to stop caring about their opinion. It didn't matter what they thought. It's about what I like. So what if I'm 6'2" in the ridiculous snake printed stilletos I'm wearing? I'm okay with it. If you're not, tough luck. College was much of the same thing. "You're so tall you don't need to wear heels that high". I know I don't need to, I want to. If I like a pair of shoes, I'm buying them whether they have a 1-inch heel or a 5-inch heel. I'm not going to change my fashion sense just because the shoes I like make me over 6 foot tall.

Just some of my eclectic shoe collection
Photo credit DSW, since that's my shop of choice
I've become kind of a shoe-icon at work.  The other girls (and my grand mom, God bless her) are always waiting for me to come in to see what shoes I'll be wearing next. I just find that there's something so innately sexy about a great pair of high heel shoes. They make you feel more attractive when you've got them on. They boost your confidence and make you feel good about yourself. I can't remember anytime that I've ever tried on a pair of heels and felt bad about myself. Clothing is another story, but shoes for whatever reason only make me feel good about how I look, never bad. Unless they're just ugly shoes, then I don't buy them.

Nick keeps joking that when we get a house we're going to need a separate closet just for my shoes. I know he says it jokingly, but it's probably more of a reality then fiction. I've got boots in every color that hug my calves or can easily fit over my pants, stilletoes that add 4" to my frame ranging from snake print to black with red flames and silver studs. I have zebra printed with purple accented heels and flower, and then of course my classic work pumps. But even those come in an obnoxious red color. My summer peep-toe pumps are ready to go and just pushed my winter boots to the side of the closet.

I've gotten used to the stares and leg jokes. It's almost like my height makes me some amalgam of a person. Nicknames included legs, stork, stretch. But guess what, I can see clear over everyone's head. Concerts, long lines, museum tours. I get noticed at the bar because who wouldn't notice the girl who's taller then average and holding a $20 bill to get your attention. Of course, a push up bra doesn't hurt either (just saying!) I still to this day get told "oh my gosh your so tall, and those shoes!" Yes I am, but if you really want to see tall, go stand next to any college women's basketball team. They even dwarf me, and that my friends, is not a bad thing.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What Happened to Curves?

Photo credit to whoever made it. Sorry I couldn't find your name
I was reading an email from an amazing friend of mine about how both her and her husband started running. In the email she detailed her first run attempt and then how she came to the conclusion of  "What am I running from? The fat girl that ate me! *Sobs*" After a fit of laughter at her observation (obviously overplayed as she is a beautiful and amazing wife, mother, and individual)  I relayed the story to my husband and parents, and moved on.

But then I was browsing greeting cards the store and I came across a general one, fit to send just because. It read: "If you are what you eat then I need to eat a skinny person." Hilarious again, I relayed it to my sister and moved on.

Then I saw this photo above making it's way around the Facebook/Twitterverse. And it got me thinking that between our perceptions of ourselves and what is being conveyed to us in the media and magazines, when did being an emaciated skinny woman become the norm from being a curvy woman?

Look at the TV show Mad Men. Joan (played by Christina Hendricks) is a wonderfully curvy woman. And she is beautiful. Gorgeous. Flawless. An amazing actress. Yet all the magazines talk about is her body and her size 14 self. Her bust, her waist,  her hips. She gets more attention for having curves and looking like a real woman. Not her amazing portrayal of Joan, the eat your heart out I'm taking no crap from anyone secretary in a man's advertising agency (world) on Mad Men.

Then you see all these women on the top row of that photo on the covers of magazines with headlines like "the miracle diet" or "how to lose those last 10 pounds". I'm sorry, I can already see (fill in any/most/all Hollywood actress/model/pageant winner's name here) ribs, plus photos tend to add 10 pounds. How in the HELL does she need to lose 10 more pounds? If I were to hypothetically give her a hug, would I break something?

I was talking with a tenant from our building at work and he asked me the question as to what the average size/weight of women are as compared to a supermodel. I told him I didn't know what the average weight was but size is 12-14 at a 5'4" height whereas supermodels are 5'11" and weight about 110lbs. He was amazed that I knew that. To which I answered 'well what woman doesn't'? How many times do we look at the photos and go "God I wish I looked like that"! Wait a second, WHAT? Why is that what we aspire to?

This is in no way an excuse for the obesity epidemic (?) that seems to be plaguing our nation. I hate to even use the word 'epidemic' because I feel as though an epidemic is something we can't control (think smallpox, or watch the movie "Contagion" and never look at someone coughing at the gym the same way again). And I understand, not all obesity is brought on just from over eating. There are so many different factors.  Our food/lifestyle/technology is a major impact on that. Nor is this a knock on women who are naturally super skinny and there is nothing they can do about it no matter how many Big Macs they eat and they don't ever set foot in a gym (seriously though, I hate you).  Genetics play an almost impossible to overcome body type for each of us and I completely understand that.

I'm just saying why does the average woman have to look like a flat board? What's so wrong with having curves? I'm all for a healthy lifestyle and working out. Lord knows I'm at the gym or running at least  4 days a week. I'm healthy and curvy. I've always been a tall girl and I still get asked if I model or play basketball. People laugh when I say that I'd need to lose at least a small child in weight before I'd ever get a (hypothetical)  modeling career. The sad part is I'm not joking, it's the truth. But I hate that I'm supposed or expected to just be this skinny mini because it's what Hollywood is doing.

Look at Jennifer Hudson. She was a size 16 when she entered the "scene". Then she went on Weight Watchers and is now a size 6. I am truly happy for her because she looks fantastic. But tell me that Hollywood isn't putting pressure on you to loose weight. Please tell me.

The part that most worries me is the message this is sending to young girls. I had a hard enough time when I was younger just being taller then most, standing at 5'10" without all this pressure to be super skinny.  How many girls do you know with an eating disorder? I know at least 1, and that to me is one too many. Why is this an okay message that society just accepts that it is normal to teach our daughters that you need to be skinny to be pretty? Why aren't we boycotting fashion icons that use emaciated models? Why aren't we outraged at Hollywood for having these skinny women be the norm? And I understand that there are magazines and designers who are now putting a stop to this, who have BMI and higher weight requirements. I applaud you for your efforts and for taking a stand against most in the industry. But more needs to be done.

That's why I love Dove. They do the campagne for real beauty to empower women to embrace who they are and what they look like. This is what real working women look like. This is the norm in America. And at first many were outraged because they were (are) still airbrushing the models and using photo shop to touch up the print ads. Well no shit people, the Dove ads are still going to be published in a magazine or aired on television. They still have to live up to the standards of their competition. But at least they are using women who look like the rest of us. Normal people who have real jobs and lives. Who don't have personal trainers/personal chefs/personal dieticians who direct every piece of food they put in their mouths and have them spending 8 hours a day in the gym.

In my opinion life's too short to be so obsessed with being perfect. I'm fine with being me, eating healthily but not feeling like I need to go throw up when I cheat or have an extra glass of wine (or 2). Running my races and working out at my pace. And you know what, my husband loves me just the way I am. Nick tells me all the time that I'm beautiful and when I say I wish I looked like (insert emaciated model/actress here), he always asks me why? What's wrong with the way I am now? He married me just the way I am and loves me just the way I am. And you know what, he's right.

I'm lucky that he'll always comment when I'm feeling down and looking at those top of the line actresses. "Who wants to look like that?" he says. But he does note how beautiful Christina Hendricks is on Mad Men. Wait, I think I'm seeing a connection here....

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Driving Etiquette

I work in insurance which means I definitely over-analyze anything driving or homeowners related. Perks of the job I suppose (what do you mean you have no coverage?!) But honestly, the lack of driver attentiveness on the road is down right frightening. The amount of times I have to use my horn or avoid being  hit from other driver's inattention are outrageous. So let's chat for a minute about driving etiquette of some drivers I've observed over the past week/month/lifetime. It's time to get back to the basics people.

I hate when my new expensive sports car comes without turn signals. USE THEM PEOPLE! It helps to SIGNAL to the other driver where you are going. May be a surprise, but I can't read your mind and it's likely that other drivers can't either (except for Miss Cleo, is she even still around?) Push that lever up to go right and down to go left. It should be second nature to you by now. What's that? You gave up your New Years Resolution of the gym already? Make using your turn signal your new New Year's resolution.

You know what the passing lane is for? PASSING. I know, I'm just unveiling so much new information on here but come on people! (PA and NY drivers seem to have a difficult time with this). In New Jersey it's keep right pass left. Which means if you're in the LEFT lane, you better be going fast enough to pass the car in the right. Or at least traveling the speed limit.

Which brings me to speed limits. You know those white signs with the black writing that say "Speed Limit" on top and then a number below it? That's what your odometer (the little level that goes up when you push down on the gas pedal) should read. I'm not condoning speeding, but please be going at least what's posted. Even on Sundays.

And this goes right into cars that will slow down for cops. If you see a cop on the side of the road and your odometer matches the magic numbers on that sign, there's a good chance that unless you're doing something ELSE illegal, he/she's not going to be pulling you over. What is the obsession with slamming on the breaks once a cop is spotted? Like they haven't already tagged your car since you were doing 55 in a 54 and saw you switching lanes like a maniac. By the time you've seen the cop it's already too late, take it from someone who got a speeding ticket years ago (sorry mom and dad!)

Stop lights don't mean it's distraction time, it means you still need to pay attention. Green means go! Stop choosing the latest Ke$ha song from your iPod and stop texting your BFF about your ex you just ran into. Pay attention. I'm tired of honking my horn to get you moving. I've got places to go people.

Although we're all guilty of it, this texting while driving really disturbs me. I mean what is so important that it has to be answered right away? Or without a phone call. USE YOUR BLUE TOOTH headset. Driving is my favorite excuse for not answering my phone. "Sorry, my bluetooth wasn't picking up so I didn't hear it ringing" may or may not be the excuse I used on the way to my friend's surprise Bridal Shower when she spotted me at a stop light.

But by far parking lots by far have got to be my biggest driving frustration. What is it about any parking lot that makes everyone just forget how to be responsible drivers? My co-workers and I have an unspoken system while exiting our work lot. We let each other go by who's pulled out first, then go in the order that we've lined up. You wait no matter how long it may take if someone is making a left and you can very easily make a right. It's just courtesy to go in order. But there's this one woman who may or may not work for the downstairs tenants of our building who seems to not notice the line of cars to get out of the lot, bypasses us all and just makes her right hand turn, thus BLOCKING the view of the person trying to make the left. How Rude.