Red shoe rankled

Disclaimer: this is a long post . . . about shoes. Grab a latte or duck out and save yourself while you can.

This July finds me a sweaty, red-faced bride . . . on a continued hunt for red shoes.

From the earliest stages of wedding planning, I’ve been specific about one aspect of my “vision”: that on my wedding day, I would glide (or, um, hobble. Whichever) to my fiance in a tea-length dress and red heels. When I found the perfect gown without too much trouble, I figured — naively, perhaps — that the shoes would follow suit. I’m as picky about my feet as the next woman, I’m sure, but I’m not a shoe hoarder . . . nor someone who typically has a hard time finding shoes.


rsvp shilaThese heels, friends. These elusive, wacky, unknown and mysterious red heels. I’ve shopped in-person, I’ve shopped online, I’ve prowled the dustiest corners of eBay and Amazon and DSW and, lately, Zappos — where today’s selection originates. I actually ordered one pair of red heels on clearance directly from David’s Bridal, but losing weight has meant losing weight everywhere . . . and those heels no longer fit. I tried padding them with special inserts but, even if the slack in back could be taken up, the peep-toe — though adorable! — pinches my tootsies. Big time.

Of the many aspects of the wedding day we have to finalize, finding these dumb shoes is what’s making me the cuh-raziest. I have my first dress fitting in three weeks and am under orders to have my shoes with me. Because I’m wearing a shorter dress, though, I figure I won’t have the length issue many other brides do; as someone on the petite side, I know all about garments that run too long. So as long as I have a pair of heels with me, that should be fine, right?

Eh. Don’t mind me, over here mumbling nervously to myself.

Regardless of whether I will have the shoes in question for the fitting, I need to make a decision and check this off my list. I am going batty looking for red heels, friends, and while it was a fun little hunt at first, I’m starting to get nervous and frustrated. I’ve taken to bridal message boards for recommendations; I’ve badgered friends and bloggers for the origin of their own wedding shoes. I’ve made a giant pest of myself — all in the name of heels! — and it needs to stop.

So maybe that’s where you come in.

If I wasn’t so OCD, maybe I wouldn’t be in a blind panic about shoes right now. But being

a) a woman;
b) a woman who has attended many formal events; and
c) a woman who has attended many formal events and had her feet kill her,

I’m serious about finding shoes I can actually wear. Given that I’ll be on my feet for a good six hours or more on November 10, I’m not playing around. I don’t want to be thinking about how much my feet hurt in my wedding day. Friends have recommended doing the flip-flop thing for the reception, but I’m just not down with the idea. Everyone will see my feet. No flip-flops. No going barefoot. I am toying with the idea of getting a red flat to wear in case of emergencies, but that’s another thought (and another post). I want to do this thing right.

Like so many blushing brides-to-be (do any of us actually blush?), I’ve envisioned a certain heel — maybe satin, perhaps studded with rhinestones — that remains elusive. I have an idea of this shoe, but this shoe does not seem to exist. (Or if it does, it’s way out of my budget.) As money is definitely a factor, I need to stay below $100. Because I’m a klutz and will be nervous, the heel can’t be too high. I would love a slingback, if possible, because a strap will make me feel more comfortable, and I favor satin styles rather than a leather or patent-leather look. And they must be red, natch.

After hours (hours!) of searching online and in-store, I’ve made my top three choices.

red shoes

1. Coloriffics Devine in Red, $54.45, Zappos
2. Bouquets Dakota in Red Satin, $55.99, Zappos
3. rsvp Shila in Red, $51.99, Zappos

So. Since the prices are all comparable, we can go ahead and say cost is not a factor here.

So which one?

I’ll start by saying right away that shoe No. 3 is my favorite. I love the satin look, the red bow, the not-too-high heel and the peep-toe. On my epic list of “wants,” this shoe meets everything except the strap to hold it in place more securely. So what’s my hold-up? It’s very similar to the pair I already have from David’s Bridal that do not fit at all (and they’re also a size 8). Maybe that’s totally unfair prejudice against this shoe but, you know, there it is. That fear is what’s holding me back from committing.

Shoe No. 2 lights up my life for the same reasons as No. 3 but without the bow, which isn’t necessarily a problem. I like the ruching detail, and it looks like a sturdy heel that I can walk in without busting my face on tile. Don’t underestimate my ability to bust my face, friends; I somehow managed to bruise a toe against the coffee table simply by standing up Sunday. Like, I don’t even know what happened. One minute I’m walking toward the kitchen; the next I’m seething by a chair, moaning and fighting back stunned tears over a random toe injury.

These things happen.

And this brings us to Shoe No. 1. I might have gone ahead and taken the plunge with these babies except for the buckle detail. It has the strap, a sturdy base and a bow, but the heel is actually 5 inches (whoa!) and I’m not sure about a buckle with my lace-and-applique wedding dress. Will it look weird? Out of place?

Am I just totally going crazy at this point?

Because Zappos offers free shipping both ways, I’m seriously thinking about ordering my two favorite pairs, trying them out and returning the loser. I hate returning things (don’t ask why — it’s not like it’s a huge deal to go to the post office, where I practically live), so I’m coaching myself with the mantra that I will return at least one pair no matter what and not waste my money, as is usually the case.

No number of blog posts will bring me any closer to a decision until I actually get these on my feet, right?

So which two should it be? Now accepting votes. And assurances. And if you have any recommendations for other sites where I could drive myself totally nuts looking at satin uppers and widths and peep-toes, please share. Any thoughts on comfy heels or brands? Sites you love? Medicinal cures for shoe-sanity?

Send help. And diet soda.

EDITED TO ADD on 7/18: Thank you all so much for your feedback! Based on your responses, I went ahead and ordered No. 2 and No. 3 — just waiting for my shiny package to arrive. I’ll post a follow-up after I get these on my feet, and will definitely share the winner.

Keeping it curly

Spence and me

Photos by Birds of a Feather Photography

I’m a curly top.

Born with naturally wavy hair, my tresses and I have fought many a battle over the years. Prone to frizziness and just complete chaos, my hair has a mind all its own. Though I could use the same shampoo every day for a week (and often do), it will end up looking different after every wash. It’s just . . . its own beast, you know?

By my high school graduation, I’d learned to tame it into submission — occasionally. And always with the help of a flat iron. Like many a modern woman, that all-important straightening tool has gotten me out of some major binds. I’m convinced my “real” hair is fine for the day-to-day (and rarely “style” it any particular way for work), but on big occasions? Major occasions? Places where I know I will be photographed? I straighten it.

Or “straighten” it, I guess I should say. Even flattening my hair keeps it flat for, oh . . . an hour or so. Less if it’s summer, and barely any time at all if the humidity soars to 10,000 percent. (Which is any warm day in Maryland.)

But if that hour coincides with a major life event? Well, we’re golden. And my hair has been straightened for my senior photos in high school and college, my graduations, parties, celebrations . . .
and the list goes on. I just thought it looked better that way.

But I’m changing.

The thing is, straight hair isn’t me. My natural hair is crazy. It’s thick and unruly and unpolished, but it’s also just a part of my personality. While I don’t have truly curly hair like the lovely corkscrew-style ladies out there, it has enough body going on that it really can’t be tamed. And I’ve gotten tired of trying.

When Spencer and I scheduled our engagement shoot for a few weeks back, I wavered greatly on what to do with my locks. After finding my awesome dress and choosing appropriate heels, I was left picking the hairstyle to be immortalized in these shots forever. My go-to event look is usually the top-knot, given that it allows me to keep my hair out of my face and looks halfway polished, but I wanted something different. And for me, someone who straightens her hair for every big shoot?

Well, that meant doing the opposite of the norm. That meant keeping it curly.

Right up until the time we had to leave, my palms positively itched to grab the flat iron. The thought of having natural hair in these shots was seriously causing me anxiety. But every bit of advice given for these types of photos is, of course, be yourself. And if I’ve heard it once from family and friends, I’ve heard it a thousand times . . .

“You don’t look like you with straight hair.”

I was genuinely nervous to see the pictures from our photographers, convinced keeping my hair wavy was a terrible mistake. Other couples look so polished and sophisticated and grown-up in their shots, and I worried I’d looked like an unkempt lunatic next to my fiancé. (Who was totally bringing the cute that day, by the way.)

That was all completely irrational, of course. The photos are in . . . and they’re lovely. Authentic to us, ethereal and sweet. I’m in love with our photographers’ work and am so, so excited with the results, especially given that they captured us at such a wonderful time in our lives.

And best of all? For the first time in my illustrious big-occasion photo history, I actually . . . look like myself.

And she looks pretty happy.

Spencer and me 2

I’m glad I kept it real.