Saturday, October 23, 2010

Louisa May Alcott, The Avett Brothers, Sisters, etc.

"Then as now, thirteen is a critical age for a girl.  It is at this age, as feminist writer Carol Gilligan among others has explained, that girls begin to lose their original voices.  They are mercilessly pressured by the world around them, the impossible models provided by society, their parents' expectations, and the landslide of feelings and opinions released by their emerging, delicious, and unconscious sexuality.  Under this onslaught of expectation, many young girls are pushed away from their original childhood selves and become silent hybrids, creatures molded so much by their environment that it is hard to recognize who they really are."

                                                       - Susan Cheever, Louisa May Alcott (publishing next month)

Ever wonder who you might have become if the rules & expectations surrounding you when growing up had been different?  Or even different now?

As for my mentioning not having free time because of a boy I liked... well, scratch that.

At the least, the end of a relationship does do amazing things for opening up your ears to fantastic "break-up" songs.  As if The Avett Brothers weren't cool enough already.  Speaking of, I get to review their new live album - just got my advance copy.  Can't say the week didn't go down as a win.

"I say it's not that simple - but then again it just may be."

Also - my step-sister Amy's birthday was this week - and I got to go out on the town with too many beautiful girls to handle at any given time.  I have pictorial proof.

My sisters!  The birthday girl is in stripes.  I am clearly checking out a hottie across the room.  We went to see the Josh Abbott band.  I had so much fun - wish these gatherings happened more often!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

One of those bullet pointed "where I've been" posts + my ACL photo pit pictures!

I haven't quit blogging!  I think...

Alright, here's what I have been doing:

  • Training to run the Austin marathon on February 20th.  I'm at 13 miles now.  The eventual goal is to get sponsorships to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of Austin.
  • Yoga.  A lot of yoga.  "Cross training" is my excuse for spending the money on classes (yoga isn't cheap... anywhere, but Dharma Yoga is totally worth whatever they charge).  
  • Prepping to teach a children's yoga class at one of the neighborhood BGC clubs once a week.  I totally know what I'm doing...
  • Prepping to lead the poetry club that a few English teachers want to start at my school (because I don't do enough being the club director and leading Keystone and Torch Club... don't ask me to be a swim coach because I'd say yes to that too and then I might explode).
  • Working.  A lot.
  • Spending more time with a boy I like than I should.  I need my free time to blog, etc.
  • Reading... sometimes I go through long periods where I forget how, or so it would seem.  I just finished Holy Cow by Sarah MacDonald.  Loved it.  It was Eat Pray Love on steroids.
  • Being a bad dog mom - I finally took Bella running with me today and now she has a limp.
  • Going to see LUDO!!!! perform at Emo's.  (exclamation points are my own addition).
  • Not dressing cute.  I'm really tired of pictures of my own face.  Plus, oddly, the more I run and feel in better shape, the less I feel the need to dress nice.  I feel great in everything.
  • Working - did I mention that?  Running a program alone (I had a partner in crime last year) is a beast.  I'm probably going to get written up soon for letting some data entry fall by the wayside.  I hate data entry.
  • Not playing guitar.  Bad Amanda, bad.  I probably couldn't strum a C chord after this long without practice.
  • Getting ready to be the world's most awesome bridesmaid for the love of my life - Joanie!  Her bachlorette party will be here in Austin (she's in Georgia), and a champagne table at La Bare will be going down.
  • Oh - and did I mention running?  We run three times a week at 7:30 AM.  I forgot what that side of the day looks like.  This means I got to bed about... now, as opposed to 2 or 3 AM like I did last year.

The best thing I've done, though, is get a photo pit pass to the Austin City Limits Music festival to take pictures for Venus.  I don't care if I'm in no way a professional quality photographer, it was amazing, and I'm so excited I got to do it and go see a festival I would have otherwise never have been able to afford a ticket to.

From the Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zero's show photo pit.  See all 69 (I totally did not submit that specific number of photos on purpose...) of the photos they published here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Albuquerque, New Mexico

I'm in Albuquerque this week for work.  I got to spend a few hours today walking around Old Town and fawning over turquoise rings and wrist cuffs.  Despite there being 50% off signs in almost every tourist and jewelry shop window, I held my resolve and did not buy one, (although it makes me a little sad to say so).

I had forgotten how much I loved being surrounded by mountains.  It makes me miss Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, and think about one day moving to Santa Fe or Denver.  I'm not sure if I can blame being a military brat or wanderlust (or both) for never being able to visualize staying in one place for more than a few years.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ex-Lover Countdown

There is an old mayonnaise jar hiding under my bed,
every day I shove bad memories down its throat
like my own personal museum of things I can't
bring myself to forget yet.

It is brimming with words I wish I could force
back into my mouth, the taste of playground gravel,
the smell of police station coffee
that wedding
the ride from the hospital
the lens flare a gun barrel casts in the sun
dodgeballs (lots of dodgeballs)
and of course, romance gone the way of the goldfish

I like to keep ex-lovers toward the outisde
of the jar.  I watch them as they press their faces
against the glass and beat their tiny fists upon the wall.

Sometimes when I'm sure no one is looking,
I roll the jar inside my palm and play a game I like to call
Ex-Lover Countdown.

Number 10

If you didn't know better, you'd have thought I took out a personal ad:

Single white male, 21, relatively attractive, enjoys poetry; seeks female 
willing to treat him like shit within the confines of a terminal, largely
sexless relationship built on grain alcohol and guilt.

Number 9

I had to stop and ask myself: Is it a bad sign
when you visit her apartment for the first time
and there is a pregnancy test on the top of the trash?

Dear Number 8,

I went looking for your passport
Found another man's underwear
I hope your baby gets lupus.

Number 7 showed me that when I put her on a pedestal,
it was really easy for her to kick me in the face

Number 7(a)

When she said, "Remember when I slept with your best friend?"
I wish I had something more witty to say than,
I'm sorry you did what?

Number 6 had a problem with silence, so she talked
the way she smoked, end-to-end, rambling
for hours about absolutely nothing, stopping
only to light another cigarette.  When she ran
out of cigarettes he'd turn the stereo up or burst
into tears while we kissed.  it was here I learned
that I do not have a thing for crazy girls,

crazy girls have a thing for me.

Her stomach was as smooth as apple skin.
Just before dawn I would graze it with the back of my hand
and roll from her tiny bed.  I'd get dressed hastily in the dark,
desperate not to rouse her though I knew she was not sleeping

I wonder now what might have been if I had stayed
until the sun wedged its way past the drapes;
would we have found our silence then?

Just before I gave my virginity to the first 
available bidder, Number 5 put on a Rusted Root album.
We writhed together like two savage, suburban warriors
in the dense thicket of the school parking lot

I gather Number 4 mistook me for some sort of superhero,
the machine she employed to grind out this town, steal her
from a fire escape and fly away.

She had a habit of tossing her problems out the window
presuming I'd swoop down and catch them.  She soon had a pile
in the alley; the neighbors had begun to notice.
I must have been afraid of heights back then.

Number 3
[with a bullet]

I had a premonition about her once; I've been gun-shot
and I'm bleeding, crimson staining white sheets, spreading
the way afternoon sun soaks the bedroom.  She's trembling,
but accomplished.  She looks forward to missing me.

The end is nigh and I'm staring at the ceiling, counting
flecks of nicotine embroidered in the paint, the same crack
I gazed into when we pretended f*cking
was more than just a virus befalling us.

Number 2, I'm sorry.

Number 1, for a record 86 straight weeks,
is you, curator of this museum.

Do you remember when we were in love?
Does the thought of it still glare at you
from across the room, tapping its foot impatiently?

Do you remember kitchens at dawn, running
from exploding cabs, diving teeth-first into frost-bitten sheets
because the heat never worked?

We were some kind of adventure.
All of this has been for you.

I've seen under the marquee where we used to meet
on Saturdays; the same pink scarf knotted around your neck
same valances of midnight strewn about your face.

Still a quiet exuberance in the way you lean in,
arms and elbows, with a new lover
kissing like the war just ended.

I'm glad you found your sailor while I was lost
at sea, how appealing memory lane can be
when you never look down.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Toppling Towers

I've been on the hunt for affordable (read: super cheap and super steals) clothes that I can wear to work this year.  I'm not quite sure if these sparkle espadrille wedges were wholly justifiable, but I loved that they are fun with an air of elegance, and that the espadrilles make them daytime appropriate but the shimmer of the fabric can make them work for a casual night.  I found this skirt at SoLa a couple weeks ago when they marked down everything in the store that was from the summer stock.

Lennon comes back from being gone on tour for over two months, but only for a quick visit and to dog and apartment sit for me while I go to a conference in Albuquerque next week.  I'm not excited to fly - my dad was a pilot, but somehow I was born terrified of flying, (well, technically of crashing).  After I get back Lennon is moving to Dallas and my program year sets into full gear.  I hope the year is busy and wonderful and fun and if the grant cycle isn't renewed next year, I hope the principal hires me as a teacher on campus for 2011-2012.  I can't believe how much I miss teaching.  I can't believe I'd contemplate having to wake up at 5:30 A.M. every day again.

This is the outfit I wore in Arkansas to go out to dinner for my grandmother's birthday, but I also wore these shoes to go out last night to downtown.  I love The Ginger Man pub, because I love beer, and I love being able to make the call that a beer is too hoppy or too citrusy, or some other distinction.  For years I'd aspired to be a wine connoisseur, but I don't think that's in my cards anymore.  I'm certain I'll be a full fledged beer snob in a matter of years.  Luckily, I didn't stumble in these shoes while walking around downtown Austin at 2 A.M.  I actually think that two pints in, the fluidity of my ability to walk in an extra four inches improved, sort of like my Spanish skills.  Tonight was swimming, movie, and dinner with my friend Elizabeth, and the fact that I fell asleep on her couch is probably indicative I should be going to sleep now.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Under Your Spell

It's 7:30pm, my balcony door is open and the star curtains are blowing up and out but the air coming in is hot hot hot and makes the room even hotter.  But I don't really care - I feel trapped with the door closed.  My iPod is on random and this song by the Smashing Pumpkins is playing.  One time I went to Little Rock to visit my grandmother and a boy who played this song in his car over and over and over and over that weekend, so now every time I hear it I think of those few days, the sun when it's golden, and this song on repeat.  I always wanted to think he was playing it for me.

I'm devising my fall program schedule for girls in 6th-10th grade, and it's still amazing to think I get to pick what extra-curricular clubs to offer.  In high school, I was a member of at least fifteen clubs - I'm perpetually interested in everything (but never fully invested in anything).  So far, I'm settled on:

  • Girls Rock Camp
  • Film Making
  • Model United Nations
  • Cooking
  • Photography
  • Sewing
  • Roller Derby (Derby Brats)
  • Taekwondo
  • Theatre
  • Yoga
  • Science via a Sea World grant program
  • Girls Sports League

plus a few mandatory things like leadership development programs, technology, and similar concepts.  I can have five classes a day, and since this is the last year of the grant cycle, I don't have as much money to spend as I did last year, so I've got to pick some lower budget programs.

When you were in school, what was your favorite club or after school activity?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tamara Lichtenstein: Sparkly Cornfields

I'm not going to run out and get a Tumblr, but maybe I should break down and start collecting the photos I find pretty and inspiring instead of wishing I knew how they did that.  Aya over at Strawberry Koi posted a few of these Tamara Lichtenstein pictures, and I ended up sitting for an hour browsing through her entire photo portfolio afterwards.  I love how most of them look like snap shots that ended up being beautiful happy accidents.

And I have to post this last one simply because I own this dress.  But I do not look like that in it.  I'm going through a hopefully short lived phase where I hate everything in my closet I've owned for longer than a few months.  Most of it I've either shrunk or let wrinkle beyond recognition.  I've spent today and will spend tomorrow and most of next week in professional conferences, and I'm tearing through my closet to find clothes that aren't sloppy.  It makes me want to shop, but I know new clothes would look the same as the old ones after a washing.  Verdict: I need an iron.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tired & Uninspired

My summer as a teen program coordinator/counselor are over, and it's time to get ready for the school year.  Since I'll be taking over the program at a new school, I'll have to reorient myself to everything - the teachers, navigating the school, resources, new program offerings, and of course, the students.  I'm really excited to start but have to survive a month of trainings and meetings first, (today is the one year anniversary of my job with the Boys and Girls Club).

I have to admit in terms of writing, photographing, blogging, and even thinking, I've been inexplicably uninspired and discouraged.  Fashion blogging is fun, but I feel so weird having a blog that ends up being nearly 100% dedicated to pictures of me, even if as a model, I'm second to the clothes.  Maybe my internal critic is far too harsh.  No one can argue, though, that clothes can completely dictate how you feel in them.  A blah outfit makes me feel equally blah and want to be invisible.  In wanting to amplify my current emotional state from the doldrums, I'm typing this while wearing camp shorts and Cole Haan 4" heels, (from back when I could afford the occasional pair of Cole Haan).  It's actually working.

I think a lot of my lack luster enthusiasm and thinking capacity stems from a case of PMS (TMI? oh well), and the fact that rather than feeling inspiration from other bloggers, writers, artists, etc, I often get a sinking feeling of not being able to measure up - that's terrible - I know.  Hopefully in a week I'll snap out of it.  Regardless, I wore this dress on a movie date a while back.  It was a $20 splurge from Target and I love it, except one of the straps already popped off and had to be sewn back on.

Dress: from Target
Locket: from my grandma
Shoes: Seychelles from years ago

Also, in my list of world's best music, I accidentally left off what should have been a contender for number one: The Gloria Record.  I played the EP A Lull in Traffic every night while falling asleep for a year after getting it.  They were an Austin band and I would pay them money to get back together, or something of value, as I don't really have money to pay them with.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Long Shot & My Top Tens

So I've taken the long shot of applying to write for Pitchfork.  Probably won't happen - I do not delude myself.  I consider myself a padawan in terms of music writing, but I pride myself in recognizing how much I have to learn and improve (in all things).  The time I spent making my application wasn't a waste, regardless, though, as I compiled a few top-ten lists I'd like to share, (debate?).  I feel like John Cusack in High Fidelity making these, although he only went to five, (slacker).

My Top 10 Albums of 2010 (no order):

  1. 1.       Wintersleep: New Inheritors
  2. 2.       Holly Miranda: The Magician’s Private Library
  3. 3.       Free Lance Whales: Weathervanes
  4. 4.       Fanfarlo EP
  5. 5.       The National: High Violet
  6. 6.       Quiet Company: Songs for Staying In
  7. 7.       Magic Man: Real Life Color
  8. 8.       Band of Horses: Infinite Arms
  9. 9.       Suckers: Wild Smile
  10. 10.  Good Old War: Good Old War

My Top 10 Tracks of 2010 (no order):

  1. 1.       Hanna (Freelance Whales)
  2. 2.       Atlas (Fanfarlo)
  3. 3.       Mirror Matter (Wintersleep)
  4. 4.       Sleep on Fire (Holly Miranda)
  5. 5.       Daughter (Magic Man)
  6. 6.       My Body (Young the Giant)
  7. 7.       Martha (Suckers)
  8. 8.       Totuus minusta (Regina)
  9. 9.       My Own Sinking Ship (Good Old War)
  10. 10.   Your Love (Keane)

My Top 10 Albums of All Recent Time:

  1. 1.       The Jealous Girlfriends: The Jealous Girlfriends
  2. 2.       Ludo: Broken Bride
  3. 3.       The National: Boxer
  4. 4.       The Get Up Kids: Something to Write Home About
  5. 5.       Hot Water Music/Alkaline Trio
  6. 6.       Mineral: The Power of Failing
  7. 7.       Band of Horses: Our Swords
  8. 8.       The Format: Interventions + Lullabies
  9. 9.       The Walkmen: Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone
  10. 10.   Grand Serenade: Lean Times

    Let's play the High Fidelity game: do you have a top ten list of albums, bands, or tracks?  I'd love to see it.

    I really wanted to have pictures of The New Pornographers show from Friday night at Stubb's, but thanks to Stubb's discriminatory camera policy, I have none.  I drove back from Little Rock to make it to the show by 8pm.  I barely made it, (9 hour drive), had to park in way far away east Austin, had only my wallet, my camera, and a water bottle in my bag, walked the long way to Stubb's, and was turned away at the door because my camera had an interchangeable lens.  Excuse me?  By the time I walked back to my car, hid my camera under a seat, debated going back, decided to with coaxing via text, and walked all the way back, I'd missed The Dodo's, and was thoroughly ticked, and will probably hold a grudge against Stubb's for a long time, because that's how I roll.  Luckily, Ludo will be playing at Emo's, and that's a show I might have gotten over my grudge to go see, begrudgingly.

So I leave you with the ultimate hipster video and a song I really like: Totuus minusta by Finish band Regina. Complete with bear costume, and cake.  And puppets.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Whole Week's Vacation

Starting on 5 p.m. yesterday, my vacation week officially begun.  I'm en route to Little Rock, but stopped in Copperas Cove to visit my dad and step-mom.  They have this beautiful pool, and I'm yet to even swim in it!  This will need to be rectified soon.  With 100 degree temperatures like we had today, I probably have some time to make it happen.  I find myself already stressing about how much I will be able to get "accomplished" over this week, and then I want to thump my head on a wall.  All I want is one week without a to-do list hanging over my head, or the itch to "get ahead" on projects or article writing.  Although I have a friend's wedding coming up, and I'd like to save up to afford the gas to get there - it's quite a drive from Austin, so article writing may be in the mix.

These pictures let know just how much I need to work on using a light meter properly.  That, and checking when the date stamp is on - I had to crop it out of all my pictures - oops.  I've had this skirt in my closet for two months but never cut the tag off till today - what was I thinking!?  This may get worn everyday this week.  I have an eight hour drive ahead of me, so I should probably stop posting pictures of myself (I still feel weird about this - but it's fun to take them) and go to sleep on my air mattress.

Crochet skirt: Forever 21
Peach tee: from SoLa in Austin
Necklace: Little Rock boutique
Ring: Little Rock antique mall
Shoes: BGBG Girls

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Public Service Announcement

I went tubing weekend before last on the Guadalupe river.  One house had this long rope swing with a platform to jump off from and swing into the water.  This guy pulled it off successfully, and then this poor girl got up to try with everyone cheering her on.  Her hands slipped or something and she fell with a full face plant onto the ground and then sort of skidded into the water.  Everyone was STUNNED.  She was ok.  I doubt her pride was, though.

So, moral of the story - don't drink and rope swing, kids.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blue Giant & Regina reviews

Read my review for Venus of Blue Giant's self titled debut here.

Read my review of Finland's Regina new album here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Poison Japanese Jasmine

Now that taking pictures of myself has become more of an undertaking - what with needing my tripod, two lenses, (one that only half works), my remote, the energy to run back and forth after a long work day, etc - I've noticed that while the original goal was "fashion" photography, I've become more concerned with simply staging a decent picture than with the elements of my outfit.  While my lack of emphasis on unique clothing and accessory choices sort of kills the "fashion" element of it all, I do like that my focus is on learning how to play with light at different times of day, play with the focus, even utilizing the broken zoom on my wide angle lens, and try to pair backgrounds with clothes.  Taking a daily "outfit" photo is too much work, but I like creating an editorial style photograph, and I hope to improve at it, as well as all aspects of picture taking.

In these photos, I truly suffered to create them.  Those are morning glories growing on the fence, with a few springs of Japanese Jasmine interwoven between them in spots.  I learned the hard way that leaning into the Japanese Jasmine vines makes my skin burn horribly, turn red, and prickle with hard bumps all over.  Nothing calamine lotion didn't heal - forty-five minutes later.  I sucked it up and finished shooting - tell me that's not being a trooper!  After the first couple backwards shots I couldn't do anymore because the exposed part of my back had turned bright red, as had the backs of my arms, haha.  If I ever wanted to pretend I was a super hero, the time has finally come - I've found my kryptonite!  And it's a flower.  Sigh.

Dress: Wal-Mart.  I am fascinated, still, by the ability to buy clothes and groceries at the SAME TIME.
Shoes: Classified
Necklace: from Buffalo Exchange in Dallas

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Eclipse Soundtrack Review

I reviewed the Eclipse soundtrack for Venus, and you can read my thoughts on that here.  My favorite songs were The Black Keys' "Chop and Change" and Fanfarlo's "Atlas."  Since hearing Fanfarlo, I've fallen 100% in love with them, and they just released their new EP with "Atlas" on it.

Tomorrow we are taking 80 of our kids to see Eclipse at the Bob Bullock Museum and Imax theatre.  Is this movie appropriate for middle school??  Trying to coordinate field trips every day has been nuts and I can't WAIT for my week of vacation!

I've decided that a song is like a wave pool. Or the water of a beach, you decide whether you're a naturalist or not. If a song is good, it will be like floating in, under, and on perfect waves - like the types of waves you can boogie board on. They spin you around, raise you up, bring you down at the right time, and leave your head still swimming like you're floating in water when it's over. To me, that's a good song. What does a good song do to you? Any bands you're in love with lately? - I'm always looking for good music advice.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Goal Oriented

One of my favorite Austin blogs, Hipstercrite, written by Lauren, posted about five and ten year goals as revisited by someone past the ripe age of 25.  This makes me hyperventilate a little.  Here at the house-sitting house, where there is cable, I fall into the trap of watching HGTV.  On these home buying shows, perfectly composed nearly-30's purchase townhouses for half a million dollars and look like they walked out of a Talbots catalog.   I missed the instruction manual on how to be that perfect.  I still dream about the perfect pair of boots to wear to a concert to not get my toes stepped on while still looking feminine.  Not cardigans with rosettes.

At 26, I've had to do a lot of restructuring of my long term goals as I realize some of my initial goals, like, marrying a millionaire so I can be an agoraphobic eccentric novelist, are not going to pan out.  How does a person make goals when they keep changing?  With Lennon telling me all about his explorations of DC these past few days, it's had the effect of reminding me how much I would love, love, love to run the education program at a museum.  Like, say, one of the fifty thousand Smithsonians up in DC, (and I'd love to live there again).  If I could get to that position, and write for some (any!) publication, and have a closet full of pretty shoes, and a garden that actually produces a tomato, I'd like to think I'd feel accomplished in life.

But, if I ever should get engaged again, that could throw a wrench in things - having to accommodate a husband's career and what not.  Sounds like a hassle!  I really do want children, but I certainly see enough of them during the day, and when they start to get cranky I send them home, (like today!  goodness kids get cranky when you ask them to clean things as a service project), and then I can go spend my take home pay on a new dress instead of baby things.  I'm O.K. with this arrangement at present.  That, and coming home to Bella.

Do you have a five or ten year plan?


Monday, July 12, 2010

Working Girl

So in two weeks I start my new position at the Ann Richards School for Girls.  The focus of the school is on developing female leaders, and I'll be doing less running around over a giant campus than I did at Reagan.  This all means that I can dress more like my former-teacher-self.  But, most of my three year old teacher items are getting a little threadbare, and some probably don't even fit anymore.  I'm scared to try on my khaki pants.  

My high heels have been in retirement for a long time and I'm eager to break them out again.  I'm also interested in dressing "nicer" at this school, because I'm genuinely worried about what the principal is going to think when she sees my tattoos that were concealed beneath a cardigan at my interview.  It wasn't an issue at Reagan at all, but at ARS, I'm nervous.  I would like to counterbalance any negative associations they might have by looking like I run the Boys and Girls Club there, (wait, I do - and I love it).  

Charcoal DressFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

These heels are too high to wear functionally for me, but I do like the color.  And I'm in love with this dress, and will probably save my nickels to buy it in the next few weeks.  I've had a pair of black patent Cole Haan pumps for years that are already whispering to me that they want to be worn with that dress.

khaki workFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

I was in Target yesterday and found a dress really similar to this one for $40 as opposed to $100, but they were out of my size, and it wasn't nearly as "neat," it had a bunched elastic waist, and the thing I like about the Modcloth dress is how smooth and pressed it is.  Plus I certainly wouldn't actually be getting Christian Louboutin shoes, but certainly any color would match.

Is it normal to be fantasizing about work-wear in the summer?  Maybe it's because I've been wearing t-shirts and pedal pushers all summer while working with the teens at the community club - I'm essentially a camp counselor.

Any suggestions for shopping for affordable work clothes and shoes?  I still don't want to run around in stilletos, but maybe I can give my flats and tennis shoes a rest.
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