Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Shoes: Fluevog Radios

Sorry it's been a while since I posted. You know how it is with the end of the year (a friend likes to call it "holidaze"). And to be honest, I'm still deeply affected by the horrible school shooting in Connecticut that happened mid-December. It's been making me think really hard about the kind of world that I want my son to grow up in, and what I can do to make that world a reality. That's no easy task, and this season has in some ways been really bittersweet. But I've also decided to embrace happiness where and when it can be found. Not to numb me or to make me complacent once again, but to remember what I want to fight to make a reality for my child and other people's children. So let me just share with you some things that have been making me happy. Mindful happiness. After all, that's what this blog space has always been about.

These new Fluevog boots were purchased on clearance after I tried them on at the Melrose store in early December. I wasn't even looking for more boots, but I do love the Radio family. This style is called RTP, and it's black suede with a gray strap at the instep. Sadly Fluevog only has them left in size 6, but if you're a true size 5.5 US (they run 1/2 size small), then I'd say go for it.

Click on the image to go to the website.

I've already worn the boots several times this month, and even under jeans they make me feel put together and happy to be wearing them. They're not difficult to take on and off, so I don't worry even if I'm going to a house where I have to take off my shoes. :-)

On this particular day, I wore the boots to Hollywood/L.A. to have lunch at a Peruvian restaurant and sing karaoke with a couple of favorite people I've known for over ten years. It was a lovely outing, and the boots were great for walking the city streets on a cold but sunny L.A. day.

Top: C.C. Couture (hand-me-down from my mom) | Jeans: GAP | Boots: Fluevog RTP (Radio family)

And if you're interested in more Fluevog styles, you're in luck! Their half-yearly sale is going on RIGHT NOW, and there are some truly gorgeous shoes from the Fall season on sale, like these, these, and these. And so much more. I swear, if I had all the money in the world ... but alas.

xo, Gladys

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Purple Suede and Stone

Showing off the buckle
Top: via Amazon | Jeggings: a.n.a. via JC Penney | Boots: Fluevog PRI (Radio family)

I'm not overly fond of this top, but it's one of the few tunics I have that works with the boots, which I love. It's one of my favorite pairs of shoes to wear when I visit the Fluevog store (this was from last weekend). The more pairs of Radio styles I wear/try on, the more I appreciate this family of shoes.

xo, Gladys

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Recipe: Beef Taco or Burrito Filling

I found this delicious taco filling recipe from a food blog called The Preppy Paleo. The author adapted it from Cook's Illustrated, and since I found the recipe earlier this month, I've made it five times now -- yes, that means I've made it at least twice a week for the past couple of weeks. It is easy and delicious and has my family's seal of approval. It reminds me of my favorite homemade chili, but it doesn't take nearly as long to cook.

This is how I eat it, using large pieces of lettuce as "boats" with dollops of sour cream on top. The extra crunch complements the flavors of the meat perfectly. So good. My mouth is watering just looking at this photo. My husband eats it with flour and/or corn tortillas, and my son just spoons it into his mouth.

I won't actually reprint the recipe here -- just go to the Preppy Paleo webpage -- but I'll note that:
  • If you don't want it really spicy, either lessen the cayenne paper to a pinch or eliminate it altogether. You can always add spice to it on your dinner plate with hot sauce or pepper. Meanwhile, your 4-year-old won't get upset that it's too hot in his mouth. Poor thing. (Milk helped.)
  • The sweetener and vinegar are unnecessary, but they do add a very subtle flavor.
  • Since the recipe doesn't require draining the fat, you're going to have a very wet filling, so just be aware. I personally LOVE the extra fat and always have since I was a kid. I use grass-fed beef so it has lots of Omega-3 and CLAs. The fat flavored with the cumin, coriander, and chili powder is out of this world. Yum!

xo, Gladys

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fluevog Love: Melrose Men's Shoes

When we picked up my Elizabeths two weekends ago, my husband decided not to try on anything even though he really liked the blue/gray unisex Supervog when I tried on a pair. (The women's size 6 was too big on me.) If the store had had his size in that colorway of Supervog, I bet he'd have given in.

However, I kept thinking about that lost opportunity, so when we made another trip to the store this past Sunday (more on that in another post), I insisted that he try on several pairs. The rationale I gave was that at least he would know what size he was in various Fluevog families, and he agreed. He's been looking to upgrade his everyday work shoes from beat-up sneakers -- he works in a pretty casual environment -- to something still casual but that reflects more of his sense of style. It's official: I think I've infected him a little bit with my Flueddiction. Gasp! ;-)

He only tried on four or five pairs, which is about his limit for trying on clothes and shoes in general. The Melrose store doesn't carry a lot of casual men's shoes anyway. We started with the Diesel and the awesome "Fluevogologist" Anthony brought out other styles that he thought my husband would be interested in.

(Click on the images to see the shoes on the Fluevog website.) 

This navy/brown/orange colorway is really beautiful. My husband really liked the dark blue of the vamp but not so much the orange piping. However, we almost got these.

This was a choice that Anthony made. My husband liked the colors and the sneaker feel ... but the Broderie Anglaise pattern really turned him off. This was a NO from the start. I don't even think he wanted to try them on, but I asked since I personally liked the embellishment. I could see why it might not be a good choice for his work environment though. :-)

These look pretty with the wingtips and they are supposed to feel more like sneakers, but they didn't do anything for my husband. At this point, I think he had made the choice to get the Diesel.

Anthony brought these out without our asking while my husband was trying on the Nathaniels. I have the CBC's in the bone color but I thought the CBC's might be too formal for what my husband had in mind. He didn't even want to bother trying them on because he had already decided on the blue Diesels. Again, however, I insisted that he at least try them on. Why not see which size he was in the Radio family? Well, the moment he slipped his right foot into the shoe, he made a wordless noise of wonder -- almost like "whoa" -- and immediately started putting on the left shoe so that he could get up and walk around the store in them. I've said before how much I love my Radio shoes, so I was really happy that he felt the same way about the CBC's.

So long story short, these black CBC's are now on layaway for my husband (part of his anniversary present from me). :-) He loved the look, the feel, the cool little detail at the back of the shoe, and the beautiful royal-blue lining inside. I asked Anthony if this colorway ever went on sale, and he said no. However, the Diesels in the navy colorway MIGHT; since it was a close second for my husband, he'll consider getting them for himself during the upcoming semi-annual sale later this month. So with these new CBC's, his collection is at two and counting ... (the first was for my brother's wedding last summer, a more formal pair called the Wisdom). It might be three by this time next month. We'll see!

xo, Gladys

Sunday, December 9, 2012

These Shoes! This Dress!

I think you can always tell how excited I am about an outfit by how many images I post. This one was a total winner. The reason? I built it from the (Fluevog) shoes up, and everything else fell into place just the way I imagined, including the comfortable amount of time I allowed myself to get ready (including most of my hair and makeup) so that we could catch the late afternoon light for these photos. :-) We made it just in the nick of time; it gets dark so early these days.

If you remember, we had a company holiday party to attend once again this year, and I think I hit every note I wanted to hit with this outfit. It wasn't too sparkly or shiny (unlike last year), it wasn't too casual, nor was it nightclub-y. But it was special and unique enough to make me feel confident in a banquet hall full of people I didn't know. I definitely got compliments on both the dress and shoes. And guess what? These shoes were made for dancing!

Dress: Tulle Los Angeles via ModCloth | Cardi: AGB via Macy's | Maryjanes: Fluevog Elizabeth (Queen Transcendent family)

The cardigan was the weakest link to the outfit, but I barely wore it since it was quite comfortable in the hall. I was dancing for part of the night, so I didn't even wear it until we made our way to the car to go home. This December weather sure is different from last year's frostiness.

Some notes about the fantastic shape of this dress. As you can see, the bodice flattens "the girls" a bit while the skirt puffs out from a high waistline. I think it has a retro 1960s-1970s vibe, which is why I did the semi-bouffant with my hair (I know it's subtle, but it's there!). The waist is almost but not quite empire in the front, but in the back it is basically at my natural waist which makes it look like a standard A-line dress. I am a fan of how different it looks from different angles.

Details, details

Then there is the matter of the detailing. The scalloped fabric design is just so elegant, and when you add the black ribbon with the fabric-covered button, it turns into the perfect office-party dress. I could definitely dress this down with a different pair of shoes, but while the Elizabeth heels might look on first glance to be demure maryjanes, they are clearly something special. "Glamorous" was the word my husband used. I will admit here that I did get a blister on one of my right toes by the end of the night, but 1) it wasn't very painful and 2) I was dancing a lot in shoes that weren't yet broken in.

Finally, I wanted to say that I was happy with how my eye makeup turned out. I don't wear makeup often so I don't get to experiment enough, and I was worried that my makeup would make me look weird like the last time I did up my eyes without wearing glasses (at my mom's brunch). This time, the makeup looked much more natural and accentuated the shape of my eyes rather than reshaping them completely. What did I do differently? I used a lighter hand with the eyeliner, brightened the center of my eyelids, and applied the darkest shade only to the outer corners.

After we took these photos, I actually did more with my makeup and hair: I curled and applied mascara to my eyelashes, darkened/filled my eyebrows, added another layer of eyeshadow, and finished straightening my hair all around the back of my head with a straight iron. But basically this is what I looked like for the party. I considered wearing a red lip color but finally decided to only use lip balm. With the freckles and the subtle dress, it just seemed to make sense to keep it natural. I'm glad I did. :-)

xo, Gladys

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Recipe: Chicken Arroz Caldo

This recipe is what I think of as the Filipino version of chicken soup, but with rice porridge. The ginger and chicken broth make for great cold-virus fighters. The dish tastes great when your nose is stuffed up and all your taste buds feel groggy and grumpy. And when they're not, the dish tastes even more fantastic. There are many recipes out there for this dish, but this is the way my mom makes it, sweet and simple, and of course nothing beats mom's cooking. :-)

Chicken Arroz Caldo

Makes 4-6 servings

  • 3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 pieces bone-in chicken thighs and/or legs (cut thighs in half if using); you can leave the skin on or remove it, but I leave it on
  • salt
  • water
  • 2 cups Calrose or sticky rice, rinsed
  • chicken broth (optional)
  • lemon juice


In a big pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil (olive, lard, etc.) on medium heat. Saute ginger until the edges start to brown. Add onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft, around 4 minutes.

Add chicken pieces and a few pinches of salt, and cook for 3-4 minutes until chicken starts to brown. Add about 1 cup of water and allow the chicken to simmer for 5 minutes.

Add rinsed rice and about 4 cups of water and mix everything together. Allow to boil, then lower heat to a bare simmer. Cover with lid. Stir periodically to make sure the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook for about 10 minutes then check to see if the rice is soft. You want it to be very mushy and porridge-like, not al dente in any way. Add water as needed and cook for another 5-10 minutes after each addition of water. It should be a little soupy (see photo above). You can use half chicken broth and half water to attain the desired consistency for the rice. Add salt to taste.

Serve in a bowl, with a couple squeezes of lemon juice per serving. You can also eat it with a hard-boiled egg and top it with some roasted minced garlic and/or chopped green onion.

Nota bene: If you substitute boneless chicken thighs or chicken breast, I suggest you use chicken broth for all of the liquid. Also, refrigerating the arroz caldo will dry it out, so when reheating, add a few splashes of water (or chicken broth) to reconstitute the soupiness.


xo, Gladys

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

More Fluevog Love: Melrose

I started off my month right by visiting the Fluevog store on Melrose over the weekend and picking up my new Elizabeths! Thanks so much to my hubby for taking care of the last layaway payment as part of my anniversary/Xmas gift. Woohoo! I will definitely be sharing more of those shoes in later posts. I found out that I did the right thing by buying the green colorway in my size immediately (or rather putting it on layaway immediately) since the Melrose store has completely sold out of all their green pairs TWICE already. (Yes, their second shipment this season is all out of the green pairs.) I'm glad they didn't turn into the shoes "that got away." I would have felt really terrible.

But of course I couldn't leave the store without trying on more shoes. I didn't go completely crazy, yet I still found more pairs to put on my ever-expanding wishlist. I have to say, the lineup this fall has been particularly fantastic. And all the green shoes are making me happy, from the Elizabeth to the Kathryn and Kanawa and to the pairs below.

(Click on the photos to see the shoes on the Fluevog website.)

Love the colorway and the fit! I am a Radio fan. I love my purple PRI's and white CBC's and want yet another Radio in my life (and more). These ARD's are size 6, which is just about right for me since Radios run 1/2 size small.

Inner calf/zipper view of the ARD's

More beautiful green shoes! These Chapots are lovely and feel wonderful on my feet. These are the first in the Adriana family that I've tried on. The family runs true to size so the size 6 is a little big, but for ankle boots that buckle like this that's just fine. I can't get over the shape of this boot!

These are lovely but unfortunately too loose. They come in the same green as the Chapot (above), but this brown is a lovely warm colorway as well.

I tried on the Gracias again in size 5.5 and they are indeed too loose. This family runs at least 1/2 size large so I would need these in a size 5 (which is no longer available). I'm not a big fan of the plain black, either. This pair is currently the last size 5.5 in the company, btw. 

I tried this size 5 pair of the Promise, and it feels wonderful. I wish it came in a different colorway, though. I have a couple pairs of Hopes in size 6 and have to admit that they're large for my feet. Now that they're making some Hope styles in the smaller sizes, I think I'm ready to let go of at least one of my size 6 pairs.

I finally tried on the electric blue Rosy. These are GORGEOUS but sadly too big in the size 6. I was wrong about my previous assessment of the Hopeful family running 1/2 size small. They're more true to size. Even the Luxons are a little loose, although their woven maryjane straps keep my feet in pretty well. I can't say the same for the Rosy, though. :-(

Another view of these amazing boots. Check out that matching blue on the heel tips!

xo, Gladys

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Green, Cream, and Some Holiday Cheer

Holiday crafting (and snacking)

Over the weekend, we went to the children's holiday party that my husband's company puts together every year. There's crafting at the beginning and then Santa comes out for a photo op. People have to line up, of course, but it beats waiting in a huge line at the mall. Plus all of the kids get a big present specific to their age and gender (the gender part bugs me, though). This year, my four-and-a-half-year-old got a Batman and motorcycle Bat-Pod toy that he loved to open and put together. With the push of some buttons, it shoots a little orange missile and the "pod" part flips open to reveal Batman. We don't really get him toys like that on a regular basis -- we do mostly LEGO, Plan Toys, and Hot Wheels in this family -- so it's always nice for him to get different things. Last year it was a battery-powered Zhu Zhu pet that delivered pizza off of a conveyor belt. Fancy!

Here is my whole outfit for the party. I got into the season of things by adding the cardigan.

Top: Comme Toi via ModCloth | Cardi: Ya Los Angeles via ModCloth | Skinny jeans: a.n.a. via JC Penney | Socks: Gold Toe via Target | Flats: Fluevog Amie (Integrity family)

Last fall it was purple, and this year my fall color is definitely green. Along with the Fluevog Elizabeth and two green dresses for the holidays, this green cardigan was a must-buy for me. Not only did I like the color and style, but the fabric is really soft and provides a good amount of warmth for fall weather.

I often feel like I'm dressing up whenever I wear Fluevogs to anything. It's partly why I love Fluevogs so much, that feeling of effortlessly kicking things up a notch. At this annual kids' holiday party, I have in years past felt self-conscious about wearing Fluevogs, even one of my low-key pairs of oxfords (though admittedly the pair in question is in a fantastic cobalt-and-brown colorway), because it's the kids who are supposed to dress up and not their parents. But this year, I loved being able to wear casual flats with this outfit while also feeling that cozy Fluevog happiness inside. I bought the Amies on sale not too long after the Qtees but you might have noticed the lack of fanfare on this blog (no special post for it, for example). It's because I felt they were too casual to be that interesting, and I also thought they were more flimsy than other Fluevog styles, but these shoes have stealthily won me over. They add some bright color to my everyday outfits. Here's a closeup.

They're actually a lot more durable than I first thought. (The review by "Kathy Woodman" here helped me make the decision to buy them.) They are pretty, obviously well made, and very comfortable. Cozy Fluevog happiness indeed.

xo, Gladys
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