Thursday, May 30, 2013

Recipe: Meatloaf Cupcakes

This is one of our favorite family recipes. I first made it the way the original recipe said, using prepackaged onion soup mix, but I have since changed up the recipe to avoid all the extra salt, MSG, and preservatives that come with the packaged stuff. I also usually make it with almond flour instead of bread crumbs, and arrowroot starch instead of corn starch. But I still use ketchup. You can easily turn this paleo if you take away the milk, and use marinara sauce or tomato sauce (heated with a little honey mixed in) instead of ketchup.

It's always been a chore trying to get my son to eat meatloaf shaped in the traditional loaf. (It's boring, I guess?) Buying silicone cupcake liners a year ago made all the difference. I didn't change the recipe from the loaf to the cupcakes, but since he LOVES the idea of cupcakes and mini-sized food in general, he willingly eats what are basically mini meat cakes. When my son is really hungry, he'll eat three or more of these for dinner, which is a big deal for a kid who seems to live on air half the time. (I don't know how some kids survive when they're so picky about food.)

Even better, dividing the loaf into smaller portions means they cook faster in the oven. What used to take 45-55 minutes (for the loaf) now only takes 25 minutes total. This is a good recipe for a quick dinner. I can steam peas or broccoli in the time it takes the cupcakes to finish baking.

Meatloaf Cupcakes
Makes 12 regular-sized cupcakes (they won't fill the cups to the top)

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs (or almond meal, which yields softer -- and very tasty -- meatloaf)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried onion (or 2 tbsp sauteed chopped onion)
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp corn starch (or arrowroot starch)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cup ketchup (or marinara sauce)
  • reserve extra ketchup (or marinara) for topping


Preheat oven to 350˚F. Mix egg, milk, bread crumbs, dried onion, onion powder, corn starch, salt, and ketchup in medium bowl. Add beef and mix well until consistency is a sticky ball.

Use silicone cupcake liners in a cupcake tin or on a flat baking sheet. (The silicone liners stay upright and keep their shape.) Fill each liner about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes, spread ketchup topping on each cupcake, then bake for another 5 minutes or until done.


xo, Gladys

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Disco Saturday

This party was basically a continuation of the previous day's disco dancing, but with way more kids running around. It was also a little colder than the day before, but we had lots of fun anyway. :-)

Since my husband was also at the party and had the 'nice' (i.e., not iPhone) camera with him, I ended up with some good photos of the dancing and decorations this time around. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to take photos of my whole outfit in good light before the party. You win some, you lose some, I guess. Here I am with the ladies, when it was already dark (and my hair was doing I-don't-know-what):

Dress: Hello Miss via ModCloth | Belt: from a Dress Barn dress | Wedge heels: Fluevog Raquel, Pindown family via Amazon

I was happy to finally wear a pair of Fluevogs that had been languishing in my closet since last summer. I hope they make at least a few more appearances this year. They're rather tall but more comfortable than you'd expect. They worked well with the dress, not just the neutral light gray color but also the variegated stripes on the wooden wedge heel (see below). As for the dress, I purchased it sight-unseen from ModCloth during their "Stylish Surprise" sale in March, $15 for a surprise dress in the size I chose. When I got it, I loved the retro colors but had no idea what to wear it for ... but then this disco party came up and it turned out to be perfect! It's nicely lined and, even though it's a tad too slim-fitting for my comfort, at least it had the kind of neckline that doesn't gape when I bend over. Sweet.

Pindown | Raquel (Fluevog stock photo)

Me and my husband being silly. The sun was a little too bright here, but I asked him to pose like that so you could see the floral under-cuffs of his striped dress shirt (which came from Goodwill). Oh, and he grew those sideburns just for the party. :-)

Teaching the kiddo (center) the Saturday Night Fever Line Dance to the tune of "Night Fever." Here's the tutorial.

Disco ball in the light of the full moon

Awesome laser lights and nighttime barefoot dancing outdoors

xo, Gladys

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Disco Friday

Dress: Ladakh via ModCloth | Maryjane heels: Fluevog Qtees (exact) (black/ivory on sale)

Happy Memorial Day to those of you who celebrate the holiday in the U.S.!

Over the weekend, my dear friend E rented a dance floor and a little tent and had a disco party. It was primarily for her daughter's 8th birthday, but she had friends over for a three-day dance party series, starting Friday night. She might have more people over later today to celebrate the holiday. It seemed a shame not to take advantage of that dance floor and all of the disco decorations, lights, and music!

The costume theme, being disco, was of course the 1970s. I was in a rush that day, trying to help get the food out and the place decorated, so I didn't get a chance to fix up my hair or makeup that well before coming over to E's house. The shape of my dress wasn't that retro, either, but I thought the stripes and the gorgeous ankle-strap Fluevogs were within parameters. And I do love both of these items. You've seen the shoes several times already (1 | 2 | 3). The dress (bought on clearance for a ridiculous price) is excellently constructed with a nice substantial fabric. Both the cap sleeves and the waist band are a little snug but neither impeded movement very much, and both features along with the well-placed darts provide the kind of structured look that I love. There is an exposed zipper at the back that adds to the retro styling. It was fun to run around and dance in both the dress and shoes.

Here I am with my fellow mamas/hot ladies. They rocked the heck out of the disco theme. And I ... well, I obviously love my pockets. And the dancing was fun, even though the weather was windy and a little cold (my fully-lined dress helped keep me warm). More tomorrow on what I wore Saturday. :-)

If you're celebrating the holiday today, I hope you're enjoying barbecue and cocktails, poolside, and/or relaxing. Cheers!

xo, Gladys

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Recipe: Breakfast Casserole

This casserole is basically a frittata, only using a different baking pan. I know it says breakfast casserole but we usually have it for dinner during the week. We got it from my husband's sister-in-law a while back. We don't use any vegetables except onions, but some chopped broccoli would probably make this dish even better (and certainly more healthful). We also substitute with bacon (often) or Italian sausage (sometimes) when we don't have breakfast sausage on hand. My husband prefers the bacon, but I like any of the meats. Try it with a different melty cheese, or sub ricotta for the cottage cheese. This recipe is pretty versatile, just like any frittata.

Breakfast Casserole
Makes about 6 servings

  • 1 pound breakfast sausage (or bacon, or Italian sausage)
  • 3 cups shredded potatoes (or 1 bag of Simply Potatoes)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 12 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 16 ounces cottage cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • dried parsley, oregano, Italian seasoning, seasoning salt, or whatever seasonings you'd like (to taste -- I usually use 1 Tbsp)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup of vegetables like broccoli or bell peppers (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a 9x13-inch baking dish mix potatoes and melted butter. Line bottom and sides of dish with potatoes. (If using raw potatoes, I suggest putting the potato-lined baking dish in the oven while it's heating up.)

Fry and crumble sausage until evenly brown. Drain and set aside. (Or fry bacon and chop. If using vegetables, saute them in 1 tablespoon of the oil from the sausage or bacon until al dente.)

In a bowl, whisk eggs and mix in sausage, (vegetables, if using,) cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, onions, and whatever seasonings you decide on. Pour over the potatoes.

Bake 45 minutes to an hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Check at 45 minutes. Enjoy!

xo, Gladys

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Friday, May 17, 2013

International Fluevog Day on Melrose!

Fluevog Los Angeles "Class Photo" 2013

It was a close call, but last Wednesday, May 15, I made it to the Melrose store in time for the International Fluevog Day class photo at 5:15 pm! They had an awesome professional photographer on site to take the class photo, and he also shot individual/group photos for those who wanted them. Then his assistant immediately printed the photos out for us. (He was a friend of dealer Alice, and once I get his name and website, I'll edit this post!)

I love how the photos turned out. It's amazing what great lighting and a wonderful photographer's eye can do. (These first three photos are scans of the printouts, by the way. The rest of the photos were taken with my iPhone.)

Me in my vintage Natalia maryjanes. Funny story: people kept having mishaps with this table since it was quite unstable. I almost fell off TWICE even though I was told multiple times to be careful, and I would have completely eaten it if it weren't for a wonderful fellow Voger I'd just met, Maggie. Thanks, Maggie, for saving me!

Dealer Kate and me. Sitting down, we managed to minimize the height difference between us. I'm so envious of how tall she is!

Here were some of the treats available, and I confess that I partook of the teal-tinted wine and mini-cupcake! Yum. It was a lovely sweet wine that wasn't very strong at all (good thing since I was driving), but I'm sure it and the little cupcake contributed to the happy vibes I was feeling the whole time. ;-)

The spread

Teal champagne/sparkling wine with cherries

Mini-cupcake with target

I loved seeing the dealers all together (except I didn't see Austyn), who all looked AMAZING, and even Keith who used to work there visited so he could be in the class pic! It was such a great bunch of fun, friendly, interesting Vogers there. We talked about our love for the shoes, commented and gave advice on the shoes we owned or had tried on, and asked what pairs we'd be going home with that day. There was Maggie who was wearing her black/beige Mini | Qtee heels, a gorgeous shoe that I also have in a different colorway. She wasn't sure yet what to get but had the Liz in black/pink as her first choice! There was Shannon, who had rainbow-colored long hair and wore her cheetah Arc | Rainbow boots with a pink, purple, and green outfit. She bought the fantastic purple-and-polka dot 7th Heaven | Derby Swirl boots that I took home last week. Then there was the couple who now have matching Radio | CBC oxfords (different colors), just like my husband and I do!

But aside from their obvious excellent taste in shoes, it was a blast to learn that a few of them were hardcore Doctor Who fans. Dealer Kate made sure I met these awesome ladies. They noticed my TARDIS-encased iPhone, and after a few minutes of conversation we were exchanging emails and cards. Haha! One woman, Maggie, had created a gorgeous, DW-character costume by hand for a DW-themed ball a few weeks ago, and another, Natasha, is actually friends with the current executive producer of the show, Steven Moffat. SAY WHAT?? She says she met him while he was just a writer for the 2005- reboot and was still going to the DW conventions in the U.S. (This is one super-talented writer. He's co-creator of another fantastic show, Sherlock, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.)

Fluevog pink/grey on SALE | Amazon black and pink/grey colorways

Maggie and I were drooling over Natasha's sample-sale loot, the striking Memories Hi | Keepsake heels in dark-blue suede (or is it velvet?). Her skin isn't that bright white, by the way; the lighting was the only way I could photograph the suede, which unfortunately washed out her skin completely. Anyway, the blue shoes matched her blue floral dress perfectly ... then I realized she was wearing TARDIS-blue all over, including her eyeshadow and nails. I should have guessed she was a Whovian as well as a Voger!

Anyway, enough Doctor Who. This is about Fluevog shoes after all! I ended up re-trying some shoes to figure out which ones I'd take home. First up are better photos of the patent lilac and teal Integrity | Amie flats than I took last time. They're so gorgeous. I know the other MotleyFlue gals aren't big fans of these or any ballet flats, but like I said, I've been converted ... and the patent leather in these beeyootiful colors just grabs me.



And then here are the Big Presence | Faraday slingback oxford heels in the black/gold colorway. Reader Dany asked about these after I posted on the ivory/taupe colorway that amazed all of us a couple of posts ago:

Fluevog | Amazon SALE 32% off

I definitely think the other colorway fits my skin tone better. And yes, after some nudges from the MotleyFlue, I did decide to buy the ivory/taupe Faradays for International Fluevog Day at 15% off! Natasha, who looks great in darker colors, chose the black/gold colorway instead.

In case you were interested, here's a pic of my whole outfit that day. I went for comfort and quirk with my vintage maryjanes and funny illustrated shirt.

My whole outfit, iPhone photo courtesy of my mom.
Top: Fun 2 Fun via ModCloth | Capri jeans: Sonoma via Kohl's | Maryjanes: vintage Fluevog Natalia (Halo family)

To think, I almost didn't make it to the party...! I'd had a rough start to the day, but I'm so glad I was able to go. I missed Mae and Cheryl, both of whom at the last minute couldn't go for different reasons. But I'm glad I could represent the MotleyFlue down here in So Cal. I do love my Melrose peeps. And special shout-out to fantastic Fluevog guru Anthony for hooking me up with my layaways and getting a pair of long-wished-for shoes transferred to L.A. from Minneapolis. I'm crossing my fingers that it works out! I'll post here if/when it happens, so I don't jinx it. :-)

xo, Gladys

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spearmint on Stage

New haircut (Yay, my bangs are back!)

Happy Wednesday, everyone! It's International Fluevog Day today! I'm planning to go to the Melrose store later, and I should have a writeup of the event in a day or two. In the meantime, here's an outfit post for you.

Dress: Monteau Los Angeles via ModclothMaryjanes: Fluevog Malibran (Operetta family) via Amazon


Fluevog | Amazon

Have I shared this dress here before? My husband gave it to me for Xmas a few months ago. If you're a longtime reader, you might recognize that it's the same exact style as three other dresses I own (1 | 2 | 3). It's obviously a favorite, and I want more in different fabrics!

I wore this simple outfit last Saturday evening, when I had to perform at the Spring Recital for a local performing arts academy. I haven't mentioned it here before, but I started taking private singing lessons a couple of months ago. I used to sing regularly in choirs and a band during high school and college, and I missed it. It's been a lot of fun, but I had forgotten how nerve-racking it was to perform on stage in front of strangers (and friends, too) -- or at least, the idea of it was. The couple of weeks beforehand were pretty stressful, and I'd get butterflies in my stomach every time I thought about performing. Waiting in the wings right before my turn had my heart pumping so fast and hard that I wondered if I'd be able to push my voice out. But once I got up on stage, I surprised myself by how lucid I felt. The audience helped, since they were very nice to everyone who performed. My voice felt shaky in the beginning, but I managed to calm down enough to hit the few difficult parts of the song. (I sang "Almost Lover" by A Fine Frenzy. Not my choice since I'd never heard the song before, but my instructor said it was a good fit for my voice.)

The only problem was the accompaniment, since the pianist never bothered to learn the song beforehand. He kept giving excuses not to play whenever there was rehearsal, and I had a very bad feeling when he was late for call time so no one got to practice their song live. He's the piano instructor, and he messed up the songs of EVERY student he played for except his own students (he was just fine for his own jazz performances). I felt so bad for one of the teenage girls who sang in a totally different key than the one the pianist was playing. Seriously, he couldn't have tested out the key beforehand with the singer so he could transpose? What a jack***! That's why you practice beforehand! It takes a ton of courage to get up there and perform, and even more so when you're that young. She looked devastated by the end, and even the loud applause didn't help. :-(

After watching the footage (my husband video-recorded my piece), I'll say that my song didn't sound as bad as I feared. Most of the audience were probably just relieved that there wasn't another mishap with conflicting voice/piano. My dear friend M who came to watch the show said that it sounded perfect to her (her word, not mine; that's why she's one of my best friends, right!). I was able to stay on pitch the whole time since I asked for the first notes, I knew that song front-to-back, and I had the advantage of many more years of singing experience over the other singers, who were all half my age or less! But I had to improvise a bit when the pianist added extra measures between verses -- the worst was when he killed the momentum leading into the bridge -- and then just played the same tune over and over again at the end when he couldn't figure out how to follow me tempo-wise. (He must have lost his way in the sheet music. Seriously?!) At a certain point, the piano sounded like a march, beat, beat, beat, beat. And he was simply not slowing down at all at the end, the place in a ballad when you're supposed to slow down. Again, that's why you practice beforehand! Ugh.

Lesson learned: insist more strongly on using the karaoke version (the version my instructor had was actually good) if something like that ever happens again. Also, never bring my son to this guy if I want my son to learn piano. I'm probably spoiled by all the talented musicians I've met and played with in my life, but it boggles my mind that this guy is the instructor for a performing arts academy.

Anyway, thanks for reading through this rant. I'm glad I did the performance, and I'm glad to be back singing in front of people again. For the next post, I promise I'll have more pleasant things to talk about!

xo, Gladys

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Melrose Meetup, Part 2

Here’s the second set of photos taken at last Friday’s meetup at the Melrose store -- all the shoes tried on by Joanne, Mae, and Cheryl, with a bonus photo of dealer Alice’s shoes from the Spring collection. I’ve broken it up into two groups, the shoes from the current Spring collection and the shoes released during previous years that have become Fluevog classics. Cheryl focused mostly on this latter group of classics, and I was jealous that the shoes were available in her size at the store. Some of the classics aren’t made small enough for my feet, but at least I had the vicarious pleasure of seeing her try them on! Mae, on the other hand, tried on five pairs mostly in the Spring collection (including the Faraday which was featured in Part 1), but she must have put on the Nefertiti at least three times throughout our visit!

Spring 2013 Vogs
Fluevog | Amazon
Here’s Mae during one of her turns wearing the Queen Transcendent | Nefertiti in pink, black, and aqua. I’ve said this before in my own review, but these shoes are super flattering on different types of feet/ankles. That heel is just spectacular, but I think it’s the braided ankle strap that does the trick. Elegance and boldness all in one. The multi colorway is particularly striking.

This is one of my favorite shots of the day, Cheryl trying on the Nefertiti as well, with an array of the other shoes she tried on next to her feet, and J-Ro sitting relaxed in her vintage Moneywalker sandals showing off her pretty neon orange polish. (Note: the pink and black Liz’s are Cheryl’s. I didn’t take a picture of her trying on the blue Guides, but she said she didn’t like them because they made her feel like she needed to be wearing a costume with them. Lol!)

Fluevog | Amazon SALE 20% off
Mae tried on the KKBB | Liz in teal. She didn’t seem too impressed by the shoe overall except for the color. And indeed it is an amazing color; it goes well even with her navy pants. If I had tons of cash lying around, I’d get the Liz in this colorway, too. Alas, I’ll have to “settle” for my equally-beautiful black/pink Liz’s. :-)

J-Ro tried on the newest colorway in the Liz, pink and yellow. She liked it but said she’d wait to see what’s in store for Fall. Given that the Liz is on its way to becoming another Vog classic, I’m looking forward to the Fall colors as well! Personally, I’m not moved by this colorway. Mae and I agreed that it was too salmon-y, i.e., less pink than we’d originally thought. (Meanwhile, the pink on the black/pink colorway of the Liz as well as the pinks of the Bellevue | Eleanor are fantastic.)

Fluevog | Amazon
Mae tried on the gorgeous Integrity | Arabella in black and ivory (also reviewed here). She had an issue with fit; I believe she was in between sizes. But I think she loved these shoes as well. This is another fabulous style of flats, like the Amie (same family), and one of the most unique-looking shoes this season. They also seem comfortable.

Fluevog | Amazon
This is Alice wearing the Pointy Begin | Woop Woop in black. J-Ro tried these on in the white colorway, and I couldn’t believe how different the black looked when worn. When I saw them on Alice, I asked if they were vintage, and when she and J-Ro told me what shoe it was, it took me several moments to connect the white colorway with this style. I like these shoes, although I don’t think they’re a ME shoe. But they did look great with Alice’s long, full, black swing skirt (complete with crinoline underneath for fullness).

Classic Vogs
Fluevog | Amazon SALE 31% off
Now on to the classic Vogs. Cheryl wearing the Baroque | Rubens in black. I want these shoes in the burgundy colorway, but sadly I’ve never been able to figure out which size I am because the Melrose store never carries them in less than a size 6 (much too big for me). Cheryl is a lawyer, and these would look amazing in the courtroom, don’t you think?

Fluevog | Amazon (all black)
Mae in the Fellowship | Sandra in black and beige. I think these are adorable and would be great office shoes. Mae says she’d love it if they came in different colorways, perhaps brown.

Cheryl wearing another pair of shoes that I can only drool over from afar. The Mini | Elif in olive, gray, and purple is a beautiful shoe that they don’t make in my size. But that’s okay since I’d likely get “muffin side” given the open-side style. Meanwhile, Cheryl looks wonderful in them, and the purple trim goes really well with her purple dress. In fact, this pic would be worthy of a Vogunteer pic.

Cheryl in another pair of Minis -- Mini | Lover in black -- that is currently unavailable in my size. Definitely a beautiful boot and another ass-kicking shoe fit for a pitched battle in the courtroom. With those laces, the style makes me think of whips and maybe chains. ;-p

Cheryl in the glittery Attention | Paris in black devilfish. I tried these on last summer so I know how amazing -- and TALL -- they make you feel. I’m not sure how Cheryl felt about them, but she sure looked good in them. I still don’t feel like my closet is ready for glittery shoes.

Fluevog | Amazon (other colors)
One last photo of Cheryl trying on a classic, the Operetta | Malibran in burgundy/wine. These actually look darker in real life than in the stock photo; the darker tint is an improvement, but both Cheryl and Mae said that the brown heel and sole made it look less professional than they wanted. (Black would have worked for them.)

So. That’s it for my recap of our recent Melrose visit. I'm sure it's incomplete and skewed (it’s all from my perspective and faulty memory), but seeing these photos reminds me of how much fun it was. I’ll sign off with this awesome photo of Joanne being the Generalissima. Heaven help the self-entitled college student who crosses this fierce woman!

xo, Gladys

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Melrose Meetup, Part 1

From left: Cheryl, Joanne, Mae, and me

As promised, here's the story of my last visit to the Fluevog store on Melrose with Joanne last Friday. Along with two of her best friends, Mae and Cheryl, who live in the L.A. area, the four of us took over the place as we did "research" for possible purchases during the upcoming International Fluevog Day this Wednesday on May 15 -- when you can get 15% off regular-priced shoes and accessories IN STORE or free shipping with every online order. (Yes, this means that I will probably be back to the Melrose soon!)

Awesome dealers Kate, Alice, and Kimberly were on hand to help us try on at least 25 pairs of shoes all together (and also to take some of our photos -- THANK YOU!!). I ended up with a lot of photos but I don't think I was able to capture every single try-on. The dealers were very patient with us, and it was lovely to chat and hang out with them as well.

Since there are so many photos, I'll break this up into two posts. Today, I will be reviewing the shoes I tried on. Tomorrow I'll post photos of the other ladies trying on shoes because, even without fit details, a photograph of the shoes on someone's feet can be super helpful. The stock photos are beautiful, but the question is whether the shoes will look good on. The nice thing is that you'll get to see an array of different shapes and sizes wearing the same or similar styles, tomorrow. Without further ado, on to my reviews.

My sizing note: I am a true size US 5.5. I have relatively-flat arches, wide toes, and narrowish ankles. I wear 5 in the Operetta, Mini, Attention, and Bellevue families; 5.5 in the Fellowship family; 6 in the Radio and World families; and 6.5 in the older styles of the Miracle family. My other shoes are most often in size 6 but run slightly large on purpose (because they’re boots or ankle boots).

Fluevog | Amazon SALE 25%-32% off
Big Presence | Faraday in ivory and taupe patent. These shoes were the star of our collective visit. I completely missed these when they first came out this Spring, but after I saw that they were on sale at Amazon along with quite a few other Spring styles, I wanted to try them on at the store. And once the other ladies saw them on me, they all wanted to try them on, too, hence the awesome group photos. You can see they look great under skirts/dresses, business pants, and both casual and dressy jeans. These shoes are a combination of elegant, delicate, and kick-ass with the pointed steel toe. The black-and-gold colorway didn't move me (though I should probably try them on sometime just to see), but the ivory and taupe are fabulous. And guess what? They're incredibly comfortable! No lie. J-Ro said she didn't think she'd like these shoes, but she said the steel toe would make her students think twice before complaining to her about their grades. (Amen.) And we cracked up when Mae said the shoes looked like you could fire people while wearing them. LOL! Size-wise, I think these run true to size ... I'm wearing size 6 here and you can see in the solo photo that they're a little long on my size 5.5 feet, but the slingback elastic and the oxford style keep my feet pretty securely in the shoes.

7th Heaven | Angela in acid green. I was definitely surprised by this one. In the stock photo, they look big and clunky, but they are absolutely adorable on! And the colors are amazing. The green/aqua/yellow is my favorite. These are size 6, and I'm not sure how to describe the sizing. They're quite wide, but I noticed that my toes were touching the toe of the shoe. So I guess they run 1/2-size small in length, but are very wide. Bottom line for me, however, was that they were too loose given the width. The maryjane wasn't quite enough to keep me in. Which is a shame because I think they're fantastic. I'm surprised they haven't flown off the shelves, but honestly, there's been such an embarrassment of riches this Spring season that some amazing styles are bound to get overlooked. If you ever get the chance, though, I urge you to try them on and see if they'd work for you!

Integrity | Amie in aqua patent. I'll admit, I used to think that I couldn't spend over $100 for ballet flats, but after getting my Amies in cream (on sale but still over $100), I am a convert to Fluevog ballet flats. They are so ridiculously comfortable, and they're a breeze to slip on and off. I use my Amies most days of the week even though you're supposed to let your leather shoes rest and dry out. It's been 7 months now with my Amies and they're still my go-to everyday shoes; I need to take better care of the cream leather, but the lining isn't gross and ready to be thrown out like most of my flats. I am seriously jonesing on the newest colors, aqua and purple. I tried on the purple as well but the photo didn't show the color very well so I won't bother to post it. But you can see how amazing the aqua color is, even with my washed-out photos (sorry about the photo quality, by the way: the sunlight was super bright that day, and I only had my old iPhone 4 to take photos). These are size 6, and the Spring colorways all seem to be running 1/2-size small, so these fit perfectly on me.

Fluevog | Amazon SALE 21%-25% off
Big Presence | Desmond in ivory patent. Another beautiful pair of ivory Big Presence shoes. The leather is the same used in the Faraday above, but for a very simple and elegant pump style. They'd be perfect for an office job, but I love the way they look under my casual skinny jeans. They're pretty comfortable, though strangely not as comfortable as the Faradays. I think this family is one of the best families to come out in the last year. I tried on three sizes of this shoe -- 5, 5.5, and 6. The size 5.5 fit best, so I'll say that these run true to size.

Fluevog | Amazon SALE 20% off
Prepare | Portage in aqua. I'm always excited when a new style comes out of the Prepare line -- again, in my humble opinion, one of the best families to come out in recent years, though some don't like the clog / platform style. The Portage slingback is like the Guide but with more coverage at the vamp (and this extra coverage is reflected in the higher price). I love the colorways it came in this Spring, aqua and purple. I now wish I'd tried on the purple so that I could photograph it, because you can't have too much of purple shoes! I tried on the size 6 in the Portage, and my feet felt pretty secure while walking around the store. These run close to 1/2 size small in length.

Fluevog | Amazon SALE 21% off
River | Seine in coral and fuchsia. These are one of the more interesting pairs to come out this season, and this particular colorway is lovely. The three-buckle style is a little confusing, but they're color-coordinated (no suck luck with the black colorway, however!). Even though they're interesting, I don't know how comfortable they'd be for me. They don't have any arch support, for one thing, and the lasts/soles aren't very flexible. But the soles are made of alternating stripes of leather and rubber so it provides more traction than if they were all leather. These are in the same family as the Loire (reviewed here), but they are not as narrow. I'm wearing the size 6 in this photo, and they actually look fine lengthwise, so these probably run close to 1/2 size small in length, and they're average width. Pardon the unsightly tattered hose, the try-on hose I chose was pretty flimsy. I'm thinking the sandals would look much better on my feet without the hose, and I'd definitely indulge in a pedi if I ever got these. :-)

That's it for today. Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 of the Melrose Meetup!

xo, Gladys

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