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The Day I Gave Up Caring What My Kids Looked Like

Since day one with my eldest boy, I’ve cared about appearance. If he spit up on his onesie, it didn’t matter if there was nobody else home – I’d change his clothes. I didn’t spend a fortune on outfits or anything, but I always wanted him to look cute. Fortunately he’d wear whatever I bought for him and enjoyed being stylish. He rocked newsboy caps and coordinating Chuck Taylors. He had style and I loved showing him off.

Then my second son came and it was more of the same. Precious coordinating outfits down to the matching underwear and socks. Such a cutie-pie and a personality to match. I loved getting compliments on my boys, especially when they wore matching outfits. Weren’t they adorable?!

Ahhh, coordinating outfits! This makes my Type-A heart sing 🙂

I also have a stepdaughter. Up until about 2 years ago, I chose her outfits for her, buying the cutest things with coordinating accessories. Each morning without fail I’d do up her hair in elaborate styles with braids and bows. I loved seeing her dolled up and hearing the compliments on how pretty she looked.

Enter my baby daughter. She’s currently 19 months old and I’ve been so fortunate to receive a plethora of cuter-then-cute hand-me-downs. She loves to dress up too. After I’ve gotten her dressed in the morning and fixed her hair up into a bow, she checks herself out in the mirror and squeals with delight! She never pulls her bows out, not since she was a tiny baby. Naturally I absolutely adore dressing her up in sweet outfits and hearing all the buzz from passersby about how adorable she is.

I mean, come on…this outfit and that pose!! She’s a natural!

Letting Them Pick

Okay, so my eldest is now almost 14. My stepdaughter is 13. And my middle son is about to turn 6. Of course, though I’m still in charge of purchasing their clothes I’m beyond the point of being able to pick and choose their daily outfits (maybe Christmas outfits, being the exception!) These three big kids choose what they’re going to wear. And that’s both a good and bad thing. And I had the HARDEST time letting it go.

I started getting push back from my eldest, wanting to wear only basketball shorts and everything in black. He’s since added in more color to his wardrobe, but it’s still all pretty much basketball clothes. And the shirt that he wore on his kindergarten t-ball team? He only stopped wearing it last year – people, he was 12!! He has finally passed it down to his little brother (despite that it has older brother’s name silk screened on the back)..

Stepdaughter started asking if she could choose her own outfits and I obliged. At first it was cringe-worthy, the patterns and styles that came out of the bedroom in the morning. I sent her back to her room a lot to swap out either the top or the pants, because I just couldn’t let her walk out of the house wearing an orange striped shirt with red jeans, could I? I still did up her hair for a while though, until she took that over too, not wanting braids or bows any longer. Hair is usually pulled back sloppily into a regular ponytail.

Second son is probably the most eclectic of all. He’s incredibly creative and at 4, started resisting to the outfits I’d chosen. He now regularly walks out for the day wearing sweatpants, a tank top and knee socks pulled over the hem of the pants.

The Day I Gave Up Caring

I was going through a drawer filled with pictures at my mom’s house. The kids and I were giggling over the old photos, in particular the ones with the 1980s version of mommy. I was rockin’ copious amounts of blue eye shadow behind my enormous pink glasses. Permed hair with wild bangs that I never could get ratted up quite right. And the outfits. What’s funny is I know that I dressed even more wildly, there is just no photographic evidence. My wise mother didn’t capture those over-the-top moments when I was wearing four ponytails, layered socks and two skirts (yes, I remember layering a short skirt over a long one!) I certainly did dress funky, even though my excuse is that it was the 80s. Each outfit was my own personal style.

Not terrible but I am wearing a white sailor hat (why?!)

And then it hit me – I was stifling my kids from having their own personal style.

In not letting my kids wear what was their personal style, I was really putting a damper on letting them grow and develop into the unique person that God wants them to be.

I’d asked my mom about those wild outfits years ago, cringing at a particular photo of me with both blue eye shadow AND blue mascara. She told me that she’d always admired my fashion gusto as a child. She wanted to foster my creativity. And that if I wanted to wear three ponytails on my head or a half dozen hair clips, she’d let me. She said her only suggestion was that I not mix plaids, even if my kindergarten reasoning was that they had the same colors.

Letting Them Grow By Letting It Go

And so I stopped making suggestions on what my kids should or shouldn’t wear. I started turning a blind eye (literally) to what I was seeing them wear at the breakfast table. I changed my commentary to say things like, “That’s a cute top on you” or “What a colorful outfit today!” The self-confidence is rising.

If I don’t want my kids to wear a particular item anymore, I unceremoniously remove it from their closet and put it in the donation bin. If it’s not in the closet, they can’t wear it anymore.

People aren’t complimenting my eldest three on their clothes anymore. People just don’t say anything about their appearance. Nobody really cares that the oldest boy is wearing basketball shorts again. Or that stepdaughter has her hair in a sloppy ponytail. Or that little son is wearing neon green socks with orange sandals. I no longer think that it reflects poorly on me if my kids aren’t dressed to the nines.

But what I do hear goes deeper than that. I’m hearing how well behaved they are. How generous and how kind. What good friends they are. That’s what’s really important, right? Not that they’re wearing something mismatched.

You may see me out and about with the kids, or maybe you see a photo of them online. One of the kids is wearing a clip-on tie with their t-shirt, one is wearing a Christmas themed shirt in July and the other has spiked his hair with too much gel. Just smile and nod. And know that I’m dying inside to correct them. But that I’m choosing to let them grow by letting it go.

My First Pair of LuLaRoe Leggings (aka: I’ve Opened Pandora’s Box!)

I  resisted jumping on the LuLaRoe bandwagon for a LONG time.

“They’re buttery soft!”, I’d heard.

“They’re SOOOOOO comfy!!”

“LuLaRoe leggings are addicting. Once you try them you’re going to want more!”

I wasn’t swayed at all. I don’t wear my pajamas out of the house. And if I’m wearing yoga pants, then I’m doing yoga. What did I need comfy pants in my closet for?

There was a lady who picked up her kids at the same time as me and occasionally her wildly patterned leggings would catch my eye. “Giant pizza slices on turquoise leggings? Really?!”, I’d think to myself, “I don’t think LuLaRoe is for me”.

And then I saw Mickey.

So yeah, I do love me some Disney, as you know. And these were cute, clever Disney patterns I’d never seen anywhere before. It was my birthday, so I treated myself and bought my first pair. And I tried them on. It was over a hundred degrees that day so I didn’t get to wear them long but ohhhh, I couldn’t wait for the weather to cool down because everything I’d heard was RIGHT.

The leggings slipped on so silky soft. How could leggings feel so buttery soft? But they DO!

I’ve always hated when you can see underpants through the leggings, especially when I bend over. But despite being light and soft, LuLaRoe leggings aren’t transparent.

All that chatter about not wearing comfy pants outside the house? I’ve been wearing the three pair I have (all Mickey print!) around the house and yes, even to the school pick up. I bet Ms. Pizza Leggings is envious of my cute Mickey prints 🙂

Buying your first LuLaRoe clothing? See my LuLaRoe legging review

Not a Leggings Gal?

And LuLaRoe is more than just leggings. There are some awesome skirts of all lengths, t-shirts (can’t wait to scoop up one of the adorable Gigis!), dresses and dusters. In addition to Mickey Mouse, there are tons of other Disney prints like Bambi, Muppets and Beauty and the Beast. Disney Villains and Nightmare Before Christmas patterns are going to be making an appearance!!! There will also be quirky Halloween prints and designs appropriate for fall. And of course if you just like the regular prints, there are colorful LuLaRoe prints and even solid colors in many varieties.

I absolutely LOVE that there are sizes for everyone! Sizes of different styles vary so check the sizing charts. You might be a small in one style and prefer a large in another style.

(Image courtesy of Anastasia Weis)

Okay, I’ll Admit It…They ARE the Coziest Clothes on the Planet!

So… now that I’m officially starting a LuLaRoe closet collection, I’m hosting a party online with my fellow blogger friend and purveyor of LuLaRoe, Anastasia Weis. It’s this Sunday, October 8th at 6 pm pst/9 pm est. I’d love for you to join the party!

Julie’s Not-So-Scary LuLaRoe party

 

 

New Saving Up for Disney Blog Affiliate – Gymboree!

A word about my affiliates: I only have affiliate links for items that I’ve actually used and want to share with my readers. Please know that by shopping through my affiliate links, you help support me and my blog. Thank you so much!

My nephew, son and daughter all in Gymboree

My nephew, son and daughter all in Gymboree

I’ve been a Gymboree customer since my 12-year old boy was born! I’ve always loved the design, quality and price. The Gymboree clothes that his older brother wore were handed down to him, then to my nephew and now my 4-year old is wearing them! They really do last and last. My kids are regularly dressed head to toe in Gymboree, from pajamas, socks and underpants, shirts and shorts and even shoes and accessories.

My son wearing a shirt that his brother wore 9 years ago!

My son wearing a shirt that his brother wore 9 years ago!

I was so excited to have a stepdaughter and have a reason to shop the precious Gymboree girl’s line! Have you ever shopped and received Gymbucks? They are a great way to save even more on high-quality Gymboree clothing.

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Loved this polka dot Gymboree ensemble from a few years ago

And now I have a new baby girl who is already outfitted in Gymboree…I bought items for her the week I found out I was having a girl. She has a few adorable outfits waiting for her in the closet that I just couldn’t resist buying!

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Brand new Gymboree for the brand new baby!

I’m so happy to announce that Gymboree is a new affiliate on my blog. If you are so inclined to shop Gymboree, I’d appreciate if you clicked my link to help support my blog in a small way.

Gymboree Children's Clothing

What to Wear in the Parks – Best Disney Outfits for Kids

 

What to Wear in the Parks? These are the Best Disney Outfits for Kids

You’ve already planned your DisneyBound outfits for your upcoming magical vacation and now it’s time to pack up for the kids! How can you find the best Disney outfits for kids? You’ll need outfits that are practical, comfortable as well as cute. After all you’ll be taking lots of pictures of them on vacation so clothes should be a well-thought out part of the planning process.

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Peach Loop. Today we are sharing ideas to help you decide what to wear to the Disney Parks. Welcome aboard!

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and purchasing via my links help me in a small financial way, thank you!


Best Disney Outfits for Kids – The Basics to Consider

These are the things to consider when choosing Disney outfits for the kids:

  • What’s the weather going to be like? Will the kids be comfortable mostly in shorts? Will you need a jacket for layering?
  • How many days of clothing will you need?
  • Do you want the kids to dress in costume?
  • Are you aiming for head to toe looks or just a dash of Disney?

T-Shirts

If you’re looking for just a dash of Disney in your vacation look, the best place to start is with a themed tee. I like to pair a themed tee with denim or patterned shorts. Your local stores like Target probably have a good variety of tees at decent prices. The Disney Store online often has specials on their graphic tee designs.

Mickey Mouse Toddler Tee, Tsum Tsum Tee, Pixar Tee

For a special souvenir, consider purchasing a tee at the Parks on the first day of your trip to have the kids wear during the vacation.

Cant go wrong with a tee!

Cant go wrong with a tee!

Minnie Mouse Tee, Captain America Tee, Star Wars Stormtrooper Tee

Make it Yourself

If you’re feeling creative or you like to get crafty, designing your own tee is a unique way to show your Disney side.  A simple rubber stamp and fabric paint gives a colorful look that is quick to achieve. Kids can definitely do this themselves!

Rubber stamp and fabric paint

Rubber stamp and fabric paint

Try this technique for hand painting a Disney design onto a tee for a unique look you won’t see on anyone else! Dory Handpainted Tee Tutorial

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

Try one of these simple sewn tees that are fun for beginners. Mickey pumpkin tee tutorial or I Love Mickey applique tutorial

diypumpkintee1  HeartTee-14

More advanced seamstresses can try applique for a durable and unique style nobody else’s kid will be wearing. Can’t sew? A search on Etsy for appliqued or silkscreened Disney-themed tees will find you something fun for the kids.

IMG_2098 jack

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Head to Toe Look

Do you like to see your kids styled Disney from head to toe? One of my favorite places to find a head to toe look is on Etsy. You’ll be able to find something very unique and you help support small business as well.

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If you can follow a basic pattern, try finding a fun Disney-themed fabric print and make matching outfits for your group. A dress or skirt for the girls and shorts for the boys and they’ll be the envy of everyone in the parks! Disney Lilo and Stitch Many Faces of Stitch Blue Fabric, Disney Emojiland Toy Story Character Toss Blue Fabric, Disney Snow White 7 Dwarfs Fabric

This pattern below is for the same dress and I just tweaked it by changing the length, adding some sweet details (like ribbon on the bodice) and fun applique.

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Pink Disney Mickey Mouse Character Toss Fabric , Disney Alice in Wonderland Always Curious In Pink Blush Fabric, Disney Finding Dory All Smiles Multi Fabric By The Yard

Or take a t-shirt that’s a bit too small and re-purpose it with knit fabrics into a totally unique dress!

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Disney Princess Ariel Sketches Little Mermaid KNIT Fabric, Marvel Comic Wall KNIT Fabric, Disney Minnie Jersey Knit Heather Grey

Shoes 

For the love of all things, please have your kids wear real, practical shoes and not those plastic dress-up shoes with heels! Oh, I’ve seen little girls shuffling through the parks in those plastic shoes and I can imagine the melt-down that would ensue when said shoes cause sore feet and blisters (because they totally will).

These are the top tips on how to have a memorable day at Disney with your preschooler!

Rock wall climbing in Disney California Adventure park in his pediped shoes

I adore pediped for my kids in their everyday wear and there are some adorable designs that are appropriate for wearing at the Parks. pediped Flex Sahara Sandal (Toddler/Little Kid). pediped Grip-N-Go Betty Mary Jane (Toddler), pediped Flex Minnie Sandal (Toddler/Little Kid), pediped Flex Jacqueline Sandal (Toddler/Little Kid),

  

Costumes

Kids 12 and under can wear costumes in the Parks. What you’ll need to consider is the practicality of wearing a glitter-encrusted gown while boarding roller coasters and if it’s a good idea for your family or child.

Disney Princess Toddler Cinderella costume, Buzz Lightyear Classic Little Kid’s Costume, Disney Elena Of Avalor Adventure Dress

A few things to think about before dressing the kids in costume:

  • Is the costume weather-appropriate?
  • Is the fabric breathable?
  • Is the costume itchy?
  • Will your child wear the costume all day or will they want to change out of it?
  • Take a good look at the length and sizing (I’ve seen so many little princesses with their gowns dragging on the ground or falling off their shoulders because the dress is too big).

Disney Prince Charming Child Costume, Rapunzel Classic Disney Princess Tangled Costume, Disney’s Deluxe Jake and the Neverland Pirates


I recommend buying the costume early and letting your child try it on to make sure it’s a good fit for them as well as comfortable. You’d hate for your child to be complaining because the elastic in the sleeves is too tight or they’re overly hot.

Accessories

Accessories are a nice way to add just a little touch of Disney to your child’s ensemble. Accessories are fun to buy inside the Disney parks but so much cheaper to purchase them ahead of your trip!

Accessories I’d skip: Wigs, wings, masks, swords and wands. Pretty much anything that your child will want to remove in the park, that makes it hard to get on and off the rides or items that you don’t want to be stuck holding when your child doesn’t want to hold it anymore!

Hats are always a great idea at the Disney parks, especially when the sun is blazing.

Finding Nemo HatDarth Vader HatBaymax Hat

Darth Vader Baseball Cap for Kids - Walt Disney World

Sunglasses are great for blocking out the sun (and wearing them during the day helps keep my kids less cranky too, when they aren’t squinting in the bright sun).

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Socks and shoes are a fun (and practical!) way to show your Disney love! Finding Dory knee socks, Star Wars socksPrincess socks

Vans Kids Classic Slip-On-Mickey Mouse, Vans Kids Classic Slip-On-Wonderland, Vans Kid’s/Youth Era Shoes Disney Pixar Aliens Toy Story

Be sure to check out this free printable packing list for kids traveling to Disney!

Disney Trip Packing List-PIN

For more Dressing for Disney posts,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Blogorail Peach | Dressing for the Parks

Fashion & Style on a Budget – Looking Good on a Dime

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

I love to look fashionable but I don’t have a lot of extra money to spend or time for much effort. Fortunately it’s not that hard to work with what you have in order to get fashion and style on a budget.

Once upon a time, I was accepted into the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Unfortunately my family simply could not afford for me to go to this college and I settled for junior college. It was a major let-down in my dream as a fashion designer but I eventually started designing, sewing and selling my boutique items on Ebay & Etsy.

Now, I’m not a fashionista by any means. But I do believe that I know what works for me. It’s up to you to find out what works best for you in creating your own style and flattering look. And it doesn’t have to be a pricey endeavor…it just takes a bit of organization, planning before purchasing and thoughtful accessorizing (did I sound a bit like Tim Gunn there?) In any case, read on!


Organize and look more fashionable on a budget!

SEASONAL STOCK

Keep out only what’s in season and pack away the rest. I have a teeny-tiny closet and don’t have the space to keep sundresses and tank tops hanging up during the winter. I have two bins under my bed that I use for my seasonal wardrobe. When the weather starts to change, I hang up the sweaters and coats and put away the swimsuits and flip-flops. It’s also much easier to find an outfit when I’m not pushing aside summer clothes when it’s 40 degrees outside!

Organize like items together. Bathing suits and sunhats go into one box on the top shelf with scarves and winter hats in another. Take the time to arrange clothes, placing like items together. I have dresses on the far left, then jackets, pants, tank tops, short sleeved tops, long sleeved tops, then cardigans. Having my closet organized makes it so much easier to find what I’m looking for.

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

LAY IT OUT

Take everything out of your closets and drawers and assess what you have. Only in doing so can you really determine what you are lacking and what you’ll need to purchase. Weed through items that haven’t seen the light of day in 6 months or longer and determine if you want to keep or donate. If those pants make you look lumpy in places you’d rather they not, then why bother keeping them? Or that blouse that never quite fit properly across the bust? Put them in the donate pile! Sweaters with holes or blouses with missing buttons? Fix them within the week or put them in the donation box, do not put them back in your closet until they are repaired and in wearable condition again. Keep only clothes that make you happy and make you look fabulous. Better to have a minimal wardrobe that makes you feel good rather than an extensive collection that you either don’t wear, is uncomfortable or is unflattering.

Plan your outfits in advance. Figure out the night before what you planning on wearing to avoid a scramble in the morning (or the temptation to wear your sweatpants to work!) Set your outfit aside, including your jewelry so you can grab, dress and go!

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

DETERMINE YOUR TASTE

How do you want to look? What pieces catch your eye? What colors and styles are you drawn to? What outfit to you currently own that you love and feel is flattering to you? These are the pieces that you should be replicating in your closet.

Find a few images on Pinterest that you like or are inspiring to you. Choose one or two things new to try to see how they fit your personal style.

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

LOVE LAYERS

Layers add depth to your style. I personally love cardigan sweaters and own them in every color of the rainbow. Button just the two middle buttons and a cardigan hides any midsection bumpy bits, makes a flattering V-shape at the chest and nips in the waist. A brightly colored cardigan can jazz up even the most plain tee. Top it off with an eye-catching necklace as the final top layer. I like pairing my lightweight summer blouses with a long sleeved tee for winter.

Know how to layer your looks. If you are going with upper body layers (like a tunic with a loose cardigan) pair this with slender-legged pants. Likewise if you are wearing loose-legged pants,  something with details like cargo pants or a long flowing skirt, pair it with a body skimming tee or a blouse that nips in at the waist to avoid looking baggy. Keep in mind this rule: Loose on top, go more form-fitting on the bottom. Form-fitting on top? Keep the bottom more loose.

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

EMBRACE COLOR AND PATTERN

Color & pattern make all the difference. What colors do you have in your closet? Consider adding in pops of brightness that you can pair with black, gray and navy. Strategic use of color in your wardrobe can be your best friend. Place color and pattern where you want eyes to go. I have a petite upper body and wider lower half. I like to wear a small scale patterned top in a neutral that I pair with a bright cardigan that draws the eyes up to my face. If you have slender legs and a larger top half, you could wear a small scale print pant or a trouser in a bright color with a neutral on top.

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

ACCESSORIZING

Little details from head to toe accentuate your style and add charm. The key to taking a drab wardrobe to something eye-catching and fun is definitely in the accessories. A bib necklace, colorful cardigan, dangling earrings or a bright scarf can turn an ordinary outfit into something special. Take a look at what you already own and set aside the pieces that you wear most often. These should be given a prominent place in your jewelry box/organizer. If you haven’t worn a piece in forever, donate it or sell online. Sentimental pieces or dressy items that you don’t wear often but want to keep should go in a place that is out of the way.

I’m a petite 5’2″ and feel overwhelmed when I’m wearing too much jewelry so I’ll choose one piece only, either a necklace, bracelet or earrings and not all three. Especially when wearing a large “statement” piece, it’s best to choose just one and let that piece speak for itself without too much else going on. I like to wear long necklaces to lengthen my figure when I wear colored pants. I wear shorter chokers or earrings for drawing the eye upward when wearing bright colors on top.

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

I also love to accessorize with Jamberry nail wraps. Whatever Jamberry wraps I’m wearing that week definitely sets the tone for what colors I wear. Having pretty nails definitely keeps my spirits up and I’m more excited to plan a cute wardrobe when my nails are done.

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.  Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

BASIC BRUSH-UPS

Bra and underpants are the first layer. Just because they hide under your clothes doesn’t mean they should become an afterthought. A well-fitting bra and panties that hold everything in place and look invisible & smooth under clothing are worth spending good money on. Request a fitting at a lingerie shop and start small with one bra and one pair of panties in your skin tone and add another set in black. I choose practical pieces that hold up to every day wear and disappear under clothes (no lumpy lace or sequins).

Fashion & Style on a Budget - Looking Good on a Dime. Dozens of tips for looking fashionable & stylish without breaking the bank.

THE DETAILS

Changing our your handbag or purse can put a whole new spin on your style. My brother bought me a gorgeous charcoal Coach bag for my birthday. I’ve never had anything like it before & I was afraid to use it! After keeping it in the closet for a few months, I finally got over my fear of taking it out of the house and now it’s my regular bag. I certainly walk more confidently with that lovely bag on my shoulder! Like-new accessories are within your reach at ThredUp (affiliate link), where someone’s resell becomes your beautiful new designer (reasonably priced) handbag.

Organize and look more fashionable on a budget!Organize and look more fashionable on a budget!Organize and look more fashionable on a budget!

The same with shoes, as a pair can easily make or break your outfit. I have a confession to make: I don’t like buying new shoes! I find them awkward and uncomfortable to get used to and I very rarely find a pair that fits me well right from the start. I’m probably buying the wrong brand, because shoes really shouldn’t require “breaking in”. I prefer to purchase with comfort in mind. A friend discovered these wedge Crocs heels; they are comfortable and super cute! I like having pretty shoes without sacrificing my toes or developing blisters!


Share your fashion resolutions in the comments! What changes would you like to make in your style?

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