Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Who is Canada's Top Shoe-Aholic finalist for 2009?

Once again I entered the Town Shoes, Canada's Top Shoe-Aholic contest. Once again, because the company doesn't do anything east of Younge Street, I was unable to win (you had to go to a party in Toronto as a finalist to even be considered for the top prize. And since I spend money on shoes, I couldn't fly out for a one night shoe party). Below, is the 2009 entry. I based it on Suzie Orman's (the crazy financial lady in the U.S.)new book about dealing with the economic crisis.


For my fellow Shoe-Aholics, Amanda & Sara

S.A.P.L Press



Printed in Nova Scotia

First Edition
Introduction “Wear” we are and how we got here

It happened to you and me at the same time. Twice.

You became a Shoe-Aholic that first time you realized you were able to put a different pair of shoes on your Barbie, other than the one pair she came with. From that point on, the goal of “playing” Barbie’s was to dress her up. “What shoes should she wear to a Garden Party? Working at McDonalds? Of course she can drive her convertible in matching pink heels!”

From an early age we realized that shoes were an integral part of everyday living. We were prepared – anxious even – to be real life Barbie’s. With every new job, new milestone, we bought ourselves a treat for the feet. We became full fledged She-Aholics.

Then, while preparing to purchase our Fall/Winter shoes for 2008, it happened. The doom and gloom news reports. The water cooler talk about investments, RRSP’s, the future. We shook in our Gladiator shoes; we slinked to our bank in snakeskin stilettos. We wondered, is this the end? Must I now give up my passion for fashion?

I’m here to tell you ladies, NO YOU DO NOT!

Yes, there is a new economic reality that we all must face. But let’s not use words like Crisis, or depression. Girls, its time to be as creative as a pair of Betsy Johnson’s. As we continue to be Shoe-Aholic’s during Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter ’09, we will not abandon an accessory as important to us as the feet they go on. We will Strut through the seasons with a plan.

Because every Shoe-Aholic worth their salt free leather boots knows that like pre-planning outfits, preparing for your next shoe purchase is as important as anything you will do each day of your life.
Chapter 1
The Situation: Bank loans may have a lower interest rate, but they, like your health care provider, won’t finance your Shoe Therapy. News reports warn against using plastic to buy things you WANT, not that you NEED. Hence your non-Shoe-Aholic friends frown when you purchase a second pair of Be-Jewelled sandals, and lecture you on the current economic climate.

It happens to all of us. We have friends who feel the need to lecture us on things we do, that they don’t understand. It doesn’t make sense to waste valuable shopping time explaining it to them; they won’t listen (just like when they bought those Crocs against your warnings of never hanging out with them while they wore them). So what is a Shoe-Aholic to do? Buy shoes under the cloak of darkness, out of the watchful eyes of friends?

No. Say it with me girls: We are not ashamed of our desire to complete an outfit.

Buy the shoes and remind her that by doing so, you are single handily helping the economy. But unlike government loans to bailout big banks, your purchase will come in handy. Like on a nice summer day when you are sitting on a patio with a beverage, or hunting for deals at the Farmer’s Market.

 Call your local media and arrange a meeting. Remind them that by reporting such depressing news, it in no way helps the economy
 Appeal to your banker, by helping them get out of those same, boring, tasseled flats, and into a pair of strappy sandals. Once they come to our side, we all win
 Speak to your employer about switching health care providers
 Take your friend for drinks and let her cry out her true feelings of shoe inadequacy. Being your stylish self’s friend is pressure packed, she needs the opportunity to let it all out

The Silver Lining: Better health care coverage, an understanding friend, a date with the evening news anchor and Be-Jewelled sandals on a sunny day.
Chapter 2
The Situation: You walk in on your family, sitting in a room, all ready to read letters they have written to you. You look for the man with a moustache from A&E’s Intervention. But it’s too late. Your family feels the need for you to make a budget – and stick to it. They want to see you only buy one pair of shoes a month. After waking up from fainting, after having to re-hydrate from all the crying, after being restrained at the prospect, you have to decide to listen to your elders, or disown a whole family.

More and more in 2009, you will find that the people who “care” for us, don’t care for our shoes. Sure, they gave you shoe ornaments for your Christmas tree, and a shoe-a-day calendar for your birthday, but that was 2007. They no longer want to be “enablers” to your “addiction.”

This is what therapists call: classic panic syndrome.

Before you agree to anything, calmly remind your mother that she has given the economy zero chance to work itself out. Throw in some added guilt about you feeling like the economy in her eyes. Move on quickly to your father and ask him if he wants to see his little girl married to a great man who appreciates her needs and wants to support her. Or if you should head to the local dollar store, by some flip flops and see what kind of men approach her when she has little self-esteem because her feet are accustomed to Nine West, not synthetic materials.

Remember, your family has become a well oiled intervention machine right before your eyes. They are ready for anything you hurl at them. Words will not satisfy them, they need you to take action. Strap on your heeled Mary-Jane’s, its going to be a bumpy ride.

But ladies, did I write this book to leave you hanging? No, there must be solidarity in the Shoe-Aholic sisterhood. Photocopy, rip out, and fill out the following budget for such a time as when needed .

A Shoe-Aholic’s budget must use the following formula:
Expenses x Budget ÷ Extraordinary circumstances that only true fellow
Shoe-Aholics understand = a Shoe-Aholics budget


SHELTER $1800/A MONTH -Need 3 bedroom, can’t have roommate as 1 bedroom is for bed, 1 for office and 1 for closet

FOOD $1000/A MONTH -Cannot turndown any invite. Why own fabulous shoes in the first place if you have no where to wear them?

CAR $1000/A MONTH -Try walking all the way to work in heels, or standing on a crowded bus. -Take into account climate changes depending on where you live

RETIREMENT SAVINGS $3500/A MONTH -Buying Louboutin’s now, is an investment in the future. Vintage shoes in 2050 will pay for summers in Florida

Let your family know that you have carefully crafted the budget to reflect your needs, not wants. We all need food, shelter, transportation and a retirement plan. Reassure them that you are level-headed about financial safety because of their teaching. When you wanted that extra wardrobe for your Barbie and they said if you want it, you pay for it; you emptied the dishwasher, took out the garbage and other chores to raise the funds. If anything, you have been a Shoe-Aholic budgeter since early childhood.

 Weigh the pros and cons of accepting that invitation to meet your whole family in a hotel room. If your second cousin removed is suddenly in town, it’s a sign
 Copy the budget! Copy the budget! Copy the budget! You don’t want to be caught off guard. Carry a copy in your purse, gym bag and the top drawer of your desk. Remember, Luck is when opportunity meets preparation

The Silver lining: Not only do you get a surprise visit with an out of town relative, you get to prove to your parents how responsible you are. It will be the moment when the student surpasses the teacher; and that’s pride no completion of an intensive 12-step program at a secluded retreat, can ever match.
Chapter 3
The Situation: You turned to this book too late. You have not been able to follow a budget, get a loan, or discourage your friends. You are facing retirement from the Shoe-Aholic community.

First, do not panic. Do not start listing your shoes on Kijiji, or bartering ballerina flats for food. The two things in this world you can count on are me (a professional Shoe-Aholic), and the unconditional love your shoes will always give you.

As Oprah would say (as she stands in her Choo shoes) let us first be grateful for what we have. Stand in front of your shoes and smile. They are all yours. Remember the glory you felt when your hunting trip ended up with the last pair of purple, tweed, Steve Madden’s the store had. Or, the boots you wore on that first date. The sandals that guided your feet to that fabulous vintage costume jewelry stand at the farmers market. These are milestones, not cinder blocks, you carry.

Is there light at the end of this tunnel? Of course there is. Like the Marines, we never leave a Shoe-Aholic behind.

 Hold a shoe swap with fellow shoe-aholics who are also in this situation. New, can always mean new to you
 Take last seasons shoes and adapt them to this year. Use your creativity to add sparkle, bows and even a sharpie to colour in scratches (markers are not only for kids and Julia Roberts in Pretty Women)
 Tell everyone your style has changed from trend setter to retro
 Enter to win to be Canada’s Top Shoe-Aholic for fabulous shoe prizes and gift certificates

The Silver lining: You learn new craft skills that can help you in life, you bond with your friends, you have a title for a year of being the Top Shoe-Aholic in our community. That alone will certainly help you when your boyfriend/husband/potential both, suggest all your shoe buying is nonsense.

Ladies, by following the action plans laid out in this book, the road ahead will be smooth, and easy to strut in four inch JLo’s. The only thing that can be a road block is how YOU approach it. You are not a fickle Shoe-Aholic. If that were true you wouldn’t be reading this book, you’d be online fretting about Money markets and mutual funds. But where and what would that get you?

Carpe Diem means seize the day. And today is your day to tell the economy that it can’t keep you down. That the banks and the politicians won’t make you retreat to purchasing discount shoes once a year. And your friends and family? They are either with you on this plan, or against you. Remind them they want to be allies on the axis of rebuilding the economy.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed. But you’ve been there before and survived. Remember when Town Shoes had a clearance sale? You didn’t shrink into the corner and cry. You pushed your way through to that rack and found the David Dixon’s of your dreams.

Remember, Barbie smiled even when her shoe closet was restricted by pairs you had lost, your sister stole, or the dog ate. We survived then, we will survive now.