A Tale of Two Boots, aka So Long, Steve Madden


You might think that these shoes were old as dirt, from the looks of them. Wrong. I bought them new last year from Steve Madden (the Troopa boot) and I am utterly and completely irked that they are so low-quality. The backs of the heels, which looked like wood or leather, appear to be made from packing materials, and the soles split clean down the middle.

They cost about $100. Where I come from, that’s a decent amount of money to spend on shoes! $100 should buy shoes that last longer than 6 months. So, I won’t be making my very occasional new shoe purchase at Steve Madden. I’m not even sure they’re worth repairing.


I think Orson says it better than I could:

On the positive side, I thought I’d share some pics of my newly restored thrifted cowboy boots! I wore the crap out of them, walking everywhere in them for a few years straight. I finally took them in to get repaired, et voila!


New leather soles with Vibram rubber over top to make them last longer, plus a new heel. I’m smitten! They’re broken in perfectly but still feel new somehow.


Reflections on 2011

What an eventful year! With so much having happened, I wanted to reflect a moment on all of the blog-inspired changes made this year.

From dirty shampoo to no shampoo to clean shampoo
I started out the year using a supposedly “natural” shampoo that ended up containing fragrance and SLS. Then, I did baking soda/vinegar every three days for a few months until I heard and saw that my kind of scalp can get irritated by that routine. Currently, I’m using a fragrance/SLS/paraben free shampoo without conditioner every other day and it’s working great! My hair feels very similar to the baking soda/vinegar routine, but my scalp is happy. I’m considering working my way up to three days in between washings.

Less driving, more walking
Thanks to moving even closer to work, I walk the 2 miles to work about half the time. It’s even cheaper than the bus and I’m in way better shape! If you don’t live close to your office, consider getting off at an earlier stop or parking your car and walking part of the way. Walking to work has also made me more likely to meet up with friends or run errands on foot. I have to say that I’m not completely self-motivated; finding street parking in my hood is a total pain and a very effective deterrent to getting in my car.

I also have been trying to combine errands that require the car into efficient trips. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to spend 30 minutes scouring my neighborhood to find my car.

Still vegetarian, post-Vegetarian Month
I’m proud to say that I’m still going strong! Inspired by Bee’s veganism and some information like this amazing infographic from GOOD.is, I’ve been able to stay steady. Also, perhaps it’s owning a cat that’s about the size of a large chicken, but I’ve become more squeamish about the idea of killing animals so vegetarianism is a good fit for me now. If only I could reduce my cheese intake… perhaps something to tackle in 2012?

Repairing my shoes
Yes, I still wear leather shoes, which have very high carbon footprints (ha! footprints) when bought new. Almost all of mine are thrifted, but some aren’t. One thing I’ve started doing this year is taking them to a cobbler! I got my favorite cowboy boots resoled and weather-proofed and now they’re better than new. At $70, repairs cost more than I paid for the boots at the Goodwill, but cheaper than equally good new boots and easier on the planet. I have three other pairs being fixed as I type.

I’m still new to repairing my shoes, but I highly recommend taking your damaged shoes in to a cobbler and see if they can repair them. If you do need new shoes, I highly suggest springing for higher-quality shoes because they can be repaired much more easily than cheap ones.

How about you?
I’ll stop here because this is a daunting block of text. But Bee and I would love to hear what improvements you’ve made this year and what you look forward to accomplishing in 2012!