Category Archives: shopping

Goldilocks and her three essential pairs of shoes

Shoe No. 1- the Combat Boot – Sage green ABU boots & other military shoes

On October 11, 2017, while doing a unit group run, I started having massive heel pain on the left side, and then later that night, could not even walk barefoot in my own home.  I was hobbling to help the kids get dinner, etc.  It was horrible.  Of course, true to military healthcare and TRICARE, I could not get in to see anyone until the next week, so I used essential oils and heat/cold to try to reduce pain, and Advil.  The following week, I was finally seen, and it was Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Spurs – we would not find that out til a month later, after I saw a better provider and they requested an X-ray, and finally referred me to a podiatrist and physical therapy.  Seriously, military healthcare sucks!  In any case, I soldier on (pun intended).  My podiatrist and therapist took one look at my ABU boots and said, “woh, this is what you have been wearing for a year of your active duty?”   Yep!  Commence the medical profile while I searched for the best boot I could find to help me. Clearly, the two pairs I owned had no support.  So, I was put on a profile while my quest for the perfect, or at least somewhat comfortable boot, began.  I posted in a USAF Women Officer’s forum, and managed to get a pair of boots that fit, and were somewhat supportive of my arch and heel.  The ladies there offered many suggestions and brands of boot and I was able to try on most of them, in my quest for the perfect boot.

Tip: It’s not just footwear, make sure you do the stretches, and physical therapy recommended by your podiatrist or physical therapist.  There are a lot of stretches, rollers, iced water bottles, tennis/golf ball methods to employ, and they must be done daily to heal, in addition to wearing proper footwear.

Nike SFB Sage Green

You can only get such boots, mind you, via mail order.  I kid you not.  ABU boots are available from the following vendors online:  Nike, Tactical Gear, and US Patriot.  After 5-6 boots (back and forth via mail order), I tried Nike size 5.0 Next Gen 2, Size 5.0 Tactical Research MiniMil (not good for me), and a Belleville model, finally I found one that works, the original Nike SFB Sage Green, Size 5.5 for me, as it is all men’s sizing.  Yes, in 2018, all the boots are in men’s sizing, and you have to kinda figure it out.   I was so disappointed that the military clothing and sales at my base or at two other bases did not carry the size or the types of boots recommended by many of the women – lightweight boots like Tactical Research MiniMil, Nike Special Field Boots (SFB), or the Next Gen 2 Nikes, Bellevilles, etc.  Even if the brand was available (only Belleville was) at the store, because you have to get men’s sizing, they rarely had smaller sizes like 5.5 or 6.0 in Men’s sizing.  But, I have been happy, with the Nike SFB in a size 5.5 Men’s.  They run small, so the best tip I have is try on Nike supportive (high heel) running shoes.  Then, subtract 2 from that- that is your men’s size.  So I felt the best in a 7.5, and in the Nike SFBs, the best fit was 5.5. You want room, and these shoes are a bit wider, so they worked for me, but they won’t for everyone.

Dansko Ellie

Regarding low quarters (shoes with the service dress pants and such), and flats, the orthotic inserts can go in them if thin enough or low profile/dress orthotic, but I tried on a few loafers from Dansko that I liked, and were compliant with the dress and appearance regulations.  Dansko Ellie is nice and does not slip in the back.  They are not glossy but who cares? For me, it’s comfort and health over looks these days.  I used to wear Franco Sarto but the insole won’t work in those, and I’d rather be comfortable.  Pumps/flats or heels are tougher as all the ones from Vionic have ornamentation on them or an open toe.  Abeo is the same.  You have to search for options here and Skechers has a comfort brand (take your custom inserts with you when you try it on), but again, most places offer free shipping/free returns and exchanges, so take advantage.  It is time consuming and annoying, but it’s your feet.  You carry the weight of the world on them!

TIP:  Before shopping for any shoes, get an Orthotic- Custom for the boot/running shoe and a dress shoe insert.  

Before I shopped for the new boot, I wanted to make sure I had my custom orthotic.  I got that one within 2-3 weeks of the incident, which was great!  But they are thick and Tricare (as usual) only authorizes one, so I got a few more on my own.  You can get heat molded ones (custom made) for you at Road Runner Sports.  Another one is Aetrek, which is made by Red Wing Shoes, and you can go and get a custom fit there.  Abeo (sold at Walking Company) also makes an orthotic for the dress shoe, and they are so great at measuring you, checking your arches, etc, and making a custom recommendation.  I got everything I could, and if you are lucky to have, or a spouse who has a flex spending account, custom orthotics are covered for your pre-tax dollars.  So take advantage of all you can!

Shoe No. 2- Running/Walking shoes which could double as everyday shoes (PS- I also bought the same brand slippers for the home)

Hoka Clifton

While I was on a profile, I was also on a boot profile, so I could wear my walking shoes with the ABUs (the AF uniform).  I was wearing Hoka Clifton (also recommended by my podiatrist) What a nightmare, which took over 6 weeks to get into a proper combat boot for me.   I changed out my Hoka Clifton after about 40 days for the Hoka Bondi because I wanted an all black shoe.

Hoka One One Bondi 5 Women’s Black

Hoka Bondi is a substantial shoe, but the heel and arch support are unsurpassed!  I cannot say enough great things about the Hoka shoe brand along with Road Runner Sports – the customer service is amazing!  They test your feet, and help you understand what type of shoe you need, and if you tell them of your condition, they will help you get the right shoe.

Hoka One One Ora Recovery Slide

I also got the Hoka recovery slippers (women’s size 7) for around the house.  They are waterproof, and so great with support for walking around the house.  I am still shopping for a house slipper but Abeo has a great sale right now on these, so worth checking out too.  I get Abeo shoes at the Walking Company.  Their return policy is great, unless it is final clearance sale.

Shoe No. 3- dress shoes, boots, shoes to wear off duty hours (i.e. my Cinderella shoes)

Once the boots were set, and my running/walking shoes were all set, I ventured out and did a lot of research to get proper dress shoes.  You see, I plan to return to my old job and I like to dress nice in my civilian job, so it’s time to start getting some nice shoes.  If you think your payless shoes are great, think again – get better arch and heel support if you can.  Your later years feet will thank you.  I now know what to look for in a shoe, and how to buy good, supportive shoes that also look great thanks to my PT and podiatrist. There are a lot of options out there, but I did a lot of research into good sandals (for summer/casual wear), boots, loafters, dress shoes (I generally like one brown, one black which I can wear with the uniform), and ankle boots versus longer boots to wear with leggings.

First, we have all heard of vionic.  Frankly, I never heard of them before this whole ordeal but it’s a thing.  They make some great shoes which have heel/arch support and are recommended by doctors, made by a doctor.  Some of their styles are, well, let’s say, for older folks, so you’ll have to look elsewhere if you like fashion.  Enter Dansko.  Good shoes and carried by many places- Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Walking Company, Dardano’s, etc.  Great shoe, but you have to try them on as some of the loafers slip in the back and I dislike that a lot.   Finally, I learned of a new company and their shoes are AMMMMMAYZING!  Abeo shoes are sold at the Walking Company, or on line and they are even more comfortable than Vionic or Dansko.  I highly recommend them.  Now, all of these are not cheap. They are high-end, definitely not your BOGO Payless type of shoe, so look for sales.  We all know the best time for sales – Black Friday, Cyber Monday, New Year (Jan 1, Dillard’s go nuts with sales- get on line and get your shoes then), and be ready to send them back and do the returns/exchanges, because what you get online won’t always work in real life. 🙂  Also, take your orthotics along whenever you hit the stores so you can try those shoes out with the orthotics.

Most companies like Road Runner Sports and Vionic let you wear the shoes out for 30 days (Vionic) or Road Runner Sports (90 days!!!) Yes, 90 days… so use all that time and wear them and see what you think.  So many great options for us with foot issues caused by horrible combat boots or other things, so get out there and research away, and get to know your UPS drop off location folks, as you will become fast friends.  Will you feel like a giant #firstworld goldilocks?  Yes, but who cares?  It’s better and cheaper than surgery or a permanent disability, right?   Here are some of the shoes I did keep, and hope to wear now that I have decided on them.  I am still waiting for another shipment, but we will see how that one goes.

Here is a picture of what the house looks like frequently as I get the shoes that fit just right… what an adventure, an expensive one at that, but I do feel like Cinderella when the shoes fit great, look great, and make me feel good too!

If you have questions, you can write me, but I am not a doctor, I only wear scrubs at night in place of PJs, but happy to give you advice.  In the end, you have to find the right fit for you and your foot.  Good luck and feel better soon!


Pick up Service from #Walmarttogo Grocery – It really is quick!

I posted before about Walmart Grocery To Go! delivery, but I have never tried pick-up service. I tried home delivery four times, and you can read about all my experiences on Get Clued In!  So, this time we tried pickup to see if it was really a “game changing time saver.”  It really is.

20150110_123124It worked great! And we did it with our kids in tow!  When the weather is nice like it was today, roll up your sleeves, head out to run errands, and make a quick 5 minute or less stop at Walmart Curbside pick up, and get all your groceries before you head home.  Make sure to register here for Walmart Grocery To Go, so you can set up your account, so when you are ready to order, you are good to go!   Pick your store, the one you will either pass by on the way home from work, or running errands, and you actually give Walmart a 4-hour window for pick up.  They call you at the start of your window to let you know to call them when you are 15 minutes out.  Once you are 15 minutes out, call them, and when you get there, you pull into a special marked area, and voila!  They come out, review your order, and load your car.  We had our items and loaded into the trunk within two minutes of arrival.  No fuss, no muss, no standing in long lines, no trying to find all you need from various Departments.  It is all ready for you and best of all, it’s FREE!  Delivery is approximately $7, and pick up is free.   And, they even gave ua free gift for our loyalty – a little Walmart care package.  Wow!  What a treat!

20150110_123117Holiday rush at the store? Fret not, order everything you need on-line. Oh, and be sure to indicate which items you are okay to substitute out because if they do not have the one you ordered, are you okay with generic or another brand?  Make sure to put that in, and check out. You pay on-line when you check out, but you are not charged until pick up because they might not have all your items.  Worked like a charm for us!

20140316-231926.jpgWhether you choose home delivery (a truck like the one pictured to the left will deliver all your goods to your home), or pick up service, save time, money, and hassles of traffic and lines of holiday grocery shopping, and order from Walmart Grocery To Go. Reduce stress of the new year and spend time on things that matter.

Disclaimer: As a participant in the Walmart Grocery to Go program, I’ve received a personal invite and payment for my time and efforts in creating this post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.  Don’t forget to CLICK HERE so we both get a $15 credit at WALMART To Go! 


Meet a Bookseller at Barnes & Nobles this weekend #BNDiscovery

pre-folded artfold books- you can still read them!

B22kd2BCIAAkVA_.jpg large A book – what a concept!  Barnes & Noble stores are so, so much more than just bookstores.  Remember when we read magazines and took the fun quizzes?  There is a music shop, a kids’ educational zone (just for them), educational toys, fun toys, Minecraft, gifts galore, and so, so much more.  It is literally a one-stop shop for all your shopping needs.  And, you can get a coffee, a cookie, a muffin, or even a cheesecake (from the Cheesecake Factory) in your Barnes & Noble, while you do all your holiday shopping, or just have fun this weekend.

New ART FOLDS books- read them and fold them

Stop by your local or any Barnes & Noble this weekend, for Discovery Weekend.  Check out all the events here, and take the family along for fun, kids’ events, and prizes, and yummy cookies.  When did you connect with a bookseller? I am not talking about ordering something on-line and reading it on a back-lit tablet, but when did you really connect with someone who sells and knows books? We all love our local library, but if you want to find a rare book, or something new, connect with a bookseller and ask questions, and get exactly what you are looking for – that perfect gift for that special someone. My favorite new thing I discovered was the book Art Folds- how cool.  It does not destroy the book, but you can read a book and follow the instructions (origami-like) to fold the pages you read to create some fun words.  This will look great on my book-shelf when I am done reading, and fun B22fUMIIAAAbi9V.jpg largeto look at too!  Check out the pictures, because I love ArtFolds.  Who thinks of this stuff?  You can’t do this with your digital reader, can you?

And don’t forget to add some yummy to your list while you shop.  Visit the Cafe and enjoy a coffee and fresh-baked goodies- S’more cookies are only $1.00!  Yum!  Check out and play with the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK – comes in a 7 inch screen and 10.1 inch too.  Whatever your gift needs are this year, check out Barnes & Noble this weekend, for their big Discovery Weekend event, Friday through Sunday, 21-23 November.


Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post, and attended a live preview event (and yes, even met several booksellers :-)) in exchange for promoting the #BNDiscovery weekend, 21-23 Nov.  The opinions expressed here are my own.


Walmart 2 Go – 2nd Delivery Review of #Walmarttogo

I picked myself up, dusted off the first delivery of #walmarttogo and gave it another try.  My first review is posted, and can be read here.  This time, I ordered on Tuesday for Wednesday evening delivery.  Remember to book it before you add items to your cart to snag the best possible time slot for you.  You can always change it before paying/confirming your order.  This time, after logging on, I snagged my slot, added items to my cart, and went through the process just like before.  I learned another important fact about the online ordering process.  You cannot change your delivery time or date on-line or through your account history once you place the order.  You have to call the customer service number and attempt this feat thru them.

The window was 6 to 8 p.m20140319-210239.jpg. and at 6:30 p.m., my order arrived.  Yeah! It was all there, and only one item was substituted.  I had “allowed” the substitution on this particular item.  Please read my earlier post for all the tips on the online ordering process.  Several people I know who have ordered have received late delivery, or even moved to the next day, but have not reported any other issues.  For my second order, I also ordered non-grocery items, and they brought the correct items.  I ordered household products and it worked out- this time.  You can also order electronics and anything else on the Walmart2Go website.   Another thing I checked out this time was whether the service offered in other areas, and it is not offered everywhere quite yet.  To check if your zip code qualifies for the walmart to go service, click here and plug in your zip code.  There is an option to enter your E-mail so you can be notified when it is available in your area.20140319-210318.jpg

After two deliveries, here are my PROS for home delivery: (1) You do not have to go out and shop, and (2) you do not buy items you do not need- i.e. impulse shopping.  Bottom line: Save time and gas!  The CONS are:  (1) You have to be at home for the delivery window, and may get a delay, or a no-show which means you may need to head out if you need something desperately; (2) Also, not all products may be available, and you may have to go out anyway, and (3) It costs money for home delivery, which is $7 for a two-hour window, and $5 for four-hour window.  Gas to run to the store once may not run you that much.

Good luck, and no matter what you choose, happy shopping!


As a participant in the Walmart to Go First program, I’ve received a personal invite and incentives for my time and efforts in creating this post.  The opinions expressed here are my own.


Soybu Grand-Opening — Denver #loveyourbody

SoybuAh, life in yoga pants!  I could come to love that.  Trust me, you do not have to perform yoga to love the gear.  It is important to have practical, comfortable clothes to move in no matter what you do.

On Wednesday night, I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening of the Soybu flagship store, and it was fabulous!  Thanks to Denver Mile High Mamas, I learned of this event and was lucky enough to attend with some fabulous ladies.  Obviously, we got to try on all the Soybu we wanted, and they offered us 25% off all our purchases, but we were lucky enough to meet some of the other generous vendors in the Cherry Hills Marketplace- Bundt shoppe let us try four decadent flavors of cakes, and Cherry Hills marketplace hair stylists and colorists were on-site to make us feel beautiful too!  What a great ladies night!

photo 1


You can receive 25% off on all purchases through February 23, Sunday, at their store or on-line at the Soybu website.  Be sure to check it out, and see what fits you best!  They have amazing sales on-line and in-stores.  Don’t miss out and while you are at Cherry Hills Marketplace, check out Trader Joe’s, the Bundt Shoppe and other vendors.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Mile High Mamas for partnering with Soybu. I received a store credit to purchase clothing for my review. All opinions and views expressed are my own.