Trusty old shoes. And life as an ectomorph.

I took a picture of my pre-owned SAS Siesta work shoes while waiting for the subway on my way home today.  These shoes are arguably really ugly, but there’s something unconventionally charming about them.  I’ve found myself reaching for them daily ever since it got cold in New York.

Here’s what I love about them:

  1. They’re comfortable for long periods of standing at work.
  2. They make me look taller without feeling like I’m wearing heels.  (SAS makes taller versions as well).
  3. It’s top to bottom black, even the metal shoelace holes and stitching are black.
  4. They are great for autumn weather and rain.  No need to buy a separate pair of rain shoes if you have an umbrella for downpours.
  5. They come in a gazillion width sizes. (These are “slim” or extra narrow!)
  6. And you can find pre-owned versions all over the internet for less than $30, although they are worth a lot more ($130)!  I got mine on eBay for $26.
  7. The design has been around for decades so you know you’re getting something tried and true and can replace them easily when they wear out.  Plus they are still handmade in America.
  8. They make your feet look two sizes smaller and hug your feet (unlike Danskos which were always too wide and clunky for me)
  9. And lastly, they’re humble and smart looking, and go with literally everything I wear to work.  Socks that peak out look fine with my more cropped trousers, at the expense of looking like the nerd that I am (something I embrace wholeheartedly).

Continue reading “Trusty old shoes. And life as an ectomorph.”

a fast fashion holdover, my personal finance homework + other updates

levis 501 ct at 11.06.14 PM

This is an old photo, but I posted it because it’s finally cold enough to break out the old wool socks + Birks combo.  Yes, I know it’s ugly, but I’m shameless, and for casual days lounging around, walking the dog, it’s not too offensive.

I’m wearing one of my favorite sweaters here.  It’s a 5 + year old cotton knit from Zara.  I think it’s true what the Luxe Strategist has said about fast fashion– they don’t all fall apart quickly.  Some do last, if you choose carefully and properly care for your clothes.  But I do think the quality can vary to the extreme at fast fashion retailers.  And quality is only one factor when deciding on what brands to buy from.  At this point, ethics and the environment drive my decisions more than anything else.

I just got back from a week in Cali where I gave a talk at a conference.

I was shocked to discover that the Forever 21 headquarters is now located in the very same neighborhood I grew up in (boooo!).  I’ve heard some terrible things about how they treat their employees, a culture of women bullying other women in the work place.  Why am I not surprised?

But anyway, since being back in NYC, I’ve been busy doing homework that my personal finance coach assigned to me.  She had me total up everything I spent in October and calculate the percentage of my take home pay that I spent on each category.  This is the breakdown of how much I should be spending in each category according to my coach:

housing 25-35%
savings 5-20%
utilities 5-10%
personal 5-10%
recreation 5-10%
food 5-15%
transportation 10-15%
clothes 2-7%
medical 5-10%
misc 2-5%
unsecured 5-10% (student loans, credit cards)
charity 10-15%

Turned out my biggest expenditure was on food.  I was shocked to find out I spent the same amount on food as rent!  Eek!  I don’t go out for fancy dinners, but I guess all those seamless orders + tip add up.  My coach challenged me to not order from Seamless at all in the month of November and cut my food bill in half.

Tonight I made cauliflower tacos (vegan) from the Thug Kitchen website.  It was really good.   I bought pre cut cole slaw to save time on food prep and toasted the tortillas on a frying pan instead of microwaving them to get a crunchier texture.  Tomorrow I’m trying the mushroom tacos recipe from NYT, for something a little different that will still use up all the leftover ingredients from tonight’s dinner.  Cooking every night is going to be a challenge but it will force me to be more creative and actually plan out my meals the night before.

I just finished reading The White Coat Investor, a book two friends from med school recommended.  I highly recommend you read if you’re also in the medical field.  And I just started reading Ikigai  (a japanese version of Hygge) [update:  I just finished reading it; it’s not well written; not a book I’d recommend unless you are very interested in the topic] and Why Buddhism is True  by Robert Wright, who was recently on the Secular Buddhism podcast, which if you have not listened to yet, you should.  It’s gold.   One of the most helpful episodes for me has been the podcast on perfectionism and the problem with comparing.

[outfit:  old zara knit sweater, levis 501 ct*, vietnam wool socks, birks]