This post has very little to do with Fort McMurray. Well, it does, and it doesn't, as it is about one of my other passions, and it does relate to this blog, and it's MY blog, and I can write anything I want here. And a whole lot of people have asked me to write it, and so I have, because I like to listen to my audience, too. This blog post, in case you haven't guessed, is about shoes.
It's pretty well known I have a shoe obsession. Some would call it a shoe problem, and some use the "f" word to describe it although I avoid that one (in case you are thinking of another "f" word the actual word I mean is "fetish"). Recently at TEDx Fort McMurray I debuted a pair of shoes that was very unusual, because they are genuinely one of a kind. No one will likely ever have the same shoes as these. And why? Because I designed them myself, and I designed them to reflect this very blog.
You see I am a person who has been described as "having a sense of occasion". I like to mark events and occasions in special ways. I will fly Irish flags on my house on St. Patrick's day, for instance, or get up and eat scones and clotted cream and drink gallons of tea at 3 am to watch a royal wedding. I believe in celebrating life, and in enjoying and indulging your passions. One of my passions happens to be shoes, and so when I discovered a little website called Shoes of Prey I knew I was on to something very special.
Shoes of Prey is a company in Australia, but they ship around the world. But they don't ship just any shoes. They ship shoes you have selected AND designed yourself, choosing the style and colours and fabrics. You can let your imagination run free. And when I found them I thought they would be absurdly expensive, of course. And that's when I discovered the true beauty of the business.
You can design a pair of custom shoes for less than $200 - including all shipping, customs, taxes, and duties. They will send you your custom designed shoes in about 4-6 weeks. And if they do not fit, or you do not like them, or you are not happy with them for any other reason? You have one year - 365 days, people - to return them, and they will refund your money OR remake the shoes. That is one helluva guarantee that is rarely seen, and much higher priced items don't come backed with that kind of warranty.
The best thing about it is that designing shoes on the site is fun - and easy. You can play with styles and colours, and I have even gotten non-shoe-obsessed friends hooked on the site. And for those looking for a custom shoe, for a wedding dress or special event? Well, I cannot imagine a better option. For a small fee they will even send you fabric samples so you can be sure you are getting what you want.
As for me - as soon as I learned I had been selected for TEDx I began to design my shoes (and I mean as soon as, minutes later, because the timeline was tight and I wanted my shoes to be here for the special day). I had a design in mind, and once I finalized it I sent in my order and waited.
I was rewarded at the end of one long workday with a beautifully wrapped package, every detail lovingly attended to, including a letter and a photo of my new shoes. I opened it up and found my new shoes, in their (to me, anyhow) breathtaking beauty, and was delighted to see that the quality was excellent. I tried them on and they fit perfectly, and they were exactly what I wanted. They evoked what I do for a living and a passion - write - and they had the beautiful green of the northern lights that to me has become synonymous with this blog and my life here.
I have had more comments and compliments on these shoes than I can say. And when I took the stage at TEDx Fort McMurray I was pleased to later hear that someone in the audience overheard some women look down at my shoes and say "Oh, those shoes, look at those shoes!". It was the sense of celebration and occasion I wanted for that day, a way to commemorate it for me and to tie a very special day into one of my other passions and loves.
Maybe you don't have a thing for shoes, and maybe you don't have the faintest idea why I am sharing this in my blog today. I suppose it is because for me, just as I wrote recently in McMurray Girl Magazine, shoes are little celebrations of the soul of the person who wears them. They are an expression of personality. They are just one way we can say who we are, and what we care about, and what we do. And these little shoes of mine do just that for me, and for this blog.
I have now designed and received another pair of shoes from Shoes of Prey. I will no doubt continue to buy shoes from other retailers, but Shoes of Prey has changed how I will buy shoes in the future. I am working on some new designs, too, ones for an upcoming gala, and ones for a little football event two years down the road (some green and gold shoes, to be exact). There is an element of fun in all of this, and joy, and celebration. There is something about the freedom of designing my own shoes, and about the joy in being able to share this with others, too. You see in this blog what I truly enjoy doing is sharing my passions - my passion for Fort McMurray, for the people who live here, for our community, for our events, for the things we do - and today I share with you my passion for shoes. I hope that even if you don't have a shoe obsession that you can see the joy I find in this passion - and if you DO have a shoe obsession? Go design some shoes. This little city in northern Alberta could quickly become the home of the most unique shoes on the planet. And that is yet another claim to fame I would love to see us hold!
let your imagination run wild!