the Rita by Lillybee

I bought a white purse. Okay, it isn’t exactly nursing shoes white, but more accurately, a soft cream color that my kids just happen to call white. It has lovely dove-colored handles, the length of the drop on which is perfect for me and my on-the-go needs.

In three weeks, I may be wondering why I went with such an unforgiving color. It’s only a matter of time before it catches the nip of my ink pen, rubs up against something sticky, or just starts to accumulate a city hue from being carried to and fro in an urban environment.

But I’m going to diligently protect it from such evils because I love it.

I love that it looks just as good with black as it does with my brightly colored dresses and skirts for spring and summer. I love that it works with jeans. I love that it isn’t matchy matchy with my spring and summer shoes, but it also doesn’t clash with them. And most of all, I love that it’s from the Lillybee inaugural Italian handbag line, designed by local shoe goddess Kassie Rempel. That means my purchase not only supports a dear friend, but a woman-owned, DC-based small business.

On the first day I broke it out, I was mainly confined to my desk, but the three times I stepped away from the office, I received compliments on Rita. She makes a fine addition to the Lillybee family, and with any luck, maybe I can talk Kassie into offering it in eggplant for the fall.

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Operation Chelsea: interesting side note

Yes, I check out how many hits I get on my blog. I still get excited when the number tops 100. This figure might be abysmal to a quote-unquote real blogger but given that I write for fun, don’t have regular columns and routinely let myself be overtaken by writer’s block, busy schedules, and fatigue (in other words, I’m undisciplined) seeing the proof that I have any readers is affirming.

Sometimes, in addition to looking at the hard numbers, I also check out what search terms bring people to my blog. I like to see it when “chelsea chronicles” appears; it’s good to know not all readers happen upon me by accident or through Facebook. Other popular search terms that direct people to my blog’s door are lillybee or  lillybee sizing, kate spade scout (I think I wrote about this purse a lot last summer) and even back brace styling.

As I sat down at the computer this morning to check out any additional dresses or comments that might have been posted to the guest of a wedding style dilemma board on Pinterest, I decided to check out my blog stats. Today’s stats page revealed that of my four readers thus far, three were directed to me by Facebook and one from a search engine. Imagine my surprise when, only one cup of coffee into the day, I scrolled down to see that the search term used was: milf gallery hot baby.

Do we think the googler of this phrase was disappointed in what he/she found? Of these four readers, three read Operation Chelsea: 24 Hours Later and one read Operation Chelsea. Was Mister milf gallery hot baby (yes, I am going to assume it was a dude) sorely disappointed to find a discussion of what to wear to a wedding? How many results pages deep did the guy have to go to find my blog? Out of curiosity, I ran the search myself and five pages in (which is much farther than I ever go in any Google search) my blog still hadn’t appeared. Was the mention of one dress being potentially too milf-y all it took to even register?

For those looking for a dress update, I didn’t place any orders yesterday. A combination of the flurry of late afternoon Pinterest activity, having two extra kids stay the night, and a complete and utter lack of decisiveness waylaid my intentions.

You (and Mr. MGHB) will just have to wait.

all I want for Christmas

All I want for Christmas...Now that Jack has been reassured that Santa exists, he has been busy working on his letter to Santa.

Too busy.

While letters from years past have been Facebook-worthy in their sure little boy-ness (“gas mask [with hood]” last year or “one puppy [small]” the year before) this year my little consumer monsters would have made the Material Girl blush.

23 items on Jack’s list, including such treasures as an iPod touch (no), a video camera (no) and a DSI (no). So then we had to have a little talk about gluttony.

Me: There’s no way I am sending either of these letters to Santa.

Both boys returned with more appropriate lists that were limited to five items of varying sizes and price ranges, though neither list included the item they’re actually getting for Christmas.

All their list-making and prioritizing and editing and rewriting got me to wondering: if I had a Santa, what would be on my list?

Of course, aside from a binding global agreement on climate change from major emitters, some very classic items came to mind. New riding boots (I’ve had my eye on these convertible ones from Lillybee for awhile) and an orange wool coat with leopard print gloves. You have read of my desire for a new handbag (pictured is Emily’s coveted bag but in a gorgeous purple). I’m in the market for some funky jewelry that can be dressed up or down. And of course, while one is dreaming big and making lists, a Cartier tank watch.

I probably have a better shot at getting a Cartier watch someday than I do on an international deal on climate change.

I didn’t self reprimand my gluttony as I do not have expectations that a single one of these items will end up under my tree. After all, there’s really no one to share this list with beyond the blogosphere, and I’m sure Santa doesn’t follow me. As a half-time single woman/half-time single mom, I will look forward on Christmas morning to opening the gifts my boys make for me. This year I am hoping for one of Jack’s self-designed comic books, perhaps a box of Colin’s paper airplanes, and a jointly assembled pack of their “Magic Cards” which include a cross-pollination of the characters of all the mystical books they read, each assigned a point value and strength based on their activities in their respective books.

At least, those are the items I intend to ask for on my real list, the list I plan to give to the boys.

After the holidays, I can always buy myself the boots.

homage to fall

Taking the Lillybees out on a fall day

I don’t mean to be so self-serving as to direct your attention to a photo of myself (even if it is a great picture, if I do say so myself). What I really want to highlight is how beautiful DC’s Fall 2011 has been. Every one of my favorite colors is captured in this photo, and I do not recall a fall that has been as brilliant or splendid. Or quite as long. I know, I know, I just jinxed us, right? But I have already asked the weather gods what sort of sacrifice they need in order to (1) feel the strength of my appreciation; (2) extend (is that too greedy?) this season; and (3) ward off a crappy winter.

During these insanely busy last two weeks, I have tried to walk a little slower to my meetings, spend more time looking out my office window, and generally just appreciate this weather that is not hot and humid, wet and wild, or bone-chillingly cold. I’m not really a stop-to-smell-the-roses kind of person, but I have definitely paused to appreciate the season.

Sorry if it rains later.

why I love Lillybee

The shoes that started it all
The shoes that started it all

I remember as clear as day the first time I heard of Lillybee, Simply Soles founder and owner Kassie Rempel’s self-designed shoe line. I was a busy Hill staffer, on my feet all day long, which meant that when I wasn’t focused on policy, I was focused on how my feet felt. (Although on some days, how my feet felt definitely distracted me from focusing on policy.) At the time, I was working full time on one issue (a luxury, even for a Senate staffer) and I worked on that one issue (climate change, if you must know) with an office that could not have been farther located from my boss’s office in the Senate complex. That meant a lot of shuffling (sometimes running) between our respective suites, always clad in three-inch heels.

One night, after such a long day of back-and-forth meetings, home, feet up on the coffee table, catching up with personal emails, I read with interest that week’s Daily Candy Deal: a discount for readers on any pair of Lillybee shoes. I had never heard of Lillybee but immediately clicked on the link to the Simply Soles webiste where there was a small but gorgeous new collection of shoes called Lillybee, designed by Kassie Rempel, a local woman (I call her Goddess) who also owned a shoe store (I call it empire).  I knew I would have to own at least one pair of these shoes. Where had Lillybee been all my life?

After designing mental outfits with each shoe Lillybee had to offer, I bought the Hilary, a vibrant blue patent leather pump with a chunky heel that would help soften the blow as I stomped through the marble halls of Congress. But weeks later, I couldn’t get the Angelina out of my head. A little black dress in shoe form, I just knew that I had to make it part of my collection as well. (I did.) I also coveted the Gwyneth, a silver pointy-toed wedge, but sadly it didn’t come in my size, leading me to a desperate step-sisters of Cinderella moment when I contemplated what measures I was willing to take to squeeze my size 8 feet into the available size 7s. (I now own two pairs of Gwyneths, appropriately sized.) All the shoes in the 2008 collection, the Jessica, the Halle, even the vegan Natalie (Kassie is probably scared that I remember the names of her Lillybees like they are children) would not only have coordinated well in my wardrobe but would have kept my feet stylishly happy.

What sets Lillybee apart for me is not just that the line offers shoes that are unique, affordable, comfortable, and fashion forward, though all those qualities are certainly reason(s) enough to love a brand. I love Lillybee because through this shoe obsession of mine, I grew to know Kassie, who has quickly become a “sole sister” to me.  Today, when I need (or want, which in my book can be the same as need) a new pair of shoes, I immediately consult Kassie. I know that her advice is going to be honest. She has stopped me from buying shoes that she didn’t think looked right. She has introduced me to designers I now can’t live without, including Lillybee. She kept me upbeat during the Beatrix days. Her opinion means the world to me. But mostly, it’s her friendship that I value.

That I might get to help create a new Lillybee is just extra heel on the shoe.