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Sitting in the back of a sedan en route from LAX to Pasadena last year, with NPR sounding the background, I saw a billboard somewhere near the exit to the Forum.

It read:
“Dream to learn.
Dream to learn.
Learn to dream”.

At the same time, the then running story was about Magic Johnson and the tremendous impact he’s made on re-building Inglewood.  The story described a certain movie theater to which Mr. Johnson makes frequent visits for the purpose of creating a safe-zone.

Located in what was described as a “gang-laden” neighborhood where violence is a much too often experienced reality, this particular theater is a safe-haven, even when Mr. Johnson is not there.  He instilled an expectation that violence is not tolerated at this theater. And he did so such that kids and teens and adults could watch movies without the fear of violence.

If this one person can be this impactful, imagine what we could all do, if were all given the chance to learn to dream.

These Boots Were Made for WalkingFrom the perspective of a young-schoolgirl who is utterly smitten with her crush du jour, I recently blogged about my all-time favorite brand of boots.  And much to my surprise, I was overwhelmed with comments and emails asking me where to buy the boots and to buy shoes, in general.

You see, for those of us living with limb loss; the idea of shopping for shoes is a less-than-desirable event because looking for shoes that are both fabulous and functional is not easy.  Prosthetic feet have pre-engineered features making them necessarily functional (i.e. proper heel heights) so that they most appropriately mimick a non-prosthetic gait.  Love that.  Need that.  Wouldn’t want it any other way.

But when it comes to finding shoes, it’s not an easy task.  Enter the convenience of e-shopping in which we can literally wander through an entire store, albeit it virtually, without ever setting a foot inside their door. And with competition growing amongst the online marketplace vendors, the consumer becomes the intended third-party beneficiary of their marketplace volleying techniques.  Hello! Great sales, free shipping, and free returns?  What’s not to love about that?

Wanna see what I’m talking about? Go to one of my fave on-line shops and get started.  The beauty of each is that you can search through thousands of shoes with your search terms. For example, if I am looking for flats, I would search “flats”, “low heel height”, or “heel height less than 1 inch”.  Then, if I am looking for dressy shoes, I would select the “evening” option and let the images begin.

From most of the images, you can look at different views of the shoes from the top, bottom, side, front, back and so it.  And in the end, you have thousand of options to find the perfect shoe.   Ready, set, shoe!

20140130-211547.jpgZappos

 

 

 

ShopStylePopSugarLogoHeaderShopStyle

 

logo_shoebuyShoeBuy

 

logo_brandJustFab

 

 

As a strong believer in optimism and a faithful practitioner thereof, I gobble up every little wisdom nugget that I find. And so, I’m starting my “Friday Fantasticals” which are my words and my perspective. Though not particularly profound, I write them with hopeful optimism that someone will like them too. Without further ado, this is my first installment for you.

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It's Winter in MinnesotaIt’s January in Minnesota.  Last week’s low temperature was -23 degrees Farenheit and this week’s temperature is +23 degrees Farenheit. And what that 46 degree temperature gradient brings is snow, snow, and more snow.

With today’s snowfall dumping approximately 4-6 inches of that fluffy, white, wet stuff all over the land; desperate times call for desperate measures, and I’m pulling out the boots.  Sure, I could don some Sorel’s, but I’m pretty sure that those wouldn’t pair so well with the leopard print sweater and black pencil skirt I’m wearing today, would they?

Walking in Vienna
Walking in Vienna, November 2013

And as a firm believer that fashion must fit function, the Sorel’s stayed in the store and out came the Claremont riding boots, by Sofft.  Calling myself their unoffical brand ambassador, I have been promoting these boots from the first time I walked throughout China in them.  Three years and three pairs later, I remain head-over-heels in love with them.

Why?  Because they are fashion-forward.  They are uber comfortable. They have a rubberized flat, nubby heel.  And they have a full side-zipper.   So from my “limbitless perspective” (that’s how I view things from the perspective of someone using a prosthetic leg), they have every functionality to make donning and using them a breeze.

And from my “fabulous perspective” (that’s the perspective from me just being me), they have the classic riding boot look with a bit of an edge, as they sit just above the knee.  They’re like the Hampton’s meet Soho, all in one boot.

Exploring Lisbon
Exploring Lisbon, December 2013

So, whether I’m globe-trotting across Europe or tredging through knee-high Minnesota snowdrifts, there’s no other boot for me. Nancy said it best:  “These boots were made for walking”.  And that’s just what I’m gonna do.

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I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. Never have been. Never will be. But I do believe in taking advantage of the after-Christmas sales. And it was just that that prompted me to buy these bad-boys.
So as someone who loves the treadmill as my cardio of choice, I’m going to break in these new shoes and walk away my holiday “sins”.

Change the world, bit by bit.
Change the world, bit by bit.

One of my favorite Friday routines is going to Starbucks, ordering a Venti non-fat latte, buying the New York Times, and actually having the time to read the paper while drinking my coffee. My reality is running into Starbucks, impatiently standing in line to order and then wait for my latte, while stuffing the paper into my overfilled purse while running out the door, all the while clinging onto my coveted ritual and trying to make to work at a respectable time.

On one particular Friday several years ago, this was my routine. Already late for work and impatiently waiting in line, my paper perusing was abruptly halted when the words, “kick ass soul searching” jumped off the paper. I sat down, read the review of the then, newly released book, “The Fire Starter Sessions” by Danielle LaPorte, and enjoyed my latte.

Four hours later, I was standing in line at Barnes and Noble with a brand-new, hard-covered book in my hand. By Sunday morning, I finished the book but had no idea how the hell I would actually use any of the insightful information.

Fast forward to March of 2013 when I ordered the “Desire Map Book” and booked a flight to spend a Desire Mapping week-end with a kindred spirit. An April “girls week-end” was planned. Together, yet individually, we were going to each define our Core Desired Feelings over a week-end of lightheartedness laughter all the while enjoying good food, good wine, and good company. I mean, defining my Core Desired Feelings? How hard is that?

It’s hard. It’s kick-ass hard. Instead of the lighthearted week-end filled with laughter, it was more like a self-directed therapy session during which I tried to figure out what makes me tick, once and for all. As expected, the food was great, the wine was plentiful and the company was charming but we ended the week-end feeling drained, confused, and unsure of next steps.

On that Monday morning, as my fellow Desire Mapper and I were rehashing how unexpectedly difficult it was work through the exercises, we heard about the Boston Marathon bombing. Awestruck in realizing that Boston was only several hours from where I stood and unsure of what was actually happening, we started hearing news reports of people losing limbs and seeing their images stream across the newsreels.

Thirteen days later, I was in Boston meeting with several of those people. Why? Because I am a person who has survived the traumatic amputation of my left leg. And because I wanted to help. I had to help.

Nine months and another trip to Boston later, I am starting to see the big picture. With what started in Starbucks and ended with two Danielle LaPorte books later, I see the big picture of me; my life; and what I am supposed to do with it. The confusion that clouded my thinking after first reading the “Fire Starter Sessions” and completing the “Desire Mapping” exercises has been replaced with almost crystal-clear clarity.

I am here to do my small part to change the world. I have always known that but have more recently embraced it. And with the non-coincidental meetings, reunions, and emails that I received on December 31, 2013, I know that 2014 is the year to act.

Tomorrow is the first Friday of 2014. I think I’ll go to Starbucks. And for the rest of the time, I’ll strive to be confidently tenacious; adored; resplendent; ebullient; fulfilled; and limitless.