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Alpha Mom Weekly

By Isabel Kallman

Alpha Mom Beauty & Health
Dear Amy,
Recently, with the gas prices and the environment and whatever else I should care about, I started taking mass transit to and from work. This requires me either to walk from my house to the bus stop or (if I ride with my boyfriend to the metro station) from the car to the metro station. In either case, this is a little less than half a mile. Then its metro to the bus to work and then another half a mile from the bus stop to my office. So, I’m walking almost a mile before I even get to work and then repeating this in the afternoons.
I refuse to follow suit of the middle-aged suburbanites who wear their stark white sneakers and socks with their dresses, but I completely understand why they do it and envy their lack of fashion sense. I have been wearing pink flip flops as my commuter shoes and then packing the office shoes in my briefcase, but even the flip flops are starting to become uncomfortable.
What I’m looking for is a cute pair of commuter shoes that will not kill my feet. I would especially be pleased with shoes that I could wear all day, but I don’t want to ask for too much. Any suggestions?

On my recent fashion scouting expedition to New York City (also known under the decoy code name of Jason’s Birthday Weekend), I spent a lot of time checking out what the Stylish Pretty People are wearing these days. I was converted to the minidress-over-jeans look (I’m also on a mission to find a cute pair of dressy shorts) and I also realized that flat shoes can be really, really cute.
Everybody was wearing flats. Or flip-flops, but it was mostly the super-cute flats that caught my eye. Cute! Practical! And at least giving off the illusion of being comfortable!
Of course, I’ve since tried on quite a few pairs that were anything but comfortable. Usually these were the super-cheap ones stamped with ALL MAN-MADE MATERIALS on the sole, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. The same shoe rules apply to even the most ballet-slipper-like flat: Be kind to your feet. Don’t encase them in plastic-y pleather and cheap pinchy shoes with unfinished seams that rub. A lot of flats also have ZERO arch support, which is the same reason your flip-flops are hurting your feet. (Also! Exposing all the skin of your feet to the air all the time will cause cracks and dryness. You might as well be going barefoot.)
So! Onward! To the point please! POST SOME SHOES ALREADY!
Here are some flats that I think would be perfectly acceptable to wear all day at work, and also (hopefully) make your commute more pleasant. (I can’t really tell how great some of these are arch-support-wise, but that is why God created the Zappo’s free return shipping policy.)
dansko.jpgOkay, this first one may make your Manolo-sense recoil a little, but bear with me: the Dansko Mary-Jane flat. So yeah, they are not the cutest little twee shoe in the world. But they are comfortable. They are good for your feet. They are also…not half bad. I love the strap and I can totally see the black ones looking pretty cute with a pleated skirt or some dressy cropped pants.
For a more stylish take on the same idea, these patent-leather ballet flats (patent is sooooo hott right now) from BCBG sound pretty comfortable, although I’d probably look into replacing the “foam insert” with something a little more substantial by Dr. Scholl’s.
bcbgshoes.jpgThat same tactic might work with pretty much any of the ballet flats. And here Zappo’s selection is positively mind-blowing, so it all comes down to what personally appeals to you. 1,844 pairs of ballet flats!
Brands built for comfort (besides Dansko) include Born, Ecco, Clarks and Rockport. Brands built for style (but are still decently comfortable and excellent quality) include Delmans, Donald J Pliner and Stuart Weitzman. Brands (in my own experience) that tend to look way better than they feel are Steve Madden and Nine West. It’s all about what you’re willing to spend and what the rest of your wardrobe looks like. (I could sit here all day linking to cute black shoes and all you wear are earthtones.)
So! To recap! Flats! Real leather! Go for ultra-comfort if you are okay with still packing a pair of heels in your bag, and go for additional arch support in an otherwise well-fitting shoe if you aren’t. Either option is worlds better than the office-attire-with-sneakers look, but then again, this is coming from someone who no longer thinks dresses always look ridiculous over jeans, so clearly I have lost my mind.
Alpha Mom Product Review: Birth Announcements
I finished my daughter’s room on my actual due date. I failed to plan a birth announcement plans until she was home and I was so riddled with hormones the thought of sending out birth announcements seemed about as likely as ever taking a shower again.
My husband is a graphic designer and loves to do these types of cards for our family. He designs our Christmas cards and he did our wedding invitations and every invitation for every party we’ve ever thrown. But after our daughter arrived he wasn’t in any position to design birth announcements, he was busy catching my tears in a bucket so I didn’t drown us all. I’m great at giving birth. In the end we got some (cute) blank cards from my sister in law who was a sales rep for a stationery company and had them printed with the birth information.
Jenna S. emailed and asked for some birth announcement guidance, I was happy to help because I love collecting cute ideas in case my family ever gets a dog or something and needs another announcement idea*.
i_have_arrived.jpgI love announcements (also Holiday Cards) that include a picture of your new baby, in fact if I can’t see that cute new face your baby ceases to exist in my eyes. The I Have Arrived announcement from You’re Invited is cleverly worded ( a plus ) and includes a picture of your baby. I love the tri fold design as well, keep it in mind when we start talking about DIY announcements in a minute.
lambie.jpgI am an awfully big fan of letter press stationery and also vintage children’s themes. Hello Lucky! They have several custom choices and also fill in the blank versions as well. I can’t link to a specific product here (which is very frustrating) but here is the custom baby collection home page which is easy to browse. I’m particularly fond of the lambie card with a picture and stats on the back side. Custom color, paper and font choices make this original.
herecomestrouble.jpgSometimes I see a cute announcement but it doesn’t have a designated spot for a picture, and remember your child fails to exist unless I see a picture. I am entirely serious. Just tuck a picture inside this Kate Spade card. Growing up my neighbor used to say this to my little sister whenever she toddled down the street so the phrase tickles me. Plus it’s true. Blah blah….Parent Required Disclaimer: “The Best Kind Of Trouble!”
birdannouncement.jpgI know some people are saying small birds on everything are the new trucker hat but ‘blah blah blah I’m not listening.’ I love these brown and blue robins on a simple little tree from Tiny Prints. They have other cute versions, even a pink and brown bird if you want to squeeze your tiny, helpless newborn into our preconceived and stifling gender roles from its first day of life. Ha! Again no picture but tuck one inside because it’s not just me who loves new baby pictures, all your friends want to see your new baby. But just this time, they don’t want to look at 40 baby pictures every time they see you. Trust me.
hank.jpgIf you want to do it yourself here is Mighty Girl’s tutorial for her adorable announcements for Hank. A rubber stamp all ready to fill in with vital stats and a little circle photo of the Mighty Baby, in glasses. Brilliant. I hung this announcement on my fridge for 2 months and smiled every time I saw it. Perfection. Your baby will look cute on your announcement even if he doesn’t come out of the womb wearing glasses like Hank did.
marthastewartannounce.jpgMartha Stewart, as always, has some lovely DIY ideas for your announcements. Most simple is the paper measuring tape cut to the length of your baby tied with a small tag with the rest of the vital stats. Martha’s site is surprisingly lacking in the announcement department. I had two of the old Martha Stewart Baby issues which were full of many more great ideas. Check Ebay for old issues.
HelloMyNameIs.jpgHere’s a bonus idea from my own brain, although inspired by the birth announcement my sister in law created for her daughter. I have no picture, because I have no baby to make an announcement for but I think I can describe this fairly well. Get your self a small flat note (size A2, I’d get white for the cards and pick a color for the envelopes. Get yourself a pack of those ubiquitous ‘Hello, My Name Is” name tags, like these. Center the sticker on the front of your card and depending on your penmanship write your baby’s name in the space provided. Or, do as Mighty Girl did and get a stamp for the name on the front. On the back, follow Maggie’s tutorial, get a stamp to fill in the vital stats, or use your printer (before putting your “Hello” stickers on the front. Create a sticker out of a small shot of your baby and put that on the back as well, you know, so your baby exists.
Or you could just skip all those steps and go here to find these lovely Hello My Name Is birth announcements.
These ideas almost make me want to have another baby, except not really at all.
*We will never send out Dog Announcements. Ever.
Alpha Mom Movie Review: Nancy Drew
By Tracey Clark of Mother May I
nancydrewmovie.jpgMy daughter and I got to attend a prescreening of the soon-to-be-released film Nancy Drew. I jumped at the opportunity to preview this movie. Since my nine-year-old has declared she wants to be in the CIA when she grows up, I figured a movie about a young, female super-sleuth would strike her little spy fancy.
Although our family movies of choice usual consist of the animated kind, I have recently noticed my daughter has taken interest to movies like The Princess Diaries. Fair enough. I love that one too. I was crossing my fingers that Emma Roberts, who plays Nancy Drew, would share the same truly endearing qualities as Anne Hathaway. I can be leery of what the industry deems appropriate for kids and I am quite discerning on matters of the media’s standards when it comes to my children. In other words–I’ll admit it– I’m not always the most agreeable movie goer.
As the beginning credits rolled and the perfect mystery music began to play, my daughter and I made eye contact as she flashed a giddy grin, punctuated by her signature nose wrinkle. I was hopeful. To my delight, I fell in love with the adorably earnest heroine Nancy Drew with her sincere, do-right attitude within the first few minutes and thankfully, so did my daughter.
Indeed, Emma Roberts is enchanting. There’s a line in the movie that compares Nancy Drew to Martha Stewart (where a stereotypical teen-diva in need of an attitude adjustment text messages it to her equally annoying BFF) which was exactly what I was thinking as I watched Nancy. She even offered the villains the perfect lemon bar to get them to cooperate. Great strategy, girl! Thankfully, unlike Martha, there was nothing about Nancy’s character that drove me crazy. Sure, she’s total Type-A, but that just means she’s organized, efficient, energetic, clever, creative, off-the-charts smart, AND considerate, generous and kind to boot.
What’s not to like? Of course, the fact that she “likes old fashioned things” makes her even more endearing as she dons outfits that any mother would adore. Please note: her pink party dress is do die for. And her retro sensibility was one very clever way the folks behind the movie tied in the original Nancy Drew of book fame with the contemporary one. Well done. If you can snag the moms with little details like this, you’ve got yourself a money-making movie. Although I imagine all audiences will love her, all of her high school peers in the movie don’t. Not at first. I mean, she soooo perfectly squeaky clean (another reason this mom loves her)…but, like all great endings, she finds her way into the hearts of even those that liked her least. I promise that doesn’t give away the ending.
I can’t say I loved everything about the movie. I felt that the story line was hard to follow for the younger set. The whole drive home my daughter drilled me with questions about twists and turns in the plot and what it all meant. And even when I totally broke it down for her, there were some mature issues dealt with in the movie that I didn’t feel comfortable revealing to a nine-year-old. I guess that’s always a risk when movies are rated higher than my G-Rated preference. I imagine the adult subjects of the movie might be overlooked by many children but nothing gets past my curious pre-tween.
There’s a single mother subplot that runs throughout the movie (which doesn’t offend me in the least) but the main gist of the mystery begs the question of why one of the most famous actresses of her day disappears for months only to return a little half-cocked and then apparently gets murdered because of it. I consider it a messy snarl to untangle. You know, the whole, “well honey, that one guy didn’t like it that she had another guy’s baby and oh, no they weren’t married, it was just one of those things…” doesn’t really flow off the tongue. But, because the movie was a classic “who dunnit” I will say that it was effective in keeping the audience on the edge of their seats and effectively mixed up the mystery and suspense factors with lots of good old-fashioned humor, a la Scooby Do.
All in all, I enjoyed that the young leading lady Nancy Drew stood by what she believed in and despite peer pressure marched to the beat of her own somewhat square drum. She stood tall, believed in herself, and was a good friend to all. She pretty much kicked bootie in her own brilliantly demure way and did it wearing a 60’s style mini skirt and penny loafers. Who does that?
If my daughter has anything to do with it, she will.

Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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