Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Style Bard Faves

"Style Bard Faves" is a term I coined (heh, I just typed "coin I termed") over at Style Bard Shoes to denote my picks for the best buy within a selection of on-sale shoes. Now I'm gonna use it to tell you about my top five favorites in a number of fashion-related categories. "Style Bard Faves" will be a 5-part series running every Wednesday starting today, on the third anniversary of Style Bard.

First up: (what else?) shoes. I've been writing about shoes on an almost-daily basis at Style Bard Shoes for almost two years, since March 2007. That's 756 shoes in 730 days! Naturally, it's a little hard to pick out a selection of five favorites (and I have maternal guilt about all the hundreds I had to overlook). Yet, here they are:

5) The fourth runner-up out of the five favorite shoes I've come across in the past three years is actually the hardest to choose. Picking out your favorites is easy, but narrowing down the last one to make the cut is tricky. Should I choose another pair of whimsical knee-high boots? Boots are my favorite style of shoe. Should I feature something with a zipper? Style Bard readers know that I'm a sucker for some zipper detailing on a shoe. How about the quintessential Jimmy Choo mid-heel black patent slingbacks, which every girl needs in her shoe armoire? But no. Finally I decided that I needed to choose a flashy, bright, dress-up shoe, the likes of which I'll never be able to buy in real life--something to add balance to the dark, gothic, S&M, romantic shoes I tend to favor. And that's the Swarovski-coated 'Gilda' pump by Gina shoes, a heel which stands out among all other shoes and demands attention. What I wouldn't give to see these in the light of a bright summer day! (Other than the $1,215.00 it would take to make that happen.) At heart, I am a magpie, and I think these shiny shoes deserve a place in my top five faves:

4) I've gotta tell you, I would wear the hell out of these 'Motorcycle Boots' by Tory Burch. I love the hardware, love the glam, love the height and wish like hell I could justify the pricetag. But alas, these gems like so many others just got away from me. They also come in a very similar version with a zipper up the front (swoon), but these are slightly more sexy to me because, in case you didn't know, the Style Bard loves some good motorcycle chic and military authority in her shoes almost as much as a zipper! In the perfect world, I'd have both boots, but this list can only include one:

3) O, 'Frisoni' by Vivre. Every time I lay eyes upon you, I only want you more. I wish I had the nerve several years ago to buy you, even though I'm sure your pricetag was exorbitant and I would have had to drop out of school and move into a box. But oh, what a fabulous pair of shoes I would wear in my cardboard box home under the freeway. You would keep me warm at night with the fiery heat of red velvet, dry the tears from my eyes with the glimmering sight of gold stiletto, and soothe my empty stomach with the raindrops that would collect in your curvaceous black patent heel... O, 'Frison' by Vivre. If I only were as brave as you are beautiful:

2) Coming in at second place, or first runner-up, are a pair I actually own. That counts, right? I bought these Irregular Choice booties from Schuh in London in early 2006, which was waaaaaay before booties became a big-time trend. I absolutely fell in love with them, had to have them, and circled them like a shark until the salesperson came to help me (like someone would steal the display shoe and they wouldn't have any more in the back right?). Then in my near-drooling tizzy, I asked for a size 9. The sales guy stared at my feet for a long moment and said very slowly, "We...don't...carry...size... -hem- 9" Then I blushed and nervously giggled or hiccuped or something and said, "Oops! 9 American! 9 American! Sorry!" And I actually walked out with a much more reasonable size 7UK. To date, Irregular Choice remains my favorite shoe brand, these continue to be the most expensive pair of shoes I own, and they are absolutely my favorites:

1) But my number one favorite shoe of all time is the 'Arunium' by Manolo Blahnik. I would pretty much trade my firstborn for these heel-less beauties; I might even trade all the rest of my shoes for them (gasp!). If they're even available these days they would retail for an impossible $6,000.00. These are the shoes I will always covet:

Check back next Wednesday for another round of "Style Bard Faves" with a new fashionable topic.

Three Years and Counting

Happy Anniversary, Style Bard!

Today this blog turns three years old. There's no way to avoid this cliche: it does literally feel like just yesterday that I was sitting at my work-study job in college, bored to tears, making $7 an hour, and thinking: I should stop emailing my mother and sisters every day about what fashions I love or hate and just put it in a blog instead.

At the time, I already read a bunch of daily fashion blogs (some of my favorite reads such as Kristen at Beauty Addict, Annie at Blogdorf Goodman and Danielle at Final Fashion were immeasurably helpful and welcoming when I joined the world of blogging). And whenever I was bored at work I liked to peruse the sale pages of shopping sites to pick out my faves, much like virtually circling your favorite items in a mail catalog (which is ironic, since back in those days I could never afford to buy clothes at all so I might as well have looked at the full-price stuff). So it was a pretty easy transition to start my own blog. I never really had a major plan for this space. Just to collect my thoughts on fashion and share with the world the must-have pieces that I loved, wanted and needed. Although, I have noticed over the years that I love to write about shopping more than fashion. I love to write about sales and deals and finds. I think, going forward, I need to be a little less scattered about Style Bard and truly embrace my own theme. I remember about a year ago I read an article about American fashion icon Ralph Lauren, in which he stated something along the lines of not loving fashion, but rather loving clothes. That's how I feel about it. I don't love fashion per se (which is why you don't see runway or red carpet pics splashed all over the place on my blogs), but I do love shopping and style.

Of course, over at Style Bard Shoes, which I started approximately one year after I launched Style Bard, it's all about shoe sales and shoe shopping. The story behind SBS is that I was getting paid to freelance as a fashion specialist at another website that is now defunct (not my fault; I swear!) and they gave me permission to re-post my blogs on my own site. Of course, I was writing 5-8 blogs for them per week, so I thought that would really overpower Style Bard. So I started up a sister-site to post all of my shoe findings. Over the years I broke from the format that I was using at the freelance job, and have found my own voice and style with which to write about shoes. I love how familiar I am with the websites I frequent, such as Shopbop, Macy's, 6PM, Piperlime, Victoria's Secret, Shoebuy, OnlineShoes, Zappos, Bluefly, etc... I can always tell when they get new products, or when a shoe from a few weeks ago is now seriously on sale. I really enjoy combing through site after site and page after page of shoes to find the best deals and the best angles about which to write.

A lot of people assume I write these blogs for the money. To be quite candid, there's not too much of that coming in. I'm not one of those super big sites (yet) and I don't always do the smartest things to make the most money. For example, I write reviews for free, I work with affiliates on a quid-pro-quo unremunerative basis, and while I sometimes receive a commission from ad clicks or shoe sales, what I actually make per month from both my blogs combined is less than what I charge for one---one!---blog post in my real life as a freelance blogger/web content writer/SEO writer. And I work on my blogs like it's another part-time job, when it ain't paying like one. In short: I don't do it for the money. I do it because I love it. And I'm really not sure how someone could regularly blog two blogs (don't you love that it's a verb and a noun?) for three years unless they loved to. It's a big passion of mine, a big commitment, and I am thankful to all of my readers--because honestly, I'd just be talking to myself if it weren't for you guys.

So, I'm about to post "Style Bard Faves," a series about my favorite beauty products, jewelry items, shoes, designers, etc. which will continue every Wednesday alongside the 5-week Shoe Psyche/Win Free Shoes from Shoebuy results. Check back in a few minutes, and "Style Bard Faves" should be up. Or, you know, keep hitting refresh. I could use the traffic! Want to click some ads, too? It would be a wonderful anniversary present! ;D

Head over to Style Bard Shoes for the Second Annual St. Patrick's Day Green Shoe Week and the results of the Free Shoe Giveaway sponsored by Shoebuy (which is also the kick-off to five consecutive Wednesdays of Shoe Psyche, the new feature at SBS).

Thanks so much for reading! Y'all have been making it worthwhile for three years and counting.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Weekly Updates for SB and SBS

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

In honor of St. Paddy's, we're running the second annual Green Shoe Week at Style Bard Shoes.

Plus, today is the last day to enter to win free shoes from Shoebuy so head over and participate today! The grand prize winner will be announced tomorrow, with four follow-up winners announced every Wednesday hereafter in special new Shoe Psyche posts.

It's also one day until Style Bard's Third Anniversary, so check back tomorrow for a round-up of favorites in beauty and fashion.

Monday, March 02, 2009

World Blog Archive

Hey, I don't know if other bloggers out there are getting invites to join World Blog Archive, but I have.

I've been considering them and looking into syndicating my content there. In fact, I decided to list 'Style Bard' there, and as I was about to list 'Style Bard Shoes' with them as well, I decided to double-check the fine print. I was mostly concerned about duplicate content and non-compete, etc. I didn't want to hurt my SEO standings or impede on my agreement with Glam Network. Normally, an aggregate is going to know that to keep bloggers sending content their way, they'll have to provide for this. But, you know, I'm wary and I wanted to be sure.

Here's some of the terminology I encountered that made me more suspicious:

However, by posting your Content through the Service you automatically grant WorldBlogArchive a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive worldwide license to (i) use, publish, translate, adapt, distribute, perform, and display the Content alone or as part of other works in any form, media, or technology whether now known or later developed, and to (ii) freely and fully sublicense such rights through single or multiple tiers of sublicensees.

I have signed many a contract in the past three years of blogging, and this is above and beyond the agreements I'm used to signing. It's just too broad for my liking. There should be more explicit cancellation wording, I feel, and more information about how and how not they are allowed to use your blog content. It should be MORE fine print than this, actually. I know that sounds strange, but I actually like parsing the fine print when it's about rights *I* get. However, when a content aggregate wants non-defined, unremunerative, perpetual, irrevocable use of my blog's content because I said okay to link to me, I have to say no way. So here's the removal letter I wrote:

Hey, I was on board to have content from both of my blogs displayed here, but I'm not okay with perpetual and irrevocable use of my materials. This not only seems legally grandiose for WBA to assume, but it sounds like it encroaches on almost any and all opportunities to further syndicate or publish materials. In fact, I'm not sure if it would compete with small-print agreements on most networking/publishing sites (such as the ones I am a part of because they do not request the rights to my materials now and forever, no matter what). It's kind of the "times infinity" of legalese. If the terms are adapted in a more explicit and blogger-respectful way, I'd love to send my content and recommend the service to blogger friends. I work hard on my blog, and I want to keep my prospects a little more open than that, perpetually and irrevocably. Thanks for listening, SB

They're just kicking off, so I hope they're listening to feedback from contributors and they'll get in a bit more shape than this blanket-use nonsense. If anyone's making a dime off of my little pet projects, it'd better be me, mmkay?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Win Free Shoes from Shoebuy

On March 18th, the Style Bard blog is celebrating its third anniversary! That means Style Bard Shoes is celebrating its honorary second anniversary, and to do so, we're partnering with Shoebuy to give away some free shoes!

Want to win? Follow this link for more details.

And in honor of Style Bard turning 3 years old, you'll be seeing some reviews of my favorite fashions, brands and beauty products in an all-encompassing review throughout the month of March--so keep an eye on this site!