Fashion Craving Satisfied - Leopard Pumps


I literally have been stalking J.Crew for months to see if their Etta pumps ever went on SUPER sale. It was a total pipe dream, but a girl has to wish.  I saw these beauties many months ago, but there is never a way that I will spend $350 on a single pair of shoes, especially if they weren't boots.  The shoes from J.Crew are normally a bit pricy for my tastes, but these were part of their collection, which means that they were even more expensive. 

J.Crew Etta Pump $350

J. Crew Every Pump $350

I didn't want to give up on a shoes like these so I did a lot of searching. The factory store wasn't and still isn't selling them.  I looked at a lot of other similar styles, in my price range, but they weren’t of the same quality or made from actual calf hair.  After many months I am happy to say that I found an amazing alternative that I might just like more than the J.Crew ones.

Nine West HeroHeart Pump $99

I got an email from Nine West a few days ago with a promotion they had going.  This email caught my eye because they were featuring a similar pair of pumps to the J. Crew version I was salivating over.  There were a few styles that were made of the same material in flats, booties, etc.  Martina is almost a carbon copy of the Everly shoe with a 3 ½” heel and pointed toe. The Adrianna is very similar too, but the heel height is only 2 ¾” which is much more manageable if you are always on your feet.  Mallica is a round toe almost booties with and adjustable ankle strap.  The heel height is 4” which is a bit too much for me at work. Savvy is super sexy peep toe with strap and would look great with a LBG or bold color for a night out on the town. Unita is another peep toe, but with a thicker heel and thick criss-crossing in the front with side zipper action.  All the shoes are going for under $109, but with the current promotion you can save up to 30% off.

I ended up buying the HeroHeart pump with a 3” heel and pointed toe action. The heel is a thick triangle with a thicker base which works best for me at work. The reviews were right about this shoe.  Super cute, but they run a half size too small.  I am consistently a 9, but had to exchange them for a 9 ½. I am truly in love with this alternative not just for the style, but also the price.

If you subscribe to their email you can get 15% off your first purchase.  They also have free shipping (subject to change).  That usually is a big reason I end up purchasing items if the shipping is free.  Nine West usually has a promotion going on so don't forget to search for promo codes before you order your shoes.  A few minutes will save you a few pennies. I ended up scoring mine for $84.74 with my 20% discount and taxes.  

Happy bargain shopping!

<3 mk


Japanese Beef Curry

Japanese Beef Curry
I know what you are thinking, "curry" is Indian food, not Japanese.  The British introduced curry to Japan when India was under its administration in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.  Since its introduction to Japan, it has changed a lot and has become one of its most popular national dishes.

When we were in Japan, we smelled this delicious curry quite often, especially when in the major rail stations food areas.  We chose not to eat it because we wanted to stick with authentic Japanese foods.  Well, we should have done our research because we ended up missing out.  Only until we got to the airport outside of Tokyo did we have some of this savory stew.  I have been craving it since the first tasting at the end of July.

S&B Golden Japanese Curry Sauce Mix, seconds before the pot boiled over
I took the easy way to make this curry by purchasing a sauce mix.  Sure, making it yourself probably would turn out well, but I wanted to remember exactly how this tasted so I went right to a brand that was made in Japan.  S&B Golden Curry can be purchased at almost any Asian food mart or store.  We use to have a few located close to our house in northern VA, but in NC it isn't as easy to locate this product.  I went right to Amazon and purchased it as an add-on item for under $6. That means it is cheaper if you purchase something else over $25 on prime, you can add this to the order and receive two-day prime shipping. Shipping on smaller items like this by itself can often be more expensive than the actual item. Now that I made this savory meal, I wish I had purchased a few more boxes.

There is a recipe on the back of the box, but I feel like it was lost in translation.  Adapting the recipe to make it what we were craving was simple. 

Japanese Beef Curry

2-3 lbs of lean beef (or chicken, lamb, pork or shrimp)
2 large onions
3 whole carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
4 tbsp cooking oil
3 cups water

Cut the meat into cubes. Chop the two onions finely.  Stir-fry the meat and onions in the oil in a large skillet until the meat has been browned on the outside and the onions are lightly browned. Add the chopped carrots and the chopped celery; sauté for another few minutes.

Add the water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the meat and veggies are tender. Remove from the heat and add in half of the package of sauce mix. Stir until the mix has completely melted and put back on heat.  Simmer about 5 minutes, while continually stirring. Serve over rice or noodles.

Simmering Japanese Curry Mix
Honestly, the smell that was filling up my house from this curry was one that brought me right back to Japan.  This was a really simple recipe to figure out and adapt.  I honestly think it was harder to make the Japanese rice correctly.  Next time I make this recipe, I want to cut the beef up into smaller pieces.  It was still delicious, but they needed to be a bit more bite sized. 

Serve this easy, quick meal with some Sake or Shochu and you will be tasting a little bit of what  traditional Japanese home-style meal tastes like. 


<3 mk


Techniques for Tying Running Shoes


I won't call myself a full fledged runner because compared to some people I know, I'm totally in the novice category.  But to give myself credit, I have done a few races that involved pretty good mileage - several Tough Mudders and a Super Sprartan.  They are about 12 and 8 miles respectively.  We try to run a few times per week.  Since moving from VA to NC, the running terrain has changed drastically.  We went from a nice flat distances to never ending brutal elevation changes.  I loathe hills, but they aren't going away so I have been training for our new terrain.  We are signed up for races in October and November so we have been getting our “run” on a bit more often than usual to prepare.

Now, to the main reason I am posting this. I had to pass this on to any of my friends who are runners and have a hard time finding the right shoes.  My feet are slightly weird when it comes to finding shoes that fit me well.  A running company has analyzed my foot and shoes were specially chosen for my feet and my style of run.  Finding the right shoes and size helped, but nothing helped as much as this trick below. 
Simply rearranging the way you tie your laces makes huge difference. The style I chose gave me the room up front that I needed for my wide, spread out toes, but then the security in the back to keep the shoe from slipping off. 
Me and my Inov-8 F-lites ready for a run.
There are many other options to try for narrow feet, to heel slipping, wide instep, even a black toenail. Don't go out and buy new running shoes until you try these techniques. Thank you so much, Katie from Katie Runs This, for sharing these useful shoe tying techniques. My feet also thank you.

<3 mk


DIY Decorative Organization with Fabric Binder


DIY Decorative fabric covered binder
Do you have a place where you keep all of your home’s files?  Until this past week I did not.  In our last home, we didn't really have any sort of system at all.  When we moved into our new house here in NC, the prior homeowner left us a bunch of paperwork that went with the house.  He was the first one to live in this house, which made it even easier to keep good records. 

We aren’t much for filing cabinets, which is probably why we have minimal records in the first place.  I am really focused on keeping house records up to date, especially because we are going to be doing a lot of work on the unfinished walkout basement in the near future.  So, I decided to get the largest binder I could and use that to organize all the files. The only thing was that the binder was unattractive and too business-like for a house so I spruced it up.

This inspiration came from my mother.  When I was growing up, she would decorate photo albums and give them to people as gifts.  She would put batting and fabric along with small fake flowers or even a cross stich on the front.  They did get pretty intricate, but I have many memories of my mom hot gluing these albums together.

I had some fabric left over from a prior project so I used that fabric.  I didn’t use any batting to maintain a flat look.  To cover the inside fabric overlap, cover a piece of slim cardboard and glue it on the inside cover.  I used simple dividers for each category (appliances, electronics, outdoor) and then whole punched the papers to fit inside.  I used a business card holder for the companies that have done the work or ones that we might use. 

This was a simple and easy solution to organizing our paperwork that could be left out in the open. This can be used for  school or any type of paperwork or even a nice photo album. Use as you choose.


<3 mk

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