Review: Mephisto Lise cork and rubber wedge slide sandals

I’ve been on the fence with the Mephisto Lise because it’s a wedge…and a slide. Anyone that has lived through the 90s will probably tell you that sometimes with slides, your foot slides right through when you walk, and a lot of times, wedges are heavy. They say adding a pound to your foot is like carrying ten on your back, or something like that, don’t quote me. Also, Mephisto shoes cost a little more than other shoes. You have to save up. The upside of a wedge is that it gives you height without impeding your ability to charge across a lawn and keeps you solidly above rain puddles.

Recently, I ponied up, and am here to report that the investment is worth it if you can find the right size. The shoe looks and feels high quality and well made. Mephisto uses natural cork from their own plantation, rubber for the wedge portion, and leather for the upper. It’s pretty hard to find a wedge made with all of these materials these days. Mephisto shoes are made in France in half sizes starting with US 5 (EU 35), which some reviewers say runs a little small for US sizing (a great thing if you have small feet!).

The Lise is not heavy! The Lise is immediately comfortable! They feel very lightweight on your feet, not quite like wearing air, but better than wearing any of the other shoes I own. Trying on the Lise made me realize that none of the shoes I own fit properly or are truly comfortable. If you have an ideal heel height of around two inches–or even if you don’t–you would probably agree. The cork wedge platform lends a decent amount of height while feeling sturdy. I didn’t want to take them off.

Then my friend said the Panthera colorway I chose (according to the receipt, their website calls this option “brown”) combined with the slide design that is the Lise was too Elle Woods for work. They were so comfortable I didn’t care. I swore I would wear them to work anyway. I tried them on with very neutral colored outfits. Eventually, I relented. Maybe if it wasn’t silver and Panthera and a slide, but all together it was as if RuPaul and Elle Woods were mushed together into a shoe. I love it. You can definitely sashay shantĂ© all day in the Lise! I’m ready to work it in this wedge, girl, but I think my friend is right that work isn’t ready for me in these shoes. They do have other, more muted colors to choose from, and I probably should have stuck with one of those. What do you think about a wedge like this for business casual attire? It almost seems too casual to me, which bums me out because they are so comfortable. I don’t think anyone else agrees because Panthera is already almost sold out.

The other thing about the Panthera color is that I think it leans cool. You might be thinking, of course it is cool, it is silver, but some silver shoes I’ve seen seem more neutral. I think this one definitely will be more flattering on cool undertones. Maybe because it is more shiny than matte? I don’t know for sure.

Size-wise, some reviewers thought the Lise ran a half size small. I would say for me it’s hard to say because of the EU sizing. It may run a little small but definitely not a full half size. I would say go with the closest size to your normal size, keeping in mind that leather tends to stretch over time.

Another reason I like Mephisto is because they say that 85 percent of their shoes can be refurbished. It’s not 100 percent because sometimes they don’t have the materials in stock anymore to fix some styles, so I think of it as there’s an 85 percent chance that Mephisto will be able to repair the style I purchase today later on when they need repair–not a guarantee, but better than most other brands. They do things like replace outsoles, footbeds, stitching, heel liners, laces, and refinish and condition for a fee that varies depending on what you want done.

This post is not sponsored.

Image credit: Richard Child.

What is a panther? It’s confusing because people in North America call cougars panthers while people in Latin America call jaguars panthers and people in Asia and Africa call leopards panthers. The latter two are in Panthera, the genus of cats that includes lions, tigers, bears–no, not bears–jaguars, and leopards, but cougars are in the genus Puma, which means we think they are less related than the other cats mentioned here, possibly because their skull is shaped differently than the other cats, although Wikipedia doesn’t explicitly say that (it does say that the Panthera cats are grouped together because of “common cranial features”).

I used the Burt's Bees Lip Shade Finder to try different lip products

Before we get into Burts Bees, if you’ve been thinking about trying Zoya ten-free nail polishes, you can use promo code COLORCRAZY to get four nail polishes for the cost of shipping ($15) until Sunday 1/12/20 11:59 PM ET!

Recently I used the Burt’s Bees Lip Shade Finder to pick a few colors of different lip products. The Lip Shade Finder was easy to use and worked well for me in that I think it helped me exclude colors that were definitely not going to work, although it did recommend one that I don’t think would work based on the product photo. It would be even more helpful if they would note in the product descriptions whether their colors are warm, cool, or neutral, like Zoya does with their nail polishes!

Although I didn’t try every color it selected, I don’t think there is necessarily a shade for every skintone in every color grouping, and overall I think the color selection may favor autumn colorings based on their models. (Words like Jessica Alba, honey, and olive come to mind.) The Lip Shade Finder got me colors that were pretty close to ideal but not all the way there, and I think that’s because their color range doesn’t currently include the perfect colors for me. There are a few more colors I want to try after tweaking my responses in the Lip Shade Finder. I’m hopeful that I can get maybe one more “pretty good” color but don’t expect to be blown away.

The three lip products I tried were the Tinted Lip Balm, Lip Shimmer, and Matte Stick. I would rank these products in that order for both ease of use and moisture (the tinted lip balm being the easiest and most hydrating).

Most everyone has probably used the Tinted Lip Balm at some point, but I’ll go through my pros and cons anyway. The pros for me were ease of use, a hint of color, and seals in moisture. I guess this product moisturizes a little but I think it also puts a beeswax-y coat on your lips that keeps my lips from chapping. The con is the waxy coat of product that you can feel sitting on your lips if you try to build the color, and for that reason I will only use this as a balm. As a balm it is great. As I try to drink more water and use this balm, I rarely have chapped lips now. I mention the importance of drinking water for my co-worker who, despite health issues, refuses to stop consuming diet soda as a water substitute. Don’t do this, please.

The Matte Stick was hard to use and a little drying. One reviewer commented that warming it up on your hand a little first may help get the product moving. I don’t know if that helped. I really had to scrub it on. The color was patchy but buildable. If you prep your lips well before using the darker shades maybe that would help get the color on more evenly, but since the color wasn’t a perfect match for my skin anyway, I didn’t try that. It was buildable though and worth trying if you can find the right color, and I liked the light scent although some people didn’t.

Pros for the Lip Shimmer were the peppermint-y tingle, possibly lighter weight formula, and higher color pay-off than the Tinted Lip Balm. If you build the color, you probably need a lip liner because it seems to move. I’m not a huge fan of the shimmery, glossiness of this product and prefer to blot that off to make the color more matte.

I would repurchase the Tinted Lip Balm and the Lip Shimmer but not the Matte Stick. The balm and shimmer are adequate but I’m still looking for better colors and maybe a less glossy formula.

I’m also intrigued by the personalized lip balms, which would make a great party favor or business branding giveaway, and hemp lip balm.

“The old ways are the best ways. A good day is when no one shows up and you don’t have to go anywhere. And land is everything. I’m in love with the woods. It’s not an easy place to live and it requires a special breed of people who can separate their wants from their needs.”

–Burt Shavitz, the original founder of Burt’s Bees

If you’ve already listened to the How I Built This episode that tells the story of Burt’s Bees that I linked to before in this post, you may be interested in this interview of Burt himself.

Photo credit: Beatrice Oettinger, which if you like fashion, her photostream is fascinating and original.

Latest finds, Jan. 5, 2020

Today I’d like to share with you some new things I’m excited about but haven’t tried yet, including new fitness gear that may help get us both out of holiday hibernation and into the swing of achieving our New Year’s resolutions, and also what I’ve found deep-diving into tinted brow gels.

Innovation in athletic shoes

First up, Altra shoes. They are billed as running shoes but I know at least one person that uses them as a trail runner/lightweight hiking shoe. The style I saw looked well made and had pretty good grip on the long downhill I last saw them on. I haven’t personally tried them yet, but they are available in at least one style down to a women’s US size 4! That’s unprecedented for an athletic shoe as far as I know (but feel free to correct me in the comments!).

Next, another shoe! (It just worked out this way.) Merrell has created a shoe that has a 30 percent recycled outsole, 10 percent algae BLOOM(R) foam midsole, and 100 percent recycled ancillary parts. It’s a collab with a beer company and looks pretty rad. The tread design looks promising, kind of along the lines of what some other companies have been doing (did inov8 start that?), but I haven’t tried it yet.

Innovation in athletic/athleisure wear

If you are like me and your current shoes are good for a few more miles yet, I like the look of these Side Pocket Shorts, that–based on their bralette–should be just about as comfortable as a giant sock. They’re made out of hemp, organic cotton, or bamboo. Just know custom sizing is not really Harmonic Threads’ jam so be sure to check and double check their size chart and know that the cotton fabric can be shrunk down a little in the wash if needed.

Winter reading

Since we can’t spend all our time this year outside exercising, this post by nature has no boss led me to the discover Heather Hansman whom I don’t yet know but already respect for embarking on an epic adventure down the Colorado river solo to start a conversation about the future of water in America’s West.

Okay, now on to beauty.

Clean beauty tinted brow gels

I’ve been wanting to try tinted brow gel since Glossier’s Boy Brow came out. I’ve been using clear brow gel for years and was so excited to learn that someone finally put brow gel and mascara together and made colored brow gel. Seems like such a no-brainer in hindsight. Boy Brow has an EWG score of 3, and now there are “cleaner” alternatives.

Beautycounter’s Brilliant Brow Gel is the first product to come up in EWG’s Skin Deep database. Digging around, they are the cleanest tinted brow gel I could find and also the most expensive at 24 USD retail. It sounds like a great product but I think that ~30 USD factoring in shipping is pricey for a brow gel. Beautycounter is a multi-level marketing company (link to one person’s description of how their system works) that seems to be building mainstream awareness about the thousands of cosmetic ingredients banned in the EU that are not restricted in the U.S.

Another clean option is 100% Pure’s Green Tea Fiber Brow Builder. Pros include it may have a thickening effect because of the added fiber content that most other brow gels don’t have and it’s vegan and cruelty free. Cons include the fact that it comes in only two colors. A good side-by-side comparison of this product with the Glossier Boy Brow is here. The review notably points out that the 100% pure product is a drier formula whereas Glossier’s is wetter. The only promo code out there right now is for 10 percent off: REDDIT4RT10 (1/2020).

This review says Saie’s Brow Butter brow gel is a great clean beauty dupe for Boy Brow, but it’s only available in one color and clear. Reviewers also say W3LLPEOPLE’s brow gel is a good dupe for cool undertones. It’s available in more colors.

There are so many other options out there I haven’t gotten to.

Pure argan oil

Recently my hair stylist sold me a popular hair oil that is marketed as an argan oil product. I even asked if it was pure argan oil and was told it was, but the main ingredient is silicone. If you want pure argan oil, I just found this one, which they claim is fair trade and organic although I didn’t see third-party certifications. Acure also has argan oil at an even lower price point.

CertClean Clean Beauty Awards

I just learned about Clean Beauty Awards! I don’t know much about who is behind this effort, but they give awards each year for the best product in each of their categories. There is a fee for entering so that may preclude some great brands or products, but this is an interesting idea and another resource for finding new clean beauty products, for example, this Yuzu and Sake (fermented rice water) facial cleanser from Plantioxidants, which uses 100 percent recycled packaging that they will take back via mail from repeat customers. Sounds kinda like a clean beauty dupe of SK-II in cleanser form.

Bayou With Love

Nikki Reed’s company makes fine jewelry from gold recycled from computers. She also carries made in L.A. clothing and beauty products on her website, including Beautycounter.

Do you want to see more posts like this? Let me know in the comments. I am also curious to know what new things you’ve recently learned!

Photo credit: Kevin Dooley, Chris Booth, Adam Bautz, unmodified.

My New Year's rituals

Happy New Year everyone! Today I’m here to share with you my top three New Year’s rituals this year:

  • Being still in nature (no bluetooth boomboxes okay thanks)
    This year we got up early, watched the sun rise, listened to the silence, and embarked on an epic hike with old friends and expansive views in support of a favorite local non-profit.

  • Bathroom clean out and donation to Project Beauty Share
    Do you ever buy make-up or other beauty/bath products or receive them as gifts and they don’t work for you? Sometimes you can return them, but a lot of the time it’s more trouble than its worth. Project Beauty Share is a non-profit based in Spokane, Washington that accepts some used products as donations. They do not have a Charity Navigator rating yet, but you can take a peek into their operations circa 2017 here. I don’t have any connection to this organization, I just like that there is finally a way to get unwanted beauty products that you’ve tried once or twice to someone that will appreciate them.

  • The Apartment Therapy January Cure
    The Apartment Therapy January Cure is a month-long program that challenges you to take your home to the next level. You start by setting goals, then tackle daily assignments with the support of the AT community, and reward yourself with weekly flowers and a post-Cure party! I haven’t done this in the past few years, but am looking forward to it this year. The daily assignments can be a lot if you don’t have a lot of spare time, but I still find it fun to follow along as much as possible. The biggest takeaways for me from this challenge have been the entry landing strip, the outbox concept, and treating yo-self to flowers (and other nice/fun things)! Even if I don’t do the Cure every year, I continue to maintain a landing strip, outbox, and #treatyoself mentality.

I would love to hear about your New Year’s traditions, what your #1 goal is for 2020, and if you already do/participate in any of the above things, I’d love to hear your experiences. I hope this year is your best yet! Thank you for reading.

Footnote: Have you ever wondered when it is Year’s and not Year or if it should ever be Years? Here is an article that finally answers this question, and hopefully I’ve put it into practice correctly here!

Photo credit: Pierce Martin, unmodified.