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Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
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Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
April 26, 2008
In Bite Size Bits
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Random Fashion Thoughs
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews

These 3-inch, lightweight platform shoes are called Dr Scholls Orig. Women's Harmony. All of the women who reviewed it at Famous Footwear site gave these shoes rave reviews for being fashionable and very comfortable. As I look at them, the first words that come into my mind are Crocs for Strippers. Yet, I find them oddly compelling and sexy. Is there actually something comfortable, sexy and slightly slutty that I could wear to work? Maybe I should pony up the $40 to find out.













These shoes were on sale at my local Aerosoles store for the wonderful price of $30. I tried on and fell in love with the blue patent leather pair. These 2"-heel dreams are called Kitty Kap. If it weren't for the fact that I'm on my feet so much during the day, I would definitely buy these. Maybe I should just get a pair to look at and wear around the house while I wash dishes. Unlike all my other experiences with Aerosole, these were stylish and comfortable with arch support.



My final rave of the day is a website I stumbled upon called Splendora. This is my favorite fashion, beauty, and celebrity gossip site that I've come along in awhile. It is up to date and has very kewl slide shows. It is a bitch to sign up to even though it is free. Give it a look, though.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 4:57 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: April 27, 2008 12:19 PM EDT
April 22, 2008
Rainbow Bright Lite
Mood:  flirty
Now Playing: Spring 2008 Trend Reviews
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
According to all of the April and May fashion magazines I subscribe to, beauty and fashion trends are all about bright, pop art colors. I, for one, am all for wearing bright and/or striking colors on my eyes, nails or body. I’ve already come across some treasures. Some are already in my possession, but some I’m seriously coveting. Here are my top 5 bright color picks:

1. Sally Hansen Quick Color Nail Pen in Orange. It looks dark in the package but comes out a beautifully bright coral orange. Great for pedicures! I decided to splurge and try the nail polish pen. It costs about $8. I was able to do one hand very quickly at my desk at work. (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone.) My nail color runner-up is Sinful Colors nail enamel in Show Me the Way (833) which is a wonderful mid-green color with a warm undertone. It is dark in the bottle by quite bright on the nails.

2. The brightest lipstick in my spring collection is the pigment rich Black Radiance Perfect Tone lip color in Purple Passion (5004). It is more of a bright, iridescent fuchsia than purple. It is not a color to be worn by the faint of heart. (Black Radiance, Milani, Black Opal and Tropez are low cost beauty products geared towards Black, Latin, and Asian women of color, and are available at nearly every drugstore. If you want high intensity color without paying L’Oreal High Intensity Pigment prices, grab a nail polish, lip gloss, or lipstick from one of these brands.)

3. Now, I haven’t splurged on a pair of new summer shoes yet but I will be visiting Payless soon. (Since they’ve dramatically changed their sizing and I fall in between a size 7 and 7.5, I’ve been hard pressed to buy shoes from Payless recently.) On my wish list is a pair of peep toe, patent leather, yellow mini-wedge shoes as well as a pair of a metallic silver peep toe sling back on 1” cork wedge. How cool does that sound? (Ed. Note: Upon further research, those shoes only come in children’s sizes. How embarrassing! Also, how too grown for a little girl?)

3a. Although I love the color yellow and think it would work with my skin tone, I’ve never been brave enough to buy anything in that color. that I might be willing to carry if the bright canary color doesn’t frighten me. (The same goes for the Isaac Mizrahi patent yellow gladiator sandals. Well, I’m more inclined to go with the sandals. I don’t mind bringing attention to my toes.)

4. While reading the British publication, Eve, I came across a wonderfully bright eye shadow brand called Barry M. Barry M carries an array of the most brightly candy-colored cosmetics I have ever seen--Everything from liquid eyeliner to soft eye pencils to the wonderful eye shadow known as Dazzle Dust. I’m personally longing for the Dazzle Dust in Mint Green, Saphire (sic), Purple, and Bright Blue. (At the risk at looking like I’m trying to be 20 years my junior, I wouldn’t mind trying the nail colors in Neon Pink, Bright Red, Electric Blue Glitter, Coral and Cobalt Blue.) You can purchase products from the website, but it will probably cost you an arm and leg in shipping to the United States. Not to mention, the American dollar is incredibly weak. $1 US = .50 Great Britain Pound (GBP).

5. Finally, I’d like to grab a few pairs of bright tights to pair with a navy or black shift dress from the Avenue or Jessica London. I think this trend could work in the spring before we all go hose-less and again in the fall before we go to a monochromatic gray color palette.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 11:31 AM EDT | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
April 20, 2008
If The Bra Fits, Wear It Out the Store
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: Town Shop
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews
Every now and then, yours truly, working mom moi, gets sprung from her daily life to go shopping in Manhattan. Just two short weeks ago, moi stimulated the economy of New York City but dropping a Benjamin for two brand new bras. The best thing about getting the new bras was that I finally had a professional bra fitting. Over the last two years, my body has gone through a lot of changes. I dropped thirty-five pounds, got pregnant, gave birth, and regained twenty-five of my lost pounds. Needless to say that yours truly's breasts have been up and down more than Britney Spears' moods. So, after spending the last year cramming and squeezing into ill fitting bras and trying to measure myself to no avail, I decided to splurge on a professional bra fitting. 

You can get bra fittings at Victoria's Secret, JC Penney, Macy's or any department store, but the results are iffy. Taking a cue from TLC's What Not to Wear and Bravo's Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, I took a trip to the world famous Town Shop on the Upper West Side. The bra and shaper boutique was no bigger than my apartment, but was much more stylish and better organized. After standing in the middle of the floor like a deer caught in the headlights, a young fitter came up to me and offered assistance. She led me to a fitting room, told me to take off my top, and asked me what type of bra I wanted. "Under wire and nude," I replied. (A sister needs lift!) She took a peek at the tag of the bra I was wearing, tugged a little on the straps and band, and left.  

I was left in the fitting room staring at a floor to ceiling mirror under gentle fluorescent lights. Under those conditions, staring at your body seems like a lifetime rather than five minutes. I cringed then poked, sucked in, and pinched my torso in every possible contortion to appear thinner under the lights. Finally, I sighed, exhaled, and said "This is my body now, and I need to accept it." It helped that I had a nice fitting pair of dark indigo jeans from Target.


 The fitter came in with a handful of bras, helped me into most of them, and showed me how to adjust them. She pointed out that I was indeed wearing the wrong size by 2 full band sizes and 1 cup size. She showed me where the under wire should fit me underneath my breast and arm pit. She also advised me not that the adjusters on the strap of the bra should never be higher than my shoulder blades. (If it is up near the curves of my shoulders, it's too high.) After nearly 40 minutes of asking questions and trying on bras, the fitter told me that I fell in between two sizes. Depending on the manufacturer, I'm a 38D/38DD or a 40D. Wow! I have porn star breasts. Who knew?  

I purchased two black lace numbers by Grenier bras (so much for the plain nude ones I originally requested). I wore one out feeling both physically and mentally uplifted since I no longer had the uni-tummy-boob. My annual gift to myself for every year I get a tax refund will be to go to Town Shop, get a bra fitting, and buy 2 new pretty well-fitting bras.


During my day out, I also stumbled onto some other great places on Broadway bewteen W. 82nd and W. 86th Street. I am a sucker for costume jewelry, and I found another one of those awesome costume jewelry stores that seem to be popping up all over Manhattan. Temptation (2285 Broadway @ 82nd Street; 212-579-4887) featured great plastic, wood, and metal fashion earrings and spring scarves. I was tempted to pull out the plastic and purchase away, but I resisted. However, the next time I walk into one of these stores I'm just going to say "f**k it." The choices are overwhelming and I can't stay in there long enough to make up my mind and stay within my budget.

 (On similar note, try an accessory store called Brookwood inside the subway station at W. 42nd Street/Port Authority. It is selling the most beautiful, awesome, and unique ethnic inspired jewelry and scarves. Nearly everything in the store is $5-$10. My favorite items were the oversized colored-lucite bracelets and the cooper-colored metal bracelets. There were some very pretty over-size gemstone rings that would be perfect worn on the thumb, pinky or fore finger--my new favorite places to sport rings.)

For reasonably price desserts and teas, try Edgar's Cafe at 255 W. 84th Street  between Broadway and W. End Avenue. All the desserts were delectable and under $7! The service was a little slow, but the edibles all but made up for it. It is in the first floor of a building where author Edgar Allen Poe used to live. When you sit down to it, there's a huge oil painting of Edgar staring out at you while you sip your coffee. Is that a heart I hear pounding in the floor?

 Next time, my pictures of New York City's biggest geekfest--NY's Comic Con! I loved it and was in my element.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 2:11 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
April 15, 2008
Laws Against Showing Skinny
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: France Passes A Bill Making It Illegal for Anyone to Publicly Incite Extreme Thinness
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews

Average-sized and plus-sized women around world, like myself, applaud France's action. The fashion that is advertised and shown in magazines are  mainly bought by women who are aren't skeletal. The fashion industry must realize that the concept of beauty is wider than what they portray. Their current height, weight, race, and ethnic choices just don't reflect the major reality.  It is easy to design clothes that drape beautifully from a hanger, but show me your real talent and design clothes the drape beautifully on a 5'4" 175-lb woman.

I do have one issue, though. I am afraid that this backlash against the ultra skinny models will cause a naturally thin women to be as ostracized as overweight people are now. My desire is across the line acceptance and fashion.


France takes up body image law

By DEVORAH LAUTER, Associated Press WriterTue Apr 15, 8:04 AM ET

The French parliament's lower house adopted a groundbreaking bill Tuesday that would make it illegal for anyone — including fashion magazines, advertisers and Web sites — to publicly incite extreme thinness.

The National Assembly approved the bill in a series of votes Tuesday, after the legislation won unanimous support from the ruling conservative UMP party. It goes to the Senate in the coming weeks.

Fashion industry experts said that, if passed, the law would be the strongest of its kind anywhere. Leaders in French couture are opposed to the idea of legal boundaries on beauty standards.

The bill was the latest and strongest of measures proposed after the 2006 anorexia-linked death of a Brazilian model prompted efforts throughout the international fashion industry to address the repercussions of using ultra-thin models.

Conservative lawmaker Valery Boyer, author of the law, argued that encouraging anorexia or severe weight loss should be punishable in court.

Doctors and psychologists treating patients with anorexia nervosa — a disorder characterized by an abnormal fear of becoming overweight — welcomed the government's efforts to fight self-inflicted starvation, but warned that its link with media images remains hazy.

French lawmakers and fashion industry members signed a nonbinding charter last week on promoting healthier body images. Spain in 2007 banned ultra-thin models from catwalks.

But Boyer said such measures did not go far enough.

Her bill has mainly brought focus to pro-anorexic Web sites that give advice on how to eat an apple a day — and nothing else.

But Boyer insisted in her speech to lawmakers Tuesday that the legislation was much broader and could, in theory, be used against many facets of the fashion industry.

It would give judges the power to imprison and fine offenders up to $47,000 if found guilty of "inciting others to deprive themselves of food" to an "excessive" degree, Boyer said in a telephone interview before the parliamentary session.

Judges could also sanction those responsible for a magazine photo of a model whose "excessive thinness ... altered her health," she said.

Boyer said she was focusing on women's health, though the bill applies to models of both sexes. The French Health Ministry says most of the 30,000 to 40,000 people with anorexia in France are women.

Didier Grumbach, president of the influential French Federation of Couture, said he was not aware how broad the proposed legislation was, and made no secret of his strong disapproval of such a sweeping measure.

"Never will we accept in our profession that a judge decides if a young girl is skinny or not skinny," he said. "That doesn't exist in the world, and it will certainly not exist in France."

Marleen S. Williams, a psychology professor at Brigham Young University in Utah who researches the media's effect on anorexic women, said it was nearly impossible to prove that the media causes eating disorders.

Williams said studies show fewer eating disorders in "cultures that value full-bodied women." Yet with the new French legal initiative, she fears, "you're putting your finger in one hole in the dike, but there are other holes, and it's much more complex than that."


Associated Press writer Emmanuel Georges-Picot in Paris contributed to this report.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 1:41 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: April 20, 2008 2:12 PM EDT
April 1, 2008
President Bush's Budget Sucks and Everyone Knows It
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Congresswomen Yvette Clarke Wrote Me...

Thank you for contacting me about your concerns with the president’s budget. I appreciate you taking the time to share your views on this important issue.

President Bush’s fiscal year 2009 budget is both fiscally irresponsible and out of touch with the needs of our country. While spending billions to pursue a failed policy in Iraq and preserving tax cuts for those who need them the least, he proposed dramatic cuts in the critical programs that benefit working Americans and those in need.

Over the next several months Congress will be working to pass a budget that better reflects the priorities of our country. We took the first step by passing a budget resolution, H. Con. Res. 312, which restores fiscal responsibility and restores cuts the president made to important programs. Our budget would result in a surplus by 2012 and fully complies with House PAYGO (“pay-as-you-go”) rules, which require that any increase in spending be completely paid for, so as not to increase the federal deficit. Our budget provides $7.1 billion (9%) more than the president requested for education and training programs, $1.2 billion (24%) more than requested for energy programs, and $3.2 billion (8%) more than requested for veterans programs. It also rejects the president’s proposed cuts to local law enforcement programs, the Community Development Block Grant Program, Environmental Protection Agency grant programs, and transportation programs.

This budget, once reconciled with the Senate’s budget, will serve as the guiding document for the House and Senate Appropriations committees as they determine specific funding levels for federal programs in fiscal year 2009. I will keep your views in mind as Congress works to restore fiscal responsibility, strengthen our struggling economy and meet the pressing needs of our country.

Thank you again for sharing your concerns and please be sure to visit my website at to sign up for my e-newsletter to stay updated on this and others issues.


Yvette D. Clarke
Member of Congress

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 2:00 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
March 24, 2008
On the Search for 3 F Shoes: Flat, Fierce & Fashionable,
Mood:  lucky
Now Playing: Pierre Hardy's Pointy Toe Flats for Gap
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews

Yours truly has been offered and has accepted a promotion at her current place of employment. Besides getting a nice, not extravagant nor exorbitant, raise, I will also have supervisory duties. Finally, people, besides my children, will have to obey my orders. <Insert evil laugh > Seriously, though, I'm officially middle-management. Besides the little raise, I want something else from this position. I want respect. In order to get respect, I realize that I have to look like I deserve respect. So, I went to Target and loaded up slacks, blouses, fancy ruche polo shirts, and dark wash jeans.

The only thing that has eluded me is the comfortable 3-F shoe to match my new supervisor-like duds.  What are 3-F shoes, you ask? They are fashionable and fierce flats, and, affordable and comfortable. I've been a serious 3-F shoe quest for the past two weeks, and I'm at a stalemate. Every single pair of pointy-toe, round-toe, kitten heel, pancake heel, wide width, medium width, 1/2-size too big, 1/2 size too small, leather, tweed, canvas, patent or PVC shoe I've tried on in the past two weeks have not fit or were not comfortable.  (Last Wednesday, I tried on no less than 30 pairs of shoes at DSW.) They were too long, too short, too revealing, or unsupportive. To top it off, some of them were plain ugly especially the ones with the weird ruche/elastic thing at the back end of the vamp above the heel. There's also this other trend of curled up flats. Why do I have to unfold my shoes to put them on?


I've come up with an arch nemesis to my shoe quest, and her name is Tory Burch. Tory Burch is the designer of the ubiquitous and oft-knocked off round-toe flats with the gosh-awful gold-plated cross emblem on the front. They look rappers from 1987 that used to rock Mercedes-Benz emblems dangling from their thick gold chains. It is all her fault that I can't find a pair of 3-F shoes because every one is copying her ugly design. *blech*



However, I have hope. I was reading the March '08 Elle magazine and read a wonderful article. Apparently, the shoe designer behind some of Balenciga's best loved shoes has created a fashionable line for the Gap. (It is called the European Collection on the Gap's website, which kind of bothers me because I think Americans are stylish enough to have "American" collections but I digress.) Although $100 is a little out of my price range for a pair shoes, I might pony up the dough if this shoe lives up to my pre-conceived notions.


Below is a pair of Pierre Hardy designed, pointy-toe flats for the Gap. Please live up to the hype, Pierre.




Posted by Kiki Shoes at 4:34 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: March 24, 2008 4:35 PM EDT
March 19, 2008
I'm Supporting Obama Now
Mood:  loud
Now Playing: Barack for '08

Check this out:

Did you hear Barack Obama's incredible speech on race in America? It was honest and moving. You should definitely check it out—especially since the media soundbites really missed the point.

You can watch or read the whole speech here:

If you're busy, here's a highlight from the speech:

"We have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle—as we did in the OJ trial—or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina—or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words.

"We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

"We can do that.

"But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

"That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

"This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

"This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

"This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

"I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation—the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

"There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today—a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

"There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

"And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that's when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

"She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

"She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

"Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

"Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they're supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who's been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he's there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, "I am here because of Ashley."

""I'm here because of Ashley." By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

"But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins."

You can watch or read the whole speech here:

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 5:11 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
March 8, 2008
I'm Creating Widgets Ya'll
Mood:  celebratory
Now Playing: My Favorite Movies!
Topic: Movie Reviews

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 1:13 PM EST | Post Comment | Permalink
RIF Join the Challenge
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Book Reviews
JOIN the Read with Kids Challenge NOW
RIF Works to Save Its Budget

Last month, President Bush submitted a proposed budget for fiscal year 2009, which eliminated funding for Reading Is Fundamental's book distribution program. Through the program, the organization distributed 16 million free books to 4.6 million children across the country last year. More than 30,000 messages have since been sent to Congress urging the reinstatement of a budget of $26 million for the organization's distribution program. To date 19 senators and 67 state representatives have signed a Dear Colleague letter in support of the organization. RIF is also in contact with local coordinators who are working to spread awareness, particularly in districts where representatives have not yet signed their support. In July, the winners of RIF's 2008 Program Excellence Honors will visit their Congressional members on Capitol Hill to speak to the effects of the program's elimination. Additional information is available at the RIF Web site. Congress will finalize RIF's budget this September. —John Sellers, Publisher's Weekly


Posted by Kiki Shoes at 11:05 AM EST | Post Comment | Permalink
February 28, 2008
I Wrote A Couple of Poems
Mood:  chatty

My Favorite Color

Feb. 28, 2008

Stop, danger, train crossing ahead

Fire bright, not a color for the dead.

Sassy, trashy, sometimes classy

its a color that won't let you

just pass me.

Too young for it, too old for it

never too bold for it.

1/3rd of the U.S. flag,

and 1/3rd of the Black pride tag.

Beautiful and ugly like the blood

seen at births and at deaths.

Will be my favorite color until

I breathe my very last breath.

Second Place Dreams

Feb. 28, 2008

Shiny nickels, dimes, and quarters

JKFs and Susan B. Anthonys

No patinas like on my

lonely Lincoln penny.


Valuable, beautiful, regal and true

Repping for wisdom when tinting hairs,

but forever the black sheep for

Olympic cheers.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 5:28 PM EST | Post Comment | Permalink
February 16, 2008
Bush is a D*ck and an A**hole
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: President Bush is Cutting Funding from RIF

President George Bush's No Child Left Behind Act and rhetoric irritates me to the point of cursing out loud at work. Yell President Bush, his peers, his cronies, his henchmen, and all those who support him are failing America's children severely. I don't know if they are purposefully trying to create a gaping class/education/health divide in this country or not, but they are doing a very good job of keeping a great deal of people back. I know this is my U.S. education indoctrination speaking, but I thought this country was about allowing every one the opportunity to make it. I thought this was the country where a poor boy who grew up in a log cabin could grow up and become one of the most influential presidents of the United States. I'm not saying that the government should handhold every one and usher them step by step to greatness, but come the fuck on!!! At least make the playing ground level. It's like those athletes who are being stripped of medals and respect because they are using steroids. (I can't believe I just made that comparision.)

RIF Action Alert - Posted February 5, 2008


FROM CAROL H. RASCO, President and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental


The President’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2009 eliminates the Inexpensive Book Distribution Program, which is the RIF Book Distribution Program. Unless Congress reinstates funding for this program, RIF would be unable to distribute 16 million books annually to the nation’s youngest and most at-risk children.



NCLB (No Child Left Behind) rests on false assumptions—e.g., test scores equal educational quality, and sanctions based on low test scores drive school improvement. As a result, it offers false remedies that are not working. Since NCLB was signed, reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have stagnated, and the rate of improvement in math has slowed. The neediest children in our nation continue to receive an unequal and inadequate education. 


  • State tests are extremely weak measures of high-quality standards. NCLB’s obsessive focus on raising test scores causes an increased emphasis on exam preparation. “Teaching to the test” narrows the curriculum, particularly in low-scoring schools, and forces teachers and students to concentrate on memorizing isolated facts and practicing rote skills, ignoring higher order thinking. Arts, foreign languages, social studies, physical education and recess have been squeezed from the curriculum, especially in schools with high numbers of minority and low-income students. In the past six years, these effects have been documented in dozens of reports by reputable, independent researchers. When fewer students are prepared to be successful citizens, rising test scores do not mean academic improvement. 


  •  Thirty percent of the nation’s schools failed to make "adequate yearly progress" (AYP) in 2005-06. Diverse schools are more likely to 'fail' simply because they serve children from more demographic groups, all of which must meet NCLB’s mandates simultaneously. Independent researchers agree that nearly all schools will eventually be labeled "in need of improvement" (INOI) and sanctioned under NCLB. This will happen because of the way AYP statistics are calculated, not because all schools are actually in need of major improvement (though some schools clearly do need help).


  • Demanding that disabled and limited English proficient students reach “proficiency” on standardized tests sets many schools up for failure. The tests are grossly inadequate and invalid measures of these students' learning. Rather than provide resources and guidance so schools can offer the individualized approaches these students need, NCLB claims that by holding them to the “same standards” they will magically rise to the occasion. Nevertheless, those groups disproportionately fail to meet AYP targets.


  • Transfer provisions make matters worse. Some receiving schools are overwhelmed by transfers and ill-equipped to handle them. Most eligible parents are saying, "No thanks." Parents increasingly view "choice" as a hoax: their children cannot attend elite exam schools within their home districts or better-performing schools in neighboring districts. Communities need improved schools for all, not limited extra options for a few children.


  • Tutoring provisions divert money from classrooms that most need it, giving assistance to the few at the expense of the many. Tutoring focuses on test preparation and rarely connects to the curriculum. Student attendance is often low. NCLB paves the way for private firms to reap huge profits but does not hold the firms accountable.


  • As experienced, high quality teachers see schools with society's most needy students get labeled instead of helped, they transfer to higher performing schools or leave the profession. Stigmatized schools have a hard time attracting new, skilled teachers.


  • Funding for Title I, the core provision of the law, has barely increased in the last several years. NCLB funding is tens of billions below promised levels and tens of billions more from what is needed to help all children reach meaningful educational goals.


  • NCLB fails to address key reasons many children are left behind. The best school, the best teachers and the best curriculum can make a huge difference, but basic needs like housing, health care and nutrition must also be addressed. These gaps continue to widen. By blaming schools and focusing attention on boosting test scores alone, NCLB dampens the political will to address the real needs of children.


  • The law's remedies for "failing" schools do not work. Most attempts to "reconstitute" troubled schools fail to improve student performance significantly. Few if any states have the capacity to intervene in the large numbers of public schools being identified for NCLB's ultimate sanctions. 


  • There are better ways to help troubled schools. Improvement requires rich assessments, from tests and quizzes to projects and portfolios, rooted in ongoing classroom work by students and teachers; collaborative professional development for educators and time for them to plan improvements in curriculum and instruction; involvement by parents as real partners, not just test score consumers; monitoring by the state to ensure schools are equitably serving all students; and targeted assistance for schools that really need it. Only if schools or districts demonstrate they cannot or will not improve should more serious sanctions be employed.


  •  Nearly 150 education, civil rights, religious and other organizations have signed the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB, calling for an overhaul of the law away from a focus on testing and punishing and toward helping schools improve their capacity to serve all children well (available on the FairTest Website at The Forum on Educational Accountability, chaired by FairTest, has provided detailed recommendations for overhauling the federal law (


Posted by Kiki Shoes at 12:02 PM EST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: February 16, 2008 4:14 PM EST
February 9, 2008
McCain McShame
Mood:  irritated
Now Playing: Did You Know This About Sen. John McCain?

"It's now clear that John McCain will be the Republican nominee. I know the election is a long way off, but he's already running neck and neck with Clinton and Obama in national polls. That's' because when people think of McCain, they think of the media portrayal as a 'maverick'--they don't think of him as the man who helped George Bush launch the Iraq war.

I just read this memo from and it really shocked me. It shows that when it comes to the war in Iraq, John McCain has been the president's greatest ally from the get-go--and most striking is the fact that his plan for Iraq going forward is the same as Bush's: Stay indefinitely.

Can you take a moment to check out the memo at this link?

Thanks! "

Also, McCain is not a pro-choice Republican which many voters mistakenly think he is.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 4:35 PM EST | Post Comment | Permalink
January 25, 2008
Taking A Moment to Ignore
Mood:  sad
Now Playing: Heath Ledger, RIP
Topic: Celebrity News/Thoughts

January is barely near its end and we already have one of the biggest celebrity stories of 2008. It's not the end of the Writer's Strike. It's not the cessation of the awards season due to the Writer's Strike, which, by the way, is very frustrating for the celebrity fashion watcher that is moi. It's not even another shocking moment in the quickly crumbling life of Britney Spears. It is the unfortunate passing of one fine and young actor named Heath Ledger.

Heath died on Tuesday, January 22nd. He was 28 years-old. He left a devastated family behind. He left caring (and now worried) friends behind. He left a blossoming career behind. But most importantly and most tragically, he left behind a 2-year-old daughter. A little girl is now without her father, and, by virtue of his celebrity, will be haunted by death-worshipping reporters and media. Think of the others that came before her: Freddie Prinze, Jr., Lisa-Marie Pressley, Frances Bean Cobain, John Kennedy Jr. and Caroline Kennedy. Not only left fatherless by untimely deaths, but now constantly being stalked by the media about their fathers' deaths. The wounds will never heal and the mourning will never be over for poor little Matilda or any other child of a late celebrity. (We should just set up a fund now for Matilda and Anna Nicole Smith's daughter Danni Lynn's future therapy.)

What's even disgusting is that Heath's body isn't even cold in the ground yet, and the feeding frenzy over his death has become relentless. Lurid pictures of his corpse being removed from his apartment. Hate groups planning to protest any memorials. Rumors swirling about his alleged drug use. It makes me nauseous. The United States used to be a country that respected its dead--statues, living memorials, scholarship funds, holidays, stamps, and endless burning flames. Conspiracy theories and negative comments were made only in private not broadcasted across the evening news or posted on the internet. Even Confederate soldiers, who were technically traitors to the country, have statues in their honor. What the fuck happened? 

Isn't one of the positives of death the fact that your skeletons and secrets die with you?  Yet we no longer afford people that privilege. No one is allowed to Rest in Peace anymore. Well, I'm no longer going to feed the media machine. As of this moment, I'm not going to read or watch any stories about Heath Ledger. I'm going to say a little prayer for his family who was left here to suffer. I don't care why he died or how he died. I'm not going to discuss it or be in places where it is discussed. I'm going to remember the joy and entertainment his talent brought me in such films as  "10 Things I Hate About You," "Ned Kelly," and especially in "Brokeback Mountain." I look forward to seeing him in the new Batman movie coming out this summer, which I was ALREADY excited and anticipating highly. 

So, I hope with this small symbolic gesture some peace and rest will be given to Mr. Ledger's family and soul. Thank you.




Posted by Kiki Shoes at 7:57 PM EST | Post Comment | Permalink
January 15, 2008
How to Look Good Naked
Mood:  hug me
Now Playing: How to Look Good Naked the TV Show
Topic: TV: The Soft Blue Glow

How to Look Good Naked is another makeover show, but tries to provide much more than just a simple closet and beauty re-do. The eternally chipper and Carson Kressely, of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, is the host of this happy and helpful show. It comes on every Friday night on the Lifetime Channel, and features woman who has a mild case of dysmorphia. In other words, the makeover participants hate their bodies. The ladies are lumpy, slightly frumpy, and hide behind their clothes (like your slightly lumpy and frumpy blogger, here). In the end, however, Carson gets the ladies to appreciate the positives of their figures, to stop focusing on their so-called body flaws, and to pose naked in front of the camera. Like Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style and TLC’s What Not to Wear, I want to be on this show for the free clothes and the self-esteem shot in the arm.


I do have two caveats when it comes to How to Look Good Naked. I think it would be more effective to the women in the show and the women watching the show if the host were a professional straight man (or straight professional man). It would be so much more reassuring if a straight man like George Clooney (rumors aside) or Johnny Depp told me how beautiful my legs were despite any wobbly areas. (Although, I admit to none!)


My second problem is the opinion poll taken at the reveal of the naked picture as a billboard on Santa Monica Boulevard. When the participant walks up to a random man, asks him “Do I look good naked?” and gestures toward the billboard, the man looks like a deer caught in the headlights. He looks like every boyfriend or husband that has ever been asked “Do I look fat in this?” So, when he answers affirmatively to the question, I don’t believe him. I am positive that he is secretly thinking: If I answer this incorrectly, I’m never getting laid again.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 3:15 PM EST | Post Comment | Permalink
December 22, 2007
It's All in the Bag
Mood:  mischievious
Now Playing: Louis Vuitton Mongram Aquarelle Speedy Bag
Topic: Beauty Thoughts & Reviews

I am not a fan, in general, of Louis Vuittion bags or leather goods. I don't like the coloring of the brown with the gold initials. It's an icky poop-brown color. As the LV logo has become synomous with luxury goods, I've also come to loathe any bag or fashion item with logos emblazoned across it. It's a little tacky, and makes the wearer seem like an attention-starved braggart. Look at me, I'm carrying Louis Vuittion. With that said, I did have a severe fascination with the Murakami LV bags a few seasons ago.

I longed for them and scoured the streets and internet for the Cherry Blossom Murakami semi-perfect replica (a.k.a fake or the less illegal-sounding "inspired by") bag. I loved the whimsy of the red cheeries and pink smiley faces on white leather, or in my case, pleather. I still own XOXO imitation that I bought five years ago. It hangs in my closet to remind of one of my most series fashion quests and follies. It's too small to carry my everyday essentials, so I mostly just pull it out on Easter Sunday to go to church. Soon, I'm sure, my two daughters will be playing dress up with it as I played dress up with my grandma's retro (and surprisngly sturdy!) handbags from the 40s and 50s.

There is a new Louis Vuitton bag with pastel colored LV logos smudged and silkscreened on white canvas was designed by artist Richard Prince in collaboration with LV artistic director, Marc Jacobs. The handles and the frame are painted beautiful raspberry color. (The handle is genuine snakeskin.) It is delicate yet sturdy looking, and designed to dangle from the crook of your elbow. It's playful yet not as frivilous as the Murakami bags. It also costs $3,600 and there are no pictures available on the internet. (I suspect that is to help protect from being copied and bootlegged.) However, if you pick up a copy of the January 2008 issue of Allure magazine you'll be able to see a great picture of it on page 71. Harper's Bazaar also has a picture in its most recent issue.

I've found my latest fashion accessory obssession. Sweatshop workers and victims of terrorismm, please forgive me for buying faux. Maybe XOXO will have a nice inspired-by come spring.

The name of the bag is the Mongoram Aquarelle Speedy Bag. Below is a picture of other LV Speedy bags.


Posted by Kiki Shoes at 4:55 PM EST | Post Comment | Permalink

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