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    Everyone is talking about how spring is coming (hooray!) and they can't wait to slip into some toe-exposing sandals. My pedicure is ready and I love the air on my toes. But I'm also not going to give up my ankle boots. They are perfect with jeans in the winter and fall, but they look great with dresses and shorts in spring and summer. Yes, ankle boots. Even the suede ones.

    I have some very specific reasons your ankle boots should be a year-long staple.

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    It's time for day two of our week-long birthday giveaway extravaganza! Today, our mission is to keep you fashionable (not that our readers need any help in that department) with some colorful and trendy shoes. Four lucky readers will win a pair of Chaste Ballet Flats from Hush Puppies to perfectly complement their spring wardrobes.

    They come in 25 colors, like the yellow, pink pearl, seafoam green, white, and royal blue you see above, and are perfect dancing shoes. This is our birthday celebration, after all. And that means plenty of dancing.

    To enter for a chance to win one of the four pairs of Chaste ballet flats from Hush Puppies, simply tell me:

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    Eczema flare-ups mean you can't do a lot of things. Among them: you should avoid acidic foods, sweating, and itching. Especially the itching.

    But while there might be plenty of restrictions, there are also plenty of things that you should do. Case in point: You CAN be stylish even when you are going through an uncomfortable flare-up. Here's how.

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    You'd never know it looking out the windows, but spring is just around the corner. It's already March! But don't tell that to our cracked, dried out, and abused feet. In just a matter of months, we'll be breaking out our sandals and our flip-flops. After months of hiding away in boots and suffering the indignity of icy puddles, raw wind, and chafing, our feet are anything but ready for flaunting.

    One problem foot-area many of us share? Our heels. While the rest of our feet are easy to get back into shape with a little lotion and maybe a night or two in soothing socks and a visit to the pedicure place, our heels seem to be made of tougher stuff altogether. And that stuff is strangely reminiscent of an elephant's foot.

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    I found myself drooling over an advertisement for nude high-heel sandals the other day like they were giant ice-cream sundaes (or Ryan Gosling). Oh am I sooooooooo tired of my winter boots! Alas, it's not sandal weather yet in most parts of the country (you lucky ducks in Florida can go ahead and just laugh at us). (Oh and also I'm married -- sorry Ryan!)

    But that's OK!  I've got some great picks for shoes that will satisfy your spring-tooth but that you can actually start wearing now. Pedicure is optional!

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    I joke all the time that I learned how to wear heels for hours on end back in college when I went through sorority recruitment. A week long of shaking hands, learning new names, and too much makeup -- to this day I refer to rush week as high heel boot camp. It's safe to say that wearing heels, sorority alumni or not, isn't always a walk in the park. Sore ankles and achy arches are anything but ideal. The good news? There are tricks to wearing heels the right way. As in, wearing heels in a manner that doesn't make you look like an injured baby lamb hobbling toward dinner with your honey.

    Want to know the key to wearing high heels so you don't kill your feet? Check out our 5 tricks to comfortably wearing heels. Yes, even those skyscrapers your mom thinks are ridiculous.

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    Holy moly am I bored to tears of my winter "uniform!" And by that I mean either jeans or leggings with the same boring rotation of boring long-sleeved tops and boring sweaters. I need a tropical vacation! For three months!

    Sigh. Since we can't all have that (and if you can, can you please put me in your suitcase?), we CAN indulge in a little retail therapy. Tons of stuff is on major mark-down right now, so it's the perfect time to treat yourself (and your closet!).


    Image via Dress Barn

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    Kate Middleton's style is impressive for many reasons, but one of the coolest facts by far has to be how she's been able to recycle certain pieces over the years and dress them way up or way down. For instance, can you believe that she was able to wear one of her favorite staples to both the formal Christmas celebration at the Queen's Sandringham estate last month and when playing field hockey?! True story! The versatile go-to: Her black Aquatalia Rhumba boots.

    The knee-high boots don't come cheap, retailing for $698 at high-end department stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, or Nordstrom. Ouch. But considering how the Duchess has been wearing the heck out of them since the first time she was spied in them in December 2011 (when she was visiting the homeless shelter Centrepoint's Camberwell Foyer), it's possible they are well worth the shocking price tag.

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    Although by now it is a fact well-established that I do whatever possible to avoid wearing uncomfortable shoes, sometimes it can't be helped. And by "can't be helped" I mean I have a skirt that I can't wear clogs with and not look like a small-but-effective dump truck. It's sad, but true.

    Since my feet are made of the finest onion skins, they chafe, rub, blister, and bleed like nobody's business. When I do wear fancy, cute, or pointy shoes I have to take major-league proactive measures to protect my tootsies -- and the shoes themselves. Over the years, I've developed -- in the words of Liam Neeson's seminal role in the film Taken -- a particular set of skills when it comes to keeping discomfort at bay.

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    Some style tricks look easier than they actually are. For instance, although wearing knee-high boots over jeans has been in for a few years now, I know it's taken me a while to get a grasp on the best technique! But I'm here to share -- and illustrate -- exactly how it is done for the best, most stylish effect!

    First off, a few pointers: The look does definitely work better with straight, skinny jeans or jeggings, if you can get on board with those! (One super-easy to wear, flattering pair from American Eagle.) Boot cut jeans are doable, too, and we'll explore what you need to do differently if you're attempting to tuck those! Also, you will need the following: Your jeans, mid-calf or knee-high length and fitted (aka not bulky, bunchy) socks, and boots that have some room at the shaft.

    Okay, now let's rock this look!

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