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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Today I love... my enterprising friends

It takes great courage to fire one's boss and strike out on his or her own. Some people do it gradually by starting their business slowly, while keeping the job to pay the bills. Some take a leap of faith and burn all the bridges. Either way, it takes guts.

Two of my friends - one old, one new - had recently ventured into the world of self-employment and business ownership, for which I applaud them.

My Facebook buddy (and great inspiration) from Texas - Lacey Woodbury launched her Etsy jewelry shop between a family crisis and a stressful job search, while fitting being a mom in there somewhere as well. To look at her storefront, however, you would never guess that this woman is juggling fifteen things at once. Lacifer's Groovy Palace is fun, bright, colorful and eminently (or shall we say dangerously) affordable.

I was one of Lacey's first customers and I adore both pairs of earrings I received from her. They are bright, very groovy indeed, but also very light and comfortable despite their size. Being a smallish person, I had to be careful with such sizable bling, but worn with the right clothes, it worked out perfectly.

Being a mom of a very active toddler, Lacey understands perfectly the value of inexpensive jewelry that allows you to spice up your outfit, but not feel bad if the little one accidentally breaks it or tosses it off somewhere - you can always come back and get more. Great minds think alike: Lacey and I both like to test-drive our jewelry to make sure it is comfortable and holds up through the course of a busy day. So, come peruse her fabulously vibrant selection ranging from the chunky asymmetrical Rockin' It earrings to the more complex and delicate pieces, meant to be worn on those nights when you let someone babysit and have a chance to grab a couple of hours of fun with the girls.

A computer geek selling shoes?
Hey, it's possible! Alexander (Sasha) Vorobiev and I have known each other our entire lives - thirty-five years on his birthday in June (sorry, kid, I can't only talk about my age.) Our parents were close friends, we went to the same school and were in the same class.

He showed great potential as a writer, so when we reconnected after both of us moved to the United States, I was somewhat shocked to discover that he was now into Computer Science. I suppose it was no less shocking for him to discover that I was a Mechanical Engineering major, since he and I wrote and published a class sci-fi magazine together, as well as hosted a show for teenagers on local television.

Fast forward... many years. Sasha is in Seattle, WA. He marries his fabulous now-wife Anna, quits his job at Microsoft and starts a line of rollable shoes - all at the same time. Enter Fabbys.

Naturally, the shoe part didn't just happen overnight - I just wanted to make it sound more dramatic. In truth, the design and production prep phase has been going on for quite some time. However, even with all that planning, I would have probably soiled myself multiple times before betting my livelihood on a pair of tiny shoes that fit into an evening purse.

... Which brings us nicely to Fabbys themselves. They are not for running marathons. They are not for hiking in the woods or climbing mountains. They are not for walking across deserts.

I have a pair in black and I love them to pieces - they are just that damn adorable. The Fabbys' main strength - and weakness - is that they feel almost exactly like bare feet. My favorite days to wear them are laundry and ironing days when I am running around the entire time, but don't want to go barefoot (four animals in the house, two of whom love splashing water out of the water dish all over the place and one of whom is a furry cat who loves coughing up hairballs - you do the math!) I also carry them in my handbag when off to a trip where I anticipate a lot of in-door running around, or in my computer bag when the weather looks uncertain and I have to go to the office.

At the same time, I wouldn't wear them in my own back yard - a mix of gravel and large expanses of grass and plants, filled with sharp sticks, little pebbles and prickly leaves. Stepping on any of the above while wearing these little shoes feels exactly like stepping on things with your bare foot.

They are for those days when you decide to wear really high heels to work, only to discover that you have a project-related fire to put out and your work day is likely to stretch well beyond the 8-hour mark.

They are for when the weather man screws up, and having worn your Jimmy Choo sandals because it was perfectly clear and sunny in the morning, you look out in the afternoon only to discover that the skies had opened and calling Noah sounds like a good idea.

They are for a friend's wedding, when you are still up for some dancing, but your feet disagree after being strapped into the aquamarine satin bridesmaid's shoes with rhinestone buckles for the last 10 hours.

They are for breezing through airport security and making a mad dash from one gate to the next without breaking an ankle.

Fabbys come in three colors: Be Jealous black, Shameless silver and Glamazon gold, but orders for custom colors can be arranged. They roll up to the size of a computer mouse and come with a nice little storage pouch that is water proof, in case you do end up wearing them in the rain and don't want to get water and / or dirt all over everything if you have to stow them away in your bag. They are good little friends to have in your emergency kit along with a hairbrush, a couple of tampons (so, ladies - we all know such is the reality), a decongestant, a pain killer and a Band Aid. Black, of course, is the most versatile option but for as much as I wear them, I think I am getting a pair in silver as well. How will you wear your Fabbys?

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