Honey, it’s all in the Shoes


When I got an email asking me if I’d like to participate in an online book tour reviewing a new book by Birmingham’s own, Phyllis Norton Hoffman, and the subject is shoes, I was all over it! I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a lifelong shoe addiction. Guilty as charged. I actually did a post back in January titled Can you have too many shoes?? And I’ve concluded that no, no, you really can’t.


Here’s a little about Phyllis, from her online bio:

A leading figure in the publishing industry, Phyllis Norton Hoffman is majority owner and president of Hoffman Media, LLC.

A native of Hoover, Alabama and a graduate of the University of Alabama in Birmingham, she began her career as a Certified Public Accountant with a nationally known firm before founding a special-interest publication company in 1983 that is now known as Hoffman Media, LLC.

Hoffman is recognized industry-wide as a savvy businesswoman and talented entrepreneur. She serves as the creative engine of the company, producing an ever-widening range of beautiful magazines including TeaTime, Southern Lady, Just CrossStitch, Sew Beautiful, and Taste of the South magazines. She is also a sought-after speaker across the country, a devoted wife and mother and a church and community leader.

Did you catch the magazines that her publishing company is responsible for: Southern Lady and also Cooking with Paula, which is not listed on that. I actually got to meet Phyllis last year at a women’s event our church was sponsoring and she was the speaker. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing her and she even brought magazines for all of us, so I really loved her then. Magazines are my love language.


(In Style Home, Spring 2006, Mariah Carey’s closet…don’t we wish?!)

The tag line of the book is “Celebrating the footsteps of the Contemporary Woman”, and it really is true that as we grow and mature, so do our shoes. Phyllis tells many humorous and witty stories all throughout the book about her life growing up and how shoes played a major part in it. All done with wit, wisdom and a whole lotta fun thrown in. I sure do remember my first pair of grown up heels that I finally got to choose one Easter when I was around 12 or 13. Oh my, the excitement of looking for the perfect pair of 1” heels! You’d have thought we were shopping for gold. I think they were black patent with ribbon ties that came across the top of my foot and the heel was tiny, but oh yeah, it was a heel. Finally, I had arrived.

From Cinderella’s glass slipper, to Dorothy’s fancy red ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz, to fashion mavens Jackie O and Princess Di, Phyllis covers the gamut of shoes and finery and what a role all of that plays in each of our lives. Most of us as women feel good in a pair of good-looking shoes, no doubt about that. They can make you feel sexy. Or sassy. Or dowdy. They can certainly make or break an outfit, as well as even be cruel at times. My days of wearing a lot of high heels are probably past me for the most part, I just don’t do a lot of dressing up anymore, but I can remember feeling really cute and sassy in certain shoes that I’ve had over the years.

My closet is still full of them, even if the heel is back down to that 1” I started with when I was around 12. Phyllis shares many of her life struggles and how she got through them and even the shoes that walked her through those struggles. A witty and fun book to read (especially if you’re Southern and even if you’re not). She laments wearing white shoes before Memorial Day or after Labor Day (a cardinal sin, just listen to your mother), which is what most of us in the South have heard all our lives. The rules have relaxed a bit over the years, thankfully. I don’t even own a white pair of shoes anymore. I do remember very vividly the white go-go boots that were all the rage when I was in Jr. High School and that Phyllis fondly remembers in the book. I don’t remember having a pair, but I think my sister did. She was older and got to do things before I did, darn it.

Phyllis Norton Hoffman takes you on a journey examining these defining moments, sharing what she has learned when she was required to wear different shoes – from a mother and wife to entrepreneur and businesswoman to publishing powerhouse to doting grandmother – and provides advice for women on putting their best foot forward, no matter their role, circumstance, or stage of life.

So, if you get a chance to read this fun and fascinating book about women and our devotion to all things shoes, I’d definitely say do it! You’ll thoroughly enjoy tip-toeing through the pages with Phyllis, in whatever shoes you might choose for the day!

I love what cooking queen, Paula Deen, says on the cover, “Phyllis and I have taken many steps together. I take mine in flats!”

Amen, Paula! Flip-flops for me.

And for the really fun part! I am getting 3 copies of this book to give away to my readers, so all you have to do is leave me a comment telling me your favorite memory of shoes and what your favorites are. You know I love some shoes! Contest closes Friday evening at 6:00 PM Central time. I’ll pick a winner and announce it Saturday a.m.

- Rhoda


  1. I am 34 y/o, and I can tell you, that the best feel good moment I have about a pair of shoes is a recent one. I am going through personal issues, and lately it has taken a toll on me. I received an awesome pair of 3" heels (something I have never worn), and I tell you, that my outlook changed completely. Amazing what a nice pair of heels can do for you!

    PS. Love the blog!

    Yanira (ydatmillslaw@hotmail.com)

  2. I too, love my shoes. Living in "LA" I wear mostly flip flops year round. My fondest memory of shoes are the "yo-yo's" I had. Does anyone remember those that had the heel with the hole cut out? My mom and grandmother had pairs as well. Ha, ha.. what a fun memory of the three of us going out shopping in our matching shoes. I thought my grandmother was soooo hip!!

  3. My favorite pair of shoes were the white flip flops that I wore under my long wedding gown. I love shoes and have way more than should probably be legal but I just wanted to be comfortable on my wedding day so I chose to wear flip flops.


  4. CrystalGB says

    I remember when my mom and I went shopping for my first pair of heels. I was so excited. I got suede open toed heels that I wore with pride with my dresses.

    Now, my favorite shoes are flats and flip flops. 🙂


  5. Graceful Moments says

    My favorite memory of shoes comes from the third grade when my mom bought me these fabulous gray suede Mary Janes. Years later in 9th grade, a girl from my third grade class told me how she wanted those shoes so badly.

    My very favorite shoes ever were a pair of Evan Picone red heels – about 3 inches – that I wore for a Christmas date with a winter white dress when I was 16. They were my first "adult" heels…pointed toes…they were about 40 years old when I finally parted with them.

    Now my favorites are sandals…I love sandals…heels 2" or less!

  6. Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe says

    I still remember the feeling I had with my brnad new red and white rah-rah cheerleading shoes.

    of course I want to win!

  7. Okay, any of the southern ladies here remember John Romaine (sp?) loafers? My older sister had several pair. The best shoe time was when we were both working and living at home…Lord, we had the shoes. One memorable pair were boots. Thigh high, Aggie red (maroon) with 6" stiletto heels. We had to plan who was going to wear them. As my sister was 5'10", she wore them on court days (she was an retail investigator for high end dept stores) So she wore those on court dates with a suit. She'd get in that witness stand and everyone sat up straight and paid attention. It was so funny. Outside of court, those were worn with a black sweater dress, I had to wear some color around my face.

    My b/w saddle oxfords. Loved them. Record bought was 5 pair in 6 weeks (I miss layaway!) But I wore them for years…Pappagallos and Nickles.

  8. Pink Roses and Teacups says

    What a fun post! When I was a little girl, we always got new shoes for Easter. I loved the black patent leather ones! I just loved how they smelled, and how nice and shiny they were! When I was all grown up, I loved my pink high heels, and always wore them with jeans. I felt sexy, and sassy!


  9. After discovering Missus Smarty Pants to help me learn how to dress for my body type, I got the courage to get some red shoes. It took me awhile to wear them, but I loved wearing them. Which led to another pair of red shoes (in another shade, of course). They both have a kitten heel which I love. One was bought at Payless and the other at the Goodwill! Now I have to use self control to say no to any other red shoes.

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