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Comfort Shoes for a Smoother Work Day

9:44:00 AM

Alegria Keli PRO White Tooled

Being on your feet all day is hard enough. From retail services to the medical industry, having a comfortable pair of shoes is one of the most important aspects of your daily outfit.

Long hours standing puts a lot of pressure on your heels and arches. It may not be something you’re consciously aware of, but ongoing discomfort can affect mood and the ability to handle stress in a busy environment. This is especially true with your feet, as they withstand the bulk of your weight all day and can lead to pain in your lower back and other areas when not properly supported. If you’ve ever felt fatigued midway through the day, it could very well be that you’re in the wrong pair of shoes.

Unless your feet are aching to the point that it’s all you can think about, it’s likely the kind of discomfort that you tune out when you have a lot to do. This doesn’t mean that it’s not affecting your day, though. Pain of any kind can be draining on energy levels, which is particularly taxing for nurses or those in a job that deals with people all day. The level of energy and confidence a person in this role exudes makes all the difference in their job performance.

Advantages of Comfort Shoes

Poorly fitting shoes can lead to bunions, calluses, and even plantar fasciitis. Beyond being unsightly, these foot ailments can cause a distracting level of discomfort that doesn’t go away on its own. If spending less time on your feet each day isn’t an adjustment you can make, purchasing a pair of comfort shoes can be a much more feasible solution.

When you’re wearing a comfortable pair of shoes it’s obvious immediately. They fit naturally around your foot, giving the support and cushion your feet need. After a while of wearing them you may not think about it anymore, but that’s the idea of well-crafted footwear. Comfort shoes are one of those things that you don’t always notice when they’re doing their job. All you’ll know is you’ll be far less distracted by arch aches and uncomfortable movement each day, and you’ll be more productive for it.

Style and comfort are shoe traits that often find themselves at odds with each other, though. What if you could find a pair of shoes designed specifically for those up and moving for long hours that also have aesthetics in mind? At AlegriaShoeShop.com you’ll find just that with an extensive catalog of shoes in all shapes and sizes. From something fun to wear on a trip out to a serious all day foot solution, we have just the pair to suit your personal style and make you feel great while you look great

Alegria Paloma Earthen Mary Jane
Alegria Paloma Earthen

Alegria Keli PRO Pewter Dazzler
Alegria Keli PRO Pewter Dazzler

Chef Curtis Hackaday and 1703

10:44:00 AM

Chef Curtis Hackaday in Alegrias Men's at 1703


Whether he’s walking the woods of Winston-Salem with his daughter searching for in-season mushrooms or he’s planning another deliciously successful Beer v. Wine 2nd Sunday Supper, Curtis Hackaday, head chef at 1703 Restaurant and Catering, is constantly chasing his curiosity for bringing the unexpected to your plate.

On the first day of autumn he was present in the kitchen and preparing for the 1703 lunch rush with spices meticulously lined up on the counter and pans preheating for sauces and fresh ingredients. He briskly and effortlessly moved around the shelves of supplies and implements surrounding him.

As he stirred an enormous pan of sautéed greens and seasoned a bowl of pumpkin to make a fall infused curry he enthusiastically answered our questions about how he grew a passion into an admirable career as one of Winston-Salem’s finest.

Peppers cooking at 1703


Hackaday started at 1703 not soon after the restaurant opened its doors in 2000 but he didn’t start in the kitchen. Instead, he and his sister were servers for several years. He jumped in head first doing whatever it took to get into the kitchen and in 2012 his do-what-it-takes attitude paid off. He was given full reign to create what is arguably the Triad’s most imaginative and daily evolving menu.

While he is now praised for his unique spin Hackaday says it wasn’t always easy welcoming guests into the cutting edge of culinary innovation.

“At first my food wasn’t really accepted here. They weren’t all too crazy about my purple rice. But I suppose the culture has changed and people want something different now. and it changed the way they thought. It’s the age of information. Regional cuisines aren’t so inaccessible now. If you want to know how to make a Korean dish, there are tons of resources at your disposal.”

Lunch rush preparation at 1703 Restaurant and Catering


His love for international influence is clear and he finds inspiration in authentic dishes both from afar and those we’ve always known and loved, always putting his original spin on them.

“When I got this job I went and bought like twenty or thirty cookbooks- but not well-known cookbooks. I wouldn’t buy Jamie Oliver. You know, books from all over,  that maybe if I was doing a Vietnamese-inspired menu I would definitely go peruse a book that is popular in Vietnam. And then I would put the spin on it. It’s easier now because people are more in tune with what other people are eating. I always do something you wouldn’t think goes together and I always get the best reactions from that.”

His desire to explore new ingredients and new methods of preparation doesn’t just end with blending cuisines. He also has a passion for adapting for what people want and what people need.

“Here at 1703, we are a very custom restaurant. I can spend all day on making recipes and if we have ten people come in and want something totally different I oblige.”

Pumpkin curry preparation at 1703

1703 not only takes this approach with their daily menu they also invite clients to collaborate on the catering side of their business. In the two events, Hackaday is catering in the upcoming week he keeps it close to the classics for one client while roasting a whole pig and grilling an octopus for the other. It is clear Hackaday is willing to deliver on what guests want, so what about what guests need?

“We have customers who have to eat organic so I search for organic. They come in on Tapas Tuesday and I’ll have a few options for them to choose from.”

No matter the cooking challenge, Hackaday seems ready to take it on. What may be considered the most challenging season for 1703 is certainly the month of December when they host office Christmas parties, their regulars, and catering all in the same day. So what tools does Hackaday use to survive the most wonderful time of the year?

With a smile, he responds, “Coffee.”

Some other things he can’t live without are good knives and good shoes.

“I have a bunch of fancy Japanese steel, soft metal knives. They dull quicker but sharpen easier. My favorite is my German steel, it’s a hard metal. With a hard knife, you can keep a sharp edge longer and the hard metal has good balance. I’ve worked with a bunch of chefs that are knife nerds. It truly is to each their own. And shoes are very important.”

Alegria Men's Schuster Black Tumbles

He motions to the new Alegria Men’s Schuster Black Tumbles he was fitted for before he began prepping lunch and talking with us.

“I love them. They feel good. Usually, I have a week where I have to break them in. These aren’t hurting.”

With all the energy and movement it takes to create the inspired menu found at 1703 the last thing he needs on his mind are aching feet.

After a promise to visit for brunch, we took our leave from the hidden gem on Robinhood Road far from buzzy downtown eateries but right at the heart of what’s fresh and exciting on the Winston-Salem restaurant scene.

We can’t wait to see what Chef Curtis Hackaday has in mind for putting his signature spin on next.

Chef Curtis Hackaday at 1703

Alegria Abroad- Fez and Chefchouan

9:45:00 AM
Alegria Shoe Shop Booties in Barcelona Nursing Shoes and Travel

To finish off our amazing trip to Morocco, we left the red city of Marrakech and headed up north. After seven hours in a train we felt very familiar with the Moroccan countryside, but fortunately, train travel in Morocco is fast and comfortable. We arrived at Dar Roumana in Fes just in time for dinner, which was good because we chose to stay there after hearing about the famous French chef that ran the Dar.

The space was gorgeous, and the rooms were comfortable but that night all we cared about was the dinner, and it lived up to its reputation. After a week of eating Moroccan tagine, meals cooked in a clay pot, the wild rice and sautéed fish were an incredibly welcome change.

Dyed leather shoes in a Moroccan market

The following day in Fes we explored markets and tanneries with beautifully kind human beings. We met some of the most generous and loving people of the whole trip in Fes, and it was a nice change from the constant hustling of Marrakech. Sweet locals led us through the incredible maze of the medina where more random people helped, happy to point us in the right direction when we got hopelessly lost.

Spices in a Moroccan market

We stopped for lunch at Cafe Clock where we got to sample a camel burger as well as some more local dishes, and then we headed off to the tannery. The Fes tanneries are famous since Fes is the handicraft capital of Morocco. When we showed up, they gave us a large handful of mint leaves or Berbere gas masks as the locals called it, which proved very necessary because the smell was unbelievably disgusting. Stink aside it was worth it. The view of the famous tanneries was everything for which we hoped.

Fes tanneries from above

From the tanneries, we spent the rest of the day exploring the gorgeous architecture and the beautiful little local markets until it was time to head back to the amazing Dar Roumana for another delicious dinner.

The next morning, we woke up early and headed to the bus station, off to our next destination. Four very, very bumpy hours later, we were high in the Atlas Mountains in the little city of Chefchouan, also known as the Blue City, and they aren't joking. Inside the walls of the medina, everything is a gorgeous powder blue and sometimes varying shades often with darker blue doors.

Chefchouan in the Atlas Mountains

It's one of the most peaceful places in the world, calm, quiet, and relaxed. We stopped in the main square for a glass of mint tea and a Moroccan tagine before taking an extended walking tour of the stunning city. We ended our day on the rooftop of a small local restaurant to watch the golden sun set over the soft blue of the city. It was a perfect day.

Chefchouan, the Blue City

The next day, we packed up and hopped on the bus to head back to Fes, and to prepare for our trek back to Marrakech to Barcelona and then back home to the States. All in all it was a perfect trip and we're already ready for our next adventure.

Alegria Shoe Shop's Photographer signing off

Alegria Abroad- Le Riad Berbere and Jardin Majorelle

1:00:00 AM
Alegria Shoe Shop Black Indi Boot Marrakech Morocco
Alegria Indi Boots

Le Riad Berbere is a hidden gem tucked away in the heart of Marrakesh’s bustling medina and is the main reason we booked this trip. The courtyard bloomed with banana, orange, and olive trees and cast dappled shade on plush pillows where the riad’s resident feline occasionally joined us and taught us a thing or two about relaxation.

Le Riad Berbere
Le Riad Berbere Courtyard and Pool
 On the terraces, we sunbathed and sampled delicious, fragrant foods prepared organically with groceries purchased daily from local markets and wholesalers. We were even offered the opportunity to learn how to cook authentic Moroccan dishes by the chef. We opted to leave the cuisine up to the master and instead took a taxi to Jardin Majorelle.

Flowers in Jardin Marjorelle

Nearly two and a half acres of cacti, exotic plants, and trees in addition to pools, streams, and fountains make up this garden acquired and made famous by late couture designer Yves Saint Laurent. We saw the monument placed in his memory and learned of his passion for Islamic art and Oriental civilization. In the words of the European fashion icon, “We were seduced by this oasis where colours used by Matisse were mixed with those of nature…”

 Yves Saint Laurent in Marakech
Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakesh
After leaving the garden, we dropped in for lunch at a fantastic little restaurant in the middle of the medina called La Famille. Slightly tricky to find we spotted the number 42 marking the doorway entrance off a very busy and crowded pedestrian street around the corner from the Museum of Moroccan Art, Dar Si Said Museum. Their menu changes daily and is a meat-free, Moroccan-Mediterranean fusion. This type of Marrakesh dining makes this vegan photographer euphoric.

La Famille

The sun set on another exciting day in the Red City as we prepared to depart the next day.

On our last day in Marrakesh, we decided to spend the afternoon wandering the beautiful streets, stopping in at our favorite shops, and of course, spending time at our beautiful riad. For the long day of walking and shopping, I decided to don my favorite brown leather Caiti boots, because they're incredibly comfortable and resistant to the water and puddles of the Marrakesh streets.

Marrakesh medina shopping

We stopped in for one last lunch at Nomad right off the spice market square, and I had a delicious lentil salad with fresh goat cheese. After walking the miles of the medina and saying goodbye to our favorites, we went back to the riad to dip our feet in the pool and change for dinner.

I chose my trusty Indi Oxblood Bloom boots to pair with my black Joah Brown dress for a beautiful night out on the town. Marrakesh, it's been fun. Now we're heading north!

Indi Oxblood Bloom Boot and Joah Brown Dress

Stay tuned for more from the blue city of Chefchouan, and the busy medina of Fes.

Alegria Abroad- Beldi Country Club and Moroccan Medinas

1:57:00 PM
Alegria Shoes Professional Nursing Shoes Travel Morroco

After leaving the desert, we checked into Beldi Country Club, a stunning garden hotel just outside of the city. Locals use it as a public pool and spa and then tucked away in another part of the gardens is an Eco-luxury hotel. With an outdoor space overlooking the Atlas Mountains and gardens of olive trees, palms, and roses in every color this sustainable hotel was constructed with local and traditional materials by local artisans to make the space as gorgeous as it is authentic.

Being at Beldi was an exercise in practicing self-love. We were far enough from the city that it didn't make sense to leave and go to the medina, center of town, so I spent most of my days there wandering around the beautiful gardens, laying by the pool, or spending 3 hours at a time in the spa.

Beldi Country Club
Beldi Country Club
It was here that I tried my first Moroccan hammam, which I'd been hearing about for years. A hammam is the steam bath relative of a sauna. At first, I didn't know what to expect, but the experience left me pleasantly surprised. A woman led into a heated humid room covered in fresh flowers and herbs, and she doused me in steaming hot water from head to foot. After that, I was instructed to lay on a warm stone slab surrounded by herbs and soak in the steam.

Once I was sufficiently soaked, she came back with Moroccan black soap and a rough glove, scrubbed my entire body, and got rid of dead skin that I may have had for centuries to come. I felt like I was glowing when I walked out. From there I was lead straight into the massage room and had all my dead skin replaced with beautifully fresh essential oils as well as one of the best massages of my life.

After that came the facial but by then I swear I was floating five feet off the ground, so I don't remember much of that. Somehow I found my way from the spa through gardens filled with roses and thyme and managed to collapse my way into the bubble bath in my room where I had to pinch myself a few times to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

Beldi Country Club Garden

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all served in a beautiful outdoor dining room completely covered in gorgeous flowers. At night, the beautiful Moroccan lamps glowed under the flower canopy, and it looked like something straight out of a fairytale.

We left the Beldi oasis to check into blue and white walled paradise of Le Riad Yasmine in the medina, or old city. Gorgeous pool with a beautiful layout and a lovely French woman who ran the whole thing. As tempted as we were to spend the entire day lounging by the pool it was our first opportunity to experience the medina, so we took advantage of that. What an opportunity it was! I think I bought the entire medina. Poufs, Moroccan rugs, at least five pairs of shoes, because you can’t ever have enough shoes, gorgeous wool scarves, and fragrant teas.

Medina Market

Oh, and leather bags. Because we've entered leather heaven. But, in between all the buying, the experience was a little hectic. The souks, shops, in the medina are set up in a small, crowded labyrinth, and it quickly becomes a muddled mess of confused tourists, yelling street vendors, and motorbikes swerving everywhere.

It took me a few days to get the swing of all the chaos, but once you learn to appreciate it for its insanity, the experience is less overwhelming. We toured the tanneries to see how the leather here is made and found out that it’s soaked in pigeon poop. We talked to amazing makers who truly find their life's purpose in what they're creating and we smelled every spice that has ever existed.

Leather Dyeing Pools
Photo Credit
After our night at Riad Yasmine, we checked into Riad Berbere, which is pretty much the reason I booked this whole trip. I'd seen photos and decided that this place was a heavenly oasis from the world. I couldn't have been more right. Since this riad, house with a central garden and courtyard, is truly in the heart of the medina the taxis couldn't take us all the way to it.

After a super bumpy taxi ride, we hopped out and immediately had all our luggage picked up by a Moroccan man with a cart. He unceremoniously shoved my camera bag right up front where it looked perilously close to tipping and in danger of being run over by millions of motorbikes. I was running to keep up with him still not totally sure what was going on. He led us down a series of small corridors, and we finally ended up at Riad Berbere.

Medina and Motorbike

I cried when they opened the door - the entire place smelled like roses and in the middle of the Riad there's a beautiful little pool surrounded by massive banana trees and other lush greenery. It's the best oasis the medina could ever have and completely counterbalances the craziness of the red city.

More to come from Riad Berbere in my next post.

Alegria Abroad- Barcelona, Rome, and Morocco

2:04:00 PM
Alegria Shoe Shop Barcelona, Rome, and Morroco- Boots


Our first day in Barcelona is a complete blur of walking around the city waiting to check into our hotel at noon so we could sleep the afternoon away before venturing out for tapas and Spanish wine. We returned to our room afterward and went straight back to sleep. Traveling can take it out of you and so can good Spanish wine. We needed our rest to wake up early enough the next morning to take a day trip to Rome.

Upon arrival, we realized we were walking around in a dream. For breakfast, we stopped at an adorable little café in the city center for Italian coffee, bacon, and eggs. Then we began walking and thank goodness for my Alegrias because the final step count at the end of the day was well over 10 miles and my feet didn’t hurt at all!


 Piazza Venezia in Rome
Piazza Venezia in Rome
Some of the sights we visited included the breathtaking Colosseum, full of history, tourists, and beautiful morning light. We took a taxi to the Vatican where we did a full tour including the Sistine Chapel. After a full day of taking in the sights, we sat down for a delicious dinner of pizza and red wine followed by gelato. Because when in Rome you do as the Romans and that includes indulging in the classic cuisine of the country.

We flew back to Barcelona and spent the next two days walking, shopping, eating, and drinking more Spanish wine. La Rambla is where we wandered the most. It’s a big central strip housing more tapas and tourists than I’ve ever seen in my life. My favorite part of La Rambla was the street performers dressed up as everything from famous people to monsters sitting in character for hours at a time. 

Along the way, we stopped in a famous espadrille shop with walls lined full of shoes before we found the most delicious health food and cold-pressed juice shop- Flax and Kale. It’s not only one of my favorite restaurants in the world but also the best cold-pressed juice I’ve had to date. 

La Manual Alpargatera
We wrapped up our time in Barcelona at the beach as we prepared to head out to Morocco the following morning. 

No internet, no technology, no electrical outlet in sight. In Morroco we found heaven. I took my watch off
as soon as we arrived at Scarebo Camp, and didn’t put it back on. Sun and desert as far as the eye can see. It was an absolute dream. 

At the camp, we were greeted with Moroccan tea and told that our only responsibility was to lounge and take it all in until lunch and our tent were ready. We spent the day riding camels through the dunes, eating the most thoughtfully prepared Moroccan dishes, reading in the sun, and taking in the views.

Camels at Scarabeo Camp in Morroco
Our hosts set a new standard for service in my mind, and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to stay anywhere else without thinking of how wonderful they were. Every time I sat down on one of those fabulous leather poufs, they offered me tea, water, wine, olives, nuts, or some other form of deliciousness. 

Our night in Morocco finished up with a beautifully prepared traditional meal of perfectly flavored tanginess- soup and a deliciously crusty pastry pie with wine over candlelight. After sitting around the fire chatting with new friends from around the world and spending who knows how long gazing up at the millions of stars we finally settled into the enormous cushy bed in our huge desert tent and slept like babies. 

Now on to the next adventure.

Sugar Skulls: As Cute as they are Spooky

11:06:00 AM
As cute as they are spooky the Debra Sugar Skulls was our best selling shoe of Fall 2015. Bright colors, playful accents, and toothy grins adorn the loafer in a way that reminds us of October’s fall harvest festivities. Sugar skulls are all over the place in Western culture adorning everything from rolling pins to bracelets to area rugs to S’well water bottles. As you slip into your Sockwells and don your Debras in Fall 2016, we invite you to reflect on the origins of this seasonal skull.  Skeletons are an iconic part of Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead. The three-day long fiesta begins on October 31st and ending on November 2nd. On these days, people believe that honoring late friends, family, and neighbors will bring future happiness to the living the following year.  In preparation for this homecoming, the families craft altars in their homes and cemeteries decorating them with the favorite foods, drinks, and gifts of the dearly departed. People place sugar skulls on the altars along with marigolds and pan de muerto. One of the most famous of the skeletal characters to make an appearance for the festivities is La Catrina. The creation of Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, she is an elegantly dressed figure wearing a French-inspired hat. Intended to make a political statement in pre-Revolutionary Mexico she represents wealth and serves as a reminder that death is the one true equalizer between classes.  The calaveritas de azucar are a combination of sugar, water, and meringue powder you press into a skull mold. Decorated with bright icings, marigolds, foil, and even the name of the deceased these skulls are meant to be colorful- a representation and celebration of the living. Mexicans see this vibrant pigment as a sweet reminder of the inevitability of the afterlife.  In contrast to Halloween, when people fear and evade death at all costs, Dia de los Muertos is intended to be a celebration and the Mexican attitude toward death itself is reflected in the playful and celebratory papier mache parades that flood the streets of Mexico City. Attendees paint their faces to joyfully dance on the line between life and death before heading to late night candle light vigils in cemeteries.  How can you get in the mood for this celebration of all things Day of the Dead? Your favorite Alegrias are a good start, but we want to sweeten the deal with a gift with purchase to keep your feet comfy and warm while you attend your favorite autumn festivities.   That’s right! You heard us! We’ve partnered with Sockwell to give away a free pair with every purchase of a Debra Sugar Skull or Keli PRO Sugar Skull Dottie between now and October 31st.  What’s so special about these socks? Made with a merino wool and bamboo blend these socks are meant to be high-performance compression socks while also being visually attractive and physically comfortable. The designers kept the wearer’s needs in mind and incorporated two levels of graduated compression. Better yet these socks are all-American in both the materials and mills used in production.  Even if you already have your Alegria Sugar Skull shoes, you’ll want to pick up a pair of Sockwell socks for the perfect match in comfort and style.  Hit the leaf-covered streets this October in the most popular pattern of the season with the best socks you’ve ever worn, and you’ll be ready for whatever tricks and treats come your way. Happy Harvest!

As cute as they are spooky the Debra Sugar Skulls was our best selling shoe of Fall 2015. Bright colors, playful accents, and toothy grins adorn the loafer in a way that reminds us of October’s fall harvest festivities. Sugar skulls are all over the place in Western culture adorning everything from rolling pins to bracelets to area rugs to S’well water bottles. As you slip into your Sockwells and don your Debras in Fall 2016, we invite you to reflect on the origins of this seasonal skull.
Skeletons are an iconic part of Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead. The three-day long fiesta begins on October 31st and ending on November 2nd. On these days, people believe that honoring late friends, family, and neighbors will bring future happiness to the living the following year.
In preparation for this homecoming, the families craft altars in their homes and cemeteries decorating them with the favorite foods, drinks, and gifts of the dearly departed. People place sugar skulls on the altars along with marigolds and pan de muerto.
One of the most famous of the skeletal characters to make an appearance for the festivities is La Catrina. The creation of Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, she is an elegantly dressed figure wearing a French-inspired hat. Intended to make a political statement in pre-Revolutionary Mexico she represents wealth and serves as a reminder that death is the one true equalizer between classes.


La Catrina Day of the Dead Painting
La Catrina

The calaveritas de azucar are a combination of sugar, water, and meringue powder you press into a skull mold. Decorated with bright icings, marigolds, foil, and even the name of the deceased these skulls are meant to be colorful- a representation and celebration of the living. Mexicans see this vibrant pigment as a sweet reminder of the inevitability of the afterlife.
In contrast to Halloween, when people fear and evade death at all costs, Dia de los Muertos is intended to be a celebration and the Mexican attitude toward death itself is reflected in the playful and celebratory papier mache parades that flood the streets of Mexico City. Attendees paint their faces to joyfully dance on the line between life and death before heading to late night candle light vigils in cemeteries.

How can you get in the mood for this celebration of all things Day of the Dead? Your favorite Alegrias are a good start, but we want to sweeten the deal with a gift with purchase to keep your feet comfy and warm while you attend your favorite autumn festivities.


That’s right! You heard us! We’ve partnered with Sockwell to give away a free pair with every purchase of a Debra Sugar Skull or Keli PRO Sugar Skull Dottie between now and October 31st.
What’s so special about these socks? Made with a merino wool and bamboo blend these socks are meant to be high-performance compression socks while also being visually attractive and physically comfortable. The designers kept the wearer’s needs in mind and incorporated two levels of graduated compression. Better yet these socks are all-American in both the materials and mills used in production.


Sockwell Circulator Compression Socks in Black Stripe
Sockwell Circulator Compression Socks in Black Stripe - Free Gift With Purchase!

Even if you already have your Alegria Sugar Skull shoes, you’ll want to pick up a pair of Sockwell socks for the perfect match in comfort and style.
Hit the leaf-covered streets this October in the most popular pattern of the season with the best socks you’ve ever worn, and you’ll be ready for whatever tricks and treats come your way. Happy Harvest! 
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