Hi, all --
My computer is finally working again! (And yay for warranty -- they had to replace everything except the motherboard. Would have cost me $1500 but instead was free.)
I have been popping in here as able but hoping to catch up with you all soon.
In the meantime, a couple of reviews/recommendations.
First, the Blondo Elvina. I bought this "western light" boot in black about six weeks ago and have already worn it 30 times or more. So when it came time to look for a taupe bootie to work with my new consignment Pink Tartan jacket (and other things) I was delighted to learn that Elvira comes in dark taupe.
For me, this is almost an ur-bootie. It has the perfect 2 inch heel height and slope in the footbed for personal comfort. (It actually feels lower than 2 inches to me so those who like a 1.5 inch might try it in case.) The heel is exceptionally stable. The width in the front is perfect for my foot shape. The shoe has a grippy bottom to prevent slips. It is waterproof. (Take that, PNW rain!) It is also lined in warm fabric. (This unfortunately means it would likely be too warm for a very hot climate but of course it is perfect for mine.) I love the pointed toe. It doesn't show in the stock photos well but you can see it in my own pictures. I can walk 20,000 city steps in these with no discomfort.
Some reviewers say that the ankle is too snug. As you can see, it is actually quite loose on me. But no "flower pot" effect because the loose areas are front and back rather than side to side. This also means no rubbing on that part of my calf. Instant comfort. It also looks quite nice with a skirt or dress with toned hose -- the pointed toe makes it work. If you are in the market for a stylish but not extremely trendy, practical, smart-casual, waterproof bootie, I would highly recommend.
Next up, the BR silk-cashmere pullover. This is also part of my "Pink Tartan" complement. It is a lightweight knit, tailored at the shoulders and sleeves and bust in my regular size but very fluid below. However, since it's thin, it can be tucked easily or semi-tucked. It's quite long on the body but again, not bulky. It comes in a wide range of colours and makes a terrific simple "base layer" under a blazer because it is not bulky yet it is warm.