Heels & Picks: Just don’t do it

Sep. 2, 2014 | 0 Comments




BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser

It’s that time of year again. Summer is winding down, the kids have gone back to school and people who live far north of us have started to pull out their sweaters and leather jackets for the fall.

(I admit, I’m jealous of appropriate weather for wearing leather jackets. In protest, I insist on wearing them in Hawaii. Sometimes with a helmet when I inevitably pass out from heat stroke.)

This time of year also brings my birthday.

Birthdays mean different things at different times in one’s life. As a kid, it’s all about a party and balloons. As a teenager, it’s about getting into trouble. As a 20-something, it’s about that yearly conversation with yourself to determine what in the heck you are doing with your life.

Now that I’m in my 30s, there is rarely even cake involved — my sweet tooth has a filling in it or something. There is love from family and friends far and wide, and usually a few amazing pairs of heels courtesy of my boyfriend. And there’s always an evening of unwinding.

I’m fairly low-key; when not doing music and fashion events for me or liquor events with my boyfriend T, short for Trouble, he and I are pretty much into our Kailua cottage lifestyle. We attend a fair number of events in town, but there are many that we don’t get to in favor of staying home and sipping wine on the lanai.

To mark my completion of this particular trip around the sun, I want to share a few new moments of realization I had. They can be broken down into the Top Five Things I Occasionally Think I Can Still Do (But Actually Can’t):


Ah yes, the days of the miniskirt. Practical in Hawaii, where for years I adapted a hemline that would be largely scandalous in Canada. (The bikinis here are much smaller too, but that’s another story.) The miniskirt is for the carefree days of the carefree job.

Throwing on a mini after the beach and heading to the next item on my agenda was par for the course when I lived on Maui. These days, I find myself wishing that companies I adore, like Poprageous and Black Milk Clothing, would make a Pacman-print dress that while still form-fitting, hits the leg about mid-calf.

Sure, I still wear miniskirts here and there in Kailua. For date night with my boyfriend I will bust out the racehorse legs. But for most events, meetings and the stage, the skirt has just got to be longer.

For the most part, in high fashion the skirts are longer. And when on stage, you really have to watch your skirt angles with all of those cameras in the crowd.

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2011The author back in her headbanging days with The Throwdowns.


The author back in her headbanging days with The Throwdowns.

To be clear, they don’t have to be boring skirts. Hot pink, graphic print, animal print and quirky prints like cupcakes or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are all game; the darn skirt just has to go to the knee.


Back in the day, even say just five years ago when The Throwdowns’ first album, “Don’t Slow Down,” came out, I could headbang without the hangover.

Admittedly, these days I have to slow down and prepare myself by stretching if I’m going to do it on stage. And if I do it, I need to brace myself for the neck pain I will inevitably feel the next day as I wonder why I am always in such loud bands and think about how I need to up my cardio for running around and singing at the same time.

Headbanging is a young person’s game, when all those thoughts in your head are so random and unimportant, it’s probably better if they’re scrambled.


I’m not sure how I got to where I am in my life without realizing Jell-O shots will sneak up on you and make you 75 percent more drunk than you were just moments earlier.

Did anyone else get that memo? I understand regular shots do this to you, so why wouldn’t I think it would be the same with Jell-O shots — with an extra twist of way too much sugar?

I had a moment — very recently, I might add — where I watched my boyfriend play a single round of beer pong at the beach, a sort of loose version of a nod to a game he has officially retired from. While doing so, I decided I would take two of the Jell-O shots being offered to me by a friend of a friend.

My boyfriend gave me a look and said, “Jell-O shots? Really babe? I don’t mess with those anymore.”

I thought it was no big deal. What could possibly go wrong? So I pounded them back and we headed home to prepare dinner for two guests stopping by the house.

The shots kicked in right when I hit the kitchen to wow with my culinary skills. And wow I did, dropping a bottle of olive oil and coating the floor. As one friend and houseguest so aptly put it, we could do the “Risky Business” slide into our kitchen for days. Although I was given good reviews on dinner, I don’t recommend a two Jell-O shot dinner appetizer, unless dinner is seven cups of good strong coffee and a loaf of bread.


I have always been a bit of a night owl. Not so much in that I need to be out clubbing; that’s never really been my thing. As an artist, there is something about the quiet of that time after midnight when ideas form, songs are written, the elusive album cover shot formulates, or you get that blog post to really click.

I think I really believed, for a time, that art only came into existence when the rest of the world was asleep.

There is a part of me I have to wrestle to get in line with a normal person’s timeline, aided massively by enjoying being on the same schedule as my long-term boyfriend and our two pups, and by the fact that I am getting busier all the time and I need to be rested and ready to go every day. There is no amount of coffee in the world that will help me be focused at a video shoot if I’ve been up until 4 a.m the last three days in a row.

As it turns out, you don’t have to be up at 2 a.m. when MTV actually plays a music video or two in order to style and outfit or write a song. You can do that at 2 p.m. when your neighbor is cutting his lawn and for once he is driving you crazy, rather than the other way around.

The author getting her hair and makeup done, by Maui makeup artist Chrissy Swink, on the set for her video for "Hardly" from the upcoming solo album. Photo by Melissa Downey


The author getting her hair and makeup done by Maui makeup artist Chrissy Swink while on the set for the filming of a new music video.


Guess who can sleep for two hours, fly to an eight-hour video shoot on another island, look fierce the entire time, then go to dinner with a visiting best friend and then get up for another photo shoot the next day — all effortlessly doing so while entertaining the crew?

Not this girl.

I actually don’t know how working Moms do it. Kudos, ladies. I struggle with being as on as I expect myself to be for my man and pups, let alone a child.
All of my pursuits are artistically inclined, be it music, fashion or writing, and I enjoy all of it. I also have many irons in the fire, tend to work out a lot and sing using the biggest voice I can possibly make my body produce.

I used to bounce from one thing to the next, and I still do. But ladies, do we need a glass of wine and some down time or what?

BUT YOU know, there are things I believe we should never outgrow or give up. Believing in yourself, working at the things you like to do, believing in fairy tales, looking for the fun in everything, spending time with good, well-intended people and laughing until tears stream down your face.

Despite the growing pains that come as we evolve, never doubt that you can try something new, get better at something you enjoy or conquer new terrain. And never believe you can’t wear red with pink, or two patterns at once. It looks dope.
Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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