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Red Cowboy Boots (and a giveaway!)October 2, 2012

You know what? Saying nice things really matters. 


I often wear this pair of red cowboy boots (Ariats from Zappos, for the curious). I wear them with everything: jeans, skirts, dresses. I wear them while writing, dancing, hiking, and camping. And I get SO MANY compliments on them. I swear to God, those boots break down some kind of social barrier. Perfect strangers catch up to me in airports to say they love my boots. Grumpy old men love them. Teen girls (and their mothers) adore them. 

I feel special every time I wear them, because when I do, people say nice things to me. That's odd, isn't it? That wearing something as simple as boots can make you feel good? The boots aren't me, and I had nothing to do with their construction. I just gave a company my debit card and then I pulled them onto my feet. But I still grin like an idiot when a man playing a trumpet in a mariachi bands shoots me a thumbs-up. 

I think it's true of all kinds of compliments, right? I just opened my email to find a treat of a message, and I feel three feet taller. It's better than using good shampoo, I tell you. Opening your email to find that someone took the time to reach out and say hello is just like being handed a mug of steaming hot cocoa on a rainy morning. Only warmer, and sweeter. 

And what stops us from telling each other when we think nice things? I've had great service from waitresses, and I leave them a big tip, but I rarely flag them down to thank them for being attentive and sweet. The guy at my oil changer place, Roosevelt, has the nicest smile you've ever seen, like sunrise come an hour early, and I've never told him that.

I'm going to start complimenting people more, not only the ones I love, but the people I meet in passing.

To every single person who's ever left a comment here, thank you. To the girl in my teen class who just sent me the most amazing story opening, thank you. To the people who leave Amazon reviews, thank you. 


Boots in the wild, summer at Bodega Bay 

Everyone loves to be praised. Everyone wants to know they're special. Everyone wants to be seen and heard and appreciated. 

May you all feel today as if you're wearing red cowboy boots. 

* Because I'm in the mood, I'm going to give away a book! I'm really enjoying Gretchen Rubin's new book, Happier at Home, and I'll send a copy (either print or e-version) to some lucky gal or fella. Just be on my mailing list, and you're automatically entered! (I never sell names or spam.) I'll draw the winner at the end of the week. MWAH! 


Hope I'm lucky then, since I'm on your e-mail list :)

I love your boots, too. :) What a great post!

I have had this thought many times and try my best do it is as much as possible! (A few weeks ago I was at the airport with the typical flight mess ups, I complimented the customer service agent's watch. Not because I was trying to butter her up, but because I really did love her watch. She totally went out of her way to help me and saved me both a bunch of time and some money. It just makes everyone feel better!)

Absolutely love your red Ariat boots. I have Ariat high-cut shoes and love them. They totally rock. Hope I will be lucky re the book giveaway! Have a great day.

Are you familiar with The Weepies? One of their song begins, "What can I compare you to--my favorite pair of shoes? Maybe my bright red boots if they had wings."

LOVE the boots!! I have not worn cowboy boots since I was a kid and actually still riding horses... Never had pretty red just plain, practical brownish..

Pick me, pick me!! :)

Love the red boots!! The "saying nice things" also works wonders in the workplace. From a management perspective, I've found people value praise and recognition more than they do the salary. You're exactly right, words do matter.

Your post today made me stop and think. I've seen pics of you in your boots & love them. But I've never thought to compliment you on them. I could blame it on living in East Texas and seeing cowboy boots all day, every day. But the reality is...I don't compliment. I always tell customer service people I appreciate them (& it usually surprises them that someone would say it), but I don't compliment. Beginning today...I am going to start. Thank you.

The simple soft words of 'thank you' have taken on more meaning for me in the last month. I was listening to a young man talk about his time in this war--and what packages from home, and the letters that meant the most to him. At the end of his speech I said 'thank you for what you did'--no agenda, or forethought just seemed like the only thing to say.

He told me a little later how much that meant to him..and he was so genuinely grateful in his words. He taught me a lesson in kindness.

It made me think, and though I do not like war, oppose it, hate it, I appreciate the bravery that it takes for people to go and be there. I have been noticing caps now that veterans wear...the baseball cap kind and mostly Vietnam Vets. And in ten seconds or less I will stop and say thank you, shake their hand and move on. I am not looking for a reply. What has gotten to me is how many of these men (no women yet) tear up and say thank you back. It is the tears that gets me. All in ten seconds.

So, love your red boots and love your writing. For this I want to say thank you to you for making my world a little better.

What a lovely post!! I adore your blog, Rachael, and you! :)

Love the post but was disappointed a touch when I realized you were not going to give away the boots.... ;D
Now where can I find these in my country...

Aw, I love you, Rachel. Thanks for that bit of sunshine in my evening.



I've made a point to do this lately -- sincerely complimenting people -- and I think I may enjoy it more than the people I chat with. :)

And your red boots are wonderful! I may go buy the snakeskin pair that I saw at the thrift yesterday...

Love your red boots, Rachael.


There's been times when I've wanted to compliment someone about something they're wearing and it just feels odd or they don't seem approachable... I'll have to work on that.

Your red boots are great!

How was I not on your mailing list? BIZARRO. And I was hoping that you were giving away red cowboy boots. Because I would look *awesome* in them!

Thanks for the reminder! I'm going to go pull on my boots too!

Love your blog, as usual. Been following it for years. Already on your email list for book announcements, but, tweasel, whatchya knitting these days?

I'm on your mailing list! (Is it an international giveaway?)

I say whoohoo for unconventional colored footwear. I have a pr of teal shoes I love and people take notice.:)

You're welcome, sweetness!

Thank you for mentioning Gretchen Rubin. I hadn't come across her before, and now have downloaded her first happiness project book. It's an area I've been doing lots of reading around myself recently.

Nice boots too!

I'm reading Happier at Home right now, too. It's great. And so are you! hmmmm... ima go hunting for some kickass boots. the compliments have been a bit thin around here lately!

I have long made it a point to let people know when they do something good or special (and their boss too). Just last week we went to a restaurant and had the best service we have had in years. My husband and I asked the waiter if there was a manager on duty and to please ask him to come over to our table (we had already given him a great tip, so he must have known that we were not complaining). Upon his arrival we complimented the waiter and how great everything had been and the manager seemed almost surprised; not about what were were saying, but that we were saying it. As I said to him, you always hear the complaints, but I think it is just as important for people to hear the good things.

Great photo, great boots, but I zeroed in on the hat and scarf, beautiful...and then the headline and photo on the paper in your hands!

Yay! I love your giveaways and have found some great books to read thanks to your suggestions (Sophie Littlefield, please write another "Bad Day for ..."). I figure that I love your writing (both blog and book) so I'll probably like who you like to read too. So far it has worked like a charm. Keep up the great work!

I am sitting in a hospital room with my very ill mother and have decided that red boots are a great way to celebrate life! I will be ordering mine shortly! Thanks for being just what I needed today.

What a great blog post! Random compliments from strangers really make my day. They have no obligation to say anything to me, but they chose to do it anyway.

(I was kind of hoping that you were giving away red cowboy boots, but your book is pretty awesome, too.)

I love you, Rachel. You are a sweet person and brighten my day every time you write on your blog. Thank you!

The best thing about compliments is that it makes both sides feel good. A win-win!

Nice to start my day with a smile. Thanks!

I'm one of those random compliments people! I will walk up to a complete stranger and tell them how beautiful they look. It's gotten me some strange looks but overall, most just smile and say thank you. I kind of figured that if they went to all the trouble to look smashing before leaving the house, someone should tell them how smashing they truly look.

Your Welcome. I love commenting, I do it all the time.

Love the boots too. Isn't it funny how wearing a certain something just makes everyone have to comment on it. I get that all the time with my seemless yoke sweater, which has become something of a uniform for me, now that the weather has been less the 70 degrees on a regular basis.

Wonderful post! Thank you for the reminder that being kind to others in small ways can make a difference. My thought is that your boots attract the attention and make people smile, but your sunny spirit makes you approachable. Keep on spreading the good cheer! xo

Sending you a resounding amen! Reminds of one of my favorite Christine Lavin songs...The Moment Slipped Away. Kills me every time. Thanks for the nudge.

Because of you, I complimented a writer today ( a book I use at work). She wrote me back! I don't know who was more pleased,

I tweeted this at you, but wanted to make sure that you'd get it:
One of my favorite movies (based on a book by Michael Chabon) is Wonderboys. In it, there is a character that essentially wears these books. The main character played by Michael Douglas describes her as compulsively clad in red cowboy books.

I'm a firm believer in red shoes going with everything. :)

You know you are so very special to me.

Thank you, Rachel, for being YOU & sharing your skills and personality! I'm currently reading your book, Wishes & Stitches, and I love the way you write! I think, laugh, think some more, laugh, nod my head in agreement or sometimes in commiseration. In other words, your writing totally involves me.Yes, I'll be reading all your books for sure! Thankyou for your stories, your blog, and your creative loving self.

please forgive misspelling your name-Rachael

Your post made me feel three feet taller! Someone very dear to me once said that when someone gives you a compliment, they are giving you a gift, a piece of themselves, and to be gracious in response and accept the gift. My life was changed by that statement, and I've tried to be a generous complimenter ever since. Thank you for making my day (especially the description of Roosevelt's smile...whoa, that melted my heart).

My version of your red boots are my black Frye boots. Badass, endlessly hip and never go out of style. Yeah, baby!

Love the boots and if I didn't already have a pair of Red Frye Buckle Harness boots that I traded my firstborn for, I would so be on the Buy It Now button.

Great boots!

I have slighly different Ariats, dark brown because that's what I do. My favorite boot conversation was with one of my patients, a farmworker from Yuma Arizona. He appreciated the boots.

I feel like I'm working hard in them. In a good way.

I have a passion for red shoes, I have 4 pair right now. People don't expect a 60-something to wear red shoes but it makes them smile. I also never wear matching socks. That makes them think I dress in the dark!

We have a habit of seeking out managers and bosses to compliment great service but my favorite is to thank a veteran, young or old, for keeping me safe. At first they try to deflect it but once they get that I really mean it, it never fails to make them stand up straighter. Give it a try.

I haven't worn my red cowboy boots in about 20 years.
Maybe it's time to start again.
Thanks for the post!

Like your post! I always try to give a compliment when one is due. We sure as hell all complain whenever we can; praise is the other side of the coin. Ditto being honest about getting too much change... am I going too far here for some folks? I think if you take action when you're cheated, with intent of by accident, then you've gotta' be gracious and give back when you're overpaid.

Gorgeous boots. So many ways to wear them!

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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