Any Shoe-aholics out there? Did you know you can change the world – with Shoes?! Check out this guest blog on SHOES!

September is a special month around Girlfriendology – it’s International Women’s Friendship Month (aka: #FriendshipMonth) and we’re celebrating with 30 great guest blogs filled with fabulous girlfriend advice and wisdom. Today we hear from a girlfriend I actually got to meet recently at BlogHer, meet JULIE!

My name’s JULIE ANDERSON (aka: @juliejulie) and I’m a shoe-a-holic. Seriously. I have more shoes than I can count, because some of them are still packed in boxes from my last move. Last week, I thought about lining up all my cowboy boots along a wall in my bedroom for decorative effect, but, to be honest, once I started, it just looked too crowded.

My love affair with shoes does make me feel guilty sometimes, because I have so many, and I know there are people out there who don’t have any. Whenever I take a garbage bag full of old shoes to the resell shop, part of me feels like I should be doing more to help those in need.

Due to my little shoe obsession, it’s probably not a coincidence that the long and winding road of my professional career has led me to one of my most delightful jobs ever: a brand ambassador for Oh! Shoes, a company that makes gorgeous, high quality, sexy, healthy high heels that are actually comfortable, and don’t hurt your feet. And I’m not just saying that!

Oh! sends me pink leather pumps, purple suede boots, and whatever else catches my eye, and I wear the shoes whenever I travel on adventures. The best part? I’ve met lots of cool new girlfriends because of it, like Debba of Girlfriendology, who I met at BlogHer in San Diego in the bathroom, for instance! (See video below!)

And the truth is, most of my girlfriends love shoes, too. We like to shop for them, we like to show them off to our men and to each other, and we like it when people notice them. We’re a shoe-happy culture. We embrace the heels!

But like I said, for me, that nagging little voice always pops up and asks: what about giving back? Is there a way to buy shoes without guilt? Why yes, dear girlfriends. Yes there is.

A wonderful thing has happened that’s made my shoe buying and shoe selling love affair feel more worthy: Oh! Shoes partnered with Soles 4 Souls one of the fastest growing charities in the U.S. on a new “One for One” project. This is how it works: for every pair of Oh! Shoes sold (through their website at selected retailers) they give a pair to Soles 4 Souls. And then Soles 4 Souls does good things with those shoes! They give them to people who need them, and they help women start businesses, too.

Soles for Souls has given away over 15 million pairs of shoes all over the world since it started back in 2004, after the East Asian Tsunami. In some countries, kids can’t go to school if they don’t have shoes. And after a natural disaster, people lose their shoes, and need help, even here in America. Imagine the chaos of a hurricane, a tornado, or an earthquake. Sometimes you don’t have time to grab your shoes. The gift of shoes after such horrible events is welcome. Shoes change lives.

I met my new best Girlfriendology friend Debba at BlogHer!

If you know your shoes can really help people in need, shoe shopping and cleaning out the closet (and the attic and the basement, and the garage) suddenly starts to feel cheerier and much more helpful. I can even have a shoe collection party with my girlfriends (from my book club, my kids’ schools, my church, etc.) and then we can send off a big box of our used shoes to Soles 4 Souls to distribute to people in need. The results of a good party shipped off in a box? My kind of party.

And here’s another cool thing about this program: Oh! and Soles 4 Souls are asking some of the women who receive the free shoes to share their stories of how the gift of shoes has changed their lives. The women have been sending in their stories and videos, which will soon be featured on the websites.

I’m all about sharing stories, and encouraging each other, and giving back. When cute shoes are part of the equation, I get happy feet, and a lighter heart.

So now, as part of my job, I’m engaging other writers to write about this fun program and help spread the word about Oh!’s mission to save women’s feet from pain, and Soles 4 Souls mission to get shoes out to people who need them. It’s not just a sales pitch, it’s a real conversation. People really want to get involved and help.

I went to BlogHer with the Soles 4 Souls team to do a shoe giveaway in the lobby of the Marriot to share the story and prompt other bloggers to write about the Soles 4 Souls and Oh! Shoes.  I met so many cool women who are excited about getting and giving shoes! We know word of mouth marketing is one of the best ways to spread socially conscious ideas virally, because most bloggers write what they care about, and they write from the heart.

New shoes are great, but the act of helping others really can change your life. If you’re a blogger and you want to write about Oh! Shoe and Soles 4 Souls, let me know. And if you want to have a shoe collection party, we can help with that too! When girlfriends gather to help others, we can change the world, one pair of shoes at a time.

Julie Anderson, otherwise known as @juliejulie on Twitter, writes about middle aged-angst, going on adventures, and pretending to train for a triathlon over at her blog Chubby Mommy Running Club. Her motto: Embrace the Chub! It’s not a race, it’s a lifestyle!

Who else loves shoes?! Have a Shoe Girlfriend? Share!

And, by the way, we LOVE guest blogs here at Girlfriendology. Have a great girlfriend story to tell? Want to celebrate your fabulous female friends? SHARE! (And, we also have Girlfriend Gurus – check that out to be featured on Girlfriendology!)

Note: It’s September – International Women’s Friendship Month (#Friendship Month) and we’re celebrating all month long! From this interview and guest blog by Miss America, to a month of women’s wisdom and 30 guest blogs, to our Newsletter Sign-up Contest and Facebook fun, and more! Don’t miss out on any of it! SIGN UP for our Newsletter and ‘Like’ us on Facebook to stay up to date with all the fun friendship festivities and more!

Our September Friendship Month Guest Blogs so far …

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Girlfriendology-Gilt-InviteAnd for our FASHION FRIENDS: Please accept this invitation to join Gilt Groupe. On Gilt, you have access to the top names in fashion and luxury goods at up to 60% off retail. Membership is free, so join today!