Author Archives: msshoescocktails

On the receiving end

Happiest of holidays to you! While you can never go wrong with booze (a common gift given and received), Ms. S&C was on the receiving end of a few other shoes and cocktails inspired gifts this year. All courtesy of Mother S&C!

To tell the truth, Ms. S&C doesn’t know a whole lot about wine. She gets her regions confused, her grapes confused, then there’s the Old World vs. New World, wine etiquette, and the science and artistry of wine-making. She wants to know more about these things, so bring on the Wine Wars Trivia Game!

winewarstriviagame

Living in a small house, with tiny closets, and the inherited trait of never wanting to throw anything out (a trait of Mother S&C mind you), additional shoe racks are a welcome gift (and necessity, as clearly one wasn’t enough!).

shoeracks

And lastly, here’s a sassy little stocking stuffer that’s already made its way to the office. While Ms. S&C can agree (somewhat) on the message, she likes to emphasize quality over quantity :)

notepads

Any other fun shoes and cocktails inspired holiday gifts out there? Any self-gifts? Please share!

S&C Gifts: reading material

Need last minute gift ideas for the literary cocktail enthusiast in your life? Here are some titles worth adding to the library.

Humor: check out David Sedaris’ “Holidays on Ice.” It’s quick and funny, and even if you don’t get past the first story “SantaLand Diaries,” about a thirty-three-year-old man applying for a job as an elf, it is worth it.

holidaysonice

History: “Imbibe!” by David Wondrich features great stories and original recipes for tons of classic cocktails. Full of facts and historical contexts, but very readable. And a must-read for any aspiring cocktail expert.

imbibe

Memoir: J. R. Moehringer’s “The Tender Bar” is described as a “raucous, poignant, luminously written memoir about a boy striving to become a man, and his romance with a bar.” If you’ve ever felt like a bar was your second home (for good or for bad), this is a story for you.

thetenderbar

Happy gift-giving and holiday cocktail imbibing! (PS: Any other books to recommend? Please share!)

Happy [Vegan] Thanksgiving

The past two Thanksgivings for Ms. S&C have been meat free. This means no turkey, no Virginia ham, and when she’s visiting family in Southwestern Va., it also means no gravy and no stuffing. Some of you may be thinking “What’s left to eat?” Trust me, you can have a rich and hearty vegetarian (or vegan) Thanksgiving dinner that’s reminiscent of the one you know and love. (And it may be one you feel better about eating.)

Start off with a cocktail we’re calling the Old Fashioned Pilgrim. Adapted from Imbibe Magazine‘s Maple-Cranberry Bourbon Smashed, we used the same ingredients as those in our cranberry sauce (yes, the same sauce that’s served alongside the tofurkey).

The instructions are easy: add a tablespoon of the cranberry sauce to two and a half ounces of bourbon (we used Buffalo Trace). Stir well. Fill glass with ice and garnish with an orange twist. Enjoy a sweet and warming seasonal variation of a classic drink.

cranberryorangesauce

oldfashionedpilgrim

The Old Fashioned Pilgrim is a lot like the classic Old Fashioned but made with fresh cranberries, orange, agave nectar, and cinnamon

Enjoy this beverage while you’re putting the finishing touches on this delicious all vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Herbed Tofurkey (we used the Quorn Turk’y and roasted with fresh parsley, rosemary, and thyme)
  • Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes (we mostly followed this recipe but eliminated the cream, almost all of the butter — used vegan butter actually — and the brown sugar)
  • Chorizo-style Protein & Apple Stuffing (we used Field Roast protein sausage in this stuffing recipe and subbed veggie broth and beer for the chicken stuff)
  • Roasted Cauliflower (there’s nothing to it: roast cauliflower with salt, pepper, and olive oil)
  • Cranberry Orange Sauce (we fixed this version with agave nectar so it could be used in cocktail as well)

veganthanksgiving

If you’re not used to eating a protein other than turkey and sausage, the taste will surely be different (and the tofurkey on its own could have used a little gravy), but the spicy stuffing and tart citrusy cranberry sauce are more than enough to give this all veggie dinner a lot of flavor.

Perfectly ordinary

Some may think these black patent wedges are ordinary, perhaps even plain. Yes, perhaps they are perfectly ordinary.

J.Crew’s Martina Patent Wedges

Yet, some may think to call these black patent wedges a new classic. They are sleek and stylish, polished and comfortable. And they are mine.

A beer drinker’s holiday

Attention beer drinkers. Specifically, Belgian beer drinkers. More specifically, lambic style beer drinkers. This may be a post for you.

Ms. S&C recently took 10 days to spend some time in London, Belgium (Bruges and Brussels), and Amsterdam. When you’re on a holiday such as this one, it’s hard not to visit a pub or a beer bar *at least* once a day. Ms. S&C would argue it’s one of the best ways to settle into a new city, get to know a neighborhood and just get off your feet for a bit. And when visiting these cities in particular, the most interesting — and perhaps the most refreshing — thing to order is beer.

In London, you’re gonna order a pint and you’re gonna order something on draft. Or, there may be a time or two when you order a half pint and that half pint may be cider. Either way, cheers!

In Belgium, ordering beer can be intimidating. Even the smallest of beer bars will have a hundred or more beers to choose from. Ms. S&C stuck mostly with lambic style beers. They’re funky and earthy, and sour, and sometimes with a touch of sweetness. They’re complex. And despite my choice of adjectives to describe them, they’re really, really good.

Here’s an almost complete list of what two beer drinkers can drink in three short days in Belgium (in order of appearance):

  • De Ranke XX Bitter
  • 3 Drei Fonteineri Oude Gueze
  • Girardin Gueze (black label)
  • Girardin Kriek
  • Boom Mariage Parfait
  • Cantillon Gueze
  • Moinette Blonde
  • Brugse Zot
  • Rochefort 6
  • Saison Dupont
  • Troublette
  • Duchesse de Bourgogne
  • Hanssens Artisanal Oude Gueze
  • De Garre Triple (on tap)
  • Gulden Draak (on tap)
  • Petrus Gouden Triple
  • Duvel (triple hop)
  • Cuvee De Ranke
  • Saison de Dottignies De Ranke
  • Cantillon Faro
  • Cantillon Lambic (on tap)
  • Cantillon Kriek (on hand pump)
  • De Rank Gulden Berg
  • Houblon Chouffee
  • Boon Oude Gueze
  • Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus
  • Oerbier

When visiting a new city, one may ask: how do you know where to go? Sometimes you can rely on just popping into the nearest place when your legs are too tired to take you any further. But much of the time, you can benefit from a little research beforehand. For instance, Tim Webb’s Good Beer Guide to Belgium is worth the purchase. Rick Steves is a pretty reliable source too (he also recommended our favorite bar: t’Brugs Beertje in his travel guide). A few spots Ms. S&C would like to find herself drinking a beer again:

  • The Lamb and the Fog (London)
  • Lounge Bohemian (London, cocktails)
  • The Rake (London)
  • The Jugged Hare (London)
  • t’Brugs Beertje (Bruges)
  • De Garre (Bruges)
  • Poatersgat (Bruges)
  • Chez Moeder Lambic (Brussels)

When in Amsterdam, after seven days on the road, you might want to chill out, have a smoothie and stick with a beer you know. Amstel, particularly Amstel Light, has always been a personal go to. But, it’s also a city when you may just want to sit back at a coffeehouse overlooking a canal, drink some mint tea and watch the bicycles go by.

posted by Ms. S&C

Love means

Love means never having to live without J.Crew’s Edie Tote.And never having to carry it without these lovely enamel bangles decorating your wrists.And, of course, love means wearing these nautical stripe peep-toe pumps.Happy Valentine’s Day from S&C!

posted by Ms. S&C

Happy healthy new year

Happy New Year! (Better late than never, right? And yes, S&C is still around.)

We guess you could say that there’s been a renewed sense of focus, of being, of life since our little break. Ms. S&C has completed her yoga teacher training that turned her attention elsewhere. And now she’s trying to determine how to make the best use of this little blog given her exploration of other interests and her commitment to yoga. (Yes, she’s aware that she’s a little attached and not ready to let go of it.)

So, for now, we’re gonna try to go with a “to your health” type of theme. That means: we’ll share all sorts of things you can imbibe (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and buy (accessory-wise), but all the while trying to be as good to our body (as much we can) and as good to others (as much as we can).

Let’s kick things off with this smoothie — Ms. S&C’s first-ever-made-herself smoothie. She doesn’t know what has taken her so long — it is super easy and super delicious.

Ms. S&C’s First Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • Greek yogurt (about 4-6 oz.)
  • Soy milk (half a cup)
  • Banana sliced (one, and use that very ripe one you don’t know what to do with)
  • Blueberries (small handful)
  • Walnuts (even smaller handful)

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a large plastic container. Blend together. (Get yourself a Cuisinart Hand Blender — it means this whole operation takes less than 30 seconds and cleanup is easy.) Drink to your health!

Happiness awaits

There’s a sign for Palm Grove Bar & Grill that reads “Where happiness awaits you.”

Ms. S&C just returned from her third trip to Anguilla, and her second to Palm Grove. It was this recent trip that she had the honor of chatting with Nat, the owner, while she ate her grilled lobster (with a tasty curry butter) and drank her Red Stripe. The conversation covered everything from Johnny Cakes, to American politics, to Anguillan heritage, to what it’s like to own a shack (Nat’s word) by the water. Ms. S&C likes this shack by the water. But, Ms. S&C pretty much likes all the shacks by the water in Anguilla.

Ms. S&C and her Red Stripe at Palm Grove, one of many favorite spots on the beautiful, relaxed, 16-mile long island of Anguilla.

Other Caribbean beverages of choice: Pyrat Rum, Carib, and Presidente. And, where are some good spots to drink said beverages? Favorite bars include: Dune Preserve (and if you’re lucky, reggae legend and owner, Bankie Banx, will be around; and if you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll show up on his birthday), and The Pumphouse (if you don’t see Bankie’s son Omari at the Dune, maybe you can catch him here on Friday night).

Favorite restaurants to wine and dine (there are so many!): Tasty’s (the best Johnny Cakes on the island, and they serve them for breakfast, lunch and dinner; Ms. S&C knows because she went there for breakfast, lunch and dinner), Picante (*really* good Mexican), Blanchard’s (for beachfront chic), and Smokey’s (great for live music and fresh fish sandwich). New places that she’ll be back to: E’s Oven (best bite of the trip was the grilled grouper with tomato jam), and Bonjour Cafe (a hippy-ish spot tucked back in the woods with a great vegetable roti).

The best way to hydrate? Fresh coconut water! (A rastaman that’s handy with a machete is particularly helpful in this endeavor.) And hydration is needed after sea kayaking, yoga on the beach, a Thai massage, and a night out at The Pumphouse.

Happiness awaits at many spots on Anguilla. This sunset spot was taken from Ms. S&C’s patio. She viewed it for eight full days. If you are ever thinking of visiting, please let her know (after three trips, she has copious notes that she’d love to share!).

posted by Ms. S&C

Savasana

There has been an absence of Ms. S&C lately. I guess you could say she is in Savasana. Regular readers and friends know of her love for yoga. Well, Ms. S&C went and enrolled herself in a yoga teacher training program at Yoga District. It is kind-of intense (Saturday class from 9-6:30; Sunday class from 12noon-6:30; plus homework and yoga classes during the week). But — after two weeks — she can assuredly say that it is more than kind-of awesome. It is really awesome. Wonderful, even. Totally worth it. Even though she wants to bore you with all  the details here, she won’t. (But, if you happen to be interested in this journey, you can hear all about at @yoga4everything.)

Suffice to say, Ms. S&C has some added obligations these days. And time constraints. While she’ll still be tweeting it up at @shoescocktails, she can’t promise that the blog will get a lot of attention during the next few months. But S&C isn’t dead! Savasana, or Corpse pose, is about conscious relaxation to invigorate and refresh the body and mind. It is an induced calmness so you can be reborn with full potential. We’ll be back rejuvenated and full of life!

Even though Ms. S&C is trying to use this teacher training session to instill discipline in her life (bye, bye animal protein), there are some attachments that are hard to let go. She is totally digging Athleta’s yoga clothing (recent purchases below). And her TOMS are showing some wear and tear, which is why the “exclusively ours” collection at Neiman Marcus is quite tempting.

We’ll be back wiggling our fingers and toes before long. Until then, Namaste.

posted by Ms. S&C

At a loss for shoes

Ms. S&C is at a loss. She bought this super awesome lace dress from Banana Republic for a special occasion next month, but has no idea what shoes to wear with it. Black? Dark brown? Chunky heel? Sleek pump? Given the 1920′s-inspired style, maybe something vintage-y? T-strap? (The shoes on the model are not an option, by the way.)

Advice, please!

posted by Ms. S&C