Monthly Archives: September 2008

In sync or out of tune

Ms. S&C is back from her vacay. Sigh. While we re-adjust to the rhythm of the daily grind, we’re gonna start back short and sweet with the PR recap.


The last Project Runway episode challenged the designers to design for a music genre, and design an outfit for one of the other remaining contestants. This episode was all Korto – and – all Kenley. Korto was the one in key. She came through with a win, she had fun with her country look, and – the best part – she totally busted on Kenley for interrupting her and Leanne’s pow-wow. This was just the beginning of everyone bustin’ on Kenley. Even Tim Gunn had a few things to say about Miss K’s attitude. Which stinks, frankly. And her hip-hop outfit — way off-note.

So, there was plenty of drama and a few theatrics (Leanimal’s rap–no, no, no.). But, let’s be honest – as fun as the idea was, the designs were all a bit costumey.

Starting with the pop tart — we think these studded purple pumps are a better match for Jerell’s outfit. They tie in with the tiny vest and that sparkly bra thing. And LL, they would show you a lot of leg, since more skin is what you were looking for.


Hard core. The least costumey of them all, Korto did an awesome job with this look, especially the jeans. But, when we think punk rock — combat boots. Period.

In case you missed it

Ms. S&C will be taking a few days off. We’re headed to Rehoboth Beach, DE, for a short vacay and a much needed reprieve. We’ve already researched some great places for cocktails, including Dogfish Head Brewery. And since it will likely be raining while we are there, a shopping trip to the outlets may be on the agenda. Nevertheless, expect a full report when we get back.

In the meantime, here are a few of our favorite and/or our most popular posts during our first three months — in case you missed them.

  • Project Runway shoe pairings — You can read recaps of this season’s PR episodes, and check out the shoes we’ve paired with the winning designs. One of our favorite finds so far is this amazing pair from Guiseppe Zanotii, with a gorgeous, oversized crocodile rosette.
  • Want a comical distraction? Check out these funny New Yorker cartoons, and let us know which is your favorite.
  • Drink up! Pimms cup, the Sangrias, and our cocktail adventures in DC have attracted a lot of attention. We’re kinda partial to the tomato cocktails.
  • Advice column — Need drink ideas for a cocktail party or your next cooking club? Want advice on your next shoe purchase? Email us at: shoesandcocktails(at)yahoo(dot)com. We’d love to hear from you!

Talk to you to next week. À bientôt!

Conquering with style

I finally got around to watching the Coco Chanel movie that premiered on Lifetime recently. Yes, I said Lifetime (the soon to be channel of Project Runway). Yes, it did star Shirley MacLaine. And yes, I thought the movie was quite good.

The life of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel was a rags-to-riches story. From an orphan to a dressmaker’s assistant, to a hat maker to an entrepreneur, to a legendary fashion icon. And throughout it all, she was always a rebel. She was quoted as saying, “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” In the early 20th century, she was not afraid to dress women, including herself, in trousers and comfortable fashions, using simple textiles such as jersey. And, no one could make black and white look so good. Her designs have tremendous staying power. They are classic, timeless – they are Chanel.

When the Chanel Two-Tone Shoe celebrated its 50th Anniversary, issued a special report on the shoe with an incredible photo gallery. The Chanel label is full of iconic emblems, and the ballet flat is yet another reminder from Ms. Chanel that chic and comfortable are an option.

Autumnal equinox

In honor of summer’s end and autumn’s arrival, we toasted the changing of the seasons with a large pitcher of sangria over the weekend. Many thanks to friends James and Nicole for the lovely fiesta.

This recipe is a modified version of ones adapted from The Recipe Girl and Cook’s Illustrated. Cook’s says you don’t need to go with the expensive stuff when making sangria. I trust them on that, so I picked up Tres Ojos Old Vine Garnacha from Whole Foods for $7 a bottle.

The Ingredients/Recipe:
(Recipe is for two bottles of wine)

  • Prepare at least 3 hours in advance (can be up to 24 hours in advance)
  • Slice 1 lemon, 1 lime, and 2 oranges in whole slices, then quarter
  • Place all citrus in a pitcher, add 2 bottles of red wine (preferrably Spanish)
  • Add 5-6 shots of orange liqueur
  • Refrigerate for several hours, to allow time for the fruit flavors to blend with wine
  • Pour and top, generously, with seltzer water (note: it can be very tricky to pour and get an adequate mixture of fruit in each glass; recommend that you pour the wine first, spoon in fruit mixture, then top with seltzer)

S&C’s also has a recipe for white wine sangria, if you’re interested.

All grown up

Last week’s Project Runway episode challenged the designers to help makeover recent college graduates and get them ready for the working world. Jerell strung together another win, making it two in a row, Suede lives for another week, and Kenley is going to need some larger hair pieces because her head gets bigger every week. Meow.

Let’s get right down to business. Our choice for the shoe pairing is J.Crew. It feels collegiate, and the fall collection is fabulous.

Jerell is meddling with our hope for an all female finale, but we like his geek-to-chic transformation. The high-waisted pencil skirt, satin top, and long cardigan are a great look. To break up the solid prints, let’s pair it with a glossy animal print. And, I’ll take the whole outfit for my own fall wardrobe, thank you.

Kenley initially dissed Tim’s suggestion that she remove some of the excess tulle at the bottom of her mini-me look. Recognizing that you do not diss Tim Gunn, she went ahead and changed it. It may be a little matchy-matchy, but we’re going with these modernized Mary Jane heels, to compliment the pale pink belt.

Korto – we love Korto. She minds her own business, and cranks out good designs every week. This outfit is not our favorite of hers, but we’ve paired it with one of our favorite pumps. We love the contrast of the wood heel with the shiny patent leather, and think it pairs nicely with the natural-looking fabric of the blazer. And, check out all the fun colors!

We have high hopes for the next episode where LL Cool J is a guest judge — woo hoo!

Magnum opus

Since checking out DC’s new speakeasy-style cocktail establishment, and meeting one of the masterminds behind the place, I rounded up some friends for cocktails at Central. Justin Guthrie, mixologist at the super-secret-speakeasy, is also bar manager at Central.

Here are the cocktails we tried:

  • Blackberry Bourbon Cobbler – made with Old Weller Antique Bourbon, blackberries, lemon juice, powdered sugar. S&C’s take: we were overpowered by the bourbon at first, but the flavors came together after a few sips. Love the presentation and fresh blackberries.
  • Black Pepper Gin Rickey – made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, house-made black pepper and lime soda. S&C’s take: our fave, no question.
  • Ginger Daiquiri made with Neisson Rhum Agricole, Crème de Gingembre, ginger syrup, fresh lime juice. S&C take: This was our second favorite. It reminds me of the ginger limeade I have at Teaism all the time. Ginger+lime = you can’t go wrong.
  • La Fee Verte – made with Kubler Absinthe, water, sugar. S&C take: Ms. S&C is trying to train her palate to like the taste of fennel. She will try to do the same with strong star anise flavor in absinthe.

The overwhelming favorite was the Black Pepper Gin Rickey. No surprise since it recently won the “Best Rickey category” at the first annual D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild competition. The Gin Rickey cocktail is a DC native, named after Col. Joe Rickey, an influential lobbyist in the late 19th century who squeezed lime and soda water into his morning bourbon.

Black pepper and lime soda may seem like a strange combination, but trust me it is very, very good. Served over ice, it has some “heat” from the pepper but it is also refreshing. The Washington Post already covered the D.C. Craft Bartenders contest, so we can bring you the complete recipe.

Black Pepper Gin Rickey
Note: You’ll need a soda siphon or ISI charger to make this cocktail. Makes 1 serving.

For the black pepper-lime soda
• 8 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
• 8 ounces black pepper syrup (see below)
• 4 ounces water
For the drink
• Ice
• 1 3/4 ounces gin, preferably Bombay Sapphire
• 4 1/2 ounces black pepper-lime soda (see above)
• 3 thinly sliced lime wheels, for garnish

For the black pepper-lime soda: Combine the lime juice, black pepper syrup and water in a soda siphon or ISI charger. Shake and charge with CO2.

For the drink: Fill a Collins glass with ice. Add the gin and the black pepper-lime soda. Garnish with the lime wheels by placing them around the inside of the glass.

For the black pepper syrup: Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup whole black peppercorns and 2 pinches of crushed red pepper flakes; toast for 30 seconds, shaking often to prevent burning. Carefully add 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar, stirring to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature, then strain the syrup, discarding the solids. (This makes more syrup than is called for in this recipe; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.)

Recipe Source: Justin Guthrie, bar manager at Central in Washington, DC.

S&C alerts–celeb spirits and shoes

Here’s our celebrity edition of shoes and cocktails news.

Spirits & Cocktails – I’ve got a bone to pick with Jason Wilson, Spirits columnist over at the Washington Post. When given the opportunity to reference “Gin & Juice,” Danny Devito drunk on limoncello, a teetotaling Donald Trump, and a drink called “Crunk Juice,” have some fun with it for crying out loud.

Yes, I agree that celebrities can endorse, design, and inspire some ridiculous sh#@. And, there is probably no chance in hell I’ll try Donald Trump’s vodka, or Snoop’s cognac (I just don’t like cognac all that much). But, I would consider Sammy Hagar’s tequila and Marilyn Manson’s absinthe. And, I won’t apologize for thinking those “Sex and the City” cocktails would actually taste good. Except maybe “The Charlotte” (who coincidentally is my least favorite SATC character). I’ve made similar variations of these drinks, and Campari and pomegranate juice is good.

Anyway Jason, don’t be such a buzz kill. And, when you’ve mastered your “palatable, sophisticated version of Crunk Juice,” let us know. In the meantime, friends, you can try out this version, courtesy of

Crunk Juice

8 oz can Red Bull energy drink
1 1/2 oz Hennessy cognac

Pour both ingredients into a cup or glass, stir slightly, and serve.

Shoes – It will come as no surprise that celebrities are shoe designers too. Kayne West revealed to Women’s Wear Daily in July that he plans to work with Louis Vuitton on a line of men’s shoes. They probably would have gone well with Cristal, until the company decided it was too good for hip-hop’s business. In other shoes, Miss Jessica Simpson has gotten some respect from Footwear News, for her line of shoes. Though awfully, awfully trendy, there are a few good finds, like these polka dots pumps sold at Zappos.

Girl’s best friend

We know we’ve been heavy-handed on the shoes lately. We promise there are cocktail posts in the near future. But, the last two days in the DC area have given us the first taste of fall weather, and we just can’t resist. Much like the Anthroplogie catalog that arrived yesterday. The first eight pages feature shoes, bags, and dogs. I think I nearly toppled over. Such a hip, artistic collection of accessories. We, of course, want them all–including the jewelry, and super-cool knit tights.

Because we are all about riding boots these season, here are a few of our faves: ripe-red, steely-grey, and subtle-brown. Perfection.







And, because woman cannot live on shoes alone, here are her bags: more fiery-red, minty-green, and cloudy-grey. Très unique.







Only problem is the price tag. And finding the right drink for the hipster/biker/equestrian, and of course, dog lover.

Dry the rain

I am so coveting Tory Burch’s Winnie rain boot. Her whole fall collection is great (an interesting combo of bohemian chic and European riding wear). Made of rubber, with the brand signature in bright yellow at top — these sleek and stylish boots would sure brighten my rainy days, especially those that have me sloshing to and from the metro.

A bad sign

Uh oh. On Project Runway, eliminated designers came back to help with the avant-garde astrological challenge. We knew this was going to get prickly, but I didn’t expect it to be disappointing. I’m talking disappointing on the design-side, not the catty-complaining-back talking-drama-side.

Double uh oh. Terri and Keith are partners? We all sensed this trouble from the beginning. While I think Terri’s talented and would have liked to see her collection at Bryant Park, her attitude is too much. They say, “Karma is a #&%(#.” Peace out, Terri.

We also knew Blaynelicious wasn’t long for the show. As soon as Michael Kors said his design looked like it was “pooping fabric,” I knew it was over. And, I can’t even get into the discussion of Kenley’s over-confident mediocrity. My steadfast assumption that it will be an all ladies final took a beating this week. It was the guys who came out on top.

When watching, I liked that Jerell was working the multi-texture angle again. But, I have to admit, after two days of reflection, and taking one look at the picture in the gallery photos, I can’t believe Jerell won with this design. The “schoolmarm” fabric for the skirt makes the model look large and frumpy. I can’t even pair shoes with this outfit. I just don’t like it.

The big surprise was Joe. After last week, I would have put a bounty on his head. But he came through with this layered ruffled look. And, I positively adore these shoes from Guiseppe Zanotii. That brown crocodile rosette is amazingly gorgeous. Gorgeous. Amazing. Gorgeous. Amazing. (I meant to be repetitive.)

The design and shoe pairing I’ll leave you with is the winner of last year’s avant-garde challenge. Christian Siriano and Chris March’s design was magnificent. These Fendi platforms are too.