Monthly Archives: September 2008

S&C diversion–cartoons

There’s no shortage of cartoons about shoes over in the New Yorker magazine’s Cartoon Bank. I would love to have a framed print for my office (hint, hint MGC). Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. I know how expensive women’s shoes are, but take the goddam jewelry!
  2. Jimmy Choo, Mahnolo Blahnik—honestly can’t taste the difference.”
  3. I can’t walk in these shoes, which is a problem, because I can’t sit down in this skirt.
  4. I couldn’t resist—the second pair was free.
  5. Remember back when the worst thing you could catch around here was athlete’s foot? (When this cartoon appeared in the magazine, I actually entered the New Yorker caption contest with a similar concept. Caption was, “There goes the neighborhood.”)

Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: Which is your favorite? Because of strict copyrights, I can’t post the cartoons, so take a look and make a comment below. And trust me, you’ll know if one ends up in my office.

Roaring cocktails

Ms. S&C was thrilled to accept an invitation from a friend to try out a new speakeasy-style cocktail establishment in DC. Ala PX in Old Town, this classy lounge also serves up extraordinary cocktails using the finest ingredients and super-innovative techniques (Jim Beam infused with curry, or flambéed egg whites, anyone?).

They are pretty serious about keeping the place hush-hush, so I won’t mention the name here (I want to be welcomed back). You can only get in if you have a reservation (thanks again Ana!), the location is rumored to change, and the place is only open two nights a week. The atmosphere is a throwback to the 1920s-prohibition era, with bartenders is vests and a black and white movie playing (Wife vs. Secretary last night). And, the drinks. Oh, the drinks!

The drink menu has three categories: Original, Borrowed, and Classics. Between the two of us, we made sure to try all of the originals, which included their own version of a Pimms Cup (Pimms 1.5), and a strangely smoky concoction using Del Maguey Minero mezcal (Los Rudos). Other originals included shout-outs to nearby cities – Baltimore Bengali and Philly Sling.

Another highlight was the bartender/mixologist Justin. He was a real cool guy with no pretension and eager to talk (and explain) each cocktail, which are quite labor intensive. Naturally, we became increasingly chatty after each cocktail, so we asked him how he would react if someone came and asked for a vodka tonic? His answer, “I don’t think we have any vodka here.” But, they do make their own tonic.

So, friends – no pictures of the bar, no pictures of the drinks – in hopes to preserve the mystique for awhile longer (and not get thrown out of the place). I leave you with this parting shot – our shoes! Taken at a pizza joint up the street, where we split a slice after indulging in some of the best cocktails in DC.

S&C advice–what to wear with my new shoes?

Dear Ms. Shoes and Cocktails,
Here’s a picture of my new shoes. I need to build an outfit around them, and a signature drink. I heart them.

Sincerely,
Ms. Z

——————————-

Dear Ms. Z,
These shoes are très chic! I love the unique “cognac” color. In fact, the shoes themselves are quite unusual, especially the over-sized button detail. You know the thing I love about unusual shoes? They can turn a very usual outfit into something special. For the work day, you can wear the same black shirt and plain, old cardigan. Add these shoes and an over-sized necklace (gold would be a lovely compliment to caramel color), and you’ve got a spectacular outfit. Plus, you’ll also be dressed and ready for that last minute happy hour.

When I’m having drinks after work, I’m usually in the Penn Quarter. One place in the neighborhood, that has delicious cocktails bold enough to compliment these pumps, is Oyamel. I need to meet the mixologist over there because the specialty drinks rotate. I had a mango cocktail with a jalapeno infusion awhile back. Spicy goodness. It is no longer there, but the same, fine ingredients such as agave nectar and tropical fruit juices are.

Finally, I’m still one for heels on the weekend. Pair these darlings with dark denim, and you’ll be ready for dinner and a movie or a Sunday afternoon brunch.

Thanks for sharing!
Ms. S&C

In need of Shoes & Cocktail advice? Send Ms. S&C a note at: shoesandcocktails(at)yahoo(dot)com.

L’affaire femme

The Diane Von Furstenberg challenge on Project Runway was an opportunity of a lifetime for the designers. Design a look inspired by DVF’s fall “A Foreign Affair” collection, use her fabrics, and – if you win – your design will be produced and sold to Amex cardholders. No surprise, the ladies have it in the bag, again.

Kenley’s less-is-more strategy paid off. Rather than making several pieces, she vorociously defended her beautiful, Asian-inspired sillouitte. DVF liked the dress and her fiery attitude. I love the contrast of the black lace trim with the funky, floral print. For shoes, I would go with a more refined design like these from Prada, rather than the chunky floral ones shown in the PR gallery photo. Plus, I think the ruffle detail keeps with the Asian design.

Leanimal won with her gorgeous, 1940s-inspired gown. I love the color, I love the drapping. I think she gets better every week. I’m not crazy about the cropped trenchcoat (with this dress), which is likely why it isn’t for sale over at the DVF site. So, get rid of the coat, and pair it with these Le Silla heels. I think the silver color and lovely side bow complete the très glamorous look. C’est fabuleux, no?

S&C diversion–shoe circus

Last night, while watching the first NFL game of the season with my husband, I got super excited when I saw Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates in a shoe store together! But, this commercial isn’t about shoes at all – it’s about telling the story of Microsoft.

Techcrunch.com published an article about the ad which included a copy of the memo sent to Microsoft employees from SVP, Bill Veghte.

“…Today, we are kicking off a highly visible advertising campaign. The first phase of this campaign is designed to engage consumers and spark a new conversation about Windows – a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity. The first in this series of television ads airs initially in the U.S., and it aims to re-ignite consumer excitement about the broader value of Windows. …

Think of these ads as an icebreaker to reintroduce Microsoft to viewers in a consumer context. Later this month, as the campaign moves into its next phase, we’ll go much deeper in telling the Windows story and celebrating what it can do for consumers at work, at play and on-the-go. At that time, I’ll be back to share more information about our plans to further strengthen the bond between consumers and Windows – one of the most amazing products, businesses and brands of all time, and, with the right tenacity, passion and agility from all of us, a story that has many great chapters to come.”

The first thing I said after seeing it was, “I think it could have been a lot funnier.” I didn’t really get it. But, I guess things don’t have to be good anymore, they just have to create buzz?

S&C alerts–good, clean, fair

These are the tenets of Slow Food, and the theme for this edition of shoes and cocktails news.

Cocktails – Jason Wilson, in his Spirits column in the Washington Post, recaps the “slow cocktails” found at the Slow Food Nation conference in San Francisco. Slow cocktails, like slow food, are prepared in a thoughtful way. Basically, you think about where your ingredients come from and how they are prepared. Slow cocktails are craft-oriented, made from artisan producers, and free of artificial ingredients. The spirits used in slow cocktails are not always organic, (because there currently isn’t enough organic grain to make mass quantities), but distilleries should be sustainable. An article from thekitchn.com highlights Slow Food USA’s chairman, Allen Katz’s slow spirit picks and one of his recipes.

Slow Spirits:

  • Square One Cucumber Vodka (organic)
  • 4Copas Reposado Tequilla (organic)
  • Plymouth Sloe Gin (not organic, but made from berries using an old-fashioned process)
  • Maker’s Mark Bourbon (not organic, but sustainably produced)

Slow Cocktail: Long Island Margarita
for one cocktail

6 blackberries
10 fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 ounces 4Copas Reposado Tequilla
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce Long Island lavender syrup (Heat 6 ounces simple syrup in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add 2 tbs dried lavender. Allow to cool. Strain and refrigerate until ready to use.)

Muddle blackberries in a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients and shake over ice. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with two additional blackberries.

Shoes – Awhile back we highlighted Natalie Portman’s vegan footwear, Té Casan. Some less expensive options, to go with your slow cocktails, can be found over in Zappos eco-friendly section and at Planet Shoes, the place where you can find these adorable pumps from Poetic Licence.

Looking ahead

I’m so not ready to let go of summer (I still have a Delaware beach trip to look forward to at the end of the month). But, I’m being lured to cooler weather by the delightful coffee mugs over at Anthropologie. I’m imagining a time when I’m no longer drinking ice coffee. A time when an after dinner café includes grand marnier, bailey’s irish cream, or kahlua. Mmmmm. I can’t wait for these vessels to improve my overall experience of drinking warm beverages.

 

Cleaning out my closet

I spent part of the Labor Day weekend attempting to bring order to my under-sized closet. For awhile now, my shoe storage has consisted of me lining them up in rows in front of my dresser, thus causing me to (a) trip over them when trying to access the dresser, (b) inadvertently push them underneath the dresser, (c) wipe off a layer of dog hair before wearing. And on more than one occasion, I’ve found a few of the dog’s tennis balls lying in my wedges.

After measuring my closet, I settled on this 12-pair shelving organizer from The Container Store. I would have loved the stackable cedar shoe racks, but alas, not enough room. I think I’ve somehow ended up with the smallest closet in America. Though slightly disappointed with the quality (particleboard after all), and realizing that I don’t have much room to grow, I’m pretty happy with the finished product. The good news is I do have one other closet in my bedroom. The bad news — what happens when my husband can no longer store his stuff in the guest bedroom closet?

Full speed ahead

The Saturn-sponsored episode of Project Runway challenged the designers to be innovative with eco-friendly automotive materials. And the ladies ran away with it. You heard it here – S&C thinks all three of the finalists will be women. They are So. Much. Better. This episode sent the poor troubled Keith into meltdown territory, and prompted Michael Kors to deliver the line of the night when he cautioned Keith to not make excuses like, “The model and the critic ruined my garment.” Oh, snap.

Korto made a beautiful basket-weave swing coat of seatbelts. The pale pink color and shine is gorgeous. I would love to own this coat and go ultra preppy, pairing it with this delicate, feminine bow from Dior. Positively coquettish.

Leanne won with her high-fashion, only-a-model-could-wear outfit. The seatbelt fringe at the bust was brilliant, and the shape so interesting. While I’m not a huge fan of the shoe booties, I’m happy to stick with Dior on this pairing.

All in all, the PR gallery did a good job with the shoe pairings, but it’s always nice to have alternatives.