Monthly Archives: April 2010

At the Storefront

I like going out to bars as much as the next girl. But when the bar comes to you? Perfection.

That’s exactly what you get when you stay at the Storefront, a tiny hotel in Staunton, Va. that’s “boutique” in every sense of the word. The two-story building houses a bedroom and small kitchen on the top floor and a private bar that faces the street on the first floor. Guests can partake of a well-stocked snack bar and complimentary mixers while whipping up batches of their favorite cocktails, all in the comfort of their own hotel! On a recent trip, we indulged in some Brown Derbies (bourbon, grapefruit & agave) before heading out on the town to the nearby Blackfriar’s Playhouse and Zynadoa restaurant.

I’ve lauded the virtues of Staunton as a weekend-vacay destination for shoe and cocktail lovers before. The Storefront provides an even better excuse to make the trip!

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Fashion vs.

We’ve all heard the whole fashion-as-a-work-of-art concept before. Is fashion more about something you want to look at, or something you want to wear? This season’s Project Runway finale was about fashion versus wearable clothing. Emilio and Mila created looks with commercial appeal (i.e. I could see them selling their designs at Macy’s). Yet, Seth Aaron designed a collection suited for the runway. And, in the end, it is fashion who wins.

Throughout the whole season Seth Aaron was consistent and created clothing that represented his design aesthetic. But, I never really loved his designs. Until the finale. Inspired by 1940s German Russian military, Seth Aaron’s collection had dresses! Belts! Printed tights! Textures! It was chic and polished, and like the judges’ said: grown-up.

Seth Aaron’s collection was all about fashion, but a lot of the items are wearable. I would *love* to wear any of his dresses. He found a way to mix his edginess with femininity, and I think it was a winning combination. For the shoe pairing, these yellow Louboutins complement his infusion of yellow plaid in the line — a great burst of color. And, I like these Kate Spade polka dot pumps, because they add to his theme of mixing prints. Way to go, Seth Aaron.

posted by Ms. S&C

Raindrops on roses

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…brown paper packages tied up with strings…

These are a few of my favorite things*:

  1. Damask reusable bag — this pretty decorative bag from Pier 1 makes it soooo easy to be a little more earth-friendly (ditch the plastic bags, people).
  2. Frontera salsa — my obsession started with the tomatillo salsa, which I use for my soon-to-be-famous heuvos rancheros. But, I love all the styles (and Rick Bayless).
  3. Dark Choco Dream — a Belgian dark spreadable chocolate found at Whole Foods. It is delicious with bananas, croissants, pancakes (or, licked off a spoon).
  4. Cinnamon — a few sprinkles go in my coffee every day, and I love the flavor in Mexican dishes, curries, and pancakes. Not too mention the numerous health benefits associated with the spice.
  5. Maker’s Mark Bourbon — bourbon, my friend, you helped get me through a long, cold, lonely winter. And, I’m planning to keep you around for the spring (so many ways to use it!).
  6. Wilco album — Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was my first album, so it will always have a special place in my heart. But, if I was stranded on a desert island, I’d probably take Kicking Television.
  7. New York Times — I’m one of the twelve people left who actually have a daily newspaper delivered. I’m loyal to the Washington Post, but I would trade just about any magazine subscription for the NYT weekender (Friday-Sunday). The Sunday edition alone gives you enough reading material for days. Fave sections include: Arts, Sunday Styles, NYT Magazine, and the Corner Office column.
  8. Cashews — rediscovered this yummy snack when looking to add more protein to my diet.
  9. The Unbearable Lightness of Being — I read this masterful novel by Czech author Milan Kundera upon my return from Prague (actually bought my copy there in a tiny bookstore).
  10. Yoga — in my opinion, there’s nothing like it when you want to take your mind to another place. I go to my local yoga studio, Mind the Mat, at least twice a week. And, I’ve recently downloaded the Pocket Yoga app for at home practice.

*Background on my favorite things: My lovely group of friends have started a tradition. Every Spring, with a budget of $50, we put 10 of our favorite things in a basket (or a decorative damask reusable bag). We meet for dinner, draw names, and exchange baskets. It is So.Much.Fun. It is fun to get a basket of goodies, fun to hear friends talk about why these items are their favorite, fun just to hang out.

I touched on this concept last year. And, I still consider every item on the 2009 list one of my faves (with the exception of the battery-powered toothbrush–I’ve gone back to a regular toothbrush).

Ms. S&C wants to know: what favorite things would you put in your basket?

posted by Ms. S&C

Project Run-off

Four designers and only three spots — who will get the Project Runway boot and who will move on to compete at New York Fashion Week?

There’s actually only two designers and one spot. Emilio and Seth Aaron are shoo-ins, so the competition is between Mod Mila and Jaunty Jay. But, before the run-off, Tim makes his pleasant-yet-awkward home visits. He visits Seth Aaron in Vancouver, Emilio in New York City, Mila in Los Angeles, and Jay in San Francisco. These visits are pleasant because it is Tim Gunn. Yet awkward because the contestants’ families are invited, and you get the feeling there’s bound to be some uncomfortable silences (and trampoline jumping according to Movie Line). Tim was pretty feisty during his travels and didn’t let any designer off the hook. He told Seth Aaron to re-conceptualize; he told Emilio that his clothes lacked sophistication and looked old; Mila’s collection looked conservative and matronly, and Jay’s was gimmicky student work. Ouch, ouch, ouch, and ouch.

I thought Mod Mila and Jaunty Jay pulled it together though. Mila was true to herself and designed a retro-inspired black and white collection. Jay created more interesting pieces, but his collection all together was less cohesive.

Highlights from Jay’s collection. The look on the right is my personal fave.
I love the red leggings, shin-guards, and fitted coat with the high collar.

Highlight’s from Mila’s collection. The designs themselves don’t stand out,
but her retro inspiration is enough to secure a spot in the finale.

For the shoe pairing, how about these wing tip oxfords from Steve Madden? The black and white menswear-inspired style works with all Mila’s designs (and likely everything in her own closet).  Btw, Piperlime has oodles and oodles of oxfords to choose from. I definitely want a pair. Not sure I’m mod enough to pull off the black and white wing tips, but I want to…

posted by Ms. S&C

Living the Low-Brow Style

Miss Mojito enjoys a swanky cocktail or a sophisticated shoe as much as the next gal. But every once in a while, a girl just needs something comfy, casual and fun. Miss Mojito’s social calendar recently allowed for such indulgences on both the shoe and cocktail front.

It started several weeks ago at a local Richmond bowling alley, when I found myself enjoying these sporty bowling shoes just a tad too much. They’re retro, they’re cute, they’re comfy – what’s not to like!?

The next stop on my low-brow shoes and cocktails tour took me to Dave & Buster’s, a relatively new addition to the Richmond entertainment scene that combines Chuck-E-Cheese attractions with adult beverages. I went with a group of work friends to celebrate a birthday, and amidst the Whack-a-Mole and Skee-Ball we took some time to peruse the most extensive menu of tropical drinks I have ever seen. I sipped on a tropical mojito (natch), a crazy concoction of rum, mojito mix, pineapple juice and muddled pineapple. My friend had the real stunner, though. The Copabanana Colada featured the usual pina colada suspects plus the addition of banana and – get this – a red sugared rim. Maybe not the most sophisticated drink choices, but they were certainly fun and tasty!

Sometimes, it’s fun to take a break from the champagne, cordials, stilettos and other “classy” faves and indulge in some good footwear and cocktails that value the fun factor over sophistication.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Circus act

Five designers remain on Project Runway, and last week’s episode was a bit of a circus. Circus, as in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, the greatest show on earth, circus. Ringmaster himself, Tim Gunn, tried to carefully point out that the challenge was about creating fashion inspired by the circus, not a circus costume. It seemed most of the designers, with the exception of the one who won, ignored that distinction.

I thought all the designs were a complete sideshow compared to Emilio‘s glamorous striped and polka dot gown. I love the mixture of prints, and it was perfectly tailored, totally flattering – a definite show stopper.

For the shoe pairing, I really like the studded t-straps Emilio paired with the dress. Sticking with the edgy chic look, how about these studded platform Louboutins? Love the hint of the red from the signature sole. Another option, slightly lesser priced, are these tiny-studded strappy sandals from Nordstrom.

posted by Ms. S&C

Bourbon drinking time

With the Kentucky Derby right around the corner, (read this great article from NPR about how to throw a Kentucky Derby party), it seems right now is prime-bourbon-drinking-time.

Around this time last year, Miss Mojito visited New Orleans and shared her Pat O’Brien’s mint julep experience. Inspired by this, and the pretty fantastic weather we’ve been having (which means planting and playing in the yard), I present, with unbridled enthusiasm, the Bourbon Mojito. I like to think of it as the mint julep’s less intoxicating sister. It has similar ingredients, but the tartness of the citrus and the bubbliness of the seltzer make this a great, early Spring, sit out on the patio, with maybe even some dirt left under your fingernails, drinking companion.

The mint julep’s less intoxicating sister, the bourbon mojito.

Bourbon Mojito

Ingredients (for one cocktail):

  • 1/2 lime, quartered (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 full sprig of mint
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • Soda water

Directions:

In a glass, muddle the lime, sugar, and mint until the sugar is dissolved. Add ice and bourbon. Stir well. Top with soda water. Garnish with lime.

Bonus Tip: Growing mint is perfect for a beginning gardener. It is hardy and fast-growing, and thrives in all kinds of conditions. But, it should be contained. Seriously, use a pot, because this lovely aromatic herb spreads quickly, and will take over your yard.

posted by Ms. S&C