Author Archives: msshoescocktails

Favorite things 2011

It’s that time of year again. It’s that time when Ms. S&C and her splendid group of girlfriends compile ten of their favorite things, meet for dinner, draw names, and exchange baskets of goodies.

At this year’s basket exchange party, Ms. S&C scored a jar of pickled asparagus (perfect garnish for bloody mary’s), delicious wasabi-flavored almonds, and a slew of beauty-related items: night cream, Olivella soap, and hair removing cream (bathing suit season is right around the corner, you know).

Here’s what Ms. S&C put in her (mostly) health-and-wellness themed basket:

  1. GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha — Yes, the documented health benefits are a bit conflicting, but Ms. S&C is convinced that this fermented tea beverage — which she drinks three times a week — is great for her digestive health and her skin. (And now she wants to make her own.)
  2. Incense — Until about six months ago, Ms. S&C probably hadn’t purchased incense since college. But — as part of a new age-y streak — she is at yoga four times a week, at the acupuncturist once a month, taking daily Chinese herbs, drinking crazy fermented beverages, and lighting Champaka.
  3. Dried apricots — A perfect snack, with a handful of cashews or a spoonful of almond butter. This treat is also great when served with pork or duck (try cooking with carmelized onions). Salty+Sweet=Yummy.
  4. Cloth napkins — Ms. S&C likes to use cloth napkins for everyday use (and bright colors means that stains don’t show as much).
  5. Nude-colored lip gloss — Ms. S&C loves the dark-smokey-eyes and nude-colored nail polish and shiny nude lips look. She also likes the “Perfectly Nude” brand from Sephora.
  6. Yoga — It is hard to put yoga in a basket. So, Ms. S&C’s love of yoga came in the form of a strap this year.
  7. Dark chocolate — This is Ms. S&C’s indulgence item. She has a fondness for fancy dark chocolate, and Mast Brother’s has a special place in her heart. (So does Vosges for that matter.)
  8. Misha’s coffee — Hooray for local artisanal coffee! (And kudos to Whole Foods for carrying it.)
  9. Running/workout playlist — Ms. S&C loves making playlists (it’s a recurring item in her basket), and this year she adapted a running mix she shared awhile back.
  10. Recipes — Thomas Keller’s roast chicken and crispy kale and are (excuse my language) fucking phenomenal.

And while there wasn’t anything cocktail or shoe-related in her basket, Ms S&C’s friends definitely came through, as gin, vodka, and sparkling rose all made an appearance.

Now, of course, Ms. S&C wants to know: What favorite things would you put in your basket? Share in the comments below!

PS) You can check out Ms. S&C’s favorite things from 2009 and 2010.

posted by Ms. S&C

Americans in London

Did you think S&C would totally ignore the upcoming nuptials of Wills and Kate? No way! Especially when Ms. S&C has two great friends living in London and so close to the action! Especially when we’re talking about a real prince and princess. Especially when the soon-to-be-princess wears such magnificent hats! Especially when we can find an excuse to use the phrase tea and crumpets. And cheerio.

Friends of S&C who live in London discuss the upcoming Royal Wedding

When Ms. S&C reached out to Mere, an American living in London for three years now, she seemed a little more excited that the sun had been shining for a few days straight — and that she has Friday off work — than the actual wedding. Here’s what else she had to say:

What will you and most British people be doing the day of the Royal Wedding?

Either watching it on TV at home or in a pub. I haven’t decided what to do yet, I have a feeling I might try to ride my bike down to the park by the palace. Other things that most neighborhoods are having block parties so that should be fun. I think there is one in my square. Also: lots and lots of UK flags are everywhere. It is like the World Cup all over again.

What will you be drinking to celebrate the occasion? What will most Englishmen be drinking?

Pimms! of course. Also the standard of beer. But I think it will be more Pimms and Champagne.

Tell us something about the Royal Wedding — and the festivities — that we don’t know.

I think the U.S. news has covered everything. I think most Londoners are going to bunker down and go to their local pub or friend’s place and the people downtown will be tourists. There are a crapload of random things you can buy like mugs, magnets, ash trays, bells, etc.

Tell us why we should care about the Royal Wedding?

I have no idea why anyone should really care about the Royal Wedding. But it is a day off here so I am glad it is happening.

————————————————-

S&C friend, Sesolf, an American living in London for less than three months, is a bit more like us: a little more caught up in the fairy tale and extravaganza. Here’s what she has to say about the wedding day:

What will you and most British people be doing the day of the Royal Wedding?

I am desperately looking for the best pub / bbq / party to go and watch the whole affair whilst drinking heavily. I think I’ve finally been pointed in the direction of a pub in Spitalfields where the owner is a crazy character of a woman who is already a major royalist and I’m told should be putting on a great party for it. But, every Brit that I have talked to says they have no interest in watching and will be going to bbqs b/c it is a free day off of work, so they will be getting completely wasted, but just not at all caring to watch the wedding itself. I, however, will find a way. At the very least, there is a pub down the street that is throwing a proper drinking and viewing party, so I will go there alone if need be…

What will you be drinking to celebrate the occasion? What will most Englishmen be drinking?

I think most will be drinking beer and cider at bbqs, as mentioned above. I’ll drink cider in a pub, since I’m not a big beer drinker and don’t trust wine in pubs – and don’t want to drink wine at 11 AM. That said, if the pub has a sparkling, preferably prosecco, I will load up on that to celebrate the nuptials.

Tell us something about the Royal Wedding — and the festivities — that we don’t know.

I had a great fun conversation this weekend with someone from The Sunday Times who insists that this whole wedding and “love story” was a complete coup planned by the Middleton family from the moment Wills decided to go to St. Andrews. Apparently Kate was going to university somewhere else, and then changed all her plans to go to St. Andrews, all with the intention of finding Wills and marrying him. It was absolutely hysterical, b/c he was adamant that she is a little hussy doing whatever her parents make her do to get into the royal family and Wills is such a dumb dolt that he’d have no idea and just fall for it… I enjoyed the conversation, but am still sticking to the fairy tale story and happy to like Kate… for now. (Also, side note, most interesting to me is that EVERY Brit apparently knows that Harry’s dad was the bodyguard that Diana had an affair with – spitting image of him, it’s not even a question – but I’d never heard that in the U.S. I mean, obviously we can see that they very likely have different fathers, but still, I had know idea it was just absolutely known and accepted here. Also, Diana was sleeping around with loads of footballers etc., while Charles and Camilla were 100% together from pre-marriage and on… this came up in the statement that Kate will be just like Diana and sleep around within a year.

Tell us why we should care about the Royal Wedding?

Because it is even more awesome when in the context of all the royal scandal as discussed above. And it is real. I mean, he really is a prince. And she really is a commoner who is going to become a princess. I love it!

Has Ms. S&C mentioned that she has awesome friends? She has awesome friends.

posted by Ms. S&C

Bourbon and blackberries

“Does the ‘perfect’ bourbon exist?” That’s a question Washington Post spirits columnist, Jason Wilson, asked in a recent article.

It doesn’t really matter if a perfect bourbon exists. One reason: we probably couldn’t afford it. Another reason: Ms. S&C (and Wilson) agree that Buffalo Trace — who is said to be making the so-called ‘perfect’ bourbon — is an excellent bourbon just as is. (Wilson even goes so far to call it his “desert-island bourbon.”)

Buffalo Trace doesn’t have to be the ‘perfect’ bourbon. It goes perfectly
well as is with blackberries.

Ms. S&C is sure she’s had — and written about — bourbon mixed with berries before. The inspiration comes from somewhere (aside from there being a lot of bourbon in the house). Anyway, this drink came together recently (but not so recently that Ms. S&C hasn’t had time to try it a second time). We give you a bourbon and blackberries cocktail that’s quite good.

Ingredients:

  • Blackberries (three to five per drink)
  • Lime (one per drink)
  • Agave Nectar
  • Bourbon (Ms. S&C likes Buffalo Trace and Maker’s Mark)
  • Ice
  • Seltzer
  • Lime peel (for garnish)

Directions:
(for one cocktail)

Muddle 3-5 blackberries with juice of one lime and a spoonful of agave nectar. Add ice (enough to fill a glass) and 1.5 to 2 ounces of bourbon. Shake well. Pour and top with seltzer. Garnish with lime peel.

posted by Ms. S&C

Peace of mind

As some of you may already know by now, Ms. S&C is a little crazy about yoga. She’s crazy about hot yoga. She’s crazy about flow. She’s crazy about warriors. She’s crazy about side planks and triangles. And half moons and lizards.

She’s found that when life starts to get a little crazy — when she starts to feel a little overwhelmed — yes, a stiff drink can help. But, there’s comfort to be found on the mat. And maybe with a new pair of shoes. And lululemon’s Astro Pants. (The phrase retail therapy was coined for a reason, right?)

Ms. S&C found a good deal over at DailyCandy’s Swirl that brought her a new Dream Yoga mat for half the price. (She bought the one in slate blue with an embroidered peace sign.)

Looking for some extra peace of mind, Ms. S&C picked up a new yoga mat
(and new yoga pants and new shoes)

Ms. S&C is pretty much convinced that there are no better shoes to wear to and fro yoga class than a pair of TOMS. She picked up these iconic classics a few weeks ago, and there are plenty of reasons to feel good about buying them. They are spectacularly comfortable. And they are for a good cause.

Now, shall we all meet in downward-facing dog?

posted by Ms. S&C

The Red Rainboot

so much depends
upon

a red rain
boot

glazed with rain
water

worn with a striped
shirt

of the same color

let’s say hello to
Spring

Giving credit where credit is due: inspiration for this post came from the William Carlos Williams’s poem “The Red Wheelbarrow,” and the deep red rain boots Ms. S&C found at Banana Republic for $29.99.

posted by Ms. S&C

Academy Awards Fashion and More

For the third year in a row, Ms. S&C is live blogging the Academy Awards. Yes, e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e else is doing it too. (Twitter has been abuzz with the latest updates for days now.) And no, she doesn’t have any special insider information. She is just like you. She is sitting on her couch, in ripped jeans and a tank top, drinking red wine from a box. And she can’t wait for James Franco.

Ms. S&C is live blogging the Oscars, along with everyone else.

Here we go:

Love that Kelly Osbourne just called Helen Mirren’s body “bangin.”

I think I like Scarlett Johansson’s dress. The color and the lace overlay and the messy hair are a little unexpected.

The best decision Gwyneth Paltrow could have made (at this stage of her career) was appearing on Glee (plus, she looks great tonight in that slim silvery number).

Cate Blanchett is in an unusual lavender dress. She was described by someone as a “work of art.” And I couldn’t agree more. She is absolutely gorgeous (I love the short hair) and like a breath of fresh air.

Wow, a lot of red: Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Lawrence, Penelope Cruz, Anne Hathaway. I wish I liked red more.

That ABC backstage interview with James Franco could have gone better, right?

Commercial break: Ms. S&C saw eight of the ten movies nominated for Best Picture, and she wants “The King’s Speech” to win (again, along with everyone else on the planet who has seen it).

Correction: Jennifer Hudson’s dress is apparently “tangerine,” not red. Thank you, Tim Gunn.

Loved the question by Robin Roberts, of GMA, to Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban about what music they listened to on the way over. Unfortunately, the only answer we got was “mellow.”

Did you know that Melissa Leo from “The Fighter” is also John Goodman’s wife on “Treme”? She looks so different. And by different, we mean better.

Commercial break: Check out the S&C Twitter page too because we are retweeting commentary that is much better than ours. #humbled

Yay! Love an Alec Baldwin cameo anytime, anywhere.

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Three quick things: how to be cool

Let’s use these quick things as a lesson on how to be cool.

(1) Garance Doré’s Blog

What does the picture on the left tell us about how to be cool?

  • Learn to wink
  • Start smoking (or maybe just start carrying around a long, skinny cigarette?)
  • Wear a trench over the shoulders
  • Read more of Garance’s blog

(2) Anthropologie Dresses

Polka dots are always cool, right? We think so — especially when in flowy maxi dress form. (And speaking of fabulous Spring dresses, how does one choose between the twisted stripe dress, the pom flower shift, and the imprint fossil maxi skirt?)

(3) Beer Floats

Ms. S&C has determined that using beer in a non-traditional manner — say in cocktails and desserts — is now a very cool thing to do. (PS: Brasserie Beck’s beer float — a Kasteel Rouge, with hints of cherry, topped with honey cinnamon ice cream — is t-a-s-t-y. PPS: She also thought beer floats were cool last year when she made one herself.)

Because we all want to be cool.

posted by Ms. S&C

Heartstrings

The OED Word of the Day — on the day before Valentine’s Day — was “heart-strings.” If heartstrings are meant to be pulled, here are a few things tugging at Ms. S&C’s.

Ms. S&C’s heart is aflutter over this adorable kissing birds ring from Juicy Couture. Apparently she has a thing for wearing small whimsical birds on her fingers, because she picked up a super cute owl ring before the Christmas holiday, and now wants this as part of her collection.

Ms. S&C is also coveting this lace print shirt from Sundance, which has a kind-of bohemian elegance. There are actually quite a few lovely, silk printed blouses over there, but this one is particularly très romantique and fitting for February 14th, don’t you think?

And it wouldn’t be a wish list — and it would be a Valentine’s Day wish list (those red soles!) — without a pair of Louboutin’s. Ms. S&C has already declared her recent affections for neutrals, and she would like to add this nude patent pump to the mix, pretty please.

Wherever your deepest affections lay on this day of love, we wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day.

posted by Ms. S&C

For the love of neutrals

The Spring Wish List has begun. And you can save the color for the tulips. A fantastic tote in taupe, an asymmetrical camo clutch.  (How about these swooping asymmetry wedges from Anthropologie to go with that clutch, eh?) How awesome  are the cutout wedges in spiced olive? (We’ll never get tired of wedges over here at S&C.) And for the dressier gal, Talbots (yes, Talbots) has bow platforms in dark sweet almond and criss-cross peep-toes in dark lugguge. There’s something about calm, peaceful, restful colors that sounds about right.

For the love of neutrals

Kooba Sophie Tote

$295 – piperlime.gap.com


Michael Stars Asymetry Clutch

$80 – piperlime.gap.com


Avenelle cutout wedges – J.Crew

$198 – jcrew.com



posted by Ms. S&C

Three things: tall boots, beer cocktails, yoga

Here’s what’s on the mind of Ms. S&C at the moment.

(1) Tall Boots

Ms. S&C is in love with these Franco Sarto boots. The soft leather, the detail around the outer zipper, the buckles, the rubber outsole — and, they are comfortable! Tall boots are nothing new, but Ms. S&C happily spent the whole weekend wearing these shoes (and she would wear them again tomorrow if she could). PS: she bought the cuoio calf color (reminds her of caramel) and looks great with burnt orange tights, jeans and black leggings (yes, that was the weekend wardrobe).

(2) Beer Cocktails

Ms. S&C can’t stop thinking about the honey beer cocktail she had at JoeDoe’s in New York a few weeks ago. Made with Dale’s Pale Ale, gin, lemon juice and delicious, delicious salted honey that dribbled down the side of the glass. It was so tasty and so refreshing, she can’t wait to recreate this beer cocktail at home. Ms. S&C also loves the idea of beer cocktails so much that it will likely be the signature cocktail for her ninth annual (yes, ninth) Super Bowl party. (By the way, discovery of this cocktail came courtesy of Frank Bruni’s excellent Tipsy Diaries column in The New York  Times.)

(3) Yoga

Now, for the unrelated segment: Ms. S&C likes yoga. She likes it so much, she almost wants to rename the blog: Shoes, Cocktails and Yoga. (Not really, but it is important to her.) She doesn’t think of herself as a purist when it comes to her practice, but she respects tradition and history. She also appreciates that yoga has evolved, and that yoga *can* evolve. That’s why she doesn’t hate this Tara Stiles person. (I’ll admit: at first, I wanted to hate everything she stood for.) For more on Tara Stiles and yoga, this blog post by YogaDork is worth a read.

The three things blog posts give Ms. S&C an opportunity to share a combination of shoe and cocktail-related finds, along with something else. That something else usually includes music or yoga.

posted by Ms. S&C