Tag Archives: environmentally-friendly

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

Fashion for a good cause

Ms. S&C has a fondness for corporate do-gooders. She’s not so naive that she doesn’t realize that companies — who make social responsibility part of their mission — can make a profit from being just that. But, at least they’re doing something.

Some of her favorite products come from socially responsible companies. Newman’s Own, who makes her absolute favorite salad dressings in the world, donates all profits to charity.

Starbucks, who plays a crucial role in her morning routine, has made great strides in the areas of ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship and community involvement.

And most recently, she’s discovered TOMS Shoes, which was founded on a simple premise: with every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. They call it One for One. And yesterday, was their Day Without Shoes, a cause to help spread awareness of the impact a simple pair of shoes can bring to a child’s life.

The TOMS classic style comes in many colors and prints. These Blue Sumatra Vegan Classics, with a cool textured print, are said to be made for discovery and  adventure. They’re also made using sustainable materials. The upper material is made of hemp and recycled plastic bottles. And given that they are vegan, no animal products are used. As if you needed a reason to buy these comfortable funky flats, you now have several.

Ms. S&C wants to know: Who’s your favorite corporate do-gooder, and why?

posted by Ms. S&C

Vegging out

Last week’s Top Chef episode was all about vegging out, in one way or another.

For the Quickfire Challenge, the cheftestants created a TV dinner, inspired by an iconic television show. Kevin won the challenge with his Soprano’s meatballs with polenta.

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs created vegetarian dishes for guest judge Natalie Portman. Kevin, Michael Voltaggio and Eli were the faves. (Mike Isabella was not.) Kevin won again. And, Micheal Voltaggio came off looking like an ungracious jerk. Even Tom Colicchio thought so. Read his blog for great behind-the-scenes insights.

kevin_vegKevin’s Vegetarian Dish: Duo of Mushrooms, Smoked Kale,
Candied Garlic and Turnip Purée

Kevin’s vegetarian dish reminded me a lot of Moosewood Cookbook‘s Warm Salad, which I make at least once or twice every winter — and, I drinkfairhillsred red wine with it every time. True, I drink red wine with most dinners, but I particularly love it with hearty kale and mushrooms. Since eco-friendly Natalie Portman was guest judge for this episode, and since October was Fair Trade Month, I’m going with the Fairhills Bus Stop Red for the drink pairing. I picked up a bottle at Whole Foods for less than $10. It was also highlighted on the Whole Foods blog, telling us that the wine is a product of one of the world’s largest Fair Trade projects, a joint venture between exporter, Origin Wine, Mendoza Vineyards in Argentina and Du Toitskloof Winery in South Africa.

The Fairhills Bus Stop Red is a dryish, medium bodied wine, with aromas of berry fruit and chocolate and hints of plum. Meatballs or kale, it should go great with either of Kevin’s dishes.

And, what makes the wine taste even better? Proceeds are dedicated to purchasing a school bus for the children of the over 800 farm employees and communities of San Martin, Lavalle and Medrano in Mendoza, Argentina.

posted by Ms. S&C

S&C alerts–brought to you from Oprah

A good friend of Ms. S&C’s, and one who is likely in the running for Oprah’s-biggest-fan-ever, recently passed on these S&C-related finds from the August 2009 issue of O magazine.  Ms. S&C thought she’d share, as she does love Oprah’s recommendations, for just about about everything. (In case you missed it, see the post on her “favorite things.”)


Shoe-related newsSoleMates — No more heels sinking into the grass or falling into sidewalk cracks. These discreet, little plastic things attach to most heels, to give stability on grass and to keep you from destroying your heels on sidewalk cracks. They come in clear and black, and seem worth it for $10.00. I usually recommend wedges for grassy events, but I definitely need another solution for walking on brick sidewalks in this city. Read more in the O magazine feature.

Cocktail-related news: BYO Boxed Wine — Check out a new website where you can locate restos that allow you to bring your own wine (just enter your zip code). You’ll be surprised at the number of DC-area places. Only 10 regions are covered so far, but it was  highlighted in O, and that means you can expect that number to go up drastically.

And while you are at it, bringing your own wine and all, consider boxed wine as an option. Yes, I said it. Boxed wine. In higher demand because of its eco-friendly packaging and long shelf life, there’s a new wave of premium quality boxed wine available. For a weeknight supper, O magazine suggests the Black Box Sauvignon Blanc. Ms. S&C has tried the Black Box brand (Shiraz is good too), and highly recommends it. Trust me, this won’t be the last you’ve heard of boxed wine over here. Read more in the O magazine feature.

posted by Ms. S&C

Green with envy

Forget the parades, shamrocks, and leprechauns for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration. There are green shoes to be worn! And the variety is incredible — floral, t-strap, patent, snakeskin, flats, platforms, sneakers and rainboots. The strappy sandals are my personal faves. They are flirty and fun, and I can see them having a place in my spring wardrobe long after the Irish festivities are over. Quick reader quiz — who can spot the $1,000 pair and which are eco-friendly? Share your guess in the comments section.









As far as imbibing on this occasion, beer is traditionally the favorite. And, like shoes, there are more choices than you think.

1. Irish beer, such as Guinness or Harp

St. Patrick’s Day is the only day of the year when I’m tempted to drink a Guinness or a Harp or both. I like the half-and-half combo which yields a Black & Tan.

2. Green beer, as in beer that is the color green

Green beer, even on St. Patty’s Day, doesn’t really appeal to me, but I thoroughly enjoy that others consume it. In the event you ever want to mix up your own batch, Mix That Drink outlines, step-by-step, how to make this concoction.

3. Green beer, as in beer that is eco-friendlygreen-beer

Drinking beer is good for you and the environment. Well, not exactly. But it still sounds like a cause that many of us can get behind. The Sierra Club has a few recommendations for beers made by companies who are working to lighten their carbon footprint–Sierra Nevada and Brooklyn Brewery are included. This way you can drink green beer today and any other day.


posted by Ms. S&C

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.

Social consciousness looks good on you

Naturally, Shoes & Cocktails is a big fan of Project Runway. In episode 2, also known as the models-shop-for-their-own-environmentally-friendly-fabric-and-almost-everyone -ends-up-with-the-same-ugly-brown-fabric-challenge, Natalie Portman was guest judge. If you haven’t already taken a look, check out Miss Portman’s vegan shoe line over at Té Casan. They are not as budget-friendly as they are good for the environment, but they are as elegant as her. And keep in mind that 100% of the proceeds will go to various non-profit organizations dedicated to environmental preservation and animal rights. If I was tasked with pairing shoes from the collection, I’d choose these lovely reds for Suede’s winning design. And, give the lady a glass of champagne!