Tag Archives: S&C diversion

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

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

S&C diversion–cocktail cartoons

Ms. S&C loves the dry, sardonic humor of New Yorker magazine cartoons. Many months back, we shared a selection of shoe cartoons found in their Cartoon Bank. Well, we’re back at it with more funny stuff.

Because of strict copyrights, I can’t post the actual cartoon, so check out the links and report back to let us know your fave.

  1. Really? ‘Happy Hour’ is meant ironically? And you say everybody knows this?
  2. I want Chardonnay, but I like saying ‘Pinot Grigio.’
  3. One Martini on the rocks and one Martini in a bowl.
  4. I appreciate the overture, Nick, but I’m trying to cut down on after-work cocktails with Mr. Wrong.
  5. May I have a tiny umbrella in this, Ernie? I’m on vacation.

On a related note, this cartoon, “Being an accountant gives him that extra aura of danger,” is not in the running, but it is one that I purchased for Mr. S&C, who happens to be an accountant. I love that it takes place in a bar, and I love the irony. It is worthy to note that it appeared in the New Yorker shortly after the Enron scandal and the collapse of Arthur Andersen. In addition to being funny, it was well-timed.

Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: What cocktail-related cartoon makes you chuckle, and why? Have other funny stuff? Share it in the comments.

posted by Ms. S&C

S&C diversion–favorite things

So, you’ve all likely seen, or at least heard about, Oprah’s Favorite Things segment. This is the annual show where she gives her studio guests her favorite products of the year. The gifts include anything from a high-definition TV to a book to a pair of shoes. And speaking of shoes, if you look at the list of products, since she started back in 2002, Oprah loves her some Ugg boots — they’ve made the list three times — and that’s with her skipping two years (in 2006, she gave everyone $1,000 cash to give-away; in 2008, she pared down the list considerably because of the sucky economy).

While hanging out at a friend’s birthday party over the weekend, this topic was much discussed. The question: if you could put together a basket of your ten favorite things, what would they be? A note: because you would be buying the products and giving them away, you may want to consider the item’s price tag (i.e. I love my iPod, but that’s not going in the basket).

Here’s my list:

  1. St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur (for a cocktail with champagne)
  2. Otis Redding album ( I would give fans Otis Blue, all others would get a “Best Of,” or maybe I’d make my own?)
  3. Lavender plant (my favorite scent in the world–for lotions, soaps, aromatherapy, and as a garnish in the St-Germain cocktail)
  4. Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar salad dressing (I’m really picky about salad dressing, and this is the.best.one.ever.)
  5. Joy of Cooking cookbook
  6. Yahtzee (discovered the fun of this game in college, and it continues)
  7. Silver bracelet from the Master Craftsman (love the handmade bracelets from this little shop in my college town)
  8. Pashmina (likely in black–that’s the one I wear around my office at least three days a week)
  9. Colgate battery-powered toothbrush (I’ve only had this for a few weeks, and it is my first experience with an electric toothbrush, but I don’t know how I could go back)
  10. Potbelly sandwich (seriously, I eat one a week, and you have to add the hot peppers)

Interesting that there are no shoes on my list. Maybe it is because I don’t own a pair of Uggs? Obviously, now that I’ve shared mine, Ms. S&C wants to know: What favorite things would you put in your basket?

posted by Ms. S&C

S&C diversion–more funny stuff

Advertising execs can’t get enough of the phenomenom beer-is-to-men-what-clothes/shoes-are-to-women. Last week, I shared the Goldstar Beer chart. Here’s a Heineken beer “freakout” ad that is sure to be a viral hit.  The video is in Dutch, which may make it that much more enjoyable. The language of beer is universal.

posted by Ms. S&C

S&C diversion–cheap jokes

What goes through your mind when someone says “Let’s go for a drink”?

goldstar-ad

A friend of mine forwarded this clever ad from Goldstar Beer. While it is the equivalent of a cheap joke, depicting oversimplified cliches about men and women, I giggled. There are two more flowcharts in the ad campaign that involve toliets and relationships, but my good conscience keeps me from posting the images here.

posted by Ms. S&C

S&C diversion–having it all

Gwyneth Paltrow, by the looks of it, has it all.  Gorgeous, glamorous, wealthy, married to a rock star.  She wants to add lifestyle advisor to the list, so she has recently launched GOOP, a website/newsletter/soon-to-be media empire, where she can share her collection of experiences, thoughts, and ideas about what makes life good.  Some people have big problems with this.  Google it and you’ll find a trillion hits, along with too many ridiculous comments.  I guess people think she is trying to rub our noses in her good fortune.  Cynical people.  I’m personally not offended.  I like her style and think she has good taste.  And, I like hearing about new stuff, so I signed up.

We’re assuming the name, GOOP, is a combination of Ms. Paltrow’s initials and the word good.  The website seems to be a work-in-progress, but is organized into six categories: Make, Go, Get, Do, Be, See.  We’re also assuming that each of these categories will eventually be filled with content from her newsletters?  So far, the emails have covered London hotels, restaurants, and pubs (Go), buckwheat and banana pancakes (Make), and my fave so far, an article about fashion and personal style (Get).  Here’s a snippet:

“Ah, fashion… the fun frivolity that can really cheer a girl up… The key to it is realizing what works on you personally. At some point I figured out that following trends is not always the way to go, you have to know what works on your body and have confidence (not always easy) that what is flattering is fashionable.”

Not hard to figure out what I like so much — the boots are awesome.  She even makes me want a pair of booties.

You can sign up for the newsletters online, but it doesn’t look like you can view old issues.  If anyone is interested, I’ve saved three or four, so send me a note and I’ll forward them along.