Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Trend Talk: The Snakeskin Booties Our Editors Want RN

Snake your Booties

We're smitten with all the snakeprint shoes out this season, especially the black and white (or cream) ones. What was once an affinity became more of an obsession when we gave you guys the scoop on   block-heel ankle boots Kristin Cavallari wore this summer. Now there are SO many more options. and they run the gamut from low to high and stiletto to block heeled--not to mention the embellishments. Here are a mere few of the pairs we're currently craving:

Just Bead It

Steve Madden beaded snake print boot

A quintessential silhouette-- the pointed-toe, stiletto-heeled bootie-- now with an extra does of cool, thanks to metal beads along the sole. This "Worthy" ankle boot from Steve Madden (available via Amazon for $139.95)  complements ripped vintage jeans, a folkloric maxi dress or something sleek and metallic. The key is to play around with prints and proportions.

Have a Moment of Transparency

Snake booties with mesh toes from Nasty Gal

It's a boot. Or is it a sandal? It almost looks like both (although, we advise you not to call it a "Shandalboot," lest you cause a scandal by stealing Tracee Ellis Ross's term for her favorite Stella Hues boots). However, this "Snake Away" bootie from Nasty Gal ($70) is actually an ankle boot with a mesh front. Rock this style barefoot, or go wild with sparkly socks (and please show us if you do).

Find a Unique Angle

Snake print and perspex wedge bootie by Ego Shoes

One thing is clear- the perspex trend in footwear is still holding strong. If you're not into maintaining your pedicure when it's chilly out, but you still want to dip your toe into the trend, consider this "Turnaround" bootie from Ego Shoes ($56.99). It's clear wedge gives it the illusion of a gravity-defying feat.

Try a Dab of Ranch

Western looks are everywhere at the moment, and we love this high-heel "Homage" to urban cowgirls everywhere from Jeffrey Campbell ($185). With a pointed toe, slanted block heel and elasticized gore for slipping on and off, it's a lotta bit country and a little bit rock and roll. But really, it makes us want to jam to "Pony" by Ginuwine.

Strap Up

Qupid belted flat snake print ankle boots

When the day calls for flats, we fancy this buckled bootie by Qupid (Available via ASOS for $51). Small studs accent the straps for extra edge. Wear these now with kick-flare trousers and a turtle neck, then bring them back out for the grunge takeover that's headed our way.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Booze News: Only 100 Bottles Exist of Johnnie Walker's Rare Whisky

Tastes Like Money

John Walker Master's Edition whisky decanter and box
Courtesy Image

Johnnie Walker is getting gussied up for the holidays with a rare luxury liquid and an artful decanter and box set to house it. The triple-matured John Walker Master's Edition was crafted from six rare whiskies, each aged for a minimum of fifty years and drawn from distilleries that existed during the lifetime of founder John Walker. Only one hundred of bottles of this exclusive expression exist. Speaking of bottles, this hand-selected spirit is presented in individually numbered double-cased black crystal decanters by Baccarat. Those artful creations are then packaged in cabinets made by N.E.J. Stevensen, Cabinet Makers by Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen.
According to tbe brand (you didn't REALLY think we'd get to sample this one, did you?), John Walker Master's Edition presents notes of black currant and citrus, which give way to rich dark chocolate and then finishes with cooling menthol and subtle smokiness. If you're looking to purchase this cask-strenght (86.6 proof) elixir, expect to spend at least $25,000. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Booze Clues: Why Angel's Envy Should be All you Drink this Weekend

Firmly Rooted

If you follow us on Instagram, you caught the recent revival of our #TIPsyTuesday series, in which we share fun tips and tidbits about a particular spirit. This round was dedicated to bourbon, and we turned to our favorite Angel's Envy Whiskey Guardian, Becca Pesce (@misswhiskeyprincess) for intel. When we started this blog ten years ago, we were under the common misconception that a whiskey could not be called bourbon unless it was made in Kentucky. Guess what...

 Bourbon does not have to be made in Kentucky

According to Becca, "while 99% of bourbon is made in Kentucky- legally, it just has to be American.  Angel’s Envy is made in Louisville, Kentucky at our new home on 500 Main St." 

You cannot add anything to bourbon after aging except water

Becca also informed us that after aging, the only thing you can add to bourbon is distilled water.  No caramel coloring.  No “wood flavorings.” No Sugar.  So 100% of the color and flavor of bourbon comes from the mashbill (the makeup of grains) and aging process. You should know that lots of brands add extras to their product for the sake of "consistency," but they can't call themselves bourbon. And now you understand why certain whiskeys taste so similar to bourbon but aren't labeled as such. Speaking of mashbills... 

 Angels Envy has a unique process

For a liquid to be called bourbon, it has to contain at least 51% corn. Angel’s Envy's unique blend uses 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. "Corn provides that nice, sweet bourbon backbone. The Rye imparts a nice cinnamon spice to it, and there’s an enzyme in malted barley that speeds up the fermentation process, so we use 10% to have a completely natural fermentation," says Becca. A large part of the flavor also comes from the barrels, though- up to 60%, according to various bourbon producers.

 up to 60 percent of bourbon's flavor comes from the barrel

A few compouds present in American oak- tannins, lignins, lactones, and vanillin- are largely responsible for the flavor notes in the bourbon we drink.

We usually hear of tannins when referencing wine, but they affect the flavor of bourbon, as well. They're also found in tea and walnuts, and they slowly seep into the spirit as it ages, imparting a dry, spicy flavor. American oak is lighter in tannins than European oak, so it gives bourbon a softer, less astringent mouthfeel. Lignins help the spirit to absorb vanillin, which gives the whiskey a vanilla, or marzipan flavor. American wood is higher in lactones, so this will give a buttery and creamy mouthfeel, as well as notes of toasted coconut.

 It takes almost 90 years for a tree to reach barrel-level maturity

Bourbon is aged in charred new american oak.  It takes between 85-90 years for an oak tree to mature to the point where you can use it as a barrel, and you can only get up to four barrels from one tree. The char on the inside of the barrels gets rid of impurities, and helps the cooper to be able to shape the barrel. Number 3 and 4 char are the most commonly used levels for bourbon producers.  At this level of char, the wood sugars caramelize at the surface of the barrel and are in constant contact with the whiskey through the aging process. Clearly, oak trees are integral to the bourbon industry, so Angel's Envy is doing its part to help replace the wood it uses. 

 toast the trees with Angel's Envy

Every September, Angel’s Envy teams up with the Arbor Day Foundation for Toast the Trees.  For every picture taken of an Angel’s Envy bottle, cocktail, on the rocks, neat pour, (etc.), that is posted online with the hashtag #ToastTheTrees, they will plant an oak tree the following spring in Daniel Boone National Forest.  In 2017, they planted 12,030 trees, which was the first year they planted more trees than they used.  This year they’re going for 20,000 trees. Now you know why there's a little picture of an Angel's Envy bottle in each of our posted images! Also, now you know why you should (responsibly) drink and post lots of Angel's Envy this weekend. 

 Angel's Envy 2018 Cask Strength Bourbon Finished in Port Barrels

Oh! Be on the lookout for their newly released 2018 Cask Strength Bourbon Finished in Port Barrels. We got to taste the limited-edition liquid earlier this week at an intimate event in New York, and it's pretty tasty. The port barrel finish gives it notes of cherries and raisins, which will be delightful as the temperatures cool. It's also incredibly smooth for 124 proof. Only 12,000 bottles will be sold in select markets, and it retails for around $199. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Caring Soles: Nissan's Kicks on The Street

Driven to Greatness

DJ Envy, Fat Joe and the Nissan Kicks at UP NYC
DJ Envy and Fat Joe with the Nissan Kicks at UP NYC (Courtesy Photo)

Last weekend we attended Kicks on the Street, a "pop-up with a purpose" curated by Nissan, its agency partner, Fluent 360, and BET. Held at Fat Joe's sneaker boutique, UP NYC, the event invited a specially selected group of New Yorkers to enjoy the musical delights of DJ Envy and culinary delicacies from Kimchi Grill while shopping limited-edition sneakers, accessories and sportswear. Out front, we had an opportunity to check out new Nissan Kicks, a highly customizable crossover vehicle that merges affordability with advanced technology. There were also three raffles, where the winners received a Nissan-branded backpack full of goodies and a pair of Nike Just Don Legacy 312 sneakers. Sadly, we were not among those winners.

A Kicks on the Street raffle winner with her Nike Just Don Legacy 312 sneakers
A raffle winner with her limited-edition sneakers (Courtesy Photo)

The main focus of the evening, however, was the opportunity for all attendees to participate in a charitable endeavor. Invitees were asked to bring school supplies and used sneakers for donation. Those donated sneakers will be recycled by Angel Bins, which will then donate the money from the recycled goods to the National Society of Black Engineers. (That means less old sneakers in landfills, more post-consumer materials for the construction of playgrounds and funding for an organization that helps drive innovation forward.)

Lanae Jackson and DJ Envy at UP NYC
Lanae Jackson and DJ Envy (Courtesy Photo)

"The Nissan KICKS on the Street event was designed to be a pop up with a purpose.  It was important to give back to the community, while hosting an event to celebrate the launch of the all-new Nissan KICKS.  Our corporate vision is to enrich people’s lives and one way to do that is to support non-profit organizations, like the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).  Representation matters in all areas, and the NSBE organization is playing a vital role in increasing diversity in the engineering field.  Engineering is the foundation for what is possible in design…from the hottest sneakers, to the next innovation in vehicles.  What is unique about the shoe donations we collected at the event was that the old ones will be recycled by Angel Bins and the money raised from the recycle goods will be donated to NSBE.  We are using technology, being green and giving back at the same time!" - Lanae Jackson, Multicultural Marketing Manager, Nissan North America.

We had a great time at the event, and we love the luxurious ambiance at UP NYC, from the gilded frames on the mirrors to the illuminated sneaker wall in the center of the store.

Branded sneaker wall at UP NYC
Exclusive Sneaker wall at UP NYC

Of course, we had to do a bit of attendee shoespotting. Here are a few of our favorites:

Sparkly Nike Air Max 97 at UP NYC

Limited edition sneakers spotted at UP NYC

Shoespotting- colorful sneakers

Hey Chicago, you're up next! There will be a Kicks on the Street event in your city tomorrow.