Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cutesy Tuesday: Floral Ted Baker Pumps & Cherry Blossom Cocktails

Summoning Spring, STAT!


On Your Feet: 

Ted Baker floral Pump


The calendar says it's spring. However, if you're in the Northeast, it feels like Old Man Winter is hanging on for dear life. Nonetheless, the National Cherry Blossom Festival is in full bloom throughout Washington, DC (March 20- April 5). No matter where you're based, Celebrate "the Nation's greatest springtime celebration" in floral pumps like the "Saeber" by Ted Baker (less than $130 at Amazon).  A metallic gold heel and toe accent add a bit of edge to a silky flower-print upper. Maybe if we give spring a sartorial salute, it will actually fight for its rightful place on the thermometer.

In Your Glass: 

Sauza Tequila Cocktail


Toast the new season and all the flowers (sneeze!) it will bring with a sweet, but strong cocktail, like this Very Cherry Smash. The tequila makes it festive, the orange liqueur adds depth and lime juice provides an element of tartness. Here's how you make it:

Very Cherry Smash

Ingredients:

1 part Sauza Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
2 parts JDK & Sons 03 Premium Orange Liqueur
5 cherries (pitted and stemmed)
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 part fresh lime juice
1 part club soda

Method:
Muddle together cherries, lime juice and agave nectar. Strain into shaker. Add in orange liqueur, tequila, and ice and shake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with club soda and garnish with cherries.

If You're Not Into Heels

Adidas Floral Wings Sneakers
Adidas Floral Wing Sneaker





Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Shoe News: EOS x Keds

Sweet Kicks and Soft Kisses


Keds x eos pastel sneakers

Keds (which seems to keep its name current via Taylor Swift collaborations) are a springtime favorite of mine because of their classic appeal, and in recent years, I've become a fan of the emolience that is eos (evolution of smooth) lip balm pods. The two brands decided to partner on a capsule collection, thanks to fans showing lots of love for a recent joint post on Instagram. Availble for $50- $55 and  exclusively at Shoe Carnival, the sneakers will each come with an eos Smooth Lip Sphere in a corresponding color.  Shoppers can choose from the following Keds x eos options:

  • Champion eos Passion Fruit (lavender)
  • Champion eos Blueberry Acai (light blue)
  • Double Up eos Raspberry (dark pink).

My favorite eos flavor is the mint, so I actually wish they'd done a sneaker to correspond with that one, but the ight blue colorway is suddenly high on my consideration list. What about you? Will your kicks match your kisses this spring?

*Courtesy image via PRNewswire

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

3 St Paddy's Day Drinks that Kick Green Beer's Butt

Beannachtam na Femle Padraig ("Happy StPatrick's Day!")

Let's start this with an Irish toast: 

May those that love us, love us
And those that don’t love us.
May God turn their hearts.
And if he doesn’t turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles
So we’ll know them by their limping

Now, for the drinks. Green beer is cool if you're under the age of 25, but after that point, it's time to get a bit more refined. Guiness is always an option, and so is straight Irish whisky. However, if you'd like something a little sweeter, here are some options (and not all of them contain whisky): 

2 Gingers "Big Ginger"


2 Gingers Whiskey St Patricks Day cocktail

Ingredients
Ginger Ale
Lemon Wedge
Lime Wedge

Method: 
Pour the 2 GINGERS® Irish Whiskey into a pint glass with ice. Top with ginger ale, followed by a wedge of a lemon and lime.

Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Manhattan

Tullamore Dew Manhattan

Ingredients:
15ml sweet vermouth
5 ml Luxardo maraschino liqueur
Dash Angostura bitters
Dash Orange bitters
Orange zest
Maraschino cherry

Method:
Stir the ingredients together quickly over ice. Pour into a chilled coupette glass. Zest orange twist over surface of drink, spiral and drop into the glass.

Milagro "Cool as a Cucumber Margarita"


Milagro Tequila green Cocktail

Ingredients
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
3 Cucumber Slices
1 Lime wheel
1 Cucumber Stick
Garnish: course ground sea salt and black peppercorn mix

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a blender without ice. Blend and pour over fresh ice into a rocks glass prepared with a half salted rim. Garnish with a cucumber spear and lime wheel (optional).

Do you have any fun plans for St. Paddy's Day? What about a go-to drink?


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Booze Clues: 2 Drinks To Toast Pi Day

Happy Birthday, Einstein!

If you're a math geek, you probably already know this, and if you're a trivia enthusiast (like I am) you'll be interested to know that today is both Albert Einstein's birthday. This year is special, though, because today's date, 3/14/15 represents the first five digits in Pi, the infinitely long ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter- 3.1415. Here at Shoes N Booze, it's an excuse to toast with pie-themed cocktails. Here are a couple of recipes:


Piehole Whiskey "She's My"



Pie Hole Cherry Pie Cocktail

Ingredients:
.25 oz. pineapple juice
Splash of sour mix

Method:
Build ingredients over ice. Strain into glass.

Basil Hayden's "Mildred's Peach Pie"


Basil Hayden's Peach Pie Cocktail

Recipe by LA Mixologist, Joel Black of Black LAB Ventures

Ingredients:
1 1⁄2 parts Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon
4 Fresh Peach Slices
2 dashes Peach Bitters
3⁄4 parts Lemon Juice
1 pinch Ground Cinnamon
3⁄4 parts Honey Syrup (see recipe below)*


Method:
1. Muddle peach slices, peach bitters, lemon juice, ground cinnamon and honey syrup in a mixing tin.
2. Add Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon and shake vigorously for 7 seconds.
3. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a peach sprinkled with cinnamon.

*Honey Syrup
1. Combine 3 parts honey with 1 part hot water.
2. Stir until completely combined.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Heart and Sole: The Red Pump Project

Rocking the Red Pump

FACT: Every 47 minutes, a woman tests positive for HIV in the United States.
FACT: HIV is the leading cause of death for Black women ages 25-34.
FACT: When HIV affects one of us, it affects all of us.

These facts inspired bloggers, Luvvie Ajayi and Karyn Lee to found the Red Pump Project in 2009 with the goal of inspiring bloggers to bring more awareness to National Women and Girls HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day. (Shoes N Booze Rocked the Red Pump in 2009 and 2010.) Since then, the organization has grown beyond a social media campaign to a network of ambassadors in 5 major cities (Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas and Washington, DC), signature events and prevention outreach workshops.

As a national nonprofit organization, The Red Pump Project encourages conversations that attempt to remove the stigma around HIV/ AIDS, empower women and girls to make healthy, educated decisions regarding their bodies and create safe, non-judging environments for those who have been affected by the virus to express themselves.

Shoes N Booze applauds the efforts of The Red Pump Project, and I, Nafeesa (AKA StyleScrybe) rock my red pumps in solidarity.

I hope you'll visit theredpumpproject.org and find out how you can get involved.

My red snake print wedge pumps. (A clearance score from Joe Fresh)

How I'm Rocking the Red Pump: With my J. Aubrey Designs Tee. 



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Booze Clues: 5 Fun Facts about Women and Whiskey

Booze & Broads


Whiskey Women Book Cover

It's International Women's Day, and though the wine and spirits industry is often seen as a man's world, women have been not only influential but also instrumental in its creation and success. Did you know that Sumerian women invented beer more than 4000 years ago, or that an Egyptian woman invented the alembic still (which is the predecessor to the stills currently used to make whiskey)? I learned these and a host of other interesting facts while reading Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch and Irish Whiskey by Fred Minnick (released in 2013 and currently available at Amazon.com). Here are five more things you probably didn't know about the integral roles women have played:

  1. Women who made early whiskey were accused of witchcraft. Before whiskey (or whisky in Canada and and Scotland) got it's current name, a distilled mix of fermented grain, herbs and water was called uisge-beatha, the Gaelic term for "water of life." Women in Ireland often created their own recipes for the mix and sold it at markets. It eventually made its way to England, where the demand became so high that it started being produced in larger scales and officially taxed. The English had trouble pronouncing "uisge-beatha", so they began calling it whiskey, and the term was also applied to Scottish distilled-grain spirits. Eventually, many of the women who made and sold whiskey and its unaged cousin, poitín (moonshine's ancestor) were accused of witchcraft, some even burned at the stake.

    Early whiskey makers were accused of witchcraft
  2. Johnnie Walker owes a large amount of its success to a woman. When Elizabeth Cummings' husband, Lewis died in 1872, he left her with three small sons (including one who hadn't yet been born) and a whisky business. Though she could have sold the Cardow distillery and farm, she decided to keep and run the business. She eventually acquired an additional four acres of land and built a new distillery to keep her competitive status in the growing whiskey industry. She sold the Old Cardow distillery to William Grant in 1886. However she kept the new distillery, slowly transferring more and more responsibility to her son, John. In 1892, he was unable to meet the demands of the market, and the Cardow distillery was sold to John Walker & Sons Limited, which later became Johhnie Walker.

    Elizabeth Cummings of Cardow Distillery
    Elizabeth Cummings
  3. Prohibition in America surprisingly favored the female. Women who were arrested for illegally producing and or selling alcohol often received lighter sentences than their male counterparts. Further, Women who were suspected of carrying moonshine on their persons were seldom searched because male officers were too "shy" (and in some states legally unable) to frisk women. Many women also had charm on their side and lashes to bat (yay for womanly wiles!). It became clear that female revenue agents were needed, and Miss Georgia Hopley was the first one hired. Her success encouraged various other departments to hire women.

    First Female Revenue Agent Georgia Hopley
    Miss Georgia Hopley

  4. There was only one known female Scotch whiskey distiller during the 20th century. Soon after graduating from Glasgow University, Elizabeth "Bessie" Williamson became a shorthand typist at the Laphroaig distillery. She quickly proved to be an asset and was often asked to manage the distillery when the owner, Ian Hunter, traveled for business. When Ian, who perfected Laphroaig's flavor profile, suffered a stroke in 1938, he asked Williams to take over the U.S. affairs of the business. She took over all of Hunter's responsibilities right before the start of WWII.  During the war, the government ceased whiskey production (grains were needed for food instead of whisky) and used the Laphroaig distillery as an armory. However, Bessie prevented them from completely disabling the facility and distributing the whisky there among the soldiers. She also kept the trademarks and other necessary documents current so that after the war was over business could resume. She took ownership of the business and ran it until 1972, converting the preference of many American customers from blended to single malt Scotch in the process.

    Bessie Williamson of Laphroaig Scotch
    Elizabeth "Bessie" Williamson
  5. A woman is responsible for the design of the Maker's Mark bottle, label and signature red wax seal. Bill Samuels Sr., a sixth generation whiskey distiller contemplated starting his own brand for years after selling his father's T.W. Samuels distillery. His wife, Marge Samuels eventually told him to "get off his ass" and get to it. She placed two conditions on her blessing for and support of the new venture: it couldn't be like harsh whiskey his father had produced, and she wanted to create the bottle. At that time, most bottles of whiskey looked similar, and she wanted the new product to stand out in both flavor and appearance. French bottles inspired her with their artistry and wax-sealed corks. After many hours and prototypes, Marge created a bottle, label and wax seal that made her proud. She named the product "Maker's Mark" because as a pewter collector, she always searched for the mark of the maker, and she wanted customers to feel like they were purchasing a collectible of sorts. Marge was inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame last year.
Marge and Bill Samuels of Makers Mark
Marge and Bill Samuels Sr.
There are so many more stories of women's contribution to the whiskey world — and the spirits world in general. And these days we're making huge strides toward equality and toward erasing the idea that women can't enjoy (or be) strong, intense spirits. Happy International Women's day. Cheers to you!


*Fine Print: All images are courtesy images. Shoes N Booze is an amazon affiliate, so if you purchase an item here that links to an amazon page.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Get to Know: Truvee Wines' McBride Sisters

Unexpected Pairings

The McBride Sisters

The McBride Sisters, both grew up in wine country, Robin in Monterrey, CA, Andréa in New Zealand and neither knowing the other existed for more than half their lives. However, in 1999, they were connected by their paternal family in an effort to satisfy the final wish of their father. Once they met, they became inseparable, and eventually their enjoyment of wine became not only a passion, but also a business. Their latest venture, Truvée Wines, actually got its name from the french verb that means "to find," and references their uncanny history.

Truvee Wines Chardonnay and and Red Blend

As the négociant of Truvée Wines, the sisters, who are the first known African American women to own a wine company, recently released a 2013 Chardonnay and a 2013 Grenache-based red blend. Both come from sustainably-grown grapes and retail for around $15.99 per bottle. The Chardonnay's flavor is balanced, fruit-forward and presents flavors of apple, pear, citrus, vanilla and oak with notes of white florals. In layman's terms, it's not too sweet, not too earthy, not to tangy and its flavor is light enough to enjoy on its own but also robust enough to stand up to food. The red blend is a bit complex, but very approachable, with flavors of dark fruit, berries and spice. There are also notes of cocoa, caramel and oak. Simply put, it has lots of flavor but no strong aftertaste. It's not super sweet, but it's not too bitter either. It's also versatile— great for sipping to unwind or with a hearty meal.

Andrea and Robin McBride with StyleScrybe


I recently had the opportunity to meet Robin and Andréa in NYC, where I was able to taste their wines, learn their story and chat about shoes. I was interested to learn that Robin lived in Atlanta, GA during the same time that I did. She actually learned that she had a sister via a snail-mailed letter that an aunt had sent from Montgomery, AL. She called said aunt upon reading the letter, and Andréa was coincidentally (kismet-ly) visiting at that time. The two talked and made arrangements to meet each other and their new-found family members in their father's native New York. The rest, as they say, is history (or herstory... it is, after all, Women's History Month). I was also fascinated by the number of ways their specially-designed brand (and family crest), along with their bottle labels reference their story. They let me know that the designer even hid symbols, such as engagement rings, in the label design. Finding them all actually added to the fun of drinking the wine.

McBride Sisters Truvee Wines label


After a lengthy shoe chat, I challenged the McBride sisters to pair shoes with their wines. Here's what they suggest:

Sergio Rossi monochrome tall sandal

Robin: this "Arabesque" tall sandal by Sergio Rossi reflects the layered complexity of the 2013 Red Blend. 

MSGM colorful strappy sandal


Andréa: the colors in this printed sandal by MSGM reflect the bright notes and citrus flavors in the 2013 Chardonnay. ($455 on Shopbazaar.com)

I also couldn't help but do my own pairings:

Enzo Angiolini monochrome caged sandal

I like the idea of a monochromatic look for the red blend because it references the balanced flavor. The caged silhouette of this sandal also speaks to the complexity of the wine. I also selected this "Brien" sandal by Enzo Angiolini because it's more affordable than it looks (less than $70 on Amazon.com), yet there's something almost laid-back about its vibe.

schutz lace-up sandal


As a bonus, I selected this "Oriana" lace-up sandal by Schutz. The color matches, and it has a refined edge. It's also still fairly affordable at $200, which reflects the surprisingly low price of Truvée Wines 2013 Red Blend. (Available at Amazon.com)

Pura Lopez abstract floral wedge sandal

I agreed with Andréa that the shoe paired with the Chardonnay should have colors that reference the bright notes and fruit flavors in the wine. My thought, though, is that the wine reminds me of a backyard lunch with friends— a little laid-back, a little luxe and very stylish. This floral print wedge sandal from Pura Lopez fit the bill perfectly and has a price tag under $300. (Available at Amazon.com)

I also promised Robin a Shoe Sleuth round-up featuring nude pumps, as she's on the hunt. Stay tuned for that.

Are you into red wine or white wine? How many symbols did you find in the image of the Truvée Wines label?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Celebrity Shoe Spotting: Kelly Clarkson in Marion Ayonote Heels

Kelly and the Conqueror


Three-time GRAMMY winner, Kelly Clarkson is making her rounds across the Pond and seems pretty fond of British shoe brand, Marion Ayonote. The pop princess recently wore the designer's gold "Conqueror" heels on the popular show Loose Women, where she talked about her life, her new single and her adorable daughter (who was backstage during the taping and wearing the most adorable gold fringed moccasins). 


The gladiator-inspired style sandal features a reptile-embossed panel and a lace-up front on a stiletto heel. It's available HERE on Marion Ayonote's website.


Kelly wore the "Conqueror" in silver during a Valentine's Day performance at a London night club, as well. Get them HERE.


To get the look without the $893 (£550) price tag, try these Cezarine lace-up sandals by Aldo (avaialble at Amazon.com):


Have you seen a pair of shoes on a celebrity and wondered where to get them for yourself? Do you have a favorite celeb style icon or muse? Let us know in the comments.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Shoes Clues: 5 Snow Boots for Women With a High Heel Habit

If you're over the snow already, raise your hand. The resulting salt and grime are brutal to shoes, making many of us walk around in clunky rubber boots. I guess we still get fashion points for cool beanies and blanket scarves, but this season makes it hard to show off a good shoe game. I refuse to be defeated, so I've made it my personal mission to collect shoes that don't make me feel like a total schlumpadinka.

High heel snow boots


Many of mine are no longer available (the ones you can still buy are in the Shoes N Booze Amazon Shop), but I went on the hunt to find a few perfectly stylish options for you. And since we're at the end of the season, they're all on sale!!!

Cougar Gander Boot

Cougar quilted high heel snowboot

I've reviewed Cougar boots on here before (see!), and they are definitely warm. This quilted wedge boot has a bit of Napoleon Dynamite appeal, but minus the dork factor. It's available in four colors, and it costs less than $100. Buy your pair here.

United Nude Eros Teddy Boot

United Nude high heel snowboot

If you've been contemplating a foray into the trend that is the fur accent, this is the boot for you. Embossed leather, molded rubber and faux fur converge for a textural take on this season's sporty inspirations. (Available in other colors at UnitedNude.com)

Hunter High Heel Chelsea Boot

Hunter high heel snow boot

The chelsea boot has become synonymous with cosmopolitan cool. Hunter's version features neon rubber tread and waterproof leather. The really great thing about these is that you can wear them whether there's snow on the ground or not. They're almost $100 off right now, so hurry to Hunter's website and snag a pair.

Melissa Soldier Boot


Melissa high heel snow bootie

Melissa's glossy rubber boot is playful, yet polished. The lug sole keeps you from slipping on ice-slick streets, and the stretch inserts keep the fit cozy. It's half off  the regular price on the Melissa website.

Ralph Lauren Polo Hester Boot


polo high heel snow boot

Inspired by arctic expeditions, this Polo boot features neon quilted panels, a platform and a chunky heel atop a lug sole. It's relaxed enough for the weekend, but it's also a good choice for afterwork drinks. This upgrade to the classic duck boot is currently down to $139 from $450 on the Ralph Lauren website.

How do you stay a step above winter? Do you have a favorite pair of heels that are snow-apropo? Let us know in the comments.