Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wild Wednesday: Frances Valentine Shoes & Made Real Booze

Flock Together, Rock Together

As Women's History Month comes to a close, we're toasting girl gangs, especially the ones behind Frances Valentine shoes and Made Real Vodka. Wild Wednesday is all about injecting a dose of whimsy into your week, so here's to magic that's made when birds of a fancy feather find each other and rock together. 

On Your Feet

Frances Valentine Violet Marabou Pom Pom Sandal

Let's say you've always loved those marabou slippers worn by retro silver screen sirens, but you could never seem to figure out a way to incorporate them into an outfit that was appropriate for outside wear. Well, the folks at Frances Valentine apparently felt that same challenge and did something about it... and the called her Violet ($595). Standing on a 4-inch stiletto heel with a dainty ankle strap and a fun marabou pom pom, this snakeskin beauty is equal parts cute and bad-ass. Yet she's surprisingly versatile.It makes sense, though, when you consider the fact that Frances Valentine is the newest offering from the original team behind Kate Spade (OK... not all girls, but three women and a man... it still counts!).

In Your Glass

Made Real Vodka Plus One Lavender Cocktail

OK, so have you heard of Made Real Vodka yet? Well, it's a honey/ wheat-distilled vodka brand backed by Absolut and created by women with the goal of not only inspiring women entrepreneurs but also bringing them together over cool drinks. It's 80 proof and proof positive that "Self-made doesn't have to be solo." The brand often hosts events for female entrepreneurs and also donates partial proceeds to organizations that benefit female entrepreneurs. (We fell in love with them via Instagram) You may or may not be able to find it at your favorite bar for happy hour, but if you're in NYC, you can have your own bottled delivered to you in under an hour.  About the cocktail, though:

The Plus One Lavender

1oz Organic/Natural Lemonade
Muddled Fresh Lavender
Splash of Soda

Muddle fresh lavender in a collins glass. Add ice. Pour in Made Real Vodka and lemonade. Add a splash of soda. Garnish with fresh lavender and a lemon wedge or lemon slice. 

Maybe you should schedule a cocktail & convo session with a few of your girls to see what new collaborations come to life. Don't have a tribe? Well... sound off in the comments about what's important to you in a girl crew. You never know what might happen. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Go Drink Here New York: Harlem Whiskey Renaissance

Because Whiskey puts the FUN in Fundraiser

Flyer for Harlem Whiskey Renaissance

This Friday at MIST Harlem, whiskey industry veterans, Tanya Robinson and Ellie Tam— founders of Whiskey Concierge and Whiskey Roundtable respectively— will bring together some of the world's best brands of bourbon, rye, Scotch, and Irish whisky for an evening of tastings, music and fun at Harlem Whiskey Renaissance. In addition to meeting brand ambassadors and master distillers and sampling liquids from Glenmorangie, Ardbeg, Smooth Ambler, Tullamore Dew and dozens of spirits from boutique distilleries around the globe, guests will have a chance to experience the U.S. launch of  Wolfburn Single Malt whisky.

Dandy Wellington
Dandy Wellington

The event will benefit Boys & Girls Harbor of East Harlem and will feature live music by world-renown artist Dandy Wellington, masterclass seminars and a savory buffet dinner. Guests will also receive a souvenier NeatGlass tasting glass to take home.

NeatGlass spirits tasting glass

VIP Tickets for Harlem Whiskey Renaissance cost $150 and include unlimited tastings of top-level, elite whiskeys from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. General admission starts at 7:00 PM, with tickets costing $100. The event ends at 10PM, and the last pour will be at 9:30. For more information, visit the Harlem Whiskey Renaissance website.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Get to Know: Lorna Donohoe of L.A.'s Wilde Wine Bar

To Women who Wine, not Whine.

Wilde Wine Bar and Restaurant
Wilde Wine Bar

Women's History Month is on it's way out, but before it goes, we're shouting out women who are making moves in wine, spirits and the shoe industry... for the rest of the month. Today we feature Lorna Donohoe, the former marketing executive who founded Los Angeles' new female-friendly hot spot, Wilde Wine Bar and Restaurant. The Hankcock Park bar — named for writer, women's rights advocate and mother to Oscar Wilde, Lady Jane Wilde — kicked off its Women's History Month celebration with a special edition of its weekly "Wilde Wonder Women" networking event, where each female attendee received a complimentary cupcake and glass of bubbly. Additionally, on "Wilde Wednesdays," there are wine specials, tasting flights, winemaker meet-and-greets and other features that often spotlight women winemakers. Wilde Wine has been highly praised by OpenTable Diners and is already a celeb hangout (Mindy Kaling apparently loves their turkey meatballs in marinara). Lorna shared some wine tips with us, along with what made her name the bar after Jane Wilde and what she sips when she's off duty.

Lorna Donohoe, founder of Wilde Wine Bar
Lorna Donahoe, Founder of Wilde Wine Bar

SNB: Clearly Lady Wilde is inspirational, but what, specifically, made you feel so connected to her that she became the bar's namesake?

LD: Lady Wilde, (Oscar Wilde's mother) was a writer, poet, folklorist and early advocate of women's rights. I love that about her - I am Irish and my husband  Nader, (Wilde's executive chef) was born in Iran. Lady Wilde wrote a paper titled, "Are the Irish Really Iranian?" arguing that our language, myths and fables were closer than any other countries and that the ancient Persians had really migrated that far West, so that's ultimately what made me feel like the name was right for us. However, I also love the connotations of the word 'wild' as it conveys the kind of natural (organic and sustainable) food and wines that we are doing.

SNB: Your wine selecting skills have earned you quite a bit of recognition, what are 5 key terms our readers might want to look for on a menu if they're novices but want to seem sophisticated when ordering on a date or with coworkers?
LD: Honestly, at Wilde we try to break down the intimidation around ordering wine. Most menus don't have descriptors, you just see a bunch of words, usually in Italian or French. I would suggest ordering some less common grapes, everyone gets Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay or Pinot Noir or Malbec.   Try a white Vermentino or Muscadet or a red Carmenere.  Don't feel like you have to stick to Italy or France (Old World). New World wines from Spain, Chile, Portugal and Greece are pretty amazing.

Some terms you could use / might see:
"off-dry" (usually to describe a Riesling or a wine that is semi-sweet)
"fruit forward" (a wine can be juicy and fruity without being sweet)
Light (or delicate), medium or full- bodied” (describes the texture of the wine and feel of it in your mouth)
"nose" (refers to the aroma of the wine when you  smell it- is it floral or spicy?)
finish” (the feeling it gives your taste buds- do you notice a flavor of mineral or flint, meaning the wine tastes like the earth?).

Ultimately, buy the wine you like, there is no right or wrong - be adventurous. The sophistication is in confidence that you know what you like!

SNB: What wine do you sip on your days off?

Challen Winery Pinot Noir
Challen Pinot Noir, one of Donohoe's favorites

LD: I am a red drinker, so usually an Italian Red but I am enjoying a lot of Californian reds right now, including an incredible pinot noir from Challen Cates, the actress and winemaker.  Usually a pinot can be too light for me, but this is just a delight.

SNB: Which is the most popular glass of red and glass of white at Wilde?
LD: Our most popular red is an Oregon Pinot Noir (Left Coast Cellars) and a Californian Zinfandel (Cordon). Our most-ordered whites are the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Sardinian Vermentino.

SNB: Your Wilde Wednesdays showcase wines by women... we'd love to know about a few of those. Our readers who aren't in California may want to sip along.

Challen Wine Bottles
A selection of wines from Challen

LD: Each week we focus on a different grape, varietal or region - this month they are all female winemakers to celebrate Women's History Month. We’re featuring that amazing Pinot Noir by Challen Winery that I mentioned earlier. We also have have a yummy, buttery Chardonnay from MacCrostie Vineyards. Their head winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen became the youngest female head winemaker in California at the age of 27. Elisabetta Foradori is a legend in winemaking, single-handedly restoring a great Italian vineyard.  She only farms biodynamically. Our prosecco, Sommariva, which you can pick up at some Whole Foods, is vegan and the wine is made by Cinza Sommariva.  It over delivers for the price, too.

SNB: We love that you cater to women without pandering... how do you find that balance? Who did you have in mind as your target when you were creating Wilde?
LD: I spent a lot of my career (I was the Chief Marketing Officer at Playboy Enterprises) having to a balance marketing and catering to both men and women, so balancing how we market to both men and women without alienating any one group is probably ingrained in me.

My target was probably myself and my friends. In my earlier career at Playboy, I spent so much time having to be out at fancy places and parties and also traveling alone, that ultimately I craved the cozy little spots that you have in every town in Europe, the kind of place where a woman can go and sit at the bar by herself without feeling weird, but also the kind of place you can go on a date or with family and friends.   No fuss, but great food and wine where you feel like you're at home or at a good friend's place.

I believe there should be a moment of luxury in every day, so you don't need an occasion or to spend a lot of money to have a great glass of wine or sit down and have a coffee or just a moment to yourself or a drink with a friend.

I also hate cheap wine - all of our wines are sustainable or organic or small family vineyards but they don't break the bank,so I wanted to bring that to LA where there is a dearth of neighborhood-type bars that sell quality food and wine at a good price. We have visited restaurants - big names in LA - where the exact same wine we sell costs four times the price we sell it at Wilde. That's at least one pair of shoes!

We love the idea of savoring a moment of luxury every day. We also appreciate the reminder that true sophistication is in having the confidence to ask for what you want. Cheers!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Shoe Sleuth: Ornate Pom Pom Sandals that were Never Named Slave

A reader recently wrote:

Dear Shoe Sleuth, 

Dolce Gabbana Ornate Sandal with Pom Poms

I love the festive look of the Dolce Gabbana pom pom sandal, but there's no way I'm buying a sandal originally named "Slave." I have no interest in supporting a company that consistently offends people with insensitive comments and product names. Plus there's no way I'm paying $2,395 for a sandal. If you could point me in the direction of some sandals with a similar look and a smaller price tag, that would be great. It would be even better if they were handmade by an artisan somewhere.

Dear R.C.,

The Shoe Sleuth is on the case! I totally understand your sentiments, and I'm here to help. Though the sandals you mentioned above were said to be inspired by wheel carts in Sicily, it appears that sandals of that style are more frequently made in Greece. I've found a few options for you below, from items you can buy directly from the makers on Etsy to a few mass-produced options at lesser prices. I'll also keep an eye out for more, as I'm sure they'll start popping up everywhere. Stay tuned to the @ShoesNBoozeblog Instagram page for other options as we spot them.

From the Makers:

Mabu by Maria BK pom pom sandals available via Etsy

Maria BK's Etsy shop, Mabu by Maria BK offers a number of ornate handmade sandal styles, from bright colors with coins and beads to pastels with pom poms and tassels, all made in Athens, Greece. She even has flatforms and takes custom orders. The "Misty" gladiator sandals pictured here are available for $149.46, and other styles range from a little over $100 to just under $200.

Colorful flat Pom Pom sandals by Delos Art

Based in Mykkonos, Greece, DelosArt offers not only fun, handmade sandals with bright pom poms and jewels at their Etsy shop, but also handmade flower crowns. Prices on sandals range from $76.47 for metallic gold winged flats to $173 for beaded fringe gladiator sandals that lace up the leg, and the "Rainbow" sandals pictured are available for $132.08. Oh, and they also make sandals for children. 

From a Collective:

Handmade beaded sandals by Innovative Greek Shoes

A team of Greek designers, painters and highly skilled shoemakers, Innovative Greek Shoes prides itself on using traditional, centuries-old techniques and eco-friendly technology to create unique handmade sandals. This "Astarti 3" pair retails for $179.81, and prices for shoes range from to 77.15 for solid leather flats to $370.75 for leather and velvet wedges.

From Larger Retailers

Handmade Pom Pom Sandals by Elina Linardaki for Muzungu SistersElina Linardaki Handmade Fringe Sandals

Though Athenian designer, Elina Linardaki has her own Etsy shop, she has gotten so popular that she has attracted the attention of larger luxury retailers. The lace-up sandal pictured sells for $265 on Moda Operandi, while the fringe gladiator flat is a Muzungu Sisters exclusive and costs $188.

Schutz Beaded Sandal with Jewels Tassels and Pom Poms

If you like the ornate sandals but feel something a little more subdued is a better fit for your day-to-day life, consider the Estelen from Schutz. It still has the beads, tassels and pom poms, but everything's sized down a bit. It's available at for $160.

R.C., do one of these choices fit your fancy? Other readers, what are your thoughts on the Dolce Gabbana controversy. Does it matter to you that they eventually renamed their "Slave" sandals after catching a ton of flack? Sound off in the comments. And if you have a case for the Shoe Sleuth, please feel free to send a message on the Shoes N Booze Facebook page or email

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Booze Clues: 6 Fun St. Patrick's Day Drinks

To Glasses of Good Cheer and Pots of Gold

Whether you're Irish or not, chances are you'll find yourself at a bar this evening, toasting to St. Patrick and hoping to get lucky (ya know, in the pot of gold way, hehe). Hopefully you're beyond your green beer days, but if you're not sure what to drink beyond that initial shot of Jamo (Jameson), See below. From skinny margaritas to smoky scotch drinks and full-bodied bourbon sippers, we've got you covered (and not all of them are green!).

Strong, Spicy and Refreshing

Knob Creek Mint Ginger Old Fashioned- Created by Celebrity Chef Michael Symon

A Knob Creek Bourbon cocktail for St. Patrick's Day

1 ½ Parts Knob Creek Rye Whiskey
Ginger Beer
½ Part Lemon Juice
¼ Part Green Chartreuse
6-8 Mint Leaves

Combine all ingredients (except ginger beer) in a bar tin with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled Collins glass, top off with ginger beer and garnish with a single mint leaf.

Sweet, Effervescent and a Little Spicy

Basil Hayden’s Lucky Ginger- Created by Zachary Brian Taylor (San Francisco, CA)

Basil Hayden's St. Patrick's Day cocktail

1 1/2 parts Basil Hayden’s Bourbon
3/4 parts Lemon Juice
1/2 part Brown Sugar Syrup*
1 spring of Rosemary
Ginger Beer

Combine Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, lemon juice and brown sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker.
Remove rosemary needles from the bottom 3/4 of the spring and add to the shaker. Save the top of the spring for use as a garnish.
Add ice to shaker and shake.
Double strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
Top with ginger beer.
Garnish with the remaining rosemary spring.

*Brown Sugar Syrup
1 part Water
1 part Brown Sugar


Cruzan Strapped Stout

Cruzan's St. Patrick's Day Cocktail

1 ½ parts Cruzan Black Strap Rum
1 bottle of Chocolate or coffee stout beer

Combine ingredients in a pint glass. Stir gently.

Lighty & Spicy

Luck of the Irish

A Skinngirl Margarita for St. Patrick's Day

2 ¼ slices jalapeño chile, seeds removed (use more slices if you like it spicy)
Chili powder or Mexican chili seasoning mixed with coarse salt
Lime peel for garnish

Muddle the jalapeño slices in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Pour Skinnygirl Margarita over the jalapeños. Add ice and shake well. Rim a rocks glass with the chili powder mixture and pour in the margarita. Garnish with a lime peel.

Smoky and Earthy- for Badasses Only

Luck of Laphroaig- Created by Tyson Buhler (New York, NY)

Laphroaig Whisky's St. Patrick's Day Cocktail

1 1/2 parts Laphroaig Select
1/4 part Sarsaparilla Syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Orange twist

Combine ingredients in a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with orange twist.

Stout and Simple

The Perfect Pint of Guinness Draught 

The Perfect Pint of Guinness

We learned the 7-step process to pouring the perfect pint of Guinness yesterday at a special lunch tasting. Make sure your bartender knows the method. It involves precision and a brief pause for settling, so be patient. After your first sip, post a pic on Instagram with your stout-stache. Because you're bae AF, right?

Oh and if you want to leave a lucky-looking lip print on your glass, green lipstick is the way to go.

Psst! A totally unrelated, but very important sale scoop! 25% off at Pour La Victoire & Kelsi Dagger!
Pour La Victoire: Spring forward with 25% off regular price items! Use code DSAVINGS25 - Shop Now!
Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn: Take 25% off regular priced items with code SPRING25 - Valid through 3/25!

*All images courtesy images. Shoes N Booze is an affiliate of Amazon, Kelsi Dagger and Pour La Victoire

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cutesy Tuesday: Floral Steve Madden Pumps & Hibiscus Cocktails

Pretty is as Tipsy Does

On Your Feet

Steve Madden Varcityy Floral D'orsay Pump on Shoes N Booze

Temps are rising outside, and it's starting to feel like spring. Embrace the changing seasons (and give yourself the bouquet you deserve anyway) in a floral pump, like the Varcityy from Steve Madden ($99.95 at Painterly blooms brighten your day, while a trend-right d'orsay silhouette elongates legs. The black trim nods to the facth that while it's almost spring, we're not quite there yet. It adds a pretty pop to all black and dresses up denim.

In Your Glass

Sorel Sumberge Cocktail featuring Sorel hibiscus liqueur

Since you're giving yourself flowers today, you might as well sip something floral at happy hour. Meet Sorel, a hibiscus liqueur that's slightly sweet, a bit spicy and quite tasty. If you're going to a bar, ask for it with gin and a splash of elderflower liqueur (like St. Germain). If you're going home to unwind, make yourself a Sorel Submerge. (It requires freezing 2 cubes of sorel in an ice tray, so do that part, then change clothes, start cooking, check previous posts from this blog, etc.)

2 cubes Sorel
2oz NY Distilling Navy Strength Gin
1oz St. Germain

Place frozen cubes of Sorel into a highball glass. Add gin and St. Germain. Since Sorel cubes don't float, they'll sit at the bottom of the glass and dissolve slowly.

If you're interested in more shoe options:

*Shoes N Booze is an Amazon affiliate. Purchases made by clicking an amazon link will result in commission.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Quick Sips: a Pi Day Cocktail from Piehole Whiskey

Take a Pie to the Face (In a Good Way)

Math and science enthusiasts see Pi Day as a time to celebrate the world's most famous irrational number. Those of us in the world of food and drink, however like to employ a pun and celebrate... well... pie. The easiest way to do so would be shots of Piehole Whiskey (which comes in three pie-inspired flavors, of which Apple Pie is our favorite.) If you'd like to go a little fancier, opt for a cocktail featuring the 70 proof Canadian whisky + liqueur concoction, like:

The Lucky Apple 

Lucky Apple Cocktail from Piehole Whiskey for Pi Day

1.5 oz. PIEHOLE™ Whiskey with Apple Flavored Liqueur
3 oz. Ginger Beer              
A splash sour mix
A splash of lemon-lime soda

Mix ingredients over ice. Stir. Strain into glass of choice over rocks. Garnish with lime wedge and apple slice.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Shoes Clues: 5 Must-Have Sneakers for Spring '16

A Good Sport

Chances are your shoe wardrobe has expanded to include sneakers that will never see a gym. No longer just a hipster statement of irony or a form of rebellion on the hip-hop and skater scenes, athletic-looking footwear has even become a mainstay on fashion's front row. Here are a few chill-day styles to consider for your collection.

Slick White Kicks

White Reebok Classic with gum sole

Recently reintroduced with Grammy Award-winning rapper, Kendrick Lamar, as its campaign partner, the Reebok Classic Leather provides a clean slate on which to build your look. The gum sole keeps things interesting. Available via for $91.90 (Similar style available for $59.90 here.)

Sleek Celeb Style

Puma Fenty Trainer in red

Sartorially speaking, Rihanna can do no wrong. Now, she has her own originally-designed shoe with Puma, and it's all over the Gram. Sleek and futuristic, this slip-on trainer kicks athleisure into high gear. Cop your own pair of Puma Fenty Trainers for $179 from Shiekh Shoes.

Retro Refresh 

Leopard Print Stan Smith Adidas Original Sneaker

The classic Stan Smith by Adidas Originals has gotten pretty ubiquitous. However, add leopard print calf hair, and you've gone from borderline cliche to totally covetable. Available at for $140.

Right-now Rose Quartz

Mercer Amsterday Sneaker in Rose Quartz

Declared one of Pantone's key colors of 2016, this shade of soft blush will be everywhere this season. Mercer Amsterdam's Grand sneaker takes on the hue without going all-out girly. In luxe leather with a specially designed comfort insole, it's available here for $241. We saw their Fall 2016 offerings recently at Capsule Show in NY, and we suggest signing up for their newsletter to stay in the loop.

Sparkle & Shine

Sparkly Chelsea Boot Sneaker

We all need a pair of wear-everywhere sneakers with a bit of polish and pizazz. has you covered with their Maya Shimmer Bootie. Perfect for everything from commuting to weekend outings, this Chelsea boot-meets-sneaker style is likely to be a go-to. Oh, and it's only $35!

Will you be joining the sneaker squad this spring? What's your favorite style?

*All images courtesy images unless otherwise noted. Shoes N Booze is an Amazon affiliate, so purchases made by clicking Amazon links will result in commission.