Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Toast The Holidays With A “Crantini”

It’s obvious to me that seasonal cranberries and the popular martini are a marriage made in cocktail heaven. The Cranberry Martini, or Crantini, makes holiday gatherings special. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, everyone should be toasting with them instead of the same old Bloody Marys and Appletinis.

The Cranberry Martini, a.k.a. Crantini, is a simple variation of a Cosmopolitan, which combines vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec and lime juice. The Cranberry Martini recipe leaves out the last two ingredients.

Ingredients Per Cocktail
  •  2 ounces vodka or gin 
  •  1/2 to 1 ounce vermouth (optional) 
  • 1/2 ounce cranberry liqueur or 2 ounces cranberry juice 
  •   Fresh, frozen or dried cranberries for garnish
Pour the first three ingredients into a cocktail shaker or mixing glass with 2 ice cubes. Shake for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled martini glass.  Float 3 cranberries for garnish.

Or you can make your own Cranberry Infused Vodka. There are lots of recipes on the world wide web, but this one is my favorite. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s super easy.

Cranberry Infused Vodka Recipe

1 pound of fresh cranberries
1 bottle Vodka (750 ml)
  • Place cranberries in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  
  • Combine vodka & cranberries. Cover and let stand for 2 weeks. 
  • Strain off the solids with a fine mesh sieve. Discard solids. 
  • Transfer into sterile, airtight container and store in refrigerator.

This could make a great DIY gift if given in a fancy bottle!


~Angee Billingsley
Creative Director, LBDC

Sunday, October 28, 2012

In The Spotlight - Victoria Johnston

In the spotlight this week is 39 year old Victoria Johnston from our Phoenix, Arizona chapter.

Victoria is happily married with a 16 year old daughter and a 13 year old son. Having teenagers in the house makes for lots of excitement, I’m sure!

Victoria works full-time as a Program Manager for a technology based engineering firm, yet still makes time for her hobbies and her favorite charities. She devotes lots of attention to fundraising through the Jr. League of Phoenix which is focused on making a difference in the community. When she isn’t fundraising and working with her charities, Victoria loves taking pictures, candle making, and vintage couture fashion.

Victoria and her husband are currently busy planning a beach getaway  with a group of close friends in celebration of a certain “milestone” birthday. Among the suggested locales for this special event are warm sandy beaches in Florida or perhaps even the Caribbean! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a milestone than with sand between my toes!

Being a member of the LBDC for 2 years, Victoria said she joined the club to meet some other ladies with similar interests as her own. Women who like going out to places around the Valley for some fun. Victoria said, “What I love most about this awesome group of ladies is that even when life has kept me away from events for a while, they welcome me back to the club each time like I’ve never missed a beat.”

In her job, teaching her kids, and in the charity work that is so important to Victoria, she tries to remember the following mantra from Sandra Day O’Conner:  “Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time.  No one learns more about a problem, than the person at the bottom.”

Those are great words to live by, Victoria. Thanks for being in our spotlight this week!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cheers To Breast Cancer Awareness

If you haven’t been following us on Twitter (@lbdclub) or Instagram (lbdclub) this month, you’ve been missing out on our Pink Drink fun to raise awareness during Breast Cancer Month!

We’ve been posting our original Little Black Dress Club cocktail concoctions throughout the month and thought we’d share a final pink toast!. A few of them are the result of a weekend long Directors retreat in Deep Creek Lake, MD. We played mixologist in the kitchen - we stocked up on juices and mixers, cleaned out the liquor cabinets, and had a blast mixing, swirling and sipping!

Here’s a taste of what we created - The Cotton Candy Cocktail, The Flower Berry Bellini and Sparkling Hope are all pink and delicious. We had an interesting time coming up with these and even more fun sipping on them while enjoying a great view of the lake!

Next time you have your girlfriends over for a GNO, pull them into your kitchen and stir up a few of these LBDC cocktails. Use it as a conversation starter to remind your friends to get a mammogram, tell a story about a loved one who battled breast cancer, or just enjoy sipping a yummy cocktail while you appreciate some girl time. Do you have a favorite recipe that you came up with on your own? Share it in the comments below and we will include it in a future LBDC publication!


Christine Zellers                                      Jen Holzer
Co Founder, LBDC                                  Co Director, LBDC                    

Shay Ashcraft                                          Richelle Schneider
Social Media Director, LBDC                   Chicago, Director

Cotton Candy Cocktail
Raspberry vodka
Cranberry juice
Cotton candy

Rim glass with pink sugar or with pink cotton candy. Rim glass first with lemon to stick.
Mix equal parts liquid ingredients in martini glass.
Tear small piece of pink cotton candy and float on top until dissolved. Add more to sweeten drink.

Sparkling Hope
Cranberry juice
St Germaine
Sparkling wine

Fill wine glass with sparkling wine
Add equal splashes of cranberry and St Germaine.

Flower Berry Bellini
16 oz frozen strawberry or blackberry
⅓ cup Agave Nectar
Sparkling Wine

Puree frozen fruit
Add agave nectar
Mix until blended.
Add one Tbs puree mixture to flute glass. Fill with sparkling wine. Stir. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Little Bit Sweet, A Little Bit Salty

The fall season is upon us! This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the smell of the campfire, the color change of the leaves, a good smores martini and all of the great new recipes that are being shared!

Our Director from the LBDC Annapolis Chapter shared her Aunt Tammy’s awesome recipe for a fall trail mix. A little bit sweet, a little bit salty, this mix is quick and easy to prepare and is perfect for those fall hikes or camping trips!

Equal parts:
3 different flavors gold fish
2 different candy corns

Mix together in a large bowl and store in a gallon size ziploc bag or container.

Sharing suggestion: Buy some Halloween or Fall themed treat bags and fill each one with a portion of this sweet and salty combo. Tie them with orange ribbon and pass out to friends, neighbors or coworkers!

Happy Fall, Y’all!

~Shay Ashcraft
Social Media Director, LBDC

Sunday, October 21, 2012

LBDC Welcomes Tina McHugh!

The Little Black Dress Club has recently launched a chapter in Pittsburgh, PA. Tina McHugh, along with her friend Marcie Sinagra have joined forces to make Pittsburgh the latest and greatest when it comes to socializing for women.

Tina went to high school with LBDC Co-founder Jenny Holzer. A few years later, Tina was shocked when she came across Little Black Dress Club on Facebook and recognized Jenny!

Tina had been looking for a women’s social club in the Pittsburgh area for a while. “In looking in our area, I discovered that there weren’t any such clubs. I recalled LBDC and thought we really need a social club for women, one that would allow women to get out and make friends, have fun and do creative activities which happened to be what I was looking for myself, so it was a great opportunity to bring LBDC to our community,” she says.

The Pittsburgh chapter is currently busy planning a Halloween themed cocktail hour, a Floral Design Class, Spa Day, Fashion Shows, a Favorite Things Event and Movie Nights! The first cocktail hour will be October 24 followed by a Floral Design class on November 18.

Tina says, “I love that in 30 minutes you could find yourself in the heart of the city going one direction and taking another direction you are in the beauty of the mountains.” Tina’s philosophy  on life is that you should always live a life that is full of laughter, kindness, grace and honesty. She often refers to a quote by Walt Disney, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

When it comes to friendship among women, Tina feels that a good friendship is a sisterhood, is trusting, is open, honest and will last a lifetime.

In her spare time, Tina enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, going to the gym, hanging out with her extended family and friends, shopping, traveling and sitting down with a really good book. Adding to that list, Tina is really looking forward to LBDC in Pittsburgh, meeting great women in the area and meeting other LBDC members and Directors from other chapters.

~Shay Ashcraft
Social Media Director, LBDC


Friday, October 19, 2012

National Little Black Dress Day

Life is complicated. The Little Black Dress is simple. You toss it on and whether you’re on your way to work, to a party, or just getting off the beach and wanting to go to dinner, it looks great.

When the Little Black Dress Club was formed in 2006, founders Jen and Christine wanted two simple things – to make new friends and to try out some new places around town. They kept it simple - they asked women they knew to pick a place and send an invitation. They chose the name because it inspired thoughts of classy evenings out with friends.

Since then, LBDC members have shopped, partied, and attended 5Ks in little black dresses. The Club has grown considerably and it’s much more complicated than it used to be. The saving grace is that dressing for any of our events is simple…just throw on a little black dress.

Join us today, Friday, October 19, 2012, in celebrating Coco Chanel, the creation of the little black dress and all things inspired by this simple fashion accessory.
CoCo Chanel was definitely onto something when she designed and made famous the first LBD back in the 1920’s.  By publishing a photo of a short and simple black dress in a 1926 issue of Vogue, a new era of fashion was born. Coco has said to have intended the LBD to be long-lasting, versatile, affordable, accessible to the widest market possible and in a neutral color. I’d say she did that and more. She created a fashion statement and added a staple to women’s lives everywhere. There have been celebrity “best of” lists, charity events and museum exhibits. For those of us new to wearing LBD’s, you can find a youtube video on how to wear a little black dress for multiple occasions.There is even a Wikipedia page devoted to the LBD. I find myself wondering if Ms Chanel published that Vogue photograph on a whim, or if she had known all along of the impending importance of this iconic fashion accessory....


Christine Zellers, Co Founder 
Shay Ashcraft, Social Media Director

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Less Sugar, More FUN!

Don’t want to contribute to your neighbor’s kid’s tooth decay this year? Not the dentist in town who’s going to profit from all the Halloween candy that’s getting passed out? I don’t and I’m not, so I thought it would be fun to see what candy alternatives I could find. Frankly, it’s easy to spend $20 or $30 on candy for the kids, and I wondered what I could find in a comparable price range. I thought it would be fun to build a grab bag (or grab pumpkin) of fun items. A visit to Dollar Tree yielded the following options at a buck each:
  • Stickers (pack of 30)
  • Halloween pencils (pack of 12)
  • Halloween erasers (pack of 12)
  • Halloween straws (pack of 5)
  • Glow bracelets (pack of 15)
  • Glow finger extensions (pack of 4  - not sure what you do with a finger extension…)
  • Grow capsules (pack of 15)
  • Bubbles (3 bottles)
  • Play Dough (pack of 8 or a pack of 4 of larger containers)
  • Glow Balloons, Flying Discs, and Tops (packs of 4)
Moving on down the road to Walmart, I found water balloons and henna tattoos. Hobby Lobby has Loopy Straws  (8 for $1.59), a 24 pack of bubbles for $3 and light up balloons .The light up balloons are a bit pricy, but I must confess, I wanted one for myself! Oriental Trading also had a ton of great Halloween goodies, like pencils and erasers, in bulk at reasonable prices.

The upside (or downside, depending on your point of view), is that at the end of Halloween, I won’t be left with a bunch of candy in the house that will end up on my bottom line. On the other hand, figuring out what to do with a bunch of leftover toys could be a challenge….

For the kids I know well, I’m throwing in a bag of the Original Chex Mix. Let’s face it, the homemade stuff is so much better than the bags in the snack aisle and since it’s made with cereal, I can convince myself it’s healthy!

Shay, our Social Media Director suggested Rice Krispie treats. Yes, there’s some sugar in there, but I’m going to make a case for these since they are made with fortified cereal, too. And, she had the great idea of adding some chocolate chips and red and yellow food coloring for the black and orange color effect. I think the kids would get a kick out of that.

Jen - our co-founder - says, “If you are making a homemade treat, be sure to put your name on it.” At least if the moms in your neighborhood have a question about it, they can give you a quick call to confirm, which will give you a chance to catch up.

Did you find something you think I should add to my grab pumpkin? Leave me a message in the comments below…

Happy Halloween!
Christine Z, LBDC Co-Founder

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Saddle Rack and Cowgirl Up

Our Tracy, CA chapter recently hosted an event at The Saddle Rack. LBDC ladies went a lil country as they enjoyed this fun evening full of dancing and bull riding!

Starting out with a few basic line dancing classes it wasn’t long before the challenges started coming! Tracy Director, Melanie, was somehow talked into braving the bull ride!

The ladies danced throughout the night and could not be contained by what’s known as “the cage.” Ashley and Michelle had fun in the hithin corner drinking while sitting in the shot chairs!

The Tracy Chapter had a fabulous night and are all in agreement that this is one event that will be planned again soon! Don’t miss out on the next bull riding adventure. Join the club now!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

In The Spotlight - Tina Moran

One of the very first members of our Tracy, CA chapter, this week’s pick for Member Spotlight is Tina Moran!

Mom to a 21 year old son named Nathan, as well as an 18 year old daughter named Lisa Marie, Tina stays busy and is always on the go! Working as a Business Systems Analyst for Preferred Alliance, she says she loves to travel. On her bucket list of desired vacays Tina would love to cruise Alaska again or experience Europe for the first time.

In her spare time, Tina loves spending time with her family. Caring for her spunky 83 year old father gives her great joy as does spending as much time as she can with Nathan and Lisa Marie. A devoted member of Crossroads Church, Tina says that music is a great passion of hers. While she is not a singer and doesn’t play an instrument, she is a self-proclaimed “Groupie” when it comes to her favorite bands! From Chopin to Linkin Park and a few local bands in Tracy, Tina loves to dance! During her downtime, Tina pampers herself at the Peppermill Spa and Resort in Reno, NV. Her favorite time of year to visit Reno is in the winter so she can ride the Amtrak thru the sierra mountains. What a great vacay that would be!

Tina says she  joined the group hoping to meet kindred spirits. Youthful minded women who love life and who enjoy the many blessings of being a woman. She says it has been just that and more!  Tina talks about the amazing women she has met and how much she admires that age, culture, race, financial status, marital status, kids – no kids… for the LBDC there are no requirements to join. Tina had this to say about the Little Black Dress Club; “The diversity is exciting and refreshing. I always come away with a great experience and wonderful memories. There are very few reasons not to discover wonderful experiences within the Little Black Dress organization. It’s a wonderful, safe and exciting group to meet classy women of all ages.  So let’s dress up, put on our LBD’s  and celebrate being a part of an elite group of fun loving women!”

We love you too, Tina! Thanks for being in our spotlight this week!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Welcome, LBDC Chicago Southlands and Richelle Schneider!

The Little Black Dress Club has recently recruited Richelle Schneider to Direct the Chicago Southlands chapter of LBDC! Richelle has been an official LBDC member since 2010. She originally heard about the organization via meetup.

Richelle decided to reach out to our founder, Christine Zellers, about directing the Chicago chapter because she felt a strong need for women to have a way to connect with each other in her area. She wanted to help supply a fun and sophisticated way for women in the Chicago Southlands to socialize and make new friends.

Richelle loves that Chicago offers some of the most amazing restaurants, shopping, culture, music, festivals and sports - go Cubbies! - in the area. There is always something exciting taking place or a new hot spot to try. You can easily find something fun to do. What better way to find and try all these exciting places than with your girlfriends on a Saturday night! Richelle’s philosophy on life is that each new day is a gift, so try to live life to the fullest! She says “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Richelle made a great point when she said “True friendships are definitely a gift and can
help shape who we are and who we are yet to be. Having a good group of friends who you can rely on for advice, support, encouragement or just a fun night out is a must for every woman!” There is no better place in the Chicago Southlands to find true friendships than the LBDC.

In her spare time, Richelle enjoys traveling, shopping, trying new restaurants, biking, hiking, golfing, listening to live music, dancing, and sharing a good glass of wine with friends! She also enjoys adding a little adventure to her life every now and then by trying skydiving, white water rafting, surfing, hiking Chimney Tops in the smoky Mountains and riding in a Nascar at a speed of 150 miles per hour. We can only imagine the fun events that Richelle is going to be planning for her chapter!

Overall, Richelle is very excited to be part of the Little Black Dress Club and is committed to planning fun events and helping the club evolve in the South Suburbs of Chicago.

Welcome to the team, Richelle!

- Shay Ashcraft
Social Media Director, LBDC

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Save The Tatas

For many, October means the leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter and the weather gets a little colder. For others, October brings a reminder that Breast Cancer Awareness can never be overdone.

Every October, you see pink ribbons in stores, at gas stations, in commercials and on t-shirts. It’s a month to celebrate our survivors, remember those we have lost and encourage those we love to get checked, schedule a mammogram and be aware that there are steps that can be taken to slow the progression of this deadly cancer. There are fundraisers, marathons, celebrations and a nation of pink, all with hopes to end this disease.

Because the Little Black Dress Club is an organization made up of strong, intelligent and wonderful women, we wanted to help raise awareness for those of you who may not stop to think about breast cancer very often. We want to remind those of you who have been affected that there can be a cure one day. And for those we have lost to this disease, we want you to know that we will never stop spreading awareness or sharing the importance of saving the tatas.

Here are a few stats that you may not have known:

  • About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. That’s almost 12%.
  • Other than lung cancer, breast cancer death rates of women in the United States are higher than those with any other cancer.
  • In 2011, there were more than 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the US.
  • A woman’s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
  • There is a genetic test that most doctors offer in their office, or can refer you to have, that can tell you if you have the inherited gene mutation that is the most common cause of breast cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common and women with these mutations have up to an 80% risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime. They are also more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age (before menopause). An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations.
  • The most significant risk factors of breast cancer are being a woman and getting older.

With all of the risks inherent in being women, there are many reasons to raise awareness, get annual mammograms and ultrasounds and proudly display our pink ribbons. This October let’s show the world that as women, we are united, we are fierce and we will find a cure for this disease. Let’s save the tatas, ladies. One pink ribbon at a time.

                                        ~Shay Ashcraft
National Director, LBDC
In memory of my mother and grandmother

American Cancer Society