Thursday, November 29, 2012

Members Only Election Night Out

Here in Columbus, we LOVE our red, white, and blue…..and our shoes! To celebrate our right to vote, some of the Columbus members gathered for dinner. To lighten the tension and have some fun, we decided to have our own “election” so to speak. And what else are we going to vote on? SHOES!  We elected the member with the best pair of shoes on and gave a prize to her!
 
Heather was our lucky winner!!  She came all decked out in her patriotic accessories: red, white, and blue stars on her cheek; red and white feather boas; a red rosette clip in her hair; and the cutest sequined black dress!  BOOM!  She was representing in full effect tonight!  Not only was Heather elected our “best shoes” winner, she was also pinned tonight as an official Little Black Dress Club member.  I don’t know how she does it, but she wins all of the time! J

 
 
In addition to our first official “members only” event, we did a lot of brainstorming for 2013.  We are going to have a fantastic year filled with amazing events.  Now is a good time to start bringing your friends to events and inviting them to join our club!  Don’t miss out on all the fun!












 ~Rachel Blankenship
Director, Columbus Chapter


 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Shot of S'mores, Anyone?

                      
We have posted a lot about fall during these last few weeks. But one thing we can not leave out is our favorite seasonal cocktail recipe! Everyone loves a good cocktail now and then. But wouldn’t it be even better if you could tailor your cocktail to the weather outside?

Fall reminds me of the leaves changing, hayrides and campfires, roasting marshmallows and of course, s’mores! Why not take this great seasonal tradition and turn it into a fun drink to share with your girlfriends on a cold Saturday night during a fun Girls Night In?

One of our Directors found this great recipe for s’mores shots in chocolate glasses. CHOCOLATE GLASSES? YUM! These are fun. These are chocolate. These are delicious!

Here’s what you’ll need:

10-12 ounces dark chocolate
Shot Glass Mold
2-3 tablespoons graham crumbs
4 ounces chocolate vodka
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons non dairy whip
Shot glasses (make a day ahead): In medium saucepan, melt dark chocolate over medium heat. Spoon into shot mold, let cool. Place in refrigerator to set, preferably overnight. Makes four chocolate glasses.

Vanilla Whip: Stir vanilla into whip cream.

Pulse 2-3 graham crackers in food processor to a fine crumb (or use store bought crumbs), pour onto a flat plate. Wet the rim of each chocolate shot glass with water, roll in graham crumbs. Pour 1 ounce chocolate vodka into each shot glass, top with vanilla whip.


Cheers! 

Shay Ashcraft
Social Media Director, LBDC
 




Friday, November 23, 2012

Gratitude

‘Tis the season to be grateful and appreciative of the special people and things in our lives.  Gratitude is defined as the state of being grateful; thankfulness.  During our first member meeting last night, the Columbus ladies shared and created a fun list of things we are thankful for.  (Keep in mind, this conversation would not have taken place if the LBDC did not exist in our great city ofColumbus.)  The following is a list of those items we hope we never have to do without:
 
Chocolate
     Tanning Beds
      Sparkly Fingernail Polish
       Retail Therapy
       Grilled Cheese and Pizza Rolls
      Cooking
       Crest White Strips
     Listerine Strips
      Hot Showers
      High Heels
    Camera Phone
        Lip Gloss
      Wine
     Great Friends
       Little Black Dress Club
 
While it is important to express your gratitude during this Thanksgiving season, we encourage you to express it daily.  It can be as simple as saying “thank you.” Whether it is trivial or not, share your gratitude with others – it’s contagious!  J 
“Gratitude is the best attitude.”  ~Author Unknown
"Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you." ~Eileen Caddy
 
 
~ Rachel Blankenship
Director, Columbus Chapter
                           

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday Soup

Perhaps I'm a bit late to the show; it certainly wouldn’t be the first time. But I have recently discovered the easiest, most delicious fall soup recipe.

Each year my company hosts a fundraiser in which all my normally respectable, nose to the grind, uptight co workers don their most creative and inventive costumes, share in a potluck, and raise money for our education foundation.  It was at this year's event that I first discovered, and fell in love with, Taco Soup.

While there were several soups and chilis lined up on the buffet, I kept going back to this spicy, warm, meaty soup. I guess I wasn’t the only one because as I was sneaking into the break room later in the day to have another bite or two, I realized that someone else had beat me to it.

Lazy Sundays are few and far between in my household. But today I found myself right in the middle of one. The mister was off to a Titans game, the kids were at a sleepover, and I was hungry. So a quick email to a fellow LBDC member asking for her recipe and a trip to the grocery store produced a bottle of wine and all the ingredients to make Taco Soup. This is the perfect “cold day out” recipe: it takes minutes to prepare it and toss it in the crock pot, and then while it warms you have time to enjoy the leaves falling while sipping on your favorite glass of wine.  By the time the family returned home late in the afternoon, dinner was ready, the house smelled wonderful, and my husband and kids were amazed at all my hard work. I’ll never speak to the contrary!

There are several versions of this recipe online. I’m sure you can pick and choose depending on preference, but here is the recipe that my good friend Amy shared with me.

Taco Soup
Ingredients
2 lbs of browned ground beef,drained
2 cans of cream style corn
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of rotel
2 cans of light red kidney beans (drained)
1 packet of hidden valley ranch salad dressing
1 packet of taco seasoning

Directions
Put ground beef (or shredded chicken, smart ground or any type of meat) in bottom of crock pot.
Add all other ingredients one at a time
Stir together and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours.

Serving suggestions
Top with fritos, cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream
Also serves well if you add a spoonful to a bed of salad greens and eat with tortilla chips.

Hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I did. It was a big hit with my kids.

Happy souping!
-Shay Ashcraft
Social Media Director, LBDC

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Director Spotlight - Janae King



It's that time again! A new month means a new Director Spotlight. This month the light shines on our Phoenix, Arizona director, Janae King. 

31 year old Janae and her husband enjoy leisure time on sandy beaches with their six and eight year old boys, Austin and Sky. Janae loves wine, pretty cocktails, yummy food, football and fashion. She’ll chill on the couch to romantic comedies, scary movies, and Dexter and get glammed up for charities and dinner parties.

Janae is on her second fabulous year being a LBDC director. She says “I love the genuine camaraderie. There have been many, many strong friendships formed within the
chapter. There’s no drama, everyone has a sense of belonging, which is important to me. We always have a great time at our events!” 

Janae lives her life trying to be an awesome mom and raising her boys to be gentlemen. She lives by two key philosophies; “Work hard and be nice to people” and “May you never be the same again.” How awesome would it be if everyone lived that way?

Janae says she has come to see that everything bad that happens always seems to have an underlying positive agenda that may not always be realized…blessings in disguise, she calls it. Overcoming a life-long struggle with insecurity and negative body image, discovering the confidence to stand up for herself and what she believes in, and the most difficult, finding peace and forgiveness for the unforgivable, has made Janae the strong woman she is today. 

“One of the things I love about Janae, which I also think defines how she runs her chapter, is that she always refers to her members as “The Ladies.” She’s very creative and some of her fabulous creations include the photo booth - which premiered at Fabulous Fiesta - and the chapter birthday party which included riding around in a stretch Hummer limousine, bubbly included! Janae is a great friend - I love sharing Dexter and Homeland gossip with her, as well as, LBDC stories and ideas! I’m so honored she’s part of LBDC.” shares Christine.

Janae was honored to be chosen as this month's Director Spotlight. She quoted Ernest Hemingway and said, “When you stop doing things for fun, you might as well be dead.” 

Congrats to you, Janae. Thanks for leading the Phoenix chapter right into the spotlight!

~Christine and Jen
Founders, LBDC 




Monday, November 12, 2012

Black Friday can be Fun Friday!



All right bargain huntresses, Black Friday is just around the corner.  The midnight shopping, wee morning hours, mobs of people, never ending lines, and aching feet. Remember those from last year?  Who wouldn’t need a drink after the race to that finish line?  Since you are going to be out and about anyway, why not meet afterwards for some girl time?  It will give you the opportunity to show off your bargains, get some wrapping done and nourish your body, soul and mind with good food and company.  Yes, I’ve got a party for it!

Invitations:
All right, this one is a no-brainer.  Quick and to the point, Thanksgiving is on its way and we have no time to delay! Use evite for the quickest invite.  You might say something like this:

Join the girls on Black Friday
after your shopping spree is done.
Let's get the gifts
all wrapped up
while we have some fun!

Ask each girlfriend to pick up a few rolls of wrapping paper, and some ribbons & bows on their way through the checkout and bring them to the gathering. It is always better to have too many wrapping materials than too few. This will also help to reduce the cost of wrapping for each person. Plus, moms take note: it is always nice to wrap your kids’ gifts in paper that isn’t physically in your own house so not to confuse the little ones and trigger ‘questions’. Lesson shared from my house to yours.

Setting:
The house does not have to be spotless; everyone is busy with the holidays and should be very understanding. They will just be excited to hang out and put up their feet.  Plan to use the room in your house with the biggest area to wrap gifts.

Set up a wrapping station.  A large table donned with wrapping paper, scissors, bows, tape, gift tags, pens and 3×5 cards—all the accessories to make a girl’s wrapping complete. The cards can be used in lieu of gift tags –just tape to the bottom of their wrapped gift. On the 3×5 card they can write what is inside and who it is for.  Just be sure to tape the 3×5 card securely; it would be a shame to have to unwrap a gift just to find out what is inside and who it is for.  Another lesson shared from my house to yours. At the end of the evening send each guest home with unused paper and bows. (For those who are like me and want to coordinate their paper with their home d├ęcor, be sure to ask them to bring their paper as well as some to throw in the wrapping station for others.)

Food and Drink:
Make it simple– order out! Just make sure to order from someone who delivers. Pizza is the perfect comfort food.  Or Italian, Chinese—whatever you are in the mood for, just make sure you can call it in. You don’t want to have to stop on your way home; the day is too busy for that. Instead, let your fingers do the walking and you can do the talking—with your girlfriends.

While you’re shopping for Thanksgiving, just throw a few extra things in the cart.  Some ideal quick munchies might include:  Hummus and pita chips, pretzels and spicy mustard, pre-cut cheese and crackers, and carrots and veggie dip. Those are all things you can throw in a bowl and serve without having to think about it.

Some drink ideas to warm the soul:  Hot cocoa with a side pour of schnapps or Baileys, spiced eggnog or any holiday-spiced beer. Be sure to offer water as well. After all that running around, everyone is sure to need a little shot of H20. Of course you can always mix up an LBDC original cocktail!

Connecting Activities:
A lot of wrapping and chatting will be done at this gathering, so the activities will be pretty minimal. But some quick suggestions might include:
Quizzing everyone after the wrapping is done.  Write down the gifts that each girl is wrapping: What gift and to whom. Then afterwards, quiz the girls to see who was most observant. The one with the most correct answers wins.

Things to talk about. 1. What do you enjoy most about the holidays? 2. Are there any holiday traditions in your family that you feel are important to pass on? 3. If you could only remember one Holiday, which one would it be and why?  4. What is the most non-traditional thing you have adopted into your holidays?

Weirdest gift guess. Ask everyone to write down the weirdest gift ever received at the holidays. The hostess will read the answers randomly. The guests will try to match the weirdest gift with its receiver.  The one with the most correct answers wins.

Prizes and party favors are not necessary for the games or this party. The unused paper & bows will be enough.  It will be enriching just to learn some things about the girls that you never knew.

I hope you take time to turn the race of Black Friday into something special, a winning finale to the busiest shopping day of the year. Your girlfriends will be appreciative, even if the invite is last-minute.

Do you have any Black Friday traditions with your girlfriends? We'd love to hear about them in the comment form below.

Happy Shopping!
~Angee Billingsley
Creative Director, LBDC

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Don’t Break the Belt… Over the Holidays!

One day a few years ago I woke up and took a reality pill. That pill was a big dose of “I will never be 18 or have an 18 year old body again!” And, I’m ok with that, I am 40 after all! I’m willing to be about 15 pounds heavier than I was in high school so that I can enjoy life.
In the last year I’ve noticed that I have more and more trouble losing weight. Back in 1998, I lost 30 pounds doing Weight Watchers (WW). Until this past year, I maintained that loss. My strategy has always been to revitalize my WW diet when I gain five to seven pounds until I get back down to my “normal” weight. Normal for me is NOT skinny. I like to eat and I especially LOVE my WINE!

Now, I am seven pounds heavier than I would like to be (at least) and my attempts to shed the weight for the last eight months or so have been nothing short of frustrating and unsuccessful. To top it all off, the holidays are approaching. I’m not a masochist and I’m NOT going to diet over the holidays! It’s unrealistic for me and frankly, it kind of takes the fun out of the holidays. So, I’ve devised some strategies just to avoid gaining another five pounds!

First, if I have to bake anything, I will eat a healthy meal or snack before I start. I know I will be snacking my way through the cookie dough bowl, if I’m at all hungry. Second, any resulting baked goods will be taken away from the house or put in the freezer ASAP. I’m less tempted this way. When I’m done baking, provided it’s socially acceptable, I will indulge in a reasonable portion of goodies by applying Jennifer Moore’s  Mindful Eating techniques. I will "make time for it. “ I will “set aside ten minutes to truly experience my treat.” I will get a napkin, get a beverage, and sit down.” I will not multitask while I’m enjoying!

My second potential problem lies in parties. Again, I’m simply NOT going to a party and skipping the delicious things my host has made in the fruitless attempt to save a pound. I’ll worry about it after the first of the year. However, that said, I realize I don’t need to overdo it and there are a couple of things I can do to prep for an evening of fun. I’ll start off with a filling breakfast. This will probably include my six point (WW) breakfast burrito - one egg and one egg white, a vegetarian sausage patty, 1/8 of a cup of cheese, salsa and adobo seasoning on a two point tortilla - and a banana. I know from experience that that will keep me full for awhile. At some point during the day, for lunch or just before I go to the party, I’ll have a big salad with lots of veggies and a light salad dressing or a bowl of my Dad’s award winning chili (see recipe below), which is about two WW points per cup. Then, when I get to the party, I’ll eat, drink and be merry knowing I didn’t completely throw in the towel!

My Dad’s Chili (which always gets GREAT REVIEWS, by the way!)
2 15 oz cans dark kidney beans
2 large onions chopped (I usually cook them down before throwing them in the pot)
4 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp salt
2 packages of Smart Ground (my dad uses ground turkey or lean ground beef)
2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can water

I mix it all in the crockpot and let it cook all day, but you can also put it in a large pot and cook it on the stove. This also freezes well, so I recommend doubling the recipe and eating it when you want something light and filling.




Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In The Spotlight - Erin Northrop

Today the spotlight shines on 28 year old Erin Northrop from our Columbus, Ohio chapter.

Erin is happily married and is the proud pup parent to a sweet dog named Bella. In her spare time, Erin loves to read and watch movies. Exercise is always at the top of Erin’s list as she loves to work out, zumba being among her favs, take walks with Bella, and even do gymnastics!        
               
Erin and her husband are excitedly planning their next vacation. All though it’s a ways off, during the summer of 2014 the Northrop family will be traveling to Europe!

While Erin is new to LBDC, she just recently became a member a few weeks ago, she says that she joined the club because she was looking to make some new friends with like interests and similar hobbies. Erin is great at meeting new people and loves a challenge. Doing things she has never done before excites her, which is one of the things she loves about the LBDC. After the Columbus chapter recently took a weekend long road trip to meet up with chapters from Louisville, KY and Nashville, TN, she knew immediately that she had found the right group of ladies to become friends with!

The Little Black Dress Club is certainly glad you found us, Erin. Welcome to our club and thanks for being in the spotlight!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

LBDC Welcomes Marcie Sinagra!

I heard about the Little Black Dress Club from my friend Tina. She was looking for a women's group to become involved in and had asked me if I knew of any. At the time I was only aware of 1 or 2 that were business oriented. She told me about this club she found called Little Black Dress Club and asked if I thought we could get a chapter started in the Pittsburgh area.

I decided to work with Tina to start a chapter because there is definitely a need in our area (and I think in many areas) for a group that fosters a sisterhood in women.

Our initial Meet and Greet is a Halloween themed cocktail hour scheduled for Wednesday, October 24. We also have on the calendar a Floral Design Class where we will create a Thanksgiving centerpiece. In the discussion phase of planning is a Spa Day, Yoga Class and a Cocktail Hour. The possibilities are endless!

I love the friendliness of our town. And I love that within 30 minutes I can be skiing in the mountains or having dinner in the city!

I actually have two philosophies in life ... both are quotes that speak to me. One is "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass ... It's learning to dance in the rain" This one helps me maintain my positive attitude. The second one is from Maya Angelou and says "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Tina and I met through my working for the Norwin Chamber of Commerce as Member Relations Coordinator. Tina is one of my members under her travel business. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Tina. She is focused, organized, ambitious, kind and overall a great person that I am privileged to have become friends with!

I have adopted my favorite quotes as my philosophies on life. I have started via my work Facebook what has become known as "Motivational Monday". This week's post which I found moving was "to be inspired is great, to inspire is incredible".

I think there are too few strong lifelong friendships between women. To have great friendships we must first be great friends. We must give before we get, listen before we speak, etc.

I don't have much downtime, but when I do I like to read a good book or get in the kitchen and cook! I adore spending time with my kids ... when they'll have me HAHA! My fiance and I enjoy visiting wineries, going on motorcycle rides and in general just spending time together.

The Little Black Dress Club is just what we need in this day and age of moving at the speed of light!

~Marcie Sinagra
Co Director, Pittsburgh