Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In The Spotlight - Lisa Dretchen

Spring has officially sprung in Nashville, TN and today we are giving a bright bouquet of spring flowers to a new member spotlight!

46 year old wife and mom Lisa Dretchen from our Nashville Chapter has been an LBDC member since the beginning of the Nashville chapters’ inception. Always a burst of energy, Lisa has a 23 year old son and a 14 year old daughter. Married to her husband since 1996, Lisa works for the Tennessee State Security Office.

Family time, to include a cat named Whiskey and a dog named Skippy, is really important to Lisa. She loves to write in her spare time or just curl up with a good Stephen King novel, but she is also not afraid to watch a few horror movies on a Friday night. She is also very active with the Girl Scouts of America helping out with her daughter’s troop activities. Lisa’s most recent and exciting extracurricular activity was being picked to star as an extra for the hit show Nashville. Who knew we had a celebrity in our midst?

Lisa also has travel plans on her calendar. A lover of white water rafting on the Ocoee, the Dretchen family is planning a trip to Michigan to visit family, followed by a summer vacay to Florida, supporting her daughters love of music by visiting a few music venues, celebrating her wedding anniversary in July and then squeezing in as many rafting trips as they can schedule. Sounds like Lisa is going to have a busy summer!

Lisa joined the Little Black Dress Club to make new friends and have an occasional adult night out. A great outlet away from her family, Lisa says she loves the clubs diversity and all though she has not attended many of our more adventurous excursions, she is adding one of those to her calendar as well.

Lisa says if she could reinvent herself, she would become a published author. Sounds like you are one busy woman, Lisa! Thanks for taking time out to be in our member spotlight!

~Shay Ashcraft
National Director, LBDC




Friday, April 19, 2013

Party In A Bottle

One of my favorite things about spring is being able to sit on my deck with a glass of chilled wine, feet propped up and nibbling on some cheese while I watch my downy woodpeckers and cardinals fight over their feeder.

Second, is being able to share a chilled glass of wine with my girlfriends. If you find yourself looking for a good excuse to plan a fun night at home and invite a few of the girls over, consider a wine tasting…of sorts!

Below we have listed some great starting points to planning and hosting your very own wine tasting from the comfort of your own home. Inviting a group of girlfriends over and setting out a few snacks can be a great way to relax on a Saturday afternoon and can be done at little or no cost.

In addition to LBDC, I also attend and host a few events per year with the Nashville Area Wine Enthusiast group. Nowadays it seems like celebrities are coming out with their own fragrances, pocket books, and WINE! So recently I hosted a Celebrity Wine Tasting in my home.  I asked each member to bring one bottle of a Celebrity Wine. I was shocked at all the different choices: Dave Matthews, Wayne Gretzsky, Paul Newman, Ed Hardy, Marilyn “Merlot”, Francis Ford Coppola...there were at least a dozen varieties! Line them up and do a taste testing of each one. The winning bottle wins a door prize. You could also suggest guests bring two bottles. The winning bottle gets to take home the collection!

Have oyster crackers and water on hand for palate clearing. Right before the last wine tasting I hosted, I came across these rubber ice cube trays perfect for freezing individual grapes. Grapes can be great to clear your palate or even try dropping a frozen grape in the bottom of your white wine. Delicious!

1. Have each woman bring 2 bottles of a celebrity wine.
2. Open the bottles and pour samples for each woman.
3. Taste the wines.
4. Sample the wines with the suggested foods (below).
5. Have each woman vote by silent ballot for her favorite.
6. Tally the votes. If you have a tie, draw from the two.
7. The woman who brought the first place wine gets to take the unopened wines (yes, all of them!) or you can offer a door prize or just have a raffle for the entire group.

Suggested Food Pairings:
Keep in mind this is merely to add dimension and variety to the tasting. While it’s important to serve something of reasonable quality, don’t feel the need to cook all afternoon or spend too much money.

Cheese – Camembert, Brie, Manchego, Gorgonzola
Tomato or tomato-based pasta sauce
Pizza (a decent frozen one will suffice)
Chili or other hearty stew (a canned one will suffice)

Green peppers
Cheese – Goat, Colby, Havarti

Pizza (a decent frozen one will suffice)
Pate or Sausage
Cheese – Choose one from each of the red and white lists above

If you have more than 7 participants, consider splitting the group in 2. Have women sign up for a color preference or assign colors. In this case, you may have the women that bring red, vote on the whites and the women that bring white vote on the reds. The woman that wins the white competition will take home the unopened whites and vice versa. You could also have a "Battle Of the Bottles" and vote on the best looking bottle. There are some very artistic wine labels out there!

We would love to hear some of your wine tasting party ideas and suggestions in our comments below. For more information on joining the Little Black Dress Club and attending fabulous events such as our very own Celebrity Wine tasting, visit our website by clicking here. And make sure you check out our friends the Nashville Area Wine Enthusiasts on Facebook!

~Shay Ashcraft
National Director, LBDC

Thursday, April 11, 2013

East Bay Is On The Move!

The Little Black Dress Club only started the East Bay chapter less than a month ago but has already grown to 30 members. They have done some pretty fun activities and we thought our readers might be interested to know what we have been up to!
The kick-off mixer at Sticky Rice Bistro was very successful and yielded nearly 40 attendees!  Next we set out for a hike at Pena Adobe with 12 ladies, followed by a ladies brunch at Crepes N More in Fairfield.   Friday March 29 several members attended Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Suisun for GOOD FRIDAY noon service.  Later that night, we met for Happy Hour at the Chevy's in Fairfield followed by Tyler Perry's new blockbuster movie "Temptation" at Edwards Theater!  Saturday March 30, we enjoyed a ladies breakfast at beautiful Lucca's on the bay in Benicia.
This Friday, April 5, the ladies will caravan to Berkeley to enjoy live jazz & cocktails at Paragon inside the historic Claremont Hotel and Sunday, April 7, some of our members will be participating in the fundraiser "Run Rocklin 12K race" which benefits local schools.
Sunday April 28, we will travel back to Berkeley to see the world renowned Alvin Ailey Dancers at UC Berkeley.  On May 4th we will attend the Kentucky Derby (Bay Area) at Golden Gate Fields.   Then, on May 10, we will be heading to Tracy to meet with the Tracy Chapter of LBDC and enjoy Girls Night out-a shopping extravaganza called Denim, Diamonds & Divas!  We are currently planning a visit to Hangar 1 Distillery...home of Hangar ONE vodka as well as a Zip-line adventure during the month of May in Sonoma.
Those are just a few things we have been up to!  The women in this group represent a wide variety of professions, and our members currently range from 21-58 years old!
This is truly an amazing outlet for women who want to experience positive, therapeutic, proactive, lifestyles. The support and friendships being nurtured here is really something special. I tell our perspective members "Ladies, you don't have to do things alone and you don't have to sit at home wishing you had someone fun, adventurous and safe to hang out with ...we're just a little black dress away"!
We are having SO much fun and there is SO MUCH MORE to come!
~Gwen Brady
Director, East Bay Chapter

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This is my all-time favorite book! This true story is at times, unbelievable. It is the memoir of Jeannette Walls and tells of her growing up with parents that were idealistic, nonconformist, irresponsible nomads.
Her father was an alcoholic dreamer who always promised Jeannette he was going to build the family a “Glass Castle” but never did. Neither parent was a role model, but instead, provided the family with abject poverty and constant moving around the country to make “new starts.”
I found this book fascinating. To see that one can grow up in this chaotic life, yet still decide to become a successful functioning member of society is inspiring. The challenges that the children faced were hard to believe. It was just the type of book that you don’t want to put down because you want to find out what will happen next to this dysfunctional family. Everyone I know who has read this book says, “Can you believe it?”

The book actually opens with a current day event, where Jeannette sees her mother digging through garbage cans looking for food in New York City. Jeannette tells how she sank down into her cab so her mother wouldn’t recognize her. She later asks her mother, “what am I supposed to tell people about you?” Her mother’s reply: “tell the truth”. This makes Jeannette realize that although she is living an apparently successful life in New York, she is actually living a lie because she had not been truthful with anyone about her upbringing. That is what inspired her to share her story with the world.

Jeannette wrote a sort of follow up, “Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel” that I have also read. It is the true life story of her grandmother, a no-nonsense, resourceful woman growing up the in the west. It was another great story of a strong, smart woman. In The Glass Castle, the grandmother is the stable mother-figure that Jeannette looks to early in her life. It was interesting to read about her life and how she came to be such a tough woman. I would highly recommend owning your own copy of this book!

~Sheila Martinez
Co Director , Tracy Chapter