Thursday, May 30, 2013

LBDC Has Arrived In Metropolitan Detroit!

The Little Black Dress Club is rapidly growing across the US. With chapters in California, Nashville, Chicago, Columbus, Alabama and more, our national club is getting noticed! We are so happy to introduce Michelle Barrett from Detroit, Michigan to our family of LBDC Directors.

Energetic and very enthusiastic, we think Michelle is going to do a terrific job in bringing our women’s social club to the Metropolitan Detroit area.  In her spare time Michelle enjoys reading, comedy shows, shopping, funny movies, getting pampered, just about anything near big body of water, learning new things, her family and cats!

Michelle believes in working hard so she can play hard and laugh until it hurts! Read on to learn more about Michelle, learn what she has in store for her new chapter and then take time to welcome her!

~Shay Ashcraft
National Director, LBDC

I heard about LBDC from one of my best friends, Bridget Flowers.  She grew up in the Detroit area, but relocated to Nashville where she learned about and joined the Little Black Dress Club.  Bridget knows that I enjoy being around fun loving, positive and purposeful women and thought it would be a good thing for me to look into.  She shared a lot of information about the Nashville chapter and what she knew about the organization and I really liked what I heard.  We knew there wasn’t an active chapter in the Detroit area, so after many lengthy conversations & hours on the national website I decided to pursue becoming a director.

I decided to become a LBDC director because I am surrounded by amazing women.  I know some of the women from my children’s school activities, from work, from my neighborhood, church, etc.  One of the common threads we all share is the fact that there are very few of us who feel as though we have enough time for ourselves; we certainly do not take time for ourselves on a regular basis.  I find it interesting that this seems to be a common thread amongst many of us whether we are married with children or single with or without children, and so on.  With that being said, becoming a LBDC director was a good way for me to take a more proactive approach to finding time for myself, while encouraging other women to do the same.  Sometimes a simple happy hour with friends is just what we need to relax & unwind in order to be at our best when we get home.

Our first event will likely be a happy hour in either Ferndale or Royal Oak since those cities are pretty central and accessible from major highways & freeways.  We are in the process of planning the first event now.

Our goal is to have at least two activities each month.  One would take place during the week (i.e. a Happy Hour) and one on the weekend (i.e. brunch, or something cultural like going to the Detroit Institute of Arts).

Some of the other ideas I have for us are:

·       High Tea at The Townsend Hotel

·       Dinner & a movie

·       Wine Tastings

·       Cooking Class

·       Something fitness oriented like a Self Defense Class, a Zumba Class or walking along Detroit’s beautiful riverfront.

I love the people here.  I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio and also lived in Oak Park, IL and miss both of those areas.  I have lived here for almost 13 years and can honestly say I have met some truly amazing people here.  Living in the Midwest part of the country is great because we get to truly experience each of the four seasons!  With that in mind, I hope to plan activities that are season appropriate.  The Detroit area has a ton of rich & cultural history like Motown, all things automotive and architectural.   As a result, the options for us to play and learn are numerous!

I survived a very serious and scary car accident in December 2012 that changed a lot of my perceptions about myself and my life.  I came across this quote shortly after the accident “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. ~Denis Waitley  I love this quote because it is a reminder that we should live in and appreciate each moment.  The past moments are over, and future moments have not presented themselves.  Life these days is often filled with a variety of actions that require multi-tasking.  Doing what we can to be consciously aware of each moment is essential to being a happy and grounded individual.

I think women have the amazing ability to be supportive and protective of one another.  We see this all of the time when a woman is expecting a baby.  I recently read an article in Prevention Magazine that discusses the eight (8) different friendships that every woman should have.  Here they are:

1.     A Childhood  Friend

2.     A New Friend

3.     A Work Out Friend

4.     A Younger Friend

5.     Your partner’s Friend

6.     Your Mom

7.     Your Self

8.     A Spiritual Friend
It is my hope that the Detroit Metro Area Chapter of LBDC will be a great tool to help our members establish and nurture at least one of these eight types of friendships! Click here to email me for more information on joining our club!

~Michelle Barrett
Metro Detroit Director, LBDC


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Little Black Dress Club Welcomes Kimberly Beal!

The Little Black Dress Club is growing more and more each day with 14 chapters across the US. We are so happy to announce our latest edition in Sevierville, TN.

Kimberly Beal was searching online for a social group in her area when she stumbled across LBDC. After eleven years in Sevierville, Kimberly is excited about the challenge of getting out and about and sharing all that her town, and the Little Black Dress Club, has to offer as the new director of our Sevierville chapter.

“I want to plan events that include area attractions, dinner shows, community volunteer work and more, says Kimberly.” With an upcoming Meet & Greet event on May 17th at a local restaurant, Kimberly has an evening full of networking and fun planned with hopes of attracting more women interested in socializing and spending one or two evenings a month with a group of girlfriends, a cocktail or two and a little black dress...

“The cities of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have always appealed to me; their exciting attractions, entertaining events and the sense of southern hospitality are a few of my favorite things,” says Kimberly. “Living here encourages me to take each day and make it one to remember.”

Kimberly believes that every woman should have a best friend to call anytime of the day to confide in, a girlfriend she can rely on when things get tough or to share joyful life events with. Someone to argue and disagree with but who will still love you no matter what. She says, “I want my LBDC Chapter to be full of inspiring women of all walks of life. I would like to see LBDC Sevierville grow each year with members that are interested in making a difference in others’ lives while having fun doing it.  I am dedicated, organized and ready to hit the ground running!” Sounds like you are off to a great start, Kimberly!

Aside from directing her new LBDC chapter, Kimberly spends a lot of time with her 4 year old daughter Sienna and her 6 year old son, Jake. When she’s not acting as team mom or going back and forth between cheerleading and football practices, Kimberly is also an enthusiastic race fan, cheering on her husband while he races his late model stock car every Saturday night.  

It sounds like Kimberly has the enthusiasm, will power and excitement to be a great Little Black Dress Club director. We are glad to have her on our team!

For information about joining the new Sevierville chapter, email Kimberly by clicking here or visit the LBDC Sevierville Facebook page here.
National Director, LBDC


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Denim, Diamonds, & Divas

The Little Black Dress Club hit the town on May 10, 2013 in downtown Tracy and it is still being talked about over a week later! Twenty members from our LBDC Tracy and East Bay chapters met up for “Denim, Diamonds, & Divas.”
One year ago two fun loving women, Melanie Dunniway and Gwen Brady met by happenstance at a vendor booth at this same event. Interested in learning about LBDC and hearing more about Melanie’s chapter in Tracy, California, who knew that a year later Gwen would be directing her own Little Black Dress Club chapter in the East Bay area?
 Hosted by the city of Tracy, the point of this sold out event was a ladies night filled with cute lady vendor boutiques, a too cute for words DJ, dancing and downtown shopping. Each attendee received a goody bag, a commemorative wine glass and several food and wine tastings.

Tracy and East Bay members made their presence known! The DJ dedicated a special song to these two chapters before demanding they hit the dance floor.  All the LBDC ladies showed their best moves and were pulling other ladies out of the crowd to join in and dance away! "Those girls were great and so much fun," said Sheila Martinez. "This was the most fun event we have ever had!"

Other attendees were curious about the club, envious of the obvious connection between such a large group of women and all the fun they were having together. Gwen was fantastic in promoting LBDC and was sending tons of ladies in the Tracy area Melanie’s way to learn more about the Little Black Dress Club. “I couldn't have asked for a better first meeting between our chapters," says Melanie. “It was just an absolute fantastic night and crazy fun!!”

So what’s in store for these two chapters? The Tracy ladies plan to party with East Bay once again at the upcoming LBDC Launch Party in the East Bay area. In addition, these two directors have already begun planning a joint river rafting excursion with their chapters that will take place August 18 on the historic Stanislaus River!  
Sounds like an incredible evening was had by all, proving yet again that making new friends is as easy as throwing on your little black dress! These two Little Black Dress Club, California chapters are alive, growing and representing what the true spirit of LBDC is all about; adventure, sophistication, and bonding friendships!

For information on joining a chapter in your area, email us by clicking here.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Director Spotlight - Rachel Blankenship

The Little Black Dress Club could not be what it is without a long list of terrific directors. Challenged with the task of planning events, marketing sponsorships, organizing raffles and charity work as well as networking, LBDC directors take on these huge responsibilities, with a smile.

Our current Director Spotlight shines on 34 year old Rachel Blankenship from our Columbus, OH chapter. Leading up her chapter since January of 2012, Rachel is a “Jill of all trades” currently working as a corporate sales manager, mobile marketing area director, event planner and coordinator, business owner and entrepreneur. Her plate certainly stays full!
Along with running a successful chapter for the LBDC, Rachel also serves as a blog host for our national blog and has participated in several roundtable meetings with other LBDC directors as well as the Leadership team to help develop training and marketing tools for the club.
In her spare time Rachel enjoys a long list of hobbies, interests and fun activities. While she is certainly at the top of her class when it comes to fashion, beauty and modeling, she also loves to practice kickboxing, water sports or just check in on her favorite Atlanta Braves. While Rachel is a huge fan of Nicholas Sparks, coffee, wine, shopping, mushroom hunting and scrapbooking, she also loves to throw on a pair of naughty monkey heels and head out on the town for some girl time or to shop for a new little black dress!
Rachel’s most challenging accomplishment has been earning her PHD. After more than five years of tedious studying and hard work, she says she owes her success to her  ambition and discipline as well as endless support from her family and friends.
Humble and full of encouragement, strength and hefty goals for herself and life in general, Rachel never wants to stop learning, having fun and living with no regrets. She loves the diversity of the Little Black Dress Club and the friendships and memories they have made together. She is looking forward to a fun and adventurous summer with her chapter. 

Quoting Aristotle, Rachel says: “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Well said, Rachel. Thanks so much for being in our director spotlight and for being a part of the LBDC family! 

~Shay Ashcraft
National Director, LBDC

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Spring Into Yum!

Spring has officially sprung! I always look forward to my favorite time of year. Spring always brings the flowers back to bloom, the birds back to my feeders and new recipes to my kitchen.

After struggling with trying to maintain a healthy diet for most of my adult life, I finally decided to just enjoy what I enjoy. I’ve never been one to keep up with restrictive diets, hitting the gym 5 times a week or cutting out my favorite munchies just to fit into that summertime bathing suit. But I have found a regimen that works for me. Mainly consisting of portion control, I just find what I like, and eat it! Sounds perfect right? I’ve learned that as I steadily climb the ladder to my 40th birthday, I just need to exercise the self control that I am constantly begging my kids to use. So what works for me is simple; eat what I want, when I want small portions.

This Spring I have come across several quick and fairly easy recipes. Always on the go and seemingly rushed every minute of every day of my life, I look for tasty recipes with little ingredients, and lots of flavor. Here are a few of my most recent finds that I consume almost daily.

Pineapple Green Juice
Requires juicer
1 bundle spinach (substitute kale, romaine-any leafy green)
2 pears (substitute sweet apples)
1 half pineapple (substitute kiwi, mango)

Wash all ingredients and run through the juicer. Serve chilled for best taste.

Juicing can be done ahead of time. We make large batches on Sundays and then pour a large to-go cup each morning to have on the way to work. You’d be surprised how quickly you can down an entire pineapple, 2 pears and a half bag of kale. That’s more veggies and fruit than I would normally have in an entire week and it keeps me full until lunch time.

Green drinks aren’t pretty right? I have learned, after only 2 months of juicing, that once you find the right combination of fruits and vegetables, there ARE great tasting juices out there that will provide you with more nutrients and vitamins than you would likely consume if you ate a plate full of veggies for dinner. There are great websites, books and tools out there to help you get started. My favorite at the moment, is Best For Juicing. Daily posts include recipes, how to’s, support from other juicers. It’s a great tool, check them out.

Tuna Pepper
1 large red, yellow or orange pepper
1 can albacore tuna in water, drained
1 tsp Mayo
½ tsp Relish
Salt and pepper to taste

I mix the tuna up with mayo and relish. I pack it in my lunch with a bottle of water and a pepper. After splitting open the pepper and removing seeds, I spoon in the tuna and eat with a knife and fork. Believe it or not it fills me up when I add a bottle of water and a banana. Quickest lunch ever. Now if only I could get my kids to eat it....

Grilled Fish
This is a big one for me. Having a severe allergy to shellfish for most of my life, I have always shied away from all seafood. But one Saturday night, 2 glasses of wine and the smell of lemon and garlic changed my mind.

After my husband marinated, seasoned and grilled 5 pieces of mahi mahi, it looked too good to not try a small bite. That small bite turned into 2 pieces of fish quickly disappearing from my plate and a trip to Trader Joe's the next day to buy more mahi mahi.

With zero “fishy taste”, a soft texture similar to chicken and the great flavors of lemon and garlic mixed with the smokiness of being cooked on the grill on a wooden salmon plank, this has become my new favorite dinner. 20 minutes on the grill while some green veggies steam in the microwave and a couple pieces of garlic Texas toast (like I said; I eat what I like, in moderation) and this is one quick and easy weeknight recipe that I will continue to fall back on. All you non-seafood eaters should too!

What are some of your favorite spring and summer recipes? Email us here and share your recipes and photos for an upcoming blog post. We would love to hear from you!

~ Shay Ashcraft
National Director, LBDC