Chic, iconic and timeless, the little black dress (LBD) is simple elegance and glamour all wrapped up into one fashion staple that every woman should have at least one of in their closet. This time of year with holiday parties and New Year’s Eve just around the corner, if you don’t already own one, it’s something you should definitely put on your “got to get” list.
For me, a little black dress is something that I can rely on. It does everything I need it to and it’s the essential uniform for just about every occasion. I’m sure you’ve had those moments when you walk into your closet and after a quick look you say to yourself…Sigh. “I have nothing to wear.” This scenario has happened to every girl, teenager and woman I know, but the LBD’s that I now own are my go-to outfits any time of year for just about all of life’s events big or small. Trust me when I say this. You almost can’t have too many LBD’s in your closet.
The LBD is perfect to dress up or dress down and in Los Angeles the color black can take you anywhere and everywhere. If you don’t already own one, I’d suggest you check out a classic style like a “fit and flare” because it’s perfect for any occasion, day or night, and it’s a flattering style on almost everyone.
Black is an easy color to work around and you can easily add a pop of color with either a bright jacket, a great handbag, a colorful scarf or a statement pair of shoes for a little pizzaz. For me, I try to pick just one colorful item to wear with my LBD while keeping the rest black for more of a classic ensemble. For a casual look, try adding a leather motorcycle style jacket or even a cashmere sweater and you’ll be set. Heels give the LBD an uptown attitude while a pair of ballerina flats or chelsea boots make it more subdued. For a dressier event it’s easy to add a beaded shrug, a beautiful jacket or even a gorgeous wrap plus a pair of black suede or black lace pumps and voila’! Total perfection. When traveling, it’s practical to pack a little black dress because by adding accessories, jewelry or layering pieces to that same dress, you can achieve so many different looks, especially when taking just one carry-on piece of luggage.
A classic LBD will remain with you for years so it’s worthwhile to invest in one that’s well made and built to last. This one item will become your closet workhorse. Whether it’s tailored, belted, a-line, fit and flare, one-shoulder or strapless, you can’t go wrong with any LBD. It will become your favorite “go to” fashion piece and you’ll never have an “I don’t have anything to wear” day again. I promise.
I got this recipe from a friend in California who is an excellent cook, and the first time I made it was for a holiday dinner we were invited to in Santa Monica. This dish is a perfect choice for a large crowd because it’s both delicious and looks pretty (eye candy) and is actually an easier recipe to make for many, rather than just a few. With Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s around the corner, this is the perfect side dish for any party or holiday meal.
Serves: 8-10 (side course)
4 quarts water
Finely ground sea salt
1 lb. small mixed potatoes (yukon, purple, red) rinsed
6 – 8 carrots, peeled and trimmed
1 lb jumbo asparagus, tough ends removed
1 lb. cipollini onions, cut in half through the stem and then peeled
½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
¾ lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stem removed and caps cut into quarters
¼ c. thinly sliced garlic
1 tbsp. Finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp. Fennel seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a stockpot, boil water and add 2 tbsp of salt. Add potatoes and reduce the heat to medium-high, and simmer briskly for 6 minutes. Add the carrots and continue to simmer for 2 minutes. Finally, add the asparagus and onions and simmer for 2 minutes longer. Drain the vegetables in a colander, spread them out on a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for them to cool quickly.
In the meantime, place a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and add ¼ cup of olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the mushrooms in a single layer and cook, without stirring, until well caramelized on the first side (about 4 minutes). Turn the mushrooms once, add the garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Then transfer the mushrooms and garlic to a plate and set aside.
Wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Remove vegetables from the refrigerator. Quarter the potatoes and cut the carrots and the asparagus on the diagonal into 1-½ inch pieces. Return the skillet to medium high heat and add the remaining ¼ cup olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes in a single layer and cook, turning once, until they just begin to brown (about 6 minutes). Add the carrots and onions and continue to cook until all the vegetables are lightly browned (about 5 minutes longer). Season with salt and pepper
Put the pan in the oven and roast the vegetables until they are medium brown (about 20 minutes). Add the reserved mushrooms, asparagus, thyme, and the fennel seeds. Toss well, and return to the oven for 5 minutes to continue browning and to heat through the asparagus and mushrooms.
Remove the vegetables from the oven, taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve warm.
By the way, the vegetables can be roasted in advance and left at room temperature for 1 – 2 hours. Then just before serving, reheat for 10 – 12 minutes at 400 degrees.