Ever since I can remember I have loved dressing up. I spent hour upon hour raiding my mother’s lingerie drawer to dress up like Samantha or Serena (I had a much stronger resemblance to Serena in both colorings and naughtiness) in Bewitched using mom’s negligees.
In an Elizabeth Emanuel period costume
Modeling was just an extension of that love of dressing up. I was mesmerized as I watched the make-up artist, hairdresser, and stylist do their magic in the mirror….often not recognizing my own reflection staring back at me when they had finished.
Julie Anne Rhodes
I’m sure I dreamt of being an actress as a little girl simply so I could wear the costumes. Sometimes it was a wee bit less flattering a transformation than I’d imagined…
Playing an amputee in Fresno Smooth
Then eventually, my friend Elizabeth Emanuel made my dreams come true when she asked me to do a short film called Passion House to showcase the period costumes she started designing in the early 1990’s.
A still from the short film Passion House
Elizabeth was already an internationally renowned dress designer. In fact, she designed THE wedding dress of the 20th century, Princess Diana’s wedding dress in 1981. We met 5 years later at the baby shower Jerry Hall threw for me at which the ever generous Liz gave me the worlds most beautiful christening gown for Tatjana. We often saw each other at social gatherings after that…until we lost touch when I left England.
Jerry Hall and Julie Anne Rhodes
Then the wonders of facebook helped us find each other again last year. I had a blast attending Emma Noble’s birthday bash last week with Liz and her partner Tony. It was the first time we had actually seen each other in 12 years.
Elizabeth Emanuel and yours truly
It was lovely to spend the evening with my bubbly friend, catch up, and to wish her an early happy birthday (for July 5th) …and while I am at it….to our dear friend, Jimmy Demers. July 5th is quite obviously a great day to be born on.
Sweet & Sour Asparagus
Of course, being winched into those tiny little corsets…which cinched my waste into just 22 inches, meant seriously watching every morsel that entered my mouth. I was always hungry, so I filled up on lots of fresh vegetables. Filling, but low in calories. The trick was to keep them interesting with flavor. This weight watchers recipe is a real winner!
1 pound fresh asparagus
3 whole cloves
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1). Steam asparagus until just crisp-tender. Shock with cold water to stop the cooking process, drain, and set aside.
2). Meanwhile, combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, cloves, cinnamon stick, and celery seed in a small saucepan. Heat slowly over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Pour over asparagus while still warm. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (the longer the vegetables marinate, the more intense the flavor will be).
3). Remove cloves and cinnamon stick, drain, and serve cold or at room temperature.
Serving Suggestions: I often serve this with my Chinese BBQ Chicken, but it is yummy with any Asian inspired main course or as a snack on its own.
Variations: Don’t like asparagus? Substitute any steamed vegetable of your choice. I have made this with green beans, bok choy, carrots etc.