Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Flowers and chocolate are nice, but let’s be honest–it isn’t that hard to go to the grocery store, grab those items, and make it look like you actually thought about Valentine’s Day for more than three seconds on the way home.
Surprise your Valentine with unique and creative gifts that appeal to their personality this year–it only takes a few extra seconds to find something beautiful, thoughtful, and perfect for the one you love. Here area  few of our favorite ideas:

VDay_Paramour2Paramour Valentine’s Day Archipelago candles: These candles are elegant, and they smell wonderful also. This is a gift that your Valentine can appreciate for quite some time, and the glass containers make wonderful keepsakes once the candle is gone!

Bubblecake Cupcakes: Again, candy is great… but we love cupcakes! This option is perfect for any sweet-loving male or female in your life. Plus, they are having a really great deal this weekend. Head over to their Facebook page for more information!

word-notebooks-declan-3pack-coverWord. Notebooks: We featured these in our February issue, but we have to mention them here as well! There are many different styles of these notebooks available, making them the perfect gift regardless of gender. Plan an adventure for your Valentine, but don’t forget to give them the notebook first–that way they can record it and remember it forever!

2016 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Registration: The Virginia Blue Ridge Affiliate of Susan G. Komen is hosting their Race for the Cure on April 9 this year. Surprise your sweetheart by registering them and yourself to participate! Take advantage of their sweetheart deal, which offers the lowest race registration prices available, before it ends on Monday, February 15. Click here for details!

Happy Valentine’s Day from your Bella girls! We hope you have a great weekend!


Valentine’s Day Style

If you’re still looking for the perfect outfit to catch the attention of your significant other this Valentine’s Day, look no further than these fun ideas! Turn heads in this red statement dress, paired with gold love-struck heart earrings, scalloped black flats, and a chic hair accessory to match!

Modcloth Dress A red dress for Valentine’s Day is nice, but add a couple of subtle accent colors to the bottom and you have something you can wear all year! You can find this one here!

earringsAccent your dress with a cute pair of earrings from ModCloth!



sam edelman Augusta flatsHeels are cute, but flats are our best friends! Check out these comfortable staples from Samedelman!

Goody headbandAdd a headband from Goody to complete your look! They offer several sparkling, dressy options. However, you can never go wrong with plain black!

No matter what style you choose, we hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled with special moments shared by loved ones!

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Giving Back: Love Your Melon

Love Your Melon was founded in October 2012, with the simple idea of putting a hat on every child battling cancer in America. Two college sophomores, Zach and Brian, set out to fulfill their mission of improving the lives of these children, traveling from coast to coast with hats in hand.
Not only does Love Your Melon provide hats for patients, they also sell them (along with other items) to the public. Through funding from product sales, they can continue to give hats to children newly diagnosed each year in addition to the 45,000 to which they have already committed.
Also, fifty percent of the net proceeds from their sales go to the Pinky Swear Foundation (providing immediate support for children battling cancer) and CureSearch for Children’s Cancer (to fund research initiatives to beat childhood cancer completely).
In order to reach their goals, Love Your Melon has expanded significantly in the last few years. They now include a network of college students across the nation called Love Your Melon Ambassadors. To date, more than 2,500 college students at over 225 different schools have signed on to sell and donate hats. Locally, Kinzie Trompak began a chapter at Virginia Tech in the spring of 2015.
IMG_8888For Kinzie, the desire to help children battle this disease went beyond sending a check to an organization. It was about getting involved personally and creating a bond when people needed it the most.
“It is really rewarding to be able to go and do donation events at hospitals,” she explains. “It gives you the opportunity to put a face to the cause.”
Kinzie’s initiative to establish a chapter at Virginia Tech was the first big step to help children in our area battling cancer. However, it is important that we get behind her and show that we, as a community, are part of their team.
“Readers can help by purchasing anything on the Love Your Melon website and crediting the Virginia Tech campus,” she says. “We are currently the only campus in Central and Southwest Virginia that participates in the Love Your Melon Ambassadors program.”
Visit to check out their selection of beanies, caps, shirts, and accessories. Their beanies are perfect for the remainder of winter, and their shirts will make a great addition to your summer wardrobe so you can love your melon throughout the year!

Give Where You Live

Foundation for Roanoke Valley is a community foundation that has been serving this area for over 27 years through creating and administering grants. They award over $3 million in grants every year. After the local nonprofit community reached out to Foundation for Roanoke Valley asking for help raising funds, cultivating donors, developing marketing strategies, and technology training, they decided that something needed to be done. Foundation for Roanoke Valley took notice of other community foundations across the nation who have been implementing “giving days.” These giving days are online events that allow the community to raise funds in order to give back to the nonprofits in their area. RVG LogoThrough these events, an incredible amount of money has been raised and the participating nonprofits have been able to have an even greater impact on their areas. After evaluating the needs of our community, Foundation for Roanoke Valley asked, “Why not here?” and has decided to host their own giving day, “Roanoke Valley Gives.” Roanoke Valley Gives will be held on March 16 from 12:00am to 11:59 pm, giving participants a full 24-hour period to participate. Foundation for Roanoke Valley has set the bar high with a goal of raising $150,000! They are using this opportunity to not only raise funds for nonprofits, but also to connect and educate the community about the services they provide. This event is designed to draw out the next generation of philanthropists in The Valley! Already there are over 100 nonprofits participating including Habitat for Humanity, Roanoke Valley Horse Rescue Inc., and Pathfinders for Greenways.
Want to get involved? Head over to and see if your favorite local nonprofit is participating! Here you can also keep track of how much money has been raised and see who is in the lead! Donations of any amount are welcome, but must be made through the Foundation for the Valley website. Foundation for the Valley is aspiring to “bring good people and good causes together” so be sure to mark your calendars so you don’t miss out on this opportunity to support your nonprofit community!

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Make Healthy Choices at Smoothie King!

Located on the lower level of Towers Shopping Center, Smoothie King offers a wide variety of smoothies for those looking to improve their meal choices. We sat down with one of owners, Cindy Starleigh, to learn more about their smoothies and how they can help customers achieve their goals for a healthy lifestyle.

How were you first introduced to Smoothie King?
“I was a senior project manager so I travelled almost every week to various cities such as Charlotte and St. Louis. When you travel, it is important to be healthy when you are dining out. I liked Smoothie King because they definitely offered that option.”
What made you want to open a location in Roanoke?
“My husband Rocky and I lived in Northern Virginia, but I had family members in Roanoke so we decided to move here. My husband took over our family dry cleaning business and he did that for four years while I continued to travel with my job. During that time, we realized that Roanoke didn’t offer anything like Smoothie King. It was important to us to provide something convenient that encourages people to live a healthy lifestyle.”
smoothie-cupWhat inspired you to become a locally-owned part of the international franchise?
“Franchise was something that we wanted to do because it is a higher rate of success compared to if you opened a small business on your own. Smoothie King has been around since 1973, and the franchises began to open in the late 1980s. Everyone in this business loves what they do and believes in it. That was important to us, because we wanted to sell something that we believed in and had no issues marketing to our customers. For example, we wouldn’t want to encourage our customers to buy foods packed with high calories, chemicals and preservatives. We want them to be healthy.”
What makes you different from some of the other restaurants that offer smoothies?
“There are quite a few differences. First, some fast food places use flavoring liquids to create their flavors. At Smoothie King, we use real fruits and fruit juices. There are no hidden ingredients or preservatives. We also offer vegan smoothies and partner with reputable companies like Nutrition53 Lean1, Chobani, and Sun Warrior to bring the best ingredients to our customers. 
Secondly, all of our smoothies are certified gluten-free. Last year, Smoothie King partnered with the NBA New Orleans Pelicans and their New Orleans stadium is now the Smoothie King Center. In order to be that level of a sponsor, our products had to be tested to make sure they were healthy and clean. The NBA spent close to eight months analyzing our ingredients to make sure there were no chemicals in them and that they were safe for the NBA players and other athletes.
Even the retail products that we carry are scrutinized to make sure they do not contain anything outside of an approved list, because we know that the products that aren’t on that list could have chemicals that are not good for athletes and people.”
Can you replace a meal with a smoothie?
“Absolutely. In fact, we are currently promoting our “Change a Meal Challenge” that will continue through the end of February. The idea is to replace one of your meals with a smoothie, and maybe even replace two meals once you are comfortable. Our smoothies have proteins, vitamins, minerals, and nutritional ingredients that you would typically look for in any type of food. Replace what you are comfortable with and stick with it to see what kind of changes you can experience. In the end, it is about putting things into your body that it needs. It’s not really about dieting, but instead making a lifestyle change you can stick with. ”
IMG_1107How can you help busy women (and men!) with their weight loss/health goals?
“A lot of focus is placed on how we look and losing weight. It creates additional stress that we really don’t need because we are already working and taking care of our families. Losing weight is not simple or easy. Eating healthy isn’t either, but help is available in this store. We want you to know when you are running short on time to prepare a healthy meal, Smoothie King is a great option as opposed to fast food. We even offer products that will help you make your smoothies at home to cut down on costs. We can also give you advice so you have a little less to stress about while you lose weight and get healthier.
Women tend to put their families first and themselves last, but you have to be healthy first in order to do so much for others. It’s easy to say, but doing it is harder. Little things that you can tweak can really make a difference. It all starts with what you put into your body!”

Smoothie King is open seven days a week and their staff is always ready to help you with your nutritional needs. Visit them on the lower level of Towers Shopping Center in Roanoke or go to for more information on all of the products they offer!

P.S. Be sure to pick up a copy of our February issue–it includes a coupon for a FREE 20 oz smoothie from Smoothie King!

Mummenschanz at The Jefferson Center

If you are looking for an exciting and unique way to spend the upcoming weekend, consider Mummenschanz–coming to the Jefferson Center this Saturday, February 6!
We’re giving away four tickets to this event, which is sure to be a hit! Mummenschanz is a Swiss theatrical group that has been revolutionary in the art of visual theater since 1972 using giant hands, clay masks, and massive balloons to bring innovation to theater and puppetry.
Mummenschanz has been to different countries around the world and even the Broadway stage! This is sure to be an event that will bring out the child in everyone and is guaranteed to be a family favorite! And the best part? You can enter to win tickets by following the directions on our Facebook page! Good luck!

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Thinking of You on Valentine’s Day!

With your choice of 18 different scents, the Tarah Jade Aroma Candle Collection is a great gift idea for anyone special in your life! This Valentine’s Day, treat your spouse, sibling, or friend to a unique scent they will love.
Options like the Sandalwood Musk or French Tobacco are perfect for the man in your life. Lemon Verbena or White Leaf make great gifts for the ladies! Don’t forget to pick up the Noche Cubana or Asian Pear scented collection for yourself!

candleWhile their candle’s shape may appear similar to countless others, they ultimately stand above the average candle product for a few reasons:

  • The Tarah Jade company proudly proclaims themselves having “natural, ecologically and socially sustainable products” and thus allows them “to connect, personally, with our growing world community”. True to their word, their candle wax is made of organic soy.
  • Each candle is hand crafted, and poured individually, in Los Angeles, California.
  • The wood wicked of the candles have a burn time of 50 hours, a little over two days.
  • For $30 (and free shipping!), you can buy the Tarah Jade Aroma Candle collection now on their website!

Pick up a copy of our February issue for more Valentine’s Day gift ideas!

Written by Madison Correiro

Giving Back: REBBL Beverages

REBBL Elixirs & Tonics are making waves in the nutrition community, having recently earned the title of 2015’s Best Functional Beverage. Even the name itself, REBBL, stands for plant­based nutrition; Roots, Extracts, Berries, Bark, and Leaves. All of their beverages are Certified Organic Products (meaning no GMOs or pesticides). However, that’s not the only reason why the name is so fitting. The company stands for many economic and environmental issues globally, and isn’t afraid to ‘rebel’ by putting their money ­ and efforts ­ where their mouth is, so to speak.
s6Many global resources derive from people who live on the impoverished side of the economy, and REBBL provides such people with medical care, housing, and clean water products. Furthermore, the organization sources their organic, ‘super­herbs’ and ingredients from these communities. Also, REBBL proudly believes in efficiency, as to not waste any of “nature’s invaluable, treasured ingredients.”
The REBBL website lists the variety of flavors for their ‘elixirs and tonics’, like the Maca Mocha (made with the maca root) or Hibiscus Mint (which is made with Cat’s Claw, a plant that boosts immunity). Rather than simply listing complicated­ ingredients like many other companies, REBBL also provides explanations for the unique ‘super­herb’ in each drink ­ along with any other ingredients ­ and the community from which it is derived.

Written by Madison Correiro