Meet Katy of GypsyPalooza Too!

What led you to the idea for GypsyPalooza Too?

When I first started, I was making jewelry, and I thought the space I rented in Salem would be my studio. Then I decided I really wanted a store. I love clothes and jewelry, and I love being around women who come in looking for something to make them feel pretty. [Opening a store] wasn’t my original intention, but it completely organically happened and I followed it.

What do you hope that your customers take away from their experience with you?

We do way more than sell dresses. We give women confidence and help them try on things outside of their comfort zone. I had a lady whose husband sent her with his credit card because he loved the way she looked when she went home. We are so hard on ourselves, and we need to be nice to ourselves and kind.

Who are your biggest inspirations?

Iris Apfel (fair to say, she is also one of our biggest inspirations) and Magnolia Pearl

Do you have a favorite quote that guides you in your role as a business owner?

“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” Minor Myers

What is your favorite up incoming style?

I love layering up lacy summer pieces, or dressing them up with clothes for colder weather! For example, adding a cozy sweater and a funky pair of boots. I love vintage hats too!

Find GypsyPalooza Too on Facebook!

Get Outside: Survival 101 Women’s Course

The Survival 101 Women’s Course, offered by Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School in Catawba, Virginia is an amazing, and potentially life-changing, two-day excursion. The unique Survival 101 is geared specifically toward women, and helps develop keys to success that they already possess. Through the simulation, participants become familiar with wilderness safety, preparedness, and camping skills. They have an option to spend the night in a tent, a hammock, or the Mountain Shepherd lodge.

Dina Bennett, Vice President and Instructor for Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School, was inspired to offer this opportunity by a survival course she took in 2006 with her now-husband, Reggie Bennett. Women who take her course will learn the basics like building a fire, wilderness first aid, communicating with rescuers, acquiring shelter, purifying water, and finding food.

“Knowing how to do things gives you more confidence,” Dina says. “That confidence will make you more likely to go out, explore, and do things.”

The course also offers many parallels to everyday life. Dina, who built a career in the corporate world early in life, speaks about the similarities and how spending time developing your self-confidence in the outdoors can change your mindset once you resume daily activities.

“If you can survive the back country, then you can survive the front country,” she explains. From assessing what is the most important first step to solving a problem and proceeding with confidence, to identifying your shelter (yoga, family, etc.), to seek in times of trouble, this is about cultivating a positive attitude in order to achieve your goals and live a fulfilling life.

“Fire is our passion. There is a process to building a fire where you start with a foundation and a platform. There is a big parallel here that relates to staying true to who you are. Signaling is about communicating, and how we are sending out our signals so they can be received. We all face stress, and the more that you know yourself and how you react and respond to stress, the better you are going to handle it,” Dina adds.

One of Dina’s favorite things about the course are the friendships that often result from it.

“I’ve built some life-long friendships from this course, which is priceless to me. Women attend from all over the country, so fortunately through technology and social media, we get to stay in touch that way,” she says.

If you would like to attend a Survival 101 Women’s Course, or any of the courses offered at the Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School, visit www.mountainshepherd.com. The next Survival 101 Women’s Course will be offered September 23-24.

Roanoke’s Kid-Made Market

In January of 2016, one of Chad Young’s sons had a dream.

“He came to me and said, ‘Hey, there is a nice Star Wars Lego set I want to buy.’ I told him that was great, and we would go see how much it was and see if we could make it happen,” Chad recalls. “I hadn’t bought a Lego set in 30 years, so I didn’t realize how expensive they were.”

At the store, both Chad and his son were shocked to see that they would have to pay $80 or $90 for the toy. Even with the money his son earned from doing chores around the house, he was still far from the hefty price tag. They would have to come up with another way for him to raise the money he needed to fund the purchase.

“We decided to take the farmers market idea that is so big right now and do it for kids. That way, they can make their own stuff, sell it, and make their own money,” Chad explains.

So, the Kid-Made Market was born. Now in its second year, the monthly market allows kids ages 6-17 to come and sell their creations to the public. Unlike many local markets, the event does not charge the children who participate. The creativity at this event is second to none. One child went as far as to convert a bicycle so that, when pedaled, it turned a rotor inside of a blender and made smoothies. Customers had the opportunity to make their own smoothie on-site. The harder they pedaled, the more it mixed.

Another girl used sections that her father cut from a fallen tree in their yard to create tic-tac-toe boards. She painted them by hand, and sold one to Chad himself.

“I’m a throwback guy, so I like old nostalgic games and toys,” he says. “I’m also a Fruit Loops junkie. If it’s Fruit Loops, I’m all about it, because it reminds me of my childhood. There is a young lady who has been coming since we started, and she makes her own bath salts, bath bombs, scrubs, and lotions. She makes this bath scrub that smells like Fruit Loops. I bought a little jar of it and use it all the time.”

“That is what is so rewarding about putting this function on,” he adds. “The smile on the kids’ faces when people come taste and test their products and buy their stuff.”

Chad hopes that, in addition to providing a platform for children to express their creativity, participating in this event will allow kids to learn valuable life lessons. For example, understanding the value of money and learning to interact with the public. There is something for everyone at this market, and as the holidays approach it is also a great place to start looking for and purchasing gifts. The next market will take place this Saturday, September 16 from 9am-1pm. Find them at 3716 Colonial Avenue, Roanoke. Follow their Facebook page for up-to-date information on future markets and participants!

The Magic of Getting Lost

As a senior in college, I find the question “what are your plans for after graduation?” completely agonizing. Although a little hectic with senior seminar, work, trying to decode my math homework, and trying to make it to the gym at least once this week, my day is going along just fine. Then, someone dares to ask about what I plan to do with my life after college. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you know exactly what you want to do. If you’re like me, and most other college students, you have absolutely no idea.

So, naturally, I email my advisor immediately to make an appointment on how my life is going nowhere because I can’t seem to figure out what to do with it. As usual, he calms me down and tells me that I’m exactly where I need to be and that it’s completely natural for a college student to have absolutely no idea where they want to take their diploma. As he always says, “Look at me, I came in as a music major and now I’m an English Professor.” However, this time I came to my advisor’s office for my monthly freak out, he had something else to give me; The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman.

As someone who is very organized, a master of To Do Lists, and needs to have a plan for almost everything in her life, this book was perfect for me. The Good Girls Guide to Getting Lost is a coming-of-age memoir about the amazing journey Friedman embarks on when she, a college grad, surprises herself and everyone around her by purchasing a ticket to Ireland. Never having been to Ireland, the good girl who had always done what she was supposed to now finds herself in a strange new country, making friends with a free-spirited Australian who loves nothing more than a good adventure. While abroad, Rachel travels from Ireland, to Australia, and to South America where she discovers her love for travel; all the while finding her true self.

Not only was this book warmhearted, hilarious, and honest, but it offered an amazing insight into what it’s like to travel abroad. This book is a fantastic read and highly recommended for anyone who feels like taking a trip and getting lost for a little bit. Even though my advisor had assured me many times before that it’s perfectly fine to be a little lost right now, I never truly accepted that until I read Rachel Friedman’s memoir. The Good Girls Guide to Getting Lost taught me that it’s okay to be unsure of yourself sometimes. It’s okay to be lost. Rachel shows us that in momentarily escaping some of life’s hardest decisions and living for the moment, getting lost allows us to find ourselves.

 

Written by Taylor Ward

 

“Perfection”

What is perfection? According to Dictionary.com, perfect is defined as “conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type.” However, when it comes to wellness, I am not certain there is an exact definition of an ideal type. What makes one individual healthy and happy may not necessarily work for someone else. Even the guidelines set out by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) regarding nutritional intake and the exercise standards promoted by the ACSM (American Academy of Sports Medicine) are just that: guidelines. Both organizations take large volumes of data from hundreds of thousands of people and create standards that fit the majority of the US population regarding what might constitute optimal health. These standards can’t possibly consider each individual’s unique genetic makeup and personal preferences for a fulfilling life.

So why do we strive for perfection when perfection is at best a guess of what might work for some people? Why do we pressure ourselves into comparing what we feel others are doing that seems to be superior, and quite obviously in our minds, the best way to pursue optimal health? Earth Girl recommends we reframe our thinking when we consider our daily habits and how they impact our wellness.

Instead of berating ourselves because we had a piece of cake at a friend’s birthday party and subsequently deciding we have no self control so we might as well give up on living a healthy lifestyle (because in a perfect world we wouldn’t eat any cake), let’s refocus. Birthday parties are fun and a small celebratory piece of delicious chocolate cake might be what we seek as perfection that day. We celebrated, we ate cake, we enjoyed and then we moved on to a healthy option for dinner later that night.

Instead of relinquishing a regular exercise routine because we missed one run to enjoy an evening out with our family (and in a perfect world we would not skip a run), let’s refocus. Time spent with family can also be active and, certainly, quality time with loved ones has amazing health benefits. Enjoy the spontaneity of the situation and clock your three miles the next day.

We often think that unless we pursue everything to its “perfect” ending, we might as well not pursue it at all. Such a sad way to live the adventure called life! Let’s strive to be perfectly imperfect. Or perhaps, imperfectly perfect. Decide what is best for the situation and use the opportunity to grow and enjoy life!

Earth Girl thinks perfection is what we make it. It looks different for everyone so stay on the adventure that makes you perfectly you!

 

Written by Tina Hatcher of Earth Girl Wellness

Kids & Interior Design in Southeast Roanoke

The story begins with Mike Eaton, who lives in Southeast Roanoke with his family, contacting me about painting the interior of his home. A few days later, Joey Coakley, Bella publisher, is in a car with me driving to Mike’s home. Joey is to be their paint color consultant!

So, is it true you haven’t done any upgrades since you bought your home 9 years ago?
Mike: Yes, with the exception of painting the kids’ rooms, we haven’t done much of anything in the house. And let me tell you it was a long nine years–did you see the hideous purple living room walls? From the Barney-colored living room to the pea green dining room, the house was in desperate need of fresh paint and modern upgrades to truly make it feel like a home.

We bought the house with the intention of updating and painting, but the reality was after we moved here–me, my wife, Armendia and our 10 year old son, Lewis–life became very busy for us and home improvements were put on the back burner. And before you know it 9 years have gone by.

What happened? Let me guess, more children?
Mike: Yes. We started being foster parents. Our first one, Addy, was such a sweetheart. It breaks your heart learning of the environments and experiences these kids have lived through. We have the space and feel compelled to give a home to these children. We ended up adopting Addy.

Since then we have had numerous children stay with us, mostly for a brief period. In December of 2015 we received a call for two-day-old James. To make a long story short we ended up adopting James and his four-year-old brother, Donny. Now our home AND our hearts are full. As a matter of fact our home is so full we are planning on adding an additional master bedroom/bathroom to our home!

What’s it like, fostering children?
Mike: We 100% love it but it can be emotionally hard. Armendia was working outside the home until recently but now she works full-time with the kids. She has the patience of a saint because it can be stressful at times but there are also tremendous amounts of joy with these precious little ones. The children have had rough backgrounds and like with any kids, life isn’t predictable with them. But truly we consider it a blessing and honor to be bringing them into our family. We wish we could have more.

How does someone become a foster parent?
Mike: Start off by contacting your local Department of Social Services. Training consists of nine weeks of PRIDE classes. Basically, boot camp for prospective foster parents. The classes contain a lot of good information. There is tremendous need in the Roanoke Valley for qualified foster parents to provide a safe, loving home to these wonderful children.  

Can I become a foster parent?
Mike: Anyone can! But for you, I recommend adopting a cat or two first to “get your feet wet!”

Tell us a little bit about your background. Are you Roanoke natives?
Mike: Armendia is, but I’m originally from New Jersey. After being stationed in Norfolk for five years with the U.S. Navy we moved to Roanoke to be closer to her family. I was fortunate to get a job as an electrician at Norfolk Southern. Our day to life is very routine. I pack my lunchbox, go to work, and clock in. When the bell rings, I leave and come home to my lovely family in a quiet neighborhood in Southeast Roanoke–just like in the movies!

At the time our budget led us to the Southeast section of Roanoke. We were able to find a bigger home on a smaller budget in the quaint Waverly Place neighborhood.

Moving to the present, you now have a beautifully colored interior for your home. How did you come up with this color combination?
Mike: We knew we needed help! We wanted something timeless, yet trendy and modern. With Joey Coakley Beck’s guidance we now have wonderful new colors that highlight our home’s interior. It truly feels like a new place. The interior is bright and airy where before it seemed dark and cramped. It’s great! Thank you, Joey!

By way of closing, Armendia says, “Please contact me if you have any questions at all about foster parenting. My email is mendieaton@gmail.com

Click here for more information on fostering a child within Roanoke.

Information is also available here for Salem and Roanoke County residents.

 

Interior paint colors:
Living and family rooms: Sterling
Dining room: Fresh Willow
Kitchen: Tinfoil
Trim: Ultra Pure White
Ceilings: Matte White

All paints by Behr Marquee.

Written by River Laker

 

 

 

 

What We’re Reading

Stories from the Holocaust by Nancy Wright Beasley

Nancy Wright Beasley Photo Credit: Jay Paul

Izzy’s Fire: Finding Humanity in the Holocaust is about the “miraculous journey that finally led Edna Ipson and her family from the heel of the Nazis to ‘the other side of hell.’” The Little Lion is the story of Laibale Gillman, a teenager living in Lithuania who showed courage beyond his years by devising a plan that helped several of his family members escape Kovno Ghetto, where they were forced by Nazi troops. Nancy Wright Beasley, author of both books, sat down with us to discuss what led her to these stories and why it is important to tell them for generations to come.

Why do you think this time period is covered now more than ever, and why is that important?
Firsthand history is quickly diminishing. Most Holocaust survivors are quite elderly, even if they were children or just born at the end of the Holocaust, they are now in their 70s. The firsthand accounts, memoirs, and gripping stories are so important because [the Holocaust] had horrendous consequences and always will. We will not live long enough, I don’t think, to outlive the consequences. Think of what was taken from our world. How many great writers, physicians, inventors, and scientists? I think we owe it to them to tell their stories.

What led you to these specific stories out of so many from the Holocaust?
I’ve always said that Izzy’s Fire chose me. The decision was made for me to write about the Holocaust in Richmond at the Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial Cemetery. Every November, they have a Kristallnacht ceremony to remember the “Night of Broken Glass.” I went to the ceremony one year, and I heard a beautiful service that November day. At the end, the survivors walk to the microphone and say the names of family members that did not survive. Alan Zimm was the last one. I counted on my fingers as he said the names, and I ran out of fingers before he ran out of names. I went up to him afterwards and I told him he had changed my life. I had to write about the Holocaust.

How did The Little Lion come about after writing Izzy’s Fire?
The Little Lion is a character in Izzy’s Fire. I could not tell his story at the same time, because it would have deviated from the story I was trying to tell in Izzy’s Fire. I went to my friend, Neil November, and he asked what I had in mind next. A friend of mine told me I needed to go to Hollins University. I went to see Neil, and he thought I should enroll and financed it. He had no idea what I was going to write and neither did I. I thought it would be a children’s storybook, and what it became was a young adult novel based on Laibale Gillman.

The Little Lion was adapted for the stage by Irene Ziegler, and the world premier was held January 30 through March 5, 2016 at Swift Creek Mill Theatre in South Chesterfield, Virginia. A stage reading will take place at Mill Mountain Theatre on Friday, September 8 at 7pm, and Saturday, September 9 at 8pm. Beasley will be available following both performances to sign books. She will also be speaking at the South County Library in Roanoke on Saturday, September 2 at 2pm, and will be selling signed copies of her book afterwards.

If you are interested in learning more about Beasley’s career, including her trips to Lithuania and the descendants and survivors behind her stories, purchasing her books, or subscribing to her newsletter, visit www.nancywrightbeasley.com.

What does gluten-free really mean?

Gluten-free is currently one of the major health trends. Every decade or so, we have a new trend with thousands of new products. Some trends have greatly backfired on us such as the “fat-free trend” and the “eat only meat” trend when we found out, after several years of research into the health of individuals following them, that they weren’t so healthy after all. I am not necessarily claiming that gluten-free diets will meet the same ill demise as other trends, but consider this: Gluten-free meal plans can have health benefits, especially to those with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. Even individuals with no significant health risks arising from the consumption of gluten can eat gluten-free and maintain a healthy lifestyle. But buyer beware!

I often hear of individuals going on a gluten-free diet so that they can lose weight and “be healthier.” Great! I applaud any efforts to engage in a healthier lifestyle. However, often times, a gluten-free diet is filled with highly processed, low fiber, empty calorie foods. It’s not healthy at all! Gluten-free pancakes, gluten-free cookies, gluten-free toaster pastries certainly fit the bill for a gluten-free diet! But are they healthy? Not so much. Nor are gluten-free pizzas full of preservatives, gluten-free pasta dishes with no veggies or gluten-free sandwiches full of highly processed cheese, mayonnaise and other “unmentionables.” Also consider that many of these processed, gluten-free items are pretty darn expensive! You end up throwing money away on food that has “no life” and certainly isn’t healthy!

So what’s a gluten-free health nut to do? Look at other whole food options that are naturally gluten-free. There are so many healthy, inexpensive options available that no one should feel confined by a gluten-free diet. All fruits and veggies are gluten-free, so indulge in plenty of those! Beans also gluten-free. Grains such as quinoa, rice, buckwheat (in spite of its name) and amaranth are all excellent sources of fiber filled carbohydrates. Nuts and seeds? Gluten-free! A wonderfully healthy and delicious gluten-free plate would include a preferred vegetable (or two!), a healthy dose of protein such as organic chicken breast, and a side of rice or quinoa.

Earth Girl recommends you break free from the highly marketed, gluten-free products lining the grocery store shelves. Focus instead on lovingly grown, naturally gluten-free products that you can find every weekend at most any farmer’s market!

 

Written by Tina Hatcher

The regional magazine for women