All posts by Guest Writer

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 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

Let’s Talk Fashion: Emerging Trends

Let’s talk fashion. There are two things I know for sure. First, fashion is art. Second, everyone wants to look and feel good, especially when we leave the nonjudgmental walls of our homes to accomplish the day’s mission. At Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia, our hope is to make the world of fashion a kinder entity than the unattainable images, ideals, and price tags plastered in what seems to be every platform of media available. One of the core reasons I worked my way into the fashion industry, joining Victoria Watts, founder of Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia, was to teach individuals the importance of knowing their intrinsic value. Here, we use the word fashion first as a verb, and then a noun in our company. We believe that before there were clothes to purchase, man and woman were fashioned by the hands of God. Humans are the grand finishing touch of the creative expression of the Creator of the entire world, which makes people much more valuable than the clothes they wear.

No, I am not against having an on-point wardrobe, but I do know how a person feels will show through, no matter what clothes they wear.

However, I know you are not reading this article for a sermon; chances are you reading this article because you want to talk fashion. So, Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia!

For the end of summer, I wanted to give you some advice that will keep you classic, which never goes out of style. Keep your solids, even with flirty florals and other bold prints that have shown up for spring and summer, as you will always be on-point with solids. Everyone and every body type looks good in them. They leave the world of accessories wide open, with trendy statement accessories being much more affordable to update season after season rather than garments.

On the other hand, I am not saying to completely forget florals or prints, but to understand that instead of flattering you these prints may distract and/or distort your image. The most seamless way to incorporate florals and other prints into your wardrobe is to do so with a continuous piece. A continuous piece keeps the body flowing instead of interrupting in all the wrong places.

Some of the most commonly worn continuous pieces are dresses, rompers, and jumpsuits.

Image courtesy of Faith Connected Photo

However, there is another style of continuous piece on the scene, last seen in 2014 when worn on the red carpet by Aussie actress, Margot Robbie: two-piece sets. The most common two-piece set consists of a skirt with an accompanying top, but shorts and pants may also be found. It seems one trending idea is finally something to flatter the body rather than to just stand out.

The best way to achieve a flattering look is to create one that keeps the eyes moving. There is an appeal that works of art, like paintings or sculptures, create that causes a desire for on-lookers to see the entire piece and not just one corner of work. Every person is a work of art, and each one of us has bumps, curves, height, or lack of, that we either like or do not like. We can choose to focus on those parts of us, or we can choose to see an entire person. As a stylist, my goal is to enhance the uniqueness of each person I work with individually. Pictured, myself and another local stylist, Courtney Martin, worked to create a few looks resembling continuous pieces using clothing sourced from a downtown Lynchburg retailer, Frolic by Celebration.

Still looking for more inspiration? For 2018, Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia will continue to develop seminars including model workshops with the local Lynchburg Parks & Recreation to teach individuals through professional instruction about the different aspects of fashion.

For the first time in Central Virginia history, Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia will present the first annual Central Virginia Fashion Week 2017! Think New York City, but in the greater Lynchburg area this fall: September 11-16. There will be in-store events happening throughout the week, including debuts from emerging fashion designers from within the Central Virginia region. The week will end with two runway shows Friday and Saturday. We are excited to partner with the Retail Merchants Association Lynchburg, the Downtown Lynchburg Association, and WSET ABC 13 to produce a premier event featuring collections of locally-owned retailer establishments and designers. We’re also thrilled to work with local beauty partners such as the professionals at Vanquish Beauty Studio (Sara & Denise) and Ashley at Makeup by Ashley Ancheta just to name a few. For more information, please visit www.letstalkfashionva.com and subscribe to our e-mail list for updates. We’re so excited to meet you there!

 

 

Written by Aimee Dwyer
Photos courtesy of Sidney Jackson, Faith Connected Photo
Model in Featured Image: Pamela Raine
Model in Blue: Amy Beth

Make Your Money Work for You!

Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union

From a young age, you’re told to save money for the future. But when it comes time to actually put learning into practice, many of us just don’t know where to begin. A savings account is a great start, but are you aware of how easy it can be to earn more on the money you already have? Here are five tips to get going with investing.

Do your research. You can read books and online articles, listen to podcasts, and even attend classes to learn more about investing. While it’s important to arm yourself with knowledge, nothing beats face-to-face advice, especially if you’re new to investing. Meet with your financial institution to see what they offer and to get that personal, expert guidance.

Start with low-risk options. Money market accounts and share certificates are examples of low-risk investments that are available at most financial institutions. These can be good ways to jump-start your investment goals because the chances of you losing any money are minimal.

Save for retirement now. Whether it’s a long way off or could happen in a few years, it’s never too early (or late) to think about retirement savings. One of the best ways is to invest in your employer’s retirement package. Speak to the human resources department to understand how the package works and if your employer is willing to match contributions. If they do, max it out so you don’t leave any money on the table.

Budget for investing. This is where setting a budget comes in handy because it can help determine how much you can afford to allocate toward investments. Five percent of your take-home income is a good place to begin. You might need to make some adjustments or take money from your discretionary fund to get to that five percent, but don’t take this amount from your fixed expenses like bills, emergency fund, or savings goals.

Give it time. Keep in mind that there are many paths to building wealth. It generally takes years of disciplined and strategic financial planning to get there. If you have dreams of retiring, start saving as much as you can as early as you can. Set a goal and keep that in mind throughout your saving and investing journey. You’ll be making some sacrifices now, but it will be worth it when you retire someday.

 

#Ilooklikeananesthesiologist

PHOTO CAPTION: #Ilooklikeananesthesiologist (starting at one o’clock and moving clockwise: CJ Swanson, Christine Sherman, Ilona Parks, Sarah Nie, Maxine Lee, Julie Joseph, Pam Zollinger)

Four female surgeons in full gowns and masks, peering over an operating table graced the cover of the April 3 New Yorker and inspired female surgeons across the world to tweet photos of the same using the hashtag: #Ilooklikeasurgeon. Surgery persists as a male-dominated field with women making up 19% of all surgeons in the U.S. Not so in the case in anesthesiology where women are closing the gender gap in terms of sheer representation. These physicians specialize in perioperative care, development of an anesthetic plan, and the administration of anesthetics. Seven female anesthesiologists from Anesthesiology Consultants of Virginia (ACV) recreated this tableau, not as a political statement but rather a symbol of their diversity, celebrating their American, Indian-Canadian, Jamaican, Asian, and Polish backgrounds. They belong to a practice where women comprise 27% of the group. Many of the reasons they all chose anesthesiology are strikingly similar:  a love of clinical procedures, the excitement of working in acute care, and the benefit of being in a field that affords work and life balance.
While earning her undergraduate degree at W&L, Dr. Christine Sherman volunteered at Stonewall Jackson Hospital in Lexington where she was first introduced to the work of anesthesiologists. Drs. Julie Joseph and Ilona Parks noted that they decided to go into the field because they noticed the anesthesiologists were the happiest people in the operating rooms. Parks began her medical career as a neuro-monitoring technician. Dr. Sarah Nie was inspired by her grandmother who was a physician in China.
None of these doctors feel the need to be in the spotlight. Dr. Maxine Lee likens her position to that of a bass player in a band. She is in the background, but still plays a crucial role on the surgical team.
Sherman states, “We take people as close to death as they’d ever be and then we bring them back, and they rarely realize this.”
They are the last people patients are with before a procedure and often the first ones they see when waking up; it’s intensive patient care that goes largely unseen.
The rewards for these doctors are many, and several cited their practice, ACV, as a source of satisfaction. Unpaid vacations and time off are negotiated at the yearly scheduling session, allowing each partner flexibility. Sherman chooses to spend a month at the beach with her family each summer, Parks travels the world, and Dr. Pam Zollinger has renovated a home, paints and participates in community work. She chose ACV because it’s a practice in which physician anesthesiologists provide direct patient care (as opposed to the increasingly common nurse supervision model). Lee is the immediate past president of the Virginia Society of Anesthesiologists and has strongly advocated for physician led anesthesia care. The doctors also cite the challenge of using communication skills to establish trust with patients in just a short amount of time, and they enjoy the fact that when they are done with their work day, they don’t take it home with them.
Like in any profession, these women face obstacles, especially in their dual roles as physician and mother. For Joseph, returning to work after having her babies was a challenge. She was determined to breastfeed, but had no dedicated place to pump and found the whole process of running back to the OR to be exhausting and stressful. Sherman has promised to advocate for better conditions for Nie, who just delivered her first baby and plans to return to work and continue breastfeeding.  “I am going to make sure she gets 25 minute breaks!” says Sherman.  Balancing family and work can be another challenge, and Sherman notes that she has purposely avoided taking on leadership positions at the hospital so that she can focus on raising her three children when she isn’t at work.
The respect these women have for each other is tremendous. Baby showers and social gatherings strengthen their friendships when they aren’t in their scrubs. Group e-mail communication allows them to support one other. When a family emergency comes up, a back-up plan is merely a text away. If you find yourself on an operating table in any Carilion facility in the Roanoke Valley, you may be lucky enough to have one of these accomplished doctors looking over you.

Written by Kate Ericsson

Don’t Lose Sight of Your Money

Millions of people have embraced the convenience of managing their finances online. If you haven’t yet taken the plunge into this digital land, you may wonder how it works, if it’s safe, and why it could be better than traditional methods. Even if you’re savvy online, these five tips could help make it a little easier to manage your money while you’re away from your local branch or your home.

Sign up for online banking. Check in on your accounts from the comfort of your couch, the convenience of your office chair, or when you’re miles away from home. Online banking gives you around-the-clock access and is a great way to monitor activity, check balances, and make transfers, as well as providing other useful features that you perhaps thought had to be done in person at a branch. Contact your financial institution for instructions on how to sign up. 

Get electronic statements. Let’s face it—account statements from your financial institution clutter up your countertop and eventually end up in the shred pile. Stop the cycle and sign up to receive them by email instead. That way, you can opt to look them over and move on, or print them out yourself. Plus, it’s faster than waiting on the mail, and you’re helping the environment by reducing waste.

Enroll in online bill pay. Never forget to pay a bill on time again with online bill pay. This can especially come in handy when you’re away from home. You can schedule automatic payments at the same time each month from any account.

Set up digital wallets. This is a feature on your phone, tablet, or smart watch that allows you to enter your credit, debit, and reward card information to make payments at eligible vendors. Payments are made by hovering your device over the payment terminal, then entering a code or using fingerprint recognition to confirm. It’s more secure than carrying your cards and can be shut down if your device is lost.

Notify your financial institution. Before you hit the road, hit up your financial institution to let them know your plans, including your destination and travel dates. Nothing could ruin a vacation faster than a lack of funds, and doing this helps keep your accounts safe and avoids interruptions in your credit or debit card services while you’re out of town or the country.

Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union