All posts by Hayleigh Worgan

Catherine and Whitney of Punch Boutique!

Catherine Justice (right) and Whitney Greene (left), new owners of Punch Boutique!

You all took over Punch Boutique in May. At what moment did you decide that taking over the business was what you wanted to do?
Whitney Greene: I have always had a passion for both the apparel industry and entrepreneurship. When the previous owner approached us about purchasing the business in late spring, we knew at that moment we didn’t want Roanoke to lose such an amazing business in the community. It was an amazing opportunity neither of us felt like we could pass up—and the support from our customers really affirmed our decision. I knew that it was something I couldn’t do without Catherine though, as we both have different backgrounds, personalities and perspectives. I think that really makes us a unique partnership.

Catherine Justice: I have been with Punch from the ground up. Our former boss taught me everything I know and I continuously want to know more! I love Punch and saw this a natural progression. There is nothing else I’d rather do, and no one else I’d rather do it with than Whitney!

What do you enjoy most about your job?
WG: There are so many things! The customers that have become a part of our lives, the fact that each day is different and always requires us to think creatively and problem solve. I also enjoy being able to bring fashion and unique products to my hometown and spread my passion with everyone here. I love being a part of something bigger in the community.

CJ: The relationships. I absolutely love my customers, coworkers, and vendors. I thrive on building and keeping relationships. Finding that perfect outfit together is the heartbeat of my job. Also, the clothes…it’s pretty much every girls dream job right?!

Do you have a favorite quote that guides you in your role as a business owner?
WG: “Always keep your eyes open, keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.” Grace Coddington

CJ: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Michael Jordan
You can’t be the best on the team without going to practice or failing!

Who is your biggest inspiration?
WG: My family and our customers. Both are the reason were lucky enough to be in the position we are. My family constantly supports my dreams without question and our customers constantly fulfill my dreams.

CJ: My husband is my biggest inspiration. He works harder than anyone I know. No day is more important, he gives 150% every single day and it is very admirable.

What is your favorite style for Fall 2017?
WG: There is a strong emphasis on sleeves for fall. Dramatic shapes and fresh details make arms key focal points. It’s classically romantic and feminine. I think the diversity in style, silhouette, and substance is what makes fashion great.

CJ: It’s all about velvet! All ages, all styles…you have to have something velvet or with velvet on it!

How do you hope your customer’s experience in Punch Boutique impacts their daily life?
WG: We constantly strive to provide each customer with a personal experience. We are so lucky that many of our customers have become our friends, with whom we share our highs and lows. We wouldn’t have it any other way. We want customers to feel like even though we are a ‘dress shop,’ we truly want to be involved in the process of dressing them for all the occasions in their lives. We want to be a part of helping them feel and look their best for all their needs. We also know that our customers work hard in their daily lives, so we like to ask ourselves how we can make life easier for our customers: by being a one stop shop for clothing, shoes, and accessories. Our customers (hopefully) leave with a friend in our employees (& us), a personalized experience, and a phenomenal outfit.

CJ: I want women to feel confident in their Punch attire. It isn’t shallow or superficial to feel good on the outside because that is the first step to feeling good on the inside. “Retail therapy” is a real thing and I see it happen on a daily basis.

What We’re Reading: Wild

Wild: Endangered Animals in Living Motion (A Photicular Book) shines a spotlight on the mammals, birds, and insects currently threatened with extinction.

With Dan Kainen’s masterful Photicular technology, readers are treated to eight movie-like images of a diverse range of endangered species, including a rare Amur leopard licking its paw, a pair of gorillas at play, a young rhinoceros speeding ahead of its mother, and an elephant bathing in a river. Each scene is paired with an informative profile by science writer Kathy Wollard.

Readers will learn that an albatross can float through cold air currents for hundreds of miles without once flapping its wings, that a leopard can leap about 20 feet into the air, and that there are more than 250 species of bumblebees in existence. They will also learn about the devastating environmental and economic conditions that threaten these animals’ survival, and the steps that conservationists are taking to stop (and in some cases reverse) the damage.

Wild will be available where books are sold on September 5, but you can win a copy over on our Facebook page in August! Stay tuned!

Bella Sips: Sloshies

The temperatures are climbing, and we find ourselves longing for a nice cold drink under an umbrella by the water. If it’s your day to relax, or you’d like to try a new drink by the lake with your friends, Sloshies: 102 Boozy Cocktails Straight from the Freezer has you covered! With everything from tart drinks like Whiskey Smashed, to spiced drinks like High on the Hog, your experience is destined to be unforgettable!

Whiskey Smashed
Give your party an extra kick with this smashing combination of small-batch Kentucky bourbon on top of a citrus blend and minty frozen love.

ABV: 9.77%
Glass: Up & Down
Garnish: mint leaf, lemon wheel, and a floppy hat (for you to wear)

2 3/4 ounces water
9 ounces Simple Syrup
7 1/4 ounces Mint Simple Syrup
6 ounces lemon juice
6 3/4 ounces lime juice
8 3/4 ounces Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Combine
Place the ingredients in a medium-size metal bowl and stir.

Freeze
Pour the liquid into a large freezer bag and place it in the freezer until frozen, approximately 4 hours. Alternatively, pour the liquid into an ice cream maker and proceed per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve
When you’re ready to drink, massage the freezer bag by hand until it’s a wet, slushy consistency. If it’s not breaking up, run the bag quickly under hot water and massage some more.

High on the Hog
Bacon is the candy of meats. It’s so delicious, we decided just to build a drink around it. Ginger, maple, and bourbon roll on your tongue while you fight the urge to just eat the bacon garnish first.

ABV: 12.78%
Glass: Up & Down
Garnish: strip of crispy bacon

27 ounces ginger ale
2 ounces Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry
2  3/4 ounces Cabin Fever Maple Flavored Whisky
8  1/4 ounces Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Combine
Place the ingredients in a medium-size metal bowl and stir.

Freeze
Pour the liquid into a large freezer bag and place it in the freezer until frozen, approximately 4 hours. Alternatively, pour the liquid into an ice cream maker and proceed per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve
When you’re ready to drink, massage the freezer bag by hand until it’s a wet, slushy consistency. If it’s not breaking up, run the bag quickly under hot water and massage some more.

Makes at least 4 drinks.

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to win a copy of this book!

FloydFest 17: Freedom

Boasting one of the most dynamic lineups ever assembled for a multi-day world music festival, FloydFest 17~Freedom is set to deliver a truly engaging and diverse artistic experience along the magical Blue Ridge Parkway from July 26 to 30. Across nine+ stages over five days, FloydFest 17 welcomes more than 100 bands for its 17th installment, including Thievery Corporation, Michael Franti, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Rising Appalachia, Leftover Salmon, Steel Pulse, Railroad Earth, Marty Stuart, and Xavier Rudd.

FloydFest is located at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and tickets are available by visiting FloydFest.com. Single- and multi-day general admission tickets are still available, with bundles available for camping. A small number of High-Roller, All-Access VIP tickets are also still available, along with additional ticket options for parking, camping, and outdoor adventure activities. Visit FloydFest.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

A recent recipient of top accolades from TIME Magazine and Fox News — and voted the 11th ‘Best Festival in the World’ and 2nd ‘Best Festival in the USA’ by FlightNetwork — FloydFest 17’s final artist lineup includes Thievery Corporation, Michael Franti, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Rising Appalachia, Leftover Salmon, Steel Pulse, Railroad Earth, Shovels & Rope, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Xavier Rudd, White Denim, Turkuaz, Fruition, Keller Williams+, TAUK, The Steel Wheels, The Hip Abduction, Larry Keel Experience+, HONEYHONEY, Vurro, BIG Something, Shook Twins, Baskery, Zach Deputy, The Mantras, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Fémina, That 1 Guy, Dave Eggar Band feat. Sasha Lazard, The Lil’ Smokies, People’s Blues of Richmond, Rebekah Todd & the Odyssey, Jack Broadbent, The Suitcase Junket, Black Masala, Hillbilly Casino, Urban Soil, Blue Mule, Che Apalache, Jordan Harman Band, M.C. Broom & the Jam, T Sisters, Banditos, Jon Stickley Trio, The Tillers, Alanna Royale, The Stash! Band, Strange Americans, Whiskerman, The Brother Brothers, Honey Island Swamp Band, Edward David Anderson, Dead 27s, Davy Knowles, McLovins, Hayley Jane and the Primates, Broccoli Samurai, The Drunken Hearts, Strange Machines, Trae Pierce & the T-Stones, Liver Down The River, Sol Searchers, GOTE, Black Mountain Revival, Lobo Marino, PLF; Galax to Floyd Pickers: David & Mason Via, Aaron Woody Wood, Blake & Jamie Collins, Gina Sobel, Mason Via & Hot Trail Mix; EchoMix Artists: Konrad Kuechenmeister, Boib Funck, JANXX, Brain Hill, Dead Sea Sparrow, Kendra Warren, King Django, John DeCarlo, Gyorgy De Val; Mama Said, The Get Right Band, The Mallett Brothers, Villa*Nova, Dharma Bombs, The Folly, South Hill Banks, Seph Custer & the Papa Tom Band, Chris Ross & the North, Morgan Wade & the Stepbrothers, Mad Iguanas, Claire Hitchins, Bryan Elijah Smith & the Wildhearts, Jaewar & Vibe Riot, The Wildmans, Fernandez Sisters, Einstein’s Monkey, Girls Rock Roanoke, Community High School Band, Jefferson Center Music Lab, Mike Mitchell Trio, Dixon’s Violin; FloydFest Buskers: Brad Collier, Waiting to Exhale, Fason & Cannaday, Seph & TK, Will & Jodie Norton, Flirting with Chemicals; Nicki Calhoun, Howard Falco, Miss Kitty’s Cosmonauts, Lunaversal.hoopz, Oakely the Greenman, 1000 Faces Mask Theater, Ambrosia Farms Puppets, Magician of Life, Becky the Balloon Lady, Gravity Check Juggling, Gypsy Geoff and more.

The unforgettable magic that was FloydFest 16’s Buffalo Mountain Jam returns in 2017 for its second-annual installment. Known for its impromptu artist collaborations, super jams and special guests, the Buffalo Mountain Jam will evoke a ‘freedom’ unique to the 17th annual event—not to be missed.

“The Buffalo Mountain Jam is extremely important to witness — it’s a capstone of the festival, spotlighting ‘new-school newgrass,’” Hodges said. “It’s a free-form jam that speaks to the quality of the musicians that make it happen … a jam that speaks to freedom.”
As always, FloydFest will also include vibrant and varied vendors, quality craft brews and chews, healing arts, workshops and whimsy, children’s activities, onsite art installations and a final lineup featuring more than 100 artists performing on nine+ stages.

FloydFest is located at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, Va. Detailed directions, tickets, and additional information are available by clicking to www.floydfest.com.
For more information, call (888) VA-FESTS or email info@floydfest.com . Find FloydFest on Twitter @floydfest, Instagram @floydfestva and Facebook @FloydFestVA.

Embody Progress: The Change Project

We were first introduced to The Change Project when we met a representative from the organization at Roanoke’s Pride Festival in 2016. Their mission is to “elevate the voice of LGBTQ people and advocate for an improved quality of life through the arts, education, and local policy initiatives in the Deep South and Midwest United States.”

The organization was founded by Steven Romeo in 2012. It works with the LGBT+ community in Southern, Midwestern, and rural communities, QTPOC, youth, people living with HIV, and low-income communities. In November 2015, The Change Project was honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change.”

Their campaigns like “Faces of LGBTQ America” and “IAMHIV” pair stories with photos and seek to increase visibility while simultaneously ending stigma. They give power back to the people represented, and create space for a constructive dialogue about what it is like to be part of communities that are often either judged or ignored.

So, how can you support this amazing organization?

First, check out their website. There are great resources there on how to donate and volunteer to help in your community.

You can also visit their shop! Shop Progress creates innovated, fresh fashion that “intentionally seeks to encompass the vast array of identities within the LGBTQ+ community.”

And, if you’re up for traveling in August, they will present Embody Progress, a conference on LGBTQ equality, August 10-13 in Birmingham, Alabama. You can register for the conference by following this link.

Tour Roanoke Outdoor Adventure!

Tour Roanoke was the first group to host food and beverage tours in the Roanoke Valley. Of course, our city is rich with history to explore, and that includes the surrounding mountains and rivers. One of the more spirited ways to learn about and fall in love with southwest Virginia is by taking to the water and the trails, so Tour Roanoke decided to try something new. This year, they offer Kayak the James and Craft Beer Trips with Twin River Outfitters. Each trip includes a six mile paddle on the river to one of three local breweries. This section of the James River includes Class I & II rapids.

“All of our tours–food, beer, wine–it’s all about showcasing local Roanoke. So it was not a difficult leap from that to local recreation. The James River is an appealing location because it’s 60 miles of uninhibited river there. It is one of the longest navigable rivers on the east coast,” says Larry Landolt, founder of Tour Roanoke.

The series of three Sunday trips began last month, but they will host another on July 23. They plan for this month’s adventure to include Great Valley Farm Brewery. Located in Natural Bridge, the brewery is not only a place to appreciate local craft beer, but also offers a remarkable view.

“It’s a really cool brewery. It’s on a nice hill overlooking the mountains. You can sit on the patio and drink a beer and look down to see Safari Park,” explains Larry.

Those participating in tours this summer will be picked up at Target (located near Valley View Mall) or the downtown Visitors Center, and transported to Buchanan, where their trip will begin at Twin River Outfitters. The oldest and most experienced outfitter operating on the Upper James River, they have safely conducted paddle trips since 1978. Sign up fees include equipment and instruction provided by Twin River Outfitters, and one pint or flight from the brewery on the trip.

Southwest Virginia is quickly becoming an outdoor recreation destination, and it’s not hard to understand why. With breweries popping up all over the area, the two leisure activities easily go hand in hand. For Larry and so many others, it is an unforgettable experience to escape and unwind. So, why not also take the opportunity to enjoy it with old friends and make a few new ones on the journey?

Or, as Larry says, “Let’s go do something really fun, drink beer, and talk about it.”

Can’t make it to one of the dates online? No worries! Tour Roanoke is also open to hosting private tours for up to 14 people. It’s the perfect adventure for wedding parties, birthdays, company functions, and more!

Visit www.roanokefoodtours.com for more information on how to schedule your trip, or one of their many tour options in Roanoke.

FloydFest 2017: Freedom

Where will you find your freedom on the mountain?

Will it be somewhere between the nine stages? 
A “natural amphitheater,” Streamline Stage at Hill Holler is a place to bring a blanket, lay back and relax while you take in the music. Or, dance with friends (or even by yourself!) to your favorite bands. Take in the Speakeasy Stage: an amazing covered dance space that has featured everything from the festive nature of musical performance to sword swallowing and burlesque dancing.
Of course, if quiet is what you need, seek out the Healing Arts Village for body-mind balance. Visit the Workshop Porch, hosted by Ferrum College, a space that transports audiences to the front porch music jam sessions of earlier times while artists share their music and stories to accompany it.
Take the kids to the Forever Young Stage where they can enjoy open mic sessions, Taekwondo classes, and tetherball matches, all in the main field area. FloydFest, as you may already know, is famous for the fun it offers for the entire family. Parents can enjoy the show on the Dreaming Creek Main Stage while the youngsters explore their own creativity.
And, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the Pink Floyd Garden Stage. This serene location is surrounded by trees, picnic tables, and craft beer vendors. It is the perfect place to meet new friends and spot old ones throughout the day. You don’t want to miss it at night, as it transforms under the aura of brightly colored lights to a brilliantly funky stage.
The VIP Pub Stage is for those with a backstage pass only, but Bella girls it is well worth it! Complimentary beverages, a comfortable lounge tent, and memorable performances await.

Will it be on an adventure with your FloydFest family?
FloydFest has multiple opportunities for outdoor adventure. They even have a tent dedicated to it! Sign up for one of their On the Water in Floyd Float Trips (Thursday-Sunday), the Parkway Brewing Company 5K Trail Running Race, or a guided hike. You can also join the Belcher Mountain Beatdown, a guided FloydFest 19-mile mountain bike journey (just make sure to bring your own bike and helmet!). In addition, there will be an Innova Disc Golf Tournament on Saturday! The mountain bike journey and float trips are catered, and include a small fee. Entering the 5K race, walking the Moonstomper Hiking Trail on your own, or joining a guided hike are free for FloydFest attendees.

Will it be in the performance of your new (or old) favorite artist?
Rebekah Todd & the Odyssey take the stage on Wednesday, along with talented musicians that will help you celebrate your first night on the mountain. On Thursday, enjoy Thievery Corporation, and honor artists of all ages with Girls Rock Roanoke. Friday welcomes Michael Frantz & Spearhead, Leftover Salmon, and Steel Pulse. On Saturday, Rising Appalachia (featured in this issue!) and St. Paul & the Broken Bones perform. Sunday, round out the weekend with Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, the TSisters, and HoneyHoney. These big names are just a few of our favorites, but there is a long list available on the FloydFest website. You will be surrounded with music all weekend—and really, there is no better way to enjoy the summer.

Visit www.floydfest.com for a complete lineup, list of activities and workshops, and to purchase your tickets! Don’t forget to bring donations for Floyd’s Plenty! Food Bank. Every two nonperishable items or one jar of peanut butter donated is an entry to win a FloydFest prize pack which includes a free 5-day ticket to FloydFest 2018. We’ll see you there!

Rising Appalachia at FloydFest

Rising Appalachia began years ago as the front porch project of sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith to pay homage to their family. However, the dedication the sisters share to social activism started many years before through their involvement in community justice work and local food movements. Using their talent as a way to both share stories and encourage introspection, the sisters combined their interests to create an experience that is unique and inspiring. Joined by their beloved band, percussionist Biko Casini and bassist/guitarist David Brown, they share their colorful sound all over the world. Born and raised in the concrete jungle of Atlanta, Georgia, Leah and Chloe sharpened their instincts in the mountains of Appalachia, and fine-tuned their soul on the streets of New Orleans. This has resulted in a 6-album career that showcases a melting pot of folk music simplicity, textured songwriting, and “those bloodline harmonies that only siblings can pull off.”

Though it is not without challenges, Leah and Chloe stay true to their passions in the face of a fast-paced environment that has a tendency to push talented musicians into egocentric rockstars. They call their approach the Slow Music Movement.

“We’ve always explored sustainable touring ideas and options. We do everything from alternative travel methods like touring by train, to making sure as much local food as possible is brought to the green rooms and encouraging festivals to have a relationship with farm-to-table food. We don’t use plastic water bottles, and we avoid single-use plastic, encouraging the venue to take that on themselves as well,” explains Leah.

Fans will not find the band at strip malls or in hotel parking lots either. They make a point to seek out lodging near national parks, cabins, or stay with friends in farm homes. Additionally, they often visit urban gardens in the cities, and try to put their time and energy into neighborhoods, communities, and land-based projects.

“We are constantly trying to steal away moments for introspection, writing, and mindfulness. I walk every day, all over the place, wherever I am,” says Leah. “That’s kind of my movement meditation.”

Staying so close to the community keeps their desire to help others and be present as focal points in their journey. The band makes time during their performance to share the power of the stage and introduce audiences to those doing important ground work in social justice and equality efforts. Their tour schedule does not allow them to remain and nurture the impact in any one community, so it is important to Leah and Chloe to make sure the seeds they plant of emotional and environmental sustainability can grow even in their absence. Shifting the power to local faces helps ensure that will happen.

“Music is the tool with which we wield political prowess. We are building community and tackling social injustice through melody, making the stage reach out with wide arms to gather this great family. It has taken on its own personality, carrying us all along the journey,” says Leah.

“I’m really inspired by the beautiful, radical creative folks that show up in our audiences, “she adds. “Night after night, there are so many creative bright lights. We are inspired by our fan base. They have always been powerful, productive, and proactive folks in their communities. I think for our band and interpersonally, it has given us more purpose. We hope [our purpose] is reaching wider than us, and we are all grateful to have this vehicle to express ourselves.”

Rising Appalachia is touring all over Europe this summer, but FloydFest has a special place in their hearts, and is one of few festivals they will play in the United States in 2017. Catch them on stage both Saturday and Sunday, and follow up by learning how to support local farmers, seeking out sustainable resource options, and finding a quiet place to meditate on personal growth.

The best way to keep the feeling of a good show alive is to carry the inspiration from it with you and learn from it long after the audience dissipates. From Leah’s perspective, Rising Appalachia is going to do everything they can to put on a show that feeds your soul and lights that spark.

“At it’s best, [being on stage] is magical,” she explains. “We spend concerted effort trying to make sure we create a radical setting for the audience. We want to a take them on as much of a journey as possible.”

If you can’t make it to FloydFest this year, be sure to check out their new live album, Alive, this fall. Do yourself a favor when you do, and make it a truly immersive experience. Turn off the notifications on your phone, meditate, and enjoy the tapestry of stories woven into song by this talented band.

For more information about Rising Appalachia, visit www.risingappalachia.com.