Category Archives: Bella Magazine

Celebrating our 11th year!

bellaNOV14_coverOur first publication, Bella, debuted in June 2006. It is a monthly, free publication for women that is distributed in carefully selected locations throughout Central and Southwest Virginia.

This multiple award-winning magazine appeals to women of all ages and demographics and our following us outstanding. If you are interested in more information about advertising in Bella Magazine, please contact us at advertise@beckmediagroup.com or call 540-904-6800.

For editorial considerations email editorial@beckmediagroup.com. {No phone calls.}


Employment Opportunities: Currently we are looking for advertising sales reps. FT or PT, your choice. This is commission-only with unlimited earning. No seriously! Interested? Email resume and convince us why you’re the one: jbeck@beckmediagroup.com


Internship Opportunities: Want to file and make coffee all day long? Apply somewhere else. Want REAL experience at a FUN, RELAXED office? Apply here: hworgan@beckmediagroup.com   {Our internship opportunities are on-going so reach out when you’re available.}

 

Ten Days of Mom: Blue Ridge Music Festival Tickets!

Ten Days of Mom: DAY EIGHT!!!

thefestival

Country music fans, listen up! Today, we are giving away two tickets to BOTH days of the Blue Ridge Music Festival on May 30-31!

This is a Mother’s Day gift that mom will remember for years to come! The lineup this year includes big names like Brad Paisley, Florida Georgia Line, and the Charlie Daniels Band. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the show starts at noon on both days.

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to enter! Good luck!

Ten Days of Mom: Michael Kors Watch from Fink’s!

Ten Days of Mom: DAY FIVE!!!

LKORS0018__26342.1411605516.416.416We REALLY wanted to keep this prize for ourselves– a GORGEOUS ladies Michael Kor’s watch from Fink’s Jewelers (valued at $225)!

Give mom a gift that will help her stay stylish AND on time during her chaotic day! Plus, every time she checks her watch, she will think of her (favorite) child. We can’t wait to give away this beauty to one lucky lady! Good luck!

 

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to enter!

Money Saving Tips for Holiday Travelers

bellamagazine‘Tis this season for long lines, crowded airports and bustling lobbies. Travel during the holiday season is almost always a harried event, especially when overbooking or inclement weather completely disrupts travelers plans. According to NerdWallet, 20 percent of the holiday flights from 25 of the busiest winter airports were either delayed or cancelled over the past five years.

While you can’t do much about the inconvenience caused by a cancelled flight, you can take a few measures to make your holiday travel experience less expensive. Here are several tips to help you and your travel party save money during the most wonderful (and costly!) time of the year.

  1. Use your warehouse club card.
    If you have a membership to Costco or Sam’s Club, consider booking through their travel portals for discounts on airfare, lodging and rental cars, as well as deals on cruises and activities. Costco has deals like 10 to 20-percent off rooms at Hyatt and Best Western properties, as well as discounts and coupons from several rental car companies. Sam’s Club advertises average savings of 15 percent on hotel rooms, and 10-percent off rental car rates.
  2. Factor in all the fees.
    If you opt for cheaper airfare, you may be slapped with lots of additional fees, like checked baggage, priority boarding, seat selection and even carry-on luggage. Make sure to read the fine print and account for all the fees before booking. It’s possible flights that appear to be more expensive will save you money in the long run.
  3. Price-track for the best deal.
    Comparing airfare prices among different carriers is key to getting the best deal on your flight. However, this process can be time-consuming and frustrating, which is where Pintrips.com comes in. This site compares prices on travel with real-time price-tracking, and offers an added social element to help you coordinate with your family and friends. You should also keep price-tracking after you book; Southwest offers refunds for itineraries that drop in price after purchase, and other airlines do as well, depending on the difference amount.
  4. Use a Hotel loyalty program.
    Using rewards programs from hotels and hotel-booking sites can yield discounts and free nights. For every 10 nights you book through Hotels.com, for instance, you get one night free when you’re part of their rewards program. I recently used my free night in Spain and saved $300! For travelers in need of last-minute accommodations, check out the HotelTonight app; it offers high-end hotel rooms for cut-rate prices.
  5. Redeem your rewards.
    According to Colloquy, a loyalty intelligence consulting firm, $16 billion in rewards go unredeemed every year. These rewards aren’t just perks; you earn them as a result of your spending, so it’s wasteful not to use them! Redeem your credit card or airline miles for gift cards to help pay for your holiday travel, or figure out how to use miles for flights or even restaurant meals.
  6. Buy discount gift cards.
    For dining, entertainment, airfare and hotels, you can save on your travel needs by using discount gift cards. Restaurant.com offers gift cards for 40-percent off face value to local eateries when you enter zip code. You can also enjoy that family holiday movie outing for less: Warehouse stores offer bundled gift card deals for movie theaters, like a 10-pack of tickets to Regal Cinemas for $84.99 (less than $8.50 per ticket!) from Costco. Use any leftovers as gifts!
  7. Use dining coupons to save on food when traveling.
    Look into daily deals for restaurants and movie theaters via Groupon or LivingSocial for 40 to over 60-percent off your dining experience. Tap into restaurant coupons using Coupon Sherpa, which offers discounts to national restaurant chains that you can find in most major cities, like a free appetizer at Olive Garden or a free breakfast entree from Bob Evans with entree-and-two-drink purchase.
  8. Price one-ways and book separately.
    Before you search exclusively for round-trip tickets, price one-way tickets from multiple carriers to see if you can get a better deal. This strategy also enables you to apply reward miles to one leg of the trip if you don’t have enough to cover the cost of a round-trip ticket. Also, book group tickets separately; reservation systems must price group tickets the same, meaning if there are only two bargain tickets left and you’re booking for four travelers, you miss out on those savings!
  9. Buy someone’s cancelled reservation.
    A unique way to save on hotel lodging is to buy a cancelled reservation. RoomerTravel.com connects you with other travelers who are stuck with a hotel reservation they can’t cancel, and facilitates your purchase of that reservation for up to 25 percent below market price. Enter the city or zip code where you’re visiting to look for available reservations.
  10. Rent your room or house while you’re away.
    You can rent your house while you’re away using services like HomeAway and AirBnB. The average cost is $65 per night, and you can use the money earned to help offset the cost of your trip and other holiday expenses. If you’ve never listed your home before using one of these sites, read AirBnB’s Decide to Host to learn about the process and the details you need to consider.
  11. Research airport parking and transportation.
    AirportParkingReservations.com provides a current list of available parking lots and going rates helping you find more affordable long-term parking. You can read reviews to ensure a safe location. Also, don’t get stuck at the airport destination with no ride to your hotel or family’s home, or you could get stuck paying a premium for a cab service. Consider shuttle services or even seek car shares via Zimride.
  12. Get reimbursed for delays or cancellations.
    There’s nothing worse than finding out your flight is delayed or cancelled, especially during the holiday season. With AirHelp, you can receive compensation for delayed and cancelled flights, lessening the blow to your budget and making the inconvenience more bearable. The service takes 25-percent of your haul if you are compensated, but nothing at all if your claim is rejected. With the potential to receive up to $800 for your troubles, it’s worth a shot!

 

Stylish Thanksgiving Dinner Necessities

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and we want to share our favorite dinner party necessities with you! Check out this list of unique kitchen and dining items to put the finishing touches on your holiday meal:

runnerHeat Resistant Table Runner with Removeable Magnetic Chalkboard Labels: 
The perfect accessory to decorate your table AND offer functionality! This heat resistant table runner from GUS is filled with heavy duty polyester batting to accommodate hot dishes while protecting your table. Place all of your dishes along the runner and write the name of each or its ingredients on the removable chalkboard labels. Chalk pencils sold separately.

Casserole Carrier with Insulated Lining: 

Made of Recycled Coated Cotton, with sturdy rope handles and faux leather trim, this Carrier is perfect for transporting all your favorite dishes from a large lasagna to Grandma’s recipe for everyone’s favorite stuffing! Insulated interior keeps food hot and is easy to wipe clean.

cozysWine Bottle Cozy Set of Two:
Made of felt, elastic and chalkboard fabric, these wine bottle cozys help preserve the ideal temperature of your favorite red, white, or bubbly. You can even write the wine type on the chalkboard fabric so you don’t need to take the cozy off to see what you’re about to pour! Perfect for dinner parties and events. Chalkboard pencils sold separately.

All of the above items can be purchased at www.greatusefulstuff.com.

And, for your cooking needs, you have got to check out this Dual Grater from Kuhn Rikon. You can do two types of grating using this tool and it is collapsible for easy storage! It sports a textured handle for a safer gril and an ultra sharp stainless steel grater. It is available on Amazon.

 

Host a Chocolate Tasting Party!

485x485_wine_pairing_kit_closedThis holiday, host a chocolate tasting party!

What is a chocolate tasting party? We’re glad you asked. It is a unique celebration in which you and several friends gather together to pair high quality chocolate with wine, discuss the pairings and jot down notes. You and your guests will learn more about the items you are tasting in an inexpensive and fun way!

If you don’t know where to begin, try a helpful wine pairing chocolate kit from TCHO. It includes chocolates and tasting grids for four tasters. All you have to do is add a pairing wine (or two), mild crackers (for cleansing palates between samples), and pens.

box_sf_heart_485_1They also offer great gifts for those of us not attending a chocolate tasting party. Let’s be honest, no party is complete without chocolate! TCHO sells several gift boxes, but our favorite is “I Left My Hearts in San Francisco.” It comes in two sizes and contains pure notes paired with chocolate, nutty, berry, and bright notes.

For more information on the products TCHO offers, visit www.tcho.com.

Daily Skin Care Essentials

Regardless of age, protecting your skin is important– especially as we approach dry, cold winter months. Make moisturization, restoration and protection a part of your daily routine with the suggestions that follow:

pumpkin pieYou have a dependable chapstick or lip balm in your purse as winter approaches. Chapstick is offering a variety of new formulas that will help you keep your lips hydrated, fuller, and smoother for the holidays. Check out their festive flavors including Vanilla Candy Cane Milkshake, Pumkin Pie and Candy Cane– all available at your local drug store.

SPF protection often moves to the back of our minds during the winter, but we are still exposed to harmful UV rays–especially on our face. It is the one area that we usually leave uncovered when we spend any time outside.  Consider using a facial moisturizer that also offers a powerful SPF, like Eve Lom Daily Protection + SPF 50 . The perfect two in one product for all skin types, Eve Lom SPF adds smoothness to your skin while providing protection against sun and environmental damage.

bellaonline1Toners are also a great way to hydrate and brighten your skin. EmerginC offers a pomegranate toner that uses high quality, potent and natural ingredients. The toner works for all skin types, even sensitive skin. The main purpose of the toner is to tone and brighten your complexion with also gently removing dead skin cells.

 

Pick up the November issue of Bella Magazine for more tips on cold weather skin care! 

Written by Kristi Hall

Boost your home’s energy efficiency

It’s now easier than ever for homeowners to transform their homes into models of green living thanks to the growing availability of affordable, energy-smart building products and materials. From replacing incandescent light bulbs to reviewing the energy rating on new appliances, more homeowners are making informed decisions on how to cut energy consumption and boost efficiency.

Homeowners who are serious about boosting their home’s energy efficiency should consider working with a certified Home Energy Rater. These professionals conduct a series of tests to assess a home’s energy efficiency to provide an overall efficiency rating in much the same way that appliances are rated. Armed with this information, homeowners can make home improvement decisions that further boost their home’s energy efficiency.

According to the U.S Department of Energy, heating and cooling accounts for about 56 percent of the energy use in a typical U.S. home. While using smart thermostats can help correct daily energy use, homeowners should consider how thoroughly sealed their home truly is. For instance, the amount of air escaping from the home via cracks and gaps within the building envelope can have a significant impact on the overall efficiency of the heating and cooling system.

Why does this matter? Escaping air means the furnace or air-conditioner must work overtime to compensate and maintain a comfortable living temperature. As a result, energy consumption remains high, monthly bills continue to climb and any efficiency achieved through other methods is done in vain.

Understanding the factors that contributes to air leakage is essential for improving efficiency and lowering monthly bills. One of the key areas to consider is the home’s insulation. While some homeowners may think simply layering more insulation on top of existing insulation may do the trick, typically these traditional insulation types are unable to provide a thorough air seal or promote better heating and cooling efficiency. In fact, all the small gaps left behind by regular insulation materials like fibreglass can add up quickly.

One effective consideration is replacing traditional insulation with a high-performance spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation, such as Icynene, both air-seals and insulates to stop air leakage from occurring, allowing homeowners to reduce energy consumption, effectively control their indoor environments and live greener.

When installed, spray foam insulation expands to completely seal a home’s walls, floors and ceilings to prevent air leakage. Insulation experts from Icynene note that quality spray foam insulation can noticeably reduce heating and cooling costs, in some cases by up to 50 percent. More information on how spray foam insulation can help improve household energy efficiency and reduce air leakage is available at icynene.com.