Category Archives: Columns

Get to Know Your Neighborhood

The Old Southwest Enchanted Garden Tour

Summer is right around the corner, and that means a lot of plants in our area are in full bloom. For garden lovers, it is the perfect time to get outside, explore different garden techniques, and maybe learn something new from your neighbors. On Saturday, June 14, several gardeners in Roanoke will be available to share their knowledge and expertise during The Old Southwest Enchanted Garden Tour.

New Image123Participating property owners were chosen because of the unique and eclectic aspects of their outdoor sanctuaries. One of the first community gardens in Roanoke will be part of this tour, and the landscape is one that you will not want to miss. Owned by artist, Elaine Fleck, “Rabbit Hill” contains multiple plots that her neighbors rent to grow their desired vegetation. The area is also bursting with color from Elaine’s array of flowers that she uses for weddings and special occasions.

The event is self-guided, but gardeners will be available to answer questions regarding landscaping and the plants in their gardens from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Your ticket will also serve as a map–showcasing the tour itself on the front and the property addresses on the back.

Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit The Community Outreach program, a local nonprofit organization that takes care of feeding youth from all over the city three nights a week during the school year. Additionally, they offer assistance in school subjects such as math, spelling and reading. For additional information, visit www.oldsouthwest.org.

 

Floyd Artisan Tour

The Floyd Artisan Tour, from June 14-16, is the perfect place to take your bridal party for a weekend long excursion. The three day tour features over 50 locations across Floyd County with activities at artisan home studios; galleries and shops; wineries, farms and farm markets; and restaurant and lodging sites. Some of these stops will offer specials, discounts, or complimentary items to tour visitors. Many of them will offer educational demonstrations. You will have the opportunity to learn the art behind paper-making, pottery, woodworking, coffee roasting, and much more!

Go to www.floydartisantrail.org for a complete list of participating artists and businesses. Plan out your trip with your friends beforehand, or let the staffed information table at the downtown Community Market Pavilion provide you with information throughout the tour. They will have brochures, maps, and updated daily schedules on hand.

Pinterest Inspired

Despite what you may have been led to believe, you do not have to spend $10,000 on your wedding day to make it perfect. Our June issue is full of ideas to cut costs and still host the best celebration your guests will attend this year! Pick up your copy today, and look for our article on Pinterest inspired ideas that will add an inexpensive but personal touch to your wedding!

The traditional cake topper may not appeal to you. Visit www.etsy.com for many shops with unique cake toppers. MeltingPotLove has several to fit almost every couple’s needs. If you do not see a cake topper that matches you and your spouse-to-be, they can create one just for you!

weddingpartyweddingparty1Plan ahead for your “Thank You” cards. Use your family and friends to create memorable photos and cards you can send to guests. Obviously, you are going to want to send them (unless you never want a thank you card or gift for any other occasion). Ask your wedding party to hold letters in one of your photos that spell the words, “Thank you.” Many photographers will let you use the image on websites like Shutterfly to print your cards. (Just remember, ask first!)

Think outside of the box for wedding party gifts. Pinterest has plenty of DIY ideas, but you can also check out Etsy.com for so many wonderful gifts for your loved ones. In addtion to being reasonably priced, they are already made!

wineforawedding1For any member of the wedding party, or for the bride and groom themselves, consider a personalized wine box from Wine for a Wedding. These boxes are perfect to celebrate any occasion, and you can have a special message engraved on the inside of the lid. You even have the option of ordering a bottle of wine to include in the box! They can create a box just for you by incorporating your photos, invitations, specific monograms, or a completely custom design to fit your needs. Visit their website to place your order. Watch our Facebook page this week for a chance to win a wine box of your very own!

 

We are constantly pinning new ideas to our Pinterest boards. Follow us, and stay updated on the latest wedding DIY projects, gifts for your family, and more!

Real Weddings

Our June issue is full of out-of-the box and inexpensive wedding ideas that engaged couples will not want to miss! Also, if you are preparing for ANY celebration, we have several DIY and Pinterest articles that may inspire you.

Join us as we celebrate three couples who are either recently married or will be wed this year. All three are very different, but they each represent the true beauty and raw honesty of love in their own way. Our entire issue reflects our belief that marriage should be celebrated in a way that the couple desires– regardless of the number of previous marriages, children from previous relationships, race, income level or gender.

Most of us do not look like the brides on the covers of magazines. We are real. We have tattoos, a little extra weight here and there, or a dress of some color other than white. The same is true for many grooms, who choose not to wear a tux, have facial piercings or long hair. We decided there should be a wedding issue of Bella to which EVERYONE can relate, and so the idea for our June issue was born.

We hope you enjoy the following preview of the couples we profiled for this issue. Don’t forget to pick up an issue of Bella Magazine, on stands now, for more out-of-the-box wedding ideas! 

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Photo courtesy of Memories by Whitney Photography

 

The McCormicks

Carrie and Kimberly have been together for eight years. Last year, after seven years of being engaged, they were finally able to get married in Washington D.C.

They are currently planning a second celebration with family and friends once they are granted equal rights in Virginia.

Both feel lucky to have each other and be in a healthy, loving relationship.

“Kimberly’s soul is beautiful,” Carrie says, “I feel blessed by the unconditional love and respect we have together.”

 

 

 

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Photo by Rabiah Khwaja Gohar

The  Leonards
Although they attended the same high school in Botetourt, Joel and Jessica Leonard did not meet until years after graduation. They quickly discovered a mutual love for traveling, backpacking and camping. Their vintage wedding was beautiful, and their month-long adventure honeymoon was a unique way to celebrate what they love most about one another. “I admire Jessica’s appreciation for other cultures, art, learning, music, the outdoors and great foods,” Joel says, “These are all things that I love too, and it really means a lot to me to get to share them with such a great, strong woman!”

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Photo by Josh Gilliland

The Strongs 

Morgan Strong and Tamar Boland met through their employer, Asylum Studios. He proposed to her at the H20 Music Festival in Charlottesville with the help of New Found Glory. “It was actually super stressful,” he explains, “I can’t remember a lot of the songs that played for the rest of the show because I was trying so hard to think of what to say once I got on stage.” Tamar said yes, and the couple are planning a Star Wars themed ceremony for June.

Congratulations to these amazing couples, and to all of you getting married this year! Feel free to share your wedding ideas with us on our Facebook page!

Hair’s The Thing

 The Never-Ending Pursuit of “Perfect” Hair

“When standing among many people, I’m hardly difficult to spot. I have a wild head of curly hair with a mind all its own.”

I wrote those words 33 years ago. They formed the first sentence of my college application essay, but still describe me perfectly today. The difference is -I’ve since made peace with the way I look.

I didn’t get the “good” curly hair. You know, like actresses Andie MacDowell and Keri Russell. Their beautiful tresses grow shinning and cylindrical down their backs. My type of curly hair, on the other hand, shrinks up to half its length while drying, reminiscent of 1970’s male rockers. Bette Midler’s does too, which she admitted in a film to her straight-haired costar, “at least you have hair with weight.”

Since I also have hair without weight, I have opted for hair with height. For the last ten or 15 years, I have worn my curly hair in a ponytail on top of my head, with tendrils hanging down around the sides and front. My husband calls it the ‘Rare Tropical Shrub Look.’ He can always find me in a crowded room. Recently watching a televised gymnastics meet, I noticed the girls competing from of the University of Auburn and Florida State also wear their hair, straight or curly, this way.

Perhaps that should have tipped me off. At the age of 51, I know I am too old for this hairstyle.  I was probably too old at 40.  But the curls hanging down frame my face, and my delicate features aren’t overwhelmed by a hair explosion.

Being blessed with naturally curly hair is challenging and time consuming for me, perplexing to others. Millionaire Matchmaker Patty Stanger claims men hate curly hair and forces her female candidates to have their hair straightened before they can attend her Choose Me mixers. “Men want something they can run their fingers through,” she says.

bethherman1Despite the challenges, curly hair is a big part of my identity, which is perhaps why Stanger’s comments hurt. When I tell people that I am an artist, they often say, “you look like an artist.” I’m guessing this is because of my hair. 

There are many women with curly hair who choose to wear it straight, including my friend CB. Her hair is silken and shiny, reaching down to the small of her back. If my hair behaved like that, perhaps I would wear it straight more often. But my hair has no weight. When straightened, it quietly curls up at the ends, hour by hour, until I end up like the model for the 1970’s hair spray advertisement: Self Styling Adorn

Curly hair is messy and naughty. Washing my hair, coating it with product and getting a comb through it takes time. (I am amused when women ask me if I simply get out of the shower and shake my head.)

On the other hand, it doesn’t need to be washed every day. My roots do not show as readily as they would if I had straight hair.  It can also predict the weather. Having curly hair is unique and fun- a little wacky even.

It’s taken me a long time but I now embrace my hair.  And despite Stanger’s theory, I had no trouble finding the love of my life.  Like blue eyes or a bubbly personality, curly hair is an important part of who I am.

Beth Herman is an artist, painter and essayist based in Charlottesville. She enjoys running with her husband every morning, home renovations, and oil painting. Visit her website www.bearpainter.com to view her artwork. You can also find stories from Beth in each issue of Bella Magazine. Go pick up your copy today!

@bruceontheloose: Parenting

Way back in the old days (when you got up to change the channel on the television and asked for directions at the local gas station), I found out my wife at the time was expecting a child.  One of the first presents I ever remember her getting was the book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”  I’m pretty sure that book still exists and women still get it early in their pregnancy. 

While I never read it myself, I did skim it, then watched and learned.  As I observed, I saw there were all kinds of tips, ideas, concepts and everything you need to know about pregnancy and upcoming childbirth.  A section followed that shared information about what your child will do at three months, six months, a year old, etc.

What they never told you – probably because they knew you wouldn’t be ready for it – was that all kids are different.  The authors also never seemed to fess up and be honest about the stages of a growing child as they enter the teen years and their twenties.  It’s a conspiracy.

The tricks that worked so well on child number one or even on number two don’t seem to play out with the third one.  No matter how many books you read, you are never fully prepared for those specific personality traits that make a child so different from their siblings.  Ultimately, we love our children the best we can, do the best we can for them, throw our hands up, and then hope for the best.  Anyone who says they do much more is probably not being completely honest with you.

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Bruce, Maddy, and Tee

Recently, when thinking about how much I love my children, I reflected on the humorous and completely different exchanges that I frequently seem to have with them.  Then, like any humorous situation that happens to me, I told my friends.  When I realized they all laughed out loud (today, “LOL”), it hit me this might just be a thought to share with each of you. 

I tell my children I love them on a regular basis.  I want them to hear it, know it, and experience it.

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Bruce and Dan

What the books didn’t print and share with me was the lifecycle of responses from them.  To my 25 year old son, Dan, I say, “I love you” and he replies, “I love you too, Dad.”  When I tell my 17 year old daughter, Maddy, “I love you,” she answers, “Thanks, Dad.”  The best is when I tell my 12 year old son, Tee, that I love him.  I get a half smile and a grunt as a response.  Not a mean one, but a baseline acknowledgement one.

I smile—no matter what response I get, because I know it is all part of a cycle they are going through as their personalities grow and develop. 

Although I’m looking forward to their next stages, I’m enjoying being with them right where they are.

 

For this and other great stories, pick up the March issue of Bella Magazine!

Posh Pad: Wild Illumination

Written By Caitlin Cheatham

I have been hoarding away this massive hull of a tree trunk for three years.  The wood is beautiful, heavy, and richly textured.  I have been carefully assessing it, and trying to figure out what to do with it because it is too beautiful to throw out.  I acquired it when I worked at Anthropolgie in visual merchandising.  At the end of every installment, the “found” materials were always discarded.  I was surprised when I was the only one that jumped at the opportunity to snag this log. Ha!wildillum1

It really is beautiful enough to be hung alone, but I thought that, with a little candle light, it could be even more enchanting.  Candle light is an easy way to upgrade a room from ordinary to sultry and soothing.  My next step was to find the vessels to hold the candles and figure out how to suspend them.  Naturally, I went to the one place that makes all projects make sense–the hardware store.

With a little help from the sales associate, I found some brass wire and brass colored screws.  He had a lot of great ideas that hadn’t even crossed my mind.  He suggested that instead of mounting the handle holders right up against the wood, maybe I should dangle them and show the brass wire.  That way, it would appear more whimsical and not so “placed.”  I took his advice and bought a couple packs of brass wire and eight brass screws. 

Next, I was off to JoAnn Fabric’s, the one place that has almost everything.  I found votive candle holders in a set for around $8.00 and some votive candles.  The materials errands were finished and now it was time to put them to the test. The hard part.

I cut my wire into the desired lengths with wire cutters and wrapped each votive, securing them by twisting the wire on either side.  The twists also created loops for easy hanging.  Then, I evenly spaced my screws with a drill and hung each votive. wildillum3

Wallah!

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  The hardest part is finding the perfect place to mount it. 

 

@BruceontheLoose

The music people choose to love is an interesting thing to observe.

Some folks want you to know how cool they are by the musical groups they promote.  Others let their musical preferences reflect their lifestyle – which is why there is such a large range of genres from Americana to Country to Hard Rock to Rap and more.  Then there are people that don’t push their musical preferences to the front of a conversation, but are known to weigh in with an “I hate that group” or a quick “have you heard of such and such?”

When you’re looking for a common ground conversation at a mixer, music is an interesting topic.  Really listening to what a person says can give you a deeper look into their life approach.  It becomes a springboard to further conversation.

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Try this fun question, sure to incite a variety of responses: What are five songs you never get tired of hearing on the radio?

First of all, the tendency is to choose obscure music from dusty LPs that others reviewed and decided are classics.  You know– that fifth cut from the Police’s Syncronicity II album, or the live version of a Rihanna song that no one has ever heard.  Other responses include bands from New Orleans or central Tennessee that you must hear.   Naturally some music snobs will say, “I never listen to the radio.”  That’s how they can stay above The Fray (get it?) and not have to pay attention to pop music at all.

I like music.  It transports us to another place or another time.  It reminds us or propels us.

That means I can always pick out my favorites, but still appreciate and enjoy a wide range of things including show tunes, Eminem, and American Authors (who?).  With two teenagers, I try to keep up with newer music as well– I even saw the One Direction Documentary last fall.  That doesn’t make me hip – in fact I’ve probably lost some gravitas with a few of you – but at least I am somewhat current.  Not a bad trait for a 49 year old.

Now, since this is my question, I have a running start on answering it.  However, you can start thinking of your own answers and have fun discussing them with your friends and family.  Try to include songs that most everyone would have heard at some point – even if it was while walking through a shopping center or eating at a restaurant.  Here are my five in no particular order:

  • Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn
  • Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows
  • Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
  • Viva La Vida by Coldplay
  • The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby

No matter how many times I’ve heard these particular songs, I’ll tune in, perk up, or hit replay.  There isn’t always a reason.  I just like them.  How about you?  What songs catch your ear every single time?  Talk amongst yourselves.

@Bruceontheloose: Try Something New

It’s so easy to listen to other people and catch where they are wrong.  Sometimes when we take a deep breath and think, the next thought is the recognition we’re saying (or doing) the same thing.

Let me explain.

In the past few weeks I have had different Roanoke folks tell me they’ve never visited Black Dog Salvage, eaten at Lucky Restaurant, been to a show at the Kirk Avenue Music Hall or even heard there was a new hamburger place down on Market Street.  Respected business people said they didn’t come downtown because it was too big a hassle or they didn’t know how to park.  Active citizens didn’t know about the Roanoke Food Tour or hadn’t been to the renovated Center in the Square.

I was shocked.  These are all opportunities easily accessible and mostly not too expensive.  Interesting diversions for people in the area – some of whom may be wondering what they could do to have some fun or experience something different.

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The next part wasn’t as fun.

I’ve never been to AmRhein’s Wine Cellar.  It’s been years since I have hiked in the area and I’ve never visited the Cascades.  I haven’t been to the updated Mountain Lake Resort.  I just learned Foggy Ridge Cider is about 20 minutes from Floyd and they are open for tastings on Friday- Sunday.  I’ve only eaten at The Blue Apron one time (and loved it).  And so on…

I decided recently it was time for me to do some more exploring in my own (adopted) home town and 2014 will be the year I chip away at my list.  When someone visits our area it means business.  The Virginia Blue Ridge branding and marketing will bring more visitors through the coming years, but if they come across someone who hasn’t experienced a lot of these great things I wonder if they’ll come back.  Will they have fun and experience all we have to offer?

What about you?

Watch Salvage Dawgs on TV (yes Roanoke has its own real life TV stars), drink a cocktail at Lucky (or grab an amazing dinner or both), listen to live music on Kirk Avenue, or eat a burger at Jack Brown’s.  You can find parking downtown – make it a game or pay your two bucks and pull in.  Google the Roanoke Food Tours then go on one.  Visit the top of the Center in the Square.  Find things not on this list and make your own fun.  Then tell others about it – that’s how a community grows and a region is built.  Virginia’s Blue Ridge has so much to offer.

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Sometimes we just need a reminder our own patterns are just as set as the “odd” ones of someone else.

I can’t wait to make 2014 the year to start some new local tourist stops.