Category Archives: Mind•Body•Soul

Get Creative

A Unique Guide to Drawing

International magazine, Flow, presents an unparalleled guide to drawing.

From the creative directors of the groundbreaking international magazine Flow comes an unparalleled guide to drawing: 50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life: Practical Lessons in Pencil and Paper.

Inside these pages, you’ll find a drawing guide filled with beautiful illustrations and plenty of “paper goodies,” from bound-in tracing paper and colored paper to a daily drawing pad, a paper doll fashion sketchbook, and DIY postcards. While encouraging readers to draw inspiration from personal items that carry meaning (things on your desk, furniture in your home), 50 Ways includes fun, approachable step-by-step drawing lessons from professional illustrators across the globe; each exercise allows readers to put techniques into immediate practice as they develop their unique artistic style.

50 Ways celebrates the mindfulness inherent in artistic work, creative energy and enjoying the simple pleasures in everyday life. www.flowmagazine.com 

Komen on the Creeper

Ready to go above and beyond a 5K? Take the next step in the fight against breast cancer along the Creeper Trail in Abingdon.

Over 30 years ago, Nancy Brinker began a national organization in honor of her late sister who lost her battle to breast cancer, Susan G. Komen. With a goal to end breast cancer forever, the Susan G. Komen organization has raised over two billion dollars to date and started many programs to inform women about the effects of breast cancer and the importance of mammograms. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and on October 27th, the Virginia Blue Ridge affiliate of Susan G. Komen is hosting Komen on the Creeper, a 15-mile walk along the Virginia Creeper Trail in Abingdon to raise money for breast cancer research. In order to participate, walkers commit to raise a minimum of $500. (Did you know 75% of all donations received from every walker will stay in Southwest Virginia to help women in the community affected by breast cancer? The other 25% goes directly to national scientific research.)

The walk will take you through downtown Abingdon and on the Creeper trail in a 10-mile loop. All participants are welcome to a Happy Hour and Sponsor Expo at the Heartwood on Friday and a Celebration Brunch the morning after the walk. Throughout the day of the event, there will be live music, food, and drinks for guests and walkers.

Once registered, there is a training plan available, hydration tips, and mentors to help you prepare for the journey. If you’re looking for more motivation, you can also join a team or make your own! Although each member is still responsible for raising the minimum of $500, you can set a team goal and make a significant impact to end breast cancer.

If you’re not interested in walking the 15 miles and are still passionate about the cause, you can join the event as a Volunteer and help with organizing the event before and the day of. 

Registration is currently open to the public and can be done online at komenvablueridge.org/creeper or over the phone at 540-400-8222 ext. 3. More information about the Komen on the Creeper and the Virginia Blue Ridge chapter of Susan G. Komen can be found at www.komenvablueridge.org.

Creeper photo by Sam Dean.

Summer Skin Savers

Don’t overlook a good facial mist when packing your travel (or pool!) bag this summer. Calm irritated skin, set (or reset) makeup, brighten a dull complexion, balance pH—it’s a simple product but one you need to make a habit of throwing in your bag. We’ve found 4 products perfect for balancing, hydrating and reviving your summer skin for an instant pick-me-up! 

Farmaesthetics Cool Aloe Mist   This simple aloe preparation is a multi-purpose product to restore and protect the skin. The herbal combination wards off travel related flu, colds, sinus infections and coughs. Aloe vera and lavender together provide moisturizing, anti-bacterial action for the skin and nasal passages, which is important in stale, re-circulated air. Use the Cool Aloe Mist to tone and refresh, set makeup, condition the skin or as a sunburn remedy.  www.farmaesthetics.com

Little Seed Farm Balance + Tone Facial Mist   Tone and refresh with this daily pH balancing and pore refining facial mist for all skin types (especially sensitive!). Organic aloe and blue German chamomile soothe and calm skin while reducing redness. Marshmallow root extract plumps skin with naturally present hyaluronic acid.  www.littleseedfarm.com

Mad Hippie Hydrating Nutrient Mist    The Hydrating Nutrient Mist offers a harmoniously hydrating blend to minimize the appearance of photodamage—perfect for face, arms and chest. You can find Mad Hippie products at EarthFare or online at www.madhippie.com.

Lotion Yon-Ka     This versatile healing water drenches your skin with the solar charged energy of five essential oils for purifying, toning and invigorating effects. More than just a toner, this alcohol and paraben free treatment will soothe and tone the complexion. With a gentle aroma, its energizing effects can be felt throughout the whole body.  www.shop.yonkausa.com

Earth Girl Wellness

Which Diet is Best For You?

Written by Tina Hatcher, Earth Girl Wellness

We are pounded daily with a plethora of diet options. Vegan, the New Atkins, Paleo, South Beach, the Zone, Volumetrics…the list goes on! How can anyone possibly know which way to turn! The answer is relatively simple. No single meal plan is a perfect fit for everyone. What may have been successful for your BFF may not be so grand for you. Variations in lifestyles including activity levels, current health, desire or ability to cook, and budget can make or break various menu options. Consider that some individuals have no trouble going on a strict long-term meal plan, while others simply can’t give up their evening glass of wine or weekend ice cream treat!

So where to begin? The following three questions should set you on a course for success! First, where are you now? What time do you have to commit to a new meal plan? What foods can you not live without? What does your budget allow? Do you want a strict routine to follow or more flexibility? All of these variables can change over the course of your life (or even several times a year!) Choose a meal plan that won’t cause major disruptions to your current lifestyle.

As you learn to eat healthier, you can always challenge yourself a little more! Choose a meal plan that will challenge you but won’t create an entirely new routine and lifestyle overnight.

Second, what are your goals? Weight loss? Improve fitness level? Lower cholesterol? Feel happier? Different meal plans are geared towards different results. A small, female cross-country runner will have a far different menu than a large, male weight lifter. A diabetic losing weight will have different considerations than a new mom hoping to take off the last five pounds of baby weight. Choose a meal plan that will provide the energy, protein, and vitamins and minerals that will, first and foremost, create a healthier you. Choose one that still provides you with a few “loves” but encourages you to make wiser choices.

Finally, does the recommended guidelines and meal plans make sense? Let’s go to a reality check here…no one can lose 10 pounds in a week. It’s physiologically impossible, so why set yourself up for failure to begin with? Does the plan eliminate entire food groups? If you are forbidden to eat healthy sources of carbs, where will your energy come from? If you can eat excess volumes of fat, does it make sense you can actually take off a few pounds? Most of us have enough common sense to know deep down when a book makes recommendations that just seem unhealthy! Follow your gut (literally) and choose a healthier option!

Earth Girl wants you to be successful! So choose a lifestyle that will set you up for success! If you can’t sustain a nutritional lifestyle for the rest of your life…it is not for you!

Tina Hatcher is the owner of Earth Girl Wellness, LLC. Her passion for overall wellness has allowed her to work in multiple disciplines from corrective exercise, sports performance and sports nutrition, weight loss, and nutritional counseling across all ages for the last 25 years. www.earthgirlwellness.com

Earth Girl Wellness – What’s a GMO?

What’s a GMO?

Written by Tina Hatcher, Earth Girl Wellness

Food manufacturers praise their products as Non-GMO. A television commercial portrays Triscuits as “Nongenemodiscuit.” So what’s with the Non-GMO trend? Is it worth our interest since most food marketing departments have long tried to lure us in with fancy wording to entice us to buy their product? Especially since many of these marketing ploys are only vain attempts to make a product inaccurately sound healthier? Earth Girl thinks the Non-GMO marketing trend is worth the added effort.

GMOs are “Genetically Modified Organisms.” Essentially natural food items (fruits and vegetables) have their genetic material altered to create a newer, “healthier” version of the food. Take corn for example. One species of corn has a piece of its genetic material taken and inserted into another species of corn to make it more resistant to drought, torrential rain, bugs, or undernourished soil. The new version of corn is then easier to grow in harsh conditions, creating higher crop production and lowering cost. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Cross-breeding of crops has been done for centuries to create similar results. So what’s so bad about that? Cross-breeding is a naturally occurring event. A farmer can put two similar breeds of corn together to make a new breed. Genetically modifying the corn is a scientific process occurring in a laboratory; two unrelated species are forced to combine. Think of it like this: You can create a new breed of dog by allowing natural puppy love to occur or you can create a “Frankenpup” by taking an eye from one and a leg from another.

As a point of debate, most of these new species are created to help bolster food supplies in challenging environments. Unfortunately, food executives have also used the technology to make a maximum amount of profit from their products. Most of the products containing GMO ingredients are of such poor quality, we shouldn’t eat them. But let’s push the point a little bit. What other ramifications can come from GMO products? Not a single GMO product can be labeled as organic and can’t really attest to the health of the nutrition or the potential harshness of the product to the land. There is not a single long term study which can validate the safety of these products. GMOs may not have dramatic effects on the current generation but can side effects show up in our children or our children’s children? Additionally, GMOs can ultimately eradicate normally occurring species of many fruits or vegetables. Cross pollination can occur across GMO farm and organic farms that are literally miles apart.

So how can you know if your food is safely free from GMOs? The most commonly genetically modified crops today are corn and soy. These are found in virtually every packaged product on the supermarket shelf! Earth Girl highly recommends putting any GMO product back on the shelf. Look for the Non-GMO Verified Green Seal of Approval and buy organic when possible. For more information on GMOs, go to The Non-GMO Project at www.nongmoproject.org.

For more info about Earth Girl Wellness, visit here.

Running for Your Health

Top Tips to Get Ready to Run

 You’ve made the decision to get in shape, and whether your goal is a full marathon or simply a few laps around the neighborhood, there are a few steps to consider taking before you strap on those shoes and head toward the finish line.

Here are a few tips to help get you ready for the big race:

Seek Quality Sneakers – Feet come in a variety of widths and sizes, so visit a specialty running store to find perfect-fitting sneakers. These may come with a hefty price tag, but there are no shortcuts for comfort and support while running long distances.

Make a Schedule – Try to aim for at least 10 hours of training per week, including three days where you run and two or three days of other physical activity such as cycling or strength training. To avoid exhaustion, be sure to include at least 1-2 “rest” days per week.

Stick with Water – Avoid sports drinks that are loaded with preservatives and sugars. You can’t go wrong with the hydrating power of water. As a rule, try to consume at least 6-8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes you run. Proper hydration after the run is also vital.

Go Online – Many websites have training guides for various skill levels or different types of races. If you have a smartphone, look for apps that can take you through day-by-day workouts to get you marathon-ready.

Nutrition – Filling your body with the proper amount of fuel can help ensure finish-line success. Load up on quality carbohydrates, such as beans, peas, whole-wheat pastas, whole-grain cereals, apples, brown rice, and root vegetables. Protein also plays an important role in a runner’s nutrition, so fill up on lean meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, peanut butter and soy protein sources, as well.

By following these general rules, you’ll be able to focus on achieving your goal and enjoy the thrill of finishing the race. Find more tips for a healthier lifestyle at eLivingToday.com.

Get Outside!

The Return of America’s Toughest Road Marathon!

Are you ready for the most exciting annual spring athletic event to come to Roanoke this year? We couldn’t be more excited for the return of the Blue Ridge Marathon! This year’s event will take place on April 21 at 7:35am. It features a full marathon, a half marathon, a 10k, and a Carilion Children’s Family one mile walk/run! Courses begin and end in Elmwood Park, and each one is uniquely geared to be fun for every participant. Whichever path you choose, you are guaranteed to have a great time.

The full marathon (26.2 miles!!!) course takes runners through scenic views of the Blue Ridge parkway, Mill Mountain, and South Roanoke. “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” is also, arguably, the most beautiful. Marathon runners will receive free chip timing, access to “runners-only” food tent at the finish line, free event/runner photos courtesy of Game Face Media, an event shirt (if you registered by March 20), one complimentary beer ticket, live music at the finish, a free pair of Feetures! running socks, access to Fleet Recovery Zone massages and chiropractic adjustments, and more! If you’re thinking that 26.2 miles is not challenging enough, you may want to join the double marathon runners. This dedicated group starts running as early as 1 a.m. on Saturday. (There are limited registration spots available for the full and double marathons, so register as soon as possible!)

Not ready for the full marathon yet? That’s perfectly okay. The half marathon is also challenging, and features all of the freebies mentioned above. The best part: you get to break off and head to the finish line while the full marathoners continue for another 13 miles! All marathon and half marathon finishers receive a commemorative finisher’s medal. The top three male and female finishers in each age group, and the top three runners overall, will receive awards.

There is also an option to conquer the full marathon as a four person team. The 4-Person Marathon Relay allows a team of four friends to complete the course, one section at a time. All members of the relay team will get their own unique Blue Ridge Marathon Relay finisher’s medal and a marathon shirt. The first three teams, regardless of their gender or age, will be awarded a trophy at the end of the full marathon award ceremony.

Finally, the 10k option is a great way to get involved in the excitement without the daunting commitment of the full or half marathons. The course will still take you up to the Mill Mountain Star, and there will be awesome photo opportunities to commemorate your achievement. Once you finish your route, you can enjoy local food from food trucks, a beer compliments of the Blue Ridge Marathon team, and free live music. It doesn’t get any better than that!

For more information on the Blue Ridge Marathon, its rules and features, please visit www.blueridgemarathon.com. We can’t wait to see you there!

Earth Girl Wellness: Eat Healthy!

One of the questions Earth Girl most frequently gets asked is, “How do I encourage my household to eat healthier?” It is a great question and one with a variety of solid answers. It is usually best to provide feedback that is specifically tailored to each individual household since every family has a unique dynamic. Homes all have varying interest or talents to prepare meals, various schedules from serene to hectic, and everyone places a different emphasis on food in their budgets. However, there are three basic suggestions every household can implement immediately to ensure success.
1) Place healthy, easy-to-eat foods within arms reach every day. It is not unusual to hear advice that your cupboards and refrigerators need to be filled with healthy eating options. But as the saying goes…out of sight means out of mind! Place ready-to-eat, already prepared choices on your counter in brightly colored bowls or on seasonally decorated platters. Having the healthy choices in plain sight and/or in a high traffic area places a constant reminder to fill up on nutritious snacks. Red or green grapes, baby carrots, or a bowl of almonds can be quick grabs to nourish your body. Think of all the times it is convenient to grab candy from a dish…just change your habits to something healthy!
2) Water, water everywhere! Carry a water bottle with you everywhere. Water is free, has no calories and is arguably the most important essential nutrient the body needs. It keeps your belly full so you are less likely to eat unnecessarily. We often reach for something to eat thinking we are hungry when in fact, we are simply dehydrated. I often recommend an individual carry a water bottle around the house and at work, especially if a snack room or table constantly tempts her to reach for something unhealthy. You can’t reach for a donut if you already have water in your hands!
3) There are no forbidden foods! Teaching yourself and loved ones that it’s okay to indulge once in awhile is extremely important! Learning how to spread out indulgences and consume them in moderation creates a balanced lifestyle and diet. Plus, it’s no fun to never eat the foods you love! Purchase limited amounts of your favorite foods to have in your house for times you want to savor a beloved treat. If you have only one bag of chips in your house, you learn that if you eat them all in the first day you have none for the rest of the week. If you have a small handful or snack bag full once a day, you can have your salty yumminess all week! This is an especially important lesson for children and youth to learn early in life.
Earth Girl loves to recommend easy to use modifications to ensure a healthy household. My top three recommendations above can be utilized in any household regardless of time restrictions, budget, or culinary talents. Individuals of every age, fitness level, and motivation can put each suggestion to excellent use to create a healthier lifestyle!