Virginia Made: TeTai

Meet Tabitha Venditti of TeTai

Summer vibes have finally arrived. Sunshine, warmth and vacations. Beaches are calling your name and cookouts on the weekends become norm. Fun in the sun is the theme for June as outdoor activities are planned for the entire family. Through all the chaos there’s one thing that sometimes takes the back burner. Skincare. That’s where Tabitha Venditti, founder of TeTai, a natural skincare line, comes in.

Tabitha grew up in Portland, Oregon and later moved to Pennsylvania. In 1993, she found herself in Lynchburg attending Liberty University. Twenty-five years, and a family later, Virginia is where they call home. Tabitha recently completed a degree in English from Lynchburg College. Raising a family, running a business and working for a local family as a personal chef while taking classes was not an easy task. Not a woman to back down from a challenge, Tabitha not only completed her degree but graduated with special recognition for her writing abilities.

TeTai began as a challenge as well. Named after her two daughters (Tegan and Taitum). It all started when Tabitha’s oldest daughter, Tegan’s, eczema became more and more problematic. An aunt in Hawaii sent the family a recipe for a scrub using oil and sea salt that helped but was too oily for the three-year-old. Tabitha took on the challenge of creating a product her daughter could use with success. The result was a unique scrub that combined seven unique oils, fine sea salt and essential oil of lavender. The natural product healed Tegan’s skin without all the harsh chemicals and created a demand among friends and families.

“Every product I make bears the names of my daughters and represent quality. I couldn’t sell it if I didn’t believe in its quality.” Each product created within the skincare line covers a variety of issues within the skin for both men and women. From extremely oily to dry, sensitive skin and acne, there’s a little something for everyone. Scrubs, bath bombs, toners, facial oils and essential oils are just a few naturally-based products offered. The newest additions of TeTai were motivated by Tabitha’s own need for a regime to combat large pores and sagging, aging skin. The TeTai Toner and facial oil combination of argan oil and organic lavender solved her problems better than any name brand skincare without costing hundreds of dollars.

Tabitha’s passion for her daughters and leading a natural lifestyle are what have built TeTai into a trusted brand amongst her clients. Her willingness to research, experiment, fall and get back up again are examples of the tenacity it takes to run a successful small business. As her friends were asked to describe Tabitha their words matched everything reflected in her business. Words like “passionate, young-at-heart, determined, quirky, vivacious and loving” were just a few mentioned. When she’s not experimenting for TeTai you can find Tabitha enjoying her college and high school-aged daughters, reading To Kill A Mockingbird, or watching Jumanji through tears. On Saturdays, catch TeTai at the Historic Roanoke City Market and various craft shows around Virginia.

Find TeTai:

www.etsy.com/shop/tetai   USE BELLA CODE: BELLA for 20% OFF

 

www.tetai365.com

Written by Faith Jones of Hill City Handmade

Faith Jones is a local entrepreneur, creative, and believer.  Her businesses include Faith Inspired and The Hill City Handmade. Faith has a degree in Art and Photography and is a former high school art and culinary teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family and travelling. Faith’s motto is, “Paris is always a good idea.” 

www.thehillcityhandmade.com

Let’s Travel… Locally!

Adventures are waiting for you—maybe even in your own backyard! 

Looking for a fun mini-vacation this month? Why not use this opportunity to support the local economy? There are plenty of fun places to visit and spend time with family and friends in Southwest and Central Virginia. Check out our favorites below…we may just see you there!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Carvins Cove Natural Reserve – This is a beautiful experience for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. With over 12,000 acres of hardwood and mixed pine forests, 60 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, and more than 11,200 acres protected by the largest conservation easement in Virginia’s history, this is a place where you can truly appreciate the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. At the reserve, take advantage of free-ride downhill trails, boat rentals (kayaks, 14’ boats, and paddle boats), stand up paddle boarding, and fishing opportunities. Hop on the free ride downhill trails or the cross country single track. Pack a lunch, and take a friend! www.roanokeoutside.com

Fairy Stone State Park – Warm weather is here, and that means it’s time to break out your camping gear! Fairy Stone State Park is the perfect place to spend a long weekend enjoying the scenery (including the 168-acre lake adjoining the Philpott Reservoir!). Attractions include cabins, a campground, group camping, an equestrian campground, a conference center, hiking trails, lake swimming, rowboats, canoes, paddle boats, kayaks, picnicking, and two playgrounds (one of which is in the water!). This is a great mini-vacation for children of all ages, as the park is one of few places in the world where you can find the legendary Fairy Stones. There are all kinds of superstitions attached to these stones, but the best part about them will be the special memories attached to the ones you find. www.dcr.virginia.gov

Apple Ridge Farm – You may already know Apple Ridge Farm for its reputation for providing environmental education and camping experiences for more than 70,000 youth, many from Roanoke’s inner-city neighborhoods and public housing projects. However, it’s also a great place for adults to relax and unwind! This unique location is surrounded by beautiful mountain views and five miles of hiking trails to take advantage of during your stay. The best part? Guests can book their stay in an actual train caboose car! Specifically, a remodeled 1978 Norfolk Southern Caboose Car. Outfitted with a queen size bed, sofa, table for two, and an attached outside deck, it provides a unique aesthetic you won’t soon forget! Your stay will include a complimentary breakfast basket, and all proceeds provide funds for Apple Ridge’s mission to “Help Kids Grow.” Book your stay on Airbnb. www.appleridge.orgBedford, Virginia – While we are on the subject of Airbnb, there are plenty of beautiful locations to choose from if you are interested in exploring the Bedford area. In Bedford, you can truly experience what it means to eat and shop local, supporting local farmers, artisans, and small business owners every step of the way. On the weekends, start your Saturday off right at the Forest Farmers Market. The selection may vary, but in the past vendors have offered fresh local fruits and vegetables, baked goods, arts and crafts, and more! For lunch, head to Town Kitchen Provisions! They offer specialty and deluxe deli sandwiches and super deluxe green salads in addition to espresso drinks, beer, and wine. Spend your afternoon on the Bedford Wine Trail, which includes Hickory Hill Vineyard, Peaks of Otter Winery, Ramulose Ridge Vineyards, Seven Doors Winery, LeoGrane Winery, and White Rock Vineyards. Or, visit the Bedford Visitors Center to learn about Bedford’s rich and intriguing history. Head to dinner and Olde Liberty Station, where you’ll choose from local cuisine options like steak, pork chops, and chicken paninis. www.visitbedford.com

Floyd, Virginia – FloydFest isn’t the only time of year to visit and support Floyd’s local economy! Start making your trek up the mountain this month, and check out the small businesses that offer products and experiences you can’t find anywhere else. You’ll love the wood fired pizzas at DogTown Roadhouse (www.dogtownroadhouse.com). On the weekends, they offer live music as well! There are many dining and shopping options to choose from in downtown Floyd. Set up your tent or RV at Chantilly Farm and spend the weekend exploring everything this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains has to offer! At Chantilly Farm, you can wake up and enjoy bike riding, walking, and running in their wide open spaces. They also offer a wooded hiking trail, two disc golf baskets, and rentable corn hole boards. www.chantillyfarm.com

Abingdon, Virginia – There is nothing quite like a stay at the Martha Washington Inn and Spa in Abingdon, Virginia. A short road trip from Roanoke, the inn sits right on Main Street, allowing visitors to experience the relaxing environment of the spa before spending a day (or night) on the town! Take a ride on The Virginia Creeper Trail and return to the Martha in the evening for a generous glass of port wine at the front desk. If you stay at the Martha, use their complimentary town bikes to ride down Main Street, relax in a therapeutic salt water heated pool, and unwind by the fire-pit. Dine at one of the many excellent restaurants in Abingdon before catching a play at the Barter Theatre. Visit the restored train station now known as The Arts Depot, where you can mingle with working artists. You could easily spend a whole week in Abingdon and still find new things to do every day. www.visitabingdonvirgina.com

Fashion: Pardon Muah

Summer Trends to Try

Written by Amanda Marshall, Pardon Muah

Summer will be here soon and there are several new trends you’ll definitely want to try! If you haven’t done your Spring cleaning, now is the time to empty out those closets. Fortunately, many of this year’s popular warm-weather wearables are quite versatile! Which means you can mix and match them, wear them often, and hopefully keep them for years to come. Here you’ll find some of my favorites!

Blue & white stripes made their big debut (again) this Spring and will carry over into the Summer months. Blue and white striped pieces have never really gone out of style but this year they are bigger than ever. You’ll see lots of tops in all kinds of styles in light blue & white and navy & white. Button ups, off the shoulder, tees, embellished blouses, etc. It’s a trend you can take with you on vacation to the beach, wear casually on the weekend, or bring into the office when worn appropriately.

Bright pops of color are going to be everywhere! No matter the occasion or your style, you can easily incorporate your favorite hues in vivid shades. And if you’re not comfortable wearing brights for your top or bottom you can easily grab a colored shoe, bag, or cosmetic! It’s also easy to incorporate these items into your usual wardrobe. 

Ripped knee jeans may initially seem overly trendy, but there’s a way to wear them so that they are feminine and age appropriate. My favorite way to sport ripped knee denim is to pair them with a simple white button up and a pair of mules, either flat or heeled. It’s a casually chic statement you can wear without having to feeling too edgy. 

Floral embellishments are everywhere on dresses, tops, bag, shoes, and even denim shorts! Weather its embroidery, a pattern, or actual flower accents, you really can’t go wrong. This print is versatile enough for any occasion… bridal shower, wedding, a luncheon, hanging out with friends, etc. You can even mix a flower heavy print with another trend like ruffles or off the shoulder.

Clear components on bags and shoes are super popular. At first, this trend may seem strange, but hey, it goes with just about everything! My favorite way to wear clear is on the toe strap of a sandal. It gives them a fashion forward flair perfect for pairing with any color combo. Clear cosmetic bags and beach totes are also a great way to show you know what’s up this season!

For more summer trends and ways to wear them, check out pardonmuah.com or @pardonmuahinsta on Instagram. 

 xo Amanda

Amanda is a Kentucky native and author of the lifestyle blog Pardon Muah. She shares beauty products, motivational stories, and fab fashion finds weekly. www.pardonmuah.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

Bella Finds

Raw Sugar Living 

Raw Sugar Living was started by a husband and wife team, Ronnie Shugar and Donda Mullis, who love to live a natural, real and healthy life. Raw Sugar products are made with sustainable ingredients and are all vegan friendly and cruelty free and come in some wonderful scent combinations (like “coconut and mango” and “pineapple, Maqui berry and coconut”).

Raw Sugar Living offers bath fizzers, shampoos and conditioners, body butters, sugar scrubs, facial care products, sensitive skin products and a hair masque. And even better, for each product sold, a fresh bar of soap is donated to a family in need. Raw Sugar living is only available at Target (nationwide) and Target.com. For more info on their entire product line and their mission, visit www.rawsugarliving.com

Get Outside!

Map out your summer with adventures from Blue Ridge Land Conservancy! 

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Ready to get outside and enjoy the warm weather? We are too! That’s why we are excited for the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy’s (BRLC) schedule of events for the summer. Check out what they have planned below, and visit their website, www.blueridgelandconservancy.org, for up to date info on events, registration fees, and more!

Take part in a guided hike up Sinking Creek Mountain to Chimney Rock on May 20 from 9am-3pm. This journey will take place on Bruce and Elaine Ingram’s conserved property. Pack a lunch, bring bug spray, and prepare for amazing views! This is for intermediate to advanced hikers. Registration is $6 for the general public and $3 for friends of the BRLC. 

On June 2, check out the Pollinator Potluck from 4-5pm at Mill Mountain! This is a great opportunity to meet new friends who care about the land around you, watch a beekeeping demonstration, and take a guided walk through the Wildflower Garden as representatives from the Mill Mountain Garden Club share their exciting new projects. Bring a dish to share, as a potluck will follow! Registration for this event is free.

On July 14, the BRLC will host a Locavore Walk and Talk in Botetourt County. Enjoy a “locavore” meal, walk, and talk with Bruce and Elaine Ingram, noted conservationists in the area. Learn how to make your land more appealing to wildlife, identify edible wild foods, learn about living off the land, and see how the Ingrams have “gone solar.” Each participant will receive Bruce’s new book and a locavore meal! Registration is $25 for the general public, and $20 for friends of the BRLC. 

On August 19, bring your friends and participate in a James River Float! At 9 am, participants will depart from Buchanan and float along the James River. Disembark at BRLC-conserved property, and bring a sandwich and water! There will be a picnic at the conclusion of the trip. This adventure will be for intermediate to advanced floaters and is scheduled to end at 3pm. Registration is $35 for the general public and $30 for friends of the BRLC.

Join a Cahas Mountain Hike on September 9 from 9am-3pm. Hike to the top of Cahas Mountain, the tallest mountain in Franklin County, and experience the conserved property. The hike will end on House Rock, where hikers will see breathtaking views of the Roanoke Valley! This trip is for intermediate to advanced hikers. Registration is $6 for the general public, and $3 for friends of the BRLC.

Finally, on October 5 from 6:30-8:30pm, learn how to build a bat box! The Roanoke Unitarian Universalist Church and the BRLC will host a documentary on bats and teach participants how to build their own bat box. This event is part of the Unitarian Universalist Church Earth Friendly Fridays. Beginners are welcome at this event. Registration is $25 for the general public, and $20 for friends of the BRLC.

Human Trafficking in Southwest & Central Virginia 

Learn the signs & what one local group is doing to help save lives.

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

The Blue Campaign, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s ‘unified voice’ to combat human trafficking, defines the crime as “modern-day slavery [that] involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.” Contrary to the myth, human trafficking does not require children to be smuggled across a border or kidnapped while visiting another country. Instead, this is a crime happening while children are still in school. Perpetrators can include people that parents know and trust in their community. Sometimes, they even include family members. The crime can happen unbeknownst to parents while a child remains under their roof. As a community, we have a responsibility to report signs of trafficking when we see them. With human trafficking on the rise, it’s important to know the signs and indicators that can help identify traffickers, and lead to the rescue of their victims. Here are a few from the Blue Campaign:

First, be aware of changes to a child’s physical state. Increased anxiety, symptoms of depression, nervousness, and submissive behavior can be signs that something is wrong. Victims may also defer to another person to speak for them in certain situations. Traffickers look for victims who are vulnerable, and often create the illusion that they are the only ones on whom their victim can depend. Despite the abuse, a victim will often feel loyalty to their trafficker. They begin to shut out friends and family and opportunities for socialization outside of their time with a trafficker often cease to exist.

Additionally, if you spot a child that could be in a dangerous situation, it is important to notice if they have been harmed or deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care, or other life necessities. These indicators alone may not necessarily mean that someone is a victim of human trafficking. However, they are important warning signs to observe, document, and report if necessary. If you believe you have identified a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888. In fact, take a moment right now to save that number in your contacts. You never know when you may have the opportunity to save a life. 

You may be asking, “What happens next? Once you report a potential case, how do victims receive the help they need to regain their independence?”

The answer is complicated. Human trafficking is a much bigger problem locally than many may realize. As more perpetrators are exposed every year, the need for resources for victims increases. Law enforcement are being trained to understand that those being trafficked are victims, not perpetrators. However, there are some services that law enforcement cannot provide to victims as this can be misconstrued as coercion to testify against their trafficker. Locally, organizations like Street Ransom play a huge part in helping victims take back their lives.

Street Ransom is a ministry of Straight Street, an inner-city outreach that has been around since 1994. Straight Street works on a variety of programming such as mentoring and operating a drop-in center for youth who are at risk. They provide a safe place to go have fun that includes programs specific for different demographics, teen parents, and Christmas programs for children with incarcerated parents. Over the years, they have developed a relationship with law enforcement. In 2013, local law enforcement rescued a victim of sex trafficking in Roanoke. By that time, known cases of human trafficking had escalated significantly, and they began to realize there were few options for victims, specifically those under the age of 18. 

Law enforcement reached out to Straight Street and asked if they would be willing to form a program or shelter for young girls being trafficked in our area, and, as a result, Street Ransom began in 2014. 

Their mission is, first, to educate the community through awareness and prevention education.“We talk to law enforcement and different professionals who may come in contact with victims. Beyond that, we do presentations in the community to the general public that include answers to questions like, ‘Who are these victims?’ ‘How did people get involved in this?’ ‘What is Street Ransom doing, and what can I do to help?’ We explain warning signs and what to do if someone believes they have identified a victim of sex trafficking,” says Rebekah Broughton, Street Ransom’s Communication Coordinator.

Next, Street Ransom wants to meet victims and survivors where they are and provide for their basic needs. They can do things like donate clothing gift cards, provide legal aid, and support survivors through court proceedings. They also offer access to services like counseling and therapy. Their connections with professionals in the community allow Street Ransom to help survivors get whatever counseling they need specific to the trauma they have experienced. 

Finally, Street Ransom is developing a crisis shelter for juveniles who have been trafficked in Virginia. Right now, victims of trafficking under the age of 18 do not have shelter care services specifically designed to meet their needs.

“The crisis shelter is the first place girls will come once they are recovered, unless they are highly addicted to drugs and need to detox first. The survivors we serve can stay in our shelter for up to 90 days, and during that time, we will assess what the next step is for reuniting them with their families or placing them in foster care homes,” explains Broughton. Each foster care home, of course, would need to be a trained therapeutic foster family. An alternative option would be to transfer survivors to a long-term care facility. 

Broughton emphasizes that victims do not always fit the stereotypical mold we see in movies or on television. Sometimes, it is as simple as a teenager with a significantly older boyfriend. 

“[A trafficker] will see an opportunity to get in their lives and gain trust. He will isolate the girl from people who care about her and exploit that need. She doesn’t realize she’s being trafficked and manipulated. She’s roped into this life, isolated, and he will exploit her over and over again,” she explains.

“He will make her stay, by either physical violence or threatening her in some way so she will comply with him. At that point, she’s stuck in that cycle, and it’s hard for her to get out,” she adds.  “We are pushing to dispel the myth that these girls are prostitutes, or that they chose this life for themselves. The fact is that there is no such thing as a child prostitute. You are automatically considered a victim if you are under the age of 18.”

Street Ransom offers many resources to help educate parents, teachers, and community leaders how to recognize victims and prevent sex trafficking of children within our community. Learn more about Street Ransom by visiting 

www.streetransom.com. For more information on the Blue Campaign, visit www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign.

Hayleigh Worgan is an independent author, freelance writer, minimalist, and nomad. She enjoys adventuring with her husband and two dogs. Find out how you can support her work at  www.hayleighworgan.com.

Save Smarter

Four Reasons to Buddy Up with a Credit Card

Combined with responsible spending, these tips could help improve your financial wellness.
Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union

High-interest rates, nasty fees, or the inability to pay back debt—all can leave you feeling glum when it comes to credit cards. Cheer up! Credit cards don’t have to be your worst financial enemy. If you educate yourself, you’ll discover how befriending your credit card, while spending responsibly, could actually benefit your overall financial health. 

Build and/or improve your credit. Are you planning to get a loan for a car or a home? That loan will depend on your credit score. By using a credit card and making monthly payments (or better yet, paying off the entire balance each month), you’re helping to establish good credit. You’ll also want to consider your credit utilization ratio—the amount you owe compared to your credit limit. Keeping this ratio low, usually below 10 percent, will make you more appealing to lenders.

Maximize the value of your dollar. If you use your credit card wisely, rewards can be a good way to maximize the value of every dollar you spend by earning cash back, points, or miles that you can later redeem. Why not benefit from purchases you’re already making? Just be cautious—don’t charge more to your credit card just to earn a certain reward, such as an airfare ticket or hotel stay. This could lead to significant debt if it gets out of control. One way to keep track of spending is to use your credit card for specific things like groceries and gas.

Keep your budget in check. Credit cards can be a great way to consolidate your debt. You can save yourself some money over time by rolling all of your debt onto a single credit card; however, make sure the card you’re putting debt onto has a lower interest rate than your other cards. This could make your life simpler by paying one bill each month instead of several, and the lower interest rate could help you save money.

Protect your money. With credit and debit card fraud on the rise, using a credit card as opposed to a debit card could help protect you and your funds. Debit cards are linked to your checking account, so fraudsters could drain your account quickly if your card is compromised. With credit cards, you have the advantage of fraud protection. Review your credit card provider’s fraud protection policy to learn more. Another great feature of credit cards is purchase alerts that notify you when your card is used. 

Credit cards don’t have to be a foe. With a little willpower and a bit of know-how, they can help you achieve financial ease and security. 

Join Member One here each month for more money-saving tips and financial advice! Be sure to visit their website, www.memberonefcu.com, for more info on their products and services. Member One Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

The regional magazine for women