Summer Products We Love

We plan on spending a lot of time outside this summer. Between festivals, beach trips, and other family events scheduled for July, it is important to be prepared for every scenario nature will give us. If you are prepared, minor setbacks will not inconvenience you and ruin your day. So, for the outdoor lovers out there, we have compiled a small list of things you may want to consider packing for your next adventure.

For campers, beach goers, and sports fans alike, the Breeze XL by Sport Brella is a necessity. A family size shelter, it can provide full coverage for two adults and two children. Its adjustable canopy has a UPF 50+ lining for maximum sun protection and can shift for ventilation and weather protection as well. The floor mat is easy to clean, and it takes about two minutes to assemble. Visit www.sportbrella.com to order your Breeze XL or any of the other excellent sun and weather protection products that they offer.

Bugs have the potential to ruin any outdoor fun during the summer. If you are going somewhere that requires sunscreen, it is always a good rule of thumb to bring some form of bug repellent. La Fresh Travel Lite Insect Repellent Wipes are safe for the whole family and they last for a very long time. They also come with a travelling case to make transportation easy. Their smell is not overpowering, like some repellants, and they work against more than just mosquitoes. Check out their full line of products and order some for yourself at www.lafreshgroup.com.

July BellarainrapsLocated in Richmond, Virginia, Rainraps started as a simple idea on a rainy day. Stacy Struminger, a New Yorker transplanted to Richmond, had long seen the need for a more stylish, lightweight and waterproof accessory. After searching her closet in vain, she decided to create something to meet her needs. Rainraps are reversible and come in a variety of colors to add style to your rainy day. In addition to their water repellant fabric, they dry quickly and are easy to store in their travel friendly pouch. If you plan on spending any time outdoors this summer, this will be essential to your wardrobe. Go to www.rainraps.com to order one (or two!) in your favorite colors.

If you are doing a lot of walking outdoors, it is wise to bring a large bag along in the car that includes your Rainrap, repellent wipes, chargers, etc. However, you may want to place all of your most valuable items (your credit card, drivers license, cash and cell phone) in a crossbody style bag to keep with you at all times. Choose a smaller style that can fit in your tote or beach bag, and consider leaving the larger bag in your car while you explore. We love crossbodys from Olivia and Joy! They come in a variety of colors, making them an excellent match for any summertime outfit. Visit www.oliviaandjoy.com to view their full collection and purchase one of your own.

Keep your skin hydrated and healthy!

Many of us will be spending a lot of time by the water this summer. Whether you are enjoying a trip to a local body of water, or traveling to a beach, it is important to take very good care of your skin.

Mud_jpgFind a good “go-to” product that adds moisture. We like Miracle Skin Transformer Miracle Revival Mud. The thick mud mask improves hydration, firmness, and clarity. It also helps create a more even skin tone and reduce surface shine. Regardless of what you choose, remember to save room for it in your suitcase when you travel. It may be difficult to find a similar product at your destination. Do not rely on the hotel to provide soap that is good for you. Some resorts distribute luxury spa items for skin care, but many hotels provide private label options with mystery ingredients. You could be allergic to their products, and you might not get the same level of moisturizer if you choose to use them.

Don’t forget to save room in your suitcase for sunscreen as well. It seems obvious, but too many people forget to apply sunscreen regularly to prevent sunburn and disease caused by overexposure to the sun. Be proactive, and take responsibility for your health. Set a reminder on your phone to apply sunscreen at regular intervals. If you do get burned, apply aloe often, in addition to your regular moisturizer. Also, nourish your skin with a cool towel soaked in water or milk regularly. Do not peel the sunburn, and remember to pat the affected area dry after a shower.

If you are flying to your destination, moisturize before and during your plane ride. This may sound excessive, especially for those who just want to relax in the air. Remember, the cabin is a small space and relative humidity is much higher than you might think. If soda, alcohol, and salty snacks are necessary to your vacation, it is a good idea to wait and enjoy them once you reach your destination. Also, drink plenty of water. Your body will thank you for it!

We know your schedule is jam packed this summer, but try to set aside a few hours to pamper yourself each month if at all possible. You can save yourself a trip to the spa by creating facial masks from products that you already have in your kitchen.

For example, in Asian Secrets of Health, Beauty, and Relaxation, Sophie Benge recommends using an avocado masks to nourish your face and body. Mash the creamy insides of one avocado into a soft paste and apply to your face using the avocado stone to massage the flesh into your skin with small, upward, circular motions. Wash off with warm water after a few minutes. The nourishing oil is naturally rich in vitamin E and leaves your skin feeling soft.

Look for more ways to pamper your skin on our website, www.lovelybella.com, and share your ideas with us on Facebook!

 

 

Body Image After Age 50

Mother Nature is cruel. In addition to hot flashes and night sweats, I’ve gained nine pounds in the last seven months and outgrown most of my clothing.

Going from a size zero to a size four and acquiring a jelly belly may not seem significant. But for someone who runs 25 to 28 miles a week and isn’t much of an eater, it’s pretty disturbing.

At the age of 51, I’m smack in the midst of perimenopause, a term describing the hormonal roller coaster prior to menopause. According to the internet, diminished estrogen levels are to blame for my weight gain. The loss of testosterone has reduced my muscle mass and lowered my metabolism. Online articles by medical professionals offer meager advice: “Move more!” (I already run 80 to 90 minutes four or five days a week), “Cut calories!” (Steamed vegetables comprise my dinner most nights), and the ever helpful, “reduce stress!”

Many products promise relief. There are progesterone patches and creams, herbal remedies, medical grade supplements, and bioidentical hormones.

Given the controversy over hormone replacement therapy, and the fact that I am a wimp who avoids taking medication unless it is really necessary, I opted to start with Estroven, an over the counter product from Trader Joe’s. If they sell it at Trader Joe’s, I reasoned, how harmful could it be? Or how effective? My hot flashes continued, and I struggled not to gain anymore weight.

“Sorry!” The 50-something female cashier said when I returned the product. “I tried this stuff too. It does nothing!”

Tired of listening to myself complain, I consulted my gynecologist. “Eat fewer salty snacks,” she advised.

Since I haven’t eaten a potato chip since circa 2003, I decided it was time to change doctors. My new GYN was much more sympathetic. “The weight will come off once you get through the process,” she reassured me.” But you will lose your waist.”

Lose my waist? That explained the jelly belly. She was a good listener, so I forged on. “My boobs are huge,” I whined. “Huge!”

I explained that in addition to larger pants and tops, it was also necessary to buy new bras, which became too tight within a few months. “Don’t throw away your old bras,” she advised. “Your breasts will return to their normal size.”

I took a breath and started to relax, until my doctor said, “and then they will become pendulous.” Pendulous! I thought, what an interesting word to describe my body, like something out of an Edgar Allen Poe story. I went home and replayed the conversation for my husband “Pendulous, pendulous,” we said it a few times together.     

Mother N. might be cruel, but she is on schedule. I haven’t had a period since last summer, so my doctor thinks I should be nearly finished with the bloating and weight gain of perimenopause.

Until I complete the transition though, I’ve asked my husband to gain a few pounds; take a couple of extra helpings of mashed potatoes and apple strudel for the team. Being the generous guy that I married, he’s made the sacrifice.

 

Beth Herman is an artist and essayist. She enjoys running the city streets of Washington and the hills of Charlottesville in almost equal measure.

 

Fall Bike Ride for a Great Cause

Virginia Tech is hosting a Veterans@VT Combat Cancer Bike Ride on October 12! The ride is fun activity for families and friends to participate in together as an effort to get outside and enjoy some beautiful fall weather.

In addition, proceeds from registration and donations will benefit the Blue Ridge affiliate of Susan G. Komen and student veterans at Virginia Tech.

Unlike most rides where riders choose one of several distances, this height-of-foliage season ride will feature a 20 mile loop that individuals or teams are invited to ride as many times as they like. This allows the ride to cater to all ability levels and ages, and makes it a fantastic family activity.

The ride will begin at 8am, rain or shine, and will remain open until 4pm. There will be bike shows, food stands, and a live band at the finish for your entertainment. So grab a bike and a friend and head to the Veterans@VT Combat Cancer Bike Ride on October 12 at Floyd Eco Village in Floyd, VA!

Register for the ride now at www.veteranscombatcancer.org. Registration is only $45, and it includes a long sleeve technical tee and a ticket for the chance to win some great prizes (including a bike)! You can also like them on Facebook by following this link.

 

Written by Eleanor Haeg.

Bella’s Favorite Beach Reads

Vacations are all about unplugging from life and mentally recharging. Make room in your schedule (and your beach bag) for one of the following selections from our favorite authors. These books are excellent vacation companions, but they are also the perfect escape from reality for your summer “staycation.” We have something for every taste in literature– and we are giving away a copy of each one to five lucky readers this month! Stay tuned to our Facebook page for your chance to win!

Do less: A minimalist guide to a simplified, organized, and happy life by Rachel Jonat
Vacations are about recharging and coming back to the chaos of everyday life refreshed and happier. Use your quiet time on the beach to learn new ways to rediscover the simple moments of a serene lifestyle. In a world where we are surrounded with the notion that we need more to be happy, this guide offers an alternative view and encourages readers to scale back their possessions and commitments to just what they really need.

Corrigan_GlitterandGlueGlitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan

We could easily recommend any of Corrigan’s books for your summer travels. Her latest, Glitter and Glue, focuses on her relationship with her mother and how it has changed over time. It also focuses on the difference between traveling and having “life experiences” which is something that even adults in their late twenties often struggle to identify. Corrigan shares the lessons she has learned throughout her life by telling the story of her post-college adventures—humorous and serious alike. Her experiences not only changed the way she viewed the world, but also the relationship she had with her mother. You will laugh, you will cry, but most importantly, you may relate to her experiences—both as a mother and a child.

 

 

Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes
If you are looking for a story that leaves you feeling emotionally empowered, this is the novel for you. Holmes beautifully narrates the story of Penny Carson, a seventeen-year-old girl who places her heart and her future in the hands of farmhand Trent Taylor. Soon he controls every aspect of her life—until a welding accident forces him to allow her to take a job cleaning houses. During this experience, she meets two new friends who help her realize that she possesses more inner strength than the man who abuses her. Holmes, a local author living in southern Virginia, has other novels you may wish to bring on your trip including Dry as Rain and Crossing Oceans. Her latest novel, Driftwood Tides, will be available in September.

The French House: An American Family, a Ruined Maison, and the Village That Restored Them All by Don Wallace
Set on the beautiful and charming French island Belle Isle, The French House is equal parts romance, adventure, self-discovery and travel literature. In an attempt to further their careers as novelists and to reconcile the near rock-bottom lows of their relationship, Don and Mindy purchase an old house in ruins on the shores of Belle Isle and attempt to rebuild it. Along the way they encounter locals who give them invaluable advice and friendship as they begin to reconstruct not only their new home, but also their relationship and themselves. Wallace’s ability to articulate the honest struggle that most people face while trying to find their place in life combined with his breathtaking descriptions of the French isle’s landscape make this a perfect summer read.

Factory ManFactory Man by Beth Macy

You may have seen Macy’s work in several national magazines and, locally, The Roanoke Times. She is a fantastic author that writes about outsiders and underdogs. In Factory Man, she tells the story of John Bassett III, owner of Vaughan-Bassett, who employs more than 700 Virginians. Bassett’s fight to save hundreds of jobs in our area is inspirational and gives insight into the great globalization debate. Factory Man will be available on July 15th, but we have one to give away to one lucky reader! Stay tuned to our Facebook page during the month of July for your chance to win!

 

Independence Day DIY

Burgers, fireworks, family and friends— all the magical elements that come together for one of my favorite holidays.  There’s nothing better than sitting out on the porch with something cold in my hand, hanging out with friends, and waiting for the first crack of fireworks.  The Fourth of July is one of the best times of year because it right in the middle of summer, everyone is enjoying the outdoors, and we get to celebrate our beautiful country’s independence.    

Every year we get invited to parties for the Fourth and every year I am scrambling at the last minute to find something of patriotic colors to wear.  We mostly get invited to barbecues, pool parties and back yard fiestas– so the attire is always casual.  Despite the casual nature of these parties, it is difficult for me to conjure up an outfit that is red, white and blue.  I don’t wear a lot of red or Old Glory Blue.  However, this year I plan on being prepared!

Since these last couple seasons have been all about resurrecting 90s grunge in fashion, I’m completely jumping on board and I have no shame in my game.  Not only was I a real child of the 90s, I have an affinity for sunflower printed denim and I appreciate the minimalism of fashion from that era.  Denim was all the rage and it was ripped, shredded, and loose.  Tee shirts, cropped tops, lose tanks, shoes that were comfortable, yet fashionable– think Rachel from Friends.  I remember some of my favorite outfits were denim overalls and white crew neck tank tops from Gap.  I think I was always comfortable too.  Unlike when skinny, cigarette pants came back in style… I digress.

So, when the influx of cut-off denim shorts and white crew neck tees started to make its way to the fashion streets, of course I jumped on that bandwagon. 

Without consulting Pinterest, or scouring the internet for “Fourth of July outfits”, I decided to create my own flair of patriotism.  I’ve seen shorts that have American flag pockets or glints of red, white and blue and I wanted to try it on my own without having to go out and buy a pair.  How hard could that really be?  I’ll tell you, the project is super easy and didn’t take me long at all. 

Here’s how to get started:

  1. caitlinphotojuly2First, you need to cut the jeans into shorts.  Rule of thumb: cut the shorts at an UP ANGLE.  NOT straight across.  This will ensure a better fit and that the leg opening of the short won’t squeeze your thighs.
  2. Squirt a half dollar amount of acrylic paint onto a plastic plate (of each color)or aluminum foil and mix with about a quarter size drop of water.  This will dilute the acrylic paint so that it doesn’t dry too stiff on the denim. 
  3. Choose where you want your American Flag decal to be placed.  I chose the back pockets.  It doesn’t have to be exactly symmetrical but make sure you reference the REAL THING before you start.
  4. Let paint dry, then wash on gentle in the washing machine.  Air dry.

(After cutting the denim, wash after to allow the fibers to relax.  They will naturally shred on their own to revealing that old, “worn in” look.)

Now I have something to wear to all of the backyard barbecues and I don’t have to stress about finding patriotic colored outfits at the last minute. I can wear these shorts with a white tee shirt and little white tennis shoes or sandals and I’m done!  I up-cycled my old jeans too!

 

Written by Caitlin Cheatham

The Risks We Take

I’ve always admired risk takers. You know, thrill seekers in helmets jumping off bridges or flying through the air with GoPro cameras strapped to their heads. I envy their rosy cheeks and deep smiles and brightly colored outfits.

Everything about them screams “I’m alive!” while everything in me just screams at the thought of zip lining across a 400 foot mountain gorge.  My lack of risk taking has long been a dark spot on my soul. I even have a difficult time hitting on a guy in a bar.

Until I realized risks don’t always mean jumping off a cliff.

I have a good friend, named Kurt. I adore him. And as it happens, he adores me. One night over dinner he asked if I would join him in completing his global To-Do list. As soon as the question left his mouth, my brain became a vortex of possible complications… what about my dog? My apartment? My parents need me and there’s all those planes disappearing in that pesky ocean.

My late thirty-something self couldn’t do it. My girlfriends thought I was insane. Who would turn down a proposition like that?

Me. I would. The girl who doesn’t take risks. I wasn’t saying no to traveling all over the world, I was saying no settling for someone I adored instead of loved. Even if that person did come with two plane tickets to Bali.  I believed something bigger was waiting for me.

Not long after Kurt, I decided to do something really stupid: become an artist. Just me and my craft facing the world and my checking account! I would pursue my artistic dreams. When I told friends, they were in awe. I could see the gleam of envy in their eyes. Or maybe it was shock at my lack of desire to work in an office for the rest of my life with health insurance and a regular paycheck.

heatherAfter I downed a bottle of my favorite wine, I convinced myself I was indeed doing the right thing. But this kind of risk is terrifying. Everything in my life is a variable upon things I can’t control… like the weather or if my dog decides he wants to pee on my running shoes.

However, I’m breathless when I look back on my decisions. The risk taker would understand. The thrill seeker jumping off the side of a mountain to fly around like a bat on a summers’ day would get it. I’m one of them now.

 

Written by Heather A. Haines

Tote bags for all summer essentials!

If you are looking for a beach bag that is truly unique, you will find plenty to choose from at Black Dog Salvage. One of our favorite vendors, Recycled Wonders, creates adorable repurposed totes from a variety of feed bags. From stunning photos of horses and birds to adorable pictures of cats and dogs, they are different from any other bag you will see on the beach this summer. Choose from several sizes and up cycled materials for a style that best fits your personality! Recycled Wonders by Keri Jackson are available for purchase Monday-Saturday at Black Dog Salvage. You can also email Keri at kerijaxson@gmail.com for more information.

Filled with beautiful hand-made treasures, Mariah Amine and Couture in downtown Waynesboro is worth the trip! Not only will you find a wide array of totes to choose from for you beach adventures, you may also leave with a few new outfits for your vacation. However, if you cannot visit their boutique in person, you can always order one of their totes through their website. They offer several patterns in four different sizes. You can order one for yourself, your friends or even your child to carry your beach necessities! For more information, visit their website, www.mariahamine.com.

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Made with 95% post consumer recycled materials, Blue Q shopper and messenger totes are available in a variety of sizes and designs. Many of their products have a very nostalgic feel and are either hand drawn or designed by talented artists. Their materials make the bags easy to clean and comfortable to transport all your beach necessities like sunscreen, a great novel, a few bottles of water and a towel. They are very inexpensive, and you can purchase them locally at Now Then and Again, located on Apperson Drive in Salem. Visit www.nowthenandagain.net for directions and hours of operation.

Visiting Maine in the summer is an experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. Sea Bags, a Maine based company, creates fantastic tote bags and accessories from recycled sails. Start small, and order one of their wine bags to give to your host or simply transport your favorite bottle of wine to your beach house. If a trip to their store in Portland is not in your immediate plans, you can order one of their creations from their website, www.seabags.com. In addition to their popular styles, you can design a custom creation unique to you.

Pick up the July issue of Bella Magazine for more great summer products!

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