Tag Archives: bella

Celebration Cocktails!

As the weather gets warmer, we are looking forward to poolside parties and backyard cookouts with friends and family. For those parties that allow for a little indulgence, impress your guests with delicious and unique recipes from Day Drinking: 50 Cocktails for a Mellow Buzz by Kat Odell. This collection features drinks for every season and event, from warm Irish coffees to thirst-quenching Micheladas. You’ll love the ‘70s design vibes and tones, perfect to create a relaxing mood for your party. Check out our favorite recipes in the May issue, and let us know if you try them on our Facebook page!

P.S. We are giving away a copy of the book on Monday, May 29 on Facebook! Visit our page for directions on how to enter!

 

Planning for the Future

A young woman searches for a doctor who will let her be in control of her own body

When Christa Poindexter graduated from high school in 2008, she knew that giving birth to children was something that she did not want for her future.
“I remember talking to my first gynecologist, well before I was sexually active, and explaining that I was interested in permanent birth control for when I became sexually active,” she explains. “The doctors look at you like you are crazy.”
For Christa and many other women, this conversation is still difficult to have with medical professionals in the south, predominately in what is considered the “Bible Belt” region. The double standard still exists that, even in your twenties, you are old enough to choose to commit to a child for the rest of your life, but not old enough to decide that you never want to give birth to children.
Four years later, Christa brought it up to her doctor again. She explained that she planned on adopting children when she was ready, something that is desperately needed across the country. Again, her doctor refused to offer any form of permanent birth control.
“She explained that she would not perform the procedure unless her patient was 30 years old or had two to three children, and she preferred three children. It was a shocking thing to me,” Christa says.
This topic became the first that Christa brought up when she visited a new doctor. Even when she moved to more progressive areas, like Philadelphia, she was met with resistance.
“In Philadelphia, a doctor told me she did not want to dismiss it, but that I was simply too young. She told me that it wasn’t that she wanted me to have children, but my age was not what her practice would allow,” she adds. “When I asked if she knew someone who would do it, she said I should try a different form of birth control.”
This suggestion, although perfectly valid for women who seek temporary birth control, was simply not right for Christa. During her first three months on any form of birth control pills, she experienced severe side effects from headaches to hair loss. When she explained these to her first doctor, she suggested a non-hormonal IUD. Until that time, Christa had never experienced cramps with her monthly cycle. Once she had the IUD, her cramps became worse, and her cycle lasted 18 days.
Christa then switched to a hormonal IUD and began having headaches, back aches, and extreme cramps. She experienced weight gain and emotional turmoil. For years, she struggled with each temporary solution offered to her in place of the permanent one she desired. Then, she moved across the country.
When she met with her doctor in California, at age 26, she inquired about a permanent procedure once more. This time, after acknowledging that Christa was young, she followed it up with the truth that rises above a woman’s age or marital status: Christa owns her own body. She should be able to make decisions like this one for herself.
They agreed to a procedure called Tubal Ligation. This can mean different things for different people, but for Christa it meant that her fallopian tubes were removed. She met with the doctor and surgeon thirty days prior to the surgery for an evaluation that made sure she understood what the procedure meant and that she was not forced. By law, her doctor had to go through every single form of birth control verbally as an option. Once Christa refused all of them, they could schedule her surgery.
“All of the changes that I’ve experienced are positive. My monthly cycle is back to normal. I am happier, not moody and crying all the time. My hair isn’t falling out, and I don’t have any weird body changes. I’ve lost weight. It’s all positive for me,” she explains. “I have no scars. They walked me right through it. I have no pain or soreness.”
Christa does say that some women could have scars, and it is important to remember that, like birth control pills or IUDs, side effects can be different for everyone. People who are interested in this procedure should have full discussions with their doctors about options and potential side effects to make the best decision. Of course, based on your age, you may be having that discussion with more than one doctor. Above all, be the best health advocate you can for yourself. It never hurts to get opinions from a few different medical professionals to weigh your options.
You may also want to look at your insurance coverage before scheduling a permanent birth control procedure.
“When I selected my insurance plan with my employer, I noticed that most of them covered sterilization. It was interesting to me to see that they also believed an individual owns their own body, and they wanted to give options for coverage based on that. The surgery was very expensive, but my insurance covered all of it except my copay since I was in the hospital,” Christa says.
Since her procedure, Christa has received both criticism and congratulations. From her critics, Christa is often told the same things her original doctors said almost ten years ago. She is young. She may regret this one day.
Some even revert to talking about how much they love their own children, which is an odd argument to hear from someone else in the context of Christa’s body.
“Of course they love their own children,” she says. “I’m not telling them they shouldn’t, or that I won’t love the children I adopt one day.”
Because, when it all comes down to it, the public outcry that goes into whether a woman can choose permanent birth control seems to far surpass the energy that goes into helping children in foster care or in need of adoption. Christa, who has volunteered through various organizations to help these children, has seen this problem first hand.
“I work with various age groups, and it has made me feel close to them. I don’t have to go through the challenge of birth, that could be detrimental to my health and the health of a baby,” she explains. “At the end of the day, there are children out there already who need love, and I can provide that for them without going through childbirth.”

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Meet Maker: Tinker Creek Handknits

Photo by Amanda Malone at Amanda Kelly Photos

Lisa Uotinen, of Daleville, Virginia, began knitting right after she graduated from college in 1993. Back then, she was working full time at Colonial Williamsburg and needed something to do on breaks between shows. There were no classes available then, so she learned by watching people around her and from books. She took a break when her children were born, but picked the hobby back up almost a decade ago.

As her talent developed, she decided to sell the items that she was making. In April of 2016, she opened her business, Tinker Creek Handknits. Most of her yarn comes from Cascade Yarns and is ecologically-friendly, made from natural fibers and minimally-processed wool that hasn’t been dyed using chemicals.

Photo Dec 08“When you buy minimally-processed wool, some people really do fare better when they have it on their skin because there are no chemicals or dyes. You are also choosing to support a sustainable industry in an environmentally-friendly way,” says Lisa.

Of course, wool itself is a sustainable industry. It is one that has proven to be useful for centuries. Lisa harbors no ill will against yarns that are processed, because the sale of that wool also helps the farmers who raise the sheep that provided it.

“People are becoming more aware of the impact they have on the environment. This is just one way that I can choose to support an ecologically-friendly industry. There are people who have made chemically processed yarn, and there is nothing wrong with that. Whenever you are using wool, you are supporting a sustainable industry,” she explains.

Tinker Creek Handknits is operated out of Lisa’s home, where she also raises three young daughters. All three know how to knit, but it is something they have pushed to the back burner as they have grown older. Instead, they help Lisa in other ways—like modeling her creations and giving their opinions on what will and will not sell.

“Their sense of style is usually right on point,” she says. “If they don’t like or wouldn’t wear something I make, chances are that it isn’t going to sell. They are teenagers, so they are on trend and know what will look right for people their age.”

Instead of buying your knitted items from big box stores this winter, make sure that you are supporting small businesses like Lisa’s. Not only are you putting money back into your community, you are also creating a relationship that will allow you to own unique and personable items. Lisa is happy to create custom lengths and knit with requested colors for her customers. That, of course, is the difference between something that you can specifically request and something that is mass produced.

Lisa will be unveiling new products and styles in early 2017! Follow her on Instagram (tinkercreekhandknits) or visit her website, www.tinkercreekhandknits.com to stay up to date on the latest products and to purchase something new for your winter wardrobe!

Women’s March on Washington

As a student of an all women’s university, I have been lifted into a family of strong, bold women who are not easily shut down when working towards a greater cause. Our newest opportunity is the Women’s March on Washington taking place January 21, 2017 from 10am-5pm. Granting us the leisure of buses, anyone can sign up to go. Some plan to attend the march, others will go in support. Even if they feel they aren’t ready for the crowd of people, they can go simply to explore the city. They are giving us this opportunity to expand our horizons, see new places, and make a difference.
People of all backgrounds, gender identities or gender non-conforming, feminists, and ages are welcome. There will be special arrangements and meeting points for the elderly, pregnant women, and those with disabilities or a wheelchair. Our diverse community and familial backgrounds are what makes America the “melting pot” that it is known to be. It is adamant within the official website of the march that every effort to maintain peace and solidarity will be made.
As we have been for years, we are fearful of our future regarding our pay, our everyday safety, our health, and our families. If we continue to let oppressors believe we are easily silenced, they win. It would be wrong to sit back while decisions against our human rights are being made. We are louder as a group, for when people work together for a cause, it induces change.
Feminism shouldn’t be perceived as a “dirty” word, or something masked by a taboo. Being a feminist solely means that you believe in the equality of the sexes. You believe in basic human rights to protect, if not yourself, then your mother, sister, or daughter.
I want the best future for all of the woman in my life, and I want the best opportunities for the women surrounding me in the classroom. I am eternally grateful to have chosen a university that allows me a voice despite opposing political opinions, and that it gives me a chance to express it no matter the circumstances.
More information regarding the march can be found here.

 

Written by Zoë Pierson

Purchasing With A Purpose

Of course, we all like to find that one gorgeous piece of jewelry or decoration for our homes, but it is important that we consciously spend our money on things that make a difference. With that in mind, check out two of our favorite product lines that are making the world a better place!

both-candlesFirst, the Starling Project by Sterling McDavid is a series of candles that can fill your home with four unique and wonderful scents. What makes this candle special is every time you light it, you are reminded of the deeper purpose behind it. Starling Candles are an entirely American made product whose sales are donated to key philanthropic organizations, like UNICEF. These donations go towards providing solar energy for communities in under-resourced countries.
According to The World Energy Outlook 2015, 1.2 billion people are without electricity. This contributes to poor hygiene and a dependence on unsustainable energy. Unsustainable energy is the leading cause of air pollution; which is a factor in over half a million infant deaths, with poor hygiene resulting in 1.4 million children deaths. Solar energy would provide energy alternatives, cleaner air, and cleaner water in turn saving those lives otherwise lost to air pollution and poor hygiene. One little candle could be the beginning of a change. This candle can make a difference and so can you.
So far The Starling Project has raised over 100,000 dollars which have all been donated to provide solar energy. For more information on how you can help, visit www.starlingproject.org.

songa_shop_bracelet_600x600_luna1-478x480_1024x1024Another awesome retailer, Songa Designs, is also doing its part in making a difference. They create high quality accessories that empower women. Songa Designs is an employer of women for women. According to their website, it is typical for women in developing countries to rely solely on their husbands for income—rendering them completely dependent. Songa Designs seeks to create jobs for these women to grant them their independence. They believes in fair wages and economic independence for all.
They have a number of different bracelets, necklaces, and baskets for sale on their website. Any purchase benefits women in developing countries find their own economic independence. They seek not perfection, but meaning and fulfillment, and their pieces are more than accessories. They are art with a greater purpose. Songa means, “The Path Forward.” Let’s walk together.
We like to buy, but now we can buy with purpose; consciously spending on things that make a difference.

Visit our Facebook page for a chance to win a candle or bracelet of your own this month! Don’t forget to pick up our October issue for more of our favorite fall items!

Written by Nicole Brobston

Extraordinary Women: Linda Webb

Linda Webb is more than the Executive Director of Opera Roanoke. She is a powerhouse for the art community, encouraging support for multiple organizations in our area. From Opera Roanoke’s performances to the exhibits at the Taubman Museum (and everything in between), she is one of many who reiterates that sustaining the arts is not just about raising money. It is about making sure people realize how special they are to Roanoke.

How did your interest in the art community begin?
I grew up loving literature, music, and theatre. It spoke to my soul and I had a little bit of talent in those areas. When I was in college, I studied playwriting with Pulitzer Prize-winning Paula Vogel. After I graduated, I began working in the business side of publishing in New York, but I kept my hand in the theatre world. After ten years in New York, I moved to Roanoke to get married and made the switch to nonprofit fundraising.

I began volunteering at Mill Mountain Theatre. I was excited about what they were doing there, and when their development person left, Jere Hodgin asked me to take the spot. I found that much of what I had done in New York in ad sales was transferrable. My experience had made me fearless when it came to calling on high level people.

Photo Credit: Lillian Orlinsky
Photo Credit: Lillian Orlinsky

What led you to Opera Roanoke?
I took some time off when I had a baby. I was still on boards even though I wasn’t actually working. The first board I was asked to be on was for Opera Roanoke. They asked me to contribute the fundraising knowledge I had as a volunteer. It was a way that I could keep my hand in that world even though it wasn’t full time.

Soon after, I began working at United Way. I always tried to include friends from the art world in various things that we did.

I stepped out of the working world for a while when my mother was ill. When I began looking for a job again, the president of Opera Roanoke’s board asked me to be the Executive Director and I accepted the offer. I know just enough to be dangerous, but I know more about opera than I did a year and half ago.

What can audiences expect from Opera Roanoke in 2016?
First, it’s important that even those who don’t think they like opera come out and give it a try. If you come to an opera once, you might just be hooked. Our unofficial slogan is, “Opera Roanoke, we don’t care what you wear.” It’s fun to dress up, but not everyone does. Be comfortable, come in your jeans.

Also, if you are a student, your ticket is free. If you’re not a student, you can buy a ticket for $25 and sometimes less with Groupon. Regardless of where you are sitting, you are going to enjoy the show.

This fall, we are going to do South Pacific. It’s sad, it’s happy, and the music is unbelievable. In the spring of 2017, we will be doing Susanna by American composer Carlisle Floyd. Both of these shows have to do with prejudice and overcoming it or not overcoming it. It’s very timely when you think about all the unhappy stuff that is going on in our country right now. However, it is going to speak to your heart and your brain on a different level than when you read or see the news. That is why I say, and I’m not kidding, opera can save the world.

For more information about Linda and Opera Roanoke’s upcoming season, visit www.operaroanoke.org

Extraordinary Women: Joey Coakley Beck

Throughout the June issue, we are celebrating our official birthday month and our 10th year of doing what we love—creating a publication that inspires and encourages women in Central and Southwest Virginia. When our publisher, Joey Coakley Beck, started the magazine, she did so because she knew the women in this community needed a magazine that would cover the topics we are and should be discussing with our friends. For us, celebrating our 10th birthday is not only about recognizing that success, but also continuing to meet that need for years to come.

What was your inspiration when you started Bella? Why a women’s magazine?
I saw a need for it. There was nothing for women in our area. At the time, none of the publications were focused on them. I had many years of experience in graphic design, and I ready to branch out, do my own thing, and fulfill that need.

There have been challenges. For example, as a woman in this industry, it is very rare to be respected by men in the same profession. Bella’s success proves that their opinions have been much less relevant than their egos have led them to believe.

At the end of the day, it is worth it to know that we are putting out something that is applicable to local women in a sea of national (and even some local) publications that do not speak to them and continues ten YEARS later!

image1Over the years, you’ve made some subtle (some not so subtle) changes to the publication, including its size. Why are those changes important to the growth of the magazine and our relationship with readers?
I don’t want our look or our voice to get stale. Bella has always been a step ahead of everyone else, and I want to maintain fresh content and a new look as often as it makes sense. It is important to change and grow with our readers.

What have you learned from the stressful moments and publications that have failed?
It always works out in the end. I am a firm believer in karma, and what you put out there comes back to you. The stressful moments pass as long as you keep your head up and do what you do best.

Other magazines that have come around and failed did it to themselves. You have to genuinely care about this community, what you are putting out there for readers, and the product you are creating. You have to be honest and respectful of others. This isn’t an industry that is about making money, it is about bringing people together and making them stronger as a community.

This year we have made a point to cover at least one local maker in each issue. Can you talk a little bit about why it is important to you to help introduce these small businesses to the community?
There are so many hidden gems and wonderful artisans in our area that otherwise go unnoticed and I think they all contribute to how wonderful this region is. The newspaper and other magazines continually highlight the same handful of people or businesses and there are so many more out there that go unrecognized. We are trying to recognize those people that get overlooked so often.

If you could encourage every woman reading this to do one thing, what would it be?
No matter what it is, to do something that makes you happy—that is truly something just for you. For example, I recently took up knitting. I truly enjoy it and it is 100% me time. I don’t think women take enough time to do things that are just for them. They try to please others in the workplace or at home and they forget about themselves. So my advice is to do something, at least daily, that makes yourself happy.

Extraordinary Women: Janet Scheid

Janet Scheid is one of the most inspirational women we know. Since her retirement five years ago, she has given much of her time and energy back to our community as a volunteer with several organizations and as a Vinton Town Council member. She is passionate about helping the town of Vinton grow and flourish as a place for both residents and visitors.

How did you become involved with the Vinton Town Council?
One of the council members, Wes Nance, had to leave council last July. He moved to Bedford, where he is the Deputy Commonwealth Attorney. His term will expire at the end of June, so council decided to appoint someone to fill his unexpired term. They sent out an advertisement, took applications, interviewed people, and selected me.

It’s been nine months since, and the term that I’m filling will expire at the end of this month. Last month, I was re-elected by the Town of Vinton to continue serving on the council.

What have you learned since you joined the town council, and what are you most passionate about as a member?
When I started, there were those who said, “You’re retired. You don’t need this.” However, I’ve always believed that if you want to see something change, you have to be willing to work and make that change. My mother always said, “If you’re going to whine then do something about it.” There isn’t a lot that needs to be changed, but there are some things and it is an opportunity for me to step up to the plate and make those changes happen that I think are important. Vinton is a wonderful small town with a great small town feel to it. In order to keep Vinton a place to live and raise a family, I think we need to invigorate the downtown area. That is starting to happen with some redevelopment projects in town that are going to bring people to live here. I think it will lead to the demand for more shops and restaurants.

IMG_1673You grew up in Washington, D.C. How did that influence who you are today?
Well, even back then, the first restaurants I can remember visiting were Chinese restaurants. This was in the early 1960s. There is a proliferation of them now, but back then there were very few. I was exposed to a lot of food from different cultures—French food, German food. I was also exposed to a lot of different ethnicities. My dad worked for the government and he was also a student getting his master’s degree. He had a whole network of foreign students that had come to DC to go to school, and he would have them all over to the house for the 4th of July. I think my exposure to so many different cultures just gave me a view of the world that maybe is bigger.

What organizations are you currently involved with and how did you get started volunteering with them?
I’ve served on the board for Susan G. Komen for the last five years—two of which were as president. I also served on the board of the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy for 18 years. Currently, I am the secretary of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Public service has always been important to me. My dad was proud of the fact that he was a government employee. He instilled in me that giving back is important. It’s one of the reasons that I retired as early as I did. I wanted to spend more time doing volunteer work.

Years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, I am proud to say that I am a 20-year-survivor. It is an important part of my life, and there is no doubt that it changed my perspective when it happened. I had a great job, but I was ready to start paying it forward and doing all of these things I wanted to do with various organizations. The thing is, I know I get more out of it than I give. I’ve met wonderful people. It definitely keeps me busy.

What advice would you give to women who seek to be more involved in their community?
There is a lot to do. Now that I’ve been doing it for five years, it is amazing to me how much there is to do. I can’t imagine how some of these organizations will keep going without a dedicated core of volunteers to help do things. My advice is to jump in with both feet. Meet people, ask questions, and go to events. For me, Susan G. Komen came naturally and the land conservancy did too because I had an environmental background. You have to find what you are passionate about. Maybe it’s animals, church, or maybe it’s children. There are just so many opportunities out there for volunteering.

What’s next for you?
I am excited to continue serving on town council, and I have another year and a half or so on the Komen board. I’m going to be figuring out what’s next for me over the next couple of years. Some things are going to start to end, and I’ld like to branch off into some new areas. I haven’t figured out where the’s going to be. I know I’ll be busy. It’s not in my nature to sit. However, I am learning to say no. It’s an art I haven’t mastered before—but I’m getting there.