Tag Archives: bella

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.

Extraordinary Women: Krisha Chachra

For our 10th birthday (our first issue premiered in June 2006!), we profiled 10 local women who, against odds or in the face of uncertainty, raised the bar, achieved success, and continue to inspire those around them every day.  Interviews will be posted throughout the month, and you can pick up a copy of our June issue to read all 10! Enjoy!

In local government, it is important to have strong women who represent the community and advocate for diverse interests. That’s why we love Krisha Chachra. Krisha is currently serving her second term on Blacksburg’s Town Council. In 2013, she became the first Indian-American and first under 40 professional to serve as Blacksburg’s Vice Mayor. She continues to be heavily involved in the community through her duties as a council member and by serving on several committees. She also published a book of essays about her experiences while growing up in Blacksburg entitled, Homecoming Journals: Dreaming big in a small town. When she isn’t attending to her professional commitments, Krisha enjoys spending time with her husband, Derek, and their 11-month-old daughter, Mina.

What makes you passionate about investing your time, energy, and education in Blacksburg?

Blacksburg is my hometown, and I think that no matter how far you travel and how much you explore, it is always important to remember where you came from. I was very interested in community service and running for office, and there was no better place than my hometown to pursue both. The people here helped me become who I am, travel far, and experience different things. I knew I would enjoy being able to give that back to the community. 

KrishaWhat obstacles did you encounter as Blacksburg’s Vice Mayor? How did you overcome them?

I felt like I had to prove myself because I was younger than everyone that has ever held the position. I wanted to make sure people knew I was the real deal and that I had a vision for Blacksburg that was shared by many people in the community. I listened a lot and asked a lot of questions so I could represent my community in a very authentic manner. When I first got elected, some people were skeptical and had the wrong impression about what I stood for, but I just stayed focused and worked hard to build relationships. At the end of the day, the criticism faded and I was re-elected as Vice Mayor. 

Making connections with local businesses is very important to you. Can you tell us more about why it is one of your main objectives?

The small business sector of the economy is Blacksburg’s future in terms of job providers and bringing the type of creative employees and professionals that we want to be the future leaders of Blacksburg. It is very important that we support small businesses so they can be successful and hire people who want to live, work, and build a life here. This will allow for a more creative and diverse economy for years to come.

What advice do you have for young professional women who are looking for additional ways to give back to their communities and better ways to manage their time?

All of us are busy. Everyone is doing things that are important to their families, communities, and career paths. Saying you’re busy is not a good excuse for not doing things that you are passionate about or not being involved in your community in a meaningful way. 

Being organized, present, and having a sense of visualization helps me get through my day. In addition to that, I think it is important for women to know they don’t have to take on everything to be successful. It is better to do one or two things really well than to spread yourself too thin and do many things for the sake of being involved. You’re not going to be your best that way. 

Krisha and DerekWhat is one thing that people may not know about your background?

My family was one of the first Indian-American families to come to Blacksburg and make this town our home. There were only a handful of Indians when we first came, but now it is very diverse. Back then, a lot of people didn’t know too much about where we came from. When I would tell people my family was from India, they would ask me what tribe! Back then I definitely stood out in my classroom, but I always took it as an opportunity to exchange ideas, learn about other cultures, and teach people about mine. I was never offended by people who didn’t know where I came from or who I was. When people are brave enough to ask, it is important to answer with respect. 

My life is richer for that experience, because I can connect with people from different backgrounds since I have enough respect to take interest in them. I think we need more people to show more interest about other cultures respectfully. The easiest way to do that is just by asking people questions about their origins. We have such a diverse community and we could really learn from each other if we just talked to each other more instead of assuming that we know people’s experiences. 

Visit to www.blacksburg.gov for more information on Krisha’s background and accomplishments!

Gardening Without Breaking the Bank

Ladies, it’s just about time to break out those watering cans! Summer is just around the corner and we know what that means… fresh vegetables and flowers straight from the garden! We wanted to help you make the most out of your gardens this year while still being able to stay within your budget. Also, we have a few ideas to keep you out of those annoying hardware stores buying gallons of chemical-filled products for your garden, and instead spending more time enjoying your garden by making your own products at home!
First, did you know that you can actually regrow some vegetables like lettuce, celery, onions, tomatoes, carrots, and even potatoes from the scraps left in your own refrigerator? This is a huge time and money saver because you’re regrowing from something you have already purchased and you’re starting from a base instead of a seed! So, stop throwing them away and find a planting pot, fast! For flowers, you and your neighbors can share and propagate cuttings from your larger flower bushes/plants in order to save one another money.  Plus, this way everyone has beautiful flower beds while building stronger relationships with their neighbor! Another super easy way to save money is to, instead of waiting until the middle of the day when it’s the hottest to water your flowers or vegetables, do it first thing in the morning or after the sun has started to go down. This saves money because you end up using less water because plants will need more water in the middle of the day to prevent becoming wilted. However, if you water them in the morning or the evening, then they already have all the water they will need to make it through the day! While this may seem like a difficult time of the day to squeeze another task into your morning/evening routine, spending quality time in your garden during the most peaceful times of the day is good for the soul. You might even find that it puts you in a better mood for your day by just spending a few extra minutes in your garden each morning/evening.
gardening1Making your own organic sprays or fertilizers in order to avoid spraying your flowers or vegetables with potentially harmful chemicals is a great alternative! Even better is that making your own organic sprays prevents you from going into those overwhelming home improvement stores trying to sell you unnecessary things in order to have a successful garden. If you are active on Pinterest you can find tons of recipes for both organic pesticide sprays and fertilizers here. Our favorite organic pesticide spray to use on vegetables and flowers is from LavenderandLime.com and contains only the best ingredients to keep pests and chemicals out of your garden! For more ideas on how to have a successful garden and how you can get an early start, pick up our March issue out now!

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Bella’s Lunch & Learn!

Join us for the first installment of Bella’s Lunch & Learn series on Wednesday, March 23 at 12:15 pm! The class will be held in downtown Roanoke in the Aurora Apartments and Studios building (110 Campbell Ave SW).

This informal (but informative!) 45 minute course will focus on hot topics–specifically, this month, we will talk about minimalism and how it can change your life for the better! Bring your own lunch, and a friend if you would like!

RSVP to editorial@beckmediagroup.com or visit us on Facebook for more information. We look forward to seeing you there!

Women in Film

How many female film-directors can you name? If you couldn’t think of any, then you’re not alone. The organization Women In Film randomly surveyed a group of people to ask them the same question, and the vast majority couldn’t name a single female film-director!
The problem with this is that there are over 1,000 female directors on The Director List and 45 who have directed a $25 million movie in the last 13 years! So, why are we not giving credit to these successful ladies?!
Women In Film is a nonprofit organization that was created to encourage women to be creative, promote equal opportunities for women, and to expand the portrayal of women in the media. Women In Film also administers grants, scholarships, and film finishing funds in order to preserve and promote the legacy of all women working in the film industry.
The #52FilmsByWomen campaign was created by Women In Film to help bring awareness to the lack of recognition that women in the movie industry receive. The campaign asks that you pledge to watch 52 films in the next year that were directed by women. All you have to do is electronically sign your name on their website, which you can do explicitly or anonymously. That’s only one movie a week! This is such a simple way for women to come together as women to support other women! The Bella girls are kicking off their #52FilmsByWomen pledge by watching the woman-centric film The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay. Will you sign the pledge and watch #52FilmsByWomen?

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Savvy Styling Tips Every Holiday Host Needs To Know

This season, deck the halls with styling tricks to elevate your holiday party without putting a freeze on your bank account. Home entertaining expert and party stylist Chris Nease, of Celebrations at Home, shares her stylish secrets to throw a posh holiday bash on a budget.

13041_BIt’s All In the Details
Fact: A swanky holiday party does not require a ton of decorations or perfect coordination, according to Nease. A little creativity goes a long way with inexpensive touches. Use pieces that you already have to create an effortless look that feels cozy and stylish all at once:

* Make it Pinterest-worthy by casually draping two versatile fabrics over your primary serving area. Set up food stations with complementary items grouped together on serving platters. Garnish platters with fresh herbs and cranberries for a rustic, fancy touch.

* See you later formal dining, tiny food is here to stay. Whip up a scrumptious menu of small bites to encourage guests to try new foods. Make it easy for the not-so-adventurous ones and label appetizers and pairings that aren’t so obvious (like gourmet meats and mustards).

* It’s all about plating when you weave in a holiday classic like glazed spiral sliced ham. For a new rendition, make it a small plate by cutting slices of ham in half to create mini sliders with a sweet chutney fruit spread. The saltiness of ham pairs deliciously with pineapple, apple or cranberry.

* Cinnamon spice and everything nice. Keep it classy with a fancy cocktail, like a spiked apple cider. Try the Not Your Momma’s Cider recipe from ALDI below. For a simple garnish, thread diced red and green apples on a toothpick (sprinkle lemon juice on the apples to keep from browning) and top with a cinnamon stick for the perfect fancy embellishment.

A Holiday Party To Remember
For a simple homemade touch, send guests home with a sweet something to end the evening:

* Good things do come in small packages. Fill mini holiday tins with an assortment of European sweets, such as German chocolates or marzipan.
* Swoon your guests with a touch of rustic charm by filling Mason jars with layers of premeasured ingredients for your favorite cookie recipe. Wrap with a ribbon and add baking instructions on a festive gift tag.
* Purchase limited-time European cookies at ALDI. Have the kids dip each cookie halfway in melted chocolate and add holiday sprinkles for a simple holiday treat. These will almost feel made from scratch, but no one will know.

13041_ANot Your Momma’s Cider

You will need:
1 cup Wicked Grove Hard Cider
8 cups Nature’s Nectar Apple Cider, divided
6 cinnamon sticks, divided
12 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
8 ounces dark rum
1 red apple, diced
1 green apple, diced

In bowl, combine hard cider and 4 cups apple cider. Pour into ice cube trays. Freeze overnight.
In pot, combine remaining apple cider, 2 cinnamon sticks and 8 sprigs thyme. Bring to boil. Remove from heat, stir in rum.
Strain mixture into bowl. Place mixture in refrigerator overnight to cool.
Divide liquid among 4 mugs.
To serve hot, remove steps 1 and 3 and serve immediately.

Product Spotlight: Vineyard Hill Naturals

Did you know?

Research from the University of Bourdeaux shows that grapevines and grapes hold exceptionally nourishing and regenerative powers for your skin? That’s why Vineyard Hill Naturals uses grape seed oil and grape seed extracts, a.k.a. “recovered” nutrient rich by-products of grapes, as a key ingredient in all of their artisanal bath and body collections.

Their formulations are based on an understanding of the power of plants to renew and help maintain healthy skin. To create the most effective botanical preparations, they include calendula, chamomile, lavender, green tea, cucumber, and arnica for their super antioxidants, soothing, regenerative, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and softening properties.

300We are giving away samples of their Lemon Verbena shampoo, conditioner, and a hand and body wash combo to one lucky reader this week! The super-lemony scented plant they include makes the skin smooth, toned, and refreshed. It is a gentle sun-loving herb that is suitable for sensitive skin. Try it to stimulate, detoxify, and regenerate your skin from within.

Visit their website for more details on the products they offer and follow us on Facebook for a chance to win samples of your own!