Tag Archives: central virginia

Jam Packed with Flavor

New ImageWith the holidays approaching, picking out the right gifts for your friends can be tricky. All natural jams by Department of Sweet Diversions can be a quick and easy sweet treat to give out or even keep for yourself!
All ingredients for the jams are handmade, organic and completely free of preservatives. No processed foods are added and fruits and herbs are bought from the local farmer’s market only a few miles away from their commercial kitchen.
Each jam comes in a 6 ounce jar. Currently, they are available in nine flavors– but they change seasonally. Their most popular options are The Suite Surprise, which is their custom apple butter and The Grand Scheme, their strawberry jam.
“In a world where so much of our food is full of preservatives and mass produced, I’m glad to be able to bring a level of delicious simplicity to our jams that I remember as a kid,” says co-owner, Virginie Strub.
The jars can be ordered individually or gift sets are available. You can also request your jar to be wrapped as well to make it easier for gift giving! To purchase one of Department of Sweet Diversions’ jams head over to their website and get your favorite flavor for the holidays!

Written by Kristi Hall

 

Unique Holiday Gift Ideas

The holidays are right around the corner! If you are looking for a meaningful, unique gift, we are here to help. Check out these ideas from UncommonGoods:

glassesWooden Martini Glasses: A great gift for your favorite hostess, the bowl and base of this glass are crafted from black walnut with a handsome grain that echoes the ripples in your drink. Wood is a better insulator than glass and helps keep cocktails chilled longer. They are finished with FDA-approved sealant to keep the wood from interfering with the beverage’s flavors. Sold on their webpage in sets of two. 

Mother Nestling Birds Necklace: Inspired by moms but made for anyone, these newly redesigned recycled sterling silver necklaces are sweet, simple and bound to become an everyday favorite. These darling birds are a great holiday gift for moms and grandmothers! Visit UncommonGoods to purchase one for your loved one.

millSteampunk Coffee Mill: Perfect for the coffee lover in your life, this steampunk-inspired design is highlighted by a black walnut lid and cast iron grinder. It holds enough coffee beans to make 4-5 cups of drip coffee. After being grinded, the aromatic grounds settle in a mason jar container, ready to perk the recipient up for their morning routine. Follow this link for more information. 

Uncommon Goods is full of unique holiday gift ideas for every special person in your life! Also, as an independently-owned business, they have the freedom to support several nonprofit organizations. With every purchase made on their site, they donate $1 to the non-profit of your choice. Charities they support include RAINN, American Forests, Women for Women International, and Reach Out and Read.

 

Check out their website for more information, and pick up a November issue of Bella Magazine for more holiday gift suggestions!

 

Meet Sarah Scott

sarahSarah Scott is compassionate, driven to help others succeed, savvy in business and remarkably adaptable. Originally hailing from Chicago, she contemplated a teaching career but discovered her passion in Graphic Design. Beginning her business at the precipice of the recession (2009), Sarah drove ahead relentlessly and never looked back, building a successful company on the tenets of honesty, value and unparalleled quality. She is past President of her city’s Rotary Club, an avid athlete and a generous volunteer in her community. Sarah possesses the kind of unbridled joy that makes you love life itself.  

Nominated by Jenny Carter

Thank you for your participation this month! We want to take a moment to recognize all of the fantastic women in our area who we did not have the opportunity to mention– keep being the amazing and inspirational force that you are!

Stick to Your Diet

bellaweb2Halloween is almost here, followed by Thanksgiving next month and then (dare we say it?) Christmas! While many people find joy in the holiday season, for those trying to lose weight it can be the most miserable time of the year. Fortunately, it is possible to stay dedicated to your diet while surrounded by unhealthy food.

Colin Christopher, author of Success Through Manipulation, provides a few great tips on staying healthy in the face of tempting sweets and foods: 

  • Don’t skip meals this holiday season: Some people skip meals thinking they will be able to consume more goodies at Halloween, more turkey and stuffing at Thanksgiving and more of Christmas dinner.  This will guarantee your failure as it leads to increased hunger, binge eating and depriving your body of necessary calories to convert to energy.
  •  There’s no such thing as eating healthy now to balance out bad meals later: Many people think living on salads and fruit now gives them permission to indulge in whatever they want later.  If you’re trying to lose weight and eat right, salads and fruit are a good choice, but stuffing yourself full of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie later on will still bring plenty of negative consequences. 
  • Have a plan: Bad food choices are going to be in abundance this time of year.  Have a plan in place so you don’t succumb to these negative choices.  Choose healthier options, drink plenty of water which is good for you and will fill you up, and stop eating when your body feels satisfied. 
  • Don’t compare yourself to others: Just because Aunt Mildred shows up to Thanksgiving dinner and she’s 100 pounds heavier than you, doesn’t give you permission to go on an eating spree.   
  • You are responsible: If you gain five pounds at Thanksgiving, it’s your fault.  Stop blaming the holiday, the Halloween candy, the turkey or the pumpkin pie.  It’s very possible to control what you eat this time of year but it’s ultimately your responsibility. 
  • Learn to say no: When Aunt Mildred insists that you try her world famous pecan pie, politely decline.  Explain to her that you are on a diet and very serious about getting healthy.  She will understand. Same goes for the kids or the neighbors with candy on Halloween. 
  • Exercise doesn’t give you the right to eat poorly: Many people think they can go for a long bike ride or hit the gym a few times during the holidays so they can indulge in the holiday feast.  Working out and exercise is great, but it’s never a pass to load up on bad food at the holidays. 
  • Let your clothes be a reminder: Don’t wear something that fits loosely and hides any excess fat.  Wear something that just fits your body and may not be the most flattering.  Let this be a reminder when you grab for that dessert, second serving or the Halloween bowl. This is also a great way to reinforce the idea in your subconscious mind that it’s time to get healthy. 
  • Traveling for the holidays is no excuse: A lot of patients tell me they indulged in fast food or a bag of chips because it was the only option at the airport.  When traveling, pack a healthy meal before you board your flight or hit the road this holiday season.   
  • Dig deep: Whether the temptation is Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies or other holiday season food, dig deep and ask yourself how bad you want to see results.  If you really commit to the process, you can lose weight and get healthy – even at the holidays.  Being partially committed never works. 

Article contributed by Colin Christopher

Meet Ginger Poole Avis

GingerPooleAvisMill Mountain Theatre brought Ginger Poole Avis to Roanoke in 2006, and eight years later Avis, Producing Artistic Director for the Theatre, has been married here, started a family here, and definitely considers Roanoke home.  In addition to teaching acting at Hollins University, Avis is a member of many local organizations, including the Roanoke Valley Garden Club, and serves on the Boards of the Virginia Theatre Association and Junior League of Roanoke Valley.  Ginger considers the Junior League of Roanoke Valley to be a connector for women, and through the League has met lifelong friends that share her passions and love for this community.

Nominated by Jennifer Bryant

Join us tomorrow as we recognize our final extraordinary local woman for the month of October!

Remove Clutter Before the Holidays

bellaweb4You’ve reached your breaking point. You’ve tripped over the same thing in the living room too many times. Now you’ve picked it up to finally put it away and you realize – you have nowhere to put it. You have too much clutter in your home. So what do you do? How do you decide where to start so you can reduce the clutter and make your walkways safe once more?

Getting started is easier than you think. If you want to take control of clutter, get a few boxes – start with one for each room in your home and begin organizing one room at a time.

Begin this initiative by removing everything on top of your cabinets, tables and in bookcases, and then place it all in a box. If there are other random accessories in the room, remove those, too. Keep just the basic furnishings. Now sit with the room in its simplest form for a short time.

After a day or two has passed, go back to the box and look for items that define your personality, or will be noticed by guests visiting your home.

When you look at your well-designed room, you should see positive elements, as well as appreciate the possibility for negative space by removing unnecessary pieces that don’t add to the design composition.

Interior design students at The Art Institute of York – Pennsylvania are taught to help their clients step back and ask themselves: Is it finished now? You can err when you go shopping and purchase nice pieces for your home, because before long you may have accumulated too many of those nice things. Take a hard look at some of those things you don’t really want or need; it might be time to share that stuff with your local Goodwill.

Sometimes, you might think you have to keep memorabilia or outdated gifts from Aunt Ethel in your home all the time. Place these items in storage. If you get a call from Auntie when she plans her next visit, head to the attic and put those old Beanie Babies she gave you when you were a fanatical collector decades ago on a shelf in your den – temporarily. She’ll be happy for the gesture. When she leaves, feel free to put them back in the box of memories until her next visit.

After you complete this exercise in each room in your home, you’ll notice that the clutter has disappeared. Now you can recognize how attractive the remaining items are in that same space. This initiative takes determination and focus, but when you’ve completed the exercise, your focus can be on the lovely space you’ve recreated.

Meet Betty Whittaker

bettywhittakerBetty Whittaker, a 31 year employee of American Red Cross, currently serves as the Regional Director of Volunteer Services for a 50 county, 24,000 square mile region of Virginia.  She has spent her career helping prevent and alleviate human suffering in face of all kinds of emergencies including the Flood of 1985, the Virginia Tech Shootings in April 2007 and the Pulaski Tornadoes in April 2011. Betty is fabulous in spirit, action and beauty. 

Nominated by C. Lee Clark

Join us each weekday during the month of October as we recognize extraordinary women in our area! Nominate someone you know by emailing us: bella@beckmediagroup.com.

 

Free Shipping Day: No Minimums Allowed

free-shipping-dayIn an interesting juxtaposition of headlines last week, Target announced free shipping on all holiday orders through Dec. 20. A day later, The Wall Street Journal came out with “Free Shipping Is Going to Cost You More,” highlighting the misnomer that is the “free shipping with minimum order” promotion. The article found the average order to qualify for free shipping is $82, up from $76 a year ago.
“The Wall Street Journal story is a much-needed response to those who believe free shipping is everywhere these days,” says Luke Knowles, CEO of FreeShipping.org. “Retailers may have a free shipping offer, but it typically doesn’t mean you’ll dodge delivery fees on any order.”
As a pioneer in the free shipping space, Knowles started FreeShipping.org in 2007 to help online shoppers avoid the delivery fees he disliked so much. A year later he founded Free Shipping Day, the one-day online event when shoppers can get free shipping and delivery by Christmas Eve.
“Back then, free shipping was pretty rare and retailers were just discovering how powerful a promotion it could be,” continues Knowles. “It was, and continues to be, the number-one deal online shoppers respond to.”
Indeed, 69 percent of respondents to Accenture’s annual holiday spending survey said free shipping was their primary incentive for shopping online. Comscore’s 2014 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper found close to a third (30 percent) of respondents will hold off on buying online until free shipping is offered, while 50 percent will ditch their digital shopping carts if their orders don’t quality for free shipping.
The emphasis on “real” free shipping is what drove Knowles and his team to require merchants participating in Free Shipping Day to waive minimum order thresholds for the 2013 event. “We realized if we wanted retailers to offer true free shipping, trying to convince them a few days before our event wasn’t enough. We decided not to give them an option to offer anything less than real free shipping, and will continue that standard this year.”
Last year, close to 1,000 retailers participated in Free Shipping Day, pulling in an estimated $868 million in online sales. Knowles and his team are already working on this year’s December 18th event, ramping up for what will likely be another record-breaking online shopping season. In fact, the National Retail Federation estimates consumers will complete over half (56 percent) of their holiday shopping online this year, a record-high in the organization’s 13-year history of surveying shoppers.
Free Shipping Day is scheduled this year for Thursday, Dec. 18. Visit www.freeshippingday.com for more information.

 

Article contributed by Kendal Perez (kendal@freeshippingday.com) of Free Shipping Day.