Tag Archives: christmas

Holiday Stocking Stuffers!

The holidays are right around the corner, which means you’ve already begun the stress of finding gifts for your loved ones. If you’re like me, diving into the stockings on Christmas morning is one of your favorite holiday activities. Here are some new ideas for gifts to add to your list of stocking stuffers for the adults in your life!

For Her:

  • TonyMoly I’m Real Mask Sheet Bundle: Get her a week’s worth of TonyMoly face masks this Christmas. From skin brightening to pore care, this fan-favorite skincare brand has 11 different face masks for you to choose from!
  • Tile Style Pro Series: If she’s like me, she’s always losing her phone! That also means she’ll love this gift. This small and sleek-looking Tile gadget will help her find her phone wherever she’s left it. Simply double tap the Tile and their phone will ring, even when it’s on silent!
  • Eos: A gift that every woman loves? Chapstick. We just can’t get enough of it! Throw some Eos in her stocking this Christmas that will leave her lips feeling healthy and smooth with the added vitamin E.
  • Burts Bees Everyday Beauty Essential Kit: Everyone loves Burt’s Bees, and this set contains five of their most popular beauty products in the cutest travel sizes. Pamper your whole body with their Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream, Hand Salve, Milk and Honey Body Lotion, classic Beeswax Lip Balm, and Coconut Foot Cream.
  • Invisibobble Hair Tie: This revolutionary hair tool will put an end to all the challenges she’s ever had tying up her hair. Invisibobble hair ties will take the pressure off her ponytail with these hair caring, no split end, stretchy hair ties that won’t leave a single crease in their hair.

For Him:

  • Anker Phone Charger: Keep his phone charged with this Anker charger that will power up his phone four times faster than it would at any computer USB port. When at full capacity, the Anker charger can give his phone up to two complete charges.
  • Harry’s Razors Winston Set: Give him the gift of a Christmas shave. Complete with a comfortable die-cast zinc and polished chrome body, a set of two extra blades, shaving cream, and a protective case, this shaving kit can be made even more personal with his engraved initials.
  • Duke Cannon Big American Bourbon Soap: Taking a shower will be his new favorite activity with this Buffalo Trace bourbon-infused soap that’ll leave anyone wondering where you found this!
  • American Crew Forming Cream: One of the best brands in men’s haircare, this Crew Forming Cream helps hair appear thicker while providing hold, pliability, and shine.

Written by Taylor Ward

 

Meet Renée Hamilton of SWVA Ballet!

Southwest Virginia Ballet’s new executive director, Renée Hamilton, has been passionate about dance since she was a child. She began dancing very young, in elementary school, and continued dancing in different areas with a focus in ballet well into high school in Winchester, Virginia. Both in college and after graduation, she continued taking classes and remaining active on a voluntary basis.
After spending time in Arkansas, Renée moved back to the east coast and connected with Southwest Virginia Ballet. From the moment she met Karen and Pedro, she knew it would be a good fit for her.
Now, with the Southwest Virginia Ballet’s 22nd production of the Nutcracker approaching, her connection is accompanied by nostalgia.
“The Nutcracker was the first performance I was ever in as a child. I played Clara, and my parents danced in the Nutcracker alongside me. It’s something that naturally brings back childhood memories every Christmas, and makes it magical from the beginning of the season all the way through,” says Renée.
Artistic director, Pedro Szalay, is dedicated to adding something new every year in order to keep the performance fresh and new. Audiences who attend annually are often excited to see what changes he has made to costumes and choreography.
“The other fun part is watching kids in the company and community members grow and change throughout. These are exceedingly well-trained, passionate, artistic kids,” adds Renée.
In addition to supporting the participating young dancers, Southwest Virginia Ballet has a mission to give back to clients of human service organizations. If someone is going through a difficult time, and would have their holiday made better by attending a Nutcracker performance, their therapist or contact person can contact the office and say they are interested in receiving tickets for their client.
If you’d like to be part of this great organization and work with talented creatives like Pedro and Renée, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities!
“You don’t have to have a dance background to get involved. We will not turn away volunteers. We need people who sew, hair stylists, or any people who would like to get involved. We can look for a good match for their interests!” explains Renée.
Learn more about the Southwest Virginia Ballet (and Renée!) by attending events like their Nutcracker Gala on November 18 at the Shenandoah Club. There, you can also participate in an auction of locally handcrafted painted nutcrackers and other treasures! Additional events include Readings with Clara and the SugarPlum Fairy at local libraries through November and December. Of course, we can’t forget The Nutcracker performances at the Berglund Performing Arts Center on Saturday, December 9, at 2 pm and 7 pm, and Sunday, December 10, at 3 pm.
Visit www.svballet.org for more information and to purchase tickets

 

Photography by McDilda Photography.

VeganVille: The Holiday Blues

I love winter and all its holidays: Three Kings’ Day, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, you name it (and please do, the more I learn about, the more I can party). Everything is all warm and sparkly and if you knew me you would know I’m nothing if not a giant, crumpled ball of tinfoil, at least emotionally. I can relate to winter holidays.

What I don’t love, however, is that all holiday parties seem to revolve around mother lodes of meat. And I hate to admit it, but even though I’ve been vegan since well before Al Gore invented the internet, there have been times when I have caved and brought meat, at the host’s request, to some shindig or other. As you no doubt can guess, that always turns out badly in the end.

Most recently, for example, I had a boss that I shall call Mistress Congeniality for the purposes of this reminiscence. She asked us, her minions, to attend an optional (not-optional) holiday party/team-building at her house. She said she would provide the vegetable sides and desserts, and assigned the other necessary items to the rest of the celebrants. I was asked to bring a tray of tendons, or at least that’s what I heard her say.

Trusting, gentle tenderfoot that I am, as I roamed the supermarket on the way to the fete, not having eaten all day, I ignored the delicious displays of olives, loaves of artisan bread, freshly-cut trays of crudité, and pint after pint of non-dairy frozen desserts with names like Caramel Calorie Cowabunga and Buttbusting Brownie Deliciousness.

She was providing non-meat food, she said, and, so I bought only what the Minister of Toil told me to bring: something that used to have a face. So after considering the possibilities that were available that wouldn’t gross me out excessively, or involve me having to do any touching or preparation, I grabbed the first grizzled, oil-soaked lump I came across:  something aging in the rotisserie. I’m guessing it was a chicken, but the chickens I know have beautiful feathers. Still attached. Along with their heads.

Anyway, I remember thinking sarcastically as I entered the Bastille that evening that I could always eat my freshly manicured nails if there was nothing else—they were glittery, silver and matched my tiara perfectly.

So when I put my contribution of crud next to everyone else’s unrecognizable piles and lumps, I became mildly alarmed when a quick scan revealed…no crackers, no spreads, no vegetables, no sides, no dessert..WAIT!  I spoke too soon—at the end of the counter was three small dishes that weren’t loaded with ground Buzzard or minced bandicoot: a miniature plate of gherkins, a small bowl of chow chow and a plate of onion and tomato slices. I’d been HAD!

Wow. Not only did Santa NOT give me a present that year, he used my life as a reindeer rest stop and didn’t bother to clean up after the rascals. At least my fingernails were delicious.  And let me reinforce that you don’t team-build very well on an empty stomach.

Happy Merry!

 

Written by Ginger Rail*

 

(*Ginger Rail is the pen name of our favorite vegan writer in Southwest Virginia. She spends her spare time entertaining her friends and family with her hilarious adventures–and now she’s sharing them with us!)

The Gift of Reading

We always want our gifts to reflect the character of the person receiving them. Do you know a strong, independent, powerful woman? Are you at a loss of what to get them? Not sure what gift would really capture just how much they inspire you?

chandleroleary_jessicaspring_deadfeminists_book_169pxCheck out Dead Feminists by Jessica Springs and Chandler O Leary. This book is dedicated to exploring the lives of 27 powerful and inspiration woman in history that the history books tend gloss over. Each chapter is centered around a call to action and is an intricate exploration of the way feminism has transformed over the years. Including artwork, lettering, and archival photographs the reader is able to really educate themselves on the lives of the 27 women and the culture in which they existed.

P.S. This book is great for everyone’s library, so don’t forget to pick up a copy for yourself too!

 

 

Written by Nicole Brobston

Shine Bright for Holiday Parties!

Every year we spend far too much money on the perfect holiday attire and makeup only for it to never be used again. Ladies, it’s time to stop the madness. Let us help you find a few great staples, not only for the holidays, but for the entire year!

Start with the foundation of your outfit. Finding the perfect holiday dress is almost as difficult as shopping for the hardest person to buy for on your list. You want something that makes a great impression and looks festive without making you look like your host’s Christmas tree.

PPOkOz478maovgI6jBCs1C32rGE-DuuzcHe-xLymeiQIn a sea of red, green, silver, and gold, make yourself stand out from the crowd in one of Lilly Pulitzer’s gorgeous dresses. There is a wide selection available at Punch Boutique in Roanoke! Our favorite LP is the Rylee Lace Shift dress in blue. For those of us who stay away from traditional holiday colors throughout the year, it can be worn again for New Year’s celebrations, Valentine’s Day, and even a mid-summer party.

Accent your look with shiny accessories that will help you light up the room. Your shoes are the most important part! Those of you who are comfortable in heels, we salute you. In our office, however, we cannot live without a great pair of flats. If you are going to be standing on your feet for hours on end, consider investing in a silver pair of Tieks Ballet Flats. Yes, they will be more expensive than the strappy silver heels you’ve contemplated purchasing for the last few weeks, but they will be far more comfortable. Also, you are more likely to wear them throughout the year.

Now, let’s talk hair and makeup.

Some of the most gorgeous looks are stunningly simple. Our must have cosmetics for the holiday season include:

8VQcI968UUBUc-xyolOa6PpWVfCS_RTYCipZcYkG3QIMoodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+ mascara by Younique
You don’t want to be applying and reapplying fake lashes all night. As the weather gets colder, your eyes are more likely to water. Slowly but surely, the glue that holds your eye’s equivalent of Cinderella’s glass slipper begins to disappear. Don’t depend on all of the stars aligning to keep your lashes from looking like they are trying to escape. Use a mascara you can depend on to elongate your lashes and stay put for your celebration. You can use it for three months and is far less expensive than investing in extensions.
Naked Lunch eyeshadow by MAC
While everyone else is dusting their eyes with white eyeshadow, give this slightly pink shade a try. It works with the natural hues in your skin (whether you are pale like many of the people in our office or you have a darker complexion) to give your eyes and your overall face a warm and healthy glow. Pair it with a grey or brown shade on the outer edges of your eye and your favorite liquid eyeliner for the ever popular smokey eye.

vl69AprLvJcp3kjmVdcElk040M0D6AjOiUI8-fjoiNEAveda Inner Light Mineral Tinted Moisturizer (broad spectrum SPF 15)
Cheap foundation from the drug store isn’t going to give your skin that lovely holiday glow you desire for all of your Instagram photos. We love this tinted moisturizer from Aveda because it spoils our skin during the cold winter months and it gives our face a sheer, fair tone with a dewy finish. Add just a touch of your favorite bronze or blush to complete the look.

CHI Shine Infusion Spray
If you make one purchase for your hair this year, make it CHI’s Shine Infusion spray. It is the one universal item that should be in every girl’s bathroom. Whether you wear your hair straight or curly, the most important part is that it shines when the light hits it just right. It works great on every hair color and it’s relatively inexpensive.

Most importantly, the more simple you can keep your holiday look, the less stress you will encounter preparing for the event and touching up your outfit, hair, and makeup throughout the night. The holidays are about enjoying yourself and spending time with the people you love, not looking “perfect.” Let the light within you be the brightest thing that shines through, and you are guaranteed to make a great impression every time.

National “Thank You” Month

My grandmother always told me that “Thank You” notes were important. She backed up this sentiment by sending them for EVERYTHING. If you gave her flowers on Mother’s Day, she would send a Thank You card. Recently, she even sent one to my husband and I for coming over to make dinner for her and my grandfather.

Inspired by my grandmother, I have always tried to send out timely Thank You notes for every gift, of every size, that I receive. Think about it. When you receive a gift, no matter the monetary value, you are also receiving the gift of someone’s time. The gift giver took time out of their day to think about you, buy something they thought you would like, (maybe) wrap it, and somehow deliver it to you. It is not only disrepectful to neglect to send a thank you note, it can be a little hurtful.

thankyouSo, if you have put off sending Thank You notes for your Holiday gifts– there is still time! It helps to keep blank cards on hand year round, not only for Thank You notes, but for those last minute occasions that you forget. We love Sabrina Soto’s new collection at Michaels. Not only are they inexpensive, their fun patterns make them a sunny reminder of how much you appreciate the person receiving them.

What are you waiting for? Make grandma proud, and celebrate National Thank You Month!   

WIN a Just Dance Roanoke Membership!

24 Days of Prizes: DAY TWENTY-THREE!

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Get the New Year started off right with a fabulous prize from the even more fabulous Just Dance Roanoke! Today we’re giving away one free month to one lucky winner and a friend!!!! So you can dance your heart out with your BFF all month long.

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to win!

WIN Floyd Fest Tickets!

24 Days of Prizes: DAY TWENTY-TWO!

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As a proud sponsor, Bella Magazine is giving away two Floyd Fest 3-Day adult tickets and two kids’ passes to one lucky reader!!! From July 22-26, the mountains will come alive once again with music, magic and fun– and it will be here before you know it!

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to win!

 

#24daysofprizes

#floydfest