Tag Archives: Family

Gala Opera Cabaret at Opera on the James

Suor Angelica - Med Res -64Opera on the James began as the vision of volunteers to create a nonprofit opera company that would attract and involve Central Virginians in the full range of operatic arts. They provide diverse, accessible productions performed by nationally and regionally acclaimed artists that educate, inspire, and engage their audiences. Over the years they have evolved to a more professional company with an active board and a staff that includes General Director, Cecelia Schieve. On January 31, they will celebrate their 10th Anniversary with a Gala Opera Cabaret to highlight past seasons.
The luxurious gala is a decade in the making. Truly, it is a hallmark of more than their success as a company—it is evidence of connections to opera in our every day lives that many in the community did not know existed. Furthermore, it is proof that there is a growing audience waiting to be inspired and enlightened.
The gala is a representation of collaboration at its finest. “I have engaged five wonderful artists from around the country who have performed with us before,” explains Cecelia. “The event seamlessly incorporates dinner, wine, time with friends, auctions, and outstanding performances. We will surround our guests with opera that mixes styles, languages and characterizations.”
For an event this monumental, Opera on the James decided to find a special way to connect with the community to decorate the venue. They chose to ask a local school group from Heritage High School to paint their interpretation of each of the operas in the style of Toulouse-Lautrec.
Selecting Heritage for the collaboration was an easy decision in part, because the community has long admired the illustrations of art teacher, Jon Roark. “He has involved his students in service projects with the Lynchburg Historical Foundation and other non-profits and I had the pleasure of using him as an artist for one of our brochures in the past,” says Cecelia. “Because of this partnership, many of the young artists he teaches will experience the opera for the first time and it was a pleasure to involve and help educate them.”
The artwork will be on display on Thursday, January 29. For more information on the event and how to purchase tickets, visit www.operaonthejames.org.

Serve it Up Sassy: Just a Note to Say…

note sassyscape 2 a


“You’re the syrup on my pancakes, you’re the sugar in my tea, you’re the icing on my cupcakes, you’re the sweets in life for me, you’re the chocolate on my ice cream, you’re the sweet grapes in my wine, you’re everything I love in life, and will you be my Valentine?” –Dr. Don Stoltz

In keeping with the note-writing theme and desserts, this intimate Valentine soiree begins with a cute one-of-a-kind envelope backdrop. Several 4 x 5 ½ inch white envelopes with the back flap facing forward are lined up side-by-side and row- by- row creating a subtle chevron pattern. A singular hot pink envelop draws attention to the overall scheme. The table is draped with a hot pink tablecloth with the classic white serving dishes and pedestals displaying the decadent desserts. Three outstanding desserts include Strawberry Linzer Cookies, Cupid Cupcakes and Cherry “envelope” Pastries. Envelope folded pink cloth napkins are neatly pressed and dress-up the table. Mini petit fours, chocolates and cinnamon imperials were purchased to round out the buffet. The cupid cupcakes are vanilla with pink fondant. A heart- shaped cupid cookie mold made the cute impression. The cupcakes are served up sassy in a white lace paper wrapper. Fruited water, hot tea and coffee could be served as choice beverages.

As the soiree comes to a close, send a lovely valentine home with your guests; perhaps a small gift box containing chocolate truffles or petit fours along with a hand-written personalized friendly word. An unknown poet penned this relevant quote, “Not always is a Valentine composed of fancy paper with buds and birds, and clever words and cupids a la caper, oh birds and darts and sugar hearts are very sweet and fine, but often just a friendly word will make a Valentine.”

Make every day as special as Valentine’s Day and send a note that is signed, sealed and delivered by YOU!

On a personal note,

I would like to thank you for reading my articles and for all the sweet compliments and encouraging words that many of you have expressed. You bless my heart and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you.

With warmest and highest regards, Liz

single cupid cupcake 1 AACupid Cupcakes      

1-18.25 ounce package white cake mix
1-3 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
3- egg whites
1-1/3 cup water
1/3- cup vegetable oil
1- teaspoon vanilla or extract of choice
1 container Vanilla Buttercream frosting-purchased
1 pound white fondant- tested Fondarific
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar for rolling fondant
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
Pink food coloring color paste or gel
Cupid heart-shaped cookie mold
2- inch round cookie cutter

Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, add cake mix, pudding mix, egg whites, water, oil, and flavoring.
Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, be sure to scrape down sides and bottom of mixing bowl. Pour batter into cupcake liners filling ½ full.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.
To Frost and Decorate:
Lightly frost cakes butter cream frosting. Knead fondant until soft and pliable, add pink food coloring, knead until blended. On confectioner sugar coated surface, roll out fondant ¼ inch thick.
Gently brush cookie mold with confectioner’s sugar, press cookie mold onto fondant using straight up and down motion. Cut a 2- inch circle around the cupid heart imprint. Repeat for all cupcakes. Place rounds on top of cupcakes. 

close up linzer plateStrawberry Linzer Cookies    
½ cup butter, softened
1/3cup sugar
1/3cup confectioner’s sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup strawberry jam
Sparkling coarse sugar


Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
In large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and confectioners sugar until light and creamy.
Add egg yolk, lemon extract and heavy whipping cream.
Add flour and salt to creamed mixture. Beat until combined.

Shape dough into a disc and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour.
Roll out chilled dough to ¼ inch thick. Using a 1 3/4 –inch scalloped-edge round cutter, cut 24 cookies, reroll dough and repeat. Place cookies on baking sheet.
Using a small heart shaped cutter, cut out center on 12 cookies. Bake tiny hearts on separate baking sheet if desired.
Refrigerate cookies before baking for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Bake cookies 15-20 minute’s, do not brown tops or bottoms.
When cookies are cool, spread ½ teaspoon jam between whole cookie and top with cutout cookie. Sprinkle coarse sugar or confectioners sugar on top of cookies. Serve immediately or freeze cookies with out jam. Let cookies thaw before filling.

single pastry 1ACherry Envelope Pastry
1 package refrigerated piecrust
1 can cherry pie filling
½ cup sparkling sugar
¼ cup whipping cream
One 4 x 5 inch paper envelope
One small heart shaped cookie cutter

Unroll pastry on floured surface. Open a 4 x 5 ½ inch paper envelope and use as a pattern. Reduce the pattern to make a smaller envelope if desired. Trace pattern onto parchment paper. This is your pattern. Cut pastry into 4 envelopes and 4 small heart shaped cut outs. Fill pastry with cherry pie filling, but not on the back flap. Following the folds of the paper envelope, fold the cutout pastry, leaving the upper flap open. Place heart cut-out on folded edges of pastry envelope. Place pastry on parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with whipping cream then sprinkle with sparkling sugar. Bake pastry at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Do not remove from baking sheet until completely cool.  

Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours!®
Liz Bushong, Serve it up Sassy! ™

To purchase cookbooks, find recipes, cooking, and decorating demonstrations, go to www.lizbushong.com.

10 Ways to Say No to Dry Winter Skin

dry skinWinter is already the pits, am I right? Depending on where you live, it can be cold, rainy, stormy, snowy or perma-dry. And although we often associate winter with wet conditions, the amount of moisture in the air during the cold months is usually lower, resulting in drier skin than at other times of year.

Maybe you’ve noticed. If your skin is peeling, cracking, flaking, chapped, red or itchy, you probably have some dry skin. Unfortunately, no one is safe, not even people with normal or oily skin. Luckily, you can take steps to protect your complexion year round, including in winter.

The infographic offered by Pureskintone.com lays out ten excellent ways to keep skin in topnotch shape. First, resist the temptation to torch yourself in the shower and keep your home at jungle temperatures. While it feels good, it’s terrible for your skin. Lower temperatures to preserve your body’s natural hydration.

When out and about, protect yourself from the elements with sun block and gloves. At home, sub out harsh products for mild, milk-like cleansers, moisturizing masks and gentle soaps. Avoid washing unless you have to, exfoliate once a week, and reapply moisturizer to hands, face and body after every wash. If nothing works, set up an appointment with a dermatologist to decide next steps.

Written by Chelsea Mason

WIN Floyd Fest Tickets!

24 Days of Prizes: DAY TWENTY-TWO!


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!




WIN a Porcelain Photo Ornament!

ornament24 Days of Prizes: DAY EIGHTEEN!

Full of great gift ideas in Roanoke, Make it Personal, has so many personalized gifts to give or receive!

Today you could  WIN a unique porcelain photo Christmas ornament from their holiday collection! Make this your 2014 ornament and treasure it for years to come!

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to win! Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the December issue for more information on all of the fantastic prizes you can win this month!

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Everyone has at least one, and maybe several, hard-to-buy-for people on their holiday shopping lists. For the ladies who aren’t giving any hints this year, we have a list of last minute gifts that will surprise and delight them!

derbyFor the edgy friend, Scars & Stripes: The Culture of Modern Roller Derby is a great gift! Photographer and skater Andréanna Seymore documents her experiences with roller derby from 2008-2014. This book contains photographs and commentary from people involved with the sport revealing moments both good and bad. A great coffee table book for the 20-something in your life!

In need of a cute stocking stuffer that she will use all year long? Try one of these adorable keychains from Capturing Couture! Their size makes it difficult for her to misplace her keys and easier for her to wear them around her wrist when she doesn’t have pockets. Choose from several designs to find the keychain that reminds you of her!

11.25 Train Case Gold GlitterThe Caboodles Train Case in Gold or Silver Glitter is perfect for any makeup lover! You will not believe how much you can fit in to one of these gorgeous makeup cases– stay tuned to our Facebook page for a chance to win one in silver!

For a gift that EVERY girl can use, try these Gold Dot Printed Flannel Pajamas from Aegean Apparel! They will keep her warm and stylish all winter. And you might just want to order a pair for yourself to wear on Christmas Day!

Pick up the December issue of Bella while they last for more great holiday ideas! And stay tuned for another great 24 Days of Prizes giveaway!


WIN Kitchen Paper from Potentially Chic!

paper24 Days of Prizes: DAY SIXTEEN!

Win a roll of Kitchen Paper from Potentially Chic for your next holiday party! Each roll is 50 feet long, allowing you to use exactly what you need AND save some for another event.

Visit our Facebook page for details on how to win! Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the December issue for more information on all of the fantastic prizes you can win this month!

Holiday Thinking of You Gift

1800flowersGift cards, hot chocolate kits, and sampler packages oh my! Nothing says last minute thought like one of these lovely, but abstract, options. Have the holidays snuck up on you this year? Maybe you forgot a friend or coworker in the haste of planning and attending festivities. It happens. But leave the boxed sausage sampler sitting on the shelf, and send them aA beautiful holiday flower arrangement from 1-800-Flowers.com instead. They have several unique styles for Christmas, including this adorable flower puppy, “Santa Paws!”

The best part about your purchase from 1-800-Flowers is that they have partnerships with local florists and flower growers. Their bouquets are delivered fresh (and on time!) in an artful presentation, arranged by professional florists.

Visit www.1-800-FLOWERS.com to pick out the arrangement that is perfect for your loved one, friend, or coworker. And pick up the December issue of Bella Magazine for more fun holiday ideas!