Tag Archives: holiday

DIY Gifts for the Holidays

It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is TEN DAYS AWAY!!!!

Some of the best gifts are handmade and heartfelt. If you are looking for an easy and unique DIY idea, you should pick up our December issue! We have two fun DIY projects that won’t take long to complete (trust us, we know time is precious right now). Or, you can head on over to our Pinterest page! There you will find tutorials for everything from leather totes and magazine racks to paper flowers and frames.

And if making something yourself is too time consuming, please remember to support your local artists!


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.

Holiday Gifts: Little Books About Important Things

With the holidays right around the corner, mastering up the perfect gift list can be a challenge. If you are looking for fun but educational present than we’ve got you covered!

516VTewo3vL._SY497_BO1,204,203,200_Little Books About Important Things explores the importance of feelings, friendship and safety. Each important topic is broken down in an individual book which is included in the set. Readers learn how to express themselves, how to make friends, and and learn tips to stay safe.

Use these quick and easy books to help introduce important principals to your little ones!


Written by Kristi Hall

An Indulgent Treat That’s Both Salty & Sweet

The holiday season is in full swing, and at this point your calendar is bursting with fun, festive activities: the Nutcracker, a friend’s Ugly Sweater Party, holiday gatherings at the Hotel Roanoke, you name it! If you need an easy recipe for a holiday treat that is guaranteed to impress your guests without much fuss, we have the perfect fix for you: Country Crack!

You will need:
Cooking spray
35-40 saltine crackers
2 sticks (1 cup) of butter (For crunchier crackers, just use one stick!)
8 ounces (about 1 1/3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips

Step 1: Begin by preheating the oven to 425 degrees F. The ingredients being used have been proven to be sticky, so make sure to line the pan with aluminum foil and non-stick spray.
Step 2: Arrange the saltines in a single layer, placing them salt-side down. As you do this, you can melt the butter and brown sugar together in a saucepan. As it comes to a boil, it will turn a caramel color. From here you will pour the mixture over the crackers.
Step 3: Bake for 3-5 minutes, or just until bubbly, but make sure that they don’t burn! After you remove the crackers from the oven, next you will pour the chocolate chips on the crackers. As they begin to soften, then you can gently smooth them over with a knife.
Step 4: Transfer the pan to the freezer. Leave them sit for 15-20 minutes, or until they become cold. The last step is to break the crackers into pieces.

This is a great time to add toppings. This recipe originated from Trisha Yearwood’s Sweet & Saltines. The secret to Country Crack is the sea salt that is grinded on top. That’s the kicker! Other good toppings could include crushed peppermint or even bacon.
If you’re at a loss for time, don’t stress! This recipe can be made in 35 minutes tops. It’s simple and delicious, and your dessert will be the talk of the night.



Written by Lani Maddox

Peppermint Mocha Panna Cotta

Planning the menu for your holiday festivities? Don’t forget to include a dessert that is just as gorgeous as it is delicious. Guests will enjoy the extra effort, and you are likely to see your creation throughout their social media! To create this lovely Peppermint Mocha Panna Cotta from Nielsen-Massey, you will need:

1/3 cup cold water
1 packet unflavored gelatin
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 1/2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Peppermint Extract
1/2 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Coffee Extract
1 teaspoon cocoa powder (garnish)

NMV Peppermint Panna Cotta v1Place 8 mini martini glasses or dessert molds on a small rimmed sheet pan; set aside. In a small glass measuring cup, add water. Sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand for 5 minutes to soften.
To a medium sauce pan, add whipping cream, sugar, coffee, vanilla, peppermint and coffee extracts; stir to combine. Place over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and the cream just begins to gently boil.
Reduce heat. Add softened gelatin, stirring constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat. Equally fill glasses with mixture, about 1/4 cup each. Chill in refrigerator until firm, about 2-3 hours. Before serving, dust with cocoa powder.

Southwest Virginia Ballet Presents: The Nutcracker

If you need a little inspiration to get into the holiday spirit, look no further than Southwest Virginia Ballet’s 20th production of The Nutcracker! Beautiful music, lush scenery, and lavish costumes perfectly complement E.T.A. Hoffmann’s timeless story as patrons of all ages have their imaginations sparked by a Christmas tree that grows to huge proportions, mice and soldiers in battle, and snowflakes whirling through falling snow.
The Nutcracker is a timeless tradition in Roanoke. Those who attend a performance every year know that each one offers something different. Audiences will be treated to new choreography and costumes with this production. Perhaps most importantly, the central message of this performance is, “Love will prevail.” With all of the chaos happening in the world around us, it is a helpful reminder to inspire happiness in our community for the holidays.
“You will feel the love and joy of the people on the stage. The goal is to help the audience enjoy life,” says choreographer Pedro Szalay.
That goal is one that the dancers and artists take very seriously. The students involved have made sacrifices all year to perfect their performances including attending rehearsals on Saturdays and Sundays and even missing school dances.
High school senior Katie Munson will dance the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy. This year marks her 12th performance in The Nutcracker. She began at a very young age as a reindeer in the play. Under the guidance of Szalay, she has blossomed into a performer that can fill the demanding role of The Sugar Plum Fairy .
“This role is very technical,” explains Szalay. “You need to be regal. She is the guider of the Land of the Sweets and everyone looks up to her. It is about the technique and the artistry. Katie has both.”
“This year is special because it is my last performance [as a student of Southwest Virginia Ballet],” says Munson. “I have had an amazing experience with them, and am grateful for the opportunity to showcase the artistry and talent that go into the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”
The cast of this year’s production will include the 57 members of Southwest Virginia Ballet’s junior and senior company as well as over 150 community members from the ages of seven through “adult.”
Performances will take place at the Berglund Performing Arts Theatre on Saturday, December 12 at 2.p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 13 at 3 p.m. You can also purchase tickets for Clara’s Tea Party, a special pre-performance event on Sunday, December 13 at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.svballet.org.

Gift Idea: The Wine Bible

Wine Bible_COV 20.inddThe Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil draws readers in with a simple fact, an acknowledgement of the relaxation and elegance that awaits a wine lover when they enjoy a wine tasting or pour a glass at the end of the day.

She says, “I love wine because it is one of the last true things. In a world digitized to distraction, a world where you can’t get out of your pajamas without your cell phone, wine remains utterly primary. Unrushed. The silent music of nature.”

MacNeil then introduces readers to the basics of wine by answering questions like, “What makes great wine great?”, “Are some wine glasses better than others?”, and “Does wine really need to breathe?” Then she dives into the fundamentals–vineyards and varietals, climate and terroir, the nine attributes of a wine’s greatness–all the while layering on tips, informative asides, anecdotes, definitions, photographs, maps, labels, and recommended bottles.

Readers will learn not only how to match wine with food, but also the mood of an occasion. They will learn the history behind the world’s most captivating beverage including the reason behind Champagne’s bubbles and the place the Greeks called, “the land of wine.”

This is a great book to have on hand for your next party or to give as a hostess gift during the holidays.

Healthy Eating: Thug Kitchen Party Grub!

‘Tis the season for holiday parties! While you are planning your Thanksgiving and holiday celebrations, consider incorporating recipes from Thug Kitchen Party Grub into your menu.

Chefs Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway began blogging their healthy plant-based recipes in 2012 and released their first book last year. After teaching readers how to cook healthy and affordable dishes for themselves, they decided to release a new cookbook that would allow their fans to share their healthy eating habits with friends and family.

Thug Kitchen Party Grub contains over 100 new recipes for any occasion. Don’t let the “healthy” aspect deter you–your guests will be complimenting your culinary skills long after the party is over.
However, fair warning: it does contain strong language. Personally, we think that just adds to the charm.