Tag Archives: inspire

Keeping a Journal

Any writer will tell you that there is something to be said for journaling. Not only does it help you organize your thoughts and remember important and inspirational moments down the road, it also puts things into perspective and can change your outlook for the better.

I’ve kept a journal since I was a teenager. The old ones are long gone, and only their most important pages remain in storage. However, I have kept my journals from the last few years, transferring important quotes onto fresh pages every time I start a new one.

In college, I met a professor who inspired me to dedicate a few moments of every single day to journaling. At first, it was difficult. But, like any habit (watching TV, scrolling through Facebook, playing video games), over time I began to enjoy it. The difference between this task and the aforementioned habits is that I could look back and learn from the moments I recorded in years past. They inspired me and helped me realize how much I had grown over the years.

Often, in the moment, we are bogged down by the stress of every day life. It is hard to feel like you have accomplished anything when you are still surrounded by challenges and rejection. Last year, we had a writer talk about filling up your salt shaker with joy so you can empty it out during the trying times. It’s a concept so important that it is worth reiterating.

Journaling is a great way to make sure your salt shaker stays full– even if you have never really thought of yourself as a writer. If you need a little help getting started, try one of the following books:

41OwjGJym1L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_10 Mindful Minutes: A Journal by Goldie Hawn is inspired by the actress’ advocacy for mindfulness. It is a guided journal with simple meditations and prompts, along with thoughtful quotations that will inspire you to focus on specific qualities from optimism or gratitude to anger or fear. The goal is to enhance the positive qualities and help the negative ones by incorporating a meditative practice.


51q1RK95cvL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_You may find yourself inspired by a simple quotation, and less in need of the guidance of a writing prompt. If that is the case, a great resource is The Last Word: A Treasury of Women’s Quotes by Carolyn Warner. With more than 2,000 timeless quotes by women, representing everyone from Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots to pop megastar Madonna, The Last Word is a must-have for any woman looking for inspiration.



51XI3IzeqML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_My personal favorite isn’t new, but it is great for all levels of journaling. Writing and Being: Embracing Your Life Through Creative Journaling by G. Lynn Nelson will change the way you write for the better by explaining the distinctions between private and public writing. If you need more proof that journaling can help you discover your true self and heal psychological and spiritual wounds, this is the book for you.

Stay tuned to our Facebook page next week for a chance to win your own copy of 10 Mindful Minutes and The Last Word!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Serve It Up Sassy: 2015 Graduation Gathering!


chevron canvasIt was just a few years ago on a bright sunny morning, you held the hand of your six -year old  as a big yellow school bus pulled up in front of your mailbox. It was time to board the bus for their first day of school. Your little darling could hardly reach the first step on the bus but with a gentle nudge from you, the climb to board was easy. As you held back the tears, the excitement and joy in your child’s eyes melted your heart, and a new page in this chapter of life had just been turned. As the pages of time turned year after year, it is now 2015 and graduation day is on the horizon.

It is time to plan a graduation gathering; an after-the-ceremony reception for your graduate. A bright summer color-palette like hot pink, orange, and lime green sets the color scheme for this reception. This ‘graduation gathering’ focuses on her, but colors can be changed to focus on him, such as navy, light blue, and forest green or choose school colors.

Another inspirational idea is a painted wall canvas. This colorful chevron wall canvas provides the perfect back drop for the dessert table and is part of the graduate’s gift, something she will take with her for the college dorm or apartment. For step-by-step instructions on creating a wall canvas in the chevron pattern please go to my blog, www.lizbushong.com.

In keeping with the color scheme, hot pink, orange and lime, large daisy flower heads are arranged in rows by color in a clear acrylic tray. A piece of glass was cut to fit the acrylic tray to serve festive lemonade’s that color-coordinate with the Gerber Daisies.

Graduation candy caps made of miniature peanut butter cups and chocolate covered grahams are served up sassy with a lime green butter cream frosting tassel.

spot on cake loaf with slicesThe spot-on cake* was baked in an 18- inch loaf pan, then covered with a delicious butter cream fondant and decorated with three fresh Gerber Daisies, one of each themed color. Baked inside the cake are three large pre-baked cake balls that carry the same hot pink, orange and lime color scheme for the spot-on look. For instructions and recipe, visit www.lizbushong.com.

Other food on the menu includes easy pick-up fare that can be served so the graduate and guests can visit while eating. Mini pimento cheese sandwiches, chicken salad croissants, small vegetables with jalapeno ranch dressing, assorted chips, chocolate dipped pretzel rods and trail mix with personalized orange M & M’s are small bites you can create the day before the event. You can order personalized M & M’s at www.mymms.com for an extra surprise in the trail mix.

A separate skirted side table should be set up for gifts. Suggested graduation gifts for the college-bound graduate include a camera, an alarm clock, a desk organizer with coordinated desk supplies, monogrammed or personalized notepads and stationary, and gift cards. Of course, cash is golden for all graduates. The Instax Mini 8 camera prints out photos immediately, so creating a scrapbook or photos for a dorm room is quick and easy. This little camera creates 2 x 3- inch photos and comes in several fun colors for teens. After the reception, the graduate could send thank you notes to all the guests for their gifts and include a photo of the graduate using or holding the much appreciated gift.

It’s been a journey to get to this day.  As you reminisce the years gone by, you are entering another new chapter in this book-of -life with your ‘little darling.’ It is graduation day, a time to celebrate a momentous achievement with the anticipation of a bright new future ahead. Look -out graduate, your future is so bright you are going to need shades!!!

graduation candy capsGraduation “Candy” Caps

20 Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups®
20 Keebler Deluxe Grahams®-fudge covered
½ cup Buttercream frosting- divided- chocolate, color of choice for tassel

Unwrap all peanut butter cups and place upside down on a baking sheet. Cut each rectangular graham cracker into a square shape if desired or use as is. Place ¼ cup chocolate frosting in piping bag with small tip and pipe small dot on top of bottom of peanut butter cup. Attach graham cracker on top of frosting to create the graduation cap. Using the remaining ¼ cup of frosting in the school color of choice, place frosting in a piping bag with tip #5.  Create a tassel on one side of the cap. Store in a sealed container until serving.  Can be made one day ahead.

graduation gathering dessert table

Triple Lemonade

3 (12 ounce) cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed but cold
2 cups water
2 cups sprite or ginger ale-chilled
1 (12 ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed but cold
1(16 ounce) jar stemmed maraschino cherries with juice

In a large pitcher, mix lemonade concentrate and cold water. Stir to combine. Divide 2 cups of lemonade into three pitchers evenly. Add to one pitcher, thawed orange juice and set aside. To another pitcher, add cherry juice and to the last pitcher, add 2 cups of ginger ale. Each pitcher should be a different color to go with color scheme. If needed, add a few drops of food coloring to make the intensity of the color desired. Or, if you want to make a large punch, combine all ingredients and serve in a punch bowl.
Garnish:  Slice orange wedges for the orange lemonade, lime wedge with stemmed maraschino cherry for the Cherry lemonade, and a lemon twist for the plain lemonade. Serve in champagne glasses.

*Cake was inspired by Surprise-Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion–with a Little Something Extra Inside by Amada Rettke.

Make a Statement, Make it Sassy, Make it Yours! ®
Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. For more information about Liz and Serve it up Sassy go to Liz’s blog www.lizbushong.com and website, www.serveitupsassy.com like and share www.facebook.com/lizbushong, and pin www.pinterest.com/lizbushong.

Earth Connections at The Market Gallery

Three Roanoke artists, Dan Henderson, Martha Rhodes, and Steve Mitchell, will be displaying some of their most recent work in a new exhibition called “Earth Connections” at The Market Gallery in downtown Roanoke from April 28th to May 23rd.

Please join them for a free opening reception during Roanoke’s Art by Night series on Friday, May 1st from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the gallery. The artists will speak about their work from 6:15 pm to 6:45 pm. The gallery is open from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm Tuesday through Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday).

“Earth Connections” features beautiful works from Dan, Martha, and Steve that explore nature and how humans interact with the earth around us. The show will feature photography, multi-media collage and paintings, and stoneware.

apertures dan hendersonDan Henderson, an old-school darkroom photographer, will be showing some of his work that he shot while in Cuba at the time when President Obama announced that relations between Cuba and the US would begin to be normalized. The photographs are part of a larger body of work called “Entropy,” a series of sepia-toned lith photography about what happens when man-kind no longer puts effort into maintaining the things that they create.

Earth Fragments IX - Agate Martha RhodesMartha Rhodes creates multi-media paintings and collages that include pieces of Carnelian, Jasper, Agate, and other stones. She uses muted earth tones to compliment the stones. The work that she will be showing is part of a larger body of work entitled “Earth Fragments.”

vessel 3 Stevel MitchelSteve Mitchell is an expert potter using both porcelain and wood-fired stoneware to create beautiful and functional vessels. The work that he will be showing will include many of his newest pieces of wood-fired stoneware.

For more information on “Earth Connections” and The Market Gallery, call (540) 342-1177 or visit www.marketgalleryroanoke.com.




Written by Krista Knauer

Get Organized!

Keeping track of appointments by recording them in a planner allows us to see our lives from a more holistic point of view and reflect on our goals both accomplished and left unfinished.

With that in mind, we compiled a list of our favorite planners to help you stay both organized and focused:
The Emily Ley Simplified Planner features bright covers and rainbow monthly tabs that will keep a smile on your face during hectic times. Each day has its own full page, which is divided into an hour-by-hour planner, a to-do list, a notes section, and a place to record the dinner menu. The planner comes with an attached notepad with pages that easily tear out. For the busy mom, there is a place for weekly prep each Sunday, and a box to fill with short memories from the week that transform this planner from a simple agenda to a beautiful memory book.

Mom Agenda is full of organizational solutions that can take your life from chaotic to condensed in just minutes. The planner features full monthly views as well as yearly views and is bound in soft leather. However, the most unique feature of this planner is its daily layout. Each day has its own full page with space for an hourly schedule, specific appointments for up to three children, a spot to list dinner plans, and room for a to-do list. The planner comes in a full desk size as well as the Mini Daily size, which is perfect to slip into a purse or diaper bag.

New ImageThe Day Designer provides an innovative layout for women of all ages. Each day has its own full page, with plenty of space to write out hour-by-hour commitments. It has a “top three” to-do-list at the top of the page so that you never forget your most important tasks. There is also space for a running to-do-list, and a place to record a daily gratitude. Each day has an inspirational quote to keep you going if the gold corner protectors, brass spiral, and beautiful thick pages aren’t enough inspiration.

Editor’s Note: The Day Designer Planner is currently sold out on her Etsy website until September 15. However, if you can be patient and remember to order it at that time– it will be worth it!

Use your new planner to stay organized during the school year, professional life, or at home with your family! Let us know your favorites in the comments below.

Written by Eleanor Haeg

Extraordinary Women

We all know at least one extraordinary woman who deserves recognition. We are currently working on something BIG to help you recognize the women in our area who are making a difference in the lives of others. Please send your nomination, their photo and 100 words describing them to bella@beckmediagroup.com. Include your name and phone number in the email so we can reach you with questions. They could be included in an upcoming issue of Bella Magazine!


Celebrating Women Everywhere!

Ladies, I would like to remind you that Saturday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day.

Without the progress that we have made in the last century, we would not be able to celebrate the achievements of many female entrepreneurs, politicians, doctors, celebrities, and activists. The way we view ourselves as members of a community would change entirely.  Our imaginations would be stifled, and our dreams would likely burn out long before we began to pursue them.  There are many famous women who deserve celebration, but I want to remind you that YOU deserve just as much recognition.


Perhaps you are a single mom, juggling two jobs and the responsibility of raising your children.  Or, you are a student, waitressing your way through college.  Maybe you are a cancer survivor, learning to face each day with the ability to enjoy your moments of happiness—without constantly living in fear of the future.  The fact that we wake up and face each day with determination—even just a sliver of it—in a world where anything can happen, is worth celebrating.  We balance the things we need to do to survive and the things that mean the most in our life on a daily basis.  This may not always be graceful; it may not always be pretty, but the fact that we keep trying makes us strong women worth celebrating.

I am lucky, because I have had so many strong female role models over the years.  However, there is one that I will not be able to thank in person tomorrow.  My aunt, Joyce Young, was one of the strongest women I have ever known.

Joyce Young

One of eleven children, she made it her personal responsibility to make sure our large family stayed connected after my great-grandmother passed away.  At times she worked two jobs, kept up her house, and still found time for her husband, son and extended family.  She would have given her last dime to anyone in need—no matter how hard she worked for it.  Although she will never be famous, she influenced the way I work and interact with other people.  There are days when her memory and the desire to make her proud inspire me to push forward.

Make the most of this opportunity to thank the inspirational women that you know.  Pick up the phone and call your mom, sister, aunt, grandmother, or friend and thank her for all the sacrifices she has made in her life.  Remind her that she is an amazing person, and congratulate her on her accomplishments.  Also, please know that I am celebrating YOU, and that I appreciate every contribution you have made to our area and our world.


Feel free to share your stories about the influential women in your life in the comments below.