Tag Archives: Love

Focus: Chocolate or Checkbooks?

Typically, the short month of February is a blur due to our focus for the perfect Valentine’s Day plans. Whether or not we are in a relationship, we succumb to the pressure of buying or planning something for someone we know. Doused in reds and pinks, we forget to realize that this is a capitalist holiday which causes us to empty our wallets on a dime.

In a relationship, both parties should love one another, and celebrate that love when it is felt. It should not be feasted upon by some day on a calendar that claims that waxy chocolates and overly priced dinner reservations will portray a perfect relationship. The US News Forum reports that annual spending for the holiday is approaching $19 billion dollars. Most of the money is typically spent between candy, flowers, and eating out. As the second biggest “Hallmark Holiday,” it is not surprising that greeting cards follow. If you’re doing it right, you shouldn’t need the stigma of the day to remind you of why you are in a relationship with someone.

Single people? They are targeting you too. You don’t need that “singles mixer” that is dragging every person you could find on Tinder out of their house, only for the venue to serve you overpriced drinks. It’s unfair to push yourself into a toxic or ill-fitting relationship to meet a “standard.” It’s easy to think that you are alone at this time of year, but think about how buying and receiving affects us as everyday consumers. Buying and receiving things makes us feel better, makes us feel like we ARE more when we HAVE more. Just think, you are saving money, saving calories, and keeping out the clutter of oversized teddy bears.

Moral of the story is, a cheaper restaurant is still as good as any restaurant. Netflix and RedBox are a lot less expensive than movie tickets, and it is just another day.

 

Written by Zoe Pierson

Top 10 Romantic Getaways in the US

We all need a vacation sometimes, and that’s inevitable. What better time to start planning a romantic getaway than in the month of love? Whether that means a getaway accessible by car, or by hopping on a plane for a few hours, I have a few beautiful trips that don’t even require a passport.

#10 Indianapolis, IN
If the city is your cup of tea for a vacation, this city does it all. Many of the hotels here celebrate their love of art, sports, or both. A short walk leads to museums, restaurants, shopping, monuments, and sports arenas. At night, a lighted Canal Walk gives a tour of the city and sinks you into sweet dreams.

#9 Ketchum, ID
With a “small town” and European blend, this vacation was meant for keeping a packed schedule while relaxing. Breathtaking mountains offer stunning views that are also known for skiing. Music and art play a large role in the community, and day trips to the nearby Sun Valley offer many outdoor adventures.

#8 Portland, OR
This location truly has something for everyone. Contemporary art tends to be a common theme throughout the city with modern inventions making their way into society. City life sits right on the water, and you are always a short ride to mountains and hiking. Music and museums reign, night life is bustling, and a good restaurant is always in reach.

#7 Gatlinburg, TN
Maintaining timeless beauty for years, the mountains in Gatlinburg are a second home that call to you once you’ve begun to return home. With plenty of dining and shows to see within 30 minutes of anywhere, there is a guarantee to never be bored. Horse and buggy and skyline rides offer an insider’s view that can never be forgotten.

#6 Napa Valley, CA
Modern cottages are nestled in acres of wine country in this part of California. With elaborate pools, 4 and 5 star restaurants, and plenty of shopping, Napa Valley will make for an unforgettable experience and some great pictures. If hotels aren’t your thing, there are many camping sites that allow hunting, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

holding-hands-1599054_1920#5 Pittsboro, NC
Writers, authors, and musicians have all been bred from this area due to the luscious landscapes and the love for the arts. Bed and breakfasts and small inns are popular in this neck of the woods, and the Fearrington House is your perfect destination for a place to stay and a full blown spa.

#4 Barnard, VT
Many writers and journalists have passed through this area of Vermont, and have described the crisp air and clean spirit that it holds. This vacation would be perfect in the fall; leaves changing with the background of cottages, barns, and old farms. Silver Lake State Park provides beauty through the seasons, and peace and quiet are sure to help you wind down in this small town.

#3 Newport, RI
Many mansions serve as hotels in this little town, and they sit quietly on the coast. Despite how warm or cold the weather, the sound of water lapping the rocks and views of sailboats always cleanse the soul. Downtown, you can explore small, privately owned shops and great food. If you’re looking for a tan, small stretches of beach can be found all around town.

#2 Savannah, GA
Historic buildings and cobblestones bring many people to this location for their vacations. Southern hospitality keeps shops and sidewalks full, and meal times aren’t ever set in stone because deciding on a restaurant is far too difficult. Scary ghost stories don’t keep people from going out at night and even going on ghost tours. Music, water sports, and theaters are also large parts of the community.

#1: Little Torch Key, FL
It’s as close to the Caribbean as you can get without leaving the country. Little Torch Key is a small town in Florida that is right off the coast, accessible by boat or small plane. Tiki themed barbecues and thatched roofs throughout the small island provide the lasting impression of a friendly Caribbean town, and the white sand and crystal waters don’t hurt either.

 

Written by Zoe Pierson

Love Your Healthy Smile!

By now you have likely heard of charcoal toothbrushes and natural toothpaste. There are a lot of arguments out there on why natural toothpaste is better for you. We decided to give it a try for ourselves and signed up for Boka, a subscription service that sells products promoting better oral health including toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss.
Their minty toothpaste is made from natural ingredients with essential oils like peppermint and mint. It contains no sodium laurel sulfate, fluoride, triclosan, artificial flavors or parabens. Full disclosure: talk to your dentist about any concerns you have regarding fluoride before eliminating it from your oral care products.
bokaThe bristles on their classic toothbrushes are made with Binchotan activated charcoal that naturally reduces odor-causing bacteria while providing a soft, gentle cleaning. They also offer toothbrushes for kids and electric heads that are compatible with most Sonicare electric brushes.
We LOVE their floss. It is wrapped in natural beeswax and glides smoothly, expanding between teeth to give you a super-clean mouth and gums. Like their other products, it is all natural—Teflon-free and petroleum-free.
Your subscription will be billed and delivered every three months (which is the time recommended for you to change toothbrushes anyway). You can choose to order the toothbrush on its own or with dental floss and toothpaste.
And the best part? Boka shares the love. For every Boka brush purchased, the company donates a toothbrush to their nonprofit partner, Surge. Surge helps bring life-sustaining clean water to those in need across the globe. They are also working together to provide oral health education to schools around the world.
Visit www.loveyourboka.com for more information on their products and to sign up for your subscription. You can cancel at anytime, but we are excited to keep ours going—our teeth have never felt and looked so amazing!

Valentine’s Day Style

If you’re still looking for the perfect outfit to catch the attention of your significant other this Valentine’s Day, look no further than these fun ideas! Turn heads in this red statement dress, paired with gold love-struck heart earrings, scalloped black flats, and a chic hair accessory to match!

Modcloth Dress A red dress for Valentine’s Day is nice, but add a couple of subtle accent colors to the bottom and you have something you can wear all year! You can find this one here!

earringsAccent your dress with a cute pair of earrings from ModCloth!

 

 

sam edelman Augusta flatsHeels are cute, but flats are our best friends! Check out these comfortable staples from Samedelman!

Goody headbandAdd a headband from Goody to complete your look! They offer several sparkling, dressy options. However, you can never go wrong with plain black!

No matter what style you choose, we hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled with special moments shared by loved ones!

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Giving Back: Love Your Melon

Love Your Melon was founded in October 2012, with the simple idea of putting a hat on every child battling cancer in America. Two college sophomores, Zach and Brian, set out to fulfill their mission of improving the lives of these children, traveling from coast to coast with hats in hand.
Not only does Love Your Melon provide hats for patients, they also sell them (along with other items) to the public. Through funding from product sales, they can continue to give hats to children newly diagnosed each year in addition to the 45,000 to which they have already committed.
Also, fifty percent of the net proceeds from their sales go to the Pinky Swear Foundation (providing immediate support for children battling cancer) and CureSearch for Children’s Cancer (to fund research initiatives to beat childhood cancer completely).
In order to reach their goals, Love Your Melon has expanded significantly in the last few years. They now include a network of college students across the nation called Love Your Melon Ambassadors. To date, more than 2,500 college students at over 225 different schools have signed on to sell and donate hats. Locally, Kinzie Trompak began a chapter at Virginia Tech in the spring of 2015.
IMG_8888For Kinzie, the desire to help children battle this disease went beyond sending a check to an organization. It was about getting involved personally and creating a bond when people needed it the most.
“It is really rewarding to be able to go and do donation events at hospitals,” she explains. “It gives you the opportunity to put a face to the cause.”
Kinzie’s initiative to establish a chapter at Virginia Tech was the first big step to help children in our area battling cancer. However, it is important that we get behind her and show that we, as a community, are part of their team.
“Readers can help by purchasing anything on the Love Your Melon website and crediting the Virginia Tech campus,” she says. “We are currently the only campus in Central and Southwest Virginia that participates in the Love Your Melon Ambassadors program.”
Visit www.loveyourmelon.com to check out their selection of beanies, caps, shirts, and accessories. Their beanies are perfect for the remainder of winter, and their shirts will make a great addition to your summer wardrobe so you can love your melon throughout the year!

A Weekend at the Taubman Museum of Art

If the rain is chasing you inside this weekend, consider visiting some of the unique and beautiful exhibits at the Taubman Museum of Art!

Rachel_Hayes_maquette web_0Currently on display, a fabric sculpture by Rachel Hayes entitled Not Fade Away has transformed the atrium of the Taubman. The multi-colored nylon, light gels, and thread culminate in a  stained glass-like canopy that manipulates the space with colorful light. It will remain on display until Sunday, November 6.

kuba vmfa Ngaady Mwash MaskWhile you are there, be sure to visit the Fortune, Courage, Love exhibit featuring arts of Africa’s Akan and Kuba Kingdoms from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. On display from Saturday, September 26 until Sunday, January 3, 2016, this will be a grand presentation of the extraordinary design of regalia and related arts of the Kuba Kingdom in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Djenne people of Mali, and the kingdoms of Ghana’s Akan people.

There are many more amazing fall exhibitions planned for the next  couple of months. Visit www.taubmanmuseum.org for more information.

Bella Loves–August Edition

The products we use on a regular basis should contribute in a positive way to our overall health. The comprehensive list of ingredients on many household products is a little scary. Fortunately, there are alternatives out there with less potentially harmful chemicals that work just as well (if not better) than those filled with things you cant pronounce. Here are some of our favorites:

fatface_fat_stick_1__34358.1432945057.500.340Everyone in our office bought a Fat Face Fat Stick. Order one and youll wonder how you went through your daily activities without it. A multi-purpose stick, you can carry it with you to help combat dryness in three ways. Its a lip balm, cuticle repair, and lotion stick ALL IN ONE! www.fatfaceskincare.com

mollys_dryer_balls-1There are a lot of chemicals in dryer sheets. You’ve heard about them for years, but it’s hard to ditch the dryer sheet when you want to eliminate static from your laundry and make sure your clothes come out smelling fresh from the dryer. We recommend replacing them with Mollys Suds Wool Dryer Balls. They last up to three years depending on your dryer model and reduce drying time by 15-30%. Visit their website to learn why the switch might be easier than you think.  www.mollyssuds.com

51vIBQSQVUL._SY355_Knock out fruit flies fast with Aunt Fannies Fly Punch! A powerful, non-toxic fruit fly formula, it safely and effectively eliminates fruit flies. We love fresh produce, but it often attracts these pesky, uninvited guests– regardless of the cleanliness of our kitchens and produce providers. No one wants to surround themselves and their family with toxic chemicals, so get rid of the pests naturally and enjoy your apples and bananas in peace! www.auntfanniesco.com

Visit our Facebook page this month for a chance to win these items and be sure to pick up our August issue for more products you are sure to love!

 

Book Spotlight: My Yellow Balloon

9780990337003_p0_v1_s260x420Teaching children about loss is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. Pets, friends, and even family members may leave their lives at an early age, and it is important to help them understand the stages of their grief. Younger children may benefit from a little help from literature. That’s where My Yellow Ballon by Tiffany Papageorge steps up to the challenge.

The main character, a young boy named Joey, is given a yellow balloon at a carnival. He takes the balloon everywhere with him, until it slips off his wrist one day.

The poignant tale of love, loss, and letting go will help serve as a comforting guide to children who are navigating the complicated emotions of grief, and offer hope for brighter days ahead. Even if your child has not yet experienced loss, this is a great book to read and then revisit during a tragic time. We will be giving away a copy on our Facebook page this month— but you can also purchase one for your child on Amazon.