Tag Archives: new river valley

Let’s Talk Fashion: Emerging Trends

Let’s talk fashion. There are two things I know for sure. First, fashion is art. Second, everyone wants to look and feel good, especially when we leave the nonjudgmental walls of our homes to accomplish the day’s mission. At Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia, our hope is to make the world of fashion a kinder entity than the unattainable images, ideals, and price tags plastered in what seems to be every platform of media available. One of the core reasons I worked my way into the fashion industry, joining Victoria Watts, founder of Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia, was to teach individuals the importance of knowing their intrinsic value. Here, we use the word fashion first as a verb, and then a noun in our company. We believe that before there were clothes to purchase, man and woman were fashioned by the hands of God. Humans are the grand finishing touch of the creative expression of the Creator of the entire world, which makes people much more valuable than the clothes they wear.

No, I am not against having an on-point wardrobe, but I do know how a person feels will show through, no matter what clothes they wear.

However, I know you are not reading this article for a sermon; chances are you reading this article because you want to talk fashion. So, Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia!

For the end of summer, I wanted to give you some advice that will keep you classic, which never goes out of style. Keep your solids, even with flirty florals and other bold prints that have shown up for spring and summer, as you will always be on-point with solids. Everyone and every body type looks good in them. They leave the world of accessories wide open, with trendy statement accessories being much more affordable to update season after season rather than garments.

On the other hand, I am not saying to completely forget florals or prints, but to understand that instead of flattering you these prints may distract and/or distort your image. The most seamless way to incorporate florals and other prints into your wardrobe is to do so with a continuous piece. A continuous piece keeps the body flowing instead of interrupting in all the wrong places.

Some of the most commonly worn continuous pieces are dresses, rompers, and jumpsuits.

Image courtesy of Faith Connected Photo

However, there is another style of continuous piece on the scene, last seen in 2014 when worn on the red carpet by Aussie actress, Margot Robbie: two-piece sets. The most common two-piece set consists of a skirt with an accompanying top, but shorts and pants may also be found. It seems one trending idea is finally something to flatter the body rather than to just stand out.

The best way to achieve a flattering look is to create one that keeps the eyes moving. There is an appeal that works of art, like paintings or sculptures, create that causes a desire for on-lookers to see the entire piece and not just one corner of work. Every person is a work of art, and each one of us has bumps, curves, height, or lack of, that we either like or do not like. We can choose to focus on those parts of us, or we can choose to see an entire person. As a stylist, my goal is to enhance the uniqueness of each person I work with individually. Pictured, myself and another local stylist, Courtney Martin, worked to create a few looks resembling continuous pieces using clothing sourced from a downtown Lynchburg retailer, Frolic by Celebration.

Still looking for more inspiration? For 2018, Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia will continue to develop seminars including model workshops with the local Lynchburg Parks & Recreation to teach individuals through professional instruction about the different aspects of fashion.

For the first time in Central Virginia history, Let’s Talk Fashion Virginia will present the first annual Central Virginia Fashion Week 2017! Think New York City, but in the greater Lynchburg area this fall: September 11-16. There will be in-store events happening throughout the week, including debuts from emerging fashion designers from within the Central Virginia region. The week will end with two runway shows Friday and Saturday. We are excited to partner with the Retail Merchants Association Lynchburg, the Downtown Lynchburg Association, and WSET ABC 13 to produce a premier event featuring collections of locally-owned retailer establishments and designers. We’re also thrilled to work with local beauty partners such as the professionals at Vanquish Beauty Studio (Sara & Denise) and Ashley at Makeup by Ashley Ancheta just to name a few. For more information, please visit www.letstalkfashionva.com and subscribe to our e-mail list for updates. We’re so excited to meet you there!

 

 

Written by Aimee Dwyer
Photos courtesy of Sidney Jackson, Faith Connected Photo
Model in Featured Image: Pamela Raine
Model in Blue: Amy Beth

Make Your Money Work for You!

Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union

From a young age, you’re told to save money for the future. But when it comes time to actually put learning into practice, many of us just don’t know where to begin. A savings account is a great start, but are you aware of how easy it can be to earn more on the money you already have? Here are five tips to get going with investing.

Do your research. You can read books and online articles, listen to podcasts, and even attend classes to learn more about investing. While it’s important to arm yourself with knowledge, nothing beats face-to-face advice, especially if you’re new to investing. Meet with your financial institution to see what they offer and to get that personal, expert guidance.

Start with low-risk options. Money market accounts and share certificates are examples of low-risk investments that are available at most financial institutions. These can be good ways to jump-start your investment goals because the chances of you losing any money are minimal.

Save for retirement now. Whether it’s a long way off or could happen in a few years, it’s never too early (or late) to think about retirement savings. One of the best ways is to invest in your employer’s retirement package. Speak to the human resources department to understand how the package works and if your employer is willing to match contributions. If they do, max it out so you don’t leave any money on the table.

Budget for investing. This is where setting a budget comes in handy because it can help determine how much you can afford to allocate toward investments. Five percent of your take-home income is a good place to begin. You might need to make some adjustments or take money from your discretionary fund to get to that five percent, but don’t take this amount from your fixed expenses like bills, emergency fund, or savings goals.

Give it time. Keep in mind that there are many paths to building wealth. It generally takes years of disciplined and strategic financial planning to get there. If you have dreams of retiring, start saving as much as you can as early as you can. Set a goal and keep that in mind throughout your saving and investing journey. You’ll be making some sacrifices now, but it will be worth it when you retire someday.

 

Kids Square in Roanoke!

The new Don & Barbara Smith Children’s Museum, Kids Square, is a space in downtown Roanoke located on the third floor inside of the Center in the Square. The fun museum is geared towards children ages 10 and under. The exhibits encourage play, education, and motor skills that are important for the development of children in this age range. Children over the age of 10, yes that includes adults, will enjoy their interactive exhibit and other areas within the Kids Square as well.

Let your child’s magic run free with carefully selected exhibits that are geared toward learning through play and discovery! The hands-on exhibits will include a miniature real-life town, a theatre, a building room and much more to be revealed at the grand opening celebration!

Join them for the Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Tuesday, August 15 at 10am in the Atrium of Center in the Square!

Virginia Western Community Arboretum

The Virginia Western Community Arboretum began 24 years ago when the state college allowed use of the property with the understanding that it would be developed and maintained using private donated funds. The grounds have one full-time and one part-time staff member, and they rely on volunteer assistance to accomplish the many tasks that face them throughout the growing season.
“Our volunteer program is vital to us because of our limited budget,” explains Clark BeCraft. “Right now we have twelve regular volunteers who come out weekly and help us in the gardens. We have six tour guide volunteers that help us with groups that come into the Arboretum.”
Tour guide volunteers also help out with children’s tours, and will often provide assistance with activities like a scavenger hunt or a learning activity with the children that is related to nature or gardening. Additionally, the Arboretum hosts horticulture students though a program that allows them to complete a one semester internship there.
The garden helper is one of their most popular volunteer opportunities. Garden helpers visit the Arboretum twice a week during growing season, and work closely with an Arboretum tech, Sarah Isley, to care for the plants.
“There is no specific skill set needed,” adds Clark. “We help you identify weeds and instruct you on how to plant things if that is part of the task for the day. Sarah and I work with [volunteers] to answer any questions they have.”
A majority of the current volunteers are retirement age, but the Arboretum is open to all volunteers ages 16 and up. Although they have a need for volunteers who can work during the week, they are open to setting up times for those who work on weekdays to volunteer on occasional Saturdays or evenings if there is enough interest. Every volunteer is required to complete a background check as they are acting as an agent of the college.
“Our volunteers look forward to coming to the Arboretum to work. For many, it is the highlight of their week. They enjoy working in the gardens because it is for the community, but also an opportunity to come out and fellowship with one another. We look at it as getting work done, but it is also a nice way for our volunteers to spend time together and work in the gardens,” says Clark.
If you’ve ever visited any of their gardens, you know that the community effort results in an unforgettable experience. That effort includes a partnership with the Roanoke Master Gardeners, who have worked with the Virginia Western Community Arboretum since 2008. In 2016, the Arboretum logged over 700 volunteer hours, showing that the volunteer program is an essential part of their success in serving the community. Many of the volunteers are Friends of the Arboretum as well, contributing both time and money to maintaining the location.
You can also support the Arboretum by attending one of their events. They will offer a Garden Tour to the Gardens of Pennsylvania and Delaware featuring Longwood Gardens September 7-9, and host a Fall Accent Plant Sale on September 23 from 10am-1pm.
To learn more about the Virginia Western Community Arboretum, and volunteer opportunities, please visit www.virginiawester.edu/arboretum

Spoonie Essentials Box

(featured photo credit: Momma Without a Clue)

Spoonie Essentials Box is not like other subscription boxes you’ve seen before. Behind every box is a community for chronic illness warriors around the world to turn to for support and validation. This amazing group of people seek to make sure every chronic illness warrior knows that they are seen, heard, and loved. The core mission of Spoonie Essentials Box is a personal one to the entire staff, who all volunteer. Each of them has been inspired to do so by their own battles with chronic illness. CEO Brittani Daniels has battled DRESS Syndrome, Lupus, severe Crohn’s disease, and colon cancer all while running Spoonie Essentials Box.

“I realized there was a need for something tangible for people to feel like they were not invisible,” she explains. “This was greater because it doesn’t just give you a box. It gives you a community to belong to.”

We are giving away one Spoonie Essentials Box to a chronic illness warrior in southwest Virginia on our Facebook page on Monday, August 7. You can also purchase a box for the chronic illness warrior in your life by visiting www.spoonieessentialsbox.com. Pay close attention to what comes in those boxes, whether you are personally impacted by a chronic illness or not. You may learn something.

“Once you become educated on chronic illness you will become an advocate with us. You don’t just stand idly by while people are being mistreated and looked down upon,” Brittani says. “When you teach someone about what you’re going through, they can better understand you and help other people.”

Art by Sharell

Sharell Whipple graduated in 2010 with a degree in animal biology. Soon after, she began a petsitting business.

“I took really nice photos of the pets and left them for the owners to find when they came back. One day, I took one of the photos, painted it, and gave it to the family as a Christmas gift,” Sharell recalls. “That was the first time I experimented with painting, and I fell in love with it.”

After her first piece was complete, Sharell continued painting pets, and eventually expanded into nature scenes, keeping her vibrant, colorful feel.

“I think painting on wood adds that extra element of nature. Also, a lot of the wood I paint on is extra smooth and sanded. It doesn’t have that texture that canvas has, so I can blend differently on wood,” she explains.

Many of Sharell’s nature pieces are influenced by her adventures with her husband. One of her early works was a Blue Ridge Mountain scene. At the time, she was living in California. She painted the landscape with acrylic paint, and added the quotation from John Muir, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” It’s the one piece that she has never sold because she loves it so much, and it now hangs on her bedroom wall.

Sharell can often be found creating art in the bay window her red brick home surrounded by a quiet neighborhood in those same Blue Ridge Mountains she painted just a few years ago. There, she can see deer walking through her front yard. She can hear the creek trickling right outside her window. It provides a connection to nature that translates gracefully into her art. However, sometimes she needs to step outside her peaceful home to spark creativity.

“I feel most inspired to create pieces when I’m away from my studio. When I’m out backpacking in the middle of nowhere and it’s quiet, the fireflies are glowing, and the total tranquility of beautiful sunsets surrounds me. I’ll go back to my studio, and I may not paint the sunset, but I’ll use the colors to paint a completely different subject matter,” she says.

You can find Sharell’s work at The Big Latch on Roanoke at Roanoke College on August 5, Riot Rooster on November 17-18, and locally at Kozy Comfort Kountry Store in Hardy. If you can’t make it to any of these locations, please check out her work on her website, www.artbysharell.com.

Catherine and Whitney of Punch Boutique!

Catherine Justice (right) and Whitney Greene (left), new owners of Punch Boutique!

You all took over Punch Boutique in May. At what moment did you decide that taking over the business was what you wanted to do?
Whitney Greene: I have always had a passion for both the apparel industry and entrepreneurship. When the previous owner approached us about purchasing the business in late spring, we knew at that moment we didn’t want Roanoke to lose such an amazing business in the community. It was an amazing opportunity neither of us felt like we could pass up—and the support from our customers really affirmed our decision. I knew that it was something I couldn’t do without Catherine though, as we both have different backgrounds, personalities and perspectives. I think that really makes us a unique partnership.

Catherine Justice: I have been with Punch from the ground up. Our former boss taught me everything I know and I continuously want to know more! I love Punch and saw this a natural progression. There is nothing else I’d rather do, and no one else I’d rather do it with than Whitney!

What do you enjoy most about your job?
WG: There are so many things! The customers that have become a part of our lives, the fact that each day is different and always requires us to think creatively and problem solve. I also enjoy being able to bring fashion and unique products to my hometown and spread my passion with everyone here. I love being a part of something bigger in the community.

CJ: The relationships. I absolutely love my customers, coworkers, and vendors. I thrive on building and keeping relationships. Finding that perfect outfit together is the heartbeat of my job. Also, the clothes…it’s pretty much every girls dream job right?!

Do you have a favorite quote that guides you in your role as a business owner?
WG: “Always keep your eyes open, keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.” Grace Coddington

CJ: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Michael Jordan
You can’t be the best on the team without going to practice or failing!

Who is your biggest inspiration?
WG: My family and our customers. Both are the reason were lucky enough to be in the position we are. My family constantly supports my dreams without question and our customers constantly fulfill my dreams.

CJ: My husband is my biggest inspiration. He works harder than anyone I know. No day is more important, he gives 150% every single day and it is very admirable.

What is your favorite style for Fall 2017?
WG: There is a strong emphasis on sleeves for fall. Dramatic shapes and fresh details make arms key focal points. It’s classically romantic and feminine. I think the diversity in style, silhouette, and substance is what makes fashion great.

CJ: It’s all about velvet! All ages, all styles…you have to have something velvet or with velvet on it!

How do you hope your customer’s experience in Punch Boutique impacts their daily life?
WG: We constantly strive to provide each customer with a personal experience. We are so lucky that many of our customers have become our friends, with whom we share our highs and lows. We wouldn’t have it any other way. We want customers to feel like even though we are a ‘dress shop,’ we truly want to be involved in the process of dressing them for all the occasions in their lives. We want to be a part of helping them feel and look their best for all their needs. We also know that our customers work hard in their daily lives, so we like to ask ourselves how we can make life easier for our customers: by being a one stop shop for clothing, shoes, and accessories. Our customers (hopefully) leave with a friend in our employees (& us), a personalized experience, and a phenomenal outfit.

CJ: I want women to feel confident in their Punch attire. It isn’t shallow or superficial to feel good on the outside because that is the first step to feeling good on the inside. “Retail therapy” is a real thing and I see it happen on a daily basis.

What We’re Reading: Wild

Wild: Endangered Animals in Living Motion (A Photicular Book) shines a spotlight on the mammals, birds, and insects currently threatened with extinction.

With Dan Kainen’s masterful Photicular technology, readers are treated to eight movie-like images of a diverse range of endangered species, including a rare Amur leopard licking its paw, a pair of gorillas at play, a young rhinoceros speeding ahead of its mother, and an elephant bathing in a river. Each scene is paired with an informative profile by science writer Kathy Wollard.

Readers will learn that an albatross can float through cold air currents for hundreds of miles without once flapping its wings, that a leopard can leap about 20 feet into the air, and that there are more than 250 species of bumblebees in existence. They will also learn about the devastating environmental and economic conditions that threaten these animals’ survival, and the steps that conservationists are taking to stop (and in some cases reverse) the damage.

Wild will be available where books are sold on September 5, but you can win a copy over on our Facebook page in August! Stay tuned!