Tag Archives: spring

Celebrating Spring

Plan a day with the family at The Early Bird Spring Craft Fair & Gardening Primer!

Are you ready for spring? Gardening season is here, and we are excited to welcome it with The Early Bird Spring Craft Fair and Gardening Primer at 16 West Marketplace on April 14 from 8am to 4pm! (PLEASE NOTE: Date is updated due to winter weather. April 14th is new rescheduled date!!) Spend the day downtown supporting local businesses, and drop by throughout the day for workshops, vendors, food, and fun!

In its second year, The Early Bird is an indoor/outdoor event with over 50 vendors including indie crafts, wearables, jewelry, edibles, and more! For all the animal lovers out there, Little Critters Petting Zoo will be on site from 8am-1pm, and photos are encouraged! They will also be selling food so visitors can feed the animals.

Gardeners of all levels can enjoy seed exchanges with local farms and purchase seedlings. This is also a great time to buy, sell, or trade tools at the Used Garden Gear Tent. In between shopping, visitors can participate in demos and workshops on gardening, DIY, wellness, and homesteading. Specifically, Roanoke Community Gardening Association is putting together a Build Your Own Worm Bin class. There is something for everyone at this event, and it’s one you certainly don’t want to miss!

For anyone interested in doing their part to make the world around us a brighter, healthier place, Bartlett Tree Experts will also be on site with free trees. Last year, they gave away five hundred trees including Dogwoods, Redwoods, Crepe Myrtles, and Holly Trees! Planting a tree is a great family bonding experience, but it is also important for our environment. Bartlett’s act of kindness is an opportunity for us, as citizens, to truly pay it forward in our community.

You can easily make this event an all day affair with your family. There will be several food vendors available between workshops and shopping opportunities including Granpa Ike’s Mini Donuts, Little Green Hive, Wok n Roll Kitchen, and a brand new restaurant in 16 West, S and J Cafe. For more up to date information on vendors and workshops, find The Early Bird Spring Craft Fair and Gardening Primer on Facebook!

Bella Magazine is a proud sponsor of this event. See you there!

Pardon Muah: Trends for Spring!

Is it that time already?! Time for spring cleaning and setting a date for a good ole’ fashion closet clean-out. Yes, it might take you a full weekend to get everything ship shape (okay, maybe two weekends), but in the end, it means lots of room for new clothing and accessories! This is the perfect time to add in new trends and a fresh color palette. Remember, there are several items you may want to have on hand year-round like camis & tanks, white tees, lightweight knits, jeans, and a legging or two. You never know when temperatures will fluctuate! And don’t pack or throw away your neutrals… those will always be seasonally appropriate.

Lately, I’ve been crushing on several trends and love when one piece of clothing can combine with more than one outfit. Bell sleeves, pops of pink, off the shoulder, ruffles, and oversize knits are some of my favorites. The olive gilded ruffle hem bell sleeve top shown meshes two of my favorites! The detailing works well for a casual look with jeans and mules, or can easily be dressed up with a skinny pant, a pump, and a statement earring. I decided on a mix of casual and dressy with a flared jean and a pink heel.

You may be wondering now if flared jeans are really back in style… and yes they are! It’s another trend I just can’t get enough of with a shape that helps bring proportion to the body. The pair shown is by STS Blue and under $60, making them incredibly affordable. Other retailers to check out for bell bottom inspired denim are Nordstrom and Express. I highly recommend adding a pair to your closet if you don’t already have some!

If you hadn’t already figured it out from last month’s edition, I’m obsessed with a pink pump and colored aviator–a winning combo! I love them worn with a bright top, because of the fun color contrast. Vivid colors (and a mix of lighter hues and patterns) will be all the rage this coming season. Lots of yellows, pinks, and mint mixed with navys and whites. You could even wear this bell sleeve top with colored shorts and sandals as the weather warms up!

For trendy items, I always try to keep price points in check (this top was less than $50). One of my favorite local retailers for affordable and stylish pieces is H&M because they offer so many great finds and a wide range of styles.

To find out more about this season’s hottest trends and for more outfit and beauty inspiration, head to my blog Pardon Muah (pardonmuah.com) or check out my Instagram @pardonmuahinsta.

xo – Amanda

Spring Cleaning Tips

It’s time to open the windows, take in a breath of fresh air, and bust out those buckets, mops, brooms, and rags because spring is here! We all know that with spring comes spring-cleaning, which some of us dread and some of us anticipate, but those pesky dark corners of our homes that get neglected every winter aren’t going anywhere. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of spring-cleaning tips that will ensure your home is left spotless!
It always feels good to declutter and deep clean after the painfully long winter and an easy place to start is your closet! Whether you’ve kept your weight loss resolutions and you can’t wear a lot of your clothes anymore, or you’ve changed up your look, we all have clothes that we bought and hate or just don’t wear anymore. When cleaning out your closet try to be as objective as possible. Don’t say “what if” or “but”… if you haven’t worn it in the past sixth months, put it in the donate bin! If you’re honest with yourself, when you’re done there will be a huge difference! The great thing is, after you’re done you’ll have an excuse to go shopping and get a new spring outfit to celebrate!
Another great way to get a jump start on your spring cleaning is to tackle those baseboards that have collected a startling amount of dust and grime over the cold months! We all hate grabbing that bucket of soapy water and a rag only to get down on our knees for the thankless task of scrubbing the baseboards, but you’ll notice a huge difference when you’re done! Even your floors will look cleaner after scrubbing your baseboards until they’re squeaky clean. If crouching down on your knees for what seems like forever is just too much, check out Pinterest for all kinds of creative ideas on how to avoid squatting!
Next on our list is ceiling fans… out of sight out of mind, right? We always seem to forget these guys until one day, after we’ve opened up those windows and it’s a little warm, we turn them on full blast only to receive in return a prompt rain of dust on the entire room. Don’t let this happen to you! Just grab a small step stool and a warm damp rag and wipe off the tops of the blades. Depending on how long you’ve neglected them, you might have to go over them a few times, but it’s worth it knowing that you’re keeping dust out of the air and off of your clean floors!
One of the more creative ideas that we’ve come up with is to, while your scrubbing those baseboards and ceiling fans, take your AC vent covers, place them in the dishwasher without soap, and hit “start” to get them squeaky clean*. You don’t even need soap, the hot water will be enough to wash away the grime from the winter! Then, by the time you’re done with your other projects, all you’ll have to do is take them out of the dishwasher and put them back in place!
slice-of-lemon-953987_1920Lastly, don’t make spring cleaning harder than it needs to be! To cut grease and grime in those extra tough places, use a lemon wedge! After you go over the area with the lemon, wipe with a damp rag to clean up any extra. We love this for areas like stovetops and microwaves. It’s especially nice to know that you are using something totally natural and free of harsh chemicals to clean the areas where you prepare food for your family!
As you start to dive into your cleaning don’t forget those tough spots, be objective, and keep in mind that it is SO worth it when you’re done! There’s no better way to kick off spring than with a clean and refreshed space for you to spend time with your family. The Bella girls would love to hear what your favorite spring cleaning tip is, so share with us on Facebook!

*Only do this if your AC vents are metal.

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Welcome Spring!

As the ground awakens from the wintertime slumber, tulip and daffodil stems push through the soil about to burst open with colorful fresh blooms.  Bright yellow forsythia bushes and cherry blossom branches begin to pop open profusely with small breathtaking delicate flowers. The scent of sweet hyacinths and greening new grass alert our senses that spring has arrived.  In the early morning hours, we listen to chirping robins singing their joyful songs as they gather twigs to build their nests. Bunnies can be seen here and there as they hop across the fresh new lawn.
What says “Spring” better than flowers?  Whether you are hosting a luncheon or Sunday family dinner, a lovely springtime arrangement of your favorite floral can take center stage on your dining room table.  For an easy, breezy centerpiece, embrace your spontaneous spirit and head to the floral department of your local grocery store or favorite greenhouse.  Most merchants will showcase potted tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, primrose, moss, ivy and many types of ferns that you can place in a basket for a stunning and simple centerpiece.
Spring Table-top Arrangement-www.lizbushong.comTo create a springtime centerpiece for your table, gather some of the season’s best blooming potted bulbs, primrose, and ferns. Place three to five potted blooms at different levels inside a plastic lined basket at various heights. There is no need to remove the plants from the pot. Cover and tuck moss over the potted flowers and between spaces inside the basket. A good mix of flowers would include two to three colors with different textures and heights. Leafy green ivy and low-packed ground cover with reindeer moss will add to the fullness of the arrangement. For a bit of whimsy, add a small bird sitting on a faucet with a dripping water crystal. An empty bird nest would also be a great touch to this spring arrangement.
After the flowers are spent, you can plant the bulbs in your garden for next spring. A note about tulips, you can plant Gladiolas and Dahlias this spring for flowering this summer. In September, plant tulip and daffodils for next spring. Spring bulbs should be planted in the fall or early winter because they require a long period of cool temperatures in order for them to flower.  In the fall, it is important to get the bulbs in the ground before the ground freezes. They need time to develop strong roots. You could also plant bulbs in individual containers as the merchants do forcing the bulbs to grow.
JJ posing with arrangement- www.lizbushong.comMy sweet bunny JJ was excited about spring too! He is an adorable New Zealand white bunny with red eyes. JJ allowed me to take a few photos of him checking out the floral arrangement while I was putting it together. He looked out the window, chewed a few willow branches, smelled the flowers by standing on his hind feet, and finally lay down beside the finished arrangement.
With spring’s earliest blooms, you can celebrate everyday dining with ambiance that is fresh and vibrant. Royal blue, bright yellow, and shades of green create a beautiful springtime palette. Evoke this palette with white and cobalt blue square plates and accessories. Yellow tightly rolled napkins look like flowers blooming as they stand in water glasses. For a take home favor, a small cobalt blue vase with a single rose sits pretty at each place setting. To continue the color scheme of cobalt, yellow and white, the Lemon Almond mini tart greets each individual guest at their place setting for an after dinner dessert. The crust is made with ground almonds and filled with a tangy lemon curd-type filling then baked to perfection. When serving this dessert, add a dollop of fresh whipped cream and lemon zest.
Invite springtime into your home with this creative and fanciful setting that boasts this season’s vibrant scents and colors. You don’t have to be a green thumb to enjoy the beauty of the season. Bring the outdoors in with a beautiful potted arrangement. Like a breath of fresh air, after the morning dew, breathe in the cool breeze of this new season with a living arrangement that will linger in memories.

Lemon Almont Tart-white ruffled plate -wwwlizbushong.comLemon Almond Tart|www.lizbushong.com

1 unbaked almond crust recipe-chilled 1 hour
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons   all purpose flour
1/3 cup lemon juice from concentrate
3 large eggs
½ cup butter, melted, no substitutes
1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
Garnish:  lemon zest, mint or parsley leaf, assorted berries

Almond Tart Crust Recipe
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup butter, softened, no substitutes
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice from concentrate
In food processor, process almonds until ground. Add flour, sugar and butter, process until crumbly. Add egg and juice, process until dough forms a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, chill one hour.
Prepare Almond Crust, press pastry into lightly greased 4-4” tart pans with removable bottoms. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour and lemon juice. Beat to combine. Add eggs, one at a time, beat after each addition.  Add melted butter and mix to blend. Pour into Almond Crust shells. Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes or until set. Cool on wire rack.
To Serve: Remove sides and bottom of tart pan,  top cooled tart with fresh whipped cream, fruit, or mint leaves.
Yield:  4-4” tarts

Liz Circle 2013 smallHelping you Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and 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 the past several years Liz been entrusted to decorate the White House for several Holidays. She is a featured monthly guest chef/designer on Daytime Tricities, Daytime Blue Ridge and other television shows. Liz is the author of the Just Desserts and Sweets & Savories cookbook as well as a contributing writer for VIP SEEN and Bella Magazine. For more information about Liz go to www.lizbushong.com/www.serveitupsassy.com.

Reading Outside of School

Reading is a fundamental skill people use throughout their lives, and in this digital age reading is more important than ever. When children and tweens read, they improve their reading skills and they also improve their comprehension, knowledge base, concentration and vocabulary. Many children love books, but getting those children to continue to read as tweens can be more difficult.
As a parent, you cannot afford to let your tween’s reading fall by the wayside or trust that the reading they do at school is sufficient. Supplemental reading at home will help your child do better at school and in real world after graduation, too. To encourage their reading outside the classroom, follow these suggestions:

* Keep it positive. Encourage your tween to read without pressuring, nagging or bribing them. Tweens should read for enjoyment, not because they feel forced or stand to profit financially from doing so. You should also avoid criticizing what they read. Even reading a gossip, music or video game magazine is better than not reading at all.

* Set an example. Want your tweens to take an interest in reading? Then read yourself. If your tweens see that you make a habit of reading and enjoy doing it, they’ll be more apt to pick up supplemental reading on their own.

* Find a story that interests them. Looking for a unique story that will interest your tween? Broken by Tanille Edwards is the love story of Milan, a high-school girl with a burgeoning modeling career. She’s also deaf and struggling with the same insecurities many tweens and teens face. This book is geared toward young adults, making it easy for them to tackle. The book also comes with its own musical soundtrack, allowing your child to enjoy the music as they turn the pages.

* Start a book club. Join your tween in what they are reading. Ask them to pick a book you will both read together and then discuss at the end of the month. This will help keep both of you on task and provide a great way to share mutual interests.

* Stress reading’s other benefits. Reading offers numerous benefits to your child beyond the purely academic, so make sure they are aware of them. Reading a book also grows their imagination, spurs creativity, entertains and provides a cost-effective way to kick back and relax after a long day of school. The more your child sees reading as a reward, the more apt they will be to do it in their spare time.

Between friends, technology and school, there are plenty of forces vying for your teen’s attention; make sure supplemental reading is one of them. Encouraging your tween to read in their free time, as well as at school, offers them with a wonderful hobby today and lifelong benefits down the road.

Serve It Up Sassy: Color Splash!

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT, FOOD STYLING, PHOTOGRAPHY, and ARTICLE BY LIZ BUSHONG

color splash  1Splashes of color set the stage for a simple dessert garden party. Polk-a-dots and clay pots bring to life the bright colors of this spring composition. The color-rich palate includes hot pink, purple, yellow, terra cotta, lime and tangerine.
This sunny celebration takes the party outdoors where the flowers are beginning to bloom and the smell of fresh rain still lingers in the air. A natural rock wall lends the perfect background for the flower-filled and garden themed table- setting. The centerpiece of this garden landscape features clean hand trowels, garden gloves, early blooming grape hyacinths and terra cotta pots. A child’s pair of polka-dot rain boots stake out a planted position on the table.
color splash mousse closeupDesserts for this garden party are Lemon Cupcakes and decadent Chocolate Mousse Brownie Cakes. The Lemon Cupcakes are color-splashed with hot pink, orange or yellow butter-cream flowers. Serve these cute little flowers in a decorative small flower vase that coordinates with your overall color scheme. Chocolate Mousse Brownie Cakes are made with chocolate mousse, brownies and covered with chocolate ganache. The secret baking tool is a silicone baking mold. For recipe go to www.lizbushong.com
Shop now for cute rain boots and gather new colorful gardening tools to host an impromptu garden dessert party. Color-splash your friends with bright colors of spring from the garden to the table. 

118Flower Pot Cupcakes  

1-16 oz. pkg. lemon cake mix
1-3oz pkg. lemon instant pudding/pie mix-dry
1-1/3 cups water
½ -cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups White buttercream frosting-purchased or homemade

Buttercream Frosting
½ cup butter, no substitutes
½ cup shortening
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
½ teaspoon clear vanilla
2-3 tablespoons whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cupcake pan with liners. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, except frosting. Beat on medium speed. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop cake batter into cupcake liners 1/2 full.
Bake 22-28 minutes. Cool cupcakes.
Frosting: Beat softened butter and shortening together in mixing bowl. Add salt, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar along with cream. Mix until light and fluffy. Frost cupcakes with white buttercream frosting. Divide white frosting into four bowls, tint with desired colors, hot pink, orange, yellow and green. Fill 3 disposable pastry bags with tip 104- orange, yellow, hot pink frosting and green frosting-leaf tip 352. Pipe green leaves on top of each cupcake and tip 104 pipe flowers in desired colors. Flower instructions on www.wilton.com

Liz Circle 2013 small (2)Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and 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. She makes elegance easy for her audience and encourages them to add their own Sassy touch to make it unique. In 2009, 2010, 13, 14 she was entrusted with decorating the White House for the Holiday. In 2011, she was part of seven-person team selected to decorate the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion for the holiday. Liz has been featured as the monthly guest chef on Daytime Tri-Cities, television show on WJHL, the CBS Affiliate for the Tri- Cities Area of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia, Daytime Blue Ridge in Roanoke, Virginia and Daytime Tampa, Tampa Florida. She is also the creator and host of her own one-hour seasonal television show called “Serve it up Sassy!” for the same market, which aired in 2011. She is also a contributing writer for the regional magazine VIP Seen and Lovely Bella magazine in Roanoke, Virginia. Liz makes her home in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Liz Bushong, Serve it up Sassy! ™
To purchase cookbooks, find recipes, cooking, and decorating demonstrations, go to www.lizbushong.comor blog, www.lizbushong.com
Like and Share Liz on Facebook, tweet @lizbushong and pin on pinterest.com/lizbushong.

Ideas for a Fresh April Meal

Spring is here! Time to get out your shovel and gloves and begin working in your garden. Take advantage of fresh and locally sourced vegetables at your local farmers’ market! This month apples, greens, spinach, herbs, onions, and strawberries are in season. You can also enjoy asparagus later in the month!

A fun appetizer to serve to your guests at your first barbeque of the year is asparagus wrapped in bacon or cheese. Follow that up with a refreshing spinach salad. Try making your own applesauce as a side item! And make sweet strawberry popsicles to finish out your meal!

bella webWe love this Balsamic-Glazed Chickpeas and Mustard Greens recipe from blog.fatfreevegan.com– give it a try and let us know what you think! Make sure to visit their site for more great recipes!

10 ounces mustard greens
1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
4-6 tablespoons vegetable broth, divided
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon agave nectar or sugar
1 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  1. Remove any large stems from the greens and discard. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  2. In a deep pot or wok, sauté the onion in a tablespoon or two of vegetable broth until mostly faded to pink, about 4 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and red pepper and another tablespoon of broth and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the mustard greens, 2 tablespoons of broth, and cook, stirring, until greens are wilted but still bright green, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the salt, if using. Remove greens and onions from pan with a slotted spoon and place in a serving dish, leaving any liquid in pan.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and agave or sugar to the liquid in the pan (if there is no liquid, add 2 tablespoons of broth). Add the chickpeas and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by about half. Spoon the chickpeas over the greens and drizzle the sauce over all.
  4. Serve warm, with additional balsamic vinegar at the table.

Written by Krista Knauer

 

Pick up an April issue of Bella for more great articles about spring gardening!

 

Declutter and Get Organized

hbx-closet-tips-charity-getty-deSpring is right around the corner! This weekend is the perfect time to reinvigorate your life. We really like the idea of becoming a minimalist, living simply with fewer possessions. You can enjoy your life more if you don’t have to deal with so many things in your life. Making changes in your life can be scary but also very good for your well-being. A good way to ease into becoming a minimalist is to begin the process of decluttering and spring cleaning.

A great tip for de-cluttering your wardrobe is to put your hangers on your rack backwards. Whenever you wear something and put it back on the hanger, turn it around the right way. Do this at the beginning of every season, and at the end of the season donate the clothes that are still turned around backwards.

When spring cleaning, we are often faced with the dilemma of what to get rid of and what to keep. Here are a few tips on getting rid of useless clutter:

Ask yourself if you are holding on to something just because there is a memory attached, like those ticket stubs to that one play you saw with your significant other. If so, get rid of it. If you have a strong emotional connection to it, take a picture of the object so you can always go back and look at it. You may have the urge to keep something because you “might put it in a scrapbook someday.” To save space, try to be content with just taking a picture of the object and putting the photograph in the scrapbook instead of the actual object.

If you really want to keep something, ask yourself if it is something that you can display in your house. Frame pictures or put them in photobooks. Dust off your shelves and place mementos on them.

Ask yourself if you’re holding on to something broken because you might fix it one day. If this is something that can easily be replaced, go ahead and trash it and get a new one. Unless you have serious plans about fixing something, don’t let broken junk take up space in your house.

Remember that the changes you make to declutter and become minimalist can be hard. That’s why you should take it slow at first. Don’t get in over your head. Minimalism has many benefits for improving your life. So, begin by doing your spring cleaning.

 

Written by Krista Knauer