Tag Archives: Virginia

Young Female Writers Club

Better on Paper: An Introverted Teen Writer 

Written by K.L. Kranes

Hannah stands in the middle of the hall and pulls out a notebook, fumbling for a pen. She can’t wait. She has to write it down now. 

Pressing the notebook against the wall, she begins to write. The idea flows out as her hand scribbles fast across the paper. When she’s done, her shoulders relax.  She stuffs the notebook back in her bag and sets off to class.

At 16-years-old, Hannah Mullen of Mechanicsville, Virginia often feels this grip of an idea and the compulsive need to get it out on paper. On paper she can be herself. On paper is where she feels safe.

“I definitely use writing to work through my emotions,” she explains. “I use my notebooks for everything. I have a reading log in the front. I doodle. I write. It’s usually just whenever and wherever I get inspiration.”

Although Hannah is a writer, she doesn’t necessarily want to make an impression. She would probably rather tiptoe through life making no noticeable divots in the fabric of the world, at least not until she first gave each step a great deal of thought. But, whether she wanted to or not, Hannah made an impression on the Hanover Writers Club. Even three years after she stopped attending meetings, they still remember her, the 12-year-old girl working on her first novel. 

When I ask Hannah why she decided to write and publish a novel, she replies, “I just woke up one day and decided this is what I wanted to do.” 

Two years after starting the novel, at age 13, Hannah self-published Experimentals on Amazon. She didn’t think anyone would read it. But attention and accolades do not seem to matter much to Hannah. 

In fact, it becomes clear early in our interview that Hannah doesn’t like to talk about herself or tout her accomplishments. I get the sense she would rather have her nose in a book than be on the phone with me. Regardless, she is gracious and witty, even if a bit reticent. 

“I’ve always loved books,” she says. At the beginning of our interview, Hannah answers my questions with these types of brief answers. 

I quickly realize, Hannah, like many writers, is introverted. I ask her, “You don’t trust easily do you?” She answers, “No.”

I feel an instant kinship with Hannah as I too have introverted tendencies. By the end of the interview, I think I have won her trust, but I’m not certain. 

Once Hannah gets more comfortable with me, her personality begins to shine through. Although I can’t see her expressions, I imagine she is not quick with a smile, but when she gives one, it is meaningful.

“Sometimes I will go a whole day without saying a word,” Hannah tells me. “People expect me to talk. I don’t mind presentations or anything of the sort but socially I’m a wreck. People think just because I don’t talk to them it means I don’t like them.”

Writing helps Hannah cope with the social pressures of being an introvert in an extroverted world. When she writes, Hannah can carefully craft her words in a way that eludes her when speaking. 

“I can erase my writing and I cannot erase what I said. Sometimes I don’t think before I speak, but writing forces me to think,” she says.

Although introverted, Hannah doesn’t spend her days hiding in her room. She has starred in theater productions since she was 8-years-old and takes part in her high school theater program. It isn’t the spotlight that unnerves Hannah, it is not being prepared for it. 

“In my head, things aren’t really thought out. It’s big word vomit,” she says. “I like acting because I don’t have to think about what I say.”

Hannah’s thoughtful mind translates to a thoughtful person. Once Hannah opens up during our interview, it becomes clear she has a big heart. 

“I’ve always been drawn to helping people,” she says. 

In fact, although Hannah finds writing therapeutic, she doesn’t want to be a writer as her profession. It is partially practical. She knows the obstacles and difficulties writers face. Hannah is content writing for herself and pouring her emotions into her notebooks or her poetry blog, https://angsty-teen-poetry.tumblr.com. 

Hannah is more interested in helping people than gathering followers on Snapchat or Instagram. She donates her time at a nearby hospital, assisting with discharges and stocking the pharmacy, while dreaming of one day becoming a pediatrician. Her voice thrums with excitement when she talks about being accepted into a program called SODA (Student Organization for Developing Attitudes), which helps teach 4th graders how to deal with peer pressure. 

Speaking with Hannah reminds me that writing is not just about getting published or how many people follow your blog. Writing is a deeply personal experience. Hannah doesn’t want to just be known as a girl who wrote and published a book before she was even in high school. She would rather be known for her thoughtfulness and how she helped people. She may feel better on paper, but I think we would all feel better if we viewed the world a bit more like Hannah.

Save Smarter – Financial Fitness for Youth

6 Tips to Guide Children through a Healthy Relationship with Money

Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union

With school out for the summer, the kids are likely hanging around the house more than usual. Your little audience is watching and probably soaking in more than you realize—which includes how you manage finances. Healthy financial habits begin at a young age, so what better time to teach responsible spending and saving than during a break from the daily grind of school? Here are a few ways to help your kids get started on the path to financial success.

Set an example.  Parents who make poor financial decisions like impulse purchases, excessive credit card use, or have arguments about finances only confuse children about how to make smart money choices. Make a point to practice what you preach by not only explaining positive financial habits but demonstrating them as well.

Begin early.  Once children start saying, “I want,” it’s a good time to teach savings habits. While they won’t understand compound interest or annual percentage yield, you can explain how we sometimes have to wait for the things we want. Delayed gratification is an important lesson to learn.

Give commissions, not allowances.  There is nothing wrong with giving your child money each week, but it should be earned. Have them perform chores like mowing the lawn, taking out trash, or doing dishes. This will teach them the value of work and prepare them for adulthood, and starting a job outside of the home.

Make it visual.  For younger children, give them transparent jars to keep their money in so they can see their progress. For older children, it’s wise to open a savings account with a local credit union. Online banking can help them easily monitor their progress.

Set savings goals.  It’s much easier to put away money when you know what you’re saving for. If your child wants a game or pair of shoes, show them how much it costs and how long it will take before they can buy the item. You can also show them ways to reach their goal faster by earning more money through additional effort. 

Explain responsible credit card use. As a teenager, getting your first credit card can be very exciting. Make sure your child knows how to use the credit card wisely and warn them that they should only make purchases if they can afford to pay off the balance each month. It’s also important to explain what credit is and how it affects their future—from buying a car to getting their first mortgage.

Financial responsibility begins at a young age. Use these tips to help teach your child healthy money habits that will set the foundation for success now and continue well into the future.

Local Festivals

Opportunities to enjoy music, art, and fun in the coming months!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Festival season is here, and we couldn’t be more excited! There is nothing better than spending a long weekend enjoying the warm weather, scenic mountain views, live music, and local food in the company of good friends and family. In addition to FloydFest, there are several festivals within driving distance happening in the next few months that we hope you will support! Check out our favorites below, and let us know your favorites on our Facebook page.

The 14th Annual Horse & Hound Wine Festival takes place on July 14 from 11am-6pm at Johnson’s Orchards & Peaks of Otter Winery! Enjoy local wines from Peaks of Otter Winery, Rebec Vineyards, Tamahawk Mill, Ramulose Ridge, and more! Live entertainment will be provided by BigBossMan at this dog-friendly event. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the town of Bedford and support small businesses and local food trucks. Previous years have included appearances from the Virginia Donkey Rescue, a Parade of Horses, a Kiddie Korral, agility dogs, and even muskrat racing! Visit www.peaksofotterwinery.com for more information on ticket prices and how to purchase them. 

Can’t get enough of Floyd? We’re in the same boat. That’s why we will be attending the Cirque Du Floyd at Chantilly Farm August 17-18! Featuring performances from New York City’s ImaginAerial, Cheeky Monkey Sideshow, Mountain Circus Arts, Juggler Erin Riley, Magician Nelson Oliver, DanceAFire, Imagine Circus, StoryUP!, Miss Kitty’s Cosmonauts, Gartrell the Great, live music from The Get Right Band and Music Road Company, and more! Enjoy a beer and wine lounge, local food, crafts and workshops, sideshow stage and roaming performances, along with a lot of outdoor fun. Arrive by 2pm on Friday to take advantage of free tent camping for the weekend! Visit www.chantillyfarm.com for more information on the event and how to purchase your tickets.

Microfestivus celebrates its 21st anniversary this year! On Saturday, August 11, join the festivities from 12pm-6pm in downtown Roanoke. This is the premier fundraiser for the Square Society, a local 501c(3) nonprofit established to raise interest in awareness of the arts, as well as cultural facilities and activities supported by Center in the Square. This annual event has grown to be one of the largest beer festivals on the entire East Coast, and is a great opportunity to enjoy the ever-growing craft beer marketplace at an event that strives to offer a wide variety of local, regional, and national breweries. www.microfestivus.squaresociety.org

Floyd Yoga Jam’s four-day music, yoga, dance, and art festival will return from August 30-September 2. This is a great opportunity for beginner to advanced yogis to relax, learn, and make new friends! The 2018 lineup will include musical entertainment by Oddisee, Phoebe Hunt & The Gatherer’s, The Get Right Band, Morgan Wade & The Stepbrothers, Seph Custer, Dangermuffin, and more! Floyd Yoga Jam is known for their excellent lineup of professional teachers who provide instruction for a variety of classes. Participants can also enjoy nature walks, meditation, art classes, and lectures. This festival is kid-friendly and includes a Kid Village that will host yoga classes specifically designed for children. The food trucks and beverage options alone are excellent reasons to attend this event. There are multiple options for camping, including a glamping package. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit www.floydyogajam.net.

Flavors of Summer

Our new favorite local, handcrafted hot sauce!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Ryan and Chrissi Scherer, the husband and wife team behind Zen Pepper Company, are making waves in the local agricultural community. Born in Texas, Ryan has always loved hot foods. He began growing and experimenting with different hot peppers in his early 20s. Through this experimentation, he was able to discern how their flavors came to life once blended with other ingredients. In 2010, he began small-scale farming Virginia Tech’s sustainability center in Catawba, researching forms of organic crop management and environmentally-friendly irrigation methods. 

“Virginia Tech owns the Catawba Sustainability Center,” Chrissi explains. “They have great land that they lease to people trying to start small agricultural businesses. The center receives grants for sustainable types of tools, equipment, and practices they are able to implement. Ryan took a course that the Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension offered a few years back called, ‘Growers Academy.’ [The course] was geared towards farmers who wanted to step into developing a small business. We both have been growing and gardening for a long time, and that was his first step in beefing it up a little.”

Zen Pepper Company’s hot sauces first appeared at the farmers’ market at the end of 2016. There, Chrissi and Ryan met new friends through the Local Environmental Agricultural Program (LEAP). This connection, in addition to the popularity of their products, encouraged them to continue creating and sharing their sauces.

As their popularity has increased, so has their knowledge and implementation of sustainable practices. All of their hot sauces are created in a commercial kitchen, and they consider the impact on the environment with every step in their development. Pepper seeds germinate in soil blocks that they keep in their home. The couple avoids using high energy grow lights, and puts their lights on timers so they can cut down on energy usage during the growing process. They also implemented drip irrigation practices, which reduces the amount of water they use.

“The sustainability center is a fantastic resource, because they supply the means for us to be able to do that,” Chrissi says.

2018 promises to be a big year for Zen Pepper Company. They are discussing expanding their presence at the downtown Roanoke Co-Op, and plan on attending a couple of festivals this year (TBA). Their business has taken off, and their most popular sauce, Ginger Habanero, is flying off of the shelves. Last year, they grew about four hundred pepper plants during the growing season. This year, they have expanded to about two thousand, and are encouraged by how receptive Roanoke has been of their products.

For more information on Zen Pepper Company including where to find them and the flavors they offer, visit www.zenhotsauce.com. Find them on Facebook at Zen Pepper Co.

5 Tips for Getting your Finances Vacation-Ready

Learn how managing your money this summer can make travel season even easier

Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union

Planning for summer travel means choosing a location, booking your stay, and counting down until vacation time. It also means effectively managing and protecting your money so your anticipated getaway doesn’t turn into an unexpected staycation. Follow these simple tips for keeping your financial life in order before, during, and after vacation. 

Notify your financial institution before you hit the road. Nothing could ruin a vacation faster than a lack of funds due to a limited cash supply and/or a frozen credit or debit card because of suspicious-looking account activity. Letting your financial institution know that you’ll be traveling helps keep your accounts safe and avoids interruptions in your credit or debit card services, especially if you’ll be out of the country. Many financial institutions offer a simple online form that you can complete ahead of your travel.

Record card information and other important documents. Before you leave, record card numbers and customer service contact information, your passport, and insurance cards. Take photos of each item or write the information down on paper and keep it in a safe location, like a hotel safe. You can also store the information on your computer or email it to yourself. As long as you can locate an Internet connection, you’ll have quick access to this information in case you need to report that it’s been stolen.

Pay for larger purchases with cards. A credit card in particular offers the most security because, unlike a debit card, it’s not linked directly to your bank account—so there’s no risk of fraudsters gaining direct access to your money. Plus, purchases made with a credit or debit card might be replaced by the card company if the item is stolen. 

Don’t carry all your money at once. One tactic to keep cash safe is to split it up. Keep a certain amount in your wallet and another amount stashed away for later. Overall, the best approach is to carry a combination—a credit card for the majority of purchases, another card as a backup, and cash. While cash can be easily stolen, it’s a good idea to keep a small amount on hand in case you encounter a merchant or service that only accepts cash. 

Review your bank and credit card statements. Upon returning from your trip, look at your bank and credit card statements to check the accuracy of transactions. Get a receipt for every transaction made while on vacation and compare this to the total charged to your account. Receipts are also helpful to have on hand in case you have to dispute a charge with a vendor. 

Join Member One here each month for more money-saving tips and financial advice! Be sure to visit their website, www.memberonefcu.com, for more info on their products and services. Member One Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Virginia Made: TeTai

Meet Tabitha Venditti of TeTai

Summer vibes have finally arrived. Sunshine, warmth and vacations. Beaches are calling your name and cookouts on the weekends become norm. Fun in the sun is the theme for June as outdoor activities are planned for the entire family. Through all the chaos there’s one thing that sometimes takes the back burner. Skincare. That’s where Tabitha Venditti, founder of TeTai, a natural skincare line, comes in.

Tabitha grew up in Portland, Oregon and later moved to Pennsylvania. In 1993, she found herself in Lynchburg attending Liberty University. Twenty-five years, and a family later, Virginia is where they call home. Tabitha recently completed a degree in English from Lynchburg College. Raising a family, running a business and working for a local family as a personal chef while taking classes was not an easy task. Not a woman to back down from a challenge, Tabitha not only completed her degree but graduated with special recognition for her writing abilities.

TeTai began as a challenge as well. Named after her two daughters (Tegan and Taitum). It all started when Tabitha’s oldest daughter, Tegan’s, eczema became more and more problematic. An aunt in Hawaii sent the family a recipe for a scrub using oil and sea salt that helped but was too oily for the three-year-old. Tabitha took on the challenge of creating a product her daughter could use with success. The result was a unique scrub that combined seven unique oils, fine sea salt and essential oil of lavender. The natural product healed Tegan’s skin without all the harsh chemicals and created a demand among friends and families.

“Every product I make bears the names of my daughters and represent quality. I couldn’t sell it if I didn’t believe in its quality.” Each product created within the skincare line covers a variety of issues within the skin for both men and women. From extremely oily to dry, sensitive skin and acne, there’s a little something for everyone. Scrubs, bath bombs, toners, facial oils and essential oils are just a few naturally-based products offered. The newest additions of TeTai were motivated by Tabitha’s own need for a regime to combat large pores and sagging, aging skin. The TeTai Toner and facial oil combination of argan oil and organic lavender solved her problems better than any name brand skincare without costing hundreds of dollars.

Tabitha’s passion for her daughters and leading a natural lifestyle are what have built TeTai into a trusted brand amongst her clients. Her willingness to research, experiment, fall and get back up again are examples of the tenacity it takes to run a successful small business. As her friends were asked to describe Tabitha their words matched everything reflected in her business. Words like “passionate, young-at-heart, determined, quirky, vivacious and loving” were just a few mentioned. When she’s not experimenting for TeTai you can find Tabitha enjoying her college and high school-aged daughters, reading To Kill A Mockingbird, or watching Jumanji through tears. On Saturdays, catch TeTai at the Historic Roanoke City Market and various craft shows around Virginia.

Find TeTai:

www.etsy.com/shop/tetai   USE BELLA CODE: BELLA for 20% OFF

 

www.tetai365.com

Written by Faith Jones of Hill City Handmade

Faith Jones is a local entrepreneur, creative, and believer.  Her businesses include Faith Inspired and The Hill City Handmade. Faith has a degree in Art and Photography and is a former high school art and culinary teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family and travelling. Faith’s motto is, “Paris is always a good idea.” 

www.thehillcityhandmade.com

Let’s Travel… Locally!

Adventures are waiting for you—maybe even in your own backyard! 

Looking for a fun mini-vacation this month? Why not use this opportunity to support the local economy? There are plenty of fun places to visit and spend time with family and friends in Southwest and Central Virginia. Check out our favorites below…we may just see you there!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Carvins Cove Natural Reserve – This is a beautiful experience for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. With over 12,000 acres of hardwood and mixed pine forests, 60 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, and more than 11,200 acres protected by the largest conservation easement in Virginia’s history, this is a place where you can truly appreciate the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. At the reserve, take advantage of free-ride downhill trails, boat rentals (kayaks, 14’ boats, and paddle boats), stand up paddle boarding, and fishing opportunities. Hop on the free ride downhill trails or the cross country single track. Pack a lunch, and take a friend! www.roanokeoutside.com

Fairy Stone State Park – Warm weather is here, and that means it’s time to break out your camping gear! Fairy Stone State Park is the perfect place to spend a long weekend enjoying the scenery (including the 168-acre lake adjoining the Philpott Reservoir!). Attractions include cabins, a campground, group camping, an equestrian campground, a conference center, hiking trails, lake swimming, rowboats, canoes, paddle boats, kayaks, picnicking, and two playgrounds (one of which is in the water!). This is a great mini-vacation for children of all ages, as the park is one of few places in the world where you can find the legendary Fairy Stones. There are all kinds of superstitions attached to these stones, but the best part about them will be the special memories attached to the ones you find. www.dcr.virginia.gov

Apple Ridge Farm – You may already know Apple Ridge Farm for its reputation for providing environmental education and camping experiences for more than 70,000 youth, many from Roanoke’s inner-city neighborhoods and public housing projects. However, it’s also a great place for adults to relax and unwind! This unique location is surrounded by beautiful mountain views and five miles of hiking trails to take advantage of during your stay. The best part? Guests can book their stay in an actual train caboose car! Specifically, a remodeled 1978 Norfolk Southern Caboose Car. Outfitted with a queen size bed, sofa, table for two, and an attached outside deck, it provides a unique aesthetic you won’t soon forget! Your stay will include a complimentary breakfast basket, and all proceeds provide funds for Apple Ridge’s mission to “Help Kids Grow.” Book your stay on Airbnb. www.appleridge.orgBedford, Virginia – While we are on the subject of Airbnb, there are plenty of beautiful locations to choose from if you are interested in exploring the Bedford area. In Bedford, you can truly experience what it means to eat and shop local, supporting local farmers, artisans, and small business owners every step of the way. On the weekends, start your Saturday off right at the Forest Farmers Market. The selection may vary, but in the past vendors have offered fresh local fruits and vegetables, baked goods, arts and crafts, and more! For lunch, head to Town Kitchen Provisions! They offer specialty and deluxe deli sandwiches and super deluxe green salads in addition to espresso drinks, beer, and wine. Spend your afternoon on the Bedford Wine Trail, which includes Hickory Hill Vineyard, Peaks of Otter Winery, Ramulose Ridge Vineyards, Seven Doors Winery, LeoGrane Winery, and White Rock Vineyards. Or, visit the Bedford Visitors Center to learn about Bedford’s rich and intriguing history. Head to dinner and Olde Liberty Station, where you’ll choose from local cuisine options like steak, pork chops, and chicken paninis. www.visitbedford.com

Floyd, Virginia – FloydFest isn’t the only time of year to visit and support Floyd’s local economy! Start making your trek up the mountain this month, and check out the small businesses that offer products and experiences you can’t find anywhere else. You’ll love the wood fired pizzas at DogTown Roadhouse (www.dogtownroadhouse.com). On the weekends, they offer live music as well! There are many dining and shopping options to choose from in downtown Floyd. Set up your tent or RV at Chantilly Farm and spend the weekend exploring everything this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains has to offer! At Chantilly Farm, you can wake up and enjoy bike riding, walking, and running in their wide open spaces. They also offer a wooded hiking trail, two disc golf baskets, and rentable corn hole boards. www.chantillyfarm.com

Abingdon, Virginia – There is nothing quite like a stay at the Martha Washington Inn and Spa in Abingdon, Virginia. A short road trip from Roanoke, the inn sits right on Main Street, allowing visitors to experience the relaxing environment of the spa before spending a day (or night) on the town! Take a ride on The Virginia Creeper Trail and return to the Martha in the evening for a generous glass of port wine at the front desk. If you stay at the Martha, use their complimentary town bikes to ride down Main Street, relax in a therapeutic salt water heated pool, and unwind by the fire-pit. Dine at one of the many excellent restaurants in Abingdon before catching a play at the Barter Theatre. Visit the restored train station now known as The Arts Depot, where you can mingle with working artists. You could easily spend a whole week in Abingdon and still find new things to do every day. www.visitabingdonvirgina.com

Get Outside!

Map out your summer with adventures from Blue Ridge Land Conservancy! 

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Ready to get outside and enjoy the warm weather? We are too! That’s why we are excited for the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy’s (BRLC) schedule of events for the summer. Check out what they have planned below, and visit their website, www.blueridgelandconservancy.org, for up to date info on events, registration fees, and more!

Take part in a guided hike up Sinking Creek Mountain to Chimney Rock on May 20 from 9am-3pm. This journey will take place on Bruce and Elaine Ingram’s conserved property. Pack a lunch, bring bug spray, and prepare for amazing views! This is for intermediate to advanced hikers. Registration is $6 for the general public and $3 for friends of the BRLC. 

On June 2, check out the Pollinator Potluck from 4-5pm at Mill Mountain! This is a great opportunity to meet new friends who care about the land around you, watch a beekeeping demonstration, and take a guided walk through the Wildflower Garden as representatives from the Mill Mountain Garden Club share their exciting new projects. Bring a dish to share, as a potluck will follow! Registration for this event is free.

On July 14, the BRLC will host a Locavore Walk and Talk in Botetourt County. Enjoy a “locavore” meal, walk, and talk with Bruce and Elaine Ingram, noted conservationists in the area. Learn how to make your land more appealing to wildlife, identify edible wild foods, learn about living off the land, and see how the Ingrams have “gone solar.” Each participant will receive Bruce’s new book and a locavore meal! Registration is $25 for the general public, and $20 for friends of the BRLC. 

On August 19, bring your friends and participate in a James River Float! At 9 am, participants will depart from Buchanan and float along the James River. Disembark at BRLC-conserved property, and bring a sandwich and water! There will be a picnic at the conclusion of the trip. This adventure will be for intermediate to advanced floaters and is scheduled to end at 3pm. Registration is $35 for the general public and $30 for friends of the BRLC.

Join a Cahas Mountain Hike on September 9 from 9am-3pm. Hike to the top of Cahas Mountain, the tallest mountain in Franklin County, and experience the conserved property. The hike will end on House Rock, where hikers will see breathtaking views of the Roanoke Valley! This trip is for intermediate to advanced hikers. Registration is $6 for the general public, and $3 for friends of the BRLC.

Finally, on October 5 from 6:30-8:30pm, learn how to build a bat box! The Roanoke Unitarian Universalist Church and the BRLC will host a documentary on bats and teach participants how to build their own bat box. This event is part of the Unitarian Universalist Church Earth Friendly Fridays. Beginners are welcome at this event. Registration is $25 for the general public, and $20 for friends of the BRLC.