Tag Archives: Virginia

Meet the Maker: North Mountain Candle Company

Callie Altman, owner of North Mountain Candle Company, has been making candles for twelve years. Her journey began one Christmas while trying to come up with a way to make gifts for the holiday budget-friendly. She decided to take her love of candles to the next level and make a few herself. They were a hit with her friends and family, and over the next year she transformed the experiment into a business that continues to reflect her love of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

North Mountain Candle Company takes its name from an actual mountain in a small former mining community called Longdale, where Callie grew up.

Photo Credit: Brittany Smejkal, Eccentric Photography

“Almost all of my childhood memories involve the outdoors in some way, shape or form,” Callie recalls. “From hiking along the Appalachian Trail to camping at Douthat State Park, or fishing on the Cowpasture River. The main driving force behind my business is to share my love of the Blue Ridge Mountains around the world. It’s a wonderful place to live, grow up, and raise a family. Our scents are inspired by this area.”

With scents like Mill Mountain Magnolia, Hotel Roanoke Spoonbread, and Smith Mountain Lake House, just lighting one of these unique creations is enough to take anyone back to their best memories of Southwest Virginia. Every candle is 100% handmade. Callie and her family try to get everything they use for the candles locally to support local sustainable businesses. They don’t mass produce anything, and there are no machines. Every inch of the process from making the candles to printing off labels is done by hand.

When she isn’t making candles, Callie can be found throughout the community teaching classes at the Omni Homestead or set up anywhere from small school fundraising events to large vintage or antique shows.

This summer, North Mountain Candle Company can be found on and off at the Grandin Village Farmers Market. Currently, they are a fill-in when other vendors are unavailable, but it is a placement that Callie hopes will become permanent in the future. Customers can also find her products in The Hodge Podge across from Lord Botetourt High School, in the Local Artisans section at Natural Bridge State Parks, and The Flower Center in Clifton Forge. Of course, if you cannot make it to any of these locations, you can always check out her selection and order online at www.northmountaincandles.com.

All photos in this post courtesy of Brittany Smejkal, Eccentric Photography. 

Get Outside in Virginia State Parks!

Virginia State Parks provide wonderful opportunities for those who enjoy being outdoors and are looking for ways to use their time outside to give back to the community. Although almost all of the volunteers are users of Virginia State Parks, there are groups that sign up with members who have never visited them before. Both levels of experience are welcome, as all volunteers go through orientation and are supervised.

“There are volunteer opportunities that work for different age groups,” says Andrea Hasenfus, Camp Host Program Manager. “Retirees may be able to do a Wednesday gardening at noon, while someone who works a full-time job may be available to do trail maintenance on the weekends.”

There are also opportunities for young people. The Youth Conservation Corps is a great program for teens 14-17 who want to learn about conservation and working in parks. They spend three weeks living and working in parks around the state, supervised by college-age adults. Although the deadline to participate in this program has passed, visitors to the park may still get to see the group in action this summer. This is a competitive program. In 2017, 800 applications were received to fill 170 spots. If your child is interested in being involved in the future, it may be a good idea to sign up to volunteer and get some experience before the 2018 application process starts on December 1.

Joining a Friends Group is another way to contribute. It takes a lot of work to keep up state parks, and Friends Groups play a huge part in building and maintaining trails, helping staff visitor centers, working on educational outreach programs, and raising funds for park projects and facilities. There are several parks with Friends Groups looking for members. Being part of one of these groups has the potential to create a lasting impact for generations to come, as they also help with advocacy for the invaluable resources offered through the parks.

“Sometimes the most help, if you can’t put your elbow grease in on the trail, is to be an advocate. Whether you are a member of a friends group, or used to doing advocacy in the community, advocates are always great to have on our behalf.” explains Andrea.

For those who want a more immersive and active experience, the AmeriCorps program engages its members in meaningful service in Virginia State Parks by providing extensive training and professional development opportunities. They go through grants, and work on natural resource management in the parks. Some of them last all summer, and those who complete them receive an education award at the end.

There will be a big opportunity for volunteers on June 3 for Clean the Bay Day/National Trails Day. In fact, every park in the Virginia State Parks system will have a need for help that day. Those who wish to volunteer will not have to sign up through the website to be a one-time volunteer for the event. Simply show up at your local park and offer to lend a hand.

Visit www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks for a full list of parks in your area. Click on individual parks to see what they need.

Wellness for the Family

Intercept Youth Services began in 1996 when its founder, Mark Bogert, decided that he wanted to redefine the group home experience. That year, he opened a group home for children with eight beds. Now, twenty years later, the company has grown to provide 14 group homes and 32 services for entire families and individuals across the state. They average around 1,200 clients each week.

“I came here because of the company and our values,” says Natalie Elliott, Senior Director of Program Development. “When you work with a population that is affected by mental illness and children who come into foster care, it is important to be innovative and collaborative. You have to be able to meet the needs of the community.”

There are several parts that make up Intercept’s full continuum of care. This includes Crisis One, a program that allows patients to call Intercept whenever they are in need of brief therapeutic interventions to achieve mental stability. It offers immediate response—24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mobile counselors will travel to children, adolescents, and adults that need help.

“Crisis don’t always happen between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm,” says Natalie. “We are not an 8 to 5 agency. Services have to be worked around families.”

Additionally, Intercept offers LifeBridge Counseling, an outpatient treatment that allows individuals (of all ages) with a variety of insurance providers to get the help they need. Through a partnership with Carilion, they have also opened True North Health Clinic. In this facility, doctors and physician assistants provide medication management for patients. Not only is this beneficial for adults, it helps meet a need for children in our area as well.

“There is a severe shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists,” explains Natalie. “In many cases, they could wait as long as six months to see a doctor. True North gives patients the option of seeing a physician within three weeks.”

Intercept clients go through True North, but once they cease a service with Intercept they can continue to receive medication management without attached services. The ultimate goal is to make psychiatric treatment easier to attain. In an effort to achieve that, Intercept launched a program last month called Open Access. This allows patients to walk in, be assessed for services, and connected with those that can help them based on what they need and how the treatment plan matches with their insurance.

Essentially, what began as a group home has grown to meet the needs of entire families. This goes above and beyond serving children once their lives are in crisis, working to stabilize their environments before things get out of hand.

However, there are around five thousand children in foster care every day in Virginia. Intercept continues to offer many services for these children in addition to group homes throughout the state. Those who live in Intercept’s group homes attend public school and blend right in with their peers—exactly what they are meant to do. The company also works with local departments of social services to place children in foster homes. They take matching children to families very seriously, citing that it is imperative to helping them be successful in youth and as adults.

As these children get older, many of them become eligible for independent living services offered by Intercept. Young adult participants, between the ages of 17-21, live in supervised apartments and practice the skills they need before they go out into the world. After they leave custody, they can return to the program to receive additional services as needed. This reduces the likelihood that they will not have good outcomes once they age out of foster care.

Visit www.interceptyouth.com for more information on the myriad of services that Intercept offers, their involvement in the community, their values, and more!

Your Go-To Guide for Mason Jar Crafts!

Mason jars have been a kitchen staple in America since 1858. With hundreds of uses, the Mason jar is still the holy grail of containers even 158 years later.

9781591866527Joann Moser considers the glass container to serve more than just a jar for preservability. Using her style and creativity, she has envisioned several unique creations from the Mason jar.
In Mason Jar Nation, Moser, the “DIY Maven” explores the history of Mason jars and then twists their usefulness to fun crafts. The book shows more than 50 Mason jar projects that are perfect for eager DIY-ers!

It begins with the impact of the jar on America and its major uses throughout the years. In recent years, the Mason jar has been repurposed as a material for hundreds of crafts. Moser also gives advice on collecting jars and technical information for crafts.

The second half of Mason Jar Nation features over 50 new ideas for the jars. These crafts are demonstrated with easy to follow photography and step-by-step directions by Moser. Her original crafts include Mason jars for the garden, kitchen, storage, and even lighting.

Purchase your copy of Mason Jar Nation here or visit our Facebook page for your chance to win one!

 

Written by Stacy Shrader

Floyd Yoga Jam

September may seem far away, but the next two months will pass before you know it! Fortunately, even as fall begins, the excitement of summer doesn’t have to end. Join us for the 5th annual Floyd Yoga Jam from noon Thursday, September 1 through Sunday, September 4, 2016!

10574302_835427443136565_3749800215542127659_nThis unique outdoor event is held every Labor Day weekend on the Burnette Farm in Willis, Virginia. In the past five years, it has brought a vast array of nationally known yoga instructors, and this year proves to be no exception. Cyndi Lee, Dianne Bondy, Katie Silcox, and Dr. Robin Sarawsati will be recognized by readers of Yoga Journal Magazine. Regional yogis like Carolyn Keller, Mateo Daniels, Faith Hunter, Jacob Felder, Kara Chambers, Cody Willets, Erica Balogh, and Soraya Sanchez will also bring their styles to the Blissland tents. Local favorites Mary Brown, Leia Jones, Katie Wells, and Grace Woods round out the lineup.

Attendees can begin the day with morning meditations and then move on to yoga classes for all skill levels in a variety of styles like Hatha, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Ashtanga, Acro, or Partner. Choose from over 35 hours of available classes!

This year’s theme is “A Midsummer Nights Dream” and features The Faery Reel, an illustration by Marvel comics illustrator, Charles Vess.

“Charles resides in Abingdon, Virginia and is a hugely popular local artist,” explains festival producer Laura Polant, “He has been volunteering his time to the Yoga Jam since its first year and we are truly grateful for his incredible generosity and support.”

The festival would not be complete without great music. Sirsy, a two person band from New York state, will open the festivities. Then, Mighty Joshua, Virginia’s 2014 Reggae Artist of the Year, will take the stage. World-renowned hip hop artist MC Yogi will headline the weekend along with The Householders, Desert Dwellers, and Fractal Cat. Favorite local musicians Spoonfight, Option 22, Fat Catz, Bigmama Joy, Lobo Marino, and Bhakti Kulani are also scheduled to perform.

12063888_10153233953096491_6243057827110361098_nThe weekend is perfect for families and groups of friends. It will have something for everyone! Free art classes, including an opportunity to make a prayer flag square, are provided for attendees. The squares of fabric are decorated with prayers, drawings, and inspirational messages which are then tied together and strung throughout the trees.

“When the flags blow in the wind, the prayers are released to the heavens,” explains Lore Dieghan, the festival’s Art Village Director.

Other workshops include faery house building, poetry, sacred geometry, and painting.

Floyd Yoga Jam also boasts a KidsVille that is a play space for kids and families. It features a giant sandbox, arts, crafts, family yoga and dance classes, all in sight of the large yoga tents. Hiking, biking, and trail running are available throughout the 380 acre farm and are organized by the Muddy Squirrel outdoor company. Participants are encouraged to bring their bikes and enjoy the trails.

13174219_1165595443471922_4339544043056267657_nSavor local food and refreshments from Thai This! and Dojo Grill food trucks, Green Light Cafe, Dogtown Pizza, Goatacado, Essentials Juice Bar, Red Rooster Coffee, Buffalo Mountain Kombucha, Big Lick Ice Cream Company, and adult beverages from Parkway Brewery and Foggy Ridge Cider.

This hometown festival has grown from 700 attendees in 2012 and expects over 2500 in September. The increase in attendance is partially due to yoga studios from New York City and Orlando flying in to attend in 2015. That’s why it is so important that you purchase your tickets as soon as possible. Bella readers can enjoy an online discount of $25 off the ticket price by using this code: bellayoga. Go to www.floydyogajam.net for more information and to purchase your tickets today! We’ll see you there!

11143196_909222605805592_4213930902180006514_nP.S. THREE Bella readers will win a ticket for themselves AND a friend!!!!! Stay tuned to our Facebook page at the end of July and beginning of August for details!

Also, Floyd Yoga Jam is hosting an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to add more fun stuff to the event like a frisbee disc golf course, art supplies, and a Shantea Speakeasy. The latter will feature a nonprofit serving herbal tea and host lectures and discussions on socially conscious topics. Contribute by visiting www.indiegogo.com and searching Floyd Yoga Jam or following this link.

 

Grand Home Furnishings Gives Back

As consumers, nothing is more important than shopping with organizations that give back to our community. With large purchases like furniture, that sentiment is even more important. That’s why we were thrilled to hear that Grand Home Furnishings and Tempur-Pedic International will donate 130 mattresses to Take My Hand Ministries at Highland Heights Baptist Church in Rustburg on July 14.

901239_10151365570487624_317201327_oThe wheels were set in motion for this event when Tempur-Pedic International offered Grand Home Furnishings a substantial quantity of mattresses for donation to an area organization. Grand chose Take My Hand Ministries, a mission of Hyland Heights Baptist Church, because of the valuable work the church has done within the greater Lynchburg area. Their program provides home furnishings and numerous referral and counseling services to families in need.

Additionally, they help with utility bills, give out information and referrals to shelters and housing, mattresses, and household goods. The ministry provides referrals to agencies that help those with disabilities, home delivered hot meals, adult day care, and home heath care as well as referrals to free dental and eye glass clinics.

For more information on Take My Hand Ministries, please visit www.hhbc.net. To find the closest Grand Home Furnishings location to you (or to find out how to purchase your own Tempur-Pedic mattress!), go to www.grandhomefurnishings.com.

Dreamweavin: Counting down the days until FloydFest 16

 

There is hardly a more appropriate theme for FloydFest 16 than “Dreamweavin.” From July 27-31, the Floyd mountainside will once again transform into something even more captivating—a place where those who dream can meet to create, dance, and be inspired.

For those who will attend solely for the music, the lineup is (once again) spectacular. Thursday will feature performances from blues/folk artist Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey, Forlorn Strangers, and Anders Osborne. Enjoy the blues and folk sounds of Shakey FF16_DCLogo_wDateGraves on Friday, followed by Warren Haynes Ashes & Dust and the highly-anticipated Gregg Allman on Saturday. These are just a few of the local and well-known artists that will grace the nine (NINE!!!!!) stages throughout festival grounds over the course of five days. Plan ahead, visit the website, and make sure you get there in time to see your favorite bands perform. Give yourself time to wander a little to different stages before and after the shows you plan to see—some of the best musical discoveries happen that way.

Between performances, there will be no shortage of fun and entertainment for festival-goers. Those with an adventurous side will enjoy the guided hikes, bike expeditions, and free adventures offered at the Back Country Ski & Sport Outdoor Experience Tent. There, they will also offer equipment giveaways, discounts, and other promotions. Attendees can sign up for On The Water Floyd Float Trips by kayak, canoe, or tube. These trips are for people of all ages and will include transportation, equipment, and a fully-catered lunch with the purchase of a separate ticket for the trip.

And, if you’re just there to relax and enjoy the combination of unique sites and sounds filling the Blue Ridge Mountains, don’t worry. There will be plenty of opportunities to unwind! FloydFest features several healing arts vendors and offers massage therapy, yoga, internal martial arts, medicinal and edible herb walks.

PressShot7This is a family event. Bring your children, of all ages, to enjoy the Children’s Universe and Teen Scene. The Children’s Universe includes fun activities like a costume tent, balloon art, jugglers, face-painting, and puppets. They also host a Peace Parade and an open mic/talent show. If your child plays an instrument, encourage them to bring it along with any costume or inspiration to help “Weave the Dream!”

The Teen Scene is hosted by Social Emotional Learning Coalition, an organization dedicated to helping young people experience a deeper sense of connection and belonging with themselves, others, and the natural world. There, teens can participate in a number of activities including mixed media art workshops and painting parties, mindfulness meditation, and drumming workshops.

You can find all of the above information with a little research, but we would also like to share a few things about FloydFest that you may not know.

It is a safe, welcoming place. The people who attend are friendly (occasionally barefoot!) travelers and locals who will share your table in a beer garden or over breakfast. Within a few moments, you will be talking like old friends.

You will be inspired. Artist or not, you will leave FloydFest with a desire to make the world just a little more beautiful. You will see things differently, and even in your own backyard hammock you will find it easier to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and relax. To put it simply, your time on the mountain will teach you how to find peace in the real world.

Summer1You’ll crave new things. Not just adventure and music, but food. Really, really good food. There will be no shortage of delicious local choices available throughout the grounds at FloydFest. Start your morning with fresh juice, crepes, and/or Red Rooster Coffee. Keep the day going with dishes that include locally grown veggies and grass-fed beef. Trust us, the food alone will make you wish you could stay forever.

The local art, music, and friends you acquire will stay with you for years to come. We still carry our wristbands as keychains. And, the truth is, you’ll be counting down the days until FloydFest 17 on your calendar, beginning on August 1. One trip will make you fall in love with the mountain, the people, and the person you become surrounded by all of it.

Three days in Floyd are not enough. If you can, buy a five day ticket. Come camp with us and enjoy everything FloydFest has to offer! You will not regret it. Visit www.floydfest.com for more information on the lineup, the festival, and even a packing list! We can’t wait to see you there!

Big (Pink!) Wigs!

Today, the Virginia Blue Ridge affiliate of Susan G. Komen launched their 2016 BigWig Challenge with hopes to raise $10,000 (at least) by February 15. The money raised will go towards local breast cancer services and research. Ten community leaders in the Blue Ridge region are appointed the title of ‘Big Wigs’ and will guide the campaign with various pink hairstyles on top their heads and the weight of the challenge on their shoulders.

The affiliate will stay true to their tag line, “W​hat’s raised here stays here.” ​Seventy-five percent of the money will be used for provincial screening and diagnostic mammograms, breast health education, and treatment for medically underserved women in our region, while the other 25% goes to research for improving methods of early detection, prevention, and treatments.

Side by side with Brett Winter Lemon Photography and WSLS 10, Bella Magazine is proud to be sponsoring the BigWig challenge. Already the foundation has raised $1, 870, which is­ 19% of their total goal! In addition to Janurary 15th being the first day of the BigWig Challenge, it also signifies the 10 year mark since the creation of the Virginia Blue Ridge Affiliate of Susan G. Komen. Over the decade, the organization has invested more than whopping $1.8 million locally, providing a 2,324 diagnostic services and 3,404 clinical breast exams.

Meet the Ten “BigWigs”:

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Sara Bremer, owner of Just Dance Roanoke
Monica Brooks, from K92 Morning Thang
Joe Cobb, pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge
Dr. Bill Fintel, oncologist at Blue Ridge Cancer Care
Lindee Katdare, co-­host of Daytime Blue Ridge
Morris Masinter, small business owner in Roanoke
Greg Roberts, host of Greg Roberts Live on WFIR
Rob Rutherburg, on ­air personality for 101.5FM and stand-­up comedian
Dr. Bob Williams, founding board president of Komen VA Blue Ridge and breast surgeon
Erin Wolfe, blogger

Go to www.komenvablueridge.org to learn more about the 10 ‘BigWigs’ and to support your favorites today!

Written by Madison Correiro