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Hello Monday! March 20

March 20, 2017

Spring flowers

First off, happy 1st day of Spring! I snagged these flowers from my yard. The sun was shining bright today, and dare I say the weather is warming up?! A lot of Virginia beach friends and even my two oldest sons braved the weather conditions this weekend for all the Shamrock races, fun to see photos and hear about how cold it was on the course.

Monday snuck up on me again. Here are a few things I’ve enjoyed over the past week:

  • Have you seen this poster floating around the internet? It has an illustration of every. single. bird in North America! Talk about inspiration. A group of artists all participated, so that’s even cooler.
  • A great reminder about mindfulness, and how to take control.
  • My “real” first job was an Event Planner Coordinator at Washington College, and those four years I spent there were a big part of my journey of becoming an adult! The college recently produced a wonderful video about Sophie Kerr –> Sophie Kerr (1880–1965) was a prolific writer of the early 20th century whose stories about smart, ambitious women mirrored her own evolution from small-town girl to successful career woman”. I watched the entire video, and smiled through most of it. Especially when one of my favorite faces popped up, Michele Volansky, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance at WC.
  • I just read this awesome post about making assumptions.”If you’re like a growing population of self-doubting moms, upon realizing that her house is clean (and yours looks like wild monkeys had a sleepover last night), you immediately transfer the fact that she does one thing well to the fact that she does everything well.” Just yes, to all of it.
  • And while you’re planning your garden… remember these wonderful plants and flowers that the bees, hummingbirds & butterflies will thank you for!


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Oh Hey it’s Monday! March 13

March 13, 2017

unnamedIf you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that I just spent three glorious days at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health with my best friend Heather.

My sister has been a Kripalu employee for many years in their Healing Arts department, and I’m embarrassed to admit that this was the first time I’ve come to visit this amazing place. We spent the week attending the R&R events (yoga classes, lectures, etc.), eating delicious meals (they even have silent breakfasts!), and truly embraced the term “rest & relax”.  Kripalu has many rules for your weekend, one of which is no cell phones, so we spent the weekend with our phones set down and away. When was the last time you discounted from your phone? We stayed in “the dorms”, with 24 other women in bunk beds (hello white noise coming from my ear buds), and spent quite a lot of time in the whirlpool & sauna (helpful hint: bring ice cubes with you!). Heather and I often talked about hiking in the mountains, but each time we walked past a draft or open door, the frigid 4 degrees changed our mind…

As a mother, wife, and small business owner, I often forget about myself and my needs as I’m sprinting throughout my day trying to DO IT ALL. This weekend was magical, and so very helpful for me to realize what truly matters and how to go about getting where I want to be with a clear open mind (and often disconnected from my phone).

Here are a few Monday links that I wanted to share:

  • Yoga Dance – ever heard of it? We went to a class Saturday at noon with DRUMS! The energy in the room was out of control. Here’s a peak at KDZ The Kripalu Drummers.
  • I tried drawing a mandala on the plane yesterday for the first time. Upon further research this morning, I realize there is a process to it! And I plan on practicing this: How to draw a mandala.
  • In the dining hall at Kripalu, we learned about Ayurvedic eating. Ayurvedic gives some great guidance for eating, especially when it comes to digestion.
  • Remember how I talked about setting INTENTIONS for the New Year? This weekend was all about intentions, and it reaffirmed the ones I had set, and I added a few more to my list. Have you made a list? Here’s a great one from the Huff Post: Creating Positive Intentions for the New Year.

So I’m ready to start planning my next trip to Kripalu. Who wants to come with me? Happy Monday!



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Oh hey it’s Monday! March 6

March 7, 2017


PC: Amanda of Orchard Cove Photography, one of my favorites of me and 2/3 of my boys.

Ok, so it’s technically Tuesday, March 7th – Monday got away from me…

My family survived the epic stomach bug of February/March 2017 – I barely made it. I am SO very thankful for currently healthy kids and a germ free home.

We went to the mountains this past weekend. It was glorious. If you haven’t been in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I highly suggest going. Besides the visit to the UVA campus (& Bodo’s Bagels), we drank a bit of wine and beer, and the husband took a “time-out” at Wintergreen skiing. I also visited with two different sweet beach friends and former neighbors.

  • Being a mom is hard. Heck, being a parent is hard. This article resonated with me last week.
  • Our former nanny (who also happens to be a wedding planner), had a shoot of hers featured on a blog. Think woods, gin, vines & just all around amazingness.
  • Have you read this article: “Doctors Explain How Hiking Actually Changes Our Brains“? Thinking about starting up a weekly hiking group in the afternoons… who wants in?
  • Remember the WELL Women workshops I attend? In a few weeks, I will be the speaker leading the March workshop! Tickets are on sale now. I’ll be speaking on finding daily inspiration. You can also take a peak at their recent branding shoot by the talented Mary of Bluebird’s Garage, and of course Zoe Grant, Photographer extraordinaire!
  • The R&R retreat with my best friend is in TWO. DAYS. This will be a first for me. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself. Starting the packing process – any advice? Sounds like I’ll be unplugged from my phone for some of it, which will be wonderful but weird…

That’s it for now. Until next week!


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Oh hey Monday! February 27th

February 27, 2017


Photo by Zoë Grant at the Creative Union Dinner: Part V

Ya’ll, this Monday truly feels like a Monday. My kids have had the stomach bug since Wednesday. Yes you heard that right. Brutal. We burned through 3 bottles of Thieves Essential Oil, 1 HUGE container of laundry detergent, and a lot of bland boring food (which we’re still eating). I am SO ready for Springtime and germs to go away. Any tricks you have to keep away the germs in your family?

Anyway, here are a few fun links to push those Monday blues far away:

  • JT singing “Can’t Stop The Feeling” at the Academy Awards last night. Best. Song. Ever.
  • My parenting guru Diane Malaspina is holding three seminars at 1701 in Virginia Beach this April. If you’re a parent, you should come with me. Being a parent is HARD! I’ll take all the information I can get. Seriously.
  • My new favorite Etsy Shop is “The Urban Hedgehog“. A team of moms Miriam & Cheryl are located in Canada, and they hand make modern and minimalist items for stylish kids. They love the beach & the woods, so they’re right up my alley.
  • Right along those lines if you have little ones, Ms. Emily of Music Together just opened up Spring Registration for music classes in Virginia Beach & Norfolk. I have fond memories of attending her classes with my older sons, and am excited to bring the baby to his first class at the end of March!
  • For Christmas, we gifted my cousin a pair of “The Frankford” boots from Mason Dixon. Well folks, they arrived this past week, to say she’s thrilled is an understatement! I keep getting text messages every day raving about how happy she is. Also given that it’s my BFF who handmade them, well that adds a bit more happiness and love into the boots.

Tennis quote

Yup, you guessed it. Spring Tennis started, and I lost my husband to his team. #sigh

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Women Who Create

January 30, 2017

unnamed copy 2

By now, I’m guessing you’ve seen the buzz on Facebook and Instagram about the upcoming Women Who Create First Annual Show, here in Virginia Beach over at Esoteric’s Tennant E.

This will be my very first art show that I will be participating in. To say I’m slightly nervous is an understatement!

Local friends, please stop by!

WOMEN WHO CREATE” is a two-day event in the Vibe District of Virginia Beach, featuring local talent.

THIS Friday, February 3
4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 4
1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Esoteric’s Tenant E
501 VB Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA

You can expect to find the best of the best in Hampton Roads… These ladies are bringing it! From a wide variety of jewelry makers, a silversmith with high end modern pieces, to resin pendants, and vintage pieces. You’ll see beautiful metal work, fiber art, and print making. Kid friendly wool animals and stamps, hand drawn illustrated scavenger hunts, or custom designed stationary. Smell the handmade candles, and taste the delicious all-natural jam and macarons that are almost too pretty to eat! Don’t forget the handmade items you can wear, such as belts, knitted sweaters & hats, screen printed t-shirts, and custom made clothing. It doesn’t stop there, local photographers and a wide range of painters and mixed media artists will have art on display!unnamed

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A VB Basics Giveaway: Win a Spot to Dance on Stage at the Breast Cancer Awareness Zumbathon®

October 5, 2016


If you’re familiar with Zumba® Fitness in Hampton Roads, then I’ll bet that you’ve heard of a certain Zumba® Instructor by the name of Rita Cohen. Not only is she one of the most positive and friendliest people I know, but boy can she dance and her energy is extremely contagious! She is also the best of the best when it comes to Zumba® Instructors near and far.

Over the years, my friendship Rita and our shared love of Zumba® has developed into something BIG. Together, we’ve created a wonderful annual event that not only brings people together, but also gives back to our Hampton Roads community in the form of an amazing cause.

Rita is upfront and honest why she does what she does.

I do it because my friend Louise Cheo, whom I met when I was doing an all female composer benefit recital for the National Breast Cancer Foundation in 2007, introduced me to Zumba® in 2008 before she died on Christmas Day that year from breast cancer.  I love it so much and how it’s changed my life and in turn change others’ for the better. I want a cure found!

For the past 5 years, our event: the Breast Cancer Awareness Zumbathon® at Norfolk Academy has raised over $20,000!!! This Saturday’s event will be the second year in a row that 100% of the donations will be given to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Hampton Roads chapter (after $500 is given to the our fantastic Norfolk Academy sponsors: The Cancervive Club).

So what exactly is a Zumbathon® you may ask. Picture a sea of 500+ people, all decked out in pink, dancing to music (for up to three hours!), all the while smiling, sweating, and having a great time. On a large stage at the back of the space, 50 of the 757’s finest Zumba® Instructors rotate on and off in groups, leading energetic routines that pump up the crowd and get everyone moving. Raffle prizes, tables of unique vendors lining the walls, and a silent auction break up the morning, giving attendees a chance to chug water and catch their breath.




Every year, when I stand at the back of the Norfolk Academy Pavilion and watch the morning unfold, I always get warm and fuzzy feelings and am SO proud to be part of this event. And honestly, I’m especially proud of Rita for what an amazing woman she is, and that she is primarily responsible for bringing us all together.

Breast Cancer Awareness Zumbathon®

Saturday, October 8, 2016
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Norfolk Academy Athletic Pavilion
1585 Wesleyan Dr, Norfolk, VA 23502

Which brings us to the Giveaway!

One lucky Zumba lover will win a chance to dance ONSTAGE with Rita during the “Survivor Dance”! I mean, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love dancing on stage?

Simply leave a comment on this post if you’ll be dancing in honor of someone this Saturday, or why this event is special to you!

EXTRA ENTRIES (Leave a comment on the post telling me that you did so!)

Contest ends Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. Winner will be chosen at random, and announced at the Zumbathon that morning!

GOOD LUCK! And I can’t wait to see you at the fabulous event!

P.s. In case you want to purchase tickets, go to, suggested donation of $10 (or more) in advance/$15 at the door.

Photography by the talented Lavern Rushin

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A VB Basics Giveaway: Win 2 tickets to GoBe+ Women’s Event

September 20, 2016


I fully believe that certain people are put into your path for a reason, at the exact right moment.

This person for me is my friend Becky, of Rev Creative & part owner of GoBe+. If you run into Becky, you are immediately greeted by a contagious bright smile, and a wave of good energy. As a mother, and business owner herself, she fully understands the in’s and out’s of finding, following and accomplishing your dreams.

Our friendship began as we bonded over attending the same intense fitness classes, especially during “The Murph” workout challenge! It quickly developed into a shared love of strong coffee in the ViBe Creative District where we would meet for weekly pep-talks/brainstorming sessions. Now, she’s the type of friend who I don’t think twice in helping, even if it might mean braving the threat of snakes, hungry mosquitos & hot weather! And vice-versa (except for those snakes!).

GoBe+ partners Becky, Sami & Brent are “a community; a movement to inspire, reveal & transform your true self & greatest potential!”

In true GoBe+ fashion of helping women SHINE, one lucky VB Basics’s reader will win TWO tickets to the GoBe+ Radiant Women’s Social & Networking Event of the year.

THIS is the event that I have been looking forward to all summer. I’m really looking forward to meeting and networking with other local women who are following their dreams, and hearing the three speakers share and speaking from a place of encouragement and empowerment to the heart & mind of women.

RADIANT Women’s Event
Network, gather together and be inspired with like-minded Women
Shop LOCAL small businesses run by Women

THIS Saturday, September 24th
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Top Golf
Virginia Beach

YOU. Hampton Roads women!
Three powerful guest speakers:

18 Vendors!

Even though the holidays are approximately 90 some odd days away, walk through the eighteen tables of local women vendors, from all things under the sun! Young Living Essential Oils, LuLaRoe, Plexus, #tessadrawsthings (That’s me!!!!), Beauty Counter, Raising Arrow Art, Stella & Dot, Boudoir PhotographsSteeped Tea, Origami Owl, Auntie For Hire, Thrive, Usborne Books, Demarle At Home, GoBe+, Zoom Room, Crazy Confident Clothing, Center for Vein Restoration,

Simply leave a comment on this post of what your  +word+ ?
(Ex: +free+, +authentic, +strong+, +compassionate+….)

P.s. Mine is +balance+


Contest ends Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.. Winner will be chosen at random, and announced Friday, September 23, 2016.


P.s. In case you want to purchase tickets, maybe for a group of your friends? Go to Eventbrite!





Blog post & Giveaway in collaboration with GoBe+ 

Photographs by the talented Sami Montella Photography


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A VB Basics Giveaway: Win a mini session with Jess Hill Photography {Closed}

September 7, 2016

Jess Hill Photography 05If you haven’t figured out by now, I love photographs. Usually, I’m the one behind the camera, documenting the heck out of my life and those around me. So when I need someone to capture photos with me actually IN them, I’m quite particular as to who I choose to work with. I want someone who is comfortable with lighting & location, flexible on scheduling, up for a challenge, and they must be good with children.

Jess Hill has all the qualities I want in a photographer. Having recently relocated with her family to Virginia Beach, she’s been settling into the easy going beach life that we all love so much here. When she’s not working as a Labor & Delivery Nurse, you can find Jess at the beach with her kids and husband, camera in hand. She’s always loved taking photos, especially of births, newborn babies, beloved pets, children & families. Jess Hill Photography 03With each photoshoot that she’s done for me and my family, her photographs have been exactly what I wanted, and they speak for themselves. She knows her stuff! She works quickly, efficiently, has great ideas, has a great sense of humor, and is a wiz at getting children to smile. She’s also great at dealing with the elements and being flexible: crazy summer heat index? No problem. The windy aftermath of Tropical Storm Hermine, bring it on says Jess! Maybe the best part was sneak peaks of the photographs popping up in my email just a few short hours after the shoot.

Take a peak at a few of her beautiful photos she’s taken over the years.Jess Hill Photography 02




Jess Hill Photography 2

Jess Hill Photography 01Ok, now on to the fun part. To properly introduce and welcome Jess to Virginia Beach, she will sponsoring a giveaway here on VB Basics. One lucky winner will receive a FREE Mini Session! PicMonkey Image


Simply leave a comment (on this post) of a LOCATION in Hampton Roads you’d like your mini session to take place!


Winner must be a local resident or be able to travel to the Hampton Roads Area. Mini session is to take place in September or October of 2016. Winner will also receive a CD with all full resolution edited photographs produced from your session. No cash value. Contest ends Monday, September 12, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.. Winner will be chosen at random, and announced September 13, 2016.