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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!

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

WHEN/WHERE
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

SHOP
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

Just asking...

A Word With: Gina Foresta

May 19, 2016

Gina Foresta harvesting at Esoteric's garden

The first time I met Gina Foresta, she was interviewing me to assist her at a restaurant garden she was managing. To be honest, I was hesitant about working in a garden, as the only experience I had was growing up with my Master Gardener parents and working for them. After about 5 minutes into the interview, I was struck with how calm, cool, and collected Gina was. As she showed me her drawing and plans for the garden over the Summer and Fall seasons, I was really impressed with her knowledge of vegetable gardening and those feelings of hesitation I had went quickly away. I wanted to work for her, I wanted to listen to her talk, and I wanted to be around her, as cheesy as that may sound! Flash forward to present day, I consider Gina to be a good friend, and still a mentor in not only gardening but in being a parent as well. Recently, a mutual friend said that she considered Gina to be a “filler friend”, which basically means she always fills you up with good vibes whenever you spend time with her, and I couldn’t agree more!

Occupation
I guess it depends on your definition of occupation. I feel like I have at least four main areas that occupy most of my time. First and foremost I am a mother and wife.

A few years ago I started a gardening and environmental program at my kids’ school which I am still running today. The students are amazing and the garden and program have evolved into something we’re really proud of. I’ve written a pretty thorough curriculum for the program to keep it going after my kids have moved one, and to help other schools get started. We have been very fortunate to have the support of so many local organizations and people, like the Junior Virginia Beach Garden Club and the Cavalier Garden Club. School gardens and local garden clubs or Master Gardener Groups are perfect partnerships to cultivate. School gardens need help since maintenance and funding are the biggest challenges, and many garden clubs and groups need volunteer hour fulfillment and altruistic focus.

I am also serving as a co-chair of the Education Committee for Buy Fresh Buy Local and our committee is working hard to connect kids and families with their food and bring farms and schools together.

Today I also manage the garden for Esoteric Restaurant, so gardening has become a big occupation for me. And finally I write for a couple of online magazines and some other platforms, and would love to expand that area of my work.

Hobbies
I love reading books and blogs. I also cook a ton and enjoy sewing and knitting when I have time. It is so gratifying to make something with your hands, and homemade gifts are the best. I also love family movie nights.

Are YOU a VB “local”?
No, I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. But my husband is a Virginia Beach local!

Favorite family activity to do in Virginia Beach
We love to take bike rides on the boardwalk or hikes in the state park. We also still get pretty excited to go to Busch Gardens.

Top 5 “must have” items for going to the beach
I always have a big hat and sunglasses. I like a comfy chair and umbrella. Something to read is a must. I sound like no fun on the beach! But we really enjoy getting out there on beautiful days.

A perfect date with your significant other
A concert that starts before my bed time. My husband and I love music but I just can’t hang anymore with the late shows. Second choice would be a bike ride to a restaurant for a nice dinner, maybe sitting at the bar instead of a table. Our best conversations have always happened when we’re eating at the bar.

Favorite restaurant(s)
My fave restaurants are different depending on whether it’s adult time or family time. Family restaurants we love are Commune, Gringos, and Pacifica. When my husband and I are going out we love Coastal Grill, Terrapin, Eurasia and of course Esoteric!

Go-to drink(s) at the moment
I love hot tea, and Vintage brand orange seltzer in cans. Red wine is my favorite grown-up drink.

Something you CAN’T live without
Yoga. I have enjoyed it for over twenty years now and am trained as a teacher. It started out more as exercise but now it’s my sanity.

What’s on your bucket list?
I would love to travel Europe with my family for a couple of months, taking our time and living like a local. My husband and I were married in St. John in the Virgin Islands and we can’t wait to take our kids there too. Writing a book would probably be on my list too.

Local Tip
Get outdoors! There is so much to do outside in our area, even besides going to the beach. First Landing State Park has great hiking and bike trails. There are lots of great coves and bays for kayaking. Visiting the botanical gardens is always fun and beautiful. And we like to visit the farms out in Pungo in the spring and summer months. If I can get the kids to help pick berries, we’ll stop at Pungo Pizza for ice cream on the way home.

Any events in Hampton Roads that you’re looking forward to?
Blueberry picking, Saturday farmers’ markets and the Buy Fresh Buy Local Farm to Fork event in late summer. My family also really enjoys viewing all the amazing sandcastles in the Neptune Festival.

What is your motto?
One I definitely live by is “Be with those who help your being.” by Rumi

And one I am working hard at is “The day you stop racing is the day you win the race.” by Bob Marley. Sometimes the “race” is made up of really great things, commitments with purpose and fulfillment. But they have to exist within a balance of health and presence with your life and loved ones, not in overwhelm. It’s a delicate recipe that is always being tweaked.

Harvesting Radishes at Esoteric

Radish harvest at Esoteric

Boots and raised garden beds at Esoteric

Gina Foresta checking out her crops

Local Spots

The Uninterrupted Mother’s Day Wish List

May 5, 2016

Orchard Cove Photography Mother's Day

Photo courtesy of Amanda, Orchard Cove Photography

Mother’s Day has become more significant for me ever since I became a mother. Having three boys has been a dream come true, as cheesy as it may sound. My days and nights may often seem long and weary, but the months and years are zooming by right in front of my eyes. In the past five years, I have sang the same three bedtime songs more times than I can count. I can give you quite a soothing rendition of “On Top of Spaghetti” if you like! I have wiped tears, cleaned “boo boos” armed with superhero bandaids while sneaking Neosporin onto it, and have comforted those upset and tired bodies tucked neatly into my arms. I have taught myself to draw trains, Power Rangers, Paw Patrol pups, and Ninja’s (thank you art classes in college). I have spent A LOT of time in the kitchen preparing healthy meals, some of which get eaten. And to my surprise, I’ve turned into somewhat of a decent cook and actually enjoy cooking! There is nothing better than hearing my children tell me “mom this is a good dinner!”, or “wow mom, good drawing!”, or the best yet “I love you mom”. Having these little humans look up with wide eyes full of love makes me so proud and happy that they are mine. My favorite part of being a mother is watching them grow, learn, and experience the world around them, especially those big milestones like walking, talking, reading, writing, riding a bike or swimming! My three sweet blond boys complete me.

Mother's Day hands

I had about a whole 5 minutes of uninterrupted time to hash out what I’d like for Mother’s Day, beside that gigantic steaming cup of coffee (cream & sugar please!).

On Sunday, in no particular order I’d like:

  1.  Someone else to wash ALL the day’s dishes. I’m not kidding, I don’t want to pick up that sponge once.
  2.  Stacking rings from Lisa Leonard. (I’ve been oogling over these for years)
  3.  An uninterrupted night of sleep, preferably in a hotel/inn or even at my in-law’s house down the street. By myself.
  4.  Good food all day, that doesn’t involve me preparing it. Esoteric, Tautog’s, Commune, Zeke’s, Three Ships Coffee, Gringo’s, Java Surf, The Green CatCroc’s to name a few nearby.
  5.  Stuff picked up off the floor and put away, NOT by me. Guessing the baby gets out of this one…
  6.  BEER. Preferably “heady” IPA’s. I’ll take anything chilled, while sitting on my porch or at the beach. (Local brews are preferred; O’Connor’s, Back Bay, Smartmouth, Commonwealth, YVBC)
  7.  A month of membership to local fitness boutique: HIT & Run so I can continue to get FIT and STRONG! (I will need this especially from drinking all that heady beer)
  8.  Handmade cards and artwork from the kiddos – my favorite is when they draw our stick figure family.
  9.  The bathroom cleaned, but not by me. Spotless please!
  10.  Relaxing family time. Can be at the beach, at home, in the park, in the garden, preferably accompanied by beautiful weather and sunshine.

Not too much to ask, right?! RIGHT.

I also polled my local mom friends to see what was something that they wanted for Mother’s Day. The responses were honest and to the point! Some practical (some a little pricy). But all wonderful ideas on how to celebrate the mothers in your life.

“A Bloody Mary and a babysitter.” – G

“Uninterrupted sleep for 12 hours.” – A

“A chocolate donut from Crispy Cream.” – L

“A day without an agenda or expectations.” – D

“A night stay at a hotel so I can sleep as much as I want, order room service and read all the magazines I’ve been collecting that I never have the chance to read. Accompanied by a bottle of champagne!” – M

“Coming home to an empty dishwasher and a clean kitchen.” – T

“Work in my garden and have someone else cook dinner for me.” – M

“I want my husband to clean the damn toilet!”- H

Need more ideas? Check out these ideas from my Virginia Beach mom friends.

Gardening
A plant to put in the garden to enjoy all year round, especially one that blooms around Mother’s Day (iris or lilac)
A Wind Chime from Wild Birds Unlimited
An Orchid (Orchid Station or Whole Foods)
A Flower Arrangement or succulent plants from Roost Flowers
New gardening tools
Gift card to a nursery to pick a few plants to dig in the dirt together on Mother’s Day

Jewelry
Gold disc necklace with kids initials monogrammed on it
A charm with son’s thumbprint on it
23451 keychain or earrings from 
The Lemon Cabana
Anything from The Beach Nut
Addison Weeks “Bendall” Cuff Bracelets
Be Brave Necklace

From/with the kiddos
Handmade cards from kids
Tea with mommy
Professional Photographs done of Mother & Kids
Mother’s Day Brunch with the husband and kids
A picnic basket for a lunch (and a hike) on the beach at First Landing State Park
Paint your own pottery – Mug with foot and hand prints

Pampering
Mani, Pedi, Hair, Massage at Massage Luxe, with Misty Smith
10 pack classes to your favorite fitness/yoga studio (Wareing’s Gym, Hot House Yoga, HIT & Run, Fushion Fitness)
Spa Day at Dupre’s
Lunch at Eurasia, with wine!
Brunch at Bay Local

Shopping
An afternoon alone to wander around Prince Books with a cup of coffee
A whole day of shopping at MacArthur Center
New athletic gear (Anything from Lululemon, LA BL & Athletica)
Any household goods from West Elm

Let’s end with a video that will probably make you (good) cry.