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Virginia Beach

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Oh hey it’s Monday! March 6

March 7, 2017

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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

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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.

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

Lifestyle

Oh hey, Monday! February 21st

February 20, 2017

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I’ve been making changes and adjustments into my daily work and life recently, and thought the blog would be a good place to look at my week ahead, and add a few things that are inspiring me!

  • Have you read this article yet? I’m guilty of a few of these: 8  bits of plastic you can quit right now
  • Ever been to Kitsch in Norfolk? The cute shop is brimming with things made exclusively by talented people who live in VA! They celebrates 5 Years this week, totally cool. I will be the first to admit I rarely get out to Norfolk, but may make an exception.
  • I’m the “social media muse” of the Jr VB Garden Club, and we are finishing up the online pre-order Flower Sale this week. 100% of the proceeds go out to our Virginia Beach community – this year we’re helping the VA Aquarium purchase a vehicle. If you’re local – we’d love your order! All plants are locally grown, and we even have veggies this year.
  • Have you heard of Kirpalu: Center for Yoga & Health? It’s located in the mountains of Stockbridge, Massachusetts. My best friend and I are headed up there in TWO weeks for a R&R weekend of yoga, mountains, massages, SNOW, and seeing my sister (she works there!). We can’t be more excited as we’ve never done a girls trip like this before – have you done a spa/retreat getaway with your friends? Any tips/suggestions of what we should bring?
  • My new favorite Etsy Shop is “TheLittleNaturalist“, Jessie is a homeschool mom based in the beautiful Ozark Mountains, selling humanely found & collected nature objects & small collections as well as resources and items to aid in nature studies and natural arts and crafts for children and adults.
  • Each month, I have been attending a “Well Women” workshop. The last two were AMAZING, and inspirational, with speakers Anne Leonard of The Stock Pot, and Jess Horton of The Fit Petite. Really looking forward to Wednesday’s workshop about “Drama: We Create it Ourselves”. If you’re interested in learning more about this awesome group of women, let me know! P.s. I am the speaker for the March workshop (!!!!!).
  • Since starting my yoga practice at the beginning of this year, I’ve “down-dogged” myself in taking as many classes as I can fit into my already busy schedule. This quick article gives you the 10 Beginner Yoga FAQ, super helpful. (And for those of you interested in Hot Yoga – my “Hot Yoga Essentials” is just 5 items! See below..)

Let’s do this Monday! What’s on your list for the week?
Hot Yoga essentialsA built-in-bra tank (NOT cotton) | A Yoga towel | Leggings (not cotton again) | Ice cold water in a Hydroflask | Any old Yoga Mat will do!

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Women Who Create

January 30, 2017

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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

Back to Basics

Search, Find, & Explore

November 7, 2016

With a love of the outdoors from my childhood spent on Shelburne Farms, Vermont, I am always on the lookout for ways for my children to enjoy exploring as much as I do. As they’ve gotten older, I put my Art Degree to good use and began sketching quick illustrations of things we would find in the woods, or at the beach, even in our own neighborhood block. It was an instant hit, and quickly became something we looked forward to doing weekly as a family or with friends. As time went on, the need grew to have all the essential tools at our fingertips when we were exploring. Thus, my “Search & Find: Adventure Kit” was born, complete with a sturdy pair of binoculars, a magnifying glass, a small marker, and a trusty Search & Find Adventure Card.

One of our favorite things to do is hike in the woods, especially in First Landing State Park. As parents of three small boys (five years old and under), my husband and I have experienced the highs and lows of hiking with children all over the country, and we like to think that “we’ve got this!”

Enjoy these photographs from Jess Hill Photography of our most recent hike, and I’ve written a few tips at the bottom of the photos on how to have a great hike with your kids.

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Type of Adventure
Hiking while teaching your children an appreciation for nature, a fun family activity, and exercising

Where
Any woods big or small

Things to take into consideration while packing

  • Plan for “the sagging wagon”: Might need a kid carrying item: We love our backpack!
  • Snacks? Trail Magic (nuts & dried berries), sandwiches, apples or carrots
  • Water? Yes. Plenty.
  • Activity? Woods: Search & Find Adventure Kit
  • Protection? Be aware of the season when you’re hiking and what you’d need: sunscreen, or bug & tick protection

While on the Adventure

  • Be prepared to stop as many times as they need to
  • It’s Progressive. Don’t expect them to hike for over an hour!
  • Go in intervals – take your time! Snack between intervals, throw stones, collect nature items

Tricks

  • Collect leaves, sticks, stones, or nuts. (our rule: anything not living)
  • Bring your child’s friend – might get you another 30 min – 1 hour of “hiking”
  • Skip stones into water

And most importantly, have fun!

#searchfindexplore

 

 

 

Back to Basics

How Does Your Garden Grow: Week 2

October 11, 2016

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With bad weather (Hurricane Matthew) in the horizon, I knew I had a few days to get things into the ground. I laid out the plants from Brad of Veg Out Gardens, in a general location of where they needed to go. The Elementary children studied the root balls of kale and lettuces, and smelled the assorted herbs plants. I pointed the different shapes of the plant leaves, and we talked about what things help a plant grow (especially those worms we had plopped into the dirt the previous week). The children carefully measured the advised spacing directions, and with small beach shovels substituting as a garden trowel, they each dug a hole, placed the plant into it, and moved dirt around on top of it. I was surprised no one bulked at the idea of getting their hands dirty.

~ Brad’s tip of the month ~

The first frost is around Thanksgiving (November 22nd with a 50% of probability), so be sure to have your transplants in your garden soon. They need at least one month of growth and root development.

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“Straight” rows of kale & lettuce!

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Happy herbs.

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Excited Kindergarteners were up next to plant the carrot seeds in the smallest of the raised beds. Carrots are usually planted in the spring, but I wanted to give it a try in the Fall, and I had a row cover (of a soft fabric like material) that I wanted to test out as well.

This group of children had participated in the worms, so they were curious as to where the worms were and if they could find them. I had organized the number of carrot rows we would have, and had marked them with chopsticks and garden markers beforehand. The children pulled a string from one side to another, to make a straight line, and then used a trowel to make a small trench. Seeds were carefully pinched into the trench trying to give everyone enough space as to not over lap each other. Afterwards, eager hands covered each row with soil and patted them down. We talked about coming back each week to check on their progress.

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This sums up the end of week 2 in our school garden. I checked on the gardens today (3 days after the rain and winds of Hurricane Matthew struck us), and most of the plants survived. There are even carrot seedlings poking up from beneath the soil. So good so far!

Back to Basics

How Does Your Garden Grow: Just Start digging

September 26, 2016

Childhood

The fondest memories of my childhood were spent on the ten acres of gardens on Shelburne Farms. From an array of garden and farm adventures, my favorites included being in the woods, attending summer camp every year, and swimming in Lake Champlain. My least favorite activities were stacking firewood (but I’m quite good at it), lugging buckets of water to the chickens during wintertime, and that one turkey who didn’t like people. I also went in waves of liking/disliking gardening (just ask my parents), and still have dreams of that “tomato tar” that is a struggle to get off your fingertips. So as you can only assume, my “green thumb” is a work in progress.

My most favorite part of gardening NOW, is getting to share it with my three boys, as well as the children at a local pre-school. The best part about having them participate in the process of preparing the soil, adding the seeds, examining pests and eventually (and hopefully!), and tasting the end results is that you get to see a garden through their eyes. I’ve also learned that gardening is about trial and errors, sometimes the plants do exactly as you had thought they’d do, and other times it’s not the case.

It’s not too late to get started on your own garden, here’s how.

STEP 1: PLAN (Anywhere from the end of August – present day September)img_5940Making a plan is very important. Figure out what you how much sun you have, and what exactly you’d like to plant (take care of), and when you want it by (growing span). Don’t forget, you can veer off this plan at any point, but it’s a good idea to go into it with a general idea of what you want to do. Write it down.

Since I’m in that experimental stage of my garden career, I’m lucky to have a friend locally to guide me along. My friend Brad Wynne of Veg Out Gardens is my go-to resource of all things vegetable gardening. A Virginia Beach native, Brad followed his passion of gardening, and has created something quite unique. From custom built raised bed gardens, good soil, plants from his greenhouse grown from seed, and most importantly his vast knowledge in the subject of vegetable gardens. Brad makes the whole process simple and enjoyable, which is exactly as it should be.

After meeting to discuss the space I have to work with, a line-up of plants was created as to what we . We settled on kale, a few herbs, and we set a tentative date for the delivery of the plants. There wasn’t a huge rush, the school garden’s summer plants were still happy and producing, however there was the goal of harvesting by Thanksgiving that I had to keep in mind.

STEP 2: JUST START DIGGING (Beginning of September)img_8422I made a list as to how much organic compost/soil I needed to add to the three gardens (donated by a local Virginia Beach business. Ordered worms (Brad’s suggestion), ordered seeds (or so I thought!), and cleaned up the three raised beds of weeds. We have about 1/2 of bed of strawberries which I left since they’re a perennial plant.

~ Brad’s tip of the month ~

Favorite Soil
I break from the norm a bit in that I prefer bagged soil.  Even if you have never sprayed your lawn with pesticide, herbicide or fungicide, has your neighbor? Are you certain?  Do you know the run off and drainage of the water from your neighbors?  Plus, it is mosquito season.  Most companies use a synthetic pesticide called pyrenthoid to kill the mosquitos.  The problem is that this pesticide is a kill all, even the good bugs, and has a long residue on the plants.  I prefer being in full control of the soil and knowing exactly what is in it, which is what you get from bagged soil.  The major downside for me, obviously, is that you have a ton of plastic left over.
 
Without a doubt, it is the Happy Frog from Fox Farm.  I am addicted to all of their products.  They really take the time to know that there is a ton of great bacteria in the soil and this can really help the plants thrive.  However, at the higher price point of about $14 per 2 cubic feet (and some stores sell it for a much higher price,) it can add up quickly.  After all, a 4’ x 8’ x 18” bed is 48 cu. ft.  This means it would cost $672 + taxes to fill up the bed.
 
A great company that offers a great brand of soil and a good price is Harvest Organic Soil.  It is aMUCH lower cost at $5.50 per 1.5 cubic feet.  This same raised bed would cost $264 + taxes using this soil.  Certainly a big difference.  You can find this soil at Lowe’s.
 
My suggestion is to have the base soil as the Harvest Organic and then add a bag or two of Happy Frog Organic Potting Soil to the top.

STEP 3: PLANT (Mid September or if you’re me: Late September)

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garden-handsBecause of various factors, the garden is getting it’s plants and seeds this week. The soil in the beds are ready to go, as are the happy worms that were plopped into the soil by approximately 60 children, several of which replied “no thank you” when asked to stick their hand into a bucket of dirt and wiggly worms…

With the guidance and healthy plants from Brad, I fully expect for it to be a successful season and am looking forward to the children being a part of the process.

Please stay tuned on following along with the process! And, in case you’d like to buy beautiful vegetable plants, Veg Out Gardens sells his plants at various local nurseries; London Bridge Greenhouse and NurseryJack Frost Landscapes & Garden Center, and Taylor’s Do It Center on Independence Blvd. Just look for the biodegradable pot! You can also find Brad at the Old Beach Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. baby-lettuces

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Blog post in collaboration with Veg Out Gardens

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

September 20, 2016

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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!).

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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.

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

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

WHO
YOU. Hampton Roads women!
Three powerful guest speakers:

SHOP
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,

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

P.s. Mine is +balance+

EXTRA ENTRIES

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

GOOD LUCK!

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

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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

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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

TO ENTER:

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

EXTRA ENTRIES:

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.

GOOD LUCK!

Lifestyle

Creative Union Dinner Part IV

August 20, 2016

Are you curious as to what exactly the #creativeuniondinner is? I’ll tell you.

It is a dinner 4x a year hosted in Virginia Beach by the extremely talented duo of Mary & Zoe. The summer Creative Union Dinner: Part IV was by far my favorite to date.

Think of a beautiful (yet extremely sweaty!) summer evening on New Earth Farm. Starting off with a cooking class on the art of homemade pasta, spiralized zucchini and summer squash and pesto sauce (does anyone remember the secret ingredient?). Then settling onto inviting picnic tables in the middle of greenhouses, beds of gorgeous zinnias, sunflowers & tall corn stalks. Covering the tables (arranged by the lovely Mary), was local decor and place settings from Anthropologie, Seabright, & hand lettered place cards by Amanda Krovic. With a plate full of the delicious food that you just helped to prepare, all the while surrounded by local small business owners who share the same creative vision that you do. Oh, and don’t forget the old tired cat and a farm rooster who kept a close eye on us! Desert may have been my favorite part, of mouthwatering macarons by Rose Macarons.

And the best part of all this? It was my drawing of the dinner that Mary & Zoe asked me to create. One of my first large commissioned pieces!

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Food Lab w ball flowers

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Zucchini and Summer Squash noodles

Corn

Sunflower

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DinnerPhotographs above were taken by me, photographs below were shot by the talented Zoe Grant (to see more of her photos, check out the post on Bluebird’s blog)! creative union dinner-114-X3

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