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Women you should know: Shannon Conner, Kristen Ziegler, Jackie McDonnough and more A Fresh Start Simplify for Spring Roller Derby Girls No Pushovers Sex and Other Problems Ellie’s Local Food Primer, Part 2 Horse Headed Equestrian Accents

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photo by steve abbot

MARCH 2012

belle Publisher: Lori

Collier Waran Editor in Chief:



Rower Shannon Conner surveys the James. Photo by Scott Elmquist.

Arts and Entertainment


Agenda: March roars in with books, music

and things to do in Richmond. by Julie Geen, Elizabeth Jewett and Hilary Langford.


Body & Soul

Style & substance



Pops of silk and color … meet Afrra Al Saffar … organizing with Abundance … pop quiz with Courtney Spencer … rain boots and umbrellas splash into spring … by Elizabeth Jewett Lush Life: Richmond culture in March is a thing of beauty. by Karen Newton 10



Shannon Conner makes rowing a way of life. by Elizabeth Cogar 11 Kristin Ziegler triumphs over tumult with a new business. by Karen Newton 13

Fashion Cues


Details: Riding herd over new horse-inspired

accents for body and home. by Lauren Healy 14 Fashion Statement: Professor Jackie McDonnough shows off a stylish exuberance. by Ranee Kamens 16



Still Looking … hope for the unemployed as the search continues. by Amy Ritchie

Art Director:


Joel Smith Scott Elmquist Lauren Healy

Photography Editor: Fashion Editor:

Contributing Writers:

Ellie Basch Elizabeth Cogar Julie Geen Valley Haggard Elizabeth Jewett Ranee Kamens Hilary Langford Robey Martin Karen Newton Melissa Scott Sinclair Poindexter



Dana Elmquist


An Educated Guest: Local foods primer part

2. What’s a food hub? by Ellie Basch 26 Food and Drink: Vegetarian dining in Richmond has options for every taste and need. by Robey Martin 28

First Person

Editor: Deveron

Copy Editor: G.W.

Private parts: a new relationship column by Julie Geen. This month: Bad in Bed. 23 Fitness: Roller derby girls outwit the stereotypes. by Julie Geen 24

Great Taste

Jason Roop


Marketing, Sponsorships & Events:



How to be happy no matter how you’re feeling. by Valley Haggard



Gracie McGurn, Bethany Silva, Myra Watkins SALES ASSISTANT:



Chris Kwiatkowski

Belle is published monthly and is free. One copy per person. Belle may be distributed by authorized distributors only. Style Weekly subscriptions are available for $49 (third class mail) and $99 (first class mail). Style Weekly, 1313 E. Main St., Suite 103, Richmond, Va. 23219, 804-358-0825; General fax 804-358-1079; News fax 804-358-9089; Classified phone 804-3582100; Classified fax 804-358-2163. E-mail: Copyright © by Style Weekly Inc. TM 2011 All rights reserved.


MARCH 2012 | 3 |

This is one moment and one place you’ll never forget. Surround yourself with the timeless beauty and romance of the Jefferson Hotel. It’s where you can personalize every detail, from your flowers to your menu, and then let us take

Welcomes our 7 0 58 West additioNs! Ne1. Richmond BaRRe

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We’re moving to 5807. More classes! More Fitness!

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The recurring pain in your leg that slows you on the dance floor could be a warning sign of peripheral vascular disease. At the VCU Baird Vascular Institute, state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease are now available in one convenient location.

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Call (804) 828-2600 to schedule an appointment. For more information visit 205 N. Hamilton St. in the Near West End

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StylE &SubstancE Hot products, new ventures and local discoveries.


Elizabeth Jewett

holding pattern Once you’ve finished the spring cleaning, hand-painted silk pillows from Crystal J. Silk offer a way to bring new life to your home. Each can be personalized and customized to individual whims. So say goodbye to winter neutrals and pick a color, or two, or 10. Pillows start at $90 and are available online at and at Openhouse in the Shops at 5807 on Patterson Avenue.



|5 |

2012 photos by scott Elmquist

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st y l e & s u b s ta n c e photo by scott Elmquist

Toss, Shred or Keep

Remember that New Year’s resolution you made way back in January to get organized? We may be three months into 2012, but it’s never too late to start. If you’re stuck, Richmond-based Abundance Organizing offers tips on how to reuse, recycle and declutter your way to a more simplified life. If your problem is paper: • Talk to an accountant or financial planner and get guidelines on what to keep and what can be shredded. You might be surprised to learn how much information can be duplicated or retrieved electronically. The less paper you have coming in the house, the less you need to go through. • Examine your mail systems. What happens when paper comes into your space? Are important papers drowning in junk mail? Keep a paper-recycling bin and a “for shredding” bag close to the door where the mail enters and throw away the junk before it hits the table.

Richmond Rebound Six years ago Afrra Al Saffar had it all — a happy family with three healthy children, a beautiful home and a successful children’s clothing boutique. The story would have ended there if Al Saffar’s life hadn’t been in war-decimated Baghdad. In 2006 she and her family left on vacation for a reprieve from the violence. “We decide to go to Jordan,” she recalls. “Just for two or three months, until the situation calms down. And we would be back. But unfortunately it became worse and worse.” Al Saffar and her family made the choice to apply through the United Nations for resettlement in the United States. Two years later, they got off a plane in Richmond in the middle of the night, having left behind all of the pieces of their old life. “I had nothing,” Al Saffar recalls. “All of my kids’ pictures, my father’s picture in my house, I did not bring anything with me. I’m lucky, because my kids are with me. I did not lose any one of them, but here I start from zero.” Al Saffar credits her family’s ability to succeed in those early, disorienting months to the support of the Commonwealth Catholic Charities’ refugee resettlement program. “It was very, very important,” she says. “When we came here we don’t know anything. We arrived at night, and [a volunteer from CCC] drove us from the airport to the house. And we found the house; simple furniture, sheets, towels and soap. They help show us how to ride the bus, how to find the nearest grocery shop.” Most important for Al Saffar, a woman used to running her own business, the charity made it possible for her and her family to find employment, and by extension, independence. “When we get here we don’t have credit,” Al Saffar says. “Nobody knows us, so nobody can trust us. The charity took us and said, they are responsible and legal here, they’re going to have their green cards after one year. So they can trust us then.” Within a matter of months Al Saffar held a full-time job at Puritan Cleaners as well as three part-time jobs. Catholic Charities initially provided support for the family’s rent in an apartment on the South Side, but Al Saffar’s proudest moment came when she no longer needed that support. “I love the Gayton Crossing Shopping Center,” she says with a smile. “That area is where I start my new life, the way I choose, nobody help me to find my new apartment, and I start to drive and know the city. I work. I build my credit. The bank loaned to me [for a house].” Al Saffar smiles even wider when she mentions the possibility of one day opening a tailoring business, despite having achieved that dream before. She betrays no hint of anything but appreciation for her new life, even if it’s mingled with sadness for what she was forced to leave behind. “I love Iraq,” she explains. “But the country is under wars for years and years. I think I found a new home here. It’s not easy to change. I’m in my 50s. I’m not young. But I like Richmond. Even with all the difficulties, I like it here.” For information on the Catholic Commonwealth Charities refugee resettlement program visit | 6 | MARCH 2012


If your problem is your closet: • Consider consignment. Make a seasonal drop-off appointment well in advance and stick to it, even if you only have one item to sell. A list of favorite local consignment resources is on its website, • Go through clothes with someone else and decide what to keep, donate and consign. Not sure if you like it? During a try-on session, a trusted friend, family member, or organizer can help you make decisions and remind you to stick to “get rid of” guidelines that you predetermine, such as it doesn’t fit, doesn’t match anything else you own, needs repair, mending or alteration, or you didn’t wear it last season.   Extra tips to keep in mind: • Just because you no longer use or want an item, it still may be useful to someone else in the world. Pass it on, recycle, repurpose, restart. • Start small. Even the smallest change can yield big results if you stick with it. Start with small projects such as cleaning out your purse, car trunk or medicine chest. • Get going! Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by everything you want to accomplish. What’s one thing you can tackle today to simplify your life?

photo by scott Elmquist

Pop Quiz with

Courtney Spencer


ou can think of it as a modern urban myth, the blog that led to a career. But for Courtney Spencer, the tale is true. What started as a small wedding blog four years ago has turned into Merriment Events, a nationally recognized event-planning business. Courtney continues to share her design ideas, tips and inspiration on her website,, but we wanted to find out more about the woman behind the scenes. So we asked Courtney to fill in the blanks in our new feature, Pop Quiz. 1. Growing up I wanted to be a … teacher. 2. In one word I would describe myself as … a curator. 3. I knew I had “made it” when … I’ll have to let you know when I make it! 4. My inspiration comes from … lately I’m really inspired by bright color and pattern. 5. I can’t live without my … sparkly, gold flats. 6. My favorite Richmond hangout is … at home with my family! 7. My obsession of the moment is … the new line of Mara Mi entertaining accessories at Target. 8. My last meal on earth would be … a Westhampton chocolate donut (or three). 9. My guilty pleasure is … “Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood” – I can’t even stand myself for saying it! 10. The one item I would never leave home without is … a tape measure.

belle photos by scott Elmquist

MARCH 2012 | 7 |

st y l e & s u b s ta n c e

make it

Rain March showers could make you admit defeat and stay indoors, or you could decide to brave the rain and look fabulous doing it. With a good umbrella and a pair of rain boots, even the most torrential downpour won’t cramp your style. Here are local options to fit every personality, whether classic or quirky.

Ilse Jacobson-Hornbaek navy laceup rain boots, $150, Need Supply Co. London Undercover pigeon umbrella, $150, Need Supply Co.


Mongrel 2924 W. Cary St. 342-1272 Need Supply Co. 3100 W. Cary St. 355-5880 Quirk Gallery 311 W. Broad St. 644-5450 Saxon Shoes 11800 W. Broad St. 285-3473

Sperry Pelican rain boot in pink and green plaid, $70, Saxon Shoes. Museum of Modern Art sky umbrella, $49.75, Mongrel.

Hunter Original Wellies in yellow, $125, Saxon Shoes. Jonathan Adler umbrella, $28, Quirk Gallery.

| 8 | MARCH 2012

belle photos by scott Elmquist

Richmond at Stony Point FaShion PaRk, 9214 Stony Point Pkwy. caLL 804.320.6960, ViSit oR Find US on FacEBook, twittER, itUnES and


as he presents his Spring Collection Thursday, April 5, from 2 to 8 on One




2/24/12 3:47 PM

Lush Life

Short films, tombs, skeletons and comedy – March is madness after all.



Karen Newton

hile purists might say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, I prefer to think that it comes in with a secret and goes out with a drink. That’s really just my way of saying that there are all kinds of exciting things to do this month, so why not come out of hibernation and see what all the fun is about?

Skeletons in the Closet: Whether you’re nosy or just like hearing a good yarn, begin your month at Balliceaux at 7 p.m., March 5, for Secretly Y’All, Tell Me a Story, an evening of storytelling for grown-ups. This event continues to grow in popularity, so plan to arrive in time for a bite to eat and so that you can score a good seat for the performance. This month’s theme is Road Trip. If it’s anything like past events, there will be tales of lust, drinking and great adventure. And there’s just no telling who’ll put their name in the hat to share their story after intermission. Maybe you?

Secretly Y’all storyteller at Balliceaux

Richmond Shakespeare uncorked

All the World’s a Stage: With the weather softening, what could be more appropriate than a pastoral comedy by the greatest English playwright? Richmond Shakespeare’s Second Tuesday staged reading series will perform “As You Like It” on March 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Gottwald Playhouse. Follow heroine Rosalind while she flees her uncle’s court with her cousin and the court jester (someone has to provide the laughs) only to find love in the Forest of Arden. This is the play that gave us the phrase “too much of a good thing,” a debatable point ever since, but applicable here because the price of admission also gets you a glass of wine and a front-row seat to watch romance unfold in language. Cutting-Edge Film: What prestigious festival visits 65 cities, including Richmond, every year to showcase the best movies that last less than an hour by emerging and veteran independent film- and video-makers? That would be the Black Maria Film Fest, landing at the Leslie Cheek Theater at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on March 16 at 6:30 p.m. Every program in the traveling schedule is chosen specifically for the venue, which guarantees a compelling program at the world-class museum. The Black Maria Festival’s director, John Columbus, will be on hand to answer questions about selection and the history of the festival. From animation to documentaries to memoirs to the whimsical, this is one film fest that holds up in any major market. Grapes for Grieving: Here’s your chance to check out the new Virginia Museum exhibit “The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy” with the curator of European art, followed by a sampling of wines from Burgundy. You’ll get to see these masterpieces of late European medieval sculpture from the elaborate tombs of the dukes of Burgundy with the curator, Mitchell Merling, on March 23 at 6 p.m. Afterward, wines will be poured by the Country Vintner’s Harry Tatian, as knowledgeable and amusing a wine curator as you could hope for. When you finish, the logical place to head is just around the corner to Amour Wine Bistro for more Burgundians and a delectable appetizer or two.

Karen Newton blogs about almost everything she does at

| 10 | MARCH 2012


Mourner No. 55 at VMFA

Scene from “Hip Priest” by Gregg de Domenico



Spare and Change Kristen Ziegler advances a mission for minimalism. by Karen Newton


Kristen Ziegler can look back now with equanimity and accept the circuitous path that brought her to the present, but she acknowledges that the detours were challenging at the time. First the great recession of 2008 took her job in architecture and left her unable to find another. A friend told her about the National Association of Professional Organizers. She went to one of its meetings and was hired part-time by Space Matters to organize. While initially upset at her reduced means, Ziegler came to relish the challenges of living on less and loving it. A year after the layoff, Ziegler’s long-term relationship ended and she felt adrift without her best friend of the previous six years. “I was working lots of part-time jobs, rebuilding myself, and I felt like I got smashed back down,” she recalls. Realizing that she needed to start her own business or do something completely different, she found her decision made for her when her grandmother gave her and her siblings enough money to afford some security. Minima Professional Organizing was born. But the same day her legal documents arrived in the mail to create the company, Ziegler found out she had an ovarian tumor. The business she’d started had to be put on hold. “But having a vision of starting my business got me through surgery and chemo,” she says. “I was so excited about it all, so that was the light at the end of the tunnel for me.” An intense three months of chemotherapy guaranteed a zero recurrence rate and Ziegler felt her life was no longer at risk. Last fall she celebrated her first cancerversary. “I had been such a perfectionist,” she says. “It was part of the reason my ex and I broke up. Going

photo by scott elmquist

ven a professional organizer can’t organize life.

through cancer broke me of that; I’m so much more laid back and relaxed now. The losses put everything in perspective. I had to go through that stuff to be a more well-rounded and grounded person.” With that behind her, Ziegler began using the basics she’d learned at Space Matters to craft her own vision of a professional organizer. She’s particularly drawn to urban dwellers and young families, feeling that her minimalist vision serves them well. “Make what is necessary beautiful,” is her organizational philosophy. “Eliminate the excess and enjoy what you need rather than adding extra stuff.” She tells clients that if they can live in their space and be organized, that’s enough. “I try to get to the root of what the client’s needs are and I don’t judge. I’m just there to help.” She emphasizes to people that it’s all about enjoying their space, so she prefers to start with whatever rooms are most central to their lives.

With a dedicated home cook, organization may start in the kitchen to make it a more efficient place to practice their craft. Preferring to buy used items, she’s a big proponent of thrifting and using what a client already has. “Love it, use it or lose it,” she says. “Either it has sentimental value, it’s functional or it’s nothing. All the nothing stuff takes away from the things you love and what’s functional. And who wants to have to clean stuff? You can’t put a price on free time.” Ziegler’s own apartment reflects her midcentury modern taste, but she says her dream space is a tiny studio efficiency. “I have this vision to get rid of everything,” she says, laughing. “I would be naked in a perfectly clean and empty apartment.” For information on Ziegler’s business see


MARCH 2012 | 11 |




The 20th Spring Market

Friday, March 30th 10-7 Saturday, March 31st 10-7 Sunday, April 1st 10-5 RICHMOND RACEWAY COMPLEX

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Murphies in Carytown & Tweed across from Short Pump Towne Center.

A beautiful spring gift show with nationally known crafters & artists - unique spring and summer gift lines, garden accessories and much more!

SW 3/12

The Bizarre Bazaar®, Box 8330, Richmond, VA 23226 804-673-6280 ◆ Fax 804-673-7017 ◆ ◆

◆ Information:

Physician suPervised study recruiting Women Two mornings of testing and 8 monthly visits required Monetary compensation provided


• Are between 18 and 45 years of age

directed by Anna Johnson

FEbRuARY 22 – MARCH 17

You may qualify for this study if you: • Have 8 or fewer menstrual cycles per year • Are willing to take Metformin for 9 months

by Geoffrey Nauffts

RICHMOND TRIANGLE PLAYERS THEATRE 1300 Altamont Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230 • Do not have diabetes

Tickets $20 – $25 Purchase Online at

• Are in general good health

(804) 346-8113 The 2011-12 Season Is Supported In Part By Funding From

For more information call: (804) 828-9697 or (804) 628-4908 Email: or

| 12 | MARCH 2012





Rowing Primer Shell: Rowing boat, a one-person is 25-30 feet long, a foot wide and weighs 30 pounds. Sculler: A rower with an oar in each hand. Sweep: Rowing with two hands on one oar. Sprint race: Straight course, 1,000 meters, group start, first to finish wins. Head race: Curvy course, 5,000 meters, start every 5-10 seconds, compete for shortest time. Catch a crab: when rowers dip an oar in the water at an angle, causing boat to slow down.

Success in a Shell

Shannon Conner finds discipline and peace in sculling.


hen Shannon Conner was in eighth grade, she asked for a rowing machine for Christmas. “I guess I got interested while watching the Olympics and wanted to try it,” she recalls. As an enthusiastic athlete, she enjoyed playing soccer and volleyball in high school, and she thought rowing would be her big sport in college. But it wasn’t. She didn’t even put an oar in the water until she joined the Virginia Boat Club two decades after she took her first strokes on land that Christmas Day. Nine years later she’s one of the top female rowers in the United States, with a heap of medals hanging from red, white and blue ribbons. Conner’s competitive wins have been earned with year-round training and daily rowing in season, a regimen that began with set of five lessons in 2003 at the Virginia Boat Club. “I was surprised at how hard it was” at first, she says. “Normally, things come naturally to me, but with rowing, you have to think a lot. Physically, it’s kind of a contradiction. ... You have to find calm within the chaos. … You’re working as hard as you can, but you can’t disrupt the boat. You’ve got to be completely


For information on rowing around Richmond, visit

by elizabeth cogar

smooth and fluid.” A shell , or boat, weighs only around 35 pounds, making the rower’s every weight shift a possible threat to stability. Flipping over isn’t uncommon for beginners, Conner says, and it’s difficult to climb back in with oars intact. Since winning her first race at the 2006 Stonewall Regatta in Washington Conner has had notable success. She’s rowed in competitions along the East Coast and at the prestigious Head of the Charles in Boston and Henley Masters in London. Her major wins include a gold medal in her age and weight singles (one rower in a shell) division at the 2007 national championships in Tennessee, and gold medals in singles and doubles with rowing partner Jen Harper at the 2010 world championships in Ontario. Overall, she’s won 11 national medals in singles and doubles with Harper or their other partner, Barb Faurot. While sculling has satisfied Conner’s athletic ambition, it’s also offered her peaceful times on the water. “You can go out and row 5 to 8 miles and enjoy the scenery, just like you’re going for a walk,” she says. “I often look for signs, in particular eagles, especially on the James where

sometimes an eagle will hover over as I row.” Days before her departure for the world races in 2010, while she was out rowing in preparation, Conner says she was feeling stressed, talking down to herself and even considering pulling out of the competition. “I was rowing along, and, at one point I glanced back over my shoulder, and at that very moment a fish jumped up out of the water and hit me in the head.” She couldn’t help but wonder if her late dad might be trying to get her attention. The meaning of the sign, as she took it: Get yourself together and do your best. Doing her best is a goal Conner finds challenging enough to keep her training, rowing and competing. “I like the constant quest for the perfect stroke,” she says. “There are so many aspects to the stroke, and it’s hard to do all of them right at the same time. For one workout I decided I would spend the entire time trying to take five perfect strokes in a row. I spent the morning counting: one, one, one, one. I never did take one perfect stroke.” She’ll still be trying when she dips her sleek racing shell in the James on the next warm day and begins to prepare for another season of competition.


MARCH 2012 | 13 |

fa s h i o n c u e s


Gallop Poll Results are in, and horses win. Ride into spring with equestrian themed accents. by

Porcelain decorative horse head ($89) at Verve in the Shops at 5807.

lauren healy

Stonewall Jackson immortalized on Monument by John W. Berube ($50) at Blue Elephant.

Handcrafted horseshoe and horse head earrings by Garnett Jewelry ($38) at Quirk.

| 14 | MARCH 2012



Embroidered cowgirl boots ($248) at Nest in the Shops at 5807.

Gold saddle pocket attachment on chain and stirrup earrings ($150, $375) at S. Bachrach Co.

Horse multiprint silk top by And Cake ($178) at Lucky Lillibet in the Shops at 5807.

Flour sack tea towel printed in Richmond with water-based inks and biodegradable pigments by Triple Stamp Press ($10) at Quirk.

Horse tapestry small backpack ($14) at Rumors.

FIND IT HERE: Enamel and French silver vanity box ($650) at S. Bachrach Co.

Blue Elephant 425 Strawberry St. 355-0406 Quirk 311 W. Broad St. 644-5450 Rumors 404 N. Harrison St. 726-9944 S. Bachrach Co 111 E. Broad St. 648-7830 Shops at 5807 5807 Patterson Ave. 288-5807


ď Ź

MARCH 2012 | 15 |

fa s h i o n c u e s


Free as a Bird Professor Jackie McDonnough tries on the empty nest.


ow that her two sons have grown and left home, life has new freedoms for Jackie McDonnough, Ph.d., a researcher and associate professor of science education at Virginia Commonwealth University. She develops her own spices, is an avid dancer and brings enthusiasm and energy to her many roles. We ask her about her look and life.

Belle: How do you describe your style? McDonnough: Unconventional. Even as a teenager I always tried to look differ-

ent. I would sometimes wear my mother’s work clothes to school.

How often do you go shopping? Not often at all. Every season I pick up about four things that I know I can work into my existing wardrobe. I still have and wear clothes from 10 years ago.. You still fit into clothes from 10 years ago? How do you maintain your weight? Walking and vigilance. … And if I start to see myself creep up, I will do Weight Watchers. How do you feel being an empty nester? Younger. It’s a new phase in our lives. I have become much more conscious about the way that I look. I am a professor and am constantly around young people, and when I see something I like, I say, “I can do that!” I also look at fashion magazines, watch “What Not to Wear” and incorporate what I learn into my style. Sometimes I wear an inexpensive Wal-Mart item paired with a $250 Liz Claiborne blazer that I purchased 10 or 20 years ago. I mix it up. What else are you doing that's new? My husband and I go out dancing a lot. Sometimes we go to friends’ parties and also we like to attend fundraisers like the Virginia Caribbean Education Foundation. We take aerobic line dancing at the gym. It’s great for keeping fit and so much fun. When we go out people are always waiting for the McDonnoughs to show up — then my husband is surrounded by two or three women and we all take turns dancing with him. And after you work up an appetite dancing, what do you like to eat? The food I cook is Caribbean. I make stews, curries, and they are all seasoned with Caribbean spices. We grow and make our own spice marmalade called green seasonings. In fact I am taking a class now called Square Foot Gardening. Eventually I want to grow all my own food. I’ve also recently learned to knit and I am spending time sewing, making pillows and decorating. interviewed and styled by

| 16 | March 2012


Ranee Kamens

photo by scott elmquist

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MARCH 2012 | 17 |

f e at u r e

Still Looking A job search doesn’t mean a death sentence. Here are ways to cope.


or any of us who’s been unemployed for six months, a year or maybe longer, the recent news blurbs about an improving economy do little to lift hopes. Prolonged unemployment is a condition rife with struggle that touches every sphere of our lives — financial, social and emotional. After a while of not earning money or being deemed productive, the bankbook and the selfconfidence dip. The constant focus on getting what you don’t have, and the lack of solid selfimage in a world that demands one, set the tone for a complex and exacerbating quest that can leave you discouraged and lonely. But the truth is that something will turn up. Perseverance and patience are your best allies during the quest. Meanwhile, there are some tactics you can use to stay strong while looking for work. First and foremost, take special care of yourself. This means eating well and getting enough sleep and exercise; but it also means just being plain nice to yourself. Silence your inner critic, that obnoxious voice that enjoys telling you how pathetic you are when you’re in the midst of a struggle. Prac| 18 | MARCH 2012


tice kindness to yourself in thoughts and deeds. Do one generous thing for yourself each day, whether it’s a cup of tea, a sunny walk, a phone call to an unconditional friend, or a new experience visiting a gallery or park. Unemployed days often can be quiet and unfulfilling, spurring melancholy or depression that only builds on itself, deterring us from wanting to keep up with the very friends or interests that bring us strength. So stay social. See friends and family, go to a coffee shop in the morning while you’re searching job ads, or maybe volunteer a day or two a week. Then take some pragmatic steps to explore outside your habitual frame of reference. Try brainstorming about your ideal job and make a list of all the characteristics of that job. Tape the list where you can see it every morning to focus your search and bring encouragement. Consider working with a career coach to freshen your résumé and explore new search strategies, such as the informational interview, or networking skills that can go stale after months of miring in the jobless mud. Coaches can help you take action and reflect on your attitudes, two sides

by Amy ritchie

of the same success coin. And they often work from a distance and will be flexible with you on an hourly fee or package. Alyssa Best (alyssabest. com), a Richmond native turned Washington freelance career consultant, does this. She works with women on various aspects of the job-seeking and -sustaining cycle, as well as helping employed women tweak their office environments or negotiate salary. The importance of an outside, objective opinion to see goals anew and re-examine career objectives during the enforced downtime can be invaluable fuel to your flame. Don’t ignore the possibilities for start-ups, freelance, and other small business options. Entrepreneurial spirit comes alive during hard economic times, giving people a chance to take their lives in new and more fulfilling directions. And just when you want to give up, stick that “For Hire” button to your shirt and force a smile. Because when you’re finally on the other side of this temporary circumstance called unemployment, you’ll have endured such trials as to be absolutely certain of your inner strength, which can only be a great thing in the sunnier days ahead.

Sunshine Pop

Former Radish singer Ben Kweller specializes in dirty riffed, sunshine pop that’s likely found bouncing inside the earbuds of a treadmill warrior next to you. It’s unabashedly chipper music that isn’t deep, but highly enjoyable. On his fifth record, “Go Fly a Kite” (Noise Company), the 30-year-old sticks with a proven formula, but adds a handful of acoustic janglers and a ballad to diversify this solid addition to his catalog. — H.L.

AGE J ulie Geen, E lizabet h J ewet t an d H ilary L an g ford


Compiled by

Sharon Van Etten has built a cult following since her woebegone debut, “Because I Was in Love,” surfaced in 2009. Her intimate style invites

Group Therapy

you into vulnerable conversations, but

never asks for sympathy. Van Etten is confident, and her third album, “Tramp (Jagjagu-

| 20 | March 2012


Opera-phobes may find no better place

war),” is a testament to personal

to start fresh than Gilbert and Sullivan’s

and musical growth. Instead

classic comic opera, “The Mikado,” at

of singing about her rotten re-

Love of Yum-Yum Richmond CenterStage, 600 E. Grace St., on March 30. Tickets start at $29. Visit

lationships and social anxiety, or call 592-

she works through them. — H.L.

3330. — E.J.

Contract Sport If you’ve been watching too much reality television lately, kick-start your intellect at the Richmond Forum with two of America’s most respected minds, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. They’re debating the American social contract on March 24 at 8 p.m. at the Landmark Theater at 6 N. Laurel St. Available tickets go on

GEnda sale two weeks prior to the event for nonsubscribers. See richmondfo-

Charles Krauthammer or call 330-3993. — E.J.

Robert Reich

Kitchen Whisperers

Can’t get enough of British servants, drudgery, and the antics of the upper class? Go directly to the source and read “Below Stairs: the Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir That Inspired ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ and ‘Downton Abbey’” (St. Martin’s Press, $22.99). Margaret Powell’s memoir, first published in 1968, provides a raw, spirited firsthand account. — J.G.

Eye Captain If you can’t recall the last time you saw a major musical act at the Coliseum (601 E. Leigh St.), seize this chance to see a legend, Elton John, on March 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $37-$138. For information, visit or call 780-4970. — E.J.

Cut Loose

Richmonder Noah Scalin aims to shake you up with his latest book, “Unstuck: 52 Ways to Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing at Home, at Work and in Your Studio” (Voyageur Press, $35). This wild, colorful book offers all kinds of prompts and exercises with room to document what happens when you finally let go. — J.G.


March 2012 | 21 |

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b o dy & s o u l

private parts

BY the book Instruction manuals for you and him. 1. “For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality” by Lonnie Barbach. (Penguin Group). Originally published in 1975, this is still considered the classic, supportive step-bystep guide for women and their partners.

Bad in Bed I

Was it good for me?

f you’re a man, and your wife or girlfriend left this issue of Belle lying around, open to this article, please read on. She might be trying to tell you something. You might need a bedroom makeover — and I’m not talking about the wall color. We all know, in one way or another, men who get in and get out, or who are so busy looking out for No. 1 that you end up wondering if you even need to be there. But what else bothers women about men in bed? I sit down with a group of women over giant steaming lattes and goat cheese and fig croissants at Can Can to discuss what doesn’t turn them on. These women all are married, ranging in age from 36 to 46. All names have been thoroughly changed. The first topic to bolt from the gate is expertise. Female homo sapiens have had the same body, with the important parts in roughly the same place, for about 200,000 years. There was a sexual revolution approximately 40 years ago, with mirrors and speculums. And yet, many men (and women) still don’t know how to work the thing. Mary, who kindly supplied a euphemism, says, “It’s like he’s rubbing the little man in the boat as hard as he can, but missing the boat.” “Like he’s trying to erase something?” I suggest. “Yes, but it’s not even the right spot to erase anyway,” she replies. Sally tells us that her husband used to read Cosmo magazine for tips on how to pleasure women. “It was very successful,” she says. Everyone at the table agrees that he is a very smart, dear man. Certainly some expertise might make having sex more appealing than getting an extra hour of sleep or finally organizing your bedside table.

by julie geen

But it’s also unanimous that learning sex tips from pornographic movies is a bad idea. When a man trots out a brand-new, showy maneuver combining athleticism, flexibility and industrial-strength pounding, many women don’t respond with enthusiasm. “It’s really obvious where it came from,” Mary chides. “I was like, what are you doing?” “The women in the movies aren’t necessarily enjoying it as much as they sound like they are enjoying it,” Jenny says. “They’re getting paid.” Every woman at the table also has a scenario similar to this: You’re hunched over a cutting board, eyes streaming, chopping onions, trying to remember if you have oregano, and suddenly your man’s arms are around you, hands moving rapidly for the jackpot. Your body stiffens, and you must focus your entire will on putting the knife down instead of using it in a way that will land you in jail. “I cannot stand it when I’m doing dishes or some household chore and he comes up behind me and starts touching me,” Sally says. “Don’t touch me while I’m cleaning! If you wanna turn me on, you start cleaning.” “It gives me a barefoot-in-the-kitchen feeling,” Mary says. And after all these decades of voting, being able to own property and working outside the home, most women don’t appreciate that. It isn’t easy. The female body has been the subject of artists through the ages and is used to sell everything under the sun, but neither gender innately understands how it works, or how to communicate needs in the bedroom. “The hardest thing for anybody to achieve, man or woman,” Mary says, “is to have their heart open and their sexuality open at the same time. It’s usually one or the other, and the challenge is to get it all lined up.”

2. “The Guide to Getting It On” by Paul Joannides (Goofy Foot Press). Recommended by Cosmo, Playboy and Oprah as a friendly, funny, informative guide to everything you both need to know. 3. “Slow Sex: The Art and Craft of the Female Orgasm” by Nicole Daedon (Grand Central Life and Style). You’ve heard of slow food? This is the sexual equivalent and promises to change not only your sex life, but also everything else. 4. “She Comes First: the Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring Women” by Ian Kerner (William Morrow Paperbacks). Written by a man for men, it gives anatomy lessons and details dozens of award-winning moves. 5. “I Love Female Orgasm: an Extraordinary Orgasm Guide” by Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller (Da Capo Press). A comprehensive guide covering everything you can think of and probably some things you hadn’t.

belle photo illustration by joel smith

MARCH 2012 | 23 |

b o dy & s o u l


Tough Minded River City Rollergirls challenge the stereotypes – and themselves. by


n a rainy Thursday night at Skateland, the River City Rollergirls fly around the track at alarming speeds in a long, snaking line. Three times a week, the women come to practice, doing grueling drills, scrimmages and endurance training. And there isn’t a painted face or tutu in sight. “The typical thing,” says Shelley Tyler, speaking of roller derby stereotypes, “is that we are all aggressive, oversexed, punk-rock girls — wearing fishnets, fighting all the time. This is so much more than that.” Tyler is a captain on Poe’s Punishers, the River City Rollergirls’ all-star team, ranked No. 18 in the East. Not that the stereotypical aggression doesn’t have its place. Roller derby, best described as a cross between speed skating and hockey, is a fullcontact sport. “In the South,” Tyler says, “I think women are taught to be softer and passive-aggressive. We are not taught that it’s OK to be aggressive and assertive and go after things, and that’s exactly what you have to do in derby. You can’t second-guess. The game is too fast.” Gone is the roller derby of the ’70s, with the banked tracks, campy fake fights and staged outcomes. For some, even the humorous alter-ego names are becoming a thing of the past. “I’m at

| 24 | MARCH 2012


the point where I’m not sure if I’m going to skate under my skater name anymore,” Tyler says. “I think the name thing helped in the beginning, but now I want to be known for what I do.” Derby girls come in all shapes, sizes and ages; the youngest River City Rollergirl is 21, the oldest is 56, and most derby girls are college educated. The one thing they all share is the demanding life of an amateur athlete. Besides following their strict training schedule, they work out on the side — running, weight training and skating around their neighborhoods. “This is a really demanding sport,” says Maya Vincelli, the coach of Fresh Meat, or newcomers. “The more fit you are, the less you get injured and the more you can do and the more they want to play you.” She acknowledges hating roller derby when she first started. She hadn’t skated since she was 8, and for the first two brutal months of practice, she felt like she’d never make it. But then it came time to hit. She got knocked down and came back up full of fight. “It must be what shopping is like for some people,” Vincelli says. “It’s a high.” It isn’t, however, a free-for-all. Fighting is prohibited and gets players kicked out of the game. “Sometimes I have a limp going on, or I can’t sit

Julie Geen

down very quickly,” Vincelli says. “But I’m not interested in this for just the brutality of it, or the brawn. I’m interested in the dichotomy of being really smart and athletic at the same time.” Last December, the first Roller Derby World Cup took place in Toronto, and a few River City Rollergirls traveled to see it. The rest of the team gathered in their homes to watch it online, because the event wasn’t televised. Damacia Johnson, in her sixth season of derby and also a captain on Poe’s Punishers, dreams of being able to watch her sport on television. “I’d love to see it on ESPN,” she says, “just turn on the TV and watch roller derby. I’d also love to play it professionally just like any other athlete and have that be my job.” As it stands now, the team is looking for sponsors to help them with uniforms and the travel expenses they currently pay for themselves. The daily newspaper doesn’t cover the River City Rollergirls in the sports section. Crystal Phillips, president of the team, says that doesn’t change their desire. “Even if nobody knew we did this, we’d still do it.” See the River City Rollergirls at their next bout March 21. Information at

photo by ash daniel

STYLE WEEKLY PRESENTS A NEW music fest in the heart of Virginia





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g r e at ta s t e

an educated guest

Find a Food Hub Our locavore primer, part two. by Ellie Basch


ast month I wrote about how customers can directly support local farmers by becoming Community Supported Agriculture subscribers or shareholders. If you missed the train, don’t despair. You can buy the locally grown produce at farmers’ markets or local-food hubs such as Fall Line Farms, Farm to Family Store and Veggie Bus, Horse and Buggy, and to some extent, Relay Foods. Food hubs. The term is spot-on in describing the latest morphing of the modern CSA, which stands for community supported agriculture. While such organizations based on farms put farmers and consumers directly in touch with each other, food hubs and co-ops act as the middlemen bridging the two. One advantage of food hubs is that consumers can shop a wide variety of produce and food products in one place, often from the comfort of their homes via online ordering. One downside is that it’s more difficult for customers to determine whether the farms meet their definition of local, natural, sustainable, genetically unmodified or organic, because customers interact with the food-hub owners and not the farmers. Caveat emptor. Get to know the owners, and ask questions about how they choose vendors and about the farms and producers. Do your own research about the farms, and ask other customers’ opinions. Just because it lists Mennonite or Amish or smallfamily farms doesn’t mean those farms are automatically sustainable or organic farms. If you have food allergies or illness, contact the farmers directly. Food-hub owners deal with many farms and producers, so it’s understandable that specific questions may have not been raised. Two well-known food hubs or co-ops are Fall Line Farms and Farm to Family, both based in Richmond. They sell fresh produce, dairy, meats, prepared food items and baked goods from local businesses. Local, | 26 | MARCH 2012


of course, is a tricky and subjective term. My definition of local is different from yours, so let your own criteria be the deciding factor here. Fall Line Farms, which lists more than 100 vendors, offers locally grown organic or natural products. Its annual membership fee is $75 and $50 for renewal. Once you’ve become a registered customer, you can order as often and as much as you want every week, between Friday and Monday. You pay for your orders online, and pick up your groceries on Thursday afternoon at one of the dozen pickup locations in the area. Farm to Family, on the other hand, offers a thirdparty CSA. You pay it in advance and you get weekly or biweekly produce. In the winter, Farm to Family offers meat, dairy and egg shares. Farm to Family’s owners drive their vegetable-oil-fueled bus all over the Shenandoah Valley to pick up the goods from farms or a veggie auction and bring them back to Richmond. Two other food hubs that I’m aware of are Relay Foods and Horse and Buggy Produce, both based in Charlottesville. Horse and Buggy offers the CSA method and gets most of its produce and meats from farms around Harrisonburg. Relay Foods, the largest of these food hubs, sells items from local and nonlocal producers, and from small to large stores. It’s more of an online grocer than a food hub. Ultimately it’s up to you the consumer to do your homework and decide which food hub or online coop is best for you. Start with what’s important to you and your family: Is supporting local businesses more important than buying organic? Is eating organic or natural meats more important than the distance traveled by your “local” food? Are convenient ordering and pick-up locations the most important factor in your busy life? The choice is yours.

Local Food Hubs At press time, the prices reflect the numerous winter meat, dairy and egg shares at about $25 per week. Veggie CSA prices aren’t yet available, so check out the websites for the latest price updates. • Fall Line Farms, • Farm to Family, • Horse and Buggy, • Relay Foods, Home/Welcome Two other food or farm co-ops mentioned last month are: • Byrd Farm, a co-op of several farms in Goochland and Powhatan area, • Faith Farms,

What to Ask Your Food Hub • When and why did you start this food hub? • How do you choose the vendors? What are your standards or criteria? • Do you visit the farms or food producers? • Have you tried their products? • What’s your late pickup, cancellation or vacation policy?

photo by scott elmquist

Co-academic Sponsors Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond present


















March 29-April 1, 2012

March 26-28 Free special symposium in Ukrop Auditorium on UR campus French Film: Arts, Science & Technology at Work for Humanity Exclusive Media Sponsor

All films have English subtitles and are presented by their actors and directors.

20th annual • Byrd Theatre • Richmond, Va. • (804) 827-FILM •

photo by ash daniel

g r e at ta s t e


Garden Dishes If you’re looking for vegetarian flavor, try these for sighs. Robey Martin


other Nature has got to be confused. This ridiculous warm winter has me befuddled, and my eat-more-vegetables-because-it’s-warm initiative is in full effect. Thank goodness Richmond restaurants are rising to the task with luxurious on-the-menu items in every season.

Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Eggplant saganaki ($11), an interesting twist on a classic Greek dish, is hearty enough to be a meal but not cheesy enough to seem artery-clogging. Athens Tavern puts thinly sliced eggplant under sweet and chunky marinara and cheese double broiled as opposed to aflame. You will need more bread. Athens Tavern 401 N. Robinson St. 353-9119

For a little less than $2, the loroco pupusa is perfect for a light meal. Fresh mozzarella, loroco, a fibrous edible plant, and masito corn flour need no adornment, though if you like curtido, a pickled cabbage salad, this version is particularly appealing and also vegetarian. Don Pedro’s Midlothian 8700 Jefferson Davis Highway 275-3771

Rich and buttery, the crustless cake ($6) at Shockoe Bottom wine bar C’est Le Vin is captivating. Goat and cream cheeses are used in the best way possible to create a dessert that’s texturally pleasing and decadent. It’s difficult to stop with one piece. C’est Le Vin 15 N. 17th St 649-9463

| 28 | MARCH 2012

Vegan and Gluten Free After my first couple of bites, I was certain there was no way that these were vegan or gluten-free. Made with chickpea flour and several vegetables such as carrots, peppers and potatoes, vegan pakora (priced by weight) are in the cold deli case. Ellwood Thompson’s 4 N. Thompson St. 612-1827

Teeming with tofu ricotta and vegetables, rice noodle vegetable lasagna ($15) is a great rendi-

tion of its heavier, Italian, meat-filled cousin at this downtown restaurant. The serving is large enough for two and reheats just as nicely the next day. The Belvidere on Broad 506 W. Broad St. 344-0644

Vegetarian Exactly as they sound, baked potato bites, below, at the Franklin Inn in the Museum District are tiny balls of potato, scallion and cheese. Gooey, crispy and hot, they make upscale bar food. Make sure to request them vegetarian ($5), as they have an excellent bacon-added version as well. The Franklin Inn 101 W. Franklin St. 649-4629

It’s a struggle to decide between Secco’s eggsalad sandwich ($6) with crispy shallots or the caramelized onion, broccoli and cheddar panino

($8). Fixed-price lunch is the secret weapon — $10 for a sandwich, side and dessert from chef Tim Bereika’s kitchen. The fried chickpeas, served as a side, are worth a trip on their own. Secco Wine Bar 2933 W. Cary St. 353-0670


Fresh pita and falafel tops my list for takeout. The sheer size of the crisp pita at Doner Kebab almost is too much for one sitting. Lemon zest adds an intriguing surprise to the light tzaziki dressing. A spinach or cheese pie ($2) makes a good lunch as well. For the price, you might as well get both and eat one for a snack later. Doner Kebab 3459 W. Cary St. 308-2611

Vegan Strange Matter’s well-thought-out menu is accessible to all types of food persuasions. If you’re looking for a standout that doesn’t appear on other Richmond menus, try the revenge sandwich, above. Made with jackfruit, a giant prickly fruit, it’s cooked until tantalizingly brown and pairs nicely with the vegan ham and cheese. Repeatable even if you aren’t vegan. Strange Matter 929 W. Grace St. 447-4763

photo by scott elmquist


belle resources. Indoor ArtwAlk & open House FrIdAy, MArcH 16, 6-9pM Admittance to the Art Center is FREE! Guests will have time to view all of the featured art while enjoying a drink from the cash bar and food from Sticks Kebob Shop, and Cabot Creamery Cooperative. Come enjoy a night of art and fellowship Friday at the Crossroads Art Center Indoor Art Walk and Open House. Enjoy some live music by Quiet Step Ensemble. Proceeds from the Beverage Sales will benefit NEW (Network of Enterprising Women).

Featured artists: Judith Giuliani James Bassfield, & artists participating in Laura Loe’s Nimrod Hall Show as well as artists in the March All Media show and the Crossroads Members Show. Show Dates: March 16 May 7, 2012

2016 Staples Mill Rd, Richmond, VA 23230 804-278-8950 •

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Are you a STYLE WEEKLY Facebook friend? Sign up today and get the inside skinny. Connect at Get your message in front of people LIKE YOU! To advertise in Style Weekly, and reach almost 80,000 readers every week, call us at 804-358-2100 or email us at


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march 2012 | 29 |

f i r st p e r s o n

How to Be Happy This won’t take a calculator.


on’t read articles about how to be happy. Wait until your friend reads them and then take her hostage until she reveals what actually works. Recoil as if from a screaming toddler when she tells you that in order to even get out of bed each day, you should really make a gratitude list. Don’t scrunch your face up, stick your tongue out and decide now’s the perfect time to get a new friend. Spend the morning in bed wondering if your journal even can contain such multitudes. Don’t curse your husband for using the last of the milk and the nondairy creamer. Take a multivitamin and drink your coffee black. You’re going to need it. Start with the floor furnace. Realize that if it hadn’t died last winter you’d never have known the sweet smell of kerosene or the sound of a rocket readying for blastoff when the replacement forced-air heater you call the ghetto blaster suddenly ignites in the next room. Think of all the opportunities your family has had to grow closer and more fire retardant huddled around its fluorescent orange flame. Next, be glad you were raised on food stamps,

| 30 | MARCH 2012


valley haggard

because now when you have a dollar you know what to do with it. Daydream about what you could do with it and then be grateful for your magnificent imagination. Thank your lucky stars that the hot, rich guy in the silk scarf dumped you so you don’t have to be some dumb trophy wife in a boring city like Paris. Thank God that your prince wears coveralls instead of shining armor. Be glad he refused to get a regular, full-time job because if you hadn’t had to find work you’d be lying on the couch watching cable, instead of curled up in bed thinking how superior you are that you’re not. You’d be able to afford cable but you’d be watching “Toddlers and Tiaras,” trying to figure out how to force your son into a huge blond wig so that he could curtsy on the catwalk instead of attending first grade while you engage in a meaningful line of work that brings you great joy. Thank God you were broke when you wanted to get that divorce. When you see the 13-inch scar stretched across your side, remember that if you were tough enough to survive going under the knife you can probably survive another year of filing federal

income taxes. Thank God that you have a friend who’s always bouncing off to exotic, foreign lands so that you don’t have to get all those nasty shots or wait in line at the post office to renew your passport in order to own powerful-looking tribal dolls or beautifully hand-painted ceramic plaques that say “Shalom Y’all.” Be glad that you still live in the house where you grew up because you never have to waste precious time changing the information fields when you reorder address labels. And that being so rooted has made you part of an intricate network of friends and relatives that steer you back onto the right course, holding your hand through the detritus and rubble until you’ve finally uncovered the faintest glimmer of the silver lining. Consider getting dressed for the day and then be grateful that since getting laid off from the office you can work from home. Walk back into the kitchen to see if milk has magically reappeared in the fridge and resist the temptation to throw the “Every Problem Contains a Gift” magnet in the trash. Tape it to your forehead, instead.

belle photo illustration by joel Smith

ModlinArts Presents:

Australian Chamber Orchestra

t h e

with special guest

Dawn Upshaw Soprano

April 17 • 7:30pm Carpenter Theatre at Richmond CenterStage

Tickets and information are available at

Belle March 2012  

Style Weekly's magazine for Richmond women.

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