Belle May 2012

Page 1

May 2012 FrEE

Woman Power New ways to bring bold to life. richmonders you should know Grace Chapman, Lia Lash and Claire Gasta単aga. Green Magic? The smoothie that could change your life. Breast Test Trying the alternative to the mammogram.

Laura Eilers is the dance team coordinator for the Richmond Raiders and the reigning Ms. United States.

Dr. Eileen Kitces: Named One of Richmond’s Top 3 Dermatologists

Eileen Kitces, MD, FAAD

Medical, Surgical and Cosmetic Dermatology State-of-the-Art Laser Center

Edward Kitces, MD, PhD, FAAD

Fraxel Lasers Melissa Schwarzschild, MD, JD, FAAD

Chemical Peels

Dermal Fillers


Customized Skin Care Victoria Gross, MD, FAAD

Comprehensive Skin Cancer Evaluation & Treatment

Margaret Terhune, MD, FAAD Suzanne Peck, MD, FAAD

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with phone to connect to RDS website!

Sara Villalona, PA-C

Follow us online For updates and specials!

RICHMOND DERMATOLOGY & LASER SPECIALISTS Call us at 282.8510 today to make an appointment!


MAY 2012

belle Publisher: Lori

Collier Waran Editor in Chief:

Jason Roop Editor: Deveron Art Director:


Joel Smith

Photography Editor: Fashion Editor:

Scott Elmquist

Lauren Healy

Contributing Writers:

23 Style & substance

Ellie Basch Julie Geen Valley Haggard Elizabeth Jewett Ranee Kamens Hilary Langford Karen Newton Melissa Scott Sinclair Copy Editor: G.W.


Ed Harrington



Handmade jewels … Belle pop quiz with artist and educator Amie Oliver … Pretty Pear brides get a magazine … furry friend fun spots … just browsing with Sherry Petersik … wine and art mix well in West Broad Village … by Elizabeth Jewett Lush Life: Jewels from India, a chance to make noise at the movies and other dalliances for May make it a merry month. by Karen Newton 8


Dana Elmquist Marketing, Sponsorships & Events:


Hannah Huber



profile: Grace Chapman gets into the gardening


zone at Lewis Ginter. by Melissa Scott Sinclair 9 profile: International jewelry designer Roberto Coin pays Richmond a visit. by Deveron Timberlake 10 profile: Claire Gastañaga steps up to a leadership role in the ACLU. by Karen Newton 12

Body & Soul


Great Taste

Fitness: Smoothies are a healthy

breakfast option, as Aimee DuFresne shows us. by Julie Geen 14 Private parts: Therapy helps move past a crisis to a future. by Julie Geen 15

Fashion Cues

come in more than one variety, and pesto is an easy way to learn more. by Ellie Basch 24 At Home: Designer Lia Lash puts the tiles into place with an eye for perfection. by Deveron Timberlake 26


bag that shouts color. by Lauren Healy 16 fashion statement: At ease on the field and off, Ms. United States shows her sassy side. by Ranee Kamens 21


Agenda: What to read, listen to and go to

see in Richmond this time of year. by Julie Geen, Elizabeth Jewett and Hilary Langford.


An Educated Guest: Pine nuts

details: Punch up that neutral outfit with a

Arts and Entertainment



First Person


Let’s talk about two things that are on my chest. 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 2012 All rights reserved.


MAY 2012 | 1 |

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


Elizabeth Jewett

suspension of

Beliefs An Outer Banks oyster shell there, an amethyst here, perhaps a hint of copper — Linda Williams doesn’t simply use natural materials in her line, she turns them into wearable stories. Simple summer dresses beg for statement necklaces like this one from Handmades by Linda. Necklaces pictured are $87 and $75. Handmades by Linda jewelry is sold at the Virginia Street Gallery, 114-R Virginia St., virginiastreetgallery. com, and the Market Umbrella farmers’ markets,

belle photo by scott Elmquist photos by scott Elmquist

MAY 2012 | 3 |

Pop Q Quiz with amie oliver


hances are you know artist Amie Oliver. Whether you’ve seen her painting and mixedmedia work in exhibitions here and around the country through the years, or come into contact with her through her teaching experience at places such as Virginia Commonwealth University or St. Catherine’s, Oliver is a pervasive artistic presence here. To get to know the woman behind the art, we asked her to take the Belle Pop Quiz. 1. Growing up I wanted to be … an artist. I drew on everything as soon as I was old enough to hold a crayon or a marker. It was a label the world attached to me before I knew what I was getting into. | 4 | May 2012


2. In one word I would describe myself as … Amie [French for friend]. 3. I knew I had made it when … the clothes I wear are covered with the same pigments as the work on the wall, and it’s OK. 4. My inspiration comes from ... the search for something new and unknown – truth, beauty and authenticity. 5. I can’t live without … my Harry [Kollatz Jr.]. 6. My favorite Richmond hangout is … always seasonal and within walking distance; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Lamplighter, the New York Deli, Mom’s Siam and now Nate’s new place, Don’t Look Back [in Carytown].

7. My obsession of the moment is … painting and drawing with ink on water-resistant paper. 8. My last meal on earth would be … a bowl of seafood gumbo from Coop’s Place in New Orleans. 9. My guilty pleasure is … the time I take to walk most everywhere – but in particular a desire to walk across the great cities and landscapes of the world. 10. The one item I would never leave home without is … my camera / sketchbook. To find out more visit

photo by scott Elmquist

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

s t y l e & s u b sta n c e

Just Browsing

Website picks from Richmond women. DIY edition

Sherry Petersik DIY, or do-it-yourself, officially is ubiquitous because of, HGTV and a few dozen home-improvement magazines. But for Sherry Petersik and her husband, John, DIY is a way of life. In 2006 the couple came to Richmond from New York, bought a fixerupper first house, and started a blog about their progress, Now onto a second Richmond fixer-upper, the 30-year-old parents are full-time bloggers with a book coming out in the fall. Here are Sherry’s top three DIY related web picks.

Q&A with Shafonne Myers of Pretty Pear Bride As a bride and wedding planner, Richmond native Shafonne Myers hoped to find a plus-sized voice in the multibillion-dollar wedding industry. Instead she often found a cold shoulder, a dilemma that led her to create Pretty Pear Bride, a website and magazine dedicated to providing inspiration, tips and ideas for plus-sized brides. We caught up with the owner, editor and debut issue cover model from her home in Ohio. Belle: What’s the story behind Pretty Pear Bride? Myers: I started an event planning business in Richmond

and did that for a few years, but then my husband got transferred to Indiana with his job. That’s where I really saw that there was nothing for plus-sized brides. As a plussized bride myself and wedding planner, I came across so many plus-sized brides who had no resources, no outlet, no magazines to look in and see people who looked like them. That’s when I realized something needed to be done, and I started the website, which has been up officially for about a year. And then I was approached to do a magazine, which was a long process and took a lot of sleepless nights. But the first issue just came out, and it’s gotten a lot of buzz in the industry. It’s the only magazine in the world dedicated to plus-sized brides. What experiences did you have as a plus-sized bride that were the most frustrating? I thought the main issue was dress shopping, trying to find something that’s comfortable and finding that same experience while dress shopping, being able to go into a

shop and not having to put the dress up to you and imagine how it’s going to look, but actually wanting to try it on and feel how it’s going to look. What kind of stories do you hope to feature? The next issue we’re going to have a huge push on gowns. We’re going to have some fitness items, and I want to make sure that’s a component of all issues, to move everyone into a healthier part of their lives. We’ve also toyed around with including the groom. There are plus-sized grooms out there, too. Can you talk about doing the first cover shoot in Richmond? I always wanted to go back to Richmond. I still plan weddings in Richmond. I still have my hand in Richmond, and I knew that was the best place for me to go. I was the model for the cover. We used a local vendor for photography, one of my closest friends. We used a local makeup artist. The location was a Richmond farm. The flowers were by a local florist. It made sense. I knew for the first issue I had to go back home. For information visit Ana’s site runneth over with a ton of free plans for building anything from a table to a bed and even a cubby for your mudroom. So many of her projects are perfect for beginners (even folks who have never worked a drill), and her simple instructions, diagrams and shopping list always get me excited to make some sawdust fly. This site is basically a giant pile of ideas, tips, pictures and all things home-DIY. One of our favorite features is the house tours they share (who doesn’t love poking around in someone else’s space?) and they have great sub-categories about everything from green living to nurseries and kids’ rooms. So many people are frozen in fear about where to start on their home, so we always recommend submerging yourself in inspiration and seeing what grabs you. Sites like are a great place to troll a ton of kitchens, bedrooms, lofts and any other spaces in the hope of finding a few that call your name.


MAY 2012 | 5 |

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

fit for framing Painting is an inherently romantic idea until you factor in the cost of supplies, time spent on cleanup, and the struggle to keep your pets and kids from licking oil pastels off the canvas. The idea behind Spirited Art, a new business at 4029 Whittall Way, is to remove all of those obstacles and add in friends, the help of a teacher and a little wine. After visiting the original Spirited Art in Alabama, started by artist Rebekah Bynum, three University of Richmond graduates — Lauren McCormick, Dami Snyder and Andrea Bell — decided the idea was ripe for Richmond. The business model is appealingly simple. Each month customers can choose from an online calendar of rotating paintings: recent options have included the Richmond skyline and customers’ pets. Art teachers lead classes and customers are free to unleash their creative powers, all while enjoying drinks and food from Spirited Art’s West Broad Village neighbor the Wine Loft. At the end of the night they go home with their very own acrylic painting. Spirited Art also offers fundraisers, parent-and-child painting classes, and summer camps. According to sisters McCormick and Snyder, the best part of the venture has been seeing art-phobic customers surprise themselves. “The majority of our customers are people who have not had an art class since they were 5 years old,” McCormick says. “Our favorite part is taking a picture of people at the end of the night who say, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe I did this.’”

From left, Lauren McCormick, lead instructor Kristin Donaldson and Dami Snyder share their mission at Spirited Art.

For a class schedule or information visit

Field Day for Fido

Want to enjoy warm, sunny days with your pooch in tow? Here are five outdoor Richmond spots that are also dog-friendly. Stony Point Fashion Park 9200 Stony Point Parkway Stroll the mall right alongside your furry friends. Look for the dog icon in the windows of pet friendly shops. Café Caturra 5811 Grove Ave. Stick to the patio with your pooch and watch the world go by with a cup or glass in hand.

| 6 | May 2012


Barker Field Dog Park Behind Dogwood Dell, off Pump House Drive, this multiacre dog park has all the ingredients for a happy canine. South of the James Market Forest Hill Avenue at 42nd Street Bring your dog on a leash and let him or her help you sniff out the best local fruits and veggies. 8 a.m.noon every Saturday from May through December.

Hollywood Cemetery 412 S. Cherry St. It may be a cemetery, but it’s also one of the most beautiful and scenic sites in the city. Take out-of-town friends and their dogs here for the history and the view. Just don’t let Fido relieve himself on a grave.


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MAY 2012 | 7 |

Lush Life

Dive into the lusty month with fairies, mockery and centuries-old bling.


Karen Newton

Tra la! It’s May! The lusty month of May! That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray. …

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London


hat’s not to love about May? The flowers are blooming, the humidity isn’t yet oppressive and al fresco dining options abound. But whether you choose indoor or outdoor amusements, here’s hoping that you’re one of the lucky ones who ends up blissfully astray.

The Richmond Concert Band plays Agecroft for Mother’s Day.

Fairies in the forest. Begin May with romance and laughter on the carriage lawn at Maymont for Richmond Shakespeare’s annual gift to Richmond. The company’s staging “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on May 9 at 7 p.m. Pack a picnic and settle in for the story of a royal marriage, four young Athenian lovers and a group of amusing amateur actors who are manipulated by the fairies of the forest. It’s the ideal Shakespeare play to see in a park, and because it’s free, you’d be wise to arrive early enough to spread your blanket and enjoy your supper before the hordes arrive.

“Maharaja: the Splendor of India’s Great Kings” gleams at the VMFA.

Microphone-fueled mockery. Unlike at a typical movie where people who talk to the screen get dirty looks, FilmRoasters is all about the talk. You can see for yourself May 13 at 8 p.m. at the Firehouse Theater. It’s a lot like “Mystery Science Theater,” where a really bad film is shown and a trio of comedians with mics riff on the film throughout. If you’re so inclined, join in and toss out your own bons mots to lampoon “Teenage Mother,” a campy looking film promising “nine months of trouble” for a girl who’s a little too easy with the boys. You know the type. Music to picnic by. If outdoor music is more your pleasure, don’t miss Agecroft’s annual Mother’s Day concert on the lawn May 13 at 6 p.m. You don’t have to be a mom to attend (and children are welcome), but I recommend bringing a chair or blanket and definitely a picnic; Agecroft is one of Richmond’s most scenic picnic spots. The Richmond Concert Band always puts on a good show set against a 500-year old Tudor house on the banks of the James on a spring day. Ergo, it’s bound to be delightful. The bling of kings. Opening May 21 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is “Maharaja: the Splendor of India’s Great Kings,” a must-see show that explores the extraordinarily rich visual culture of India’s last royal families, spanning the early-18th to the mid-20th centuries. For a better understanding of this 200-plus item exhibit, get a ticket for “The World of the Maharaja” on May 24 at 6:30 p.m. You’ll hear Anna Jackson of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the lead curator of “Maharaja” as she delves into the world of Indian court culture and royal patronage. You could say this is a lecture about the Indian 1 percent. When the lecture finishes at 7:30, head upstairs to the Jazz Café to hear the Anthony Dowd Quartet play original material as well as jazz classics until 9. An adult beverage on the deck overlooking the reflecting pool and the sculpture garden will be an appropriately luxe nightcap. calendar.

For a big finish to the lusty month of May, consider heading to King Family Vineyards in Crozet on May 27 for the Roseland polo match starting at 1:30 p.m.

Yes, it’s a bit of a drive, but it’s also free, and everyone should experience a picnic while watching a polo match in the afternoon sun, if for no other reason than it’s May. … The birds and bees with all of their vast amorous past Gaze at the human race aghast, The lusty month of May. Karen Newton, whose birthday falls in May, blogs about almost everything she does at

| 8 | MAY 2012


“Teenage Mother” gets a reactive audience at the Firehouse Theater.

Roseland Polo makes a worthy road trip to Crozet.



Back to Her Roots

A new horticulture director digs in at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.


race Estelle Chapman can’t choose just one favorite orchid. Last week it was Asian ladyslippers; now it’s the purple and pink Vanda varieties. (But if you buy your Phaelaenopis orchids from Kroger, she won’t judge.) What’s amazing about the Vanda, Chapman says, is “they don’t need any kind of soil or bark or anything to grow in. Their roots are just hanging out there.” Chapman, too, thrives when uprooted. In October, she left her position as horticulture supervisor at the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University and arrived in Richmond with 40 houseplants, two cats and two beehives. The 30-year-old also sews, quilts, cooks and blogs about it all at Now, Chapman is overseeing more than 50 acres of flowers at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. And she has a few surprises up her sleeve.

Belle: What has it been like for you, transitioning from a Northern garden to the South? Chapman: Well actually, I’m from the South. I’m from south Florida. … I was [Agriculture Department plant hardiness] zone eight when I studied at Gainesville, the University of Florida, and then moved to zone six, and now I’m seven.

So I’m right in the middle. It’s been definitely a big transition every time I move, because the plant palette is completely different. Is there anything that you’re excited about growing for the first time or growing again, now that you’re in zone seven? Yes. And it’s just — as the season is progressing, and I’m seeing what’s starting to come into bloom, and I’m noticing little plants that are more like the spring ephemerals and things that are coming up. … I’m like, “I’m so excited that can grow here! I haven’t grown that in years.” Simple things like crape myrtles. I know they’re so incredibly common here, and they were in Florida as well. But I haven’t seen them in a few years. What do you personally like in a garden? I think it’s kind of all over the map with what I like. Because I do like formality, obviously, [gesturing to a wrought-iron arch hung with orchids] I’ve created a very symmetrical and formal display. But in it, it’s very wild, and kind of fluid. And I think that’s probably what I like in general, is … order, with interest and fluidity. What big plans or changes do you envision for the garden? I’ve definitely already started to work with the

by Melissa Scott Sinclair

gardeners and horticulturalists on plant palette and looking at not using the same old plants we’ve used year after year after year. Sometimes they’ll show me plant orders, and they were the same every single year. I really want to get away from that. I really want to make sure that what we’re bringing in is new and different and exciting for the visitors. We do have some things that are available, because I want to inspire people to be able to get an idea from us and then be able to implement it in their backyard. But I think it’s also important for us to showcase things that you can’t find anywhere. … One thing that we’re trying this summer, which I’m really excited and really nervous about, is out in the pools that are in front of the conservatory we’re doing giant Victoria water lilies, lilies with 6-foot lily pads. … It’s rare to see them at any botanical garden, so I really think it’s going to be a draw for us. How are your bees adjusting to Virginia? They are wonderful. They’re just thriving. I’m so excited — I was just in there last weekend, and I was surprised by how vigorous they were. … Everybody survived, and they’re doing really well. So I’m excited. Let’s make some honey. It’s a good place to be a bee. Oh, yeah.

belle photo by scott elmquist

MAY 2012 | 9 |



Roberto Coin’s Thoughts on Life, Love and Fashion (from a compilation of letters) “Fashion is changeable. It is whimsical. Style is not. Style is part of us, of our life, in every moment and in every expression.” “Fashion should enhance the personality; it is an art, but the art of being different.” “No matter in which way you decide to express yourself, what is most important is to be able to communicate true feelings, strong emotions, joy and happiness.” “Love must always have a photo by scott elmquist

major role in your life. This

Life Lover

Roberto Coin spreads some suave over Richmond.


hose little squeals coming from grown women clustered inside Saks Fifth Avenue would otherwise be surprising. But on this chilly spring afternoon, it is the suntanned warmth of a suave Italian, the jewelry designer Roberto Coin, who is sparking lusty, not-quite-schoolgirl murmurs. Coin double kisses the sales staff, the collectors and those who come to bask in debonair. This is a man who understands his audience and is ready to communicate his affection. That he’s also selling jewels — fanciful scorpions and daisies and frogs encrusted with brilliant gems — is of course the reason for his presence; it should be noted that some pieces cost more than the average car. But it is a fantasy he’s promoting, and it is about life above and beyond adornment. “Wherever you go,” Coin says, “you want to be excited, to find something new. I am constantly in love. It keeps the energy going. You cannot design if you cannot dream.” And dream he does — of the bright, insistent stare of a Siberian tiger, translated into a cuff bracelet that’s museum-worthy and priced accordingly. “Look at those eyes — this is a masterpiece of jewelry,” he says, and like many of his pieces it’s an engineering puzzle;

| 10 | MAY 2012


will give you the best healing energy but also the most essential human quality. You must dream of the future, live day by day and think from generation to generation.” “Words, if not supported by concrete actions, are futile sounds in the winds.” “The desire to play is ageless.

by Deveron Timberlake

he twists a basket-weave bracelet that’s heavy gold but flexible as satin. “We are doing things that have never been done in the industry,” he says of the 600-some designs he releases each year. “If it’s not possible, my mind says we’ve got to do it.” As a creator, he does the imagining; his designers then translate the processes that bring each piece to life. They have to stay one step ahead of the inevitable knock-offs. “We’re the most imitated of anyone in the world,” Coin says, “but they can’t copy the future. They’re always running.” They also can’t copy Coin’s presence — joyful, philosophical and admittedly lucky. “I was blessed by God to be a good person, a real person, and am always trying to do the right thing. I speak to presidents and priests and the street cleaners of my hometown the same way — I love people wherever they may be.” His significant charitable contributions started an industry-wide trend, he says, and “giving is regenerative and empowering.” Though he’s in his 60s, “I’m still a child because I’m still learning,” Coin says. “I get fascinated. It’s like falling in love with creativity.” And with this much love in the air, response looks — and sounds — more than mutual.

Play is life, amusement and curiosity. To play is inside us just like walking, talking, laughing and living. Maybe it is often mental but sometimes it is also physical. This is one of the secrets of an everlasting youth.” “Play needs thought. In becoming its essence it invites people to use irony, intelligence, spirit, courage and hazard. Playing means sharing, a never-ending education. It is the best quality for personal experience and a root of values and satisfaction.” “The future must have a soul.”


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MAY 2012 | 11 |



Lady y Libertyy Claire Guthrie Gastañaga takes the lead at the ACLU of Virginia.


t’s a female first for Virginia. Gender aside, it would be noteworthy simply because Kent Willis is stepping down after a quarter century as executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia. Taking the role next month will be Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, a Richmond lawyer and consultant who has lobbied in recent years for Equality Virginia, the Virginia Coalition for Latino Organizations and the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Alliance. It’s a long way from the little girl who wanted to be a ballerina, wasn’t going to get married until she was at least 20 and definitely wasn’t going to marry the boy in her class who blushed all the time. After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School, she was the first woman to be named the chief deputy attorney general of Virginia under Mary Sue Terry. When Terry ran for governor and lost in 1993, Gastañaga had a realization. “I like the lawyering least,” she says. “I liked the advocacy part the best. That shaped me. I wanted to do something different, to do my own thing for a while.” Working with public organizations and nonprofits turned out to be a good fit for her talents, allowing her to do some governance work for them and introducing her to the advocacy work that is her strong suit. She sees her abilities as a natural outgrowth of three factors, beginning with her family role as the oldest of six children. “My dad did 39 years

| 12 | MAY 2012


of active duty in the military and my mom started the Society for Autistic Children in Northern Virginia because my brother was autistic. We were a tight-knit family with a long history of commitment to public service. It’s hard to come out of that environment and not be public-service oriented.” Living in Hawaii in the early ’60s after it was granted statehood, Gastañaga was appalled at how racially stratified the islands were. That inequality stuck with her. A third defining factor unfolded when she was chosen as acting president of Chatham College in Pennsylvania. “It was an opportunity to learn whether I had good judgment or not,” she says. “If I failed, they’d chalk it up to my youth, so it was a risk-free opportunity to see if I had good instincts. So I went for it, knowing there’d be virtually no penalty for failure.” Gastañaga also runs her own company, cg2 Consulting, which specializes in management training and business advocacy. She’s been recognized nationally as a skilled legislative and policy advocate, and as an expert in higher education law. She’s also been honored at the state level for her work on environmental issues. Gastañaga sees her upcoming position with the ACLU as connecting threads from different parts of her life. And she’s quick to point out that it gets her back to managing a nonprofit. “All of my issues are in the ACLU portfolio. Under Kent’s leadership, it has an impeccable reputation based on principles, not politics,” she says. “I’m excited to

by Karen Newton

be back on a team again, one that’s in good financial shape and with an engaged board of directors — things not always true of nonprofits. “The Virginia ACLU has reached a point where it can be proactive and not just reactive.” Politically, the timing is critical. The Republican-dominated General Assembly became particularly partisan this year, churning out several bills that the ACLU, and Gastañaga, believe infringe on civil liberties, including measures that would allow adoption agencies to reject potential parents based on religious or moral beliefs and legislation requiring transvaginal ultrasounds prior to abortion. After much controversy, that bill was amended. “An unconsented touching of another person under state law is a battery,” she says of the antiabortion bill. She’s equally appalled at “the repeal of the state’s common-sense limitation of handgun purchases to one gun a month.” It doesn’t stop there, of course. “The saddest part of the recent General Assembly session is that there’s so much to be outraged about,” she says. “Being executive director of the ACLU will keep my hands in issues I care about. I breathed enough tear gas when I was in college to remember what civil disobedience is like.” Richmond City Councilwoman Ellen Robertson concurs. “When I heard Kent was leaving, I thought, ‘There’s no one who can take his place.’ But no one could be more perfect for this job than Claire.” photo by scott elmquist

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b o dy & s o u l


Mixing It Up Aimee DuFresne gets us drinking smoothies for breakfast. by Julie Geen



t’s weird to drink a blender full of vegetables every morning, and I’m tired of pretending otherwise. It all started with a friend, as addictions often do. “Just add one green smoothie a day to your diet. Do that and see what happens,” she said. I resisted. My friend transformed. She lost weight. She had more energy. She began to glow. That was the last straw. On my top-secret credit card, I charged a Vitamix, the state-of-theart blender that turns a head of kale into a drink in seconds. One year later, I’m not sorry. Despite my complete conversion, I’m a touch nervous when I meet Aimee DuFresne, a certified rawfood chef, life and wellness coach, and what she calls a “vitality expert.” In my experience, many raw-food people want you to eat only raw food, too. I’m scared of being indoctrinated. I know how I am. DuFresne, who has the nearly supernatural glow of a truly healthy person, is used to my attitude. “People feel so guilty about what they eat,” she says. “Every time I give a talk somewhere, I have people give me their confessions. ‘Oh, I ate a burger today. I ate lamb earlier.’ I feel like I should give them penance.” Much to my relief, she eats some cooked food and enjoys an occasional cup of coffee. And she’s no stranger to junk food. She was an overweight, unhappy teenager, living on McDonald’s and Twix candy bars. “We ate out of a box,” she says of her family’s eating habits. Both of her parents came down with cancer when she was a young adult, setting her on a quest to figure out a healthy lifestyle and help others to achieve the same. “I help busy women add more health and happiness into their life,” she says. “It’s a mixture

of culinary instruction and coaching. You have to change your beliefs about food if you want to change what you put in your mouth.” DuFresne recommends a green smoothie first thing in the morning. “You could never chew your way through this amount of greens,” she says. “It’s giving your system the nutrients it needs. After a while your brain gets conditioned to want healthier foods. We’re designed for health. So when you add something healthy like this, it’s amazing how the bad stuff starts to drop away.” According to author and raw food expert Victoria Boutenko in her book “Green for Life: the Updated Classic on Green Smoothie Nutrition,” a one-liter green smoothie made from two cups of peaches, five cups of spinach and two cups of water contains 301 percent of the recommended daily requirements of vitamin A, 104 percent of vitamin C, 17 percent of calcium, 27 percent of iron, seven grams of protein and a whopping eight grams of fiber. It’s quite a nutritional bargain at 155 calories. DuFresene recommends a Vitamix, not an easy

Spinach Mango Smoothie



Recipes by Aimee DuFresne | 14 | MAY 2012


1 cup coconut milk 1 ripe mango, peeled and deseeded 2 cups of spinach 1 tablespoon of chia bran (optional) For all recipes, combine ingredients, liquids first, and blend until smooth and creamy.

sell for some because of the expense. “It’s an investment,” she says, “but it’s worth it. It’s your health. This changes your life.” It also cleans itself. Just add hot water, a few drops of dishwashing liquid, turn it on and it turbo-whirls itself clean. While I give my green-smoothie testimony, DuFresne smiles. Because I was born without willpower, drinking green smoothies is the only healthy thing that I’ve ever turned into a habit. I now have the energy to exercise at least somewhat regularly. I lost my nearly overwhelming cravings for sweets, as well as 10 pounds. A whole winter went by without my catching a cold. My children now drink spinach. I no longer have premenstrual syndrome or headaches. And the most surprising thing to me is that I experience less anxiety, despite putting a $450 blender on my credit card. DuFresne sums it up best: “I think having one green smoothie a day is a stepping stone to other things. If you can do that and start feeling better, other things will fall into place.” For information, see

Pom-Almond Smoothie 1 cup almond milk Seeds from half a pomegranate 2 bananas (frozen) 1 packet of Stevia 2 cups of spinach 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 1 tablespoon of chia bran (optional)

Cardamom Pudding 1 cup coconut milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 packet Stevia 1 banana, peeled and frozen 1 ripe avocado, peeled and deseeded 1.5 teaspoons cardamom powder 2 cups spinach 1 tablespoon of chia seed

b o dy & s o u l

private parts

Free of It


How eye movement therapy rids a demon from the past.

ll day long I perch on the back of his motocross bike, blazing over the hilly course and loving the high, whining grind of the engine. My best friend is furious with me; she usually rides with him. He praises me often, telling me I’m so balanced he can’t even feel me on the back of his bike. My thighs and spine know how to shift, lean into motion and become air because I ride horses, galloping over jumps in the woods, as comfortable bareback as with a saddle. Horses are everything to me; I am an 11-year-old girl and he’s the best friend of my friend’s father. The day comes to an end. He calls my friend’s dad and my mom, telling them he’d rather just take us back to his place, if that’s OK. It’s late, he says; we have a long drive home from the mountains ahead of us. In his book-lined living room, he makes a roaring fire. He offers us wine. Something is growing in the room that I cannot name. It is so vast it freezes some part of me, like a rabbit under the shadow of a hawk, and I want to go home but can say nothing. I don’t know how long he tries to get me to take my shirt off. I don’t know if I did. My friend stomps off in tears. I found out years later that she’d already been molested by him and considered him her boyfriend. I remember nothing more except waking up later in a bedroom by myself with him sitting by the bed in his underwear,

staring at me. “You’re going to tell your father,” he jeers softly. He watches me keenly, lighted up by the bright cold streetlight outside the window. “No, I won’t!” I flash back. And I don’t tell anyone. Not even myself, for more than 30 years. And when the memory surfaces, combined with a smorgasbord of other issues, some related to the void he put in me, and some not, I need help and I know it. One look at social worker Robin Selby, and I know she’s up for fighting my wolves. Petite, with a bright blue gaze that holds both steel and kindness, Selby is a practitioner of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, known as EDMR, originally developed for the treatment of war vets and survivors of rape and sexual abuse. “I worked for years with survivors of various kinds of trauma,” Selby says. “Lots of sexual abuse stuff, car accidents. I kept reading about EMDR and going, ‘Yeah, I’m going to move my hand around in front of someone and they are going to get better. I don’t think so.’” But that’s exactly what happened for me and many others who’ve experienced the therapy. The theory is that traumatic events get coded differently in the brain. “My belief now,” Selby continues, “is that talk therapy, which is really rational and left-brained, to oversimplify things, is filled with words and thoughts. And the right brain is sensory motor and has visceral, emotional, intuitive cre-

by julie geen

ative stuff. But it doesn’t have words. So you can talk to your right brain all you want, and all that talk therapy is great — there’s nothing wrong with it — but even though you might get to a point where you are left with the understanding that none of it was your fault, the body is still responding.” Selby takes me back to the book-lined room with the pedophile, having me track her hand back and forth with my eyes, or tapping alternately on my knees. I feel so ashamed I feel like I’ll be sick. I hold to the strength and compassion in her eyes. “Who does this shame really belong to?” she asks. And we give it back to him, where it belongs. It takes a shockingly few sessions before the pedophile and other traumatic events feel resolved. “Trauma [can be] defined as something that is outside of everyday experience that doesn’t make sense,” Selby says. “It’s the not making sense that keeps it stuck. We lose the story.” After my sessions with Selby, I feel rewired. Traumatic memories are no longer stabbing, wordless flashes that inform my choices from a secret subterranean basement. Now they’re stories I can share. And then walk away. For information on this therapy, see Some Local EMDR Practitioners Robin Selby, 278-9561; Kathy Snowden, 282-4224 Bland Tyree, 359-1418; Nancy Whitehurst, 359-8224


MAY 2012 | 15 |



A BAG of BOLD Put power colors to work in your spring holdings. BY


Fuschia leather handbag with long strap by Kate Spade ($448) at Monkees.

Hot-pink striped clutch by Clare Vivier ($210) at Need Supply Co.

| 16 | MAY 2012


Multipastel color-block bag by Sondra Roberts ($103) at Saxon.

Turquoise stamped crocodile shopper tote by Longchamp ($490) at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Bright orange leather handbag with strap by Marc by Marc Jacobs ($298) at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Green python bag with enamel tiger clasps by Gucci ($1690) at Saks Fifth Avenue.


Neon orange leather satchel by the Leather Satchel Co. ($190) at Need Supply Co.

Monkees 11709 W. Broad St. 360-4660 Need Supply Co. 3100 W. Cary St. 767-1825 Saks Fifth Avenue Stony Point Fashion Park 320-6960 Saxon Short Pump Town Center 285-3473


ď Ź

MAY 2012 | 17 |


belle entertains Personalizing Your Wedding With Stationary Like most of us, you’ve probably been to your fair share of weddings. Depending on how long it’s been (and how much you drank) you may not remember all the wedding details that the couple painstakingly created for their Big Day. Now you’re getting married! You’re biggest priority is creating a comfortable atmosphere for your family and friends to celebrate the beginning of your new life together...and doing something that they haven’t seen before. The caterer has been selected and you’re having those yummy goat cheese endive appetizers. Your florist is in place to give you the right shade of “blush” roses you’ve been eyeing. The stage is set for a great and beautiful party. Now, how to make it a unique event that your guests will remember? Bring it back to what the party is all about you and your fiancee. Making an event memorable is consistently about the touches that remind your guests that this detail was brought to you by “us”. Without getting overwhelmed by the infinite ideas on personalizing your wedding, let’s focus on one wedding profession that can have a real impact on personalization and unifying your party theme. Stationers offer every type of paper product (and then some) that you could imagine for your event. However, escort cards, programs and such can fall by the way side after you’ve spent the lion’s share of time on the food, flowers and venue. Remember that paper plays a unique part of any event. It’s one of the few details of the evening that your guests hold, touch and stare at. Admit it - you were pleasantly surprised when you received a wedding program and it was a heavy weight, textured paper with a custom wedding design!

Paper maven, Coleen Akers of Richmondbased PaperFreckles finds that “when the couple’s signature is spread throughout the space, guests are reminded of the meaning of the day. Not to mention that adding a touch of beauty wherever possible will put

a smile on their faces.” PaperFreckles is a graphic design and paper source company that likes to work with the couple from the beginning of the planning process. Joe Akers, Coleen’s husband is the graphic artist of the PaperFreckles team. He works with the couple to determine their artistic vision. He creates custom monograms, supplies unique paper options and dreams up one-of-a-kind designs that we can’t help but swoon over. Mary-Catherine Berry, Event Designer for McBride Events, Give your guests something to talk about! Photos Provided By PaperFreckles


tips • You’ll need to let your guests know at which table they’ll be sitting, and there are so many unique and fun ways to communicate this information to complement your theme and setting. Whether it be a large poster in a gilded frame at the entrance to a grand ballroom, or little letters for guests nestled in an antique mailbox on a wood table under a canvas tent, table assignments, or escort cards as they’re more commonly known, present an opportunity for your guests to experience another “wow” factor and really make the event uniquely yours. • Many guests love to take home special mementos from your wedding as a reminder the great time they had – whether it be a personalized place card, a program or dinner menu. Keep this in mind as you’re putting the finishing touches on your event – think about how these items will have a life beyond the wedding and be added to the scrapbooks of family and friends to serve as a happy memory of your day. • Many hosts also like to send guests home with a small gift – packaging the favor is another great way to infuse your personality into your wedding items. Custom wrapping paper with photos of the couple, monogram tags and personalized ribbons are all fun ways to add a little something extra special to your favors. • One very important finishing element of your wedding is the thank you cards. Writing personal letters to all your guests will allow the euphoria of your happy day to linger once all the festivities have ended. You’ll typically want to order at least the same number of thank you cards as invitations, or more if you choose a design such as a monogram that will allow the cards to also be used as personal stationery. • And most importantly, don’t stress in the final weeks leading up to your wedding day! If you’re working with professional wedding vendors, and we hope you are, they’re accustomed to paying close attention to details and timelines, making sure every little element of your wedding is perfect for you. Coleen Akers, Owner, PaperFreckles, Invitations, stationery & paper goods for life’s most special occasions!


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In the Limelight L

Laura Eilers keeps the energy flowing on the field and in life. aura Eilers is the dance team coordinator for the Richmond Raiders indoor football team. She’s also got her own business, Going Pro Entertainment, and is sales director for Angela King Designs and Go Wild Wear. Last year she won the Ms. United States title, a national pageant with fashion and interview components for single, divorced or widowed women between the ages of 25 and 50.

Belle: How do you define your personal style? Eilers: I like clothes that are classics, timeless

and ageless. Then I like to add a color pop or accent. I go through color phases.

What phase are you in now? Because it’s Raider’s season, right now it’s royal blue. I also like to add a hint of sparkle — a rhinestone or shine somewhere. That always helps. And where would we find you shopping for sparkle and royal blue? My favorite store in Carytown is LeenaLu, and you can find me at Target quite often. Tell us about your fitness regimen. I try to stay balanced and not get too extreme with my workouts. I don’t work out more than

photo by scott elmquist

one hour a day, but I do like to work out every day, even if I can only fit in 20 minutes. Treat your exercise like a job and be sure to set up appointments. It should be a daily expectation like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Mondays, Wednesdays and sometimes on Fridays I like to run to get my day started. I teach dance, boot camp, strength and toning with weights, and I also take classes where I can feed off the other students’ energy. Recently I also follow a lot of the Insanity Workout with Shaun T at home. What is your business about? Going Pro Entertainment specializes in using team alumni from the pro cheer industry from the NFL and NBA across the USA to perform for events, do choreography, conventions, and consulting. Your life and career center on fitness and health, so how does that make you feel? I feel confident when I look in the mirror, like I’m wearing a new outfit every day. It’s one less thing I have to be concerned with. If you feel good underneath and you make healthy choices, the rest will fall into place. interviewed and styled by

Ranee Kamens


MAY 2012 | 21 |

Sail into Summer Introducing Bonn Bon’s new leather bracelet with nautical inspired charms.

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Hair | Nails | Massage | Skin Care | Keratin | Shellac 4915 Caskie St. | Richmond VA |


Event-related business, here is your very own Belle Feature Section!


Our June / July section of Belle Entertains will focus on those sizzling hot summer parties! Belle wants to know how Richmond entertains, so send us your fun, creative, and amazing party photos. Visit our facebook page Or email them to If you are a event-related business and would like to be in this feature section Belle Entertains, please contact your account rep at 804.358.0825 plus their extension.

| 22 | MAY 2012


AGEnda Compiled by

J u l i e G e e n, El i zab e th Je we tt

a nd

H i l ary Lan g ford

Highly Original Rock and roots purveyors the Alabama Shakes are the band you can’t help but tell everyone you know about after you hear them, even just once. Evoking a young Tina Turner, Brittany Howard owns song and stage when she plays and her brethren back her with soulful chops straight out of a Stax catalogue. On their debut, “Boys and Girls” (ATO), they bring the likes of Otis Redding and Led Zeppelin to mind, but are far from derivative. — H.L.

Choose Your Words The essays in “He Said What? Women Write About Moments When Everything Changed,” edited by Victoria Zacheim, cover every permutation of father, husband, boyfriend, classmate or stranger and the words they uttered that burned, enlightened or downright slaughtered the brilliant authors of this anthology. Wisdom, humor, honesty and courage abound (Seal Press, $16.95). — J.G.

Two Extremes Richmond CenterStage and the Firehouse Theatre team up to present this musical about the unlikely pairing of a society lady abandoned by her husband, and a pregnant slave sentenced to the gallows. “Dessa Rose” runs from May 4-June 2 at the Firehouse Theatre, 1609 W. Broad St. Tickets are $26, with discounts for students and seniors. — E.J. Out in the Open If you didn’t know that the East Coast’s premiere outdoor lifestyle festival was held in Richmond, now’s the time to get acquainted. From May 18-20, Brown’s Island will play host to a variety of outdoor events, competitions and concerts, including a mud run and ultimate air-dog competition. It’s free; event registration fees vary. For a schedule and information visit — E.J. Open for Battle Santigold’s long-overdue, sophomore effort, “Master of My Make Believe” (Atlantic), champions imagination and bursts with creative battle cries. Her brand of smash pop slings skittering keys up against machine-gun drums and bass lines influenced by Jamaica, where she recorded several of these songs. The Brooklyner is cheerleader and sweet songbird on the most explosive 38 minutes of music you’ll hear this year. — H.L.

Asian Persuasion Celebrate the depth and diversity of Richmond’s Asian community at the 13th Asian American Celebration, a festival at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, 403 N. Third St., May 5, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Check out the cultural exhibits, a vendor marketplace and a variety of Asian food booths. Admission is free. — E.J.

Future Leftovers “Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations,” by Evan D.G. Fraser and Andrew Rimas, takes a compelling jaunt through world history, chronicling how the food supply and those who control it have always shaped our destiny. Elegantly written, the book makes the case for heeding the pitfalls of the past, highlighting our increasing vulnerability to a food system based on profit over sustainability (Counterpoint, $16.95). — J.G.


MAY 2012 | 23 |

g r e at ta s t e

an educated guest

Pine-Nut Primer

Who knew there were reasons to beware of this little nut?


n July 2010, I still owned a restaurant, Savor Café. The heirloom tomatoes were just about ready for harvest; caprese salads and panini were going to be our bestsellers in the next few weeks. For us cooks, it was time to stock up on pine nuts to double up the weekly batches of pesto production. I looked in the freezer and found the last twopound bag of Costco’s pine nuts. The next day I searched in vain for more at the store. I asked Costco’s customer service to check on the next shipment, and was told there was a pine nut shortage and no immediate shipment was expected. A pine nut shortage? I’d never heard of such a thing. I called my rep at Performance Food Group, Carl, and asked if he had any pine nuts, offering him a choice of my arm or my leg as payment. He confirmed there was a pine-nut crisis because of the widespread floods in southern China the previous summer, and sorry, the company didn’t have any secret pine nut reserves. Good that I got to keep my limbs, not so good that there are no pine nuts to be found. Wait, did he say China? Sure enough, my research revealed that China has been the leading exporter of pine nuts, providing them for prices less than the higher-quality Mediterranean pignoli, or the American piñon. The 2009 deluge and subsequent landslides in southern China decimated many of its pine trees and the 2009 harvest was abysmal. Pine nuts are harvested from the cones of pine trees in wild and cultivated forests. There are more than 100 varieties of Pinus, but only 20 varieties are edible for humans because of the resin content. The most common pine nuts in the market are Chinese exports P. koraiensis and P. sibirica (Siberian pine nuts), Mediterranean P. pinea and American P. edulis (New Mexico pine nuts). Pine nuts are expensive when compared with other tree nuts for several reasons: Cones are slow to mature, taking 18 months to fully develop; the

| 24 | MAY 2012



trees grow only on certain high elevations; and harvesting and shelling pine nuts is labor intensive. The current price for shelled Chinese pine nuts is about $17 a pound, pignoli are about $35 a pound and piñon are about $50 a pound. Adding more drama, since 2009, cases of PNS — pine nuts syndrome, or pine mouth, appeared in the United States. It is a bitter, metallic taste that lingers in your mouth for weeks and makes everything taste bitter. It was first reported in Belgium in 2001 and became a major, mysterious food nuisance in Europe until the connection was discovered between PNS and eating a certain type of pine nut, the inedible P. armandii variety. The inedible variety was traced to pine nut blends originating in China. P. armandii mostly grows in China and Asia. A day or two after consuming the offending P. armandii, many consumers report a bitter taste in everything they eat. The syndrome will self-correct after several weeks, but will return when P. armandii nuts are eaten again. There’s plenty of blame to go around in the pine nut export-import field, but as long as U.S. buyers insist on cheaper blends, some Chinese exporters are willing to meet that low-cost demand by adding the small, rounded, bitter P. armandii. In 2009-2010, Costco and Trader Joe’s were among large retailers receiving customer complaints, and the companies worked with the Food and Drug Administration to trace the pine nut sources to China. Because the reports are relatively few, it isn’t considered a food illness by the FDA, so there are still P. armandii out there in the stores waiting to give us “taste disturbances.” I suppose, when buying pine nuts, it’s best to opt for the more expensive pignoli or piñon, or carefully inspect the pine nut blends from China to make sure that there are only two distinctively shaped pine nuts in the bag, P. koraiensis and P. sibirica, and not three (the third is likely to be P. armandii). Caveat emptor.

Ellie Basch

Picture the Pine Nuts To see photos of pine nut varieties and more details about pine-nut syndrome, visit these websites:

Recipe: Basil Pesto Yields 1 cup Ingredients: 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed, preferably Genovese or sweet basil variety 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts 3 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Directions: Combine the basil and pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you’re using walnuts, and they aren’t pre-chopped, pulse them a few times before adding the basil). Add the garlic, and pulse a few more times. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

thanks, mom She kissed away every tear. She chased away the closet monster before turning out the lights. She read your favorite book to you a hundred times. Win or lose, she treated you to ice cream after every soccer game. She cut out the pictures for the project you forgot to do. She laughed at every one of your silly jokes. She’s your mom. For all they do, Bon Secours thanks all of Richmond’s mothers and wishes them a Happy Mother’s Day.




at home

Tile Pointers from Lia Lash • When selecting a tile, pick

one that you love -- after all, you’re going to be living with it for a while -- but also keep in mind the style of your home. The tile should look appropriate to the age and overall feel of your home.

• There are so many tiles out

Lia Lash puts her building background to work in tile and other projects. Interviewed by Deveron Timberlake


f there’s one thing Lia Lash wants people to know, it’s that stereotypes about designers often are wrong. “We’re not all snooty, and only for the rich,” says the tall, 36-year-old interior designer, who rolls up her sleeves to actually do the tile work in her clients’ homes and businesses. She’s working on a restaurant in Urbanna and various residences around town, and talks with Belle about the pleasures and peril of selfemployment.

Belle: How did you enter the design field? Lash: It was kind of an organic process for me because I come from a building background. A contractor offered me a job and I jumped at the chance to train with him and all the trades. From that I transitioned into doing historic renovations for myself, and when the market crashed I had to reinvent myself again. Doing renovations, the design process was always the most stimulating for me, so I started doing design for friends and family and took it from there.

You’re known for the tile work you do for clients, rather than subbing it out. Easily 75 percent of the time I do hands-on work, depending on the scope of the project. For kitchen backsplash and bathroom jobs I do most of the installation, and I enjoy that. In order to do tile especially well you really have to have an eye for detail. I’ve seen people just throw it down and that’s not how I operate. I like to take my time and make the job perfect. It would irk me to have to look at something not well done. Where can tile go wrong? People focus on laying the tile and that is integral, but grouting is also important. I see so many jobs that are ruined by a sloppy grout job. Also, it’s really easy to get sucked into a tile trend. You need to pick something you

| 26 | may 2012


not only love but that will be timeless. Do the research and work with a designer or even the salespeople at a tile store to find something that is not only cool, but will give a timeless look. I’m not a fan of re-glazing tile; it sometimes doesn’t turn out very well. Isn’t budget the usual stumbling block when people are considering a designer? I like clients to know that I know what I’m talking about and not just throwing things together. I’ve taken time to think it out. I have this building background and can give them Designer Lia Lash something that looks good. I’m also installed the glass and metallic tiles in very conscious of cost and worka client’s kitchen. ing on a budget. You don’t need to spend $80,000 on your kitchen — there are very budgetfriendly things you can do to pump it up. I’m not out to gouge them and pick the most expensive material. Designers come with a stereotype, you say. A lot of television shows and magazines portray designers as lofty, superior people who deign to tell people what to do. That’s not what I’m trying to do. I want to be accessible and not intimidating. It can be fun to have someone in your corner to make sure your job is the best it can be and that money is not wasted. How scary is it to be self-employed these days? It’s one of those decisions that is empowering but terrifying at the same time. You just have to realize that your paychecks are not going to come every two weeks — that is not an absolute. The challenge to being self-employed is you wear so many hats and you wear every hat — accounting, marketing, everything depends on you. It’s empowering to control your own destiny, to answer to yourself, that you don’t have to compromise. You are your own best and worst critic, and I love that.

• If you’re having trouble photo by scott elmquist

Hands-On Design

there it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. I recommend spending a couple of weeks looking at as many magazines and online pictures as possible before you ever enter a tile store. These will really aid your designer, or tile store salesperson, in pinpointing your style and likes. narrowing it down, subway tile is always a great choice. Its style is timeless, it’s budget friendly, and it comes in a number of different colors and materials to suit any kitchen or bath. Plus, you can easily dress it up with a small supply of a more expensive, flashier accent tile.

• Two things I always include

in a bathroom design are heated floors and a handheld shower attachment. There’s nothing better than stepping out of the shower onto a warm floor in the middle of winter. And the handheld is not only great for bathing, but I don’t know how people clean their shower without them. They are both a bit of an investment up front, but you’ll never regret the expense.

• If you’re attempting a [do-

it-yourself ] tile job, keep in mind that grout is as important, if not more than, the actual laying of the tile. I’ve seen many a beautiful job ruined by a sloppy grout job. And if it’s in a wet location you definitely want to make sure everything is properly filled and sealed. Take your time with it and don’t try to rush through it.

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more to the story belle

MAY 2012 | 27 |

f i r st p e r s o n

Hope Chest

Thermography takes a look inside.


reasts are magical. They have the power to transform girls into women, babies into children, and men into … well, everyone with breasts has her own version of that. My own arrived suddenly, like extraterrestrial twins on a pleasure cruise forced to make a crash landing when their ship went down. I woke up one morning with a brand new atmosphere and gravitational pull. I still occasionally check for moons, rings or anything else that will allow me to apply for separate status in our solar system. Compared with my chest, poor little Pluto never stood a chance. My extra endowment isn’t without its ups and downs. I’ve never had to wonder what it felt like to be a twiggy model with the figure of a 12-year-old boy, which is a plus, but I did have to visit a special garment store where I was introduced to womanhood by a hunchbacked old lady with a measuring tape. That “bra” — or what my husband refers to more accurately as an “over-the-shoulder boulderholder” — was reminiscent of a medieval torture device, if torture devices had more straps and levers. When it accidentally caught fire on a ranch in Colorado I did not mourn its loss. My back, however, did. I’m still amazed that Victoria’s Secret doesn’t employ a team of engineers working around the clock to solve the world’s large-breast | 28 | MAY 2012



valley haggard

crisis once and for all. I finally saw the twins’ true virtue when I used them to feed my son, but because he has no memory of nursing, he recently asked if we could give it another go. “Get your own!” my husband yelled, which may well be my son’s quest one day. But since he’s a confirmed only child, and my chest is in retirement from its service as a food bank, I’ve started to think about them differently once again. Especially when a tender, sore spot in the one on the left struck the fear of God — and breast cancer — into a place right next to my heart. To avoid a mammogram, I chose an alternative route, scheduling my first-ever breast exam with a certified clinical thermographer, Eleina Espigh, owner of Virginia Clinical Thermography in Glen Allen. The former executive director of the Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association, Espigh opened her private practice with a massage therapist three years ago. Entering a room more like a spa than a lab immediately puts me at ease. Espigh answers all of my questions, explaining that thermography is a noninvasive diagnostic technique used to monitor changes in skin surface temperature. “People are becoming more aware of the dangers of exposure to radiation inherent in a mammogram, and seeking out thermography as a safer alternative,” she says. And though she also uses

thermography to diagnose pain, fractures and other injuries to the body, the larger percentage of her patients seeks out thermography to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. After I fill out the papers and Espigh explains that today’s exam will establish a baseline to be followed by regular checkups, she asks me to take off my shirt and raise my hands above my head. “Your breasts are quite large,” she says, “but there are worse problems to have.” We laugh, and as she takes pictures from the front, back and side, she points out dark orange streaks on the computer screen that match the tender spots on my chest. I have fibrocystic tissue, she tells me, which is a common condition that may be treated by simple dietary changes. A board-certified thermalogist will interpret the images and confirm what Espigh tells me in a detailed report that I’ll receive later that week. But for the moment, I thank her and my lucky stars, that for the time being I don’t have to adapt to any new alien invasions. The ones I’ve already had are enough for this lifetime. For information, see The Virginia Thermography Clinic sets up at Good Foods Grocery in the Gayton Shopping Center the last Saturday of every month. photo illustration by joel smith