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April 2012 FrEE

in Business
Helps Tanzania
Culture and
Pound Cake

Mind Your
Where and
When to Shop
Garden Week
in Virginia
The Boulevard
Opens Doors

modern charm
the southern issue

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APRIL 2012
On the cover:

Style & substance

Champagne silk wrap top by
Krizia ($190) at Baggio; white
slacks by Ecru ($144) at Lucky
Lillibet in the Shops at 5807;
vintage tan leather gloves ($22)
at Halcyon Vintage; leather bag
by Furla ($895) at Saks Fifth
Avenue; vintage resin zodiac
charm bracelet by Thea Grant
($144) at Ruby in the Shops at
5807; hand-carved cocoa bead
necklace with fabric tassel by
local artist Amie Cunningham
for Thief and Bandit ($58) at Photo by
Scott Elmquist at the Valentine
Richmond History Center,


Pottery pitcher from Robin Cage … Southern
accessories for the home … generations of riders
at Level Green … pop quiz with Allyson Steele …
Ava Spece takes over at the Visual Arts Center …
Southern beauty essentials. by Elizabeth Jewett
Lush Life: Disco redux, silent blockbuster,
Jersey guys and more mark April’s
cultural bounty. by Karen Newton 8


Fashion Cues




Jason Roop
Editor: Deveron
Art Director:


Joel Smith
Scott Elmquist
Lauren Healy

Photography Editor:
Fashion Editor:

Contributing Writers:

Ellie Basch
Julie Geen
Valley Haggard
Elizabeth Jewett
Hilary Langford
Robey Martin
Karen Newton
Melissa Scott Sinclair
Edwin Slipek

Dana Elmquist
Marketing, Sponsorships & Events:

Tonie Stevens
Hannah Huber

Arts and Entertainment


Agenda: Where to go, what to listen to and
what’s bookish this month. by Julie Geen,
Elizabeth Jewett and Hilary Langford.

Great Taste




Manners for the modern Ms. — a primer
with an expert. by Melissa Scott Sinclair

Southern spring fashion looks even better at the
Wickham House downtown. by Lauren Healy and
the Belle fashion team; photos by Scott Elmquist

Editor in Chief:

Ed Harrington

of the traveling pants. by Karen Newton

Fitness: Jennifer Koch brings a holistic
approach to better health. by Julie Geen

Collier Waran




Publisher: Lori

Copy Editor: G.W.

profile: Lalas symbolize an actual sisterhood

Body & Soul



At Home: Visit a Tuscan Villa during Historic

Garden Week in Virginia. by Edwin Slipek 22

An Educated Guest: Find the right

farmers’ market for your seasonal
pickings. by Ellie Basch 24
Food and Drink: Pound cake, pickles
and a pantry’s worth of Southernisms
make a party. by Robey Martin 26

First Person


How a born here becomes a been
there. by Valley Haggard


Toni McCracken

Gracie McGurn, Bethany Silva,
Myra Watkins

Jennifer Waldbauer

Kira Jenkins, Chris Mason

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.


APRIL 2012 | 1 |

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


Elizabeth Jewett


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photo by scott Elmquist

april 2012 | 3 |

Pop Quiz with



llyson Mills Steele is a young mom, teacher,
and on certain evenings, a Southern rock star.
As part of the Mills Family Band, whose trademark
sound is a fusion of bluegrass, folk, jazz and soul,
Steele has performed in venues around town, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Ashland
Coffee and Tea. To find out more about this local
singer, we asked Allyson to fill out Belle’s Pop Quiz.
1. Growing up I wanted to be a … Nurse, oceanographer, writer and teacher. And a rock star of course.
2. In one word I would describe myself as … A mess.
3. I knew I had made it when … I’ll have
to get back to you when it happens.
4. My inspiration comes from … My dear family.

I can’t live without my … Husband. He
keeps me together and always happy.

6. My favorite Richmond hangout is …
Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream.
7. My obsession of the moment is …
“Downton Abbey.” And hanging with friends.
8. My last meal on earth would be … The
scungilli and penne al Amatriciana from
Edo’s Squid. In that order, please.
9. My guilty pleasure is … A venti Starbucks
dark roast with whole milk and six raw sugars. I even go out of my way to the one
with a drive-through. I am such a cliché.
10. The one item I would never leave home without
is … My very outdated iPhone. I was teased by
[Bill Bevins and Shelly Perkins] for looking up lyrics
on it during a performance on Lite 98 last year.

Born to Ride

John and Pat Betts of Level Green Riding School
in Powhatan stand with their daughters, Yvonne
Holiday and Fiona Turner, who’s riding.

| 4 | APril 2012

Anyone in Richmond who went through a horsecrazy phase as a child probably has warm memories
of Level Green Riding School. Call the school today, and you’ll still be greeted by the familiar British accent of owner Pat Betts, answering from the
stable, and likely be put on hold because a horse
needs its supper. A Powhatan institution for the last
25 years, Level Green also is a multigenerational
family affair.
When British native Pat and her husband, Jon,
settled on their 200-acre Powhatan property, they
bought ponies for their three daughters, Emily, Fiona and Yvonne. “It kind of grew slowly from there,”
Yvonne recalls. “They started to do lessons and then
camps as well.” Soon a full-fledged riding school was
born, with youth and adult lessons, competitive riding programs, boarding facilities, and a spring and
summer day camp. For Yvonne, childhood was about
two things, she says: “school and horses.”

Now grown with children, Yvonne lives nearby and
helps her parents run the school along with her two
sisters. Many of the school’s first pupils send their
children to Level Green to learn how to ride English
style, muck out stalls, and take care of animals several times their size. “Quite often someone will call and
say, ‘I used to ride many years ago, and now I’m looking for lessons for my daughter and son,’” Yvonne
says. “It’s really come full-circle.”
In 25 years the world outside of Level Green’s riding rings and wooded trails has changed, but Yvonne
sees one constant: “Some kids seem to be born loving everything about horses. They come to ride and
they have horse shirts. Everything in their rooms is
horses. And that has not changed.” When asked if
her children may one day carry on the Level Green
tradition, she takes a moment, then answers: “I hope
so. I would never push my daughters to keep it going
if they didn’t want to. But I hope so.”

photos by scott Elmquist

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

visual impact

For nearly 50 years, the Visual Arts Center of
Richmond has served as a cornerstone for the local
arts community, providing exhibition space, classes and a diverse array of arts programs. Ava Spece
stepped in as the new president and chief executive of the organization March 1. Belle caught up
with the former Washingtonian to talk about her
new role.
belle: What were you doing before you came to
the Visual Arts Center?
Spece: For the last seven years I was the executive director of the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program.
Even though it’s called the youth orchestra, it’s really a K-12 music education program. The organization was in a quite a bit of need of attention operationally, and so in the seven years I was there we
accomplished a tremendous amount, everything
from relocating the organization to repairing our
relationship with a lot of funders.
What attracted you to a position with the Visual
Arts Center?
The reason is connected to my mother, who is an
artist, and who was an art teacher for many, many
years, and still teaches, at age 77. A very big part of
my spirit and who I am is connected to her and being a visual artist even though my formal training
was in music. The Visual Arts Center also certainly
has a reputation that precedes it. Many, many people well outside of the Richmond area are familiar with the organization.
How do you envision your role with the organization?
I’m here to lead the organization through its next stage of life. There are
many capable people, from board to staff to faculty, who are functioning in
the organization and handling it very well and providing stellar services to the
community. So that’s a joyous place for me to be able to walk into. There’s not
a crisis. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that we want to look at, in
terms of strategic goals for the organization. It’s important to refocus the organization on what those big picture items are, getting through the current
economic crisis in terms of things like funders and donors.

Southern Beauty
Lavish Apothecary owner Amy Grigg knows a
thing or two about a good beauty regimen. The
old South may have been about hairspray and
heavy makeup, but times have changed and
natural beauty is the South’s best look. Here are
Amy’s suggestions for five beauty essentials every
modern Southern woman should own.

1. Ellis Faas Skin Veil foundation and concealer
Flawless coverage available in a vanity sized bottle
or travel-perfect makeup pens.

In your own words how would you describe the mission of the Visual Arts
A community arts center is really in many ways a catalyst for what fires the
community. Any community is really juiced and oiled by this creative economy that’s within it. A community arts center plays a significant role in keeping those fires burning and keeping that level of awareness and involvement
by community members in the arts and in their environment. You can throw
money at things that need to be revitalized, but until you add art to the recipe
it doesn’t get where it needs to go.
For information about the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, including upcoming summer classes visit or call 353-0094.

2. Juliette Has a Gun, Not a Perfume
Romano Ricci, great-grandson of renowned
perfume maker Nina Ricci, produces a one-note
wonder, perfect for the understated, sexy woman
from the new South.
3. Zona Italian mesh sponge
This green tea-, lemon- or lavender-scented
sponge is antibacterial. So say goodbye to moldy,
mildewed, and smelly shower sponges.

4. Suki, Renewal Bio-Resurfacing facial peel
Cranberry glycolic and pumpkin enzymes deliver
spa quality peel results at home.
5. Susan Posnick Cosmetics Dallas lipstick
Named for the city where she lives, Susan Posnick’s
perennial favorite is a pretty coral that looks good
on every woman.
All items available at Lavish Apothecary, 5807
Patterson Ave.,

photos by scott Elmquist

april 2012 | 5 |

st y l e & s u b s ta n c e
Kitchen herb garden with Mason jars
and chalkboard, $118. Graham Redfern

Cardinal salt and pepper shakers, $12.95 each
Virginia Historical Society

Monticello tulip-poplar bowl
NGVA Wood Art by Kirk McCauley
Crafted of a tree thought to have
been planted by Jefferson. $1,050.

dress this

Quirky, functional, and effortlessly stylish
local accents fit in any Southern home.

Petroglyph jar, $225
Alex Johnson Pottery

Wastebasket, $85
Dana Gibson

Green peony lumbar pillow, $165
Dana Gibson

| 6 | APril 2012

photos by scott Elmquist

NGVA Wood Art
Dana Gibson
6414 Horsepen Road
Alex Johnson Pottery
Graham Redfern
Virginia Historical Society
438 N. Boulevard
43rd Street Gallery
1410 W. 43rd St.

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APRIL 2012 | 7 |


Lush Life

Bard in the trailer park and Abba remembered:
It’s a curious April in Richmond. by Karen Newton

ven if you’ve been hibernating all
winter, there are too many good reasons to get out this month to let a little
rain slow you down.

Start with music, preferably some
Jersey boys. Real Estate, the buzz band from

the Garden State, plays Strange Matter on
April 5 at 8 p.m. Critics call their sound 21stcentury Beach Boys meets East Coast suburbia,
so getting to hear them in a small venue is going
to be a treat. The infectious pop of Australia’s the
Twerps will open the night of sheer pop bliss. Park
once and party twice by having dinner or dessert at
Panama. The selection of house-made pies and cakes is
unparalleled in Richmond. Just don’t linger, because the
show is sure to be packed.
If you’ve never seen a silent movie with live music, start now. As the kickoff for the James

Dancing queens
get moving with
Abba in Glen Allen.

River Film Festival, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will hold a screening of “Battleship
Potemkin” with live music by Goldrush, a local band as devoted to Beethoven as the Beatles.
It’s Friday, April 6, at 6:30 p.m. in the Leslie Cheek Theater. For more than eight decades,
Sergei Eisenstein’s powerful 1925 tour de force of cinematic technique has remained the
most influential silent film of all time. The movie’s just over an hour long, so you’ll have
plenty of time to head upstairs to the Best Café for discounted beverages and a nosh overlooking the reflecting pool afterward.

Real Estate moves
into Strange Matter
for a show April 5.

If you think Shakespeare is too high-brow, lower your expectations.

On April 10 at 7:30 p.m. at CenterStage, you can catch a staged reading
of “Shakespeare in the Trailer Park,” which promises to be anything
but a traditional take on the Bard. It’s a reading, not a full production,
and I’m guessing the iambic pentameter also will go out the window
with hilarity. If you care to make an evening of it, first stop by Pasture,
two blocks from the theater, for some Southern small plates in one of
Richmond’s newest and hippest hangouts. They’re pros at getting you
out by curtain time.
One of the great guilty-pleasure bands of all time is Swedish group
Abba. Its music continues to entertain dancing queens of all sorts. Mark

your calendar for April 13 at 8 p.m. at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen
Allen, where you can hear the Richmond Men’s Chorus performing
“ExtrAbbaganza: the Music of Abba,” as close to a trip back to the ’70s
as you could wish for.

“Battleship Potemkin” inspires
a live musical score at VMFA.

April is shaping up to be all kinds of fun and I didn’t even mention Easter on Parade, that Monument Avenue march of overdressed
pooches, gown-bedecked drag queens and the
silliest hats of the year. You’d be a fool
to miss so many good times in Richmond this month.
Karen Newton blogs about
almost everything she does at

| 8 | APRIL 2012


Almond cake with
apricot filling
is featured at
Ipanema Cafe.


photo by ASH DANIEL


Traveling Pants
of the Sisterhood

Richmond women connect with artisans in Tanzania.


t’s a sisterhood that extends almost 8,000 miles.
Seven of the women live in Richmond and
the other four in Tanzania. Some have met
their sisters and others know them only from
Dadas & Design is a nonprofit social enterprise
created by Susan Books, Suzanne Johnson, Sandra Whitfield, Cindy Wofford, Polly Wrinkle, Barbara Parker and Lois Biddison as an outgrowth of
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s participation in an
educational program in the village of Mwitikira in
Tanzania. Dadas means sisters in Swahili.
After some of the women visited the village to
bring gifts of food, they were approached by a
group of local women about how they might find
ways to earn enough money to feed their families
and provide basic health care and educational opportunities for their children.
“There were seven of us interested enough to
give over our time,” Brooks says about figuring
out the concept for Dadas & Design. “It’s not our
goal to be business people; the goal is for them to
be business people. We opened the channels for
them to make a living.”
In a village with no electricity or running water,
the four Tanzanian women formed a sewing co-op
to make their first product, LaLas — drawstring

by Karen Newton

lounge pants made from two different colorful, different than us and yet similar. We identify with
boldly-patterned Tanzanian fabrics. The name them. We’ve worked hard in our times; we’ve had
comes from the Swahili phrase “lala salama,” dreams. We will do anything to make this work, but
their attitude is ‘We thank you for the work.’”
which means to sleep peacefully.
The women’s goal is to establish sustainable
The first shipment of 100 sold out by Christmas
development. Drought is a constant in
and another order of 250 was placed
Tanzania and its residents rely on subwith the women. “We refer to them Lois Biddison, Susan
sistence farming, so an economic plan
as artisans, not seamstresses. It’s not Brooks, Sandra Whitcharity,” Johnson says. “It’s two groups field, Polly Wrinkle and based on hand-sewn exports promises
of women with complementary skills Cindy Wofford meet to the women a future the land cannot.
discuss ideas for Dadas “Adding the equivalent of $300 a year
and shared goals.”
& Design, a collabto a family’s income over there subThe process for the village women to
orative with craftsstantially changes the quality of life in
create the LaLas is a protracted one. women in Tanzania.
their village,” Brooks explains. “What
The women must take a long, bumpy
seems like an insufficient amount of
bus ride on an unpaved road into the
city to purchase the fabric, which must then be money here is huge there.”
The women here agree that the future of the
washed repeatedly to make it softer. Water must
be pumped by hand and hauled on their heads partnership is assured because of the strength of
to wash the fabric the necessary three times and character of the village women, their dedication
dried on outdoor lines. It is then ironed using a to hard work and the fact that the business builds
on the women’s strengths. They’re considering
coal iron before being cut out in patterns.
The four women then use old-fashioned treadle sarongs and bags as potential future products.
sewing machines to craft the garments that are put These two groups of sisters’ belief that they are
on a local bus to be taken to a plane for transport to all in it for the long haul is summed up with the
the United States. It’s quite a process on both sides Dadas & Design philosophy: Together we create.
of the globe. “We have a sense of making a dent in
For information, see
the world,” Whitfield says. “The women are so very


APRIL 2012 | 9 |


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Check out the scene at CinéBistro’s
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Seasonal menu items are made
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dinner, and for pre- and
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Designed exclusively for adults 21 and older,
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b o dy & s o u l


Healthy Tips from
Jennifer Koch
1. Find an exercise that you love
and can stick with. Richmond
has so much to offer: outdoor
sports groups, dance studios, yoga,
beautiful places to walk and bike.
2. Set attainable goals. It would
be better to set a goal of doing
something two times a week
and accomplish it than to set
a goal of five times a week
and not do it and quit.
3. Add one dark green
vegetable to your day.

5. If you feel you don’t have time
to take care of yourself, read a
book on time management. If
something is important to you,
you won’t miss it no matter what.

The Little Things


Put health first without following the pack.

hen I meet with health and nutrition play into what kind of food you like and what you
coach Jennifer Koch, I expect to should be eating. I can help you find that.”
Koch, 25, named her business after her motto,
come away with a diet plan or a list of
things to eat or not eat. But instead “Eat well and adventure often,” which describes
she lifts the lid off the Pandora’s her life. She majored in business and marketing
Box of reasons I can’t maintain healthy habits. Oh, at Virginia Commonwealth University, but after
dear. A diet plan would have been so much easier. a stint with the Department of Agriculture, she
I could have moved it around on my desk for a few switched it all up. In 2010 through, she traveled the world by herself, visitweeks before recycling it.
“People know the basics of being healthy,” Koch ing more than 15 countries. When she returned,
she considered volunteering overseas.
says, “so a lot of my work is looking at
the emotional reasons.” Trained and Jennifer Koch uses a A friend suggested she help Americans
approach to
become healthier. “My friend told me
certified by the Institute for Integrated holistic
health and fitness.
my country needs me more than anyNutrition, Koch learned more than 100
dietary theories — Atkins, Ayurveda and others. where else,” Koch says. “I really took it to heart.”
Normally I don’t trust people who don’t have
Her goal is to help her clients navigate the morass
of information to find a comfortable, healthy life- sugar in the house, but Koch cracks me right open
with her nonjudgmental approach and a glass of
style based on their individual needs.
“So many people ask me for a plan,” Koch says. delicious kale, orange, apple, carrot and celery
“Diets don’t work. It’s on someone else’s terms.” juice with a twist of lime. She doesn’t try to make
Instead, after a free consultation, she works with me stop drinking coffee or take away my bacon. Inher clients in 50-minute sessions for six months stead, I come to the conclusion that, because of my
to change their habits. “I look at what they’re do- extreme, addictive personality, I end up with alling now,” she says. “I look at everything. Eating, or-nothing exercise and eating patterns. I’m either
exercise, sleep, what they ate as a child, what their training for a 5-kilometer race and eating candy,
family history is, the atlas of their health and or sedentary with spinach salads.
“You don’t have to become a super crazy healthy
what they’re doing. There’s so many factors that

6. Look at your negative self-talk
and the mindset you may have
because of your past experiences.
Work with a counselor or health
coach to dig for the reasons you
aren’t taking care of yourself.

by Julie Geen

person who never does anything wrong,” she says.
“Perhaps that’s not sustainable for you. You can be
healthy, but you don’t have to be perfect. You have
to be in a place where you can enjoy and maintain
your lifestyle. You can create a lifestyle that is fun
and feels good.”
Her work is based on a holistic approach. One of
the concepts trademarked by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is called primary food. “It’s your
relationships, your career and your spirituality and
your physical activity,” she says. “And it says that
those pieces are more important than the secondary
fuel, which is what you actually put on your plate. It’s
so true. You can’t tell people to eat healthier if their
life is out of balance. Or they are going through
something stressful and traumatic. If they are unhappy in some way, they have to get that aligned first
and then they will want to be a more healthy person.”
Koch, who calls herself a rebel, suggests that I
“say no to anyone who is going to tell you how to
live your life or how you should eat. You design
your own life.” And with her help, I get a glimmer
of just how that might include bacon, spinach salads, a 5-K — and even candy, once in a while.
For information or to contact Jennifer Koch, go


APRIL 2012 | 11 |


4. Treat yourself well. Do one
thing a day that you love.
Facebook doesn’t count.

southern charm
Pastels and tailoring give classical tones to the modern lady’s wardrobe.

Fashion editor
Lauren Healy

Scott Elmquist

Fashion Assistant
Ashley Carruthers


Pink dress by Tibi ($440) at Levys;
hammered brass collar necklace by local artist Christine Young for Young
Frankk ($124) at Need Supply Co.; beige
leather and gold costume bangles by
Chanel ($1350) at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Jonye Cordova of JonyegirlFaces


Emily Hudspeth
hair design & makeup artist


Melanie Blankenship of Modelogic


The Valentine Richmond History Center
1015 E. Clay St.,

| 12 | APRIL 2012


Fa s h i o n c u e s


Silk floral dress as blouse by Amanda Uprichard
($216) and costume earrings by Murphy ($38) at
Wardrobe; 1980s pistachio skirt by Rina Rossi ($20)
at Halcyon Vintage; costume vintage bracelet ($35)
at Verve in the Shops at 5807; cream stamped
ostrich belt ($114) at Pink; turquoise costume ring
($18) at Bliss at 5812; light turquoise snakeskin
bag by Chanel ($2900) at Saks Fifth Avenue.


APRIL 2012 | 13 |

Retro-inspired red party dress by BB
Dakota ($96) at Need Supply Co.; carnival
glitter party shoes ($275) at Pink; twotoned multicolored 18-karat diamond
cuff bracelet, genuine coral, sapphires,
rubies, lapis, jade, turquoise and diamonds
with a 14 mm white South Sea pearl
($70,000) at Diamond Concepts.

White trench coat by Juicy Couture
($398) at Levys; blue and pink floral
silk chiffon scarf ($195) at Saks Fifth
Avenue; orange skirt by Carole Little
for Saint Tropez West ($24) and vintage
brass bug brooch ($48) both at Halcyon
Vintage; coral and gold leather belt by
Escada ($120) at Baggio; coral costume
earrings by Kenneth Jay Lane ($80) at
Monkees; silver block heel by Sam Edelman ($140) at Scarpa in Frances Kahn.


| 14 | APRIL
2012 2011/january 2012


Fa s h i o n c u e s


Bright yellow jacket by Alice + Olivia ($396) and creamy patent platform
by Yves Saint Laurent ($795) at Saks Fifth Avenue; floral pastel earrings
($45) at Frill Seekers and vintage good luck elephant necklace ($20) at
Verve in the Shops at 5807; lace dress with yellow piping at hem by Juicy
Couture ($298) at Levys; cream stamped ostrich belt ($114) at Pink.


APRIL 2012 | 15 |

Fa s h i o n c u e s


Silk pastel, floral, short-sleeve cardigan
by Hermes ($460) at Baggio; oversized
costume pearls by Anne Klein ($28)
at Halcyon Vintage; lemon sleeveless
silk dress by Rebecca Taylor ($335) and
iridescent heavy chain bracelet ($1,400)
all at Saks Fifth Avenue; floral metal
cuff by Kendra Scott ($92) at Wardrobe.

9734 Gayton Road 754-1164 Bliss at 5812 5812½ Grove Ave. 440-9025 Halcyon Vintage 117 N. Robinson St.
find it HErE: Baggio
358-1311 Levys 5807 Grove Ave. 673-0177 Monkees 11709 W. Broad St. 360-4660 Need Supply Co.
3100 W. Cary St. 767-1825 Pink 3158 W. Cary St. 358-0884 Saks Fifth Avenue Stony Point Fashion Park 9214 Stony Point Parkway 320-6960 Saxon Short Pump Town Center 11800 W. Broad St. 285-3473 Scarpa in Frances Kahn 6229 River Road 434-989-8407 Shops at
5807 5807 Patterson Ave. 288-5807 Thief & Bandit by Amie Cunningham Urban Outfitters Short Pump Town Center 11805 W. Broad
St. 364-5216 Wardrobe 1322 Gaskins Road 397-5021 Young Frankk by Christine Young

| 16 | APRIL 2012


From the Valentine
Richmond History
Center's significant
collection of apparel,
these springtime items
show timeless appeal.
Clockwise from top:
1900s chiffon parasol;
1948 straw hat with
grosgrain ribbon;

New Life in a
200-Year-Old House
To mark the 200th anniversary of the
Valentine-Wickham House, a series of
public programs and events focuses on
this National Historic Landmark and on
Richmond in the early 19th century. During
this 16-month celebration the Valentine
Richmond History Center will review the
house’s 1980s restoration and encourage
discussions within the community about the
future of house museums.
Events include these and others:
New 1812 public tour: Beginning April
1, a new public tour places the Wickham
household within a larger social, economic
and political context. With information on
the War of 1812, the Richmond Theatre
fire, the architecture of Robert Mills and
Alexander Parris, and the diversity of early
19th-century Richmond, the tour establishes
the architecture of the Wickham House as
a physical expression of the aspirations and
contradictions of early national history.
VCU collaboration: Faculty and
students from the Virginia Commonwealth
University School of the Arts will create
within the rooms of the Wickham House
site-specific work inspired and informed by
its architecture and history. Three rotations
of exhibitions beginning in late September
will respond to the house in media including
fashion, fiber arts, interior design, sculpture
and other disciplines.
Rooms reconsidered: Lynne Hastings
will review the furnishings of the Wickham
House to develop new approaches to the
period interiors and make greater use of
materials from the Valentine collections.
Visitors also can enjoy very-Richmond
luncheon fare from Sally Bell’s Kitchen,
which operates a second location at the
downtown museum, and find gifts and
mementos in the museum shop. For
information, see

1950 green satin
platform heels from
Mrs. Virginia Clark
Taylor; 1952 Sara Sue
taffeta and felt hat;
1925 embroidered silk
shawl with fringe.


APRIL 2012 | 17 |

f e at u r e

even on Facebook. I think I would either call the
person, or I would just send a little note. And
why I’m saying that: because Facebook is going
nowhere. You know what I’m saying? It’s there
for life. So why are you trying to fight this battle
I think that at that point. … You need to make
contact, direct contact with the person. And just
say, very graciously and very nicely: “I’m not sure
what you meant. I’m sure that all those things
that you said, you probably … hadn’t given it real
thought or consideration. But I really would like
to talk with you about it.”

Good Gracious


You’re at a family gathering, and your grandfather uses a racial slur.
You don’t have to be confrontational, but I do
believe that any time anybody makes a racial slur,
or something in terms of a person’s religion or ethnicity, it needs to be addressed.
Jacquelyn Small
I don’t think you should just
Thomas is owner
pass it up. I’m dead, dead set
and director of
against that. … But start off
an etiquette and
saying, “I heard what you said”
protocol school
— which hopefully calms the
in Richmond.
waters — “However, I take issue,
I don’t quite agree with that, I think we need to
look at that in a different light.” And hopefully,
that at least makes the person think. Because you
know, people will say things because they’ve always said it.

Southern manners for modern conundrums.


Interviewed by Melissa Scott Sinclair

n these days of Facebook fighting, statehouse
sniping and plenty of plain ol’ nastiness, Southern courtesy can be hard to find.
But Jacquelyn Small Thomas is an optimist. “I
believe, overall, I think we are trying to come back
to the civility,” she says. “We have just become very
rude,” she adds — “and we need to stop it.”
Thomas teaches politeness for a living. A Florida native, she’s owner and director of the Etiquette
and Protocol School in Richmond. She received
her training at the Protocol School of Washington and has been an assistant principal, guidance
counselor, adjunct college professor and day-care
| 18 | APRIL 2012


center owner.
Southern manners aren’t just about yes-ma’aming and the placement of iced-tea glasses, Thomas
says. “It’s being gracious and treating someone
like you would wish to be treated. And being aware
of others, your surroundings, and other people’s
feelings.” We put her to the test by asking how a
modern Southern woman deals with perplexing
You find out that a dear friend has been saying
nasty things about you on Facebook.
I don’t know that I would necessarily respond

Another family gathering question: How do
you respond to relatives’ too-personal questions?
“Why haven’t you gotten married? Why haven’t
you guys had a baby?” Well you know, my response to them is this: “You know what? I will
let you know when it happens.” They have no recourse. Think about what I just said. … And you
say it in such a way, you’ve already closed the conversation.
This is your body, this is your life — you don’t allow other people to control you. I feel very strongly about that. Sometimes you’re in dilemmas
because you allow people to let you get in those
dilemmas. But if you can remember that you’re in
control here, and that’s the way it is, you don’t have
to be rude. You don’t have to be ugly. You don’t
have to be confrontational.
Look. Don’t dread going. Go. And enjoy it. …
You have your answer ready. “When are you guys
having a baby?” “I’ll be sure to let you know.” Period. You don’t owe anyone any explanation. And
you’re still being gracious.
You find out through the grapevine that your
friend’s husband has been arrested for drunk
I think it depends on the closeness of the relationship. If it’s your closest friend, I think you can
just very nicely, without even addressing the actual situation, say to the person: “I’m right here for
you. If you need to talk, I will be happy to listen.”
Unless that person is really, really close to you,
I think I would allow that person to come to me.
… Some people are very, very private. Although
they may know that you know what has happened,
they are not ready to discuss it. So I think it really
depends on the relationship. … I would just say,
“If we need to talk, please know that I’ll always be
here to listen.” And let it go.


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APRIL 2012 | 19 |


the city
Love isn’t for sale, but Hot Dates Are!

Support Richmond CenterStage’s Education & Artistic Programs
by placing your bids on amazing date packages with the city’s top
bachelors and bachelorettes. Master of Ceremonies: Jason Roop,
Editor in Chief of STYLE WEEKLY.





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Bowerbirds are known for their unique
courtship rituals, so it’s fitting that a band
of the same name began when two Raleigh,
N.C., Whole Foods workers agreed on a
date behind the store’s dumpster. Philip
Moore and Beth Tacular fell in love and
made beautiful music thereafter, but not
without a relationship snag that inspired
their latest album, “The Clearing” (Dead
Oceans). Sunshiny strums and uplifting
melodies traipse lush soundscapes, and
hopeful words suggest the idyllic couple
has moved beyond its troubles.

Sound & Fury
“I stomp my feet a lot when
I play,” Christopher Paul
Stelling says. It’s no surprise
that this New Yorker can’t
stand still when belting out
rousing songs from his debut
album, “Songs of Praise
and Scorn” (Mecca Lecca
Recording Co.). Rooted in
pastoral themes, Stelling’s
lyrics recall early Dylan and
a touch of Southern Gothic,
a la William Faulkner. Saltof-the-earth folks, broken
birds and watery graves show
up among fiery string picking, and Stelling’s delicate
but sturdy vocals soar. For
those looking to have their
souls stirred, Stelling is your

Robbins’ Star
It isn’t often Richmond
gets a theater world
premiere. Catch this
one, “Scorched Earth,” at
Barksdale Willow Lawn,
adapted by Richmond’s
David L. Robbins from
his best-selling novel.
April 13-May 20. Tickets
are $19-$38. For a schedule and information visit

Love Fields
In “The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor
Wheels – A Love Story,” Ree Drummond dishes up
a romance memoir as sweet and comforting as the
cinnamon rolls that helped turn her blog into a
Food Network show. Included in the story of how
she ended up married to a cowboy are tornadoes,
cow patties, an enormous wedding and postpartum
mayhem. (William Morrow Paperbacks, $14.99.)

A Hard Past

“The Diary of a Southern Lady” is in fact the transcribed diary of one Georgina Francis Barrett Devlin,
and covers the years between 1852 and 1912. Edited
by her great-great-granddaughter Katharine Jones, it
includes the harrowing experiences of hiding in the
woods from Union soldiers along with the housewife
minutiae of the day. (CreateSpace, $14.99.)

Run Uncovered
Get your floral dresses, big hats
and coolers of champagne ready
and head to Charlottesville for
the annual Foxfield Spring Races
on April 28. Event tickets are $40,
parking is $30. For information
visit or call
sounds of shadrock
So-Cal’s quintessentially rad Dum Dum Girls will bring their twitter-pated drums and washed out guitars
to Brown’s Island as part of Style Weekly’s Shadrock Music Festival. The formidable eight-band lineup
includes seminal hip-hop granddaddies De La Sol with a mixture of national and Virginia performers. April
28, noon-11 p.m. Tickets $35.


April 2012 | 21 |

at home



Warm Welcome

Garden Week in Virginia comes to the Boulevard.


t’s difficult to pinpoint when Richmond fell
out of love with the Boulevard, but by the early
1970s this once-grand concourse mostly was a
throughway linking North Side and the Nickel
Bridge. Once-proud old mansions were boarding
houses; apartment buildings were dilapidated;
and sidewalks showed only the rare grace notes of
picturesque flower vendors.
But the Boulevard has enjoyed a renaissance in
recent years through the efforts of private developers and homeowners and with showy expansions
at the Virginia Historical Society and the Virginia
Museum of Fine Arts. So, like Cinderella against
all odds making it to the ball, this year the Boulevard is a feature of this long-running and highly
regarded annual statewide house and garden
tour. Those taking the Boulevard tour on April
24, which is co-sponsored by the Garden Clubs
of Richmond and the Historic Richmond Foundation, will see an array of architectural styles and
interior décor.
Lending a decidedly continental air to the tour is
a condominium in the three-storied Tuscan Villas.

| 22 | APRIL 2012


by Edwin Slipek

Most of the interior doors were removed, and
Built in the 1920s between Park and Kensington avenues, the complex evokes the architectural spirit a large opening connects the dining and living
of Southern California with its sand-colored exte- rooms. “Our world is in this room,” Wells says. “In
rior stucco walls and Moorish detailing. The first- the morning the room is washed in light.” There
floor unit belonging to William Clements and How- are bookshelves that reach the ceiling, a television
is hidden in a credenza and a laptop
ard Wells will be open; they moved here Although Howard
computer usually rests on the tradifive years ago in an effort to downsize.
Wells is a designer,
tional Kittinger desk.
“Although this was much smaller,” he says has never
Collections of religious artifacts
Wells, an interior decorator, says of the decorated his condo
are placed discreetly throughout the
one-bedroom apartment, “I thought, in the Tuscan Villas.
space. Crucifixes hang in the dining
‘We can make this work.’” Wells’ strong
suit is putting a lot of stuff in a small space. Guests and living rooms, and there’s a particularly old exprobably will agree. But the tidy sense of order ample in the library passageway. But this is a desuggests that a great deal of thought was given the cidedly contemporary home for real living. “This
placement of each object. “I am a decorator, but we is not about a design statement,” says Wells, who
acknowledges being tickled but chagrined about
never have decorated this place,” Wells says.
Passing through a generously planted court- opening his home for the prestigious house tour.
yard and through a small entrance hall, you en- “It’s our home. We clearly live in it.”
ter the large front room that serves as the dining
For information about the annual tour, the other
room. The space is dominated by a huge, 19thcentury German sideboard purchased at auction, homes on the Boulevard and the statewide misplaced beneath an elaborate mirror salvaged from sion of historic garden restoration, see
a Franklin Street house.

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APRIL 2012 | 23 |

g r e at ta s t e

Farmers’ Market Finder

an educated guest

Most markets start in late April, but
shoppers should check websites first.
Byrd House Market, 3:30 - 7 p.m.,
224 S. Cherry St. (Oregon Hill),
Winter Market at St. Stephen’s
Episcopal Church 4-8 p.m.,
Grove Avenue and Three Chopt
Road, saintstephensrichmond.
Lakeside Farmers’ Markets, dawn to dusk
West End Market, 3 - 6:30 p.m.,
Gayton Road and Ridgefield
Parkway, westendfarmersmarket.

of the Market

South of the James Market

Meet the neighbors and taste the local flavors.


or the past two years, during the warmer months,
there’s been a well-oiled routine in the Basch
household. Every Saturday morning by 7, the
husband, the dog and I drive across the Nickel
Bridge, take a left onto New Kent and head down to
Forest Hill Park to snag one of the coveted parking
spots by the South of the James Market. Not too close
to the entrance, not too far from the exit gate.
By 7 a.m. the market bustles with vendors setting
up tents and tables. Farmers unload crates of colorful vegetables and fruit for displays, bakers arrange
their breads and pastries, artists hang their paintings,
jewelry and wood carvings. Food carts and trucks flavor the still-cool air with sautéed veggies and roasted
meats and the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee wishes us
a good morning. The market won’t open for another
That gives us plenty of time to run the buttermilk
trails and whet our appetites. By the time we finish our
run, usually around 8:30, more than half of the parking lot is full of cars. We give the dog some water while
we change into clean shirts and sanitize our hands.
There are delicious edibles waiting. Armed with reusable grocery bags and greenbacks, we set out to find
ourselves a well-earned breakfast.
Choices are plentiful: Cielito Lindo’s breakfast burritos, Granny O’s sticky buns, Nate’s tacos (not sure
if he’ll be there this year), coffee from Crossroads,
Blanchard’s or Koralee, freshly squeezed limeades,
lemonades and iced teas, Rowland’s fava bean cake,
Bernie’s lemon bars, Phal’s egg rolls, Belmont Butchery’s meaty sandwiches, Pizza Tonight’s pies, along
with barbecue, pastries, vegetarian dishes, gluten-free
| 24 | APRIL 2012



Ellie Basch

breads, sourdough donuts, and dozens more vendors
we have yet to check out.
After we fill up, including the dog, we shop for a halfweek’s supply of groceries. We pick up our CSA shares
to see what veggies we get in the bags, then we shop for
other items such as bread, fresh pasta, local seafood,
meat, honey, cheeses, flowers or plants for the garden
in progress. We take our time, listening to live music,
watching children get their faces painted, checking
out the nonprofit causes, seeking handmade gifts,
saying hello and catching up with friends, discussing
the crops with farmers and vendors, letting the dog
sniff and be sniffed. By the time we leave South of the
James around 10:30 a.m., the market is packed. It’s one
of the largest farmers’ markets in town with a couple of
thousand people shopping there every Saturday during the growing season.
Farmers’ market organizers in metro Richmond have
done a wonderful job creating open-air markets that
welcome families, knit communities, nurture interests in healthy eating and support the local economy.
With each market having different hours, slightly different vibes, vendors and offerings, it’s a good idea to
visit several. You may find a market that fulfills all your
needs in one location, or you may meet a vendor or two
whose products are worth straying off the beaten path
once a month, or you may travel a few extra miles to get
to a market that your children particularly enjoy.
I also frequent the Byrd House Market for its compact, one-stop-shopping fix to top off my weekday supplies of organic veggies and locally grown or made
products. Come on out, bring the family, and check out
what the markets have to offer.

Huguenot at Robious Road
(Great Big Green House parking
lot), 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Powhatan Farmers’ Market, 4-7 p.m.,
3839 Old Buckingham Road
Chesterfield Farmers’ Market,
9 a.m.-1 p.m., Chesterfield
Towne Center parking lot.
The Market at First Friday,
5-9 p.m., First Friday of every month,
next to Quirk Gallery, 311 W. Broad
South of the James Market,
8 a.m.-noon, Forest Hill Park
(New Kent Avenue and West 42nd Street)
Winter Market: 10-noon, Patrick Henry
School’s playground (3411 Semmes
Lakeside Farmers’ Markets (year-round)
The Farmers’ Market at St. Stephen’s,
Grove Avenue and Three Chopt
Road, saintstephensrichmond.
West End Farmers’ Market,
Gayton and Ridgefield Parkway,
Monument Market (Monument
Avenue and North Hamilton Street),
My Manakin Market, 68 Broad
Street Road, Manakin-Sabot
17th Street Farmers’ Market
8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Shockoe Bottom
Ashland Farmers’ Market,
9 a.m.-noon, 101 Thompson St.
Chester Farmers’ Market,
9 a.m.-1 p.m., the Village Greens,
Photo by Mary Delicate, The Market Umbrella

g r e at ta s t e



There’s a very Southern party in your pantry.


was raised a Southern woman. More specifically, Southern women raised me. My mom, her
sister Susan, and longtime friend and neighbor
Carolyn personify Southern ladies. They write
thank-you notes, have animal-print flats and
plan entire outfits around them. They play good
social golf and even better bridge. They’re philanthropic and throw thoughtful and memorable
get-togethers. These parties can be for family or
for many more with mere minutes of preparation.
So what does it take to go from sugar to soiree? It’s
all in their pantries. Here are some local versions
of what they always have on hand. Sterling serving
dishes are optional.
Apple butter has always been served in my house.
Ginger snaps, havarti and apple butter make a
great appetizer for any occasion. The Miller Store
adds some cayenne to one of its apple butters, spicing up a Southern staple. Anywhere honey goes,
almost always apple butter can be substituted.
The Miller Store spicy and regular apple butter

A spicy peanut or a cheese straw with bite is spoton for an impromptu wine night. The cheese straws
| 26 | APRIL 2012


Robey Martin

from 3 Sisters are airy enough not to ruin your appetite for dinner. Feridies’ horseradish Virginia
nuts light up taste buds. Next to each other or on
their own, they’re a perfect complement to white,
red or bubbly.
Feridies wasabi peanuts
3 Sisters cheese straws

Everyone is heading back to your house after
dinner? No problem. Dollop’s maple bacon popcorn is salty, sweet and smoky. MMM toffee’s almond toffee is bite-sized with just the right shock
of sugar. Both are easy to pair with aperitifs.
Those tiny bottles of brandy and cognac (given to
you from another get-together, of course) come in
handy for this very occasion.
Dollop maple-bacon popcorn
MMM toffee

A pre-dinner cocktail always needs a little nosh.
Pickled anything is pretty and well-received. Libbie Market carries inexpensive house-made potato

chips that shine when dipped in a simple pickle
(hot, sweet, relish) mixed with cream cheese. My
mother pickles her own beets and puts them next
to cottage cheese for a little salad appetizer. Simply Spoon has baby pickled beets that are as attractive as they are tasty. Need pickles on the fly?
Garnett’s makes a pickle that will please even the
pickiest pickle person.
Libbie Market house made potato chips
Spoonfed’s pickled baby beets
Garnett’s pickles

A birthday you were not aware of? Easy-peezy,
lemon-squeezie! A pound cake with caramel icing
is just an hour away. If you had a little more time,
of course you would bake from scratch. But no one
will know with this Byrd Mill mix and Shyndigz
caramel icing.
Byrd Mill pound cake mix
Shyndigz caramel icing

photo by scott elmquist

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APRIL 2012 | 27 |

f i r st p e r s o n

Born Here, Been There
There’s no escaping the South.


uring the last several years the same feng shui consultant has told
me twice, in no uncertain terms, that there’s no hope for our house
that can be bought by charms or rearranging of pillows, and that the
best thing for us to do would be to move, preferably yesterday. Both
times I agreed with her. There’s baggage here, ghosts, my parents’ past and
my own, not to mention structural and aesthetic repairs that seem to be well
beyond our scope. But much as my mind is made up to get out of Dodge for a
full 24 hours after she leaves, we stay. It’s as if she’s told me to step out of the
quicksand. She’s right; I just can’t seem to do it.
Mulling over my plight with a friend, I hear myself say, “I’m just not like
all these white, West End women!” Maybe because she’s from California the
truth was more obvious to her. “But you are a white West End woman,” she
said. It was an epiphany. Not having an excess of national, regional, cultural,
house or any other kind of pride, my geographic identity is something I’ve
wrestled with most of my life.
At the predominantly African-American elementary school I attended in
Church Hill, there was little I could do to hide that I was white and Jewish
— especially after my mother’s classroom Hanukkah presentation. But after
being transferred, I didn’t feel like I fit in any better at the almost entirely
white conservative school in my own neighborhood, where I was the only kid
who didn’t vote for Ronald Reagan in our class mock election.
At school in New York, one had to dig deep to unearth my Southern roots.
Southerners were backward, redneck racists who spent all their time re-enacting Civil War battles — if they weren’t too busy eating grits. I was busy eating grits, but if I’d been in the Civil War, I would have gone Union. Likewise
| 28 | APRIL 2012



valley haggard

on the dude ranch in Colorado, I was loath to admit my East Coast origins.
Easterners were neurotic academic snobs who didn’t know how to brew a decent cup of cowboy coffee or saddle a horse. I had to learn both the hard way.
Living in Italy, I did my best to disguise that I was American. Americans
wore fluorescent visors, ugly fanny packs and brayed like donkeys in the museums and churches meant to honor the dead. My ruse was successful until
I opened my mouth, effectively butchering the native tongue of Dante and
Boccaccio in a single espresso order. But I have a feeling if I’d moved to Mars
I also would have tried to refute my humanity.
As hard as I tried to leave my American, East Coast, Southern roots behind,
they pulled me back, not only to Richmond, but to the house I grew up in.
Maybe my mother buried my placenta in the backyard. Maybe the souls of
the cats we’ve put to rest out by the fence line steal our breath while we sleep.
Maybe I accidentally married my house when I married my husband. Maybe
I’m trying to straighten out my childhood by raising my own child in my old
Whatever the reason, I’ve not only ceased trying to divorce myself from
my hometown, I’ve fallen in love with it, too. Just as you can’t get to know
everything about another person in a single lifetime, the city where I’m from
always will offer more to discover. Even though a trip to the grocery store can
be like attending my own high-school reunion, Richmond has more interesting neighborhoods and quirky personalities than a dysfunctional family has
alcoholic uncles. My definition of love always has been wide, but coming back
to stay has allowed it to grow deep. The castles I build in the sky might spring
from quicksand, but at least I’m finally proud to say they’re mine.

photo illustration by ed harrington

Electronic Graphics/Andrew Berry,
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