Winter 2010: Picks

Feed a fever

Don’t get stuck sneezing through flu season. Stock up on nutritional (and yummy!) ingredients that will stave off sickness. The Toliver House’s Donna Sharer, who handles the menu at the women-run Gordonsville restaurant, provided these recipes:


To make these recipes vegetarian, simply replace the chicken broth with veggie and eliminate the meat. Donna Sharer assures no flavor will be sacrificed.

Winter Vegetable Beef Stew
1/8 cup canola oil
1 lb. of chuck Roast (bone in or bone out)
1 large rutabaga, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 medium turnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and coursely chopped
2-3 carrots depending on size, peeled and coarsely chopped
2-3 ribs of celery, coarsely chopped
1 large yellow or Spanish onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 head cabbage, cut into wedges
1 can whole tomatoes with juice, squished
V8 juice to cover
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried parsley (optiona)
Bay leaf (removed when done)

Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Generously sprinkle pepper on the roast and sear in hot oil, browning both sides well. Add all ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover and cook on low until meat is fall-apart tender. Add water as needed to keep it juiced up.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

1 large onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. melted butter
6 Tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. dried thyme
Sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of pepper
8 cups of warmed chicken stock
3 cups diced potatoes
20 oz. frozen mixed vegetables
Pulled chicken from 1 roasted chicken
2 cups of heavy cream

In a large soup pot, add oil and butter. Once they’ve melted together, add the onion, celery and garlic. Sweat the vegetables and add the melted butter, flour, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook flour/roux mixture until it’s lightly browned, then add chicken stock. Bring the pot to a simmer and allow it to thicken for about 20 minutes. To the pot, add potatoes, mixed vegetables and roasted chicken. Simmer soup until the vegetables and potatoes are tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Once the soup is ready to serve, stir in the heavy cream. Garnish with squares of baked puff pastry.—Donna Sharer

Stay moisturized

Hello, good buy. Purchase a series of four facial treatments at Moxie, and the Garrett Street studio will give you the fifth one free. We recommend The Moxie Facial, combining steam cleansing, exfoliation, a facial massage, light extractions and two masques. It’s great for all skin types and especially aids in restoring moisture and Ph balance. Call 979-5556 for more information.—Caite White

Want to continue the moisturizing effects at home? Try these DIY ideas—no fancy humidifier needed. 

Drape a damp (not dripping) towel over your headboard.

Place a pan of water at the base of your heater. 

Cut the top off a gallon milk jug, fill it 3/4 to the top with water and place a rolled up newspaper inside to act as a wick.

In all instances, the water evaporates into the room, dampening the air and moistening your skin. Drink up!


Meet your virtual neighbors

It’s O.K. if you want to spend a snowy day in your PJs. Here are three local blogs we love for those times when you just want to sit, surf and relax.

Finding Amy… Again: Suzy Said C’ville’s Amy Eastlack chronicles her journey to healthier living. Funny, down to earth and totally inspiring. You go, girl!

Dried Figs and Wooden Spools: “Mother, wife, writer, canner, sewer, you name-it-er” Gillian Grimm has a penchant for projects. We like her Martha Stewart-meets-Lucille Ball smarts. (And check out the pictures of her adorable North Downtown house!)

From Charlottesville With Love: This blog from jewelry designer Laurel Smith is, pun intended, a gem. Sweet, simple and uplifting. Plus, we love her outfit suggestions every Friday.—C.W.


Enjoy a good read

We don’t have to tell you how great it feels to cozy up in front of a fire with a blanket and a good book. The only problem is, what should you read? Wistar Murray weighs in with five of her favorites.

Y: The Last Man (10 volumes) by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra

Originally published as 60 comics, the Y series is now widely read in book form. If you’re new to the graphic novel format, this tale of Yorick Brown, who is literally the last man on Earth after a Y chromosome die-off, might make you wonder why more grown-up books aren’t illustrated. 

The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves by Siri Hustvedt

Part illness memoir and part history of neurological science, this book is not the easiest read, but it will open up a rich inner world. Hustvedt, like her husband Paul Auster, is a novelist by trade, but she writes brilliantly in a nonfictional vein, as her frequent contributions to The New York Times and Psychology Today can attest. 

Veronica by Mary Gaitskill

In gorgeous, moody prose, an ex-fashion model mourns the death of her friend Veronica while recounting the volatile history that brought the two women together. 

Vanity Fair by William Thackeray

People typically spend more time alone during the cold winter months, and Thackeray’s infinitely sarcastic social satire will remind you that sometimes you’re better off keeping your own company. 

The Woods by Harlan Coben

This author’s oeuvre was my dirty secret this summer. Coben’s mysteries may be schematic, but their multiple plot twists keep you engaged in the best thriller tradition. Plus, there’s something to be said for being able to buy a book at a grocery store.—Wistar Murray

Charlottesville native Wistar Murray is an MFA student at Columbia University, specializing in Fiction Writing.


Purge your makeup

Don’t wait for spring for a serious overhaul. Local makeup artist Lora Kelley gives a few tips on when to say “Out with the old, in with the new!” to your cosmetics. Want to extend their shelf-life? Keep your makeup in a clean, dry place. “And avoid leaving it in your car!” she says.

Mascara: 6 Months

Lipstick: 1 year, but keep it clean by spraying it with alcohol 

Powder: 1 year if it’s from the drug store and 2 years if it’s high-end

Brushes: Keep them forever if they’re high-quality, washing them with soft soap every two weeks and laying them flat to dry. For daily use, try Laura Mercier, MAC Cosmetics and Sephora’s brush cleaner.—Lora Kelley

Lora Kelley is a Charlottesville-based makeup maven who specializes in getting you glamorous for weddings, portraits or other special events. Click here to get a peek at her handiwork and visit for more information.


Kick butt and save lives

Feel the burn? That’s your muscles stretching, not your wallet. For $10 a class, or 10 classes for $60, get leaner while supporting breast cancer research. Enlist in Bootcamp For The Cure at Total Performance Sports and Fitness. The intense 30- to 60-minute workouts are timed without rest between exercises like pushups, jumping jacks, crunches, tire flipping and sled-pushing. Every month, 50 percent of the proceeds from the bootcamp (about $300) goes to Susan G. Komen for The Cure and local breast cancer research organizations. Call Total Performance Sports and Fitness at 220-0185 for more information.—Chiara Canzi

Who says a sports bra can’t be fashionable? Any Tonic bra packs a trio of invaluable features: Super supportive, it flatters the upper torso and comes in fun shapes. We like Tonic’s Sunset bra: hot orange, with a racerback design. $53 at Hip Joint, 110 Second St. NE. 971-6888.—C.C.


Button up

Trading spaghetti straps for scarves may put you in a winter funk, but a study from the University of Wroclaw in Poland suggests there’s plenty to feel good about even while you’re putting on the layers . In 2008, anthropologists there concluded that men find women more attractive during the winter months. Apparently, seeing less bare skin leaves more to the imagination. Nothing wrong with a little mystery, eh, ladies?—C.W.

Get your learn on

Grab your poles and go! …Ski poles, that is. Both Wintergreen and Massanutten offer ski clinics for lady snow bunnies this winter.

At Wintergreen, a Friday clinic is offered January 22-February 12, from 9:30am to 11:30am. Break for lunch (which is included), then hit the slopes again from 1pm to 2:30pm. The courses are taught by female certified ski instructors and costs vary from $95 for a 1-day Friday clinic to $350 for a four-day clinic. 

If Fridays aren’t your bag, try the two-day course February 19 to February 21. Taught by female certified ski instructors and World Champion Extreme Skier Alison Gannett, the weekend seminar will set you back $650, but it includes the 4-day clinic mentioned above. Call 325-2200 for more information.

Rather pop in here and there? At Massanutten, every Thursday from 10am to noon, female instructors will teach the fundamentals for only $30. Call 289-9441 for more information.—C.C.


D up

Less time outdoors means decreased Vitamin D, a key component in boosting the immune system and fending off certain cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, all of which become threats when skin is exposed to UVB rays. Up your Vitamin D intake in the winter by eating fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel, egg yolks and mushrooms. And, while you’re at it, throw in a daily supplement. Women under 50 should have 200 IUs per day, while ladies over 50 should double that amount.—C.W.



Take your GFs on a date

Join the special gals in your life for a night on the town. Here are our top three picks:

Cinderella at Play On! Theater, December 2-5, 9-12 and 16-19: The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic inspires with its rags-to-riches story and oh-so-singable musical numbers. Call 872-0184 for more information.

The Gift of the Magi at Hamner Theater, December 1-6, 9-13 and 16-18: Della Young sells her hair to buy a chain for her husband Jim’s pocket watch, while Jim sells his watch to buy Della a set of combs. You’ll be romanced by their devotion. Call 361-1999 for more information.

The Beaux’ Strategem at UVA’s Culbreth Theatre, February 17-19 and 23-26: Two down-on-their-luck gentlemen concoct a plan to steal two heiresses’ money, but fumble through it in the name of love. Call 924-3376 for more information.—C.W.


Journey inward

Here’s one way to keep an open mind this winter: meditate. Plenty of places in town offer mindfulness classes and seminars. Here are four we’re dying to try out:

Lightarian Angel Links Program at Ananda Community Center for Conscious Living ($65/session, 218 W. Market St., suite 2, 245-6940): Channeled meditations connect you directly with Rose Aura, Michael, Raphael, Uriel and Gabriel, the Angelic links that advance spiritual development. 

Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction at The Mindfulness Center at UVA ($375; location TBD, 924-1190): This core program at the Center was developed by international mindfulness pro Jon Kabat-Zinn. Learn to be more present in your life and make conscious choices during this three-week seminar, Monday evenings from January 24-March 14. 

Kundalini Yoga and Meditation at Breathe Meditation Studio ($108 for 10 classes; 4405 Ivy Commons, 245-8080): This Saturday morning class consolidates the mental and physical techniques found in nine types of yoga and is enhanced by the meditation practice.

Saturday Buddhist/Practice Group Series at the Jefferson Tibetan Society ($10 donation suggested; 118 Olinda Dr., 980-1752): A 90-minute session combines 15 minutes of shamatha meditation, Buddhist prayer and discussion.—C.W.

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