September 2016 Issue

  • Roll out the runway for Fashionista Roanoke

    What is it about fashion? Garland Gravely, president and co-founder of Fashionista Roanoke, lights up, sits up, and stays like this throughout the interview.

    “Fashion’s about expression. There are seven billion people on the earth. Fashion is a way to express yourself. Your body is a blank canvas. Your clothing is the art. Everyone has their unique way of expressing themselves. Open your eyes and look around when walking, fashion is everywhere, it’s in the air! Coco Chanel said this, ‘Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.’”

    Gravely’s passion for fashion is strong and contagious. Combined with his laid-back and warm conversational manner, it’s easy to see how folks have been attracted to the Fashionista Roanoke. And starting Sept. 29 through Oct. 2, Fashionista Roanoke is hosting its annual Roanoke Fashion Week. Gravely says, “It’s an event promoting and highlighting fashion in the Roanoke area. Also, a portion of the funds raised are going to Center in the Square.”

    Gravely has always loved fashion.


    "As a kid I’d read fashion magazines. But what really sparked my interest in it was living in Miami on South Beach in the early ’90s. South Beach was becoming the hot place to be and a lot of designers and models were relocating there. Agencies were opening up there. By being in that world, the clubs, and walking down the beach watching this photo shoot and then seeing it in Vogue magazine, wow! That’s what inspired me. I wanted to be in that world.” 

    The impact was lasting and continues to this day.

    “After South Beach I went to major in fashion merchandising at Virginia Commonwealth University [VCU] Richmond. When I finished school I moved to D.C., then planned to move to New York. But I came to Roanoke instead! I wanted to do something in fashion but with a charitable bent to it. The fashion world is often regarded as exclusive and elitist and I always wanted to break down those perceptions. Which is what I’m doing now. This is how Fashionista Roanoke came about, along with Claudia de Franko, the co-founder, in 2008.”

    I show Garland a video I recently watched, a summary of the Gucci 2017 menswear collection in Paris. “I love it!” he exclaims. And it was terrific for sure. But as much as I’d like to, I don’t think I’m going be walking downtown Roanoke anytime soon seeing anything remotely related.

    “Ah, but no! That’s not accurate!” Gravely jumps in. “Let me explain. You won’t see people wearing the same clothes as in that video, just as you won’t see folks wearing the same clothes in one city as in another. The people of Roanoke dress differently than the people of New York. But this is not a bad on Roanoke, is it? No, I don’t mean it that way at all.”

    “This is what I’m trying to say. It’s all about trends. All cities will be impacted by that Gucci show. By the feel of it, the shapes, attitudes, colors and cut. It will trickle down to the most quaint little city in the middle of nowhere. Trust me.”

    I’m caught up in Gravely’s certainty but am not convinced. Here are some more questions for him.

    Q. What are the current New York and Paris trends from recent fashion shows?

    A. “Velvet! Velvet jackets, velvet shoes. And animal prints! Asymmetrical hemlines. Dark denims and close fits. All-over prints. Sheer sleeves. Wide-legged cropped pants. Really, the ’70s influence continues. And shearling jackets.  And the androgynous ’90s sweats never seem to end!”

    He stops, then throws this out to me, addressing my doubts towards Roanoke’s participation in all this. “Last fall, ’70s fringed bags were a big trend and lo and behold I’ve seen several in Roanoke! I bet shearling jackets are already on trucks to Roanoke!”

    “Here’s the exciting thing. Folks may say they have no interest in the fashion trends, but whether they know it or not, their choice of clothes in the high street stores will be reflecting the clothes that were launched on the catwalks in London, Paris, Milan and New York. Crazy and wild on the catwalk, but toned down, perhaps adapted is a better word, for Roanoke. Roanoke has different people living here than in New York, different attitudes, different lifestyle. Every city is unique. But you’ll soon be seeing clothes at H&M, Old Navy that will remind you of that Gucci catwalk show!”

    “And you’d be surprised, there are people here paying attention to what is happening at those fashion shows in London, Paris and other places. They really are.”

    Q. So who do you admire in the fashion and style world? 

    A. “How many names do you want?! My no doubt number one is Coco Chanel. There is only one Coco! Others include designer Karl Lagerfeld, fashion editor Andre Leon Talley, designer Azzedine Alaia, fashion icon Daphne Guinness, and Tim Gunn, the mentor on Project Runway TV show. These people inspire me personally.”

    Q. Roanoke Fashion Week is now in its fourth year. Where are you looking for the show to go?

    A. “I’d like it to become one of the biggest events nationally and internationally. There’s a Charlotte fashion week, Charleston fashion week; D.C. and Asheville have them. I want Roanoke Fashion Week to be recognized by other cities around the country and at least be on a par with them.”

    Q. I occasionally put events together for the public; they can be challenging in almost all ways. What goes into putting on a fashion show? 

    A. “The team – the hair and the makeup, stylists, photographers, models, designers and more. That is what makes it work. People working together. And marketing, PR, social media.”

    Q. And for you, what makes a fashion show successful?

    A. “The people that come out and support the show. Not simply the number of people. It’s their passion and enthusiasm. The support from the community is very important to me. That determines success to me. It’s open to everyone who wants to watch and who wants to take part. We’re not looking to shock, unsettle, alienate or offend folks. We celebrate the creativity through fashion of Roanokers. This is to support the community, and Fashionista Roanoke reflects the diversity of Roanoke.”

    Fashionista Roanoke has a monthly fashion segment on WSLS Daytime Blue Ridge, the last Wednesday of the month, at 12:30 p.m. Garland Gravely is president and co-founder of Fashionista Roanoke.

  • Stedman Speaks

    Stedman Payne is an experienced financial professional who serves as Member One’s Market Executive in the Lynchburg area. His financial educational series offers tips for making smart decisions when it comes to managing your finances. Millions of people are defrauded every year from crooks with clever schemes to cheat them out of their money. In this edition, Stedman wants to offer you some tips on how to spot a scam before you become a victim, and what to do if you think you’ve been cheated.


    Q: What is a scam?
    SP: A scam occurs when personal financial information is obtained in a fraudulent or deceptive way to make money by removing funds or charging purchases to an account without authorization. Scammers may use sophisticated technology, phone or email to mislead potential victims. A scammer may claim you’ve won fake prize money; threaten to send a family member to jail if you don’t post bail; or impersonate the IRS by saying you owe back taxes, among other tactics.

    Q: How do I know if I’m being scammed?
    SP: A scammer’s goal is to earn your trust. They will say anything to trick you into releasing personal financial information and often use fear as a way to pressure you into sending money. Some red flags include people who are pushy and need your information immediately or offers that seem too good to be true such as a paying a fee upfront in order to collect thousands in prize winnings. Look for misspelled words and listen for strange language. If something seems off or you start feeling scared or suspicious, trust your gut and step away.

    Q: Are there any steps I can take to avoid being scammed?
    SP: Never give out your personal financial information over the phone or online unless you have initiated contact with a company that you know to be trustworthy. If someone contacts you asking for personal financial information, ask for a way to get back in touch then end the conversation. Research the company and situation to see if it’s a possible scam attempt. You can protect your financial information online by designating one credit card to online purchases. This limits access to your personal financial information and allows you to better track purchases to ensure they’re correct.

    Q: Do scammers target certain people or can anyone become a victim?
    SP: While you may have heard that scammers target the elderly, the truth is that anyone can become a victim. Scammers are clever and will create offers that appeal to a wide audience regardless of age, education level or income. They will often prey on people who are in vulnerable situations such as a recent job loss, those who are uninformed of bank procedures and those who are impulsive. A scammer is looking for an easy target, but being educated and aware of the red flags, along with trusting your instinct, are the best ways to keep your personal financial information safe.

    Q: What are financial institutions doing to help stop scammers?
    SP: Many financial institutions are adopting chip card technology, which are debit or credit cards embedded with a microchip that encrypts data. This won’t stop scammers, but helps add a layer of security when making transactions at merchants or ATMs that are chip-enabled. Digital wallets are another new, more secure way to pay for items online or at merchants that accept this form of payment. You can even link your debit and credit card accounts to a digital wallet, making it easier to pay on the go. 

    Q: What can I do if I think I’ve been scammed?
    SP: If you think you’ve been scammed, stop all communication with the scammer immediately. You can report the scam to local police and the Federal Trade Commission. Visit to file a report and see a list of the most recent scams. The unfortunate truth is that it’s difficult to recover funds that are lost to scams. Filing a report will help the FTC and other law enforcement investigate the scam and stop it from happening again to someone else. 

    Watch out for Stedman Payne’s column in the next edition of ColorsVA for more useful financial tips.

  • A call to remember and be aware

    By Nakesha Renee Moore

    “Remain objective. You must be impartial.” As I approached the gas station, I repeated this mantra to myself. “Remain objective. You must be impartial.” As a journalist, it is important to be unbiased, to relay the facts, no more and no less. Yet it soon became clear that in this case the facts were too entangled with emotion to be separated. It has been three years since Alexis Murphy was abducted. She was last seen at that very gas station in Lovingston, Virginia. Every year since, her family and loved ones have gathered to mark the anniversary of her disappearance.

    Alexis had celebrated her 17th birthday two months before her abduction. The consensus among her loved ones is that she was a kind, unique, ambitious young woman. She had plans to continue her high school volleyball career in college. On August 3, 2013, Alexis left her home to shop in preparation for her upcoming senior portraits. She stopped for gas, and that was the last time she was seen by anyone other than her abductor. Shortly after Alexis’ curfew time had passed, her mother knew something was wrong. In the past, Alexis had always called if she was going to be home late. The police were contacted and the FBI was soon notified as well. 

    Surveillance video from the gas station’s camera led the investigators to Randy Taylor, who also had been a suspect in the 2010 disappearance of Samantha Clarke. Samantha is still missing.  Taylor denied doing any harm to Alexis but significant evidence found in his home led police to believe otherwise. Although she was still missing, prosecutors determined that there was enough DNA evidence to presume that Alexis’ life had been taken violently by Taylor. On May 8, 2014, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and abduction with intent to defile. 

    While still maintaining his innocence, Taylor attempted to bargain with the prosecution. He offered to reveal Alexis’ location in exchange for a lenient 20-year prison sentence.  Alexis’ family was torn. As much as they wanted to bring her home, they decided it was not worth the risk. Fearful that Taylor would be free to prey upon other unsuspecting young women if released, Alexis’ parents declined his offer.  He received two life sentences and has been denied an appeal twice. He will remain in prison as long as he lives.   

    This brings us back to this day, August 3, 2016, as those who loved Alexis convened at the gas station. I listened to family members share fond memories. There were children playing nearby, their laughter in stark contrast to the weight of the day. It was a somber occasion, but also a celebration of sorts — a celebration of the impact Alexis made on so many lives, even in her own death. Many of the attendees never knew Alexis, but were touched by her. Some even traveled from other states to be there. Gil Harrington, mother of Morgan Harrington, also was there to offer support. Morgan was abducted and murdered in 2009. Since then, Gil has dedicated her life to preventing others from sharing her daughter’s fate. She founded Help Save the Next Girl to do just that. 

    Trina Murphy, Alexis’ aunt, credits Gil Harrington as being a resource to their family throughout this ordeal. When I asked Gil about the bond between the families, she said, “Catastrophic occurrences like the death of a child force people to their very fundamental foundation, their shared humanity. Despite apparent differences, we are the same. Our tears are the same color; our daughters’ blood was the same color as it fell. We shared that knowledge, that insight, and the compassion that understanding can create.”

    Understandably weary of interviews, Alexis’ mother, Laura, prefers that Trina Murphy now handle the press. When I asked if she minded speaking with me, Trina replied, “Anything to keep Alexis’ memory alive.” 

    Q: I watched all of the coverage when Alexis first went missing and the trial afterward. So I have much of the factual information, and I’d like to spare you the repetition of details you already know.  Is there was any advice you have for young women like Alexis or other families living through a similar ordeal?

    A: “Yes, that is the foundation, when I go out to speak to groups. Young women, please remain vigilant. Be aware of your surroundings. Travel in groups. Always have a plan. Even if you’re just going to the mall, pay attention when you walk to your car. Don’t be on your cell phone. Don’t be distracted. Overall, try to be in pairs. It makes you less likely to be a target.”

    “… As far as the family, I don’t think that most people are aware that at any time, the police or the family can request the FBI be brought in. Not to discredit the local or state law enforcement, but the FBI has resources that they don’t. There was an expert who was able to testify that Alexis’ fingernail was forcefully ripped off. That is the level of detail involved at the federal level. And also to surround yourself with other families who have been through this. Just as Gil Harrington has been there for us, I have been there for others. No one understands what it’s like unless you’ve been there. It’s impossible. The missing is something that is unlike anything else. There is no process for the missing. There’s a process for the dead and dying, but not for the missing. The only way to see that there is a way to live through it, is to have an example of someone who has.” 

    As we pulled out of the gas station parking lot with my children, I confided in my friend as she drove. “I don’t know how I can write this story as a writer; the mother in me just wants to cuddle up with my kids and protect them forever.” This led to a conversation with my children, who were also touched by the emotion of the day. We talked about why bad things happen and how to stay safe. I think that in that moment, we all realized that as they grew older I would no longer be able to shelter them from the harsh realities of the world. Dialogue stopped. As I stared at the trees from the passenger window, I broke the silence.

    “Every time I’m in this area, I can’t help but wonder. There are so many abandoned houses and the trees are dense. Alexis could be anywhere. Her family deserves to know where she is.”

    My son spoke with no hesitation, “I know where she is. She is in our hearts.”

    For more information on how you can help contact:

    Gil Harrington or Jane Lillian Vance at


    To donate to the Alexis Murphy Scholarship Fund, contact Laura Murphy via mail:

    1127 Keys Church Road
    Shipman, VA 22971

  • Dogs dress up in fashion forward benefit


    Some people would rather run through hot coals than be stared at while strutting down a catwalk wearing a designer outfit.  Some of us, on thother hand, think modeling would be a whole lot of fun. So, it would seem, do some of our pets. Some of them just love being dressed up and admired, you can just tell, say their owners.

    “Dog Days of Summer,” “Bark to School,” “Tailgate Party,” “Rainy Dog Days,” “Sunday Best,” “Halloween,” and “Bachelorette Party” are some of the fashion categories that will be featured on the catwalk — or, dog walk — at “Dogs For A Cause,” the 2016 Roanoke Doggy Fashion Show, on Sunday, Sept. 11, 4 to 6 p.m. at the Ramada Inn. 

    The show began in 2011 as a fundraiser for the Saint Francis Service Dogs project in Roanoke, which provides highly trained dogs to assist people with disabling conditions. 

    Created by the Roanoke Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., this fifth-year event aims to raise more than $1,000 for the Saint Francis Service Dogs project. 

    Formed in 1939, the Roanoke chapter of this national sorority is service-based. Members are predominantly college-educated black women. Their volunteer efforts in the community target issues of economic development, educational development, physical and mental health awareness, international awareness and involvement, political awareness and social action. 

    “Dogs For A Cause, The Doggy Fashion Show” is directed by sorority member Laurice Hampton, who was inspired to create the event after a presentation she saw by Saint Francis co-founder and president Carol Willoughby at a local Kennel Club meeting. Willoughby, who used a wheelchair, brought a St. Francis-trained service dog to demonstrate the range of help one could give.

    “At that time I also knew Bea Burrell, who was more than 100 years old, and was confined to a wheelchair at South Roanoke Nursing Home. I would visit her with my dog, ‘Treasure,’ to keep her company. She frankly wasn’t too impressed by Treasure until he did tricks for her, like count,”  Hampton laughed.  “I saw how it lifted her up to be with Treasure. We continued to visit her, Treasure and I, and I connected it in my mind to the power of the Saint Francis Service dogs. It came to me that all these things could be put together to do good things for a good cause.”

    Up to 16 volunteer “models” from all over the Roanoke Valley will participate. They will showcase fashions for back to school, Halloween, winter holidays, beach season…and even weddings.  “Last year we had three weddings!” said Hampton, laughing as she recalled “ ‘Dixie Mae,’ a white bichon frise, belonging to Melissa Gaona and Joshua Cunningham, was betrothed to ‘Abraham Lincoln,’ a silver miniature poodle owned by Stella Carpenter.” (Gaona, incidentally, is also the announcer for the Fashion Show. Perhaps in years to come we will see doggy baby fashions?)

    A pet photo contest, not limited to dogs but to include cats, birds, lizards, etc. — “all of ‘man’s best friends’” — has been added this year to raise additional funds. Prizes will be given to six winning pets whose owners submit the most beguiling photos of their pets in costume.  You can go online to vote at Deadline for submission is Sept. 2. Judging will be held Sept. 4, and the winners displayed at “Dogs For A Cause,” Sept. 11. Inquiries about the photo contest or fashion show may be sent to

    This year’s event is dedicated to Carol Willoughby, who died on Nov. 11, 2015. There are informative and serious demonstrations woven into the fun of the two-hour program. Saint Francis-trained dog recipients will address the audience and introduce their dogs. An Episcopalian minister dressed as Saint Francis will offer a special prayer. Since the beginning year was coincidentally held on Pet Memorial Day, the sorority has continued with that date as their tradition. A memorial will recognize those dogs that have passed on since the previous year.  Dancers from fourth and fifth grade at North Cross School will perform to an arrangement of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” the “Rainbow Bridge.” Memorial contributions may be sent directly to Saint Francis Service Dogs, P.O. Box 19538, Roanoke, VA 24019. 

    Roanoke Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., comprised of approximately 100 members, is presided over by Monica Callaway. Their mission in raising funds for Saint Francis Service Dogs project is building positive community connections, and the event is designed to appeal to a diverse audience. Admission is kept to a low $5 per person (children under 12 enter free) to enable families to participate. Refreshments will be available. 

    “Dogs for A Cause” fashion show is also supported by WDBJ-7 and by Salem Printing Company.




    More about Saint Francis Service Dogs

    Formed in 1996, Saint Francis Service Dogs is the largest service dog
    organization in Virginia and is
    accredited by Assistance Dogs

    Over the years, Saint Francis has placed many professionally trained service dogs to assist people with a wide range of disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, joint and/or muscular diseases, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, paralysis, Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis and many other disabling conditions.

    It takes two years and costs up to $25,000 to train one service dog. Saint Francis absorbs this cost and does not charge for service dogs.

    Presently, Saint Francis places 10 to 15 service dogs per year in its service area, which includes the entire state of Virginia as well as the area within a three-hour drive of the Saint Francis facility at 8232 Enon Drive in Roanoke, Virginia. 

    The organization’s goal is to place up to 25 service dogs per year while maintaining personalized training and attention to each individual partnership.


  • Understanding your health


    It’s hard to keep up with the latest nutrition and diet news. It seems that each week someone is touting a new eating plan or telling you to eat this, not that. Understanding nutrition basics can help to equip you and your family with the necessary knowledge to make healthy choices, especially as we gear up for back-to-school lunches. 


    A healthy diet consists of a variety of foods from the major food groups including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean protein, nuts and seeds and healthy fats:


    Fruits – Fresh fruit is best, but frozen, canned and dried varieties are also good options. If you choose canned fruits, beware of added sugars or syrups. 

    Vegetables – Steaming and grilling vegetables are a healthy way to prepare vegetables. When using canned or frozen vegetables, watch out for added salt, butter or cream sauces.

    Whole grains – Look for whole grains over refined grains. Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients. Good sources of whole grains include brown rice, popcorn and whole wheat bread.

    Low-fat dairy – Fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk, nonfat or light yogurt without added sugar, unflavored soy milk and low-fat cheeses are great sources of calcium.

    Lean protein – One of the healthiest sources of lean protein is fish, especially salmon. Chicken, turkey, beans, peas and lentils are also excellent choices.

    Nuts and seeds – Almonds, cashews, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds and peanuts add protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals to your diet. Nuts are high in fat, and while healthy, should be eaten in smaller portions.

    Healthy fats – Fat is an essential nutrient in the diet, but should be monitored. Healthy fats include extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, avocados and nuts. Stay away from trans fats, found in food made from hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.  


    Focusing on foods that you can have, rather than foods that are considered “bad,” can help you make smarter decisions. Healthy eating is about balance. You can eat your favorite foods, even if they don’t provide much nutritionally, but the key is to eat them only on occasion and to balance them out with healthier food selections. 


    In addition to eating healthy, remember that exercise is important as well. It is recommended that adults ages 18 and older get at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, every week. Children and adolescents require more aerobic activity, therefore it is recommended that they get about 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day.


    It should be noted that you need to consider your personal health risks and should speak with your doctor or dietitian about an eating plan that works for you.


    For more information, please visit


  • Delightful and Delectable


    Bouncing off the walls! That is exactly what my partner in crime was doing after we stopped in to try a sampling of the tasty goodies at Delish Sweets & Treats in Roanoke. The owners, the mother-daughter team of Cheryl and Micah Cobbs, have been baking for about five years in an effort that began as gifts for friends and family. Word got out of their prowess in the kitchen and two years later they turned it into a cake pop business called “ManiPops,” derived from Micah’s middle name, Emani.  

    After having their kitchen certified, business took off and they soon outgrew their home base and moved into a shared venue. Being a self-taught baker, Cheryl plans to take some culinary classes since the business has grown, while Micah will be headed off to Radford University in the fall to pursue a degree in nursing. 

    As we dug into the treats that were laid before us, Cheryl and Micah explained that they chose the new location because of visibility and the size. The space is shared with a business for special occasion dresses. At times they work hand in hand, considering Delish specializes in catered events as well. 

    Our first indulgence was chocolate insanity. It did not have a name at the time of tasting, so I will do my best to describe it. Here’s a secret though, it truly is something that you have to experience because the following words will not do it justice. Close your eyes and imagine (OK, don’t close your eyes, keep reading) an old-school malt glass rimmed in whipped chocolate ganache rolled in chocolate cookie crumbs, the inside of the glass drizzled with ganache and then filled with a creamy chocolate milkshake created with Breyers ice cream (they hope to later work with local Franklin County creameries), topped with a chocolate chip cookie, a bite-sized Snickers bar, a mini Cookies and Cream candy bar, finished with a balancing act of a glazed chocolate doughnut stuck through a straw and topped with a mini chocolate cupcake. 

    Can you see it? I know what you are thinking, because I was too … isn’t this a cake shop? Didn’t you say cake pops? Surprise ... this treat shop is something different! They offer cakes, cookies, brownies, cakes in jars and more. Both women had previously smiled and answered my question with ease about concerns of competition from other shops offering cupcakes stating, “We offer other options besides cupcakes, so it may not be direct competition. But competition isn’t bad; it makes you excel, makes you better.” I digress. If you take a bite of the cookie or doughnut and then sip the milkshake, it is like a mini-tornado of chocolate in your mouth. Other flavors are in the works; specifically mentioned was banana pudding. 

    Cheryl is originally from Kentucky, part of a military family, but has lived in Roanoke for about 20 years. She wants to bring back Southern-style baking, she says, “you know, the kind of cakes your grandma used to make ... like pound cakes” that can be made available by the slice. Which brings me to the first cake that we tasted, the Strawberry Crunch Cheesecake Cake. Cheryl and Micah tell me that this cake has been all over the internet. I had never seen it before, so after a brief internet search, I noticed they took this cake and made it completely their own. 

    The cake is like an ode to strawberry shortcake ice-cream bars. This confection consists of a round homemade strawberry cake in two layers with a homemade crust-less New York style cheesecake in between. The outer icing layer is made up of buttercream mixed with crushed Golden Oreos, fresh bits of strawberry and strawberry syrup, all meant to mimic the crunchy outer layer on the old-school ice cream bars. The cheesecake portion is Micah’s masterpiece, and it actually helps to cut some of the sweetness from the strawberry cake. The strawberry cake is super light and fluffy and the cheesecake perfectly creamy — put all of that together with the textured icing and it just makes you want to keep eating bite after bite ... and we did!

    Speaking of icing, this is another one of the things they take pride in and that people buy to eat by itself. From these requests, the idea was born to offer “icing shots.” When I asked what was so special about the icing, what’s the recipe, both women looked at each other, kind of laughed and only offered up that it’s a buttercream recipe that they have worked to perfect. OK, OK, you can have your secrets, but eaters, keep plenty of milk on hand to chase those shots!

    In addition to full-sized cakes and cupcakes, mini cupcakes will be offered on a daily basis as well.  A concept that reminds me of local yogurt shops are their plans to offer a “cupcake bar.” A different selection of cake flavors will be offered each week and the customer can customize their toppings, from the icing to different toppings like crushed cookies or nuts. Roanoke natives, a signature cupcake for the area is in the works also.

    A gluten-free recipe is being perfected, as they receive requests for these cakes often. Cheryl mentioned to me that she has food allergies as well, but her sons eagerly volunteer to be taste-testers to help out with flavor combinations.

    Baking is only one of Cheryl’s passions; she loves giving back to the community and will continue working with youth. She currently volunteers with the young people at the Gainsboro YMCA and the Community Youth Program (CYP) at area schools. She helps the kids who are old enough learn entrepreneurial skills and plans to hold workshops in the bakery to help the children understand and learn what goes into running a business. “Community is important; I don’t just want Delish to be a store, I want it to be an avenue to give back.” She currently does not have a name for the program, but as it grows she will definitely have volunteers to help out.

    The shop will be hosting a grand opening event on Sept. 8 at 511

    South Jefferson St. in Roanoke. There will be a ribbon-cutting during the day and plans for raffles and door prizes to celebrate the new location. If you want to indulge your sweet tooth, plan to host a get together or are getting married, call (540) 986-4657 or stop by Delish; they will have what you need.

  • Publisher's Note

    “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count,
    it’s the life in your years.”
    - Unknown


    “Real loss is only possible when you love something
    more than you love yourself.”

    - Robin Williams


    In this issue, we spend time with family and friends of Alexis Murphy as they mourn the anniversary of Alexis’ disappearance.  Family and friends of Alexis are bringing awareness about missing people and the impact that has on families.

    In a different direction, we take a look at fashion and service.  The Fashionista Roanoke organization is hosting its annual Roanoke Fashion Week this month, an event that provides awareness and education. Proceeds go to fantastic work at the Center in the Square. We also are profiling the Doggy Fashion Show.  The sorority organization, Delta Sigma Theta Inc., is producing this event to provide awareness and resources for dogs assisting people who are disabled. Our financial guru, Stedman Payne, talks about how to avoid financial scams. 

    On a sad note for the ColorsVA family, this will be the last issue for our editor, Erica Myatt. Erica was our first editor here, and her fantastic work has helped this organization become a great news source not just for communities of color, but the overall community here in Southwest Virginia. Her professionalism and attention to detail helped create the ColorsVA brand of quality journalism and mutual respect among all ethnicities.  She will be truly missed. 

    We are excited to have Melinda Payne to pick up the torch and continue our mission at ColorsVA magazine as our new editor. Melinda has made impact in this community for many years, including 20 years of experience as a copy editor for The Roanoke Times. Her
    reputation is solid, and at ColorsVA, we look forward to having her on board.

    We thank you for your continued support.











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