The Tale of the Shamrock


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Today’s featured vendor is a very special lady, a talent extraordinaire, and a wonderful person, both inside and out. Anyone would be pleased to call her “friend.” Her work never ceases to amaze me and is always inspiring.  I am so pleased to feature, Ms. Demetra Turner. Enjoy her story!

Living the Dream,


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Even though you express yourself through your art, our readers would love to know more about you.

  1. Tell us where you are from, if you are married, any children, grandchildren.

I was born in Salem, Virginia. I now reside in Waynesboro. I am divorced and I have two wonderful grown boys that live in Dallas, Texas.
I also have a special little 6 year old in my life. His name is Sean, and I’m his “Mimi” and he is my heart!


  1. What is your special dream business and how did you get started in it? What’s your “story?” When did you first know that you had a special gift?

 From the age of 3 I was interested in art. I used to draw family members on my chalkboard that my family raved about, so I quickly became “the artist in the family.” My mom was very good at sketching, although she never took it seriously, but whenever we had to wait at the bus station or in a doctor’s office she would give me a pad and pencil and we would sketch together, to keep me occupied.
At the age of five or six, I loved watching “The Jon Gnagy Show,” on our black and white TV. I watched it every time it came on. I was enthralled with the drawings he did, so that year my parents surprised me with my very own Jon Gnagy drawing set! I also loved “I Dream of Jeanie,” so I drew her a lot!

When I was in high school, my classmates would get me to draw their pets or their boyfriends or girlfriends and sometimes ask me to illustrate a story from class. I charged $5.00 each for those drawings. My first sales!

When I got married and started a family my art went on the back burner until 1989 when a friend and I were asked to hand paint some sweatshirts and canvas bags for The Belle Grae Inn’s gift shop. We divided them up and started painting, but my friend couldn’t finish hers and went to bed, so I stayed up all night long and finished all of them! I was tired, but I was driven! We delivered them on time the next day and got a nice check in return! I think that was my first realization that people might actually pay money for my art! It was a good feeling!

 2.Tell us about the variety of products you work with and what is your favorite.

 After the family drawings and high school portraits, I continued painting canvas bags and shirts, and I sold them all. But then, I discovered gourds! I bought some at a yard sale. They were moldy but I thought I would clean them up and set them around the house for decoration. After they sat on my porch for six months, I decided to paint on one and I hated it. I didn’t like the way the paint felt on it at all so I left them alone again for another six months. Eventually, I tried again and this time it was magic!

I painted everything from farm scenes to Santas and I decided to take them to my friend’s workplace. The ladies in the office went crazy over them and I sold $165 worth that day alone!

I painted gourds exclusively for a few years and then added slate into the mix. I especially liked the irregular nature of slate. It was like I could see what needed to be painted on it, from it’s shape alone.

For five years, in the mid 90’s, I hosted a Christmas Open House at my home in Middlebrook. We lived in the old Shamrock Farm home, up on a hill. I sent out 95 invitations the first year and by the 5th year the list had grown to over 500 people! People came from far and wide to enjoy the ambiance, eat the delicious food that my friend, Sheila Ishee, catered and buy my artwork!

  1. This is not a full time job for you. Do you think some day it will be? Why or why not? What is the biggest obstacle/hurdle you have to pursuing this special dream of yours?

I continued painting and did several local shows for a time and then went through some personal valleys and didn’t paint much at all for about eight years. Fast forward to several years ago, I decided to get serious about my work. I had started making jewelry and was now doing mixed media incorporating fabric and paper into my paintings. I was doing some shows again. Lynne Breeden contacted me after seeing my art on Etsy and asked me to be a vendor at The MaDee Project benefit! I said “YES!”

I eventually came on board with LTD 7.

 My mission on this earthly journey is to take this gift I’ve been given and use it to the best of my ability. My desire is that I will, one day, be able to do this full time. In my mind it already is full time, because I’m constantly thinking and creating. It never stops.

  1. Where does your inspiration come from?

I get inspiration from everything…everywhere! I can get lost for days on Pinterest!

  1. Is there a spiritual reference in your artwork?

 Many people don’t know this; I get asked frequently about the shamrock that I always put beside my name on my paintings. When all of this started with the gourds I was looking for a recognizable symbol that I could use, that would have a special meaning and would be easy to paint. I knew that the shamrock had been used in times past to explain the Trinity.  I wanted to give God the glory for blessing me, so every piece of art bears a tiny shamrock. It’s my way of recognizing His hand in all of this.

Tell us a story about the one item that a customer may have purchased or ordered that touched you in a way no other has.

There have been so many special moments with my products over the years! People come up to me all the time and tell me that they still hang my ornaments out each year or tell me a story where something I painted or created meant so much to them.

Just recently Anne Whitehouse, the manager at LTD 7.2, told me about a lady that came into the Rowe store and was looking a long time at one of my small mixed media paintings that had a quote on it. She told Anne that she had just come from burying her sister and with tears in her eyes said that quote reminded her of her sister so she bought the painting.  It’s moments like that that I’m most grateful for, knowing that the Lord is using this gift He’s given me to touch others lives. 

 8. How do you get your artwork out to various outlets? Do you have an agent, do you recommend another artist getting one and why?

 I think having an agent is certainly helpful for things like licensing but it’s not something that happens overnight and it’s not a “get rich quick” process, for sure! I think the exposure I get from having my work in LTD 7 and now, both locations of Absolutely Outer Banks in Nagshead, and Duck, North Carolina  makes me happy.


My story of getting an agent goes like this: Mainline Art and Design, saw my art on Etsy, and they wanted to be my agent! Does this happen for real? I couldn’t believe it! I always thought this was something I had to pursue! I thought it was a hoax at first.

After I came down off my cloud and four long years later, I finally got a call from an international art licensing agency about a painting I had done of three witches around a cauldron. (I make canvas prints of it and have cards available at LTD 7). They wanted to mass produce that image and I was over the moon with excitement!

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They needed it to be a certain size and for some odd reason I could not send it to them in the size they needed! My agent tried, also unsuccessfully, and I even enlisted the help of a fellow vendor and her expertise-all to no avail.  I was beside myself. To make a very long story short, it didn’t work out and I was devastated. I had waited four long years for this and then nothing!

After I recovered from licking my wounds, I gave it all to the Lord. I realized that I had put way too much emphasis on that milestone and if it was going to happen, it would, when it was time. And wouldn’t you  know…the very next week my Frosty Friends snowman painting was licensed and was put on small and large garden flags and sold nationwide through Toland Home and Garden!

I learned a big lesson in that whole fiasco, and that was to keep my focus on what I’m supposed to be doing-creating-and the Lord will take care of the rest!

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I’ve since had another painting licensed by Manual Woodworkers and that image, Colorful Costa, was put on bedding, rugs and shower curtains.

 9. What is your favorite store for supplies?

 I’m always gathering supplies from Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Dick Blick, Etsy and even yard sales.

  1. What advice would you like to share with dreamers like you? What piece of wisdom or lesson learned would you say pushed you the furthest in your dream?

People tell me all the time that I’m so talented and they they don’t have any talent at all. I disagree! I believe the Lord gives all of us gifts. Your gift may not be artistic, but whatever it is,  it’s still a gift that’s just for you. If you have a passion in your heart for something, just do it! Even if it’s small or seems insignificant, just take that first step and don’t ever ever give up! Taking that step may just open up a world of possibility!







A Person of Interest – Mugshots Squared

Today, I want to feature a man we have all come to know and love. As a local to Staunton, he can be found, around town, sometimes on a Harley. He’s a landscaper by profession. And a wonderful human being by design.


Many of you may remember him from Lee High class of 1981 or with his Bride and high school Sweetheart, Angie.

This man has a heart of gold, his family is his pride and joy,  his God is his guiding light. and he has an eye for our amazing landscape too. Not just any landscape, mind you, but the kind that captures your attention in the way that he sees it. His name is Mic Whitesell, and he is known and loved by all of us here at LTD 7 as the eye behind the camera of Mugshots Squared and the only male member of The Dream Team. Mic not only takes wonderful photos, but he has a way of with photo names as well. He captures our world in such a beautiful, fun, lighthearted way!  You can find many pictures framed and for sale in our downtown location of LTD 7 but please take the time to join his Instagram, his photos are amazing and far to many to feature at LTD 7. Any item you find can be framed or purchased. Contact LTD 7, Downtown.  Mic’s Instagram:

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Mic’s First baby Shower FullSizeRender

December is his busy time of year! 10539183_889233974444250_8121803981696963175_o

His beautiful Daughter6723_562111873898577_6668879911979023366_n

Mic’s Favorite View of the land13232907_1718256675115760_2477748878788784798_n

Enjoy my interview with Mic.

Living the Dream,



  1. How did you get started? “What’s your story?”

I have always taken pictures. I probably started shooting around the age of ten.  My brother and I had a bathroom that was turned into a darkroom when we were young. I used a 35mm camera until the camera phone evolved.

I have worked outside all of my life. I think my relationship with nature influenced my “like” of subject matter. Some of you may or may not know that my real occupation is a landscape gardener. I have been self-employed for many years, but now work for a major healthcare organization doing pretty much the same.

A few years back, I was persuaded to join and use social media as an outlet for my hobby. I was reluctant at first, but soon, I was hooked. By popular demand, and with the encouragement of LTD 7, I started Mugshots2. All of my pictures are taken with my camera phone.

“A-Mazing  Morning”13932679_1748682748739819_6888208334683998524_n

“Downtown Drops”



“Brace Face”13906901_1749457695328991_3975805934066922783_n

  1. Is this a full time gig? Do you think some day it will be?

Yes and no. I take photos all the time. Some days the totals for photos shot can reach in the hundreds. Maybe I will go full time, someday… anything is possible.

  1. You use an iPhone? Are you telling people that you support Apple phones for this kind of endeavor? Will any camera phone work?

 My first camera phone was a Samsung Galaxy. I was satisfied with the results, but due to a mishap (H2O) it had to be replaced. My new phone just happened to be an iPhone 4. I became comfortable with it. Since then, I have upgraded to an iPhone 6s. Is it any better? I don’t know; they all have advantages and disadvantages. I feel you should use whatever you have and make the most out of it.

  1. Where would you most like to shoot?

I take pictures of anything-anywhere. In January, my family and I visited Hawaii for a couple of weeks. The abundance of subject matter there was unbelievable. I took over 6,500 photos!

Mostly, I enjoy exploring our area right here at home, photographing what I term “overlooked subject matter.”

“Around downtown”


5. What is the biggest obstacle to pursuing this dream of yours?

 In one word: Money.

6. Do you ever encounter resistance from the public?

Not really. I just use common sense. And I always ask permission.

  1. What is the most unusual thing that has ever happened to you while shooting? G Rated, of course.

I stopped to take photographs of some rusty cars on my way home from work one evening, only to find a couple months later I was a “Person of Interest” in a robbery case on the same property. I was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing.( Thus the name of his company)

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 2.57.38 PM ~ Aug-7


Wherever he travels, he takes LTD 7 with him 🙂


  1. What would you like to share with dreamers like you? What one piece of advice would you say pushed you the furthest in this dream?

 I would say, just “Do It!” If what you want makes you happy…then be happy. Don’t procrastinate. Even if your dream doesn’t turn in your favor, at least you tried. You can learn from your mistakes and be better.

The name, “LTD 7” says it all. “Living the Dream”

Thank you Mic!

Mic Whitesell iphone Photography









We Just Fit

For starters, if any of you missed LTD 7’s big announcement this week, here it is again. We are beyond overjoyed to add to our growing family!

Grandmas bait announcement

What would Staunton be without Grandma’s Bait? Well many of us, upon hearing the announcement of Bob and Shirley’s last season at Grandma’s Bait, could not even imagine what it would be like. I felt the same way!

With that said…LTD 7 is very proud to announce that we have purchased “Grandma’s Bait! We are very excited and look forward to continuing the legacy of Bob and Shirley’s wonderful store in our community.

Although we can’t fill the hole in your hearts with the retirement of Shirley, we look forward to forming a new relationship with you, your children and your grandchildren. We know better than to try and fill their shoes…we won’t even try! We know it can’t be done! Instead, we want to pour our hearts and souls into Grandma’s Bait and honor the wish of theirs to serve the generations of families in our community, as well as keep the memories alive at Grandma’s Bait.

For me personally, owning Grandma’s Bait is very much like “a dream within a dream.” I am living my dream at LTD 7 but I had an unspoken dream of owning this store some 15 years ago, when I came back to my hometown of Staunton, as a new mom and carrying home an extensive background in retail. It’s hard to believe that this dream is now a reality, all within the realm of LTD 7. I thank my God above for allowing me to follow my dreams and glorify him through my stores.

To Bob and Shirley: Thank you for this wonderful opportunity! We hope to make you proud and we look forward to loving and serving the children, the parents and the grandparents for many years to come in Staunton’s downtown.

To Grandma Bait’s customers, past present and future: Please feel free to send us a message and introduce yourself, we would LOVE to hear from you! Let us know what you would like to see in the future at Grandma’s Bait!


Owning Grandma’s Bait just fit. We will be sharing more details in the next few days and weeks about our new venture! Some exciting things are in the works!

Speaking of perfect fits, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Be sure to come and see us at LTD 7 and LTD 7.2 to purchase gifts for all of your loved ones. If you can’t think of what to give, show your love with a gift card to LTD 7. That is a win-win. Your special Valentine’s get to purchase something they love and you get to shop with us at the same time!

For those of you hankering for a homemade gift this February 14th, I found a special and easy DIY project you might want to try. This gift is inexpensive, and can be personalized for the newly married couple, the grandmas and grandpas and the special friends and loved ones on your list. Personalized, homemade gifts can often be just the romantic gesture you’ve been looking for.

There are quite a few DIY ways to create a great Valentine’s Day present, but these one-of-a-kind mason jars really take the cake. These Valentine’s Day jars are a great way to say “I like you” or “I love you” in a fun and personal way. I can’t wait to make one myself!

DIY mason jar photo holders

Wishing you an awesome week and hoping to see all of you soon!

Dream Big!

Living the Dream,







The Daily Grind

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How many of you thought of a steaming hot cup of your favorite coffee when you read the title of today’s blog? How many of you start each day with a “cuppa java” just to clear the cobwebs from your brain and start the day? While I too depend on my favorite brand to wake me of a morning, that is not what I want to blog about.

The daily grind is for me more about that period of time when the party ends; the guests go home and the dishes are piled high in the kitchen sink. The daily grind is the quiet weeks of preparation, before the party.

The daily grind is the period of time after the baby showers are over and the baby presents with hours of colic, requiring hours of walking and swaddling. The grind happens to us when we start a new job, along about the third or fourth week, when the house is in shambles and the kids are home sick. The daily push or grind is that month after the funeral, when all the calls and guests are back to their normal routines of living. The daily grind is the area of concentration and hard work that comes after the grand opening and during the succeeding weeks and months of hard work.

I love the preparation for my dreams. I love opening a new store, like LTD 7.2. It is an exciting time and even though I am exhausted from all, there is newness in the air and I am energized just by walking in the doors of the store.

Then reality hits.

Perhaps you have managed to name your passion and maybe even reserved a webpage with the same name. Maybe you have pounded the pavement and created a niche for your product and enjoyed the hours of meetings and lunches whereby you sought and found a place to sell your wares. Maybe you have a newly printed business plan, the pages still warm from the printer.

Then the hard work begins.

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It is this period of time…the daily grind of working on your dreams that separates the men from the boys. How bad do you want it? The succeeding weeks and months will tell the story.

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It will be hard to stay focused at times; it will be difficult to keep yourself energized and positive about your choices when no one is around to pump you up. It will be much easier to turn on the telly and watch a mindless show, or go out to dinner and a movie with the kids and get your nails done, or sleep in later than normal on Saturday.

Life will get in the way of your dreams and plans and one of the best ways to preserve your hopes and march on with your to do list is to carve out whole chunks of time to devote to the









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Pursuing your passion is exciting and worthwhile. It is also full of hours upon hours of “daily grind.”

Are you up for the task? I can promise you this: it will be worth it in the end.

As we approach the beginning of the school year and the end of the lazy, hazy days of summer, perhaps you will consider printing yourself a new monthly calendar and inking in your dreams and plans in every space you see, regardless of all the other commitments you have. Carve out a chunk of space every day to work on your dream and in time, you will reap the rewards of all of your hard work.

grind 6

I wish I could tell you that turning a dream into reality is all fun and games. I can’t do that. But what I can promise you is that if you are doing what you love, you will never work a day in your life.

Are you ready? Are you willing to get your hands dirty? Can you keep at it when the road before you looks long and hard? Do you believe in yourself enough to quiet the naysayers?

If you answered “Yes!” to the above questions, then get to it.

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Make hay while the sun shines. Shoot me an email or Come in LTD 7 and tell me all about your plans and what you are doing to make them a reality. I would love to hear all about your dream. I promise to cheer you on as you work, step by step, to reach your goals.

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Living the Dream,


Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Do you remember wanting to wear your new shoes and winter clothes on the first day of school? Can you recall the anticipation of your wedding day, after all the parties, dinners and showers? What about that baby, about to be born; or the day you celebrate a special birthday or milestone? Do you remember the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics? How many times have you looked forward to the first day of baseball season or the day school is out for the summer? Some say the best part of a vacation is the anticipation of the same.

I love opening days. They are the food that feeds my ambition and drive and the culmination of many years of passion, hopes, dreams and a great deal of hard work…all rolled into one festive occasion. No matter how many stores I’ve owned, they have all been my “special babies,” and I love each time I get to celebrate an opening.

open 5

This Wednesday will be yet another dream come true for me, and I would love to share it with you. LTD 7.2 is celebrating our Grand Opening! I am excited beyond belief. No matter how many times I do this, it always feels like the first time. I feel the nervous anticipation; I feel like the sky is the limit; I love knowing that yet another dream store is coming true.

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We have so many plans for Wednesday! The Greater Augusta County Chamber of Commerce will attend, The Ribbon Cutting(10:00 AM) and Blessing of the Store(9:30 AM), followed by refreshments, contests, games, prizes and special sales that will blow your socks off!

All day long you will find yellow ribbons on items giving you special prices and you will get mind-blowing discounts at both locations of LTD 7. Enter to win great prizes from our vendors all day long. You do not need to be present to win, but of course we hope you will stay awhile and enjoy all we have to offer.

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Our new location is 54 Rowe Road in Staunton, beside the Virginia Made Shop and Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant and Bakery. Please tell all of your friends and family and join us for a very special day! Oh and by the way, when I see you, give me a wink…let me know you know how special Wednesday’s Opening Day will be for me and our Dream Team. I have held onto these dreams for a very long time. It is such a tremendous joy to share them with every single one of you.

Screen Shot 2015-07-11 at 7.13.11 PM ~ Jul-11

Living the Dream,


The Top Fifteen Reasons

top 15

Because you eat well, play well, and live well, I thought I would give you my 15 Top Reasons to shop… well…at none other than LTD 7. There are so many more than 15 reasons why I like to think that we are the number one destination in the Shenandoah Valley when you think of gift shops, but rather than just “say” that, I wanted to prove it to you.

And yes, I want your vote for the Best Gift Shop in the Shenandoah Valley in the regional competition…but certainly NOT without earning it!


 I really like these competitions. They allow me to take a long hard look at my business and decide if we are worthy of your vote and patronage and what we can do to keep being the number one shop in the Shenandoah Valley for gifts. So here are fifteen of the hundreds of reasons why we, at LTD 7, think, and hope, and cross our fingers, and wish upon a star, that we are and will remain your number one choice for shopping.


Reason Number One:


We think out of the box. Well, sometimes. And at other times we will wear a box on our head…just to prove to you we will do anything to earn your business. How many of you remember when I wore a box on my head? Trust me…you are our number one reason for all that we do here at LTD 7. Your dreams are ours and we are so grateful for all you do to allow us to live our dream. See Number Fifteen below.

Reason Number Two:

We hold many classes and workshops in areas that interest you and your children. We are constantly dreaming up new ways to learn and offer these special events to you.

Reason Number Three:

Our special blend of artisans. Seven amazingly talented and diverse women that fill our store with the best they have to offer, all of which compliment the diverse and unique goods you will find at LTD 7.

Reason Number Four:

Parking is never a problem and we can offer delivery and shipping on most anything. If you need it, it will be yours in whatever way we can get it to you.

Reason Number Five:

Our amazing staff! Shoot—I could have written fifteen reasons why I love each of them and cherish their expertise and dedication to us and to you. I am so blessed to have such wonderful team members at LTD 7!(Carolyn and Pam are missing from the picture 😦 )


Reason Number Six:

Our inventory is constantly being rotated, changed and expanded. We truly listen to you and strive always to bring you the latest and greatest of goods and services. There is always something new at LTD 7. I do not need to say more; the store speaks for itself. Just remember, if you want it, get it as we sell out quickly!


Reason Number Seven:



Our daily updates and our twice weekly sales keep you abreast of new items before they hit the sales floor and our sales on Monday and Thursday are not to be missed. Which leads me into…

Reason Number Eight:


Our contests are top of the line. We are known to give away rain boots on rainy days, Chevron blankets on cold days, and baskets of goods and gift cards…every single week there are two ways to win…at least. And then some. If you have not liked us on Facebook, I would strongly encourage you to do so.

Reason Number Nine:

Cupcakes! Sweet Nana Cakes delivers fresh and delectable treats that please even the most discriminating palette. Try one or a dozen the next time you come in.

Reason Number Ten:

Pinterest. A special customer once said, “LTD 7 makes Pinterest come alive.” That is our goal.

Reason Number Eleven:

Unique Fashions and Jewelry.


This year brought us into the realm of fashion and more jewelry. It has been a huge hit, no doubt in part because of our adorable “face” of LTD 7, who models the latest and greatest items to hit the sales floor. Honestly, I see her in some of our outfits and want to buy each and every one of them for myself.

Reason Number Twelve:

“The best gift is the one you want to keep for yourself.” LTD 7 is sure to please you when you need special and unique gifts. We can create special gift baskets, bows and gift wrap your purchases, as well. When you need that special something, not found in big box stores, please do think of us first.

Reason Number Thirteen:

The smiles. Yours and ours. How many of you just can’t wait to see who is working on any given day? I know I even look forward to working behind the scenes when Lissa is on the floor, because I get to see her smile. And we promise to do everything in our power to see that you leave our store smiling, from ear to ear. It just makes the day better to smile, don’t you think?


 Reason Number Fourteen:

At LTD 7 we believe in charity. How many of you have come to our Markets and learned that a portion of our proceeds are put right back into the community and into causes that are near and dear to our heart? It is in giving that we receive.

And…drumroll, please…

Reason Number Fifteen:

YOU! The customer! We have the best customers in the entire world! You make our day with your conversations, your updates on friends near and far and all the many ways you share our dreams at LTD 7. You are the apple of our eyes, the cherry on our sundae, the peach in our pie and the reason we do all that we can to be your Number One gift shop in the Shenandoah Valley. We love you and we are devoted to you and we truly hope that shows in our faces and in our products.

Please consider voting us the Number One  (# 44)Gift Store in the Best of Virginia (and #48 if you so desire Independent home decor store) Here is how you can help us keep this award for a second year running:

 Choose Shenandoah Valley, answer questions in order or skip to # 44.  If you vote for at least 40, you are enterered into a drawing for an iPad! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Staunton’s downtown businesses did a Best Of Virginia “Sweep” ! Let’s go for it! 

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 6.10.29 PM ~ Jan-11

Here are their directions for Virginia Living: Limit one ballot per person per region.

• You may vote in as few or as many of the 95 categories as you like.

• At the bottom of each page are buttons marked “Previous” and “Next” that allow you to navigate through the survey to skip questions or change your answers. Once you click the “Submit Survey” button on the final page of the ballot, all answers become final and you will be unable to edit your responses.

• You do not have to complete the entire survey in one sitting. No need to save, just exit and return to the survey from the same computer and use the same web browser.

• When voting for your “bests,” don’t forget to include the city where the event, person, business or venue is located.

You must vote in at least 40 of the 95 categories to be entered into our drawing for an iPad mini.

• To be counted, all ballots must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST Friday, Jan. 23.

If you have any questions, or experience technical difficulties when completing your survey, please contact Best of Virginia 2015 Assistant Editor Eden Stuart at

 Thanks for all you do for us and thank you—in advance—for voting us the Number One Gift Shop in the Valley in The Best of Virginia for the second year in a row. We are so blessed!



Hope to see you very soon!

Living the Dream,