Welcome, February 2015!

As I write this, the Northeast has been pounded by the epic to-end-them-all (well, maybe not so much) blizzard, while RVA received a decent dusting sufficient to close the local schools thrilling students and teachers alike. January is almost behind us, and we are looking forward to February to bring us one step closer to springtime. Fortunately, the calendar holds much to tempt you out of hibernation. 

Women and Wellness

Women in Wellness invitation via Massey Cancer Center

keynote speaker Meg Ryan
Tuesday, February 3rd
12:00 to 2:00 p.m.
The Jefferson Hotel
to benefit women’s cancer research at Massey Cancer Center

Wear It Well Again Trunk Show and Book Signing

The Excellent Advice of a Few Famous Painters by Tyler Scott

Beat the Winter Blahs
A Night of Great Clothes and Good Literature
See Tanya Owen’s beautiful consignment clothes from Wear It Well Again and
Hear about Tyler Scott’s new novel set in Richmond
Wednesday, February 4
5 to 8 p.m.
2315 Crowncrest Drive
Richmond, VA 23233
rsvp  or 
Bring a few friends

Spring Show for CAbi

CAbi 2015 Lookbook via CAbi

Shop the CAbi Spring 2015 Collection
presented by CAbi consultant Lisa Dempster
Thursday and Friday, February 12 & 13 at Ellen’s home
details to follow

Valentine’s Day

LOVE sign Collage © The Gracious Posse

Spread the LOVE on February 14

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras accessories at Pearl's Cupcakes © The Gracious Posse

Tuesday, February 17
Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Cabin Fever

1708 Gallery's Auction

1708 Gallery’s Annual Art Auction
1708 Gallery
319 West Broad Street
Saturday, February 21
7 p.m.


JDRF Gala Time for a Cure invitation

Saturday, February 28
The Jefferson Hotel
benefits research to cure Type 1 diabetes

Richmond Ballet Road to China

Richmond Ballet fundraiser invitation

Richmond Ballet Celebrates the Chinese New Year
Saturday, February 28
Chinese Pavilion at 3403 West Moore Street
for more information call 804-344-0906 x 258

With plenty to keep you busy, maybe February won’t seem so slow and dreary.


January 29, 2015

Preparing for Super Bowl Sunday

It’s almost here! Our annual excuse to watch t.v. with friends and gorge on chips and heavy dips happens this Sunday. Even my friends who don’t know the difference between the end zone and a tight end get hyped for this American-made pseudo-holiday.

Super Bowl-Related Games

We’ve been hosting a small group of friends with their children for years, but now that my youngest has flown the nest, it looks like we will be kid-free. That won’t keep us from playing our own games that track the big game.

Once again I have created 2015 game-specific bingo cards. The first winner at our house gets a $5 lottery ticket, and the next 5 get a $1 ticket. The link below will take you to a download page. Just print out as many as you need (the Master List is on the last page); M&Ms or Hershey’s kisses make yummy markers.

2015 Super Bowl Bingo cards (60) via the Gracious Posse

Use our house rules:

1. Play begins when the National Anthem is sung.
2. The item described on the bingo card has to have been actually observed (not assumed) by someone at the party and confirmed.
3. Appoint a referee (striped shirt not required) who will be the final arbiter before a prize can be selected.
4. A player can only win once.

We also play Super Bowl Pool.

Super Bowl Pool © The Gracious Posse

Guests need to enter before the game begins. Get it from Party City or make your own.

Potluck Reigns

chocolate covered footballs on a stadium tray © The Gracious Posse

The Super Bowl is the perfect time to try those decadent recipes you’ve been collecting on Pinterest. Everyone wants to pitch in, so enjoy the smorgasbord that a Super Bowl Potluck brings.

Super Bowl Potluck © The Gracious Posse

If you are hosting, why not serve a punch recipe that has caught your eye.

Seahawks Super Bowl Punch © The Gracious PosseSeahawks Super Bowl Punch

12th Man Town

Seattle’s quarterback, Russell Wilson, is RVA’s hometown hero. Talk about a class act who can get the job done. Can you say #epicwin about the NFC Championship game? Needless to say, a lot more of our guests will be donning green and blue rather than the Patriots’ red and blue.

12th Man flag flying over Russell Wilson’s alma mater, Collegiate School in RVAvia Facebook

Though Ellen and I will be hoping for a repeat and properly inflated balls, we are mostly looking forward to a convivial evening filled with good food and good friends and, hopefully, a few good commercials. Now that’s something to celebrate.


 January 28, 2015

1708 Gallery ~ Helping Lead the Way to Transforming RVA

Richmond is vibrating. No, not from the fault line in nearby Louisa County. It’s from the creative energy that simmered for so long beneath the surface of this once sleepy city. Patiently creative pioneers have been working for years to bring new ideas to the city’s collective conscience, and finally that patience is paying off as RVA is rejuvenating and transforming in ways that not many of us could have possibly imagined.

1708 Gallery's Super:Natural 5-person show © The Gracious Posse

Without a doubt, the advertising and art departments at Virginia Commonwealth University have had a lot to do with incubating creative forces around town. As the University has built its reputation in those and the medical and engineering fields, it has transformed the physical look and feel of a large part of the city. With the recent ground-breaking of the new Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA), VCU is helping to solidify the city’s position as a national leader in the arts.

1708 Gallery on right looking east, with Quirk Gallery one block away1708 Gallery on right looking east, with Quirk Gallery up by the heart

VCU alone, though, is not responsible for RVA’s metamorphosis into a hip destination for creative types. While Eugene Trani and the VCU Board of Visitors were implementing their vision for the school, other dreamers were collaborating on their own ideas. One such group was a group of VCU art professors who created a non-profit space for new art, 1708 Gallery.

inside current 1708 Gallery looking out over Super:Natural exhibit © The Gracious Posse

Envisioned as a place for new artists to display thought-provoking contemporary works, 1708 Gallery settled in its first home at 1708 East Main Street in the then-edgy Shockoe Bottom 36 years ago.

Christopher Mahonski's The Gut at 1708 Gallery's Super:Natural 5-person show © The Gracious PosseChristopher Mahonski designed The Gut of plaster turtleshells sitting on a chromed chair.

As the Gallery evolved, the Shockoe Bottom neighborhood became the residential destination of choice for medical students, business creatives and artists, as well as the heart of the city’s nightlife.

Christopher Mahonski's Rocks passing in the universe at 1708 Gallery's Super:Natural exhibit © The Gracious Posse

Christopher Mahonski’s Rocks Passing in the Universe is comprised of foam pieces as found in the East River of New York.

close-up of Christopher Mahonski's Rocks passing in the universe at 1708 Gallery's Super:Natural exhibit © The Gracious Posse1

As the primary beneficiaries of the gallery have been students and recent graduates of the VCU School of the Arts, 1708 Gallery decided to get closer to campus and in 2001 moved into the decrepit 300 block of West Broad Street. While only a stone’s throw from the then-outerbounds of the University, the area felt practically deserted. But as the saying goes,

Build it, and they will come.

Though it may have taken a bit of time, 1708 Gallery now sits in the middle of Richmond’s most exciting reincarnation, the recently-labeled Arts District. In addition to the just-under-construction ICA two blocks to the west, Quirk Gallery sits just a few doors east, and the new Quirk boutique hotel

soon-to-be Quirk Hotel under construction © The Gracious PosseQuirk Hotel under construction

is schedule to open up the block just in time for the UCI World Championships. Up another block is the historic

November Theatre © The Gracious PosseNovember Theatre,

home to the Va Rep Theatre, and loads of new restaurants, whose chefs are artists in the culinary field,

Comfort, the restaurant © The Gracious Posse

have been taking over every previously abandoned storefront nearby.

Derek Coté's Liminal Observation System 1.0 at 1708 Gallery's Super:Natural exhibit © The Gracious PosseDerek Coté’s Liminal Observation System 1.0 features a glacier sculpture.

Though the area is rapidly gentrifying, the 1708 Gallery remains a venue to celebrate the transformative power of contemporary art. The current show, Super/Natural, is a prime example. The five featured artists explore themes of alchemy and magic, science fiction and new age spiritualism through geology and ecology. The works all suggest transformation, often by reworking found objects into something new. What an appropriate exhibit for a gallery that is helping to rework its neighborhood and transform it into the creative center of Richmond.

Emily Smith getting hands on with Postcards from future © The Gracious PosseEmily Smith rubs a thermochromic postcard  from Stéphanie Roland’s Postcards from Future to reveal a map of an island that is slowly eroding.

map of Arwad Island, Syria revealed with a hand rub at 1708 Gallery's Super/Natural 5-person show © The Gracious Posse

Emily Smith, the 1708 Gallery’s engaging executive director, will be speaking more on the Gallery and the physical and spiritual transformation of its neighborhood on February 5, 2015 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Entitled Imagination, Rejuvenation, Transformation, the panel discussion also includes Quirk’s founder, Katie Ukrop, and Chrystal Neal of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. This Ladies Night Out is open to all and includes a wine reception and dinner.

If you have any interest in the exciting happenings developing along Broad Street, this evening will be a great place to start. Purchase your tickets here through February 2nd, if they don’t sell out beforehand. We’ve no doubt you will leave vibrating with excitement for RVA.


January 26, 2014