The Blowdry Bar Trend Hits RVA: Shine Dazzles in the West End

Glamorous curls, beachy, bohemian waves and sleek updos are no longer reserved just for celebrities on the red carpet- or limited to your next scheduled visit to the hairdresser.

Shine Blowdry Bar, Richmond’s first salon devoted exclusively to hairstyling and makeup services, opened this April near Willow Lawn (5227 W. Broad Street). See Blow-dry bar to open on Broad Street – 

“We leave the haircuts and color treatments to the traditional salons,” founder and CEO Allison Bridges said. “At Shine, we simply ‘wash, blowdry and dazzle.’”

With 10 styling stations, the 1,440 square foot, modern salon is designed to be walk-in friendly. There is no need to make an appointment, with the exception of booking large/private parties or visits outside of regular business hours. See New blow-dry bar blows into the West End this April – RVANews

Modern Elegance, Affordable Luxury

Just as “The Rachel,” which dominated as the most popular hair trend of the 1990s, has given way to today’s “Kate Middleton,” the styling services of yesteryear have evolved into a niche industry, burgeoning in metropolitan markets across the country.

“It’s no wonder why blowdry bars are trending,” Bridges said. “They offer an easy, affordable boost, whether it’s for a special occasion or a fun pick-me-up. I’m excited to introduce my version of the concept to Richmond.” See Richmond Magazine’s review of Shine Blowdry Bar on Shop Talk.

At Shine Blowdry Bar, the experience typically starts with a complimentary cup of coffee or glass of wine (for patrons over 21) and a peek at a “Look Book” for inspiration on various styles, ranging from the bouncy “Starlet” to the sleek “Executive Sweet.” Click here for the full Look Book.

Basic blowouts include a shampoo, blowdry and styling at a flat fee $40, no matter the hair length or level of difficulty. Kids under 10 are eligible for “The Twinkle” styling at $25.

Updos, braids and on-location styling can be scheduled at additional cost. Hair repair and massage treatments and a variety of makeup services are also available.

A typical styling session lasts approximately 45 minutes, and the look can be maintained for several days. Shine Blowdry Bar has its own line of haircare products designed especially to preserve the style. Products are available in-store and can also be ordered online here.

Gift certificates and membership packages are also available for purchase on the salon’s website.

Dazzle, Dazzle Superstar

A mother of two and a Princeton graduate with an M.B.A from the University of Virginia’s Darden Business School, Bridges left a career of finance to own and manage a small, local clinical laboratory system. With nearly 20 years of business experience under her belt, she saw an opportunity for a new venture that would celebrate and support other women.

Bridges intends to partner with local organizations that support the advancement of women in areas of health, business, education and self-esteem and those that celebrate healthy role models for girls.

“It takes courage to go after your dreams,” Bridges said. “I like to think of Shine as a network of women who champion one another,” Bridges said. “We want everyone who walks through our doors to leave here feeling- and looking- like a superstar.”

Photos by Trevor Dickerson of Boulevard Creative.

Going Back for Seconds: Folk Feast Adds More Chefs to the Kitchen

Folk Feast was so good the first time, organizers are cooking up an even more spectacular event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Richmond Folk Festival.

On October 7, Richmond’s biggest culinary stars will gather along Historic Upper Tredegar for one delicious night of fundraising for the region’s best-loved music event. The Richmond Folk Festival, which draws thousands to the downtown Riverfront each year, relies heavily on community support to keep the festival free to the public.

“We continue to be amazed by the talent in this city,” Venture Richmond deputy director Lisa Sims said. “These are the chefs making Richmond famous for its culinary scene.”

The line-up includes 16 chefs, nearly doubling the number of contributors from last year. Featured restaurants include Belmont Butchery, Carena’s Jamaican Grille, Comfort, Estilo/Toast, Heritage, Julep’s, Lemaire, The Magpie, Mama J’s, Metzger’s Bar & Butchery, Pasture, Rappahannock, The Rogue Gentlemen, and Secco Wine Bar.

“Sometimes having more chefs in the kitchen is a good thing,” said Sims. “The Folk Feast is becoming as culturally rich and diverse as the festival itself.”

Guests will also be able to preview Wild Wolf Brewing’s Official Folk Festival beer. Tap 26 will keep the wine flowing.

Tickets are usually $100 each, but can be purchased now at the early-bird rate of $75 until August 15.

Included with the ticket purchase is complimentary parking for the entire festival weekend, and a unique pin that will exempt you from the bucket brigade’s donation requests.

To buy tickets, or to learn more about the chef line-up and other event details, visit the Folk Feast website.

Slow Down and Smell the Basil: Dinner in the Field

Known best for breathtaking waterside backdrops and cityscape views, The Boathouse Group has teamed up with Victory Farms to host Dinner in the Field.

Every Friday and Saturday this summer (with few exceptions), guests are invited to slow down, enjoy a glass of wine and discover the delicious simplicity of traditional Italian cooking–alfresco in the gardens of Victory Farms.

Chef Paige Healy, inspired by her culinary studies in southern Italy last year, has designed a 5-course menu to be served family-style in the garden. Dinner includes a tour of the fields and, in some instances, guests will be invited to help gather fresh herbs to contribute to the meal. Sommelier Michael Avery will select wines to complement the menu.

Victory Farms is a 10-minute drive from Richmond and a preferred source to a number of local fine-dining restaurants. Charlie Collins, who has made a living as a farmer for 20 years, shares Healy’s passion for fresh, organic produce and communal dining.

“I have many fond childhood memories eating vegetables right off the vine in my family’s big, organic garden,” said Collins. “Richmond’s restaurant community is doing some amazing things, I built a farm close to town to answer the call for high-quality, fresh, organic produce.”

Tickets are $85 per person. Seating is limited. Guests can register by emailing

“Every great meal starts with the same recipe,” Healy said. “Take the best ingredients around and combine them with a wonderful group of family and friends.”

Scenes from Dinner in the Field’s debut evening (credit: Mike Topham Photography):




Richmond Folk Festival: Intern at VANCE

While most people are thinking about where to see the fireworks this weekend, some of us are planning for an October event that just happens to attract 200,000 or so music fans to the riverfront each year: The Richmond Folk Festival.

It is a HUGE undertaking to bring performers and craft makers from all over the world to play a free, 3-day festival. And this year marks the Richmond Folk Festival’s 10th anniversary, so we’ve got to make it count.

I’m going to need some help to pull this off.

If you’re a PR enthusiast looking to gain some on-the-job training, hit me up.


  • Strong writing and organizational skills
  • Sense of humor
  • Your own laptop and transport
  • A minimum of 2 hours a week between September 1-October 12, 2014


  • Meet interesting people
  • Learn how a newsroom works
  • Practice your writing and storytelling skills
  • Build your resume
  • VIP passes to the Richmond Folk Festival

Ready to roll up your sleeves? Send your resume to kelly AT vanceagency DOT com

Richmond Folk Festival



Hear Ye! Beer Me! @ Ardent Craft Ales

Dear Friends,

It’s hardly been a slow news week.

Considering Tuesday’s political shake-up and recent announcements about the Roosevelt/Heritage New Southside Collaboration RVA comedic triple threat at The Broadberry and of course, Cher’s latest farewell tour, I’m looking forward to reflecting on the week’s events with an ice-cold beer in hand.

Thankfully, VANCE HQ is located only minutes away from Scott’s Addition, a neighborhood I think we can all now refer to as: Richmond’s Brewing District.  Can I get a Hear Me! Beer Me!??

Isley Brewing Company and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery welcomed two more brewers to the area: Black Heath Meadery (coming this fall) and Ardent Craft Ales (Grand Opening is tomorrow at 4pm).

Since Ardent Craft Ales Grand Opening coincides with Hear Ye! Beer Me! (not to mention the once-in-a-lifetime Friday 13th/Strawberry Full Moon Convergence), I think a field trip is in store.

Meet us at  3200 W. Leigh Street  at 4pm and raise a glass to RVA’s burgeoning brew scene.  Order your beer with the magic words: “Hear Ye! Beer Me!” and the first one’s on me. Better do it before 5pm, though. I’ve got a hot date and I’m taking my wallet with me.

Hear Ye!



Credit: RVANews

Trevor Dickerson is Running Down a Dream

Well folks, I knew this day would come. Trevor Dickerson– my compadre/partner-in-crime/right-hand/wingman– has decided to pursue his interests in creative services.

While bittersweet, I am pleased to announce the launch of his new company: Boulevard Creative.

For those of you who know the former Mayor of Short Pump, this is hardly surprising. He has built sites for a number of local brands, including and Trevor also designed promotional materials for an array of small businesses.


What Trevor is most famous for is creating what would become one of Richmond’s most popular blogs. Having started it while he was still in high school, Trevor transformed into an online magazine with more than 30,000 subscribers by the time he sold it in 2011.

I should know– I used to pitch him stories about grand openings and wine tastings back then. Which is, of course, how we met.

And here it is… for old time’s sake…


In the words of Golden Girl Sophia Petrillo-Weinstock, “Picture it.”

It’s February 4, 2012. Kelly has only decided to strike out on her own one month prior and guess what? She’s pregnant. No matter. Go big or go home.

In March 5, 2012. Kelly calls Trevor about creating a mini-documentary about Kate Hall (formerly of and a band of bloggers on a SXSW road-trip sponsored by Chevy.

YouTube Preview Image

Now it’s May 2012 and Kelly decides it’s high time for a website. Trevor obliges and builds a beautiful WordPress site, later incorporating the brand-spanking new logo and color palette designed by The Flores Shop.

Fast forward to July 2012. A rounder Kelly is starting to understand that her October due date is quickly approaching. She begins her search for an PR exec to manage media relations for her clients while she is on maternity leave. Trevor steps up.

Kelly’s life changes forever on October 9, 2012. Trevor takes the reigns until February 2013.


A year has passed. Trevor signs on full-time and we are officially a duo. Like Mutt and Jeff. (Google it, Trevor).

And 2013 was a very good year, filled with all sorts of fun and adventure. We dined like kings, delved into the cultural arts, put our lives into the hands of race car drivers, danced in fancy ballrooms and hobnobbed with celebrities and the media elite.


Best of all– we moved into a real office at 804RVA.

2013-12-16 13.09.33-1

Those of you who know the Wolfpack, understand that 804RVA is the hub of Richmond’s technology community. These are the wolves who made coding cool.

By 2014, Trevor was taking on more web work. He designed 4 sites for Max Radio of the Carolinas. He also created a new website in time for the relaunch of Carena’s Jamaican Grille as well as a new site for Endorphasm fitness trainer and author Erica Porter.

Like I said, it was just a matter of time. Trevor is no longer dabbling in web design and development. He’s all in. And from one entrepreneur to another, that’s the only way to do it.

Thank you for all the hard work and dedication over the past couple of years, Trevor. You are a dear friend and I wish you the very best in this new chapter.

Hear Ye!


P.S. For those of you who are still reeling from the big announcement– fear not.  Trevor is keeping the same desk at VANCE and will continue to partner with us on projects. You’ll see him hard at work as usual.

Trevor playing w cats all day

Spin Sucks Author Talks Shop with RVA Content Strategy

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich

Not even a severe hailstorm (seriously, check out this video Trevor took outside our office–it was no joke) or the threat of tornadoes could keep the crowd away for the May edition of the RVA Content Strategy meetup.

We invited Gini Dietrich, PR pro and author of ‘Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age,’ to share her insights on how to come up with great content– that gets shared.

We learned a lot. Here are a few tips and services that stood out to us.

Use SmartBrief

SmartBrief is one of Gini’s favorite tools to quickly see what’s going on in her industry. Think of it as Google Reader or Feedly, but curated and targeted to exactly what you’re interested in. Gini uses this to keep up with news and trends in the PR and marketing world–it’s a quick way to see what’s shaping the landscape of her profession.

Incorporate current events and pop culture references

When relevant and possible, don’t be afraid to talk about the latest pop culture fad or snafu in the media–they make great analogies and examples of what to do–or what not to do–when it comes to your own strategy. When writing about a current event, be careful not to take a side politically, Gini says. Rather, limit the conversation to that which is relevant to your industry.

Don’t be afraid of the ‘listicle’

Surely you’ve seen the infamous ‘listicle’ post–those BuzzFeed-style articles composed almost entirely of funny GIFs and life truths we can all relate to. And while they may not be everyone’s favorite, we all click them. You can drive clicks to and interest around your content with listicles. Don’t be afraid to use them! Even Gini fought them before she saw how effective they could be.

Scan sent mail and blog comments for topic ideas

Inspiration can come from the most unlikely places–even sent email and blog comment sections. Scanning either of them is a great way to compile some topics to write about, says Gini. It makes sense when you think about it. Seeing what others are commenting on or asking questions about is a great indicator of what people are interested in.

If you want more content strategy tips and advice on sourcing it more efficiently, with a touch of wit and humor, be sure to visit Gini’s blog, Spin Sucks. Thanks again to Gini for speaking and to 804RVA for hosting! A huge shout-out to Jamaica House for the delicious coco bread and empanadas (they did not last long) and to Center of the Universe Brewing for the suds. Always a hit!

ICYMI: Here’s the full Google Hangout of Gini speaking at our meeting: YouTube Preview Image

Hilliard House: Housing Families First

What would it take for you to find yourself homeless?

This is the question Ross Altenbaugh, director at Hilliard House, posed to me at our first meeting.

It’s hard to think about — but try to imagine it. Considering the number of Americans who received pink slips this year, we all know someone whose position was determined: non-essential.

What if you couldn’t find another job? What if you couldn’t find one that paid enough?

What would happen when the money ran out?

What if you couldn’t go to your family? How long could you stay with friends before you were no longer welcome?

What would you tell your kids?

tanikaWhen Ross asked me this, I couldn’t help but think of a post a few years back called “Dinner on a Frisbee” in which Michelle Garcia writes about how quickly she “slipped from a beautiful four bedroom house to residing with my three children in one room at an emergency shelter.”

“Families need stability to thrive and we believe it starts with permanent housing,” said Altenbaugh. “You may have a world of problems, but you can tackle them all if you have a solid foundation.”

That’s exactly what Hilliard House is all about– creating stability quickly through rapid rehousing. The idea is to get the family out of the emergency shelter and into a permanent home as quickly as possible. Thanks to the network of partners with whom Hilliard House collaborates, many families are able to find homes immediately.

Amy & Children 1 - CopyIt isn’t easy. Many families served by Hilliard House are viewed by prospective landlords as undesirable due to poor work histories, prior evictions, bad credit, and felony backgrounds. There are families who have experienced repeated episodes of homelessness due to inadequate support and poor coping skills, often the result of domestic violence. Hilliard House helps families address these barriers, beginning with the resources to maintain housing.

Providing families with access to the supportive services they need reduces the cost of evictions, minimizes the use of community homeless services and eliminates the costs associated with job turnover and foster home placement that can occur when vulnerable families fall apart.

Hilliard House recently housed 31 Richmond families in 100 days as part of a National Alliance to End Homelessness project.

signleaseLet me repeat that: 31 families in 100 days.

Hilliard House ranked third in the state for their rapid rehousing efforts, despite the fact that they were one of the smallest organizations to participate.

Always ready for a new challenge, Altenbaugh has upped the ante. Hilliard House is committed to finding housing for 55 more families in 2014.

Want to help?

Baby Gear:

Many Hilliard House families have young children. Right now there is a need for baby gear. We’re talking strollers, baby bathtubs, pack-n-plays and more. Bonus points for throwing in a pack of diapers of any size. Contact Terri Iguina at 804-236-5800 to schedule a delivery.

SAVE THE DATE: Buz-n-Neds Helping Hams 6/2

Pig out at Buz-n-Neds anytime between 6-10pm on Monday, June 2 and 10 percent of the proceeds will go directly to Hilliard House. What a delicious idea!

We’re proud to partner with this amazing team. Stay tuned for updates on their progress.

Rocketts Red Glare Launches Fireworks…and Summer

Let’s face it–Memorial Day is pretty much the unofficial start to summer, and Rocketts Landing is launching it with a bang.

The third annual Rocketts Red Glare event is taking place this Sunday, May 21. The family friendly celebration promises plenty of local food, craft beer and fireworks–the only professional display in town this weekend, in fact.

Colin Healy will kick off the festivities with a free concert at 5:30 PM, followed by the Kings of Swing. Fireworks will get underway around 9:00. (Pro tip: Grab a prime viewing spot on the deck of The Boathouse facing the James River, and do it early!)

Proceeds from Rocketts Red Glare will benefit Connor’s Heroes, a local non-profit that supports kids fighting cancer in Central Virginia.

Jack Bettin, Manager of The Boathouse, talked to NBC12 about this weekend’s event for the ’12 About Town’ events segment. – Richmond, VA News

‘Everybody Talks’ About Carena’s…Even Rockstars

Pop and alternative rock sensation Neon Trees made a stop at The National Tuesday night in support of their new album, “Pop Psychology.” Just before fans got a taste of their latest release, band members Tyler Glenn, Chris Allen, Branden Campbell and Elaine Bradley got a taste of a Richmond favorite. Carena’s Jamaican Grille catered dinner for the band before their show, pausing to take a couple photos with Carena’s staff before taking the stage.


Carena’s staff with members of Neon Trees (Photo: Bibi Johnstone)

Carena’s was a hit with the band, known for chart-toppers such as ‘Everybody Talks,’ ‘Animal’ and ‘Sleeping With A Friend.’ The group went full on ‘heart eyes’ for Carena’s kale and white bean stew, as you can see below. Screenshot 2014-05-21 13.50.55

We asked that ‘hard-hitting’ question on everyone’s mind–so, what did they eat?


Mini beef and chicken empanadas
Cool Runnings salad (mixed greens with corn and avocado


Curry vegetable w/ linguine or rice and peas
Salmon w/ mango relish
Jerk chicken

(All served with rice and peas and cabbage and kale sauté)


Rum walnut pound cake

The Richmond stop was part of a nationwide tour that began in April and will run through mid-July.