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  • “BP & Spray Tanning” - article for This! Magazine

    “BP & Spray Tanning”

    (This! - September/October issue)

    Most people associate the summer season with Pina Coladas and beach vacations, but for me, it resurfaces my yearly concerns. The first of which is vision blindness. You see, when temperatures begin to raise, my khaki shorts allow my lily white legs to emerge from hibernation. The sight alone warrants moderate eye protection. However, if the sun hits my gams just right, the reflection alone is enough to burn your retina. The second concern, and arguably the most important, is the sun’s incessant attempts to make me the human equivalent to a lobster. So, instead of being bullied for yet another summer, I finally took matters into my own hands…

    Unfortunately, the time zones in Antarctica threw off my internal clock and I managed to return to our fair city during the height of summer. While most Roanokers bathed in the summer sun, the penetrating waves seemed to vibrate against my skin, as if indicating that the sun was laughing at my inability to travel with a calendar. I was on the verge of accepting defeat. Being a blue-eyed Brazilian seemed like a distant dream.

    Enter Barbara Neal Evans, owner of Blown Away Spray Tanning on Brambleton Avenue. Barbara first contacted me after reading and enjoying one of my previous articles. Immediately I loved her. It was then she invited me to stop by and consider getting a spray tan. How could I pass this up? It was finally my chance to be sun-kissed without getting sun-dissed. #WordPlay

    Barbara initially started her business simply because “it was fun and looked good” but through her journey, it became more about giving individuals a safer alternative to harmful UV rays. Skin protection is a passionate topic for Barbara. Within her salon, you’ll find displays of high quality sunscreens and various posts about sun safety. One alarming fact I discovered: Melanoma is the second most common type of cancer in teens and young adults and is the leading cause of death in women ages 25 to 30. Yikes!

    Barbara’s friendly and personable demeanor made it easy for me to strip down to my skivvies and get my spray on. Once we were underway, Barbara used the “premier sunless tanning product” Norvell. According to Barbara, each individual client of Blown Away receives a natural-looking tan because of the product’s ability to adapt to one’s skin tone.

    After a thorough “paint job”, I glanced at myself in the mirror. I looked like a Greek God, well… a Greek God with astigmatism, but I’ll take what I can get. As you can see in the picture, my tan was no joke. It looks like I’m wearing thigh-high boots… And yes, I was indeed the top leg color. Thank goodness I don’t have an addictive personality because I could get use to this (Sipping my 7th glass of pink Franzia).

    Barbara and the rest of the staff are fantastic. Check them out at BlownAwaySprayTans.com

    PS – I haven’t brushed my teeth for a week and they STILL look white, bonus!

  • "BP & His Musical Passion" - my This! magazine article

    “BP & His Musical Passion”

    (This! March/April issue)

    Wanna read a secret? I’m assuming your lack of response is a heartfelt “yes”. I, Blair Peyton, would like to be a singer. And quite honestly, I think I can attain this dream. If my steering wheel could voice an opinion, I’m sure it’d be overwhelmingly positive. The first question I usually get from people after sharing said desire is, “have you had any vocal training”. Guffaw! I don’t need training…

    NOTE: I do not understand the meaning of the word secret, for I can’t keep anything to myself.

    When one frequents karaoke bars as much as I do, the audience feedback is pretty evident. Compliments like “wow” or “that was different” speak volumes. I’ve been blessed with a voice that could rival the likes of Lou Bega or Bruce Willis. I’m ready for the next level.

    I did a Google search for nearby concert venues and the first result was the Harvester Performance Center. According to the Harvester’s website, the main room seats up to 475 people and in smaller configurations when deemed appropriate. With a stand-up show configuration, the main room can hold up to 700 people.  The lower level, known as The Landing Pad, has another music room with seating for up to 200 or standing space for 350 people, depending on the style of show.

    Upon further investigation, I learned that this Rocky Mount site has hosted many big name acts from various genres. To say that I performed on a stage that was once occupied by artists like the Indigo Girls, Phil Vassar and Three Dog Night would make this man weep like a tiny girl.

    I chatted with Matt Hankins, the Harvester’s Chief Executive. My first question was obvious, “what does that mean?” and by that, I meant his title. He chuckled and said, “I basically oversee the business”. Not to editorialize, but I think it’d be more professional to go by “The Oversee-er”. Before I brazenly asked to perform at this new-ish location, I thought it best to engage him in talk about the Harvester.

    When asked about the venue’s name, he revealed that it’s derived from the building’s history as a dealership in the 1940’s for International Harvester tractor trailers. To which I recanted the time I drunkenly fell off a tractor trailer at my grandma’s 92nd birthday. I could tell he was in awe of me, for he fell silent for 2 minutes and 47 seconds. Then he uttered, “wow, that was different”.

    Matt began eagerly discussing the Harvester’s main passion, which is to be a musical destination and cultural center for Virginia. Not only have they had regional audience members but folks from 31 states and 8 foreign countries, including Costa Rica and the United Kingdom. The enthusiasm in his voice was so infectious that I knew that this was the time to ask for a spot in the Harvester’s line-up.

    With the fervor of a Tyler Perry character, I proclaimed, “I’m a singer and I wanna perform at the Harvester”. Matt graciously received this information and went on to tell of the several local and regional acts that have taken the Harvester stage. I knew I had a spot. My confidence increasingly grew as he gave me a definitive, “we’ll be in touch”.

    While I anxiously await his call, I’ll definitely be checking out the competition. Browse their upcoming schedule: www.harvester-music.com