Articles Tagged with Carolyn Woodruff

Published on:

Venn Crawford

The Seven Nights of Santa traveled to Lithuania for the first time this July, thanks to our friend Andrew Mastecas’s excellent work in translating the book.

The Seven Nights of Santa
My husband Dwight Ensley and I first published The Seven Nights of Santa in 2013. In my work as a family law attorney, I see a lot of divorces involving children. Holidays such as Christmas are often difficult for such families – there are disagreements over how to celebrate or which house the kids open gifts in. Additionally, media images of “traditional” families don’t represent the experiences of children of divorce. These experiences are what inspired The Seven Nights of Santa, which shows how Christmas can be magical for families of all shapes and sizes.

We give away copies of the book to clients going through a divorce, but their children aren’t the only ones who need this message. That’s why we teamed up with Andrew Mastecas, a 9th grader from New York City, who translated the book into Lithuanian and donated the copies to orphanages in the country.

Published on:

Venn Crawford

There’s not an uneventful day at Woodruff Family Law Group. Usually, surprises come in the form of laughter – witty comments in the back office, or a story about one of our lawyers that I haven’t heard yet. Sometimes they’re bigger things, like the water main bursting and turning the street outside into a river.

Oftentimes, it’s Carolyn that brings the unexpected to me. She herself is unexpected – though she’s a small woman, her larger-than-life personality fills the room, commanding your attention. She moves through life at a fast clip, and I feel like I’m always trying to catch up with her.

So, when Carolyn summons me to her office on a Wednesday morning, I’m a bit apprehensive and not at all sure what to expect.

Published on:

Venn Crawford

On Saturday, January 27, our firm attended Big Hair Ball, an event benefiting Family Service of the Piedmont. The highlight of the night was a circus-themed fashion show, which as you might have guessed, featured extravagant hair. Woodruff Family Law Group sponsored three models – Ashley Yates, Sloane Hoefle, and Anna Sardzinski.

Designer Brian Atkins created a stunning ringmaster costume for Yates, complete with a shimmering silver coat. A purple W nestled in the tulle atop her hat, which was created out of hair by artist Pepper Bendel. Makeup artist Emily Jackson built on Atkins’ imposing silhouette, creating a subtle, clown-inspired look. Yates’ lips, painted purple and lined with a bold black, split into a jester’s grin, winning her Best Makeup.

Designer Brian Atkins created this ringmaster costume for Woodruff Family Law Group. IMG_20180127_204140-768x1024

Ringmasters need a performer to introduce, and so Atkins dreamed up a lion costume for Hoefle. Her bodysuit gleamed silver, fringe cascading down from her collar like fur. Jackson used warm neutral tones to give the impression of a lion’s snout, while dark browns in her lips and nose created contrast with the pale outfit. A massive lion’s mane, crafted by designer Brandi Burns, unified the piece. As the biggest hair of the evening, it’s only fitting the mane won Best Hair.

Published on:

Venn Crawford

During my holiday travels, I found myself in Hot Springs, Arkansas. As a little adventure, we made a stop at the Arlington Hotel.

The Arlington Hotel originally opened in 1875 and has been rebuilt twice since. The hotel has had many famous guests, including Al Capone, who used to rent an entire floor for his gambling scheme. The bathhouse spa looks like it hasn’t changed since the 20s, either – what a nostalgic event for Dwight and me! Of course, men and women have separate sections of the bath house.

20171227_092713-e1514491110874-1024x795
The spa experience starts with a relaxing mineral soak. The tub had what looked like a hot tub pump in it. When we’d soaked for long enough, we went into a sauna to steam the water away. After drying, we were wrapped in hot towels. We laid on a cot, a cold towel on our face to keep us from overheating. A shower in Mineral Springs cooled us off after the sauna and towels.

Published on:

Venn Crawford

I have three grandchildren, all ages four and under. I want them to always look forward to the holidays as a magical time of year, and I want to make wonderful memories with them that we’ll cherish forever. The holiday traditions they grow up with are a large part of that! For kids especially, candy and treats are one of the exciting parts of Christmas (or any holiday, really), and so I’m starting a tradition of making gingerbread houses with my grandkids. This year I bought a frame for the house, as well as lots of decorations and icing.

Gingerbread houses first started being made after the Grimm brothers’ tale “Hansel and Gretel” was published. Professional gingerbread bakers saw an opportunity and started baking fancy fairy-tale type houses. These grew popular at Christmastime, and a tradition was born!

Making gingerbread houses can get pretty intense. Some people go for size – the largest gingerbread house ever made was 2,520 square feet! Hansel and Gretel would have loved that, I bet. Other people go for size in a different way and build entire towns. The largest gingerbread village even had a commercial district with 22 buildings on top of the 135 gingerbread homes in the village.

Published on:

Venn Crawford

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! One story I have been thinking about regarding giving is the story of Stone Soup. The story is an ancient narrative, and the details vary depending on which country’s version you hear. In some, the main character is a gypsy, in others, a soldier. But no matter where your version of the story is from, it goes something like this:

A traveling soldier, hungry, homeless, and with nothing to his name save creativity and a cooking pot, happened upon a village. A river wound through the countryside, bordering the village on one side. Hungry, the soldier walked down to the banks, filled his pot with river water, and placed a single stone from the riverbed into the water.

kitchen-2930947_1920-300x200
The soldier built a fire by one of the main paths to the river and began to cook his stone. The fire licked up at the bottom of the pot, heating the stone and forming tiny bubbles along the iron beneath it. As the stone began to boil, a villager traveling to the marketplace stopped to greet the soldier.

Published on:

Carolyn Woodruff

Caviar has never been on my list of loves before now. But, I will still be skeptical of caviar that is not fresh and more than a day old. Choice fresh Russian caviar is beluga sturgeon from Volgograd on the Caspian Sea. Taliat Tarsinov grew up there, and he is quite the expert in caviar.

At the Beluga Restaurant in Moscow with an awesome view of Red Square, caviar is expected and lavishly served. Our table of five ordered two bowls of caviar: one beluga and one a more salted sturgeon. We ate the caviar on toast points with butter and on crepes. Of course, we used the tiny individual spoons for dipping the caviar and spreading it on the toast points or crepes. I don’t have a set of these tiny spoons in my kitchen, by the way.

We had a flight of vodka shots: Putkinya, lemon, courrant, cranberry, and one more like a whiskey. Vodka is great with the caviar, but bear meat jerky also accompanied the vodka shots. Bear meat jerky tastes a lot like deer jerky and is a great compliment to vodka. Of course, we had lots of pickles also. I think the vodka is wheat based, and the Beluga Restaurant has their own brand of vodka. The Putkinya vodka was in honor of President Putin.

Published on:

Carolyn Woodruff

Dwight and I have never been known for packing light. We just finished packing and we together are just under the allotted 200 pounds of checked luggage. So what weather did we pack for:

St. Petersburg, Russia 60 degrees F in June, with nights at 52 Degrees and days at 68 degrees. It also rains 16 out of 30 days.

Moscow is slightly warmer and averages 64 degrees F in June, 72 high of the day, and nights at 55 degrees. It rains 12 days out of 30.

Published on:

Carolyn Woodruff

Muscovites in their forties are polished European dressers, and most dress codes at nice restaurants and clubs require upscale dressing and “no sports shoes.” There is quite a snobbery of sorts concerning sports shoes, and frequently you will see “no sports shoes” allowed.  This directive seems almost directed at the tendency of American travelers to wear tennis shoes at every available opportunity.  I saw no Russian in sport’s shoes or tennis shoes, but I would assume the Muscovite would wear sports shoes in the gym, although I did not actually visit a gym and I never saw one in our upscale hotel.  I, however, didn’t search for the gym because every day was quite athletic without the gym—walking, dancing….

Polished Muscovites are into name branded shoes and purses.  At the Bolshoi, I noted the lady sitting next to me carried a Channel Bag and wore the traditional Channel flat shoe, the one with the cap toe.  I noticed all around me Valentino and Dior.  It is easy to spot Valentino because of the studded detail and Dior because of the D.  I believed they were authentically dressed, and these did not appear to be “knockoffs.”  I also saw no stores or street vendors selling knock-offs.   I don’t recall seeing Tory Burch or Kors in these groups, but Kors signs were everywhere.

Let’s face it; dressing in name brands is extremely expensive, so I feel these Muscovites were sending the message that they have arrived and are successful financially.  Let’s turn a bit to the fashion of those not so middle aged and not yet established.