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June 2021

R E AL E T ESTTA INGS LI S INSIDE

At Home with

NINA SOSSAMONPOGUE

FIVE FAMILYFRIENDLY IDEAS FOR

SUMMER FUN HOW TO GROW

CARNIVOROUS PLANTS Ashley Rose Stanol

a Charleston City Paper publication


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Volume 1, Number 11

June 9, 2021

Digs, our monthly home-focused publication, connects the people who make the Lowcountry special with content they’ve been missing. Digs gets up close and personal with stories on local personalities, home design and remodeling, plants and gardening, home repair and real estate. To learn more about advertising opportunities offered through Digs, contact our advertising team at (843) 577-5304 or send an email to: sales@charlestoncitypaper.com. Dig it!

PUBLISHER

EDITOR

STAFF

CONTRIBUTOR

Andy Brack

Sam Spence

Ashley Rose Stanol

Toni Reale

Published by City Paper Publishing, LLC Members: J. Edward Bell | Andrew C. Brack Views expressed in Charleston City Paper cover the spectrum and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Charleston City Paper takes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts. © 2021. All content is copyrighted and the property of City Paper Publishing, LLC. Material may not be reproduced without permission. Proud member of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and the South Carolina Press Association.

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DIGGING OUTDOORS

5 family-friendly ideas for summer fun Staff Reports Warm, sunny days are the perfect setting for making family memories, but they’re also ideal opportunities to encourage kids to get creative and let their imaginations soar. These ideas for summertime activities encourage family interaction. So remember that the more kids get to help plan and organize the details, the more engaged you can expect them to be.

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The water sponge challenge

Cool off from the Lowcountry heat with a fun and refreshing water fight with a few creative twists. First grab sponges or water sponge balls and a full bucket of water. The sponges are reusable so you can use them all summer long. Then organize teams with kids against adults or everyone fending for themselves. Encourage kids to devise their own blockades and targets or adapt a classic game like baseball or dodgeball using water sponges in place of the usual balls. You could also do a sponge scavenger hunt to load up everyone’s buckets before the dousing begins.

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Go on an animal quest

Spend an afternoon at the S.C. Aquarium in search of animals you don’t see around your home. The visit also may provide a good opportunity to talk about the concept of extinction and why certain animals are on the list. Follow up the visit with an activity that reinforces how everyone has a role in conservation and look for ways to help protect each family member’s favorite animal.

Turning recycling into a home zoo

Combining a creative activity with an important message such as conservation can help kids grasp big concepts about keeping animals and the earth safe and happy. Use recycled materials such as cardstock and “junk” from your recycling bin as well as hot glue and colored pens Create watercolor paintings or pencils to have your kids create an art Away from school, kids sometimes have project featuring a favorite animal or one fewer opportunities to practice expressing they’ve seen at a park or zoo. Piece items their ideas and getting creative. Fun tools together to look like the animal as well as can make an artistic session more exciting. its habitat like trees, grass or the dessert. For example, blending brush pens with Then, hot glue the items to the cardboard water and a paint brush can create fun, base and use pens or pencils to add details. pastel watercolor paintings with minimal Have your budding artists create a whole mess. These pens are conveniently double- recycled animal zoo! ended with a paint brush-like tip on one end and fine marker tip on the other so you can precisely draw a design then Family Features contributed to this story.

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Pack all of the kids’ favorite snacks and beverages so they can keep cool and hydrated. Choose a spot under a big shady tree at any of the outstanding parks in the area and spread out for an impromptu picnic. Be sure to bring along outdoor toys for a game of catch or lighten the load and create a nature scavenger hunt with different types of leaves, rocks and flowers for kids to discover. If they come across an unfamiliar plant or animal, snap a picture with your phone so you can do some research on it when you get home. Encourage the kids to draw or design a piece of art reflecting the things they saw.

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AT HOME IN THE LOWCOUNTRY

Nina SossamonPogue dreamed herself into her dream job By Andy Brack

The comparisons between the model home and the dream house hang in the air when you visit with former TV anchor Nina Sossamon-Pogue.

The 2,400-square-foot model home, which literally was the showcase house for the Mixson neighborhood in North Charleston, has lots of upgrades that highlight possibilities that could be incorporated into any home built in the new village — walls of brick, wood and sheetrock; stacked kitchen cabinets and a tiled backsplash, both of which go to the ceiling. The home, which has a huge square marble kitchen island, is comfortable, open and inviting. The dream home, which Nina and husband Ben Pogue sold less than a year ago, offered 4,000 square feet of space on three acres on Hobcaw Creek in Mount Pleasant. It had everything, including a dock on the creek with a place to put in a kayak for a morning paddle or serve as a setting for a chilled glass of wine at sunset. There was even a music room for a grand piano and an array of guitars. “Ben plays everything,” Nina jokes. “I play the radio. I have many talents, but music is not one of them, although I play a mean triangle. Who knew the triangle was in every song?” They moved into the model home in July and it fits their emptynester lifestyle better, now that their blended family of three children is grown and starting their lives. The grand piano is living with another family member, but guitars are cradled in the open space that stretches the length of the house and includes a living room, dining room and kitchen. “All that we need is this. We spend all of our time cooking and talking in the kitchen. It has an office and everything was brand new.”

Digs 06.09.2021

New challenges and opportunities

16

People who have lived in the Charleston area for a few years know Nina and Ben from television. Nina, who came to the area in 1992 as a reporter for WCBD, was voted favorite news anchor for 10 years running in the City Paper’s Best of Charleston contest. Ben, now a lawyer, was a meteorologist at the station for eight years before he eventually went to law school and got into local politics. They married in 2005. You might not know that as a teen-ager, Nina was an elite gymnast on the USA Gymnastics Team. While she didn’t win a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team, she competed competitively at Louisiana State University before being injured. “I was a gymnast, so obviously that sport taught me how to perform under pressure, but more importantly, it taught me how to be coachable, to accept criticism and to make adjustments to improve,” she says. “Plus with gymnastics, you learn how to literally fall on your face or land on your head and get up and try again.” The lesson served well after she was, as she wrote in a bio, “in a devastating accident involving her co-anchor’s baby boy in the family’s driveway. Going from beloved news anchor to the person driving that car almost ended her life story, but the baby miracu-


lously survived, and she and her co-anchor went back on the air together.”

Two books and a podcast

The accident is a fulcrum in her 2020 book, This Is Not the End: Strategies To Get You Through the Worst Chapters of Your Life. It’s also part of her work now following 12 years of corporate success at Benefitfocus, a local software startup that made good. Her work, which includes giving keynote speeches and a new podcast, focuses on resiliency — on bouncing back after loss, tragedy or failure, and developing strategies to manage adversity. “I’ve had a very public life, from being a gymnast to being on television to working for a software company,” she says. “I became the go-to person to help people at the tough times because I’ve learned how to manage the losses.” The 143-page book includes seven coping skills and tools for people to use to move to the next chapters of their lives.

In addition to moving her home during the pandemic, Nina published a second book, But I Want Both: The Working Mom’s Guide to Creating a Life She Loves. Like the first , it offers strategies to help people move forward. In this case, it focuses on helping “high-achieving women see that there is no work life balance — it is all just life, and they can make their life amazing.” During the pandemic, as there were no live keynote speaking jobs, she added something new: a podcast called “THIS Seriously Sucks, the right podcast when life goes seriously wrong.” So far, she’s got 16 episodes on Spotify, including discussions on homelessness, narcissism, sexual assault, loss and addiction with people from all over the country. The episodes, which generally range from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, have been a way to keep doing the work that she’s enjoying — guiding people through crises and helping them to build resiliency. She’s looking forward to continuing the podcast while she gets back on the road to resume keynote presentations on pushing through adversity. “This was my dream job, and now I’m doing it.”

THE LOWDOWN ON NINA SOSSAMON-POGUE Age: 54. Birthplace: Key West, Fla. Education: Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University. Current profession: Speaker, author and owner of NSP Communications. Past professions of interest: Vice president at Benefitfocus; News anchor at WCBD and WCIV in Charleston; former member of USA Gymnastics team. Family: Husband Ben Pogue, and three adult children: Jake, Emma and Jackson. Pet: Lulu, a Jack Russell terrier. Favorite cocktail or beverage: In the morning: Bold coffee with lots of cream. In the evening: Jameson and ginger ale with a twist of orange. Favorite thing besides your family and business: Kayaking in the early morning in the Lowcountry when the tide is going to low and the oysters are spitting. Books on bedside table: The Daily Stoic, by Ryan Holiday; The Unthinkable, by Amanda Ripley; Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius; and Play Bigger, by Al Ramadan. Something that you have too much of: Gray hooded sweatshirts. I love a big comfy sweatshirt. It started from traveling often. I’d get cold in another town or get chilly in an airport and I’d buy a big cheap sweatshirt. It became a thing. Now I have them from all over.

Photos by Ashley Rose Stanol

Art fills the Pogue’s home in North Charleston.

Hobby: Distance cycling. Started doing the Ride to Remember with the Alzheimer’s Association when my Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Training and then riding that 252 miles through the backroads of the state of South Carolina (from Greenville to Charleston) is a special time with some really great people. I got hooked on distance cycling.

Favorite food: Popcorn is my go-to happy food, but my favorite food experience is picking boiled blue crab with a cold beer nearby. Favorite dessert: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams on King. Salty caramel: It is ridiculously good. Five things that MUST be in your refrigerator at all times: Half and half creamer (I love my morning coffee); pinot grigio; avocado (a chilled one ripe and ready to eat); bacon (I’m keto these days); and hard-boiled eggs (always at the ready). Charitable work, causes: Alzheimer’s Association: The Ride to Remember in the summer and the ALZ Walk in the fall. I am the Team Recruitment Chair this year. The South Carolina Aquarium: I am on the board and my family has been involved with the Aquarium since the day it opened. It is truly a special place that we are so fortunate to have here in Charleston. The Palmetto Project: I am on the board. The Palmetto Project is finding innovative ways to address social and economic challenges in our state. Three people (alive or dead) you’d like to dine with: I actually keep this list in the notes on my phone and it has gotten pretty long. I think three that would be interesting right now, coming out of this pandemic would be Oprah (she always makes the list), Sheryl Sandberg and Ryan Holiday. (But The Rock, Hugh Jackman and Trever Noah are fill-ins if someone can’t make it!) Pet peeve: When people ask you to do something (help with something) and then do it themselves. Favorite quote: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson (I wear this quote on a charm around my neck most days.) Your philosophy in 25 words or less: Lead with love, choose kindness, be curious. Remember: Life is long, the tough chapters in life are only chapters ... they’re not your whole story.

charlestoncitypaper.com

Name: Nina Sossamon-Pogue.

17


DIGGING REAL ESTATE

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DIGGING LOCAL

How to grow carnivorous plants By Toni Reale, special to Digs Carnivorous plants have fed our imaginations since the dawn of our time. Charles Darwin called the most popular variety, the Venus flytrap, the “most wonderful plant on earth.” Even the film Little Shop of Horrors entranced viewers with its memorable, larger-than-life carnivorous character.

Lure, trap and digest

All carnivorous plants have some sort of morphological mechanism to trap insects. Pitcher plants have a pitfall trap. Sundews use a sticky trap. Venus flytraps use a snap trap. These plants need a way to lure insects into their traps. According to the International Society on Carnivorous Plants, some species secrete a sweet nectar, some have an attractive fragrance, some have hairs that point in a direction where the insect can’t come out, and some even have special “windows” in their traps that disorient their prey. Once these sneaky plants capture their prey, they must digest it so the nutrients can be absorbed into their tissues. Digestion can be accomplished using the plants’ own digestive secretions, or with help from internal bacteria, much like humans use stomach bacteria to digest food.

How you can create a backyard bog

Jennifer Holstein of Summerville is a local dedicated enthusiast who has been growing carnivorous plants for more than 15 years and educating people about them through mini-bog workshops. She recently shared her tips for creating a bog of your own.

• Get a decent-sized plastic container with holes at the bottom; shorter and wider pots are better. If you want to go big, get a plastic baby pool and put holes in the bottom of it. Be sure to steer clear of terracotta, as they leach minerals. • Create your own bog soil by mixing together two parts peat moss, one part sand, and one part perlite (be certain it doesn’t contain Miracle-Gro products). • Get your soil really wet and continue mixing as you create your mud. • Put into your container and plant your carnivorous plants into it. The more varieties, the better. • Place your container on a tray where you can bottomwater these plants. Ensure that the tray is always filled with water. It is best to place your container in the sunniest part of your yard. If you grow indoors, lighting must be very bright or you can supplement with grow lights. As long as the bog stays wet and has plenty of sunshine and bugs, it will grow all summer and into the fall, Holstein said. And, she added, it will come back year after year. Like all plants, there will be a dormancy period from roughly Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day. During this time, old pitchers can be trimmed back. Don’t worry, Holstein said, if your flytraps turn black or your sundews curl up. They are simply storing up their energy for the spring. She’s found success with leaving them outside during this time, but if there is a deep freeze, bring your bog onto a covered porch. All this work pays off because when spring comes, these plants emerge with the most incredible and unique flowers, she said.

Venus flytraps (top) and pitcher plants (left) are a couple of the 25 native carnivorous species in South Carolina

Sourcing carnivorous plants

There are many ways to start your carnivorous plant collection, but harvesting from the wild is not one of them. According to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, it is illegal to take any plants or seeds from any protected lands that they manage. While it may seem like a harmless act, these carnivorous plants are part of an ecosystem and removing one does damage to all. There are local and online purveyors of ethically sourced carnivorous plants. Holstein cautioned against getting plants from any non-regulated source or grower, such as flea markets or Facebook Marketplace, without seriously looking into their sourcing. A large majority of carnivorous plant growers are committed to preserving them, and there is continuous conversation about conservation in their industry. But you don’t want to be caught in any poacher’s trap that does way more harm than good. Toni Reale is the owner of Roadside Blooms, a unique flower and plant shop in Park Circle in North Charleston. It specializes in weddings, events and everyday deliveries using nearly 100 percent American and locally grown blooms. Online at www.roadsideblooms.com. 4610 Spruill Ave., Suite 102, North Charleston.

charlestoncitypaper.com

There are more thanover 625 truly carnivorous plant species. Add to that another 1,000 that scientists consider sub-carnivorous varieties in the world. According to Clemson University, South Carolina is home to 25 native carnivorous plant species. These include types of pitcher plants, sundews, flytraps, butterworts and more. Interestingly, the Carolinas are the only place on earth that Venus flytraps grow naturally. Carolina bays, which are elliptical wetlands oriented in the same direction, are a scientific phenomenon and home to many carnivorous plants. These plants prefer the nutrient-deficient soils found at the edges of bays and other bogs. Sunlight is plentiful in their natural habitat which allows these plants Reale to use photosynthesis as their primary energy mechanism. But scientists believe the lack of soil nutrients was the impetus for the carnivorous adaptation.

Gettyimages.com; provided

Carolina natives

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Charleston City Paper: Digs - June 2021  

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated Charleston City Paper is Charleston’s only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-large...

Charleston City Paper: Digs - June 2021  

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated Charleston City Paper is Charleston’s only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-large...

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