Take the weary out of February. Put the month on espresso and wake it up.
of old man Winter. Report heart-shaped snowflakes to the local weatherman. Organize a Mardi Gras parade on your block. Go red up top.
own February stamp, and print it at Photostamps. Put it on all your mail this month. Design your own boyfriend, and write down the specs on a scrap of paper. Test it on all the males you meet this month. Wear your bathing suit while you play Wii Synchronized Swimming. Salsa— dish it or dance it, but make it caliente. Pick an auspicious date for planting prayer flags in your yard to bless the neighborhood.
Mix up a spring tonic forget the gin), a n d
get ready to
rock the Equator when the sun comes to town next month. Cover art by Janice Fried
“Perhaps I am a bear, or some hibernating animal underneath, for the instinct to be half asleep all winter is so strong in me.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh
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S K I N C E U T I C A L S
Let’s Have A
Vagina Dialogue! Okay Ladies. Let’s Talk.
We’ve all got one. Maybe you’ve got some questions about yours. Its’ okay – we’ve all got questions. Is pain interfering with your sex life? Having trouble making it to the bathroom in time? will ever be the same again? Are you pregnant and concerned if
These are just a few of the topics we plan to discuss. Maybe you don’t have a problem, just a question. Ask us – we can help! Meet us here each month for real questions submitted by women (you) and answered by women (us). Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Offering South Carolina’s only Board Certified Women’s Health Specialists
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about skirt! Publisher Nikki Hardin email@example.com
Child Therapy Elizabeth Shipley ...................................................................................10
Greenville Editor Sheril Bennett Turner firstname.lastname@example.org
“I Love You” Brandy and Eric Lindsey ..................................................................12
National Art Director Caitilin McPhillips email@example.com
“I Love You” Kalyn and Israel Caballero ..............................................................14
Director of Sales Angela Filler firstname.lastname@example.org
“I Love you” Martha and Tony Mims .....................................................................16
Sales Executive Kathryn Barmore email@example.com
My Year in China Liane Kupferberg Carter .................................................................24
Graphic Designer Shelli H. Rutland
The F Word:“Are Men a Different Species?” Photographers John Fowler Sheril Bennett Turner
Daisy Hernández .................................................................................26
His Cheating Heart Merrell McGinness ..............................................................................28
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From the Publisher/Editor...................................................................6 skirt!Greenville 1708-C Augusta ST. #335 Greenville, SC 29605
Letters..............................................................................................................7 Calendar.........................................................................................................9 Skirt of the Month................................................................................11 He’s So Original with Thomas Cabaniss...................................................................................20 Products.......................................................................................................23 skirt! Alerts/Brava/It’s a Shame...................................................27 Girl Power with Lauren Bernadette Hindman..........................................................30
skirt! is published monthly and distributed free throughout the greater Greenville area. skirt! Reserves the right to refuse to sell space for any advertisement the staff deems inappropriate for the publication. Unsolicited manuscripts must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Letters to the editor are welcome, but may be edited due to space limitations. Press releases must be received by the 1st of the month for the following month’s issue. All content of this magazine, including without limitation the design, advertisements, art, photos and editorial content, as well as the selection, coordination and management thereof, is Copyright © 2009, Morris Publishing Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this magazine may be copied or reprinted without the express written permission of the publisher. SKIRT!® is a registered trademark of Morris Publishing Group, LLC.
skirt! Loves..............................................................................................31 24/7 with Becky Pickett......................................................................32 Browse..........................................................................................................33 Planet Nikki................................................................................................34
[ The I ❤ ISSUE ]
when it can still ache
from the publisher
the i ❤ issue
Coming from a family of
In my ongoing battle with insomnia, I’ve started reciting a silent litany of thanks when I go to bed at night for good things that happened that day, things I’m grateful for or things I love. Just to remind myself that life is good, not just an endless to-do list. This month I ❤...
artists, it was natural for Janice Fried to express herself visually. A graduate of Parson’s School of Design, Janice works in a multimedia style using watercolor, colored pencils, collage, pen and ink and a scratching technique. Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, advertising, book covers, children’s books, pop-up books, text books, card decks, greeting cards, CD covers and music books. Some of her clients have included: Hay House Publishers; The New York Times; Newsday; Scholastic; Ogilvy and Mather; NBC; Oxford University Press; Gannett Newspapers; and Highlights for Children. Although she considers herself a lifelong New Yorker, Janice Fried now lives in New Jersey with her
skirt! Let us know what’s on your mind, respond to an article, or give us info on an upcoming event. Send letters or press releases to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to skirt! Greenville, 1708-C Augusta St. #335, Greenville, SC 29605. We are always looking for new writers and artists. Our guidelines for writers and artists are available online at skirt.com. Submit artwork or essays via e-mail to email@example.com. Check out our website at skirt.com for giveaways, essays, and other extras that aren’t in the print edition.
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husband and son. You can view her portfolio at janicefried.com.
got news? Send calendar events to the editor. Inclusion will be based on available space each month.
The brand-new fuzzy feeling I get when I replace the beaten-down sheepskin insoles in my old Uggs. Blind dates. They’re like goody bags at an event: There’s always the possibility you might get something you want to keep among all the promotional flyers. Levi’s 552 straight-leg jeans. The genuinely friendly cashiers at the local Whole Foods and the genuinely gorgeous blond guy working at the local coffee shop. Selvedge magazine, because the textiles light up the parts of my brain that respond to color and texture. “Gangsta Luv” by Snoop Dogg. I’ve listened to it so much that I’ll hate it by next month. On the other hand, I never get tired of “Show Me the Money Papi” by Cuban diva CuCu Diamantes. My Bella Pamella cherry-patterned retro apron because it looks like a June Cleaverish artist smock. The anthropologie website. I wish I could block it from myself. Moo.com cards. I’m addicted to thinking up new designs and new ways to use them. Humboldt Fog goat cheese from Cypress Grove. Heaven on a cracker but even better served with honeycomb. Spinning class for getting me out of bed and out of living in my head.
from the editor I am a born romantic. Really. But Valentine’s Day in February just pisses me off. Honestly, I just want to be left alone in February. February is the month that, having accumulated an extra layer of fat during the holidays, I just want to hibernate. In fact, I think that winter, as a whole, is totally overrated. Sure, if you happen to have snow it’s pretty to look at, some people even like to play in it, but when it’s cold outside you can bet I’ll be inside all bundled up. In fact, in the wintertime in my neck of the woods, shaved legs are optional while flannel nightgowns and Cuddle Duds are mandatory. And though the surge of vampire romances has made winter white skin more palatable, I still yearn for my summer glow. In fact, I yearn for summer itself. Give me warm sun, bare skin, and a Colada on a beach any day. Now that’s the setting for romance. So, I’ll just be moving my Valentine’s Day to June, thank you very much. Now, if I can just get my husband to quit chasing me around chanting, “When the frost is on the punkin’…”
❉ skirt .c
skir t. c
! s u is
❉ skirt .
dearskirt! First, please know I consistently enjoy skirt! Magazine. The articles are very well written and fascinating. I would like to recommend a gentleman for
I always enjoy reading the articles... I always enjoy reading the articles and seeing the people you are featuring in the area. There are a lot of fabulous people doing some wonderful things in the upstate. If you need people to feature in skirt! magazine, I know a young lady, 17-years-old from Greer who on her own organized a huge book drive for the Needmore Community Center After School Program. This group of kids and the director were very appreciative of her efforts. She can tell you more about her project if you would like to feature her as an individual who
the He’s So Original article. His name is Thomas Cabaniss, Owner of Action Video, Greenville. Thomas’s business is the best-kept secret in Greenville! He has been established here for 23 years, and has a strong client
Winter’s Not Over Yet! 60% Off
list, but needs to get more exposure within the community. When you meet Thomas, you will immediately want to do business with him. He is a very unassuming, charming, open communicator. He gives back to the community in many ways, and stays
Our entire selection!
out of the limelight in the process. That’s just his nature. Please consider an interview with him. He’ll look good in a skirt, also! Cathy Doyle Greenville, SC
is making a difference by choice, not because her Beta Club or Church group
PS I sent him an email on Saturday
organized some activity. Her name is
(while I was reading skirt!) and asked
if he would consider posing in a skirt
Jennifer Jones Greenville, SC
[ed. Note: Don’t miss Lauren Hindman, our featured “Girl Power” this month.] Wow! Thank you for a GREAT write-up and photo in the December issue. I’ll blog/Facebook/tweet it. I’m grateful, and appreciate the coverage of books, authors and artists skirt! provides. Many, many thanks. Mindy Friddle Novelist Greenville, SC
Thank you so much for the nice write up on Anita Sun Pacylowski-Justo in
•Shoes •Boots •Handbags
for the magazine. His reply: Just tell me when and where, I’ll be there. That’s Thomas!
Fabulous selection still available!
[ed. Note: Check out Thomas Cabaniss for yourself in this issue of skirt!]
Absolutely fantastic! Our skirt from Mariani’s looks fabulous and what a great presentation.
Smart fashionistas know to buy now for next year!
Shoes, boots and bags so stylish, you’ll look like you just stepped off the runway!
the December issue of skirt! We are grateful to you for the exposure. Laura G. Hobbs Executive Director Carolina Ballet Theatre Greenville, SC
I have a copy of the December skirt! issue. Absolutely fantastic! Our skirt from Mariani’s looks fabulous and what a great presentation. My husband even commented on how fun and different
i ❤ skirt!
M c B ee S tation , D owntown G reenville 232-4255
the presentation was! Great job and thank you again so much. Yours in Fashion, Mary Ann Sudnick Mariani’s Boutique Greenville, SC
Have an opinion? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. All letters to the editor must include the writer’s name and city/state.
(P uBlix S hoPPinG c enter ) www. ShaylonShoeS . coM skirt.com
skirt.com Haiku by Jenny Nicholson • Art by Karen Greenberg
Find more events at greenville.skirt.com/event
sunday Mosey over to Carolina Cowboy, Photographs by Tracie Easler, an exhibit featuring portraits of Upstate cowboys. Daily through Feb. 28 at Riverworks Gallery in downtown Greenville.
Part of the Southern Arts Federation’s Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, Visual Acoustics:The Modernism of Julius Shulman explores the monumental career of 97-year-old architectural photographer Julius Shulman. southarts.org or peacecenter.org
The Clean Up Woman is a hilarious new hit stage play sweeping the country written and directed by JD Lawrence. jdlawrencepresents.com and crowdpleaser.com
Mardi Gras begins February 16, so order a traditional King Cake from Randazzo’s Camellia City Bakery at kingcakes.com. They’ll deliver overnight.
F e b r ua ry Challenge Make a Can-Do list this month of small steps you can take to clarify your life: Clean out the bottom of the hall closet; shelve your books; have the car detailed; give away your fat jeans. It won’t change your life, but it might charge your battery.
Paradise Lanes in Spartanburg is the casual place to be to celebrate Valentine’s Day with good friends. Drink, bowl and enjoy live music by The Enforcers from 8:30-11:45pm 864.576.0066
The spring session of Girls on the Run® & Girls on Track® begins. These programs combine training for a 5K run with esteem-enhancing workouts for girls ages 8-15. Sponsored by the Children’s Hospital of Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center. To register, call 864.455.3252.
Wedding Festivals presents the area’s largest selection of wedding professionals. weddingfestivals.com or carolinafirstcenter.com. From American folk tales to American films, An American Story tells it all with music. greenvillesymphony.org or centrestage.org Greater Greenville Master Gardeners’ Ninth Annual Gardening Symposium. Carolina First Center. greatergreenvillemaster gardener.org
Gather the little ones and enjoy KinderCraft: Valentine Cards at the Hughes Main Library Story Room. Children will enjoy a story, and then explore it by engaging in a related art activity. Ages 3-5 with an adult caregiver. Call 864.527.9248 to register.
Join Nurse Practitioner Meredith Heyde for a discussion on chest pain and heart disease from 11:30am-1pm at the Fountain Inn Activities Center. Fee: $3. To register, go to ghs.org/events.
Bridges from Augusta assists people who have experienced burn injuries and trauma. Support them at the 5th Annual Firefighter’s Gala. bridgesfromaugusta.org
Café Mundo’s AntiValentine’s Day Party is actually a singles meetand-greet from 6-9pm, featuring upbeat music and drink specials like Sake martinis. 864.469.7249
Valentine’s Day Eve at The Lazy Goat features a romantic evening “the way it used to be.” You and your heart’s desire will be serenaded by Spanish guitar while enjoying a special Aphrodisiac Menu, followed by dancing at 9pm. 864.679.5299
Can You Learn to Be Happy? Between work, family and friends, why not escape and enjoy a getaway dedicated to your well-being! Book the His ‘n Her Package at the Greenville Marriott! To make reservations by phone, call 1.800.228.9290 and ask for PROMOTIONAL CODE: ES6.
Long before that girl from Kansas arrives in Munchkinland, two girls meet in the land of Oz. Wicked, the untold story of the witches of Oz, continues at the Peace Center. peacecenter.org Surprise someone with a three-month subscription to Zingerman’s Bacon of the Month Club.
Gretchen Rubin spent a year trying to find out and then wrote The Happiness Project. On Valentine’s Day, make your mantra “merry” instead of “marry.”
improv + karaoke = IMPROVOKE with Chris White, the live comedy show where four audience members become improvisational comedy pros before your very eyes. $5 at the door. hub-bub.com
For a casual dinner date with a friend or a potential significant other, try the Alternative Valentine’s Day Dinner for Two at Whole Foods Market. Call 864.335.2300 to make reservations.
12-27 Don’t miss Shakespeare’s Scottish play Macbeth. warehousetheatre.com
Signs and symptoms of heart disease at Senior Action-Orchard Park. Fee: $3. To register, go to ghs.org/events. Centre Stage presents Rock ‘n Roll Heaven! Through March 13. centrestage.org
Surprise Your Sweetheart! Create a lasting memory and a HUGE surprise that won’t be forgotten in your lifetime! Plan a get-away today in the foothills of SC at Solitude Pointe Cabins. 864.836.4128 or solitudepointe.com.
Explore the “film-friendly” Beaufort International Film Festival. Tickets available online at beaufortfilmfestival.com.
Joined by the chamber orchestra, the Greenville Chorale Chamber Ensemble presents their 13th Annual Winter Concert, featuring one of J.S. Bach’s Lutheran Masses, Benjamin Britten’s delightful Rejoice in the Lamb, and Jean Berger’s Five Quotations. greenvillechoralsociety.com or peacecenter.org
The YWCA of Greenville hosts their annual Women of Achievement recognizing local women for their leadership and service to the community. ywcagreenville.org
Time for Three is a self-described “classically trained garage band” that has performed in celebrated venues like the Kennedy Center. This trio enthusiastically takes on Bach, The Beatles, and everything in between. tf3.com or peacecenter.org
Climb aboard as young Jeremy Jacobs joins some not-so-scary pirates and learns there really is no place like home in How I Became A Pirate! scchildrenstheatre.org
Join seven-time Grammy®-winner and true living legend, Gladys Knight. peacecenter.org
Don’t Miss the Greenville, Spartanburg, and Hendersonville Kennel Club Dog Shows at the Carolina First Center. carolinafirstcenter.com
The Green Valley Road Race offers 8K and 10-mile races that wind through the Furman University campus. Registration fee include bag, gloves and beanie. Award winners receive socks. gvltrackclub. clubexpress.com
26 27 Don’t miss the opening night of A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams’ classic drama about an aging Southern belle clinging to the past. For more show dates, go to greenvillelittletheatre.org.
The world famous Perm Ballet from Russia presents the classical ballet Sleeping Beauty at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium. crowdpleaser.com
“The Funniest Man in America,” James Gregory, amuses the masses with his rib-tickling reflections. funniestman.com or peacecenter.org
Guest Conductor Francesco La Vecchia from Italy leads Greenville Symphony Orchestra in Love Story from Abroad, two romantically inspired pieces. greenvillesymphony. org or peacecenter.org
The Chinese Year of the Tiger starts this month and is traditionally associated with massive changes and social upheaval. Grab a tiger by the tail in 2010, and hang on for a wild ride. skirt.com
Somewhere around the age of nine, we girls get life down to a fine art. We know exactly who we are and what we like. We never wait by the phone, torture our eyebrows or deny ourselves a health-giving slab of chocolate cake.
y friends and I are a fairly amazing bunch of women. We’ve got brains and dash, and a certain sleek je ne sais quoi reminiscent of Katharine Hepburn at her best. Among the four of us we possess: three kids, two successful businesses, one dog with a Gold Star Certificate from the Perfect Puppy Academy, three advanced degrees, and at least six lovely thighs (Meg refuses to let me count hers, for no good reason that I can see.) One of us is a dab hand with a chainsaw. Without a doubt, we are fabulous. Yet at a recent social gathering (margaritas and games of Quelf were involved), we calculated that as a group, we have spent approximately 14 years of our lives nursing broken hearts. Fourteen years. All that time, staring into space like shell-shocked bush babies. Bursting into sobs when a waiter asks what we’d like for lunch. Knowing beyond doubt that we were flabby warthogs who would never be loved. Wondering if warthogs were allowed to join enclosed religious orders. Of course, we’d supported each other through all the breakups and betrayals and bad choices. But often we had to do it long-distance, when the exigencies of adult life kept us scattered across the map. Moments like this— when all four of us could be together in the same room—were no longer something we could take for granted. As the evening went on, full of silliness and warmth and good conversation, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. I missed those leisurely childhood afternoons on the playground, when my friends and I shared an idyllic world of lighthearted fun. Back when we felt free to hit boys with a shovel if they bugged us. Why can’t we feel like that now? I wondered. A while back, I fell in love with a guy I’ll call Cuthbert. (Not, alas, his real name.) He was sweet and gorgeous and sensitive, as smart as Gore Vidal and as charismatic as Barack Obama. He had the sexiest laugh ever—sort of a low, wicked chuckle, like a pirate trying to behave in polite company. He thought I was a goddess. For a year or so, we were idiotically happy. We moved to Europe together out of sheer exuberance. Then one morning Cuthbert—the only man I’d ever seriously considered marrying—walked up and handed me an actual plane ticket for a destination on the other side of the planet. “Ciao, cherie,” he said. “Je me suis fiancé avec une mannequin de lingerie de dix-huit ans.” (Translation: “I am a sadistic weasel, and you never noticed! Ha, ha, ha!”) So there I was, huddled in my aisle seat, feeling a tide of heartbreak rising in my soul.
I don’t need to tell you what it’s like: the grief, the rage, the self-loathing, the obsessive obsessing, the overwhelming urge to send him a little birthday present. Nothing fancy, no strings: just, oh—say, a new Jaguar in his favorite color. One sobs. One clings. Eventually one’s tear ducts start to develop calluses. Brave creatures that we are, we’ll often try to snap out of it through sheer will power. “Fine,” you say to yourself, “So what if [insert creep’s name] has vanished forever from my life? Time to finish composing my rock opera.” But you can’t help noticing that some inconsiderate person has left an ax embedded in your chest, which makes it kind of hard to get up in the morning. Even dressing is a challenge with that thing sticking out of your sternum. After a while it just seems easier to lie there like roadkill. So what can we do? I looked around the table at my wonderful friends. All having a great time together. Meg had just made Kate laugh so hard that margarita came out her nose. And in that instant I saw the answer: We have to regress. Somewhere around the age of nine, we girls get life down to a fine art. We know exactly who we are and what we like. We never wait by the phone, torture our eyebrows or deny ourselves a health-giving slab of chocolate cake. No. At that age we’re too busy: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
writing poetry having burping contests with our friends and really trying to win proving Fermat’s Last Theorem building the ultimate cat gymnasium being an international spy
Then, somewhere around twelve, the hormones hit and we forget it all. Now, hormones aren’t all bad. Without them we wouldn’t be able to fall in love, make children or prance around in Dolce & Gabbana bras. On the other hand, we wouldn’t be handing over all our self-esteem to some out-of-work actor named Banjo, either. Makes you think. In the days after the Quelf party, I kept on thinking. I decided that I was going to remember all those girlhood delights, dreams and enthusiasms. I was going to give them serious attention and respect. And I was going to start building them back into my life. I’m now a volunteer cat-socializer at an animal shelter. I’m taking a gymnastics class for adults. I’m rereading all the Sherlock Holmes stories. And of course, I’m spending as much time as possible having fun with my friends. My heart feels much better—and I still have a lot more childhood left to explore. Start a secret club. Wear a tiara. Frolic in the mud. Grab your best friend and just play. Does the thought of it make you feel shy? Embarrassed? Worried that some concerned bystander is about to sneak up on you with a straitjacket? No matter. Simply continue gluing chocolate chips onto your friend’s face in a decorative mosaic. Underneath all the static about sex and romance—under all the pain, the obsessing and the heartbreak—our own melody is still quietly playing. All we have to do is tune in.
Elizabeth Shipley is a writer and stage actor in Santa Cruz, California. Together with two close friends, she is currently sword-fighting with sticks out in the backyard.
Traci Daberko is an illustrator and graphic designer in Seattle, WA. See her work at daberkodesign.com.
Lace Patchwork Pencil Skirt by Yoana Baraschi Sassy on Augusta • 18 W. Lewis Plaza, Greenville • 864.233.5252
I love you
Brandy and Eric Lindsey Invited by a Camelot Music co-worker who was buddies with the band, Brandy crashed a jam session where she met Eric the talented bass player. When the band took a break, Brandy started fooling around with the mic, just singing silly songs. “Impressed, Eric asked Brandy to join the band. Her answer was yes then, as well as years later when he popped the question. After twelve and a half years, the harmonious pair are still making sweet music together, on stage with band “Brandy Lindsey and the Punch,” as well as off with their littlest fan, one-year-old daughter Callie. Brandy: “Other than his perfect ‘man’ hands as I call them, I fell in love with him. He’s about the most supportive person I know.” Eric: “I think Brandy has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. I know I could never find a truer friend than she.”
Photo by John Fowler
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I love you
Kalyn and Israel Caballero When Kalyn overheard Israel chatting with fellow Shaw AFB pals in a Columbia bar, the self-proclaimed Air Force brat felt an instant connection. The two struck up a conversation, and after emails and a Sunday lunch date, the couple began a long-distance Skype courtship. United in marriage last September in Greenville, the newlyweds will soon be united under one roof at long last, when Kalyn joins her Staff Sergeant in England this month. Kayln: “My husband is my best friend, and I am continually learning something new about him. He constantly surprises me by how well he knows me, and I love that he tries his hardest to make me smile and ensure that I am happy.” Israel: “From day one, Kalyn has always found a way to laugh, smile and make me be very comfortable around her. She has such a big heart and a thirst for doing something meaningful.” Photo by John Fowler
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I love you
Martha and Tony Mims Martha met Tony eight years ago when he showed up for open mic night at her Listen & Be Heard Poetry Café in California. A year later, the soulmates tied the knot on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe in a very memorable service. “Our seven-week-old son John was the only person in attendance,” Martha laughs, “and he screamed through most of it!”. The lyrical lovers have recently relocated to Tony’s hometown of Greenville, where they continue to share their “Poetic Symmetry” in area coffee houses and at cinader.com. Martha: “Tony Mims is an agent of change. Everything he touches grows. I have grown and our love has expanded ever outward since we met.” Tony: “I love my wife as a person first; we are best friends. What I love about her the most is that she is her own person, natural and free. We met doing poetry, and our relationship together is like living our life together through the words of a love poem.” Photo by John Fowler
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HE’S SO ORIGINAL
Thomas Cabaniss is a Man of Action As founder of Action Video Productions, Thomas has been wowing us with his film projects for the past 25 years. Inspired by “can do” people and his daughters Haley, Taylor & Sadie (Hay, Tay & Say for short), this productive perfectionist is now poised to launch another venture, Zebra Dazzle. “Zebras are unique—no two are alike—and a group of zebras is called a dazzle,” Thomas explains. “We are a group of uniquely creative artists who have come together to dazzle our clients with our creative marketing services.” What do you love about skirt magazine? “Starting with its unique shape, paper stock, brilliant colors, creative layout, professional photography and the excellent copywriting I give it an A+. And I should know. Creative is what I do for a living!” How do you feel wearing a skirt? “All my life my views have been about fairness, equality and diversity, so being the free spirit that I am, I think it’s only fitting that I have my turn at wearing a skirt.” Photo by John Fowler
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join south carolina’s ﬁrst-ever Virtual March Thousands of South Carolina women are mobilizing to let our policymakers know we support responsible reproductive health policies in South Carolina. Sign up now for our online rally at tellthemsc.org. It only takes an email to let your legislators know the vast majority of South Carolinians support age-appropriate, medically accurate sexual health information and access to counseling and birth control. So much is at stake for our young women and girls; no issue is more important for us. Join the movement. Sign up today!
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The Tell Them e-advocacy network is a program of the New Morning Foundation.
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My Year In
What will 2010 bring, I wonder. Ancient Sumerian texts? Thermal oceanography? Conversational Urdu? The Monkey chants of New Guinea?
Liane Kupferberg Carter
n my house I don’t need a calendar to chart the passage of time. I can plot the years by my husband’s passions. 2009 was The Year of the China Obsession. Marc decided he wanted to read ancient Chinese classics, and any old translations wouldn’t do. He cruised the Internet, compiling a master reading list from the web sites of the major universities offering courses in Chinese studies—Harvard, Princeton, the University of Chicago—wrote himself a syllabus and tracked down the books through Amazon. Now more than 30 books are piled on his bedside table, his own personal Great Wall of China: such classics as The Three Kingdoms; the six-volume The Dream of the Red Chamber; the Analects of Confucius; the I Ching; assorted myths and legends and, my personal favorite: China’s Examination Hell: Civil Service Exams of Imperialist China. The more arcane, the better. “This stuff reads like a Chinese Peyton Place!” he says, eyes alight, as he plows through The Plum in the Golden Vase. He particularly savors the footnotes. “Do you want to know about the system of keeping concubines?” he’ll ask. “And did you know they use the patronymic as a first name?” My eyes glaze over. Marc talks about teaching himself to read Chinese: a character a day. “In ten years I’d know almost 4,000 characters,” he says. And I may not be one of them, I think, but smile instead. The smile gets a little forced, though, when he starts downloading Chinese fonts for his computer, or does a Google search on tea, where he learns how to prepare it in the traditional Chinese way, and when the tea catalogs arrive, orders $100 worth of loose tea leaves, as well as a traditional covered Chinese tea cup from which to drink it. In self-defense, I flee the house for a cappuccino at Starbucks, only to turn on the CD player in his car and be assaulted by the sound of Chinese Pipa music. Whenever there is a lull in our conversation, he reverts to the subject of his passion. And so it goes: The winter of his Chinese content. It’s not the interest I mind; it’s the total immersion, the depth, the breadth, the sheer, one-track mindedness of it all. He’ll get that far-away look, an air of distraction, but at least I never have to worry he’s thinking of another woman. More likely, he’s pondering the genealogy of the M’ing Dynasty. “What are you thinking about?” I’ll say, and sheepishly, he’ll answer, “You don’t really want to know.” I never laugh. Oh, I may roll my eyes once in a while, but a wife’s got to have a little room to react. Besides, I know that we won’t be in China forever, because we just got back from another trip. Last year we went to outer space. The Cosmos. The Final Frontier. 2008 was The Year of the Telescope. Astronomy was the reigning passion. Not just a subscription to Sky & Telescope, mind you. A full-blown love affair with the stars. He downloaded star
maps from NASA. He trudged the whole family across a frozen field in the dead of winter to watch a comet we could easily see from our own backyard. He drove to the mountains of rural Pennsylvania to track down one of the country’s experts on configuring telescopes, boned up on all the optics involved, determined which scope he could couple with a camera in order to do some astral photography and finally, after endless one-sided discussion, ordered a telescope. His only regret: that we had neither space nor money for the 12-incher he really wanted. Then we needed a vehicle to transport this thing, so we traded in our car (luckily the lease was up) for a station wagon, not because I’m a June Cleaver wannabe, but because as Marc happily pointed out, we could take the telescope on family vacations, like some bulky third child. Currently, the telescope sits in a very large customized, padded suitcase in the corner of our bedroom, where the five-yearold has to be dissuaded from climbing on it. And the passion before that? I like to think of that as the Year of the Rowing Machine, when every night I would listen to him recount how many meters he’d rowed, watch him faithfully record them on the spreadsheet he’d set up on the computer and hear again and again how close he was to the 10 million meter mark. Every night at 10:30, you’d find him in the basement, lashed to the machine like Ben-Hur, the TV turned up way too loud so he could hear it over the rhythmic sound of a machine that breathed like bellows, a metallic lung whirring shuuuush, shuuuush. Instead of anniversaries, this is how I chart the passage of our lives together: the Year of Arctic Exploration. Arthurian Romance. Glacial Geology. Fractals. Chaos Theory. And then there was Kafka. It began innocently, with our hand-inhand stroll through an exhibit of Kafka photos and memorabilia at the Jewish Museum, and then progressed to full-blown purchasing madness. Every book Kafka ever penned. All the Kafka biographies. Photo essays on Prague. Kafka’s letters. Kafka’s friends’ letters. You get the idea. What will 2010 bring, I wonder. Ancient Sumerian texts? Thermal oceanography? Conversational Urdu? The Monkey chants of New Guinea? Marc offers a clue. “When I’m done with China, I think I’ll do India,” he says. Uh oh. Time for chicken vindaloo. Break out the Ravi Shankar records. He brings this passion to everything: me, our marriage, our children, his work. This was the intensity that first drew me in. So what do you do if the flavor of the month, the passion of the moment, leaves you cold? You listen. Because you know that were it reversed, he would listen to you. And you realize that he doesn’t drink, gamble, smoke or womanize, and that you always know exactly where he is. Because he’s your best friend, lover and companion, the guy who in the aftershock of an early morning earthquake, could still turn to you in bed and ask, “Did the earth move for you too?” Bring on the garam masala, the Bhagavad Gita, and to India I will go. Because you know what? I wouldn’t miss it. Not for all the tea in China.
Liane Kupferberg Carter’s work has appeared in the New York Times, McCall’s, Parents, Child, New Parent, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Newsday, The Westchester Review, Literary Mama, Memoir (and), Writers’ Bloc, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, The Mom Egg, and Errant Parent. She is a featured blogger for The Huffington Post, and a 2009 winner of the Memoir Journal Prize for Memoir in Prose. 24
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Are Men A Different SpecieS? Daisy Hernández
“nAturAlly, i turneD to My woMen frienDS
After eight years of dating women (and two trans men), I’ve started going out again with what queer women like myself refer to as “bio boys”—people who are biologically born with male bodies they enjoy having. These people are known in the rest of the world by the common term “men.” Things were relatively uneventful with my Chinese American bio boy, Steven, until we started having communication conflicts a few months into our relationship. Each conversation had me asking, “How do you feel about that?” and “What do you think about what I just said?” Naturally, I turned to my women friends for support. I expected we would do what we had done before, when I was dating women and trans men: drink smoothies and debate my lover’s motives, analyzing childhood-inspired neuroses and making plans of what I would do to make the relationship work. Instead I was faced with a slew of female opinions—from lesbians, straight and bi women— which reduced the communication conflicts to this: “He’s a guy—they don’t talk” and “You can’t expect him to be emotional—he’s a guy.” And finally, my favorite: “It’s not like it is with girls.” If I didn’t believe my women friends, I had magazines citing theories of evolution to explain the communication styles of men and women. My favorite, paraphrased from O magazine: Men don’t talk to create intimacy; they do activities together like back in the day when they sat in the quiet watching for a passing buffalo. Wait, wasn’t feminism supposed to set us free from this kind of thinking about men? If women of all sexual orientations are so certain about who men really are, how free are men to be themselves? To what degree are we complicit in teaching men that they are their biology? And the following question I can only ask of myself: What makes me so uncomfortable with silences in my relationship? My writing inclinations aside, what makes me want to fill up every moment with chatter? Feminists first grabbed my attention in college precisely because they asked me to question the most private parts of my life: Was I wearing lipstick because I wanted to or because that’s what a good Cuban-Colombian girl is supposed to do? Feminists encouraged me to examine the ways that everything from my ethnic and racial identity to my experience of class and xenophobia shaped how I saw my female body, my heart and my community. Now, almost 15 years later, it is feminism that tells me to get honest with myself—muy honest. And so I have to admit that a part of me likes the explanations from my friends and women’s magazines. There’s a peculiar appeal to telling myself, “Men are a different species.” It lets me and my boyfriend off the hook. No need to sit down and talk about why he thought I said one thing when I know, absolutely know, I said something else. No need for me to wonder whether I am trying to control what he does and the direction our relationship takes. No need for me to reflect on my first relationship with a man—my father—and the ways our communications were truncated by how the world silenced him as a Latino immigrant. In my moments of grace, I put away any notion that my boyfriend’s biology is the reason he’s gone quiet over dinner. I recognize that I interpret silence as anger and rejection, but it’s not what is happening here. I acknowledge that I have no first-hand experience with the way his sense of being a man in a relationship is shaped by being Asian American. I am also learning that when it’s the right time for him, he does share how he feels, even if it is in short sentences.
Photo by Steven Low
Support. i expecteD we woulD Do whAt we hAD Done before, when i wAS DAting woMen AnD trAnS Men: Drink SMoothieS AnD DebAte My lover’S MotiveS...
Daisy Hernández is the editor of ColorLines.com, an online newsmagazine on race and politics, and coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism. You can reach her at email@example.com. 26
boogie on down to the grooviest disco party in the South, the 13th Annual American Red Cross Retro Fest on Feb. 6.
u Amanda Simpson,
u Unilever, parent
Spartanburg’s event of
a former test pilot and
company of Dove and
the year features the
responsible for their
best of music, stellar
candidate, made history
successful “Real Women”
costumes and much,
in January when she
campaign, actually has
became the first-ever
a wildly popular skin-
whitening product in the
Middle East and South
Obama appointed her
Asia called “Fair and
the night away and bid
the Senior Technical
Lovely.” So it’s okay to let
on everything from a
Adviser to the Commerce
your natural beauty shine
weekend vacation to
jewelry at the Roses
as you’re light-skinned.
for Relief Gala on Feb.
v A group called
6. All proceeds benefit
“Pinkstinks” in the UK is
v In Washington D.C.,
Greer Relief, a non-
campaigning to challenge
police officers can arrest
the culture of pink and
anyone carrying three or
offering services at a
urging parents to boycott
more condoms as proof
very local level to area
or complain to shops
of intent to prostitute. The
individuals and families.
who sell overly pink toys
city has the highest HIV
and stereotypical gifts
infection rate in the US.
w Sally Kern, the
out those ugly brides-
w For the first time
Oklahoma state legislator
maid dresses for the
ever, the 2010 Omnibus
who called homosexuality
“the biggest threat our
Coalition of SC’s
eliminated all funding
nation has, even more so
Bridesmaid’s Ball on
for abstinence-only sex
than terrorism or Islam,”
Feb 27.This popular
education programs in
will introduce legislation
annual event features
favor of evidence-based
which would force
music and dancing,
programs that focus on
cocktails and heavy
to remain in unhappy
hors d’oeuvres, plus the
would not be an adequate
reason to obtain a divorce
if the partners have been
married for over a decade or are raising minor children.
B ail e y ay-B a
What was he doing shacking up with the neighbor? Merrell McGinness
never took our dog for the cheating kind. After all, he’s a Labrador retriever—the model of canine loyalty. And if I do say so, he’s a mighty fine example of the breed. He comes when called, sits on command and fetches anything you could ask for, including the morning paper and cans of dog food. With a broad blocky head, he looks like we ordered him straight out an L.L. Bean catalogue. In reality it was the newspaper. We brought our handsome ball of fur home during our first year of marriage and he quickly became our “child.” But three years later, when we moved to a sleepy mountain town—where the streets are like sidewalks and the dogs roam free—our dog began leading a double life. Upon moving in, we considered installing an invisible fence like some of our more responsible neighbors. Instead, we settled for a collar with his name and our phone number on it. While it may have seemed imprudent to let him roam free in the neighborhood, every time we pulled into the driveway he was anxiously awaiting our return. We boasted about his steadfast devotion. “He’s just not the wandering type,” we’d say. Other dogs in the neighborhood loved the freedom, but not Bailey. In fact, he’d start to pout every morning as I gathered my things for work. By the time I reached my car, he’d melt into a pitiful heap of yellow fur. And as I opened the car door, he’d release a perfectly-timed sigh as if to say, “Leaving again?” After about six months of this dance, Bailey began following my car out of the driveway. I was thrilled, figuring he was making a beeline to the gang of friendly dogs across the street. Having memorized the sound of our cars, our astute and loyal dog would still meet us in the driveway every afternoon. He’d run home in a dead sprint just in time to lick our faces as we opened the car door. But looking back, the signs of his infidelity were all there. Over time Bailey was slower and slower to return in the evenings. We’d sometimes have to call him from our back deck. It only took a few yells to hear his nails tapping on the blacktop and see a streak of yellow bursting through the row of cedars in our backyard. This routine went on for months without suspect. My dog’s secret was finally revealed during one of our strolls through our leash-optional neighborhood. Suddenly, Bailey bounded toward a toddler with blond ringlets. I was appalled, but before I could yell, “Bailey, no!” I realized the little girl was squealing with delight. As I caught up to the corner of my dog’s midday hangout, I profusely apologized to the mother for my dog’s slobber shower. “Are you Bailey’s mom?” she asked. “Um, yes.” “We just love Bailey,” she gushed. “He comes to see us almost every day. We call him Bay-Bay. We even let him inside, and he plays with Mary Morris while I cook dinner. He’s such a good dog.”
I didn’t know how to process this information. I agree, he is a good dog—a great dog even—but he’s our dog. What was he doing shacking up with the neighbor? We had given him the best years of our married life. Is it our fault we have to leave him to go to work? How does he think we pay for all that dog food? I admit we hadn’t been playing as much fetch lately, but work has been really stressful. Suddenly, it all made sense—why he bounded across the street with such zeal, why he had to be called home, why he’d begun to look a little plumper. Bailey had another family. Once his secret was out, my formerly-faithful dog became more overt about his daily activities. One day he came home with green paint on his yellow fur, no doubt from a finger painting escapade. Then there was the Dora the Explorer Band-Aid on his left front leg. Bailey was brazen about his other life. My husband and I began to invent scenarios about how he and his twolegged friend spent the day. Once after several unanswered calls from our back porch, my husband headed across the street—he could hear Bailey barking but he wouldn’t come. He discovered the two blondes enclosed in our neighbor’s backyard. Bailey was gleefully barking as his two-legged friend rode her tricycle in circles, donning a large, pink helmet. “Come on Bailey, it’s time to come home,” my husband said. As they walked down the neighbor’s driveway, he heard the adorable little girl yell, “Bye Bay-Bay! Come back tomorrow and play!” I don’t like to think about which house my dog enjoys most. He undoubtedly relishes the constant attention that only a child can provide (which we’ve yet to have). And then there’s the game they play where she throws dog treats just to watch him catch them midair. My husband and I try to keep up. Bailey’s now allowed on our bed. We’re more liberal with our table scraps. Still, can we really compete? I suppose if I consider what’s best for our dog, I prefer to think of him happily playing the day away instead of desolately waiting for us in our front yard. I imagine the feeling is similar to the day your child is old enough to favor a friend’s house over yours. Deep down, you know you’re still number one, but it smarts. Without the conventions of fencing, I’ve come to realize that the dog/ owner relationship is anything but simple. No matter how much they love you, you never really own them. I remember one brisk fall Saturday in particular. My husband and I were puttering around the yard and Bailey, bored, wandered across the street. I decided later to take a walk—one of Bailey’s favorite pastimes—and figured I’d pick him up on my way. When I arrived, my neighbor was blowing leaves in his driveway. I waved and asked if he’d seen my dog. “Oh, yeah, I think he and Mary Morris are playing inside.” “Oh, okay. I hope he’s not bothering you. I was just going to…” “Oh, gosh no. Mary Morris calls Bailey her best friend.” I walked alone that day. After all, no love comes without some sacrifice.
Merrell McGinness is a freelance writer and editor from Lookout Mountain, Georgia.
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Lauren Bernadette Hindman
While teaching drama last summer at the Needmore Center in Greer, Lauren fell in love with the tiny tots she taught. When she noticed that the community center didn’t have many books, the 17-year-old Eastside High student organized a neighborhood drive that gleaned eight bags full of books, plus two bookshelves that Lauren and friends decorated with rainbow handprints. “The kids are so fun and sweet,” Lauren says. “They made me smile so much that I really
“If I could them smile.” change anything about the world it would be to make people care.” just wanted to do something to make
Photo by Sheril Bennett Turner
wooden matches from Auto in New York are conversation starters as well as fire-starters. Nikki Hardin, skirt! Publisher
welove 1 “Christopher Drummond’s new red lip gloss benefits Eve Ensler’s V-Day Foundation—which means that my big mouth is doing even more than usual to support women.” Margaret, Assistant Editor
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WAITING ON UPDATED PAGE
Becky Pickett | Helping Hands My work: President/Owner of Home Helpers and Direct Link in Greer, SC
The food I never want to eat again: Prunes.
My passion: To provide the best care available to families in need.
My best friend says I am: “Determined. Get on the train, find your own train, but don’t stand on the tracks.” (Thanks Wanda!)
I love: Spending time with family and friends.
I can’t live without: Diet Coke and chocolate.
My blog: homehelpersgreer.blogspot.com
My hometown: Born and raised in the Greer/Tigerville area.
The worst idea I’ve ever had: Quitting College at 19 and having to pay to go back myself.
I’m thinking about: What 2010 has in store for my business.
I feel strongest when: I trust in God completely and wholly.
Something most people don’t know about me: I’m an ordained Presbyterian USA Elder.
I am guilty of: Collecting handbags and shoes.
Photo by John Fowler 32
When I grow up, I want to be: Someone my children will be proud of.
If I were a superheroine, I would be: Super Mom.
I wish...I was the person my animals think I am. Read more at greenville.skirt.com
This issue of skirt! was put together to the sounds of:
Betty Londergan is giving away her inheritance from her father by donating $100 a day for a year to causes, people and organizations she believes are improving the lives of others. You can send in your own suggestions at whatgives365.wordpress.com. Keep up with the latest in health and wellness with Tara Parker-Pope’s blog, “Well, ” for The New York Times. well.blogs.nytimes.com
Paris Concert Keith Jarrett Downtown Church Patty Griffin The Rose Hotel Robert Earl Keen Closer to the Bone Kris Kristofferson
Enjoy Dan Buettner, National Geographic writer and explorer, discusses “How to Live to be 100+” in his TED talk. Find it at ted.com.
Cook Like a Latin Lover Marina Mellino
An insider’s peak at life in hot and spicy Argentina, this book will have you not only wining and dining like a Latin lover, it will have you dancing, mating (sharing the tea-like yerba mate) and loving with Latino flavor!
Watch Follow the complicated lives and loves of three Victorian nannies in the Berkeley Square series first shown on PBS. Rent it from Netflix or buy it from from amazon.com.
Sheril Bennett Turner, Editor
Visit Get a virtual glimpse of the fascinating Dennis Severs House in London. The house is a time capsule created by an artist who lived in the house much the same way as its original 18th century inhabitants. dennissevershouse.co.uk
Bookmark TheImprovisedLife.com is about making and creating with whatever is at hand—improvising as a daily practice. It starts at home and works outward into the world. While it focuses on the practical, it also encompasses intangibles like intuition, fear and how to tap your inner artist.
THE LOvE JONES Jealous Girl Sarah Dashew Nothing But a Miracle Diane Birch Baby, I’m a Fool Melody Gardot She’s Got You Rosanne Cash Our Love (Don’t Throw it All Away) Bee Gees
“Can’t wait for the sequel!
I read Wolf Hall, winner of the Booker Prize, over the holidays and fell headlong into the world of Henry VIII and his right-hand man, the remarkable Thomas Cromwell. Can’t wait for the sequel! Nikki Hardin, Publisher
planetnikki [ a visual journal ]
I love the mask my daughter brought home from Ecuador after living there for a couple of years, so this year she got me one of my own. The Wily Fox might be my new alter ego.
“press pause” I love the big maps in airports and shopping centers that have a star with a caption reading YOU ARE HERE. There are so few times in my life when I am absolutely sure I’m where I should be, but when I stand in front of one of those signs, I can stop holding my breath, working my worry, fighting existential confusion. Because someone has given me a solid message I can hang onto for a change. Not a sappy affirmation, a mantra I’ll forget or an ego stroke from the Universe. For a brief moment, I am grounded. Like the pilots who overshot their destination due to “a loss of situational awareness,” I am often adrift in space and time. I go to the grocery and forget what I came to buy. I carry on a phone conversation while my mind is still on the novel I’m reading about 18th century time travelers. I wander into the kitchen and wonder what I went there to get. There are so few times when I am solidly HERE: listening deeply to the person talking to me; not listening to TV while I’m working on the computer; enjoying the required time-out of a red light. Instead I am usually sending my anxiety ahead to the office while I’m still in the process of driving there or hopping from one experience to another in a split-screen world. Like everyone I know, I’ve spent a lot of time being lost in my own life, but there are moments when I wish I could pull up a mental map and realize I AM HERE and it’s wonderful.
The tiny photos that my Fuji Instant Camera spits out capture tiny memorable moments.
I’ve been making short “Dear Diary” pages in my sketch book as a break from the pressure of serious “journaling.” More fun, less ego.
ArtSchoo lGirl.com cards are favorites of mine, but this o is the coo ne lest ever.
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