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OCTOBER | 2019

Embrace Authenticity

Progressive Thinking in Our Backyards Have You BEEN GHOSTED?

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OCTOBER | 2019

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contents F E AT U R E S

Advocating for the Human Race By Dena J. DiOrio Answering the Muse’s Beckon On a Soapbox By Andrea Serrano An Apple a Day for Everyone By Raegan Whiteside

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IN EVERY ISSUE under the skirt. 5

skirt. books 8 16 skirt. wellness 10 22 skirt. forward 12 skirt. essay 14 26 skirt. men 24

A Serendipitous Journey By English Drews

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Hope for Future Generations By Teri Errico Griffis

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Art for the Public Good By Katie Thompson

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skirt. community

skirt. table 34 skirt. calendar 36 skirt. spirits 38 don’t skirt. the issue 39

OOPS! PHOTOGRAPHY BY LAUREN JONES Stylist: Andrea Serrano Styling Assistant: Kelsey Mckenna Hair by: Mac McAbee of Coven HairCraft Makeup by: Elina Mille of Bellelina Studio Carrie Beth Waghorn embraces her authenticity as an artist in Charleston and reminds readers that all year long (not just October) is the perfect time to be your most eccentric self. On Carrie Beth Top by Viktor and Rolf by hampden from Hampden Clothing; Pants from Tinted Saga painted by Patrick Church; Earrings by Anna Davern from Candy Shop Vintage

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Corrections to September 2019 Issue: • Cover Credits, page 2 [September]: We should have said “On Jordan,” instead of “On Jamie.” • Fashion Wonderland, page 15 [September]: Jacqueline Lawrence of inventivENVIRONMENTS should be credited for Production Coordinator. • The House that Chicken Salad Built, page 32 [September]: Candice Wigfield and her father, Wayne Culbertson, purchased Hamby Catering from Wes Ellison, Fran Hamby’s great-nephew (not from Fran).


4 CEO/OWNER Paula Dezzutti paula@holycitypublishing.com PUBLISHER Thomas J. Giovanniello, Jr. thomas@holycitypublishing.com EDITOR Denise K. James denise@holycitypublishing.com ART DIRECTOR Laura Staiano laura@skirt.com EDITORIAL INTERN Grey Arnau greyarnau@icloud.com INTEGRATED ACCOUNT MANAGER Whitney Brenkus whitney@skirt.com PHOTOGRAPHERS/ILLUSTRATORS Lauren Jones, Carly Thomas, Erin Turner, Daniel Velasco CONTRIBUTORS Andria L. Amaral, Kris De Welde, Dena DiOrio, English Drews, Teri Errico Griffis, Lorna Hollifield, Helen Mitternight, Andrea Serrano, Theresa Stratford, Katie Thompson, Raegan Whiteside BUSINESS MANAGER Cassaundra Tebben cass@skirt.com DISTRIBUTION C&R Marketing, Tina Tartaglia ADVERTISING sales: 843.958.0028 sales@skirt.com EDITORIAL AND SALES OFFICES P.O. Box 579, Charleston, South Carolina 29402 843.958.0028 sales@skirt.com, skirt.com

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Ladies Apparel

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Gift Registry

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Embroidery

92 Folly Road Blvd. South Windermere Shopping Center Monday–Friday, 10–6 843.225.5244

Saturday, 10–5

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Skirt is published monthly and distributed free throughout the greater Charleston area. Subscriptions are available through www.skirt.com. Subscription rates are $24.95 for 12 issues. Back issues may be obtained by contacting the Skirt offices. Back issues are $5.99. All contents of this magazine, including without limitation the design, advertisements, art, photos and editorial content as well as the selection, coordination and arrangement thereof, is Copyright© Holy City Publishing, LLC. All rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Postage paid at Charleston, S.C., and additional mailing offices. Skirt is a registered trademark of Holy City Publishing, LLC. Skirt and skirt.com are licensed under the authority of Morris Media Network. Printed in the United States. Vol. 25 Issue 9 ISSN 2637-3815 (Print) ISSN 2637-3831(Online) Proudly printed by Walton Press for 25 years!

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under the skirt. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to receive so many complimentary comments about the last four issues of our reimagined magazine, from locations all around the state and even beyond, thanks to our advancing digital platform. It warms my heart to know that we are touching our community in a way that inspires and motivates empowerment 17

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and fellowship. And how about the newest member of our team, editor Denise K. James? September was the first issue under her belt with skirt., and I think that we can all agree she did a stellar job! When I caught up with her this week to honor her, she shared her heart with me: “September has always been “happy magazine new year” for me, as I’ve always faithfully bought the September editions of my favorite lifestyle magazines, from Vogue to Marie Claire to Elle to InStyle. I love to see the new trends for autumn, and I confess that I’ve always been partial to autumn as a season. Long before the air cools off in this part of the world, I rely on other traditions, including magazines, to represent that summer has ceased. It was no different with the September issue of skirt. which represented not only a “happy magazine new year” for itself but for me as well. I dove headfirst into the role of skirt. editor, one I had sorely missed for the last few months, and relished bringing all of you great content, beautiful visuals (a shout-out to our Art Director, Laura) and a fabulous September edition, thanks to everyone involved. Now it’s October, and I’m as proud as ever to work with our fine team and bring you, our cherished readers, this issue. Enjoy!” Speaking of teams, our October theme recognizes “Cause Marketing Businesses For The New Age.” The growing number of humanitarian and socially impactful small businesses are all pioneers who lead us by example. With a commitment to core values, emerging leaders can pursue their vision with persistence, especially in heated times of competition or desperation. Marketing a service or brand in 2020 requires acknowledgement of the importance of purposeful products and practices. In doing so, we improve the ways that our companies participate in the marketplace for the benefit of not only shareholders and customers, but for all people. Always remember that we are people first, our product second, and last, but certainly not least, our process. Passion, while it’s critical to success, is not the only thing that transforms vision into a company with a positive triple bottom line of measurable social, environmental and financial impact; it is the purpose and people behind it. Visionary concepts that are strong enough to become market leaders are an extension of creators who are strong enough to BE market leaders. Authenticity is the new currency. How will you measure up? Our skirt. commitment is to bring you more events that help you build your spirit, ignite your passion and align you with your purpose so that every day is an experience of empowerment and love. Please share your story with us on social media, and make sure you have signed up for your mailbox delivery of skirt. magazine.

Paula Dezzutti CEO/Owner skirt. Magazine

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skirt . | october 2019  5


Advocating for the Human Race Amber Johnson, Charleston’s new Diversity, Racial Reconciliation and Tolerance Manager, has big plans By Dena J. DiOrio

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his past July, the city of Charleston appointed Amber Johnson, Esq., as the first-ever Diversity, Racial Reconciliation and Tolerance Manager, a position in the city’s legal department formed as part of the Slavery Apology Resolution passed by City Council in June 2018. Rising to the top of 57 applicants, the West Ashley native received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hampton University in Virginia and a Juris Doctorate from Florida A&M University. After obtaining her J.D. in

Did anything specific from your upbringing lead you to where you are today? When I was young, my father drove a tractor-trailer for many years until he hurt his back at work. And so we went from a two-income household to a one. Trying to go through the disability process was really difficult, but he was able to find an attorney that could help him—actually, I don’t even know if it was an attorney; it might have been a paralegal—that helped him for free and got him through the process quickly. I wanted to help peo-

“My goal is to try to make equity a shared value for the city. I want us to be able to close gaps in our resources and opportunities.” 2009, Ms. Johnson practiced law in Florida before returning home to the Lowcountry more than two years ago, at the time accepting a position at South Carolina Legal Services. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ms. Johnson to discuss what she hopes to accomplish in her new role.

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ple like that. He was able to get his disability, and we were able to put things back together financially. That’s where I saw a need; I wanted to be able to help people in that same kind of way. How did your job at South Carolina Legal Services prepare you for this role?

My first job back in Charleston with South Carolina Legal Services was working with low-income, elderly clients, [who were] kind of in the same position my family was in. During my job at Legal Services, I started working on a project surrounding diversity, and this position became available. I was already working on a project in the area, and I saw this position dealing with [diversity], I said, ok, let’s see what happens with this. And now I’m here. Talking about diversity and practicing it are two different things. What are you doing to get people involved in diversity? I’m still building the office and building out the infrastructure. So, I’m still in the developing phase. I’m looking internally to figure out how I can train department heads and City Council on how to implement programs and policies with an “equity lens,” meaning that they’re able to do an assessment on their programs and policies to determine what impact they’ll have, based on data. I want to get everybody trained on how to do that so that we can determine how the program or policy will impact the most vulnerable. I think that’s important, because I think sometimes we imple-


“As Charlestonians, we’re very polite, and we want to be nice, so it’s hard to talk about race and not feel like you’re being mean or impolite. It’s important that we’re honest and talk about how we feel…” ment things before we really analyze what kind of impact it will have. And sometimes, the effect is not what we think it will be, or we don’t even think about the effects. If we do it on the front end, we aren’t trying to fix it on the back end. What do you see as some of the most immediate needs in Charleston? Some of the biggest issues include housing—attainable housing. The cost of living in the city has increased so dramatically. Just making sure that people can afford to live is one of the biggest issues I’ve seen so far in the city. What do you see as the biggest racial challenges in the Charleston area?

Some of the biggest challenges are acknowledging that systemic racism exists and getting people to engage in those conversations in an open and honest way. As Charlestonians, we’re very polite, and we want to be nice, so it’s hard to talk about race and not feel like you’re being mean or impolite. It’s important that we’re honest and talk about how we feel, because we all have issues with implicit bias. We need to acknowledge it and have that conversation so we can move forward. What are you looking forward to tackling in this position? I think the biggest challenge that I’ll face that I’m excited to start working on is training and getting my ideas into the department and with the City

Council about governing with an equity lens, because that will start some of the conversations that we need to have. I’m also excited to work with the community, because I think it’s very hard for people to normalize conversations about race. They’re hard conversations, but I think if we start to have them, it will get easier. Optimistic that she’ll be able to bring change to Charleston through the position, Johnson hopes to dismantle systems that have been in place for years. “It’s still very early, but my goal is to try to make equity a shared value for the city. I want us to be able to close gaps in our resources and opportunities. I think that those are the biggest ways that we can recognize the promises from the apology,” she said.

TRANSPORTATION MATTERS

Low-income residents are more likely to have uncontrolled blood pressure and cardiovascular disease due to a variety of factors, including transportation access. Right now, 100,000 community members live in low-income neighborhoods. That could fill a school bus 1,200 TIMES! Having a pesonal vehicle should not determine whether or not someone can go to the grocery store, get medical treatment or go to work. The AHA supports a new zoning ordinance in the City of Charleston that provides quality bus and transit services for underserved communities. To get involved with our mission, visit www.heart.org/lowcountry.

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skirt . | october 2019  7


books

A Feminist Take on Literary Horror The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter BY LORNA HOLLIFIELD

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a brighter future—if they only can manage before all is lost. This novel is a fast-paced ride through the chilling worlds created by some of the founders of literary horror and intrigue: Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Shelley and Arthur Conan Doyle. I’m the first to admit that this book may not be for everyone. It’s different and not something I would have normally chosen. However, once I let it take me over, I found a whimsical sojourn hallmarked by gothic imagery, old-world charm and strong fe-

“Abandon steamy Charleston for the damp British alleys, and take a little trip across the pond with me.”

LEFT: SAMANTHA FUENTES

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or a book chock-full of mysterious murders, immoral science experiments, and nods to some of literature’s most wellknown horror classics, “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter” is surprisingly cozy. It’s the perfect book to read with a pumpkin spice latte in hand on the first evening you’re inspired to pull out the fuzzy sweater from the back of the closet (where it lives most of the year in the South, along with the boots we’ll only wear two days annually). Yes, this is the book you’ll want to drop into your bag and bring along to Magnolia Cemetery to read on a stone bench in the eerie ambiance. Woven in nostalgia and taking cues from classics such as “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” “Frankenstein,” and “Sherlock Holmes,” “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter” delivers a fresh and surprisingly feminist voice that pulls the tone perfectly into 2019. The uniquely spun yarn will feel a bit like an icy finger from the past reaching out to tap you on the shoulder, then disappearing just in time to leave you reeling in the modern world. What better place than the Lowcountry to produce readers for such a book? Isn’t every corner a turn to the past while every bridge is a glimpse into the future? Author Theodora Goss begins by introducing us to Mary Jekyll, a curious and witty English girl who is sifting through the lingerings of her deceased father’s mysterious past. She takes a particular interest in his connection to the infamous Edward Hyde, a wanted murderer who has a large bounty on his head—a sum that could solve all of young Mary’s financial grievances. However, instead of Mr. Hyde himself, Mary finds his daughter, Diana, who was abandoned as a child and consequently raised by nuns. These two girls, who couldn’t be more different, set out to find the truth, alongside the famous Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, Dr. Watson. But the foggy and winding path to the answers they are searching for only leads to more women like them: daughters of scientists, and products of brutal experimentation. Together, these women decide to defeat the looming revenants from the past to offer themselves and those like them


“I found a whimsical sojourn hallmarked by gothic imagery, old-world charm and strong female voices. It was a nice break from the norm and a wonderful host to welcome me to autumn.” male voices. It was a nice break from the norm and a wonderful host to welcome me to autumn. Admittedly, I’m not sure that I would rave over this book at any other time of year. I would have appreciated it for being well-researched and well-written but perhaps not recommended it so heartily. But, as we learn many times in life, timing is everything. All of the planets lined up for me with this one, folks: the season, the smell in the air, the new fall lines at my favorite boutiques, the wrought iron gates with their tell-tale squeak—it worked, and it might just work for you as well. I

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encourage you to step outside of the box in this season and trade your iced tea in the heat of the day for hot tea at dusk. Abandon steamy Charleston for the damp British alleys, and take a little trip across the pond with me. I promise we’ll always come back to the humidity, cobblestone, and sweetgrass in the end.

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wellness

Who Runs the

WORLD? If it’s Geri Mason’s world, she does it herself By Grey Arnau Photography by Diandra Dellucci

Geri Mason starts her day off with a pot of coffee. While it brews, she prepares herself for the morning and then heads into her prayer closet with her first cup. A mother since age 16, she didn’t always have this personal time to reflect, especially after being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30. Yet it was this major turning point that changed her life forever and created the atmosphere for her to rewrite the youth she missed out on as a young mother.

Finding power in a diagnosis Through self-reflection and her positive mindset, Mason was able to surpass the looming question “Why me?” She said she remembered thinking to herself, “Well, who else would I want to give it to? So, why not me? The strength and power came from the realization that surviving this would mean that I am here for a reason.” Sure enough, five years after her diagnosis, she went from preparing to die to preparing to live. She became pregnant with her second daughter, bought a house and found herself joyfully following a new path in life, soon transforming into someone who spends time writing, traveling, and speaking about the power of positivity. Learning to write about personal experiences is something that has not only helped Mason but thousands of other people. To date, she has writ-

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ten five books, the second featuring advice and testimonies about the blessings that entered her life as a result of remaining confident and faithful. Peace in times of chaos is what defines strength— and it is what Mason fills the room with.

New thoughts on femininity The feeling of wanting to be alone after a traumatic event is natural. Mason said, “After surviving breast cancer, I didn’t even want to think about dating again. I didn’t want to have that difficult conversation about cancer. It was something that I honestly dreaded for a long time.” Since it affected her sense of self, Mason feared that the changes in her silhouette would also affect the way others perceived her. She was unsure of how, exactly, potential partners would react when confronted with the fact that her figure was different after receiving a lumpectomy. This led to apprehensions about being in a relationship and feeling comfortable enough with her body to share it with someone else. To work around this doubt, Mason had to gently walk herself down the path to self-love. She described how, in the years that she was fiercely battling her cancer, there was no one there to guide her in how to begin to accept her new self —a breast cancer survivor. But she realized that if she couldn’t accept herself as the extraordinary

and beautiful woman that she had become, then how could she expect others to? In true Geri Mason fashion, she eventually came to realize that the breast that was slightly smaller due to the lumpectomy was actually more reactive to touch, and it was something she could find humor in with potential partners. Being able to laugh at yourself proves true courage, and Mason admitted, “today, I feel sexier and more beautiful than I’ve ever felt in my life.”

Honoring celibacy She’s independent, she’s sassy, she’s flirty…and she’s celibate. For 12 years, Mason has abstained from intercourse, a decision rooted in self-love and a redirection of her energy. She clarified that this is not based on religious beliefs, but rather an individualized decision for her life. She recounted enjoying relationships—even being married three times—but now, she has reached a milestone where she said she is “okay by herself even if a man never shows up again.” Mason refuses to lower her standards to avoid being alone, and is empowered by the idea that future potential partners must rise to these standards. She is enjoying being in her own skin and doing what she loves most—that is, writing, traveling and speaking. “I still have limitations and guidelines for intimacy, just like any other rela-


“She realized that if she couldn’t accept herself as the extraordinary and beautiful woman that she had become, then how could she expect others to?” tionship,” she pointed out. She loves calling the shots for her own life and respects the time allotted for her to be alone doing the things she loves.

Defining a Woman: Before and After Breast Cancer Mason’s view of what exactly it means to be a woman has altered immensely over the past 30 years since surviving breast cancer. She admitted, “Before breast cancer, my definition of a woman was just the better half to a man. Someone who is set in place to balance out society,” She used to view a women as the product of a social construct, being constantly reminded how to be appropriate and suitable for a man.

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Today, Mason now sees women as visionaries who are able to set the standard and make things happen, with or without a man involved. Referencing the feminist icon Beyonce Knowles Carter, Mason asked, “Who runs the world? Women do. They’ve just yet to realize it.” To young women who are still on the road to realization, she said: “you do not need anyone or anything to validate YOU. As long as you keep your inner vision, you will be directed by the universe. You are a whole person, all by yourself.” This is something that Geri Mason had to grasp on her own terms, so she would certainly know.

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forward

ROTTEN (Homegrown!) TOMATOES Fall’s best television and podcasts as selected by CofC faculty and students By Kris De Welde

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ith access to seemingly limitless entertainment on every device, how does one decide what is worth investing time into, whether that time is a weekend binge or several weeks of attention? Subscriptions to cable or streaming services are a luxury, and choosing what to watch or listen to is too important to be left to chance. Regular readers of this column know this is a feminist-inspired space, where monthly contributions encourage deep thinking, address controversial topics, support social justice initiatives and sometimes entertain. This installment features responses to a question I asked students and professors affiliated with Women’s and Gender Studies at the College of Charleston: What are you watching or listening to and why? It is my hope to help you curate your entertainment list with the answers (while also rounding out my own).

TELEVISION GLOW (Netflix) This is a wonderful show, written by women, that fictionalizes the 1980s women’s professional wrestling show, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. The characters are rich, and the writers use the development of the show as a humorous jumping off point to explore gender and sexuality.   Barry (HBO) Funny, dark and one of our favor-

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ites, this show follows Barry Berkman (played brilliantly by Bill Hader) as a hitman turned actor who is grappling with whether you can ever change who you really are. It also has one of the best supporting characters – NoHo Hank – in my recent memory.

esting spin on the afterlife and what it means to be good and bad. It makes life seem less serious. Doctor Who (BBC America) I enjoyed the new season with the first woman doctor! Suggestions by: Makayla Cook, Biology major

Suggestions by: Chris Korey, Biology Dept.

RuPaul’s Drag Race (Amazon Prime, VH1) I’ve been binge watching [this]. It’s reality TV at its best, in that the people are real and the competition is real, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously —except when it needs to. The whole experience is playful, informative—I’m learning so much about drag culture—and important. Pen15 (hulu) This is another show about middle school girls, except that the two main characters are played by 30 year-old women. It’s also hilarious and one of the first shows I’ve seen that talks about female sexuality, friendships and identity in a way that resonates with multiple generations. Paquita Salas (Netflix) For people interested in Spanish television, I highly recommend this. It’s about a talent agency in Madrid and is pure comedy.  Suggestions by: Susan M. Divine, Hispanic Studies Dept.

The Good Place (NBC, Netflix) This is my most recent binge: a cute, funny show that has an inter-

Handmaid’s Tale (hulu) I am watching Handmaid’s Tale for three reasons: while I agree with many of the criticisms of the novel, it is also a touchstone for me personally and professionally. I read the book first in college, while taking a class on utopia, and I now study and teach utopia and Atwood. Second, while the subject matter is grim, and there is criticism of episodes being too violent, the show does offer a vision of a society that aims to control reproduction and how women resist. Finally, the show is visually striking! There is a reason we see activists donning the red Handmaid’s robe; it captures the eye. Suggestion by: Claire Curtis, Political Science Dept.

Letterkenny (hulu) I am beyond excited for the return of Letterkenny in October. The show is a witty exploration of small-town Canadian life wherein the “hicks” make hilarious observations. Also, Squirrely Dan is a raging feminist who constantly talks about what he learns in his women’s studies classes. A must-see! Suggestion by: Sandy Slater, History Dept.


Berlin, I Love You! (Netflix) This show features six stories about different forms of love, and they all connect in the end. Smart People (Netflix) This is a story about how hubris disconnects us, while humility connects us. Suggestions by: Hollis France, Political Science Dept.

Transparent (Amazon prime) I am excited and a little sad for the series finale. This series has been one of my favorites for years, as its portrayal of familial trauma, gender identity and religious identity is unique. Watching the show expands my own thinking and I’m excited to see how they wrap up the series. Suggestion by: Zoë Murrie, Women’s and Gender Studies major (and skirt. Endowed Scholarship recipient)

Derry Girls (Netflix) This is a funny, short comedy about high school girls in Derry, Northern

Ireland in the 1990s during the Troubles (period of intense fighting between the Irish Catholics and Protestants). It’s silly, but also politically and socially savvy. Suggestion by: Susan Farrell, English Dept. (and other voters)

PODCASTS Meanwhile, Vivian Appler, Dept. of Theater and Dance, offers suggestions for podcasts worthy of a listen. My Favorite Murder Late to the podcasting game, I finally have had a chance to listen to My Favorite Murder, hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. I enjoy listening to women comedians finding their own style without having to one-up, or play along with the toxic masculinity that permeates much of the comedy scene. Ologies with Alie Ward Ward is a science enthusiast, entertainer and journalist, so I am drawn to

the content and style of her interviews, along with the diverse assortment of experts and the scientific narrative of the show. Be Wealthy and Smart with Linda P. Jones. Although I suspect Linda to be a bit farther right on the political spectrum than I am, she doesn’t talk politics on her show, which is geared toward empowering women to be financially savvy and prepared for retirement. I spent my 20s and 30s in a “starving artist” phase, and now that I have a regular income, I am trying to make smart decisions with my money. Her podcasts are mainly short and contain actionable tidbits that add up in the long run. Join the Women’s and Gender Studies program for the 7th annual Yes! I’m a Feminist fundraiser celebration in the Cistern Yard at CofC, November 1, 6:00 p.m. Pre-register: friendsof.cofc.edu/ school-of-humanities-and-social-sciences/events/ yes-im-a-feminist

Yes! I’m a Feminist is an annual celebration of feminism broadly, and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the College of Charleston specifically. It is a fundraiser for the program, but the event is free to attend and open to the public. Yes! I’m a Feminist will feature refreshments, music and vibrant conversations.  Yard from from66p.m.–7:30 p.m.–7:30p.m. p.m.on onFriday, Friday,November November1.1. The event will take place in Cistern Yard Pre-registration to attendisisrequested:  requested: Pre-registration to attend https://friendsof.cofc.edu/school-of-humanities-and-social-sciences/events/yes-im-a-feminist

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essay

NIGHT SWIMMING

A local librarian moves to Folly and encounters a mysterious presence By Andria L. Amaral • Illustration by Carly Thomas

It is the human way to invent paranormal phenomena to explain the unexplainable. We tell stories to make sense of a world that often defies reason. What we don’t realize is our stories are our greatest source of power. Myths and legends and ghosts are real because we create them. Every time these stories are retold, they become stronger—until they take on a life of their own. But they all have to start somewhere. The story of the Salt Hag starts with me. Everyone in the Lowcountry has heard of the

“She took my body to the starlit beach and we disappeared into the inky depths. The water welcomed me, brine as soothing as milk, and we swam together all night.” Boo Hag: the haint that steals your body while you sleep and rides it until dawn. I know the secrets of her sister, an ancient wraith from the watery depths. When I first moved to Folly Beach, I marveled that the air was as salty as the sea, and when I slept with the windows open, I woke with salinated lips and tiny crystals crusting my skin—a thirst that took all morning to slake. All night, I dreamed of floating and flying through waters infinitely dark and vast. I curled with the waves and dissolved into flecks of foam. The ocean lifted my body and spirit as I simultaneously surrendered to and soared above the rhythmic pounding of the surf. In the morning, my muscles ached, my hair was damp and tangled, and my body moved heavily and gracelessly, burdened by gravity. I stumbled, sleepy and distracted, through my days of working at the library. I kept drifting to the shelves where the books on oceanography lived, running my fingers along their aquamarine spines. On weekends, I could not bear to leave the is-

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land. I spent hours diving into the surf, letting waves catch, carry and throw me, desperate to recapture the thrill of the dreams that haunted my every waking moment. But it never scratched the itch. I never really sailed; I never really soared. I was in the water, yes, but not one with it. My body weakened, and my strength ebbed with the tide. Of course, the dreams did not come every night. When thunderheads crouched just above the treeline, and the wind turned the leaves upside down, I battened my hatches and knew the ap-

proaching storm would bring a dreamless sleep, and I was right. I just didn’t yet know why. I was changing. I walked through my days on the unsteady legs of a sailor having just returned from a long voyage. The distant roar of the ocean filled my head as if I were holding a conch shell to my ear at all times, and the sulphur of pluff mud followed me everywhere. I craved salt; I insulted chefs at Charleston’s best restaurants by pouring it on their carefully seasoned meals. Still everything tasted bland. I compulsively stuffed my pockets


“I was changing. I walked through my days on the unsteady legs of a sailor having just returned from a long voyage. The distant roar of the ocean filled my head as if I were holding a conch shell to my ear at all times…” with tiny takeout packets, rubbing their rippled surfaces like talismans, reassuring myself with the nearness of salt. I was always thirsty. But I switched to unsweet tea. Sugar tasted sour; it left me lightheaded and woozy. As hurricane season transformed into the holiday season, the dreams stopped completely. I walked along the stark winter beach for hours, watching slate gray waves pummel the shore while inexplicable waves of sadness and loss washed over me—meanwhile, my nights were spent in deep, untroubled sleep. The chilly, unremarkable days passed in a colorless blur. I was hollow and alone. Come spring, when the island glowed pale green with its flora burst into life, the reward of being lulled to sleep by the roar of the ocean and the rattle of palmetto leaves seemed worth the risk of waking to a house dusted with oak pollen. Thus, for the first time in months I slept with the window open. That night, as I turned in my sleep and filled my lungs with the dense night air, she slid in with my breath, and she didn’t breathe out. She took my body to the starlit beach and we disappeared into the inky depths. The water welcomed me, brine as soothing as milk, and we swam together all night. Her magic filled me with buoyancy and stamina far beyond my natural limits. Then, I knew. I understood. I was not alone anymore. As the moon floated

silently across the sky, we floated beneath it, an exotic bloom drifting beneath an endless night. I felt her power stir inside me, and I surged and glowed. I moved, weightless and strong, and the currents yielded to me as I torpedoed through them. Time and space and everything else disappeared, except the catch and pull of tides and the taste of salt. At the sound of the birds who call just before dawn to warn all of midnight’s creatures of the imminent end to their frolic, she turned, and we swam toward shore. In the morning, I found a seashell in my hair and a dusting of salt on my skin. I whispered her name, Salt Hag, through parched lips, as I reached for a swallow of water. Myths and legends and ghosts are real because we create them. Every time their stories are retold, they become stronger, until they take on a life of their own. When you stay at Folly Beach, don’t sleep with the windows open unless you are brave enough to meet her. Ocean air is not the only thing that might sneak in. If you wake in the morning with salt on your skin, sand on your pillow and fragments of underwater dreams in your head, you know you have just been night swimming with the Salt Hag. Once she has you, she never lets you go.

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Answering the

Muse’s Beckon Five local artists who believe in the power of creativity to change the world Photography by: Lauren Jones Stylist: Andrea Serrano

Styling Assistant: Kelsey Mckenna Hair by: Mac McAbee of Coven HairCraft Makeup by: Elina Mille of Bellelina Studio


The undeniably artistic community of the Lowcountry continues to blossom and attract not only worldwide patrons but new ideas and talented visionaries. These fIve local ladies are inspired by the local landscape and look for creativity in everyday life.

CARRIE BETH WAGHORN

(On Cover) put pencil to paper as early as four years old but suppressed her artistic calling for many years—that is, until a magical moment in Charleston, at the corner of President and Moultrie Streets. In a process she described as “like wearing her skin,” Waghorn draws on previous experiences and her own feminine energy to create. Her influences range from Patrick Church to Nina Chanel Abney to Sevy Marie Eicher, and she believes Charleston needs to “push the envelope” artistically. Waghorn reminds creators that “we can change the world,” and that artists have “a responsibility to themselves to be authentic and create from a place rooted in their genuine identity.”


Sarah Stewart

creates art as a way to “express her connection to nature.” She seeks for her work to awaken us to Mother Earth as well as a desire to “care for ourselves, others and the environment.” Stewart is currently working on a series of paintings that belong to a Tarot deck of 78 cards, entitled Rattlesnakes and Rainbows—which, she hopes, will remind people of the healing spirit of plants and the importance of the environment. Her artistic influences include Marsha Robinson, Monica Canilao, Curiot and Rithika Merchant, as well as poets like Leonard Cohen and Maya Angelou. She looks forward to a future of “even more community and diversity” in the local art scene.

Dress by Krista Larson from Havens; Jacket from Undead Threads; Fur scarf by Norton and Hodges; Crown from Havens; Chain mail necklace and ring from Unordinary Vintage


Jenan McLain

has always considered art “a sacred place to express emotion” and credits one of her early mentors, Jim Campbell, for helping her believe in her own creative power. Though it took years for McLain to pursue art as her vocation, a “traumatic health experience with her daughter three years ago” reminded her of the healing power in painting. She said she often “manifests the maternal” in her work, and that becoming a mother helped her find her voice. McLain believes in the art’s transformative power, having seen it firsthand during her time teaching summer art classes while living in impoverished areas of the Carribean. Influences on her abstract, impressionistic style include Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Degas and poet Mary Oliver.

Dress by Rosie Assoulin from Hampden Clothing; Earrings by Br Design from Cannonborough Collective; Bracelets by Candy Shop Vintage Collection from Candy Shop Vintage; Hat and flower from Unordinary Vintage; Bouquet by Petaloso


Camela Guevara

called art “the place she always felt most confident,” even when she was a young girl. She looks back with gratitude on both her art education in public schools as well as the women who taught her and who support her current work. Guevara frequently pays it forward in the art education community—she recently shared her fiber art with all ages during a stint as North Charleston’s Artist in Residence from 2017-2018. She pointed out that “art is everywhere—in design, fashion, architecture,” and that artists “have a superpower of envisioning something, then creating it,” including, perhaps, new solutions for our collective future.

Dress by Viktor and Rolf from Hampden Clothing; Earrings by Br Design from Cannonborough Collective; Bracelet by Candy Shop Vintage Collection from Candy Shop Vintage; Pompom headband by Camela Guevara


Katherine Dunlap

grew up in a small town in Georgia and found childhood inspiration through the talented artists within her own family, who all encouraged her to find her unique voice. Dunlap said nowadays, her work focuses on the loved ones in her life and the “people who have shaped her,” and noted that her feminine perspective has had an effect on her identity as well as her art. Dunlap also spoke about the “cause and effect element” in creative work, and she urges artists to always consider the impact their work has on others. Her influences include Peter Doig, Andy Dixon and Adam Lee, as well as local talents Alex Waggoner and Chris Nickels.

Dress by Ulla Johnson from Small; Bracelets from ibu; Necklace and feather; head piece from Unordinary Vintage; Glasses from See Eyewear; Ring by Candy Shop Vintage Collection from Candy Shop Vintage


CURATOR COVETS DRESSES FROM IBU, JEWELRY FROM NORTON & HODGES AND IBU

On a Soapbox

MOTHERLAND ESSENTIALS CREATOR ANDREA DAVIS WANTS TO MAKE OUR SKIN SO FRESH AND SO CLEAN By Andrea Serrano • Photography by Nicole Mickle Andrea Davis is the founder and artisan of Motherland Essentials, a local skincare and bath line. Her ethically sourced, plant-based ingredients set her products apart from the saturated marketplace of organic skincare. All products are lovingly handcrafted, from soaps and whipped body butter (my personal favorite) to oils, lotions and facial masks. I first discovered Motherland Essentials in Cannonborough Collective, and I fell in love with the scent and quality of the products. Davis herself is a mom, activist, localist, artist and force of nature—plus she has great taste in music. She makes everything from inside her Summerville home, juggling her craft with mothering her two boys.

WHEN AND HOW DID YOU START YOUR SKINCARE LINE?

On September 18, 2014, I suffered from an incompetent cervix, and, as a result, we lost our second son, Elijah Davis, just 20 weeks into the pregnancy. After only being allowed three days of bereavement before returning to work, I realized shortly after returning that I was extremely

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depressed and had to do what was necessary for myself. So, I left my job in finance to heal. One day, I saw a soap-making video on YouTube and was fascinated by the combination of science and art. I started making soaps as a way to heal and create something for my loved ones. By 2016, I had done the research, read the books and test-

ed my own recipes before I decided to turn my hobby into a business. Motherland Essentials officially became an LLC in 2017, and we’re continuing to make positive steps toward growth.

WHAT WAS THE FIRST PRODUCT YOU MADE?

The first product I made was soap. I wasn’t intimidated by working with lye, because I knew to respect the process and give it my full attention —the same attention I’ve given to all of the products since my very first bar.

WHICH PRODUCT DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS DRY SKIN?

For dry skin, I recommend our oatmeal and honey soap bar and lotion bar.

WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE WHO HAVE A SCENT SENSITIVITY?

I highly recommend the avocado and coconut milk soap bar and the kombucha and turmeric soap bar. We partnered up with One Love Kombucha to make those bars. Turmeric has healing


"One day, I saw a

soap-making video

on YouTube and was fascinated by the

combination of science and art. I started making soaps as

a way to heal and

create something for my loved ones.”

properties to promote healthy skin growth, and I’m currently also working on a facial mask.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR SUBSCRIPTION BOX.

We have 2 subscriptions; the “Essential” includes the soap of the month as well as whichever soaps you order. The “Deluxe” is a quarterly subscription box that has all the soap bars and also includes Park & Madison candles.

WHERE DO YOU SELL THE PRODUCTS?

I primarily sell on my online shop, www.motherlandessentials.com. Our products are also found locally at Fresh Future Farm, The Gibbes Museum, West Elm, Addie J Beauty in Summerville

and a few other stores around the country. I plan to set up at the Girl Tribe Pop-Up in Charlotte, as well as the Charleston Night Bazaar and the North Charleston Harvest Festival in October. A full schedule of events is available on the website.

DO YOU HAVE ANY WORKSHOPS COMING UP IN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER?

I will be teaching a soap-making workshop at the Gibbes Museum on Saturday, November 2nd, from 1 until 4 p.m. Tickets are available on the Gibbes Museum website.

WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO WHILE YOU WORK?

I listen to everything. I’ve been drawn to artists like Tobe Nwigwe, Big K.R.I.T, Outkast, UGK, Wiz Kid, Erykah Badu, Prince, A Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang. I really operate off of mood when I’m creating, so I let that guide me when it comes to a soundtrack.

WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE AS A CREATIVE IN CHARLESTON?

Charleston has a lot of work to do when it comes to supporting creatives of color and small business owners. This city is filled with creative people who don’t have the opportunity to showcase their talent, simply because there is no space for them. We’re making a lot of room for hotels, condos, and restaurants—many of which aren’t locally owned. Investing in creatives and small businesses is ultimately an investment back into your community.

WHAT OTHER LOCAL BUSINESSES DO YOU LOVE TO SUPPORT AND WHY?

Fresh Future Farm is one of the best organizations in Charleston because of the work they do. They serve the Chicora-Cherokee area by providing jobs and food to the area. I use many of their produce and herbs in my soaps, and our products are available to purchase there. I also love supporting my “business bestie,” Karmen Cook, who owns a copywriting business called Karmen Copy. She worked on my “About Me” page and countless other projects, and her knowledge and support have been amazing. And the Holy City Vintage Market pretty much has everything I need in terms of clothing and accessories. I highly recommend hitting up that market and supporting it.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY COVETING?

I’m coveting just about everything on the soapequipment.com website. My soapmaking obsession is real, y’all!

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS WITH MOTHERLAND ESSENTIALS?

Within the next couple of years, I would like to open my first storefront to give those in my community an opportunity to work in an environment where they can have fun, be creative and learn about plant-based skincare.

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skirt . | october 2019  23


men

T  he most rewarding part of drag performance is seeing the faces of strangers light up. That ‘wow’ moment, which frequently happens with children but can also happen for adults, makes it all worth it.”

Fighting the “Goode” Tim Newborn, also known as “Oshi Goode,” uses performance art for a greater purpose

A

good interview is a rare and memorable thing for any writer, and this was especially true when I sat down to speak with Tim Newborn, philanthropist, artist, war veteran and wellness advocate. Scheduled for early evening, our chatter carried well into the night, as we recounted all of the things we love about Charleston, being creative and working with others. Newborn, a native of a tiny rural town in Mississippi, knew as a kid that there was a bigger world out there—if he could only find a way to reach it. He decided to join the United States Navy, where he spent the next five years as a photojournalist, garnering accolades such as the Joint Commendation Service Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal by the Chief of Naval Operations. At the end of his Naval career, Newborn further heeded his inclination to be creative and enrolled at the Savannah College of Art & Design, where he studied performance art and advertising. Today, Newborn works for Blackbaud as their Customer Advocacy and Engagement Manager. He also performs as Oshi Goode, a fun-loving drag queen who fundraises for community

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skirt . | october 2019

awareness on the topic of lung disease, which is near and dear to his heart. Your background sounds quite creative. How do you obtain creative fulfillment in your current role at Blackbaud? My role at Blackbaud is to drive customer engagement and advocacy. That said, creativity is necessary to design valuable experiences and meaningful moments that will delight and inspire customers to advocate for our company. It’s very fulfilling, because I’m able to associate with people who are doing incredible things to change the world. How does your performance as Oshi Goode help perpetuate your beliefs that disease does not discriminate and that it’s important to take a non-biased approach to health (and everything else)? I ultimately decided to begin fundraising under the stage name Oshi Goode—that’s “Oh, She Good” with a little flair—for a few


“that just gave me PTSD.” It wasn’t long ago that people were saying, “That’s so gay!” All of these have negative connotations, and for those who identify with what is said, it’s hurtful. It’s a perfect example of how we need to do a better job of spreading awareness about mental illness and the challenges it presents. For the people who struggle with mental illness, their lives are often deeply affected. And because of these misconceptions, they are often ostracized or deprived of what they need most: compassion, patience and friendship. You are fortunate to be able to work, both in your off-hours as well as your professional hours, on matters that are important to you. But many times, people don’t quite “make it” to living their ultimate dreams. Do you have any advice for those who are questioning their life path? Everyday life consistently presents us with an opportunity to make someone else’s life better. When you see a chance to spread a little goodness, take it, regardless of where you are or what it is. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture; you don’t have to take part in a big fundraiser or make significant commitments. All you have to do is take notice of those around you. You may be surprised to find there are more than enough opportunities to step up and do the right thing and the kindhearted thing. If you want to make a change but don’t want to do it alone, talk with a few friends and set aside some time to do something as a group, or speak with your employer about setting up a group opportunity to volunteer. Whatever you do, don’t wait for permission to live your life. If you do, you’ll be waiting a lifetime.

” Fight

By Denise K. James Photography by Erin Turner

reasons. It allows me to fundraise while infusing a bit of positive LQBTQIA+ culture within each commitment. It makes people curious about what I do and why I do what I do. And, it’s a conversation starter! I hope that these interactions help bridge our divides and foster appreciation and understanding of all types of people. Most recently, in September, I performed on behalf of the American Lung Association by participating in the fourth annual Lip Sync For Lungs Competition. I believe extraordinary moments in life should be the only thing that takes our breath away. My personal goal, aside from raising awareness about lung disease and lung cancer, is to highlight diversity. Disease doesn’t discriminate, and neither should we. We all encounter conscious and unconscious bias every day; diseases are no exception. What are misconceptions that you believe people have about certain diseases or health conditions? Invisible illness of any kind drives misconceptions, but what I believe to be the most stigmatized or misunderstood is mental illness. It’s hard for me to hear someone joke “I’m so OCD,” or

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Do you believe that a positive cultural shift is taking place in the United States, as far as people supporting people who aren’t exactly like them? I do believe we have advanced toward a more diverse society. I think that we mostly agree on the concept of cultural pluralism, but with the natural ebb and flow of societal growth comes a bit of a pendulum swing. I don’t always appreciate what I see happening around me, but change starts with one who cares enough to take action, and that’s what I’m doing. What are your most memorable or rewarding moments performing? The most rewarding part of drag performance is seeing the faces of strangers light up. I think we take ourselves too seriously a lot of the time and to be able to elevate ordinary interactions into extraordinary experiences makes my heart glow. That “wow” moment, which frequently happens with children but can also happen for adults, makes it all worth it. There is also the more thoughtful side that makes it fulfilling. For example, last year, after Charleston Pride, I had a young man pull me aside for a conversation about his concerns with coming out to his family. He asked me to share my experiences and provide a bit of advice. What are your most memorable or rewarding moments during the workweek? The most rewarding part of my day is my colleagues. It’s true; people who need people are the luckiest people in the world, and I’m one of them. My coworkers are kind, talented, and, like me, genuinely want to make a difference in the world. What are your plans for down the road? I plan to make a more substantial commitment to my local community. One day, I want to establish a nonprofit for young people that funds the experiences of their choosing, which will help them pursue their passions. Everyone has a right to realize their dreams, but not everyone easily gets the opportunity.

skirt . | october 2019  25


serves as business project manager. Bell’s dedication is undoubtedly what allows Closing the Gap to be as successful as it is; she is the heart that keeps the organization and its mission “pumping” throughout South Carolina. Bell also shared her dreams to “take Closing the Gap to the next level,” and pointed out that the issue of health disparity for minority groups is not confined to just Charleston or South Carolina — it’s a problem that can be seen across the country, and yet it is so often not addressed. She hopes to maintain an active role in making the issue more recognized and taking action against it. She expressed she “would love to have radio spots [and] television spots nationwide and expand [the organization] beyond South Carolina.” Collaboration with other organizations and businesses is another area that Bell handles. She works closely

An Apple a Day for Everyone Tiffany Bell leads an organization fostering health in minority communities By Raegan Whiteside

O

ptimal health is not easy to maintain in our current culture. From fast food restaurants lining every street to harmful pollutants in the air to endless hours at the office leaving us immobile and exhausted, numerous factors contribute to the declining health of many Americans. And yet another reason for the rise of health issues is the lack of education for many individuals. Tiffany Bell is current program director for Closing the Gap in Healthcare, coming on board in 2015 after the passing of her sister, Tonisha Bell, who started the organization with their father, Dr. Thaddeus J. Bell, an alum of MUSC. The Bells noticed how African Ameri-

“The nonprofit raises money for sponsorships, which are then given to African American and minority students studying at MUSC.” can patients and other minority groups were consistently falling behind when it came to their health. Healthcare was always a family passion, but it swiftly expanded into their fervent mission. Today, 14 years after its inception, Closing the Gap handles topics such as proactivity about wellness, preventative care, tips on maintaining better general health and more. The goal is to “decrease health disparities in African Americans and underserved populations.” Among Tiffany Bell’s endless stream of responsibilities for the organization are managing board members, running social media, grant writing — where the majority of funding comes from — and planning the Lowcountry Jazz Festival. And Closing the Gap isn’t even her day job! She also works for a large consulting firm where she

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with her father to foster relationships and secure grants. In the past, they have had collaborations with the City of Charleston, MUSC, Roper Hospital and The State of South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, among others. Recently, they have even developed a relationship with the popular diner restaurant Denny’s and are working on other strategic partnerships within the region. No matter who they partner with, however, the current goal of the organization is to provide for the community of South Carolina. The Bell family has great reasons to be optimistic about the future. A study was recently conducted by MUSC on Closing the Gap and how they have impacted the community, and in all twelve focus groups, participants said they trusted Dr. Bell “because he is rooted in the Black community, has [their] best interests at heart and genuinely cares.” Furthermore, many of the participants in the research stated that “Closing the Gap broadcasts helped them to take action, to maintain or improve their own health.” Clearly, the organization is impacting lives in our state, and the impact they could have nationwide would be monumental. Beyond minority patients being at a disadvantage because of health-related education, there is also a lack of minorities as healthcare providers. Closing the Gap is also on top of this issue and determined to make a difference. The nonprofit raises money for sponsorships, which are then given to African American and minority students studying at MUSC. The funding source for these sponsorships is the Lowcountry Jazz Festival, and, this past September, Closing the Gap hosted the 11th annual festival. The event was sold out every night, and they were able to provide scholarships to two medical students with the proceeds. To find out more and donate to the cause, visit closingthegapinhealthcare.org.


A SERENDIPITOUS JOURNEY How One Woman Found Hope After Loss By English Drews

I

didn’t know how she would react to me when we met. We didn’t speak the same language; how would we communicate or connect? These and other thoughts were racing through my mind as I rounded the corner of our meeting place inside a hotel lobby in Tanzania, Africa. That day, a journey eleven years in the making was finally drawing to a conclusion. It all began in 2008, two months after my own mother passed away. I was attending a church service in Asheville, NC. The void that I felt was tremendous; I was layered in grief and feeling lost. Yes, I was child-free by choice, but as a woman suddenly lacking the typical anchors of either a mother or child, I was overcome with the unfamiliar, frightening sensation of being completely untethered. That day in church, there was a guest speaker sharing her experiences about helping children who are growing up in poverty. She expressed how rewarding it could be to sponsor a child in need and know you were making a difference in a life. The name of the organization she worked with was called Compassion International. Interestingly, the woman speaking that day in church was not with the organization—she was simply someone who believed in helping those in need and took the steps to do her part. She spoke with so much joy and grace, it moved me to action as well. I realized this was how I could honor my mother: through the act of helping a child. I signed up, and within a few weeks, I received my first photo and first letter from a little girl, ten years old, wearing a pink outfit and a big smile. With that, our journey together began in earnest. Over the years following, I received numerous updates regarding her education, her favorite hobbies and her beautiful artwork. I knew that I was helping my sponsor child and her family, but I didn’t understand to what extent until a decade later. One day, I was presented with a serendipitous opportunity to go on a mission trip and work at a girl’s high school in Tanzania. If you have ever had things magically or spiritually align in your life—without much effort on your part—you will understand. It was as if it had been planned all along, and all I had to do was to let it unfold. Africa had never been on my “bucket list,” but a mission trip had. At first, my husband and I talked and decided the timing was not quite right for me to make the voyage. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it after the decision was made. So I eventually said to him, “I need you to know

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“As a woman suddenly lacking the typical  anchors of either a mother or child, I was  overcome with the unfamiliar, frightening  sensation of being completely untethered.” that I can’t stop thinking about the African mission trip. I feel like I might regret not going.” My husband responded without hesitation, “Then you need to go, and we will figure it out.” I got into the car a moment later, and, as cheesy as it sounds, the song Africa by Toto came over the radio waves. I believe in signs, and this one felt strong. When I learned exactly where the mission trip would place us, I immediately started investigating whether meeting my sponsor child was a possibility. I didn’t know if I could reach her or how, but I knew I had to try. As it turned out, her family lived just an hour and a half away from the last stop on our trip. Compassion International would not only set up a meeting, they GREEN ROOF would provide an interpreter and a chaperone!

My sponsor “child” was now 21 years old, and, on her 22nd birthday, she would no longer be part of the Compassion program. This was likely my one chance. I was overcome with joy as we made eye contact and she jumped up and ran into my arms that day. We shared the kind of embrace that transfers genuine love and gratitude. We could not speak the same language, but we spoke with smiles, touch and laughter. Her mother had joined her on the journey, and, as I turned to meet my sponsor child’s mother, the sentiment we exchanged without words was powerful. I realized that by helping this young girl, I had helped an entire family—a mother, a sister, a brother. By giving a small piece of myself, I had been given a gift far greater.

skirt . | october 2019  27


PARTICIPANTS OF THE STEP-IN PROGRAM WITH CHARLESTON HOPE VOLUNTEERS.

Hope for Future Generations An all-female staff leads Charleston’s Title I School nonprofit By Teri Errico Griffis

H

uman-rights activist Desmond Tutu once said, “Do a little bit of good where you are. It is those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” This quote perfectly describes the work of Emily Kerr, founder and executive director of Charleston Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the climate and culture in our city’s highest poverty Title I schools. Every mentor, every resource, every ounce of passion that the organization gives is a little bit of good that enhances our small part in the world. To think it all EMILY started with donatKERR ing a few Christmas presents back in 2011. Kerr, then a high school senior, was moved when her sister shared that her students at Charleston Progressive might not receive holiday gifts. A hopeful future teacher herself, Kerr had a heart for the demographic and public school system and

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rallied friends to surprise the students. A year later, as a freshman at the College of Charleston, she adopted the classroom again. “This time I typed up a Word document and sent it to every College of Charleston organization and local business I could find an address for,” Kerr said. Together, the community fulfilled the needs of more than 900 students at Burns Elementary School and Charleston Progressive, providing gifts, snacks and basic necessities.

Major funding followed when a close friend of Kerr’s, who loved the organization, suddenly passed away in 2014, and the family asked all donations to be sent to Charleston Hope. With the means to truly implement good work in the community, the nonprofit exponentially grew to where it now supports three full-time employees, two part-time and 80 volunteers on a weekly basis – hundreds throughout the year. The organization partners with two schools, Sanders-Clyde

“Our biggest motto and focus is the relationship. Through relationships with the teachers, our mentors are bringing in school supplies, coats during the winter and bedding, because they’re hearing the needs from the teacher.” Over the next three years, Kerr simultaneously juggled collegiate work and grew her annual holiday efforts into a year-round commitment that was creating real change. In 2014, Charleston Hope was officially founded as a nonprofit. “I saw a need for the students and the teachers,” Kerr remarked. “As college kids, we came in and supported the teachers, creating a system of identifying what their needs were, who we could meet with and how we could fulfill them.”

and Mitchell Elementary, and employs a full-time staff member in each who builds relationships, run programs and make each school an environment where every teacher and student can thrive and where they have the resources they need to be successful. Kerr admitted it was tough after her graduation, having to decide between teaching full time or continuing Charleston Hope, but the non-profit is and always will be her passion and what


makes her come alive. “The principal at Mitchell said I was either going to teach there or I was going to continue Charleston Hope. The need and gap were too wide that if Charleston Hope didn’t exist, they’d be that much further behind,” she explained. Kerr agreed and set up her office in Mitchell Elementary that first year. “The biggest needs I see in schools are directly related to the teacher. If you think about it, the teacher is the one investing in the kids on a 40-hour-a-week basis,” she said, explaining the organization provides mentors for each classroom to bridge that gap. “They directly meet with the teacher and work with her needs. Our biggest motto and focus is the relationship. Through relationships with the teachers, our mentors are bringing in school supplies, coats during the winter and bedding, because they’re hearing the needs from the teacher.” A milestone contribution occurred just this past August, when Charleston Hope sent 40 teachers to a two-day intensive training aimed at understanding racism in America. “It took a deep dive into racism and systemic issues and injustice

in the school system,” said Kerr. “It strengthens the ability to build trust when you are able to understand the demographic.” She continued, “We as an organization are really working to go in a direction that looks closely at being a part of a solution that’s addressing systemic issues in the education system. Examining more closely, instead of coming in thinking we have the solutions and know what’s best for our schools. We create with and not for.” As a strong female leader of an all-female staff, Kerr hopes especially to make an impact on the lives of the 40+ young girls involved in Charleston Hopes Step-In Girls after-school program. The dual-track program offers opportunities for “Enrichment” and “Empowerment.” “Our Enrichment curriculum focuses on personal growth, identity and mental health. It’s a small group setting where girls are able to talk through those things,” Kerr said. “Our Empowerment curriculum brings in speakers who are culturally representative of our girls. We bring in doctors, high school basketball coaches, nurses and hotel managers, so they can see different women have different careers.”

THE STEP-IN GIRLS ENJOYING A HAPPY MOMENT WITH A GUEST SPEAKER.

Through the latter program, girls also partake in real-world outings, such as tours of MUSC, live theater and more. From future teacher to non-profit founder, wife and first-time mom of a newborn, Kerr has journeyed a long way from that first Christmas. “When I look back on where we’ve come, it’s pretty surreal. It honestly makes me so thankful for the city that we live in. In order for Charleston’s growth to be exponential and to meet needs, we need a community who is willing to step up,” she said. Volunteer or donate at charlestonhope.com. Perhaps by everyone doing a little good for Charleston Hope’s mission, we can fulfill Desmond Tutu’s idea and “overwhelm the world.”

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skirt . | october 2019  29


CATHRYN & BENNETT INSTALLING AWAKENING : MOTION WITH KNITTING CIRCLE AT ST. JULIAN DEVINE COMMUNITY CENTER

Art for the Public Good Enough Pie connects Charleston’s upper peninsula through creativity By Katie Thompson

N

o exception to the wave of development pouring over the Charleston area, the formerly industrial upper peninsula neighborhood is changing. These changes include the faces that live, work and play in the community, with many families who have lived in their homes for generations being driven out by the forces of gentrification.

themselves. Cathryn Davis serves as the organization’s executive director. “To me, Enough Pie is like water flowing through the neighborhoods of the upper peninsula, joyfully connecting neighbors and businesses through collaborative, artist-led, hands-on community projects,” said Davis. “When I walk down upper King Street; or down our creative

“Enough Pie is a tool to help empower and connect us— to ourselves, to our community, and to the creative solutions that bring neighborhoods together meaningfully to make something that we could not have made alone.” Recognizing the impact on working-class neighborhoods, the nonprofit organization Enough Pie works to connect and empower these communities through creativity and critical thinking. For more than eight years, Enough Pie has organized hundreds of neighborhood projects with community leaders to address issues that concern the area. Enough Pie brings together businesses, schools, churches, artists, city officials and developers to discuss issues such as flooding, access to food, access to safe public transportation and the other challenges residents face. Despite consisting of three team members, Enough Pie’s efforts make a big impact. Their passion for effecting positive change is more than just a job — it’s their inspiration and way of life. They can often be found leading the neighborhood meetings or installing public artwork

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crosswalks; or by our big, colorful mural celebrating books at the John L. Dart Library; or past the vibrant First African Butterfly Book Nook where community members gather with dignity, I’m reminded this is how the world can be: connected, empowered and colorful.” Shanequa Singletary serves as deputy director and began her journey with Enough Pie as a personal resident and community champion of the neighborhood. She feels that the organization listens to the upper peninsula’s concerns, and provides a space for dialogue and collaborations that are structured to incite change. “I’ve been fortunate to have been engaged with Enough Pie as a supporting

resident, then a board member and now as staff. Enough Pie is about forging connections among community members through vibrant and artistic means. It serves as a bridge of connectedness for various neighborhoods, businesses and stakeholders, all with different needs,” said Singletary. A main component of Enough Pie’s strategy is to produce artistic collaborations between community members and local artists to create art that inspires and enlivens the neighborhood. The organization’s largest community event, the annual AWAKENING series, has resulted in the most tangible improvements. Previous years produced creative crosswalks on King Street, artist-led bus stops on Meeting and Morrison streets that offer shelter from the elements, community

CATHRYN PRESENTING EP’S NEIGHBORHOOD TOOLKIT


murals and a reading and pollinator garden. The current 2019 series, AWAKENING 8: WEAVE THE PEOPLE, began in September and showcases public art and creative events throughout the fall that focus on weaving together and repairing the socially splintered community. Enough Pie also works with local visionaries who identify creative solutions to improve neighborhood relations through the UP-START grant program. Ideas that benefit the area, such as community book kiosks, have been created using seed money provided by UP-START. Not stopping in their own backyard, Enough Pie also creates opportunities for other neighborhoods to implement strategies and increase resident engagement. Through a partnership with the City of Charleston, they produced a “Neighborhood Toolkit” to provide support and sample materials for other neighborhood associations. The kits include ideas and templates for organizing meetings and communication. As for future plans, each year, the organization reviews their work and the feedback provided with the intent of increasing community hours spent

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working. This includes providing more resources, garnering support from city officials and spreading their reach to connect with new community partners, of which there are approximately 195. Staying creative at heart, Enough Pie plans to continue offering artist stipends, which have grown to more than $20k per year to support local artists. “Enough Pie is a tool to help connect and empower us—to ourselves, to our community, and to creative solutions that bring neighborhoods together meaningfully to make something that we perhaps we could not have made alone. Enough Pie inspires me to joyfully participate, to roll up my sleeves and be part of creating the world we deserve—a place of dignity where everyone is welcome,” said Davis. “EP is like the “hyphen” of our community, joining words, artists, people, business, city and life,” added Singletary. Want to get involved? Visit their website at EnoughPie.org. Select “Join” and then “Ways to Get Involved” to volunteer, join a committee, fundraise, start a project with UP-START, or become a donor.

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community

WHAT’S YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL? For the compassionate staff at Pet Helpers, it’s any animal in need By Helen Mitternight

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a life with more enrichment than walking in a tight, chained circle. “We keep going back to make sure these dogs are taken care of,” said Melissa Susko, executive director. “It makes a huge difference to that dog if we can get him or her off the chain. A lot of it is about education. We have people say, ‘I didn’t know; I didn’t realize’.” “An unaltered, chained dog is more aggressive,” added Pet Helpers founder Carol Linville. “They have all that energy and a lack of human companionship. They get over-excited. It leads to aggression.” The Unchain program is just one offered by Pet Helpers, founded by Linville in 1978 to end euthanasia of adoptable cats and dogs and to advocate in the community on behalf of animals. Today, the facility offers spaying and neutering at a low cost; walk-in low-cost pet vaccinations every Friday; a food bank for pet food and supplies; adoptions; medical treatment; fostering; and training for animals like Aurora. Between 120-150 animals come through Pet Helpers each month, most staying an average of 33 days, according to Susko. “Some animals will stay longer,” she noted. “When an animal needs hospice care or fostering after surgery, we take on that cost. Ideally, though, after two weeks, an animal is at the front of house for adoption.” Pet Helpers has room for 30 dogs as well as about 120 cats. Additional dogs and cats who need extra care or socializing are with foster families. What Pet Helpers really wants, of course, is to become unnecessary, but because people sometimes stubbornly refuse to

“A good pet owner is responsible and committed. This is a lifetime commitment. A pet is a family member.”

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A

urora looks up at the hand signal from her trainer, eyes fixed on the woman at the end of her leash. It’s remarkable to watch—even more so because this brownish-red dog spent the initial five years of her life at the end of a chain, and this kind of interaction is fairly new to her. Aurora is one of about 200 chained dogs that Pet Helpers rescues through its Unchain Charleston program. Chained dogs are provided shaded shelters made from materials donated by Lowe’s on Johns Island, an enclosed yard, spay or neuter services, medical treatment and


“Events such as this month’s Fur Ball can help keep Pet Helpers on its feet—or shall we say paws?” get their pets sterilized—or neglect, abuse or desert them—it’s unlikely the organization will be able to close the doors any time soon. Most of the dogs who come into Pet Helpers are hunting dogs, abandoned because they can no longer hunt, or “pit bulls,” the current group haunted by myths of aggression (in the past, it was Rottweilers or Doberman Pinschers). The job is a grueling one, even for an animal lover, and Susko admitted that “not a lot of people can do this long-term.” Meanwhile, Linville agreed that certain cases can “leave scars on you,” but added, “the best gift we can give to some of these animals is someone to grieve for them.”

From seeing the worst of what humans can do to animals, Linville now understands what characteristics make up an ideal pet owner. “A good pet owner is responsible and committed,” she said. “This is a lifetime commitment. A pet is a family member.” Currently, Pet Helpers hopes to expand the medical clinic to include dental services and X-rays so that those services don’t have to be outsourced and veterinarians can get faster results. Events such as this month’s Fur Ball can help keep Pet Helpers on its feet—or shall we say paws? The fancy ball with a Great Gatsby theme is October 26 at the Marriott on Lockwood Avenue from 6

—11 p.m., and funds go to Dixie’s Fund, a medical fund for the animals. Tickets include a plated dinner, open bar and both a silent and live auction. One of the beneficiaries of Dixie’s Fund, Seal, will be at the ball for attendees to meet. Seal is a pit bull whom shelter workers believe was hit by a car and left to die. Seal is now in physical therapy and seeking a foster family. His injuries required him to be carried into the shelter, and shelter workers reported that as they were working on the wounded pup, he was already kissing them in gratitude. To buy a ticket to the Fur Ball or help in other ways, visit pet helpers.org.

Typically I would have never considered a gym like Top Shape with Personal Trainers. I was a Fitness Instructor in the Army and as a combat Vet, we always seek the will to overcome any goal we set out to undertake. However, after several injuries during Active Duty, I no longer knew my limits or what was safe as far as a workout plan. I felt like I lost a firm grip on how to accomplish my fitness goals. Once I met with Steve Basile, the owner and heard what they had to offer, I knew I was in the right place. Top Shape has extremely knowledgeable trainers and the gym is not intimidating at all. I’ve seen amazing results– down 17 lbs and a definite transformation in my body. I am grateful to Steve, Eric, Nikki & Will because their expertise has driven me in ways I didn’t think I could after several surgeries. I would highly recommend Top Shape to anyone at any age, but I can’t name a favorite trainer because I use them all. Each trainer has a different approach & challenges me. I learn new things all the time and am a completely satisfied customer!! ~ Jennifer

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table

A “Dame” Good Dinner Party Les Dames d’Escoffier supports women in culinary pursuits BY HELEN MITTERNIGHT

F

ifteen years ago, former Apple employee Danielle Wecksler made the leap from high tech to Lowcountry. Along the way, she attended the Culinary Institute of Florence, and, once in Charleston, opened the late, lamented Charleston Cooks! for Dick Elliott of the Maverick Southern Kitchens group. While the culinary school and store were open, she was fortunate to meet celebrity chef Nathalie Dupree, who told her, “You have to be a Dame!” “You don’t say no to Nathalie,” Wecksler explained. Les Dames d’Escoffier is a philanthropic organization with a mission to promote and mentor women in the food, beverage and hospitality industries. The group provides community outreach and culinary scholarships as well as mentoring. In addition, the Charleston chapter adopts a charity each year and donates money and time; this year,

Notable Charleston Dames include Nathalie Dupree; Carrie Morey of Callie’s Charleston Biscuits; gelato ambassador and owner of Red Orchids Bistro Kelly Chu; former Magnolia’s Executive Chef Kelly Franz; Jen Kulick, owner of Tattooed Moose and Voodoo; and Angela DuPree of One80 Place; as well as caterers Tanya Gurrieri (Salthouse Catering) and Emma Lesesne-Booth (Duvall Catering) Wecksler added that the role of women in culinary careers is changing, but that “lots of women have had the experience of being the only woman in a kitchen. It’s been a male arena, to say the least, and women are looking to other women for support.” The Charleston chapter has provided almost $65,000 in scholarships to date to women seeking careers in food, beverage or hospitality. That money comes from dues as well as from the chapter’s

the recipient is Fresh Future Farms, featured in the August 2019 issue of skirt. Wecksler was definitely game to be a Dame, but she also understood she would have to wait patiently until she qualified—the group only accepts applications from women with at least five years of experience. Today, she is not only a member of the Charleston chapter but also second vice president of the international board. The organization has 2,400 members in 43 chapters around the world. “It’s a group of women who support each other,” said Wecksler. “It’s the real deal, supporting you through the good, the bad and the ugly of the job. I’ve made some of my best friends through Les Dames.”

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annual fundraising efforts. This year, the chapter is hosting “Nothing Like Les Dames Week” from October 16-20 with a series of dinners, tastings and demonstrations at different locations. Events range from a tea at Nathalie Dupree’s home to dinners at Dames’ private homes to an ice cream event, a cocktail event with the Cocktail Bandits and a small plates event at 159 Rutledge. There’s also a chocolate and beer pairing at Frothy Beard Brewery to look forward to. “These events really showcase our Dames’ skills and give everyone a chance to taste some excellent food and drink,” Wecksler commented. Tickets are available at dames.brownpapertickets.com

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“It’s a group of women who support each other… It’s the real deal, supporting you through the good, the bad and the ugly of the job. I’ve made some of my best friends through Les Dames.”


table

NEWS OPENINGS & CLOSINGS

Up in…smoke? The King Street Smoke BBQ sent out notice that the location would be closed for renovations and then, just a day later, the popular barbecue place was closed indefinitely, although the owners said fans would be notified about upcoming pop-up events on social media. After an opening delayed by Hurricane Dorian, The Delaney Oyster House is now open for business at 115 Calhoun Street. FLORENCE’S

Executive Chef Shamil Velazquez promises fresh, sustainable seafood. Swig & Swine has left its Market Street location, but still has three others around town. The space is now the home of Florence’s Lowcountry Kitchen, owned by Queen Street Hospitality Group, also owners of Swig & Swine. Florence’s offers “nostalgic, coastal casual home-cooked Southern fare.” Mount Pleasant’s former Southerly Restaurant at 730 Coleman Blvd. now houses Butcher & the Boar, an eatery featuring steaks and about 270 bourbons, as well as what the owners call “the biggest kitchen in Charleston.” Jack’s Café sold breakfast for years to College of Charleston students and people old enough to recognize the many virtues of a solid morning meal. Now, the café has apparently closed its doors after a brief interlude with new owners.

CHEF AND STAFF MOVES

Chef and partner Daniel

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Doyle has left Poogan’s Hospitality Group, owner of Poogan’s Porch on Queen Street, a place known for heavenly biscuits and Southern staples. Reports say that Doyle had a “philosophical disagreement” over the future of the company.

HARDSCOOP

MENU AND VENUE UPDATES

Hardscoop has jumped onto the pumpkin spice bandwagon with its own version of the flavor in a limited edition, now available in stores just in time for autumn gatherings. Hardscoop is adult—very adult—ice cream with booze (16 proof in this case), and you can find it in supermarkets stocked near the alcohol.

EVENTS

Tickets are still available for the week-long events hosted by the Charleston chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, the female-focused philanthropic group of women in food, beverage and hospitality. The debut fundraiser, called “Nothing Like Les Dames Week,” features events ranging from drink tastings to dinners. It runs October 16-20 and benefits scholarships for young women entering culinary fields. Dames.brownpapertickets.com Why merely have brunch when you can enjoy your coffee with birds of prey soaring majes-

tically over your head? Birds & Brunch at the Bennett benefits the Avian Conservation Center. The brunch is October 27, 12 p.m., at the Hotel Bennett. Tickets are $150 and are all-inclusive. thecenterforbirdsofprey.org

KUDOS

Have kids? You might want to treat them to some fresh seafood and water views. Fleet Landing has been praised by Open Table as one of the best kid-friendly restaurants in the country. Another seafood spot, Chubby Fish, has been nominated by foodie mag Bon Appetit as one of America’s top new restaurants. Cheers!

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calendar

events O C TO B E R

10.02 Turbans & Tarots

What does the future hold for you? Come find out at Cannonborough Collective’s Turbans and Tarot party with Uplifting Tarot, co-hosted by Charleston Shop Curator. Experience tarot readings by author Liz Butler Duren and enjoy a yummy cocktail. There will be free turbans for the first 20 guests. 5:00pm - 7:00 p.m. Cannonborough Collective, 185 A Saint Philip St. We foresee a good time in the near future… BLACK INK

10.03 Charleston Fall Wine Festival

Wine lovers, we’re talking to you. The Charleston Fall Wine Festival is coming to town. There will be an array of 50+ wines plus beers, live music and a DJ in an awesome indoor/outdoor venue right on the water! Tickets include entry, entertainment, souvenir acrylic wine glass and all wine and beer samples. $45 in advance, $50 after October 3, and $60 the day of the event. Don’t wait — the first 500 tickets are just $35. 1 p.m. until 5 p.m., Charleston Harbor Cruise Terminal, 196 Concord St. For more information, visit charlestonwinefestivals.com.

10.03 - 10.06 makeHER: Retreat for Milspouse Entrepreneurs & Creatives

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Take the working break that you deserve and spend four days in a resort where you can put your business and yourself first. The “makeHER” retreat is a 4 day and 3 night working wellness experience for any modern, military spouse entrepreneur. At this event, military spouses will get to focus on self care and professional development, with the opportunity to hone in on mental and physical being, too. Solo tickets are $2000. Kiawah Island Golf Resort, 1 Sanctuary Beach Dr. For more information visit milspouseretreat.com.

10.04 - 10.06 Into The Woods Music Festival

The Charleston Pour House wants you to feel as though you’ve transported into another world at their Into The Woods Music Festival. Get excited for an epic weekend of music, outdoor recreation, art and food among family and friends. The festival will be located in the heart of the Lowcountry, complete with a landscape covered by a canopy of majestic oaks. General Admission tickets are $145, and children 5 and under enter for free. Gates open at 12:00 p.m. Charleston Woodlands, 4279 Ashley River Rd. For more more festival info and lineup, visit intothewoodscharleston. com/tickets.

WINE FESTIVAL

from 11:00 a.m until 4:00 p.m. Baker and Brewer, 94 Stuart Street.

10.05 Black Ink: A Charleston African-American Book Festival

Come support local Black writers and their mission to impact the lives of hundreds of readers, both young and old, at their 3rd annual book festival. This is the first annual celebration of African American literature in the Charleston area. Don’t miss the chance to meet and support your favorite local African American author. 11:00 a.m until 5:00 p.m. Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain Street. For more information, visit Blackinkcharleston.org.

10.07 Palmetto Breeze “Mermaid Monday”

Grab your best group of lady friends and get ready for the best Monday evening booze cruise ever! Palmetto Breeze is offering a $10 discount for ladies on this Monday afternoon cruise down Shem Creek and into the Charleston Harbor. Enjoy the two-hour Harbor sail with the $2 featured flavor of “Mermaid Spiked Seltzer.” $25 tickets for ladies, $35 for gentlemen. 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. every Monday

10.05 Makers Market

Enjoy an afternoon with the locals at the popup Makers Market at Baker and Brewer. A range of creative talents will be represented, from Straight to Art to Malted Mutts. Baker and Brewer will be open normal hours with service for tables, so you can munch on a four-cheese calzone while enjoying a refreshing beverage from the taproom. Red Cedar Review will kick off some live music on the porch, followed by Seitu Solomon Steelpan and finally Matadero Band to close out the night at 9:00 p.m. The Market will be up and running

MAKERS MARKET

in October. Boat boards from 100 Church St., Shem Creek. For more information, visit aqua-safaris.com/discover/charleston.

10.07 Summerville Shag Club

Ever wanted to learn the Carolina state dance? Now’s your chance! Come join the Summerville Shag Club for FREE dance lessons. Come as you are; no partner needed. This weekly event includes free snacks, a cash bar and open dancing after the lesson. This is a nonprofit club donating to local children’s charities across Charleston. Come out every Monday night at 7:00 p.m. at the Summerville Country Club, 400 Country Club Drive. For more information, visit summervilleshaggers.com.

10.12 Shana’s Dance to 10

Mark your calendars for this ”Zumba“ session to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness month and help Shana celebrate 10 years as a Breast Cancer Survivor! There will be fun activities and a Silent Auction. You won’t want to miss this Pink-tober Zumbathon. $20 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under. 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Hope’s Treasure Chest, located at 1528 Folly Road.

TOP TO BOTTOM: COURTESY OF CHARLESTON FALL WINE FESTIVAL; COURTESY OF BLACK INK; COURTESY OF BAKER AND BREWER

The sweltering heat has finally broken, and it’s a fine time to get outside and celebrate all that the Lowcountry has to offer for fall in festive gatherings, fitness events, fundraisers and more. Gather up your posse and sign up for a 5K (you won’t faint now!) or a five-course dinner or a fall festival that gives back to our cherished community. Whatever you’re in the mood for, it’s all here —so fuel up with that pumpkin spice latte and seize the day!


10.15 - 10.16

Avondale 5k

Rent

Lace up your shoes and get ready for the Avondale 5k to help fund The Charles Webb Center, a developmental day care operated by the Disabilities Board of Charleston County, serving children with special needs aged 6 weeks to 10 years. The race course winds through the scenic Avondale subdivision in West Ashley. Sign up for just $35. Racers meet at 8:00 a.m. and cross the finish line at Triangle Char + Bar, located at 828 Savannah Highway, just in time for the after party. For more information, visit avondale5k.com/#thecause. WHERE ART OUR VETERANS

The Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning masterpiece will hit the stage of the North Charleston Performing Arts Center in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. Get ready to sing along to the musical hit Seasons of Love and be reminded of the inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear. Tickets start at $100. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. North Charleston PAC, 5001 Coliseum Dr. For more information, visit northcharlestoncoliseumpac.com/events/.

10.17 Where Art Our Veterans

Join the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League, Inc. at their luncheon featuring internationally-renowned watercolorist Mary Whyte and members of the Charleston Symphony. You won’t want to miss the inspirational stories from the veterans whose portraits Whyte painted that comprise her new book, WE THE PEOPLE: Portraits of Veterans in America. Tickets are priced from $100 to $225. Seating begins at 11:00 a.m. Charleston Marriott at 170 Lockwood Dr. For more information, visit csolinc.org/ fall-luncheon-with-mary-whyte.

10.19 Ballpark Festival of Beers

10.12 -10.13 Oktoberfest Charleston

St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church is gearing up for their annual Oktoberfest fundraiser. Celebrate the season with authentic German food, beer from Holy City Brewing, live music from the Hans Schmidt German Band, children’s games in the Kinderzone, face painting and more. Beer and wine tickets will be on sale during the event. $20 for adults and $10 for children. 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 405 King Street. For more information, visit smlccharleston.org.

10.13

Thirsty? The Joseph P. Riley Jr. Stadium is hosting a beer-tasting event featuring more than 25 breweries, serving up a wide variety of more than 100 different types of brew. The event will feature various musical acts, and food trucks will help make the experience memorable (and tasty). Tickets will be $45 at the RiverDogs Box Office. 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Charleston RiverDogs stadium, 360 Fishburne St. For more information, visit rileyparkevents.com/index.php/events/ event/ballpark-festival-of-beers.

10.19 Pink Promenade: Catwalk + Cocktails

Taste of North Charleston

CYNTHIA ALTIZER; MARY WHYTE; KRISTI CHILDERS

TOP TO BOTTOM: COURTESY OF CHARLESTON FALL WINE FESTIVAL; COURTESY OF BLACK INK; COURTESY OF BAKER AND BREWER

10.12

Come satisfy your appetite at the Taste of North Charleston, where various chosen restaurants will be serving samples of signature menu items. Guests will have the opportunity to vote for the best tastings, spirits and desserts. In addition to food, music and entertainment, you can look forward to a Taste of Tech Business Hour, a Cocktail Competition, and a Vendor Alley, including exhibitors from area nonprofits and businesses. General Admission is just $20. 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. ExQuis Event & Conference Center at 5101 Ashley Phosphate Rd. For more info, visit TasteofNorthCharleston.com

OCTOBERFEST

AVONDALE 5K

To honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Towne Centre and Roper St. Francis Healthcare will be presenting a special fundraiser to benefit Roper St. Francis Breast Cancer Program. This event will include a special runway fashion show, featuring cancer survivor models, an intimate a cappella performance by CK Chance of Chance and Circumstance and a Pink Pass Shopping Passport. 100 percent of proceeds will be donated to Roper St. Francis Foundation Breast Cancer Program. Tickets are $25 and will include two champagne cocktails and a delicious treat from Burtons Grill. 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. The Oaks in Town Centre, 1716 Towne Centre Way.

10.19 Gathering of the Fork Food and Music Festival

Join the gathering of local restaurants to sample delicious dishes ranging in price from $1 to $5 — and it’s all for a good cause. A portion of the proceeds from Fork are donated to local food pantries

and other charities. General Admission is free! Come munch from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the Omar Shrine, 176 Patriots Point Rd.

10.25 & 10.26 Stewards Of The Soil: Fall Festival

Join in for an evening at Middleton Place benefiting the Middleton Place Organic Farm. Friday evening there will be a fivecourse dinner with Executive Chef Chris Lukic and special guest Chef BJ Dennis to kick off the event. Saturday is a free fall festival, including hayrides, a wild edibles walk, home composting and a conversation about honey bees! Enjoy festival food and local craft beer, and shop with local vendors for all your garden needs and fresh groceries. Tickets for the Friday night 5-course meal are $125.00, and the dinner is from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Saturday’s festival is from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Middleton Place, 4300 Ashley River Rd. For more information, visit https://www. middletonplace.org/news-and-events/

11.01 Yes! I’m a Feminist.

Come celebrate the feminine spirit and radical women at the 7th annual “Yes! I’m a Feminist,” for feminists of all kinds. This annual fundraiser event benefits the College of Charleston’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program as well as the Alison Piepmeier Scholarship. Celebrate under the oaks while enjoying cocktails and music and chatting with fellow feminists, students, faculty and community members. This girl power event takes place from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. in The Cistern at the College of Charleston.

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skirt . | october 2019  37

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spirits

HIDDEN TRUTHS Andrea St. Amand offers a bridge to the unseen By Theresa Stratford

F

or Andrea St. Amand, psychic abilities were just a normal part of life when she was growing up. Her father’s parents held seances in their home, and her mother’s mother, who lived on a farm in West Virginia, could always “sense” when something wasn’t quite right. “She would know that an animal was sick before symptoms showed up or that her sister in another state was sick without even talking to her. It was normal for her to have that premonition,” St. Amand shared. And talking to the dead? Well, that was normal too. “Actually, my grandfather used to wonder why anyone even went to cemeteries. He would say you can talk to them right here in the living room.” But as time passed, and St. Amand grew up, she realized that what was “normal” for her was not quite normal in the real world. With that, she went to law school and worked in business litigation and white-collar crime law for 13 years, before realizing what she was really meant to do. “I would say it was more than a calling,” she said. “I had no choice. They wouldn’t leave me alone.” For her, “they” meant the deceased—people or animals that had passed on, but were not necessarily gone. In the quest to know more about herself, St. Amand would sneak books on ESP and mediumship from the library when she was supposed to be diligently practicing law. “As much as I tried to push it all to the back of mind so that I could lead a normal life, I couldn’t let it go completely,” she admitted. Perhaps what makes mediumship different for St. Amand is not just that she can connect with people on the other side, but her way of looking at life. She believes there to be a deeper meaning with all the choices we make—and she longs to help others get to the root of their own emotions. “Maybe someone doesn’t want to connect with a deceased loved one. And that’s OK,” she explained. “Maybe they are just going through some anxiety about a relationship

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or a job, and they want to ask me to do a reading to see what is going on.” It is all about guidance for St. Amand when it comes to readings, and she offers different sessions on clarity and deep healing; relationships; business and manifestations; divining future trajectories; unique spirit guides; clearing a home or workplace of bad energy; and mediumship, of course. She admitted that despite her unique gifts, she cannot give people a definitive answer to whatever questions they have about a decision they must make. Rather, her goal is to help people find out where they have fallen out of alignment with their true selves. When St. Amand does engage in mediumship to connect with a deceased loved one, she said that sometimes things can get rather uncomfortable. “People don’t always want to hear what their loved one is going to say,” she explained. “They bring out the truth.” Is it validation they are seeking? Is it closure that they get? Yes and yes—and St. Amand said it’s tremendous to witness. “Maybe they aren’t hearing what they necessarily want to hear, but there is always healing that begins right before my eyes.” She said that many of her clients are the so-called toughskinned individuals who are taught to withhold emotions, which, in turn, tears them apart in the long run. Maybe a reading is a “shortcut to therapy,” as she puts it, since she can get to the root of the demons haunting these individuals in their everyday lives almost immediately. For example, she said people are almost always coming to her for reassurance that a deceased loved didn’t harbor any bad feelings toward them for one reason or another. And, she hasn’t done a reading yet that didn’t end in her crying along with the client. She is truly sensitive to what they are dealing with —an undeniable empath. Happily, St. Amand does believe that everyone has it in them to be intuitive and said that it is a “skill” you have to work at just like anything else. “If more people were sensitive, empathetic and intuitive in the workplace— like doctors, lawyers or cops—so much would be different. Could you imagine if we all just connected more with others?” she mused. And practice is exactly what St. Amand does herself. She takes classes and workshops on her special art form in locations all over the world to enhance her skills. She has traveled to Romania, and most recently to New York City and Phoenix, to learn from the best. Perhaps you’re asking why St. Amand opens herself up to O.P.P. (other people’s problems) anyway. Is this truly the job she was put here on earth to do? Here is her explanation: “The opposite of helping people just brings me so much anxiety—deep anxiety. When I have that emotional connection with another person, and I give them clarity on their deceased loved one or help them see something about their lives that they never thought of before, it is like no other feeling. Helping them get to that truth is amazing. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.” For more information or to schedule a reading, visit andreasaintamand.com.

“Her father’s parents held seances in their home, and her mother’s mother, who lived on a farm in West Virginia, could always “sense” when something wasn’t quite right.”


the issue

don’t

{A column where we can safely discuss issues that previously were swept under the skirt.}

NO LONGER YOUR “BOO” A discussion on the effects of being ghosted By Paula Dezzutti

@D.VELASCO

A

s we drift into October, it’s the perfect time to discuss a topic for which I have grave personal experience: a phenomenon called ghosting. Now, you might think this is a clever Halloween prank played by tricksters in attempt to get chocolate treats or satisfy their mischievous ways. But Dictionary.com defines ghosting as “the practice of suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship.” They’re not talking about not getting a text back from somebody you just met on Tinder or had coffee with recently in a casual acquaintanceship. It’s also important to note that this discussion is not about people who are trying to escape an abusive relationship; safety is your priority if that is the case. Rather, we are talking about people who, one day, are in communicative, committed relationships and the next have no correspondence with their significant other. In a recent survey by Elle.com, 26.67 percent of women reported being ghosted, compared to 13.64 percent of men. Although we can’t categorize ghosts as bad people with no respect for the people they’ve been in committed relationships with, the higher number of women reporting may stem from the fact that it’s likely a technique for avoiding emotionally difficult conversations that most men admit to finding challenging. Furthermore, ghosting seems to have become more pervasive in the last decade, because of the technology allowing people to interact remotely instead of in each other’s company. In a world where information can be communicated through technology, face-to-face human communication is often substituted with meaningless casual conversation. Studies show that ghosting is costly for both parties. I can say from personal experience that after trusting, loving and committing my life for more than a decade to my ex, ghosting me was the worst way to end our relationship. A study on preferred relationship ending strategies conducted in the 1970s, published on eric.ed.gov, showed that when one person ends a relationship through avoidance, it’s likely to trigger anger, hurt, frustration and emotional shut-down for the one being left—none of which should come from the person you love. Although it may be challenging to face uncomfortable communication during a breakup, the lingering effects of this methodology are devastating for the recipient, and the terminator, sooner or later, will bear the cost of knowing that he or she took the coward’s way out. It makes one hope there is karma! Expert Remy Chausse says: “We’re all entitled to our own opinion… the difference is that I work with people who have suffered a spiritual injury or some kind of trauma, so I see firsthand the damage it can do. Yes, we all have the inherent right to not communicate with someone. That’s our choice. But if our choice is to stop communication cold with no explanation at all, then it walks that fine line of becoming immature and cowardly, without considering the fact that we are creating a spiritual injury to the other person, a trauma—and that emotional rejection activates the same pain pathways in the brain as a physical injury.”

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For anybody who has experienced this ghostly situation, it’s important to find somebody you can trust and talk to about your feelings. Through open communication, your friends or a therapist can help you understand your ghost probably had challenges in dealing with conflict throughout their lifetime, and that this cowardly move is symptomatic of deeper issues this person must overcome. In order to have a healthy relationship, you must have a partner who cares about you as much as themselves. You must have a partner who is reflective, honest, accountable and committed to growth. Life is

challenging enough, and you must remember that someone disappearing is not a reflection of your self-worth, but simply of the other person’s fear of being seen for who they truly are. And although it feels like your heart and soul crave closure and the need for explanation, there is no point in getting an explanation of someone’s absence when they failed to appreciate your presence in the first place! Please feel free to reach out at info@undertheskirt.com and share your thoughts. If we have enough discussion on this topic, we will follow up with a skirt. night out support group.

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Local jewelry designer, Missy Newsom, created J. Melissa Designs with the "Made on Purpose" mission of providing a global connection to empower underprivileged children. Each sale of her hand-wired designs and statement gemstone rings is helping to build a school in Mengo, Uganda, inspiring hope here and across the globe.

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I am a chiropractor, certified clinical nutritionist and female hormone expert. My mission is to help women reclaim their hormonal health and feminine vitality naturally so you feel sexy, energetic, and balanced. I teach you that your hormones don’t have to ruin your life and I'll show you how to take back control of your health, hormones and body.

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Amy Moore is a South Carolina based interior designer and textile designer. Her work is eclectic and lovely, while staying true to comfort, function, and beauty. Well defined and understated, she works with old and new memories when designing your interior space. Her extensive collection of original textile designs are fresh, sophisticated, and unpretentious.

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PRIVATE TOURS

PRIVATE EVENTS

SPONSORSHIPS

Get an in-depth look at the South Carolina Distillery of the Year, Striped Pig Distillery, including meeting the distillers, learning about our distilling process and equipment, and enjoying our award-winning spirits in the tasting room.

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Call Us: 843-276-3201 | Email Us: info@localchoice.us | Visit Us: localchoicespirits.com | Join Us: 2225 Old School Drive, Charleston, SC 29405

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October 2019: Do Good