The Future of Food is Female, November 2019

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Visualize Success Get inspired here Self Care Season Body, Spirit










contents F E AT U R E S

Through the Glass Ceiling, Into the Limitless Sky By Ellen Howle


Happily Ever After: Entrepreneurs By Teri Errico Griffis


Business as Usual: Local Networking By Holly Fisher


The Future of Food is Female


The Fabric of Her Life By Andrea Serrano



IN EVERY ISSUE Under the Skirt 5 Skirt Books 6 Skirt Community 10

Absolutely FAB-ulous 26 By Alli Steinke Supper with a Backstory


A Little Food and a Lot of Thought


Skirt Men 12 Skirt Wellness


Skirt Table


Skirt Calendar


Skirt Spirits


Don’t Skirt the Issue


PHOTOGRAPHY BY LIBBY WILLIAMS Food and Prop Stylist: Anna Hampton Hair and Makeup: Silhouette On Site Shot on location at Herd Provision About the cover: You might not think magazines and restaurants have a lot in common at first. But consider the fact that both are creative professions, and both require flexibility and a sense of humor. On the morning of our (wildly successful) photo shoot for this issue’s cover and corresponding spread, we were thrown a bit of a curveball. Fortunately, being media veterans who know how to “roll with the punches,” as they say, the skirt team and Herd Provisions came together seamlessly. The results are a stunning shoot and cover capturing what it means to be a woman, a foodie and an independent thinker. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to everyone involved.


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CEO/OWNER Paula Dezzutti PUBLISHER Thomas J. Giovanniello, Jr. EDITOR Denise K. James ART DIRECTOR Laura Staiano EDITORIAL INTERN Grey Arnau DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY OUTREACH Whitney Brenkus PHOTOGRAPHERS/ILLUSTRATORS Nicole Mickle, Erin Turner, Daniel Velasco, Libby Williams CONTRIBUTORS Kadine Christie, Holly Fisher, Teri Errico Griffis, Lorna Hollifield, Ellen Howle, Helen Mitternight, Andrea Serrano, Alli Steinke, Katie Thompson, Raegan Whiteside BUSINESS MANAGER Cassaundra Tebben DISTRIBUTION C&R Marketing, Tina Tartaglia ADVERTISING sales: 843.958.0028 EDITORIAL AND SALES OFFICES P.O. Box 579, Charleston, South Carolina 29402 843.958.0028,


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Skirt is published monthly and distributed free throughout the greater Charleston area. Subscriptions are available through 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 are licensed under the authority of Morris Media Network. Printed in the United States. Vol. 25 Issue 11 ISSN 2637-3815 (Print) ISSN 2637-3831(Online) Proudly printed by Walton Press for 25 years!

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under the skirt. Well, here we are, five issues under my skirt. already! I hope you are having as great a journey as I am. It delights me to bring you the November issue, focusing on local entrepreneurs and, of course, food. I find it “timely” that November also brings about daylight saving time. First we spring ahead…then we fall back. Some states have been 17


disregarding the hour back clockwork, and if the Sunshine Protection Act became law, it would end daylight saving time and we would not make any further seasonal adjustments. I guess time would stand still. I wonder how this will affect our astrological signs over the centuries?! Most entrepreneurs seem to manage time differently than non-trepreneurs. Our energy flows like the change of seasons. Maybe there is a genetic reason for that. If you are a true entrepreneur, you know your passion fluctuates with the many ebbs and tides in your business. Sometimes moods change as the sun starts to shift away from the brilliance of the summer solstice into the preparation of renewing our bodies and spirits during the hibernation of winter season. You know the difference you feel waking up to a cloudy day, contrasted to having bright sunshine rouse you from your slumber? It’s necessary to have a rest after the jolt of adrenaline that an entrepreneur junkie always feeds on. The bottom line is that passion comes and goes, flares and wanes, surges and subsides—but your true purpose will never be apart from you, even if it seems to be elusive at times. In ancient rituals, people rose in the morning and bowed to the sun, honoring the source of light and heat energy that sustains all life on this planet. Even nocturnal beings thrive on various food sources that only exist because of the nurturance from our one light and energy source, present at all times, whether we can visually see it or not. It’s never about what we “think” we see; it’s always about how we “feel” when we see it. Our purpose is internal, not external. Thus, with our energy and light source existing within us, we must turn inward to find the origin of our energy. Many great teachers have known that if you place your focus on your breath and turn your attention away from any outside confusion and noise, you can access the part of your mind that offers greater peace and guidance in the stillness. We are never in true darkness, for universal guidance is always available to us — ever present and illuminating a path to our highest good. All we need to do is practice awareness. Keep your heart and mind turned toward the light within, and trust the guidance you receive. In the book of Exodus, the stories repeatedly remind us that we are led from all darkness by a pillar of light that goes before us without faltering. Remember that miracles do not intensify our faith; faith intensifies our miracles. You are in charge. You have a purpose. And the highs and lows are in perfect order. You are the miracle!

Paula Dezzutti CEO/Owner skirt. Magazine

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Don’t Let That Dreamsicle Melt A review of Jen Sincero’s You are a Badass at Making Money BY LORNA HOLLIFIELD


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hardback, and began to read. After only about a chapter, I began choking down the crow pie. This book amazed me, aligned perfectly with my own beliefs and gave me a tune-up on my own mindset. “You are a Badass at Making Money” is not a guide on becoming debt-free a la Dave Ramsey. It does stress hard work, plans of action and execution, but not before tackling the greatest obstacle in the way: your false beliefs. To make money, you must first believe you deserve it, are capable of earning it and can achieve happiness while making it. These axioms got me thinking of the actual

“ To make money, you must first believe you deserve it, are capable of earning it and can achieve happiness while making it.”



elief is a funny thing. From a young age, we’re told to believe in ourselves, but we’re never really told what that means. We’re built up as children and told we can become astronauts or presidents or whatever we want. But then it gets weird one day. Those same people who told us to believe in ourselves start telling us to lay down our passions for what is deemed as “practical.” That band will never make it. It’s really hard to get a book deal. Playing professional soccer is a long shot. Suddenly, we’re handed a simpler (duller?) blueprint that makes sense according to the adults. Back-up plans become our real lives, pipe dreams are scoffed at, and that lofty (actually reachable) goal is labeled an impossible dream. We choose an in-state college because it’ll be difficult to get a scholarship out of state. We accept the job because of the excellent dental plan. We work on that novel on weekends because our energy and efforts go to the stable 9-to-5. The common denominator here? Money. We do these things for the promise of making enough money, based on a deeply-rooted belief system about the almighty dollar. And our beliefs about money start spilling over all our other beliefs—about passion and happiness. In other words, our plan to remain stable often becomes the unknowing plan to accept mediocrity, or, worse, unhappiness. I’m not saying this is the case for everyone, or that every job with a time clock is sucking out your soul. But, for those of you who are doing something you know isn’t your dream, Jen Sincero, author of “You are a Badass at Making Money,” is here for you. She shows us how conquering our mindset is most of the battle, and, after reading her latest motivational best-seller, I must admit, I’m on board. Truthfully, I wasn’t stoked about reading a nonfiction piece at first, especially one about money. I feared it’d be a snooze-fest. I’m a novelist, and I like fiction—emotional, ugly-cry masterpieces. So, I reluctantly bought this one as an e-book, deeming it not romantic enough to buy in

“ According to Sincero, we have to believe that we will be financially free and that we will achieve that freedom through the means we want: our passions. She discourages having a “Plan B” or indulging in what-if scenarios. Instead, she encourages faith in an iron-clad, clear plan that ends in your ultimate goal.” definition of the word belief. I looked it up and found it defined as “confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.” Notice the definition doesn’t say hope in the truth; it says confidence. According to Sincero, we have to believe that we will be financially free and that we will achieve that freedom through the means we want to use: our passions. She discourages having a “Plan B” or indulging in what-if scenarios. Instead, she encourages faith in an ironclad, clear plan that ends in your ultimate goal. With that, she leads the reader through exercises that open the mind to ways of thinking I will not attempt to summarize here—you just need to read it, ladies, trust me. Because I’m a writer, I’ve had to plug into this

philosophy before. My job is unconventional and has included mountains of rejections. It took a decade to get my first book deal. Now that I’m trying to move to writing screenplays and break into the next (admittedly scary) frontier of Hollywood, I’ve had to tap into those I will make it—I will not settle—I will make money at this far-fetched goal mantras once again. As it turns out, I needed this book! I needed the reminder of “why not me.” And I have a feeling many of you also need that reminder for whatever your own endeavor might be. Believe confidently that you deserve your dream, read “You are a Badass at Making Money,” form your plan and make it happen. Now I leave you with my favorite quote from the book, an inspiring parting thought: “Badassery comes to those who take risks.”

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Through the Glass Ceiling, into the Limitless Sky A candid conversation with Skirt’s own Paula “Pixie” Dezzutti By Ellen Howle

Owner of companies such as Local Choice Spirits, Striped Pig Distillery, Music, Media and Magic as well as Terressentia Corporation, Paula “Pixie” Dezzutti, CEO and owner of skirt, regularly has her hands quite full. Though her daily schedule is tough and there isn’t a day where she’s not wearing many hats, we got her to take the time to answer some burning questions we had about being a woman in today’s business world, breaking barriers and clearing a path for tomorrow. What’s it like being a woman executive in today’s world? It is the greatest joy to stand up for women in the workplace, especially because my girls—daughters and daughters-in-law—see how I interact with others and get treated. I set an example and an expectation of how valuable a contribution a woman can be. I love that I can go to work, and that my kids are there to witness what I have to see, hear and go through—and even when they disagree with me, it’s still such a chance for exploration.

What tips do you have for other ladies who want to start their business? I’d ask, what’s keeping you from doing it? What’s taking so long? If you’re contemplating something, it’s already been set in motion, and it wouldn’t have been put in front of you if it wasn’t in the cards for you. The fact that you have desire means it was always meant to be, but the lag time has to do with how focused you are on your goals. The more practice you have in feeling comfortable with all you’re capable of, the quicker your manifestation time will be.

Was higher education a must for you to reach your goals? Though I am formally educated, there is no wrong or better way of learning—it’s just about having the kinds of experiences that allow you to personally learn. Whether someone learns through self-study, with a mentor or through formal education, it all has to do with focus and willingness to do it. How do you manage your packed schedule? Well, I say a lot of Our Fathers and Hail Marys —just kidding! The truth is that I multi-task, and I don’t require much sleep. Most of the time, I am energized by what I’ll call the Holy Spirit, and I have no distractions. I don’t watch TV. I’m extremely focused. Some people want to launch a business, but they’re still working a full-time job and taking care of kids. All those distractions are removed from me now; everything I do with my time is focused on my dreams. How do you deal with sexual comments in the workplace? I deal with this every single day. I’m a woman, so I’m a target. I also have strong opinions and a large personality. I get accused of being argumentative and always wanting to debate. But of course, if I were a man, they’d all say “He’s brilliant!” But because I’m a woman and I’m outgoing, they think they have to call something out on me. They say things like: “You belong back behind the kitchen sink,” or “Oh, did you neuter your dog the same way you just neutered that guy?” I just keep going and fight back by being smart in the boardroom. How has the business environment changed since you embarked on your journey? Believe it or not, it hasn’t changed much at all. There are men who are still carrying that mental attitude of yesterday. They haven’t come to understand that we really are equals. I do see a difference with my younger kids and their spouses— being that women’s strength is embraced. Our generation is passing the baton and watching young girls fighting for space. It’s a different world for them.


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What’s the best lesson you’ve learned so far? The greatest lesson is what I’m learning now. You know, people always say not to hold onto your past; don’t look in your rearview mirror. But I am a visionary. I’m too busy to look into the rearview mirror; I’m always looking to the future. My problem is telling myself to give up on a fight for a certain future. The future has no limits or definition. It’s something you are striving for, and it hasn’t happened. It’s hard for me to give up on a future vision. But all future visions are all malleable until they turn into a present moment. So, I’m learning the lesson of not being overly attached to the future.

distillery space. It’s a whole new set of rules and regulations for beer and wine. Once I do build my brewery, I will have the best of all worlds. I’ll have my spirits, and soon, I’ll have my suds. All bourbon begins as a beer anyway. I’ll wrap this up full circle.

What’s next for you? I’m going to open a brewery in Charleston. I have a distillery right now, and I have mastered the

Is there something you might have changed about the path you took? I could do something more worldly. I could figure

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out how to clean water or cure aids, but if I can share a story that’s well-received, it’s still potent. And I love what I do because people always have a cocktail to celebrate with. Drinks are a social hub and an activity. I’ve seen people pray before having a martini—they’re called spirits for a reason. I’ve been blessed with the irony of having a great spirits business, and I’m a proponent of spirituality, too. If we don’t believe that we don’t have a design and purpose, what do we have?

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Breath of Fresh Air

Empowered Minds brings a sense of calm to hectic schooldays for local students By Helen Mitternight

“ The thought behind it is that these practices create students who are more open to learning and better able to tune out distractions.”


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explaining how simple tools of body and breath were things that any student could use. “If you’re a teacher, you may have a student in your class who has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), but guess what? I’ll bet the whole class could use these strategies,” she noted. Eventually, the TBonz Foundation approached her about bringing her philosophy to South Carolina, where Charleston is home to the foundation’s parent company, Homegrown Hospitality Group. Crowder-Biearman said she was ready for the move and soon founded Yoga Kidz, which has since been rebranded as Empowered Minds. The original iteration of Yoga Kidz started with just a few yoga classes, but has expanded to include the practice of mindfulness, a method akin to meditation that focuses on breathing and being present in the moment. Not only does Empowered Minds bring volunteer yoga teachers to area schools, the organization also offers teachers resources, videos and handouts, so that they have simple and practical strategies to implement at any time. In the first academic year, yoga at pilot school Mitchell Elementary was a physical education class



ou remember the R’s from school, don’t you? Reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmatic and... relaxation? Empowered Minds is a nonprofit program bringing yoga, mindfulness and a sense of calm to local students, and the thought behind it is that these practices enable students to be more open to learning and better able to tune out distractions. Founder Leigh Crowder-Biearman, a yoga teacher and occupational therapist, said she was living in San Diego and teaching similar skills to students with special needs. “I had been working with kids with self-regulation and attention challenges for some time, and there were lots of tools and different things we’d recommend that parents and teachers use,” she said. “When I did my own yoga class for the very first time, a light bulb went off. It’s so simple; we have all the tools we need—our bodies and our breath. We can learn to calm ourselves down or wake ourselves up.” Crowder-Biearman started incorporating fun breathing exercises and different postures as mindfulness tools that she shared with local teachers,

once a week. The very next year, the principal dedicated specific yoga time written into the schedule, just like library time. The program has recently expanded to James Simons Elementary, Charleston Progressive Academy, Simmons-Pinckney Middle School and Burke High School, for a total of more than 40 classes each week. It’s no accident, by the way, that all of these schools feed into the same high school. Crowder-Biearman explained that some of the students have been in the program since they were as young as five years old. “It was intentional to follow the students as long as possible,” she said. Overall, the program has been well-received, although parents can always choose to opt out. “There are a few that opt out, but we’re definitely making sure that, in our classes, we’re not using …anything too new-agey,” Crowder-Biearman said. “It’s just the basic life skills of how to use your breath when you are feeling mad. It’s practical, and I can justify and explain all of it as an occupational

therapist. I can explain it in a neurological way— how it helps the nervous system.” She pointed out that teachers tell her they notice a behavioral change in the kids on yoga and mindfulness days. “Teachers are saying it sets students in a better mindset for the rest of the day—that they’re really able to hear what teachers are saying. It takes some repetition, but I’m hearing that teachers will now say, ‘Let’s take a yoga breath before we take this test.’” Crowder-Biearman hopes to expand the program, noting that this goal is limited only by the number of volunteers able to visit more schools. “We want to expand with intention,” she shared. “We’re very intentional about wanting quality over quantity.” Want to offer your help? Empowered Minds is always looking for volunteers who take a two-day training as well as occasional continuing education. Volunteers do not have to be yoga teachers, but it helps to practice yoga yourself and have a love for children. The nonprofit is also in need of yoga mats and supplies. Volunteering and donations can be done through their website,

“ Not only does Empowered Minds bring volunteer yoga teachers to area schools, the organization also offers teachers resources, videos and handouts, so that they have simple and practical strategies to implement at any time.”

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How Steve Lesniak’s wanderlust created an emporium of global design Have you ever wanted to just start over—pick a place on a map at random, pack everything up and move your entire life there, completely by chance? It sounds like a big risk, but a sailor craves new and unfamiliar shores. Just ask local entrepreneur Steve Lesniak, who took off to Charleston on impulse and built his own success. Lesniak, who grew up in England, found himself divorced and living in London at 33 years old. By Katie   “I decided I needed a change. I came to the UnitThompson ed States and spent a year traveling from state to state, staying with friends and family. I eventually Photography settled on Charleston by literally pointing to it on Erin Turner a map. I didn’t know anyone here, but it fit my criteria of somewhere warm on the East Coast but not Florida!” he explained. After settling in, Lesniak found a business partner, and they spent two years searching Charleston for ideas. Unlike his choice to relocate halfway across the world on a whim, Lesniak’s business decisions were based on solid research. Eventually, they found a gap in the home furnishings market. “Nearly every furniture store in Charleston 27 years ago had a traditional aesthetic. I saw an opportunity to introduce something more European, with clean lines and a modern style,” Lesniak said. They took their chances and opened Celadon in 1994, an eclectic furniture and lifestyle shop in Mount Pleasant. At the time, there were mainly antique stores lining the downtown streets and nothing much else to speak


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of, beyond big-box furniture chains. Celadon offered something new and different. Lesniak traveled to Mexico to source furnishings that were rustic, vintage and sustainable. There was nothing else like it in the area, and certainly not in Mount Pleasant, which was another strategic choice, as the East Cooper market was projected to grow exponentially. Along with the area, Celadon also thrived, and Lesniak bought out the business from his partner in 1996. It eventually moved to the current location at 1075 Johnnie Dodds Boulevard and will celebrate its 25th anniversary this month. Also true to projections, Charleston is now a cosmopolitan city that takes pride in its history. Celadon continues to provide high-quality and even one-of-a-kind home furnishings from around the world, working with many fair trade and women’s co-ops to source products. “It’s as simple as when we started selling modern designs in 1994 — people responded, things sold well and we have continued to provide something that people want. I think Charleston is now a very modern, sophisticated and eclectic city, and people want their homes to reflect that,” Lesniak said. Though now successful, the business has not always been easy. When asked what challenges he has faced as a business owner, Lesniak replied, “I have definitely spent too much time working in the business instead of on the business, which is pretty typical in retail. I’m also somewhat of a loner, and wish I had polished my interpersonal skills a little more.” A positive lesson Lesniak has learned throughout the years is to appreciate the benefit of engaging the local community. Celadon is known for

providing opportunities to local artisans through trunk shows and pop-ups, and special events bring in food trucks, local musicians and an atmosphere that feels like a modern version of a traditional neighborhood block party. Celadon is also a member of Lowcountry Local First and regularly donates to local schools and organizations such as Pet Helpers. Lesniak sees the immense value in his team at Celadon and how investing in his staff only helps the bottom line. “My goal as the leader of my incredible staff, consisting of mostly women, is to build their confidence and provide an inspirational environment, which I hope allows them to take control of the business’ success,” he shared. Not stopping at the four walls that enclose Celadon, Lesniak has found a passion in mentoring other local small businesses and entrepreneurs as well. He is very active in SCORE, a national nonprofit organization by the Small Business Administration that provides educational and mentorship services. When asked for his best advice for women looking to make a name for themselves in the home and design industries in Charleston, he answered,“My first piece of advice is always to find a business mentor who motivates you. Join a mastermind or business support group to find like-minded people you can connect and collaborate with.”

While he may have planted roots in Charleston, Lesniak’s spirit for exploration and discovering the unknown continues. He is a member of the Charleston Yacht Club and an avid sailor, even racing competitively. He also has a passion for motorcycles. He currently lives in Mount Pleasant with his wife Kathleen Fox, a children’s book author and the founder of Creative Arts of Mount Pleasant. You can join Celadon for their 25th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, November 9 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. A curated group of local and regional artisans will be set up throughout the store, and guests can enjoy tarot readings, face painting, live music and refreshments, complete with a birthday cake. Food trucks, including First Name Basis, Life Raft Treats and Tres Palmas, will be on hand to provide food. The event is free and open to the public.

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FROM DENTISTS AND BOUTIQUE OWNERS to accountants and even singers, the women of Charleston are kicking major butt as entrepreneurs. Behind every business listed below is a badass female who forged her own path to success. Some had help from family members or found inspiration through role models (ahem, Oprah!) while others pushed past the naysayers while facing myriad challenges. Ladies, we raise a toast to your strength, intelligence and the incredible precedence you continue to set. nally take the next step in my life,” said Veach of her King Street business, which offers affordable massages, yoga and wellness for the community. Several months ago, the entrepreneur launched a second dream—her app, GroupE, which locates live music in any city for local music lovers. App users can request songs, tip musicians and feel good about giving back to school music programs. Veach’s intent is to support musicians who must take on other work to pay bills, rather than focus-

LISA BLALOCK Groove Girl Consignments Groove Girl Consignments recently featured a funky, soft purple sweater for sale that said Good Days Only. It’s an optimistic mindset for anyone, and it perfectly sums up the bubbly disposition of owner Lisa Blalock. Before going into business, Blalock had the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom. Following a divorce, she had a desire to get back into the workforce “doing something [she’d] always loved.” The entrepreneur pursued her passion for fashion —which clearly shows, right down to the tape dispenser on her desk in the shape of a shoe—and opened the doors of Groove Girl Consignments in Mount Pleasant. While she said raising her two sons has been her greatest accomplishment, sustaining a retail business—an industry known to have highs and lows—as a single mom is just as incredible. Blalock claimed to owe a great deal to her own mother. “My mother taught us to be honest, to work hard, to try new things and to never, ever ruin your credit!” she said. If Blalock could pass along any advice of her own to other female entrepreneurs, it would be to work hard in spite of naysayers. ” Life is short,” she added, “so follow your passion. You only go around once, so go for your dream!”

ASHLEY VEACH Salt Spa and Yoga It’s not uncommon to experience moments of needing more in life. While many people shrug off the notion and return to their routine, Ashley Veach acted on it, opening Salt Spa and Yoga. “I sold my home, and I invested the money to fi-


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Cooper Cosmetic & Family Dentistry Dr. Amy Cooper does it all: she runs her own dental practice, teaches Tae Bo and supports her Park Circle community with a (very healthy) smile. “Part of the motivation for opening my own practice was knowing that I would have the free-

HAPPILY EVER These local entrepreneurs didn’t let anything stop their dreams ing on their art. “This app will hopefully bring in enough money for them to make it,” she said. Veach owes her dreams coming true to her two biggest sources of inspiration: her laptop, which she affectionately called her ride-or-die, and Oprah. “I have always looked up to Oprah, coming from hard circumstances in life and really making it as a humanitarian and entrepreneur in this world,” she explained. “If you want something else in life, envision it, and I promise it will happen! It amazes me, the things that have happened after I set an intention for it,” she added.


dom to spend as much time with patients as they needed to provide the best care,” said Dr. Cooper. “I also wanted to become part of a community that I could not only grow into but give back to.” It’s interesting, Dr. Cooper admitted, how many people initially assume a man is behind her business. “I think women have unique abilities to problem-solve, multitask and provide a nurturing environment to clients and staff. The benefits of being a female entrepreneur outweigh the challenges,” she said. Some of her challenges included teachers who called her “foolish” to open her own practice. “I knew that what I had to offer was unique, and that people would love a small, local dental practice that truly cared about the community they served,” she said. “Never let someone else tell you it can’t be done.” Her best advice? Be willing to do everything yourself at first “Not only was I a dentist, I was also the hygienist, landscaper, bookkeeper, office manager and janitor. Starting a business takes a lot of sweat equity. Working nights, weekends and holidays is tough but worth it once everything falls into place,” she said.


Singer/Songwriter Music is the only thing that has ever completely




fulfilled Teresa “Sweet T” Parrish, so why wouldn’t she pursue it as her career? “To be honest, I wouldn’t be great at a job unless I was one hundred percent invested. I knew I had to find a way to make [music] a job,” she said. Parrish tried a number of different professional roles prior to making music full-time, hoping they’d give her time to play. “No other job will buy you time. Find a way to do what you love, and live modestly until you get there,” she advised. The singer-songwriter, who serenades locals at familiar favorites such as the Folly Beach Crabshack, Loggerhead’s and the Charleston Night Market, released her debut EP Smile, Smile, Smile this year. Her harshest critic? Her 27-year-old self.

by Teri Errico Griffis

“Doubt, worry, and fear stalled my progress more back then. But the more times I said yes and picked up my guitar, the more I was led to having the confidence I do now,” she said. “Making a living playing music is my dream coming to life. Sometimes I’m onstage, and I can’t believe I made it happen.” What will keep pushing her to achieve even bigger goals in the industry? According to Parrish, the mindset to “just dive in” and these words of wisTERESA “SWEET T” PARRISH





dom: “The best advice I ever received was, ‘Darling, the only way to play music is to play music.’”

POLLY BUXTON Buxton Books On Polly Buxton’s first date with her now-husband Julian, she shared her dream of someday owning a bookstore. But with so many factors against it, the couple never spoke of the idea again until years later, when the phone rang, and it was Julian. “He said, ‘Polly, I think I found your bookstore,’” Buxton recalled. Anne Cleveland, Director of the Charleston Library, had invited Buxton to lease her King Street space because she believed in what the bookstore would bring to the community. “We shared values of getting Charleston on the literary circuit and bringing compelling authors here,” Buxton explained. Still, it was a risk. The cart came before the horse, so to speak, with the offer happening before Buxton had even made plans. “It was humbling. It took time and patience to build Buxton Books into something unique—and we continue to every day,” she said. Like most women, Buxton struggles to find work-life balance but finds it a privilege to wake up each day and try again. She credited her grandmother’s memory for keeping her on course. “She was a woman of strength, faith and vision, and she always deeply cared for her family and her community,” Buxton shared. Having her own vision come to fruition didn’t always seem likely, but Buxton encourages other would-be-entrepreneurs to remain hopeful. She’s had her fair share of hard-earned lessons — days when she couldn’t see what was coming next. “I couldn’t have envisioned it would all come together in this season,” she said.

Initially a part-time endeavor, Salcedo made it official three years later when her full-time role was eliminated. She had the choice—either find a new role or grow IPS and help people—and passion ruled in the latter’s favor. “I took a leap! And it was a big one,” she said with a laugh. “If I didn’t do it then, when was I going to? I was almost fifty years old, and it was a combination of a need I saw in the market and God’s timing coming together.” Her clients grew from church members to bookkeeping for businesses, and, in time, she even founded Hispanic Women Entrepreneurs of SC, a self-development group that helps Hispanic women develop leadership skills. All her success, however, is only secondary in her eyes to her children. “I didn’t have the opportunity to go to college right after I finished high school,” she said. “But I went back ten years later when I had two small children—and I got pregnant along the way. Finishing school was huge. My mind was set on getting an education because I knew that would be the best way I could provide for my children.” ISKRA PEREZ SALCEDO

ISKRA PEREZ SALCEDO IPS Accounting Services, LLC Iskra Perez Salcedo’s business happened by chance. As a corporate accountant, she was often asked by friends and family to help with taxes and soon noticed a need in the Hispanic community for someone who understood their lives and spoke their language. Thus, IPS Accounting Services was born.

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Business as Usual Women’s networking groups offer education, mentoring, connection BY HOLLY FISHER If you’re a female entrepreneur around the Charleston area, the opportunities to connect with like-minded women are endless. From networking events and workshops to online classes and connection, businesswomen in our community are well resourced in every phase of business—startup to seasoned.

American Business Women’s Association – Charleston The mission of the American Business Women’s Association is to bring together business women of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking support and national recognition. Locally, the Jessamine Chapter hosts events and programs for women throughout the Charleston area.

Boss Ladies of Mount Pleasant Monica Pepe, owner of Ideability Marketing, started the Boss Ladies of Mount Pleasant Facebook group in March 2018 for women in the Mount Pleasant area. The group was a place for hardworking women to connect, support, refer—and maybe even rant. The group’s “Women Crush Wednesday” posts spotlight local businesswomen and their stories. Now, more than 300 women in the Charleston area meet for happy hours and networking events.


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Charleston Women in Tech It’s no secret that Charleston’s tech scene has exploded over the last decade. Charleston Women in Tech is focused on creating a climate that fosters and encourages women in technology-based careers. It also offers mentoring and educational programs for women who currently work in technology, as well as those who are interested in pursuing a tech career. Charleston Women in Tech is also about training up the next generation of tech workers. Through its codeON program, the organization creates free coding labs in Charleston’s underserved neighborhoods, providing technology, internet access and teachers from Charleston’s top tech talent. Children ages 4 to 17 learn the fundamentals of technology while being exposed to the idea of a successful computer science career.

East Cooper Newcomers Club Operating for more than four decades, the East Cooper Newcom-

ers Club is open to women of all ages living in the Lowcountry— from new residents eager to connect to long-time residents looking for new experiences. With more than 600 members, the club hosts a variety of events and activities, including social gatherings, philanthropic activities, educational programs and special interest groups.

Ellevate Ellevate is a national organization dedicated to giving ambitious professional women the community they need to take the next step in their careers. The Charleston chapter focuses on networking, professional development and mentorship. Members have access to online and in-person events, professional development resources and the opportunity to join an Ellevate Squad. This hand-picked, small yet diverse group of women at similar points in their careers meet virtually over a 12 week period.

Hatch Tribe Hilary Johnson founded Hatch Tribe in 2016 as a community for women entrepreneurs to find one another, learn from one another and support and encourage each other. As an entrepreneur herself,

it was what Johnson felt she needed. Since then, she has built Hatch Tribe beyond Charleston into an online community—called the Members Circle—of entrepreneurs from around the country. The Members Circle taps into some of the best female entrepreneurs to lead online courses and workshops. Members can attend monthly group coaching calls and monthly goal setting and planning workshops, while also receiving support, inspiration and answers to those burning business questions. Women Entrepreneurs Inc. Melissa Barker started Women Entrepreneurs Inc. in April 2017 to connect women entrepreneurs. Through virtual workshops, a Facebook group as well as in-person events, female entrepreneurs at all phases can share their experiences, expertise and resources with one another. The organization is described as a “membership platform that connects the women who have done it to the women who are doing it.” Women Entrepreneurs Inc. is for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to establish their business the right way, established entrepreneurs who want to take their business to the next level and thought leaders who want to increase their reach and impact.

CALENDAR OF NETWORKING EVENTS Want to check out one of these networking groups? Here are some options to end the new year on a business savvy note.







Ellevate Breakfast Featuring Nina Sossamon-Pogue

ABWA Auction Benefiting Dorchester School District IV

Women Entrepreneurs of Charleston’s “Bring Your Brand into Focus” Workshop

Coffee With East Cooper Newcomers Club

Network at Skip and Sully with the Boss Ladies

Hatch Tribe

The Ellevate squad will be celebrating the Charleston chapter’s fifth anniversary at a breakfast event featuring Nina Sossamon-Pogue, long-time media and communications professional in the Lowcountry and now an author and speaker. This event is open to members and non-members. For more information, visit

This month, the local chapter of this association will host an ABWA auction in which a portion of the proceeds will go to Dorchester School District IV. Admission is $10 plus one female hygiene item. 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. ECPI University, 7410 Northside Drive in North Charleston. For more information, visit jessamine.

Check out the next in-person event, Bring Your Brand into Focus, a workshop and wine tasting. 5:00 p.m. AR Workshop, 280 W. Coleman Blvd. in Mount Pleasant. For more information, visit

With more than 600 members, the club hosts a variety of events and activities, including social gatherings, philanthropic activities, educational programs and special interest groups. Take part in a monthly coffee event on the fourth Tuesday of the month at Dunes West Country Club. For more information, visit

The Boss Ladies will be meeting for a free networking event at 6:00 p.m at Skip and Sully in Mount Pleasant. For more information, visit facebook. com/groups/bossladiesofmountpleasant

Enrollment in the Members Circle online community will open in early December, and in the meantime, check out Hatch Tribe’s Limitless Conference at Founder Hall in West Ashley. For more information, visit

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ONE OF PIXIE PAULA’S PROUDEST MOMENTS was partnering with the creators of this historic brand to continue sharing the history and lifting spirits.Crafted in Charleston, South Carolina, Red Harbor Rum is unique in style and authentic in packaging, aiming to revitalize interest in America’s oldest spirit–colonial rum. Rum was considered the backbone of spirit consumption in Charleston in the 18th Century, and Charleston played a huge role in popularizing the spirit in America. In 1735 alone, over 130,000 gallons of rum arrived in the port of this city. As England realized how lucrative the industry would become, acts designed to control the trade of key rum ingredients were introduced. These acts resulted in the underground trade of smuggled molasses and locally distilled rums. Red Harbor

Rum seeks to recreate this forgotten colonial spirit and take you on a journey back to the early days of our country and of Charleston—back to the rum of a former time. Unlike the vast majority of imported rum, Red Harbor has an oak flavor that is reminiscent of bourbon and is crafted using authentic techniques and ingredients that speak to the traditional craft. We strive to ensure rum is no longer the forgotten liquor of the American story.

Women are known for having full plates, but these four fabulous chefs and restaurateurs are doing more than taking nibbles at the Lowcountry’s food scene.

Want a little inspiration? Check out personal recipes from each of these four ladies at

Our advice? Whatever it is you’re craving, don’t wait for anyone else to serve it to you—go ahead and make it (or order it) yourself.

Photography by: Libby Williams Food/Prop Stylist: Anna Hampton Hair and Makeup: Silhouette On Site

Special thanks to Herd Provisions for allowing us to shoot in your beautiful restaurant


Chorizo, Squash, and Clam Paella

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Art History at the University of Virginia, Jenni Ridall studied classic French culinary techniques and philosophy at Le Cordon Bleu. She continued her education with an MBA from the College of Charleston, focusing on Hospitality Revenue Management. Ridall has worked with multiple James Beard award-winning chefs and authors, including Nathalie Dupree, Mike Lata, Jason Stanhope and Virginia Willis. Her rich experiences inspired her to start her own company a year ago, TK Test Kitchen.


Jerk Cabbage Buddha Bowl


An honors graduate of Clemson University in English language and literature with a minor in philosophy, Shaquille Fontenot, chef and owner of Fairy Fresh Foods, offers weekly deliveries throughout Charleston and surrounding areas and prioritizes playful ingredients and variety. Fontenot heeds the profound mission to educate and to heal the community through cuisine and discovered her passion upon moving to Louisiana after graduation to teach underprivileged students.


Beef Liver Bolognese

Lane Russo hails from Roanoke, Virginia. Upon making her way to Charleston, she found herself at home in the butcher shop at Herd Provisions, the city’s first farm-to-table restaurant featuring livestock raised by owner Alec Bradford. Though meat has not always been a large part of her own life, Russo understood it was instrumental to the culinary arts, and her interest was soon piqued in meat from animals that are humanely and sustainably raised. Russo considers butchery to be a great step for ladies who want to enter the industry and pointed out that women are patient, detail-oriented and unafraid to make mistakes—all qualities of a diligent learner. She hopes women will continue to challenge preconceived notions about who plays what role in the restaurant world.

After studying culinary arts and visual merchandising for two years at Utah Valley University, Karalee Fallert decided to head East and pursue her dreams. She started out as a server in several Charleston restaurants, then eventually opened the popular tapas bar, Raval, on upper King Street in 2005. She continued with several more establishments: Taco Boy Folly Beach, Taco Boy downtown, Monza, Closed for Business, The Royal American and The Park Cafe. She co-founded The Green Heart Project in 2009 with the intention of reconnecting students with fresh, locally grown produce.






The Fabric of Her Life

DESIGNER JULIANNE TAYLOR TROTS THE GLOBE TO KEEP CREATIVITY SHARP By Andrea Serrano • Photography by Nicole Mickle I’ve had the honor of knowing Julianne Taylor over the past couple of years and witnessing her creative explorations and limitless talents. Her glamorous Hollywood Regency-inspired furniture for Taylor Burke Home is what first drew me to her—her signature style mixes vibrant colors and patterns to create an aesthetic indicative of her personality and alter-ego, JuJu. Taylor’s creative journey began with living in multiple countries all over the world, developing her interior design career. The scope of her design work encompasses everything from furniture, wallpaper and fabric to home accessories, art and loungewear. My powder room is decked out with her lilac wallpaper, inspired by African wax prints from her trip to Togo. Recently, she has seamlessly crossed over as an influencer to design events for brands that she works with. Taylor loves empowering other women by promoting their businesses and showcasing them in her book, DesignHer. She also serves as a mentor and business coach, sharing her wealth of wisdom and strategy. Though her ever-growing empire takes time


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and energy, Taylor still manages to be a loving wife, mother of three and heartfelt friend—and she does it all without breaking a sweat.


Taylor Burke Home is a custom upholstery company made in North Carolina that sells mainly to trade and retail stores across the country. Julianne Taylor Style is an umbrella company for lifestyle and destination content creation, event production for brands, licensed home decor products and business consulting.


I’m an interior designer by trade and developed an interest in furniture design after designing custom furniture for clients during my time living in Asia.


After I got married, my husband and I lived in Melbourne, Barcelona, Shanghai and Seoul before making Charleston our home in 2014. All of our time spent overseas was to support his career with General Motors.


I really loved the day-to-day way of life and easy living in Australia, but I also loved the fast-paced environment and excitement of Shanghai.


All of the places I lived in inspired my design aesthetic. I love bold color and a mix of patterns, and my style is definitely influenced by other cultures.



I found a pair of vintage fretwork chairs in bright yellow at a flea market in Paris that I just had to have. They are currently in my master bedroom.

"There is so much opportunity to do what I love right here in the Lowcountry. Charleston is a wonderful city that nurtures all creatives, whether we’re fashion designers, chefs, artists_you name it." They were the inspiration behind our first design —the Kings Grant Chair that we sold in a multitude of colors for years before discontinuing earlier this year.


I had a personal relationship with every woman featured in DesignHer. Being on the “show circuit,” as we call it in trade shows, you meet all of the creatives behind all these wonderful companies that sell products. I became fascinated with other female-owned businesses and loved cheering them on from afar.


I started getting approached several years after launching Taylor Burke Home to design products for other companies. I think they were drawn to me because I have a very clear design aesthetic, and, at that time, I was pretty savvy with this new platform called Instagram. I currently have licensed collections of wallpaper, candles, artwork, tabletops and loungewear.




It’s actually been a surprisingly seamless transition, as prior to dabbling in the influencer space, I dealt with influencers for Taylor Burke Home product placements and content. I learned early on what works and what doesn’t and how to negotiate the best deal so that the project is a win-win for all parties. The biggest challenge has been figuring out how to monetize my content and projects as an influencer.



I love having a career with so much variety, but right now, I’m in a season where I’m really enjoying creating digital content and producing influencer events for other brands. I’ve taken quite a few trips this year, and have now gotten into creating destination content. The opportunities and experiences have been amazing, and there’s nothing better than a change of scenery to spark your creativity.


One of the benefits of my strong network with other product designers and home decor companies is that I get the privilege of creating digital content and events to promote those brands in creative ways. We are excited to be producing the grand opening events for the new Mitchell Hill store. The store officially opens in December, but we have some special events planned for February to kick off the new space.

There is so much opportunity to do what I love right here in the Lowcountry. Charleston is a wonderful city that nurtures all creatives, whether we’re fashion designers, chefs, artists—you name it. I feel right at home here, churning out my projects, and there’s a sea of wonderful human beings who speak my language and cheer me on. It feels good to live in a place that is so supportive.



I have a business coaching arm within Julianne Taylor Style. My expertise is in the area of product design, manufacturing and influencer relationships. I love helping other female entrepreneurs review their cost models to maximize profits and create strategic marketing plans to grow their businesses.

All things sparkly, acrylic, and brass. JuJu loves ALL the things!


JuJu is an expression of creativity, fun and lightheartedness. It’s a reminder not to take ourselves too seriously.



All-women hospitality workshops educate, inspire and activate the burning flame


ith a belief that women are capable of anything and a strong mother who taught her not to take crap from anybody, Randi Weinstein grew up an empowered woman. Still, when she moved to Charleston 30 years ago, she wasn’t sure what to expect. She knew she wanted to help women feel empowered; she wasn’t entirely sure where to start. So she started brainstorming ideas on how to get involved in her new city, and soon became inspired by the endless possibilities that spring forth once you put your mind to something. Weinstein served as the Director of Events for the Charleston Food + Wine Festival for seven years and the Director of Operations for Butcher & Bee for over two years. Then, one serendipitous day, she met Kelly Kleisner and Sarah Adams. She knew as soon as she met Kelly and Sarah, a duo of badass gals, that she absolutely wanted to work with them. With a shared drive to empower women and encourage them to stand up for and invest in themselves, the trio started coordinating a series of popups, led by Weinstein and known as Bad Bitches. “We showcased women’s rise through the decades, from their home kitchen to present day, in the hospitality industry,” Weinstein explained. “We began the series in the 1950s, and each decade paid tribute to the food, music, clothing, beverage and decor that were relevant during that time.” It was working with this group of women that inspired Weinstein to begin her own empowerment group. FAB was officially born in 2017 with one goal in mind—to help ladies achieve a lightbulb moment that allowed them to think deeply about the business side of the hospitality industry and whatever unique skills they might possess. “It was important for me to reach these women who have walked over coals and now own their own businesses and have the ability to talk about things that led them to where they are, while also discussing the future,” Weinstein said. “FAB is meant to educate, inspire, and activate or reactivate the burning flame inside of each and every person that attends the workshop.” Many people ask what “FAB” stands for. To its founder, it means many things. “FAB was the first name I thought of,” she said. “It represents females and business—females are brilliant; females are ballers; females are badass; females are bosses.” This organization is truly Weinstein’s brain child. She had a vision and it came to fruition, despite the difficult time in her life that was simultaneously taking place. “Within three months of FAB commencing, my mom got sick and passed away,” she shared. “In addition, my son developed a heart condition a month before the workshops.”


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The journey to founding FAB and developing the workshops were certainly not easy for Weinstein, but it was something she knew she had to pursue no matter what, pointing out that she believes passionately in its purpose. You might say that Weinstein is relentless when it comes to encouraging women to stand up for themselves and invest in themselves, especially being a strong, powerful woman herself. The workshops are a welcoming haven where women come together to find what they need to make their lives fulfilled. There are a variety of reasons that women attend the workshops, but Weinstein noted many of them attend simply to connect with other women who are going through similar challenges, as well as to search for a mentor or business connection or even just hunt for guidance. In order to encourage more women to try it out, FAB offers annual scholarships. The number of scholarships given each year has increased because of the partnerships that Weinstein and the team have formed and shared passion of investing in womankind. The upcoming 2020 workshop has been cultivated through feedback provided by past attendees, who expressed the collective desire for more handson panels and smaller roundtables. And, with the growth of the Charleston workshop, Weinstein now has plans to start pop-ups in other cities. Future destinations include Raleigh, New Orleans and Washington D.C. “We have had success in so many women coming year after year since we change up the speakers and the content,” Weinstein remarked. “I would imagine those women have gone back into their communities and places of work and encourage others to attend.”


By Alli Steinke


SUPPER WITH A BACKSTORY Chef Kardea Brown’s Gullah heritage continues to inspire her on-screen and off




f you love watching the Food Network to put a little inspirational pizazz into your family meals, perhaps you’ve happened upon Charleston’s own Kardea Brown on “Delicious Miss Brown,” a show that honors both her Gullah Geechee heritage and time-tested family recipes. Heading into the second season in January 2020, “Delicious Miss Brown” has kept the Southern chef ’s hands full, but she still gets back to her roots often, particularly with the New Gullah Supper Club, the event that initially launched her culinary career. Brown, who hails from Wadmalaw Island, said that preserving her heritage through food is just as important to her as it has always been to her family. Though the Gullah Geechee tradition is a large part of Charleston’s food scene, Brown noted that plenty of tourists and newcomers to the area don’t know much about it, a fact that she hopes to change with her show and curated food events. After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and working as a social worker for years, Brown felt uncannily pulled to becoming a Gullah chef. Spurred into action by the folks at Food Network telling her she needed to “make a name for herself,” Brown departed her previous career and the Northeast region. She headed home to the Lowcountry, asking herself on the Amtrak train how she might put her stamp on the culinary world. “I’ve always wanted to own a restaurant, but it’s hard to come into the restaurant scene as a newbie. I knew I liked to travel, so I thought, why not create an experience where I can share Gullah dishes across the country?” she said. Thus, the Gullah Supper Club was born, and

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By Denise K. James Brown went heart first into preparing a number of the dishes she had known and loved as a child, at times adding a more modern spin on it. “I’ve taken dishes that are traditional, like a sweet potato pie, and combined it with cheesecake so it’s a sweet potato pie cheesecake,” she explained. “I like to do a contemporary twist with my meals, but it’s more like a combination of flavors, incorporating an Asian, Southwestern or Western Indian spin on Southern Lowcountry dishes.”

Food Network, with Brown noting that “the Supper Club is like practice for the TV show.” If you’re reading this and finding your interest piqued for the next Gullah Supper Club, you’re in luck—there’s an event taking place in Charleston in January to kick off the second season of “Delicious Miss Brown.” The supper is open only to those who purchase a ticket ahead of time, and the exact location is kept secret until 24 hours prior to the meal. Foodies of all stripes are typically in attendance, according to Brown, and people usually

“ Brown “visited two or three cities a month,” often bringing along family members and friends to help her unload her packed Jeep and serve foods to an eager entourage of guests. “ Brown said that due to the inherently competitive nature of the industry, she does not feel she’s at any particular disadvantage as an African American or a woman, pointing out that all chefs have to prove themselves, regardless. She credits her psychology degree and former career in helping her understand how to communicate with and relate to various types of people. It’s been a balancing act, to be sure, keeping The Gullah Supper Club and “Delicious Miss Brown” going strong the last few years. The first season of “Delicious” was postponed a while while The Supper Club saw a surge in popularity, and Brown “visited two or three cities a month,” often bringing along family members and friends to help her unload her packed Jeep and serve foods to an eager entourage guests. Dishes the supper comGREENofROOF panions loved typically ended up debuting on the

depart the meal feeling excited and satisfied. Aside from sharing cherished Gullah ingredients and dishes with others, Brown emphasized how a meal with friends and family is something she feels we should take more seriously in this digital, disconnected age. “I’m a big advocate for coming back to the dinner table,” she declared. “Having supper together and having conversations is how I was raised in my family.” After learning that her grandmother is still more than capable of crafting these famed family dishes, I had to ask Brown—who is cooking this year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas meals? “I am,” she proudly answered. “In 2014, I asked my grandmother to let me tackle Thanksgiving, and she was hesitant at first. But now she has passed the torch.”

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How the simple foods from her Jamaican childhood shaped one woman’s palate By Kadine Christie


ama took a rickshaw bus to May Pen Market on Thursday mornings and left the men in our household feeling confused about what to feed us. Uncle Gary, suddenly inspired, would stare up at the Jamaican island, searching fervently for birds. Armored with a makeshift catapult, he aimed, shot and counted the thuds on the ground to match our seven mouths to feed. He roasted the tiny bodies over an open fire and seasoned the meat with salt. My Papa fed me small snippets of culinary delight—palate-pleasers that gourmands would praise for simplicity of execution and depth of taste. But for a child whose belly was accustomed to the weeping moans of emptiness, the foods he shared seemed to make a mockery of my vast appetite. Unbeknownst at the time, they also inspired the epicure that I would become later in life.

“My Papa fed me small snippets of culinary delight—palate-pleasers that gourmands would praise for simplicity of execution and depth of taste.”


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PAPA’S PLANTAIN PORRIDGE 1 ½ green plantains 2 ¾ cups coconut milk ½ cup water ¼ teaspoon of salt ¼ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon allspice 1 ¼ teaspoon vanilla ¹/³ cup condensed milk Pinch of nutmeg Sugar to taste - Bring 2 cups coconut milk to boil, then turn to low heat. - Peel and dice green plantains. - In a blender, combine plantains, water, ¾ cup coconut milk, allspice, nutmeg,

Papa prepared two specialties in particular; the first was a sweet plantain porridge. This creamy bowl of pleasure is a marriage of warm spices—nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla—with the sweetness of brown sugar, coconut and condensed milk. Papa’s second dish was a pumpkin stew. With the pumpkin still connected to the vine, he knelt in reverence to the red earth. He knocked the gourd, and listened carefully for it to “speak”—pumpkinese, I always supposed in my childish mind. If the pumpkin did not speak, or he could not understand, he left it connected to its vine. Then, whenever one moved him to action, he carved a small triangular peg to confirm the color of marigold hidden beneath a green exterior. He roasted the pumpkin on top of pimento wood in an outside fire and mashed it into a velvety purée. The earth and the sun had done their part —Papa whipped in only butter and a sprinkling of salt. With my own exploration of cooking, I’ve added Parmesan cheese to the recipe, an addition I believe my family would heartily approve. The foods of my childhood surged within me a love and respect for what it tastes like when the sun, earth and hands of mankind can find communion in a meal.

cinnamon and vanilla. Puree until smooth, about 3 minutes. - Pour blended mixture into the pot of coconut milk, and stir until thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes. - Turn off heat and stir in salt, condensed milk and sugar. Serve hot. PUMPKIN STEW 1 pumpkin or winter squash 5 pimento seeds 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 tablespoons butter 4 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, with extra for topping 1 ½ teaspoons salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. - Cut off and discard the ends of the pumpkin. Peel the pumpkin, cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut the pumpkin in ¾ inch cubes and place cubes on a baking sheet with pimento seeds. Toss oil, spices and Parmesan cheese together, and spread in a single layer on top. - Roast pumpkin for 20 minutes, then turn cubes over and roast for an additional 10 minutes, until pieces are brown on both sides. - Discard pimento seeds, and mash pumpkin while hot. Whip in butter. - Scoop into a ramekin, sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese as desired and broil for 3-4 minutes. Serve hot.

A LITTLE FOOD AND A LOT OF THOUGHT Culinary critic Hanna Raskin dishes about her role in Charleston’s food scene By Denise K. James


ou’ve probably heard the name Hanna Raskin if you keep up with the Charleston food scene, but you may not have actually spotted the local critic inside a restaurant. Known more for her engaging reviews on area eateries than for basking in the limelight, Raskin takes her job as a food journalist seriously. “This is not a job about eating; it is a job about writing,” she said. Raskin has been the chief food critic at The Post and Courier since 2013, which, at first blush, might not seem very long ago. But the culinary scene and the city have changed quite a bit in the last several years, with Charleston’s spot on the food map more prominent than ever and companies such as Conde Nast constantly bestowing accolades such as “World’s Best City.” As a result, the job has gotten, well, a little more business and a little less art. “The scene has become increasingly competitive,” she said. “And what the tourists say goes in this city.” What has not changed so much, actually, is the lack of female chefs around town, something that Charleston certainly needs more of. Raskin agreed women who are looking for culinary work as a chef or restaurant owner shouldn’t hesitate to make it happen and ask for the help of an established mentor. “Successful restaurateurs love to talk about their success because they have fought hard battles,” she noted. “Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and advice. Most people will happily oblige.” So what is a typical day and week like for this food critic? Raskin quickly corrected my vision of dining at the Lowcountry’s fanciest locations all day long—not all the locations are fancy, and her days consist of much more typing than noshing. In fact, when asked about her favorite brunch spot, she admitted that she couldn’t elaborate on the topic since she spends daylight hours—yes, even weekends—working at her desk. A review runs about 1,200 words and typically takes her between five and six hours, but she will dedicate the

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whole day, not wanting to rush through her craft. Raskin has dinner out on the town about six nights a week. She will sometimes have lunch if that is what the restaurant is known for, but it’s not typical. Her husband, who currently lives in the Washington, D.C., metro area and is “a picky eat-

“Raskin quickly corrected my vision of dining at the Lowcountry’s fanciest locations all day long—not all the locations are fancy, and her days consist of much GREEN ROOF more typing than noshing.”

er,” is unable to join her, but she has no shortage of friends who are delighted to tag along and help her graze a menu. Raskin will also invite lucky strangers to accompany her on meals fairly often. Because she visits each restaurant three or four times before penning a review, she notes that “fresh perspective” is helpful, and it’s also more fun to eat with people she doesn’t know – though at least one occasion of dining alone is also necessary. I was surprised to learn that Raskin is not the first person to walk through the doors of a local hot spot in its first week. Although many restaurant-goers will wait to read her review about a new place before booking a date night or birthday dinner, she said she typically waits about a month, consistent with the Association of Food Journalists’ Code of Ethics. While Raskin does have a few favorites for eating and drinking – oysters and spicy foods, especially horseradish, often paired with a martini or bourbon—she admitted she doesn’t have a favorite restaurant in Charleston, explaining that cultivating a favorite denotes being a regular, a luxury she does not have as a food critic. “But there’s no single restaurant that encompasses every occasion and mood,” she added. Raskin enjoys her job, despite the few who have griped at receiving a less-than-stellar review. She works on honing her own voice— which, she said, is the best way to garner a diverse and devoted group of readers. “I enjoy writing, and I enjoy eating. They complement each other,” she said. “People will talk about various issues in the context of food more often than in other contexts. I enjoy the lively discussions around food, and I like the opportunity to tell stories that aren’t being told elsewhere.” Oh, and is there any food that Hanna Raskin doesn’t care for? “I’m mildly allergic to eggplant, but I can always eat around it,” she said. Talk about true dedication.

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Pilgrimage to

WELLNESS Lotus Healing Center offers traditional healing from around the globe By Karen Briggs Updyke


ike founder and director Abigail McClam, Lotus Healing Center is a pint size gem offering powerful global medicine. After seven years nestled snugly on the corner of Ashley and Spring in downtown Charleston, Lotus has grown deep roots in the wellness community. The collective is an all-women team of holistic healthcare practitioners, specializing in a wide array of therapeutic modalities bridging the global divide. Longtime Charlestonians may remember Lotus’ previous incarnation as One’ Respe’ Massage Therapy and Wellness. One’ Respe’ was one of the first local businesses to offer holistic health care offerings such as acupuncture, yoga and massage to the community on a sliding scale. After moving locations and restructuring a bit, the business re-opened in 2012 as Lotus Healing Center in its current location on Ashley. Like One’ Respe’, Lotus continues to blaze innovative wellness trails by providing holistic services, classes, workshops and community programs not offered elsewhere in the area. The 800-square-foot oasis is modern yet peaceful, featuring polished concrete floors finished in a serene Caribbean blue. Light streams into the common area and educational space, highlighting floor-to-ceiling shelving on which all manners of at-home apothecary needs are displayed. Copal incense from a women’s co-op in Mexico mingles with Sage, Palo Santo and Agua de Florida.


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Medicinal herbs, oils and tinctures from Western, Ayurvedic and Rainforest traditions are all available, alongside CBD oil, crystals and hand-made wares such as pottery, jewelry and bags. In addition to the more “mainstream” wellness offerings such as holistic massage and acupuncture, clients flock to Lotus’ practitioners for their deep expertise in many lesser known healing modalities. Ashana Jones-Bell is the primary BARS Access Consciousness teacher and practitioner. Like other energy healing modalities such as Reiki, BARS works to move energy through the body. BARS is unique in that it utilizes specific energy points in the head and feet. This allows for energy blockages in those centers to dissipate, assisting in the changing of mindsets, releasing

Clients seeking diet, lifestyle and herbal support rooted in both scientific Western and Eastern traditions flock to Jennifer Byrne, a practitioner who has been with Lotus for four years. As a nutritionist and NAMA Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner with a Master’s in Public Health, Byrne offers clients treatment plans based in ancient Indian Ayurvedic and Western herbal traditions. Meanwhile, McClam is Lotus’ resident expert in Mayan healing modalities. For the last six years, she has trained with Mayan healers in Central and South America to integrate traditional plant medicine and the practice of “limpias”—spiritual and energetic cleansing practices using the elements of fire, air, earth and water—into her practice. She offers Arvigo therapy, a traditional Mayan abdominal massage. Arvigo helps to manage embodied

“ As practitioners, we are more advocates and counselors, helping people understand how to heal themselves and ideally become their own best practitioner. “ of subconscious patterns and enhancing overall health and wellness. In addition to being a professional birth doula, Jones-Bell, along with McClam, is a Yoni (vaginal) Steam facilitator. V-Steam is an ancient healing tradition from almost every culture in the world, facilitated to regulate menstrual cycles, assist in the healing of past traumas and facilitate healthy fertility. Jones-Bell personally used this technique as a part of her own healing journey from endometriosis, after she was unable to be healed with surgery and Western medicine.

stress and supports digestive and reproductive health by gently moving internal organs into proper alignment. According to McClam, the Mayan tradition teaches that all ailments are spiritual ailments. “We can’t ignore the physical, mental, emotional or spiritual pieces that create who we are as individuals. Those 4 pillars of strength are essential to understanding who we are, speaking our truth, healing and staying healthy,” she said. “If we just focus on the physical bodywork, we are bypassing a lot of the deeper work. As practitioners, we are

more advocates and counselors, helping people understand how to heal themselves and ideally become their own best practitioner. We simply take people halfway and ask them to join us for the other half.” As a collective, Lotus practitioners work together to develop comprehensive treatment plans for client’s individual needs. “I think this makes Lotus pretty unique, because a lot of our clients see all of us,” McClam said. “They can all experience all of it and have that co-treatment aspect as they create their own health.”

Their internal sense of holistic community within the practice is what they are seeking to foster in the larger world. “As women, we used to work together as a community. We want women to remember that these ancient traditions are still relevant in our modern world. It took a community to help raise the children and care for the elders,” she added. Lotus has recently teamed up with the South Carolina Herbal Society to host meetings on topics such as healing with herbs, Lowcountry ethnobotany and local tea sampling. Workshops

are held to provide education on new and full moon rituals and ancestral healing through the practice of Family Constellations. “We believe that education is essential to understanding, to actually integrating the things that you are experiencing,” McClam concluded. “Until we actually practice and step into the learning classroom, a lot of that is really on the surface layer. We’ve found that being educators in the community allows people to have more empowerment and a deeper learning experience around these global perspectives.”

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No Loafing Here Bread + Butter inspires local high school students to consider a culinary career


oday’s lesson is how to make pearls of balsamic vinegar that enhance the appearance of a Caprese or other salad. The would-be chefs are staring intently, taking lesson notes, cataloging ingredients and techniques and asking the chef for his business card in case of future employment. And, yes, some are using the business card to swat at fellow students or edge against their nascent beards. They may be chefs-in-training, but they are still high school students, and their black chef coats, embroidered with their names, are likely on top of sweatpants or shorts. The guest chef—from Salthouse Catering this week—is provided to the West Ashley High School culinary program courtesy of Bread + Butter, a nonprofit led by Rebecca Burke, fixture in Charleston’s culinary scene. Each week, the students hear from another guest chef on a different topic, from using a knife to acing an interview. The chefs all volunteer their time. The idea for Bread + Butter came about when Xan McLaughlin, operating partner of Park Café, was sitting in the former Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen, watching kids hang out outside the restaurant. The teens were idle, following a gang initiation that prompted them to drop out of Burke High School. “These kids are hanging out with nothing to


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One80 Place’s Culinary Program. Even do, yet we can’t get enough staff,” “ We’re giving when there isn’t a suitable classroom McLaughlin said to himself. Then, [students] kitchen, Bread + Butter adapts. In the lightbulb went off. He recruited Burke to offer the kids a more congood exposure the after-school program, for example, students were brought to Vertical structive way to spend their time. to what it’s Roots to learn about produce and then True, they might not be headed for to Uptown Social, where they made a four-year college, but Burke would like to work in their kitchen. show them the promise of a culinary with different pizzas Burke said about a third of the stucareer and fill the local staffing shortage at the same time. types of chefs dents in the program are later placed culinary jobs. She admitted some Burke’s background as an attorin the industry in students see the placement as “just a ney assisted her in setting up the nonprofit, as did her own culinary and the skills job,” while some see it as a real stepping to a culinary career. experience. She had been working to go forward stone “You can always tell the ones who in restaurants since high school and and get a job.” are excited by all of it,” she remarked. even earned extra money during law Her future goal is to expand to even school in Vermont the same way. She helped start a successful food truck, Roti Rolls, and more schools and more diverse students, including later started the defunct farm-to-table event busi- adults. “We’re giving [students] good exposure on what ness, Commune. At a Shark Tank-style pitching session held in it’s like to work with different types of chefs in the 2018 by Charleston’s female food and beverage industry and the skills to go forward and get a job,” conference, FAB, Burke pitched the idea behind she noted. “They learn soft skills and hands-on Bread + Butter. She won her pitch, which provided skills, and they make connections.” Finally, the small pearls are finished, and tasting her with a mentor. Then, in December 2018, the nonprofit held a fundraising launch that netted al- spoons are distributed. The students dip carefully into what look like mounds of caviar. most $25,000. The program was initiated at Burke High School; West Ashley High School is the second to welcome it. The high school classroom at West Ashley is enough to give anyone kitchen envy— stainless steel demo tables, drawers and a shelf unit filled with every conceivable kitchen gadget and multiple ranges, each paired with a fire alarm. At the moment, Chef Jake Stone is showing his young audience how to regulate the temperature so the balsamic sets but doesn’t gel too quickly. Students take turns with syringes, oozing out droplets of balsamic that swiftly turn firm. Meanwhile, among the crowd of students, Burke snaps promotional photos, answers questions and offers extra observations and hints, in tandem with culinary instructor Jason Wheless. Bread + Butter will be in five classrooms by the end of the semester, according to Burke. In addition to Burke and West Ashley, chefs will visit James Island Charter, St. Johns High School in Johns Island and after-school program Kids On Point. The program also provides staffing for





Noisy Oyster has gone completely quiet. The casual seafood joint closed its Market Street restaurant recently, and now, the North Charleston spot is gone as well, set to reopen as True Q Barbecue. Bangkok Lounge has taken over the former Upper Deck Tavern at 353 King Street. It will be a tiki-themed bar serving cocktails, gourmet hot dogs and karaoke seven nights a week.

It was a long and fraught time coming, but Big Bad Breakfast is finally open at 456 Meeting Street, proving that owner John Currence is bigger and “badder” than all those pesky permits and staffing shortages. The former Wildflour Pastry on Spring Street is now home to Coquin Café and Bar, a Parisian café with tapas. Those who dwell at Meeting Street Lofts will have an Italian restaurant to enjoy downstairs when Gale opens late this year in the same building. The former Bi-Lo parking lot (also the former Piggly Wiggly) now has a food truck community called Meeting Street Eats, at 445 Meeting Street. Basic Kitchen’s Kate and Ben Towill are moving into the Post House Restaurant and Inn, formerly Old Village Post House on Pitt Street in Mount Pleasant. They plan to offer a “restaurant with rooms” next year.



The Harbour Club is moving to the WestEdge development and has hired Wes Long as executive chef. Long is a North Carolina native, but has worked in a number of places, including the Michelin-starred Wallse in New York.



167 Raw is relocating from its cozy venue on East Bay to 193 King Street late this year or early next. Patrons who formerly had to brave long lines for their plump, salty oysters will no doubt be grateful. Love turkey and all the trimmings but hate the kitchen mess? Mercantile and Mash offers its version of Thanksgiving dinner available to go. The Early Bird price of $195 runs through November 3, and the meal feeds between six and eight people.


The Charleston Restaurant Foundation (CRF) announces that tickets are on sale for the 37th Annual Lowcountry Oyster Festival. The festival takes place January 26, 2020,

and you can get tickets now at


People Magazine readers decided it was easy as you-know-what to select the brown coconut pie at Millers All Day as the best pie in South Carolina. Certified Angus Beef has gone whole hog and awarded Swig & Swine pitmaster Anthony DiBernardo the Legendary BBQ Restaurant of the Year Award.

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events N OV E M B E R

11.02 FAM JAM 2019

The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry will be putting on their signature annual event, featuring live music, entertainment and family-friendly activities. With the goal of encouraging children to stay moving while using their endless imaginations, the Children’s Museum will transform Marion Square into an innovative and exciting playground. FREE admission. 10:00 a.m until 2:00 p.m. 25 Ann Street. For more info, visit

Tickets range from $75 to $495. Gates open at noon. 4279 Ashley River Rd. For more info, visit woodlands-fest.

11.07 - 11.10 Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival

Bookworms will undoubtedly unite for the third annual Charleston to Charleston Literary Festival. This exciting festival of literature, memoir, art and history will include a full weekend of lectures, receptions and magic. Admission starts at $25. 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, The Dock Street Theatre and the Charleston Library Society. 135 Queen Street Charleston. For more info, visit

11.08 & 11.10 Charleston Holiday Market


11.07 - 11.09 The Woodlands Fall Music & Arts Festival

Umphrey’s McGee is proud to announce a brand-new event happening in Charleston. They’re ready to showcase the best our city has to offer — food, art, a magical lineup of music and so much more — right in the middle of beautiful nature. This is not your typical weekend music festival; there will be opportunities to rent a kayak and fish on two stocked lakes, hike wooded trails or enjoy the live music while paddleboarding out on the water.


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With the holiday season just around the corner, you won’t want to miss this ultimate kick-off. Start saving up now so you can fully indulge in this seasonal market, featuring specialty gift stores, clothing, gourmet food, decorations, home accessories, wine samples and more. Admission is $8 for adults and $1 per child aged 6 to 12. Friday, 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.. 5001 Coliseum Dr, North Charleston.

11.09 Rockabillaque Festival

The 7th annual mid-century glory fest benefiting Valiant Animal Rescue is a celebration of all things classic! The fest will include classic cars and a vintage bike show; a vast array of over 35 bands on six outdoor stages from all over the country; plus fun contests to reveal the best Pin-Up, tattoo, beard and mustache. The excitement doesn’t stop there; there will be a massive block party and a chance to shop all of the amazing Park Circle


businesses, from restaurants and bars to breweries and boutiques. FREE to attend. 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. 1083 E Montague Ave North Charleston. For more info, visit

11.10 Art on the Beach Chefs in the Kitchen

Step out for the 20th year of this dynamic tour of private homes hosted every November. Each home will be showcasing a select group of artists and craftsmen, as well as featuring talented chefs from local restaurants and catering companies. All proceeds from this event will benefit Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services, a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to hundreds of low-income individuals and families in our community. Tickets are $55. 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. 2120 Middle Street, Sullivan’s Island. For tickets and more info, visit

11.12 Ellevate Breakfast FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

Featuring Nina Sossamon-Pogue

The Ellevate squad will be celebrating the Charleston chapter’s fifth anniversary at a breakfast event featuring Nina Sossamon-Pogue, long-time media and communications professional in the Lowcountry and now an author and speaker. This event is open to members and non-members. For more information, visit

11.15 American Business Women’s Association Auction

This month, the local chapter of this association will host an auction in which a portion of the proceeds will go to Dorchester School District IV. Admission is $10, plus one female hygiene item. 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. ECPI University, 7410 Northside Drive in North Charleston. For more information, visit


Getting stressed thinking about meal prep and visiting with relatives that you might have to see two months in a row? Take a breather, and attend one of these fabulous Lowcountry events. Whether you’re meeting a new group of entrepreneurs for the first time, indulging your intellect at a literary festival or tipping your hat at a racing horse, there’s something for everyone this November.


11.17 November Charleston Night Bazaar

Local artisans and crafters will set up shop to provide a unique and fun experience for locals. Grab a bite to eat from Edmund’s Oast Brewing Company and the Workshop, then continue to peruse the never-ending supply of jewelry, vintage art, decor and more. FREE. 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Pacific Box & Crate, 1503 King Street.

Steeplechase of Charleston

Bring your friends and family to join this beloved Charleston tradition and watch world-class horse racing. Between races, you can shop around Vendor Village, featuring some of the Lowcountry’s most talented artisans, enjoy local bands or even be featured in one of many fashion contests. Make sure to hop onto the ferris wheel for the best birds-eye view of the event. We’ll see you at the races! Tickets range from $45 for general admission to $250. Gates open at 10:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m. The Plantation at Stono Ferry Racetrack. 5000 Old York Course, Hollywood, SC. For tickets and more info, visit

11.21 Bring Your Brand into Focus

11.15 & 11.16 Charleston’s Lobster Festival

Start saving your appetite for this season’s seafood delicacy. After you’re joyfully stuffed with fresh Maine lobster, you can ease onto the dance floor to enjoy a variety of popular artists, while sipping on adult beverages and watching the kids play lawn games. Tickets range from $15 to $95. Johns Island County Park; Mullet Hall. 2662 Mullet Hall Rd, Johns Island.



Prepare to be dazzled at this 3 mile display throughout the James Island County Park, featuring an estimated two million dazzling lights! There will be numerous opportunities for family fun, including an old-fashioned carousel, s’more roasting and the chance to view giant holiday greeting cards, designed by local students for the annual holiday art competition. On select nights, enjoy live music and storytelling with Mrs. Clause and fellow carolers. For 1 to 15 guests, it’s $20 per vehicle, and from Monday to Thursday it’s only $15 per vehicle with a donation to the Lowcountry Food Bank. 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m., Sunday to Thursday, and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Drive. For more info, visit

Paws in the Park

Save our furry friends at this walk and funrun. Your participation helps raise money for Toby’s Fund, benefitting the Charleston Animal Society. After the race, enjoy oysters and other food and drinks, live music, pet vendors and more fun for you and the whole family. Not a runner or walker? Join the festival anyway, beginning at 11:00 a.m. $40 for Adults, $25 for children. 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. 1001 Everglades Ave, North Charleston. For more information, visit paws-in-the-park.

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Check out the next in-person event for Women Entrepreneurs of Charleston at Bring Your Brand into Focus, a workshop plus wine tasting. 5:00 p.m. AR Workshop, 280 W. Coleman Blvd. in Mount Pleasant. For more information, visit

11.26 East Cooper Newcomers


Club Monthly Coffee

Whether you’re new to town or looking to make more lasting connections, take part in a monthly coffee event hosted by the East Cooper Newcomers Club on the fourth Tuesday of the month at Dunes West Country Club. For more information, visit

11.28 42nd Annual Turkey Day Run

On your marks, get set, gobble! There’s no better way to prepare for that filling Thanksgiving meal than with a 5k race that winds through historic Charleston HOLIDAY SWING

and meets back at the Marion Square. Afterward, you can kick back at the postrace party that will include free food and beverages as well as live music. Individual registration with T-shirt is $38, and Kids Fun Run is $10. 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Marion Square. 329 Meeting St Charleston. For registration and more info, visit

11.30 HOLIDAY SWING: A Charleston Jazz Tradition

Get a little jazzy this holiday season with one of Charleston’s most exciting traditions. Celebrate and preserve this city’s rich history in jazz with Maestro Charlton Singleton and the 18-piece big band. You’ll hear all of your holiday favorites while you’re swinging and twisting along to the blues. $25 - $60. Shows begin at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Charleston Music Hall.37 John St, Charleston. For more info and tickets, visit

12.04 Boss Ladies of Mount Pleasant at Skip and Sully

Join a group of more than 300 women who get together for happy hours and networking events in the Charleston area. These Boss Ladies will be meeting for a FREE networking event at 6:00 p.m at Skip and Sully in Mount Pleasant. For more information, visit groups/bossladiesofmountpleasant.

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Contrary to POPULAR BELIEF? Local rapper Kween Katt pens her memoir on shedding religion By Raegan Whiteside


e see it through wars, mass shootings, assaults and other acts of violence. We hear it through hurtful words and lies. We feel it through discrimination and pain. Our world unfortunately experiences hate. At times, we may feel powerless against it—it seems to simply be a fixture of existence. Kween Katt, a local rapper in Charleston who released her debut book #NoReligion in August, is taking a personal stand against hate. She’s done her research, lived her truths and is now saying no to hate by saying no to religion. To hear the statement that religion and hate coincide may at first sound like crazy talk. But Kween Katt’s book makes the argument that “religion is used to belittle the next person or make [one] feel like [they] are more dominant than someone else because [they] live a certain way.” Her memoir not only talks about this idea but is, in

“I didn’t know how to pray, and I didn’t know who to pray to because I felt betrayed,” she shared. Despite this tough path, she decided to stop listening to the story that she’d been told all her life. She believed that she had a choice—she could “follow [their] story or write [her] own.” And she chose to write. Of course, it wasn’t easy to be done with religion, even after the decision was made. She was shunned by her family and community. She wasn’t welcomed at her church, and she lost a big part of her life—a part she’d always thought she could rely on. This loss and abandonment fueled her motivation for helping others and writing the book with passionate determination in order to share her truth. “I was willing to take the backlash of it [in order to] say what everyone is thinking,” she said. While Kween Katt no longer identifies with a certain religion, she said she still believes in God and still goes to church; she just doesn’t have or want a label, preferring to practice faith and love. Simply put, she believes in not subscribing to one dominant practice, similar to the concept of omnism, a philosophy that recognizes and respects all religions, including the absence of religion. Once the book was written and published, Kween Katt felt safeguarded from hate and anger, explaining she became “immune” to it. This isn’t to say she’s oblivious to the hate still occasionally present around her, but instead of letting negativity take over her life, she decided to let it go in a way that worked for her. “I have more compassion for [others], rather than feeling upset about how they feel about me. I feel sorry that they are in that box, under so much pressure to be right and still in bondage,” she said. Completing the book took four years, but the goal she’s had—to help others who have gone through the same struggle and hurt within their communities or families or just their minds—has been accomplished. The responses she has received from all walks of life show this. With Kween Katt’s debut, she is taking a bold stand in the conservative South, but her beliefs and messages are heard. She is not alone, and neither are many who perhaps thought they were before reading her book. Though the concept of no religion might still be novel for some, the message of love and the resistance of hate is welcomed by all.

“ Her memoir not only talks about this idea but is, in her words, a “beginner’s guide to consciousness” for those who are lost in their religion or are getting out of their religion and don’t know what to do next.” her words, a “beginner’s guide to consciousness” for those who are lost in their religion or are getting out of their religion and don’t know what to do next. Her ultimate goal is to inspire through her book—to be a helping hand that pulls people out of the hate that stems from being different or lacking the beliefs of others. Kween Katt herself did not come from a liberal background. She grew up in a church-going household with her immediate family, valuing the faith and community that centered around religion. She even at one point wanted to become a minister. Then, she came to further enlightenment. “I was studying to become a minister when I started learning the history of religion. I found out how so many were killed in the name of religion, and women aren’t even respected according to a lot of scriptures. We are nothing; we are objects. And those ideas are against my beliefs, so why should I speak with something that is causing me to feel bad about myself?” she explained. Following these realizations, Kween Katt said she went through a period in which she felt angry and spiritually lost.


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the issue

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

Don’t Be Afraid to Flex, Ladies Why all entrepreneurs need to practice strength training



ometimes I feel as though I won’t be able to manage one more thing; too much has been asked of me or too much has been taken from me. And then I immediately hear my grandma’s voice, reminding me that “God will never give you a cross that is too heavy to bear!” It may be an old adage, but there’s a lot of truth in this simplistic and encouraging statement. And if you want to play with the big boys, sometimes you will have to engage in processes that are not for the weak of heart. This is just me speaking from my experiences here, but there have been many times I have been so disrespected and treated like I was inherently weak or less than, simply because I was the woman at a table of all men. Being a woman in business is like the fitness and strength training we’ve all come to appreciate for the health benefits. Nowadays, it is a much more common understanding that it takes muscle fatigue to get stronger. So be honest with yourself ——are you using your heavy weights for quick bulk or the lighter weights for lean length? I think my success stems from doing both consistently. I happen to be part of the inner circle Platinum Team Partners of Tony Robbins, whom I believe is one of the greatest motivational speakers and self-help authors of all time. He asked me if I knew, in a rep of 12 bicep curls, which was the rep that made the muscle get larger. I thought I was being smart when I knowingly replied with the number 12. He shook his head and smirked, “It’s 13.” At times like this, we must choose the strength of our own powers within. That’s what sets us apart from the ordinary. Prepare tools in advance to help get you through the tough times, just like you prepare healthy snack foods while dieting so when you are hungry you won’t give into temptation. Make a mantra your cheat food and keep it in a space where you can devour it often. I keep this one by my bathroom sink: Nothing too great can be asked of me, for I am an endless source of strength. I am a powerful force for the natural will of this universe. Nothing that was mine to begin with, such as hope, courage and faith, can be taken from me. I am direct life source. As I remember the connection to my source of strength and get out of my own

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By Paula Dezzutti way, I become calm and see new possibilities for the life ahead of me. I am a mountain of strength, a river of faith and a cosmos of love that will set my course in action. Bernard M. Baruch made his fortune on Wall Street, but he said he received his greatest satisfaction in life for his service to his country as an economic adviser during both World Wars I and II and as a confidante to six presidents. He beautifully stated: The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them. I ask you to use this as your barometer today. Are you taking your strength training program seriously? Submit your letters, personal essays, poems, or even just a list of the top issues you want to see addressed to

skirt . | november 2019  39


locals Skirt believes in women supporting women. That's why we created this special advertising section to highlight small, local, women-run businesses. Join us in buying their products and using their services when you have the opportunity.



Fer Caggiano is a Brazilian born painter, who specializes in landscapes, still lifes and portraits. Ranging from a traditional to modern style, Fer creates colorful, textured, impasto oil paintings that capture visions of the world she sees. Using her canvas as her window, she provides a bright, new perspective to showcase our beautiful world.

Coven Haircraft is a collective of stylists who rejoice in the craft of Cosmetology. Located on the second and third floors of a historic Charleston landmark, Coven Haircraft holds a rich history within its walls. Coven offers tailored services and curated luxury haircare products in a peaceful oasis, dripping with greenery and good energy. fercaggianoart coven.haircraft coven.holycity goldbugcollection




Can you believe 33 years?!! Serving third generation creatives who got started here (formerly Country Bumpkin.) Gazillion Beads (think: semi-precious, pearls, sterling, tribal, seeds,wire,etc.) Only LOCALLY OWNED art supply source (think: oil paint, acrylic, canvas, watercolor, sketch, brushes,etc) Come start your creative venture! (Think: joy, relaxation,) Beginners assisted, Designers thrilled. beadsandbrushstrokes beadsbrushstrokesbumpkin

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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.



GOLDBUG is a coastal lifestyle shop located in a sunlit nook on Sullivan’s Island. Mostly known for their inhouse line of jewelry, made on the island by owner Ashley Reid Martin, GOLDBUG has also fast become a go-to spot for standout resortwear and swimwear, as well as curated gifts for the modern beach lover.

At CorePower Yoga, studio manager Jackie Skinner leads a team of passionate and encouraging certified instructors teaching the incredible, life-changing things that happen when an intense workout is rooted in the mindfulness of yoga. Through a variety of classes in spa-like studios, our students experience CPY’s unique form of fitness.

Charleston Dog Walking Co. is the premier provider of professional dog walking, sitting and transportation in Charleston County. Founded in 2010, CDWC leads the industry by providing credible and compassionate care of both dogs and cats while delivering a highly personalized experience for our clients. Follow our daily adventures! corepoweryoga_charleston cpycharleston



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. . jmelissadesigns charlestondogwalkingco drzgraggen hello@

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Empowered Birth. Empowered Women. Empowered Families. We are The Exchange. We are your resource for holistic care to better your mind, body, and spirit - before, during, and after pregnancy. We offer acupuncture, chiropractic care, energy work, herbal medicine, massage, pelvic floor physical therapy, emotional support and so much more.

Haley Keisler Holzworth, owner of Hermosa Jewelry and a native to Charleston, SC, is influenced by her Southern lifestyle and the coastal landscapes of the Lowcountry. Located in the heart of Mt. Pleasant, Hermosa sells handcrafted jewelry and local Charleston gifts. Guaranteed to turn heads, Hermosa Jewelry is the ultimate accessory for any occasion. Haley also specializes in jewelry for the whole bridal party.

CABINETRY & INTERIORS bellelinastudio theexchangecharleston theexchangechs hermosajewelry





White Leaf Provisions believes that healthy food starts with healthy soil. They have created the first Biodynamic baby food in the USA. All of their products are 100% Demeter BiodynamicŽ, Organic, NON GMO and Regenerativelyl Farmed™. They are helping to heal the Earth that our kids will inherit.

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.

WOMAN Kenya Dunn is a coach, motivational speaker and writer. She believes every person has undiscovered power within. Kenya created the Power-Filled Woman to offer you a pathway to success on your own terms. She offers masterclasses, personal coaching, and meeting facilitation.

ESTATE whiteleafprovisions afmdesign kenyadunn12

Elina Mille is a premiere makeup artist and master esthetician. She runs her own downtown skincare and makeup boutique style studio and offers exclusive oneon one beauty services from customized facials and skin resurfacing to airbrush makeup and tanning in an intimate, cozy atmosphere.


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Cristina Swinney is a Charlestonbased kitchen and interior designer who takes pride in her ability to transform spaces by marrying conceptual and uniquely designed ideas that is exclusive to each of her clients. Her concept is to create "chef inspired" kitchens with budget, functionality, and time frame in mind. charleston_fine_cabinetry

Tricia Peterson is the owner/Brokerin-Charge of Island House Real Estate. Because real estate is more than a "transaction", Island House is a curated multi-faceted boutique company striving to simplify every aspect of the process. Real estate can be fun and elegant, it doesn't have to be stressful! Let us help! islandhouserelestate islandhouserealestatesc

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