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February 2020

Anyone who does not believe in miracles is not a realist. -Audrey Hepburn-


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February 2020 “You Wear it Well”

Contents Volume 19, Issue 2

About the Cover: Audrey with Flowers, by Catherine Mingus A native of Southern California, Catherine has always been fascinated with people and objects of the past. Growing up, the artist watched many old black and white movies and was mesmerized by the women in long white gloves and fancy hats, convinced that would be her one day! Catherine’s dedication to painting was renewed after being given a large box of old black and white family photos. The artist was so intrigued with the beautiful vintage photos that she began to paint them. Each person had a story that Catherine needed to tell on canvas. To see more of Catherine’s work, visit her Etsy shop, “My Mysterious Past,” and find her on Instagram @mymysteriouspast.

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Sasee February Calendar


Creating a Life of Beauty: Deborah Mayberry Mandrell by Leslie Moore


Living “Perfectly Imperfect:” Sunshine & Salty Secrets by Leslie Moore

14 16 18 20 22 24 28 30 34 36 40 48

The Saga of Home Improvement Drama, by Diane Stark A Color to Dye For, by Jeffery Cohen Read It! Reviews by Nicole McManus What Lies Within, by Rose Ann Sinay Love What You Do and Where You Are: Ginger Gray by Leslie Moore My Great Escape, by Linda O’Connell Dressing in Color: Amy Bunn by Leslie Moore The New Old Me, by Mary Ann Crimi Learning by Giving, by Joan Leotta Wardrobe DisFuncation, by Diane DeVaughn Stokes The Tao of a Couch, by Erika Hoffman Youth Dew, by Mari Wallace

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from the Editor

Publisher Delores Blount Sales & Marketing Director Susan Bryant Editor Leslie Moore Account Executives Stacy Danosky Erica Schneider Gay Stackhouse I learned a lot about beauty this month – not from a blog post or YouTube video, or even from our skilled, local makeup experts who work their magic from beauty counters up and down the Strand. I interviewed the four women behind Southern Salty Secrets, and they really gave me food for thought. All four are very attractive, each with a unique sense of style. We talked a bit about feeling more powerful with makeup on, and at first, I thought, I’m not sure how I feel about that – do I need makeup to feel my own power? But, honestly, the more I pondered the question, the more I realized that, yes, carefully applied makeup and good hair contribute a lot to feeling beautiful. But, these days, my level of self-confidence is dependent more on how I’m feeling inside. As I age, beauty means something quite different than it did years ago. This sentiment was driven home by another interview I did with Deborah Mandrell, who has that rare ability to create a unique, personal style that just works. At age 70, her beauty has not dimmed; rather it is a lovely reflection of someone who is completely comfortable in her own skin. My most important realization is that the women I find the most beautiful are always kind to those around them, not afraid to give a compliment or help another woman illuminate her beauty. All of us at Sasee wish you a wonderful February – if the weather is cold and dreary, put on something bright and colorful (another lesson I learned this month from Amy Bunn), and go help someone have a better day.

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Art Director Patrick Sullivan Web Developer Scott Konradt Accounting Gail Knowles Executive Publishers Jim Creel Bill Hennecy Suzette Rogers PO Box 1389, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576 fax 843-626-6452 • phone 843-626-8911 www.sasee.com • info@sasee.com Sasee is published monthly and distributed free along the Grand Strand. Letters to the editor are welcome, but could be edited for length. Submissions of articles and art are welcome. Visit our website for details on submission. Sasee is a Strand Media Group, Inc. publication. Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material, in part or in whole, prepared by Strand Media Group, Inc. and appearing within this publication is strictly prohibited. Title “Sasee” is registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Jeffrey W. Horowitz, DMD, FAGD Cara Coleman Lawson, DMD Martin Bockler, DMD Shawna Collins, DMD

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February February 1 - April 11 Voice Lessons, exhibit at Myrtle Beach Art Museum 843-238-2510 myrtlebeachartmuseum.org

February 5, 10, 19 Brookgreen U lectures and demos various topics 843-235-6000 Brookgreen.org

February 8-9 Myrtle Beach Stamp and Postcard Show Riverwalk Hotel at Fantasy Harbor, Myrtle Beach 843-347-0087 lilfort@sccoast.net

February 9 Diabetes 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run 2pm Grand Park, Market Common 843-839-1174 February 12 Valentine’s Oyster Roast 10am-1pm North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve $35 for two 843-904-9017 northinlet.sc.edu

February 13 FPC Concert Series: Jonathan Swenson, Cello 7:30 pm First Presbyterian Church Myrtle Beach 843-448-4496

February 14 Moveable Feast Tom Poland discusses Carolina Bays and The Last Sunday Drive 11am, $30 Pawleys Plantation 843-235-9600 classatpawleys.com

February 14 Romance in the Garden Renew Wedding Vows 3-5pm Brookgreen Gardens 843-235-6000 brookgreen.org

February 14-16 Music Is The Food Of Love, Carolina Master Chorale 14 - 7:30pm Trinity Presbyterian Church, Surfside Beach 15 - 4pm Trinity UMC, North Myrtle Beach 16 - 4pm Trinity Church, Myrtle Beach 843-444-5774 carolinamasterchorale.com

February 18 Myrtle Beach Green Drinks lecture by SCELP 5:30-7:30pm Pawleys Island Tavern greendrinks.org/myrtle_beach @myrtlebeachgreendrinks

February 19 Flower Fun with Jim Martin Brookgreen U 10:30am Brookgreen Gardens 843-235-6000

myrtlebeachpresbyterianchurch.org brookgreen.org

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February 19-3/1 Matilda Theatre of the Republic, Conway 843-488-0821 theatreoftherepublic.com

February 21-23 Spring Home Show Myrtle Beach Convention Center 843-438-4124


February 23 Kaminski House Wedding Showcase 1-4pm, Georgetown 843-546-7706


February 27 - March 7 A Swamp Fox Extravaganza Swamp Fox Players Strand Theatre, Georgetown 843-527-2924 x 1 swampfoxplayers.com

February 28 Moveable Feast Susan Zurenda discusses, Bells for Eli 11am, Kimbel’s Wachesaw, $30 843-235-9600 classatpawleys.com

February 29 12th Annual Broadway Concert Long Bay Symphony 7pm, Myrtle Beach High School 843-448-8379 longbaysymphony.com

March 7 Myrtle Beach Woman’s Club Annual Reverse Raffle 6-10pm, tickets $100, food, drinks, entertainment Base Recreation Center Market Common 843-340-0179

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Sasee.com :: February 2020 12/13/19 4:09:: PM9

Creating a Life of Beauty: Deborah Mayberry Mandrell by Leslie Moore

With her signature eclectic and stunning style, Deborah Mayberry Mandrell makes a dramatic entrance wherever she goes. From her closely cropped hair to her signature jewelry designs to her fabulous outfits, Deborah is a woman who gets attention when she enters a room. A professional model for many years, an artist and personal stylist, Deborah has spent her life creating beauty – and having lots of fun along the way. “I became a professional model at age 13,” Deborah began. “I always wanted to model, and started work with an agency in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I grew up.” After several years, the young model’s agency sent her photos to Eileen Ford, who asked her to come to New York for a fashion show. “My dream was to model for the Fords,” Deborah remembered. After the fashion show at the Waldorf Astoria, Eileen and Jerry Ford approached her, asking young Deborah to call them the next day. If this wasn’t enough, when Deborah arrived at her hotel, Wilhelmina Cooper, and her husband Bruce, were waiting to talk to her about modeling for them as well. It looked like Deborah’s career was about to take off. “After I thought about leaving my family, my high school – and my boyfriend, I decided I couldn’t move to New York,” Deborah told me laughing. “I was 17, and even though it was my 10 :: Sasee.com ::February 2020

dream to model for the Fords, I said no!”

Back in Charlotte, Deborah continued modeling. “In the 1970s, Charlotte was starting to boom,” she remembered, while telling me about her career. “I became a popular model, and worked in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and Europe, but I was able to still live at home.” At the time, Vogue Magazine did traveling shows, featuring some of the world’s top designers, and Deborah had the opportunity to work with Bill

Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Geoffrey Beene, and others. One of her favorite designers was Donna Karan. “I remember one morning she had all the models meet at 7 am to be fitted for her big segment in a fashion show. She had us strip down to undergarments, line up by weight and height, and then gave us outfits to try on from a rack, switching them back and forth, and changing them around until she was satisfied. That’s how she figured out what looked the best on each of us.” “Because of my modeling career, I was often invited to meet famous people when they came to Charlotte. In the ‘70s, the Rolling Stones were doing a world tour and came to the Charlotte Coliseum.” With a far-away smile, Deborah recounted being invited to meet the band in their dressing room before the show. Arriving early, she was waiting, alone, for their arrival. “I was dressed to the nines, as you can imagine,” Deborah laughed. The band was running late, so someone from Stevie Wonder’s entourage (Stevie was opening for the Stones) invited her to hang out with them while she waited. Finally, the Rolling Stones arrived, and Deborah was ready to meet them when they came through the dressing room door. “The first person to come in was Keith Richards, and he fell flat on his face! He got up cursing and shouting, not realizing I was even there. The rest of the band came in

and went right to their dressing areas, but Mick Jagger came straight over to me and introduced himself, like I wouldn’t know who he was!” Deborah and Mick talked for nearly an hour, and she remembers him as a gentleman, a “solid kind of person.” During those years, Deborah met many of the day’s most famous rock stars including Alice Cooper, and even ‘70s heartthrob, David Cassidy. When she traveled to New York for modeling jobs, Deborah was often invited to parties. “I met Truman Capote, Andy Warhol…that whole group of people.” Only once did she get in over her head and was saved by two male models she had befriended. “I was young and didn’t know how to drink, I had too much, too fast, but luckily my friends took me back to my hotel. I was so innocent – I didn’t realize what could’ve happened to me until later.” “I had a lot of fun during those years,” Deborah said as she reminisced. “I always felt lucky to get the work – runway was my favorite, it puts you on the spot, and it’s never boring.” Deborah always loved everything about the fashion business, and in addition to her talent as a model, became known for her ability to coordinate clothing –

both for fashion shows and personal clients. “I love menswear and had men call me to redo their wardrobes. I helped coordinate outfits for fashion shows featuring Geoffrey Beene and Alexander Julian at different times in my career. Geoffrey offered me a job in New York, but I was married to Carl Peverall by then and didn’t take it.” The day of our interview, Deborah had on a fabulous outfit, soft pants with a top and vest, along with menswear inspired lace-up boots, all in patterns and colors that coordinated perfectly even though everything was a little different. She topped it off with a gorgeous scarf and, of course, jewelry she designed and created herself. I was surprised when she told me that much of her wardrobe comes from consignment and thrift stores. “It’s like treasure hunting!” Deborah laughed. “My boyfriend of ten years, Tommy Nicholas, teases me about wearing so many menswear pieces. But I wear both and see myself as androgynous. We all have male and female tendencies.” “I’m very fortunate that I was always around a lot of creative people. Betsy Johnson probably influenced my personal style more than any other designer. She started doing crazy things like mixing stripes with flowers or prints and had such an eclectic style. I met her when I was working as a buyer for a clothing store.” After traveling around the country, and the world, Deborah eventually made her way back home. She lived in Taos, New Mexico, for ten years, an artist’s enclave that was perfect for this creative fashionista. “Taos is where I met and married, Michael Mandrell,” Deborah said, telling me that she is still close friends with her former husbands and learned something from each one.

Deborah’s deep love for her parents helped her make the decision to live and work in our area. “I never had children, even though I wanted them,” she said, expressing the only regret I heard from this upbeat, positive woman. “So, when my parents’ health began to fail, I came home to help them.” Her mother and father had moved from Charlotte to the family beach house in Surfside Beach, where Deborah still lives since her mother’s passing in 2015. “They were very blessed to be able to retire and live in their beach house for 30 years before they passed.” Deborah refuses to let the negatives in life get her down, not even her successful battle with cancer 20 years ago or her diabetes diagnosis that she manages with diet and exercise. “I try to be positive, no matter how sad or bad life gets. I try to look at what good might come out of it. Embrace your situation. Take it on. Once you embrace it, figure out what you’re going to do about it.” Today, Deborah works at Christopher’s Fine Jewelry in sales, designs her own jewelry, does fashion consulting and is a local star of the cat rescue community. She has recently expanded her fashion consulting business and is taking new clients. “If someone wants to learn how to put their current wardrobe together in new, creative ways, I can come in and help them. Or I can help them create a new wardrobe, putting together outfits from shoes to jewelry. I work with both men and women.” To work with Borah Designs or to see Deborah’s jewelry, call 843-814-4553.

Sasee.com :: February 2020 :: 11

Living “Perfectly Imperfect:” Sunshine & Salty Secrets by Leslie Moore

If you ever scroll through any social media site, you’ve probably seen, or listened to, or enjoyed reading about, the women of Sunshine & Salty Secrets. Amanda Patrick, Elizabeth Ferraro, Keri Smith and Nicole Queen all live in Myrtle Beach, are married with children and have busy, successful careers. Amanda is a realtor, with Coldwell Banker Chicora Advantage; Elizabeth is the office manager of Rivertown Property Inspections; Keri is a mortgage lender with Revolution Mortgage, and Nicole is an account executive with WMBF News. How they do it all – and (mostly) do it well, is the theme of this new, trendy and fun Grand Strand group. Started a year ago, founding member,

Amanda Patrick said the group has evolved into much more than its original intent. “We all live in Myrtle Beach and work in the sales or real estate industry. Through lots of research, we discovered how we reach potential customers is changing. Traditional marketing is still relevant, but people want more.” So, the four original members came together with the common denominator of trying to maintain some sort of work/ life balance while promoting their businesses and having fun along the way. Now in their second year, the group has become hugely popular with women in our community. “We’ve made a connection with women because

Amanda Patrick • Elizabeth Ferraro • Keri Smith • Nicole Queen 12 :: Sasee.com ::February 2020

we’re all trying to do everything – we’re perfectly imperfect,” Amanda told me thoughtfully while explaining their tagline, “perfectly imperfect.” Log on to Sunshine & Salty Secrets, and you might find a unique restaurant to try or a fun boutique or even a new way to celebrate your child’s birthday. Last year they planned to do an elegant and beautiful Valentine’s Day video, and on the day of the shoot, found out they were all very much not in a Valentine’s Day mood. “We were all just a hot mess,” laughed Elizabeth Ferraro, the other founding member of the group. “I had an illness in my family, and the others all had something chaotic going on in their lives. Sometimes Valentine’s Day is not this big show of romance and flowers. Sometimes we all just want to go home and get in bed.” This honest portrayal of their lives is one of the reasons we have come to love (and relate to) the women of Sunshine & Salty Secrets. “We want to empower women,” continued Elizabeth, while holding her two week old baby girl. (Yes, this woman came to an interview two weeks after giving birth!) “And showcase women living real life. We love to ask our audience questions and one of my favorites was, ‘How does it feel to take off your makeup? Do you feel any less powerful?’ Most of us do feel much more powerful when our hair is freshly done and we’re all made up.”

“Myrtle Beach is such a great area,” Amanda interjected as the conversation continued. “We’re one of the fastest growing cities in the United States – this is an amazing place! We want to be the go-to guide for things to see and do in our area. Because we live here, sometimes we forget how much there is to offer within an hour’s drive of Myrtle Beach. We want to give you an out-of-the-box way to look at planning your weekend activities.” “And our audience helps us find new ideas, too,” Elizabeth told me. “I was looking for something fun to do with my husband for his birthday, something off the beaten path and unusual. I asked for ideas and wow, did I get some good ones! We ended up going to the Library Restaurant where you can reserve a special table in the wine cellar. I knew of The Library, of course, but I never knew you could reserve a special table. It was wonderful.”

In this new decade, Sunshine & Salty Secrets is becoming a way to encourage and empower women. “We’ve changed and evolved so much in the past year and are responding to what our audience wants. We’re real women living lives that are perfectly imperfect. Women choose to follow us for their own reasons – we’ve asked what they want to see – and responded to their needs.” As we finished our conversation, Amanda said, “With women, it’s sometimes difficult to find your niche; good, drama-free friendships, the best clothing, and ways to make the most of family time. We want to help provide a base for helping each other and helping the community. While Myrtle Beach has grown, it still retains that small town feel. People here come together to help each other. That’s what Sunshine & Salty Secrets is all about.”

Follow Sunshine & Salty Secrets on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and on their website, www.sunshineandsaltysecrets.com. And, after you’ve laughed and learned with your four new friends – get in touch by emailing sunnysaltysecrets@gmail.com.

With women, it’s sometimes difficult to find your niche; good, drama-free friendships, the best clothing, and ways to make the most of family time. We want to help provide a base for helping each other and helping the community.

Sasee.com :: February 2020 :: 13

The Saga of Home Improvement Drama by Diane Stark

My husband, Eric, is quite handy around the house. His current home improvement project is putting up and finishing the dry wall in the garage addition at his mom’s house. When he’s done with that, he’s planning to put up crown molding in our living room. In some ways, having a handy husband is a good thing. It saves money because most people have to pay someone to do the jobs he does himself. Plus, he tends to be a perfectionist, so the projects are done really, really well. I know I should be grateful. Really. A lot of women would love to have a husband who is willing and able to tackle home improvement projects. I am thankful. But there’s one major drawback to Eric’s handiness. It all starts with ten little words: Honey, I need to make a quick trip to Lowe’s. Now, these ten words may sound innocuous. You might think they’re no big deal. But these words fill me with dread like no others. Because there’s no such thing as “a quick trip” to Lowe’s. A quick stop for one item has turned into a two-hour, feels-like-two-days, will-this-never-end saga of home improvement drama. 14 :: Sasee.com ::February 2020

(Eric makes it a saga, but I definitely bring the drama.)

straight. I don’t have to imagine it because I’ve lived it. Dozens of times.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I have literally fallen asleep in a Lowe’s store, waiting for Eric to choose whatever lumber, flooring, or electrical supplies he needed on that particular day. Now, I’ve come to learn that a trip to Lowe’s in the spring and summer time is not nearly as miserable as going in the fall and winter. This is true for one very important reason. In the spring and summer, Lowe’s has an entire section of the store devoted to patio furniture. This means a place to sit down when our visit exceeds what I deem an acceptable amount of time to be in one store. But in the fall and winter, the patio furniture disappears to make room for the Christmas decorations. These are beautiful, of course. But not a comfortable place for a nap when your husband gets sucked into the space time continuum that is every home improvement store in the country.

For some reason, Eric rarely knows he needs to make his “quick trip” to Lowe’s while we’re at home. If I knew that’s where he was heading, I’d just stay home. But he always seems to remember that he needs to go there when we’re already out running other errands. I find myself at home improvement stores way more often – and for far longer – than I’d like.

At one point, my youngest son, Nathan, actually had his second home at our Lowe’s store. He didn’t actually live there, but he loved to pretend he did. Every time we walked into the store, he would beg to go to the door section. He loved the big, fancy doors with the glass sidelights. He would stand behind the door and wait for me to knock on it. Then he’d open it, pretend to be so surprised that I’d dropped by for a visit, and then welcome me inside. I’d enter his “home,” he’d offer me a drink and sometimes even a cookie, and then he’d thank me for visiting and usher me out the door. I knew the rules. I was to count to five and then knock on the door again. Imagine doing this for two hours

But to be fair, I do occasionally drag Eric to the mall. And while that’s enjoyable for me, it’s the equivalent of a never-ending trip to Lowe’s for my husband. Both have benefits. After a trip to the home improvement store, our house usually looks better. And I’d like to think I look a little better after shopping at the mall. Numerous times, I’ve tried to explain to Eric that the mall isn’t nearly as boring as Lowe’s. “There are different kinds of stores,” I say. “That makes it more interesting than one store that sells all the same stuff.” To which, of course, he explains that all of the different departments at Lowe’s are like their own individual stores, so it’s the same thing. “But there’s food at the mall,” I say. He shrugs. He doesn’t have an answer

It all starts with ten little words: Honey, I need to make a quick trip to Lowe’s.

for that one. After all, hot pretzels and smoothies are hard to argue with. “Plus,” I say triumphantly, “at the mall, the chairs are always there. They don’t take them away in the wintertime the way Lowe’s does.” “But then you can walk around and look at the Christmas trees,” he says every time. To which I reply, “The mall has a Christmas tree too. Plus a Santa and some reindeer.” Eric sighs, and I remember that we aren’t going to solve this, no matter how many times we talk about it. The truth is, I hate home improvement stores. But I do like having my home improved. More importantly, I love my husband, and he loves home improvement stores.

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Which means I find myself there all too often. For long periods of time, and frequently in the winter, when the patio furniture is missing. I’ll have to ask Nathan to move a couch into his house at Lowe’s. Then when he invites me in and offers me an imaginary cookie, I’ll just pretend I’m at the mall.

Join us February 20th, 12-4pm to celebrate! Diane Stark is a wife and mom of five. She loves to write about her family and her faith. Her essays have been published in over 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

843.248.2624 317 Laurel Street Conway, SC 29526

(Closed Sundays & Mondays)

Sasee.com :: February 2020 :: 15

A Color to Dye for by Jeffery Cohen

When I was a boy, I wanted to be just like my Dad, so when I saw photos of him in the Navy with a full beard, I wanted one too. Unfortunately for me, at eight years old, the best I could do was to draw one on with my mother’s eyebrow pencil. In high school, my facial hairs began to sprout so I decided to let them turn into a beard. By week’s end, I had a mild five o’clock shadow, enough to require a visit to the principal’s office where I was informed that if I grew a thing like that in college, they’d give me umbrellas to sell. I guess the confused look on my face led the principal to explain what he meant in plain English. “Son, you look like a bum out on the street.” I was told that if that “stuff” on my face wasn’t gone by the following day, I would be. So, I spent the rest of my high school career clean-shaven. My first day of college, I began growing a beard. I wound up liking it so much, I actually never did shave it off. Over the years it has grown long, been trimmed short, shaped and contoured every which way and was never a problem until I turned forty. Tiny gray hairs began to erupt. As I stared into the mirror, old age began staring back at me, and I sure didn’t like the looks of that old geezer one little bit. I suppose it was in the genes. My grandfather turned snowy white by the time he was middle aged, looking very much like Albert Einstein. Not a pleasant prospect as far as I was concerned. I 16 :: Sasee.com ::February 2020

complained to my wife, who tried to smooth my ruffled feathers by telling me these new gray hairs gave me a distinguished look. I just couldn’t see it. She shrugged. “If it really bothers you, you can always touch up your hair and beard with a little dye.” I rolled my eyes at that prospect, but the next day I found myself at the local pharmacy, sneaking down the aisle that housed a wall of hair-dye products, hoping I wouldn’t run into anyone that I knew. My eyes darted up and down the shelves where boxes of every conceivable color were displayed. I quickly dismissed shades of red and blonde. “Brown...brown...brown,” I muttered as I finally zeroed in on the right rack. There was Golden Brown, Ash Brown, Bronze, Mahogany, Raw Umber and Burnt Sienna. When I moved down to Honey, Caramel, Toffee, Chestnut, Chocolate Cherry, Sweet Cola, Cinnamon and Nutmeg, I wondered if I had accidentally wandered into the candy department. My head was spinning with the varieties facing me. I decided to play it safe. I chose Medium Brown. At home I read the directions over and over. It seemed simple enough. Mix the white creamy liquid with the gooey coloring, apply it liberally, leave it on for twenty minutes and rinse. There were, of course, all kinds of warnings and disclaimers about allergic reactions. Cautions instructing me to test a sample first, but I was just too anxious to get started, so I slathered my beard and hair with the concoction. In minutes, my face felt as though it was on fire, and the smell of ammonia caused me to tear up. My eyes followed the hands on my watch.  Those twenty  minutes seemed like hours. I finally washed the goop out to find that there was hardly a difference. It became clear to me. My gray hairs had to be some kind of indestructible strain that needed a longer

application than the instructions called for, so I re-applied, and sat down to read a book. After a little more than an hour, I went back to the bathroom to check on my progress in the mirror. Medium brown had turned into jet black! No matter how much I scrubbed, it never got a shade lighter. The positive was, it did cover the gray. The negative? For the next month I walked around looking like Neanderthal man. The following month, the gray began to resurface. Now, more experienced, more dye-savvy, I made the safe choice of Light Brown, left it on for only thirty-five minutes, and rinsed out to what looked like a very handsome, natural shade of color...inside the house. But, when I went outside into the sun, Light Brown turned into Bozo the Clown Scarlet! I considered re-dying with just a touch of a darker shade but I kept picturing my hair and beard somehow turning grape purple. Instead, for the next five weeks, I avoided going out in the sunlight like a vampire. After months of trial and error, I finally came up with the right combination of time and color, leaving me looking natural and young again. Touching up my hair became routine. Over the years, the gray became more persistent, the touch ups more frequent until one day I got tired of the dying routine. “What do you think of me letting my hair go natural?” I asked my wife. “I think you’ll be fine.” She smiled reassuringly. “Look at how many famous people let their hair go grey.” So I made up my mind. I dumped what hair coloring I had left and let nature take its course. It wasn’t long before my hair passed from light brown to white, leaving me uncertain of whether I’d made the right decision. Then, one day I was standing in an elevator and

a young woman stepped on. She looked closely at me and said, “You know, you look like someone.” I smiled. “I do? Willie Nelson?” I asked. “No, not him. But someone.” She continued studying my face. “Kris Kristofferson, maybe?” I suggested. “No, not him.” “How about Sean Connery?” I asked. “No. I’ve got it!” She smiled. “I know who you look like. Santa Claus!” As soon as the elevator doors opened, I headed for the hair coloring section of the nearest pharmacy.

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Freelance writer and newspaper columnist, Jeffery Cohen, has written for Sasee, Lifetime and Read, Learn, Write. He’s won awards in Women-On-Writing Contest, Vocabula’s Well Written Contest, National League of American Pen Women’s’ Keats Competition, Southern California Genealogy Competition, and Writer’s Weekly writing contest.

Better Every Day! Sasee.com :: February 2020 :: 17

–Read It!–

Love is in the air… and who doesn’t love a fantastic book or two? Below are two remarkable love stories, perfect for this extended February. (Leap years give us all an extra day of reading!)

Five Feet Apart, by Rachael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis Stella Grant has been coming to the same hospital several times a year, since she was six years old. She documents each visit in a YouTube video, in hopes of bringing awareness to Cystic Fibrosis. Now, a teenager, she is back in the hospital instead of going on the trip with her best friends. When she sees her CF bestie is in the hospital too, things are looking up. However, they are both caught off guard by a new floormate, Will. The normal rule of six feet apart is enforced by the staff, but they seem especially reinforced when Will is around, due to his b.cepacia. Will seems to be focused on breaking the rules, while Stella prefers to have as much control over her life as possible. How will these two be able to set aside their differences and build a friendship if they’re constantly being separated? This is how much I loved this book: I wasn’t even finished listening to it when I immediately added it to my must-buy list. Yes, I have the audio version, but I cannot wait until the day I can hold the hardcover in my hands, because, first, I

want to stare at the cover photo as it is mentioned several times throughout the book, and because I want to read the words. I have heard them and felt them, but now I want to see them. (Am I the only one this book-obsessed? I highly doubt it.) Anyhow, this book is definitely going to be one that I reread and relisten to on a yearly basis. I love books that bring up causes, especially medical ones, that don’t necessarily get a ton of mainstream attention. Having an undiagnosable autoimmune disease might be the reason, or it might just be because the world needs to see and hear from people with all illnesses. These two young characters might be fictional, but they portray real feelings in a way that I haven’t seen before in young adult books. (And if you are a fellow book-obsessed reader, you will want to do research on the real-life couple, and the young woman that inspired this incredible novel.) So do yourself a favor and walk to your nearest bookstore or library and pick up a copy today.

The Artist’s Special Touch, by River Wild Jackson Henderson just gave his only daughter away, and, on her wedding day, her gift to him brings back decades of memories. Jackson remembers a lifetime ago, a time of innocence and discovering a love of painting. When he meets Hannah Walker on Christmas Eve, his whole world is turned upside down. They begin a romance that they promise will carry them through all of life’s turmoil. River Wild sets this book in the beautiful town of Folly Beach, South Carolina. The scenery comes alive and transports readers

into the story. The intense feelings of discovering your passion, your true love, your forever home, radiate from the pages. Fans of sweet romance stories will definitely want to add this book to their “To Be Read” lists. This is a beautiful heartwarming story. River Wild does an incredible job bringing the Lowcountry to life, as well as making the characters feel incredibly real. I look forward to learning more about River Wild and seeing what’s next for this author.

Reviews by Nicole McManus Nicole loves to read, to the point that she is sure she was born with a book in her hands. She writes book reviews in the hopes of helping others find the magic found through reading. Contact her at ARIESGRLREVIEW.COM. 18 :: Sasee.com ::February 2020


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What Lies Within

closet to change out my summer clothes to winter wear. The chore seemed overwhelming since my wardrobe has expanded to cover three different sizes: yesterday, today, and wishful thinking. I could have filled Carrie’s room with no problem.

Remember Carrie Bradshaw’s dream closet in the movie Sex in the City 2? We all oohed and aahed in the theater when she unveiled her luxurious walkin Shangri-La. Several dozen pairs of stunning designer shoes (each costing at least a month’s salary) were perfectly aligned on shelves, sparkling under hidden light bulbs, conveying the sophistication and passion of their owner. A multitude of drawers lined the dress/shirt niches both above and below. Each niche appeared to hold a category of clothes: casual, business, and “knock ‘em dead” designer dresses. Special outfits were displayed on special hooks. An upholstered bench stood conveniently in the middle of the glamorous room for trying on those Manolo Blahniks, Christian Louboutins and Jimmy Choos.

There are scarves and dresses I’ve never worn, shoes that pinch my wide feet, and slacks that need to be shortened. The dresses need to be lengthened at least three inches to cover my chubby knees. I can do it myself, I’ve said over the years even though my sewing machine has been long gone. Maybe, I will take them to the tailor. Maybe that would cost more than the garments did. Maybe they will disintegrate by the time I get them there.

by Rose Ann Sinay

As much as I drooled at the thought of such an extravagance, I knew it wouldn’t look as alluring if I owned it. My trendiest shoes from DWS (with frayed rubber on the “spikes” of kitten heels) did not warrant an illuminated spot of honor. But, there were the perfect “never worns” that would fit my feet comfortably if I cut holes in their leather sides to accommodate my bunions, or if I sliced off a couple of inches off their spiked heels (what was I thinking?). They existed in their boxes solely for my fantasy of click clacking across a room making that sexy “I have arrived” sound. In reality, an annoying squeak was more likely to follow my footsteps. It was time to face my own humble 20 :: Sasee.com ::February 2020

The scarves are permanently creased on their original plastic hoops. Bold images, tiny flowers, rubbed velvet, frilly, lacy – each design has a telltale sign of its age.

sheer bathing suit cover up I wore before the kids were even a thought. It was the first item to hit the bottom of the bag destined for the thrift shop. My husband came in to check on me. “Are you actually getting rid of anything,” he asked? “Of course,” I replied with my back to him. “You could stand to clean out your side, you know.” “Yeah, you’re right.” He agreed assessing his own relics of the past. Soon, I heard thumps as objects, crumpled into wads, were thrown into the bag. “I’ll match you piece for piece,” my husband said, dumping five pairs of thick wale corduroys at once. “You’re way behind,” he taunted. “Here,” he said grabbing a handful of hangers with my slacks that hadn’t been worn in years.

Why do I keep them? I wish I knew. As I peered into my small(ish) closet packed tightly on one side with my clothes in assorted sizes and the other side with my husband’s pants and shirts, I realized I didn’t need lighted shelves or niches (though the niches would be ever so nice!). All I needed to do was conquer my slight hoarding proclivity. That’s all; a piece of cake, right? Give away the dress I wore to the son’s college graduation eighteen years ago, or the one I bought for my daughter’s wedding – the perfect cocktail dress that I never wore again. And then, there are the silk blouses with the slightly strained button holes that I always wore to holiday parties and special events. As I pushed through the mangle of fabrics, I came upon a ridiculously

“Let me know if you need help zipping them up.” He grinned and handed them to me. He ducked as I threw them back. They landed in a tangle on top of the almost full bag. We needed a big box. The afternoon flew by as we reminisced. Well, I reminisced; he halflistened. A plastic container on the top shelf held a fisherman sweater from our trip to Ireland (seventeen years ago), a crazy neon-colored scarf from the Caribbean that was older than our son, and our daughter’s high school sweatshirt that I wore on rainy days. I held the garment to my nose. I swear I could still smell her hair inside the hood. The shoes were easier to let go – except for the sandals with the changeable

jewels. If only I could find those pieces of snap on glitz. They had to be here . . . somewhere. “Wasn’t there anything you found difficult to get rid of?” I asked. “Nope.” He rolled up a perfectly good dress shirt and shot it into the box like a basketball. “A pair of jeans and a sweater is all I need.” I groaned at the truth of it. I stood back and surveyed the transformation. There was space between dresses. My blouses hung straight and unwrinkled. No plastic hangers jutted errantly out of line. I did keep the three sizes of jeans – you just never know. Four containers filled to the brim of perfectly good cast offs to be donated – quickly before I could change my mind. I snaked my hand into one of the boxes and felt around for the thick, soft sweatshirt my daughter had worn so many years ago. I took it out and pulled it on, adjusting the hood to cover my head. I put both hands in the front pouch like she used to do. Some things are meant to be kept for a rainy day.

Rose Ann Sinay is a freelance writer newly relocated to Connecticut. She continues to write about moments worth remembering, graciously provided by family and friends.

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Love What You Do and Where You Are: Ginger Gray by Leslie Moore

Ginger Gray, owner of Doodlebugs Children’s Finery & Gifts in Georgetown, finds her appreciation for her quaint and beautiful hometown increases with each passing year. “More and more people are seeing the great potential we have in Georgetown. I’ve lived here since I was three years old, and growing up we had to travel to Myrtle Beach to go to the mall or see a movie. We didn’t realize what we have in Historic Georgetown.” Ginger’s business is located at 800 Front Street, where she is surrounded by historic buildings, the beautiful and picturesque Harborwalk, and homes dating back to the Revolutionary War. “We have unique shops, great restaurants, fascinating history, entertainment and more. It’s a really special place,” Ginger told me as we chatted about the third oldest city in the state. Since 2012, Ginger has been on the board of the Georgetown Business Association (GBA), an organization formed for all businesses in Georgetown; helping them grow and attracting more people from outside the area to discover this gem of a small town. “I am taking a break from the board this year,” Ginger 22 :: Sasee.com ::February 2020

said. “But I’m still involved with the organization.” Ginger went on to tell me the popular Music in the Park will be back this year, with concerts on the first Friday of every month from May through October. “We have visitors from all over, representing at least 15 different states, come to this event – it’s very popular,” she said proudly. “Now we have from 2,000-4,000 people attending every concert, depending on who’s playing.” When Music in the Park first started, Ginger remembered that it was just a small gathering of

25-30 people in Francis Marion Park. Now music lovers line Front Street to hear concerts. “We’re planning some fun surprises and events this year to celebrate the new decade,” Ginger told me. Last year, Georgetown had Third Thursday celebrations where businesses stayed open late and offered special deals for shoppers. This event was so popular Ginger says the GBA will do it again, but with a few tweaks. “Stay tuned,” Ginger laughed. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

A business started with love, Doodlebugs will celebrate its 18th year this month. “When we opened, my daughter, Rachel, was five years old. She was our Doodlebug, and that’s where we got the name.” Today, Rachel is 23 years old and a nurse at Waccamaw Hospital in Murrells Inlet. Ginger’s son, John Parker, is now 20 and a student at Coastal Carolina University. William, Ginger’s husband, is retired from UPS and operates a landscaping company. Not only is Ginger continuing the standard of excellence her boutique is known for, she is hard at work upgrading her website. So many visitors want to shop with her after they leave the area, so she is creating a way for them to enjoy Doodlebugs from wherever they happen to live. The store will also stock more gifts and toys this year. “My customers love being able to shop for these items here at home,” Ginger told me, expressing gratitude for her loyal customers. “Some of the infants I dressed years ago are now working for me part-time while they’re in school! It’s hard to believe.” Stop by and see Ginger at Doodlebugs, located at 800 Front Street in Historic Georgetown. Visit her website at www.doodlebugschild.com, find her on Facebook or call 843-546-6858. Allow plenty of time to shop all the unique boutiques on Front Street and enjoy a delicious meal at one of their many fun restaurants.

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Sasee.com :: February 2020 :: 23

My Great Escape by Linda O’Connell

Viewers snicker at a prominent insurance company’s television ad campaign. In the commercial, as Cheryl watches her she-shed burn down, she vows to rebuild a fancier and frillier she-shed. Her husband, standing beside her, rolls his eyes, and sighs. I understand Cheryl’s need to have her own space. Shabby chic may be her decorating style, but mine is down home comfort. I don’t need fancy frou-frou stuff. My idea of relaxation is to cozy up with a fuzzy throw cover on a comfy couch in my own space. I long to read my book without fear of being interrupted by conversation, phone calls, or dingdong doorbells. All I need is a lilac scented candle to add to the ambiance and a cup (or decanter) of whatever I choose. I long for the solitude of silence instead of the murder and mayhem shows my husband blares non-stop. There is so much moaning and groaning when he binge watches, I never know if someone is in ecstasy or dying. One particular series opens each episode with the same soothing lull-a-bye. Misleading as can be, because within seconds the shoot ‘em up begins. Basement man-caves and garages have always provided a place for guys to slap backs, guzzle a brew or two, and crack jokes with each other. Kitchens have generally been where women dump their garbage on girl friends – all while tending to the kids, phone calls, and food preparation. 24 :: Sasee.com ::February 2020

I’ve talked to women friends and family members. I assure you, Cheryl has inspired them to seek a place where they can unlatch their bras, tune out the “I need tos,” and release the guilt of “I should be...” My girlfriend has admitted she’s considering occupying her kids’ abandoned tree house as soon as the weather gets warmer. Her stack of furnishings and decorations is growing. Her husband adds to her stress when he adds to the pile... which he thinks is destined for a donation box. If he only knew. My daughter has her own great escape room which I refer to as the Howl-aDay Inn. There are three inch thick floor cushions (okay dog beds) on the floor and filled ceramic snack bowls (alright, dog food feeders) everywhere. She tells visitors it’s the dogs’ room, but she is not fooling her mother! I know that lovely new couch, soft throw covers, and writing desk are not for her Australian Shepherds. While her husband heads downstairs to the theater room to watch big screen movies, my daughter retreats to her dog palace to view her favorite pre-recorded talk shows. After a day of demanding toddlers, yapping dogs, endless phone calls, she needs to hear a panel of women express their views. When I was ten, I longed for what Cheryl now possesses, my own playhouse where I could escape the realities of my restrictive life. My family of four lived in a small house behind an inner-city neighborhood confectionery. My dad didn’t have a steady job, and Mom was not riding the happy train. Summer had been sweltering hot, and winter was brutally cold. Our only heat source was a pot bellied stove

stoked with rationed coal or scarce wood. When the fire went out during the night, we shivered until daybreak, then Dad struggled to get another fire going. Backs-to-stove, my brother and I claimed a smidgen of warmth, rubbed our palms together, then spun around to warm our fronts. Soggy cornflakes or soft boiled eggs fueled us to the bus stop five days a week. Freezing outside, cold inside. Frustration, confusion, and helplessness summed up the winter of my tenth year. Spring however, brought promise: outdoors, escape, and freedom. I discovered my very own hideaway. The grocery store’s back porch was a vacant storage area with three walls. Mom was overprotective and seldom let us out of her sight. But since the opening was in full view of our house, twenty yards from our door, Mom could see me at all times. She watched as I set up my home away from home, my own space. I scavenged for odds and ends, things with which I could furnish my playhouse. I gathered empty metal, milk crates, a discarded, worn moving blanket, a torn towel, pillow, my baby dolls – and I moved out. My living arrangement was basic. I made a bed and a chair out of cardboard boxes. In doing so, I found a place to sit without being disturbed, lie down without feeling my brother’s constant, aggravating shoulder shrugging. I could breathe deeply, at last. I whispered my private thoughts to my dolls; I hoped, dreamed, and tried to figure out life. I was finally in charge: of my babies, my furniture arrangement, and myself. I darted in and out of our house for my needs, and slept there, I remained outside of the chaos. I inhaled fresh air instead of Pall

Mall and Camel second-hand cigarette smoke. I listened to rain splashing instead of angry words thundering. I watched the sun scurry from behind the clouds, and I squealed at the sight of a rainbow – a promise of good things to come, according to my Sunday School teacher.

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You Wear It Well

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Dressing in Color: Amy Bunn by Leslie Moore

“All I see out there now right now are animal prints,” laughed Amy Bunn when I asked her about this year’s fashion trends. Amy is the owner of The Joggling Board in Pawleys Island, a Lilly Pulitzer Signature Shop for ladies and children. “Funny you asked, we just got our last resort delivery and, low and behold, we got a cheetah print in, and of course, it’s pink! You don’t think of animal prints when you think of Lilly, but it seems to have taken over the world!” “I love navy, you could almost say I’m a bit of a navy-aholic! Of course, pink is high on the totem pole as well, but Lilly has so many beautiful colors. Each Lilly print has a story to tell that starts in the designer’s head from an inspirational place (Lilly loved to travel) and ends up on paper and is given a name.” Amy continued, telling me that each print also has the name, “Lilly” hidden somewhere. “It’s always fun trying to find it.” The day of our interview, Amy was wearing a favorite navy sweater with a pink elephant, and she talked about the beauty and versatility of the color. “I feel like Lilly helped make navy cool again, I used to think it was boring, but it’s not – it’s timeless and beautiful with so many other colors.” “Gold is big this year!” Amy told me excitedly. “It’s timeless, whether it’s a great pair of gold wedges, a bag, a scarf, big gold hoops or some fun bangles. You can never go wrong with gold…the real stuff is good, too!” Amy’s gold Lilly vest is one of her favorites. “It makes me sad when I see people 28 :: Sasee.com ::February 2020

wearing all black all the time, color can really change your mood– Lilly Pulitzer loved color for a good reason. It makes people happy! Lilly was a character, and I was blessed to meet her several times. She’s in heaven now, but I’ll bet she’s smiling, dancing and wearing the finest heaven has to offer.” Amy added that there are black pieces in the Lilly line that are fun to pair with color. “Lily names all of her colors, and her black is called onyx,” Amy said as she described Lilly Pulitzer’s interpretation of the Little Black Dress. “Black is elegant, and has a special place, but blues and pinks and greens just make

you feel good. Color makes a statement, and brings a smile to people’s faces.” Amy continued, saying, “Style isn’t about what you wear, it’s how you live, so says Lilly herself! Live every day like it’s a celebration and make every hour a happy hour.” “If you find yourself wearing a lot of black, and don’t know where to start – start small,” Amy said, smiling, when I asked her how we could ease into adding color to our wardrobes. “Add a hot pink scarf, or a turquoise silk top, or put on a printed top with your black pants or skirt. A close friend of mine

calls her black Lilly leggings, paired with a silk Elsa top, her uniform for work!” “I say all the time, what did I wear before Lilly? I really can’t remember,” Amy laughed as we talked about her love for the iconic line. With her keen fashion sense, Amy gets excited when she sees children wearing Lilly, and says men are also jumping on the color bandwagon. “Men are wearing fun colors, too – real men wear pink –and Lilly! There’s too much gray and black in the world, especially this time of year when it’s not summer.” Amy encourages everyone to wear color year-round. “It warms me up when it’s cold outside and always puts a smile on my face.” “We just celebrated our 30th anniversary at the Joggling Board, and I feel very blessed to still be here. It’s not easy competing with the internet, so thank you to all of our customers who have stuck with us through the good times and the bad. We’ve been through hurricanes, floods, economic turmoil and, heck, we’ve even closed for snow a few times, as well as grieving the loss of loved ones on our end and yours,” Amy said thoughtfully, as we finished our conversation. “We always say you can buy anything in this store somewhere else, but the only thing we have to offer is ourselves, and when we stop doing that, I quit! They still call it retail therapy for a reason, we will not only help you find the perfect outfit, but we are all good listeners, too. Women like a place to unwind and unload. God Bless – be kind and keep wearing Lilly!” Stop by and see Amy at The Joggling Board, located at 11906 Ocean Highway, in the Shops at Oak Lea in Pawleys Island, call her at 843-237-2631 or visit www.thejogglingboard.com.

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The New Old Me by Mary Ann Crimi

I am born with straight hair and chubby legs. Mom dresses me in darling pinafores with matching socks. Firstborn, you know. Through elementary school she still controls my appearance: uniforms and corduroys. And home perms. I never really mind until junior high when I meet the competition. I attempt to join the Bobbi Brooks crowd, but somehow, I know I am more Sears & Roebuck. In college I meet the hippies and think maybe this might be a style I can embody. One pair of unwashed jeans looks better as the months go by. My hair is perfect for the unstyled windblown look. Then disaster strikes. I graduate and get a real job: high school teacher. This comes with a small salary. The money is enough to cover rent, a phone line, and a used-car payment. There is a little bit left over for ramen noodles, peanut butter and jelly and white bread. I have five polyester dresses, one for each day of the week, and two pairs of low-heeled pumps, one blue and one black. In class my students read Pygmalion, a play based on a Greek myth. The sculptor protagonist can’t find the perfect woman, so he carves one out of marble. She is the epitome of epitomes. He drapes her in silk scarves and stares at her like a lovesick puppy. The gods feel sorry for him and bring her to life. He calls her Galatea. George Bernard Shaw updates this story in bonny old England. A speech scholar picks up a poverty-stricken flower girl with a horribly nasal Cockney accent. On a bet, he changes her into one of those posh but snobby women who hang out at the horse races in hats bigger than London umbrellas. It goes badly. Eliza knows that outside she might be a fashion plate, but inside she is still a lovable flower girl. This is not such a bitter pill, however, because she also knows she will 30 :: Sasee.com ::February 2020

have many more fabulous gowns once she is made into a musical called My Fair Lady. My students recognize the theme of this makeover drama. They have their own bad hair days and must wrestle with facial skin explosions as well. I myself realize I have let myself slip into the negative column of Cosmopolitan “Do’s and Don’ts.” Slowly but surely, my silky purple and fuchsia date clothes have been supplanted by brown polyester. My hair has calmed itself into a shorter, easy-care bob. On the kitchen counter rests a family-sized shoulder-strap purse complete with tissues, mints, combs, credit cards, coupons, pens, notepads, wipes, hand sanitizer, energy bars, ungraded essays, cash register receipts…. But inside, inside I am still in a meadow full of flowers, lounging on a blanket, wearing Mexican peasant blouses and huaraches sandals, drinking Annie Green Springs and listening to a live band. Heck, while I am imagining what my real life should be, I might as well dream myself into a rock festival headlined by The Who. Then one day, seriously one day after the retirement dinner, even before the congratulations cards appear in the mail, I watch a daytime TV show. Women named Hoda and Jenna choose frumpy dowagers out of the crowd of “pick me’s.” Later in the program, the women reappear, twenty years younger, with new hair, makeup and clothes. I think: I should go to New York! No. I should be realistic and make myself over. Without the chain mail of professional responsibility, without the frumpiness of business casual, I can free my inner being. I start with my closet because that is where all Stevie Nick’s filmy scarves and swingy skirts have morphed into L.L. Bean long-sleeved wrinkle-free blouses and lumpy wool cardigans which make me look like Mr. Rogers’ female assistant. Into a box destined for a thrift store, I add knee-high nylons and sensible shoes. I even throw in my nun bras. I check the makeup drawer and jettison the sky-blue eye shadow. And

I myself realize I have let myself slip into the negative column of Cosmopolitan ‘Do’s and Don’ts.’

the pink lipstick and matching nail polish. Then I hit the pavement. I am going to buy a sun dress with big yellow flowers. I am going to purchase a large hat and Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses that will make me look like an updated Jackie O. I am in the market for a pink and aqua beach bag and a red convertible Sebring. I am going to paint my toenails orange and dye a purple streak in my hair. First, the hairdresser. He suggests letting my cinnamon brown, which tends to turn brassy in the southern sun, grow into its natural salt and pepper. I’m for it. I want to be natural. Perfect. Then he trims my split ends. I am already getting back to the real me. With a few wrinkled coupons I find in the bottom of my supersized faux leather handbag, I leave for Belk Department Store. Of course, after years of frugality indoctrination, I head straight for the Doorbusters. Get this. I can buy one Kim Rogers scoop-necked t-shirt and get two free. I buy one black, one blue, and one, what the heck, aqua. Then I notice the stretch pants. Same deal. I buy one black, one blue, and what the heck, another black.

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I can’t believe it. New Balance sneakers are half off. Once home I try on my new outfits. They are so comfy. I look in the full-length mirror. You can’t even tell my legs are chubby.

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I wish you could see the new me. I look so good as I sit on the sofa, place my brand-spanking new tenners on the footstool, lift my cup of tea and turn to the back page of… Ha! I bet you thought I was going to say Cosmo. No, this is the latest issue of AARP. I can’t wait to see who just turned fifty. Or sixty. Or seventy. Or what? Eighty! They all look so good, almost like I remember them – before their makeovers.

Mary Ann Crimi loves to write about all those little things that drive her crazy. You can find her most sunny afternoons on her Carolina porch with a pen and a sweet tea. Her essays appear every month in Neighbors of Sunset Beach.

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Learning by Giving by Joan Leotta

As I stared into the mirror, old age began staring back at me, and I sure didn’t like the looks of that old geezer one little bit. As a child, I never cared about clothes – until a certain pale blue sleeveless organza with a blue satin sash appeared in my closet one day, the summer I was seven. It was a hand-me-down from my older cousin Diane. Perhaps it was the shade of blue and the wide satin belt that my Mom worked into a wonderful bow. Perhaps it was the way the skirt drifted out on the air when I twirled while wearing it. Perhaps it was just the way my long dark hair contrasted with the blue. I felt beautiful in that dress. Being someone whose appearance was often considered sketchy at best, (hair never behaving, being too shy to smile), feeling beautiful in something was rare. That summer, I begged to wear it on any and all occasions when a special dress was called for. When leaves grew red with a warning that colder days were coming, I still begged to wear the dress. A long-sleeved white wool sweater extended its “wear-ability” until November when my mother refused to bow to my desire to wear that dress. 34 :: Sasee.com ::February 2020

Over the winter, as children often do, I grew. When spring came, my mother pulled clothing out of the closet and had me try on the outfits that were still pristine. The blue dress was one of them. It still looked wonderful. There was only one problem. I had grown out of it. It was too short, and the shoulders pinched.

mother continued.

“Mommy, can we fix the shoulders? I don’t mind if it’s a little short.”

“You have a closet full of dresses that we buy you, that Grandma buys you and that your cousin gives you. You do not need this one. I’m surprised you want to keep this from Patti. You usually love to give her things from your closet or help shop for her at the store.”

My mother took it out of my hands and shook her head. “No, you grew too much. But this dress is still perfect. You really took good care of it. In fact, it is so lovely, I think we can pass it on to Patti.” Patti lived at Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital. She was two years older than I, but small because of her lifelong struggle with polio. My grandmother was one of the volunteers who spent time with Patti. Passing on the best of my outgrown things to Patti was a regular occurrence. Something I had never minded – until the blue dress. “Blue is Patti’s favorite color,” my

“It’s my favorite color too! Why don’t we buy her a new one?” My Grandma often bought new toys and clothing for Patti. I was about to offer my allowance toward such a project when my mother spoke again.

“But if you fix the shoulders, I can still twirl around the house in this one,” I whined, ignoring her logic. My mother’s tone grew very stern. “Patti can’t twirl at all.” Ouch. My mother’s words stung. I handed over the dress. In those days children under age sixteen were not allowed to visit in hospitals. I called Grandma the next

"One Family, Two Great Restaurants” day to ask her to tell Patti that the blue dress was a very special one and it could make her feel beautiful. A few months later, the hospital had a fund-raising telethon on a local television show. They chose Patti to be the face of the campaign.

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We all watched it together on television. Even though the show was in black and white in the 1950s and Patti was sitting in a wheelchair, I could tell she was wearing the blue dress. She smiled into the camera. My Grandma never told me if she passed my message on to Patti, but I could tell that Patti, smiling into that camera, wearing the blue dress, felt beautiful. And I was sure she was directing her smile right at me. Postscript: While I admit there are a few old items in my closet that have more sentimental than fashion value, I regularly sift through, giving away even favorites, thinking of the pleasure the new owner will have when wearing them. Patti died when she was sixteen but has continued to influence my life. When putting clothing aside now, I rotate giving my items among local thrift shops whose profits support community residents, including children in schools and battered women.

Joan Leotta of Calabash, North Carolina, has been playing with words since childhood. She is a journalist, playwright, short story writer and author of several mysteries and romances as well as a poet. She also performs folklore and one-woman shows on historic figures.

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Wardrobe “Dis”Function by Diane DeVaughn Stokes

Another shirt had watermelons all over it and some man in a grocery store line had the nerve to tell me he loved my melons! I admit it. Sometimes I feel like I am only half woman. You see I am not much of a shopper. I have to be in the right mood to enjoy the experience of trying on clothes because it only depresses me when things don’t fit. That’s why I have tons of earrings as they always fit! This is not an age thing; it’s been like this my entire life. My upper torso has been the issue. Shirts had to be baggy as to not hug and accent my breasts, but then I looked pregnant making me appear even bigger than I was! Lucky for me, twelve years ago after a mammogram showed a benign mass in one of my breasts, I had to have the mass removed and was offered breast reduction surgery by the surgeon. It was very painful, but worth it – I only wished I had been able to have it earlier in life. Many of my shirts way back when got me in trouble. In the eighties I had an adorable pink top with Laurel and Hardy faces on it. But the problem was that it looked like one boob was Laurel and the other Hardy. Their faces matched up with my form perfectly. Another shirt had watermelons all over it and some man in a grocery store line had the nerve to tell me he loved my melons! That was the end of that shirt. Off to the homeless center it went. And all the women at the Pawleys 36 :: Sasee.com ::February 2020

Island Festival of Music and Art who bought that cute tee shirt from country crooner Barrett Baber that read “Kiss Me Hello,” as that was his new song release, probably got the same dirty looks from strangers that I did. No more tops with script, faces or fruit! Handbags or pocketbooks, whatever you want to call them, have to fit right on my shoulder. I prefer one strap as the second always slips off, and it has to have the right pockets for glasses, phone, keys and makeup. Cost is important. For years I emceed the Bag Lady Luncheon for the Art Museum, and I was amazed at the high dollar name-brand purses. Ouch! And I was somewhat embarrassed that I walked into the venue with my TJ Maxx bag! Can we talk shoes? They are not making them like they used to. Between plantar fasciitis and sciatica who needs the aggravation and pain just to look good? I tossed out all my high heels. Even low heels. I have chosen to FEEL GOOD instead of looking good. Don’t throw stones. It happens at a certain age. And for that reason, I no longer wear dresses of any type. When I am asked to emcee an event, it’s black pants and a glittery top! I gave away all my dresses to my younger friends. Gave them the slips and stockings for underneath as well. The only stockings I wear now are black control top tights. Love ‘em.

They look good with everything I own and help to smooth out the bulges and cellulite that seem to be multiplying daily. I wear them over my bodysuit. I figure the bodysuit hides the jellyrolls at my waist and the tights hide the jellyrolls that appear when the elastic of my body suit hovers too tightly and raises up and over my butt cheeks. (Men, you may not understand this, so ask a woman close to you to explain this odd phenomenon.) I’m really lucky. My husband, Chuck, tells me that he doesn’t care what I buy, but if I come home with another pair of black slacks he will have me committed. You ladies understand this. Depending how long your shirt is, or where it falls on your body determines how you want your pants to fit at your waist. I have eleven pair, some sporty, some dressy, all of which are worn without a belt as I tossed that accessory out the window twenty years ago. Now you aren’t going to believe this but my very favorite black pants were bought at CVS, and make no mistake, I am most assuredly talking about the drugstore chain. I was in there one summer day buying some nail polish and saw the rack that hits you in the face when you enter the store. No woman can walk past this! What a concept, buying clothes while you shop for menopause meds, suppositories

and tampons. Pure genius on behalf of the board of directors of CVS! They hooked me. On the display were some funky Hawaiian tops, tie-dyed moo-moos, and comfy black palazzo pants made of 97% polyester, and 3% spandex made in China. Okay, I hated that part, but for $9.98 I wasn’t walking away from machine washable, tumble dryable slacks! I knew the size large would fit without trying them on, as there is, unfortunately, no dressing room there, and I was assured that if they did not fit, I could return them within thirty days with my receipt. However, not only did they fit when I got them home but I went back the next day and bought another pair. I mean for $9.98 I couldn’t go wrong and best of all there are no pockets or a heavy waistband that adds extra fluff I sure don’t need.

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Yet my very favorite thing to wear is my black slim-line stretch pants topped off with a fleecy, cozy sweatshirt, of which I have many with various nautical motifs: turtles, sandpipers, shells. If I’m in the mood to jazz up the look, I’ll pair this with black boots. If not, my denim Blowfish tennis type shoes are the most comfy of all. It’s not just that I have finally settled into the relaxed, laid back, informal period of my life, I have always been there, even when it was not “fashionable” to do so. Please honor this pun! I just want to go through life wearing things I love, being cozy and comfy, and not caring what others may think. And I always top it all off with a smile because as they say in the Broadway musical Annie, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile!”

Diane DeVaughn Stokes Diane is the host and producer for “Inside Out” as seen on HTC TV Channel 4, and serves as a commercial spokesperson for several local businesses. She and her husband Chuck own Stages Video productions in Myrtle Beach and share passions for food, theater, travel and scuba diving. They own three four legged kids that they adore!

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The Tao of a Couch by Erika Hoffman

Any decorator worth her myriad of swatches would advise reupholstering, at a minimum – slipcovers, but most likely the dump. In 1979, that divan cost $500.00. A present from my mom to us for our newly bought first home; it charmed me with its flowery pattern over a black background. Oriental and feminine, the sofa was the centerpiece of my parlor. More than merely proud of its elegance, I delighted in it. That couch became the background for Christmas photos, dozens of birthday parties, bridge-playing gettogethers, garden club gatherings and countless occasions through a score of years. Images of it, with all four kids decked out in Sunday finery before christenings; or them in Easter hats or adult-like blazers posing behind it; or their bodies unrecognizable in Halloween costumes jumping on it– adorn my bookshelves and bureaus. Memories of 13 pups in our laps as my hubby and I – with eye drops of sustenance, supplementing our Mama dog’s nursing – gurgle to the surface whenever I spy that sofa. Perfectly I recall sitting there feeding those suckling mouths so many years ago.

in the living room. Nor was it even pigeon-holed into a corner of our dimly lit den, not even a place among the somewhat shabby décor of a porch did it merit. Its rattiness relegated it to the out-of-sight upstairs. Like us, it aged. Our sofa squats in our bedroom stationed in front of technologically challenging black boxes. My longtime hubby and I watch our favorite programs late at night – just the two of us, nestled on our couch, the one given us as newlyweds. We sink into threadbare cushions, rest our elbows on frayed armrests, and lean our heads on darkened ovals. Encompassed by recollections, wrapped in their glow, savoring the past, loving the present, hopeful for the future, we relax on our treasured, dated, ragged sofa opposite a modern, savvy, flat-screened TV. It is our niche, our preferred seat, our sanctuary, our peace. Reminiscences, personalities, and life itself bubble up from its dilapidated pillows and over-sprung springs. A Celebrex commercial lights up the screen and the commercial’s announcer says it’s simple physics: “A body at rest stays at rest; a body in motion stays in motion.” My husband sprawled on the sofa cuts his eyes over at me. “Not around here! A body at rest gets a job to do!” my reclining partner retorts.

The peace of mind our attic-worthy divan exudes no new piece of poshness can replace. A place of Tao may not be an exotic venue or a geographical location, at all. Fondly remembered furniture that served as refuge, comfort, and a locale for togetherness becomes imbued with its own Tao over time. When my husband and I settle into our sofa of four decades of conjugal life and strife, we feel embraced, soothed by our coupledom, and sated with the feeling of home and hearth. Even a tattered, Salvation Army reject, worn-out three-seater is, as a commercial boasts, PRICELESS! It’s my own Velveteen rabbit.

That couch became the background for Christmas photos, dozens of birthday parties, bridgeplaying get-togethers, garden club gatherings and countless occasions through a score of years.

“Is that right?” I banter back.

The couch moved to a larger home as our family grew and aged. Finally, the tattered couch came to rest in our dream house, built after two of our four kids had already moved on and out.

“You had me doing so many chores today my pants were trying to fall off.”

No longer did it occupy the spotlight

He laughs.

40 :: Sasee.com ::February 2020

Our program recommences, and we sink down again into our pleasant couch potato duet on our familiar perch.

I give his hefty frame the once-over. “Wear a belt,” I answer with a smile.

Erika Hoffman writes her vignettes and hopes others enjoy them. She’s compiled many into books sold on Amazon.

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Sasee.com :: February 2020 :: 47

Youth Dew by Mari Wallace

I can’t remember who introduced me to Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew, but it was love at first whiff. Youth Dew started out as a bath oil, but because of its success, the manufacture of the perfume followed in 1953. Estee Lauder’s assessment for the longevity of this ever-popular fragrance is that “women still like to feel beautiful, pampered and loved. And that is what Youth Dew is all about.” Yes, even now Youth Dew is considered by some to be one of the “sexiest fragrances ever created...It continues to entice with its sensual, yet timeless, appeal.” I started wearing Youth Dew in my mid-teens, delighted to find a scent that didn’t wear off in five minutes. Indeed, one of the selling points for me was that it stayed with you, reacting to your skin, your body’s temperature, and went on perfuming the air around you for hours. People knew I was approaching because Youth Dew would announce my arrival, long before I even said hello. To my teenage self, trying to budget my pocket money, Youth Dew was definitely value for money. I loved its heavy opulence – spicy, rich, exotic. I also loved the presentation: a slender ribbed bottle with a gold bow around the middle and matching gold top – a real touch of class. It didn’t actually go with the dumpy figure I cut in my teens, but it was more a statement of how I wanted to feel about myself rather than the actual facts. Sophisticated, stylish, cosmopolitan – just plain cool.

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Richard, my boyfriend when I was 16, was less enamored of it than I was. Although he never said anything when we were dating, he admitted to me when we met again some thirty years later that he’d hated it. The very characteristic that I loved about Youth Dew, the fact that it stayed with me, and on me, for hours, was just what turned poor Richard off. He’d come home from one of our dates, run into his house stripping off his shirt and tossing it into the laundry hamper, yelling to his mother, “Please wash this! It reeks!” [In hindsight, perhaps Youth Dew’s claim to being “the sexiest fragrance ever” was lost on him because some years after Richard and I had gone our separate ways, he came out of the closet and declared himself to be gay.] I continued to wear Youth Dew into my mid-20s. By this time, shortly after completing my degree in English, I was working for a publisher in New York City. One evening when I stayed late at the office because of an urgent deadline, my concentration was broken as a familiar scent drifted my way. Fragrances don’t always smell the same on others as we think they do on ourselves…nonetheless, I instantly recognized that unique aroma. It was without a doubt my beloved Youth Dew. Who was wearing it? Who was sufficiently cultured, like me, to have such good taste? I got up, walked out of the door into the corridor to find out. There, wielding her vacuum like a weapon, was the company’s cleaner, Brenda. She smiled at me, turned off the machine, and said, “How ya doin’ Hon? Workin’ late, are ya?” I’m embarrassed to admit that from that moment, I decided it was time for a change. I literally went off the scent!

Over the succeeding years, I have gone through phases of wearing a range of perfumes, often succumbing to fads. These included periods when I wore Charlie by Revlon and later CK One by Calvin Klein. Nowadays, I’m far more conservative in my taste and have reverted to that old reliable classic, Chanel No. 5. Created by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel way back in 1921, the Chanel website tells us that it is “a woman’s perfume with the scent of a woman.” Whatever that means! My other favorite is Thierry Mugler’s Angel. Their website coyly suggests that it is an “extraordinary fragrance made for women who are a little angelic or devilish, or maybe a little of both.” And the scent? “An inimitable trail composed of patchouli and praline.” I wouldn’t wear it if I didn’t like it but the “clincher” is economy: it’s available in a refillable bottle. What a clever marketing ploy, when you consider that a chunk of what you pay for each time you buy perfume goes towards the elaborate packaging. As for good old Youth Dew…I must confess that I have never used it since my fateful encounter with Brenda, the cleaner. I wonder if she still wears it…

Mari Wallace worked in publishing in New York City, then moved to London, work permit in hand. Her features have been published in many U.K. magazines and she recently had a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons from the Dog (April 2019).

Love Will Keep Us Together When you choose The Florence Presbyterian Community you can leave behind the worries and what-ifs. At our Life Plan Community, you and your spouse can stay together on our beautiful campus – even if you age at different paces. Here, you will find friends and staff who genuinely care about you, as well as outstanding amenities and a selection of residential options. Enjoy the best of both worlds in retirement: an active, maintenance-free lifestyle plus all levels of care on one campus, if ever needed! Commited to “people before profits,” we are a compassionate Christian ministry dedicated to enriching the quality of life for seniors of all faiths. Bring your loved one and come for a tour!

To schedule a visit or for more information, contact Beth Shealy:

(843) 656-2906 Beth.Shealy@PresComm.org

2350 W. Lucas St., Florence, SC 29501


Move-in Ready Independent Living Patio Homes and Apartments Assisted Living | Short-term Rehabilitation | Health Care Sasee.com :: February 2020 :: 49

Advertiser Index Alayna’s Boutique............................................................38 Barbara’s Fine Gifts......................................................... 19 The B. Graham Interiors Collection..............................46 Bethea Retirement Community.................................... 17 Bloomingail’s Consignment........................................... 41 Brightwater ..................................................................... 51 Brookgreen Gardens....................................................... 17 Carolina Car Care............................................................ 31 Carolina Center for Advanced Dentistry........................7 The Citizens Bank...........................................................29 Class LLC..........................................................................29 The Clean Up Club...........................................................44 Comfort Keepers............................................................. 15 Doodlebugs......................................................................23 Dr. Grabeman..................................................................23 Dr. Sattele’s Rapid Weight Loss & Esthetic Centers.......................................................... 33 The Florence Presbyterian Community........................49 Genesis Cosmetic Laser Center..................................... 41 Good Deed Goods............................................................ 31 Grady’s Jewelers.............................................................. 15 Hot Fish Club................................................................... 35 Inlet Provision Company................................................ 35 The Lakes at Litchfield......................................................5 Long Bay Symphony.......................................................44 Monkees of Myrtle Beach...............................................23 Moore, Johnson & Saraniti Law Firm P.A.......................3 Myrtle Beach Heart Ball..................................................32 Outdoor Heating Solutions............................................29 Palmetto Ace.................................................................... 45 The Palmettos Assisted Living & Memory Care............................................................... 21 Papa John’s Pizza.............................................................44 Physicians Weight Loss.................................................. 47 Portside at Grande Dunes................................................2 Prodigy Kitchens & Baths............................................... 37 PruittHealth Skilled Nursing, Home Health & Hospice Care..........................................9 Pure Compounding........................................................ 39 Rescued Treasures.......................................................... 45 Saint Francis Animal Center..........................................46 Shades and Draperies.....................................................25 Socastee High School Choral Booster Club..................42 Socialite............................................................................ 43 St. Gabriel Assisted Living & Memory Care..................25 This and That 4 You......................................................... 21 Tour De Plantersville......................................................46 Treasures Jewelers.......................................................... 19 Two Sisters with Southern Charm................................ 43 WEZV............................................................................... 47 Wilson Senior Care-Grand Strand Rehab & Nursing Center............................................................ 39 Women in Philanthropy.................................................52 Your CBD Store............................................................... 19

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Profile for Strand Media Group

Sasee Magazine - February 2020  

"You Wear It Well"

Sasee Magazine - February 2020  

"You Wear It Well"