Simple Acts of Kindness Remind Us of the Warmth of Charleston

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Love in Charleston

By Mark A. Leon

Being intimately engulfed in the Charleston landscape, I can attest there is something special here that embodies the core principles of friendliness.

I would like to share six (6) very personal accounts.  These testimonies are just a snapshot of the remarkable Charleston stories that fill the air all around these parts.

Charleston Love and Kindness Can Be Felt All Around

Neighborhood Flood Relief:  I lived on the corner of Morris Street and Rutledge Avenue when I first moved to Charleston.  Being new to the area, downtown flooding was more of a myth than a reality.  One afternoon, while working from home, I was taken back by a steady downpour beating against my window.  Perhaps it was a feeling or just the need to take a break, but I put on my best weather proof clothes and went outside.  The corner of Morris and Smith had become a river and many cars were trapped in the mayhem.  Myself and several neighbors, without hesitation, went car by car helping drivers push their vehicle from the ravage flooded area.  It was a gesture of neighborly support and one of the first truly unwavering acts of generosity I had experienced here.

The Day After Mother Emanuel AME:  On the Thursday morning after the Mother Emanuel shooting, I went to the Battery to watch the sunrise and clear my head, allowing time to process what had transpired just a few hours earlier.  It was ten minutes after six in the morning, the sky was clear, early humidity filled the air with a thick warmth and all was quiet.  I said hello to some passing joggers and then sat on a bench at White Point Garden.  A wonderfully sweet local walked by with her dog and sat next to me.  Her companion, an older canine pressed up against my leg, laid down and nestled by me.  The woman began to talk, not about the shooting, but the morning, her love of dogs and the neighborhood.  After she departed, two other ladies came by asking about my faith and gave me information pamphlets.  They smile and walked away.  I don’t know if they knew and weren’t ready to talk about it, but I took comfort in those very early conversations with the backdrop of the rising sun over the harbor to symbolize a new beginning.

A Fallen Baby Bird:  On a spring morning, I met a friend for an early morning walk and coffee at White Point Garden.  We were saddened to see that a baby bird had fallen from its nest and injured itself.  A local area doctor, while walking his dog, saw the wounded bird as well and offered to get a box and mesh to transport it.  He went home a few blocks away and returned with the transport material.  We carefully put the frightened bird in the box and I offered to take it to a Vet in West Ashley that we were fortunate to find open.  This incredibly selfless doctor who had a scheduled surgery did everything he could to help us until he was forced to the hospital.  I received a call later that day from the veterinarian’s office that they had to put the bird down.  All I could do was think about the sound of the scared bird as I drove to West Ashley and knowing it was its last moments.  Then I remembered the kindness of three people who put their lives aside to try and save this newborn bird.

A Moment of Humanity for a Homeless Man – It was a Sunday morning in December, 2017 and I will on King Street at 8:45 AM awaiting the City Church Service at the Charleston Music Farm.  A homeless man, bundled up and pushing a grocery cart, was on the sidewalk heading South.  As he slowly moved in front of the Glazed Doughnut Shop and took a rest, a student noticed him.  He quickly bought a doughnut and cup of coffee and walked outside to present to the homeless man.  They shook hands, exchanged a few kind words and then the student went back inside as the homeless man warmed up and put food in his tummy.  It was a heartwarming moment amount two strangers at very different places in life.

A Surfer’s Smile Can Change Your Day – Just a few weeks ago, I had just had Turkish Coffee a Center Street Coffee on Folly Beach and then walked to the beach to watch the waves and do some meditative activities.  A young surfer, about 5’2″, curly red hair and a smile that could move all the clouds that morning, asked me for assistance taking her board out of her bag (chalk had made it stick).  I helped her and she smiled.  About 10 minutes later, she entered the sand with her board over her head and as she walked near me she smiled and said hey.  That exchange gave me such a fulfilling feeling.  I later went into The Tides, got a paper and pen, and wrote that surfer a thank you note for making my day with just a simple smile.

A Baby Sea Turtle Rescue StoryIt was last summer, on an early morning sunrise walk on Folly Beach that we discovered a baby sea turtle with a limp front leg.  Nelson (our name for him), had hatched just a few hours earlier, but with the injury did not have the strength to make it into the ocean with the tide coming in.  We contacted Animal Control and the Aquarium and were instructed to assist Nelson into the ocean.  We did and later found out he was the only survivor of all the eggs that were laid in that spot.  Click the link for the entire story.

These are just a few of the hundreds of Charleston stories.  The country witnessed our unwavering resolve during the Mother Emanuel Shooting, Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Irma and the 1000 Year Rains, but it is the very personal individual stories and acts of kindness that go without credit that illuminates this city.

Take some time to sit down with the locals and listen to their stories.  You will understand truly how much this award means to us.

We would love to hear your stories.

The 12 Days of Christmas – Charleston Style

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By Minta Pavliscsak

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
A Seagull Perched in a Palm Tree

On the second day of Christmas:
my true love sent to me:
Two Parking Tickets and a Seagull Perched in a Palm Tree

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
Three Bloody Marys
Two Parking Tickets
and a Seagull Perched in a Palm Tree

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
Four Window Boxes
Three Bloody Marys
Two Parking Tickets
and a Seagull Perched in a Palm Tree

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On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Five Horse Drawn Carriages
Four Window Boxes
Three Bloody Marys
Two Parking Tickets
and a Seagull Perched in a Palm Tree

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
Six Pounds of Oysters
Five Horse Drawn Carriages
Four Window Boxes
Three Bloody Marys
Two Parking Tickets
and a Seagull Perched in a Palm Tree

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
Seven Dolphins Swimming
Six Pounds of Oysters
Five Horse Drawn Carriages
Four Window Boxes
Three Bloody Marys
Two Parking Tickets
and a Seagull Perched in a Palm Tree

sweetgrass basket 3

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
Eight Sweetgrass Baskets
Seven Dolphins Swimming
Six Pounds of Oysters
Five Horse Drawn Carriages
Four Window Boxes
Three Bloody Marys
Two Parking Tickets
and a Seagull Perched in a Palm Tree

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
Nine Ladies Shopping
Eight Sweetgrass Baskets
Seven Dolphins Swimming
Six Pounds of Oysters
Five Horse Drawn Carriages
Four Window Boxes
Three Bloody Marys
Two Parking Tickets
and a Seagull Perched in a Palm Tree

surfboards 2

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:
Ten Guys on Surfboards
Nine Ladies Shopping
Eight Sweetgrass Baskets
Seven Dolphins Swimming
Six Pounds of Oysters
Five Horse Drawn Carriages
Four Window Boxes
Three Bloody Marys
Two Parking Tickets
and a Seagull Perched in a Palm Tree

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Eleven Sailboats Sailing
Ten Guys on Surfboards
Nine Ladies Shopping
Eight Sweetgrass Baskets
Seven Dolphins Swimming
Six Pounds of Oysters
Five Horse Drawn Carriages
Four Window Boxes
Three Bloody Marys
Two Parking Tickets
and a Seagull Perched in a Palm Tree

palmetto rose 1

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
Twelve Palmetto Roses
Eleven Sailboats Sailing
Ten Guys on Surfboards
Nine Ladies Shopping
Eight Sweetgrass Baskets
Seven Dolphins Swimming
Six Pounds of Oysters
Five Horse Drawn Carriages
Four Window Boxes
Three Bloody Marys
Two Parking Tickets
and a Seagull Perched in a Palm Tree

What Not to Do In Charleston

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By Minta Pavliscsak

It seems everywhere you look these days there are blogs popping up about what to do in Charleston. Having information about what to do and where to go is great, but sometimes it is good to know what not to do. Fear not! We have you covered. So enjoy your time in Charleston, but please keep in mind the following things not to do in Charleston, South Carolina:

– Do not stop in the middle of the road to take pictures of the big, beautiful houses. Again, that goes for cars and pedestrians, although we see it happen mostly with cars. Simply pull over and park, get out and walk around. You will get much better photographs and see so much more!

– Do not block the sidewalks. We all have places to go and people to see. While this is the south and time does seem to run a little slower here, we are still in a rush to get to where we need to be. Please be considerate of those behind you when walking down the sidewalk and make sure they have plenty of room to get around you.

– Do not let the door slam on the person walking in behind you. We are taught at a very early age to “hold the door” for others, especially southern gentlemen. When you don’t, it is nothing personal, but we take it as such. And it’s simply rude.

– Do not stop in the middle of the intersection. This goes for cars and pedestrians. The light stays green for only so long, and trust me it’s not very long. If you are unsure of where you are going, just get out of the way and then figure it out.

– Do not eat at Hymans. With so many other amazing options, try not to fall prey to the hype. But you definitely don’t have to take our word for it.

– Do not walk in the bike lane when walking across the Ravenel Bridge. The bikers will warn you that they are coming up behind you, but they will also come pretty dern close to running you over if you are in their lane.

– Do not pay for a taxi when getting around downtown. You have a couple of free options. The city has the DASH, a free downtown shuttle that has different routes that will get you all over the peninsula. There is also Scoop Charleston, a free electric taxi service that will get you anywhere you want to go in downtown Charleston.? The Rickshaw is just a fine Southern tradition and cozy way to get around town.

– Do not get to the bar late if you do not want to pay a cover charge. Going out at night? Try upper King Street or hit up the Market and East Bay area. However, be warned that there will be lines and cover charges.

– Do not bring alcohol on the beach. Folly Beach was the last beach in the area that allowed drinking on the beach. They banned alcohol on their beach in 2012 following a last straw Fourth of July incident. Some say just be smart about it; we say why risk it?

– Do not forget that everyone has their bad days. Sure, Charleston has been named one of the friendliest cities but whether you are a local or a tourist, things like what are listed above can -and will- bug anyone from time to time. Just be patient, smile, and remember the golden rule for in the end we all want our Charleston experience to be a great one.

What the Charleston Lady Was Doing While Her Other Half Watched the Epic Finale of the 2016 World Series

By, Minta Pavliscsak
  • Enjoying the crisp fall evening on the patio while sipping a glass of wine and sneaking a few pieces of the kid’s Halloween candy.
  • Hanging out with her man because she is after all a true Southern Bell, and supporting his interests is just part of what we do. {…even if there may be texts exchanged with the bestie about how cute that one player’s butt looks in his uniform.}
  • Sleeping – hopefully not interrupting any important plays with the occasional, adorable snore.
  • Finally catching up on her DVR shows on the smaller T.V.
  • Using her man’s credit card to buy those shoes she has been eyeing for quite some time now. -How that matching belt made its way into the shopping bag is a mystery to her!-
  • Constantly refilling the chip bowl and mixed nuts while making countless pigs in blankets, all while keeping the coffee table her honey and his friends are huddled around clear of empty beer cans and bottle caps.
  • Taking advantage of an empty house to sit around in her favorite baggy, ripped sweats and bleached stained hoodie for once…crazy hair and all.
  • Getting hit on at Mac’s Place -unbeknownst to her significant other- by some guy rooting for the opposing team, despite the fact that her and her man have been sharing a plate of nachos since the second inning and he keeps drinking her beer because he refuses to take his eyes off of the screen.
  • Pretending to show interest in the game but instead, plotting her moment when she gets to use the line that starts with, “Honey remember that time when I sat up with you after midnight watching the World Series?”
  • Cheering right along by her love’s side because she has always been a Cubs fan.

 

World Series 2016 Video

A Charleston Moment (Aka: Warm Southern Hospitality and Peaceful Serenity)

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

To an outsider, it can be difficult to comprehend the true sense of Southern hospitality that is Charleston.? It is an indescribable feeling of serenity, peace and community.? Like the warm breeze over the marsh or the sounds of the heron flying above, Charleston is a tapestry of natural wonders, caring residents, nurturing cultural and coastal pride.? It is an area proud of its heritage, its natural beauty and its people.

Sometimes you need a Charleston moment to completely understand why we love our home.

Last evening, just off the connector bridge between James Island and Johns Island, I found paved roadway between two private communities.? With marsh on both sides, palmetto’s garnishing the sides of the road and a westward facing view, I was able to witness a breathless sunset.? On the eve of the Summer Solstice, this sunset, followed by a full moon to lose yourself in, created a moment that has left a last imprint.

The peaceful surroundings of this street alone did not make this moment complete.? As I leaned back on my car watching the sun dip below a palmetto in the forefront, stretches of clouds like delicate paint strokes donned the sky and birds chirped as they passed overhead.? During these last few moments, a few cars, a couple of golf carts, a motorcycle and two joggers passed by my parked car.

With each passerby, a wave and a smile. I even had a father and son team in a golf cart asking if I was okay.? But they knew.? No car problems, just an admirer of a Charleston sunset.

The friendly demeanor of one stranger to another spoke volumes.? These interactions, though subtle, mean a great deal to us.

This moment of complete peace and awe, with a sprinkle of that warm friendliness we have come to love, reinforced how special this place is.

If these words don’t inspire, take few minutes to enjoy the visual spectacle of last night in the Lowcountry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue to take pride in this little spot under the sun, we call our Southern home.

Zig Zag Alley: The Littlest Alley That Could (Charleston, South Carolina)

As I entered the tiny little dead end alley, Zig Zig Alley, I was greeted by a warm and gentle older gentleman in a Sunday suit and bow tie and his very cuddly dog.? As the gentleman said good morning and quickly explained that his dog was very friendly, it was too late.? This big fluff ball, not only approached me, but pressed his body against me saying “take me home” without saying a work.? It was the perfect way to enter and explore this quirky named alley just off The Battery.

I can’t tell you exactly where it is except that it is just off one of the side roads of The Battery.? If I told you any more, it would ruin an opportunity to take a Charleston mystery walking tour.? Many locals already know of this fun residential alley.? If you are going to make it a mystery tour, no GPS cheating.

If you have not yet completed your bucket list of visiting all of the alley’s on the peninsula, here is one more and perhaps the littlest one of them all.

Zig Zag Alley

The sign says it all
The street sign says it all

 

This may be the last thing you see as you hit the dead end.
This may be the last thing you see as you hit the dead end.

 

Natural decor around the front porch
Natural decor around the front porch

 

Lamp post and red brick to compliment your walk
Lamp post and red brick to compliment your walk

 

Some modern look as well
Some modern look as well

 

Beautiful tall trees all around
Beautiful tall trees all around

 

A maze design. Fitting for the Zig Zag Alley
A maze design. Fitting for the Zig Zag Alley

 

Now we must depart
Now we must depart

 

Happy Alley Hunting.? Be careful, as you may expect, the road does have a little twist to it.

 

 

Take a Video Journey Through Charleston – For the Love of Charleston

Take a journey with us, accompanied by some of the most beautiful videos of our home.? Through the magic of cinematic creativity, these artists have given us the serenity of the harbor, the laughter of children, a community unified, the challenge of the surf and the value of family on America Street.

Through these acts of love, we and others can now step into the world of Southern living and see why so many find refuge and solace in our Charleston home.

As you smell harbor, let sand get between your toes on the beach, lay on the square falling asleep under the warm sun, smile at a stranger, listen to the sounds of street performers and enjoy a cocktail and great dinner, remember all that are blessed with and soak it in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjMlGPtYZjM

“There is no city on Earth quite like Charleston. From the time I first came there in 1961, it’s held me in its enchanter’s power, the wordless articulation of its singularity, its withheld and magical beauty. Wandering through its streets can be dreamlike and otherworldly, its alleyways and shortcuts both fragrant and mysterious, yet as haunted as time turned in on itself.” – Pat Conroy

Charleston Girl Perfume – The Fragrance of Elegance

cg pic2
By, Minta Pavliscsak

I had the pleasure of sitting down and getting to know Kelly Gaskins, creator and owner of Charleston Girl Perfume. She has got to be one of the most driven young ladies that I have ever met. Since launching her brand in 2012, Kelly went from 300 bottles that she filled, packaged, marked and sold by herself, to having a multiple product line that can be found in 70 stores, along with her online store. And she’s not stopping there! She is continuously coming up with ideas to grow the brand, and will be attending the largest retail trade show in America in just a few days.

How does one go from having such a small product size to having body lotion, shower cream, a rollerball, and of course the original eau de parfum? Kelly built her business slowly, smartly, and with a lot of passion. She believes in her product and believes that her customers deserve nothing but the best. Her products are paraben-free, without any harsh chemicals, and she wouldn’t dream of animal testing! They are also all made right here in the USA. She even gives each bottle a touch of love with her signature red bow that is handmade right here in Charleston, SC.

What makes Charleston Girl stand out against other perfumes? ?Aside from it’s enchanting scent, cg2Charleston Girl products are easy on the skin. As a redhead who is sensitive to products with a lot of smelly stuff in them, I was excited to try Charleston Girl. As someone who also has eczema, I can personally attest to the sensitiveness of these products. I can’t use a lot of fragrancy lotions and such, but I had no problem with Charleston Girl products!

The perfume will become one of your favorite fragrances without overpowering you or those around you. The shower cream will leave you feeling extra refreshed, and the body lotion leaves your skin feeling silky smooth.

When Kelly found herself unhappy with her situation as a journalist in Tennessee, she did some soul searching to figure out where her true calling was. She found it back here in Charleston, right where she started. She won’t hesitate to admit that it hasn’t been without obstacles, but nothing that a strong Charleston lady like Kelly couldn’t overcome. ?She also gives back to the community through her business. Just this past December, Charleston Girl Perfume donated 5% of all online sales to Keeper of the Wild, a local non-profit who cares for injured, sick, orphaned or displaced wildlife with the intention of returning them to their homes in the wild.

Charleston Girl is more than just a perfume. It is a symbol of what Charleston is. Whether you have lived in Charleston all your life, or have visited for the weekend, Charleston is a place that never leaves your heart. Charleston Girl is a reminder of those fond moments you have while you are here. Even if you have never visited Charleston, you can feel the sophistication, elegance, and sexiness when you wear Charleston Girl products. It is a fragrance that goes with every season, and every occasion.

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For more information on Keeper of the Wild, and their upcoming oyster roast, check out their Facebook page.