• Beaufort Lifestyle Magazine

bftlifestyle

story by Cindy Reid     photos by Susan DeLoach
Meet Jennifer Pender Petersen, the HVAC General Manager at Pender Brothers, Inc. in Port Royal, South Carolina. Through hard work, perseverance and education Jennifer has been able to pioneer her own place in this traditionally male dominated field. We recently caught up with Jennifer and caught a glimpse of her world.

Are you a native Beaufortonian?
I was born in Columbia SC, and my family moved here in 1984 and I have been here ever since. I graduated from Battery Creek High School, I met my husband here and both our children were born here. I consider myself a native by now!
How did you get into the HVAC/ heating and air business?
I have been working at the family business, Pender Brothers, for twenty years, and I have been in our HVAC division for nineteen of those years. Pender Brothers, Inc was established in 1985 by my dad and my uncle, Jimmy and Johnny Pender, but the HVAC side wasn’t added to the business until in 1996. I started out doing scheduling, parts ordering and other administrative tasks. Six years ago, I was given the opportunity to become the head of the HVAC division and have had my family’s support the entire time.
Being younger and a female in a leadership position has had its struggles. It has taken time and effort to gain the respect of my team, and in order to gain more technical knowledge I have taken as many training classes as possible. I always try to do what’s best for our team and for our customers.  Our working conditions at jobs are far from luxurious, so I try to make it out to different jobs and crawl around in crawlspaces with them, inspecting duct work, and go into the attics. I try to do some of the same things my team does. The bottom line is I wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. We are an eleven member team, and they are my extended family.
What are you currently involved with in your field?
I am going through the HVAC program at TCL (Technical College of the Lowcountry), which I started last year. It had been a while since I have been in a classroom but this is not an online course, we attend class and there are hands on labs where we do training. I am the only woman in the class, which is not really a surprise as the field is mostly male dominated.  I have become use to being the only female, or one of only a few other women, at training classes.
What is a typical day for you?
Summer is always crazy. We have the schedule set by the end of the day.  I get in to work between seven to seven fifteen in the morning and by eight its 52 card pickup because the schedule has changed! The hardest task is juggling the scheduling, which is all about trying to get every customer satisfied in a reasonable amount of time. The most satisfying part of my day is helping our customers. It’s a really good feeling being able to provide the service that makes their life more comfortable. If a customer has problems with a system we installed, I will take the issue to the distributor to get our customer the best result possible.  We treat people the way we want to be treated by doing the right thing.
Industry Recognition 2017 Bryant Circle of Champions
I was very honored to be included in the 2017 Bryant Circle of Champions, and even more honored to have been awarded the 2018 Bryant Medal of Excellence, one of only fifteen in the nation (that’s only 2% of Bryant dealers in the country) to be so recognized. Because Bryant is a sponsor, I will be going as their VIP guest to the Indy 500 race in Indianapolis. I get to bring my husband, who is an electrician and not in the HVAC field. He is such a good guy, he texted me a picture of a tee shirt that said “I’m her plus one” because that’s normally what he tells people at any HVAC function!
What would people be surprised to know about you?
That last year I sat for a six hour exam and became a Licensed Mechanical Air Conditioning Contractor.  I also passed my N.A.T.E. test this spring, so now I’m N.A.T.E. certified like my technicians.  (North American Technician Excellence.)
What would you tell women interested in your field?
This is a great industry to be in, and I believe women bring a sense of finesse to it. Women don’t need to be scared or afraid to try the HVAC field. I will say that it is important to have support and help at home because it can be a 24/7 job.
When you have free time what is your favorite place in Beaufort?
That’s easy, being out on the river with my family. We like to walk along the mud bank and look for old bottles, go fishing or just cruise around and find a sand bar for the boys to play on.
Introduce us to your family …
My husband, Christian Petersen, is the owner of Petersen Electric. He is my rock, my biggest fan and biggest support. We have two sons, Gavin age six and Reese age two.
Due to my work and school schedules I do miss some things but I am always working on achieving that ideal work and life balance. As my son Gavin says – “If it’s hot, call Mommy!”
Pender Brothers offers quality air and expert HVAC service for your home. We know air conditioning and heating is important to your family. We also know the air quality of your home is equally important. We provide our customers with expert installers, knowledgeable, experienced technicians, that are N.A.T.E. certified and friendly customer service representatives.
Our mission is to provide our customers with assistance that far exceeds your expectations. We strive for excellence in all we do and settle for nothing less. We do this all at a fair and reasonable upfront price. All of our team members are equipped to provide you with the service you need in a courteous manner.

Dr. Marlena Smalls 

story by Cindy Reid

photos by Susan DeLoach

Dr. Marlena Smalls is truly the Voice of Gullah. Founder of The Hallelujah Singers, an internationally known vocalist and entertainer, a cultural ambassador from the lowcountry to the world, she has been there and done that twice over and then some. She continues to educate, to entertain and to expand our horizons. A true American treasure, she sat down with us to share some of her wisdom on the business of culture and entertainment.

What are some of your current musical projects?

     Two successful shows at USCB Center for the Arts, collaborating with vocalists Elaine Lake, Velma Polk and the Lowcountry Jazz Band, under the direction of David Hershey, have kept me busy. Together we performed a Tribute to Etta James, Motown and More; with a third show, Ain’t Nobody’s Biz, coming up this year. I greatly value working with USCB and it is a great joy to get on stage with Elaine and Velma.

How did your career in music start?

     Interestingly enough, I started out founding a school of music with my mother where we taught voice, piano and dance. From our original five students, we eventually built the school to one hundred and ninety five pupils. Now from the school came out something even bigger. You see we did a wonderful play called “Hail Mahalia” with the music school students, and the parents of those children formed the first nucleus of ‘The Hallelujah Singers.’

Tell us about The Hallelujah Singers

     I founded The Hallelujah Singers in 1990 specifically to preserve the melodies and storytelling unique to the South Carolina Sea Islands. We were the first Gullah Ambassadors. The Hallelujah Singers use entertainment to inspire, celebrate, and preserve the West African heritage which has shaped today’s Gullah culture.

Other important firsts?

     I worked for the City of Beaufort as the Arts Coordinator, and in that capacity I created the first Gullah Festival in 1984. The festival came about because I was trying to create a project where we could fund raise for the arts, particularly children’s projects, and highlight Black culture at the same time.

How did you become the “Voice of Gullah?”

     Even before the first Gullah Festival I was getting the word Gullah out there. Based on the work I was doing, there became quite an interest. Media outlets were contacting me for interviews and information on Gullah culture, the BBC filmed me three times and I did several interviews with NPR. At that point, then South Carolina Governor Riley and Senator Strom Thurmond were contacting me, essentially the state of South Carolina said ‘we need to talk to you!’ That is really how I became the ‘Voice of Gullah’ and I continued to represent South Carolina and conduct interviews on ABC, NBC, at the Atlanta Constitutional Journal and so forth.

In addition to being an artist, you were also in charge of the business of your work.

     The creation of The Hallelujah Singers was the opportunity of a lifetime. As a troupe, we went to Japan, Germany, France, Spain, England and Scotland. We travelled the world. However it was very time consuming; it grew so fast so quickly that cash flow became a problem. I had a wonderful friend whose husband was a retired banker and he worked with me to complete a prospectus which helped me obtain a business loan. That was very unusual in the entertainment business, because you have no tangible assets. Keeping up with the business side of entertainment is a rollercoaster.

What do you want people to understand about Gullah?

     I want people to understand Gullah is not stuck in time. It’s more than just being born somewhere from Wilmington, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida. It’s the DNA. It’s the West Indies, Brazil and Africa. We cut the culture of Gullah short when we think of slavery and slavery alone. By doing that we exclude essentials such as diet, wisdom and religion. The Gullah was wise and creative enough to accept the culture so they could survive. The African survived. He entangled himself like a vine on a tree. The culture of Gullah is bigger than Beaufort.

What do you think about the current focus on Reconstruction?

     When we look at Reconstruction, which we are starting to do here in Beaufort, we see it never completely took because it took fifty one years for the African to achieve equality. Fifty one years for the right to housing and education and healthcare. We are still not equal in how the African is perceived. This is a lack of education. We must be vigilant in making sure all Americans are educated. A campaign of diversity. A campaign of ‘See me’- to see what we have each brought to this country. We can do this by including a truer picture of history in the classroom.

This leads to your involvement in children’s education?

     Yes, this is why children’s education is important. When I do cultural presentations in a classroom I start with a world map and work through food. I ask the children ‘do you know even if you have never left your hometown, you have travelled the world?’ We go through the origins of pasta, of frankfurters, of sweet potatoes and rice, of various spices. I ask the children to talk to the oldest person you can, to ask them to give you something to represent your heritage. Over the years I have gotten Irish war beads, a coffee cup from Peru, French bread made at home, various combs, a piece of a kilt, all sorts of things.

What is your current children’s project?

     I have adopted the Mossy Oak Elementary School. At the end of this year the children will be collaborating with me and illustrating my children’s book. Next year I will have the children involved with music. The children are wonderful and I get great joy from the classroom.

What would you tell a young woman embarking on an entertainment career? 

     I would tell her, ‘You need to be kind.’ Because kindness has worked for me. I would say to her, surround yourself with positive and wise people. That’s what I did and that helped me to build my business. As I look back one person in particular was so meaningful in my life, and that was Harriet Keyserling. She had me come to her home. We had tea and talked. ‘Let me help you’ she said. She was kind and open. Also Jayne Leigh Powell was very important to me, she became my business partner. We were like sisters, and then she was a surrogate mother to me until she went on to Glory.

     So I say you need to be kind, you need to be helpful, you need to share with mankind. Be kind.

Your favorite place in Beaufort?

     The waterfront park. I have been here long enough to see the changes in the waterfront, and they correlate with the changes in my life. In the past, I worked with the city of Beaufort, and I planned events there, and now I am not working for the city and I occasionally sing from the stage. Now I get in the swings and I watch people, some I know, some I don’t, and I have quick conversations. God speaks to me there.

Feeling Blessed and Grateful

     I would like to say I am very thankful to Beaufort South Carolina. They embraced me and my children when I arrived here and I will forever be eternally grateful. I was able to share Gullah and could not have done it without them.

     I was blessed with so much after as I matured in my music and life.  God allowed me to sing with my daughters, Tracey McGhee and Sumitra Stewart, and my sister Gladys Jenkins shared her gift of song with us. They were a blessing and inspiration to me over the years as we performed and kept Gullah in the forefront.

     Also, I found my best friend and Sister, Peggy Bing-O’Banner, in this beautiful Lowcountry.  The Hallelujah Singers produced five CDs over the years that I pray will forever leave an imprint on the lives of all who hear them.  It is my desire that our music will speak for itself as it lays the path for future generations to hear and learn of our wonderful Gullah culture. Life is good.

Healing Rebuilding and Empowering Women to Live a Joyous and Abundant Life

story by Lindsay Lenoir

photos by Paul Nurnberg

The Women’s Empowerment Summit: H.E.R. Abundant Life, is the result of four dedicated, hardworking, successful, vibrant and beautifully flawed women. Businesswomen and entrepreneurs who call Beaufort home. On June 9th, 2018 women from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, and walks of life will gather together under one roof to be uplifted and empowered by a panel of entrepreneurs; four women who have overcome many obstacles to “create the life they desire and have become obsessed with living a life they choose.”  Hosted by, Ryanne Goneke, Brittney Hiller, Jennifer Glass and Allison Kindwall.

     Starting out as the brainchild of Omni Fitness co-owner Ryanne Goneke, the Empowerment Summit began to take shape. “I said to Brittney, we need to host an event that empowers women and teaches them how to live their best life.”  A small spark quickly ignited into a large flame.

     The two women would begin to create an idea that would change and inspire two more influential young women, Jennifer Glass and Allison Kindwall. Jennifer, having met Brittney and Allison through Northwestern Mutuals’, Center of Influence Program (COI), quickly realized that they were not only successful, but were passionate about igniting the desire in other women to search for and live out their own truth. Gathering together at Pluff Mudd Coffee shop in Port Royal, Jennifer and Brittney began to fan the flame of what would become, in a matter of weeks, The Women’s Empowerment Summit.

     Jennifer quipped, “I never knew it wasn’t possible, I just took an idea and made it a reality.” According to Brittney, “Jennifer is the doer. Ryanne, myself, and Allison are the visionaries.”  Combining each’s strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, resiliencies, expertise, past mistakes, and present victories H.E.R. Abundant Life was born: Healing(H), Empowering (E), Rebuilding (R) and inspiring women, all women, to “live a joyous and abundant life.”

Meet the Panel

Ryanne Goneke: Co-owner Omni Health and Fitness

     A native of Beaufort, Ryanne Goneke is a dedicated mother to two little boys, and loving wife to her husband, who serves our community on the Lady’s Island Fire Department. About 7 years ago Ryanne was happily employed as a manager and personal trainer in a Bluffton private community. However, life has a way of changing, and Ryanne and her husband became the proud parents to a baby boy.  “I always knew that I wouldn’t be a stay at home mom. As soon as my son was two weeks old, I was ready to get back to work.”

     Eventually, the commute and time away from her family began to take its toll on Ryanne and she decided to step away from the job she loved so much. Soon after, a good friend of hers approached her with the possibility of managing a gym they were about to purchase. Ryanne didn’t even get the chance to process this news before her friend would be calling her back and proposing that she and her husband go in as co-owners.

     Ryanne said she had never entertained the idea of owning her own business, until that moment. In August of 2014, six months after this initial conversation, they were handed the keys to Omni Health and Fitness. Days later, she would find out she was expecting. There she was, in business ownership, pregnant, trying to manage 10 employees and 15 independent contractors, when things started to fall apart.

     Ryanne said she had to stop and reassess how she was going to run her business. “I had to learn how to connect with so many different personalities so I could figure out how to best communicate with and support that person.” One of the most important lessons, though, concerned her own wellbeing, “You can’t support the people around you. You have to fill your own cup up first and continue doing that every single day. It’s not selfish… love yourself, so you can love others.”

     It has been 4 years now and Ryanne is still standing behind her “self-love” commitment, even though sometimes that requires her to let go of a little baggage.    “When you raise your vibration, certain people will start dropping by the wayside, and I’m ok with that because it opens up the opportunity for new like-minded people to come in. Everything you want in life is already there, you just have to be open to it!”

Allison Kindwall: Co-owner of InkDropz Custom Tees

     Allison Kindwall is not your typical 21-year-old, and she is fine with that! In fact, she’s more than fine with it, she’s proud of it. While most young adults her age are still floundering around trying to find their place, Allison has seemingly figured this whole “life” thing out. She is a confident, self-assured, vibrant, young woman, who is unapologetically wise for her age. Having tried the college route right out of high school, Allison realized, “I didn’t really go for the whole college thing.” She said that it was a hard decision to leave college because she was afraid of being perceived as a college drop out.

Allison saw a clear path for what she wanted and the College of Charleston was no longer a part of that path. She decided to return home to Beaufort and become a part of her family’s business. Allison already knew that she could play a vital role in the business’ success by becoming co-owner of InkDropz.

      “I think what I bring to the table is a perfect example of young women in business. I want to show young girls that other people are doing it and making it work.” She admits that there are some cases when the fact that she is a younger person hinders a client from automatically placing trust in her and giving them the job, but Allison says it doesn’t deter her.   With confidence she says, “Often times, I just come out and say, will you let me do this job for you? People aren’t used to being asked.”

     Don’t mistake her kindness for weakness though. “My parents taught me to always be kind. However, I misunderstood, thinking that being a Godly woman meant total and complete submission, but complete submission doesn’t create a healthy, happy woman. Women were made to be strong and play an important role. Empowerment is a happy medium because you can be both kind and strong.”

     As if she weren’t busy enough, helping run a successful screen-printing business, Allison is also a full-time student as USCB, Majoring in Business Administration with a focus on Marketing.

Brittney Hiller: 

Founder of Effervescence Yoga Spa & Children’s Book Author of “The Laughing Yogini”

     A Marine Corps brat, Brittney Hiller moved around a good bit. Her father’s time in service brought them to picturesque Beaufort. Staying here was not an option in her youth, but as she puts it, “Beaufort has that rubber band effect on people, you stretch away from it, but it always brings you back.”

     At 25, Brittney returned to the Lowcountry and was able to continue and expound upon her passion for Yoga and massage therapy. She started doing yoga in high school and upon her return to Beaufort was hired by a local yoga studio. Soon after becoming a certified instructor, Brittney parted ways with the studio. She decided to try a new concept: outdoor yoga.

     What started as a donation-based, outdoor experiment turned into a business when her good friend Martha O’Regan opened her waterfront home to Brittney and started “TheraVista.” One evening Brittany witnessed her younger sister having a panic attack over a homework assignment. Deeply moved by this experience, and inspired to make a difference, Brittney wrote a children’s book. “The Little Laughing Yogini,” was a tool for promoting laughter yoga, an interactive way for children to center themselves and “find their bliss.” Because of her book, Brittney has been able to have access to many schools in which she is able to interact with the children, teaching them breathing techniques, and yoga through laughter and play.

     Martha ended up selling her beautiful home so Brittney decided to take the leap into business ownership. “I always said I wanted to be a traveling yogini,”  but finding the perfect space for her studio was the final push that she needed. Her studio is an, “infusion of yoga with a spa-like feel.” Brittney is married to her husband, Andrew. They have two dogs, Armani and Abby. She is passionate about joyful living and is intentional about giving women the tools to create their own happy and healthy life.

Jennifer Glass: Financial Consultant & Founder of Before the Shelter

     Also a military kid, Jennifer Glass had quite a different upbringing. Being raised by an emotionally and verbally abusive father, she became hardened. From a young age she said her mantra was,“You will not break me!”

     Suffering through the difficult divorce of her parents at the age of 14, Jennifer remained in a state of disrepair. By the time she was 16 years old, she was supporting herself and living on her own.

     When Jennifer was 23 years old, she married a service member and returned to a life that she knew all too well– a life of abuse.  After failed attempts at counseling and receiving no help from the military, Jennifer decided to end the marriage.  She would go on to remarry, have a child, and fall into yet another tumultuous relationship.

     During that time, she received devastating news. Her mother, her best friend, and the only source of love and protection in her life, had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and was given only fourteen months to live. The one person, “who always saw who I was, in that moment, and who I could be” would soon, and suddenly pass away in what Jennifer refers to as the worst year of her life.

     Seemingly overnight, Jennifer had lost her mother, her then husband was put in jail over a misunderstanding, and she and her daughter were homeless. Seeking refuge at a local shelter, Jennifer says she ended up feeling “lost, confused and out of place.” She was struck by the environment of the shelter, noting that the women there seemed scared, uneasy and paranoid. She was so bothered by her treatment and the treatment of others that she decided she would dedicate herself to trying to give these women another option.

     This is how “Before the Shelter” was brought to life. “Before the Shelter” is a non- profit organization that focuses on the prevention and education of victims of domestic abuse. To “encourage victims to build a new life and not just an escape plan.”  “Life sometimes beats the belief out of you,” and during that time Jennifer was finally able to admit she was a broken woman. At her lowest point she realized, “nothing changed for me until to change was all I had left.”

     Serendipity, placed her in the path of Brittney Hiller and Allison Kindwall, eventually Ryanne Goneke was the catalyst to her continued healing. Jennifer noted that Pluff Mudd Coffee Company played a huge part of her story. It was her safe haven when she was in the shelter and continues to be a place that she goes to unwind, do some work, and feel at home.

 In order to pursue her passion, Jennifer decided to make the switch to working independently as a Financial Consultant, offering her Holistic Financial Makeover workshops through the Effervescence Yoga Spa. She is currently in the process of building a Board of Advisors for “Before the Shelter.”

     These brave women each possess such clarity and perspective about their own truths, that it’s contagious. As women, we believe that perception is everything. We often times see ourselves as we believe others perceive us and we begin to let it define us. According to all of the ladies, “If you allow people to tell you who you are, it will always keep you in a box. To grow beyond that, you need to realize that just because it’s THEIR truth, doesn’t mean it’s THE truth, and it definitely doesn’t have to be YOUR truth!”

     For more information on ticketing visit herabundantlife.org, and Facebook.com/Beforetheshelterbft

story by Lindsey Lenoir

The combination of modern sophistication, tradition, and Lowcountry comfort is what Breakwater Restaurant and Bar has offered historic Beaufort for the past eighteen years. Having relocated in 2009 to their current space nestled on the Corner of Carteret Street and Port Republic, Breakwater originally only served dinner. It has since opened its doors to the lunch crowd. Local patrons and tourists alike can enjoy a few of their favorite dinner menu items along with some new, lighter, and refreshing, seasonal salad and sandwich options. Don’t forget to grab one of their noteworthy cocktails, like the “Prince of Tides” (a fusion of Patron-silver, St. Germain, honey syrup and fresh lime juice). Then before you leave, be sure to tell Mrs. Donna Lang, General Manager, Co-owner, and wife of Executive Chef Gary Lang, hello!

     Executive Chefs and co-owners, Gary Lang and Elizabeth Shaw, along with Chef De Cuisine Megan Horne, create their “New Southern Cuisine” by using fresh, local produce whenever possible.  Incorporating culinary influences from different parts of the globe and adding some “fresh, Southern flare”, while utilizing seafood from the Carolina Coast, the chefs have been able to create a menu that is sure to delight. Chef Lang, founder of Breakwater, “pledged to stay true to simple cooking techniques and only work with sustainable, seasonal ingredients.” Chefs Lang and Shaw have succeeded in building a menu that incorporates, “simple, honest cooking” and adds fresh, innovative, “subtle nuances to traditional southern dishes.”

     Every Saturday from 9am-12pm Breakwater serves the community at the Port Royal Farmer’s market, selling items like tacos, their famous butter bean hummus, and signature pimento cheese, all of which have ingredients sourced by the vendors at the market. Chef Shaw says that it has always been important to them to build rapport with the local farming community and to support local businesses and artisans. “We even used local architects and interior designers when creating the new location.”  Breakwater has been voted OpenTables’ “Diners’ Choice Winner, earned the TripAdvisor “Certificate of Excellence”, and was voted as The Island News (TIN) Favorite for the seventh year in a row.

     Breakwater is now open Monday-Saturday 11am-3pm for lunch, and 5pm-9pm for dinner with Happy Hour starting at 4.

Offering Young Creators the Opportunity to Produce an Illustrated Book, Camp Conroy: Build A Book, a new initiative of the nonprofit Pat Conroy Literary Center, is a two-week summer camp to be held June 18–29, Monday–Friday, 8am–4pm.

      Offered in partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry, the program will provide campers, age 11 to 15, with a hands-on program of book building from start to finish. This nature-inspired, collaborative experience includes research, exploration, and interpretation of the natural world. Participants will engage with writing, illustrating, photographing, editing, storyboarding, and producing a book. The campers will act as a team, producing the book and chasing the story. Each will have a vital role in its conception, editorial content, and design.

     In the first week, the book’s theme and overall design will be determined, as well as production team member roles: writers, poets, photographers, artists, copy editors, designers, and production editors. Throughout the camp, the participants will work with instructors to create, revise, and compile their content for the book: stories, essays, poems, artwork, and photographs.

     The participants will also constructively critique one another’s work, a key and engaging part of the collaborative process.

The first week also includes a field trip to the Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center. There the participants will explore the exhibits and talk with master naturalists about the beauty of the environment, and how to interpret and protect it as good stewards.

     During the second week, participants will focus on editing, revision, production, and building a book mockup, prepping for its final print delivery. The students will visit the Storybook Shoppe in Bluffton and Alex Bell from Starbooks in Hilton Head will explain, in an interactive seminar, the anatomy of a book and the publication process. Bookshop owner Sally Sue Lavigne will share samples of published children’s books. Campers will spend the remainder of the week building their own book. David Woods of Budget Print in Beaufort will print the final book, which will be part of a final exhibition at the Mather School that will include all the campers’ stories, poems, artwork, and photography. Family and friends will then be invited to a closing celebration, and additional books will be available for order.

Camp Conroy is limited to 15 participants, and open to middle-school-aged students to rising high school sophomores.

     The $299 registration fee includes daily lunches and two field trips. Two scholarships are available; to apply, students should submit a sample of their work (essay, poem, artwork, or photograph) by June 10 to the Pat Conroy Literary Center, 308 Charles Street, Beaufort, SC 29902, ATTN: Camp Conroy. Camp registration forms are available online at www.td.edu or www.tinyurl.com/campconroy.

     The instructors for the camp are Miho Kinnas, Lisa Anne Cullen, both published authors, and Maura Connelly, photographer and Pat Conroy Literary Center’s communication and events coordinator.

     Miho Kinnas is a Japanese-born writer and translator, and the author of the poetry collection Today, Fish Only (Math Paper Press 2015). Her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. Miho conducts haiku workshops at many locations including Shanghai International Literary Festival, Pat Conroy Literary Center, local libraries, and schools. She holds an M.F.A. from City University of Hong Kong. She and her husband live on Hilton Head Island.

     Lisa Anne Cullen is the author or editor of eight children’s books and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She holds an M.F,A. degree in writing for children and pairs this passion with her love of illustration, art, photography, and screenwriting.

     Lisa has won awards for her artistic and written works and finds pure joy in connecting with the natural world. Her author-illustrated folktales Little Orange Honey Hood and Three Wild Pigs are being released through  USC Press’s Young Palmetto Books in the spring and fall of 2018.

     Maura Connelly is the communications and events coordinator for the Pat Conroy Literary Center. She holds a B.A. in English  from Skidmore College and has also studied at UCD in Dublin and SCAD in Savannah.  She is a photographer and master naturalist and lives in Beaufort.

Dr. Cynthia Gregory-Smalls

story by Lindsey Lenoir

photos by John Wollwerth

In the ever-changing tides of educational policy and reform, one Beaufort County Board member is sticking to a tried and true mantra, “Never give up! Keep pushing forward!” Dr. Cynthia Gregory-Smalls has dedicated her life to education. Now retired, Cynthia spent over 30 years in the field.  Receiving her teaching certificate from Hunter College in New York, she went on to further her education and received not only a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Shaw University, but also an M.A. in Education from USC Columbia, a second M.A. in Education Leadership from Cambridge College in Boston, and finally, a Doctorate in the Philosophy of Education from Walden University.

     Initially starting her career as an elementary school teacher, she would go on the administrative course to serve as assistant principal. She is certified as a school supervisor, superintendent, secondary principal and secondary supervisor.

     Such a long list of professional accomplishments could not have happened if it weren’t for a deep-rooted dedication and commitment to personal drive. Driven is exactly what Dr. Gregory-Smalls is. It is a drive that was cultivated in the household of her parents, Mr. Wendell P. Gregory, and Mrs. Carrie Singleton Gregory. When asked who her first influential teacher was, she proudly stated, “My mother was my first teacher. She taught me how to read, and all about the world through our set of World Book Encyclopedias: Childcraft Edition.” Her father also played a tremendous role in her early education. “My father can’t go unrecognized either. He played a big part in reinforcing what we were learning in school.” She said her father would come in from a long day at the shipyard where he worked as a longshoreman, sit down with Cynthia and her sisters, and ask them to recite their multiplication tables, while encouraging them to tell him all about what they had learned that day.

     At the time, neither of her parents had received a formal education. The Gregory’s encouraged their children to keep going and to invest in their own education. They had both been enrolled, at one time, to the Penn Normal Industrial and Agricultural School, or Penn School (as it was originally named). It was the first school started on St. Helena Island for abandoned and freed slaves. In the beginning, Penn School was part of the Port Royal Initiative, a program created to help equip these former slaves and their children for freedom. They were taught how to read, and how to sustain themselves and their families by learning a trade or skill set that would provide them some economic stability.

     Unfortunately, both her mother and father were called away from completing their education due to household responsibilities, and lack of transportation.

      According to Cynthia, the regret of her parents, for not being able to complete their own education, spurred them to instill the importance of education in their children.

     Eventually, Cynthia’s mother went on to receive a diploma through the Beaufort County Adult Education Program.

     In addition to the influence of her parents, teachers like her 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Pettigrew, propelled Gregory-Smalls towards a path of dedicated service to the field of education.       This singular teacher stuck out in her mind because of her devotion to her students. “She was just so passionate about teaching, and she cared, she really took her time to make sure we understood.  She just really cared.”

     Growing up in Harlem, N.Y, Dr. Gregory-Smalls would often summer on St. Helena Island. The family would come back to visit grandparents, aunts and uncles. She would eventually go on to marry Michael Smalls. Today, they have four children and are the proud grandparents of five grandchildren.

     Currently, Dr. Gregory-Smalls serves on the District 3 seat for the Board of Education, representing St. Helena, Lady’s Island, and other parts of Beaufort.   During her 30+ years with the Beaufort County School system, she was honored to be at St. Helena Elementary School for 18 of those years, 10 of which she was Assistant Principal.  As a member of the Beaufort County Educational Association (BCEA) she has been able to mentor and encourage many of her fellow teachers. When speaking to her recently, she was in the middle of fine tuning a speech that she was about to give at a BCEA Teacher Appreciation Gala to a group of colleagues who would be gathering together to be celebrated for their hard work and dedication to the field of education.       Gregory-Smalls articulates, “You know, speaking to your colleagues is a whole different thing. I have sat where they sit, I just want to relate to them and tell them job well done. That we all just need to keep pushing forward, and never give up!”

     As a Board member, Gregory-Smalls hopes to see a shift in equipping our students to return to jobs here in the Lowcountry. She desires for the schools to provide opportunities to learn technological competitiveness, participate in apprenticeship programs, and introduce them to amassing a new trade and skill set.  “I want to see these students returning to us and becoming part of the success of our town.” She feels strongly that we need to provide the opportunities for our students to return here and have sustainable careers, start new businesses, and reinvest in their community.

     She also stated that one of her highest callings in education has been to be a voice of encouragement to her fellow educators. “I want to encourage my colleagues to keep being trailblazers. Never give up, hold firm to their platforms on reform for change to happen.”  She admits there are numerous, and often times overwhelming challenges that teachers today face.  Fortunately, “out of those challenges have arisen dedicated and driven students. Students who are actively seeing the results of petitioning for change. We need to be encouraged by that fact.”

     “We have students in our school system who are writing to their legislatures, students who are going on to acquire dual degrees,” Gregory-Smalls states. “Our graduation rate is at an all-time high, and we have the most Jr. Scholars this year than we have ever had.” According to Dr. Gregory-Smalls, “we are preparing and shaping the next generation to move forward, so never give up!”

United Way of the Lowcountry Women United is gearing up for Operation Backpack to provide local children in need with school supplies to start school.

     While children throughout the Lowcountry just got out of school for summer break, it won’t be long until they will be preparing for another school year and heading back to the classroom. Although many children would love for summer to last forever, there’s excitement in going school shopping, getting a new backpack and picking out school supplies.

     Unfortunately, there are many children here in the Lowcountry who will go to school empty handed on that first day because families simply can’t afford the extra cost of purchasing school supplies and uniforms.  That’s why United Way of the Lowcountry Women United started Operation Backpack, which works to help fill the gaps by providing backpacks full of school supplies and uniform shirts to children in need before each school year.   “We all know purchasing school supplies can be costly and there are many families in our community who are struggling just to make ends meet,” says Tina Gentry, United Way of the Lowcountry President & CEO. “We want to help ensure that as many children as possible, regardless of their financial situations, walk into school on that first day with the supplies they need to reach their full potential.”

     Women United has continued to expand the program each year to help meet the need.  Katie Phifer, Women United Steering Committee Chair, says, “We want to break any barrier that would prevent a student from succeeding in school so when we learned that many of our students were starting the school year without the supplies they desperately needed, Operation Backpack was born.”  Last school year, the initiative provided more than 600 backpacks to students at eight schools throughout Beaufort and Jasper Counties.  This upcoming school year, Operation Backpack is again expanding to help more students. “This initiative has continued to grow each year and we are grateful for the community’s support,” says Phifer.  “We’ve had communities, businesses, individuals and other non-profit groups step up and truly deliver in order to help our children.”

     Women United works with school social workers to identify the students who would benefit the most from the program and who are not being served by other agencies.  Women United volunteers help pack each of the backpacks with school supplies and two uniform shirts. The backpacks are then delivered to the schools prior to the start of school so the students have what they need on their first day.  “Once the collection process is finalized, we organize our volunteers at United Way to help sort all the materials.  We set up an assembly line and pack each of the backpacks, school by school,” says Alison Barton, Women United Steering Committee member and United Way of the Lowcountry Board Member. “By working with the schools directly, each backpack is grade appropriate in terms of the needed materials, and contains the proper uniform shirt size for the child.”

How can you get involved?

     Women United will start collecting school supplies and monetary donations June 4th through August 1st. Drop-off locations will be located throughout Beaufort and Jasper Counties including the United Way of the Lowcountry offices.

United Way of the Lowcountry Offices:

Beaufort – 1277 Ribaut Road

Bluffton – 10 Buckingham Plantation Drive, Suite D

     For more drop-off locations, visit www.uwlowcountry.org.

     Women United is collecting monetary donations to purchase the actual backpacks and some of the school supply items in bulk as well as all the school uniform shirts.

     The list of donated items include the following:  yellow highlighters, index cards, pocket folders (2 pockets), glue sticks, #2 pencils (12 count), crayons (24 count), Crayola washable markers, composition notebooks (marble), filler paper, ruler (12 inch/clear if possible), zipper-seal quart and gallon bags, box of facial tissue, wet wipes, hand sanitizer (4 oz bottle), rolls of paper towels.

     Additionally, gift cards to Walmart will also be accepted as well as monetary donations. Donations can be made online at www.uwlowcountry.org.  Checks can be made out to “United Way of the Lowcountry” with Operation Backpack in the memo line and should be mailed to United Way of the Lowcountry, P.O. Box 202, Beaufort, SC 29901.

     For more information about Operation Backpack, contact Jaime Dailey-Vergara at the United Way of the Lowcountry (843) 982-3040.

Brittney Hiller

story by Carol Lauvray

photos by Paul Nurnberg

Brittney Hiller is a young woman with an engaging smile who exudes cheerfulness and enthusiasm. With her optimistic outlook, positive energy and effervescent spirit, she’s made her dreams come true.

     A yoga and wellness practitioner, Brittney is the owner of Effervescence Yoga Studio and Spa in Port Royal, where she teaches yoga and meditation and practices massage therapy. She shares some insight about herself on the Effervescence website, “My love for meditation, yoga, and all things mindfully driven began when I became obsessed with a fun television show known as Dharma & Greg…and I wanted to be all things Dharma—a yoga teacher, with a fun-loving attitude, and head over heels for my straight-laced seeming husband.” Her obsession with yoga began when she was only 15 years old, right here in Beaufort. “That was way before yoga was ‘mainstream’ and before yoga pants were a ‘thing’,” she explains. Now just 35 years old, Brittney has achieved the goals she set for herself as a teen, and in record time. Within just six months of opening her yoga studio Effervescence in July 2017, it was voted “2018 Best Yoga Studio” by Eat Sleep Play Beaufort, while the publication The Island News voted Effervescence “Favorite Yoga Studio for 2018” and voted Brittney Hiller “Favorite Massage Therapist for 2018.” In addition, Brittney’s been married to her own version of Dharma’s straight-laced Greg, her husband Andrew, since 2011. She smiles broadly as she describes him, “Andrew is left-brained and more straight and narrow, while I’m more creative and outgoing, so he keeps me grounded.”

     Brittney was first transplanted to Beaufort in the tenth grade as a “military brat”—and she has been coming back ever since. “I call it the rubber-band effect,” she explains. “I moved to Beaufort in 1998 and attended Battery Creek High School while my dad was a Marine stationed here. After high school, in 2003 I moved back to San Diego with my family, but just a few months later I returned to Beaufort for a while to visit a boyfriend. In 2004, I came back to Beaufort again and shortly after that, I moved to Charleston for several years. Then in 2008, I moved back to Beaufort to live.”

Finding Her Bliss In Beaufort

     While first living in Beaufort during her tenth grade year, Brittney found yoga through a dance class at school. She says her dance teacher at Battery Creek High introduced her to yoga as a way to warm up before and cool down after dancing. “After my first yoga experience when I was in my final relaxation pose, I knew two things: 1) I’m hooked for life, and 2) I want to teach this.”

     “After high school, I kept practicing yoga at home using yoga DVDs and when I moved back to Beaufort in 2008 I, took yoga classes at the YMCA in Port Royal. A yoga teacher there, Shelley Lowther, opened her Dancing Dogs yoga studio in Beaufort in 2010, so I worked for her and took yoga classes in return. While I was at Dancing Dogs, I received 200 hours of yoga training and became certified as an instructor in Baptiste-inspired Yoga, Laughter Yoga and Kids Yoga,” Brittney states.

     Kids Yoga involves singing, imagination and play, she explains. “In the Downward dog position, we pretend we’re dogs and bark; in the Cat and Cow positions, we meow and moo. It’s great for kids to open up their imaginations! Laughter Yoga is my way of bringing Kids Yoga into the adult world because it also relies on the imagination and playfulness of those participating.”

     Brittney expanded her wellness expertise by attending the Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL) in 2010 and 2011 to earn certification as a Massage Therapist. TCL’s Massage Therapy program involves courses in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, and hands-on massage therapy training, she says.

     In 2012 Brittney branched out on her own as The Outdoor Yogini—a Yogini is a woman who does yoga, she explains. During that period, she held yoga classes outdoors in a variety of venues, including: at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in downtown Beaufort; in her own neighborhood; at the Port Royal Amphitheater; and in Charleston at Charles Towne Landing. For the next four years, Brittney worked with Martha O’Regan at TheraVista on Lady’s Island, focusing on the mind-body connection of clients by teaching yoga.

     It was during this period, that Brittney also became the author of a children’s book, The Little Laughing Yogini (available on Amazon.com), “a short story of a girl on an epic journey to find her bliss, who learns that her bliss is laughter.” Brittney says she understands the power that laughter has to rejuvenate the body and inspire a youthful spirit. “Every class I teach includes laughter and a sense of play!” she emphasizes. “Through The Little Laughing Yogini, I have also created Little Yoga PlayShops, which give me the opportunity to introduce yoga to Elementary School children and to offer breathing, mindfulness, and yoga in their classrooms—both in person and virtually via the Internet.”

     Brittney and her Effervescence Yoga Studio and Spa have not only earned accolades and acclaim since it opened last summer, but the business also has expanded from the first floor of its location at 1613 Parris Avenue in Port Royal to include the upstairs of the building as well—a testament to the popularity of Brittney’s approach to her wellness practice and the classes and services she offers. The Effervescence website www.effervescenceyogaspa.com outlines a variety of services and classes—from an array of massage and body treatments, to many types of yoga classes designed for all levels from beginners to advanced students, and including therapeutic chair yoga. Yoga classes are available in the mornings and evenings. The various spa services and yoga classes are all described on the website and can be scheduled there online.

     With her attitude of thankfulness and optimism, Brittney has embraced the opportunities life has presented and she continues to seek happiness and joy in everything she does, even though she has faced some extremely challenging circumstances in the past. When asked how she sees her business evolving, Brittney shares that she truly appreciates the success of her yoga studio and spa and the opportunity to pay her three yoga teachers well. As an entrepreneur she envisions the future, saying, “I’d like to expand my business to other locations outside Beaufort, maybe even nationally.” Brittney Hiller is a young woman who practices what she teaches others—how to create a positive lifestyle and spirit with ef·fer·ves·cence (noun: vivacity and enthusiasm).

Nancy Harris Vista

story by Emily Burgess

photos by Susan DeLoach

Charming wood floors, an aroma that invites you in and makes you want to stay. Beautiful displays of jewelry, floral décor, women’s clothing and candles, the source of the pleasing scent, greet you as you enter. Located in the heart of Port Royal, Nuances opened in 2010 and has become a destination boutique for many with owner Nancy Harris Vista at its helm.

     Harris Vista is no stranger to owning businesses. She was born with an entrepreneurial spirit and recalls wanting and receiving a cardboard storefront to play with as a small child.

     “As early as the age of three, I would take my brother’s things and try to sell them back to him. That spirit started very early for me and I’m not sure where it came from. Maybe from my love to shop,” Harris Vista said. Her career as a business owner in Port Royal began in 2003 where she ran several retail stores, as well as a restaurant, Moondoggies, run as a family business and recently sold at the end of December 2017.

     Even with her entrepreneurial heart, Harris Vista did not attend school for business and originally received a degree in turf grass science and agronomy.  But her passion was for business and her love for Port Royal made the perfect pair for these endeavors.

     When the economy took a hit in 2007, Harris Vista closed down her retail spaces, but said she found herself missing it. Despite what those around her said and discouragement from many, she decided to take the chance and open Nuances in 2010, although the economy had not improved much.

     The idea behind Nuances was to create something that was unique but useful to the surrounding community. Harris Vista wanted to skip the trends that are usually found in your typical storefronts and sell clothes for everyday and for every woman. Even the gifts available for purchase in Nuances were purchased with thought as to their usefulness.

      “I’m very, very selective. I try to find things that are unique, but also have dual purposes. As we mature and accumulate things, we get to a point where we want to go the other way and simplify,” said Harris Vista. “That’s where the premise of the store came from.”

     The tagline for Nuances is “discover the art of joyful living” and that’s what Harris Vista lives by. She believes that when customers splurge to purchase something they need to find joy in it. In a world full of things, her intention is that those found in her shop are a delight to the people who buy them.

     Nuances best selling items are women’s clothing and the shop does not stock multiples of each article of clothing and sizes. Harris Vista intentionally does this, as she is dressing many locals and the desire to be wearing something unique is important to many. She makes sure that you won’t have those fashion faux pas moments of passing someone in the street wearing the same thing. She also tries to stay away from super trendy things and fads that will not stick around for long.

     “I’ve developed the rule that if I won’t take it home myself, then I don’t buy it. It’s pretty simple,” said Harris Vista. As a practical person who desires to find joy in the things she purchases, she makes sure that the things she is buying to carry in Nuances meets these requirements.

     Harris Vista moved to Port Royal with her family in 1991 and fell in love with the area. After living in the area for ten years, she knew it was the place for her businesses saying that it had a lot of soul. She loves that the Port Royal area has evolved into a place for families and a place for people of all ages, race and socioeconomic class making it an eclectic mix of people.

     “It’s got a funky feel of its own. We’ve watched it evolve over the years and grow. When we first came, we just saw that everyone was so friendly and willing to help out,” said Harris Vista. “It is the oldest town in the new world; the oldest settlement. People are curious. I’ve become kind of like the chamber of commerce over the years and even the town building across the street sends people to me for information.”

     Harris Vista feels positive about the growth that will come with Port Royal’s plans for the marina saying that she currently serves a majority of locals through her store and the development of the area will certainly bring tourism up. Her business is already booming though, thanks to her loyal following of customers.

     Despite any growth, Harris Vista has built her reputation on personalized service and she never wants to get to the point where that is sacrificed. Her desire is to keep serving the community and her customers with an attitude of friendliness and good attentive service. She serves everyone who comes through the doors with the exact same love and care regardless of race, class, looks or any other distinguishing factor.

     The personalized service is certainly working because Nuances has quite a loyal following. There are, of course, the locals who consistently come, but she also sees quite a few repeat tourists who make sure to stop by. Many who came several years ago while she was battling breast cancer, made sure to trek back in to see her and visit the store.

     Even with her love for business, there are always challenges to face. Harris Vista says hers is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. As a business owner, she has to wear many hats including bookkeeper, manager of personnel, inventory specialist, which means she puts in many hours. Wearing all the hats of running a business is difficult, but the reward far outweighs the challenge and the reward for Harris Vista is by far the people.

     “I have made some incredible friendships. They are more than just customers. Some of my very best friends started out as customers, and they still come in to shop, but it’s a different relationship now. When I got sick, I definitely saw who people were,” said Harris Vista. “What the people give to me is more than I give to them. They give me the strength to keep going everyday. This is not an easy business.”

     Harris Vista has worked hard to create a store that helps bring a sense of community to the area and the people living here. She desires for Nuances to be a fundamental part of Port Royal that is more than just another store, but is a useful and practical place for people to purchase clothing, gifts and more. She also has a passion to give back to local charities through her business to further help those in need locally.

         “If you love what you do, it’s easy,” said Harris Vista. “It’s amazing that when you go to bed at night, you want to wake up and do it the next day.” Her advice to young entrepreneurs is to use your instinct and pursue what you are passionate about. She says you have to find what it is that brings you joy and if you can find a way to turn that thing into a job than it won’t ever seem like work.

     Harris Vista has clearly found what she is passionate about and created a welcoming space in Nuances. She is always working to improve upon what she has built and plans to keep serving the community by helping them find joyful living.

story by Cindy Reid

photos by Susan DeLoach

Louise Hodges is a true entrepreneur and inventor in the world of eco-friendly pest control. Greenbug, Inc. was started in 2010 by Louise and her husband Dan Hodges to offer pest control alternatives to traditional pesticides. For larger areas of pest control, Louise Hodges developed the Greenbug System which offers automatic pest control through an irrigation system. She continues to grow Greenbug while spreading the word on the benefits of eco-friendly products.

It seems like you have always been here in Beaufort but where are you from originally?

     I spent my first years through second grade in Charlotte, NC then moved to Colorado where I lived until I graduated high school.  I knew I wanted to return south for college, so one summer I was visiting my grandparents in Greenville, South Carolina and my cousin showed me Clemson University. I saw the tiger paws in the road and that was it! I went to Clemson, graduated with a degree in Industrial Management and met my husband Dan there. My parents had retired to Fripp Island, SC and Dan and I were married on Fripp in 1985.

What was your first business?

     By training, I am a landscape designer.   Dan and I created Arterra, a landscape design/build company in Charlotte, NC for more than 20 years specializing in landscape renovation on the tail end of home renovation projects. We worked hard and created an excellent reputation creating the ‘fun’ stuff –  we built outdoor patios, fireplaces, arbors, ponds etc.  Essentially we worked with mature landscapes to create beautiful spaces.

From landscape design to Greenbug- how did that come about?

     We moved to Beaufort with the intention of continuing our landscape business here but it was 2008, the economy was not good, we were without many options and had to come up with something else. It didn’t take long before we realized people couldn’t enjoy the outdoors here in the lowcountry because the bugs are terrible!  Traditional pesticides are synthetic and toxic so we wanted to create green and natural products that work.  So Greenbug was born using an active ingredient of cedar – just like cedar chests and closets where you never see a bug.  That is because cedar is deadly to pests but harmless to humans, animals and the environment. Greenbug controls pests like no-see-ems, mosquitoes, ticks, mites, fleas, roaches, fire ants, aphids and other garden pests. Even head lice and bed bugs. All while being non toxic.

So Greenbug was born here in Beaufort?

     Yes. By 2010, we had Greenbug up and running. When we first started Greenbug, we were so excited to have safe products that work but realized early on that ‘safe’ wasn’t as important as ’effective.’ While they’ve always been effective, the interest in being “green’ came later. Now people totally get the ‘green’ part of our product. It is a product people want, in fact we have sold more than 100,000 bottles of the personal two ounce Greenbug. It is carried in retail stores from North Carolina to Florida and sold online via the website throughout the US and Canada.

Greenbug Systems Inventor?

     The Greenbug System idea blossomed one day while I was watching my lawn sprinklers running.  It dawned on me that our water soluble Greenbug formula could be distributed on the entire property via the irrigation system.  This was a simple and profound epiphany that took me three years to create an actual working system.  It really was a process, and there were many design versions getting the irrigation to communicate with the Greenbug pump. I knew our product and I knew irrigation but I did not know much about electrical systems. It was a different language to me and a steep learning curve.

     The first generation was way too complex, earlier models had a variety of issues and finally, the eighth version of the Greenbug System made it. We are currently installing the improved tenth version and recently created the Greenbug Jumbo model to accommodate properties with more than 24 irrigation zones. Currently, there are more than 225 Greenbug Systems from St. Simon’s Island, GA through Awendaw, SC including Palmetto Bluff, Dataw, Hampton Lake, Habersham, and truly most neighborhoods in Beaufort County.

What would you say to women who are interested in your field?

     I have always worked in male dominated fields, first in landscaping and now in pest control. But, in the end, gender has nothing to do with ability.  If you have an interest in an area and can contribute, go for it!

Did you have a mentor in your business?

     No, and I would have loved to have a mentor! A lot of people have taken an interest but nothing quite overlaps with what we do at Greenbug. I guess I am the trailblazer!

What would people be surprised to know about you?

     I am allergic to coffee. Strange, but true!

Do you have a personal connection to being in a ‘green’ business?

     I lost my Mom and my sister far too young to cancers caused by environmental issues. Once I knew the dangers of synthetic pesticides, I could not not-create Greenbug. I am grateful every day to offer safe alternatives to harsh, unnecessary chemicals!  Being ‘green’ is not a fad or crazy talk, it is the only way going into the future.

What’s next for you?

     We are seriously considering franchise options for Greenbug. It is important to educate consumers on the dangers of toxic chemicals and branching into new markets is exciting.  As far as retirement, I can’t imagine not working as I enjoy being active and engaged.

Introduce us to your family…

     My husband Dan, my partner in all things, and our two wonderful daughters, Hunter (24 years old) and Ellen (21 years old.)

What is your favorite place in Beaufort?

     My favorite place is out on the river, hanging out on the boat with friends and family. It’s where I get the down time to work on my novel.