These have been very interesting days. In the world, in our country, in my community and with friends. Recent challenges have brought to light the importance of banding together as women in a show of voice for our rights. Perhaps we have sat too idly by, taking for granted the accomplishments of our female predecessors who paved the way for women’s rights in this country. Today, once again, we are made aware of the imperfection of systems to properly support us, and we are being asked to connect with ourselves more authentically, and to come together with each other to get things done on our own behalf.

Community is a word that is different today than what it was for our grandmother’s and great grandmother’s. Yes, we live in neighborhoods and towns and cities. We may worship at churches of our choice. Or we may opt out of connecting with each other directly to a certain extent, because we have established for ourselves a virtual community. We now have online “friends.” We “like” each other’s posts and pictures, and it does feel nice to be in some sort of community and to be “sharing.”

Yet, there is no substitute for developing and maintaining a rapport and connection with a group that can join together and find ways to share experiences and inspiration. To some extent, I am already doing this in my volunteer role as President of the Renaissance Women of Charleston. We just celebrated our one-year anniversary at our first luncheon of 2017 in the Principal Gallery of Charleston, our home. As I looked around the room, I saw many familiar faces, and also some new ones. This is a non-membership group of inspirational women who are joined together by their love of the Arts, with a core belief in giving back to our community. In the past year, we have had seven inspiring events, supporting seven local charities. Each luncheon showcases artists and makers alike, all the while developing and deepening friendships that began through this organization.

Through one of my RWC friendships, I was privileged to lead a “tribe” of women who gathered to re-charge themselves for a Women’s Wellness Weekend in Charleston, hosted by the visionary, Kimberly Powell of Woodhouse Spa. As I talked about connecting with ourselves through intuitive picture-making and envisioning, the group played along, joining me on a photo shoot, gleefully employing the techniques they had just learned.

The ladies were privy to several guided activities to toggle their spirits. There was yoga and meditation, inspirational speakers at private dinners, journaling, hypnotherapy, not to mention wine and fine cuisine! In the beginning, these ladies were not all connected as a tribe. Some came with friends, others by themselves and yet, through a few days of sharing activities, their hearts opened up and they began to form bonds with each other.

By day two of my sessions with them, when we created vision boards, there was a clear camaraderie amongst this formerly disparate group of women. From my experience, it takes some time to relax, “unpack our bags” if you will, and let down our shoulders. In order to receive the inspiration and guidance that is waiting for us, we must first be unguarded and open to noticing it. In order to connect with our highest creative potential, we need to surrender our logical, practical, “doing” minds.

But what fun awaits when we can dive into the creative process like children, fresh, in the moment and fully engaged! It was a blast to see the visual treasures that these lovely women assembled from pictures, words, shells, feathers and imagination. The group-share at the end is such an important closing activity and calls for a bit more time than we had, but how poignant it was!

I’ve shared some collages of my participants work @theklcreative on Instagram. There was so much beauty and creative spice! For some, this was truly a new thing- to make pictures, to get closer to the object of their interest, to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. The act of seeking, finding and connecting with beauty is as a metaphor for taking care of ourselves. It takes practice, but if you try it, you may like it, (“Or not,” as I repeated that weekend to take the pressure off).

The tide is changing. It’s high time that we as women, we who are the doers, caregivers, menders, makers, daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers, take better care of ourselves. It starts with you, making time for yoga, meditation, a walk, a massage, a weekend away with your girlfriends, what have you. Only when we can feel “taken care of,” can we be of optimal service to others. The best is yet to come. I feel it! As we own our individual power, we will join with other women to expand our empowerment outward.

Stay tuned for more mentoring and creative offerings from KL Creative! If anyone is interested in a custom creative workshop for their group, as a team-building experience, or for yourself, I am happy to lead you on a journey of self-discovery and creativity.


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Why are you waiting? Waiting until all of the laundry is folded and out of the way? Waiting until all of your bills are paid? Until every little thing on your “to-do” list is scratched off so you can feel caught-up?

Putting off happiness, joy, a deep sense of satisfaction, until you feel “eligible” to be so free? This is not the way God intended and it’s not the way for you to live your life to its fullest.

If we wait until vacation to “let go and have fun,” to let down our hair, to soak up that sunset, well, we are surely then missing out on daily opportunities for joy and bliss. It’s a hectic time of year and we are running to catch up on our “daily to do’s” for sure. This is a gentle reminder to take a moment, here and there, to notice the beauty around you, to give yourself a break.

Your body, mind and soul will rise to the occasion of joy as soon as you give yourself permission to fully experience and savor the moment. No pressure, no need to mark your calendar, or to make a plan for fun. Just a simple acknowledgement to yourself to take notice of the things that stir you, to SEE the beauty around you in the here and now.

In all of the chaos that exists around us, creating a place inside of ourselves where we can experience pure joy and love is the best gift we can give ourselves, and to each other. Be the peace you wish to see in the world…one breath at a time!

Joining with you in silliness, laughter, awe of nature, love of loved ones, and the true warmth our friendship brings us…2017 here we come!




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Chasing Sunsets: How to Grab the Last Licks of Summer!

My boys frolicking on the beach while Chasing Sunsets.

My boys frolicking on the beach while Chasing Sunsets.

“You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions…”-Arnold Bennett, “How to Live on 24 Hours a Day”, 1910

It was the week before school began when “The Summer Glitch” hit us full-force. Our central air conditioning went out! Well, it stopped working, then it worked, and stopped during the night again. I guess it was what you call, “intermittent.” I call it totally annoying! After a few days of on and off again procedures with our cooling unit, and then when two days went by with no a/c at all, I was ready to lose it. Time to call the warranty company, get a service person in and start the painful process of sorting out solutions to fixing, or replacing, our 15 year old unit in the home we bought less than a year ago!

View of Meeting Street from our apartment.

View of Meeting Street from our apartment.

Meanwhile, because of all this, we had to vacate our home, and luckily I have some pretty amazing friends who offered us their apartment downtown to use while they were not in it! Well, we could either bemoan the inconvenience, or celebrate the “happy accident.” In my book, getting the chance to stay in downtown Charleston is always cause for celebration, but it did take packing, planning, boarding the dog, and so forth.

As much as my husband and son were annoyed at having to leave the family compound with all of its creature comforts, I was determined to make this a fun adventure. After all, think of the restaurants we could explore on foot, the secret gardens we might discover on early morning walks and as it happened, the magic we might experience on one nearly full moon night…

It was the evening after the first day of middle school for our son, Dylan. We had already had dinner, even enjoyed some homemade ice cream in the apartment. What would we do for the remainder of our celebratory night? Play cards? Watch a movie? No, that would be too boring. It was still summer after all! So, Dylan called the audible and said, “Let’s go for a swim at the beach!” Mind you, it was now 7pm.

Yes, let’s get to the beach for sunset! Why not?! With no bathing suits, we all jumped into shorts, and grabbing towels we headed out for Sullivan’s Island. It was a gorgeous, balmy evening crossing the Ravenel Bridge. Windows open, coastal breeze in our hair, music serenading us, we drifted gently to a parking spot at Station 22, and ran barefoot towards the Atlantic Ocean.

Dylan with Chef Sean Brock at the opening of McCrady's Tavern

Dylan with Chef Sean Brock at the opening of McCrady's Tavern



We were in for a treat! The water was warm, there were hardly any people around, and we each found our bliss in and out of the water. I watched the light change and witnessed my son floating in the shallow water, staring up at the stars. Darkness came quickly, but the moon kept a watchful light on us. There was frolicking, and playing, running along the coast, laughing at our folly, “chasing sunsets.” This is what it’s all about. Grabbing the moments, making memories; Beautiful, blissful, mystical moments of connection with the summer night sky, the ocean and each other. How to get the last licks of summer? Release your routine, immerse yourself in the now, frolick, be free, get sandy and sleep like angels…

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Alchemy & Indigo: Dancing with the Creative!

logo- the kl creative
Palm Tree - the kl creative

So, I've been working on a new logo and website with my design partner, the talented Austin Payne at Trek Your Market. For most folks, the new growth of your company happens while you are still juggling day-to-day business. That is to say, it's almost impossible to turn your full attention to creating an emblem of yourself, while you manage the demands of your business and daily life. I understand this first hand.

Alas, the creative process has a lifeline of its own, if you allow it to unfold organically. Some say there are six phases in this journey, consisting of inspiration, clarification, distillation, perspiration, evaluation and incubation.

I've learned that it is vital to dance with the process, to play with your choices in order for the most authentic representation of you to come forth. The symbols in my new logo are meaningful to me, representing my personal style.

For example, the anchor represents the old ship anchor sitting in my front yard, at the foot of the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway. It anchors me to Charleston. From my desk window I face this gorgeous date palm tree that teases me into a daydream when it sways gently in the breeze. And the arrows! I draw lots of arrows! I draw them daily in my mind-mapping process with pen and ink.

Now, onto the Indigo connection. For the color of my logo, we initially began with a turquoise blue, the color of my water bliss. Somehow I could not decide on the exact color, so we played with it, back and forth, first light, then deeper and deeper until it became green! It just didn't speak to me. I liked it, but it wasn't "the one."

In the meantime, I fished out a torn page from a Charleston magazine that was pinned to one of my vision boards. It was about The Vat Shack set up by Enough Pie for folks to try their hands at Indigo dyeing. The next session was this past Saturday. I went, I explored the process, made new community connections, notably with Director of Enough Pie, Cathryn Zommer and a super talented indigo dye artist, Leigh Magar. To boot, I came home with a gorgeous piece of wearable art!

That was the missing link, of course - Indigo! My favorite color has always been dark blue, denim, ultramarine, cobalt, lapis lazuli, azure, what have you. Blue is one of the rarest colors found in nature. In the book, “Indigo: In Search of the Color that Seduced the World,” by Catherine McKinley, she says that “For almost five millennia, in every culture and every major religion, indigo has been one of the world’s most valued pigments. No color has been prized so highly or for so long, or been at the center of such turbulent human encounters.”

Indigo: the kl creative

Indigo seeds were planted in the Lowcountry hundreds of years ago and became a highly desired crop that was exported to England. What I find so fascinating about it is that when the blue indigo powder goes into a vat, it turns green. When we add a natural cotton fabric the indigo liquid turns that fabric green as well. The magic begins once we take the fabric out of the dye and into the air! Oxygen turns it indigo blue again!

The alchemical magic of indigo is a metaphor for the creative odyssey. Alchemy is defined as “A seemingly magical process of transformation, a creation, or combination.”

The lesson is to embrace the process, however messy and inconvenient. One must go further than meets the eye in order to achieve a resoundingly authentic outcome. It may take more time, it may not be a straight path, but most assuredly if the journey is taken on with an open heart, in the end result will be in sync with your authentic self!

Voila! My new logo color for The KL Creative is indigo. Of course!


To learn more about Trek Your Market visit www.trekyourmarket.com


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Charleston in Summer: A Gift from the Sea

Summertime…and the livin’ is easy in the Low Country. The fish are jumping, as I can attest to living on the edge of the Stono River. This land of Eden is so rich in every way it seems, but in summer, the bounty reaches its zenith.

Summertime…is the best time to indulge in ripe local produce, seafood al fresco and hand-crafted cocktails, brimming with garden grown herbs. Oh yes, and a jaunt to the sea...

Ironically, summer is historically my busiest time of the year. I am usually teaching photography almost daily, or working with clients to visually re-brand themselves for a Fall reveal.

So, when I do get out for a day at the beach, I dream of laying in the sand with the salty water lapping over my edges. I imagine what it is to be as peaceful and docile as a shell. Not wanting, not striving, not planning the next move. Just being.

In "Gift from the Sea," by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, an amazing collection of shell metaphors for women's self-care, I turn first to this passage to remind myself of how to be:

“…The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”

Summertime is such a lovely time to restore and replenish. It is most conducive to receiving inspiration from the smell of flowers in bloom everywhere, the salty sea air, moist with the humidity of a tropical clime, and the feel of sand between our toes.

I am in love with this blissful paradise that seduces my senses, begging me to slow down and savor its riches. There are a wealth of “gifts from the sea” to explore. Cheers to the halcyon days of Summer of Sixteen, Charleston-style!



Makers & Gatherers: Susan Hull Walker of Ibu Movement

the ibu movement - the kl creative

Last Saturday I had the honor of lunching with Susan Hull Walker, Founder and Creative Director of Ibu Movement, at the Renaissance Women of Charleston monthly gathering at the Principle Gallery. Susan was our featured guest cultural speaker, sharing her unique global mission and presenting six powerful fashion looks to our dedicated group of RWC women.

Not only is she the former minister of the Circular Congregational Church in Charleston, she is also an inspiring entrepreneur, in support of female makers world-wide. Tribal textile artists, clothing and jewelry designers imbedded in indigenous cultures from Africa to Indonesia, are brought to life through her company, Ibu Movement. Ibu is an Indonesian term for "woman of respect". And Susan is bringing much respect to female artisans and makers from obscure parts of the world. Through her outreach, these women have the opportunity to share their rare handmade wares, telling intricate stories with their hands.

Ibu Rooftop

Ibu Rooftop

In her multi-ethnic-styled jewel-box shop on King Street, you can find so much inspiration through the textures, patterns, fabrics and colors of her chosen pieces. The store reads like a carefully curated gallery, full of soulful artisans, each with their own unique style, including many pieces that are custom-made in the Ibu workshop.

But it's really her storytelling, expressed through the filter of love, passion, and empowerment as shared in her blog that intrigues me. Hers is one of the few I actually read, not just peruse. She writes with a continual sense of wonderment at the women she meets, painting the background they reside in so richly. I feel like I am inside these exotic locales with her, as I follow her words down the page. Not envious of her travels, rather cheered by the sumptuous details of her adventures, which I read Iike a cherished novel, as I lay curled in bed, a cup of coffee at my side.

More than the poetic descriptions of these female artists in indigenous cultures, it's the idea of creating a circle of women who can join together at one table, from maker to gatherer, that is the main draw for me. To be affiliated with the larger Ibu tribe is to find enduring meaning through its connections. I encourage you to visit Ibu Movement at 183b King Street in Charleston and take a piece of handmade “art from the heart” home with you, knowing that you are now a valuable part of this storied circle of women-supporting-women. We are Ibu!



Amazing Grace: Charleston in the Time of The Emanuel Nine

It was one year ago today that the unthinkable became a tragic reality for those devoted Christians who gathered together in the haven of their own church. The day that a young white supremacist took nine innocent, beautiful, black parishioners' lives at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church at 110 Calhoun Street in Charleston, South Carolina.

My family and I had not yet moved to Charleston in June, 2015, but we were in town on holiday, with the dream of moving here growing in our hearts. We were blocks away from the church that evening when we decided to go back to our place on James Island, instead of staying downtown for dinner. It was 98 degrees outside, but the heat index put the temperature at 103. We were feeling ready to unwind and relax in air conditioning.

We stopped in at the Queen Street Grocery to grab a cold beverage and caught up with the owner, Rob Bouton. Strangely, as Rob was showing us a photograph of himself in a movie role that was hanging on the wall, it suddenly dropped to the ground and the glass shattered. I marked it as an omen for some reason.

That night, as we were recuperating from a long, hot day spent exploring the city, we heard a series of sirens. The screeching sound did not seem to relent, and it became clear that something serious had occurred. After all, this was not New York City, where sirens and mayhem are the norm, this was laid back Lowcountry!

Eventually we went to sleep, albeit with some trepidation on my part. Having lived through 9/11 in New York City, my radar is always on now. My instincts guide me well, and I was unsettled.

I awakened early and as per my usual, checked the news on my phone. I could not breathe, nor could I speak to my husband, in complete shock and horror! Unspeakable violence, unfathomable evil had menaced the heart and soul of the South, the so called, "Holy City." 

We wandered in a trance through the day, the killer still at large. Not wanting to scare our ten year any more than he already was, we planned a trip to the James Island County water park. It was another hot and sunny summer day, and we were still "on vacation."

As details of the events unfolded and the criminal was apprehended, we continued to talk about moving to Charleston from the Charlotte area. Watching and listening to the families of the victims respond to the tragedy, I felt so proud, so deeply moved by their grace, and even more aligned with this incredible city. Nadine Collier, the youngest daughter of Ethel Lance, a long-time custodian at the AME church and one of the nine victims, had the incredible wherewithal to address the killer afterwards, saying,..."But God forgives you, and I forgive you."

How is this possible? How spiritually evolved must you be to choose grace and forgiveness, less than 24 hours after your loved one was senselessly murdered in their house of worship? I know not everyone could embrace this message, but the fact that it was shared with the world, and repeated by many of the victims family members, shone a beacon light of LOVE upon us all. The city of Charleston was suddenly thrust into the eyes of the world as a most venerable place, worthy of it's favored epithet, "The Holy City".

Fast forward to June one year later. We have lived here since September and I've become more and more embedded in the culture of this town. My dear friend, Frank Russen, who runs the esteemed Principle Gallery on Queen Street, has made me President of the Renaissance Women of Charleston. Through this affiliation, I recently had the privilege of meeting some of the families of the Emanuel 9. The gallery hosted a portrait show of paintings created by nine artists to memorialize each victim. It was at this private viewing that I spoke with many family and friends who were there to accept these gifts, and to join in honoring their loved ones with the artists.

I spoke with the husband of Myra Thompson, the Rev. Anthony Thompson, a man of immense presence in his quietude. It was so humbling to be in the room with all of these beautiful people who were still coming to terms with the enormity of what had occurred one year ago; thrust into the world stage on one hand, while grappling with this tremendous private loss in their families, which was so very palpable. Our conversations were poignant and deep. We talked about our similarities, and yet the divide that still exists between the races. It was incredibly tender to watch the generations of family interacting and having their photos taken in front of their loved ones portraits. These folks were kind, open, genuine, and so very grateful for these small tokens, a likeness of their beloved family member shared through the generosity of these artists.

I was indelibly touched, and internally I continued to mull over this hate crime and it's effects in my mind and heart. Why do we have such a continental divide between us still? Do we not all share the same hopes and dreams for our children? Do we not all gather together to celebrate, and to mourn our loved ones? And what about the gun laws? Will our government ever muster the courage to set aside their party lines and fears, to reach over the fence and shake hands on this one issue, to provide an element of safety to the people of this country? 

We will not evolve and overcome injustices such as these without much introspection, shared empathy, forgiveness and a true belief in the equality of all people's. We need to break bread together and sit in meditation and prayer side-by-side. Our children need to play with each other and make art together. We can learn from each other by sharing our stories, our time and our passions. We have work to do. One person, one conversation, one opportunity for connection at a time. And the time is now!



Magic in the Light

First weekend photography workshop at the Sanctuary at Capri Isle!

It was the start to a memorable weekend, when three of my continuing students arrived from Charlotte, North Carolina last Friday under sunny skies, cameras in hand and dreams of making beautiful pictures in their heads.

After the kids got settled into their rooms, we all convened for "Happy Hour", which consisted of snacks, bevi's and a tutorial on the top six tips to making better pictures. A game of ping pong, some scootering, and then a hearty dinner of spagetti and meatballs, and my first photography camp in Charleston began with a sunset shoot on the Stono River. It was low tide and the sun was not positioned where we wanted it, but it was a good warm-up and lots of fun being on the water. Paying attention to the light, observing how it reflected, or made shadows on objects was part of our exercise.  Alyssa definitely got the coolest shot of the evening, which I posted here.

Saturday we were out the door and on the streets of downtown Charleston by 9:30am. It was already steamy hot, but we were pacing ourselves for the long day ahead. About 15 minutes into our walk in the French Quarter, the skies opened up and let loose on us! All six of us huddled under a huge oak tree, laughing at the irony. Besides, the cobblestones looked cool all wet and glistening. Happy accidents are what happens when your plans go awry, but you remain aware and ready for the beauty to arise in front of you, perhaps in an unexpected form!

Soon enough the rain let up so we could walk to the water and photograph the famous Pineapple Fountain. Another obstacle presented itself, which was non-stop people in the shot! Every problem is a lesson, and this one allowed for creative solutions, like shoot from the bench over people's heads, and have the patience to wait for folks to move, while framing the shot very tightly for maximum impact. Eventually, everyone got a picture they were happy with.

After a snack and drink, we explored the City Gallery and enjoyed the perspectives of the juried artists in Piccolo Spoleto, including our favorite, Stephen Elliott Webb! We found an interesting effect by shooting through the shades on the front windows of the gallery, which I posted on my Instagram account, theklcreative.

Fully cooled down, we meandered back into the streets around Vendue Range, and through the gallery district, people watching, but mostly obsessed with architectural details and hidden gardens. Crossing King Street, some of our best shots were had in the cemetery of the Unitarian Church. The light play between the Spanish moss hanging down from live oaks, and the clouds in the sky, afforded us some beautifully moody moments.

Not content with our day shoot, Alyssa, Dalton and I returned that evening to revisit some of the locations we had sampled earlier. Night shoots are challenging in terms of graininess, due to lack of light. However, using existing lamp lights and occasionally flashlight mode on our phones, we played with the light, finding blue orbs in our alley shots and discovering magic in the Charleston night!

Student work: