A Week Not to be Forgotten

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Outdoor living has been severely curtailed the past few days here in South Carolina, as well in most of the states on the east coast of the United States. Having gone through a disaster which has been described by meteorologists as a 1000-year storm, although the sun is shining, few of us are thinking about relaxing outside and enjoying the good life. In fact, after the devastation that the rain has wrought on the state of South Carolina, most of our population is simply thinking survival. By now, you have seen the images and heard the news of the tremendous storm that hit South Carolina. There is no need for me to post more images of the destruction. They have been shocking and disturbing.south carolina counties

South Carolina bore the brunt of a storm that could be described as the perfect storm, with nearly every county and town suffering its effects. With Hurricane Joaquin slowly churning off to our east, another weather system was approaching from the southwest. While the hurricane never made landfall, working in unison, the two storms created a weather system that sucked moisture into a funnel through Charleston Harbor and inward through the state. I have heard meteorologists on the Weather Channel state that the amount of rainfall that landed in South Carolina would cover the entire state of Rhode Island in 7” of water. Overall, some parts of this area received nearly 27″ of rain–over half our annual rainfall in just a few days.

Why am I writing about this on a blog all about outdoor living? Because this has impacted my community in a very big way. I, my employees, and my business have all survived unscathed and understand how fortunate we are. Most of you have seen the images of the flooding right here in Forest Acres, with dams breaking, creeks over flowing, buildings and streets flooded, and many, many of our neighbors and customers evacuated from their homes. Businesses have been severely damaged and it will be a long, slow process for them to get back up and running. My heart goes out to them.

Throughout Sunday and Monday we all sat glued to our televisions to watch the destruction and await news of how bad things really were out there. Jim Cantori came to Columbia, and while we enjoy watching him on the Weather Channel, he’s not the guy you want visiting your town on job-related business.

My phone was constantly ringing or the text alerting me of someone who was inquiring about our safety. To those many friends, family, and business associates from all over the country who reached out, I sincerely thank you. Fortunately, I had power at my house and was able to recharge my phone throughout the day because my cellular and data volume was, to match the water level, at the highest it has ever been.

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But, that’s not all that happened in my little town in the past week. Last Wednesday, one of our police officers was killed in the line of duty. A young officer who had grown up in Forest Acres, Officer Greg Alia responded to a call reporting a suspicious vehicle at a bank outside the mall. He and several officers followed the suspect who led them on a foot chase through the mall. A scuffle ensued and the suspect shot Officer Alia. 32 years old, he leaves behind a wife and baby. His funeral was Saturday just as the messy weather was beginning in the midlands. You may have noticed flags in the background at half-staff on television  images of the storm, or you may have seen images of Officer Alia’s patrol car, flower-draped, and protected under a canopy in front of the Forest Acres police station as a memorial to our fallen friend, neighbor, and hero.

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We have endured a week of heartache and tragedy in Forest Acres and, while we know that it will take time to recover and heal, I have seen the strength and compassion of the people of Forest Acres, and of South Carolina, and have no fear that together we will get through this and be stronger.

So many have asked me how they can help and where to contribute. As always, in the face of disaster, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and ASPCA will accept your donations. If you would like to contribute to a local organization, the Central Carolina Community Foundation, Harvest Hope Food Bank, Pets Inc., and Pawmetto Lifeline will apply all funds locally and are run by locals from the communities of the midlands of South Carolina. Click on any of them and you will link to their web sites. The Central Carolina Community Foundation will give 100% of your donation to Midlands flood relief organizations if you note on your donation #SCFlood. This organization serves the 11 counties of the Midlands, each of which was affected by this powerful storm.

As I write this, helicopters fly overhead, sirens continue to drown out normal street noises, firefighters/first responders from Tennessee are gathering in the parking lot across the street, and the National Guard is doing what they can to help our community. Any support you can provide is much needed and well appreciated. Thank you to all who have reached out. Remember this didn’t end when the rain did. It will take time for flood waters to recede and for the people of our community to return to normal. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

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Outdoor Living Takes Flight

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Architectural Digest

How important is outdoor living in our lives? I’d say it is pretty darn important when you begin to see major airports around the globe add outdoor spaces for their customers. And, why not? With flight delays and the increasing amount of time one must spend in the airport, providing an outdoor area for stressed out, antsy customers may help calm them down and make them happier once they board that over-booked and crowded flight.

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines

Delta led the way at New York’s JFK, with its first very nicely appointed Sky Deck. . . . → Read More: Outdoor Living Takes Flight

Casual Market Chicago

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Last week, I attended the Casual Market Chicago, formerly known as the International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market. I like the abbreviated name. It is short, to the point and, more or less, what everyone was calling it anyway. I saw lots of old friends (both people and furniture styles) and made some new ones of each. I am excited to have found new resources for my store, Casual Living. Next season will bring some interesting new looks to our floor. In the meantime, styles which continue to be popular will be arriving in new fabrics and, perhaps, some . . . → Read More: Casual Market Chicago

The Pergola: From Ancient Greece, With Love

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Home Designing

Pergola: From Latin meaning projecting eve.

The first known use of the word pergola in the English language was in 1654 but in Italy and France, this garden structure was quite popular in the 15th and 16th centuries. By the 18th and early 19th centuries, the concept fell out of favor as a more naturalistic style of gardening was in vogue. But, by the late 19th century, the pergola as a garden structure made a comeback.

next to nature landscape

Technically, a pergola is a structure that is attached to, and projects from, another structure. Apparently, . . . → Read More: The Pergola: From Ancient Greece, With Love

The Serving Cart

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Hosting an event at your home in the fall means that you will be entertaining outside. With beautiful weather, everyone is eager to spend as much time outside before the cold arrives. And then, there’s college football. Televisions included in outdoor rooms and fans eager to watch every minute of their team’s season, means at-home parties will be rampant for the next couple of months.

An important accessory item in your outdoor furniture mix is the serving cart. Also known as a tea cart and a bar cart (I know which group I’d rather hang out with), . . . → Read More: The Serving Cart