Help Support Change Together

Where To Begin

I don’t know where to start, but here it goes… As you know, the world is battling the pandemic known as COVID-19. AND every state in the USA and several countries around the world are protesting police brutality and standing together to declare that Black Lives Matter. Wow! In my whole life, I have never seen such unity around the world. As some of you, I was in quarantine for several weeks, and in some ways, it’s been a bit of a reset… a time to rethink, listen, learn, and focus.

In Charleston, we’ve also had protests, acts of rebellion, walks against hate,  one night of people getting tear gassed by the police, arrests of protesters violating curfew, defacing of Confederate and/or monuments of slave owners or supports of slavery, mask wearing optional, some social distancing, and a lot of what should we do/where do we go from here.

For the last several years, I’ve been researching, reading, listening, and learning about racism, systemic racism, and White Privilege.  I’m not an expert. I’m still learning, but I just want to be a part of making the world a better place. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania until I was 11, and I never met a person of a different race until I moved to South Carolina. And I grew up very white– meaning that my neighborhood, church, school, my mom’s work, and almost all of my friends were white. My family never talked about racism, and for a long time,  I literally had no clue there was racism because I was in my little bubble. I thought that the Civil War and slavery had ended, so why is racism a problem? I don’t treat POC any differently. According to our Constitution, everyone is equal, right? Racism solved (NOPE). My history classes in school glazed over the Trail of Tears, slavery, and the Civil Rights Movement.

So what is racism? Being racist isn’t simply not saying the N word and just treating everyone kindly. We have to be more than that simplistic view of racism… we have to be actively against racism in all its forms… antiracist. But what does that mean? “Racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas. Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” –Ibram X. Kendi from How to Be an Antiracist

A dear friend allowed me to share some of her writing, and here’s a quote from her that I’ve been thinking about: “Meditate on how this saturation in whiteness has shaped your thoughts, your beliefs, and the lens through which you see the world. Let go of your belief in white innocence and your need to be *seen* as a good person; become that person instead … This is mostly an inward journey where your mind and beliefs and actions will be challenged and ideally transformed.” –Jada Elata

Basically stop trying to prove you’re a good person and just go become one. Embrace the discomfort, listen, and learn before you speak. You don’t have to do it alone. You will still make mistakes but keep learning and trying. Talking about race can be really intimidating, but not talking about it hasn’t helped at all. But what can we do? Thankfully, there are many different ways we can learn, be an ally, and show support. As a White person, I will never know nor fully understand everything that a Black person deals with every day of their lives. But there is hope, and I can be an ally and do something. You can too! And hopefully with everything that is going on in the world, together we can be a part of the change to make the world a better, more just place. Because lives truly do depend on it.

So what can we do…..This link has petitions to sign, resources for education, places to text/call, links to voter registration, and more: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Another great way to help is to support Black-Owned businesses. Here’s some just to get started, but I’ll list some local ones first. I tried to list a variety of businesses from food to art–

Fresh Future Farm
Kasada Beauty Supply
Motherland Essentials

Dellz
Swank Desserts
Anaris Photography
DNA Sweetgrass Baskets
Turning Page Bookshop
Kiddie U North Charleston
Marcus Amaker
Ment Nelson
The HoneyPot
SC Division of Small and Minority Business Contracting and Certification
Black-Owned Beauty Businesses

 

what to do corona virus

COVID-19

It’s a scary time to be a human. As we face the uncertain future of how great the effects of COVID-19 will be on our lives, the planet, and every aspect of it. We all feel helpless, overwhelmed, and scared. We are all affected by this pandemic… literally every single person.

My 2020 favorite quotes come from Frozen 2. Right after they had to leave the town, Olaf says, “We’re calling this ‘controlling what you can when things feel out of control.” Later on, when Anna is alone in the cave, she sings ‘The Next Right Thing’– ”

“So I’ll walk through this night

Stumbling blindly toward the light

And do the next right thing “

So, what can you control? What is the next right thing? What can you do?

Of course, there’s the standard practices recommend by the WHO and the CDC like washing your hands thoroughly/often AND practicing social distancing.

A fantastic local blogger, Holy City Sinner, recently posted a great blog full of ways to help. From donations, virtual tip jars, volunteering, to petitions, there is something for every one to help.

You could also try starting/joining your neighborhood pod.

  • Get to know and share contact info with your neighbors from the recommended distance, of course.
  • Create a Facebook Group or something similar to stay in communication.
  • Share needs and/or supplies. The only way we get through this is by looking out for each other.

Keep in touch with family and friends.

  • Check in frequently during the week, especially with grandparents and the front line workers like health care employees, grocery and gas station employees, sanitation staff, etc.
  • You can Text, Call, Video Chat, Email, etc. My personal favorite is sending images of babies, animals, or gifs.
  • Support local businesses.

Remember to take care of yourself physically and mentally.

  • Follow Changes Counseling Center on Facebook for some helpful tools for yourself and families.
  • Try to go outside at least once a day. Take a walk, ride your bike, stretch, read a book, just breathe, etc.
  • Try not to eat all those emergency cookies at one time.
  • Sometimes just surviving is all you need to do.

Hang in there everyone! Sending much love, prayers, healing vibes, peace, and hope to you. Do what you can.

She's My Hero project highlights

She’s My Hero Event Highlights

What a whirlwind! On Wednesday night at Boone Hall, we had our BIG reveal at the She’s My Hero Calendar Launch Party to benefit the Center for Women. The weather threatened rain(and lots of it) earlier in the day, but we said RAIN or SHINE… it’s on! It turned out to be a warm evening with a cool breeze outside where guests enjoyed the marsh view on the Cotton Dock and the delicious paella, tacos, and noodle dishes from the Dashi Food Truck.  Throughout the night, guests enjoyed the music and the magical lighting from Lowcountry Entertainment.  Lovely flower arrangements in purple and white from Petaloso decorated the tables, and Justin Wham Weddings and Events helped coordinate, set up, provided the cozy seating area near the fireplace, and made sure the stage and the whole space was beautiful along with the rentals from Eventworks. And who doesn’t love something sweet?  Sweet Lulu‘s Bakery, Cocktail Caravan & Pedal Pub brought the wine, sangria, and a mouth watering selection of mini desserts.

Here’s just a quick look at some of the highlights:

It was only fitting that our Emcee was Erin Keinzle of Lowcountry Live, as she helped announced the contest that started it all back in February.  At the event after welcoming everyone, Erin introduced Lisa Dabney, Executive Director of the Center for Women, who talked more about what the Center does for women in business and their upcoming conference in November. Then, we (Wanda and Mell Bell) shared some personal stories and the WHY behind this whole event– to celebrate women, of course and tell their struggles and their stories. We also thanked several of the sponsors, such as Skirt Charleston whose mission is to celebrate and empower women with attitude.

And finally, it was the time we have been waiting for ALL YEAR LONG… revealing the hero photos to the women in the calendar and the whole world. Their reactions were heartfelt and priceless as they saw themselves as their heroes for the first time! The calendar sales opened, and the silent auction continued NOW with the canvas portraits of the Heroes as part of it.

100%… yes all of the proceeds of the silent auction and calendar went directly to the Center for Women. And at the end of the night, we raised almost $5,000, and it’s still climbing!

 

The fund raising continues as The She’s My Hero Calendars will be on sale for $20 each through the Center for Women. Get your calendar at their conference at Trident Technical College on Nov 15 and 16th or contact them for more info.

She’s My Hero- December

As we come to the end of the calendar introductions, we couldn’t imagine a nicer person than Jennifer to end the year with. Meet Jennifer. She will be December in the She’s My Hero Calendar. Jennifer succeeds at two demanding jobs. She is a hardworking RN AND an incredible wedding coordinator. She has been married to her sweet husband, Brian for 4 years. They absolutely love and spoil their awesome dogs! Jennifer’s hero is someone she’s know her whole life and is very close to her heart. Thank you again to Paperdolls Wedding Hair & Makeup for creating the final hair and makeup look in our calendar. It was perfect!

When Mell Bell and Wanda created the She’s My Hero Project back in January, we wanted to raise awareness and funds for the Center for Women, meet and team up with fellow businesses (especially women-owned ones), and tell the stories of local women to bring together, inspire, and celebrate women. We got to meet so many new people and work together to take our BIG idea from a dream to a reality through this year long project. The journey has been difficult but worth every minute. We hope you will join us at the celebration and reveal on Wednesday, October 10th from 6-9pm at Boone Hall.

She's My Hero Ticket Link

 

 

She’s My Hero- November

Meet Mell Bell. She is 39 year old Mom of a 7 year old daughter. Mell meet her husband in college at USC. She is the Co-Founder of mellBella and has been with Richard Bell Photography for 13 years and a professional photographer for 10 of them. Mell Bell is very passionate about Humans Rights and Equality. Just wait until you see who her hero is, think way back for this one! Thank you again to Sarah Pearson Artistry for going back to the 1800s for the hair and makeup styling.

The She’s My Hero Calendar Launch Party to benefit the Center for Women is next week! We’ve been keeping the calendar TOP SECRET, and on Wednesday, October 10th the BIG reveal will happen at Boone Hall  from 6-9pm. However, we did give exclusive information to Skirt Magazine. Be sure to check out their October issue in print or online for some sneak peeks.

 

 

 

 

She’s My Hero- October

Meet Wanda who is representing October in the She’s My Hero Calendar. Wanda has been married for almost 30 years! She got married at 17 to her high school sweetheart, has 4 daughters, and 1 newborn grandbaby.  She loves Alice in Wonderland, tea, good music, record collecting, and tattoos. She perseveres and always has a plan. You may recognize her from her work at mellBella Photography (that’s us) and our brother company, Richard Bell Photography.  Thank you so very much to Sarah Pearson Hair & Makeup Artistry for her time and skill in getting the makeup just right for Wanda’s hero. Her hero is a modern day fictional character who uses her strength and intelligence to save her community.

The She’s My Hero Calendar Launch Party is next week! As part of our Silent Auction, we will have 12 professional canvas portraits,  representing each woman from calendar, up for bidding. We want you to be there and celebrate with us. Get your FREE tickets at:

She's My Hero Ticket Link

And be sure to check out the October issue of  Skirt Magazine!  There will be some sneak peeks into the heroes.

 

 

 

 

She’s My Hero- September

Meet Sherry. She is a 37 year old mother of 4 children including a set of twin daughters. She works as a full-time Bookkeeper/HR Rep AND a part-time college student! She loves her family and outdoor activities. And if you love corny jokes, she’s your kinda friend! She about to be married this November! Her hero has a truly incredible story of perseverance and strength. Thank you so very much to Sarah Pearson Hair & Makeup Artistry for creating this lovely look to honor her hero.

October 10th is just around the corner, and if you haven’t gotten your FREE tickets yet for the She’s My Hero Calendar Launch Party, now’s the time. Get Your Tickets HERE

Our brother company, Richard Bell Photography, will be documenting the whole event through photography and videography. To add to the evening, they are bringing their Gifyyy Photo Booth–a super fun Photobooth that takes animated Gifs and texts it to you to share on social media. We love the Gifyyy so much! Here’s one the Wanda and I created at a wedding a few weeks ago.

Be sure the check out our Silent Auction Sneak Peak Album, and we’ll be posting more photos there next week. We only have 3 more introductions to complete our calendar, and we just approved the final proofs of the She’s My Hero 2019 Calendar at the printer’s today. Shout out to Daniel and the team at local printshop, Knight Printing and Graphics!  They have provided such a great experience, and we look forward to picking up the final product before the BIG EVENT.

She's My Hero Calendar Launch Party banner

She’s My Hero Project Calendar Launch Party

To celebrate women, their diversity and empowerment, mellBella Photography created the She’s My Hero Project , a project to raise awareness and as a charity fundraiser for the Center for Women.  On October 10th from 6-9pm at Boone Hall, mellBella Photography along with our fabulous sponsors will host the She’s My Hero Calendar Launch Party.  Dress is casual or business casual, but we welcome you to come just as you are. The colors for the event are purples, lavenders, silver, and white, so feel free to dress to match.

She's My Hero Ticket Link

We will have Erin Kienzle of Lowcountry Live, as our wonderful emcee, to present each of the winners and their photos during the big reveal. The photos from the She’s My Hero Contest  winners will be in the 2019 She’s My Hero Calendar. It’s going to be so much fun, as the winners of the  haven’t even seen their photos!

erin of lowcountry live with wanda and mell bell

Hungry? Enjoy complimentary food, drinks, and desserts from the delicious Asian and Latin cuisine of Dashi and mini sweet treats, wine, and sangria from Sweet Lulu’s Bakery, Cocktail Caravan, and Pedal Pub.

And who doesn’t love a silent auction? The auction items that have been donated will be on display and up for bidding to support the  Come ready to have fun, purchase a calendar, bid and win at the Silent Auction, and/make a donation. The calendars will be $20 and a suggested donation at the door is $20. Of course, it’s not mandatory, but after all, it is a fundraiser.  All proceeds from  donations, the silent auction, and calendar sales go directly to the Center for Women.

Did you get your tickets yet? The event is FREE to attend, you just need to:

 Get Your Tickets HERE! 

A huge thank you to our sponsors! We couldn’t have done this without your supprt. Be sure to check them and show your support for these local businesses– many are women-owned. Can’t wait to see you there!

Did you get your tickets yet? While the event is FREE to attend, you just need to register at the link below. Get your tickets NOW! Can't wait to see you there.

She’s My Hero- August

Meet Amanda representing the August 2019 in the She’s My Hero Calendar.  Amanda, her husband and their one year old are new to the Charleston area. They moved here from Cow Country, Pennsylvania. Amanda is a freelancer, work at home mom. She is studied dance and can still get up on her toes in her ballet slippers! At the big reveal Calendar Launch Party, you will immediately recognize her hero who was as fiery and fun as her birthday month of August!  Thank you so much to Paperdolls Wedding Hair & Makeup for perfectly capturing this icon’s look.

We’re so thankful to Justin Wham Weddings & Events for sponsoring and coordinating the She’s My Hero Project Calendar Launch Party. Owner Justin Wham and his team are a HUGE part of making this event not only look great but go smoothly as well.  Remember the event is ONLY 2 weeks away. Dress is casual or business casual, but we welcome you to come just as you are. The color for the event are purples, lavenders, silver, and white, so feel free to dress in those colors, if you like.

Did you get your tickets yet? While the event is FREE to attend, you just need to register at the link below. Come ready to have fun, purchase a calendar, bid and win at the Silent Auction, and/make a donation. The calendars will be $20 and a suggested donation at the door is $20. Of course, it’s not mandatory, but after all, it is a fundraiser.  All proceeds go to support the Center for Women. Get your tickets NOW!

She's My Hero Ticket Link

 

 

She’s My Hero- July

As we welcome fall 2018, say hello to July 2019 for the She’s My Hero Calendar.  Meet Suzanne. Suzanne is a 35 year old wife and mother. She has two son’s age 11 and 18. As a military spouse, she’s moved around the country. Her family moved to Charleston in 2016. She found the Lowcountry High Rollers and joined the roller derby! With that came the support system of 40+ sisters to help her navigate her new home here. Suzanne’s hero was born in Mexico and was born in July. Thank you again to Vanity Salon for the perfect hair and makeup styling for her hero. Curious as to who her hero is? You gotta come to the Cotton Dock at Boone Hal on Wednesday, October 10th from 6-9pm to find out.

We’re so thankful to Lowcountry Entertainment for sponsoring the She’s My Hero Project Calendar Launch Party. They will definitely create a personalized experience for the event through their expertise in music and lighting. We can’t wait to hear what songs they choose for the event! Remember the event is just over 2 weeks away. Did you get your tickets yet? Get them HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shes-my-hero-calendar-launch-party-tickets-49132726307