Are You Above Average?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just released data on average weekly wages earned for workers in the Charleston area, as well as other metropolitan areas across South Carolina. We put together a comparison among counties, South Carolina's metro areas, other cities in the Southeast and the U.S. as defined by the BLS. 

Average Weekly Wage By County

Weekly Wage By County 

Average Weekly Wage By Cities & the U.S.

Weekly Wage By US Cities

5 Yard Maintenance Tips for Fall

Just because winter is on its way, now is not the time to slack on taking care of your yard. In fact, lawn care professionals say fall is the ideal time to get your landscaping into gear so it will look great in the spring.

"It's a common misconception that just because most plants and gardens aren't actively blooming in the fall, they don't require maintenance during the colder months," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs at The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). "Many homeowners work hard all spring and summer to care for their yards and gardens, only to let them languish once colder weather arrives."

In cold climates, taking extra care of trees, grass, shrubs and plants will ensure they surviv the winter and look great in the spring.

"I'm already thinking about next year," says John Dillon, who maintaints the 200 acres of lawn that makes up New York City's Central Park. "The grass I grow this fall is what will be there next spring."

Follow these five tips to prep your yard for winter:

1. Start Planting: The warm soil in the fall is perfect for planting flowering bulbs and perennials, and allows plants and roots to have several months to establish themselves before the stress of the summer heat.

2. Get Rid of Leaves: Winter's frigid temperatures can cause leaves, dead grass, and plants to release chemicals that run off frozen ground during springs snow melt and spring rains. These chemicals can end up in surface water, so removing leaves is important. Getting rid of leaves also improves the state of your grass.

3. Mulch Madness: Applying two to three inches of mulch can help to protect plant roots and grass from extreme temperatures in the winter months. You can even make your own mulch by running over leaves a couple of times with your lawnmower.

4. Wrap Your Plants: Burlap for frost protecting fabrics will protect many plant varieties like roses, butterfly bushes, hydrangeas and crape myrtles from being damaged by sub-freezing temperatures.

5. Apply Fertilizer: Make sure to fertilize your law before the first frost so your grass will survive the winter conditions. Choose a fertilizer with a formula designed to meet your lawn's needs. The numbers on a fertilizer bag show the percentge of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium on a weight basis. If you aren't sure what kind of fertilizer your lawn needs, talk to a lawn care or landscape professional. It's also good to know that some states are actually banning types of fertilizer and times of the year when fertilizer can be applied to reduce runoff. Check with your local extension service to see the regulations for your area.

Lighten Up

Expert advice for using lamps and lighting to transform a room.

Think about rooms you've been in that felt calm and elegant, as well as those that felt jarring and unwelcoming. Chances are the lighting was largely responsible. When lighting is approached as an art as opposed to a simple utility, the difference is unmistakable. In fact, the right lighting can take a room from merely functional to fabulous by sculpting the space, directing the eye, and creating the desired mood and ambience. 


So how can you create ideal lighting in your own interior? The most beautiful and memorable rooms typically benefit from three layers of light:

1. Ambient or general lighting provides overall illumination and should radiate a comfortable level of brightness without glare. This type of lighting is fundamental to a good lighting plan is best accomplished with ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures and recessed lights.

2. Task lighting is helpful for performing activities light reading and cooking and should be both bright and focused enough to prevent eyestrain. This layer or lighting can be provided by recessed and track lighting, pendant lighting and undercabinet lighting, as well as by portable floor and desk lamps. 

3. Accent lighting is the layer that adds drama and creates visual interest by highlighting important elements in a room. It can be accomplished with recessed lighting, as well as pendants, chandeliers, wall sconces, table lamps, and buffet lamps.


It's also important to consider the decorative aspects of the lighting pieces themselves. Chandeliers, ceiling pendants, wall sconces, and table lamps are the jewelry in a room.

The style of each lamp and fixture greatly impacts the tone and mood of an interior. Fortunately, decorative lighting is available in a wide range of materials and styles to meet your specific design requirements and objectives.


  • Use chandeliers and pendants where you least expect them. Few things are more alluring than a small glittering chandelier in a powder room or the rhythm of several pendants hung in a row down a long hallway.
  • Consider the decorative possibilities afforded by using sconces in any and all rooms to hightlight paint colors, wallpaper, artwork, and wall decorations.
  • Put everything on dimmers-table lamps, sconces and chandeliers, as well as recessed lighting. Better yet, consider installing a control system that automatically turns on the lighting in a room at pre-set levels and times.
  • Pay close attention to the types of bulbs you're using. Now that incandescent bulbs have been phased out, make sure new halogen and LED bulbs provide the right light levels and color temperatures to achieve your desired ambience.

Putting Together Your Hurricane Preparedness Kit

Hurricane season is upon us once again, and though the season has been relatively quiet so far, there’s no time like the present to prepare for the next big storm. Even though we usually receive plenty of advance notice when a tropical storm or hurricane makes its way toward the South Carolina coast, it’s important to be prepared ahead of time. The fact is while safety experts advise that we should always have an emergency kit put together for unexpected occurrences, many people don’t even have a basic first aid kit set aside for accidents. You might think that it’ll be simple to put together a kit when a hurricane threatens our coast, but the fact is that a lot of other people will be scrambling to do the same thing. That means stores sell out quickly when it comes to survival items like bottled water, canned foods, batteries, flashlights, and first aid items. To ensure your safety and self-sufficiency during and after a hurricane, it’s best to put together a hurricane preparedness kit now. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the things we think are most important to have on hand in the event of hurricane weather.

Immediate Needs

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day, for at least three days
  • Food—at least a three-day supply of non-perishable items
  • Manual can opener
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Formula and diapers for infants
  • Pet food and extra water
  • Personal hygiene items


  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio
  • NOAA weather radio
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches and candles in a waterproof container
  • Documents such as ID’s, insurance policies, and bank account information
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape
  • Cell phone with battery charger, solar charger, or power inverter
  • Cash
  • Garbage bags
  • Moist towelettes and/or hand sanitizer
  • Sleeping bag or blanket for each person
  • Local maps
  • Activities for children (books, games, puzzles, etc.)

What other items do you think are imperative for a hurricane preparedness kit? Let us know in the comments section!

Friday Five // June 26, 2015

Lowcountry summers bring oodles of options for weekend activities. Need a few hints? We've gathered five events for you to choose from. Check them out below.

Holy City Brewing hosts Rhythm on Canvas on Friday night from 6-9pm. Dancers will create what promises to be a beautiful work of art through movement with charcoal on canvas. The event begins at 7pm and is open to the public with a suggested donation at the door to benefit the American Lung Association in South Carolina: Coastal. There will be live music, a silent auction, and other interactive activities.

Beginning Friday, June 26th, an all-star cast and band will celebrate the great American songwriter and showman Jonny Cash in Red, White, & Cash. This "feel good musical celebration" will be performed at the Woolfe Street Playhouse and will run through July 3rd.

Join the folks at Mixson Market on Saturday from 10am-3pm for the 3rd annual Tomayto Tomahto Festival. At this celebration of the tomato harvest, local chefs will prepare their best salsa for the Hot Chef Salsa Smackdown. The public is also invited to bring their best tomato pie for a contest that will be judged by celebrity guests. 

Miles for Missions: Charity Ride & Pig Pickin' will take place this Saturday, June 27th, in Summerville. The 100-mile ride and following pig pickin' will benefit Azar Missions, which supports women in recovery in the Lowcountry. This year's recipient is Magdalene House of Charleston. Registration for the ride begins at 8am at Coastal Coffee Roasters with the ride starting at 9am. The ride concludes at Doty Park, where the family-friendly pig pickin' will be open to the public at 1pm. There will be a shaved ice truck, horseshoes, prize drawings, and more!

Bay Street Biergarten presents the Chucktown Bike Down on Sunday, June 28th, from 2-6pm. Pick up your "passport" and get it stamped at the Palace Hotel, the Alley, HoM, and Bay Street Biergarten to be in the running for a custom New Belgium bike. Hit all three venues and be back by 5pm to be entered. Other competitions will take place at each location along with drink specials and raffles.





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