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lori-blog-novThere is that scene from “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy and Toto go from black-and-white Kansas to the beautifully colored Land of Oz. That is the best way I can describe the first time my car pulled off U.S. 278 and entered the gates of Berkeley Hall.

It’s like you’ve gone over the rainbow into another world.

Everything is just so vibrant and perfect.

Lavish estate homes, beautifully manicured landscaping, postcard-type views of the Okatie River and surrounding Lowcountry. Everything about the place exudes luxury.

loriblog-octIt’s easy to take shortcuts in our line of work. With just 12 issues each year, it’s easy to do the expected -- January will be the New Year’s issue, February will be the Valentine’s Day issue, March will be the St. Patrick’s Day issue and so on. It’s a rut many community-based magazines fall into.

Boring and predictable.

Here at Monthly, we aim to produce content that adds to the identity and pride of the communities we serve.

We want to be informative but we also want to be entertaining and somewhat unpredictable. We try to give readers a reason to pick us up each month.

lori-blog03When we think about crafting our lives, many of us tend to concentrate on the two most important questions: “What will I do for work?” and “Whom will I marry?” Personally, I believe happiness is a three-legged stool. In addition to the “What” and “Whom” questions, “Where” is just as important. Where do you enjoy the precious life you’ve been blessed with?

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that place is Hilton Head Island or Bluffton. So why are you here?

We all have our reasons.

lori-blog02How many pets have you owned over the years? What were their names and what stories do you remember about them?

If you truly adore animals, you most likely have two family histories — one with two-legged people, the other a litany of loved ones with four legs, fins, beaks and tails. We treasure our pets because in many ways, they remind us of what we wish to be. They are loyal and they find joy in the simplest, smallest things. They have no need for excess and go to sleep unworried about the future. Their unique brand of love is the most literal definition of unconditional.

Big hair, the Breakfast Club and break danc-ing were the rage back in 1985. The cost of gasoline was $1.20 per gal-lon; Madonna, Aretha and Bruce dominated the radio and Spandex ruled my wardrobe.

1985 also marked the introduction of our publication; a 16-page black and white newspaper that was mailed to all primary and secondary property owners. As our community grew and matured, so did Monthly. Our folded tabloid transformed into a full-color magazine, our content expanded and the Internet makes it possible for us to reach people across the globe with our website, digital editions and e-newsletters.

One thing that has stayed constant is our mission: to be the voice of the Lowcountry by informing and inspir-ing our audiences with 100 percent local and independent content.

This issue of Monthly marks another milestone in our evolution.

lori-blogMother’s Day has always been an important day for me, as anyone who’s ever known me can attest to. Step into my office and you’ll find that it’s littered with pictures of my daughters Ashley and Brittany. I’m just so proud of the young ladies they turned out to be. 

AT-THE-HELM USEAt last, it’s April. Beautiful, flowering, sun-kissed April.

It seems a little ungrateful to complain about the cold winter we’ve just left behind, particularly when the Lowcountry rarely gets the kind of winter that the north had this year. But just the same, sometime around the middle of March, sweater weather wears out its welcome and I’m always glad to see it gone when April arrives.

helmAh, at last. A nice blank page that just needs a few hundred words of preamble to another amazing magazine.

You’ll excuse my pausing for a moment to breathe, as this month finds us knee-deep in a very busy season here at Monthly.

It begins the day after this issue hits, when we celebrate your favorite people and places at our Readers’ Choice Awards Party (check next month’s issue for photos). It will obviously have passed by the time you read this. If you attended, I hope you had fun. If you didn’t, I can assure you that you missed a great time.

helmI write this in early December just weeks away from the supposed Mayan end of days. If you’re reading this, the world didn’t end. Phew.

And while I’m not really superstitious, I can’t help but take a look at the calendar and think, “What if?”

What if this is the last At the Helm I ever write? What if we toil and sweat to produce this issue, fire off the electronic files, and the world ends before this issue ever sees print?

It may be silly, and it may be superstitious, but it certainly provides food for thought.