Next Charleston speaker

Christian Senger | Holy City Sinner

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October 19, 8:00am • Merchants Hall • part of a series on Honesty

Charleston resident Christian Senger is the man behind Holy City Sinner, the most popular local blog in Charleston. For the last five years, the residents of the city have voted the website and its Twitter feed as the best in Charleston.

Created in August 2011, Holy City Sinner celebrates the many sides of the historic and lively city of Charleston. From local news aggregation, helpful resources, and interviews to event listings, celebrity sightings, and party previews, the blog serves as a hub for the city’s day-to-day happenings.

We have the great great pleasure to host Christian at Merchants Hall October 19th, for our very own interpretation of HONESTY. Come check him out and sign up Monday 10a.


What do you love most about what you do?
The connections and opportunities. Holy City Sinner has completely
changed my life. I’ve met incredible people, attended unique events,
and learned so much about the city. None of that would have been
possible without the website.

What inspired you and how did you initially start Holy City Sinner?
Did you always know you were going to be a community connector?

I have always been a voracious consumer of news and avid user of
social media and the internet. Plus, I have always had an interest
in both contemporary culture and history. After moving to Charleston
11 years ago, these interests only expanded as I tried to learn as
much about the city as possible and get acclimated to my new
surroundings. Charleston has some great local media outlets, but I
felt there was room for a different type of voice. I wanted to share
events, talk about current issues and news, and shine a light on
events, places, people, and organizations that may not normally get
any coverage.I always thought I’d be an active participant in my community, but I
never envisioned myself being a community connector in the way I am

How do you start your day?
After hitting snooze far too many times, I try to find coffee as soon
as humanly possible. I would not be able to function without it

Tell us about your proudest moment or accomplishment.
Winning my first Charleston City Paper “Best of” Awards in 2014. Since
it’s voted on by the community, it gave me confidence in what I was
doing and inspired me to work harder and expand upon what I was doing.

Do you have a hidden talent?
I can fall asleep just about anywhere at any time haha

Who or what gives you creative inspiration?
Talking to other Charlestonians and observing other people’s work -
journalists, artists, writers, musicians, podcasters, activists, etc.

Coffee fuels our morning events. If you’re a coffee drinker, what’s
your go-to order?

Something with espresso (like a macchiato). I need a strong caffeine
boost to get going in the morning.

What is your favorite place in Charleston?
The Battery

How do you unwind or destress?
Netflix, books, and music

Rapid fire:
morning person or night owl? night owl
summer or winter? summer
mountains or beach? beach
pancakes or waffles? pancakes
fiction or non-fiction? non-ficition

Educate.Motivate.Train isn’t just the name of John Wilson’s business – it’s his passion. As a speaker, coach, and championship-winning athlete, John advocates for the importance of joy, playfulness and enthusiasm in all areas of life. Humbly starting his soccer journey in a pair of Converse high tops, John’s winning mentality and talent with the ball allowed him to experience the sport at the highest collegiate and professional levels.After helping the Clemson University Men’s Soccer program win an ACC Championship, #1 NCCA national team ranking, and an Elite Eight Division 1 Championship finish in 1998, John embarked on an illustrious 15-year professional soccer career with Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League. He won an MLS Cup with the Kansas City Wizards, a Supporters Shield with D.C. United, and 3 USL Championship Titles with the Charleston Battery. John currently serves as an Assistant Coach with the Charleston Battery, an ambassador for the sport to undeserved communities, and a thought leader for business communities on risk taking, trailblazing and teamwork.

Here, find out what brings him creative inspiration, where he gets his coffee fix, and how he made the shift from soccer to speaking. 

And don’t forget to mark your calendar for August 17th – John is sure to inspire us all during his #CMCommunity talk at The Gibbes Museum! 

What do you love most about your work?
Coaching: That I never think about it as work and everyday there is an opportunity for me to affect someones life through sport. Speaking: I love being able to use words to make people laugh, smile, and to inspire them. 

How did you get into public speaking and training? Did you always know you’d wind up in this field?
Unofficially, I started speaking at my dad’s church and would also speak to soccer teams once I turned pro. From there, I started traveling the country on behalf of NCSA, educating parents and athletes on the recruiting process.

I didn’t know I would end up being a speaker. I stuttered as a kid and for some time public speaking terrified me. Once I got over my fear, I realized that I got the same rush on stage that I would get when I was playing soccer.

I always knew that I should be in coaching, but never truly made a commitment at the youth level until recently with ELITE FUTSAL CHARLESTON. I enjoy coaching the pro players, but think I can make more of an impact at the youth level.

How do you start your day? With a prayer and verse/quote, music, 2 glasses of water, coffee, and sometimes a run or gym session.

Tell us about your proudest moment or accomplishment.

Becoming the first person in my family to graduate college. Being selected as a TEDx speaker and going through with it. Winning 4 Championships: 3 with the Charleston Battery and an MLS CUP with the Kansas Wizards. Being drafted by Major League Soccer. Having my high school jersey retired. 

Do you have a hidden talent?
I’m still searching for it :)

Who or what gives you creative inspiration?
My family, friends, and running.

Coffee gets all of our events going. If you’re a coffee drinker, what’s your go-to order? Medium roast coffee with a little bit of creamer and agave. If I’m feeling something a little sweeter, I go with a vanilla latte. Kudu, the Harbinger, and the Daily are a couple of my go to’s. If I’m in Mount Pleasant, I go to Vintage Coffee.

What is your favorite place in or around Charleston?
Hampton Park and Sullivan’s Island. 

How do you unwind or de-stress
Run or play pick up soccer.

Rapid fire: 

  • Morning person or night owl? Not a morning person.
  • Summer or Winter? Summer
  • Mountains or beach? Mountains
  • Pancakes or Waffles? Waffles
  • Fiction or non-fiction? Non-fiction

Photos by Keely Laughlin Photo


A year from now, you might tell your friends, “I knew him when…” Some of you might already be saying that. Since releasing his first LP, Chaos Theory, in 2009, Matt Monday has taken the Charleston – and national – music scene by storm. A talented hip hop artist, producer, and entrepreneur, Matt founded the indie music label Southern Wealth In Music (S.W.I.M) Group in 2013 and has since released two highly acclaimed albums, Filthy and Filthy 2. 

He’s opened for notable artists like J. Cole, Tech N9ne, Warren G, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, The Movement, Pastor Troy, Wiz Khalifa, and Grammy-nominated producer Sonny Digital, and his video for “Strokers Row” was featured at the South by Southwest festival. A native of Charleston, Matt has been voted by Charleston City Paper readers as Best Local Hip Hop Artist and Hip Hop Artist of the Year multiple times. In 2016, he was the first hip-hop artist to be recognized as one of “Charleston’s 50 Most Progressive” by Charlie Magazine.

In our July 20th talk on “Intention,” Matt will share his path to success and how he’s stayed true to his vision along the way. Here, find out more about how he starts his day, where he finds inspiration, and what he’s most proud of to-date. 


What do you love most about your work? I love everything about the process of making music, from concept to recording/mix/mastering. I enjoy the connections that are made when people listen and relate.

How did you get into hip hop, and music in general? Did you always know you’d be a hip-hop artist (and entrepreneur / producer)? I started in High School in a class called music tech that taught students how to record and produce music. From there I started writing and recording songs non-stop until I finally made my own album.

How do you start your day? I wake up at about 7am and start with some breakfast & a coffee and hop my bike for a 5 mile ride with my headphones in. By about 9am, I’m showering and hopping on conference calls before I’ll work on an idea that’s in current production or thinking of a new one.

Tell us about your proudest moment or accomplishment. Filthy 2 might be my proudest moment thus far. Being able to record, produce, write, and release that project on my own is a liberation that can’t be bought.

Do you have a hidden talent? I’m the UNO world champion 1998-2001. Not really but I wish, ha! No hidden talents that I’m aware of.

Who or what gives you creative inspiration? Experiences. Women. Film Scores and sometimes the actual film itself. 90’s New Orleans rap (specifically Juvie). Visual Art.


Coffee gets all of our events going. What’s your go-to coffee order? I like a light breakfast blend with 2 creams and 3 sugars (raw cane). Anything more than that would have me off the wall.

What is your favorite place in or around Charleston? My house.

How do you unwind or de-stress? I play jazz, chill-hop, chill wave, British Rock, SOUL MUSIC (STAX, MOTOWN, KING, MCA), and 90’s RnB. 

Rapid fire: 

  • morning person or night owl? Morning
  • summer or winter? Neither, FALL
  • mountains or beach? Beach
  • pancakes or waffles? Waffles
  • fiction or non-fiction? Fiction

Photo credit: Jenna Jones Photography


If you’re anything like us, you probably have Allison and Jamie Nadeau to thank for remembering holidays…and maintaining relationships. This dynamic duo started INK MEETS PAPER, a line of colorful greeting cards, stationery, and other paper goods made right here in Charleston, SC. Each INK MEETS PAPER item is crafted on printing presses from the 1920s, and their thoughtful designs have garnered attention from the NY Times, Design*Sponge, and retailers around the country. 

More than a letterpress company, INK MEETS PAPER believes in the power of connections. Through events, calligraphy workshops, and their motto “Text Less. Write More,” this small-but-mighty company is on a mission to make the world more human one card at a time. 

Here, find out how they turned a side hustle into a national business, why they love what they do, and how they find creative inspiration, and make sure to grab tickets to their talk on “Craft” on Friday, June 22nd! 


What do you love most about what you do?
Allison: I love being involved in the physical process of creating. Every time we print a new card or product, it’s always like magic seeing the first time it comes off the press. Expanding on that, I love how many places our cards go and how many people connect through our cards. It’s absolutely humbling and amazing.Jamie: Constant improvement. Running our business offers continuous opportunities for “doing it better.” The more that we can refine the experiences (both internally amongst the team and externally for our customers), the better we are as a business. I feel lucky that we get to make a product that isn’t truly “completed” until someone has put part of themselves— their thoughts & feelings—  into the card through writing. We put so much love into our business, and it’s a complete honor to support the love of people that we may never meet.  


How did you get into letterpress printing and stationery design? Did you always know you’d be entrepreneurs and/or own a creative business?
Allison: INK MEETS PAPER initially started as a side/hobby project back in 2006 with custom stationery and invitations for friends and family (very very very small scale). Along with a move to Charleston, SC and corporate jobs as an editor and interaction designer, we discovered a love for the craft of letterpress printing in 2008 with a printmaking class at Redux Contemporary Art Center. After spending so much time behind the screen, it was refreshing to be so hands-on and involved in the physical process of creating a printed piece. 

That same year, we purchased our first press, a 1,000+ pound Chandler & Price printing press (made in 1923!), and moved it into a spare bedroom in our house. At first, we focused solely on learning the craft of traditional printing, rather than immediately trying to turn it into a business (we weren’t exactly sure what we wanted from this). We were both working other full-time jobs at the time, so we were able to take things slowly. 

As we became comfortable printing, we started to explore more of the industry (stationery/greeting cards, wedding invitations, custom printing for others). Handwritten correspondence really resonated with us — it’s such a beautiful and timeless way to connect with those you love. In particular, we saw greeting cards as an easy and accessible way for people to connect with one another. We started work on developing a collection of greeting cards to help spread a bit more love and kindness and launched the INK MEETS PAPER® greeting card line in 2010. Since then, we’ve continued to add new cards and paper products to the collection, all with the goal of inspiring people to send more handwritten love. Jamie: I think we always leaned towards owning a creative business. I started freelancing in high school, and our first side-business was an eBay store where we focused on packaging & customer experience to drive sales of used tech products. As we were working to leave the corporate world, we worked together as freelance designers before starting INK MEETS PAPER. INK MEETS PAPER built upon many years of attempts and failures to create a sustainable business that fit both of our skillsets in a way that we could build and build and build without feeling burned out.


How do you start your day?
A+J: With a pot of french-press coffee while sitting on the couch in the living room.

Tell us about your proudest moment or accomplishment.
Allison: Being able to be full-time with INK MEETS PAPER and designing a business that we love. Jamie: Building INK MEETS PAPER encompassed massive amounts of personal growth as I learned to take risks, live authentically, and to face fears about what I could accomplish as an individual. As a couple, we learned to find comfort in the “uncomfortable” times and to always work on business/personal growth. That work has benefited every aspect of our lives, and while I can’t pick a particular moment, I certainly feel pride as we tackle the continual journey of life & business-building together.

Do you have a hidden talent?
Allison: Jamie can juggle!
Jamie: Ha! I can get pretty ‘locked in’ when working on a project at work. Juggling is the perfect quick break when I need it. :)

Who or what gives you creative inspiration?
Allison: Since we’re a greeting card company, we’re very copy driven. We want the sentiments on our cards to be a starting point for the person adding their message to the interior— which we always keep blank. As a result, a lot of our card inspiration comes from relationships, both our own and those we observe.Jamie: I LOVE music, and am always listening to a wide-range of different artists. Music helps me get into flow, and I have specific playlists for different types of work I may do throughout the day, so it really drives the creative work I do.


What’s your go-to coffee order?
Allison: almond milk latte
Jamie: whole milk latte

What is your favorite place in or around Charleston?
Jamie: Ahhh, such a tough question! We’ve lived here for 12 years now and there are so many incredible spots to enjoy. Honestly, I think our favorite places in Charleston change with the seasons. I love the perfect Lowcountry views at Bowens Island, a cocktail at Stems & Skins in Park Circle, and dinner at Leon’s or Little Jack’s. When we need a break from routine, we go for walks downtown together. Since we live & work in Park Circle, downtown serves as a great place to disconnect and spend time in the moment.

How do you unwind or de-stress?
Jamie: going for a run, dialing in cocktail recipes, or relaxing outside
Allison: with a glass of wine while spending time outside in our backyard

Rapid fire: 

  • morning person or night owl?
    Allison: night owl
    Jamie: morning person
  • summer or winter?
    A+J: summer
  • mountains or beach?
    A+J: beach
  • pancakes or waffles?
    Allison: pancakes
    Jamie: waffles (with fried chicken!)
  • fiction or non-fiction?
    Allison: fiction
    Jamie: non-fiction

Photos by Keely Laughlin Photo,

If you live in Charleston, chances are you know about Quintin Washington. After leaving the newsroom at WLCN-TV, he launched his own weekly YouTube show called “Quintin’s Close-Ups.” Since starting the show in 2012, Quintin’s taped over 1,000 one-on-one interviews with celebrity chefs, book authors, politicians, lawyers, community leaders, school leaders and other newsmakers. His interview with United States Congressman Mark Sanford in 2014 made headlines around the world with MSNBC and BuzzFeed running stories about the interview. 

Below, we flip the script and ask Quintin a few questions about his commitment to journalism, his proudest accomplishment, and how this morning person stays awake without coffee. 

What do you love most about what you do? Serving the public.

How did you get into your field of work? Working at local independent station, WLCN, as the host of the “Quintin Reports” Web show.

Did you always know you were going to be a journalist and entrepreneur? Absolutely.

How do you start your day? Praying to God in the name of Jesus.

Tell us about your proudest moment or accomplishment. Being on the front cover of the Charleston City Paper in 2016.

What’s one skill you think everyone should have? Being punctual. 

Who or what gives you creative inspiration? The Holy Spirit.

What’s your go-to coffee order? I hate coffee. The Arizona Herbal Tonic is my drink.

What is your favorite place in Charleston? The Mount Pleasant Towne Centre.

How do you unwind or de-stress? Running and praying.

Rapid fire: 

  • morning person or night owl? morning person
  • summer or winter? summer
  • mountains or beach? beach
  • pancakes or waffles? none. I actually like oatmeal.
  • fiction or non-fiction? The Holy Bible.

Photos by Keely Laughlin Photography 

Greg Tavares performed in his first improv show in 1985 and never looked back. In 2000, he co-founded of Theatre 99, "Charleston’s Home For Improv Comedy.” He’s also the co-founder of  the Charleston Comedy Festival, The Have Nots comedy improv company, and the Piccolo Fringe Festival. Greg wrote the book Improv for Everyone in 2012 and has taught at improv theaters and festivals all over the country. He has a BFA in acting and an MFA in Directing, but still has nightmares that he never finished high school. 

Here, find out why he loves improv, what gives him creative inspiration, and the one improv technique we all need to know. And when you’re done reading, make sure to snag tickets to Greg’s #CMGame talk at The Alley on April 20th! 

What do you love most about what you do? Getting to play with my partners in scenes is so much fun. It’s like being a kid so I never have to grow up.

How did you get into your field of work? Did you always know you were going to be a actor (and theater owner AND author?!)?

I knew I wanted to be an actor when I was in high school. I discovered improv at a young age (around 15 or 16), but the big moment for me with improv was when I was 18 and took a workshop. It was just like the lights got turned on in my brain, and from that moment on, I just knew this is what I wanted to do with my life. 

How do you start your day? I get out of bed and take my six-year-old to kindergarten.

Tell us about your proudest moment or accomplishment. 

Professionally, I’m proud of being able to open and sustain a theatre that is dedicated to improv. I get to share improv with people in shows and classes, and make a living as an artist. Personally, my proudest moment has been becoming a father of two kids. 

What’s one improv technique everyone should know?

Saying yes to what your partner gives you. Seeing what others do as gifts, instead of something to overcome or change.

Who or what gives you creative inspiration? 

The company members at Theatre 99. They all come from different walks of life, but have found improv, fallen in love with it, and chosen to become improvisers. It reminds me of why I got into this all those years ago.

What’s your go-to coffee order? Regular drip coffee at any local bakery

What is your favorite place in Charleston? The beach when I am paddling on my stand-up paddle board. 

How do you unwind or de-stress? Binge watch Netflix.

Rapid fire: 

  • morning person or night owl? Night owl
  • summer or winter? Summer
  • mountains or beach? Beach
  • pancakes or waffles? Buttermilk Blueberry pancakes
  • fiction or non-fiction? Fiction

Last minute switches call for finding more treasure in our community of creative gems. 

Pauline Sokol Nakios will be filling in and talking about her two amazing fashion brands, Lilla P and Leo & Sage, she has created and managed for the last 20 years. Hailing from Charleston, Pauline has found COURAGE to go out on her own and succeed in the cutthroat world of fashion NYC. 

Hear from her this FRIDAY, at Charleston Library Society. 

If you ask Beth Cosi to describe her work, she’ll tell you she’s an Entrepreneur, an Inspired Nerd and a Yoga Teacher. She’s the Founder of Bendy Brewski Yoga, a genius event series that brings all-levels yoga classes to local breweries around town. Through her vinyasa-meets-beer approach, Beth has created a unique place for Charlestonians to connect and unwind. So when it came time to find a speaker for “Anxiety,” we knew Beth would be the perfect choice. 

In our Q&A below, learn more about how Beth became a yogi, how she navigates stress, and why the people around her are her greatest source of inspiration. 

What do you love most about what you do? I love meeting new people and connecting with different communities. My work has opened up my life to an incredible amount of random & various people and interesting places. I delight in the fact that the thread that connects us is courage and play! And I greatly appreciate the hard work and dreams in action of the places we practice.

How did you get into your field of work? Did you always know you were going to be a yogi? On the surface, it was my relationships with 2 men that got me into my field. I was fresh from divorce with 2 young children in a town I didn’t know and I was smitten by a young man who practiced Yoga regularly. Underneath, I had forgotten who I was and I was seeking…to heal and to find connection- to the boy, the city, my Self. I am kind of nerdy (just ask my kids! ), and I really love to learn, so I decided to apply for a 4-month Yoga Teacher Training. I have always played sports and exercised. I have always been a teacher in some capacity. But I never had designs on becoming a Yoga Teacher. I had children to support! But, it emerged and developed. And I was very good at it.

How do you start your day? Let the dog out. Stretch. Make coffee. Say a prayer. (not always in that order).  

Tell us about your proudest moment or accomplishment.  Well, my most surprised moment was when Lululemon Charleston came to practice at Holy City Brewery and held up placards (they had hidden under their mats) asking me to be their Ambassador.  I was so shocked, I didn’t even answer for a minute—they had to ask twice!  But, I feel the most proud and in Flow when I get an anonymous or in-person thank you for doing what I do. It’s an incredible feeling to be of help.  

Do you have a hidden talent?  I make an amazing spaghetti gravy and i have magic powers. ;)

Who or what gives you creative inspiration? Great books, inspired Yoga teachers, but mostly the people I love. I’m blessed with amazing, talented, funny and thoughtful friends who have skills- in body work, mindfulness, artistry, entrepreneurship, words.

What’s your go-to coffee order?  Island Joe’s Shark Bite, black. 

What is your favorite place in Charleston? My home. 

How do you unwind or de-stress? Through my breath. I notice the length of my exhale and then, i turn my attention to my body and listen or let go.  

Rapid fire:

  • morning person or night owl?  I’m a reformed night owl (all those years of F&B!) ..but i’ve always loved the morning
  • summer or winter? Summer for sure
  • mountains or beach? beach…i love a long view!
  • pancakes or waffles? pancakes 
  • fiction or non-fiction? both, equally

Named two of Charleston’s 50 Most Progressive in 2016, Johnny Caldwell and Taneka Reaves are the dynamic duo known as the Cocktail Bandits. The two met at the College of Charleston, and now, with their booming hospitality business and self-titled Cocktail Bandits blog, promote female empowerment through advocacy for the food and beverage community from a feminine, urban perspective. 

They’ve been long-time CreativeMornings Charleston attendees, so we’re thrilled to have them take the stage for this month’s talk on Context. Grab a libation (whether coffee or a mimosa…) and get a sneak peek at what goes on in the wonderful world of the Cocktail Bandits here: 


What do you love most about what you do? Working with new people.

How did you get into your field of work? We saw the growth of bars and restaurants in Charleston and wanted to be apart of the booming tourism industry. Did you always know you were going to be a blogger? No, we were asked by one of our followers to start a blog.

How do you start your day? We both like to perform mental exercises in the morning, workout, refuel, and then start work. 

Tell us about your proudest moment or accomplishment.  Successful collaborations with other liked minded creatives; local and international. It was incredible to have two of our cocktails featured in ESSENCE magazine, and we also had the opportunity to work with Andrew Zimmern of the Food Network show ‘Bizarre Food.’


Do you have a hidden talent? Taneka plays instruments. Johnny is a seamstress.

Who or what gives you creative inspiration? Taneka is inspired by other creatives. Johnny is inspired by high-end luxury brands.

What’s your go-to coffee order? Taneka - non-caffeinated latte, Johnny - Americano with brown sugar and almond milk.

What is your favorite place in Charleston? Taneka loves Hampton Park. Johnny - any Charleston marsh


How do you unwind or de-stress? Taneka de-stresses with bike riding and/or dancing, and Johnny unwinds with gardening. 

Rapid fire: 

  • Morning people or night owls? Night owls
  • Summer or winter? Summer
  • Mountains or beach? Beaches
  • Pancakes or waffles? Waffles
  • Fiction or non-fiction? Non-fiction

Learn more about the Cocktail Bandits and their journey in the hospitality business on December 15, 8:00am at Charleston Distilling Co.!