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WHO IS THE FLAMINGO HUT?

Here are the faces and the story of The Flamingo Hut!

Meet the face
behind the work

Kayci Brazell

Hey ya’ll, my name is Kayci Davis Merritt Brazell.  That is my whole name.  Davis was my mom’s maiden name AND my paternal grandmother’s maiden name (isn’t that cool)?  I live in what I’m going to call a community called Pine Grove, but my address is Lugoff, South Carolina, anyways, the nearest Walmart is about 8 miles from my house.  There is a bridge over the Wateree River and one side is Lugoff and the other side is Camden.  Why is that important? It isn’t in my opinion, but there have been many rivalries between Lugoffians and Camdenites over the years.  Lugoff citizens were dubbed “River Rats”.  As Columbia expands, Lugoff is growing, and both Lugoff and Camden are becoming a suburb of our state capital.  Camden is South Carolina’s oldest inland city. 

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It has many historical sites and a very cool town with MUCH potential for growth but more on that later.  I’m a talker and can get off topic quickly so back to the bio.  I’m originally from Piedmont, a suburb of Greenville, in the Upstate of South Carolina.  I am a PROUD graduate of Clemson University (GO TIGERS!!) with a degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education and a Masters in Instructional Accommodations.  

I met by husband, Russell, at Clemson, and he and his brother are owners of our family business, Roy’s Wood Products.  Since a teacher can teach anywhere, and it’s kind of hard to move a business, we planted our seeds in Lugoff/Pinegrove, but I am an upstate girl at heart!  God has blessed us with three of the most awesome kids in the world:  Merritt,17 a junior at Hammond School, Davis 13 an eighth grader at Hammond, and finally our little girl Karsen Grace, a fourth grader at Hammond.  My family and extended family mean EVERYTHING to me, and I love spending time and traveling with them.  

Right now, I am in a whirlwind of occupations; I have so many things that I want to do and accomplish, sometimes I can get myself in a tizzy, but my intentions are good.  After teaching for over 20 years, mainly middle school language arts, and three years of PreK, I knew it was time for something new.  My creative vibes are jumping, and I’m following God’s plan for me.  Some days I don’t even know what that may be, but I pray, and I trust in Him to show me the direction I should go, so I believe that THIS blog, THIS story, THIS journey, is HIS plan for me. I really HOPE AND PRAY that you can see yourself in some of these stories, adventures, pain, successes, failures, and my path to happiness and finding true self-love.  Life is HARD-but with Jesus leading your journey, you will never go wrong!  

I like to be happy, and I like making people happy.  I am a recovering alcoholic, my sobriety date is my dear Mimi’s birthday August 29th, 2015.  It’s been the worst/best thing to ever happen in my life, and I would not change the past because it made me who I am today and that is a strong, loving woman, with a deep relationship with Christ, a proud mother and wife, a believer in seeing and celebrating the good and focusing on the positive.  I’ve finally learned to ACCEPT and LOVE myself with ALL my MANY DEFECTS of character (I’m terrible with money, carrying around bags full of things I don’t need, impulsive spender, etc.), but I can be honest with myself, forgive, and move on.  None of this would have been possible without the gift I’ve been given of a sober life where I can enjoy these treasures I hold dear to me.  If you are in for this ride, you will see these treasures, hopefully find your own, and learn what Pura Vida is to you! 

Meet the face
behind the work

Kayli Merritt

Hi! I have avoided writing this little synopsis about myself because, honestly, I had no idea what to write. My name is Kayli Lauren Merritt, or as my niece Karsen likes to call me, Kayli “Laurens” Merritt (as you will read below, I do work in Laurens, SC so maybe Karsen is onto something).   

I’ll start from the beginning.  I was born in Greenville, South Carolina (was it Greenville General or Greenville Memorial - still an ongoing debate between my parents) on a hot summer Monday in August.  I’m 29 years old and holding for the past 10 years.  I grew up in the “Flower Pot of the Nation”, Piedmont, SC.  You may ask why we refer to Piedmont as the “Flower Pot of the Nation”, stay tuned for a future blog on this All-American town.  

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I graduated from Wren High School (Go Canes) and moved on to Clemson University (Go Tigers) where I spent several years changing majors and living the college ultimate college dream, spending most of my time hanging out at the Esso Club and enjoying the nightlife instead of focusing on academics and my future.  Needless to say, my educator father was not happy with my academic prowess in Tiger Town so I transferred to the University of South Carolina Upstate (Go Spartans) and I now hold a Bachelor’s Degree from the fine University of South Carolina.  I’ll always be a Clemson Tiger at heart no matter what a piece of paper says.

 

As I was fumbling my way through college, I had no clue what I wanted to make of my life.  As a child, I had all of the usual career aspirations - pediatrician, lawyer, teacher, marine biologist, etc.  Wait, becoming a marine biologist is not an aspiration of all children?  I thought all kids were as enamored as I was with the movie Jaws 3.  Oh well, so much for my childhood dreams.  Thanks to the help of the aforementioned educator father and my supportive mother, I finally found my niche in the human resources world.  

 

Upon graduation from college, I landed my first HR gig at a healthcare company (Thanks Lisa Monroe for taking a chance on a young and inexperienced girl).  I have worked in the HR field for the past 15 years and even decided to further pursue my education (shocking after my earlier collegiate performance), but I persevered and received my Masters Degree in 2015.  I am currently the HR Manager at a great company with even greater people in Laurens, SC.  

 

I wear many hats, including, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, friend, employee, listener, coach.  I am the proud aunt of three wonderful children whom I love as if they were my own - Merritt, Davis, and Karsen.  In my free time, I enjoy reading, listening to audiobooks (true crime is my fave), horseback riding, sports, spending time with family and friends, and shopping - no better cure for the quarantine blues than a little online shopping.  I also love to travel and see different parts of our great country and the world.  Thanks to a little hypnotherapy, I overcame my fear of flying and am looking forward to a COVID-free world so I can continue to enjoy the beauty of the Earth that God created.