A Blossoming Flower

Hi I’m Jordan! I’m a junior elementary education major at THE University of South Carolina! I wear many hats in my busy life (some say too many hats), but I am excited to add blogger to my collection.

As women, we’re quick to run to our best friend, partner, or mom about our days, but how many of us honestly take 20-30 minutes each day to write or talk about something that is not what we do or something that happened, but simply something that we enjoy or are interested in? I’ll wait… okay there’s always that one person who is the exception to the rule, but most of us don’t do that. This is exactly why I wanted to start blogging.

When I entered the Every Woman Blog Contest, I was doing it pretty much on a whim – simply because I wanted a new hobby and saw this as a great way for it to take off while also being able to share with the community. I am so grateful to have this opportunity to be a part of this group of fabulous women! Our group is diverse in many ways – experiences, stage in life, career paths, etc. and I am so excited to learn about these women while also being one of them!

Being the youngest of the Every Woman Bloggers (I’m 20, but will turn 21 in 21 days – so start shopping for presents!) you might be wondering what you are going to see me blog about. I like to think that I am a blossoming flower in this current stage of my life. I have a more womanly figure than the one I had in high school (Thank the Lord), I am preparing for my future profession, learning about my beliefs, setting goals, meeting people that have changed my life, and having a great time while doing it. It definitely has not been an easy journey, but an exciting one nonetheless.

You will see me blogging about a variety of topics, but mainly the people in my life, Alzheimer’s disease, women and young girls as leaders, the community, and education. These are all things that I discovered or furthered my passion for during college or while being Miss Black South Carolina USA 2011. Being Miss Black South Carolina USA helped me learn so much about myself while having an impact on others. There is a now a new titleholder, which is bittersweet, but I’m sure my mom and boyfriend would agree that they’re happy to not be traveling with me all over the place anymore!

I have two blogs — http://www.missblackscusa2011.blogspot.com and http://www.befabulousgirl.blogspot.com — that I that I have used. I am currently on a hiatus from them while trying to figure out how I would like to combine them in order to have one fabulous blog with all of my thoughts and happenings in one space. For all you tweeters out there, you can follow me on twitter @MissBlackSC2011 and be on the lookout for the new blog!


“Know Your Numbers”

Jennifer Wilson

Hi! I’m Jennifer Wilson, public relations manager at Lexington Medical Center. I’m attending a great health care conference at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. This morning, we saw a video that I wanted to share.

Heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women in the United States. Soon, Lexington Medical Center will begin to offer a full range of cardiovascular services, including open heart surgery.

Below is a video produced by the Mayo Clinic about the importance of women “knowing their numbers” when it comes to heart disease. The video is a parody based on the song “Jenny,” or “867-5309” from the 1980s. Remember that one?

The Making of the Pink Glove Dance

A special thank you to reporter Stephen Hooker with WIS-TV who visited Lexington Medical Center yesterday to shoot a news story about the “behind the scenes” aspects of our Pink Glove Dance video.

There are only three days of voting left in the Pink Glove Dance video contest! Lexington Medical Center is in the lead — out of 135 entries and with more than 50,000 votes — but it’s close, so we need your help! Vote for our video by going to this link.

Always believe in YOU

By Crissie Miller Kirby

Recently I went digging through some boxes in my attic in an attempt to start a major clean out, and I came across a box of papers from my senior year at Columbia College. The box contained, among other things, numerous cards I received on my graduation day. The one from my parents stood out as particularly poignant and relevant for this current time of my life. On the front was the following quote:

Always believe in YOU. Listen to your heart.
Trust your instincts. Know you CAN.
See your own strengths. Dream it – dare it. DO what you are afraid of.
Keep the faith. Follow your vision.
Remember ANYTHING is possible if only you believe.

Even if we truly love our jobs, our customers, our co-workers and believe in the mission of our company, I think that deep within most of us lies a dream that we never fully realized, a dream that maybe we let go of at some point in life for some reason – family, more job stability, etc. For me, one of those dreams was to become a writer.

Not too long ago, I took a leap of faith and entered a contest sponsored by Lexington Medical Center for the Every Woman Blog, a new Blog they were creating as a resource for women of South Carolina. Their goal was to select eight women from the Midlands to become featured columnists. Although I knew I wanted to enter from the moment I read about it, it took me almost a month to muster the nerve to sit down and write my entry. Finally, I submitted an entry at 11 p.m. the night before the entry deadline, thus beginning the waiting game. After two weeks of waiting, while I was on a road trip to the beach, the email arrived: I had been selected as one of Lexington Medical Center’s Every Woman bloggers. I was humbled, to say the least. It was official! I had finally, in a roundabout way, attained an innermost dream I’d held on to since childhood.

I do love my everyday job, but loving my job doesn’t mean that I ever gave up on my dream of becoming a writer. I don’t know where this dream come true will lead me: nowhere, a Pulitzer Prize, a movie deal or just lots of extracurricular writing, but, in any event, it was a dream come true.

What dreams do you have? Starting or finishing a college education, learning to sew, owning a second home or a 400-acre farm, or do you just dream of a 45-minute peaceful bubble bath where no one is fighting or tattling or asking you something (yes, this would be another, slightly smaller, dream of mine). In the quote above, the words “You Can Do Anything” are bold. This was not accidental: this was copied exactly as it was written on the card. I didn’t catch this nearly twelve years ago when I got the card. Back then, the monetary gift inside was a little more important. However, when I found the card in the box and re-read that message, those four words stood out like a shining star. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING. You can do anything.

We are all afraid of failure. A perfectionist by nature, failure of any kind is a difficult concept for my brain to adjust to, much less accept. But at the end of the day, do you let the fear of failure hold you back from fulfilling your dreams? Do you let it color the decisions that you make on a day-to-day basis? In February of 2009, when the reality of a divorce began to loom over my head, I began to feel like a complete and total failure. My marriage had fallen apart. My children were going to be shuffled between two homes. Everything I swore would never happen to my family was happening. Then, before any final decisions were made or court proceedings begun, my then husband volunteered for a year-long deployment to Afghanistan. While I kept a happy face on for most of the world, inside, again, I felt like a failure. While most everyone around me smiled and encouraged me and stated how good it would be to have my husband home from overseas, I knew the truth; he was not coming home. Not to the home and family that had been ours. In those long and dark days that did finally culminate in a divorce proceeding in February of 2011, I learned a hard lesson – sometimes failure is not the option you choose, rather, it is the choice handed to you. However, did I opt to let a failure define me and my future, or would I learn from my mistakes and realize that one failure does not a person make? Would I take that failure and rise above whom I was, who I had been, and the events that had taken place and become someone better? Did I choose to crawl under a rock and pretend not to exist, or did I do everything in my power to give myself and my children the life that we all deserved? As my dear friend, Katherine Davis, put it to me, did I make the choice to just survive, or did I choose to thrive?

During that same time frame, as I muddled through my failed marriage, the deployment, working full time, single parenting two little boys, and not having taken a class in higher education in almost 10 years, I decided that I should add one more thing to my already overflowing plate and attempt the fulfillment of another dream, that of furthering my education by working on a Masters degree. Now, a year-and-a-half into my original program of choice, I have decided that I want to do something different, so, I’ve changed my Masters program. I don’t see the non-completion or change as a failure, but rather as a different path and possibly the fulfillment of a different dream. In the end, it makes no difference because I CAN DO ANYTHING!

In my postings you may find some brutal honesty (a characteristic for which I’m either famous or notorious, depending on whom you are), some tears, some joys, some funny anecdotes about my crazy life, and probably words about some wonderfully fantastic people I’ve encountered along my journey. I hope that you will come along and join me and help me show you that even in the darkest days, you can not only survive, you, too, can THRIVE!


by Staci Rutherford

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. EXPLORE. DREAM. DISCOVER.

I saw this quote on a magnet, and it has stuck with me over the years. In life there are many choices we have to make in order to fulfill a certain desire to succeed. We find ourselves caught in a web of trying to follow our dreams while living up to society’s definition of what it means to be successful. Often times, we overlook what we truly love to do or what we are good at. Before I started blogging, I spent a majority of my time studying the pages of fashion magazines to learn about the latest trends season after season. I became a stylist to friends and family because I loved to make people look their very best and to feel confident.

When I graduated from Howard University with a (non-fashion related) degree in legal communications, naturally, there was pressure from my family to attend law school. As I began the application process, it became clear that I had no desire to study law. I decided to ditch law school, follow my heart, and pursue a career in the exciting world of fashion. I moved to Los Angeles to study at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), with the ultimate goal of traveling around the world to identify future trends, and to collaborate with aspiring designers.

After FIDM, I returned to the East Coast to be closer to family, and moved to Philadelphia to work in production for a menswear company, an opportunity I considered a stepping stone. I was unexpectedly laid off while I was five months preggers, which proved to be a blessing in disguise. The very next day, I started my blog, HandbagReport.com, and made it my mission in life to research and write about handbags. (More details on my handbag obsession here) Four years later, I still dedicate my time to blogging, running an online handbag store, and working a 9 to 5, while juggling the demands of motherhood. When you have an outlet that involves what you’re passionate about, it never gets old and there’s always time to do it.

The turning point of my blogging career was receiving an invitation to attend a Tory Burch fashion event during New York Fashion Week, and later being personally invited back to New York to meet the designer herself, THE Tory Burch. (Click here and here for the full details of each experience.) It validated my decision to stick with what I absolutely love doing. Another highlight of blogging is being chosen as an Every Woman Blogger. I am excited to have a place to share my fashion finds and shopping tips with you, and, more importantly, to inspire you to explore, to dream, and to discover.

My Love Affair with Cooking

My name is Elizabeth Webber Akre. I don’t hyphenate, nor do I verbalize all three names, but being from Columbia, I write all three so that people who have known me forever will realize it’s me. I am a wife and mom, I teach Sunday school, I love nerdy computer games like Mah Jongg, I like to write and I love to COOK.

I write a blog called “Gastronomy (by a Wanna-be Chef).” As I’ve been contemplating what to write to introduce myself to you, I started thinking back to when/how/why my love of cooking and food began. I guess it probably started with a Christmas present from my Aunt Donna and Uncle Bill; December 1975 they gave me Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Cookbook. I still have it and have now given it to my 5 year old daughter, who I like to refer to as the “wunderkind.”

Where all good cooks are born!

In the 5th grade, I tore a recipe out of a magazine for this beautiful Mocha layer cake. I was enamored by the chocolate dipped almonds that adorned this magnificent creation.

Yep, I still have that too!

Fast forward to 1979 when my mom got her real estate license. As mom’s business grew, so did the need for my dad to learn to cook (late evenings in real estate sometimes!) My sister and I started out observing, then helping and ultimately started cooking as we became teenagers. (I finally made that Mocha cake for my mom’s birthday when I was about 16). It got to the point that my sister and I took over the job of making the shopping list for the family and armed with a blank check would march into the Winn Dixie in Irmo to stock up for our week’s menus.

I think this is where it all got started. What do you think?

So, I’m now in my 40’s and I love cooking and food and all that it entails. Trying out new recipes on my family and friends is my form of entertainment. Reading cookbooks is bordering on addiction for me. Dining in restaurants, casual and fine, is my favorite pastime. And now, teaching the wunderkind to cook and enjoy the kitchen is a passion and a joy. My blog is my creative exercise in talking about successes and failures in the kitchen, sharing an occasional recipe, giving you my opinion on a restaurant or product and sometimes it is simply me reminiscing about my adventures in the (amateur) culinary world. I hope that you might enjoy some of my tales, maybe get some useful information once in awhile and perhaps get a little chuckle. Bon Appetit, Dig in, Happy Eating!

Summer Slow Runner: “Rack ’em Up!”

Summer Brons

I’ve always been a bit of a “jack of all trades, master of none” type. With a vast array of interests and an occasionally questionable level of spontaneity, I tend to pursue my desires as they become apparent. Whether my scattered goings-on manifest themselves as hopeful career paths, entertaining hobbies, or turn out to be as fleeting as a fresh cup of coffee on a busy morning, one passion has always been at the top of the list: writing.

As I type this charming little self-introduction, I’m reminded of what an honor it is to have been selected as an Every Woman Blog contributor. Not only does this serve as a sliver of validation to my prose, writing for Lexington Medical Center gives me the opportunity to share my thoughts and stories through a trusted voice of the community. I love to network, so don’t hesitate to say hello! Although I’ve lived in South Carolina since 2002, I am originally from Oregon. My story of relocation is a long one (perhaps fodder for another blog post?), but let’s just say that it’s safe to file under the “life experiences” category. Fast-forwarding to the present, I


work in project management and own a home in Irmo with a furry Siberian Husky by the name of Skyy. In my spare time, you can probably find me out running or at the gym. Fitness has been a priority in my life as far back as I can remember, and today I integrate that love for a healthy lifestyle with the challenge of distance running. I’ve completed one half-marathon, am about to run another in November, and look forward to adding 26.2 to my race resume in 2012. If I’m not writing, working, running or tracking down more coffee, I’m likely shooting pool. I play on both 8 and 9-ball leagues each week. Rack ’em up. You can expect to see a smattering of topics for my blog entries here on Every Woman. I love to discuss work, life, the work-life balance, relationships, creative endeavors, recreational pursuits and just about everything in between. For more of me in the meantime, feel free to hop on over to my personal blog: http://summerslowrunner.wordpress.com. ‘Til next time! -Summer