How ‘Bout THEM Apples

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Kandi Apple

Kanzi Apple

This week at the gym, one of my workout buddies brought us Jazz apples. They were delicious. After my workout, I went to Publix to get a few for myself. I was surprised to find that they didn’t have Jazz apples, but did have Kanzi apples, which I later found out are an “apple cousin” to Jazz.

A quick scan of apples at Publix revealed several new names, and I wondered what had happened to the apple industry since the beginning of my grocery shopping days. Back then, Red Delicious apples were about as good as apples got. I remember Granny Smith and Macintosh, but nothing exotic like Honeycrisp, Jazz, Gala or Pink Lady.

A quick Google search finds that there are 7,000 varieties of apples. And if you had a different one each day, it would take you 20 years to try them all. (Visit for more about the varieties of apples and the 18 that you actually need to know about.)

The changes we see in the produce aisle reflects the increasingly fragmented apple industry, where major growers have moved away from relying on few varieties for their income. Rather, many are diversifying their orchards, aiming to cash in on the premium prices of licensed niche apples and creating competition among breeders to develop the next big flavorful apple.

In 1999, Red Delicious accounted for a 51 percent of the nationwide sales. By 2015, that number had dropped to 25 percent, according to data from the Washington Tree Fruit Association.

The five newest varieties of apples include Junami, Kanzi, RubyFrost, Opal and SnapDragon. And on the horizon for 2019 is the Cosmic Crisp, an apple named for the stellar-like appearance of the “striking” lenticels on the apple surface. I can hardly wait! And you can say you heard it here first, on Every Woman blog.

And the old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” According to Medical News Today, apples were the original super food and have many health benefits, from improving neurological health to reducing the risk of strokes and diabetes. And with 7000 varieties, there are just more ways to stay healthy.

What is your favorite kind of apple, and how to you like to eat it?

I’d Rather Be…

By: Shannon Boatwright

I came across an anonymous quote that says, “I’d rather be completely exhausted from the hard times which breed success…than well rested from achieving nothing.” I can, with confidence, say that I have achieved this.

This special student message is one of the moments that makes all the hard work totally worth it!

This special student message is one of the moments that makes all the hard work totally worth it!

With each year I’ve been teaching in the public school arena, I’ve somehow managed to get busier. My first year, I was overwhelmed, proving myself and in survival mode as I dove into a whole new world. I certainly experienced firsthand the importance of needing to learn to say NO to taking on new things and responsibilities. I thought for sure I’d have it all down for my second year. Yes, I was better equipped with that first year under my belt, but fellow teachers and perfectionists know that we still take on the world and the busy-ness just truly never stops! I outdid myself with my shows and required trainings on top of planning a wedding and moving into a new house.

A precious student note that meant the world to me

A precious student note that meant the world to me

When my third year came along I guess I just wanted to really test myself and challenge myself to the core, because this past school year I:

  • Settled into a newly built school with no real classroom
  • Adapted to a new school schedule
  • Bought a new house, which led to yet another huge move
  • Took on two grad classes back-to-back while teaching full time
  • Produced/directed an enormous show with 56 honors drama students.

And I won’t even get into the personal stresses, responsibilities, requirements, commitments, health issues, and drama that are an inevitable addition to my professional life!

Grad class Final Grade - Worked incredibly hard for this A!

  Grad class Final Grade – Worked incredibly hard for this A!

Final grade for my last grad class of the year!!

Final grade for my last grad class of the year!!

I’m sure there are many of you out there who can totally relate. Needless to say, reading that quote made me realize that everything I do, everything I struggle to survive, all my busy-ness that keeps me on my toes and in a lot of cases, fills my heart, is all worth it in the end. I work so hard….so when those beautiful moments come – those moments that remind me why I’m working so incredibly hard and how my efforts help to inspire others make me a better teacher, a better mother, a better person – they make it all incredibly worth it.

Yes, I’d rather be exhausted from the success than bored amongst ineffective restfulness.

Writing Gone Wrong

By: Chaunte McClure

writer's blockI’ve experienced it before, but the past couple weeks has given me the fullness of it. Writer’s block. Or is this mental pause? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled out my iPad or cell phone to attempt writing a blog post. I’d type three or four words and immediately not like what I’ve typed or just get stuck after typing two or three sentences.

So much has happened these past few weeks and the one activity that helps me clear my head actually left me with my fingers resting on A-S-D-F-J-K-L-; or with my face stuffed in my pillow.

I’d walk away and come back, sometimes a day or so later, and still, I’d come up with nothing. Stepping away from a writing assignment when the words won’t seem to flow has helped many times before, but this thing kept haunting me.

For me, writing is therapeutic, but what happens when your therapy is not working? Well, I left my audience hanging. I’m sorry, ladies. It is so frustrating, but I’m trying to win this battle and hopefully writing about it will get me off the block soon.

I took some time today to see what others do when they are plagued with writer’s block. For starters, I found that someone referred to this thorn as “blogger’s block.”

Here are a few tips I like from the article Battling Blogger’s Block:

  • Blog from a new location.
  • Keep an idea journal.
  • Collaborate with other bloggers.
  • Stimulate your mind.

I need to begin embracing these soon because I never want to suffer writer’s block, blogger’s block, mental pause or whatever this has been, on this level, ever again.

Three Ways to Relieve the Pressure When You’re Pushing Yourself Too Hard

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

under pressure

A year ago today, I was just waking up and coming back to consciousness from my ruptured aneurysm. It was around my sister’s birthday because I remember my boss offering to buy her a birthday gift from me. I was clueless. I couldn’t figure out where I was or what had happened, much less what to get Sister for her birthday.

A year later, I’m still trying to figure out what to get Sister for her birthday. But everything else is better. I’ve recovered well, with the exception of my immobile vocal cords and soft, raspy voice. I’m back at work full-time, have been since late September.

But there are still a few things I need to work on. First, I am quite unhappy with my fitness limitations. Before the aneurysm, I was doing an hour on the elliptical. I also feel like I’m living by the seat of my pants organizationally; I don’t feel like I’ve had it together since I came back to my house in August. I’ve strayed a bit from my “clean eating”, and I still need to get back in the kitchen on a regular basis.

I was sharing this with a friend today when she reminded me that it had only been a year, that I was being too tough on myself. Too tough on myself? Yes. I always have been. Almost on cue, I found a great article in my Positively Positive daily email about that very thing: Are You Pushing Yourself Too Hard?

You don’t have to be recovering from a ruptured aneurysm like me to push yourself too hard. As women, I think we all do it to some extent. That’s why I wanted to share Positively Positive’s three steps to release the pressure when you’re pushing yourself too hard.

  1. Admit you are pushing yourself too hard – Say it out loud (because you need to hear this from yourself): “I am pushing myself too hard to…”
  2. Re-set your expectations. Close your eyes and take a breath. Ask yourself, “What would ENOUGH look like?”
  3. Give yourself permission to just do enough. No more. No less. Just enough.

The article reminds us when pressure and overwhelm come knocking on your door, remember that you have the choice to let them in. Assess the situation, use the three step process above, and ask yourself what might need to change or adjust in order for you to feel less stress and more joy, rest and harmony through the process.

Fitness limitations? Yeah, I’ve got ‘em. A year ago, I wasn’t even walking. So for now, working out twice a week is enough to help me rebuild my strength. Living by the seat of my pants? Yes, I still have some unpacking and organizing to do. I was away from home for five months, and it’s taking me a while to settle back in. I’m getting it done a little at a time, and that’s okay. Not eating perfectly? I can make improvements in small steps, and it will be okay. As long as I have food to eat and don’t fall back into the fast food trap, I will survive fine.

What works for you when you start feeling pressure and overwhelm?

Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler Set for April 23 in Columbia


Women of all ages will fill the streets of downtown Columbia as Lexington Medical Center presents the 15th annual Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler on Saturday, April 23 at 8:30 a.m. A women’s only event, the race features a five-mile run, a five-mile walk and a three-mile walk.

The Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler celebrates women and the power of a healthy lifestyle. It also raises awareness that heart disease is the #1 killer of women. The picturesque course begins at the top of Finlay Park, winds around the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion, Main Street, Congaree Vista and into the historic neighborhoods next to the University of South Carolina campus. It finishes with a downhill stretch to the bottom of Finlay Park.

Launched by the Carolina Marathon Association in 2002, the Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler is South Carolina’s first women’s only road race. It has grown from fewer than 400 female participants in its first year to more than 2,300. Sponsored in conjunction with WIS News 10, the race offers women of all athletic abilities the opportunity to participate in a comforting, supportive environment. Elite athletes, as well as first-timers, enjoy the unique event that offers a red rose at the finish line and special refreshments that include chocolate-covered strawberries.

The event begins with an opening ceremony at 8:00 a.m. featuring Dawndy Mercer Plank and Judi Gatson of WIS News 10. The five-mile run begins at 8:30 a.m., and the walk begins at 8:35 a.m.  Race day registration will be held from 7:00 – 8:00 a.m. at Arsenal Hill, located at 1900 Lincoln Street near the start line and the Laurel Street entrance to Finlay Park.

“This women’s only run and walk helps us to spread the word that heart disease is preventable and controllable,” said Harriet Horton, vice president at Lexington Medical Center. “We encourage women of all fitness levels to come out and participate.”

Cash awards will be presented to runners in the following categories:

  • Top five overall finishers: $500/$400/$300/$200/$150
  • Top three masters finishers: $150/$125/$100
  • Top three grand masters finishers: $100/$75/$50
  • Top three senior grand masters finishers: $75/$50/$25

 Awards will be presented to the top three overall finishers in each age category: 14 and under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69 and 70+.


Walkers are eligible for prizes based on participation. All awards and prizes will be presented at the post-event ceremony in Finlay Park. After the event, participants enjoy special refreshments, entertainment and an expo featuring health screenings from Lexington Medical Center, and health and fitness-related services from local vendors.

Registration is $35 through April 22 and $45 on race day.

Participants are asked to bring “gently used” running or walking shoes to packet pick-up on Friday, April 22 or Saturday, April 23, at Arsenal Hill, located at 1900 Lincoln Street in downtown Columbia. These shoes will be donated to Christ Central Ministries, which serves people in need throughout the Midlands. Each year, participants donate nearly 500 pairs of shoes.

For more information, call the Carolina Marathon Association at (803) 731-2100 or visit  or  to register online.