Confessions of a Famously-Hot Mom

By: Lara Winburn

Though there is a “cool front” coming through Columbia as I write this, we all know that a cool front in June, in Columbia, is a lie. It only means no triple digits on the heat index. And I must admit all of this hot weather and no vacation in sight can make me a little less of the mom, friend or human I hope to be. So, I have some famously hot confessions to make. I hope you will understand and even have a keep-cool suggestion or, at least, an invitation to your pool!

Famously Hot Confessions:

(Seven of them as we approach the seventh month of the year. Or, these could be affectionately referred to as “The Sweaty Seven.”)

  1. Famously HotI talk about the weather constantly, and when I say weather I mean heat. If you are trapped with me outside for more than 10 minutes I can promise you I will say some form of “wow, it’s hot” 9,478 times. I apologize for that but it is hot. I mean, I am even blogging about it.
  2. I do not care about artificial flavors, colors, or artificial ice. Sno-cones are good.
  3. I have run through our sprinkler more than once this summer….after work…in my work clothes.
  4. My favorite friends have a pool. Seriously, haven’t talked to you in 9 months – you have a pool? We should get together more often.
  5. I play hide and seek inside sometimes just to avoid: A) going outside and B) playing Candyland for the 400th time. (Did I mention I am a recovering competitive board game player? So even if my opponent is 4, I might play to win.)
  6. I consider shaving my head daily. I have a lot of crazy curly hair and it traps heat like a fleece blanket on my neck. But since my round face could never rock a pixie cut I keep some length on it so I can put it in a pony tail OFF MY NECK every single day. So if you see me with shears in hand, WATCH OUT!
  7. Sometimes the kids and I sit in my car, in my driveway, for what might be considered a long time – because my car has excellent air conditioning and it is so hot out there in the elements.

So there it is. I am open to suggestions, because did I mention it is hot? I need some new cool ideas!

Every Woman Blog Contest Entries

We’re so excited about all of our Every Woman Blogger contest submissions that we wanted to put them all in one place. Check out the great entries from the brave women Bloggingwho put themselves out there. Who would you like to see featured as a permanent blogger?

Ashley Byrd-White:

Quarter Life Crisis….it’s real and boy is it challenging! After receiving my master’s degree in 2012, it seemed like things were only going up! I was engaged to my high school sweetheart, working in my chosen field, and living in Buffalo, NY. Things were going pretty well! I had all the hope in the world for my future, my life, and the impact I was about to make on thousands of college students. My commencement speaker, mentors, and teachers only reinforced these ideas. Life was going to all sunshine and roses!

My fiancé was finishing up his master’s degree in the education field. He had the passion and drive to become an excellent social studies teacher upon completion. Unfortunately, teaching jobs in New York are harder to find than a needle in a haystack. After turning over every snowflake in New York, we had no choice but look elsewhere for him to get a job.

“What do you think about South Carolina?” my fiancé asked me after he had gotten back from a teaching recruitment fair in Buffalo, NY. “South Carolina,” I thought…I have no family there, no friends there; I have never even been there. But, I knew he needed a job and he seemed excited about this opportunity. I eventually began to entertain the idea and looking for possible jobs for myself.

Well, apparently the job search stars aligned in our favor and directed us to South Carolina because 3 months after our search began, we moved. I took an extremely rewarding position at the University of South Carolina helping students give back to their community through alternative break trips and helping women college students with their leadership development. My fiancé took an 8th grade social studies job in Richland (funny…teaching South Carolina history).

On top of the move (which was difficult in itself seeing as though I had never moved in my life!), leaving on job, starting a new job, leaving my family and friends, and starting totally brand new in an area I had been to only twice…we were on the tail end of planning a wedding for September…in NY. Thankfully, we won the family lottery because our families worked in our absence to finalize everything and our day was better than we could have ever expected.

So, here I am. A 25 year old Yankee turned Southern Belle, newly married as of September, and really trying to figure everything out. To say that my commencement speaker, mentors, and teachers had the painting of my future right would have been a lie. Things have been less than sunshine and roses and more like cloudy with a chance of meatballs.

In the midst of all the confusion, a few things are certain. 1. I love my husband and have relied on him to help me through these crazy times. 2. I love my job and love that at the end of the day I really do make a difference. 3. I feel it is important for me to share these feelings with others because I know that, at some point, us young women feel this serious confusion about who we really are, where we go from here, what matters, and how can we plant roses among the meatballs…even on cloudy days.

Lara Clark Winburn:

Last week I think my toddler stole my debit card (what does a three year old buy online?), I took my cell phone for a swim (yes, I tried the rice, no it did not revive my lifeless Siri), and my 10 month old came home from daycare in a bathing suit and a sweatshirt (because he had no change of clothes). Can someone say “Mother of the Year?”

The bright side….no debit card is an interesting budgeting tool, being disconnected can feel a little liberating and the bathing suit and sweatshirt were coordinating colors.

This is not a banner week, just typical.

I am just like every woman trying to maintain my sanity, my health, my sense of humor, and a happy home. One catastrophe averted at a time.

I work both inside and outside the home and on a weekly basis I have thoughts of quitting or getting fired from both jobs.

My life nor my blog posts will be considered exotic but they may be funny, touching and at least illustrate that we are all just doing the best we can. I love life, try to keep on the sunny side, and have an exceptionally good time along the way – even if it sometimes feels a lot like every day is Ground Hog’s Day.

Leah Clayton Prescott:

Hi Columbia! You would love to read my posts for Every Woman Blog because they will make you feel sane, organized, and totally Zen in comparison! I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama to sweet seven-year-old twin girls, an energetic 18-month-old boy, and a cute but out-of-control beagle. At this stage, I feel like every day is a painfully hilarious struggle to survive. Here’s an example of a typical day from several years ago, back when my twins were still in diapers:

There isn’t enough Prozac or Febreze to fix this terrible, awful, horrible, no-good, very bad day. Why, oh WHY is it times when I have my sights set SO high on getting SO much done that the entire world seems against me? Let’s go chronologically, shall we…

6:00 AM Psychotic beagle wakes me up, running around the room for no apparent reason. Take off her collar so it will stop jingling, then put her on my bed, which is typically off limits. She proceeds to jump up and down and run around the house so that I cannot fall asleep.

6:35 AM I fall back asleep finally, right before the girls wake up, grumpy as usual.

6:50 AM Try to entice the girls with TV, but wind up having to fix breakfast ahead of schedule, then spinelessly give in to feeding them in the living room. I feel like I have already compromised my values and I haven’t even had my coffee yet.

7:30 AM Since things are already on a downward spiral, it seems like the appropriate time to prepare for the inevitable Walmart trip.

9:30 AM We’re finally ready to go. Leave front door.

9:45 AM Leave drive-way. Yes, it does take that long, I swear. Have you ever tried to carry two toddlers to the car along with their accompanying accessories while simultaneously blocking a headstrong beagle from escaping the front porch? It’s no wonder I have tendonitis. In both wrists.

But wait, there’s more! Check out my entire “Flashback Friday” post here:

Alyssa Daniel:

I am a single mom after a 22-year marriage. It has been a struggle at times, but completely worth it. I believe that I would write an interesting blog because of my unique perspective. I came from an abusive relationship and survived. I have three beautiful children, 18, 9, and 6, who give me three completely different views of life. I am starting over and rediscovering who I am, and who I want to be. Come with me as I discover my future, help me shape who I become. We are in for an interesting adventure.

Christy Irons:

I think I would be a great blogger because….

  1. I have almost 7 kids (5 adopted, 1 homemade, 1 adoption in the works)
  2. My children are hilarious and regularly talk about elephants pooping babies (not kidding) or Chuck E. Jesus (Chuck E. Cheese’s) or Foxers (boxers) or Princess Diarrheas (Princess Diaries, the movie)…
  3. My only homegrown child insists he IS adopted.
  4. I could use this platform to continue to shamelessly promote foster care, domestic and international adoptions.
  5. I love my family. I love candy. I hate weird smells and centipedes and cleaning toilets. I love my gross pajama-pants-that-are-the-opposite-of-sexy. I love naps. I love to share way-to-much about life around here. I am every woman…

Chaunte McClure:

Me, me, me. I wanna do it. I wanna do it. I would love to be a blogger for Lexington Medical Center. I love to inspire and encourage women through my stories and God’s word. I’m a wife, seminarian, minister, marketing professional, and aspiring voiceover artist who has had a sudden desire to do an arts & crafts project. (Thanks Pinterest!) What it’ll be, I don’t know. Will it look like the beautifully finished product in the photo? Umm…maybe not, but it’s worth a try. I’ll never know until I try. I enjoy writing and it has become an outlet for me. It’s therapeutic. I’d love to share it with others!

Angel Rae Tomsic:

Hello there Every Woman readers, my name is Angel and I’m a mom of two precious toddlers and expecting another bambino very soon. And I mean very soon. Our little family moved here a couple of years ago for my husband’s career and the adjustment hasn’t always been easy. I’ve been a stay at home mom since the move and trying to restart a career at the same time. If anyone thinks being a homemaker is easy, they’re wrong. Every day is an adventurous challenge especially when you’re living in a new area and more than 600 miles away from the family and friends and the support system you used to have. Why pick me as one of your bloggers for Every Woman? I’m living the challenges a lot of women are facing right now. I might make you laugh, cry or see your area through a pair of different eyes. When I say I know or understand it’s because I’ve been there, have done that or am experiencing it right now. I sometimes feel people just assume certain things, but I don’t do that because everyone has a story to tell. I was a journalist at one point in my life, and I’m willing to share some of my stories with you.

Lydia Scott

If for no other reason, there will definitely be plenty to talk about if you decide I’m the blogger for you:

  • I’m middle-aged (but you did NOT hear me say that!).
  • Have two kids and two step-kids between the ages of 9 and 15, with three of them in the teens (feel free to add me to your “please help is woman!” list!).
  • Have a “trial run” ex-husband and a studly, amazing LAST husband that I actually went to high school with for a year, although we didn’t know each other.
  • Have ex-in-laws and in-laws (who totally rock, by the way!).
  • Have been a stay-at-home-mom-on-disability in the past and am now a full-time employed mom to what feels like a gaggle of teenagers.
  •  Have (4) cats and a dog. One of these cats is known as “the furry demon also known as Tonka the destroyer.”
  • Have had and have BEATEN Postpartum Cardiomyopathy and Congestive Heart Failure. In fact, I was released from ALL restrictions as of this past June! Woohoo!!!
  • Have been a fat girl my entire life and finally lost about 125 lbs so far with about 80 more pounds to go. This is tough since me + cooking food = heaven.
  • Have had gastric bypass surgery that I learned to eat AROUND. Yes, you heard me…I ate around that sucker!
  • Am an active eBay seller with plenty of ummm…”stories”…from our experiences.
  •  Am the annoying person who keeps stumbling across odd but cool stuff other people don’t always think about. Did you know there are BLUE spiders??
  • Obviously have plenty to say, hahaha!
  • Know how to use bullet points, especially for rambling monologues.

That’s probably more than enough to send y’all running for the hills, but if you do decide to subject yourself to more, you know where I am!

Sherree Thompson:

Hey! I’m interested in blogging for y’all. I think I would be a great fit because, frankly, I’m pretty normal. I already have a blog about food, being a mom, and gardening. Mostly I just write things that are related to finding local food, from local farmers. I try to help everyday families eat better by showing them what I cook each day or night through my photo log. I like to give tips on what’s a good buy where, or if I see a sale going on organic foods I’ll pass on the info. Eating real food is something I have always done and just want to get other people to see how easy it can be.

Feel free to visit me on Facebook at on my website at or on Instagram at @eatgoodsupper.
Be warned, since I have two young children (ages 2 &4), I rarely edit what I write. I’m getting better but, well, you will see when you read my blog.

Cynthia Wass Shepard:

Hi Lex/Med.

I think I would make a great blogger for y’all! My tagline on twitter is “Creating fitness wherever I go.” I have the BEST job in the world. I teach fitness classes and am a personal trainer in the Columbia area, I host fundraisers, I volunteer at local schools and events, but mostly I connect with other women about getting & STAYING healthy.

Whether it’s in one of my classes or meeting a client out at Lake Murray Dam for a walk or a run, I truly LOVE the Midland’s because there is SO much one can do to stay fit!

Each class that I teach is an opportunity to talk to women about how important it is to take time for themselves, to carve out a fitness time, to plan to eat healthy and to live moderately.

My message is all about NOT depriving yourself, to get RID of the guilt that so many women carry, and to get them to know themselves and to move forward with realistic and achievable goals.

Over 700 people are on my Facebook page these days, and I love hearing their stories. Whether it’s getting off a medication, losing 10lbs or 100+lbs, or discovering new friends or connecting with old one’s at class; these are the things that make fitness “stick.”

Thanks for your consideration!

Sydney Yarbrough:

Hello Lexington Medical Center! I’m Sydney.

At 23, I’m a certified cat lady and foodie.I look up to those people I see out running early in the morning when it’s 30 degrees outside. While I admire their dedication, I am (sadly) not one of those people. I like to sip my coffee beside my heater in the morning while watching Kathie Lee & Hoda and catching up with emails and blogs on my iPad. I am an avid pop culture follower. I love celebrity news and fashion. As much as I love fashion, I love yoga pants. My favorite part of the day is throwing those on, pulling my hair up in a bun, & setting sail on a brand new DIY project. I recently started designing & making jewelry, but that’s another post entirely.

I am a visual person, so I document a lot of things through pictures & videos. My visual tendencies also cause me to gravitate toward all things pink & sparkly. IKEA, Target, & Disney World are my happy places (although my wallet begs to differ). My wallet woes have caused me to become an avid couponer and deal seeker. If there’s something on sale or a treasure hidden in an antique store, I will find it.

I love design. Interior design, graphic design, fashion, make-up…there are so many forms of artistic concepts that interest me. I’m on a mission to teach myself about all of them.

Attention Midlands Women: Here’s Your Chance to Become a Blogger

Announcing blog contest

We’re excited to announce that we’re sponsoring another Every Woman Blog Contest! Women of all ages are invited to enter from October 17th to November 27th. The contest will culminate with five women winning $250 each. Selected women will join Brady Evans, Shannon Shull, Mary Pat Baldauf, Katie Austin, Elizabeth Webber Akre and Crissie Miller Kirby as featured bloggers on the Every Woman Blog.

“Today, women bloggers, including ours, are some of the most influential communicators online.  Women follow them because the stories they share are so relatable,” said Lexington Medical Center Public Relations Manager Jennifer Wilson.  “We’re excited to welcome new women bloggers and fresh perspectives to the Every Woman Blog.”

To enter the blogging contest, visit Lexington Medical Center’s Facebook page at Upload a video or post a short written statement on the Wall about why you would be a great blogger to represent and inspire women in the Midlands. Five women with the most persuasive, funny, touching or engaging posts will be selected to become featured bloggers.

Each featured blogger will write at least one post per month. The topics will vary greatly depending on the personalities of the bloggers and their daily experiences in the community. Visitors can expect some of the posts to be videos. The bloggers will also meet in person at “blogger reunions” to share ideas and brainstorm topics.

Make sure to visit us on our Facebook page and leave us a message on the Wall stating why you think you’d be a terrific woman blogger – and you could win!

Turn Cupcakes into Something Company-Worthy!

By: Brady Evans

It is getting to be the time of year where summer barbecues and cookouts are ever present!  Here’s a fun way to turn simple cupcakes into something company-worthy.  If you are headed out on Lake Murray this weekend for the boat parade, be safe and enjoy yourself!


  • Supplies
  • Cupcakes
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • Orange Sprinkles
  • Dots
  • Mike ‘n Ike Candies
  • White writing icing
  • Toothpicks

For the hot dogs, use red Mike ‘n Ike candies and dot with chocolate frosting for the grill marks. For the kabobs, cut Dots candies into thirds and thread the slices onto toothpicks.  Use orange sprinkles to achieve the burning grill appearance and white writing icing for the grates of the grill.


GWEN RAWLS Italian Shoe Boutique Grand Opening Festivities

By: Staci Rutherford

I first featured GWEN RAWLS Italian Shoe Boutique after attending the soft launch in late August.  If you have not had a chance to visit yet, you’re in luck.  GWEN RAWLS Italian Shoe Boutique will celebrate its grand opening festivities on Friday, November 9 and Saturday, November 10 at Trenholm Plaza, 4840 Forest Drive, Suite 17.  Each day from 10 am to 6 pm, boutique owner Gwen Rawls will welcome guests to view her latest collection of Italian shoes and handbags—couture originals direct from Milan—along with the chance to sample delicious Italian hors d’oeuvres and refreshments, and the chance to win several boutique gift certificates and coastal travel packages.

“I am thrilled with the gracious reception and enormous support we have received in the last two months,” said Rawls.  “Clearly, there was a demand for an upscale boutique in this market and I am so happy to give back to my growing customer base with our exciting Grand Opening celebration.”

After a September trip to Milan to complete her winter product line of fine Italian leather shoes, boots and handbags, the GWEN RAWLS collection now features more than ten designers including Roberto Cavalli, Baldan, Luciano Padoran, Luis Onofre, Gianna Meliani and Mario Zamagna.  “It’s been so much fun introducing Columbia shoppers to the Italian designers I’ve discovered,” said Rawls.  “They are already famous on the runways of Milan and in the pages of fashion magazines like Italian Vogue, but now they are gaining notoriety right here in Columbia.”  Rawls emphasizes that many of the shoes in her collection are made exclusively for the GWEN RAWLS label while others are only sold in Europe—meaning Columbia is the only place in the U.S. to offer many of her styles.

Gwen Rawls invites the women of the Midlands to her boutique to learn about the designers in her collection and to fully understand the old world craftsmanship found in her shoes.  “When you purchase a GWEN RAWLS shoe, you are making a long-term investment in a high-quality, stylish product that will stand the test of time,” said Rawls. “I am honored to bring these styles to the States and to add to the exciting retail metamorphosis that is taking place in our capital city.”