Happy Trails!

By Stacy Thompson

If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that I enjoy a good hike and, even better, a good challenge.  Although I’ve always loved the outdoors, hiking only recently became a favorite pastime, as I decided to follow in the footsteps of a pretty incredible mother (mine) who felt the pull of the peak.  Since her first climb six years ago, we’ve been on some incredible journeys together – but in finding joy in our journey, we have to prepare and prepare hard.  In truth, the hikes are amazing, but our prep time together is the greatest gift that leads to our ultimate goal.

So how do two land-locked, Lexington County natives living at 292 feet prepare for Machu Picchu (7,972 feet), base camp of Mt. Everest/Kala Patthar (18,514 feet) and Kilimanjaro (19,431 feet)??? One foot in front of the other, in stairwells, steps and trails anywhere and everywhere we can find them!  Maybe our fellow hikers with the benefit of high altitudes in the vicinity have an advantage, but we make the most of what we have available to us, and to date we have met every challenge.

Here are a few of our favorite spots to train and enjoy the outdoors in the Midlands (leaving out the parking garage, of course!)—

  • Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park – still a work in progress and still recovering from the Great Flood – the flattest path you’ll find and a great place to train for a 5k, 10k or ½ marathon – particularly nice on cooler days, as most of the paths are sun-filled!
  • Sesquicentennial State Park – probably better for the bikers, but these trails are accessible and have campsites available for overnights, if that’s your thing
  • Congaree National Park – I’ve only explored the shorter trails and the area by kayak, but plan to venture further into the area to see what this National Park has to offer
  • Cayce Riverwalk – accessible from the amphitheater off Gervais or the lot off Naples in the Avenues of Cayce – one of the easier boardwalks and trails for bikers, runners, hikers and dog-walkers – this trail is continuing to improve/expand and cannot be missed – and speaking of ‘don’t miss,’ be sure to check out the chainsaw artistry of Wade Geddings while you take in the beauty of the Congaree
  • Timmerman Trail – venture down the 12th Street Extension in Cayce toward SCANA to find this gem of a trail – eventually downtown Soda City will meet River Rat as the Timmerman Trail / Cayce Riverwalk will join with the Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park for miles and miles of enjoyment – until then, Timmerman Trail does not disappoint!
  • Harbison State Park – we’ve been hiking the park for a couple of years now, but still manage to find new areas, new parts to get (semi) lost in, and new trails that have us marveling that we are still within the county limits! Trails for bikes, hikes and pups – what could be better (nothing, based on the look on my boy Lincoln’s face!)  There are trails for newbies, those wanting a little challenge and those looking to take it to the next level!


Cozy up to hygge

By Jeanne Reynolds

Heard of hygge? This online buzzword (pronounced hue-guh or hoo-ga, depending on the source) is Danish and means a feeling of comfort and coziness. It’s all about enjoying the simple things in life and taking time to notice and appreciate them.

It was big over the winter: Think fuzzy slippers and hot cocoa by the fire. A walk in the park wearing warm mittens. Baking cookies from scratch. Or my go-to: comfy sweatpants, a good book and a glass of wine with some cheese and crackers.

And when I say “big,” I mean one of the hottest home decor trends of 2017 on Pinterest and more than 1.5 million posts tagged with #hygge on Instagram.

But now that we’ve had a week of 80-degree days (in February!) I’m thinking about ways to get all hygge-ied up for spring. Here are some ideas:

  • Flowers: What says “spring” more than new blooms? Cut a couple forsythia forsythiabranches from the yard and put them in a pretty vase on the table. Or buy a pot of tulips or one of those cute miniature azalea or rose bushes and put it in a woven basket for a centerpiece.
  • Food: Oven-roast some fresh asparagus in a drizzle of olive oil until barely done and sprinkle lightly with shaved asiago while it’s still warm. Or bake heart-shaped cookies for your loved ones (my hubby got oatmeal raisin for Valentine’s Day – yum). Sharing simple homemade treats with family and friends is very hygge.
  • Dress: Put on something lightweight and flowy, maybe even sleeveless, and rejoice in the feeling of freedom. If a quick trip to your favorite retailer is required, go for it – no one is judging (so not hygge).heart cookies
  • Read: Put down that dry business book you feel like you’re supposed to wade through to keep up with the other over-achievers and read something you’d normally take to the beach this summer. If you need suggestions, talk to your local librarian (bonus: library books are free!).
  • Move: Most hygge advice seems to involve cuddling up indoors, but I find peace and contentment while appreciating nature. Believe me, you can’t be much more “in the moment” than when you’re about to hit a golf ball. Walk, run or ride a bike. Or if the pollen is keeping you inside for now, take a yoga class or literally shake things up by trying Zumba instead.
  • Clean: I’m guessing scrubbing mildew off my shower isn’t high on the hygge list, but the wonderful feeling I get looking at how sparkling clean it is now should be.
  • Garden: Well, here I go with the chores again, but hang with me: If you don’t have a lightweight battery-powered leaf blower, get one and see how much fun it is cleaning off the drive and walkway. The hygge part comes when I peek out the window – or even walk outside – so I can admire how orderly and tidy it looks. Or plant some new annuals in those tired pots by the door to greet you every day.
  • Unplug: As in put down that phone. This is a big one, and possibly a deal-breaker for some people. But is constantly checking texts and emails and Facebook posts really relaxing and comforting? Most studies show constant use of electronic devices increases stress and interferes with sleep. C’mon, try it for a day … or at least an hour. You might be surprised how little you miss it. Hygge is about connecting with your faves in person.

Most of all, have fun with hygge. It isn’t supposed to be a time-consuming project or another item on your to-do list. There’s no need to redecorate your whole house or spend hours slaving over a hot stove. Give yourself guilt-free permission to take time for the things you really enjoy and you’ll feel hygge. Maybe you already do and just didn’t know it.

Spring Must Do List

By: Ashley Whisonant

With Spring officially here, I have been dreaming of flowers blooming, warmer temperatures, and outside fun with my boys and friends. In honor of my favorite season, I have created a short to-do list to help keep my priorities in check!

Spring Must Do List

  • Set up a mini Easter Egg Hunt in our backyard. Fill up eggs with little treats, stickers, and Lego people.
  • Clear out a small patch of grass for a *few* veggies to grow
  • Sit on the back porch, reading a book and watching my boys play
  • Walk the neighborhood after dinner three times a week
  • Clean out the playroom
  • Visit Saluda Shoals Park to bike or trail walk
  • Make a day trip to Charleston to walk The Battery and Rainbow Row
  • Have a picnic lunch at Virginia Hylton Park
  • Meet girlfriends for Happy Hour at a restaurant with an outside patio
  • Drive home with the windows down
  • Walk Lake Murray Dam during my lunch break
  • Attend an event at Icehouse Amphitheater

What am I missing?! Post your suggestions for spring below!

Pneumonia Weather

By: Chaunte McClure

One sure way to strike up a conversation is to talk about the weather. With this spring-like weather in the dead of winter here lately, it’s easy to do. I love it, although I have a few sweaters and scarves I haven’t worn yet. However, it’s nice when I can take a late afternoon stroll in the park without a sweatshirt, gloves or jacket.

Every Woman Blog - Pneumonia Weather

All the creepy crawlies must be confused. One weekend it’s snowing and the next it’s 78 degrees. This weather blows humans’ minds, too. That’s why you’ll likely find a photo on your timeline of a friend’s dashboard displaying today’s temperature. Grandma would call this pneumonia weather – when the weather goes from one extreme to the other and back again. Cold, hot, cold. I know some of you are bold enough to argue with Grandma and say the weather doesn’t make you sick, but uh ruh, nudge, nudge. Grandma is always right!

Let’s call this season “spwinter” – a combination of spring and winter. The time of year when you can wear shorts, flip-flops and wool coats in one week. And when you can light the fireplace and turn on the AC during the same week. Hey, we could have blistering cold weather like my friends in Washington and Wisconsin are experiencing. I’d say I’m happy to call South Carolina home, despite the pneumonia weather.

Easter Traditions

By: Leah Prescott

Happy Spring, Columbia! Other than the bugs and pollen, I am so happy to see the end of winter and to welcome warm days. Easter is early this year, so I wanted to share some things we plan to do to celebrate this special season.

Easter Wheatgrass

Sprouting Wheat Grass

It’s always fun to plant with the kids and quick-sprouting wheat grass brings extra quick gratification! All you need is a shallow container, wheat grass seeds, and some eager kids to water them. If you’d like to speed up the process, soak the seeds in water for 12-24 hours, changing out the water once or twice. Then fill some shallow containers with dirt and let the kids cover the dirt with the seeds. (The finished product looks best if the seeds cover every bit of soil). Water gently or spray with a spray bottle several times a day (the kids love this). These eager little guys will start sprouting in a matter of days. After just a couple weeks you will have a thick gorgeous crop of grass. We like to add other spring-y décor and make it our centerpiece for the table. Some grocery stores carry wheat grass or you can order them on Amazon!

The Jesus Storybook Bible

The subtitle says it all: “Every Story whispers His name.” The Jesus Storybook Bible will be going in each of my girls’ Easter Baskets. We already own the digital version but I know they will enjoy having their own copies. This is a beautiful retelling of Scriptures that poetically reveals Jesus at the center of the entire Bible. Rather than simplified Bible Stories, it helps to teach how each passage is tied into the rest of the story of salvation. Amazon has a great price on this item right now!

Easter activities

The Resurrection Eggs

This is by far our very favorite activity over the Easter Season (aside from attending church with family). We have owned this set for three or four years now and we pull them out throughout the year to remember the story of the death and resurrection of Christ. Each egg contains a small item that tells a piece of the story and the booklet includes a verse and explanation for each one. This simple visualization of the story never fails to bring me to tears. I was amazed when the girls began telling the story on their own around age 4, using these simple props. This is an Easter must-have for sure!

Spring cookies

Bird’s Nest Cookies

This recipe is just too easy not to share. It’s a perfect recipe for the kids to help out with and even taste along the way since it’s a no-cook version. The finished product is adorable and delicious!


  • 12 oz package of butterscotch chips
  • 12 oz package of chow mein noodles
  • Cadbury mini eggs or peanut M&Ms


  • Microwave the butterscotch chips, 30 seconds at a time until melted.
  • Pour over chow mein noodles and gently stir to combine.
  • Form into circles and place “eggs” inside the nest. Allow to cool or quick cool in your fridge. Done!

I hope that you and your family have a truly rich Easter celebration and that you find time to celebrate what makes this day so important!

Goodbye Winter

By: Chaunte McClure

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to say goodbye to Old Man Winter! Enough of the snow threats, frigid temperatures, boots, winter coats, sweaters and gloves. I’m ready to trade it all for warm weather, flip flops, tank tops, maxi skirts, dresses and sandals. Oh yes, and a much needed pedicure. Ahhh…


Okay, now back to reality. That furry little prognosticator, I’m blaming him for the additional layering, bundling and snuggling. That’s right, Punxatawney Phil, it’s all his fault. Earlier this month he saw his shadow. Maybe he should have chosen a different time of day to leave his burrow. But I guess that wouldn’t have been convenient for the media because surely there wouldn’t be breaking news to announce the rodent’s prediction.

Moms, I know you’re tired of the two-hour school delays and school cancellations. I’ve read some of the rants online recently. Admittedly, I was looking forward to a snow day last week, but to my disappointment, the lack of the white stuff and the inaccurate forecast rained on my parade.

I did get to drive to work in snow and sleet Tuesday morning, while thinking, I can’t believe I’m driving in this. I’m not supposed to be driving in this. There should have been a delay. I’m sure many of you shared my sentiments. This state has us spoiled because with a threat for snow, we expect a day off from work or at least a two-hour delay.

Speaking of delay, Spring, please don’t. You don’t have to wait until March 20 to visit us. Your moderate temperatures, colorful blossoms, and longer days are welcome now. (I can live without the pollen, though.) I am longing for your presence.

Let me hear from you. Have you had enough of winter? What do you love about spring?