Learning Lovely Letters at First Thursday on Main!

By: Sydney Yarbrough

When I heard about the opportunity to take a calligraphy class with Stefanie Stroman, I was ecstatic. I remember back in elementary school when my friends and I would compete to see who could write their name the prettiest. Flash forward to today and calligraphy is everywhere from envelopes to business logos! I’ve always wanted to learn the art of calligraphy, so I was excited that there is now a chance to learn here in Columbia.

Learning calligraphy

The class took place at First Citizen’s Café during their monthly First Thursday event. Our class was small, which was great because it allowed us to all chat and help each other. It also allowed our instructor, Stefanie, to walk around and give each of us individual instruction. She was extremely helpful in teaching us technique and answering all of our questions.

Learning calligraphy

I have to talk about her decorations, because the details were fabulous! There was lots of gold and glitter, which was consistent throughout the entire class. We also had some patriotic themed cupcakes for an early 4th of July celebration!

Learning calligraphy

She equipped us with everything we needed to get started- a practice notepad, as well as calligraphy writing supplies (pen staff, nibs, and ink). I loved that even though we were learning modern calligraphy, we were still using the traditional technique of dipping the pens into the ink. She also gave us an easy to follow instruction booklet that took us through the entire alphabet!

Learning calligraphyThe class was two hours long and was so relaxing. I was amazed to find how meditative the art of calligraphy actually is! And, to my surprise, I wasn’t terrible at it! Stefanie also supplied us with some recommended reading and resources to further research advanced calligraphy. I can’t wait to learn more about it!

Learning calligraphy


I highly recommend taking this class. It would be a great activity for a Girls’ Night Out or even if you’re just looking to try something new!

Learning calligraphy

Interested in taking Calligraphy 101? The next class is August 7th at First Citizens Café! You can visit the Stroman Studios Etsy Shop for more information and to sign up for your class! 

Credit: All of the amazing photos in this blog courtesy of Sarah Christmus Photography! (Thanks, Sarah!) 


Adding ‘Business Owner’ To My Resume

By: Sydney Yarbrough

I never thought at age 23 I would own my own business. However, at the beginning of this year, I found myself filing for a retail license, and soon after that, filling wholesale orders.

What started as a part-time crafting hobby was quickly growing into a larger-amount-of-time business, and I have loved every minute of it. I love the aspect of getting orders and forming relationships with my customers.

So what do I make? Jewelry. Well, mostly bracelets right now, but I have plans to grow the line into other types of jewelry in the coming months. Mostly I sell on Etsy. My jewelry is carried in a few boutiques, and I hope to expand into more!

Sydney Elle Designs

Custom orders are my favorite. I love designing for bridal showers, baby showers, or even individual customers who are going to events. I get a lot of requests from those who have troubles fitting standard bangles, some too small, others too big. I’m happy to do custom sizes!

Sydney Elle Designs

Everything is still in the beginning stages, but starting this business led to me figure out dreams that I never knew I had. The unknown is scary, sometimes, but also exhilarating. I get to meet new people and make beautiful things every day! What more could I ask for?

Sydney Elle Designs

You can find my jewelry on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SydneyElleDesigns.

Sydney Elle Designs

I’m constantly adding new things! So make sure to follow my store. I’m also on Instagram @SydneyElleDesigns.


Sydney Elle Designs

Feel free to email me at SydneyElleDesigns@Gmail.Com with questions!

Favorite Finds!

By: Sydney Yarbrough

I’m so excited that we’re finally into warmer weather! Spring and summer are my favorite time of year, and I love finding new clothing and being able to eat outside on a patio. Here are a few recent things I have found while being out and about!

  1. These strappy nude wedges from fab’rik in Trenholm Plaza. Fab’rik is a brand new store with lots of great clothes and accessories at great price points. I highly recommend it!Fab'rik shoes
  2. Saluda Shoals Park, located off of I-26 & Bush River Road. I had never been here before last week, but it is beautiful! Lots of places to walk, bikes to rent, and it’s right on the water. You can find exercise and serenity all in one place! Saluda Shoals Park
  3. These awesome koozies that I found at Goodwill for $0.75! Can you tell I’m ready to be at the beach? I highly recommend going thrift store shopping for summer clothes. Goodwill also had bathing suits that Target had donated as overstock (with the store tags still on) for around $2-$3 per piece!Goodwill shopping
  4. Gin’s Juice! I came across Gin while she was downtown at First Citizen’s Café. Such a sweet girl! You can also find her at Soda City on Saturday mornings. Her drinks run about $5 or you can buy a growler for $15 and have it refilled for $12. Super healthy and refreshing on those “famously hot” days!Gin's Juice
  5. This brunch at Café Caturra. The picture says enough, but I HAVE to point out that breakfast pizza! Perfect Saturday morning in Forest Acres. Cafe Caturra Brunch

Purse Food!

By: Sydney Yarbrough

In my efforts to get ready for beach weather, I recently started following a new nutrition plan. The basics of the plan are to eliminate processed food and refined sugar and to eat the right foods at the right time. According to the plan, healthy carbs and fruits should be eaten in the morning, while starches should be eliminated after 3 p.m. I am a student and I work full-time, so following any type of nutrition plan is very much a challenge for me.

This had led me to what I like to call “Purse Food.” Food that I can grab and go, or keep in my car, and I am guaranteed to have something belly-friendly at hand! Here are some of my favorite snacks to keep handy:

  1. Protein Bars- These are tricky. You need to make sure they’re not full of sugar. I prefer gluten-free, sugar-free ThinkThin bars or Cliff bars. There are also tons of recipes for no-bake protein snacks that you can make on Sunday nights to last you the entire week!
  2. smoothieHomemade Smoothies- Anything you can make yourself with fresh produce is always better. I like to add coffee to smoothies I drink in the morning. Keep mason jars or a plastic tumbler cup on hand and make your smoothie the night before if you know you’re going to be in a rush in the morning.
  3. Alternative Trail Mix- Blueberries and walnuts make a great snack. Lots of pre-packaged trail mixes are full of sugar and processed foods. Avoid this and maintain portion control by packing it yourself!
  4. Purse Friendly Beverages- My favorite is coconut water! It’s a great, natural way to stay hydrated during the day and comes in lots of flavors! I also like sparkling water and  making my own flavored waters. Here’s a quick tip: Get a reusable water bottle and add mint and cucumber for a delicious drink!

I hope these tips help for managing your appetite and getting beach-ready for the summer!

Maintaining Mentality

By: Sydney Yarbrough

Sydney YarbroughIf the recent ice storm has you feeling like going into hibernation, it’s time to snap out of it. My brain has definitely been in a Winter fog these past few weeks and I am on a quest to rediscover my motivation before the warmer weather gets here. I’ve compiled a list of tips to stay creative and motivated, and today I’m sharing that list with all of you!

  1. Find time for yourself. Take just a few minutes per day to have quiet time. Set a timer if you have to so you don’t get sidetracked and off task. Read a book. Take a bath. Sit on the couch and close your eyes to help clear your mind. This is important because often times we get so caught up with our day-to-day responsibilities that we forget to breathe. This results in what I would like to call, “burnout.” And it’s not good.
  2. Stay active. It’s so tempting to come home from work and do nothing but sit on the couch. Try to get into a routine of doing some sort of activity. There are tons of fitness videos online to watch! My favorites are Barre (a mix of ballet and Pilates) and Yoga.
  3. Write things down. It’s very helpful to me to compile a list of things that I need/want to get accomplished in a day – just so I can see it. Investing in a planner is a good idea. I have the Day Designer by Whitney English that I ordered from Etsy, but even just keeping a notepad with you can be helpful.
  4. Socialize. Work and home responsibilities can often cause you to feel like you’re too busy to make plans with your spouse or your friends. Make sure you schedule some time during the week to be around other people and maintain social interaction. It’s important to maintain relationships with others and not let your professional life keep you from enjoying a social life.

Remember that it’s okay, and even important, to worry about yourself. Like time management, taking care of yourself requires focus and discipline. As we head into a warmer season, I hope this list will help with maintaining motivation and creativity! 

Meet the New Every Woman Bloggers: Sydney Yarbrough

Sydney Yarbrough, one of our new Every Woman Bloggers, is already an experienced blogger. She loves fashion and design, and even makes her own jewelry. Meet her in this video. 

Meet Our Soon-To-Be Every Woman Bloggers!

Every Woman Blog

When we started the search for our new Every Woman bloggers, our goal was to select five wonderful women to join our current roster of bloggers. However, we received so many amazing entries that we had to raise that number to six! Congratulations to all of the women who have been selected to become Every Woman bloggers! We can’t wait for the blog’s readers to get to know them better and for these amazing women to share their lives with us.

Below is a sneak peak at the women who will join our amazing group of Every Woman bloggers:

  • Lara Winburn: A mom who works both in and outside the home, Lara has two young children who keep her on her toes!
  • Leah Prescott: This mom of three is learning to navigate the world of homeschooling and will share her experiments and successes teaching her children.
  • Chaunte McClure: This minister and seminarian is an aspiring voiceover artist who has a sudden desire to try out arts & crafts projects.
  • Lydia Scott: A mom to a gaggle of teenagers, Lydia has overcome health issues and has accomplished significant weight loss.
  • Sherree Thompson: An experienced blogger, Sherree will share tips on gardening and finding locally grown foods to help families eat clean.
  • Sydney Yarbrough: This 23-year-old loves fashion and design. An experienced crafter, she’ll share her many DIY projects and homemade jewelry.

Please stay tuned to learn more about our new Every Woman bloggers in the New Year!