Taking it Easy with a Paint Nite in Florence, SC

August 20, 2018
When it comes to relaxing, just sitting down on the couch to watch T.V. or browsing on the phone can sound so unexciting. If you like creating art or making anything with your hands, Paint Nite is a great alternative, especially if you have an empty wall to fill. It's 2 hours of fun with all painting supplies included (even the apron)! You can look at the calendar to see the painting that catches your eye in Florence, SC: Paint Nite Calendar.

Recently, FlorenceMom.com went to a Paint Nite at Mellow Mushroom in Florence, SC. We painted "Star of the Sea". Instructions started at 7pm but coming a little early to order a beer on tap, specifically a glass of Breakside IPA, sounded like a perfect start. 

Mellow Mushroom offers a variety of craft beers and beers on tap but they also serve cocktails. 

Don't be intimidated by Paint Nite. Painting here is meant to be fun and experience is not required! 

You can paint with girlfriends, a date or even by yourself! It's your art. Let those creative juices flow! 

At any time when you feel a bit stuck, you can seek help from the instructor as well. It can be a question about a technique or anything about the painting at all. Paint Nite instructors are very friendly, helpful and of course, experienced!

At the end of the night, there was a sense of accomplishment and contentment. Being able to have an outlet from a normal busy day was key to getting reenergized. Being able to spend time with it a friend while painting was a great bonus! Here's my "Star of the Sea".

To see all Paint Nite painting dates in Florence, SC, go to: Paint Nite Calendar.

You can also save 40% off using LOCALVIP as the promo code. The original price is $45. With 40% off, the price ends up being just $27. You can currently pick from two Florence locations: Mellow Mushroom or Local Motive in downtown! (FlorenceMom.com does not get a commission from this. This is a promo code saving being passed on to you!) There may be other seasonal promo codes on their website that are better than this, so look out for those as well! 

When there are more Florence locations aside from Mellow Mushroom and Local Motive, FlorenceMom.com will be sure to write an update! 


Hotels Closest to Darlington Raceway (Bojangles Southern 500)l

July 24, 2018
All of the hotels below offer free parking! Book them quick before they sell out as they get closer to the Bojangles Southern 500 event! 

Bojangles Southern 500 is in Darlington, South Carolina and is very close to Florence! Here's the list of hotels located closest to Darlington Raceway:

Raceway Inn (1.5 miles from Darlington Raceway) - Average rate $130 

Comfort Suites Florence
(6.74 miles from Darlington Raceway) - Average rate $259 See more pictures and details of Comfort Suites Florence

Sleep Inn Florence
(7.02 miles from Darlington) - Average rate $200 See more pictures and details of Sleep Inn Florence

Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham
(7.1 miles from Darlington Raceway) - Average rate $180 See more pictures and details of Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham in Florence

Days Inn by Wyndham Florence I-95 North
(7.1 miles from Darlington Raceway) - Average rate $210 See more pictures and details of Days Inn by Wyndham Florence I-95 North

Howard Johnson Inn Florence
(7.5 miles from Darlington Raceway) - Average rate $257 See more pictures and details of Howard Johnson Inn Florence

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel
(7.6 miles from Darlington Raceway) - Average rate $100 See more pictures and details of Suburban Extended Stay Hotel in Florence

Rodeway Inn & Suites
(7.8 miles from Darlington Raceway) - Average rate less than $100 See more pictures and details of Rodeway Inn & Suites in Florence

Super 8 by Wyndham (7.8 miles from Darlington Raceway) - Average rate $175 See more pictures and details of Super 8 by Wyndham in Florence

Econo Lodge Florence (8.1 miles from Darlington Raceway) - Average rate $170 See more pictures and details of Econo Lodge Florence


Coffee Shops & Dessert Places in Florence, SC

February 18, 2018
There are a few coffee places in Florence, SC that you can check out. This is FlorenceMom.com's list categorized by most favorite to least favorite: 

Starbucks at Florence Mall shopping center (1933 W. Palmetto St., Florence, SC 29501)
Centrally located at the 5 points intersection and with a drive thru, this place is the most convenient location to get a Starbucks crafted drink. It has the standard of a typical Starbucks that anyone from a major city would expect. The drive thru can get congested so I suggest using their mobile ordering system 10 minutes before you arrive and run in the store to pick it up. If you're from a big city like me, then this place will make you feel a little more like home in Florence. 

Dolce Vita Cafe & More (160 S Dargan St. Florence, SC 29501)
What started out as just an evening wine place, expanded into a coffee shop with lunch items as well! This place ranks high in our book because of its location. It's located in downtown and right across from the free Florence County Museum and in the middle of all the block party action whenever the City of Florence hosts an outdoor community event.

Soule' Cafe (130 S Irby St., Florence, SC 29501)
Also located in the downtown area of Florence, this place has a very urban and sleek feel. They also have regular open mic nights, live performances and story time for the kids. Although it does not have a large selection of pastries to pick from, it's the perfect place to catch up with a friend and still be within walking distance to a lot of restaurants nearby. 

Starbucks Cafe inside of Barnes & Noble at Magnolia Mall (2701 David H McLeod #1200, Florence, SC 29501)
This is my go to Starbucks when I have my kids with me because we can stop in and order a cup of joe and then head straight to the Children's area with my cup in my hand while they have a little fun. I've also met other moms here too with my kids. It's one of the few ways I can catch up with another friend without feeling like I have to chase down my kids constantly.

Starbucks Cafe inside of Target (2791 David H McLeod Blvd., Florence, SC 29501)
The best thing about going to the Starbucks location inside of this Target is they accept both Starbucks gift cards and Target gift cards! So if you have either one, this makes it really nice! Sometimes there's no line here at all so it can be the quickest way to get your favorite Starbucks beverage. They tend to run out of seasonal drinks though but they usually have all the staples. I do feel like they can be a bit heavy-handed with their caramel and other syrups so if you like ultra sweet, then maybe this is your kind of place. 

Lula's Coffee Co. (600 Pamplico Highway, Florence, SC 29505)
The main reasons they are so low on my list are because they are out of the way for me and service can take awhile. But they know how to craft their drinks the correct way! There are no shortcuts here! They respect the craft! If you want a coffee or tea drink done right, go here! They are located in the south side of Florence and always closed on Sundays. 

Dunkin Donuts (2 locations: 2123 W Evans St., Florence, SC 29501 & 2210 W Lucas St., Florence, SC 29501)
Besides for a regular black coffee, I don't like to order any of their craft coffee drinks. They are very sugary but I know a lot of people like them so they're listed here. 

Other Coffee Shops in Florence that Closed Down:
Clay Pot (Closed in 2017)
Cast Iron Waffles (Closed in 2016)

To see all top restaurants in Florence, SC, go to: http://www.florencemom.com/restaurants.php

Paint Nite locations in Florence, SC

January 1, 2018
Looking for a new fun hobby? Try a paint night from Paint Nite, a national company that hosts paint night events in venues all over the U.S! Lucky for Florence, we have a couple of locations here to choose from! 

Find the painting you want to do: 
Paint Nite events at Mellow Mushroom in Florence, SC: Click here to see dates & times
Paint Nite events at Local Motive Brewing Company in Florence, SC: Click here to see dates & times

Special Offer: Get 40% by using the following Promo Code: LOCALVIP on the second page of your check out process. Normal price is $45. With LOCALVIP promo code, it is only $27. 

All events start at 7pm and end at 9pm and you can order a drink and/or food while you paint! (They may have different times in the future.)

Recently, this Florence mom took a break from a regular night and joined another friend at a Paint Nite event at Mellow Mushroom! They had it in a private closed room so you really feel like you are in a party with 18 other painters in the room. 

We came 15 minutes early to check in and ordered a drink. I ordered the Sunset in Paradise and my courteous server delivered me this beautiful drink. 

As we were about to begin, our friendly art instructor Sara (pictured below) had us all do a painter's oath with a set of rules, like not say 'my painting sucks' or you get a mustache painted on your face! She immediately made us feel comfortable and with step-by-step instructions, any inexperienced painter can make his/her own masterpiece. 

(Meet Sara, our professional Paint Nite artist/instructor)

With all supplies provided, including their recognizable green Paint Nite aprons, all you really bring is yourself. You buy your tickets ahead of time online. Check out all of their upcoming Paint Nite events in Florence, SC. One drink in, here was my painting progress, below. 

 (Did I come here to paint an eyeball? No, I didn't but if I wanted to I could stop here!)

About midway through the session, we took a little break. At this time, some painters ordered some food or maybe another drink? I used this time to spy on my neighbors' paintings. We may be painting the same things but they don't look exactly the same. Just like the way you write your words is different, the way you stroke a paintbrush is also different than the person next to you, because it is still very personal. 

Here's the close-to-final finish below. 

And just like that, within a couple of hours, I got to bring home an artwork I created and memories with a friend over a drink. I really love doing this. This is not my first time and it'll not be my last time. See what a night of creation and libation at a Paint Nite can do to your soul. It'll be worth a try. See all Paint Nite events in Florence, SC.  

Currently, you can use the following promo code to get 40% off: LOCALVIP. You enter this code on the second page of your check out process. Normal price is $45. With LOCALVIP promo code, it is only $27. Promo code should work for all of 2018. (Florencemom.com does not get any cut on this. This is just a value being passed on to you.) 

Disney World Orlando is only a 6.5 hour drive from Florence, SC

December 17, 2017
We went to Disney World at the end of November 2017 and everything there was decorated with Christmas decorations already! We loved it and felt like it was the most perfect time to visit. The weather was mid 70s during the week while we were there. Flying was out of the question as it is only a 6.5 hour drive from Florence, South Carolina to Disney World! That is very manageable with a 3 year old and 1 year old. 

Here are some pictures of the Christmas themed decorations that I took: 

Florencemom.com's Recommendations from our recent trip:
  1. Download the Disney World App to track how long each wait for each ride is. You can also reserve your fast pass from the app days ahead of time! All of the pictures that the park takes can also be recorded and tracked from the app as well. This is a very cool feature!
  2. If you have little kids, maybe going to 2 different parks is enough. We went to 3 in a span of 8 days (with a day break in between parks) and it was way too tiring. The kids were over it by the third park. Disney World has a total of 4 different theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. 
  3. Book at a resort that usually is a timeshare stay for others. They let the public book reservations there for really cheap and usually have great amenities. If you are okay with saying 'no' a thousand times when they try to sell you a timeshare, it is worth it!
  4. It is a good idea to come to the Magic Kingdom during the day and then continuing on through the night to enjoy the pretty lights and see the Sleeping Beauty castle again. 
  5. My favorite part of all was the Pandora - The World of Avatar section of the Animal Kingdom! So if you are an Avatar movie fan, you must go to the Animal Kingdom! 
  6. Disney's Hollywood Studios was significantly small than the other parks but if you're a Star Wars fan, this is definitely worth the extra money! 

New and current resources for mommy and baby in Florence, SC

October 21, 2017
I'm always looking for new resources on places for mommies and babies. Here are some current resources for new mommies and babies in Florence, SC. 

Playgroup for Ages 0 - 3 Years Old: Interested in being a part of a group of moms and children, ages NEWBORN TO 3 that play together? There is a Parent and Child Playgroup for babies and toddlers ages 0 - 3 years old for any family zoned under Florence School District 1 (FSD1). This is free! They come together once a week in a warm and homelike setting. They share insights about life with children through group discussions. This program includes free play and sometimes a song and/or story. There will also be a snack time before the group ends. In this way, teachers and parents work together to provide a model of what community means for young children. There are specific groups for different age children, held once weekly for an hour. Please email at susan.knight@fsd1.org or 843-758-6872 to sign up or for more information.

MOPS in Florence, SC: There is a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in Florence that meets twice a month from September to May. They take a break during the summer time. This is a group of mothers who have kids from 0 - 5 years old. Ladies who are expecting a baby are also welcome to attend. They meet twice a month on Tuesdays from 9AM - 11AM at Church of Sandhurst. In addition to providing a place for mothers to meet other mothers, childcare is available during these meetings in a program called MOPPETS. Membership dues are now $40 - $50 per semester and $10 per child per semester for each semester. To get more information, go to: http://www.sandhurst.net/mops

Florence Moms and Tots (Florence, SC) from Meetup: There was a new moms group in Florence that I found on Meetup.com but as of 2018, I saw that they had cancelled this group. Maybe in the future, a new leader will come on there and create a new group so make sure you check on there once in awhile! 

'Bugs' Class for ages 4 months - 10 months old and 'Birds' Class for 10 months - 19 months old at The Little Gym: Don't think that your babies are too little to be enrolled in a physical development class like these! They are very fun and interactive and each accompanying parent with each baby in the class are participating the whole way, helping your babies develop into stronger human beings. Furthermore, you are also creating a fun bond and memories between parent and child along the way (essentially each parent comes for free because you only pay membership for the baby)! With music playing throughout each session, babies and their accompanying mothers (or fathers) are directed by instructors on how to encourage strength and courage in these little ones. To see their current schedule, go to: https://www.thelittlegym.com/florenceSC/Schedules. The great thing about these classes is that you are guaranteed to meet other moms with babies within the same age group. This is especially beneficial if you are a new mom or new in town and would like your baby to socialize with other babies around the same age. Click here to see pictures of The Little Gym in Florence, taken by Florencemom.com.

ScienceSouth Mommy & Me Classes: For toddlers ages 2 - 4, ScienceSouth has a Mommy & Me program for an hour from 10AM - 11AM for $8 per child (no cost for accompanying parent). I believe they only have this once a month on a Tuesday and they'll cancel if there are not enough people who have paid registered ahead of time. Registration is on this link: http://www.sciencesouth.org/at-sciencesouth/family-workshops/.

Junior League of Florence: If you're into volunteering and helping non-profit organizations, Junior League of Florence is a great organization for any woman. Although you'll probably need to leave your child with your partner or babysitter when you attend meetings and volunteer, but you'll most likely meet other moms here. They require a minimum amount of commitment but they throw great annual events like Merry Marketplace, Shamrock and Touch-A-Truck. You can go to their website here: http://jrleagueofflorence.com

As always, this Florence Mom will continue to find any new or beneficial information around town for mommies and babies and we'll share them with you! 

Little Gym in Florence, SC promotes early physical developmental skills for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and grade school kids

October 9, 2017
Try your first trial class for your baby (4 months and up), toddler or preschooler for FREE at The Little Gym! 
As mothers, we often worry about teaching our babies and toddlers their ABC's, shapes, and numbers and hope that they don't fall behind in academics from their peers. What's also important and as we check off each milestone from our list, is that they also grow physically strong and not fall behind in sitting, crawling or walking.

And as they grow into preschoolers and become more daring, we want them as much as for ourselves, to have the confidence that they have the ability and strength to climb those bars at the playground at the park. Because after all, behind all the smarts, being a healthy, strong and confident human being as well, is pretty darn awesome. 

The Little Gym in Florence fosters early physical development for babies and their classes help kids reach developmental milestones in a fun, non-competitive atmosphere.  They are much more than a gym for little kids, they provide the kids the means to play but also thrive. With age-appropriate exercises led by trained instructors, children from ages 4 months through 12 years old learn skills that help build confidence and a strong foundation. And just from learning more about The Little Gym, I believe these kids will carry these fond memories of discovery with them as they grow older.  Read about my very first trial visit to Little Gym and how it affected my baby with just one class. 

After giving birth, I know that the very last thing you want to think about is enrolling your future 4 month old into a class of any sort. You're kind of still recuperating from childbirth and getting use to a new mom and baby routine. However, this town is full of transplants. And if you've just moved here, it can get really, really lonely and it's much healthier for your state of mind as a mother, to find other moms with children of the same age group. The Little Gym provides that. Their 'Bugs' Class is for babies from 4 months to 10 months old. You are there with your child along with a group of other moms with their babies, helping them with their exercise. It's only 45 minutes long and you only have to bring them once a week. As an added bonus as a member (which they don't heavily promote on social media) is that you get to come to their Coffee & Mom Friends Social that happens once a month! This is a huge bonus and I think it's a pretty awesome way for new moms to be able to hang out with other moms. 

The Little Gym's 'Birds' Classes are for babies ages 10 months - 19 months and offers three different days for moms to choose from. See their schedule here: https://www.thelittlegym.com/florenceSC/classes/parent-child. Usually within this age group, the babies are crawling or walking! With padded play equipment, your baby can enjoy instructor-led exercises gear towards this age group and some free play in a safe environment. 

A great program that The Little Gym in Florence has for 3 & 4 years olds is the WonderKids Club! It is a 3 hour session that includes a gymnastics class with active learning (instructor - led), immersive play, arts and crafts, story time and creative play with LEGO DUPLO! To me, it is like a preschool type class but reinforcing the physically development for these kids. The really awesome part about it is there is no monthly or weekly commitment. You pay per day! It is only $35 for club members and $40 for non-members. To learn more about WonderKids Club, go to: https://www.thelittlegym.com/florenceSC/classes/wonderkids-club.

On top of Coffee & Muffins with Mom Friends social events hosted for members once a month,  The Little Gym of Florence also hosts amazing special seasonal events (not posted on social media for privacy) that is also complimentary with your membership. These added bonuses are so great for both moms and kids!

The Little Gym of Florence is located at 1945 West Palmetto St., Ste. 115, Florence, SC 29501 and can be contacted at (843) 676-9001. As always, your first trial class for your child is always FREE. Call them to schedule the right date for you. 


The POP Zone is a great play area for babies and toddlers in Florence, SC

October 3, 2017
We went to The POP Zone's grand opening yesterday on October 2nd and my 3 year old and 1 year old sons had a wonderful time playing at the 2 hour Open Play time! With a play room popping (pun intended) with bright colors, my toddlers were instantly engaged upon arrival! 

Located at 906B S Cashua Dr., Florence, SC 29501, you can see their entire weekly schedule: http://www.thepopzone.com/weekly-calendar.html.

In addition to offering age-appropriate classes for babies and toddlers, The POP Zone also has a Mom's Morning Out program for ages 2-4 and hosts a Parents' Night Out for ages 3-10. To see all of their programs, go to: http://www.thepopzone.com/programs.html.

If you're looking for a new place to host a birthday party for your child, they also offer birthday packages on the weekends!

In an intimate private space, the birthday boy or girl can blow out their candles and enjoy pizza and drinks! See The POP Zone's website for more information: http://www.thepopzone.com/parties-1.html.


This Florence Mom will be coming back to The POP Zone really soon. To get updated on their upcoming events, join their facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ThePOPzone/. Tell them Florencemom.com sent you to The Play Zone!

The 2017 Great American Eclipse happened in August and now hurricanes are coming after America

September 9, 2017
Is this in the bible? Was there a prophecy about this? A friend of mine asked his Facebook friends in a post about the multiple hurricanes that are coming after America and asked "Is this in the bible"? 

I did a bit of research online that cited Luke 21: 25-26 and so I opened my own international Holy Bible to confirm word for word (because I haven't read it cover to cover and don't memorize it) and this is what it says: "There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken." 

Do you know how old the bible is? Very, very old and for the fact that the total solar eclipse was ONLY seen in the United States of America in August 2017 and then only a few weeks later, Hurricane Harvey wiped out Houston, now Hurricane Irma is going to wipe out Florida (and upwards) and Hurricane Jose is on its the way? Is this a coincidence? Is this the beginning of the apocalypse? 

See the image of my bible for Luke 21:25-26 below.

New Seminar Brewing Location with great craft beer and worldly food

September 9, 2017
For a long while, it was rare to enjoy a nice craft beer and decent food without worrying about our two very mobile toddlers disturbing other people's nice dinners. Then, we visited the new Seminar Brewing location yesterday with the Kanza restaurant and it was like my prayer has been answered! With a watchful eye on our kids, we were able to sit down and enjoy a quick, casual meal with some beer flights. The kids were playing with the bean bags near the corn hole area and were content while mama and daddy enjoyed some tapped tastings and a very different Florentine meal. No kids crying, no patrons staring at us with disapproval and the adults get to enjoy going out to eat! Win, win, win!

 My favorite is the Alpha Cruces PHD

Located inside a warehouse, the place is spacious and not intimidating. We ordered at the bar and sit down with our table number until the beers and food were ready. Until then, we roamed around and played with the kids. So awesome! 

 This is how the inside of the the new Seminar location looks like.

 The Korean styled bao were very flavorful.
 The Southwest Shrimp Salad on Pastry Boat was delicious but I wish the pastry was softer and not so hard. 

Seminar Brewing, don't be surprised to see us again very soon! 
As with all the other reviews, all of this content is my own opinion alone and it has not been sponsored in any way. Check the new Seminar Brewing location out! Their address is 551 W. Lucas St., Florence, SC 29501.

Go to the 'Events and Activities' Page to see all family-friendly things to do in Florence!

Free carseat canopy for baby to weather the storm! Copy and paste promo code: 4132E9 on CarseatCanopy.com to get one for free. Just pay shipping. Many patterns to pick from! 

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About Me

Originally from Southern California, we had moved here when my husband got out of the military and began his civilian work at the Duke Energy Power Plant in Hartsville. I have two sons who were both born in Florence. Visit the "Events & Activities" Page for upcoming family-friendly events!
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