Lorna Jane

One day while walking down Girard Street in La Jolla, I passed by a fitness store I’d never heard of before, Lorna Jane. Naturally, I peeked inside and saw an abundance of bold bright colors and styles. While looking around in awe, I began to chat with a sales associate about the brand. I kept asking, “Why have I never heard of this?”

Lorna Jane is an Australian brand with only a few U.S. locations. So I would have never seen it on the East Coast. It was started in 1989 by Lorna Jane Clarkson as a way of promoting an active living lifestyle through fitness clothing and the philosophy to move, nourish, and believe. The philosophy carries onto movenourishbelieve.com with daily doses of inspiration in exercises, recipes, and positive thinking.

Finding this store is exactly what I needed when I moved here. I quickly learned that the store in La Jolla offered free fitness classes and I began to attend them weekly. Each class motivated me and made me feel good about the work I was doing to better myself.

After becoming a class regular I discovered that Lorna Jane Clarkson would be visiting the States. When I approached Gerred he said we could visit her in Huntington Beach on the way to pick up our race packets for the LA Firecracker 10K. I was so excited to meet her in person. I didn’t know what to do.

While I was in line holding her Nourish cookbook, I could see she was only feet away. I took a deep breath and went up to shake her hand. I told her how thankful I was for the positivity of her brand. She joked around and we took a photo. I could not have been happier. Learning about the philosophy of move, nourish, believe and meeting Lorna Jane Clarkson really cemented a drive within me to continue to strive to be healthy and positive.


Life Lately

A glimpse of my weekend, plans for today and goals for the upcoming week to keep you updated on my life as of late.

Recently, I have made it the habit to read two books at once, a physical book to read before bed or by the pool and an audiobook to listen to on the way to work or on a run. Always the fan of Irish literature, I’m currently reading ‘Tis by Frank McCourt. For my commutes I’m listening to The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin and relating to Ann Lindbergh’s life as a pilot wife. I would also like to share that Gerred is on the third Series of Unfortunate Events book after I learned he had never read them and insisted he open up the first book. He’s hopelessly hooked.

Today I’m dressing up and interviewing for a job that’s right up my alley. Fingers crossed things go well.

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I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K on Sunday and am now beginning training for my first half marathon in May. Not only am I running, but I’m coaching young girls to run and be their best selves with Girls on the Run. This week I want to work on cross training and going to classes along with my runs.

Just finished this last season of House of Cards and per usual I was blown away by the entire thing. The scenes of Maryland had me missing home and Kevin Spacey’s accent was incredibly addictive. It should be bottled so that I might drink it up. I’m assuming it would taste like Bourbon. Now that this is over, I’m beginning the series, Fresh Meat.

I’m hard at work brainstorming and writing articles for Vows & Valor as well as teaching history onboard tall ships at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. I’ve also managed to tie in my rope skills into both jobs.

I have a great love for Shakespeare’s works and an even greater admiration for the Smithsonian documentary, Secrets: Richard III Revealed, about the 2012 discovery of the remains of King Richard III beneath a car park in Leicester. After determining the skeleton is, in fact, King Richard III, the University of Leicester has organized the reburial of Richard III at the Leicester Cathedral.

I opened up about skin cancer and sun safety, ran a 10K in LA, shared our wedding video, as well as 15 delicious recipes I found, and challenged myself to read 50 books in 2015.

Slip Slop Slap: Sun Safety

“Dear 16-year-old me” always seems to pass around the internet just as warmer weather starts to appear. In years past, I’ve watched and understood that I should go about the steps and wear sunscreen more often and visit a doctor. When I watched the video this time, after returning from a run out in the hot San Diego sun, I began to really hear what these men and women were saying. Tears streamed down my face as I understood their pain, the effects of skin cancer, and what it meant to lose someone to Melanoma.

Two years ago my grandfather was diagnosed with skin cancer. There was an off-putting mole that hung from his big toe. He waited until the holidays passed to see a doctor and when he came in, he learned the mole was cancerous. At the time, the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes, but in only a few short months it did. It has been a year and a half since my grandfather passed away from malignant melanoma and I miss him every day.

During my senior year, I grappled with his loss. I channeled my emotions into writing poems about my grandfather, skin cancer, and the sun. I then channeled my energy into volunteering for Relay for Life. I fundraised for the American Cancer Society. My friend and fellow communications committee member, Ben, and I made posters with for the event, reading, “Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat.” I took grief and turned it around into a way that I could help others be more aware of the effects of the sun and skin cancer.


Skin cancer can strike at any time. My grandfather was diagnosed with Melanoma at 82, but it was after years spent farming the earth in only overalls and tanning on the rooftops in Vietnam that affected him later on in life. So what can you do about Melanoma? Be aware of the sun’s effects and take preventative measures.

I sunburn very easily and always have. My shoulders are riddled with freckles from years of blistering sun poisoning. I burn with only the brief contact of sun and I know my history with the sun has me at high risk for skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life. A person’s risk for melanoma also doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any age.” When I coach Girls on the Run, I always tell the girls to apply sunscreen because it is important to protect the skin at such an early age.

Knowing that my grandfather had skin cancer and members on both sides of my family have biopsied pre-cancerous moles, has also spiked my risk for skin cancer. Get the full report from your family and encourage a healthy dialogue amongst family to be sun savvy together.

I cannot urge this enough, but ALWAYS wear sunscreen. No matter who your ancestors were, what color your skin is, or how much you want that golden tan, just please apply some sunscreen. Whether you’re at the beach, park, or pool, you should continuously apply sunscreen every hour or every time you exit the water. Make sure to apply sunscreen even on a cloudy day. I find I burn on cloudy days especially because I’m not prepared for when the sun peeks out. You can also get burned when there’s snow on the ground because of the reflection of the sun on the ice, so make sure to apply on snow days and ski days as well.

My mother always brings a hat with her. She’ll wear it when she’s walking around the neighborhood, out on a boat, or working in the backyard. She has always been on my back about wearing one. Since moving out to sunny California, I spend a lot more time outdoors and subsequently have become a lot more freckled. Anytime I Facetime my parents, my mom reminds me to wear a hat so I protect the top of my head and face. I’ve slowly absorbed those words so that whenever you see me on a run, I always have my hat now.

Make sure to visit your dermatologist for yearly check ups. Ask questions while you’re there and bring up anything you might want them to pay close attention to. Learn which moles you should keep an eye on as you perform a monthly self-check.

Please be aware of the effects of the sun while you’re running, hiking, biking, swimming, and laying out on the beach. Make a mental check to apply sunscreen before going out the door and you’ll thank yourself. All I ask is for you to respect your body and be safe in the sun.

If you’re feeling really motivated, stop by Sun Savvy and sign the sun pledge like I did. Sun Savvy is run by Alison {av} from Long Distance Loving, whom I had the pleasure of meeting almost three years ago at her Blogger Blitz. I support Sun Savvy, do you?

L.A. Firecracker 10K

Last June, I ran my first 10K around my hometown of Crofton, Maryland. I ran down the American flag-lined streets of the planned community to Town Hall, past my old elementary school, all while groaning as I climbed the hills of the parkway. I thought that 10K was hard, but it paled in comparison to the LA Firecracker 10K.

Gerred and I love running together. It is very much our “thing.” Now that we live in San Diego, one of the best places to run all year long, we’ve signed ourselves up for a few races this year.

The first race we set our sights on was the LA Firecracker 10K. We wanted our first time seeing Los Angeles together to be unique and we couldn’t think of a better way to see the city than with a run. I had seen a Lunar New Year Festival before, but it had been in a gymnasium on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. So, I was ready to see how LA Chinatown did Lunar New Year the right way. And above all we chose the 10K to prepare for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in May.

After 6 weeks of training with Nike +, Gerred and I were ready for LA and the big 10K on March 1st. We hopped in the car at 5 am and drove 2 hours to the race. We arrived at the race, carbo loaded with chow mein from yesterday’s packet pick-up, and ready to see LA.

The opening ceremony started with Shannon Lee, daughter of the famous Bruce Lee, announcing the days events. As she stepped away the Lion Dancers soon moved through the streets to the beat of the drums, chomping on lettuce, and returning just as the firecrackers set off. Smoke filled the starting line and after the 5K had returned, our race began.

We ran through the hills of Elysian Park. The hills were difficult, but I reminded myself how I was able to climb the hills of Baltimore’s Charles Street and that I could climb these hills all the way to the summit of Angels Point. It also helped that I changed out my regular audiobook for the Spinning station on Pandora.

Once we reached the top it was mostly downhill and I was able to pinch my pace by 3 minutes (remember I’m not the fastest runner so I was shocked.) We came down the hill and passed the Dodgers’ Stadium and the LAPD Academy.

When it came down to the last half-mile I could hear the drums. I broke into a sprint and passed the finish line. We were handed our medals and we were pleased. After posing with the Instagram board we called it a day and headed home.

15 Recipes Sure to Put a Smile on Your Face

Ever since we moved into our new apartment, I’ve been researching all kinds of different recipes and cooking up a storm. We’re doing our best to eat healthy and clean. So all processed foods have been kicked out of the house and all we are left with is our own cooking. Here are 15 recipes I’ve made and loved so much I can’t wipe the smile off my face.

Muffin Tin Baked Eggs | Lauren Hefez

Skinny Sweet Tuna Cakes | Skinny Mom
Baked Turkey Meatballs with Spinach | Home Cooking Memories
Butternut Soup with Coconut Milk | My Recipes

Homemade Lara Bars: Coconut Cream Pie | The Vintage Mixer
Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Energy Bites | Gimme Some Oven

Roasted Garlic Asparagus with Feta | Gonna Want Seconds
Forbidden Rice with Acorn Squash and Pecans | A Spicy Perspective
Asparagus & Corn Cakes | Refinery29
Sweet Potato Borscht | Reluctant Entertainer

Lamb Stir-Fry with Pomegranate and Yogurt | The Bitten Word
Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Apples, Carrots and Rosemary | Everyday Good Thinking
Baked Chicken with Spinach and Artichokes | Diethood
The Best Cauliflower Pizza Crust | Tasty Kitchen

We’ve enjoyed each and every recipe, but hands down the grin-winning recipe is A Cup of Jo’s Butternut Squash Risotto. Do you have any recipes of your own you can’t stop smiling over?

Wedding Video

Six months just flew right by since Gerred and I tied the knot on September 6, 2014 . Just as we reached half a year into our marriage, a reminder of September arrived in the mail from Squareware Studios. It was our wedding video.

We popped it into the TV and relived all the magic, emotions, colors, excitement, and all the people that shared our day with us.

Here’s a big thanks to Ryan and everyone at Squareware Studios for doing such a great job of capturing each minute of our day.

Who Goes With Fergus?: Where Fergus Got His Name

A TEDx talk in Corpus Christi and a series of texts brought Fergus into our family in December of 2013. Earlier that month, Gerred had attended a TEDx talk and met a few attendees over thai food. Fast forward to a few weeks later when Gerred receives a text asking, “Anyone willing to take a cat off my hands?”

Next thing I know Gerred asks, “What if we got a cat?” I was hesitant, but he showed me a picture of the tiny orange kitten and I agreed. Only to hear, “Well good because we already have him.”

His past owner found that kittens are a little too much trouble and had already passed him onto Gerred with the name Twix. That’s where I jumped in. At the time I was working on my Yeats Thesis. I considered naming him after several characters of Irish Mythology. Cuchulain, though the epicenter of my thesis, was a mouthful. I finally stopped at one of Yeats’ early poems, “Who Goes with Fergus.”

Who Goes with Fergus?
W.B. Yeats

Who will go drive with Fergus now,
And pierce the deep wood’s woven shade,
And dance upon the level shore?
Young man, lift up your russet brow,
And lift your tender eyelids, maid,
And brood on hopes and fear no more.

And no more turn aside and brood
Upon love’s bitter mystery;
For Fergus rules the brazen cars,
And rules the shadows of the wood,
And the white breast of the dim sea
And all dishevelled wandering stars.

The poem tells the story of King Fergus’ abdication from the world of man into the wisdom of the forest and invites others to give the struggles of man away to the mysteries of nature.

Ironically, Fergus is an indoor cat. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a worldly cat. He’s traveled from Texas to Maryland and from Florida to California. He has eaten in Vegan cafes in Texas, witnessed sunrises in Albuquerque, and gazed upon canyons in Arizona. Fergus longs for the outside world while perched on a window sill and can appreciate the beauty of nature.

Read 50 in 2015: Janurary and February

I love goals, but more importantly I love the idea of achievements. Maybe it’s this unlocking a trophy sort of age, but the more I can shape a goal into an achievement based exercise, the better I feel. So for this year I’ve set a goal for myself to read 50 books in 2015.

In college, I majored in English and found that the only time I read books were for class (which for the record I loved and definitely influenced the kind of literature I’m interested in now) or when school let out. Well now that school has officially let out for me, I’m ready to consume as many words as possible this year and grow from it.

I’ve taken to Goodreads to record the books I’ve read for the 2015 Reading Challenge. Between January and February I’ve managed to read physical books before bed or listen to audiobooks on my runs or commutes to work. So far I’ve totaled 5 books for the challenge.

The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho

“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.”

The story of a young shepherd who listens to his heart and the language of the world in order to fine his destiny. Coelho’s book is inspiring and simplistic and made me really consider what it is I want out of life.

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

“Kilgore Trout once wrote a short story which was a dialogue between two pieces of yeast. They were discussing the possible purposes of life as they ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement. Because of their limited intelligence, they never came close to guessing that they were making champagne.”

An unstable used car salesman, Dwayne Hoover, meets Vonnegut’s washed up science fiction writer, Kilgore Trout, at an art symposium in Midland City. Kilgore Trout feeds Dwayne Hoover the most poisonous idea of all, that Dwayne Hoover is the only living human on Earth and everyone is a robot. Breakfast of Champions or Goodbye Blue Monday is a chilling satire that offers up everything wrong with America.

I listened to the audiobook of this and at the end there was an interview with Vonnegut. It surprised me and he talked about the artists in his family, his musical ability, and the farting and tap dancing aliens.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

“I thought that Mr. Clutter was a very nice gentleman. I thought so right up to the moment that I cut his throat.”

A story of the brutal murdering of a family in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959. Capote weaves empathy for both victim and murderers throughout the novel. I was on a Serial high at the time and needed another true crime story to keep me going. So I began the audiobook and was hooked on the story by mile 2. I watched Capote once I was done reading and had a better understanding of Capote and his work.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

“Fawcett agreed that El Dorado, with its plethora of gold, was an ‘exaggerated romance,’ but he was not ready to dismiss the chronicles altogether.”

David Grann sets into the Amazon to seek the truth behind the disappearance of the famous British explorer, Percy Henry Fawcett, on his 1925 quest for the The Lost City of Z or El Dorado. Full of mystery, history, and adventure I felt like I was in the amazon myself.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

“We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?”

Boys stranded on a coral island try to build a society and learn the follies of man. I never read the book in school, so I thought I’d listen to it on my runs and was pleased to find out that the author was narrating the book.

For the month of March I will continue my reading challenge, starting with my current reads, ‘Tis by Frank McCourt and The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K.Rowling). Have you read any of these books and have you decided to try a challenge yourself?

Hello Again

Welcome to the new Shenanigans Rose WordPress blog. I’ve been blogging since 2011 at Shenanigans Rose. In that time, I’ve written tons of posts, learned a few tidbits about the blogging world, and a whole lot about myself.

While I used Blogger throughout my college career, I’m ready to jump into WordPress and share everything about my new life with Gerred in California. Stay tuned for views of our apartment, weekly adventures, scenes from our wedding, health kicks, and book reviews.