SURVIVIN' THESE WINTER BLUES: FEBRUARY PLAYLIST

You guys, here in Tennessee, we’re in the thick of winter. My friend called me a few days ago from Indiana and said the high was -1. HIGH.

Um, no.

Just know, wherever you are and however you’re trying to survive these not-so-summery days, you’re not alone. We can make it through these winter blues together.

Check out this February playlist to help you get inspired to dance your way through the chill.

Stay sunny,
Rosemary

DON'T MIND IF I COLORA-DO!

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It’s not often that three busy girls can align their schedules in less than one month’s time for a trip to Colorado. So when Laura reached out (semi-jokingly, I think) and said, “Hey, would you and Amy want to meet me out in Denver for a few days?”, we jumped at the opportunity.

We found a very reasonable flight and AirBNB and headed to Colorado just a few days before New Years Eve.

As soon as our plane hit the ground, we grabbed our rental car and headed to pick up Laura at her family’s home in the outskirts of Denver. Her aunt gave us a roadmap of recommendations that took us through the mountains and back to our AirBNB later that night.

We were so excited to explore the mountains, as well as all that Denver and the surrounding snow-covered towns had to offer.

Planning a trip to Colorado? Check out some of my favorite recs below!


NEDERLAND - if you’re new to the Denver area, you might not have heard of the “Frozen Dead Guy” who is supposedly a guy that’s been kept alive for years on dry ice in the small town of Nederland. Crazy, huh? The town celebrates him with a Frozen Dead Guy Festival which is held annually in March.

Nederland itself is pretty quirky with fun shops, a must-ride “Carnival of Happiness” (that will only cost you $1 to ride for a few minutes of pure joy), and a caboose filled with mini donuts and coffee.

Boulder Falls - On the way to the town center of Nederland, you can pull off to view Boulder Falls. It’s a waterfall not too far off the road (maybe .25 miles), and if you go in the colder months, you might get to experience it frozen like we did. Talk about an incredible opportunity! We were brave enough to venture out onto the frozen water for this epic picture!

(Photo creds to Amy; she had just had wrist surgery so she stayed back with a “better safe than sorry” mentality.)




DENVER - It’s hard to even get a tiny glimpse of Denver in just a few days, but I think we did a pretty awesome job of it. Check out these recs:

Little Man Icecream - no matter how cold it is, this icecream stop is a must. Their “space junkie” and the salted caramel peanut butter cup are must-try flavors. YUM.

Weathervane Cafe - a coffee shop filled with funky people and lots of awesome vintage. Cozy on up to one of the many downstairs tables or the venture upstairs to pick from the wide variety of lounging options, too. Their pumpkin chia pudding is delish!

Midnight Rambler - if you’re a lady of fashion, this place will be your jam. Filled with boho goods + vintage collectibles, you’ll leave filling uber inspired.

Denver Biscuit Company - well, this is pretty self-explanatory, but while you’re waiting on your biscuit, order the ginormous cinnamon roll! Plenty of food for 3-4 people.

Shops on Colfax Ave - a huge variety of shops align the streets that surround Denver Biscuit Co. Everything from women’s fashion, men’s barbershops, to jewelry and consignment.

Red Rocks - okay, not only is this a great place to catch a show (and a view), it’s a fantastic place to burn off those biscuits you just ate at Denver Biscuit Co! If you park at the bottom of the rocks, you’re bound to burn a day’s calories. ha! Worth every step to see the view from the top though. :)

EVERGREEN

Muddy Bucks - talk about the cutest coffeeshop in a mountain town. Placed right on the side of a mountain, this shop offers plenty of seating, drink options, and a place to warm up from the cold.

Frozen Lake - Ice Skating + Hockey - feeling a bit adventurous? During winter months, take a walk on this frozen lake.

Snowmobiling - Laura really wanted to do this, but we didn’t get a chance. This little town is ideal for this - filled with beauty and views, I bet it’s spectacular!

Hope you all enjoyed the recs as much as I did!


Best,
Rosemary


Oh, and if you haven’t signed up or had a chance to check out AirBNB yet, sign up through my link here and you’ll get $40 off a home booking of $75 or more! Yay! :)

https://www.airbnb.com/c/rradford17?currency=USD

Want to keep up with these fab girls, too? Check out Laura’s fashion-inspired blog, Laura All Day Long, and don’t forget to check out Amy’s incredible Southern-inspired company, Southern Fried Design Barn. These girls have so much talent!




LOVE RUNS THE WORLD

About a year ago, I got inspired to create something for St. Jude through my passion for hand lettering. I had a friend who was diagnosed with Hodgkins and had been treated at St. Jude (read more about her here), so I knew firsthand how incredible this company was for children dealing with diseases. After a few conversations, my best friend Tonya and I signed up for the 2018 race, and I got to work on ways I could contribute.

After many hours of concepting letters, I came up with the design for a shirt - “Love Runs the World”. Its meaning was dual-part; because of the love and donations people give, St. Jude can keep its doors open and take care of the sick children at no cost to their family. And it also meant, in a more light-hearted way, “ Love Runs the World”  because of the St. Jude marathon runners who dedicate their time to training for the 5k, 10k, half, or full marathon.

Race day came on Saturday, December 1st.  Tonya and I had driven down the night before to sleep in Memphis and have a little bit of downtime before we ran the next morning. We were absolutely filled with adrenaline at the start of the race. We hadn’t really taken the time to study the course and its terrain, but around mile 6, my body was starting to ask,Rosemary, what the ^&* are you doing?!”. I quickly realized I had not at all properly continued training long distances since my last half mid-October, and I definitely hadn’t prepped for those unexpected hills! OUCH!

But, guys, do you know what? Tonya and I ran the entire course non-stop. What encouraged us to not give up? Well, having each other as accountability partners was huge, but the main reason was running through St. Jude’s campus and seeing the children with signs encouraging us and cheering in whatever capacity they could.

Tonya and I right after crossing the finish line at St. Jude’s 2018 half marathon.

Tonya and I right after crossing the finish line at St. Jude’s 2018 half marathon.

The children were outside- with their masks, their oxygen tanks, their wheelchairs - holding signs for US. I knew that if these children could do that for us, I could definitely run this race for them. To say that those hours were emotional is a huge understatement.

Physically, emotionally, mentally.. there were so many challenges. But I’d do it all again (and I plan to!) to help those children win THEIR race.

Thank you all, again, for your support for these children. Every shirt purchased helped a St. Jude child, and every kind comment and word of encouragement helped me along the race, too.

Nichole of  Lawrence Designs  promoting the “Love Runs the World” shirt.

Nichole of Lawrence Designs promoting the “Love Runs the World” shirt.

The ladies of  OUTsideIN  supporting St.Jude! Another amazing company that gives back.

The ladies of OUTsideIN supporting St.Jude! Another amazing company that gives back.

Let’s all remember we’ve all got something to race for, and we can cross the finish line if we don’t give up.

So what’s your race for 2019? What’s going to get you to the finish line?

Love,

Rosemary

A LOOK INSIDE ST. JUDE WITH CANCER SURVIVOR JO MEAGAN GARNER

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At this point, in 2018, we’ve all known someone who’s been diagnosed with cancer or even experienced it ourselves. Cancer is, unfortunately, a common word in today’s society. But what gives us hope about the future is knowing that there are people in our world who are working tirelessly to find a cure for this disease.

Meet Jo Meagan.

Jo (as I like to call her) and I grew up together in our small hometown of Huntingdon, Tennessee, but didn’t become fast friends until high school when, she claims, I complimented her on her makeup in Yearbook class. The compliment must have worked, because we quickly developed a tight-knit friendship that withstood me moving to college while she finished out her senior year. Even though there was now a new distance between our friendship, we’d hang out on weekends and over holiday breaks.

But then my sophomore year rolled around with some unusual news.

Jo called one night and shared with me that she had been diagnosed with cancer.

How, at age 18, could someone be diagnosed with cancer? It was such an uncommon phrase to hear an 18-year old utter. College years were about staying up until 3am, meeting new friends, and dealing with homesickness... not trying to figure out how to fight cancer.

But, thanks to St. Jude, Jo fought hard and won.

Because of the St. Jude Marathon quickly approaching, I reached out to Jo Meagan to see if she would mind sharing a little bit of insider’s scoop about St. Jude and her experience there, and she graciously said yes.

Read more about Jo Meagan and St. Jude below:

  1. Tell me a little bit about what brought you to St.Jude. At 18 in my first semester of college, I dealt with Mono-like symptoms and treatment for months before getting a lymph-node biopsy done. I was then diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and my family chose to pursue treatment at St. Jude.

  2. What was the environment like? With a lot of heavy hearts from families, I just remember there still being so much activity. Kids riding down colorful hallways on tricycles and parents pulling more along in wagons. There was just a general sense of comradery that everyone was there to fight.

  3. How did you feel when you entered St. Jude? I was initially overwhelmed, but it quickly felt like family. I had a nurse, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist that I saw every visit and thoroughly explained my plan and everything along the way. They gave me hope from the very beginning and have continued to encourage me throughout school and my career to this day.

  4. Can you tell us about the process + experience of being a patient at St. Jude? Did you stay there 24/7, go a few times a week, etc, and what did receiving chemo look like there? My treatment regimen was over 6 months, with 5 months of weekly chemo and 1 month of daily radiation. During my months of chemo, I was able to maintain a pretty normal life going to college part-time and staying at what was the St. Jude Grizzlies House once a week. During the month long radiation, I stayed at the St. Jude Target House and went home on weekends. Any costs for treatment not covered by insurance, travel, and housing was fully provided for by St. Jude. I maintained annual check-ups for 10 years, and I am now a volunteer for the St. Jude Life program where they research childhood cancer survivors with follow-ups every 5 years.

  5. How has surviving cancer + being a part of St. Jude changed your life? My diagnosis and time at St. Jude completely redirected my life at that time and still motivates me today. When I completed therapy and returned to college, I changed my major from Finance to Biochemistry to pursue a career in cancer research. I was able to go onto get a PhD in Cancer Biology from the University of Tennessee while doing research at the very place that saved my life. To see first hand the every day passion and advances made toward increasing survival rates for childhood cancer is really indescribable. Thankfully I have been able to maintain my ties, and I now work for an Oncology pharmaceutical company collaborating closely with doctors at St. Jude on clinical trials for pediatric solid tumors. To this day every time I walk through those doors there's an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and a humbling reminder of why I do what I do.

  6. What are the biggest things you wish you could tell people about St. Jude? Being a part of St. Jude as a patient as well as a scientist has truly been a blessing. They are at the front line of the newest and best therapies for their patients, and the research being done is unmatched. In such a trying time for families, they really do go above and beyond to remove as much stress as possible whether that be financial or other support.


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Jo and her courageous fight and how she continues to change lives because of her experience.

If you feel inclined to support to St.Jude to help fight off childhood cancer, I’ve listed several ways below!

Donate directly to St.Jude through a hero who’s running the race! I’ve listed my Mom’s account where ALL donations go directly to St.Jude:

Purchase a St.Jude shirt I hand-lettered to help raise money for the St.Jude Marathon! (limited sizes available!)

Don’t have money to donate right now? Sign up for our “Love Runs the World” St.Jude event on Facebook to help cheer on those running on race day!

A big THANK YOU to Jo Meagan for this interview, and a big THANK YOU to those who are supporting St.Jude in whatever way you can.

With love,

Rosemary