Thursday, March 31, 2016

Etsy Wishlist

Berry Postcards//Floral Clutch//Jane Austen Silhouette Cards//Turquoise Ring//Aquamarine Necklace//Gold Foil Print

Etsy is a beautiful place, and one I go to to swoon over all the beautiful things that people make.  I love designing and creating things myself, but for some reason, I usually don't keep many of those things for myself.  I suppose once the creative process has been finished, I'm ready for someone else to enjoy it.  But I love enjoying the creative efforts of others (funny how that works, eh?), and have purchased a few treasures there over the years.  One of my goals is to start an Etsy shop to sell my hand-made jewelry, but I haven't quite gotten to it quite yet!

Here are a few of my favorites that are seriously on my wishlist for the spring/summer!
What are your favorite Easy finds?


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Anne Of Green Gables

One of the things I was most looking forward to after residency was having some time to read for fun.  I bought this beautiful copy of Anna Rifle Bond's version of Anne of Green Gables last year, but never really had a chance to get beyond chapter 2.  I just picked it up again.  If you've never read it, I'd highly recommend it.  I grew up reading the series and also own all of the DVDs with Megan Follows.  I wanted to be Anne and Diana, running through the beautiful fields and woods, feeling free  and inspired, with imagination flowing freely.  I have to say that I was blessed enough to have a childhood that was somewhat similar.  And reading this book again makes all of those beautiful memories come back to me.  The story is beautifully written, bringing each story alive and painting a picture of beautiful, wholesome, and simple surroundings.  I have always said, I wish I could just go back to that time, where life was exceedingly less complicated.

So my friends, I'd highly recommend making time to pour yourself a cup of tea (in a real teacup, of course), pulling out a copy of the book, and letting yourself enjoy the beautiful world of Anne.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Dream Binder

"To make a great dream come true, the first requirement is a great capacity to dream; the second is persistence - a faith in the dream."  -Hans Selye, MD

It happened several years ago.  I was in the midst of a nightmare.  A real-life nightmare.  Life was on hold.  It was a time when I was unsure if my life would consist of hospital beds and medications or the future I so badly wanted.  But in a way, it was also the most magical time of my life.  Because in the midst of the nightmare, I was always dreaming.  At that time, I started reading every medically-based book I could get my hands on, and I bought a binder... the binder in the pictures above, and designed a cover, spine cover, and back side with my scrapbook papers and embellishments.  Then I printed a label with my name and the dream I was striving for.

I started to fill it with applications, information, courses, transcripts, recommendation letters, business cards, projects, and just about everything you could think of.  Through grad school, residency, and now about to start my staff position, it is full of CME info, resumes, and many of the things I have collected through the process.

Every time I look at the binder, it brings me back to the time of life when I just started dreaming.  And it makes me smile.

Do you have dreams you're striving for?  Dreams maybe you haven't even admitted to yet?  Start a binder.  Fill it.  And watch it grow.  Pray about it.  And start working.  You'll be amazed at what can come of it!


Monday, March 21, 2016

Scone Baking

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze:  Recipe from Katie's Cucina.

I suppose it follows logically that since I'm an ardent tea and coffee lover, I would also adore a good pastry to go with my drink of choice.  And it is true, and my favorite accompaniment to a good cup of tea or coffee is a scone.  I LOVE scones.  This love affair started with Starbucks, I must admit.  Their raspberry and pumpkin scones have always been my favorite.  Then I discovered Panera's orange scones.  Bliss.  In the last few days, I have attempted to make different kinds of scones- notably pumpkin and raspberry.  This last week I tried these lovely blueberry scones with lemon glaze.  Unlike many of the past recipes that I have tried, I feel like these are little more of an authentic scone.  They contain very little sugar, and therefore the sweetness factor is left up to the glaze.  But they have a lovely crisp outside and a softer inside, with the heavenly flavor of fresh blueberries combining nicely with the fresh lemon glaze.  I found this recipe on Pinterest from Katie's Cucina, and it's definitely a keeper.  One tiny thing I did differently from the recipe is use parchment paper for the baking, which I think really made them come out well.  Unfortunately, my glaze did not come out as picture perfect as I would have liked, however, it was delicious.  The recipe overall was not too difficult either, unlike many scone recipes.  Enjoy!  
    Blueberry Scones:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
  • Lemon Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated
    For the Blueberry Scones:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter and coat the pieces with the flour mixture (the mixture should look like coarse crumbs). Fold the blueberries into the batter (make sure not to mash the blueberries because the coloring will bleed into the dough). Make a well in the center of the blueberry dough mixture and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.
  3. On a lightly floured surface lay the dough out into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.
  4. For the Glaze:
  5. In a microwave safe bowl melt the butter and lemon zest for 30 seconds. Mix the lemon juice with the confectioners' sugar until dissolved and whisk in the butter and lemon zest. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the lemon glaze over the top of the scones. Let the scones set a minute before serving.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Medical Pocket Books

Bag: Kate Spade//Pocket Books: Moleskine//Pens: Stabilo

One of the things I mentioned in my last Medical Essentials post was the little Moleskine pocket-sized books that I keep with me where I add my own helpful hints, notes, policies, procedures, etc.  Basically, anything that I might find helpful in the course of my shifts in the emergency department.  I started making these when I was in school, and they have slowly developed and changed since then as I have found what is more pertinent to my work.

To give you an idea of how I set them up, I try to divide them into general sections.  For examples, one part of the book is for orthopedic-related info, another into cardiology, etc.  However, adding to the books over time tend to mess that up a bit, but at least the information is there.  I also like to use different colors to somewhat color-code things, or at least differentiate one topic from the next.  I have also printed some things out in tiny print (like specific suture types, charts, etc.).  I have used tabs in the past for the books, but they would get torn off when in my pockets, so I decide to not use them on my most recent version of the books.  I also make sure to include my name, credentials, and contact info in the front cover in case anyone finds it!

Hope this is helpful!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Of Coffee Dates And Kindred Spirits

All photos courtesy of Taylor (and her mom!)

Welcome to my freshly "spring-cleaned" and updated blog!   After years of the same general blog style, it twas high time to invest in a fresh look and design that is a bit more "me."  And I couldn't be happier with it!  As I anticipate having a bit more free time in my life, I look forward to moving forward and growing my blog again after the "hiatus" that was grad school and residency.

It seems fitting that my first post on this updated blog design is one about the start of a wonderful "real life" friendship that has sprung from one that started (how many years, Taylor? lol!)... well, we'll just say several years ago!  My sweet friend Taylor (of the blog Anticipation) and I had the amazing opportunity to meet up for a sit-down coffee date at the most adorable little coffee shop.  After being "blog friends" for so long, I knew that we had a lot in common as far as creativity and style goes, but the minute we sat down to talk, it was easy and natural... just like we had been the best of friends for years.  And I can truly say I've found another kindred spirit.  We talked photography (and my need for more skill in that area! ha!), Downton Abbey (swoon), blogging, crafts and creativity, jobs, coffee shops, family, and soon, we were planning many future exciting adventures and trips!  We had a wonderful time, and I can't wait for the next adventure.  It was simply a wonderful day and one to be remembered!

Taylor is seriously talented, and made these adorable watercolor cards for me (recognize the saying on the front?  Take a peek at my "about me" page!).  I adore them!  Check out her creative talents HERE.

In other news, I've been thinking a lot about blogging and getting excited and motivated creatively, which is always an awesome feeling.  I'm also in the midst of house-hunting which is probably one of the most stressful experiences ever.  The mortgage approval part was actually easier than I thought, but actually "finding" a house is proving to be tricky!  But in the meantime, I've been able to find a few new things for my new house, whenever I find it.  So exciting!


Friday, March 11, 2016

Medical Life Essentials

Happy almost-weekend, friends!  I've had a lot of requests to post more about my medical life, so I thought I'd start with a post about my essentials for any given shift in the emergency department.  Over the years, I've definitely figured out what I need and don't need.

Medicine really isn't glamorous.  And in emergency medicine especially, it's all about scrubs, shoes that can be easily wiped off (I'll leave the reasons to your vast imagination), and practicality.  Unlike a lot of 9-5 clinic specialties in medicine where cute professional clothing comes into play, emergency medicine is usually a grueling 12 hour shift of straight-up go, go, go!  But I love it (more so when I'm out of residency).  :)

  ~Dansko Clogs:  I had a prior health-care career before I went into medicine, so I had already learned that comfortable footwear is a must.  I JUST retired my first pair of Danskos that I bought probably around 6-7 years ago.  This pair is my newer pair, and I love the fun pattern (have to get some girly in there somewhere after all).  They are great for standing on your feet for hours on end, plus, like I said before, they're wipeable!

 ~Littmann Cardiology III Stethoscope:  These are the holy grail of stethoscopes in medicine.  I love mine so much and have zero complaints.  I also just retired my original Littmann stethoscope in plum which I had had for years.  When I finished residency, I decided to use a little CME money and invest in a new one.  After having a "fun" color for several years, I went with a traditional black, but decided to spice it up with the classy brass finish and a monogram.  :)  

~Stethoscope Belt Clip:  These things are less than $5 on Amazon, and the best purchase (okay it was actually a Christmas gift that I asked for several years ago) ever!  I DESPISE wearing my stethoscope around my neck as I tend to feel like I'm being strangled, and when I was still in school decided to find an alternative.  I've never looked back.

~Trauma Shears:  This is more for us emergency medicine or trauma people, but a good pair of shears is invaluable.  They tend to get lost or stolen in the ED, so I always make sure to keep good track of mine, as they really are an essential for on-the-spot emergencies!  From cutting bandages and ortho supplies to cutting off clothes and belts in traumas, they get used for everything!  (and cleaned regularly!)

~Uniball Signo Pens in red, black, and fine black point:  I'm a SUPER picky pen person, and always make sure that when someone asks to borrow one, I get it back.  These are my favorite.  They write smoothly, dry nicely, and are the perfect pen for everything.

~Moleskine Mini Pocket Books:  I started keeping books of helpful information and tips when I was in school and continued on through residency.  This size is absolutely perfect as it fits in easily in a pocket.  I keep tips, guidelines, dosages, and any other useful information in them and then re-write them every few years as I decide what is more relevant/useful at that time in my career.

~Gatorade Prime Energy Chews:  No one said that just because you're in medicine means that your lifestyle is healthy... especially in emergency medicine.  It's not unusual to sometimes go a VERY long time without eating.  Since I struggle with blood sugar issues, I have to keep myself going, so I always have a granola bar or something like these stuck in a pocket, white coat, or bag.

~Bai 5 Sparkling Antioxidant Infusion:  I LOVE these!  They have natural caffeine in them and are sweetened with erythritol and stevia.  The bubble ones are the best in my opinion, however, they do make plain non-carbonated ones.  I love the coconut, cherry, and grapefruit flavors the best.  After so much coffee, it's nice to have something a little different to drink!

~Eos Lip Balm, Fresh Sugar Tinted Balm, and Smith's Eucalyptus Balm:  I always carry a lip balm with me as my lips get super dry.  It's also nice to have a tinted balm to add to feeling a little bit more feminine :).  And I use Smith's balm on my hands/knuckles and lips to add in some moisture and protection.

Well friends!  There are a few of my day-to-day essentials!  Are there any can't-live-without things that you other medical people carry out there?  Any specific post ideas that you'd like to hear about?  Do share!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Healthy Beauty

Over the last few years, my skin-care and make-up routine has changed dramatically.  I used to love Bath & Body Works as a teenager and pretty much anything with a pretty, girly bottle and great smell.  However, two things radically changed my beauty routine:
1. I'm allergic to propylene glycol, have SUPER sensitive skin, and break out in hives with certain dyes.  
2.  I did residency.  Make-up was a time-luxury.  It's been pretty basic there for a couple of years.

Although my skin-care and make-up routines have been a little trial and error recently, I have found some products that I am loving and seem to work.  I want products that work, and having an adorable package is a super bonus.  I am not completely "all natural", but I've thrown out a lot of my old cosmetics that have all the parabens propylene glycol, and phthalates in them.  My skin has been much happier since I've cut down on the synthetics (I used to stay awake at night itching from the laundry detergent and body wash I was using and didn't even know it!).

Although I'm definitely no expert on natural products, here are a few 100% natural or 95%+ natural  (or formulated without propylene glycol, parabens, phthalates) products that I have found and love.

 ~Coconut Oil- I use this on my legs after shaving and also as a hand and elbow moisturizer.  I only apply it before bed as it is greasy, but it smells lovely and can be found in the grocery store!
~J.R. Watkins Lemon Cream Hand & Body Lotion- This is the best, 99% natural, amazing smelling lotion I've ever used.  It smells just like lemon cream without being over the top, and it works amazingly!  Definitely a favorite.  I also love Watkins grapefruit hand soap for my kitchen.
~The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Lavender- This was a big find for me.  I would get the WORST dermatitis from regular deodorant before I found this.  I went through several other products which either smelled weird, didn't work, or had a weird consistency before I found this.  It works, smells great, is 100% natural, and goes on like regular deodorant. 
~Rosehip & Hibiscus Eye Cream- After the trials and late hours of residency, I felt like it was time for a quality eye cream.  But I would always get really itchy eyes or irritation with other products.  This works great and doesn't cause irritation.  I've been using it for about a month and I've seen a difference.  The ratings on it are excellent!
~Arbonne Gentle Daily Moisturizer- My sister went to an Arbonne party and got me the shampoo and conditioner (which I loved), and then I decided to have her get me the face moisturizer as well.  It is AMAZING!  So gentle, no real smell, and works!  It doesn't make me break out or start itching, and makes my dry, winter skin much more manageable.
~Burt's Bees Pink Grapefruit Facial Cleansing Towelettes-  I used these a lot when I was in the ICU.  They take off make-up, smell great, and really make you feel refreshed.  Also great for traveling!

 ~Tresemme Botanique Shampoo-  I think aside from deodorant, shampoo has been the hardest thing for me to find.  I tried several that just felt like they stayed in my hair forever, making it like a weighed-down rag.  I wanted something that worked, yet still didn't have all that icky stuff that makes me itch.  This particular kind of product is still in the trial and error stage, but so far, this is the only thing that I've found that still makes my hair look nice.
~OGX Coconut Oil Hydrating Weightless Oil Mist and Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum-  These smell AMAZING, and don't have any PG in them.  I use the serum on the ends of my hair and spray on the mist to the rest of my hair.  I love them!  (But a lot of other OGX products have propylene glycol or similar substances in them).
~Eco Tools Hair Brush-  I just got this off of Amazon and so far am loving it.  I have SUPER thick hair, and this seems to do the trick of taming it down!

 ~Tarte Eyeliner, Mascara, Amazonian Clay Blush, & Creaseless Concealer- I LOVE Tarte products.  They are not all-natural, but formulated without a lot of the icky stuff in them that would irritate my eyes and skin.  Seriously, the mascara is amazing!
~Bare Minerals All-Over Face Color-  I put a little dusting of this on my cheek bones after I do my foundation and blush, and it really looks brightened and finished.  It's like a bronzer and highlighter in one.  Definitely one of my favorite products!
~Smith's Strawberry Lip Balm and Mocha Rose Lip Balm-  I've always been a big fan of Smith's products.  They don't have a lot of junk in them, and smell lovely while having that "vintage" appeal to the packaging.  I also love supporting long-ago established companies in the USA.
~Eco Tools Make-Up Brushes-  Just like the hairbrush, I've been pleasantly surprised with these brushes!

Does anyone else use all-natural make-up or have similar allergies?  Any product suggestions?  I'm definitely interested in hearing suggestions as I make the slow transition over to all-natural or mostly-natural products?  I'd love to try them!


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Goal Check: Physical

At the beginning of a year, I shared a post about the goals and dreams I made for 2016, and now that life has come to a much different place (and pace!), I am intent on diving into it.

One of the big activities I was looking forward to conquering in the new year was running and exercising again.  Because I was living in a rather dangerous city during residency/fellowship, I really didn't feel comfortable going out and running inside.  And although I did go to my apartment complex's gym a couple of times to run on the treadmill, I really didn't do much physical activity while in residency (aside from running around the hospital anyway).  Besides... I feel like a gerbil when I run on a treadmill.  I definitely am an out-doorsy kind of runner.

So in anticipation of spring and moving to a much more outdoor runner-friendly area, I went with gift cards in hand to TJ Maxx & Marshalls after Christmas to purchase some new work-out gear (best place to get inexpensive but great athletic brands!)  I hadn't gotten any new work-out clothing since before residency, so it was time.  Plus, there's nothing like motivation for working out than cute work-out clothes, am I right?

Under Armour Headbands (TJ Maxx)//Marika Tek Sports Bra and Yoga Pants (TJ Maxx)//RBX Sweatshirt (Marshalls)//Under Armour Socks (Marshalls)//Tropical Print Yoga Mat (Marshalls)

I love everything I got, and can't wait to try it all out.  Any recommendations for fitness apps?  Any particular work-out music?  My go-to running music is a mix of techno music that I've had forever, and it definitely does the trick.  I'll be posting updates as I get back into my fitness routine, especially as the weather warms up a bit.  Please do share any tips, tricks, videos, classes, or gear that you especially love!