blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: 2013

December 31, 2013

Au Revoir, 2013


2013, you've been the most amazing year yet. Here are just a few of my favorite moments of the year:

ringing in the new year with N/ our impromptu getaway to St. Thomas/ positive pregnancy test! (x2)/ snowstorm/ working with the neonatologists (terrifying while pregnant, btw)/ big brunches/ hms ball/ fancy shmancy dinners/ those precious ultrasounds/ st. patty's day/ hikes/ newport trip/ radiology/ n spilling the beans to the boys (and them deciding we immediately had to go to the baby store)/ sharing the big news with you all/ our end of 3rd year rotations celebration/ medicine sub-i (and baby gifts from the nurses!)/ finding out "it's a girl!" on mother's day/ beach trips/ grilling/ movie at fenway/ baby shower/ maine trip/ maternity shoot/ cape cod trip/ "last" date night sans the babysitter requirement/ Liv's debut!!/ newborn cuddles/ crisp walks around the pond/ babywearing/ my mama becoming abuela/ my little lion on her first halloween/ N's birthday/ Liv's first shots/ taking (and passing!!) Step 2 and paper getting published/ Thanksgiving/ snow/ hks ball/ baby's first Christmas - what a year ❤

December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

Just wanted to take the time out to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! This year I feel blessed beyond belief with the gifts I have already received - good health, loyal friends, loving family, and most of all my precious Olivia (and Isabel of iSweet Photography, who always does an amazing job capturing her too!). And of course you, my amazing readers! Thank you all for following along on this crazy journey of mine! Happy Holidays ❤


December 19, 2013

Oh Baby Chic!

Liv comes with me everywhere. Most of the time I carry her - I love having her close - I can cover her and protect her from seemingly anything. But we definitely still use our stroller, especially for shopping, where the extra storage comes in handy. What do I hate about though? People all up in her face! I know they are all well-intentioned, but get your face out of my stroller! Or how about the ones who cough right behind you in line? And then the precipitation of course. All reasons I absolutely love my seat cover from Oh Baby Chic - it gets rid of all of these problems! On top of that, it's adorable (huge points for me), and aptly named the Paparazzi Pod. Love it!


December 13, 2013

Winter Mom Uniform

Nursing top c/o Au Lait (here), thrifted Levi's jeans, Target boots (here), Gap scarf (here), H&M beanie, Sephora Cream Lip Stain 01 Always Red (here)

You can call this my mom uniform. Black knit beanie to cover my crazy hair. Amazing sweater with nursing slits to keep me covered and warm even when nursing Liv. Stretchy skinny jeans tucked into my wear-with-anything boots. A cozy buffalo checkered scarf to top it off, and no makeup except for a red lip that doesn't leave red lip stains all over my precious girl. Rinse and repeat. Every. Day. ;)  

December 10, 2013

A Little Fancy

Over the weekend N and I attended a ball at the beautiful Institute of Contemporary Art - my mom drove down to watch Liv for the night (so thankful for her being relatively close) and I had a chance to actually get a manicure! I didn't have time to wash and blow dry my hair so I put it up in a big bun, went with a smokey eye and nude lip, and slipped into the most gorgeous Badgley Mischka gown for the evening. This was my second time renting from Rent the Runway and it was another great experience that made for a wonderful night! 

I love that you can get 2 sizes of the dress to find the best fit, and even order a backup dress for just $30! This dress was actually my "backup" and I liked it better than the one I thought I wanted. I was amazed that I fit into the size 0 (take that baby weight!), but wasn't sure that my boobs would fit by the end of the night since I wouldn't be pumping (TMI? sorry!), so I went the size 2 instead. The best part is at the end of it I just threw all the dresses into the pre-addressed bags and dropped them in a UPS box! Done! Do you have holiday parties coming up? Would love to know what you're wearing!
  

December 9, 2013

The Simplest Gift


If you follow my Instagram you know I love babywearing. What is it exactly? Well, just walking around with your baby on, basically the best thing ever. I have both an Ergo carrier and a Solly Baby wrap - the latter being my go to pretty much every day (I professed my love for my wrap in my gift guide here). And as if I need any more reason to love my wrap for keeping my baby close, Solly Baby is keeping the right thing in mind this holiday season and keeping my perspective. During these times we get into the swing of gift giving and gift guide making with sparkly goodies and gadgets, but what if the only thing on your gift guide was a supply of diapers? I'm thankful that I can afford enough diapers for Ms. Liv, but they aren't cheap and she goes through them like crazy! Not everyone has the luxury to change a diaper every time their child soils it (and to think that this is a luxury in our country is incredibly sad but all too true for many families). I'm partnering with Solly Baby this season for their Deck the Halls with Diapers campaign - for every purchase from now until the 15th, Solly Baby will donate a package of diapers in your name to local charities that get them to the families that need them. Get yours today and help a baby with one of the simplest of gifts. 


December 6, 2013

Gift Guide Week: Baby

Happy Friday!! Today I'm sharing gender-neutral gift ideas for baby! These are some of mine and Liv's favorite picks! Happy Holidays!!

  1. Owl hat (here) - Keep your little one's head warm in what is quite possibly the cutest hat ever. 
  2. Fleece one piece (here) - With a super functional zipper that spans its length, this hooded and footed one-piece will keep baby nice and cozy for trips outside. 
  3. Organic onesie (here) - Adorable beige chevron, organic, and all around awesome for baby boy or girl. LuckyPalmTree makes some of the cutest baby gear. 
  4. Jellycat Raccook (here) - I'm not huge into toys for really young babies, but the striking white/black/grey patterns on this cute little guy make for great eye-tracking practice - Liv locked eyes onto him the first day we brought him home and she loves him!
  5. Aden and Anais bibs (here) - Some of the best bibs around in super soft fabrics and beautiful prints. 
  6. Knitted heart blanket (here) - Baby will have his/her favorite blanket, and this will be it. Simple, warm, and precious.
  7. Natursutten pacifier (here) - It's up to you whether or not you want to use a paci, but if you do this one's a great option. Most babies will pick they're favorite, so buy a few different types, but make sure to give this one a try.
  8. Aden and Anais sleep sack (here) - Young ones like being swaddled (see my last gift guide for a great easy swaddler), but when they grow out of it these sleep sacks are wonderful options for keeping baby warm in the crib without blankets to get in their face.
  9. Fox knit rattle (here) - Great for playing and teething, it's one of the cutest rattles ever. 
  10. Skip Hop Activity Gym (here) - Before they start crawling this will be the best spot for playtime. Liv loves swatting at her little friends and tummy time staring into the little mirror discovering her reflection. Plus it doesn't clash too much with our home decor (a sort of shallow but completely honest concern of mine when it comes to baby stuff). Easy to put together and take apart too. 

December 5, 2013

Gift Guide Week: The New mom

Another gift guide! This time we're sharing gift ideas for the new mom. I hope you've been enjoying the guides so far!

  1. Halo Sleepsack Swaddler (here) - Newborns innately like to be cuddled up nice and tight, and swaddling is as good as it gets once they're out the womb. The act of swaddling, however, is not as innate to the new parent. This makes it easy and makes nighttime a little less of a hassle.
  2. DryBar gift card (here) - Blowout and scalp massage? Any new mom (or woman for that matter) would absolutely love it. We barely have time to pee, let alone do our hair. This little card would be a real treat.
  3. Milkmakers Lactation Cookies (here) - All new moms who are breastfeeding for the first time are plagued with concerns about whether or not they're making enough milk. Ease those worries and satisfy your sweet tooth with these yummy lactation cookies!
  4. BKR Water Bottle (here) - Staying hydrated while at home with the new little one (or at work, at the gym, etc.) is so important, especially if you're breastfeeding - keep one of these water bottles at hand at all times! They come in gorgeous colors and are eco-friendly.
  5. Medela Harmony Breast Pump (here) - I was so lucky that my MIL bought me my fancy high tech electric pump, but that I will use much more when I go back to work. When I'm home, this handheld pump has been so perfect! I can nurse Liv on one side and pump on the other as I need to, or quietly pump in our room after a night out without waking her. It also comes in handy for traveling! I basically love it. Get one.
  6. Au Lait nursing sweatshirt (here) - I'm almost embarrassed to admit how often I wear this sweatshirt. I pretty much live in it until Liv vomits on it (true story). It's cozy, looks chic with leggings or jeans, and best of all makes nursing a breeze. I wish all of my tops had nursing slits.
  7. Infinity Scarf Nursing Cover (here) - Since all my tops don't have a nursing slit, this gorgeous scarf makes nursing in public or with guests over super easy, and when I'm done I can wrap it back up as a cute scarf or throw it in my bag. 
  8. Solly Baby Wrap (here) - If there was one product these first few months that has kept me sane and helped me feel like a regular old member of society it is my wrap (I love my Ergo too). I have worn Liv since she was a week old and don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I wrap her up and we go about our day, taking walks and running errands without having to find ramps and elevators, doing the dishes, you name it. I absolutely love having her so close and she does too; truly don't know what I'd do without my wrap. When we're in the car I can just throw the wrap in my bag to walk around with her later. And the prints are perfection. I can't say enough good things about my Solly Baby Wrap - let's just say I'm asking for a second one this Christmas.
  9. Housecleaning appointment (here) - I love a clean house, but I'm not the biggest fan of actually cleaning, and with a new babe it's tough to make the time. This would be a well-appreciated gift for any new mom. 
  10. VonBon Multi-Use Cloths (here) - VonBon makes some of THE cutest baby gear around. We love our chevron swaddle blanket, and use these multi-use cloths for just about everything. Another favorite brand who makes amazing cloths is LuckyPalmTree. Between the two of these brands you will have all the beautiful burp cloths you could ever dream of! And trust me you will need them ;)
Hope these give you some ideas for what to get the new mom in your life! Or what to ask for if you're a new mom yourself ;) Today's the last day to enter my Datevitation Date Book giveaway, enter below for another great personal gift!

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December 4, 2013

Gift Guide Week: The Momma-To-Be

Happy Wednesday! We're continuing gift guide week with something for the momma-to-be! And i mean something actually for her, not the baby. Too often mom gets forgotten too early - before baby arrives, she deserves all the attention! After, that will change ;)

  1. Mama Mio Pregnancy Essentials Kit (here) - I absolutely loved all three of these products throughout my pregnancy, she is sure to as well. They're on the pricier side, but this way she can pick her favorite and get the full size later!
  2. BumpNest Pregnancy Pillow (here) - Sleep later in the pregnancy becomes harder and harder, this pillow was just what I needed in the last few months to make sleeping feel heavenly again (read more about my experience with it here!)
  3. Ugg Ansley slippers (here) - Every woman is going to have her most troubled area during pregnancy - for some it's their back, for others it's their hips, for me it was my feet. Cozy slippers like these would be a dream to slip into.
  4. Labor & Delivery Kit (here) - A cute little kit for that long-awaited day, complete with slipper socks, chapstick, hair ties, and all the other stuff you're likely to forget in your hospital bag. 
  5. Lily Jade Madeline bag (here) - With all the pockets you could ever imagine, it works as a tote, a hospital bag, and later the perfect diaper bag! Plus you can wear it as a shoulder bag, messenger, or backpack!
  6. Sexy maternity jeans (here) - Show off your new curves in a great pair of jeans. Asos Maternity was my go-to for well-priced and stylish maternity clothes.
  7. Blanqi Belly Support Tank (here) - Loved loved loved this as my belly grew. Supports the extra weight, covers unbuttoned pants or exposed skin from shirts that are a little too short, just get one.
  8. MAC lipstick in Russian Red (here) - I kept my makeup to the bare minimum when I was pregnant, but when I wanted to feel dressy I threw on a swipe of lipstick - this shade is perfect for winter and the holidays.
  9. Cashmere Robe (here) - A robe will fit your pre-preggo body and grow with your bump; pack it in your hospital bag (my robe was so much nicer to be in than those hospital gowns, but it definitely wasn't cashmere!), and you will live in it the first few weeks nursing your newborn. Definitely a worthwhile investment.
  10. Bliss Spa Giftcard (here) - Book a "Great Expectations" prenatal massage and whatever other spa service you'd like, it's well-deserved!
Another great gift idea? Dates. And lots of them. Date nights will be a lot less spontaneous when baby arrives, so go on lots of dates! A Datevitation book is a great way to spend more time together! Get your chance to win one below! Making one? Use code LACQUER10 for $10 off your purchase and make sure to order by December 13 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas!
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December 3, 2013

Gift Guide Week: The Man in Your Life

Men are notoriously difficult to shop for. Hopefully you can find something in this guide that's sure to please him! Also, scroll down for a holiday giveaway!!

  1. Thermos (Stanley, here) - Whether he works outdoors or at a desk, this mug is sure to keep his drink hot (or cold) all day long. 
  2. Running jacket (Lululemon Relay Jacket, here) - Athletic type? Get him this jacket perfect for running in cooler temps.
  3. Cozy workshirt (Club Monaco Slim-Fit Workshirt, here) - A good looking shirt. Easy.
  4. Backpack (Asos Canvas Backpack, here) - This canvas backpack is great to throw his gear in for the day.
  5. Datebook (Datevitation, here) - He already has it all? Then make one of these - this coupon book features tons of creative date ideas you pick (from an arcade date to a "get out of argument" pass and even a halftime quickie!). You can even add your own personal messages and faces. I made one of these for N's birthday and he loved it! I'm giving away one below...
  6. Leather strap watch (Michael Kors, here) - A classic watch that will truly stand the test of time in a shade that goes with everything. 
  7. Tie clips (The Tie Bar, here) - N loves these things. I don't get them, but I men have to accessorize too I guess!
  8. Wooden iPhone amplifier (Koostik Original, here) - No cords. No power. Just wooden construction that amplifies the sound on your iPhone. Pretty cool.
  9. Wool skinny tie (Banana Republic, here) - You'll need a tie for those tie clips, make it a wool skinny one perfect for winter.
  10. Cologne sampler (Sephora, here) - Okay, so this gift is more for you, who doesn't love a good smelling man? Try them all out and when he (or you) picks the fave, redeem the coupon for a full size cologne!
I'm partnering with the awesome folks over at Datevitation to give a lucky reader a free date book, just use the entry form below!! Want to go ahead and make one now? Make sure to use code LACQUER10 for $10 off your purchase. Order by December 13 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas!
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December 2, 2013

Gift Guide Week: The Medicine-Inclined

Happy Monday! I'm back! Got through the monstrous 9 hour Step 2 exam and enjoyed family over Thanksgiving. I hope you all had wonderful times! This week I'll be bringing you gift guides to start the holiday season, and in Med School Monday fashion, we're kicking it off with gift ideas for the medicine-inclined! 

  1. Laboratory flower vases (here) - Rustic chic + science geek? Yes please!
  2. Gentle Reminders pencils (here) - These beautiful white and gold pencils almost make you want to write those notes.
  3. Littmann Stethoscope (here) - Keep it simple with the Classic II (anything else is overkill), keep it chic with the all black finish.
  4. MDpocket White Coat Clipboard (here) - On the wards this clipboard keeps all your patient notes tidy, folds into your white coat pocket, and has tons of references for when you're just starting!
  5. First Aid for Step 1 (here) - Ask anyone how to do well on Step 1 and this book is guaranteed to be a part of their strategy. Memorize this book (easier said than done) and get through UWorld's Qbank and you're golden. 
  6. iMac (here) - This one's always been a dream gift of mine and most other students I know. Any large computer display makes studying and learning so much more productive, this one is just beautiful and minimalistic to boot. Someday...
  7. Kate Spade 2014 Planner (here) - I've professed my love for planners already (here and here), and this one is perfection!
  8. Keurig Mini (here) - Hot cup of coffee. In seconds. In tons of flavors. In the perfect grey shade. Need I say more?
  9. iPhone cover (here) - My iPhone is my go-to reference on the wards, keep it protected with this cute cover!
  10. Netter Anatomy (here) - First year anatomy is a rite of passage - this book with its gorgeous illustrations is all you need.
  11. ExamKrackers MCAT study books (here) - Not everyone can afford a review course (I know I couldn't). These books were my savior. Just enough information to do incredibly well without being overwhelmed with minutiae. 
Of course, if you follow my blog, you'll know that I think the best gift for the medicine-inclined is time spent living life! A date book is an adorable way to make some date ideas and give your pre-med/medical student a break - for a movie night, bowling, whatever! Get your chance to win one below! Making one? Use code LACQUER10 for $10 off your purchase and make sure to order by December 13 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas!
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November 12, 2013

BRB!

Hey ya'll! Just a quick post to say I need to take a quick blogging break! My Step 2 CK exam (for our medical licensing boards) is in exactly 2 weeks and I'm slightly freaking out. Just slightly. As much as newborn babies are supposed to sleep Liv isn't a fan of it so I don't feel like I've had nearly enough time to study... when she does sleep I use that time for basic humanly needs like emptying my bladder and napping myself, but for these next two weeks, nothing but Qbank (practice questions)! All about priorities ladies and gents... hope you guys understand! Be back soon! 


November 6, 2013

Night Out in Camo

Hi all! Just sharing a simple night out look from when N and I went dancing a couple weekends ago! These (crappy) pics were taken as soon as we got back to our apartment... my hair is messed up, I'm missing an earring, and N clearly couldn't focus the camera... all signs point to a great night out!


November 4, 2013

Liv's Birth Story

Happy Monday everyone!! A shiny new week to get things off on the right start. Can you tell I did? I finally was able to go the gym this morning and feel like a new woman! My OB finally gave me the ok to get back to heavy lifting, so that's just what I did in the gym! It took a while because Liv's delivery was not the smoothest of deliveries and holy hell did my body take a beating. I actually thought that for this edition of Med School Mondays, I'd share with you all Liv's birth story, from a medical perspective. I know a lot of you are interested in OB and neonatology so hopefully you'll enjoy the read, and for those of you not I hope you'll enjoy anyway! {I also warn you that this is sort of long as far as my posts go, if you just want pictures, scroll down to the bottom!}


I got home from work Friday feeling great - I was still walking to and from work everyday even at 39 weeks - and this day was no different. I didn't, however feel like going out like N and I had originally planned. Instead, we ordered pizza, cuddled on the couch, and watched movies, who knows when we actually fell asleep. At 4am I awoke to pretty strong contractions. I tried to go back to sleep figuring they'd subside, but they continued getting stronger. By 6am I gave up on going back to sleep and got in the shower, washing my hair and just letting the hot water hit my back, which seemed to be bearing the brunt of the contractions. I walked around the apartment letting my hair air dry, and decided that this was the real thing, so I definitely needed to do my hair ;) I also knew I shouldn't call my midwife yet - she was only going to tell me to walk around and continue laboring at home which is what we tell all of our patients. I woke N up around 7 and he started actually timing contractions for me as I straightened my hair in between contractions. They were already lasting almost a minute at this point and coming every 2-3 minutes (aka the real deal). For the bad contractions I just had to curl up completely bent over on the bed with N rubbing my back, for the really bad contractions I had to run to the toilet and vomit the pain was so intense. By 9 I had had enough and N called the midwife. I made him call a cab first because regardless of what she said I was in labor and going to the hospital (it was the pain talking). By the time she called us back I was already right outside of the hospital, and she was about to tell me to "wait it out"- I had to break it down for her that I had most definitely waited it out and was at the hospital - she had me come right up.

Waiting at OB triage was surreal - N and I had both done our OB rotations at the hospital I was delivering at and it was so weird to be on the other side. I wanted to use my I.D. and just let myself in, hook myself up to the toco (the tocometer, which measures contractions and fetal heartbeat), you get the idea. When they took me into a triage room I politely waited for the nurse to ask me questions before I answered (in between contractions of course), instead of being the med student douchebag who rattles off the whole history because we already know what they're going to ask. I did have to laugh though when she looked at the tocometer and remarked "wow, you're having real contractions!" "Uh, yeah... I know" was what I really wanted to say. My midwife came and checked me and I was 4cm dilated, which was quite the change because less than a week earlier I had a cervical exam in the office and I was still zero and floating (meaning my cervix had not dilated at all and the baby's head was not yet engaged and still "floating" up higher). Instead of sending me home (which we do to a lot of women who are still in early labor), I got a labor room ASAP.

I was completely open to an epidural all my pregnancy. If you learn anything working on the OB wards it's that birth plans are silly (and I mean no offense, having a general idea of the way you want things to go is great, but they rarely go as planned and that's no reason to get upset) and there are a million primips (women having their first baby) trying to go au natural, a very large proportion of whom ask for the epidural eventually. I have so much respect for the women who do do it naturally, but just as much respect goes out to the women who do it at all. I definitely wanted to see how much my body could take, but was not at all against a little pain relief. I got my room around 10am, asked for the epidural around noonish, and got it around 1pm, which was really fun. The most painful part is the burning of the local anesthetic they use to numb the area, and then of course the fact that you need to remain completely still with an arched back as you're still being hit with contraction after contraction. I'm pretty petite as you may have observed, and apparently have very tight ligaments, so after attempting to place the epidural in the normal space, she had to remove the needle and place it one space higher. Another injection of local anesthetic and another insertion of the huge needle and we were set to go.

I finally started getting some pain relief and was actually able to chat with N, we called our parents so they could come, and watched some college football. I felt something weird down there and was really hoping I hadn't wet myself now that everything was pretty much numb - we had the nurse check and it was my mucus plug (ewww),  and shortly after at 2:30 I SROM'd (aka - spontaneous rupture of membranes, meaning my water broke on its own). My midwife checked me again but I was only 6 cm. So we hung out some more, watched some Scandal on the laptop. My contractions hadn't decreased in intensity, frequency, or duration since the epidural (which is sometimes a concern) so there was no need to add pit (pitocin, an artificial oxytocin that stimulates stronger contractions). Around 7pm I got checked again, this time by the new midwife who had just come on. I was 8 cm, but she thought baby's head might be in the OP position (meaning occiput posterior, so the back of her head was against my back and her face was up - which is the wrong way - we prefer to deliver babies in the OA, or occiput anterior, position). This explains why I was feeling most of my contractions in my back (aka back labor) - it also could have explained why things were progressing pretty slowly. So out came the bean. This is a huge balance ball like blow up that's shaped like a bean and wedges in between your legs while you lie on your side in an effort to spin the baby OA. By 10pm I was 9cm and baby was developing some caput (caput succedaneum, or swelling of her scalp), but I still wasn't 100% effaced. So we waited some more. By this time both of our moms were with us so we chatted and I dozed off here and there before the pushing had to start.

Finally around midnight I got checked again and it was time to push! We sent moms out and into the waiting room and the nurse and midwife got their waterproof gear on (it's really so that things are "sterile," but I'm convinced that its bodily fluid protection is wherein lies its real value). N and I had made a conscious effort all throughout my pregnancy to cut back on our cursing but I couldn't help but hype myself up in my head with a quiet "LET'S DO THIS SHIT!" With each contraction I pushed as long and hard as I could, and I kept doing this, until we realized we had been doing it for three hours. Towards the end of that three hours I had spiked a fever which granted me a diagnosis of chorioamnionitis (most often associated with a prolonged labor, which I guess I was having seeing as we were already on hour 24), and most concerning was that we were starting to see some late decels in baby girl's heart rate (decelerations are just slowing of heart rate - early decels are usually due to head compression which is normal, variable decels are usually due to cord compression and can be alleviated with change in maternal position, but late decels are due to fetal hypoxia which is never a good thing.) Antibiotics were hung and the OB was called because this definitely wasn't good. The OB came, saw the tracing, and immediately said "We're going to give this 3 tries with vacuum assist, but if that doesn't work we're doing an emergency c-section." I loved her no-nonsense approach and N and I totally knew this was where we were headed after seeing that tracing. She got the vaccuum, I pushed my hardest, and we could tell her head was going to come out, except it couldn't, I was likely going to tear, so instead she cut the biggest episiotomy I had ever seen (well, N had ever seen, thankfully I didn't have to watch that part), and with the next push we had a head. But then baby girl seemed stuck, and now we had a shoulder dystocia. They were amazing and did a quick McRobert's and applied suprapubic pressure (meaning they hyperflexed my legs practically up to my neck and pretty much sat on top of my pubic bone), and with the OB pulling and me pushing she finally came out. But there was no cry, and she was blue as can be, and my feeling of joy and relief for getting her out quickly dropped to utter terror. They suctioned her and rubbed her off on my chest as I cried and prayed that this little girl would actually be mine, and then she cried, and then I really cried, and felt my fears melting away with each one of her little shrieks. She pinkened up, the neonatologists took a look at her, and her and daddy headed off to the NICU so she could get prophylactic antibiotics given my chorioamnionitis. My placenta delivered with no difficulty, they repaired my episiotomy and cleaned me up, and I got to hang out with my moms until they brought baby girl back down. They eventually rolled her back in a few hours later, daddy strolling in like the man with his little pride and joy, and all three of us, for the first time as a family, got wheeled off to the elevator to head up to my recovery room. I felt like it was our little victory march. Little did I know we'd still have to battle my bladder not wanting to work (I had to stay an extra day or risk leaving with a foley catheter because I simply could not pee, a condition know as postpartum urinary retention, which added up to lots of painful straight cathing), but I made myself pee and got out of there darnit!

During our OB rotation I'd always ask the OB mommas how their labors and deliveries went, and there were always complications. They joked that it was the OB gods making sure they really knew all that could go wrong, firsthand. We definitely felt like a lot went "wrong," but so much went right. I had an amazing midwife, OB, and team of nurses. My labor nurse and I hugged and both teared up when we said our goodbyes. I had an amazing family by my side, especially N there through every second of it. And most important of all, we got what we all were really there for, a healthy little human being, who weighed more than any of us thought was possible, who was more beautiful than anything I could have dreamt up, who latched onto my breast almost immediately and took to breast feeding like she had already been practicing, who smiled in her sleep, who was ours, we got it. And I wouldn't trade that for anything.

November 1, 2013

Goodbye October!

Man, where did this month go? It feels like just yesterday I was welcoming September! Probably has something to do with a little girl who keeps me busy all day, a big exam coming up, and just a dash of sleep deprivation ;) 

Thank goodness for my phone and all of the annoying pictures I snap throughout the day; when I do get downtime I can look back and actually remember the amazing things that happen on a daily basis. I am constantly wondering how I got so lucky ❤️


I hope you all had amazing Octobers and are ready for November! Time for the holidays now! And if you haven't yet and want to, make sure to enter my LuckyPalmTree giveaway for some adorable baby gear, and my Dansko giveaway for a trusty pair of clogs

October 30, 2013

Pick Your Perfect Dansko- Closed

Hi all!! Today I'm partnering with Dansko to give one of my lucky readers a pair of Dansko clogs!! If you've spent anytime in the hospital, you know there are pretty much two camps of people in scrubs - those who wear them with sneakers, and those who wear them with Danskos (and then you'll have a random plastic surgeon who only wears cowboy boots, but we'll save that story for another day). For a while I belonged to the first camp - sneakers all day every day. Until during one of my vascular surgeries, while checking the suture on a bypass graft we got blood everywhere, including my mesh sneakers... and my sock, I'd later find out. Ewwww. And there are worse bodily fluids, like during bowel surgeries... mm hmm. It was time for clogs, and I've never looked back. 


I'm wearing the XP clogs in Whiskey, a color that's no longer available, but this brown is almost exact!

Browse through their Stapled Clog collection or the XP collection (my personal favorite - memory foam footbed, slip-resistant bottoms, and lighter overall) and leave a comment below saying which pair you'd choose if you won! Tweet about this giveaway or share it on Facebook and leave an extra comment saying you did for more chances to win! 

{As a side note, I love speaking from my own experiences which is why I use a hospital/surgery example, but I've heard these are widely used in the service industry, retail, etc. - pretty much anyone who's on their feet for ungodly chunks of time! And gentleman who read the blog, this is of course open to you too!} I'll randomly choose a winner next Wednesday! 

October 28, 2013

How to get research and clinical experience

Happy Monday! Where has the month of October gone!?!  Crazy! Well, time for another Med School Monday! Most of us all know that some research and clinical experience is great to have when trying to apply to medical school - largely to confirm that it is in fact what you want to do (it is after all what you'll end up doing if you do get to/through medical school), and for the more shallow reason that it looks good on your CV. But what isn't always as clear is how one goes about getting this experience, especially as an undergrad when you (through no fault of your own) have seemingly no experience and nothing to offer.

Me way back in college presenting my research in Chicago and Washington, DC. Yeah Hall Lab!! 

Research experience - This will largely depend on where you are for undergrad, but remember that you're not limited to your institution for research opportunities. If you're still in high school and picking colleges, pick the one with the most student scientific posters lining the halls of their science buildings ;) If you're already in college, browse through your school's science department website and read the faculty pages - most professors will have links to a few of their publications. Some will only have publications from decades ago and have since slowed down, but you'll hopefully find a few publications with students as authors - these are the professors you want to talk to! Shoot them a short and professional email saying you're a student majoring in x, you'd love to get some research experience and find their research fascinating because of x, and would love to talk more about potential opportunities in their lab. If you meet and are still interested then you can discuss your (likely lack of) experience, your time availability throughout the semester, goals, etc. Remember your place though - don't feel like any work is "below you" in the beginning - making sure to keep in mind that if you work well your responsibilities should start to increase. I started working in a neuroscience professors lab my freshman year (after doing just what I outlined above), pretty much as a tissue culture slave (our lab's loving name for that job), but by demonstrating hard work and interest in our projects, worked my way up to helping more with experiments, then developing my own experiments, and eventually presenting work at national conferences, publishing, and teaching new members of the lab our techniques. So remember you have to start with the "scut" work (which is all necessary anyway), just make sure you don't stay with only the scut work. If you don't think you'll have time during the semester to do research or don't have any faculty doing research, there are hundreds of summer research programs for undergraduates. Your career development office is a good place to start looking, you can also just google summer research at whatever university or hospital you'll be near in the summer. Most students start casually looking for these opportunities in January and February and get more serious in March and April as many of these programs have applications with deadlines.

Clinical experience - This is a little bit more difficult to get especially as more and more clinical positions require small degrees and certificates that many of us just don't have time to get. We'll start with the simplest - shadowing physicians. This is another area where your career development office is a good place to start looking - browse through their list of alum who are physicians and contact them, or go to the office of volunteer services at your local hospital and ask if they can put you in touch with a physician of your interest. It's difficult because most physicians don't have their email addresses available to the public - but don't be afraid to google physicians, pick up the old telephone and give their office or department a call! Most are very willing to have a student shadow them - it's flattering! - and if they're not, well it probably wouldn't have been the best experience. These experiences are great and the more you have, the better idea you may get for different fields of medicine. Now, actually doing clinical stuff usually comes down to getting certified in something (medical assisting for example) or pure luck mixed with a good deal of preparation. Take my job as a "medical assistant." I did not get certified as an MA - didn't have the time or money for it. But I did love women's health, had just taken a course on women's health and knew all of the physiology behind our reproductive cycle and all options of birth control, etc., and knew how to take vitals (a really simple thing you don't have to wait until first year of med school to learn). I found an opportunity at a small local women's health clinic for an intern - a position that usually involves lots of filing. And the day a Spanish-speaking patient came in and our usual Spanish MA was out - I stepped in to translate, and then offered to take her blood pressure and weight etc., and then discussed the side effects of her birth control with her as my boss sort of watched quietly. I started being able to see my own patients after I discussed my experience and goals with my boss. I didn't get paid, but I had some amazing experiences in actually being able to care for patients. So, never would've happened if I didn't get the chance to show my skills, never would've happened if I didn't have those skills to show when the chance came. As they say, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." So look for intern positions and again, be ok with scut work, but learn as much as you can and always be ready if an opportunity presents itself. For the summers there are more structured programs that offer built in shadowing or clinical opportunities and you can find these the way I mentioned above in the research experience. I did a summer of clinical research at my local hospital through a program I found online and was able to work in the emergency department enrolling patients in studies - looking through charts, interacting with doctors and nurses, etc. It was a fun summer!

I hope this can help some of you as you try to get more and more experience in science and medicine! As always, leave questions and anything you want to share in the comments section below! And to those of you who have sent me messages I promise I haven't forgotten you! My days just get a little crazy with a one-month old to take care of and one month to study for Step 2!

October 25, 2013

Minted Liv (& a giveaway)

Happy Friday!! 
Today I just wanted to share some fun pictures of my Liv in some darling mint gear from LuckyPalmTree! Gosh I could kiss those cheeks all day.

LuckyPalmTree baby blanket and headband, c/o (here and here), Baby Gap peplum bodysuit (here)

 I'm partnering with the lovely Kate, owner of LuckyPalmTree, to give away some adorable organic goodies from her Etsy shop! Liv and I love almost everything in the shop (the chevron onesie is one of our favorites, you'll see it on her soon). The lucky winner will receive a security blanket and hat set, in your choice of peach elephant, blue elephant, or blue bird.


To enter, you must be a follower of my blog (either through Bloglovin or GFC), and leave a comment below! You can leave an extra comment for each platform you follow the blog on - so if you follow on Bloglovin', Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram - that's 4 comments and 4 chances to win! I'll announce the winner next Friday!

Have lovely weekends everyone!

October 23, 2013

Lions

My hair is in its natural lion form, I'm wearing a lion tassel necklace, and I'm contemplating turning my little Liv into a lion for halloween. Yes, the title 'Lions' is quite appropriate indeed. Happy Hump Day!


Marshall's top (similar here), Old Navy cardigan (similar here), thrifted Levi's jeans (similar here), Steve Madden leopard flats (similar here), Calvin Klein Modena tote (here), Forever 21 necklace (here), boutique bracelet (similar here), Relic watch (here)

October 21, 2013

A day in the life of a harvard med student: medicine

Happy Monday everyone!! Today I'm doing another "Day in the Life" post (read about third year surgery rotation here). This time I'm sharing a day on my medicine sub-internship (sub-i). This is a fourth year rotation where you as the medical student are the first person called on for everything about your patient. You are the doctor (with plenty of supervision of course), but you are the one the patients will want to talk to, you are the one who proposes the plan of treatment and dosages, who answers nursing questions, you. It was an amazing month (I got it out of the way when I was 5 months pregnant!) that really reminds you why you wanted to be a doctor in the first place.


The day I'm sharing here is a typical no call day, but we are on call every fourth day (Q4); those days we are admitting new patients until 8pm and working them up even later - a good call day means you leave around 9, disaster call days also happen and you leave at midnight. Would love to know what you guys think of these posts - any other rotations you want to hear about?

And PS - for those of my readers who are always on their feet in the hospital or in anatomy lab, next week I'll be giving away a pair of Danskos of your choice!! Can't wait!

October 18, 2013

date night in

With a newborn at home, this is what most of our date nights look like. And I can't lie - I love every second of them. 

Order in pizza, throw on this cozy shirt and leggings with these perfect knit socks, light a candle, pop open two cold fall beers, and catch up on episodes of Homeland and quietly chat about our days trying our best not to wake Liv. Perfection. 

How do you do date nights in (if you do)? 

Happy Friday!

October 14, 2013

Medical School Interviews

It's that time of the year again, when I see small groups of students all suited-up carrying matching folders and making small talk amongst each other as they tour the medical school campus - it's interview season. We just started interviewing this month, and man do I remember it being a looong, nerve-racking season (although not as long as waiting to hear back after interviews, oh boy). I know many of you have applied this cycle or are hoping to apply soon, so for this edition of Med School Mondays I'll be sharing a few pointers for the medical school interview! Hopefully they can also apply to professional interviews in general.


What to wear: You might not want to hear this, but interviews are a time where first impressions really do matter. And before you even open your mouth to represent yourself at an interview, your appearance has already said a lot for you. Now, it's not all about looks of course, but let's just agree that you want to represent yourself as best as possible. For women, a black skirt or pantsuit is the way to go. As "boring" as it may be, interviews aren't the time to wow people with your fashion sense and trendiness. Keep it classy and simple, look sharp by getting your outfit tailored, and keep the shoes classic with a simple pointy toe (low) heel - you'll be doing a lot of walking on tours! I love these patent leather kitten heels (if you're feeling like investing in a good shoe), and these black Nine West pumps as a more budget-friendly option. Keep the accessories and makeup to the basics. I wore tailored suit jacket and pants from Banana Republic for all of my interviews and never questioned my attire at any of them (images above via).

What to bring: Carrying a well-structured handbag with you only adds to the professional look - some people prefer just carrying a leather folder and that's fine too. I love this handbag from Kate Spade, this Asos bag is another great option, and this satchel from Forever 21 is perfect for those with a tight budget (it's less than $30)! Keep in it a small notepad with questions you have for interviewers or tour guides, names of people you meet during interviews, etc., a small mirror to check yourself now and then, and whatever else you normally carry with you!

What to do: You'll get an itinerary of course, and that's what you'll follow for the day. But I'm talking more how to act. Along with your attire, people are observing your actions all interview day - during the actual interview obviously, but even during the tours or provided lunches and other activities. This doesn't mean you have to be shy, or even on your best behavior at all times, but hopefully you're naturally kind and polite, etc. Relax, smile and be positive (but don't be the annoying smart-ass). Get to know your fellow applicants - get out of the mindset that they're competition and start thinking that they could be your colleagues. When you do meet your interviewer make good eye contact and give them a firm handshake, mirror their body language as the interview proceeds (unless of course they're super awkward, then just try to be a little less awkward than them - this does happen and it's soo uncomfortable).

What to say: What you guys really want to know. And unfortunately at every school this is what will vary the most. I had not-so-good interviewers that only wanted to ask me what I would do in horribly difficult ethical dilemmas, or who wanted to figure out my family tree. Interviewers who only wanted to hear about my research, my thoughts on current health-care policy, and still others who wanted to know the "why medicine" or "what will make you a good doctor" answers. The best interviews are those that start with a question but soon become a conversation - but don't feel insecure if this doesn't happen as so much of it is interviewer-dependent. So how to prepare? For one know everything in your application and be ready to discuss any of it - work, research, classes, your essay. Know the school you're interviewing for and why it would be a good match for you. Also be ready to answer some of the typical questions I mentioned above, but don't have a super rehearsed answer - keep it genuine. You can't anticipate all of the questions, so if something comes up you hadn't thought of, don't be afraid to actually think on the spot! Come prepared with some of your own questions about the school (but not ones you can easily find on the website), keeping in mind who your interviewer is and how the interview has gone. Most of all be humble. You've done an amazing job getting this far, but you're by no means "there" yet, so don't act like it. Be thankful for the opportunity to interview and try to enjoy the day!

I hope some of you can benefit from some of these tips - best of luck with interviews and please continue asking questions and suggesting post ideas in the comments! Have a great week everyone! 


October 11, 2013

Stripes and Bubbles

Happy Friday!! Just sharing another easy outfit I wore for a day of doctor's appointments Liv and I had! So happy the temperatures are dropping enough for me to throw on my over-the-knee boots again! Sadly I'll be having to go back to the doctor's next week (actually the dentist) - all week I have had horrible tooth pain and found out one of my wisdom tooth has partially erupted and is infected aaand likely has an abscess (can you tell by my beautifully swollen right side of my face?)! I've diagnosed myself with pericoronitis and an associated pericoronal abscess -thanks to Dr. Google of course - don't tell my dental friends I'm over here throwing dental diagnoses around! (at HMS the dental students take the same first two years of medical school so we're all good friends). Anyway, send wishes for pain relief over the weekend my way pretty please? xx


Marshalls striped sweater (similar here), American Apparel leggings (similar here), Charlotte Russe boots (similar here), Boutique crossbody (similar here), Gap sunglasses (similar here), Urban Peach Boutique necklace (here)

October 9, 2013

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

I originally shared this recipe on the blog a couple of years ago after adapting it from here, and let me tell you this dish has become a fall classic that we all look forward to year after year. It's in that dangerous category of desserts that aren't too sweet so you can actually keep eating it (and eating and eating and eating) until it's all gone! (which is exactly what I did last week - oops!)


Here's what you'll need:
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, plus an extra egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 baguette, cut up into small pieces
1 stick melted unsalted butter


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, pumpkin, sugar and salt, eggs, and spices. In a separate bowl, melt the butter, and toss the bread cubes in to coat them, then add the bread to the larger bowl with pumpkin spice mix, making sure all pieces are coated evenly. Place the bread mix in an ungreased casserole dish and bake until the custard is set, about 25-35 minutes. Seriously one of my favorite desserts of all time. 

October 7, 2013

Study Tips

Happy Monday!! Time for another installation of our Med School Mondays! Today I wanted to share some tips for something that is crucial to success in medicine (or any higher education) - STUDYING! Even the most devoted learners among us still hate studying, especially because it never seems like there's enough time to get it all done. Hopefully these tips can help some of you!

{a gorgeous work space (via pinterest) & an example of one of my to do lists and schedule}
  • Study in a space that inspires you. For some people this means finding a completely clean desk facing a brick wall, for others it means a library with lots of fellow hard workers, or a spot under a tree, or a pretty desk with inspiring art work. Whatever works for you!
  • Be organized. Know what needs to get done, when, and prioritize accordingly. Keeping a constantly updated to do list will make just sitting down and studying/working more easy. I like to make a to do list, then next to each task estimate how long it will take me or how long I want to spend on it. Make realistic estimations for how long things will take you and plan extra "unscheduled" time in the day just in case you go over. Planning like this definitely makes it feel like there are a few more hours in the day! See my photo for an example. 
  • Study efficiently. After you've estimated how long things will take, prioritize based on what takes the most "brainpower" and start with that. When reading heavy information like textbooks - I first start by skimming the titles/subtitles of the entire chapter, then I read the "summary" at the end of the chapter if there is one, and then I start reading from the beginning and taking notes on things I think I may forget or are really key based on the "bigger picture" I now have in my head. I'm not a huge fan of highlighting but for some people that really works - just make sure not to highlight entire paragraphs/pages - that sort of defeats the purpose ;) For memorizing, use notes or images that best summarize the information and really quiz yourself as you try to memorize - just reading or looking over and over again isn't challenging your brain to really solidify the information. 
  • Eliminate distractions. This is huge. We all have complained about entire days spent at the library, knowing damn well we were on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and texting at least every 10 minutes. There's nothing wrong with using these outlets when our brains need a mental break, but try to schedule actual breaks. Days I'm feeling particularly distracted, I'll set a timer on my phone for 20 minutes - work my a** off for those 20 minutes, and then allow myself an Instagram or gossiping break. Then set the timer again. When I'm doing work on my laptop, the Self Control app for Macs has been super helpful in eliminating distractions - you set a list of websites that are your typical time guzzlers and set an amount of time to block those websites. Once you start nothing will get you to those websites - not even restarting the computer! I love it and hate it ;)
  • The last tip sort of goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway - find what works for you. If you don't know what works and would like to start a good habit,  one I'd highly recommend is to become a morning person. Wake up an hour earlier and try not to nap throughout the day when you're tired - save it for nighttime and go to sleep an hour earlier so your body gets used to the early waking. I used to wake up at 4am, make a hot cup of coffee and get straight to work. It was a perfect, protected time of day with no distractions to get work done before class at 8 or 9. If you're heading into medicine, life will be SO much easier if you're a morning person so why not start now? Again, the point here though is to find what works for you so if you really are most efficient between 1 and 3am then by all means maximize that time and get things done then! Just know that eventually you won't be able to schedule all your classes for the afternoons... mornings will have to happen sooner or later!
I hope some of these tips can help you all become better studiers! Again, no one loves it, but at the end of the day it's what needs to get done in order to achieve your goals. As you get closer to those goals, the things you need to learn and things you need to do become more and more relevant to what you actually want to do! So keep that in mind and study on!

October 4, 2013

Friday's Fancies: All Black Date Night

Happy Friday everyone!! Today I decided to share a look that would be perfect for date night with its sexy hint of shoulder, leopard, and pointed toe heels, and in one of my all-time favorite shades - black! Would you ladies wear this for date night?

top (here), jeans (here), pumps (here), leopard clutch (here), lip gloss (here), hoop earrings (here), watch (here)

October 2, 2013

Carnival Look

Hi all! I find it so funny that I'm typing this post while pumping, I would totally share a pic but that's probably way too much for the blog, but here's an idea haha. Anyway, this weekend N, my 2-week-old Olivia and I made our first road trip and traveled back home to visit family and make a trip to the Big E (a huge carnival). We had so much fun eating and playing games, we won so many stuffed animals for Liv! This is what I wore!

J. Crew tee (here), Rainbow jeans (similar here), JCPenney scarf (here), thrifted bag (similar here), Relic watch (here), boutique bracelet (similar here), Diba ankle booties (here)
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