blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: October 2013

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


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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