blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: 2015

December 31, 2015

New Year, New You


Happy New Years Eve everyone!! It's hard to believe that 2015 is already coming to a close, it's been an amazing year - from moving, to finally graduating medical school and starting life as real doctor, and to welcoming Ms. Elli to the family! Next year brings even more excitement with our big move to Miami and starting the rest of our residency training there, and who else knows what to expect! Although I'm not a huge fan of resolutions, I do love the idea that the new year is a clean slate, or at least the chance to start a new good habit or two. Today I'm sharing tips for five different facets of life (and some of the most common areas where we make our resolutions for the New Year). The (not-so) cleverly crafted 5 facets (I spent a lot of time coming up with words that start with F lol!) are family, field, finance, fitness, and fashion. As with most of what I share on the blog, what I share is by no means an expert opinion, just my opinion and what I've done. Alright, with all that said, let's jump in! And we'll start with the most important.


1. FAMILY
Family to me means your unit - so don't think I'm just talking about those with kids here - if you're in a committed relationship your partner is family.

One of the best things I ever did for my relationship with N was to stop holding grudges, and more importantly to stop keeping a tally. In other relationships that you don't want to last, it might be ok to hold grudges and to keep score of when they've messed up, or when you did something nice and they didn't reciprocate, or really anything. But if you do want your relationship to last, you will grow up and get rid of your scoresheet. Of course it's important to know if you want your relationship to last or not - if you're with a jerk then leave (trust me I know it's easier said than done, but leave as soon as you know it's not right). But in a committed relationship, toss the scoresheet and become a giver. Your relationship will be so much better for it, and you will be happier letting go.

Another good place to make some change? Making time for each other and making the time count. If you have a crazy schedule, write in time for your kids' events (or make a conscious effort to leave work at a decent time to spend time with them) and for date nights. And appreciate those little times together that frequently get overlooked. Just home together? Awesome, put down your phone and talk to each other! Time spent doesn't have to mean time actually out or doing something - it's being together that counts! Maybe this year you could make a new "no phones in bed" rule, or at dinner, or whatever it is where you realize your spending empty time together.

Along with family I'm bundling in friendship, and just wanted to say a tiny bit about it. To me friends were always about quality, not quantity. I keep a small circle, but this a circle I would do anything for, and I know they would do the same for me. As we grow up and get busier in our careers and family life, it might feel like it's harder to nurture those relationships, but it really just comes down to making an effort. One of my best friends sent me this article that I absolutely love and I think sums up a lot of what I would say if you want to read it. It's calling "Showing Up" and I'll just share one of my favorite parts. "The key to long-lasting friendships, particularly for the introverts who guard their personal time like it's the last Twinkie on Earth - is to say no to enough things that don't matter so that you have the energy and time to say yes to the stuff that does matter. Quality is better than quantity."


2. FIELD
I think it's awesome practice to set a new goal every year (or every month, or whatever chunk of time you want to set for yourself), to ensure that you're always moving forward and growing. I wrote this post about achieving goals at the start of the year and still believe in every piece - write your goals down, surround yourself with likeminded people, breaking it up into smaller pieces and setting mini deadlines, and most importantly being kind to yourself and being ok with change.

One great thing to do is to set the goal to find another mentor. You all know I'm a firm believer in the power of mentorship. Find a new mentor in your field, whether by asking around, or even doing a google search, and reach out to them. Pick their brain and learn from their experiences - mentors are great for helping you figure out what will matter and what won't in the grand scheme of things.

Another great goal? Become more efficient. This is a huge goal, and can (and should) be broken up into smaller mini goals to actually help you become more efficient, but working on your efficiency is key to getting more done and still having time to enjoy your life. Remember that there is a difference between being busy and being productive, let's stop glorifying busy and learn how to be more productive! One of the best books I read this year (actually who am I kidding, it's one of the only books I read this year), was this one, it really changed the game.

If you're interested in medicine make sure to read the medicine section of the blog, or just the section on general success!


3. FINANCE
This is probably the biggest facet that we're working on this year. Now that we've graduated med school and actually have an income, we're also paying back loans, saving for a house and college for the girls, and just overall trying to be financially responsible.

Having more money comes down to two obvious (but still worth stating) concepts: making more money, and spending less money. Right now it's a little hard to make more money, so we've been really working on the spending less side of things. For starters, keeping track of your earning and spending is critical to see how much money you really have (and need), and how much you could be saving. There are great apps and websites for this; some people prefer spreadsheets for tracking. Honestly it's still all a little overwhelming for me (although using this is one of my goals this year), so far I've gotten a lot farther just writing things down by hand in my notebook and figuring things out that way. Whatever helps you just see how much money you really have and are spending. Once you know this, you can search for places to cut spending.

For me this year that meant figuring out all of my credit card debt (remember that trip to Europe I took after college, yeah I put it all on cards, and no lie am still paying for it now). I have a great credit score so I always thought I was doing the right thing just paying my bill every month, but I was seriously just wasting money and not really making a big dent. I decided to consolidate my loans into one bill using this site, making it easier to pay and having a much lower interest rate, and thankfully will have my credit card debt gone in no time! So far I've dealt with them online and over the phone and have had a great experience thus far, definitely recommend if any of you need to consolidate!

When you have everything in front of you and are aware of what you do throughout the day, you can also figure out what's waste. For us it was cable. Although we like having cable and all the 5 million channels, we weren't actually using most of it that often. I was still hesitant to get rid of it though, because Liv is home a lot of the day, and although I don't want her in front of the TV for all of it she definitely has her favorite shows! Then I realized that with our Amazon Prime membership (every mama and student needs this if you don't have it already) we actually get Amazon Prime Video, and they actually have an awesome selection! They have seasons of Dora the Explorer (a must for Liv haha) and pretty much anything you could want - over our maternity/paternity leave we watched all of Hand of God in like 2 days - such a good show! Anyway, all this to say we realized we didn't need the cable and are saving a lot of money (I'm embarrassed to say how much I was paying for it)!

Search for other places where you could save money - maybe it's eating out when you could spend a bit more time planning and packing meals (or just buying in bulk at Amazon or Costco), maybe it's your horrible shoe-buying habit (I was definitely guilty of this), make a rule that you can't buy a new pair until you sell an old pair, or buy used. Get creative and save money. Now where to put that saved money is another huge topic that I really have no business talking about because we're still trying to figure that out too - for now the money we "save" is going towards paying loans off faster, but maybe there's something better we could be doing with it (to any financial aficionados reading the blog would love to hear any thoughts you might have haha)!

4. FITNESS
I'm just getting back into the fitness side of things post-baby, and I'm by no means a big fitness buff, so this section will be short! But even while I was pregnant I followed the same basic rules for staying fit - trying to stay as active as possible throughout the day (having a "no elevator" rule in the hospital, going on walks with Liv) and eating small snacks throughout the day instead of a couple of heavy meals. This also helped me keep my energy levels up throughout the day as well. I'll be doing a postpartum fitness post very soon, but for now I think one of the best things you could do diet wise is to plan/pack your food for the day. Not only does this save money, but it also keeps you from having to buy anything you shouldn't be eating. When I'm at the hospital I like to pack my breakfast (usually two packets of instant oatmeal and coffee), midmorning snack (banana and peanut butter is one of my favorites), afternoon snack, and sometimes dinner if I'm there late. Lunch is usually free and provided at our noon lectures, and usually has pretty healthy options.

As far as the gym, it's obviously easiest to just have a set time to go to the gym, and I can echo what (most) every other advice piece will say and tell you to go to the gym first thing in the morning before starting your day. I really do think this is great advice (and it's what my crazy husband does - he wakes up at 4:30am to jog to the gym near his hospital, works out, showers there, and then goes to work), but not all of us can be that dedicated, and one way we set ourselves back is giving up on our fitness goals when we can't keep up with a schedule like that. So one thing I do is keep a gym outfit in my car at all times. The hardest thing about going to the gym (at least for me) is actually getting to the gym. I find that when I'm already out doing something else it's much easier to convince myself to go the gym, and I have no excuse when the clothes is already in the car!


5. FASHION
I usually don't really like the word fashion, I'm more a fan of style, but I needed an F word for the post! When it comes to style, (for me) it's all about choosing timeless pieces and building a small wardrobe of interchangeable pieces.

You can start with cleaning out your closet. First decide what you're going to do with the stuff you don't want anymore - for me I'm either selling it or donating it (or trashing it). I've recently started using this site to sell quality bags, shoes, and accessories that I don't really use anymore (accessories always have a better resale value) and am looking forward to using it more. It's a personal preference of mine, but I really prefer donating clothes that I no longer use versus selling it (but you can also sell clothes on the site). For the most part I find that used clothes has less resale value, and really makes a bigger difference to someone who can't buy it otherwise - so donating it to a church or your local woman's shelter really goes a long way (if you're in the Boston area, Rosie's Place on Harrison Ave accepts clothes donations, and around this time coats and warm clothing are in need! I'm sure there are many more places that accept donations as well)!

Once you know where it's going you can get to cleaning out the closet. Really analyze everything in your closet and think about whether or not you use it regularly (or at least for the same thing every year, like a favorite Christmas sweater) - if you don't get rid of it. Even if it's something beautiful, or it was on sale at an amazing price, or whatever excuse you're using to keep it in your closet, if you're not wearing it, you don't like it that much. And take a good look at what you do wear -do you gravitate towards a certain color palette, or a certain shape of pants or dress? Nothing wrong with that, that's your style, and it's ok to stick with it. I did a post at the start of 2015 with my wardrobe staples and will be doing another one soon (hint - it still looks pretty much the same as last year)! As you buy clothes throughout the year make sure to ask yourself if you really need it and if it works with what you already have. Many people like setting monthly clothing budgets and this is definitely a great idea if you're someone who does a lot of clothes shopping! My girl Fran (another fabulous blogging lady in medicine) just did a great post on setting a clothing budget if you want to read more!


And that's just about it for now! I hope some of you could find this post helpful as you start the new year! Wishing you a wonderful one!

December 26, 2015

Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale!

Hi all! Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday with your loved ones and had a beautiful Christmas for those of you who celebrate it! I just wanted to pop in quickly this morning and share some amazing sale finds from the Nordstrom Half Yearly sale that just started today! Hurry up because some of my favorite deals (like $90 Hunter boots) have already sold out in many sizes and colors! They won't last long! Happy shopping!



Shop the post by clicking any of the links below!!







December 21, 2015

Beauty Gifts and Stocking Stuffers

Hopefully by now most of us have gotten all of our holiday shopping out of the way, but if you're like me you still have a few small things to pick up! Today I'm sharing some of my favorite picks for beauty gifts that also make perfect stocking stuffers! I find that beauty gifts are almost always appreciated, everybody loves a little pampering!



I wouldn't recommend buying a brush gift set for a friend that would never wear makeup, but she may love a new perfume or a pretty moisturizing bar soap! A body brush is another great addition that helps with exfoliating and circulation, giving glowing skin (and some people even believe helping with cellulite, although I'm not quite sold on those claims). A sleep mask like this one would also be a fun stocking stuffer (and great for the friend that travels frequently or works third shift and has to sleep during the day)!

For the minimalist beauty lover (ie, they prefer good skincare and natural-looking makeup), this cheek stain gives a gorgeous glow, and although I was initially hesitant to use it on my lips thinking it might be drying, it's gorgeous (and not drying at all) on the lips as well! A great multi-tasker (and so pretty too)! These undereye gels are a fabulous treat that depuff like magic! This cleansing sponge is a great gentle exfoliator for the face, and even comes in a charcoal option for acne-prone skin. Speaking of acne-prone skin, this spot treatment has the blemish fighters (including salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and witch hazel). For legs and body that could use a little glow (so pretty much all of us in December!) this shimmer oil gives a beautiful sheen to legs! I love that it even blurs away some of the annoying tiny spider veins I started getting with this most recent pregnancy (it's totally just an optical illusion, but I'll take what I can get)! See some more ideas below!

Happy (and beautiful) gifting everyone!! Thanks to ShopStyle Collective and Anthropologie for sponsoring this post!

December 14, 2015

Gift Guide: Fitness Gifts


Here's to hoping N is going to see this post and get me these sneakers!! Lol! In all seriousness, though, loving all of these gift ideas for the person trying to stay active in your life - I think the watch may be the coolest! In my opinion so much nicer than the other fitness watches but still tracks so much in its accompanying app! It's priced pretty competitively as well! Any of you hoping for (or shopping for) fitness gifts this year? Would love to hear!

Or shop the post below! Happy gifting!


December 9, 2015

Macy's Friends and Family Sale!

Just checking in quickly to share some of my favorite picks (and biggest deals) from Macy's Friends and Family Sale! The sale ends soon, but almost everything is discounted right now, and on top of that everything on line is an extra 25% off with code FRIEND! Shop my picks below and save now - the sale ends Thursday!




Shop my picks by clicking any of the images below! 


December 7, 2015

Mild December Days

Just sharing some photos from a gorgeous 55 degree day (almost impossible to believe for a Massachusetts December)! I took the girls out in our double stroller and went to the water - I made sure to put Liv in her Hunters so she could run around the shore. It was fantastic!


Shop our looks below! Most everything is still on sale for the holiday season (especially Liv's stuff from Old Navy! Still 40% with code GIVING! My sneakers are $20 off with code IP265WTX, and my leggings are 25% off with code FRIEND!)



December 5, 2015

Elli's Birth Story

Happy weekend y'all! Today marks a week since we welcomed little Elli into our family! So crazy that we already don't know what we did without her! Her delivery was so much different than Liv's, and I can't believe how quickly my body has snapped back this time. Today I'm sharing her birth story! 


This whole pregnancy I've been saying that I was going to have a Thanksgiving baby (as opposed to the original due date of Dec. 10th). On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I went to sleep with pretty annoying contractions, but nothing major, but by 2am I woke up and couldn't fall back to sleep thanks to the contractions getting stronger and closer together; N woke up and we both hung out waiting for them to get even closer/stronger before heading into the hospital. Thankfully by 5am they let up, instead of progressing, so I went to clinic as scheduled and saw patients for the morning! And then I rushed home after and took all of the pictures I wanted to before baby arrived and finished packing my hospital bag thinking we were getting really close to her actually getting here!

Thanksgiving came and went with no events, I hosted it at my house since my family didn't want me traveling home (and the last thing I wanted was to be stuck in Thanksgiving traffic when I went into labor)! On Black Friday I had my 38 week OB appointment, Liv and I spent the afternoon playing at the park and then went in for my appointment - and to my surprise when the OB checked me I was already 3cm dilated. I knew this didn't mean much - I could have sat at 3cm dilated for another week and a half, but it did mean those contractions were doing something. That week I had been drinking this delicious third trimester tea that was supposed to get your uterus ready for delivery - who knows if it was a placebo effect or not, but I really do think it did something! The days I drank two cups (or steeped two bags at a time) I felt more contractions. At the very least in my mind it tasted delicious and was really calming to drink.

By Friday night I was a little more uncomfortable; N was working late at the hospital and his mom (who lives with us and is a huge help with Liv) was out of town at her other son's house for the Thanksgiving week. I pretty much threw on Christmas movies with Liv and camped out on the couch unable to do much more. I put her down by 9pm and tried laying down myself, but couldn't fall asleep because my uncomfortableness soon pronounced itself as straight up contractions. When N got home around 11 or 12 the contractions were already stronger and coming about every 15 minutes. By 1 they were coming every 7 minutes, and I decided this was probably gonna go down tonight. Then it hit me that although I had my hospital bag packed, I had nothing packed for Liv - bringing her when I went into labor was not part of the plan, but N's mom was out of town! So I waddled around the house frantically, pausing to bend over on hands and knees with each contraction, packing things up for Liv!

We drove to the hospital, I think we got there around 2am, and went straight upstairs - by the time I got there I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes and they were becoming pretty unbearable. They checked me and I was 6 cm dilated and very obviously in labor - they got a room ready for me immediately but could not get IV access - I had two blown IVs before they got a crappy 20 or 22 in me (a tiny needle that isn't ideal), and finally I could head to my labor room. By that point I was yelling with every contraction - as much as I wanted N to be there for me, I didn't want Liv there, so I had them stay out in the waiting room. When I got to my labor room the OB checked me again and I was already 9cm dilated. I never wanted to be that mean lady in labor, but I was pretty pissed that anesthesia wasn't there to give me my epidural yet; I yelled at them (more out of pain, not to try to be mean to them lol) to page anesthesia stat. I was not trying to miss my epidural window! They came not too long after and thankfully placed it without much difficulty, although the contractions were now one on top of the other and trying to sit hunched over without moving was so hard!

It took a while for the epidural to kick in, but eventually it did start to help, and I finally felt comfortable having Liv and N come into the room. I think that was more my fear - I think I could have delivered without an epidural, but it certainly would not have been quiet, and I would not have wanted Liv there (which means N couldn't be there either) - and that I wasn't ok with. So getting the epidural was more of a necessity so that I didn't have to deliver all alone. By now I was fully dilated and my water had already broken on its own not too long after I had gotten the epidural, but the baby was still a bit high up. I think I labored for about another half hour or so, and then when they checked me it was time I could start pushing! One of the downsides of the epidural is that if you have too much anesthesia you can't feel the contractions or focus the efforts of your pushing in the right spot - I made sure that the anesthesia was titrated down to the lowest setting so that I could still feel, but not be screaming in pain. So with every contraction I pushed, and thankfully Liv (who was wide awake that whole time) finally passed out on the couch in our room. After about a half hour of pushing, my nurse (who was absolutely amazing) had me put my hand down, and the baby's head was right there!

They had the OB come in to deliver the baby, and she came in with another OB as back up because of my history of shoulder distocia. The OBs gowned up, I pushed one more time and out came the head! But the baby did have the cord around her neck, and they couldn't decide if I should push again or if they should try loosening it before, I'm honestly not sure what they did but I soon pushed again and delivered the rest of the baby in one push! They put the baby right on my chest and N whispered that it was a girl and I pretty much bawled my eyes out. It was the most amazing feeling ever, I'm so happy we kept it a surprise!! They cleaned her up quickly and immediately gave her back to me and I just held her - no whipping her away to the NICU like they had to do for Liv. So much of this labor was so different from Liv's. I didn't even tear, which I was terrified of happening - last time the episiotomy really made the healing process so much longer, and the 24 hour labor and hours of pushing led to postpartum urinary retention and chorioamnitis and just a really tough time after having Liv. This time was just so different. We got to the hospital a little after 2am, and Elli was born at 5:30am.

The best part was Liv waking up when we moved to our postpartum room and us introducing her to her baby sister - she was half asleep and the most adorable kind of excited! And even better (and in stark contrast to Liv's delivery), N was able to stay with me the whole time (last time he still had to go to class while I was in the hospital). My mom came into town to watch Liv while we stayed at the hospital over the weekend, and we spent the time cuddling up in the bed with our brand new babe and ordering Indian and Italian takeout and watching movies on his laptop, and trying to come up with a name! And even more shocking to me, that same morning I was walking myself and using the bathroom myself and that night I took a shower - basically I felt like a human within the first day of delivering, something that took days and days the first time. I left the hospital walking (and carrying our bags lol, N carried the baby in her carseat and the rest of our bags) instead of in a wheelchair. And now one week after I feel pretty much back to completely normal, which is just so hard to believe! And I have two girls and an amazing husband (who also gets paternity leave - another fantastic thing) and I'm just soaking up this time with them; I couldn't be more thankful.


November 30, 2015

Cyber Monday (and a baby!)

Happy Monday everyone! Those of you who follow along on Instagram know that we've had a very eventful Thanksgiving weekend - early Saturday morning we welcomed our new baby girl to the family!!! Will be sharing her birth story on the blog soon, but we are all happy and healthy and ready to get home! In between cluster feeding and nurse visits and just loving on this new baby, today I'm quickly  sharing all of the best Cyber Monday sales with codes you need and some of my favorite picks!

Amazon // Huge discounts on nearly everything! 
NO CODE REQ
I've been eyeing this Kitchenmaid mixer that is $180 off today! That's almost 50% off!

Ann Taylor // 50% off everything!
CODE: EVERYTHING
This chunky cable knit cardigan looks heavenly!

Anthropologie // 25% off sale items + free shipping
CODE: XTRAGOOD
Pair this blue pullover with skinny jeans and OTK boots and you're set!

Banana Republic // 40% off everything!
CODE: BESTCYBER

Chicwish // extra 10-20% off!
CODE: CM20

Express // 50% off everything + free shipping!
NO CODE REQ
This coat with its removable faux fur collar is fabulous!

GAP// 50% off everything + free shipping!
CODE: BESTCYBER

GYMBOREE // 50%-75% off everything + free shipping (adorable baby/kids clothes)
NO CODE REQ (but get an extra $25 off $100 or more w/code EXTRA25)
This faux fur vest is killing me. 

J.Crew // at least 30% off everything + free shipping
CODE: MONDAY
This cashmere long sleeve tee is an extra 40% on top of an already discounted price!

LOFT // 50% off everything!
CODE: CYBER50

Macy's // At least 20% off everything + free shipping
CODE: CYBER
These marble and wood serving plates are absolutely gorgeous and end up dirt cheap!

Madewell // 25% off your entire purchase!
CODE: SHOPATWORK

Neiman Marcus // Up to 70% off items, plus earn up to a $500 gift card! 
CODE: GC4YOU

Nordstrom // up to 50% off select styles + free shipping and returns
NO CODE REQ
These gorgeous Calvin Klein ankle booties are now almost 50% off!

Old Navy // 50% off everything + free shipping!
CODE: BESTCYBER

ROMWE // up to 65% off site wide
CODES: CYBER55/60/65
Their scarf/poncho selection is insane. And at prices like $10-$20 I'm stocking up!

Shein // 40, 50, or 60% depending on amount spent
CODE: CM40/CM50/CM60
This long sleeve casual dress needs to be in my closet now. Only $15, before the discounts!

Target // Major deals online + 15% off everything
CODE: CYBER15
This $500 42 inch flat screen HDTV comes out to $254 with all the discounts!

Tory Burch // 35% off $250 or more!
CODE: THANKS

Victoria Secret // Buy 1 bra get 1 50% off + $20 off $125
CODE: DOUBLEUP // 20OFF125
Their cozy long robe is on major sale right now and I think I'm gonna have to buy it!! Would be sooo perfect for the next couple weeks at home with baby! 


Happy shopping everyone!!!


November 27, 2015

Black Friday Steals!

I hope you all had amazing Thanksgivings and are able to relax today! No fighting crowds for us, we're cozied up on the couch in our PJs drinking coffee and buying all of our Christmas gifts on MAJOR SALE! Here I rounded up some of my favorite picks and have a huge list of sales for you to pick from!!


HUGE LIST of amazing deals almost all ending today! 
In alphabetical order:

Amazon // 30% off select clothing , shoes, accessories, jewelry, and watches!
CODE: 30BLACKFRI

Ann Taylor // 50% off everything!
CODE: CELEBRATE

Anthropologie // Black Friday 25% off everything!
CODE: SHOPTOIT

Banana Republic // Half off sweaters and 40% off everything else!
CODE: BRFRIDAY

Chicwish // extra 20% off!
CODE: BLK20

Express // 50% off everything + free shipping!
NO CODE REQ

GAP// 50% off everything + free shipping!
CODE: BLKFRIDAY

GYMBOREE // 50% off everything + free shipping (adorable baby/kids clothes)
NO CODE REQ

J.Crew // Black Friday 30% your purchase + Extra 40% off sale
CODE: HOLIDAY

LOFT // Black Friday 40% off everything!
CODE: BF40

Macy's // Extra 20% off everything + free shipping
CODE: THANKS

Madewell // 25% off your entire purchase!
CODE: CALMDOWN

Neiman Marcus // $50 off select regular  price purchases of $200+ 
CODE: THANKFUL

Nordstrom // up to 50% off select styles + free shipping and returns
NO CODE REQ

Old Navy // 40-60% off everything in the store!
NO CODE REQ

ROMWE // at least 55% off site wide
NO CODE REQ

Shein // 40, 50, or 60% depending on amount spent
CODE: BF40/BF50/BF60

Tory Burch // 35% off $250 or more!
CODE: THANKS

Victoria Secret // Buy 1 bra get 1 50% off + $20 off $125
CODE: DOUBLEUP // 20OFF125

Happy shopping everyone!!!

Shop my favorites below!



November 25, 2015

On Giving Thanks (Perpetually)


As I scribble down endless to-do lists (really you guys should see the pages in my notebook) and prepare our home for guests tomorrow and draft up blog posts with Black Friday deals I get the sweetest little reminder to slow down - a strong kick from baby boy/girl followed by a little dance before he/she settles down again. I've somehow reached a spot in life where I have so many obvious things to be thankful for - heck it makes it easy to be thankful - a good job, an amazing husband, an awesome daughter and another beautiful life anxious to make its debut. It's almost safe to say that anybody could be thankful in a situation like my current one. But that's not what this post is about. This post is about before all of this happened, before it felt like I had won the lottery, before it felt like there was anything to be thankful for. This post is about searching for the light and always finding a reason to give thanks no matter how hard things seem to be, and I hope by sharing a bit of my life and some tips for practicing thanksgiving we can all remember to be a bit more thankful every day of the year.

Giving thanks boils down to having perspective. Although it felt like a curse at the time, I was blessed with perspective from a very young age. At various points in my life I've had family members murdered - as a result of gang violence or domestic violence - five family members to be exact, not including more distant relatives I never really got to know. My abuela, the woman who practically raised me, suffered a massive stroke unexpectedly, and just like that she didn't know who I was. Me, her Laurita. Gone. Even in high school, as petty as it sounded, I got tangled up with the wrong crowd and was getting into fights and lots of trouble, and I had friends that got shot or stabbed or did the shooting or stabbing and went to jail or lost their lives. My boyfriend of 7 years was a manipulative and controlling person who cheated on me who knows how many times. And as much as I would give to have those family members back or to have a high school experience that involved fully-funded SAT prep courses and trips to Paris or an understanding boyfriend instead, the perspective that they gave me has value that could never be measured. When things have been rough, it's hard to stress over things that don't really matter in the grand scheme of things. But it's hard to know what really matters in the grand scheme of things if you don't get the grand scheme. If you don't realize that life is never promised, if you don't know that we're not guaranteed any time on this Earth, and the time we do have sure isn't guaranteed to be all flowers and sparkles.

We have to work for our happiness, and constantly practice being thankful, searching for things that we do have instead of what we don't. Just like practicing the piano or learning how to do something for the first time, we have to actively work on being thankful before it can become second nature. I would never wish for tragedy or hard times to come upon anyone, although sometimes these are the best ways to reset our perspective and remind us to be thankful. But even after these many people tend to forget - how many funerals or hospital trips have you been to when family finally comes together and vow to do so more often, only to fall back into their regular routine of not talking within months? I get it, life gets busy. And now more than ever, with a real family of my own and a job and a house and responsibilities, I get it. But we should never be too busy to remember to practice giving thanks and to let it be known that we are thankful to whomever it may be.

Here are a few ways we can practice being more thankful:

  1. Keep a gratitude log. This sounds really corny, but I try every day, or at least after a particularly good day, to jot down those memories. It can literally be a text from N that made me smile from ear-to-ear, or something adorable that Liv said, or something a patient confided in me, but I have a running list on my notes app in my iPhone that I keep. And I go back through it all of the time, particularly at times when I'm upset or down. Maybe it's a protective mechanism some of us have built into our systems, but we tend to keep a mental tally of the bad things people do instead of the good things - these for some reason are more easily forgotten. Don't allow yourself to forget these things, these are what you want to fill your heart with. 
  2. Mind full or mindful - pick the latter. With our minds always running at a mile a minute and so much on our plates it's easy to feel frazzled and not notice any of the good things that happen. Practice being mindful when you can. During a busy commute on the train take your face out of your phone and actually look up - and maybe you'll notice the teen who gets up to offer an older lady his seat, or the woman who put her grocery bags down to help another woman get her stroller on the train. I don't know about you but this always makes me happy. Sure, there may also be little sh**head high schoolers in the back making a scene, but part of practicing mindfulness is purposefully choosing what to focus on. 
  3. Tell someone. If you appreciate what they did for you, or do for you, whether it be your mother or your boyfriend or just the guy bagging your groceries, tell them thank you. And mean it. We don't have a cap on the number of thank you's we can hand out throughout the day, there's an infinite supply, and there's no shame in giving them. For the strangers it's always a nice gesture, an act that will only make them more likely to continue doing whatever good you're thanking them for in the first place. And for the people who truly mean a lot to you it can mean everything. There is nothing worse than questioning whether or not you are appreciated. Than questioning whether or not someone even noticed. Try your hardest to never let someone feel that way around you. 
  4. You don't have to, you get to. I remember reading this somewhere (and of course I have no idea where) so I can't take any credit for it, but what a powerful tiny switch up to how we go about our day. You have to go to class, you have to go to work, you have to pick up these things from Target, you have to buy the kids presents, have to, have to, have to. How about you get to? Because not everyone can? You get to go to class, and get an education. You get to go to work, and make money and provide for your family. You get to go to Target and pick up necessities (and probably $100 extra of things you didn't really need). You get to.  
  5. Give it back. Although our schedules sometimes make this one the hardest to carry out, giving back doesn't always have to mean volunteering a day at the homeless shelter or organizing a toy drive (although these are amazing things that if you can work into your schedule, do it)! Sometimes it can be as simple as holding the door for someone or stopping your car in busy traffic to let a poor car in the other lane make their left turn. One of my favorite things to do is picking up the little snack a person has in line behind me in the hospital cafeteria - as residents we get a meal card that is automatically loaded with money each month, and although I don't do it all the time it's always nice to just buy the drink for the patient transport tech standing in line behind you. It's like a dollar, but it's just the random act of kindness that goes so far - for both parties. (I'm also incredibly privileged to be able give back to you guys my readers, in the form of these huge giveaways, three random winners will be selected tomorrow just in time for Thanksgiving)!
How do you guys practice thankfulness? I hope some of these tips can help you make it a more regular part of your everyday life and help in switching your perspective. Here's to a happier and healthier you and a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

November 23, 2015

We Can Do It All Giveaway

Happy Monday and Thanksgiving week!!! I've been leading you guys on for a while with talk of a giveaway, it's time I finally spill the beans! Not too long ago I hit the 50K followers mark on Instagram, and I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate that (and all of you amazing readers) then by hosting a huge giveaway! I've teamed up with some of my favorite shops who have all graciously donated goodies for this giveaway - or these giveaways I should say! I've found most of you tend to fall into at least one if not all of these categories below so I'm having a giveaway targeted to each - for my working women, my nonstop mamas, and my medicine women! You can enter all three giveaways if you like! Here are the details of each giveaway below and how to enter:

1. Working Woman Giveaway:



2. Nonstop Mama Giveaway:

SO many goodies to give away - and there will be one lucky winner for each giveaway - that means three winners!! So how to enter? This giveaway is being run exclusively over on my Instagram page, there you will find the giveaway images for each giveaway. Make sure you are following me and all of the shops involved in the giveaway and repost the image to your page with the hashtag #wecandoitallgiveaway. In order to see your entry, your profile shouldn't be private (for those of you who want to keep it private, just turn it public between 7 and 8am ET on Thanksgiving Day when I'll be randomly choosing winners). 

For one extra entry you can mention a friend in the comment of the photo, and for another entry make sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter that I'll be publishing soon! You can sign up here! Good luck everyone, and as always, thank you so much for reading and following along. 

November 21, 2015

Favorite Pre-Black Friday Sales



Just sharing a few amazing pre-Black Friday sales that are going on this weekend (some are today only)! I usually am not one to get into the hype of shopping in store, but these online deals are too good to pass up! 

  • GAP - cardholders get 50% off everything with code BFRIDAY 



  • Target isn't running too many of their storewide sales yet, but they are having a buy one get one 50% off sale on lots of items. They're also having a great sale on their Christmas decorations, which is exactly what I'm shopping for right now! Get an extra 10% with code 72HOURS (and if you spend $125 or more in home items you get 20% off automatically). All of their Christmas trees are also 15% off with code TREES (and some of their indoor Christmas stuff is 20% off with code TREES?) Honestly their sale is a little confusing but I'd just try using code TREES and code 72HOURS and see which gives you the better discount at checkout!!!

  • Pottery Barn is offering 20% off any one regularly-priced item today only! Use code SAVE20. I'm loving this faux fur blanket, would be so perfect for winter!

November 20, 2015

Maternity Leave While in Residency

Happy Friday y'all! Today marks a big Friday for me - I am finally done with my inpatient rotations and now have three months of elective time! I've been getting this question a lot, so I figured I could detail a bit of how I'm making "maternity leave" work during intern year. 


For starters, it helped that our timing actually worked out and we got pregnant at the end of fourth year - the worst first couple of months of pregnancy (first trimester for me) were spent not having to do much and just wait for graduation. I started intern year right at the start of my second trimester and thankfully by then my energy was coming back and I didn't feel as sick. Even more importantly, though, was that I was able to talk with my program director and my chief residents (residents in their last year of training who are responsible for a lot more of the administration side of residency - making schedules work and settling conflicts, etc.) before starting residency and make the schedule best work for having a baby. For me, that meant getting all of my overnight and "harder" rotations like ICU out of the way early. It also meant saving up all of my elective time for right around when the baby was due - that way no one has to cover me on an inpatient rotation while I'm gone.

By law, I can still take up to 3 months completely off for maternity leave (although only a month of it would be paid). Because of ACGME requirements, though, (the folks who oversee graduate medical education, ie residency training), any time over one month spent outside of the hospital is time I have to make up in the next training year. So let's say I did choose to officially take off December, January, and February, I could come back in March, but then instead of finishing in June like everyone else, I'd have to stay July and August as well making up that time off. Although to some mamas it sounds unfair, for training purposes it makes total sense. This isn't an option for me, though, because as soon as we finish our programs in June we have about a week to move down to Miami before starting our advanced 3-year residencies. So all of that to say, yes, residents can take 3 months of maternity leave like everyone else, but because of our training requirements much of that time has to be made up, and not all of us can afford to make it up.

So back to how I'm making it work. As part of our training we do get 3 months of elective time, and 3 weeks of vacation time that comes out of this. All of this is paid time. Elective months can be spent doing a research project, working in a more schedule-friendly primary care clinic or other outpatient clinic, etc. Depending on what you choose to do you're looking at a 2- or 3-day work week, or coming in every day but only in the mornings, and getting your weekends off with no call or overnight responsibilities. So for me, I'll be starting elective next week, working in a Spanish-speaking primary care clinic a couple of days a week, pretty much until I go into labor. When I go into labor I'll pretty much just inform my program director and chiefs that I'm taking my 3 weeks of vacation (and again, because I'm on elective no one has to cover me). And I will have to come back to the hospital after those 3 weeks are up, but it will be to a much nicer elective rotation again, where I'm sort of just coming in part time. After my three months of elective time I'll head back to the wards on an inpatient service again. I think that's as good as it gets for having a baby during intern year and I really couldn't ask for more! N will also get elective time in December and paternity time whenever I head into labor, so I couldn't be more thankful for that. And I have my mother-in-law, pretty much the godsend of intern year, who'll be taking care of both babies while I'm away. I spoke a little more about this arrangement (and all of the other childcare options we've been through) in this post here! She's just as excited (if not more excited) than I am to add our second seat to our stroller that I just got for the baby shower! Can't believe we're about to be living that double stroller life lol!

November 19, 2015

Feeling sexy at 9 months

Happy Thursday! Today just sharing a super quick (slightly scandalous, at least for me) outfit that I wore last week! I don't think I mentioned it on the blog, but Wednesday was N's 30th birthday, and he didn't it, but Friday I had organized all of our closest friends to get together for dinner and a celebration after! Even one of his best friends who's in the middle of busy residency in Chicago flew in for it!! It was the most amazing surprise and I loved seeing N so blown away and happy. Anywho, although I didn't join them out for the after party (I had to wake up at 5 on Saturday for my long call shift) I did still get a little dressed up for the dinner party. I searched for a while for a top that would accommodate my bump but also make me feel sexy - and this one was perfect! It's non-maternity, but anything made in a stretchy fabric and with ruching can always work even for a 9 month belly! 

Top (here)
Leggings (here)
Boots (here)

And random home goodies that aren't thrifted (pretty much everything else is!):
Lamp (almost exact here)
Deer head (here, and now $8)! 

November 18, 2015

Just a Little Rant


I love that I somehow have become a source of inspiration for so many amazing young women - especially since after graduating from HMS and balancing a family - it motivates me to hear how I motivate you, if that makes sense at all! But a reader recently pointed out a forum online (forums are usually the source of all things negative on the internet lol) where women (some of whom claim to know me? But obviously are not women who know me) were bashing me for "hiding" my true relationship story with N and trying to make the start of it look "perfect," and for some reason I feel like I should say something about it.

I usually don't address things like that on here because quite honestly it's nobodies business and I share what I choose to share. But I also love sharing when it could potentially help someone else, so for that I'll only slightly address it lol. Because at the end of the day I get the question all of the time - how are you so happy, how do you keep a healthy relationship, how do you find motivation - and the root answer to most of those questions is (in as nice a way as possible to say it lol), I don't care what other people think (for the most part, but let's be real we all care a little bit) and I don't focus on the past. And I'm hoping that I can convince you all to care a little less and not focus on your past as well.

So for those of you who likely don't know since you arrived at my blog well after all of this, or those who think they do know, yes I had a boyfriend through the first 2 years of medical school who was not N, and yes we happened to be high school classmates, but we only started dating at the beginning of medical school (to address the people who claimed we were "high school sweet hearts"). I actually had a different boyfriend in high school and college, that horrible abusive relationship I alluded to in a previous post. Yes I deleted the blog posts that included that boyfriend, the same way most people delete pictures of their ex from their Facebook profile pictures or anything else. And yes I deleted posts that initially addressed any of that when it first happened, not to make my story look more perfect, but because I was applying to residency and anything too personal got taken off the blog because people who were going to be deciding the outcome of my future career could see it. In the deleted post where I had shared briefly about our story, these "women" couldn't believe that N and I were actually best friends throughout medical school, because I had never posted about him before. I don't know about you guys, but in my previous relationship, my boyfriend at the time would not have been happy about me posting pictures of another guy - I think that's common sense. I think it's also common sense that I don't share every person in my life or all of the events in my life just because I have a blog and choose to share some things. They also couldn't believe that Liv was actually "planned." And I scratched my head, where have I ever said that Liv was 100% planned? As much as conceiving her wasn't an accident, she certainly was a surprise. N and I made the choice to stop using birth control in hopes that we'd eventually get pregnant, but eventually being like a year or two. I had been on birth control since high school and honestly didn't even know if I could get pregnant, so we figured we'd give it some time and eventually it would happen by residency. To our surprise we got pregnant the first month off of birth control! Which ended up being perfect timing, because we made it perfect timing. There's more I could address (like whether or not we're actually black, wtf?), but I honestly just don't think it's worth it.

I share all these super personal things again not because I feel like I need to explain anything (those who were writing negatively about me had already "sworn off" my blog because I was now being "fake" anyway lol), but because I think sharing some of the drama and imperfections is what should be inspiring about our story (and what usually gets left out, not in an effort to make it look perfect, but in a very purposeful attempt to only focus on the positive). Life isn't perfect, things don't go as planned, people are gonna talk crap behind your back or on internet forums, and that's perfectly fine. As I always like to say, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react. I am happy because I fight to be happy. I am where I am because I left people behind who I didn't need, who held me back, and instead chose to surround myself only with a small circle that truly cares and is moving forward with me. And I really hope that you as young women can learn to do the same. It's a shame that many women do such a horrible job of respecting other women's relationship decisions (or life decisions in general for that matter). No woman should fear leaving a relationship that they know isn't right for them because what another person may think, especially other women.

And if folks wanna pop off (please watch this if you haven't seen it yet haha) let them find a plan for your life. Because I can guarantee you they won't. So do what's right for you and keep it moving!

November 16, 2015

Baby Shower - the second time around

When my closest girlfriends and mom/MIL brought up throwing a baby shower for me I scoffed at the idea - you don't do a baby shower if you already had one for the first! We already have most of the things we need, we're just slowly pulling them out of storage, I told them. I kept being super difficult about it until they finally forced me to give them a few dates that worked for something small. Of course, dates that work are few and far between right now, so Sunday ended up being the day. I'm in the middle of a 12 day stretch of working with no days off (work all week, then long call on Saturday - meaning you work from 7am ~ 10pm, then post-call Sunday - meaning you work 7am ~ 1 or 2 or 5 lol, and then today (Monday) I still come in and work until Friday. This is the dreaded "black weekend" most residents know about and the weekend we decided worked the best for it haha! But hey you have to squeeze it in somewhere!

As tired as I was, my resident and I busted a** to get out of the hospital by 1, I actually went and got a pedicure (the first time probably in this entire pregnancy) and came home and took a quick half hour nap while Liv napped. I woke up to my girlfriends and moms cooking and getting the house ready and once I was dressed we soon enjoyed the prettiest, coziest post-call baby shower a girl could ever ask for. It was amazing and I am so so thankful for all of the effort that all of these amazing ladies put in - from all of the handmade decorations, to the delicious food and desserts, and of course the gifts (especially Liv's special big sister bag)! And most importantly time just spent catching up with the ladies I love most. Scroll below for more pics from the afternoon! 

And obviously we all stayed in our socks. The best way to spend a post-call afternoon ❤

My outfit details:
Tank (here - seriously going to buy them in every single color - they are non-maternity but super stretchy and purposefully longer length so perfect for layering - and $3...)
Cardigan, c/o (here)
Leggings (here)
Socks (here, buy 1 get 1 50%)

PS - check out this post for pics from my first baby shower for Ms. Liv!

November 13, 2015

Professional Bump

Happy Friday! Just sharing a quick work look I snapped on my phone before heading to the hospital! Love this Brass dress because it's sleeveless (but no spaghetti straps) so it's a perfect layering piece - our workroom in the hospital is always a sauna! But when I go to patient rooms I can easily toss on my white coat and feel comfortable. And when it's time to head outside I can toss on my coat and feel perfect! 


Outfit details:
Brass Column Dress, c/o (here)
Shein Coat, c/o (here - and on sale for just over $30!!)
Watch (here)
Shoes (here)
Glasses (here)

PS ladies - I've got a HUUUUUGGGGGEEEEE giveaway coming up. I'm talking hundreds and hundreds (likely thousands) of dollars worth of goodies. From Brass, Daniel Wellington, Solly Baby, just to name a few. You don't want to miss this! Make sure you're following on Instagram @LauraLacquer for when I announce it!

November 10, 2015

Perfect OTK boots on sale!

I'm thinking just a couple more outfit posts with the bump, we're just about hitting the 9 month mark so our days are numbered! 


Outfit details:
Plaid top (here)
Maternity jeans (here)
Coat (here)
Compression socks (here)
Watch (here)
Boots (here*)

These boots are my favorite and still working for me during pregnancy! See below for a few nonmaternity looks with them and a great deal on them right now!


These original boots are still on crazy sale on heels.com (and an extra 10% off with code EXTRA10), but only in very limited sizes. 

I just found that Aldo essentially released the exact same boot this season but with one slight update - a back tie that looks amazing! Otherwise they're the exact same boot in the exact same shade released by Aldo! They're available directly on Aldo's website but also on Amazon - and Amazon is having a huge 20% off Veteran's Day sale right now, so you get almost $50 off the price of the boots with code 20VETERANS!! 

Happy shopping ladies!

November 8, 2015

Coat Weather

Can't believe we're already into November! The weather has surprisingly stayed relatively mild but today it was definitely chilly enough for coats! We stayed super casual in our tees and sneakers to play at the playground and toss around some leaves while it's still light outside! Now post daylight savings it's dark by 4pm! 


Random, but our outfit totally made me realize I need matching white chucks like Liv's! The realist in me knows I won't get much use out of them as winter will be here in no time, but the bargain-hunter in me also knows that they will be so much cheaper if I buy them now then come spring time!

My outfit details:
Tee (here)
Maternity jeans (here)
Shein Coat, c/o (here - and on sale for just over $30!!)
Watch (here)
Sneakers (here)

Liv outfit details:
Sweatshirt (here)
Jeans (here)
Coat (almost identical, here)
Sneakers (here)
Headband, c/o (here)

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

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