blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: May 2014

May 23, 2014

Floral Kimono

Happy Friday everyone! Last night N, Liv and I joined a friend for dinner out - here's what I wore!

Forever 21 Floral kimono (similar here) and tank (here), thrifted Levi's jeans (similar here), thrifted braided belt (similar here), Zara heels (similar here), American Apparel charm necklace (here)

I hope you all have wonderful Memorial Day weekends and as always thank you so much for reading!

May 21, 2014

How to Deliver a Great Presentation

I recently got back from a trip to New Mexico with Liv and my mom for a conference where I was invited to give an oral and poster presentation. If there's one thing I enjoy in my work life, it's delivering a presentation (thankfully there are more than just one though). Don't get me wrong, I usually prefer to be in the background working quietly, but when I'm given the opportunity to stand up in front of an audience - representing myself, my lab, my team, or whomever has vouched for me - I feel like I have to knock 'em dead. Here are some tips so that you can do just that when asked to give your next presentation.

  1. Be an expert in something small. If given the chance to actually choose what you're going to do your presentation on, choose something narrow and specific. Sure melanoma is incredibly interesting, but entire courses could be taught on melanoma - it's much too broad a subject for a short talk (even an hour lecture isn't enough to cover it). Instead, choose something like new treatments for melanoma, or diagnostic challenges in melanoma, etc. If you're presenting your own research this sort of takes care of itself as most of us work in very small niches. 
  2. Know your audience. This is probably the hardest part of giving a poster presentation, when anyone can walk up to your poster (just recently in New Mexico I presented to a 2nd year medical student who knew pretty much nothing about anything at all on my poster, then the next few minutes presented to the chair of a big name dermatology department who is essentially the God of our field - they were even in the work I referenced - I gave 2 completely different presentations)! Other than this case, though, most of the time you can predict the level of knowledge your audience will have. If you can't, it's usually safer to assume they know less and you can include a little more background. 
  3. Know your stuff. Having a narrow topic will definitely help with this. Read all you can about your topic without taking notes, this will help you get comfortable with the literature in your area and get a feel for what you can talk about. Then read again taking specific points you think you may want to use in your talk. You will use these notes to generate your outline, so it's better to have more than what you think you may need. 
  4. Develop an outline. Whether you're giving a powerpoint, chalkboard, or poster presentation, this will be the skeleton for your talk. I like to type this up on a computer so that I can easily cut and paste things as I reorganize for better flow and transition points. From this outline, you can then make your actual presentation. If you're making a powerpoint, make sure not to include too much text in your presentation - included text should be prompts for your talking points, not for the audience to have to read. 
  5. Write out your talking points. If you've typed them up already, this will be easy - but I literally write down everything I want to say (ie, good afternoon, I'd like to thank the organizers for the opportunity to present... and on and on). If giving a powerpoint talk, add these notes to each slide. You can then export it as a pdf and open it on your smart phone for practicing anywhere. 
  6. Practice practice practice!!! I practice my talks so much that a week before the talk I can give the presentation without any slides or notes - just reciting it off memory. When you actually present, of course, you don't want to sound like you're reciting. But knowing it cold like this will help you feel more comfortable up in front of a crowd and make it less likely that you'll be thrown off if someone interrupts with a question. Sometimes we don't have the luxury of enough time to actually practice what we want to say (ie, your attending asks you Monday evening to give a talk on Tuesday morning), but still try to do your best to get through all of these steps and have time to at least practice what you're going to say once or twice). Practice actually talking out loud so you'll pick up on things that don't sound right like all of your "uhs" or the fact that you talk too fast (the things I usually have to work on). 
  7. Never read from notes. You can refer to notes, but no one enjoys watching someone reading from a paper. A few weeks back I had to give a presentation for journal club and no matter how many times I practiced I couldn't for the life of me remember the name of this protein they were assaying (it was like a 6 word name where 4 of the words all sounded the same), so when printing out my notes I bolded that word and highlighted it so I could easily refer to it whenever it came up in the presentation. 
  8. Knock 'em dead! As much as I enjoy the opportunity to present, I still feel like I'm going to pass out and/or vomit in the hours/minutes leading up to my talk. This is ok. We all get nervous. When I actually walk up there, though, I take a deep breath and get to business. All the nerves go away and I own it. So accept the nerves, know that you're prepared, and own it!! 
I really hope you can find some use in this system for preparing and delivering a good presentation. Would love to hear your experiences and what works/doesn't work for you in the comments section below!

May 18, 2014

Easy Summer Skin

I get a lot of questions about my skin care routine, so here are the products I'm loving right now, especially as we start to get into warmer weather!

For a gentle morning and evening cleanser I use La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Gel, and at night I follow with their Effaclar serum. For daytime, I skip the serum (twice a day caused me to peel a bit) and go straight to Neutrogena's oil-free moisturizer for sensitive skin. I pat a bit of Dermadoctor's Photodynamic Therapy Liquid Red Light Eye lotion around my eyes - an area I used to be able to ignore - but the bags under them are real now! I'm still using the sample size I got as you really only need a tiny bit (I've had it for almost two months now!) For daily sun protection and evening out my skin a bit I apply Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Glow Sheers Illuminating tinted moisturizer with SPF 30. I absolutely love this stuff - it doesn't feel like I'm wearing anything and just looks like a better version of my real skin! I will warn you that it smells a lot like sunscreen (which I'm ok with, especially during the summertime), and seems a little shiny when you first apply, but this goes away within a few minutes and you're left with gorgeous skin! I do have to use an undereye concealer just to lighten up that area a bit - for that I use Covergirl Smoothers Concealer. Finally, I skip any other makeup entirely and just brush my eyebrows, filling them in a bit with the dark brown shade in this Revlon Colorstay palette. I love this palette because 1) it's the perfect brown for my brows, and 2) if I have some extra time and actually want to do eye makeup this makes for the perfect daytime smoky eye. And there you have it! All the products I use - from washing my face to the final grooming of the brows this takes me less than 5 minutes in the morning - about all I have with Liv haha!

May 5, 2014

Books for the Wards

Happy Monday all!! I hope you all had wonderful weekends! Last Med School Monday I shared some tips for transitioning to the clinical years, today I'm sharing all of the books I found helpful for each clinical rotation! Please feel free to share your own experiences in the comments section below or ask any questions!!

Medicine: If you like bigger books with more text, lots of people recommend Step-Up to Medicine. I personally couldn't get through a book like that (with seemingly no end of bullet points), I preferred Case Files Internal Medicine. With case-based books like this, I could assign myself I few cases to get through each evening or based on what I saw in the wards and really try to master the work up for those. Rapid Interpretation of EKG's is a must. Pocket Medicine is also great for when you're actually wondering what to do next in the clinical management of a patient. At least in our hospitals it's what almost all of the interns and residents use (besides UpToDate).

Surgery: NMS Surgery Casebook was excellent for working through cases and learning principles of surgical management, great for the shelf exam. Surgical Recall was a necessity for being in on actual surgeries and getting pimped on what's the most likely vessel to get injured when doing x operation or what percentage of patients have y anatomy. I actually had a pdf version that I used on my phone so that I  could quickly read it in pre-op. Also, if you can get your hands on a pdf copy of Pestana's notes, they're amazing (just google Pestana notes surgery).

Ob/Gyn: Case Files Ob/Gyn is where it's at. I literally only used this and it was all I needed. We were recommended some text book that I'm forgetting now because I opened it and just laughed at the thought of reading it.

Pediatrics: Blueprints Pediatrics is usually recommended for Peds and it's pretty sufficient. I actually had a copy of Kaplan's Pediatrics review for Step II and thought it was amazing, if you can get your hands on a pdf copy of this I highly recommend.

Psychiatry: First Aid for Psychiatry was actually the perfect book for Psych. It's a quick rotation with lots of pharmacy, and they're format was really good for memorizing the different categories of disorders and the treatments.

Neurology: Neurology PreTest is great. All I used and what most of my classmates used as well.

Make sure to remember that most of the real learning that will stick happens from your actual patients that you see while on rotations, so try your best to read up on your patients to get the most out of it! Don't stop there though, talk to your patients and learn from their actual experiences. You will not only learn more but you will most definitely make the patients feel like someone actually listened to them, which sadly does not seem to happen as often as it should.
If you have the extra cash, subscribing to USMLE World's Step 2 Qbank would be really worthwhile, too. If not for the whole year, at least during your medicine rotation and try to get through all of the medicine questions. It will definitely help for your shelf exams and when it comes time to study for Step 2. Good luck to all of you heading to the wards, you'll be great!!
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