blank'/> A LITTLE BIT OF LACQUER: 2018

October 13, 2018

Fall Nails

Want to get back into sharing little things that I get asked all the time and stopped posting about on the blog (really just posted on Instagram), but it's hard to search for things I've shared there! So i'm getting back to my roots and blogging more! Super excited because I've been working really hard on a new blog, so stay tuned for that announcement coming later this month!!!

For now, I'm sharing this color I recently did my nails - obsessed!! It's the perfect dark tan to almost chestnut brown and just gets me in the fall mood! It's OPI A Piers to be Tan and I've loved this shade for years!

Nail polish linked here (with prime shipping) and here (no prime shipping but 10% off) 

Another close shade to this is OPI The Isabelletway!

For those who may have missed my post on how I do my home "gel" manis (posted way back in maybe 2015?) here's a quick rundown (I try to stay away from true gel manicures as I've seen some horrible reactions now as a dermatologist and permanent nail damage)

  1. File and shape nails, wash and dry. 
  2. Apply base coat of Gelous polish (this is a strengthening polish that has keratins and cellulose to naturally strengthen the nails without acrylate products - it's definitely helped me grow my nails!)
  3. Apply coat of nail color polish.
  4. Apply another coat of Gelous polish.
  5. Apply 2nd coat of nail color polish.
  6. Apply one last coat of Gelous polish.
  7. Top with Seche Vite polish (apply to still wet nails, do not wait to dry).
As I type that out it sounds like a lot, but I barely give any drying time in between coats (just the time it takes me to finish both hands). With the Seche Vite as a top coat my nails really are dry to touch within a couple of minutes and completely dry (like I can go to sleep and not wake up to destroyed nails) within a half an hour, plus have a beautiful shine. The best part is that with this routine my nail polish really does last at least 2 weeks (through all of our clinic hand-sanitizing and washing) without chipping at all. Usually after a week I'll add a fresh coat of Seche Vite to get the shine back, but that's about it!

October 8, 2018

Clinic Shoes - Patent and Studded

Happy Monday! Headed to clinic today but snapped a quick shot of the shoes I have been loving the last couple of weeks! 

My requirements for a good clinic shoe are that they are comfortable, able to be worn all day while I run from room to room, and stylish. These fit the bill and were a good deal at under $70

Leggings (size XS short - crazy steal at $22)  //  Top (size S)  //  White coat (size XS)
Flats (size 6.5, fit true to size)

Also including my outfit info above! For clinic one of my easiest pairings is professional looking leggings with a tunic (and comfy flats)! This goes really well with a white coat on top! 

PS - Please excuse the dark background, lol, staying at my parents' house while I work with a few dermatologists up in the Northeast!

October 7, 2018

Spooky kid-friendly sleepover treats

Happy weekend! I'm still on a high from an incredible girls weekend I hosted here at my parents' house in Massachusetts! I had my best friends over and all of the kids (all girls too lol) and we had some halloween themed fun! 

For dinner I stocked up on frozen personal pizzas and we decorated them - I think the mummy was my favorite (and I love extra cheese so it tasted the best) - but we made ghosts and jack-o-lantern faces too using cut up cheese and pepperoni! It would be fun to add black olives and use those as hair and make a vampire or something else as well! It would definitely be nice to make the pizzas from scratch, but we had a full night of activities planned so I used my absolute favorite frozen pizzas (and I've tried a ton - these are great to have on hand in the freezer)! 

As our pizzas baked in the oven we got together our sugar cookies! Again, sure, it'd probably be nice to make these from scratch - but for us the fun was in decorating them not making everything from scratch! So I used this pre-made dough (they taste delicious, plus no preservatives, artificial flavors, or dyes), and then just sprinkled flour on our cutting board and hands to roll new balls. I found that 2 of their "squares" rolled together made the perfect size to flatten and cut into our own shapes! We found these adorable cookie cutters for our ghost and pumpkin shapes (only $2.99 and they came with a candy corn too we just didn't use those)! 

Our pizzas were done in 20 minutes and we started eating those, with apple cider to drink (hard cider for the non-pregnant adults lol)! We used clear glasses and these eyeball ice cubes I had made earlier in the day (another cheap find that the girls LOVED)! 

Finally it was time to decorate our cookies after letting them cool down a bit. I had made the royal icing earlier in the evening and stored the different colors in zip-lock bags - the recipe is really easy - just 2 cups of confectioners sugar, 2 egg whites, and a 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract - and scale up as needed! I split them up into smaller bowls and then added a couple drops of food coloring to get our orange and green!


The girls absolutely loved decorating their cookies (the frosting was really fun, but the sprinkles and candy eyes were the best part - loved this bottle of sprinkles because it included eyes)! They would have decorated cookies all night lol! 

I hope you enjoyed this post - tag me on social media if you use any of these ideas - I LOVE seeing how you all make it your own! 

October 3, 2018

Productivity Hacks

Now more than ever I need help when it comes to getting time to getting to my never-ending to-do list. But when I am blessed with that time (and trust me it feels like a blessing), I was having a hard time actually using that time to be productive and start tackling the things on my list! These are some hacks that have been GAME CHANGERS in terms of increasing my productivity and I hope they can help you too! None of them are novel ideas, they're all pretty much variations of things I've done in the past, but it's amazing how little shifts can increase productivity!

  • Lists lists and lists (but not *too* many) - lists keep everything accounted for so I don't have to remember so much off the top of my head. I use these daily pages for my daily to-do list and jotting down times/appointments/meetings on the right side. They are thick pages and the best quality I've found - my favorite. The back is a grid layout "braindump" that is perfect for random notes (I find my mind needs that empty space to right things out that may not fit any place particularly *yet*). 
  • Use alarms. I'm embarrassed to show you my alarms on my phone. So I'm not lol. But I have at least 30 alarms in there. While my mind (and sanity) need everything written out as above, once I actually get my day going, it's rare that I actually have time to reference the sheet! Anyone else have that problem? So one thing I do (particularly for things that should be done by a certain time), is set alarms for my to-dos. So I'll set an alarm at 9am to send an email, an alarm at 11:55am that I have a conference call at noon, an alarm at 5:20pm to get ready to leave to get the girls -you get the idea! It might seem crazy but when you get to a certain level of busy this trick is a LIFESAVER. 
  • Set a timer. When I actually have an hour or two (or even a rare whole afternoon) of free time, this is when this hack becomes critical for me. If you guys have read my productivity posts before then you know this is nothing new (based off of the Pomodoro technique)! What is new though is the app I use that helps me organize things even more. I recently started using the BeFocused app (not gonna lie picked it because I loved the colors) but thankfully it's also proven to be a very powerful little timer app (even if you don't pay for the upgraded version - I use the free version and the ads aren't too bothersome at the bottom). With this app I can set my designated time to work (small chunks are how I get to work) - so I set it for 15 minutes and GET TO WORK! A few things about this app that I really like that take it above my usual timer I was using on my phone
    • Break up a large task (like "make powerpoint presentation" - which is a huge task) into many small, identifiable steps. In the pic below you can see the start of my presentation, which I broke down into multiple tasks that you can list in the app. This makes even the most daunting to-do's feel manageable (after all, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a simple step).
    • Built in chronometer with sound. You guys may remember I love white noise (and this is still my favorite study/productivity "music"). But nothing says "get your a** to work" like a ticking timer. This might be too stressful for some, but for me sometimes when I'm really having a hard time I put this feature on and it really turns on my productivity! 

  • The right soundtrack. I mentioned the chronometer above for when I really need to light a match! But my usual preference is white noise (there are plenty of apps and playlists and youtube videos with tons of options for white noise). When it's break time, I switch to something motivating and upbeat and very likely inappropriate for work (think Two Chainz, Pitbull, and the likes). This always keeps me going! Get asked about my bluetooth headphones all the time, these are the ones I use (and that are photo'd above). 
  • Snacks and staying hydrated. This one gets forgotten easily, but never underestimate the power of staying fueled! I like to remember to drink water (this is the stainless steel water bottle I usually have with me) and have high protein snacks within reach - protein bars (these are my favorite), P3 packs (recently did a collaboration with them and I'm even more in love), and my chia pudding/overnight oats (mentioned the recipe in this post)!

I hope these tips helped!!!

October 2, 2018

A Little Pampering with L'Occitane

Finding time to actually treat and pamper myself is something I have always struggled with - it was of course easier as a single college student (though even then as a bright-eyed pre-med I had so many things I thought I should be working on instead), but now as a full-time resident physician (with board-certification exams approaching), wife, mom of 3, and blogger, there are literally a dozen things at any one time I can convince myself I should be doing instead of treating myself.

But I've figured out that one of the easiest ways for me to get better about self-care and building in "treat" time is to truly make it a part of what I already do everyday. So in the morning instead of having my first cup of coffee while scrolling through emails and prepping lunches (which I eventually do), I start with my first few sips outside on my balcony just taking in the fresh air and views. And at night, I've transformed my nightly skin routine into a truly pampering experience (really hitting the reset button)!

I've started using L'Occitane's Immortelle Overnight Reset Oil-in-Serum, and it feels like such an indulgent step in my nightly routine. And the true bonus is that in the morning my skin is glowing and refreshed (even without the recommended amount of sleep, though I'm trying to work on that too)! I love that this serum really helps combat all of the stresses from the day - both mentally and environmentally! From their website, here are the top 3 active ingredients:

  • Immortelle Essential Oil, encapsulated in golden bubbles, is known for its anti-aging properties and helps fight visible signs of aging.
  • Acmella Oleracea extract is known for its immediate smoothing properties.
  • Marjoram extract helps reawaken skin for a radiant and refreshed glow.

Another bonus step I've started incorporating is cleansing with their Shea Butter Cleansing oil (it's literally like a face massage every night) prior to washing with my normal gentle cleanser. Both of these have really made my nightly skin care routing something I look forward to after getting the girls to sleep! Stay tuned over on Instagram where I'll be giving away these L'Occitane products and more to one lucky follower!

Shop this post below!

September 24, 2018

Morning Power Hour

I get asked all the time about how to become a morning person and how to make mornings a productive time. Mornings have almost always been my most productive time – something about just waking up, making a cup of coffee, and having the rest of the world still asleep – just me alone watching the sunrise. And then I had kids. And the rising sun laughed at me as I struggled to maintain the sanctity of my mornings and also get myself and three kids 4 and under ready to get out of the house.

It’s taken me years to feel like I’m back into a routine (so new moms, be kind to yourselves)! But I finally feel like I have my mornings again - though still not like my pre-children mornings, and that’s ok. Today I’m sharing five tips to turn your morning routine into a Power Hour – so let’s jump right in!

  1. Make your bed. It helps that Nathan is out of bed before I wake up otherwise making the bed gets difficult! I wake up dying to press the snooze button over and over again just like anyone else, but one of the most important things I do is just get up and out of bed, and immediately make the bed. Once I do this I get rid of the impulse to hop back in! More importantly, this small act starts your day off right, giving you a sense of accomplishment and really setting yourself up to be more productive for the rest of the day. For me it also helps declutter my mind (and space) and makes me feel more at peace. If you haven’t listened to the viral video by Admiral McRaven I highly suggest you go listen! Right after I make my bed I make my cup of coffee (not included on this list but a critical part of my routine)!
  2. Power mantra + power list. It may sound silly, but having a power mantra can really get you excited and feeling empowered for whatever the day may bring. I actually have my desktop background on my computer set to my current power mantra -"You have what it takes" – and I see this and repeat it as soon as I sit at my desk. I open my calendar and planner, sip my coffee, and make a power list for the things that need to be done that day. I typically spend a little more time Sunday nights making a big to-do list for the entire week, that way each morning I can simply pick and choose from that list what I need to get done for that particular day. Writing it all out and having a grasp over what has to get done that day really makes me feel on top of everything and more-than-capable of completing things (even though I don’t always)! Usually by this point at least one of the girls is awake and ready to eat. 
  3. Eat a good breakfast. I’m sure all of our mothers and grandmothers told us this, so I guess I’ll just echo it! We love breakfast and it’s a great way to start our day right (all of my girls and myself are prone to becoming “hangry” so food is critical to our morning success)! Some of our favorite easy breakfasts include instant oatmeal, overnight oats & chia, and hard-boiled eggs that I make in bulk during the weekend (all take less than a minute)! After our breakfast, I take a vitamin and have now started adding in a probiotic as well. Did you know that our gut not only has one of the largest numbers of our immune cells, but it also has a huge microbiome of its own made up of bacteria – there are more bacterial cells in our body than human cells!! Now more and more research is emerging on the role this bacterial community makes up in our health – last fall an incredible paper came out on the role of “good bacteria” in responses to immune therapy for metastatic melanoma, and data continues to build for other disorders like atopic dermatitis. I think it’s still too soon to make any claims (the scientist in me needs more rigorous data), but this is an incredibly exciting area of medicine! We do know that probiotics support digestive health and our immune systems, and are suggested to also affects mood, memory, sleep, and even kids’ development! So we decided to add them regularly! We’re currently using Renew Life Extra Care 30 Billion Probiotics because they have 3 times more good bacteria in every capsule compared to the leading probiotic brands. A strong probiotic helps build a strong gut so thanks to Renew Life Probiotics we start each day off strong.  
  4. AM playlist. Music is therapy for me, and the same way movies have soundtracks, so does my morning routine. I like silence first thing, but once everyone is awake, we get the music going. The kids (even Ro) recognize the songs and it really reinforces our routine of breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth and hair, and getting out the door! Once we’re in the car the girls get to pick the playlist for the drive (it really changes the whole mood and makes everyone happier). And once I’ve got the kids to school, I put on my own playlist of potentially-not-so-kid-friendly music that gets me pumped up for my day at work! Those of you who watch my instastories know what I’m talking about!
  5. Roll with the punches. This is probably the biggest thing I’ve learned since having kids, and the most important part of ANY routine. Things happen, especially with kids, but remembering that it's our reaction to those things and not the things themselves that set the tone for the rest of the day is incredibly important! Having a break from the routine does not mean we have to throw the whole routine out of the window! So often we have this all-or-nothing mentality and if things don’t go as planned we call it a failure, but one of the keys to success (in general or just in getting out of the door in the morning) is learning to roll with the punches and keep going! 

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and are ready to make your own Power Hour out of your morning routine! I’d love to hear what your power hour tips are.  You can join the #PowerHour discussion on Instagram and Twitter and share your tips to maximize the morning routine for a chance to win a Renew Life Power Hour Kit and other great prizes.  All you have to do is follow @RenewLife on Instagram or Twitter and post a picture or video of your morning routine with #PowerHour, #Sweeps.

Thanks to Renew Life for teaming up on this post and inspiring me to write about our mornings! As always thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

September 4, 2018

Keeping Home Smelling Fresh Without Aerosols

I LOVE a clean home, and part of that is not only having a space for everything, but also making sure our home smells fresh! I used to love candles and other room sprays, but as I’ve learned more about fragrances (heck, our workplace is “fragrance-free” we have so many patients with allergies and sensitivities) and aerosols, I’ve been on the hunt for a product that can keep my home smelling fresh but also felt safe and less-irritating for my family! We recently got a package of Febreze One fabric mists to try and we are officially converts (and if you don’t believe me, check out all of the reviews over on Amazon)!

I love that this has a light fresh scent (all 3 scents - bamboo, orchid, and mandarin - are lovely) but is never overpowering, and most importantly has no aerosols or dyes! And the girls love how easy it is to spray around the house with a unique nozzle and ultra-fine mist. As they get older I’m slowly easing them into more small chores around the house and they happily ask to “spray” the house after we’ve cleaned! It’s literally one of their favorite things and they have to decide who gets to spray which room!

While I love that everything is more natural, just as important to me and our busy/crazy/dirty family is that the product actually works - heck I can spray super all-natural water all around the house but that won’t help much with funky smells! I love that these Febreze ONE mists actually do the job and handle tough smells like my beloved husband’s running shoes, post-poopy-diaper-changing aroma, and after dinner lingering smells. Yay for products that work and are safer for our families! 

PS- get 10% off using this link!!

Thanks so much Febreze for partnering with my family for this post - as always all opinions are completely my own - I never partner with brands who aren't willing to let me share my honest opinion! 

August 28, 2018

Starting Medical School (and Beyond): 5 Pieces of Advice I Wish I Had

It’s that time of year again - my Instagram feed was recently full of photos of freshly minted medical students with their new white coats, sharing beautiful snaps of their ceremonies and pretty flat lays of their study set ups, giddy at the incredible achievement and honor that’s been bestowed upon them. And just last week the next anticipated wave of Instagram photos started popping up – the “wow this is harder than I thought” “how can I handle this firehose of information and still be a normal human” – the fear and feeling of overwhelm with the body of knowledge you have ahead. The first thing I’ll say is – you can totally do this. You got this. Really, truly. I don’t think there’s one physician who will tell you they didn’t feel overwhelmed at the beginning (and if they say they weren’t they’re probably lying)!!

So if you’re short on time and don’t want to read more, than just read this much: you can do this. Repeat that affirmation. If you’ve got a minute or two keep reading for some practical tips on starting medical school on the right foot.

1. Remember how you got here.
It’s easy to sit in anatomy class or physiology and feel like you need to reinvent your study habits to keep up with this new (mostly not new, but certainly new VOLUME of) information. But for the most part, you don’t. You likely got here because you figured out the whole studying thing – remember those study skills from college and use them. What’s more important than ever now is time management and consolidating vast quantities of information. For me personally I loved waking up early in the morning and reviewing what we were going over for lecture so it wasn’t foreign when it came up in lecture. After lecture I’d try consolidating to the important things and making sure I understood those concepts. For some people, consolidating means making flashcards (physical or virtual) that can easily be reviewed later, and for many others it meant finding the respective section in a Step 1 review source like First Aid and annotating there.

2. It’s ok to not know it all. 
Medical school has now collected the crème de la crème, and though it might not be that easy to swallow, you may not be the top student anymore. You might not even be top 10 or top 20. You might just be average. Or even below average. That doesn’t mean you don’t have value or don’t have anything to contribute. You’ve just gone to a bigger pond with bigger fish. The beauty is, there is room for everyone to succeed, and the happiest med students I knew/know are the ones who make a community in med school and share notes and help each other. Learn from these rockstars who are now your classmates and remember that you belong there too (imposter syndrome is all too real at the beginning of med school and beyond, read more on my post here). Also on a side note while we talk about community – try to stay away from the drama. Med school is a rare time when you’re basically in the same class all the time and things can get crazy with people dating etc etc. Obviously I have nothing against that (seeing as I married my med school classmate), but you have to make sure it doesn’t affect your studies or your career. While it may sometimes feel like you’re in middle school again, this is now your profession, and these people will be your professional colleagues for life. Don’t be stupid.

3. Let go of what you thought about medicine and embrace it all.
Most of us (except for maybe those of you with physician parents or close friends) had a preconceived notion of what we thought about medicine. It may have come from limited experiences shadowing or working in clinical research, or it may have come from Grey’s Anatomy. It was probably wrong. I rolled my eyes at dermatology initially thinking it wasn’t enough real medicine (all I saw was pimples and botox and that episode of Grey’s where they were getting hand massages) but MAN was I wrong. Every experience in med school is a chance to learn, so get out of your own way (even if you’re dead set on being a pediatric cardiologist) and embrace pathology. Embrace neurology. As one of my mentors said – become an anthropologist and really immerse yourself in the rotation you're on (this applies more for when you’re on clinical rotations, but the same can be said during the pre-clinical years when you’re learning different systems on different blocks).

4. Show commitment.
It’s hard at the beginning of medical school to also feel like you have to get involved in research and volunteering immediately. You don’t. Get your bearings, but by the middle of first year, you should certainly give it more thought and start testing the waters. It may feel like it’s hard to commit – but remember that showing commitment doesn’t mean your signing up for the specialty your research is in for life – it just means you’re passionate about and dedicated to that project. Find something that genuinely interests you and causes you generally care about, and stick with them. When residency applications come around you better believe we can smell extracurriculars done just for applications from a mile away. Real enthusiasm and dedication is palpable and it will take you far.

5. Keep a highlight reel. 
Medicine and medical training are HARD. Do not let anyone tell you differently. It can be fun if you let it be, but a lot of what we do is hard (residents like to forget that since things just keep getting harder and it’s easy to laugh off the stresses of a medical student, but I remember – it was hard). And because we are learning there are many times we might get the answer wrong, or say the wrong thing to a patient, or have to retake a test. And because most of us are type A and perfectionists, we hold on to those wrong things more dearly than we ever hold onto any of the good. And that sucks. But I’m going to challenge you to keep a highlight folder. The moments where you shined, the moments where a patient said thank you and truly meant it, the moments where you felt good about yourself, or just the moments you felt incredibly happy. Snap pictures if you can or just write as much as you can about that moment so that you’ll never forget it. I have a running note in Evernote with my highlights (aside but I have a similar thing for my husband and a similar one for my kids),  it’s critical that we remember these amazing moments since our minds so easily push them out of the way to remember the not-so-stellar times. It’s all too easy to forget about these little moments (especially when we’re really stressed), but these are in fact the little moments that make medicine worth it. These are in fact the big things.

And one extra for good luck:
Take a step back and remember to live.
It’s really easy to start drowning in the work of medical school and the never ending things to study for. One of the most important skills you can learn in medical school is how to deal with this constant pressure and still make time to live a life worth living. Because guess what? While now it may feel like you’ll have more time for (insert whatever thing you’re putting off here – your fitness, your spouse, your family, whatever) – the truth is you only get busier. In medicine (and particularly in training), there will always be something to study for or something to be stressed about. Realizing this is key to realizing you have to learn to live in spite of the chaos. This is your life now. Not after Step 1. Not after your medicine clerkship. Not after interviews. Not after intern year. NOW. If there’s one thing you should realize in the medical field it’s that nothing in this life (particularly our health) is ever promised. Live your life now. You are alive and breathing and well enough to feel stressed about your medical school classes. You got this.

On a more practical note, for me this meant writing out lots of my things to study and to-do, then fitting them all into a weekly calendar. On that to-do list I made sure to also include things like date-night or dinner with friends and fit them in with everything else. Write them in an hold yourself accountable for those things too. Make time for your life and you’ll be much happier – now and for the rest of your medical training!

August 27, 2018

Managing Screen Time for Kids (and adults too)!

There’s always a debate about screen time with littles, and I totally get it. Having been raised by a loving family and spending many a summer sitting on my abuela’s couch watching telenovelas (Spanish soap operas), I’ve never been too concerned with the effect a little television can have on kids as long as their getting plenty of play and stimulation elsewhere. But in the advent of iPads and smartphones and other devices, screen time now encompasses much more than just time spent in front of a television. 

We have iPads in the house and I think they are an INCREDIBLE learning tool – we have apps that help Liv learn to read, do math, Elli practices matching and pattern recognition and her alphabet and counting, and more! On top of that we love fun creative apps that let us do science experiments, dress up zoo animals, have tea parties, and even play doctor (I think I smell a post on favorite apps for the girls coming soon)! 

But with all of these awesome apps also come scarier ones – there have been a few times Liv will get onto YouTube and watch fun videos and then end up with a video that’s totally not child appropriate. Or she’ll somehow click an ad and then end up on a different website entirely. I needed something to help manage the way her iPad was being used, and thankfully I found that with Circle

Now we have Circle in our home and I finally have the screen time sidekick I’ve been hoping for! Circle is a small white box and a paired app that allow you to manage time online for every wifi-connected device in your home (so laptops, phones, and even smart TVs are included)! With Circle I can block certain websites (or what I actually do is just list a few “safe” websites that I want the girls to have access to like Disney and everything else is blocked), limit access to certain apps, monitor and/or limit the amount of time spent on devices and on apps, heck I can even pause the WiFi in our house! Amazing control all from my phone and a great way to keep screen time safe and establish healthy use for the girls. 

August 25, 2018

Romantic Staycation in South Beach

Just got home for a cozy movie night at home with the girls - Nathan and I were out for a super short "staycation" here in Miami! We had the most romantic time on South Beach! We stayed at the Shelborne South Beach - it's right on Collins and perfectly situated to get to all the fun! 

Outfit info: Dress - I snagged it for $20! (plus size available also)  //  Sandals  //  Bag  //  Necklace (my girls' initials)

Friday night we walked from our hotel on Collins to Espanola Way, one of the cutest little areas in South Beach! We had dinner at Mercato Della Pescheria and it was incredible! Took me straight back to my time in Italy! 

We walked back to our hotel along the beach and sat there talking under the moonlight - the best.

We had breakfast at the The Social Club which is my favorite little spot to grab breakfast - their doughnuts are addictive, their breakfast potatoes are the best, and their omelette is so good! I forgot to take pictures of everything else lol!

We walked out to Lincoln Road and spent the rest of the afternoon there - we love going in and out of shops and stopped for another bite at the Books & Books Cafe (there are so many yummy restaurants on Lincoln but this one is a hidden gem, literally feels like a tucked in oasis in the midst of all the business outside - bonus is the actual bookstore behind it)! Their red sangria is my hands down favorite! 

I hope you guys enjoyed this little rundown of our mini-getaway! Check out the map below for an idea of where everything is! Clockwise from the top is our hotel, The Social Club, Espanola Way, and Lincoln Road (I put the star at the Books & Books Cafe)!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend! 

August 2, 2018

Empowered Voices

I’ve written before on how much I value mentoring and how much it’s contributed to my success. Now as a doctor, wife, mom of 3, and blogger, most days I don’t have time to sleep as much as I should, and meeting one on one with mentees has become nearly impossible! 

But through this small blog and social media I have been able to reach SO many of you and the messages I get from you are more motivation to keep posting and sharing snippets of my life - the good and the not-so-good! Sharing not just the rewards of the work but the HUSTLE it takes to get there! As a kid growing up that was what we never saw - we saw lots of immediate satisfaction and flashy diamonds and new sneakers glorified all the time, but I never saw any doctors who looked like me. I searched for mentors and just had to accept that they were out there, they had to be, and continued on my path convinced that I’d find them eventually (which thankfully I did)! 

Not everyone has the faith or the ability to search for those mentors, though, or to believe they’re there if they’re not easily visible. That’s why I love companies like Uber who are making it a very clear goal to highlight and promote diversity in their company. It’s there, it’s visible, and it’s attainable for our youth. With groups like Women of Uber, UberHUE, Los Ubers, UberPride, and more, they are highlighting the power of diversity in their company. Keep it up Uber and let’s keep positive and empowering messages going and continue working to increase diversity in all fields!

July 17, 2018

New Shoes Dance

Nothing makes me smile more than watching these girls play together. Of course, 75% of the time they’re fighting with each other or telling on one another or at least one of the three is throwing a tantrum. But the sunshine wouldn’t be as beautiful if it weren’t for the rain! 

These girls were celebrating having just gotten happy mail ­ new clothes for the new school year! I ordered it a tiny bit big in hopes that it will still fit them by the time September comes around ­ they are truly growing like weeds and I’m constantly donating their clothes (eh, that’s not true, I let their grown­-out clothes pile up taking up precious drawer and closet space going unworn until I can’t take it any longer and then donate bags and bags)! But I digress. Gymboree has totally reimagined their brand and we are loving their adorable line! 

Liv immediately put on her glitter skirt and started twirling around, Elli put on her “princess dress” and headband (she refuses to let me put it on and this is how she insists on wearing her headbands lol) and Ro just couldn’t stop running around in her new sneakers! Adorable and them teaching each other dance moves and showing their favorite flowers just had me smiling ear to ear #madeyousmile. I’ll take Elli’s dress in my size asap please ­ it’s so soft and stretchy and even has pockets! All of the clothes seems so well­ made and is just too darn cute ­ love! Check out their new line here!

June 29, 2018

The 3 Skincare Ingredients You Need Now

Today  I  wanted  to  do  another  post  on  skincare  –  I  think  one  of  my  most-requested  posts  is  my  skincare  regimen!  Today  I  wanted  to  do  something  a little more  than  that,  though,  and  really  get  down  to  the  most  important  skincare  ingredients  you  need.  

The  backbone  to  any  skincare  regimen  consists  of  the  following:  
  2. Vitamin  C  
  3. Retinoid  
Ask  any  dermatologist  and  they  will  say  the  same.  I’ve  been  slowly  perfecting  my  skin  care  regimen  and  think  I  finally  have  my  holy  grail  routine!  If  you  guys  have  been  following  my  skincare  posts  (see  the  last  one  here),  you  know  that  the  one  key  I  was  still  on  the  hunt  for  was  a  good  Vitamin  C  serum.  I  tried  some  of  the  best  ones  and  they  still  broke  my  sensitive  skin  out!    

Well  I’m  proud  to  say  that  I  finally  found  one  that  I  love  –  Clinique’s  Fresh  Pressed  Vitamin  C  Booster!  Stay  tuned  for  more  on  that!!  

But  first,  a  bit  on  each  of  these  key  parts  to  your  skincare  regimen:  
  • Sunscreen  –  Whether  or  not  you  realize  it,  the  sun  wreaks  havoc  on  our  skin,  and  you  can  spend  all  the  money  you  want  on  fancy  creams  and  supplements  and  laser  treatments,  but  if  you  are  not  regularly  wearing  sunscreen  you  are  throwing  your  money  down  the  drain.  I  mean  it.  Same  thing  goes  for  smoking  –  if  you  ask  for  skin  care  advice  and  you  smoke  my  number  1  one  tip  will  be  quit  smoking.  Not  just  for  your  skin! Wearing sunscreen will not make you vitamin D deficient (most of us are deficient anyway), and I recommend everyone get enough vitamin D through their diet and they can add a supplement if they're concerned. Read more about sunscreens and which would be best for you here
  • Vitamin  C  –  Vitamin  C  is  an  antioxidant  that  works  fighting  free  radical  damage  caused  by  stressors  on  our  skin  like  the  sun  and  environmental  pollutants,  protecting  our  skin  from  these  insults.  It’s  anti-inflammatory  (meaning  will  reduce  redness  and  irritation),  decreases  melanin  synthesis  (meaning  it  can  help  fade  dark  spots  from  old  acne  and  even  help  melasma),  and  can  help  in  keeping  our  skin  firm  (vitamin  C  is  an  essential  part  of  collagen  synthesis).  In  non-scientific  speak  –it’s  the  bomb.  If  you  want  a  little  more  science  you  can  read  this  article  via  PubMed.  A  special  note  that  since  vitamin  C  is  such  a  potent  antioxidant,  it  actually  degrades  very  quickly  once  exposed  to  oxygen!  This  is  why  packaging  is  key  for  products  like  these  (and  of  the  things  I  love  about  the  Clinique  product)!
  • Retinoid  –  Retinoids  are  another  key  to  keeping  skin  clear  and  youthful–  derived  from  Vitamin  A,  they  directly  increase  collagen  synthesis,  increase  hyaluronic  acid,  decrease  creation  of  enzymes  that  break  down  the  skin  (things  that  normally  increase  with  aging),  they  speed  up  epidermal  cell  turnover  (one  of  the  key  ways  they  smooth  out  the  skin  and  treat  mild  acne,  as  well  as  dark  spots),  and  more.  Retinoids  should  be  a  part  of  everyone’s  skincare  regimen  UNLESS  you  are  pregnant  or  trying  to  become  pregnant  (high  Vitamin  A  is  a  teratogen)!  In  which  case  I’d  temporarily  swap  for  a  mild  acid  like  glycolyic  acid  or  mandelic  acid (this was my favorite during pregnancy and I continued using it while nursing, even though retinoids should technically be safe when nursing)!    

When  is  it  best  to  start  a  regimen  like  this?  If  you’re  a  teen  or  older  and  have  mild  acne  then  starting  now  and  continuing  pretty  much  forever  will  be  of  most  benefit!  If  you’re  young  and  don’t  have  acne,  you  may  not  need  it  yet,  but  most  women  with  no  skin  problems  start  a  regimen  like  this  in  their  20s.  By  30  you  should  DEFINITELY  be  using  a  regimen  like  the  above.    

With  all  of  that  said,  here  is  my  current  skin  care  routine!  

  1. Gently  wash  with  Clinique’s  Fresh  Pressed  Renewing  Powder  Cleanser.  I  just  wet  my  hands  and  pour  a  packet  onto  my  wet  hands,  rub  to  get  a  lather,  and  gently  apply  on  my  face  and  leave  it  on  while  I  brush  my  teeth,  then  rinse! 
  2. Apply  base  moisturizer  (I  use  La  Roche-Posay’s  Toleriane  Double  Repair  Moisturizer)  with  2  drops  of  Clinique’s  Fresh  Pressed  Daily  Booster.  This  booster  is  INCREDIBLE,  and  I  love  that  I  can  add  it  to  a  moisturizer  I  know  already  works  for  my  sensitive  skin.  Literally  within  days  you  can  already  notice  that  your  skin  is  brighter  (and  dermatologists  typically  don’t  like  promising  things  within  days,  most  products  need  at  least  6-8  weeks  to  start  seeing  any  differences).  But  this  is  days  y’all.   
  3. Apply  my  sunscreen  –  for  me  I’m  not  a  huge  fan  of  layering  too  many  products  (simplicity  is  key)  so  you  if  you’ve  read  these  posts  before  you  know  I’m  obsessed  with  Avene’s  High  Protection  Complexion  Correcting  Shield.  It’s  actually  a  full  coverage  makeup  and  SPF  50+  (mineral  based)  and  I  love  it.  Have  gone  through  tubes  of  this  stuff.      

  1. Wash  with  a  gentle  cleanser  –  I  love  Cetaphil and Cerave,  but  there  are  many  brands  that  make  mild  cleansers.  This  is  key  especially  when  you’re  using  a  retinoid.  Stay  away  from  exfoliating  cleansers  and  anything  with  beads  or  scrubs  –  your  skin  gets  aggravated  and  inflamed  and  this  can  lead  to  irritation,  breakouts,  and  more  dark  marks. I've used them in the past but only when I WASN'T using a retinoid (ie while I was still breastfeeding) and linked up some of my favorites, but again, would not use if you're using a retinoid. 
  2. Apply  pea  size  of  my  prescription  Tretinoin  cream  (if  you  can’t  get  a  prescription  for  this,  Differin  is  a  prescription-strength  retinoid  that  is  now  available  over-the-counter).  You  should  always  start  light  with  this  –  every  other  night  (or even less) to  begin  until  your  skin  gets  used  to  it  –  if  not  it  could  cause  redness, peeling  and  irritation.   
  3. Finish  with  my  La  Roche-Posay  moisturizer  and  my  Epionce  eye  cream.  Then  get  some  sleep!    

That’s  it!  I  hope  you  guys  found  this  post  helpful  and  now  understand  some  keys  to  a  good  skin  care  regimen!  These  are  just  the  products  I  use  but  I  wanted  to  make  sure  to  give  the  important  ingredients  themselves  so  you  can  find  what  works  for  you!  A  special  thanks  to  Clinique  for  sending  me  their  Fresh  Pressed  Vitamin  C  treatments  to  try  and  finally  ending  my  search  for  a  this  key  ingredient!  They  also  sponsored  this  post,  but  as  always  opinions  are  completely  my  own. Take their 7-day challenge and thank me later ;)  

May 31, 2018

Liv's Preschool Graduation

Time  is  flying  y’all,  and  I  feel  like  not  long  on  this  blog  I  was  announcing  my  pregnancy  with  Liv  – and  just  last  week,  she  had  her  preschool  graduation!!!  Can  you  believe  it?? 

It  was  the  most  adorable  thing  ever,  but  one  of  my  favorite  parts  (besides  their  precious  graduation  song)  was  a  video  segment  her  teachers  filmed  asking  all  of  the  kids  what  they  wanted  to  be  when  they  grow  up.  There  were  plenty  of  the regulars - firefighters,  teachers,  doctors,  police.  But  then  there  were  the  unexpecteds  –  the  zoologist,  the  civil  engineer,  and  the  dermatologist  (can  you  guess  who  said  she  wanted  to  be  a  dermatologist  hahaha)?  All  of  those  came  out  of  the  mouths  of  little  girls!  And  I  was  just  so  proud!  

I  know  she’ll  change  her  mind  a  million  more  times,  and  if  she’s  anything  like  me,  she’ll  get  to  be  my  age  and  still  not  be  completely  sure  of  what  she  wants  to  do  with  her  life.  But  the  point  is  that  she  never  limits  herself.  The  point  is  that  she  believes  she  can  be  anything  she  wants  to  be,  as  creative  as  she  wants  to  be.  Heck  it  may  be  a  job  that  doesn’t  exist  yet.  I  know  when  I  was  her  age,  blogging  wasn’t  a  thing  (heck  internet  was  barely  a  thing)!  Her  and  her  sister  have  proclaimed  they  want  to  be  singers  (especially  after  watching  the  incredible  women  on  stage  at  the  Billboard  Music  Awards),  face  painters,  drivers  (thanks  to  our  female  Uber  drivers),  ballerinas,  moms,  horse  doctors,  pilots,  and  I’m  sure  they’ll  come  up  with  more!  The  thing  is  that  they’ve  seen  a  female  in  every  one  of  those  roles  (whether  in  person  or  in  a  book  or  on  TV)  and  that  is  just  so  dang  powerful!!  

So  here’s  to  all  YOU  women  in  those  incredible  roles!  Let’s  keep  YOU  in  the  spotlight  and  keep  your  presence  visible  for  all  of  the  young  girls  to  see!  Here’s  to  women’s  empowerment  and  companies  that  are  making  an  effort  to  actively  promote  it.  Uber  is  one  of  those  companies,  and  I’m  so  grateful  to  be  collaborating  with  them  on  this  post.  Maybe  I’m  corny  but  I  feel  sisterly  pride  when  I  get  into  an  Uber  and  a  woman  rushes  out  to  help  me  get  my  bag  in  the  trunk  –  she  pushes  aside  her  baby’s  car  seat  that  was  in  the  trunk  and  gets  me  to  where  I  need  to  be.  I  see  the  hustle.  Or  to  my  Uber  Eats  driver  (I’m  a  multiple  times  weekly  user  when  times  get  hectic)  who’s  making  deliveries  with  her  kids.  I  see  the  hustle.  Here’s  to  more  companies  like  Uber  to  help  empower  those  women  with  work  that  fits  their  life.  Thanks  to  Uber  for  sponsoring  this  post.  As  always  thoughts  and  opinions  are  my  own.    

April 15, 2018

Current Skincare + Everyday Makeup

Hi all! Today I wanted to share some of my current skincare and makeup products! I've done these posts before, but my routine is always changing so here are the updated products I use! As I always say - skincare is king in my routine, and the makeup is optional!

Morning Routine:
  1. Wash with a gentle cleanser - I love Cerave's foaming facial cleanser - perfect for normal to oily skin like mine! I always use a super gentle cleanser in the morning.
  2. Apply this eye serum under my eyes - love the cool rollerball effect. 
  3. Critical step that is missing from my routine - Vitamin C/antioxidant serum. I have yet to find one that doesn't break me out! I loved this one (most dermatologists swear by this one or its more moisturizing and more famous partner) but even though it's supposed to be better for acne-prone skin, my annoying skin still broke out :(
  4. Moisturize/protect/coverup with my favorite all-in-one product - Avene Complexion Correcting Shield. It comes in only 3 shades which can be problematic for some, but I love it so much I bought the dark shade too and add the tiniest drop to my medium for the perfect color match. Seriously - for women who are worried about dark marks and sun spots and fine lines, etc. THE most important part of your daily routine should be SUNSCREEN! And the SPF 8 that some makeups tout is just not going to cut it. I have a full post on sunscreen here.
  5. Fix up my eyebrows a bit with this pomade.
  6. Apply a bit of this lip tint that has SPF 15. Perfect hint of color and awesome that it's got some SPF. 
  7. If I want to put in a little extra effort I love this blush/bronzer that I lightly brush on my cheeks and nose, and follow with my most favorite mascara ever!
Evening Routine:
  1. Remove all makeup with this micellar water on a round cotton pad. Love how easily everything comes off. I finish with a final gentle wipe with the dry side of the pad. 
  2. In love with this exfoliating cleanser - it's got glycolic acid, salicylic acid, arbutin, green tea, and more. For sensitive skin I'd recommend this only 2-3 times a week. I use this nightly though, applying a small amount to dry skin and gently massaging (no need to scrub - scrubbing causes more irritation)! I leave on for maybe a minute and then rinse off.
  3. Apply this nighttime serum that feels so soothing and really keeps my skin glowing.
  4. Apply a tiny bit of this eye cream to my upper and lower lids. Feels so m oisturizing and really plumps up my undereyes.
Here's to happy, healthy, and glowing skin!

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