The man who broke my heart

Love is an incredible thing. Whether it be between friends, family, or lovers – it is truly something to be treasured.

I was reflecting on this during my intensive care unit shift today, when I witnessed quite possibly, the most heartbreaking scenario I have yet seen.

It was of a wife, in her 90’s, curled up in bed next to her very sick, married for almost 70 years, husband. She was also a hospital patient, but on a different floor (they had been unfortunately admitted on the same day), and despite her own ailing health, had requested to see her husband, so that she could be there and spend time with him when he breathed his last.

And there she stayed, hours before, and hours after his passing, laying in the same position, next to him.

He was my patient. And it was frustrating to see and try to understand that while medicine can do so much – it can only go so far. And as difficult as it was to be a physician facing an insurmountable medical problem, I cannot imagine nor fathom how his wife and his family must have felt.

Except that they were strong and courageous for respecting his wishes for end of life care. And that she truly demonstrated love that persists, long after years of marriage, children, jobs, and even age. A type of love, that even death cannot undue.

I can only hope that should I ever be in a similar situation, that after 70 years of marriage, my future husband would be there just as she once was.

Please lift prayers for this family as they transition through this difficult period. 

Retail Therapy (J Crew, Banana, Ann Taylor)

“Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life.”

IMG_6095I just finished taking Step 3 today! Woohoo! And what better to celebrate – and more so, relieve the epic feeling of doom that descends after a 2 day, 16 hour test taking marathon than some good ole retail therapy?

I’ll confess: I love shopping.

But what I love even more? A fantastic sale.

This post will be proof, so that I can validate my purchases and my compulsions, haha. (And also a way for me to document my spending, because let me tell ya, that budget sheet lasted but half a day.)

I’ll show you what I purchased today, and I’ll have you guess how much I spent at each store… scroll down for the answers. ;-)

J Crew: Falling for Autumn 

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  1. Rose cardigan, similar (Jackie cardigan)
  2. Statement necklace, similar (Stacked stone necklace)
  3. Anchor iPhone case, similar (here)

One of my first and favorite J. Crew purchases was a thigh length J. Crew linen cardigan that I got as a student (with that 15% student discount, ah, those were the days!), but it was too thin for anything more than a cool breeze. Since then, I have been searching for the perfect office cardigan! They are a must have for the work place – especially when there is central AC; plus, they also help make sleeveless tops/dresses look more professional. This fit the bill perfectly!

IMG_6101I also absolutely adore the J. Crew jewelry line and have been eyeing it forever. The quality and style of the necklaces far surpasses what I’ve seen at similar stores like New York & Company, Express, etc. I’ll been slowly expanding my collection, first with bracelets and now… this!

Banana Republic: The Office

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  1. Grey Martin Fit Trousers, (here)
  2. Black Jackson Fit Trousers, (here)
  3. Isabel Black Wedges, (sold out!)
  4. Horse-bit belt
  5. Pink fitted, non iron sleeveless shirt, similar (here

It’s funny how my tastes have slowly changed. Whereas before Hollister/Abercrombie would have been my first stop, it is now something I quickly run past, lest I be overpowered by pungent scents. Instead, I head towards stores like Banana Republic, to expand my work closet! After all, if I’m forced to dress professionally, well, I’d rather do it with style.

I’m really happy about my wedges; I’ll take anything to give me a couple extra inches! These are durable, and best of all comfortable.

I also cannot believe I finally found this belt! I have been looking for a belt with a “horse-bit” buckle for ages, ever since I spotted them on one of my favorite fashion bloggers, and was delighted to find the only one hidden beneath piles of other belts. This is when I am thankful for my attention span, which funnily enough, accompanies me during my shopping trips, but not my exams (?!)

Last but not least, I totally did not notice that I had purchased a short size and a petite size pant until after I uploaded this photo! I honestly thought they were both petite, whoops! (The fit is different, because one is straight leg cut, and the other is boot cut, but lengthwise, I don’t see a difference.)

Ann Taylor: Day into Night

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  1. Dark wash Modern Fit Jeans, similar (here
  2. Color blocked chiffon pleated blouse, similar (here

I love Ann Taylor LOFT, and started shopping there for business pants ever since I discovered their petite size actually fit me! This was my first time purchasing from their big sister store – and definitely saw very similar styles under different names, with minor differences, but at much higher prices. Personally, both feel the same to me, but it is nice to know that the same sizing carries over!

The skinny jeans here were actually my only impulse buy, meaning, they didn’t exactly fit perfectly, but were at such a great price point that I had purchase it! They will serve as a reminder for me to lay off those extra cupcakes…

On the upside, I am so happy with this blouse! Most blouses that have this loose, soft billowy feel either a) give me no shape and/or make me look pregnant, and b) dwarf my size. This was perfect, and cut exactly where I wanted at the shoulders and waist – and so, so cute! I can easily pair this as a work-appropriate top, and fit it with skinny jeans for the evening.

Okay, time to reveal how much I spent in total at these 3 stores.

Ready? IMG_6106

$98.16. (Breakdown: J. Crew: $18.76, Banana $63.53, Ann Taylor $15.87… where your guesses close?

Considering I bought 10 items, it all averages out to less than $10 per item! From fantastic stores too. Perhaps, now you can agree that shopping isn’t too bad after all? ;-)

Recipe: The Perfect Waffle

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I miss cooking.

I miss Philadelphia.

I miss my friends and all the good food and entertainment… (and may or may not have been sneaking back as often as I can.)

But nothing cures a nostalgic heart more than a good ole waffle. Seeing these pictures brings me back to this past spring (and yes, I’m hoping winter flies through quickly this year), flipping waffles with my family, with my roommates, and topping them with all sorts of delicious things – from fresh fruit, to whipped cream, to powdered sugar. These waffles are the bomb dot com, crunchy on the outside, but soft and fluffy on the inside. Only a touch of additional sweetness is needed to bring out the flavor (no dousing in maple syrup on my watch!) 

Currently, I’m in the throngs of studying for my last board exam (step 3, final step thank god), which is in about a week and will allow me to be “officially” licensed… and to tell you the truth – I don’t know how I used to pull 14 hour, completely sedentary, days in the library! To stay focused now, I break frequently – a 5 mile run here, a cafeteria run there, and of course, facebooking, daydreaming/planning future travels (one day), and creating content like this (when I run out of things to refresh on the internet) to distract others. What can I say? I do what I do best. :P

I’ll be posting up more stored recipes I have throughout the course of this year. Enjoy! 

IMG_04634Adapted from AllRecipes

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 tbs powdered sugar, to taste

IMG_0460aStep by Step:

  1. Preheat waffle iron. Separate the egg whites from the eggs, and beat them until fluffy.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, egg yolks, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and vanilla, until smooth. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
  3. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown.
  4. For the whipped cream: use a chilled mixing bowl and beaters, if possible. (You can quickly plop them into in freezer for 10 minutes before preparing.)
  5. Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Taste to see if the sweetness matches your taste – if not, feel free to add more powdered sugar. Take care not to over-beat, or else the cream will become lumpy and butter-like.
  6. Top the waffles with the whipped cream and/or fruits of your choice… Enjoy! :)

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doing something for me

705As a physician, I believe that health is crucial to overall well being, and have seen first hand the destruction that can result when health is not prioritized.

I believe in preventive medicine, that maintenance and promotion of wellness is key to preventing disease. I believe in holistic medicine, that cure results from treating the person as a whole, not just by the physical symptoms. I believe in a mind-body connection, that who we are is not just what we eat, but what we believe and tell ourselves.

I know that life can stressful, overwhelming, and even sad at times – but I also believe that there is a way for us to overcome that outlook.

For me, it has been my decision to become fully present in my life by taking responsibility for my mental, physical, and spiritual health, cultivating an attitude of thankfulness. 

This is not a one time deal, but rather – a conscious, daily effort and choice to live fruitfully, productively, and happily.

This attitude on life has motivated me to pursue yoga teacher training. (Whoo-hoo!)

Today was my first day in the first 50 hour yoga immersion course, that will continue as part of an 8 month, 200 hour curriculum. Just from today, it felt like a wonderful step in the right direction.

It does sound (and is!) crazy to be doing this while I’m in residency… I could come up with a thousand excuses not to, but honestly, it came down to this: figuring out what was important to me (health, well-being), realizing that there is no perfect time to do anything, except today, and finally, just doing it!

For those also curious, yoga for me is…

  • Physical: It is a fun, yet challenging practice that promotes strength, flexibility, and injury prevention and rehabilitation, and is sustainable in the long term. It  is also the only exercise I can get myself to do after a long work day, that involves relaxation.
  • Mental: This is the one time I set aside to focus on myself, and mentally “unwind,” de-stress, and be at peace with who I am and where I am. To find stillness and calmness despite the storm that might be occurring – is the true practice of yoga.
  • Spiritual: First and foremost, yoga is not a religion. I am Christian, and I was initially worried on this aspect as well. However, in my practice, yoga actually promotes deepening spiritual understanding, and for me, allows me to step away from the material world, and be closer to God.

So please, take the time to focus on yourself and your health. It is important and you will never regret it! (Otherwise, you’ll just end up providing me with good job security.) I also encourage you if you are passionate about something, to pursue it! It is never too late nor the wrong time.   

I hope to be hosting classes in the near future, so let me know you have any open floor space! ;) 715

week 2 of raw + thoughts on singleness

It never really hits home how truly “single” you are until you get this phone call.

You see, I used to do competitive ballroom dance back in college, and have been looking for a chance to continue. I put an inquiry in at a local ballroom studio about their “new member” package ($210 for only $75! 4 privates, and 2 group lessons! It sounded too good to be true). They responded in this manner.

“We are calling about your recent interest in our studio. Do you have a partner?”

I quickly answered the lady on the phone that I indeed, did not.

“Ah…” I could hear the hesitancy in her voice. She continued, flustered, “Well, it’s a great deal with a partner if you split it… “

I quickly interrupted, reassuring her that money was not an issue.

“Ohhhh, I’m sorry,” she said, in a consoling tone. “Unfortunately, we only have enough teachers for couples right now.” Her voice began to perk up, “But you can always contact us again!”

She sounded way more hopeful about my love life than I was.

Well then. That ended my ballroom dreams. I’ve signed up for yoga now.

Once upon a time, I could proclaim “Why are all the good girls still single?”

But alas, my best girlfriends are proof that this is no longer a true statement.

To be honest, I don’t know when it happened. Rather, it has been progressive: a few acquaintances started getting engaged, a few more older friends started getting married, and before I knew it, my best friends started dating.

And I can’t help but sometimes wonder – that by accelerating two years, have I suddenly missed a whole stage of life?

That by chasing my career, have I become one of the few single women in residency?

I know it’s not true, because there are plenty of successful women who also have families – but there are still moments when these thoughts come.

But one good thing I’ve noticed about the movement of time, is that my guy friends, whom once I would have snort out milk if you said they had a girlfriend – are slowly turning into men, into husbands. Who are learning to commit, to invest in a ring and a future.

I don’t know why, but I want to meet people in real life.

I think online dating is great. I really do. But maybe I’m still silly and old-fashioned and romantic but right now, it’s not the avenue I’m interested in pursuing. Does this mean I’m locking myself into this tiny mirage in the middle of the desert of Reading, PA?

Oh god, so help me now.

In other news, I cheated this week.

I ate 8 glorious jumbo shrimp and a delicious steamed lobster with a wonderful friend, followed by a glass of sangria in the evening without any regrets.

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i love seafood. in all its iphone 4 glory.

This week was much harder to stay raw. But overall, this experiment has made me realize how much more vegetables I can incorporate into my diet, and how I can easily eat healthier. (And that I can live without coffee and chocolate, though it’s less enjoyable.) Here’s to incorporating more salads in the future, but even more to the re-incorporation of meat!! Next up? Gluten free. ;)

Week 1 Raw Results

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A four session raw cooking course is $200. A 6 day juice cleanse from Blue Print is $400+. A 7 day yoga, detox retreat in Ecuador (not including flights) is approximately $1200.

A week ago, I would have purchased one of the options above.

And this was the true reason I wanted to try the raw food challenge; if I could prove to myself I could eat raw for a week, then I could not warrant spending over $1000 to be served it in an exotic location. (As much as I really really wanted to.)

After all, why seek the easy out and drop a lot of money on a single week or weekend of being healthy, when I could start enacting changes now? As it turns out, it’s much more cost effective and more beneficial in the long term.

So, the week is up and here’s how I fared:

  • Instead of skipping breakfast and powering through with a sugar filled latte, I eat three square meals a day. Breakfast is fruit, berries, and nuts. Lunch and dinner are as pictured. The first couple days were definitely difficult – but it highlighted an important theme: I was used to extremes of sweetness and saltiness on everything. Going without it suddenly made my salads taste bland, but over time, I’ve found myself savoring the freshness!
  • My biggest worry was that I would be hungry all the time. Instead, I find myself getting hungry right on time for the next meal! Before, I would overeat (and go to sleep feeling bloated…) but now I don’t, because it turns out, overeating spinach isn’t as fun as chocolate. Go figure.
  • Eating salads makes you savor your food because of the natural choking hazard of nuts. Points for mindful eating?
  • My only cheats were chewing gum and hard candy.
  • I’ve kind of fallen in love with my FItbit. My wrist feels naked without it! I’m also less active than what I thought. On an average work day – I walk about a mile, and have a consecutive activity time of 4 minutes total. (Sad.)
  • The best part was not having to think about what I was eating, and being able to eat as much as I needed. And yet, my scale dropped two pounds despite my (lack of) activity. Turns out abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym!

Verdict: Hard at first, but worth the challenge! I liked it so much, I’m going to continue for one more week, before incorporating my favorite cooked foods (i.e. eggs, fish, and lentils) back into this diet. If I can do it, so can you! Give it a try, I challenge you. :)

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1 Week Raw Food Challenge

Who’s ready to join me? ;)

One thing I’ve noticed about my diet since starting residency is that:

  • Hospital cafeteria food has been officially renamed breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (True story. This is what happens when you literally live in the hospital.) This also means an unlimited buffet at each meal.
  • I consume A LOT of caffeine. I am almost never seen walking without a Grande in my hand. This means tons of ++sugar and ++milk. (This is also what happens when you have a 24 hour Starbucks in said hospital.)
  • I constantly snack on nutrition bars. They may be “healthy” but I can never just eat one. (Especially Kind bars – oh my goodness, so delicious.)
  • I also stress eat chocolate. Chocolate pretzels, chocolate chip cookies, dove chocolate bars, Hershey minis – these are always right in front of my fingertips and it is so incredibly hard not to indulge. Daily. At each meal. :P

The last two weeks of 14-16 hour days in inpatient medicine have been especially detrimental on my activity level. And for anyone who has ever tried to lose weight, I did not want to see my hard work be replaced by an intern year 15. (Helllls to the no.)

So, in an effort to motivate myself, I bought an activity tracker today! The Fitbit Flex. I couldn’t decide between this or the Jawbone Up24, so I’ll give this a two week whirl before seeing if I want to switch!

But it gave me an idea… what better way to track what a “fad” diet (since I’m already hopping on the Fitbit bandwangon heheh) and activity does, than 1 week of testing it on myself? =)

(The “juicing” detox diet, on the other hand, will be one I will never try! I love chewing too much.)

So, I’m starting tomorrow with eating only raw foods for the next seven days.  This means lots of salads and fruits and nuts, which is not too much of a switch; but the hard part will be cutting out my favorites of coffee, chocolate, dairy products, and protein bars.

Will I last a week without coffee? Or even chocolate? Will I even remember to wear the Fitbit? Eek!

Only one way to tell. Stay tuned for results in a week!