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Season for Upgrades (iPhone 6, Urban, Victoria’s)

IMG_6155aAfter nearly four months of constant dropped calls, zero bars and zero battery, a broken power button, 3G, and an extremely laggy iOS, I finally switched phone carriers, traded in my iPhone 4, and got my hands on the brand new iPhone 6 64GB - for only $100.

The biggest question of all - was it worth it?

iphoneAbsolutely**.

I honestly haven’t been this excited for an Apple product since the iPad. The iPad first generation was the first of its kind, but the second generation is the classic, and is one I don’t plan on upgrading any time soon! (My first one suffered an unfortunate demise.)

How to get the cheapest phone plan for your iPhone 6: do not buy from the Apple website!

Coming from Virgin Mobile, a pay-as-you-go phone company, I paid very little ($40) for my monthly phone plan, which included minutes, and most importantly, unlimited data. (Unfortunately, this company has poor service and prompted my switch.)

**The trade-back deal made the iPhone 6 most worth it for iPhone 4/4S owners. For example, I’m finally enjoying the features of Siri! Apps that load! A clear camera! Since the iPhone 5c/s already has those features, the need to upgrade is nominal. 

IMG_6159aHence, I did a lot of research on phone companies comparing and analyzing cost for a basic 1-2 GB data plan (because I also crunch numbers for fun, hehe). Interestingly, many companies, such as At&T phased out the traditional individual plans, by adding a required “smartphone fee” on top of a base price. T-mobile on the other hand, was following the Virgin model, but included a preliminary $750 for the 64 GB model**. The Sprint and Verizon MORE everything plans were also not great.

After more digging through the individual company sites – I found the Verizon single line plan which is only $60 and includes 2 GB of data, that is not offered on the Apple website! I went to the Verizon store, and specifically requested it, and then turned in my old iPhone 4 (must be at a corporate Verizon store; I made that mistake initially), for an instantaneous $200 off! Methinks, well worth it.

 **Verizon costs less than T-mobile at the end of the 2 year contract, but beyond that, they flip. Thus, I recommend switching to a pay-as-you-go plan, once the contract is over to continue maximizing savings. Verizon phones are also the easiest to “unlock” because of the differing CMDA vs GMS networks. 

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New Pure Gear case! Can’t recommend enough – great fit and clear =)

This new phone and plan also marks the transition into officially paying all my own bills: my insane medical school debt, car loan, car insurance, etc… somehow it’s not as fun as I thought it would be. :P

Last of Summer: Urban Outfitters

IMG_6192aAs much as I love the uniqueness that makes Urban Outfitters, one thing I don’t understand is how all their dresses come not only backless – but also with stripes and cuts that require as much effort getting into as finding the perfect bra to go with! picstitch (1)This dress was too cute to give up though, and despite the low cut neckline and plunging back – with some careful pinning – one can make it work. ;)

The shirts are also made of the softest material ever, and are my current favorites on rotation! The prints go perfectly with jeans.

Damage: Only $15!!! Such a steal.

Victoria’s Secret: Sports

  1. IMG_6205aSupermodel Pant, similar here.
  2. Pink tank top, similar here.

Ever since Lululemon popularized gym wear that actually looked good, every store has seemingly come out with their own line. (Think Anthropologie, Gap, etc.) But what better company to design flattering athletic clothes than VS? I have to say I am pleased! I love the tank and the pants; both are extremely stretchy, flattering, and breathable!

Damage: $25 – got a discount by starting a new VS account! And of course, shopping at the NY Times Square storefront helps with the selection.

Reebok: Run IMG_6200a

Gym wear is my biggest weakness… I can always shop for more sports bras/tops/bottoms, if only just to prolong the time between laundry days! Unfortunately, the selection of gym wear in Reading, PA is very (limited) – but I was happy to find this pink baby-doll top that fit my proportions. I’ve tried many that are too long for my torso, or too billowy (much like my problem with blouses), but this one was just right, and conceals the matching sports bra well. I also got a thin, but surprisingly warm down coat to prepare for winter. This year, I won’t look like a snowman with my heavy layers – no sir!

Damage$65 at the VF Outlets, that once upon a time, was the most popular outlet destination in the entire United States.

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride

I’ve played engagement and rehearsal dinner photographer, wedding videographer and photographer, hairstylist, make-up artist, reception baker and babysitter, and bridesmaid…

Trust me. I know weddings. And the {behind-the-scenes} are very different from what you see as an audience. There are the tantrums and the delays, the waterworks and the weather, missing items and missing people, but with that rush – boy! Is it addictive.

So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that my favorite times of the year are actually not the holidays – but the weddings.

I’m not talking about the overblown, over the top show some may put on – but the true essence and meaning of marriage and what it symbolizes.

As you can see from my extended résumé, I love being part of the backstage crew. I love being involved and getting to know the extended family and bridal party, as well as spending the last few moments of my friend’s singleness together.

But most importantly, I love the fact that my friends have found that special someone to spend the rest of their lives with. And I love that they want to commemorate this joyous time and notably, the biggest decision of their lives. How wonderful and awesome is that? Marriages are truly worth celebrating and I already cannot wait for the ones in the future!! (They are the new reunions.)

By the end of this year, I will have gone to 11 weddings total, 6 within 2014.

Wow. I am so happy and blessed by this number! I have 3 more tentative weddings planned for next year, and at least 1 the year after, which are numbers I am sure will increase. (There have also been a few weddings that I haven’t been able to attend and/or have been cancelled, but luckily those are in the minority.)

My goal of course, is to hit 27 weddings by the time I’m 27. (Which happens to also be one of my favorite movies ever.) ring

So, my biggest piece of advice to all those out there who may be experiencing the “always a bridesmaid, and never a bride” phenomenon:

Embrace this period of your life, for it is a gift. Use it. Become the person you are looking for. Embody the characteristics you desire.

Because your time will come.

After all, why bother being stagnant and “waiting” for someone to just “come along”? Ain’t no one got time for that! Personally, I’d rather spend my time pursuing my interests and becoming a better person, and be the one attracting them. ;)

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