Saturday, February 28, 2015

What I Wish They'd Told Me

Oh's the beginner tips I wish people had told me.
-buy a face mask. Better to have and not need then need and not have.
-wear a helmet. wear a helmet.  wear a helmet!
-take a class.  I found the beginner's class at Snowshoe to be so helpful!
-clarify the difference between bunny slope and a green/beginner trail!!!  I naively thought the green trail at Snowshoe would be a large hill.  Not at all.  It was very long and then fed into 2 other green trails.  So when I thought I was going down one hill that would take me 5 minutes to finish turned out to be 3 long trails, many many hills, many falls and it probably took me about an hour and forty five minutes to fall my way down.
-you can make your own padding for falls.  Aaron cut up an old yoga mat, folded it into a triangle shape and fixed it in place with duct tape.  Then we slipped it in our pants.  It made the falls so much easier, I looked like I got a Nicki Minaj butt job and in my mind I imagined myself as Minnie

Minnie skates with a pillow on her bottom

-limit how much you ski/snowboard in a day.  Day 1 I did about 2 hours and that was enough.  Day 2  I went out in the morning and the evening (5-6 hours total) and then on day 3 I was so sore.  I didn't even snowboard on day 3 I was so tired.
-try to buy lift passes that are non-consecutive off of ebay or craiglist.  Ours were restricted by date to the weekend, but on the first day no one scanned mine and on the third day I didn't snowboard.  If I had gotten a non-consecutive pass I could have sold those unused days
-if going to snowshoe, consider renting a condo with a kitchenette and cooking.  We did this at the suggestion of our group and I'm so glad I listened to them.  At the restaurants, a burrito was $24.  It would have been crazy to eat out every meal.
-make sure wherever you stay you can get back there from the slopes easily.  If you are having a rough day you just want to go back to the room and not wait for the group!
-give your partner/lover/friend some time on the slopes without you slowing them down

I think next time I want to try skiing instead of snowboarding, but I'm not sure which I would recommend to others.  My friend tried skiing for the first time and she says next time she wants to snowboard!  It's definitely a very different type of vacation then what I'm used to.  I would go again, but definitely still take things easy and maybe incorporate a spa day to help it feel more like a vacation. :-)

This is probably me on fall #82.  Kind of funny how there are no pictures or videos of me upright!

Have a greet weekend!  

Friday, February 27, 2015

Snowboarding at Snowshoe

Last weekend we traveled with Aaron's fraternity family to Snowshoe, West Virginia.  Aaron enjoys winter sports and has experience in both skiing and snowboarding; he prefers snowboarding.  I have no experience whatsoever.  Aaron encouraged me to try snowboarding, so I secured some rental equipment and off we went.  I consider myself somewhat athletic so I wasn't too intimidated.  Ha.

Snowboarding was tough.  In my 2 days, I never really mastered turning.  Unfortunately turning is a huge part of slowing down - to slow down on the board, usually you need to turn and place yourself perpendicular to the mountain (chest facing the bottom).  Since I wasn't good at slowing or stopping, I basically fell every time my speed made me nervous.  So on a green (beginner) trail that was about 1000 yards long, I fell about every 10-20 yards.  It was tumultuous.  It was testing.  Little kids, age 3 and up were skiing by me.  Some extremely rude people were making comments - "not a good place to stop" - whatever jerk, get off the beginner trail if you're such a hot shot!  With a few tears of frustration, I made it down the mountain.  Oh, snowboarding.  Today I will share some pics, tomorrow I will post some tips I wish people had told me for beginning snowboarders.

Aaron took all of the photos with his phone.  I took my camera, but I was way too tired to shoot very much.  

Almost the whole crew - Heather made the smart decision to stay in! 

Love these gifs Google Photos automatically makes 

More coming tomorrow!! It's funny, while in Snowshoe we got a record 26 inch snowfall.  Upon returning to Raleigh, there was a light snowfall on Tuesday followed by 4 inches Wednesday night.  Yet somehow the few inches in Raleigh are so much more terrifying! Yesterday everything shut down and some friends and I convened together to stay warm, watch movies and funny videos.  Still definitely my favorite way to spend snow days!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dream House

Going to medical school and residency stunts your growth.  All I want to do is socialize and shop.  Babies? Nah, not right now.  I'd rather go to Miami.  However Aaron, who lived a relatively normal life went to college/joined a fraternity/got a decent job is ready for more mature things, or something like that.  He's announced we should start saving for a house.  I think I was on my laptop browsing on Neiman Marcus' website when he made this announcement.  Clearly we are in 2 different places in life.

Aaron and I own a townhouse that he bought about 7 years ago.  Due to it's location and some Duke residency requirements - trucking out to the boonies your second year to serve at a state hospital - we decided to put the house up for rent (after some remodeling) and move to an apartment.  Our apartment is 2 bedroom, 2 bath, same as our townhouse and overall a fairly even swap, with the bonus of the townhouse becoming an investment.

So to motivate myself to save and not shop, I figured I'd share some house inspiration on the blog.  While my current apartment is a bit trendy in style, my dream house is traditional, many antiques and fine furniture with pops of color to add a modern touch.

My dream house is a Victorian.

However there are a lot of issues with older houses-they can be money pits when it comes to renovations.  You can buy a renovated Victorian, but sometimes the owners go overboard and completely gut the house, losing a lot of the charm.  Also, sometimes it just isn't practical to expect an ancient house to last forever.  So, I would be okay building a new age Victorian as well.

Building a house completely to my liking would be wonderful.

For a new age Victorian, I would like to include a lot of light and dark features

Ornate crown molding

Stained glass features of course

I also love wallpaper!!!

especially textured wallpaper - it says so much more than paint

Obviously, Aaron and I aren't going to go straight from living in our apartment now to our dream house.  I'm not even done with residency!  But what harm is in dreaming?  Our next house won't be anything like this.  Still I'd like to look at craftsman styles so we can still have some of that old world charm.  I'd also like to start investing in some quality pieces - tables, chairs, beds that maybe we can carry with us when it's time for that dream house.  I don't see us ever living in a mansion which would require us to buy all new furniture in a different size scale.  Also, I realize that every part of someone's life cannot be extravagant.  Especially if I want to work part time - I'll have to make my compromises in the car I drive, the clothes I wear.  However to me a house is of the uptmost importantance and I would be willing to make a sacrifice  for it, such as working full-time for an extra year before kids or to do some moonlighting here and there to help pad our pockets.

I'm on pinterest, but houzz is where I keep my serious design ideas.  Follow me there!  :-)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Self Care

As a psychiatrist, all day I'm recommending and "prescribing" self care to my patients.  Funny thing, because as a resident, self care is pretty low on my list.  These past couple of weeks have been especially hard for me.  I have been working many 12 hour shifts, 5-6 days a week.  To be honest, although I love my specialty, I do not like being a resident.  I like learning.  But I hate long shifts in the hospital, sometimes logging 60-70 hours a week.  I didn't really understand my life would be like this when I entered medical school.  I'm not sure I still would have went to medical school if I knew life would be like this.  Nonetheless, I don't regret my decision (err, I usually don't regret my decision) because ultimately my goal is to work part time and as a doctor I can work part time and often make more then people working full time.  However the road to get there is long and painful.  It's marked by many tears and overall crabbiness.  Second year is the hardest year of Duke residency and ER and consultation-liaison psychiatry are the hardest rotations.  So now I'm right in the thick of things and it's a struggle.  Come to July and things should turn around - my call schedule drops to one weekend a month and I get 20% raise.  However even with July so close sometimes I feel like it's not worth it!!!  When all you want is 2 days off a week instead of 1-last weekend I didn't even get that-life can become quite testing.

I refuse to let this post become one long rant.  So on the upside, to make life a little more bearable until I get to July, I have resolved to invest in more brief moments of self care.  Here are some small things I am resolving to do to help get me through.

-read my Bible.  I have the YouVersion Bible app on my phone.  It comes with plenty of easy reading plans, currently I'm reading The Five Love Languages for Her Bible study plan.  Most of the plans are short and take just about 5 minutes to read and another few minutes for processing.  I always feel much calmer afterwards.
-shower time.  For some reason, it's hard for me to motivate myself to get in the shower.  I'd rather just flop into my bed.  But once the water is raining down on me, the shower is a totally happy and therapeutic place. I have lots of aromatherapy body washes and lotions that I love to use.
-audiobooks.  Listening to audiobooks on the commute to work is a great way to ease stress and not fume over traffic.  I'm currently listening to Little Women which is so inspiring and refreshing.  I also recommend The Help and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
-drinking water and tea.  Hydration is key, 'nuff said.
-returning to meditation I had to stop going to guided meditation because of my work schedule, but now I have to reprioritize and start going again.  It helps me a lot with anxiety and focus.  I go to Patanjali's Place in Durham since it's close to Duke.
-wardrobe.  Looking good is feeling good, but also feeling bad is looking bad.  Or something like that.  Some days I'm too tired to think of proper outfit but then I find myself at work feeling embarrassed about how plain I look.  There's probably some direct correlation between my level of confidence and the size of my hair that day (well it's probably a curve that goes downhill when things start to get frizzy).  So despite the stress and sleep deprivation, I still need to take the time in the morning to look good because in the end that's what good for me. You know, change your hair change your life, gotta do me, it is what it is and insert any other ridiculous phrases. :)

Self care is taking off with a bang tomorrow because Aaron and I are going on vacation! We're going with a group to Snowshoe and I'm so excited.  It will be my first time snowboarding.  It is strange to go on such an active vacation but I'm going to take my time and take many breaks so I can rest up too.  We're coming back Tuesday and I'll have the rest of the week off to continue the self preservation.

What do you guys do to relax?  Share below!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Coffee Talk

Hello!  I hope y'all are staying warm!  After having a beautiful day last week in the upper 60s, of course Raleigh experienced an ice storm last night.  I was working overnight in the psychiatry ER and ended up just staying at the hospital in the doctor's call room instead of trying to go home in morning.  The call room resembles a bed in a closet, but I brought my laptop from home and my ipad and tried to make things as comfy as possible as I waited for my shift tonight.  Watching Dance Moms and HGTV helped lift my spirits some.

Without further ado, let's catch up.

 Isaac Mizahri Candles
I love candles, but I've never been one to rave about them before - until I found these Isaac Mizahri candles at TJ Maxx last week.  They smell heavenly, like a garden!  I bought rose, which is shown above. They also have gardenia and a few other flower scents.  They are a resonable price of $9 and do a wonderful job of diffusing sweet scents across your home.  Highly recommended, I will definitely buy again. This is one of my favorite candles for the price point.

Intepreters of Maladies

This was my book club's pick for the month of January. It is a Pulitzer Prize winning collection of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri.  Many of the characters are Indian Americans, which is a culture I am largely unfamiliar with and loved learning about.  Many of the stories feature problems that are common in any culture - marriages shook by miscarriages, infidelity and children.  It reminded me that relationships take work.  Happily ever after isn't easy at all with long work hours, bills and screaming babies.  You have to strive to honor your spouse instead of just living beside them.  You also have to learn to lean on your spouse during hard times instead of building walls.  This one is hard for me.  Sometimes when I am stressed I prefer to be left alone, which is okay for a little bit of time.  However in a relationship I think it is important to reach out and incorporate your spouse so they can feel involved and help you carry the burden.  This book was quite enlightening and touching about these subjects.  

Billy Elliot

On Wednesday my friend Amanda invited me to see Billy Elliot with her.  Hardly familiar with the musical, my first thought was Billy Joel?! but then I remembered Billy Elliot!! It's a musical about a boy growing up in a coal miner's town who wants to be a ballet dancer.  It was amazing, so funny and I loved the songs.  It also made me wonder why haven't I seen more musicals lately?!  I think it's impossible not to feel warm and fuzzy when leaving a musical.

Venus in Fur

Along the lines of theatre, a few weeks ago Aaron & I went out with the Contemporaries to see Venus in Fur at the Raleigh Little Threatre.  The contemporaries is a young adult group of the North Carolina Museum of Art.  Besides us, a large amount of senior citizens were there.  For a show about sadomasochism, we were quite the eclectic crowd!  The show was awesome, shocking, brow raising and hilarious.  Compared to 50 Shades of Grey, it was probably quite PG but that was enough for me.

Speaking of 50 Shades of Grey, I didn't read the book and I don't think I'll be seeing the movie.  I read this article  written by psychiatrist Meg Meeker regarding her take on the flick.  While I don't think I'd ever tell someone not to see something - people can make their own decisions - I think Dr. Meeker brings up lots of good points in this article about relationships flags.  I hope that the majority of people who see the movie know enough to make decisions for themselves for themselves and their love lives, but for those unsure, this is a good article.

What have y'all been up to? Did anyone like 50 Shades of Grey? Also - do you want to see pics of Paris?? If so visit my friend Amanda's blog!!!  Take care! :)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Beauty Talk

Girls have it tough.  We have to wake up, cleanse, protect against acne, moisturize, conceal, cover-up, mattify, even out, line, comb, many things to do in the morning!!!  On Wednesday, I took a big step in self-care and decided to get Latisse.  What is Latisse?  Latisse is a medicine that was used for glaucoma and then they found it made users' lashes grow like crazy.  So they changed it to a cosmetic medicine and got FDA approval.  It's available with a prescription.  It's best to buy at "med spas" because it's unlikely your insurance is going to pay for it, so you can get it much cheaper from these places than your local pharmacy.  I've had 2 of my friends do it with awesome results.  The caveat?  Once you stop using it, your eyelashes return to their old selves.  However, with weekly use (down from daily when you first start) you can maintain your new, fuller lashes.  I figure it's worth it for now and maybe some day I'll stop-by then, I'll likely have other things on my mind other than lashes.

Here are my lashes on day 3 of Latisse.  Day 1 I was too tired to get a good picture.  The nurse practitioner told me it takes 16 weeks to achieve full growth, so I'll post a comparison pic then.

I think overall, girls could probably spend thousands in beauty products.  For me my biggest battle is against uneven skin tone and hypergimentation.  My skin is so sensitive.  When I was younger, I spent a lot of money getting glycolic acid peels to help even out my complexion.  I think it helped, but now I no longer have my parents assistance to keep up such a pricey beauty regimen.  Also, I think my skin has improved so I don't have to invest as much.  This is what I do now to help maintain and further improve my complexion.

Replenix Power of Three cream.  This moisturizer has hyaluronic acid, which is wonderful for holding moisture in oily skin.  It also has antioxidants to minimize skin damage.  Other than the price (I usually can find it on sale for $50), I have no complaints with this moisturizer.  

Oil of Olay ProX Even Skin Kit.  Not entirely sure this will be a stable in my beauty regimen, but so far I've been satisfied enough to repurchase.  There twin study really sold me on this.  Tip: it's more cost efficient to buy these items separately in larger sizes.

Differin for acne, dermatologist prescribed.

Ambi fade cream. Comes in different versions for normal, dry and oily skin.
 Really cheap, really works, and carries all the controversies since it has hdyroquinone in it.

Retinol Night Cream.  You can get this for $10 at TJ Maxx.  
Read about retinol here.

For an eye cream, I was using Caudalie eye cream.  However, I hadn't seen a change in undereye circles which is what I really wanted help with (sleep and stay hydrated, I know).  So I'm switching to Dermatologica eye cream which I just ordered and haven't received yet. 

What order do you put put your creams on in?  Generally, from lightest to heaviest!!

Lastly, for cleansing and exfoliation I use a few products.  Right now I am using Oil of Olay Total Effects Cleanser, mostly because it is a mild cleanser and was on sale.  However I trust Oil of Olay, because once I read that large companies like them have so much more money for research than smaller, more obscure companies.  So even though their product is not expensive, it is still well-researched and reliable.

Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermfaoliant.  The aesthetician who did a past facial of mine used this to exfoliate my dry skin.  It also has lactic acid for peeling and brightening properties.  To save money, I purchased it and do it myself at home at least once a month.

The clarisonic.  My mom scored this for a me at a yard sale for $15!  I use it in the shower at least once a week.  This and biore pore strips have really helped keep the pores in my nose unclogged!

Honorable mention

Cain + Austin Retexturizing pads.  These pads are 10% glycolic acid, so it's like a mini peel everyday.  I haven't been using them much as it's the winter and I don't want to dry out my skin.  However I think they help with brightening and tone evening.  I always cut them in half so they last twice as long.

So that's such a long list of beauty products!!! I didn't come up with this regimen overnight.  A few I have been using for years.  What happens is, about every 4-6 months I'll usually get a urge to find a new beauty product and then spend the next 3 days frantically researching until I decide on one.  Then I order it and life goes on as usual.  That way it's not like you're spending hundreds of dollars at once. 

My friend Robin & I are committing to the 1 gallon of water a day challenge this February!! It's basically like a free face lift!! So today I took some make-up free photos for my before.  I'll post the cutest one below -you know it's so ridiculous when girls post #nomakeup selfies and act like they didn't take a few photos.  I could post the less cute ones :-( , but I'll spare you! :-)