A Weekend Trip to New Orleans

Saturday, May 19, 2018
Hiya everyone!

A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to present a poster at the ACP National Conference in New Orleans. I was lucky enough to have my parents join me and we were able to celebrate their wedding anniversary! One thing I can tell you off the bat is that I had WAY more fun than I expected, and I truly enjoyed my time in this vibrant city. It's so energetic and full of life! Music on every street corner, people in costumes, and laughter everywhere!
Other than the elegant Cathedral Basilic de Saint Louis, this photo was taken moments before the cutest thing happened. Below the church is a high school jazz band; halfway through their set one of the musicians serenaded his girlfriend, and then asked her to prom with the help of his bandmates. Adorbz!
The cutest blazer ever, courtesy of Zara. (Similar here, here and here.)
Anniversary dinner of mum & dad at Delmonico. This was the top to-do thing on our list, because my parents are big fans of Emeril. The dinner was phenomenal! We talked about it for weeks afterward. I definitely recommend going and please try the crispy pork cheeks. I am deceased. 👻
I loved all the colors in the French Quarter!
I've stocked up on white crop tops, and my two favorites are this cotton one and a ribbed one from H&M.
Beautiful buildings on Canal St. My friends, I love pretty buildings!
I cannot wait to make another weekend trip back to New Orleans! I've already made a list of places to visit next time.

Have you been traveling recently? If yes, where did you go and what do you recommend seeing?


Life Update - Residency and Resolutions

Thursday, May 10, 2018
Hiya everybody!

I hope you're all doing well on your end of the world. I really wanted to post a life update to track what's been happening whilst my second year of residency wraps up. How crazy!! It's true that the days are slow and the years are fast! July 1st marks the first day of my LAST year of internal medicine residency. Do you know what that means? Fellowship applications. Goodness gracious, the cycle never ends in medicine. Exams - research - studystudy- work - apply - Repeat forever. 
I wanted to discuss one resolution I've stuck with since starting 2018, because I feel it's a great one for everyone to pick up: do something new every month. Thus far I've bouldered in January (this was insanely fun and I hope to do it again), I had my first massage with an RMT in February (I've been missing out my whole life), I started painting in March (first time using acrylics and doing an abstract piece), and went rollerskating in April (Zomg, I hated it because the skates were heavy and I couldn't control the people around me). I haven't decided what to do in May so I'm open to ideas!

Another habit I took on was daily journaling with the Happiness Planner. I finished it last month (it's 100 days) and I enjoyed it so much I picked up the 5-Minute Journal. The latter is more focused on reflection, which I wanted because the Happiness Planner included a daily schedule and daily to-do lists which I didn't need. I can't wait to look back on these when I'm older!

Now... if only I stuck with the regular exercise routine. 😑
What New Year's Resolutions have you stuck with and what has fallen off the bandwagon? Now tell me what you're doing to get back on track!


P.S. These gorgeous photos are from Slim Aarons. I am in love.

Florida 2018 - What to See and Do

Sunday, May 06, 2018
Hi everyone!

Today I'm going to be sharing one of my trips from the beginning of 2018. I was lucky enough to spend a week in Florida to ward off the winter blues, and it was so soul-satisfying. I really needed that sunlight and family time to reset myself!
Spending the morning in Mizner Park - It's a lovely area to go shopping and you can check out the Boca Raton Museum of Art. While I was there I got to see the Alex Katz and modern pottery exhibit. There were such beautiful creations for the eyes to feast on! (Awesome shoes from Free People - they're insanely comfortable and I walked with them for >8 hours a day without blisters)
Another place I've been to before, and have always enjoyed for gelato and people watching is downtown West Palm Beach. Unfortunately this time I felt uninspired by the space, and I think it's because I typically went during the evening when the night scene is lively. During the day it was quiet and the shops aren't that great (guys, I love shopping on holiday because I rarely buy any clothes during the year).
I picked up this adorable skort from Mizner Park and wore it a ton of times while on holiday. It's girly and very comfortable. PS I still love my little black bag (link is to the same one but with camellias on the chain on sale at Sak's)- it's the best if you only carry a few credit cards, a couple phones, and chapstick.
Delray Beach - This was the first time I walked the strip and it was wonderful. The area is full of art galleries, boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants and music. I definitely recommend it day or night. There are preserved hotels from the 1920's with bright, "Florida Mediterranean" architecture for those interested. One of those spots is the Colony Hotel - I went to peak inside, and it was like stepping into a time capsule.
My family and I took a break one evening for drinks and appetizers in Delray. This was a cute spot with a live guitarist, but the food wasn't the greatest. I appreciated the beach-vibe decor though!
Las Olas Boulevard is a great spot to hit for food. We ate at a lovely Italian place and downed a ton of white wine with fresh pizza. *Drool - I definitely recommend this place for good food and a great ambiance. Check it out - Caffe Europa
Miami - I've been here several times. Always fun, but frequently overpriced for subpar food. I'd recommend avoiding the tourist areas for eating, because I'm frequently dissatisfied. The Art Deco is my favorite, but I won't bore you with photos. I took hundreds last time I was here! Stop taking photos of buildings, Chantelle! Miami has such a great 'city vibe' - you can feel the energy coming off people in the streets. Oh, and the music is fantastic! Here is a link to my prior photo journal in Miami.
This was my favorite discovery - Hollywood Beach. The water, sand, atmosphere, boardwalk.. everything! It's perfect and full of life. I would love to just stay at a hotel nearby next time because this place was my PB and J. Who am I kidding? I could live here no problem, and that's nuts for a city girl. 
This little two-piece set is cute and from the most unexpected place (American Eagle). I can't find it on their site, but they're still selling cute colorful 2 pieces I'm tempted to get! I wish these were work-appropriate, and I wasn't such a hermit on weekends so I could wear them. C'est la vie!

What are some of your Florida favorites?!


Anthropologie and Free People - Sale Finds

Monday, February 19, 2018
Hi everyone!

There are so many great finds on sale this week, so I thought I would share some of my favorites. I snapped up some pieces from Free People and Anthropologie this weekend. I'm definitely going through a bohemian phase and I hope it sticks around for a while!
free people dresses
free people tops 2018
soft turtle neck // bell sleeve top (I have worn this 1000x since I got it in December!!) // Blazer // Sweater swing tunic // off the shoulder top // girl print blouse // open back wrap 

Happy shopping! 


January Favorites 2018 - Study + Coffee

Tuesday, February 06, 2018
Hey everyone!

I thought I would share some of my favorites from the past month in hopes that you might find some of them useful to add to your routine. Yay!

1. Studying - This one sounds odd, but I've gotten back into writing out my notes like I did in medical school (by hand - gasp!), and I find it so therapeutic to do in the evening. I've made a rule to do it every night, even if it's only for 10 minutes. That's how you trick yourself into completing quite a bit more. So my gift to you is to get back into your study groove for whatever field you're in! Knowledge is so beautiful and powerful!

2. Tiny necklaces - This is not just a January favorite, it's a yearly favorite. I love small, delicate pieces. My constant one is the mini locket from Tiffany's, but I also like these: 1, 2, and 3. Gorjana makes fun, affordable pieces too. I've had my sterling silver key necklace for over 4 years and it still looks great!

3. High-Quality Mascara - My friends got me super fun mascaras from Lancôme this Christmas, and I'm obsessed with the Lancôme Hypnose. It is NO JOKE! There is volume and length galore. It makes my eyes look so big!

4. Nespresso De'Longhi coffee and espresso machine - I have been truly enjoying the quality of the coffees made by this guy! These is a foam top on your drink and everything. I've gotten my new order set up for shipment of capsules now. [PS. The only downside is that there are few Nespresso shops around North America, so I have to get mine mailed in.]

5. New trips - I have two new trips coming up, and buying tickets, making an itinerary and creating a packing list is so exciting! Don't you end up enjoying the planning process and anticipation almost as much as the trip? I'm totally like that :D

6. Increasing the strength of my retinoid . I'm on tretinoin now and my skin has been loving it! Yay for clearer, less time-consuming skin in the morning! 

What are some of your own January favorites!? I would love to hear them. 


Make Everyday A Little Happier

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Hey everyone!

Today I wanted to pop in and leave a few suggestions on how to bring some sunshine into your day. It's so easy to get bogged down by all the negativity around us, and I always make a conscious effort to climb out of happiness death pits. I find many people allow an entire set of 24 hours go down the toilet, because of a tiny incident that will render itself insignificant in a matter of weeks. Let's not do this to ourselves anymore!

Credit: Hermes 

1. Make a list of 3 things you are grateful for everyday. You can do it in your head before bed, or log them in a journal. I prefer to log my lists so I can read them years later, and recall the memories from that time. This is one of my favorite activities to do!

2. Ensure you're doing at least 1-2 things you love everyday. For me it's a sweet smoothie, dance class, hot chocolate, a bubble bath, reading a thriller, or taking photos. There is ALWAYS time! For example, I sometimes bring a packet of hot chocolate and make it at work while I write patient notes. Frequently I put a thriller or fantasy novel on my iBooks or Read app so I can get sucked into a new world during ten minute breaks for lunch. Woo!

3. Release some endorphins via exercise. I've found forcing myself to enjoy a workout that's uninspiring will not make me feel content. I just can't do it. I've finally gone back to dance class, and the change is wonderful and welcome. I've discovered that any group class will get me working harder and longer than if I was doing a workout alone. It's because I'm competitive. I'm now using that to my advantage instead of hiding it under the rug.
         Note: If I cannot make it to a class because I work late, I've found a way to enjoy cardio (treadmill or elliptical). I listen to a great podcast! I typically listen to 50 min to 1 hr long interviews, and refuse to get off the treadmill until the podcast is completed.

4. Just to play off the point above, I now try to listen or read something inspiring every day. Elizabeth Gilbert's podcasts are amazing, and I am extremely motivated after hearing even one session. I also picked up her book Big Magic to help get my creative juices flowing, but most importantly to embrace living a life of curiosity. I find the Happiness Planner is also a great tool. Its ultimate focus is to help you identify goals, and achieve them in 100 days while incorporating activities that you've established bring you joy. It also allows for reflection everyday, and I like how that provides a journalling component to the agenda without feeling intimidating.

5. Call the people you love. I speak to my parents daily, and almost always have shared texts going on with my besties and boyfriend. Relationships bring meaning to your life, so spend time cultivating them.

6. Always have something planned. Because my boyfriend and I are long-distance during our medical training, we always have weekends booked with fun activities. Now, I don't endorse only ploughing through your days because you know a vacation is coming in 2 months. That's a waste of time. Rather focus on regularly scheduling activities that will fill your cup of love. Seeing friends, having dinner with mom, or signing-up for a rock climbing class. I ended up going bouldering for the first time -thanks to my boyfriend pushing me to scratch another item off my bucket list- and it was so rewarding learning a new skill that my body could do. It's a huge confidence boost! Make yourself uncomfortable in the name of self-discovery!

These are my reliable go-to's for a life of sustainable happiness. What brings you joy on a daily basis?


How To Bundle-Up For Winter Like A Canadian

Sunday, January 07, 2018
Heya my lovelies!

I hope everyone is enjoying the fresh start to a new year. I've got all my resolution lists written out for goals I hope to accomplish in the next 12 months, and it is super motivating! Unfortunately, we have been hit with frigid temperatures and mountains of snow here in Cleveland. Today, I thought I would share my tried and true tips for surviving winter without sustaining any cold injuries. This will be particularly focused on weather below -20˚C (-4˚F). I have been working in the Emergency Department this month, and the amount of frostbite I've seen has been astounding! Friends, protect yourself and each other!
VOGUE Japan 2017

1. Invest in a warm, long parka. The least amount of body area exposed to the elements the better. Good brands make a difference; particularly in construction and insulation. I have reliably purchased warm parkas since I was young, but frequently from fashion brands. This year I got one from North Face (an outdoor company specializing in clothing for extreme sporting conditions) just because it was the parka with the slimmest fit. To my big surprise the difference in overall warmth is HUGE compared to my past purchases! There are grip sleeves inside the actual sleeves, magnetic strap devices to decrease air gaps, high insulated collars, waterproofing and air venting, etc. North Face knows their shit.
PS. Get a size that allows you to fit a thick sweater underneath!
I have the Tremaya Parka in XS, Graphite color (it's sold out on The North Face website, and Nordstrom but save the links in case they re-stock!)

VOGUE Russia

2. Extremities - these are the quickest areas of your body to get frostbite because the vessels in your body vasoconstrict in the extremities to preferentially keep your core organs warm (in some temperatures, you can get frostbite as quickly as 10 minutes!!).
  Hands - Thick, fleece-lined gloves are my go to. I stopped wearing single knit gloves mid-December because it was gosh darn freezing. Mittens are even more ideal because they conserve heat by having all your fingers lying close together!

  Feet - Get yourself a solid pair of winter boots. My pretty over-the-knee leather boots are just not cutting it right now, no matter how many warm socks I wear. I'm hunting for a pair of tall snow boots this week, and hoping they get delivered ASAP. My favorite winter boots whilst in Toronto were the Cougar brand tall snow boots; the brand is very reliable and I was super toasty. There is a huge difference in build of winter boots vs fashion boots. You need them to be lined, insulated, waterproof and tall enough on the shaft to avoid getting snow inside. Update 2/1/2018: I got these Aquatherm boots (now on sale!), and after using them for a few weeks I can vouch for their brand: my boots are very warm and insulated, waterproof, and the leg opening is small enough for my skinny legs while allowing me to adjust it even tighter with laces and pulls. Also, these boots have prevented me from slipping and falling; there is great grip in the rubber sole.

  Face (especially ears, tip of nose): I typically favor a thick toque and a scarf I can wrap high enough to cover my nose so only the eyes peak out. If it's not scary cold like we are getting now, then I forgo the scarf and hat, because my parka has a high collar and a warm hood.

3. Wear an 'under outfit'. I always have leggings on under my pants (fleece-lined are obviously the best)! I also like wearing the Zara slim tanks under my sweaters, or a close fitting t-shirt if there is enough room. The more layers the better! Update 2/11/2018: I've tried these heattech socks by Uniqlo and they are great for sweat wicking whilst keeping the feet warm. I tried the heattech leggings, and I am not a huge fan. I feel any fleece-lined leggings are warmer and get the job done for a cheaper price.

4. Avoid drinking too much alcohol and don't do drugs (ever!). This has landed a ton of my patients in our ED beds with horrible frostbite, and some on the brink of hypothermia because of misguided beliefs that they were invincible whilst under the influence. Careful at those parties! Also, if you are walking past a homeless person in frigid weather conditions, please find the appropriate organization to call, and find these people a warm place to survive another day!
winter parka
source: unknown

I hope you found these tips useful! They are mostly for deep freeze temperatures, so remove a few layers if you're getting too hot and sweaty. Tell me some of your winter survival tips!


Secret Santa Gift Ideas (Under $35)

Tuesday, December 05, 2017
Hi everyone!

I thought I would share some cute gift ideas for Secret Santa this year. I love the Christmas Spirit this year, and I cannot wait to finish all of my gift shopping. I'm almost done! Also, I accidentally bought a bunch of gifts for myself. Ooops 🙆

(Bare Necessities is my favorite online store for undergarments - I've been regularly purchasing from them for the past 5 months. I'm not sponsored, just a very satisfied customer! They have tons of sales and codes for fancy bra/undies brands.) 
L'Occitane gift set of hand creams - $29

What gift ideas do you have have to share?!

Save Time In The Morning: Coffee Station Set-Up

Sunday, October 08, 2017
Hi everyone!

Three weeks ago I reorganized my kitchen, and one of the moves was to place all my hot beverage items onto a kitchen cart so I can make a small coffee/tea/hot chocolate station. I originally had it set up for smoothies, but it wasn't getting much use and was impractical when I had to chop fruits and in such a small space. I've had this new sipping station set up for a sufficient enough time to tell you it is very effective, shortens your beverage making time, and ensures your products don't sit unforgotten!

Up top I have my Keurig, and my french press. There is a huge difference in taste and consistency with a french press; it's truly wonderful. So as many of you know, I am not a regular coffee drinker so what I have in my station is just for pleasure. The following are items I suggest you keep grouped together to make your mornings/sipping breaks super quick and stress-free. 

  • 1. Coffee Maker - I have a Keurig that fits neatly onto the cart top and leaves enough room for other essentials. You can use it to just heat water for tea as well. [Update 1/15/2018: I have a Nespresso De'Longhi machine now, and the concept is the same. The upside is it can make espressos, coffee and grande coffees. The downside is I live in Cleveland and have to order my capsules online, because there is no Nespresso boutique here.]
  • 2. A french press - if you don't know how to use one here is a youtube video by a cool, no-BS dad. It's very easy.
  • 3. A small tray with your fave drinks - I got mine from Poppin'.
  • 4. Keurig reusable pod - this is for when I want my own coffee in the Keurig. 
  • 5. Coffee and Tea! On rotation I have green tea, tazo passion tea, matcha powder, hazelnut ground coffee, hazelnut pods, and a two-step french vanilla Starbucks drink.
  • 6. Sugar holder - I picked up this cute pineapple at Marshall's last year. Similar here and here.
Tips - get an electric kettle, it is a massive time saver for cooking, drinks, pouring it down your garbage disposal to kill bacteria (clean freak), anything! It will help get your tea done quick in the AM, or if you want to French Press before you dress. The Keurig can give you some hot water, but it's too short to fit the French Press beaker underneath the water dispenser.
I always keep my mug/thermos out with the required Chantelle "sugar dosing" the night before.
Have your Keurig/Nespresso filled with water and your pod ready to go so your timer, or finger have one job in the AM.
A Fast Matcha Latte - Heat up milk in the microwave (my fave is Silk's Original flavor) for 2-3 mins. Throw in 2 spoons of matcha powder [this depends on your matcha's potency] into the warm milk, pour into a coffee tumbler and give it a good shake as you walk out the door.
Rapid Latte: I make an espresso with my Nespresso machine, then add in hot almond milk (any of your milk preferences are fine, I'm just lactose intolerant so I use alternatives frequently) and sugar/sweetener to taste.

My kitchen cart has 3 additional shelves. I just store extra stuff like a matcha powder tub, cocoa powder, hot chocolate mixes, and some goodies for my protein shakes. This cart was such a thoughtful and useful gift from mom & dad! I recommend it to everyone!

What's on your sippin' station?