Academic Toolbox #5: Staying On Top

Friday, July 26, 2013
Since I get such positive feedback on this mini-series, I decided to discuss another topic on scholastic success. Staying organized is one of the most important methods of doing well in school & it is a tough habit to crack if you're a procrastinator. I thought I'd share some of the ways I keep on the straight and narrow once my first quarter rolls around. 

 1) Agendas/ iCal

 I keep a physical agenda to marks important dates, write lists, and jot down fun memories. It almost doubles as a life journal (like the young lady's book above), and I can't wait to look back on them 20 years from now. There's a blank section before each month that allows me to write down all the activities and goals I have for the following 30 days.  [Check out this pinterest account for great sources and ideas for planners.]

My iPhone's iCal is what I use on a daily basis. My entire curriculum schedule is loaded onto it, all my exams, due dates for essays/projects/presentations, clinical evaluation days, and tuition payment deadlines. I also add in birthdays, special social events, meetings, doctor/dentist appointments, and library book due dates. Before I go to bed each night, I always check my schedule for the following day and the rest of the week. 

Golden Tip--- what really keeps me on my toes and very organized is something I like to call "pre-reminders". A couple weeks before an exam or project, I have a reminder go off telling me to start studying/researching. I always add these in whenever I'm putting a new event into iCal. I only put in pre-reminders for school. Do it!!!! 

2) Physical Calendar 

I print out 4 monthly calendars and stick them on the wall above my desk. It gives me a great long term view, and prevents me from forgetting certain special days are coming up. I have a bad habit of not realizing how close a birthday or dentist appointment is, because iCal and agendas only show one month at a time. I can never see what's on the first or second week of the following month. Avoid the panic!  [Link to pretty printable calendars.]

3) Computer: Folders 

Like most people, I have one folder per course. But I like to subdivide it in a way that helps me find information quickly without resorting to the "search" function. I always end up with 50+ results on lymphoma that I didn't even know my hard drive was holding. Here's what I do for each course: 
1 folder for Admin - syllabus, lecture schedule, contact information, etc.  
1 folder PER exam - holds all the lectures and notes pertaining to that exam and nothing else.  
1 folder for past tests- it's really necessary to find these easily the day before a test. 
1 folder for misc - PDF versions of important textbooks, or supplemental notes that the professor has provided. 

4) Binders 

For those of you that need to put pen to paper, organize your binders like I do my folders above. 

And that's how I keep on top of my school work!! Hope it's helpful to at least one or two of you. 



For those lovely ladies and gentlemen that are also in the medical field, I have a recommendation for you regarding Medical Scrubs. My friends over at Uniformed Scrubs sent me a little something to test out, and I enjoyed it immensely. After a year of getting used to donning scrubs in the anatomy lab, I feel I have enough experience to recommend this product. It's a Dickie's enzyme washed scrub top #84757 (which you can find in their Nurse Scrub tops section in different patterns - but mine was solid blue and I can no longer locate it), and to make a long story short, I love it because it is SO SOFT. I detested the material of all the scrubs I went through this year, and I always wore a tank and leggings underneath everything because the material was rough. This baby was awesome, and the front pockets were double-lined and nicely done to protect any spills from leaking through. Love it! 


images sources: 1//2//3//4//5

"Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare." - Japanese Proverb

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hi everyone!
I thought I'd share my oufit from the wedding I attended last week. I know I left a sneak peak on my instagram, with a close-up of my mom's awesome necklace, but here's the full package. I picked up this Juicy Couture dress, because it had pockets, and was also long enough to wear with tights & some flats to the clinic/hospital. Hurray for versatility! I'm so tired of buying dresses I can only wear once, it's such a waste of money to see them hanging in my closet. Womp.
I hope your summer adventures continue to keep you busy! Remember, the days are slow but the years are fast.


Inspiration Post

Thursday, July 18, 2013
Images that have caught my eye lately.
image sources: studs // living room // yellow // boho // olivia // zebra // dining room

How I Got Rid of Cystic Acne: Epiduo / Tactuo Review

Sunday, July 14, 2013
   I've been waiting to write this piece for a while (8 months), because I've been afraid my wonderful product would stop working on my skin and I'd have to retract all my statements. Luckily, the results have stuck, and even after I've diminished the use of Epiduo by half, my skin still stays fairly clear. But let's back up. What the heck is Epiduo?

Epiduo (called Tactuo in Canada, where I got mine) is a prescription acne medication created by Galderma (makers of Cetaphil!). I talked to my family doctor last November about my painful cystic acne breakouts - most of which started once I began medical school - and she prescribed me this product. The pickle with cystic acne is that it's mostly hormonal; I always took great care of my skin so no amount of washing was going to fix it. I even changed my healthy diet to an even HEALTHIER diet... but nothing did the trick. It was time for...DRUGS. 😱😹

Epiduo contains two important active ingredients: adapalene (0.1%) and benzoyl peroxide (2.5%). Adapalene is a synthetic retinoid - its job is to exfoliate and decrease inflammation. The benzoyl peroxide is an antimicrobial; it helps prevent breakouts by killing bacteria. Here's some more information on the active ingredients: one & two.
 It was brutal. You need to be prepared for it from the beginning. It took almost two months for my skin to adapt and clear up - the only reason I stuck through the pain was because of reviews I read online. This is what most people experience. Even the Mayo Clinic pointed out that products with adapalene take 12 weeks to work, and your skin will look worse before it gets better. In my case, it got SUPER dry and cracked, everything was red on my face, and it was quite painful. My skin would just peel off, and become hypersensitive. Even when I loaded up on moisturizer, I'd wake up with raw, cracked skin. At one point I even used the Body Shop's beautifying olive oil all over my face before bed. Nothing really works during those first few weeks of doom. Good luck with make-up; any type of foundation will look terrible over the patches of dry skin everywhere. Did I mention you purge? Oh boy, do you purrrge. Mine happened a few weeks in as my skin started peeling and the lower layers came to the surface. *sigh (stick with it though! this is suppose to happen!)  Another problem I had, which I haven't read in any reviews, was the cracking around my eyes. I never went near my eyes when applying Epiduo, but it was so powerful that it didn't matter. I've always had sensitive skin there, so I should have seen it coming. I bought Kiehl's avocado eye cream to help ease the pain, and it calmed down a little. I think this side-effect was the only one that made me cry a couple times because it burned so bad.
  So after my lovely epidermis had gone through hell and back with this damn product, my skin started getting really smooth and bump-free. I eventually figured out my method of application: do it every other day until you can handle daily usage. My skin enjoyed the break. With time, I stopped getting any reactions to the cream at all. It was like my skin got used to it... but only after shedding a bunch of yucky layers!

  Today I only apply Epiduo on the areas I know I break out, usually the sides of my face that I sleep on. I definitely recommend my acne-prone readers to sleep on one side of your face for a week or two, and try to notice if that's the cause of your break outs. It's definitely a culprit for me, no matter how many times I change my pillow. I also stopped pressing my cell phone against my face when I talk on it; that was breaking me out as well.

Extra Products
Because I'm on prescription gel, I use sunscreen everyday. I decided to stick with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, Cetaphil gentle face wipes (these are better than Neutrogena IMO) and Cetaphil oil-free moisturizer with SPF 15. Since Galderma makes both Epiduo/Tactuo and Cetaphil, I figured they would compliment each other.
And that's that! I pray to the gods of science for creating such a great product. I can see now why some people just stop using prescription meds for acne, because it takes soooo long to see results! BUT IT WORKS, I PROMISE!

UPDATE: You can now buy adapalene over the counter and online! It is called Differin. 💃

If you have any more questions just shoot me a message!

What works on your skin? What are your holy grail beauty products?


My Summer Essentials: Canvas Totes

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Louis Vuitton 2011 collection

I find that every summer, I have to pull out my large totes to lug around some warm weather necessities. I typically work/volunteer, and a tote provides me with enough room to carry notebooks, paper, laptop/ipad, a water bottle, snacks, wallet + cell + keys, and a scarf for intense air conditioning. Quite rarely do I pull out a nice structured leather bag come June, because I find them extremely heavy! And they make you sweaty from the strenuous work-out. Yuck! Canvas totes are my favourite, and I tend to go back to them every year, hunting down the lightest bag I can find around the house. Last spring I bought myself one with an anatomical skull design, as a link to my love for skulls & medicine. It was a hit in class, and I loved that it was casual and non-fussy. I've decided to round up a collection of my faves for you to own and love as well, because they are my life savers. (They can also be easily rolled up into your purse/backpack, and be used for groceries or library books when needed. Awesome!)

Lovely tote from Strawfoot. Featured in GQ here.

What are your summer life-savers?
How many of you are also carrying a heavy load to & from school/work this season?