Christmas Shopping Guide 2016

Saturday, December 10, 2016
Hey everyone!

I can't believe I'm almost 6 months into intern year. The time flies! I'm currently on MICU nights, and it has been crazy stressful but still tons of fun. So much learning! I've been requested to document a 'day in the life' post, particularly for my ICU rotations, so I'll get that to you soon. Anywho, here is my Christmas guide for those of you who need a few ideas. Thank goodness for online shopping and expedited shipping. Am I right? Cheers!



Residency Interviews: Lessons and Advice

Friday, September 23, 2016
Hey everyone!

I thought I would compile a list of tips and tricks for residency interviews, which I learned from others, and my own experiences last year. Enjoy!

  Suit: Pick something you're comfortable in. All my pieces were from different brands, but together they made me feel myself. I know a ton of people say 'don't wear anything that will stand out!' and I didn't go with the intention of doing that, but somehow I still got nice compliments on my shoes and dress shirts. I didn't think they were anything spectacular, but people seemed to love them and I would get a boost of confidence wearing my outfit. If you're wondering, my shoes were black patent leather, pointed, and in the style of men's dress shoes but for females. (I didn't wear heels because I wanted to keep up with the tours and not limp in heels). My shirt was just a polka-dot one from Banana Republic.

Scheduling: I made sure to have at least one day in between each interview. It didn't work out for a few of them because the programs have their own interview schedule, but you learn to deal with it. The 'one day' rule saved my butt a few times so I recommend it!

Flights: BIG LESSON ALERT- try to get them as direct flights. I got delayed twice and missed my connecting flights. Luckily, I scheduled most interviews with a day in between, so I didn't miss anything. However, sleeping in an airport, or getting shipped around to different hotels is incredibly tiring, and being a sleep-deprived zombie at a dinner is not cute. If you can book your flights early and save money, do that too. I always left mine until late, because I wasn't sure if I would have to adjust my schedule as new invites came in. In retrospect, just risk it and book the flights. The likelihood of you completely readjusting is low, there are always other dates to choose from.

Interview prep: I did a bunch of questions on a word document, and had a mock interview at my school. I typically enjoy doing interviews, and interview pretty well. Only one day threw me for a loop with 12 interviews back to back (10-12 mins each), and I somehow managed it in one piece.

Tips: Carry some granola bars and tea bags with you. They can get past security, and there's always something for you to snack on, or to have on hand at the hotel. Also, bring an empty water bottle in your personal bag. Tons of refilling stations in airports. Oh, and a huge blanket scarf so you can stay warm on the plane.
These are Express suits. I can't vouch for their quality or fit because I've never bought anything from them. However, I am fond of the styling.

During (Hotel arrival to departure for next interview)
   Suit: Take it out asap, hang it up. If it has some wrinkles, make sure you have a [BIG LESSON ALERT] compact steamer. The irons at the hotels are all different brands, and I scorched two suit pants after a few interviews (yes I thought my more expensive J. Crew Ryder pants [the 2nd set] could handle a quick iron as per the directions on the tag - I was wrong). I had to buy a 3rd pair to finish my last 3 interviews. Just save yourself the hassle and buy a small steamer! My look was similar to the one on the left - all black, shirt was white or blue with white polka dots, skinny pant (I'm not fond of flares) and menswear-inspired patent leather shoes. I loved it! I also had a back-up skirt suit in navy, and extra black blazers in different styles.
   Pre-Interview Dinner Apparel: I just wore black pants, cute flats and a blouse. Either the blouse would be patterned and I'd wear black shoes, or the shoes would be more trendy, and I'd have a simple blouse.
   Pre-Interview Dinner: Be yourself, unless you're super quiet and antisocial... it's important to connect with the residents (for some programs, resident input is crucial). Smile, be amiable, and chatty. Ask what they think about the program, what they do on their spare time, and just genuinely take the time to learn about them. These are going to be your potential colleagues next year! Oh, and get back to the program coordinator if you can't make it to the dinner and it's mandatory. There were some programs that didn't track whether you were going to attend and just gave an address, while others took down names and any dietary preferences. Be nice, and contact the latter!

   Interview day: You've prepped a bunch of times, so try to calm down the jitters. You're ready! Again, be nice to everybody (I hate that I have to say this, but there were RUDE applicants on the trail), and take time to know the faculty and the other residents who are present. They'll be joining you for breakfast/lunch and tours. Don't forget to smile, get to know the other applicants, and pay attention to the introductory presentations. There's info on there that won't be in your folders or online. Write it down and refer to that when you're making your rank list.

   Hotel & Transport: I would leave my luggage at the hotel, and pick it up after the interview. Many hotels have airport shuttles, so you save money just going back to the hotel and getting a free ride to the airport. Uber is great, but make sure you look for flat rates on taxis. I found a few taxis that were cheaper than the uber.

   Downtime: The moment you have 5 minutes free, be it on the ride to the airport or in the air... write down everything you feel after the interview. For me it was my connection to the residents, how I felt about research/fellowship opportunities, and my impression of the interviewers I had and how they answered my questions. I referred to all of these tiny blurbs while doing the rank list.
residency trail, the match, interview outfits
A wardrobe like this one would be excellent for the interview trail. Here is a link to Alex's youtube account.

     Travel: Go home and recuperate, or fly off to your next interview. I was doing full-time research, plus online courses, so if I had to repeat this I would definitely just use my vacation time. When I got home, Netflix was my best friend, as was iBooks (I read 9 novels).

   Thank you's: I would send an e-mail 5-14 days after the interview. Most ranking is done right after you leave the hospital/university, so your e-mail does little to change their mind. I heard this speech from many program directors as well, and there will be programs who want ZERO contact with you after interview day. For the ones I did send out, I added a few anecdotes regarding our convos in hopes of jogging their memory. Then I sent them off and prayed a Hail Mary!

    Rank List Time: I went with my gut and also location. If I liked 2-3 programs equally, I chose whichever program was closer to Toronto or Chicago. Since I'm on a visa in the USA, I also kept an eye on which visas were offered by which programs, as that is important for fellowship opportunities and whether you want to practice in the USA or go back home. This is a huge topic, for another day. If you're interested, you can shoot me an e-mail regarding being an international student who is an American Medical Graduate (I have very little knowledge of the International Medical Graduate experience, so I will be of no use in that department). There are always extra hoops to jump through, but do not despair it's all about the proper preparation!

Those are all my tips and tricks for ya! I tried not to repeat too much of what was already on the internet. Believe in yourself, have fun and don't overthink!


Apartment Decor Inspiration

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Hi everyone!

Now that I'm back to living on my own (I had my first place in Chicago for 3 years, before moving downtown with the besties), I've started collecting pieces here and there to decorate the place. Unfortunately, I'm moving at an ant's pace. I'm embarrassed of my fear to order big furniture pieces online. Please contact me with your experiences and recommendations! Anywho, with a larger apartment comes lots of empty space to fill. Pinterest boards have become a go to, and I have a constant running list of what I should add to blank wall A, and floor space B. Below are the photos I'm recently using as inspiration. Hope you enjoy them as well!
urbanoutfitters - greenery and contrasting patterns
stylizimo blog - large, clean wall art
the jungalow - gorgeous bright colors with boho awesomeness
House Beautiful UK - pastel color combos & bronze
I Spy DIY - debating if I should do an accent wall with removable wallpaper
Homemadeinheaven blog- Blue and white vintage dishes + white shelving
Apartment Therapy - bright kitchens with big hipster rugs
A little house on the corner - light accent chairs and interesting pillows
Link - Ideas for balcony decorating! I finally have one!


A Lazy Girl's Guide to Flats

Sunday, August 21, 2016
Hey lovelies!

I thought I would bring back a second edition of 'A Lazy Girl's Guide' to this old blog of mine. Today we're talking about shoes, more specifically, comfortable chic flats. Summer's are my jam when it comes to wearing cute foot costumes [yes, I went there]. I bank 7-10 compliments a work week. No shame! I love compliments! Plus, I don't get any blisters or knee swelling. Since I work at a hospital, these are all healthcare-appropriate (closed toed to avoid injuries). Also, they've been very loved and worn to death, so they're fully-tested and I feel I've adequate experience to give some advice!
How do you elevate flats from their casual status to an office setting? I typically go for the pointy-toe look, or bold colors/patterns, and I don't fear embellishments. A tiny heel is also a good idea, because it gives more room for decorations (see my studded flats below). The red flats with the triple cross straps are also a great way to keep a solid color shoe interesting without embellishments. Straps are fun, just give yourself some extra time to buckle up!

How do I find footwear that stands out? I'm patient, and only buy pieces I love. Seriously, ask my mom. Having a little burst of happiness in the morning while you slip on your hot red flats with the tiny just the best feeling. All the shoes I'm showing are from different stores (and countries). I recommend starting off by checking the following places: Gilt, Forever21, Parfois (Europe), Nordstrom and discount outlets like TJMaxx/Marshalls or Winners (Canada).  If there are boutiques near your city, I recommend popping in as well to locate unique pieces. I spent a couple hours this week finding a fun selection of flats for you to look through - please check the widget below. They are all different price points, but most are on the affordable end. I tried to find some shoes that were similar to my own, too!

Flat feet? You can always slip insoles in. Shoes half size too big but you love them? Insoles. The purple in my Valentino-inspired flats are insoles for the latter reason. I picked up those shoes at Akira. (I would never waste my measly resident salary on pieces that trendy.)

How do I wear them? I follow a simple rule heard many times before: neutral outfit + funky shoes, or funky outfit + neutral shoes. I'm rarely that person who thinks "Will this match what I have at home?" I make it work people!

Tell me about your favorite pretty shoes and where you go shopping to find them!

Things To Do In Cleveland & Intern Life Updates

Saturday, July 30, 2016
Hi everyone!

I just finished 4 weeks of being an official doctor. It has been an amazing, yet crazy adventure! There are things I need to get waaaay better at (understanding a new EMR, learning drug dosages, how to effectively chart review on Epic, etc etc), and some stuff I want to keep throughout the next three years (spending as much time as I can pre-rounding on my patients, answering their questions, and cracking some jokes - patients are the best part of medicine!!). I just finished two weeks of rheumatology and I absolutely loved it. Even on days we rounded until 7pm and I finished my notes at 10pm, I was just incredibly excited to be there ^-^. Whenever I have some spare time on the weekends, I have also been exploring a few Cleveland neighborhoods, and finding decorative pieces for my apartment. I am just going to put it out there, Marshalls' is the real MVP! So without further ado, let's jump right in!

We spent time in Ohio City tracking down pubs to watch the Euro Cup last month. Old Angle Tavern is your spot for soccer - they also make a mean grilled cheese sandwich. PS - I can't believe Portugal won! And I was all alone in Cleveland while my family and the large Portuguese community in Toronto partied away. I was so homesick that weekend!
West Side Market - this indoor market is full of fresh meat, fish, fruits & veggies plus cultural pastries and a fromagerie!

Mitchell's Ice Cream - this ice cream spot is native to Cleveland... infamous really. It's all people talk about when they mention foods to try in the city. There is a large location in Ohio City that has a factory inside. It's housed behind glass walls in a converted theatre, and the smell inside is to die for. The ice cream is incredibly soft and ooey gooey yummy. That evening I tried Blue Cosmo and Banana Cream Pie flavors - I just about died and went to heaven.

This is the new 'Flats' area in downtown Cleveland. There are wonderful restos and pubs bordering the river mouth to Lake Erie, as well as many outdoor festivals in the summertime. I just tried Coastal Taco this week when a couple Toronto friends passed through, and I must say it's a beautiful, fun place. The ambience is very California-like, and they sell Vinho Verde (Portuguese) and the best smore's dessert I've ever eaten! Taco-bout yummm! I also noticed they have yoga sessions by the river on Saturday mornings, $2 Taco Tuesdays with $5 Margaritas, and a DJ spinning on Friday and Saturday evening. I will definitely be back!
Crop Sticks (Flats) - Didn't love it. Maybe I'm just not the biggest fan of asian fusion foods - I'd rather have an authentic Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese dish. However, if you're into fusion cuisine you can find it downtown.
Legacy Village (Lyndhurst, OH) - This is a great pedestrian-friendly outdoor shopping and dining center. If you're a home decor fan, then this place is also for you. It was the first time I went to a Restoration Hardware and my eyeballs melted with happiness. Now if only I could afford it! Above is a quick summer lunch and drinks at California Pizza Kitchen. They have great meal options and a sunny outdoor seating area. I recommend eating here if you spend the day shopping in the area. There is also live music on weekends in the Legacy Village quad!
And of course, being closer to home means mom and dad come for more visits! Stay tuned for more Cleveland neighborhood adventures!


Cleveland: Intern Orientation

Thursday, June 30, 2016
Hi everyone!

It has been a crazzzzy couple weeks of orientation. All of us are going through a rollercoaster of emotions before setting our feet on the wards as official doctors: anxiety, panic, excitement, confusion, and happiness all rolled into one. We have spent a lot of time getting comfortable with the huge hospital campus, learning a new EMR, and listening to many lectures regarding our new transition. Getting to know Cleveland has been an adventure, and I have been pleasantly surprised by the many niches all around the city. I cannot wait to see more! Cleveland is still buzzing with excitement because of the amazing Cavs championship last week. It was boisterous here - I am so lucky I don't live downtown or else I would have never gotten home after work during the parade! I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful summer weather, and you've spent a bit more time outside getting some vitamin D (with sunscreen of course!), and lots of exercise.

Tomorrow I don the long white coat, and introduce myself as "Doctor C" - wish me luck!


Life Lately: On Death and New Beginnings

Monday, June 20, 2016

Hi lovelies,

For those of you who follow me on social media (instagram), you may know that as I was finishing my last week of MS4 rotations, I received the devastating news that my grandmother passed away. I had never felt so sad and terrible before in my life. I was very close to my grandmother; her and my grandfather were like second parents throughout my childhood and adolescence. They are some of my biggest cheerleaders and supporters on my path to becoming a doctor. I'm the only grandchild, and their absolute pride and joy.
   Throughout this time, I learned just how important family and friends are during periods of great sadness. My family and I supported each other heavily throughout the multiple wakes, excruciatingly long flights to and from Portugal, her funeral, and all our sudden outbursts of crying. It was an emotionally and physically exhausting time. Throughout all of this I also had to travel back and forth to Cleveland, Toronto and Chicago - unfortunately, reality stops for no one. Luckily, my new angel has been making sure everything run smoothly, and none of us have gotten sick. The highlight of this month has been my graduation from medical school. It was bittersweet, since my grandmother was counting down the days for me to bring my medical degree home to show her, but I believe she was watching me walk across that stage on June 3rd. Tomorrow, I jump in the car again (with mom and dad), and eventually bid them farewell as I embark on a new journey into residency.

    Before I leave you, I thought I would share a few lessons I learned through this ordeal:
1. Don't take life too seriously. Your problems are rarely as severe as you think they are.
2. Appreciate every moment you have with someone, be they young or old. You never know when it will be your last time seeing their face and hearing their voice. Make it memorable, make it happy.
3. You're stronger than you think you are. 

Hope you're all doing well! 


Mischief in Montréal

Friday, April 29, 2016
Hi friends!
I thought I would share some photos from my recent mini road trip to Montreal. My bf and I drove up from Toronto in April, and explored the city by foot. We got a quaint little spot from airbnb that was in a perfect location. We pretty much walked to all of the destinations on our list, and got a great workout everyday. It was fantastic! I haven't been to Montreal since July 2006 (the summer I did the Explore French immersion program at La Pocatiere, Quebec) - so this visit was long overdue. Time really flies!  
The architecture is some of the most stunning in Canada. It is such a treat for the eyes, and even in the blistering cold, it still managed to take my breath away. Above is the facade of Notre Dame with my bf as a height reference. 
It's not a trip to Montreal without poutine!
My bf finishing all of my left overs... regardez the empty tasse.
This is a cheat photos- ramen from Momofuku in Toronto!

Can't miss a cheesy tourist photo with the Queen!

The most delicious risotto (shrimp risotto) I've ever eaten! Thank you for the instagram suggestion Kate! I was adventurous and ordered the bone marrow dish as well at L'Express, and I've never tasted alien brains before, but I'm pretty sure that's how they would taste. Nothing a little dijon mustard couldn't work its magic on though. Hahaha!

And just to wrap up, a quick photo with this wonderful human being...and these equally wonderful matcha madeleines from Uncle Tetsu! TEEHEE!