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 πŸ™†

(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? 


Fall Fashion Finds - Bell Sleeve & Soft Jeans

Sunday, October 01, 2017
 Hi everyone!
I went on a quick shopping trip to my favorite mall in Cleveland (Beachwood Place), and got completely sucked in at Nordstrom. Their pieces for fall are so gooood! I had to share some of the items because they're incredibly affordable, and great quality. If you like Paige denim, you will like Articles of Society's Super Soft brand (but they're $100 less. What a steal!). What is everyone up to this week? I will be doing my first night shift with my own intern - it feels like yesterday I was in their shoes, and now I'm the senior. So crazy how fast time flies! Let's hope for a calm night, and interesting admissions. πŸ™

top - leith// jeans - articles of society // shoes - old, but similar here & here


Loves Lately

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Hi everyone!

I have been swimming in happiness this week because of the warm weather. It also helped that I got to do house calls with the geriatrics team these past few days, and I really enjoyed it. A person's home can really give you insight into their safety, compliance and mentation. Also, elderly people are just a hoot! This week's schedule also gave me a bit more time to study and deep clean + organize my apartment. It feelsso so good. For those of you who have followed me for a while you'll know I looooove to purge things, and although I'm not a full out minimalist, I truly appreciate and respect that lifestyle. Anywho, I decided to share a few things I've been loving this week, and maybe if I don't get too inundated with work I will make this a regular habit. πŸ˜€

1. Blogilates 
I've started the beginner's work-out calendar, and I just cannot get over how happy and bubbly Cassey is. She is such a wonderful, encouraging human being, and the fact that I get to spend half hour listening to her push me almost every day is pure joy. Also, I'm so out of shape guys. I'm only halfway through the calendar, but it has made me realize how much muscle I've lost putting medicine before my own health. A lesson to everyone, you can't help others if you don't help yourself first. Also, working out helps me relate to my patients who are trying to lose weight and make small changes in their life. Some of my most meaningful talks with my patients have been when I'm relating to many of their stories and we share experiences. The human connection is so special, and I'm fortunate to be able to do it every day with new people!

2. Elizabeth Gilbert's Magic Lessons podcast
I started listening to this podcast just for fun while shopping for my best friend's birthday gift on Friday, and it has caused insane levels of introspection. I really recommend it for everyone! I know it's targeted for creative types, but it's so applicable to life. There is always something we are putting off because of an acknowledged/unacknowledged fear.

(I picked this little guy up from Fatima (Portugal) and its crystal rainbows are gorgeous!)

3. Bing Raz energy drinks - I love the raspberry version, but this week I've branched out and bought two extra flavors!

4. Finding out why my DSLR photos were coming out a bit grainier than I wanted = my ISO was too high. Guys, total noob move, but watch your ISO!

5. My large leaning mirror for my apartment! I picked it up on Amazon (click here) because I had a large bare space on my wall. I love it, and I can take cute outfit photos!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!


Portugal 2017 - Photo Diary

Thursday, September 21, 2017


Viana do Castelo

Santoinho (Festival)

Mosteiro da Batalha

Fortaleza (Fortress City)

 Fatima (Holy Site)

Vigo, Spain

 I cannot wait to go back! No matter how many times I travel back to Portugal to visit the family, I still discover (and re-discover) new places to see every year. If anyone wants recommendations leave me a comment or just shoot me an e-mail/instagram message!


Sunshine Yellow

Sunday, July 09, 2017
Hi everyone,

I just came back from a wonderful arts festival here in Cleveland. The weather was marvelous, and I got to hear some live latin jazz in an outdoor pavilion. Summer is just the greatest! I wanted to do a quick post, because there are a ton of great sales going on right now, and I wanted to put a plug for Anthropologie. I picked up this fun gradient dress, and lots of cute extras last week for great prices. If you're looking to decorate your home, there are lovely items available. I've included some of my favorites below. FYI: Every sale item is an additional 30% off. πŸ‘Œ

I can't find this dress on their website, but it's for sure in stores. I got mine at the Anthro in Crocker Park (Ohio), and it's by a brand called "HD in Paris". There is a floral patterned dress under the lavender to yellow gradient overlay. It's even better in person!

I couldn't resist. I found a matching yellow buggy!
I really enjoy the shams, and kitchen items at Anthro. Here are some of my favorite house ware pieces included in their sale:

Happy shopping! What are some of your favorite scores this summer? 

Skincare 2017 - Reviews and Recommendations (Part 1)

Friday, July 07, 2017
Hiya everybody!
I hope all of you are enjoying the warm weather, and scoping out some patios this summer. I am so glad I don't have to wear layers and layers of clothes to work anymore. Today I wanted to chat about a few skincare products I've been using over the year, and also do some quick reviews. One of them has become a holy grail item that I cannot believe I never heard of until recently! Let's jump right in πŸ˜€

Washes -
   CosRx Low pH good morning cleanser - I delved into the Korean skincare market this year and have found some wonderful gems. This is the most recent product I'm testing out, and I typically use it in the morning before putting on a moisturizer and make-up. It's a gel-like consistency and meant for oily skin. It does a fairly decent job, but I most likely won't be repurchasing. It doesn't remove make-up well, so I stopped using it at night. 3/5
  Biore charcoal wash - I've repurchased this several times. It has a great tingling sensation, and does a good job of making blackheads appear less visible. Also great for those of you with oily, acne prone skin. 4/5
   No 7 Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser - After I remove my eye make-up with micellar water (I use this one from Garnier), I wash my face at night with this cream cleanser and muslin cloth. I'm just finishing up the cleanser now, and I must say I really appreciate hygienic nature of the dispenser. It really prevents bacteria from entering! However, I wasn't a total fan of the product itself because I felt it left a light residue on my face. What I LOVEDDDD was the concept of a hot cloth (muslin)...So I bought a pack of them on Amazon and use it with my favorite cleansers instead. WIN!

Angelica Toner from L'Occitane en Provence - It's alcohol-free hence it is super gentle, and more along the lines of an essence Γ  la Korean skincare. I use it a few times a week, especially when I use face masks.
Pearlessence Rose Mist - this is a great pick me up. I use it after masks, after make-up, before bed, ANYTIME! I wish it came in small bottles so I could take it to work as well. (Similar here)

Elizabeth Arden hydrating mask - perfect for when your skin is dried out from the weather or retinoids. I would leave it on for 20-30 mins and follow up with Cerave moisturizing cream. Great combo! Unfortunately I can't find it anymore on their website. You'll have to stalk this one down.

Andalou naturals Fruit Enzyme Mask - Sooo I bought this to help exfoliate my skin in a more gentle manner than my prior products. I had a horrendous time with Dr Gross alpha-beta peel, because I accidentally forgot one spot to wipe off before bed and woke up with a second degree burn on my chin. EWWW! Anyway, I won't repurchase this one either because I don't find it works at all, and does nothing for my skin afterwards.

Black peel off mask - Super awesome. I love the sensation of getting a bunch of crap pulled off my skin, and this gives me that kick. It also makes my blackheads look smaller, and my skin feel really soft. I only use it a couple times a month. I don't know how safe this is for my skin, but I don't care!

Sheet Masks - I don't have a particular brand in general that I am loyal to, however I do have a preference for type. The brightening masks are my all time favorite because I feel they lighten up my hyperpigmentation and leave my skin looking much more hydrated!

I love this CosRx Pimple Patch. They're literally tiny circular stickers made of (apparently) surgical material. I've repurchased it multiple times. WHY DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS SOONER? Where was this when I was a teenager? This is a Godsend! I put a patch on at night, and BAM - by morning my blemish is magically gone because everything gets sucked out. It's so satisfying. Even cystic acne significantly diminishes. WHATTT? Dead. I love it. 15/10 ← yes

That's it for now. I'll talk about the second half of my routine in another post, and include additional reviews. I have another holy grail combo too!

P.S. My bare basic routine will always include what I learned in dermatology rotations during medical school: a simple face wash, retinoid (Epiduo prescription is mine), Cerave moisturizer for night time, or Vichy sunscreen for daytime. Stuff backed by science and research! Everything else is just a bonus!