Recent Faves: Books, Podcasts and Music

I’m back, friends! There was no medicine Monday post this week because my sister unexpectedly had to have her gallbladder out on Sunday and I flat lost track of days. Today I want to share a few of my recent favorites in books, podcasts and music.  I go through phases where I’ll absorb several books a week and then hit other periods, like now, where I have to make myself finish the four books I’ve started reading but haven’t finished. All that to say – here are a few I’ve enjoyed in the last four months!

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Books:

  1. The Book Thief. This came out over a decade ago, but I just got around to reading it. A friend of mine had said more than once that it was her favorite book ever, so I picked it up when I was wandering around the library one day. It’s World War II fiction, but it’s not like anything I’ve ever read before. Told from the point of view of Death, the story follows the book thief, Liesel, as she navigates growing up in Germany during the second world war. It’s enchanting and mesmerizing and haunting, all at once.
  2. A Thousand Splendid Suns. This is from the same author that gave us Kite Runner, which I also loved. Set in Afghanistan, the story is often hard to keep reading. I remind myself to look at hurt and pain and weep with the characters, and that’s certainly what you will do here. It’s about love and loss and danger and female friendship.
  3. A Man Called Ove. This book has been in print in English for four years, but I feel like I just started hearing people talk about it this year. I read this in one sitting. It’s an endearing and delightful surprise of a book and I fell in love with all of the characters.
  4. Pretty Girls Dancing. I rarely reach for a suspense/mystery, but this was on Kindle First Reads and was free. When I get my monthly free new release from Amazon, I try to pick something I might not normally reach for, and it’s sometimes a total flop.  This was not that! It was dark and suspenseful and a page turner. I was completely captivated, and read it in one plane ride. It got mixed reviews, but I liked it.

Podcasts:

  1. Radiolab Presents: More Perfect, The Gun Show. An intriguing discussion on the emergence of the second amendment and what the NRA initially stood for (and what they didn’t.)
  2. Off Camera with Sam Jones – Mae Whitman. I loved Mae Whitman from the first episode of Parenthood, and have followed her career since. I had no idea she had been acting since she was a toddler, and enjoyed this candid, intimate conversation between her and Sam Jones.
  3. TED Talks Daily: My descent into America’s neo-nazi movement – and how I got out. I can listen to TED talks for hours, and this one grabbed my attention. After hearing of how this man both got in and then got out of the neo-nazi movement made me really think differently about the people shown in the media who are currently a part of that movement. I think we often forget that people cannot be put into the binary categories of good or bad, and we let hate and fear blind us. Give this a listen – it’s not very long but will certainly make you think.
  4. TED Talks: Can I have your brain? The quest for truth on concussions and CTE. Concussions and sports medicine are some of my favorite medical topics, but I had not heard about this man or his movement to study CTE, which we don’t know much about. It’s a disease that’s killing professional athletes well before their time, and we currently have no cure. So, he’s asking people to give their brains.

Music

  1. Johnnyswim: Ring The Bells. This song is catchy and has delightful lyrics. I already have tickets to see them in Memphis in August and I cannot wait.
  2. P!nk: Beautiful Trauma. It’s P!nk – what’s not to love?
  3. WALK THE MOON: Work This Body. Great for dancing in the car. Or the kitchen.
  4. Ed Sheeran’s DIVIDE. Yep, we’re a year in and this is still my fave. The entire album. Mom and I were driving back from Houston last October and the third time this played through she finally said, “How many times are we going to listen to this?!”

 

Hope this inspires you to find something new to listen to or read! I would love to hear what you’ve been loving lately.

Upcycling Decorations!

Sometimes, Pinterest inspiration becomes reality. I’ve had this pinned for a few months, and decided to give it a go this week.

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Source

Instead of buying all the parts for the project, I upcycled the flowers from the baby shower I threw in March. I bought the wreath, floral wire and the “hi” from Hobby Lobby.

Wreath: $4.99, $2.99 after coupon
“Hi”: $1.99
Floral wire: $3.99
Flowers: On hand from the shower
Total: $9! That’s my kind of project.

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I used the floral wire to put the “Hi” on the lower left and enforced it with a touch of hot glue. Then I trimmed the stems down on the flowers and started to weave them into the wreath. A few of them needed hot glue to keep the flowers on the stems, but not many. After all the flowers were on, I gave it a few good shakes to make sure the flowers were going to stay in on their own.

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The whole project took about twenty minutes and I love the way it turned out! I feel like a proper Southern home needs a wreath for every season and I can’t wait to hang this on my front door for the summer.

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Etiquette Chat: Formal Invites

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I’m in the process of addressing and mailing graduation invitations (for the third and final time!!), so I thought refresher on addressing and sending formal invites was a good topic for today.

After getting together all the addresses, I put together an assembly line on my bedroom floor and turned on some episodes of Rise. My invitation set for graduation came with the invites, inner envelopes, outer envelopes and return address labels.

I folded all the invites and those went in the inner envelope.  On this envelope, include all the names of the people in that household who are invited to the event. You can either put the full name of each person or the informal title used.

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Next, that goes into the outer envelope.  Here is where you put formal titles. There are so many different ways that this can go, depending on the ranks of both people, whether they’re unmarried but living in the same house, or they’re married but she kept her maiden name. Now, “Mrs” means “wife of,” so it’s never incorrect to refer to a woman as “Mrs. Husband Name,” regardless of her rank or name change.

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I did do something wrong here – I should have written out “Senior” instead of using the abbreviation. The only abbreviation used should be the two-letter abbreviation for a state.

I’m so glad I ordered the address labels, because it made things neater and quicker. Those went on the top left corner and I finished out the addresses. Tomorrow, the whole stack goes to the post office and off to my friends and fam!

A few top guidelines to keep in mind:

-Ms. vs. Miss: I was mildly offended to get an invitation addressed to “Miss,” but there are varying guidelines. This website states that all unmarried women under thirty should be “Miss,” while unmarried women over thirty are “Ms.”  Emily Post says that “Miss” is for women under eighteen. I used the under thirty rule for this batch of invitations, but I think I’ll go back to the under eighteen rule in the future.

-Please spell peoples names correctly! A recent invitation came to me with my name spelled incorrectly. (Can someone explain why a four-letter last name is so frequently butchered??!) My name is spelled correctly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and GroupMe. it wouldn’t have been difficult to verify the spelling.

-An Excel spreadsheet can be very helpful! As much as I love the look of an address book, it’s easier to update and streamline a spreadsheet.

-When in doubt, look up the guidelines! Unless you routinely send out formal invitations, and I know I certainly don’t, it’s okay to not know it all. Thankfully, we have the internet. Happy party/wedding/graduation inviting!

Source: The Emily Post Institute and The Knot.

Medicine Monday: in-Training

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Source: in-Training.org

If you haven’t heard of in-Training (and if you aren’t in medical school, you likely haven’t), it’s an online magazine that is by med students and for med students. Started by two students from Albany Medical College, it is a daily publication of amazing pieces that are written and edited by med students. No one gets paid – the website is funded by donations.

I first got involved with in-T after applying for a position as a Twitter social media manager back in December 2014. (I got asked several times during residency interviews how I found out about the position. The answer? Twitter.) I was really starting to grow with Twitter, and was pleasantly surprised to get the position.  The job involved posting each day’s piece to Twitter, being sure to @-mention the author and their medical school. We also used the account to interact with followers and share breaking news. Our social media team was also highly involved in campaigns like #WhiteCoatsforBlackLives and in sharing information regarding The Match and Match Day.  While I was in my classroom years, there was another social media manager who was in clerkships, and vice versa once I moved into my clerkship years.

In 2016, I got to play a small part in a humanism curriculum book that the team published, called in-Training: Stories from Tomorrow’s Physicians. The best humanism pieces were put together into a book and those of us on the editorial board got to go through and write discussion questions for each piece. The book is a phenomenal collection and it was one of the coolest things ever to get the book in the mail and have my name in print as a contributor. And the timing could not have been better – the book was published in the middle of my studying for Step 1. It’s still for sale – grab a copy or three for your favorite medical student or premed!

The Twitter position was a blast, and I really enjoyed getting to interact with medical students around the US and even around the world.  In January of 2017, however, I realized it was time to move on to another position – student editor. We have a large team of student editors who work with the authors on every piece that is submitted. After reading each piece we published for the last two years, it was a seamless transition.  I now get to be even more on the front end, helping to polish pieces so they’re ready for publication. Some need one or two grammar corrections and others need more guidance, but the heart is the same – medical students using writing as an outlet. Through the years, I have laughed and cried with so many of the pieces.

Since in-Training is all by med students and for med students, I’ll be stepping down next month. I recently finished my last major project (more to come about that next week), and am working on editing a few more pieces, but then that’ll be it. Getting to be a part of the dream that Ajay and Aleena made a reality has been an honor. I cannot wait to see where in-Training goes in the future! And don’t worry, I’m giving serious consideration to joining the residents’ version – in-House.

House Hunting!

I bought a house!

It’s been a whirlwind of a week! I looked at houses online for what felt like forever (really just over a month), and saw many houses I loved go on and then off the market. It felt like waiting and waiting, but Mom and I finally got to go to Memphis house hunting this week!

I got connected with a realtor in Memphis via referral from a friend who is a real estate agent in Texas. It’s really been the best set up, because I haven’t had to seek anyone out myself – I called the first person and have done referrals since then! My realtor, Angie, referred me to a lender and then set me up with an online “Collaboration Center,” where all houses that fit my requests were sent. I could give feedback about what I liked and didn’t like online, which helped her out quite a bit!

We had a narrow window of time in which to find a house! Mom and I planned to drive up to Memphis Sunday, house hunt Monday and Tuesday and head back home that evening. Because of how long it can take for closing, I needed to make an offer on a house this week. I’ll definitely give it to my realtor – she knew we had a narrow window and was all in to make sure we found it!

Monday, we all met for lunch and then headed out in the annoying rain. It ended up raining the entire time we looked at houses! In a five-hour span, we looked at ten houses. A couple of them we didn’t even need to go inside – I could tell from the driveway that they were a no-go.  We ended the day with a solid top three (and a fourth that I was interested in if the current contract fell through). It was such a go-go-go day that I didn’t take a single photo.

After going to bed early, we met at another listing early Tuesday morning. It was an absolutely adorable house built in the 1930s, but not the right fit for me. We looked at one other that morning, a former duplex that had been converted into one house. Neither touched my top three, so the three of us headed to a coffee shop to iron out the next steps.

I decided to put in an offer on my top choice house! I offered asking price, but for them to pay closing and leave the washer, dryer and fridge. After that was put in and I e-signed what was needed, Angie submitted my offer and mom and I headed home.

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“Smile! You’ll want to remember the day you bought your first house.” 

About an hour from home, we got the call that they had countered the offer – they would pay half of closing and accept everything else. I couldn’t believe it! I thought they would counter more. I accepted the offer and BOUGHT ME A HOUSE.

What’s crazy to me is that everything else can be done remotely, so I don’t have to go back up there until I move in.

It’s a cute little four bedroom, two bathroom house built in 1949 that’s been updated and beautifully landscaped. I plan to update some of the paint colors, but other than that it’s move-in ready. The smallest bedroom will be used as an office and sewing room, and then I’ll have two guest rooms.

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The backyard is completely fenced, so Bella is excited about that. It’s a little surreal! I can’t wait to make this little place my own, and I pray that it will always be welcoming and have open doors.

And yes, it has a treehouse. More of my friends have asked if they can come sleep in that – even though I’ll have two spare bedrooms! Can’t say I blame them because its pretty adorable. I haven’t climbed up there yet, but I will.

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I’m a homeowner! I can’t believe how fast it all happened. God definitely designed this house for me and I am so thankful.