La La Land

06 January 2017

La La Land was a shockingly beautiful movie. No one in the theater moved until the credits were done rolling; I left with tear tracks down my face and a full heart. I have a feeling that this is a movie I will always return to, it's an instant classic. 

Goodbye 2016

31 December 2016













Writing Prompts

15 December 2016

One of my favorite places in Winchester, The Hideaway Cafe, is starting a Writing Club. They offered 20 slots for $5 and included this book of writing prompts; I'll be sharing select excerpts on here as a way to keep up this online space. Throughout the school year I really miss this place and the ability to think about things beyond myself (and pharmacy of course). Two of my friends signed up with me and that accountability will be such a great thing! This winter break has been great for my mental and emotional health: I can feel myself slowly pulling back together and I'm looking forward to using this club as a tether throughout my final semester. 

Las Vegas

11 December 2016

Las Vegas is the City of Sin and I've decided that their biggest sin is blocking the view of the mountains with some tacky buildings. I've always had it in my head that I love traveling and this was perhaps the first trip where I realized I don't love traveling for the sake of traveling. Take me to a national park, to a beautiful lake, or a historic town... but please don't take me back to Las Vegas. I'm sure the city appeals to a lot of people, but it's just not my style. 

The hotels are interesting certainly. Each one has a casino in its lobby. In fact, I stayed at the MGM Grand and I measured it on my phone - it took 0.8 miles to get from my hotel room's door down to the shuttle loading area. They funnel you for nearly a mile past casinos, shops, and restaurants! I'm thankful for some extra steps but sheesh! Plus the entire strip smells like either smoke or scents they pump into the room to cover up smoke. Having had a grandma who smokes I can tell you that the perfumes are essentially the same thing as lighting a vanilla candle in a smokers house; there is zero chance of you covering up the smoky smell you're just adding another scent into the mix. 

Everything, as predicted, was expensive. People tout the food and I have no idea why. The food in my small town is loads better! In fact, the best food I tasted was far and away the sweet potato fries, which were likely just out of a frozen bag. It's as if you're constantly in an amusement park where a slice of pizza costs $7 and the bar for satisfactory food is quite low - the pizza will be cold and your cheese will be congealed with a cardboard crust. 

The best parts of Vegas as a city for me were The Bellagio water show, seeing the interior of The Venetion, and that everything was either walkable or had a shuttle. That's about all I can think of unfortunately. Perhaps it's worth seeing once... but I'm not even sure I can commit to that! For the most part I'm just thankful I got to spend time with my mother-in-law, but our trips to Seattle and Maine blew Las Vegas out of the water! 

Shenandoah National Park

One of my favorite places on earth.... Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. It was always a tradition on Black Friday to head out into the mountains instead of into stores and that annual trip as a kid has grown into multiple trips a year, whenever I need to feel reconnected to myself.

This year, immediately after my last final exam I went home to pick up Odin and then we drove down to Front Royal and up on the Drive. We made it to South Marshall and hiked up the trail so that we could just sit and enjoy the piece and quiet. On our way up we passed two hikers and then we had solitude for our remaining time there. Winter in the park is actually one of my favorite times of year. Yes, it's almost bitter cold some days with the wind whipping around your face, but with the right clothing that's not a problem when you look at the big picture of solitude. There's no denying that the park is gorgeous in the fall, but try to find a single trail where you could come across a deer and it'll be impossible due to the plethora of people. So, winter it is. 

Hitting the mountain after that week... wow. My friend had stayed with me during finals week and it was tough. It was our hardest finals week yet, but it was the best I have had. We were driven and we worked hard. In fact, the night before my last exam (and this hike) we both got less than 4 hours of sleep. The Park brings out all of those feelings. It sort of put a period at the end of the sentence. Rather than metaphorically climbing a mountain like we have been all semester I was able to go physically do it. And I can't decide which way I like better. 

What do you love about life?

06 November 2016

{Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash}

What do you love about life? 

Looking back on life, it's funny to me which memories stick out the most. Our lives are such a collection of brief moments that it's hard to lay the semblance of a plot, a direction, over our experiences. Part of the fun for me is looking back on the hodge podge of memories. 

One of my memories is strolling through Jim Barnett Park on a summer night and picking honeysuckle with my parents. I can still picture how vividly green the park was and I can hear the sound of traffic on the highway just on the other side of the tree-line that we were at. I loved that.

I remember driving over the hill at the end of a two mile long gravel driveway in Illinois, just to see the tips of the silos peek up as we drove - followed closely by endless fields of corn, barns, and a little farmhouse. Meanwhile the scent of manure was attacking my nostrils... and I loved that. 

Periodically growing up we would take our dogs, Lucky & Brownie, out to what I call the "industrial district" of our hometown where the warehouses are. We would just have them walk and run beside us. There was no point to being there other than just walking with our dogs. I loved that.

We would take trips up to Camp White Rock with the girl scout troop. We would sing, eat, craft, hike, and we sang Taps as we lowered the flag. We had bonfires at night and sang again, then traversed the woods back to Hemlock to sleep in our canvas tents. I loved that. 

At James Wood High School the band would stay after school on Friday nights to run through our drills. Left, right, fermata, hold. Then we would go in to enjoy a group dinner that the boosters had put together before we changed into our uniforms. We played the pep songs and cheered for our team; spirit was high. I loved that. 

I love that in life, it's sometimes the little moments that add so much to who we are as a person. There's no denying that we life-changing moments too, events that come and stand tall in front of us; our decisions at these times seem to alter the entire course of our life path. Yet, the little moments add up to be just as much, they just sort of sneak up on you over time. I love that we can appreciate little moments in every day and commit them to memory to call upon when we need them. I truly believe that taking the time to stop and pick honeysuckle will stick with me until I'm gone and I treasure that I have one of those fleeting moments with my parents that will stay within me. Life has a lot of joys in the day-to-day that can add up, one-by-one, until they create our spirit as a whole.

And I love that.

My Mentor

05 November 2016

I think in life we all need a mentor. Many of us have multiple mentors depending on the aspect of life that you're focusing on. We may have a different mentor in our careers than we do in our relationships, and yet another for our physical or spiritual health. I met one of mine when I interviewed at Shenandoah's School of Pharmacy. She had the office next to my mother-in-laws at the time and when I came in to answer questions she made me feel instantly at ease. 

Over the next couple of years we were able to work together on an independent project, attend two conferences together, she coordinated my endocrine module, and we talked about career goals and ways to achieve them. When Phi Lambda Sigma student leaders came to our school and talked about finding a mentor (whether peer or faculty) I already had pharmacist that came to mind. 

While she is mainly my professional mentor (having gone through residency, becoming faculty, department chair, running a residency, and now acting as dean of academic affairs) she is also a woman who is juggling both a career and a family, which I would like to do one day. On top of being a professor she has given me her ear when I have trials of my own to face. Today I wrote a thank you card to her and my only sticking point with it is that it feels inadequate. How can you convey to someone the impact they have had on you in the space of a card? I don't think it's feasible. 

Reason to Smile: I have a wonderful mentor in my life and as a guide for my pharmacy career. If you have a mentor you would like to thank, reach out to them and let them know how much of an impact they have had on your life. Everyone deserves to hear when they are appreciated!
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