Sunday, January 31, 2016

the 52 Lists Project

Journaling.  It's such a great way to clear your mind, reflect on experiences and lessons, and look back at different points in your life.  I'm the first to admit I've started and stopped many journals throughout the years.  Part because I have a great love for stationary and I love a fresh start, and part because with different seasons of life I think I needed it at some times more than others.  If you've ever felt like you've wanted to write or journal daily but didn't know quite where to start, this book is for you.  If you've ever found yourself disappointed for not keeping up with a journal, vowing to do so daily at the start of the year, only to drop off weeks later.  This book is for you.

I received the 52 Lists Project journal for Christmas, and I love how it encourages thought and writing with a prompt that you can start in any season or week of the year.  When it comes to seeing change in any area of our lives, I think for many people one of the hardest things is figuring out where and how to start, and how to pick things back up once you've stopped.  So often we put the wrong kinds of pressure on ourselves, getting intimidated by or discouraged when we don't keep up with our goals perfectly.  That's the what I like most about this little book: it takes off some of the pressure.  It helps you get started right where you are, anywhere, at anytime simply by writing a list.

"List the things that make you feel powerful."
"List the wildest things you want to try."  

"List the qualities you admire in others."  

"List the things you want to add to your life."    

These lists are followed by "Take Action" statements: challenges that nudge you to take that little list a bit further and explore how you can channel those thoughts, feelings, and ideas into tangible experiences and changes in your life.

A month into the year, you may be still riding high from the excitement of the fresh start.  Or maybe you've already grown discouraged or even complacent in certain areas in your life.  The change you want to see will always come from you, but if you need a little encouragement, a little inspiration you just may find it starting with one of these lists.

Sometimes I think we can get so consumed with what we want to add to our lives whether it be things, people, or experiences; however, getting rid of things you don't need, ending certain relationships, or breaking unproductive habits can be just as effective.  I haven't gotten too far so it may or may not already be in the book, but when you have the time "List the things you want to remove from your life."    

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Recipe // Cookie Butter

Chicken curry and cookie butter.  This sounds like the most unlikely pairing, but I guarantee you they have something in common.  Cream.  A big fan of cookie butter, but not the Speculoos cookie itself, I was ecstatic to stumble across this recipe for this classic, making use of a box of old cookies and some leftover cream in the process (I was trying out a curry recipe that called for cream.)

A box of Speculoos 
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup of half-and-half

Now, you'll notice I made a few substitutions based on the ingredients I actually had: Speculoos instead of the Biscotti, dark brown sugar instead of packed brown sugar (what's the difference anyway?), and half-and-half instead of heavy cream because it was less expensive and less fat.  However, given all those switches and being quite familiar with the original cookie butter taste, I'd say this recipe came pretty darn close.  I basically just blended everything together in a food processor starting with the cookies and added the other two ingredients in sequence.  You may also need to add a splash more cream to achieve your desired thickness.  While I'll continue buying the Trader Joe's original since I won't be buying any more of the cookies to make it, it's definitely something fun to try if you have the ingredients on hand.  At the same time, the recipe is so simple that I think it's worth trying again with different types of cookies to come up with some new flavors.

What are some of your favorite snack spreads?  
Try any other brands or flavors of cookie butter? 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sweet Sixteen

Last year I shared some of my goals and areas of focus for 2015.  Now that we're well into 2016, I wanted to revisit a few of these things before the month is over.

Work: "Time management and active studying...Becoming a better student"
Yes, the rumors are true.  Medical school is a full time job, with overtime and sometimes holidays; however, I'm here (just like all those who've come before me) to say that it can be done.  My experiences first and second year have been like night and day.  My first year was very much a struggle until the end, but by the grace of God I made it through and have been going strong since I started second year.  I'm involved in a few organizations, doing some volunteer work that I'm really proud of, and doing fairly well in my courses.  While I still have boards and much more work ahead of me, it's a great feeling to look back at how far I've come.  It really motivates me to continue on this path and learn all I can, not for scores or exams, but so I can fulfill the responsibility I have to my future patients.  Changing my mindset and my way of studying (which I continue to adjust) was definitely a huge part of this, so I'll be sharing more about this in future posts as I continue to learn and adapt.

Serve: "Opportunities to help other people...promoting health...prevention..."
From volunteering as a health coach to mentoring to working as a health advocate, I've done much more in this area than I could have ever imagined.   During my first year of school, I definitely had opportunities to help others; however, due to my own struggles, I often felt I had little to offer.  I felt as though I had no time to spare for anyone else.  How could I help others, when I could barely help myself?  But, one thing this past year has definitely taught me is the importance of starting where you're at.  You don't have to be perfect, or have it all together (I still don't, no one does!) to help someone else, to make a difference.  Even with your failures, your inadequacies, you still have something to offer.  Giving of yourself to support others helps you keep your own life and struggles in perspective.  I like to believe I end up learning much more from these experiences than I give.  It's also motivating.  Your success is not for yourself, so neither is your struggle.    

Style.  "Building and remixing my wardrobe...weekly outfit existing pieces."  I've done a bit of them all.  Now I'm more interested in editing my wardrobe down to the basics.  A simple, cohesive wardrobe of quality pieces that fit well and work well with each other, with little to no thought at all.  I'll be getting back to outfit posts as soon as I figure out how to work my self timer.  More of my favorite pieces, styling tips and ideas to come. 

Blog: "Post more regularly."  This one goes back to time management.  Especially during my first year, I found it difficult to allow myself to blog at times when I was 1-2 days behind in lectures or had an upcoming exam or practical.  At the same time, I had to give myself that freedom from time to time as an outlet from all the stress of school.  While I didn't post on this space as often as I'd like too, Instagram did become a bit of a micro-blog for me to share bits of life and style.  It's also a place where I found support from fellow med students and just some pretty positive and inspiring women in general.  On that note, do check out the Med Sisters Series, birthed out of this awesome community.  I'm also in the process of figuring out Snapchat (@inspirationele1)!  Either way you can definitely expect more tips, advice, ideas, and inspiration so stick around!  If you're just joining in, hey! 


Two years ago I said 2014 would be my year to "flourish," and I did.  One year ago I said 2015 would be my year to be "fearless," and I overcame many.  As I progress towards board examinations and into my clinical education, this will be a year of shift, of new responsibility.  But, it will also be a time of celebration.  Learning more, reading more, creating more, giving more, and living more.  My "sweet '16."

Looking forward to diving back into this little space, sharing more and enjoying the community of it.  Follow along on the micro-blog for daily inspiration between posts. 

What are some of your goals and areas of focus for 2016?  With January nearly over what are some of the positive changes you've made?
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