Tuesday, December 31, 2019

top three: december 2019

medicine //
  • I recently saw a post about the "most kissed lips in the world"...the original model for today's CPR dolls. So sad, but also slightly creepy.
  • Certain inflammatory infections can cause fistulas, or tracts, to develop between organs that aren't supposed to be connected, like the colon to the uterus. 
  • Friendly health reminders: make sure your pap smears are up to date. Talk to your parents about their health conditions so you can tell your doctors about them (especially cancers in your family!). Bleeding after menopause is not normal, see your doctor immediately if that happens. Get your flu shot. Stay healthy out there, love you, mean it. 

on the internet //

spotted for me //
  • I'm slowly beginning the process of finding my first real physician job out of residency (18 more months until I'm done!), which includes lots of meet-and-greets, tours, interviews, and dinners. Unlike medical school and residency interviews, I plan on actually dressing in clothes I like and feel comfortable in, like this neutral and modern blazer, which I plan on pairing with a simple white top and my new work pants
  • I know it's not really for this season of life, but I can't help but want this belt bag. I just imagine it with a black t shirt dress and cognac sandals and wearing it all summer long as my summer uniform...clearly planning for six months from now ;)
  • There's just something about the black and white print on this shirt that I'm dying to try. I think it would look darling tucked into higher waisted jeans!

spotted for penny //

ask me anything //
  • I know you have LL Bean boots, and the fleece quarter and the quilted quarter zip. I have the first two after your recommendations and love them also! What else do you own from LL Bean?
  • Are you you still spinning at home? How has your bike held up? Looking into this option myself!
    • I haven't just because I'm short on time - I'd really love to get back into it, I think about it quite often. I loved my at home spin work outs, I always felt amazing doing them and after. Chris still does them and the bike (our homemade peloton) is holding up amazing! 
  • Would you consider doing an updated video tour of your home?
    • Yes! I will film one in the next few weeks and will write a post about it! 

on franish //

at home //
  • Happy New Year's Eve! We are in Rochester for the long weekend, celebrating a delayed Christmas with my husband's family, as well as the new year. It's been so nice to have these days at home with Penny before starting a busy six months of work. 
  • This month I spent the month with our breast surgeon. ObGyns are very often the doctors who find breast cancer, either through yearly exams (have you had yours? Make it your goal for early 2020 to see your friendly neighborhood gynecologist) or through screening imaging, so it's been very insightful to see what happens once lumps are found. It also makes me hate that the organ we use to feed our babies can turn on us and try to kill us. Cancer is just so cruel.
  • Penny is in such a fun age right now! She's so interactive and smily and starting to move around more. We are also starting the babyled weaning process of feeding her more foods, which has been so fun to see her trying new foods and becoming more coordinated. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

penny favorites: 3-6 months

Penny turned six months (half a year!!!) old this past weekend, and I can't believe my little baby is already half way through her first year. The time goes so quickly! It has been such a joy watching the leaps and bounds she's grown mentally and physically over the past three months - she's like a real interactive human now rather than our little newborn. 

As first time parents, we have been trying to be mindful of what we buy for Penny while still trying to figure out what we and she needs. I can easily fall into the trap of buying buying buying - first of all, baby things are so cute and second, I'm trying to figure out what makes our lives easier, and what she likes to play with. Especially as she grows older and actually plays with things, we are trying to stick with more organic materials and less battery operated. I also don't want so much stuff that we don't know where to put it or worse, end up throwing away a bunch of stuff, so we (ok, I) am trying to hold myself back from buying all the things.

I shared our baby favorites from 0-3 months, so here are the items we all have loved and used over and over again for our now 6 month old!

Sakura Bloom Ring Sling // We loved loved loved our Solly wrap for the newborn phase - I babywore Penny every day. But as she grew older, she became a lot less interested in being all snuggled up, and wanted to look around. We received the Sakura ring sling recently, and we have loved still baby wearing (and having free hands!) while letting her look around. I feel it's slightly less secure than the Solly wrap, so I mostly still support her with one hand, but it takes a load off my arms, which is definitely a big plus. I know moms who still use theirs with their 2-3 year olds, so I'm excited to get a lot of use of this for the next few years!

ABCs of Biology // Okay, maybe I'm a bad parent for saying this, but I think most baby books are a bit boring (except the Pout Pout Fish, which is a personal favorite to read). I initially purchased this book as a present for a friend, but after reading it to Penny, I purchased it for ourselves. The book has bright pictures for the baby, but with information captions for the parents to read - all in all, a book I've enjoyed reading to her over and over again without getting super bored. There's also the ABCs of Science, ABCs of Math, ABCs of Engineering, ABCs of Quantum Physics...I think I'm going to need the ABCs of Space pack

Teether toy // I used to see these teethers on a pacifer clips and not really understand the point of them...until my own baby started to sprout teeth at 4.5 months, and now I get it. Penny is obsessed with her little polar bear (we call him Charles the Chew Bear) and I love that she has a silicone teether that I don't constantly have to pick off the floor. We got ours at a local boutique (the brand also has an Etsy shop) but there are tons of cute options out there, from sloths to llamas to sushi! This is one of those "trying to be mindful" situations because I want to get all sorts of cute ones (hello, adorable watermelon!) when in reality she only really needs one, and she doesn't care what it looks like. This would also make for a really cute baby shower present, like on top of the present with a bow!

Baby Paper // I can't remember where I learned about Baby Paper, but for $6, I ordered one off Amazon and you guys...Penny loves this thing probably more than she loves me. She has spent an hour straight just stuffing this thing in her mouth and crinkling it. I keep it on my baby-designated purse and pull it out when we are in stores or eating and she just gets so excited. Cheap and super effective - a win win in the baby toy world!

Avanchy spoons // We started with purees when Penny was around four months old. We are now doing a combo of purees and baby-led weaning, and have really enjoyed using the Avanchy spoons. They have a silicone mouth piece with a bamboo handle. Penny is now helping us feed her by grabbing the handle and bringing the spoon to her mouth, and chewing on the mouth piece (I think the silicone feels good on her gums). We also purchased one of their suction cup bowls that we haven't used yet, but will probably get good use out of in the next month or so as we let her explore more of "adult" foods. 

Baby Bjorn bouncer // My in-laws have this amazing bouncer from when my husband was a baby that Penny loved being in - it has a little toy bar in front of it and she happily played with it for fairly long stretches of time. Obviously they don't make that version from thirty years ago, but when I started researching current versions, all reviews pointed towards the Baby Bjorn bouncer. Now, brand new this thing costs $200+, which seems very steep for a metal frame with a piece of fabric on it. I actually found ours second hand on Facebook Marketplace, which is where I would suggest starting out. We got ours for $50! I did end up purchasing the toy bar to go in front of it new, but we have just loved this bouncer that I would say it's the number one item on this list. The bouncer itself is super light and foldable, so you can tuck it away behind the couch or in the closet (my husband loves this feature), and can easily move it all over the house, so you can use it in the kitchen while making dinner, in the living room while folding laundry, and in the bedroom as you get ready. It's also easily washable, which is great if you are buying second hand or just have a messy baby. Penny also enjoys sitting in it as she gets to sit up, and has something right in front of her to play with. We are so happy with item!

Bibs with teethers // Are we noticing a trend? So many of our favorite items include something for my poor baby's gums. She started becoming super drooly around four months, to the point where our daycare would have to change her outfits because she was soaking her shirts. Our daycare also doesn't allow the teethers on the clips, so finding these teethers on the bibs was a great compromise! It protects her clothes from all that slobber, and gives her something to chew on. Plus I love the pretty floral patterns!

Kyte Sleep Sack // We started the transition out of swaddles around ten weeks of age, first by taking one arm out, then a week later unswaddling the other arm, and then for another two weeks just using the velcro swaddles like a sleeping bag that still gave her that "chest pressure" secure feeling. We tried a few different sleep sacks but I really fell for the Kyte sleep sacks. They are made of the softest bamboo fabric and come in the prettiest colors. We own the 0-6 month size in the 1.0 and 2.5 TOG. The sizes are pretty generous, I think we will probably end up using this size for at least several more months as she isn't anywhere close to outgrowing it. You can order directly from their website, which has a lot more options for colors and sizes, or on Amazon and get free shipping with Prime. The reviews on Amazon aren't great, but we have had no issues with our sleep sacks, and have been using them for three months now. If you like the brand, you can also join their facebook group and get early access to their sales, which is great because the items are pretty pricy. 

Pipette Balm // Penny started developing some eczema around three months of age. We switched to Baby Dove's wash for bath time, and then started using this Pipette balm after, and her skin cleared up in days! I think having fragrance/dye free really made a difference for her, so we will be sticking with that combo. The balm is really so nice to apply after her bath and helps seal in moisture, especially during these dry-air winter times. I kind of want a bigger tube to use for myself...

We now have a six month old who will probably be on the move soon - would love to hear any suggestions you have for the age group we are moving in to! From play mats to items for learning to eat, to favorite books to read!

Monday, December 23, 2019

for the last minute shopper

About a year ago, I was half way through my second trimester in pregnancy, and realized that I hadn't cooked a meal in weeks. I was still in the exhaustion part of pregnancy, I was on busy services, and couldn't find the motivation to drive to the grocery store or meal prep. I was listening to a podcast and heard an ad for HelloFresh, and even though I had heard about them before, I used their coupon code to order our first month's worth of meals...and we have been hooked ever since!

When given the opportunity to work with HelloFresh earlier this summer, I was so excited! We have had such a great experience as paying customers, that I couldn't wait to even share more in collaboration with them.

As the holidays are coming up, and I tend to be the biggest procrastinator when it comes to getting gifts ready, I thought I'd share why I think HelloFresh would make a great Christmas present. I'm gifting a month's worth to several friends and family members because we have been such a fan, that I'm hoping it'll help some of you finish up your holiday shopping! It would be great gift for...

the busy friend // I don't know about you, but I really find it hard to find time to come up with a meal plan, get to the grocery store, put everything away, and then find time to also make the meal. If you have a friend who is just slammed with work or school, and needs a little something to help their weeks go smoother, a meal subscription is amazing because it takes the first three steps out of the equation. A box shows up with everything neatly packed away in paper bags, all they have to do is stick it in the fridge, and find 30 minutes to cook the meal in the next week. They can even get the 4 person sized boxes so they only cook one, but get four meals out of it! I first experienced HelloFresh when I lived with an ObGyn and Ortho resident as a medical student, and think it's perfect for that busy resident in your life!

the tired family member // Like I said above, I finally ordered my first box after realizing I was basically too tired to get off the couch and put in all the work it takes to make a home cooked meal with real vegetables and meat. By saving your family member a trip to the grocery story, and instead just bringing one box in the house from their front steps, so much of the work is taken out of making  a meal that it's perfect for that new parent or overworked sibling.

the uninspired co-worker // I've been cooking for myself for about 12 years now...which means I have like five standard meals I make over and over...and over again. I occasionally looking through pinterest for new recipes, but a lot of time they require buying new spices or dishes or items not available in all stores. HelloFresh gives you exactly what you need in those exact quantities, while at the same time always coming up with new recipes and teaching new cooking techniques. I've learned how to quick pickle veggie toppings, make crema sauces out of three ingredients, and combine ingredients I would never have though of combining. I'm learning and eating new and exciting meals, rather than the same five things I always cook.

the hard to shop for mother-in-law // I think we all can agree we all probably own too much stuff, but the holidays revolve around getting each other things. I've slowly tried to gear my gift buying towards either practical items people actually want, or experiences. Instead of buying your mother-in-law another grey sweater, get her a few month's worth of new meals to cook together. She will love not having another thing around the house, and if you happen to live close, you can cook meals together as something you do for the two of you. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

In all seriousness, we have been so happy both as paying HelloFresh customers, and now as a member of the HelloFresh team. If you haven't had the chance to try HelloFresh yet, either as a customer yourself or giving it as a gift, you can use this link to save $90 off your first month.

written in collaboration with HelloFresh. Thank you for supporting me and the companies I love!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

november 2019: top three

medicine //
  • This month I learned that urologists occasionally use hand assist in laparoscopic surgery - the pictures are wild!
  • Axonotmesis: damage to the peripheral nerves in the body. Peripheral nerves can regenerate, growing 1-2 mm per day!
  • Half of all newly diagnosed STDs are in teenagers. Condoms are our friends!

on the internet //

spotted for me //
  • I have never found Henleys to be super flattering on me, but I kind of love the feminine shape of this version - I'll take one in pink and the striped one please!
  • I have owned these Zella leggings for at least four years now, and still wear them constantly.  Probably time to get a new pair since they are currently 33% off!
  • I have been looking for a small case for jewelry for short weekend trips - ones where you only need to bring a few small pieces of jewelry and not like...the whole collection. Nothing caught my eye until I saw this adorable case from Loft of all places. I ordered it immediately. 

spotted for penny //
  • While we are more of Old Navy/Target people for baby clothes...I can't help but realllllly want this fair isle sweater for this holiday season. I mean...at 30% off this weekend, I'm tempted. 
  • I've actually found the cutest (inexpensive) items at H&M - like this cute bunny sweater...at 1/4 of the cost of the Boden sweater above. 
  • I'm usually anti-ruffle butts...but couldn't say no to these fair isle pants. so so cute!

ask me anything //
  • What is your biggest advice for someone planning on going to medical school?
    • This is a tough one to answer because there are so many ways to approach this question. My biggest advice for someone who wants to go into medicine? Explore all other fields to make sure being a doctor is the thing you want - there are so many other jobs in medicine and the medical field, from optometry to dentistry to pharmacy to nursing to social work to technicians, that you want to make sure the sacrifice and time that comes with becoming a physician is exactly what you want. My biggest advice for a pre-med? Start volunteering early and find something you are passionate about - doing something long term means a lot more than doing a bunch of little things, and it gives you something to talk about during interviewed. Tips for just getting into medical school? Apply broadly, and be persistent.
  • I'm a social worker interviewing for a student wellness coordinator position at a medical school. I really enjoyed following you through your med school journey and I think it's given me a great insight into the joys and stresses of student life - so thanks! I know it's been a couple of years, but I'm curious - were there any resources, education or programming offered by your school that helped you stay sane and maintain wellness? If not, what would you have liked to have seen/known?
    • Ohhh, such an interesting question! I think one of the biggest thing that would have made a difference is probably something you can't control, which was that we took exams every Monday...which meant that every single weekend was spent studying. It would have been so nice to at least have 1 Friday exam/month so you know you got some free time...but probably not something you can control from your position! Wellness has become such a big topic in medicine...and I know everyone is doing the best at providing events and resources to students and residents, but so much of being well (or unwell) is from the stress of the job that can't be solved with free breakfasts or yoga events. I wish I had a better answer and something that you can provide for your students, but the unwell in medicine is so inherent to the job that the whole game needs to change before people are really well.
  • I know on Instagram you mentioned compression socks you love. I tried looking for them so i didn’t have to message you but I probably didn’t look hard enough.
    • I've been very loyal to Sockwell, and have recently also started wearing the Comrad compression socks. I plan on doing a full compression sock comparison post in the upcoming months!

on franish //

at home //
  • Happy December! This was supposed to be posted over the weekend but my husband worked all weekend and I was home with the baby alone and I forgot my charger at work and basically I just spent all weekend holding my baby and I know you'll forgive me for posting a day late (kidding, I know no one was holding their breath waiting for this post). I'm still trying to figure out how to occasionally blog while focusing on work and my family. I also don't want to fall back into the trap of just ordering a bunch of clothes to try on, even though they are always my most popular posts. Just the never ending battle of trying to find some kind of balance point in life!
  • This month was so good! I was on UroGyn, which deals a lot with urinary incontinence and pelvic reconstruction and I learned so much. I feel so much more comfortable talking with and managing incontinence, something that is extremely common but not something a lot of women talk about, and I'm excited to now have a better understanding of how to help my patients. So not only did I learn a ton, but I also had fairly normal people hours this month, which meant more time home with Penny, so that was amazing. 
  • As someone who is very typically a last minute present buyer, I'm trying real hard to stay ahead this year! I already got Chris's gift (...because we are buying the Nintendo Switch together so we can play MarioKart hahahaha), and my dad's and my Secret Santa's for Chris's family. Feeling accomplished while taking advantage of all these Black Friday deals!

Monday, November 18, 2019

postpartum review: learning to dress your new body

Hello! Coming at you today with a review of items I've purchased over the last month or so. We have a little random assortment of items here, from maternity items (that I wear as a non-pregnant lady), nursing tops, slipping pants, and winter jackets. A little bit of everything! A big lesson for me is now learning how to dress my "new" body. My chest is a bit bigger, my sides are a bit softer, and I'm working on figuring out what feels good when I wear it. I'm also trying to figure out what I can wear that accommodates nursing/pumping, which has definitely had it's trials and errors. What used to work doesn't always work with pumps on, and what I used to wear casually on the weekends isn't convenient for nursing in public, so it's been a rough go at figuring out what works for me!

For reference, I'm 5'9''. I'm currently a size 12/large in most items. 

 Maternity Drapey Nursing Knit Cardigan

Thursday, November 7, 2019

recent beauty faves

I'm so excited to talk a bit about a few recent beauty favorites from the last six months. I have lots of holy grail items I've been using for years (my eyeliner, powder foundation, and dry shampoo, which currently comes with an extra mini bottle fyi) but I do love playing around with new items and finding new favorites. With Sephora's holiday sale starting today, I thought it would be a good time to share a few of the items I've really grown to love!

Amika Purple Shampoo // As a life long (highlight getting) blond, I only started using purple shampoos like two years ago! They make SUCH a difference! My highlights/balayage stays brighter so much longer. I've tried several different brands at different price points, and this has been my favorite - the actual shampoo is thick and a deep purple, lathers nicely for a sulfate-free shampoo, and one bottle lasts me about six months. For $20, I can't really complain! If you want a drug store conditioner, I've been using L'Oreals Ever Pure conditioner for years and really like it!

Beauty Pie's Vitamin C capsules // I have plans to dedicate a whole blog post about my experience with Beauty Pie in the next month or so (I'm putting in an order for a few more products on Saturday when my monthly membership renews), but I've already found several items I absolutely love. I've been a long time fan of Vitamin C products - they have helped lighten up my acne scarring and keep my skin looking refreshed (here's a more in depth article about the benefits of Vitamin C). I've enjoyed the Paula's Choice serum as well as Kiehl's, but Vitamin C is fairly unstable and needs to be in sealed and dark containers, which is why these individual shells is the perfect storage for this serum! I use it every morning under my moisturizer. I've been using it for two months now, and am re-ordering another bottle this weekend. It's my favorite skincare product of the last year! If you want to try out Beauty Pie, you can use my referral to get your first month membership for free.

Hourglass's Ambient Light powder // I first heard about this on Jaclyn Hill's youtube, and finally broke down last year, and bought the mini version. I ended up using it every day, and a few months ago bought the full size version. I use this on light make up days (ie at work) as an eyeshadow base, and then lightly swiped across my cheeks and nose as a light highlight. It's just so pretty and the regular size is going to last forever (I wish I had just purchased the full size from the get go - a mini is 1.4 oz for $24, and for $48, you get 10 oz!). Love love love. This would also make a great present!

Beauty Pie's Sleep Oil // I have been using face oils on and off for years now...but it turns out, I was using it ALL WRONG all that time! I was putting it on over serums and under moisturizer, but actually face oils don't moisturize your face, they lock in the moisture. derp. Anyway, since realizing my mistake, I've been happily using Beauty Pie's sleep oil correctly, and it's becoming my favorite step in my night time routine. I pat on a few drops all over my face and wake up with soft and glowy skin every morning. If you're thinking about trying out Beauty Pie, I'd definitely recommend this as one of your first purchases! A bottle probably lasts close to a whole year - I've been using it since August, and have barely made a dent in the bottle.

Ole Henriksen's Scrub // as a girl who grew up with St. Ive's apricot scrub, but also someone who has read enough posts about skincare to know that we shouldn't use abrasive scrubs, I can't help but really enjoy this scrub. I stopped using my retinol cream during pregnancy, and since restarting it after delivering Penny, my skin is going back through a bit of a shedding period while my skin gets re-used to the retinol. I find using this scrub just once a week, using very light circular motions rather than hard scrubbing it into my skin, gets rid of all the dead skin without causing a bunch of trauma to my skin. This would especially be great for anyone dealing with a lot of flakiness during the colder months! Again this will probably last quite a long time since you only need a little bit once or twice a week.

Kat Von D's eyeshadow palette // I've enjoyed KvD's eyeshadow palettes for years now, but this one has become a true staple for me. I am definitely not a make-up guru, I do basically the same thing every day, and have for basically a decade now, but this palette gives me everything I need from lighter every day looks to having a few darker colors to play with. The middle of the palette is what I use the most, from the base color to the highlight to the black for "smudging" my liquid eyeliner. And it's currently on sale (on top of the sale!), so you can get it for a steal.

Tarte's mascara // I'm forever looking for my holy grail mascara - I tend to use one kind for a few tubes, and then move on to the next. I prefer the brush mascaras (versus the plastic wands), and have found what I now believe is my favorite mascara to date. It just elongates, thickens, and isn't clumpy -it's like the holy trinity of mascaras! I always wear an eyelash primer under my mascaras, which helps, but am just such a fan of this mascara that I purchased several more during a recent Tarte sale!

Sephora's sale is currently going on, and ends on 11/11. If you're doing some early holiday shopping, one of my favorite items to gift is this perfume set - it comes with nine deluxe samples of perfumes, as well as a gift card for the full size version of one of them. You get 9 cute little bottles plus the full size version, which is great for any fragrance lover (especially since they can pick out their favorite in the end - I find it so tricky to gift fragrances!).

Thursday, October 31, 2019

october 2019: top three

the kitten version of her bunny // my shirt // her unicorn sweater

medicine //
  • Tocophobia is the term for having a deep seeded fear of childbirth. 
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology actually has some of the coolest words in medicine.  Laminaria is  kelp, but it can be dried and made into a stick that when placed in the cervix, will slowly dilated over time, dilating the cervix for procedures like a D&C or IUD placement! 
  • The word botulinum comes from the Latin word for sausage,  after a botulism outbreak was associated with eating blood sausage! Thanks to @lifeasapa for that interesting piece of medical history!

on the internet //

spotted //
  • If you have a family holiday photo shoot coming up, I think you need to wear these amazing tartan pants - pair it with a white or black blouse, and black accessories! Now I kind of want to take family pictures...
  • I bought this guazy blouse this month and just love it so much - I get to wear dress clothes the next few months to work, so I've already worn it twice! It's perfect for laying a long cardigan or scarf over (or wear with those tartan pants above!). Size down if you're in between sizes, mine is a medium!
  • Obsessed with this herringbone scarf...and it's only $17!

  • Where did you buy the storage bins for baby clothing? I love the idea of sorting the different size baby clothes that way. I have a 3 month old baby boy and love seeing your recommendations.
    • Ours are from Target! They come in a pack of two, and are a good size for keeping clothes organized by age group - so far I've used 2 bins per age group we have. I figured it'll be great either for the next baby, or to loan to friends/family when they have babies!
  • I have a few friends graduating medical this year and am trying to come up with ideas for gifts for them. I remember somewhere you talking about the white engraved book you log your procedures in but I can't seem to find where it was that you talked about it. Do you know where it came from? Also do you have any other recommendations for good gifts for graduating medical students that would be more budget friendly (since I am still a medical student myself)?
  • Which brand of the rapid hard boiled egg cooker would you recommend? 

on franish //
  • On the blog: comparing my beloved LL Bean quarter zip to the Amazon dupe!
  • On instagram: all Penny, all the time
  • On twitter: more thoughts on Beauty Pie coming soon!

at home //
  • Hello! Welcome to the new monthly edition of the Top Three posts! I used to write these posts weekly (for years!) but they take sooooo much time, and between working some weekends, wanting to see my husband and baby, and just being tired, I figured a monthly edition would be a good compromise between wanting a space to share and balancing it with my life! If you have any specific requests for topics to cover, or if you have a question, I would love to hear from you!
  • Speaking of balance and life, for the next 9 weeks, I'm on what we call "off service" rotations, which basically means I'm not working on L&D or doing surgery daily, but spending time with various urogynecologists, doing some surgery, and spending time with the breast surgeons. It means later wake up times, earlier going home times, and just a small break from the grind! I'm already enjoying the fact that I get to see Penny more than an hour a day like I did last month when I was on MFM (which btw, day in the life post coming soon!). 
  • Hope you guys are having a great Halloween! Penny is going to be a baby cow today (fitting for the baby of a WI girl, right?!) and I'll be here faithful farmer. I was going to be cheese, but procrastinated on buying a cheesehead ;)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

LL Bean's Quilted Pullover vs the Amazon Dupe

Amazon dupe // LL Bean original

While Patagonia is the new official uniform of residents everywhere, I've actually become quite the LL Bean wearer while at work! I just love LL Bean and their warm and comfortable clothing - I bought my quarter zip quilted sweater almost two years ago, and have worn it just about every other day since receiving it (even during pregnancy, until one of my coworkers told me I had to stop once my belly was sticking out too much haha).

I ran across a very similar looking sweater on Amazon and had to see how it compared to the original! I shared my original find some weeks ago on instagram, and received tons of follow up questions, so I figured a quick blogpost would be the best way to address the similarities and differences!

Quilted Quarter-Zip Pullover
First up is the original, the LL Bean quilted quarter zip. I have it in a large in the color olive. The material is nice and thick, I'd say the thickness is similar to that of a Patagonia fleece. The front and back are quilted, has a kangaroo pocket, and a quarter zip front with a leather accent. The fit is slightly on the boxier side - for reference, I'm 5'9'', so most regular sized items tend to be a bit boxier on me. It does come in petites and plus size, but unfortunately not in talls (come on, LL Bean! Help a taller girl out). Like I said, I've owned this for almost two years with weekly laundering, and it has held up super well. Occasionally a little bit of the quilting pops out, but very rarely, and it's easily fixed with a quick snip of scissors. Here's a quick snap of it over scrubs. 

The original price of almost $70 is pretty steep for a sweater, not going to lie. My cost per wear is pretty minimal at this point, and will continue to drop as I continue to religiously wear it. There is a sale currently for 20% off using the code BIG20 though, bringing the cost lower to $50! They also have a great funnel neck version of this same style that would be great outside of work that I'd love to try. 

BTFBM Women Fashion Quilted Pattern Lightweight Zipper Long Sleeve Plain
I ran across this dupe version on Amazon when I was looking at an Abercrombie fleece dupe (I really want the camel!!!), and since I've wanted the grey version of the LL Bean sweater, I figured this was the perfect $25 compromise. 

Of course, I don't expect a sweater 1/3 of the cost of the original to be as nice in quality, and it's not, but that doesn't mean I don't like it. It's a much thinner material than the LL Bean one - it's almost like a very thick t-shirt material rather than a sweatshirt material. Only the front is quilted, as opposed to both sides like the LL bean one (you can see the back of it here). I think where the Amazon sweater wins is in length - it has a good 1.5 inches in length on the other sweater, which I really appreciate. It just sits a little nicer, especially when I'm wearing it with jeans/leggings as opposed to with scrubs. 

I've been thinking about how I can say which one of these two is better, and it all depends on what you are looking for. If you want a thicker sweater that holds up well, comes in six great colors, and comes with the backing of the name LL Bean, then obviously the LL Bean sweater is the way to go - it really is the nicer of the two options.  If you live in a warmer climate, are taller, or just want a $25 sweater instead of a $70 one, then Amazon has a great dupe, knowing that the quality isn't as nice.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

penny favorites: 0-3 months

Penny turns 4 months old next week and I am not emotionally prepared for my little girl growing up so quickly! It feels like her newborn stage and my maternity leave were ions ago! She's becoming such a smily little girl and it's been the biggest blessing to have her in our life.

I wanted to share a few of the items that we loved using during the first three months of her life. Of course there are so many other baby things we use, but these are purchases or gifts we are so happy with, and would definitely purchase again! Some of these items are ones we will use for months to come, and some are limited to the newborn stage.


Halo Bassinest: The AAP recommends room sharing (NOT bed sharing) for at least six months, and ideally up to one year, to help prevent SIDS. I looked at a bunch of different bassinets and loved the mobility of the Halo bassinest. It not only moves side to side so it's easier to get out of bed, but the front also bends down, so it's easier to pick the baby up in the middle of the night (I've read that lots of c-section mamas love it for this reason!). The one thing I wish I had known though is that you aren't supposed to use it when babies start rolling over, and as Penny is just on the verge of completely rolling back to front, we are going to be done using it soon. Part of me wishes we had gone with the combined bassinet/pack'n'play option so we wouldn't now have to also buy a pack'n'play for the rest of the year before we transition her to her crib (I think we are going to go with the Lotus travel crib as it doesn't have a weight limit and will be great for all the travel for the next few years!)

Tummy Time Book: This has been one of Penny's favorite things! It's great for a baby who isn't the biggest fan of tummy time because it keeps them entertained while they use their little muscles. It comes with a mirror (P's favorite!), black/white images on one side, colored imaged with tabs on the other, and the whole thing is of that crinkle material babies seem to love. I also think it's the cutest! We have an adorable play gym from Pottery Barn that we use for tummy time as well.

Portable Changing Station: newborn babies, and especially breastfed babies, don't need a lot when you're out and about - really you only need a few diapers, wipes, an outfit change, and a place to change your baby. Our little portable changing pack is the most used item we have! I love that I could just throw it in my regular tote bag, have everything I need in one spot, and not feel like I had to take our giant diaper bag everywhere. It's also great because it has a changing pad built in, which is handy for changing the baby in the car or a coffee shop without a changing table.

Diaper Backpack: okay, I don't think there is a ton of difference between all of the different diaper bags out there, but I really like ours! The backpack makes it easier to carry in and out of daycare, it looks nice and holds its shape well, has enough pockets to be able to organize everything nicely, and is large enough to hold 3-4 days worth of baby things for a longer weekend trip.

Evenflo Pacifer:  Penny would not take a pacifer for the first 10 weeks of her life. I tried all of them. Pacifers are another item recommend to help decrease the risk of SIDS, and it would be nice to have a method of calming an upset baby, which is why I kept trying different binkies. Evenflo actually sent me one to try out, and after Penny took right to it, I ordered several more. We have several adorable pacifer clips (this is my favorite one from Etsy) to keep them off the ground. She's not super attached to them still, which I'm actually totally okay with, but she will take them when she's upset and that's all I can ask for! If your baby is being fussy about taking a pacifier, I highly recommend trying these!

Sleep Swaddles: Silly first time mom here who thought I'd bring my baby home and swaddle her in her muslim clothes and everything would go great! But even though I'm a great swaddler, baby girl just wiggled her way out of all of them. I looked into a bunch of different swaddles but also didn't want to spend $50 on one swaddle, especially because she was occasionally having blow outs at night. I found this great pack on Amazon and we loved them for her for the first 8 weeks of life! They have velcro, so the swaddle stays super secure. We did start slowly transitioning her out of arms-in swaddling around 8 weeks, first by having one arm out for about 10 days, and then using the swaddle around her waist so she still had that pressure, to now being in an arms-out sleep sac (that while this is also $50, it actually can be used for up to 6 months, so I feel we are getting a bit more use out of it). From what I've read, you want to transition out of the arms-in swaddling before they start rolling over, but for the first eight weeks of life, this swaddle set was a life (and sleep!) saver.

Evenflo Travel System: Oh man...I put buying a carseat off for so long. There are just so many choices! From car seats that have a stroller with it to car seats that fit into different strollers with adaptors to travel systems to buying separate pieces and fitting them together, and all price points, I had no idea where to even start. I eventually decided that I wanted a travel system that didn't involve buying a bunch of different parts with adaptors and all of that. Next, I really wanted one that comes with a bassinet. Of course the biggest suggestion for a travel system with a bassnett is the UppaBaby...but we are residents and also felt uncomfortable registering for something so expensive, so I was thrilled when I came across the Evenflo travel system. It comes with a car seat, bassinett (that converts to a toddler seat), and stroller bottom. It comes in like 6 or 7 different colors (we went with Aspen Skies version which apparently is no longer available). We are so happy with it! I love the bassinet for going on walks, and used it for sleep for Penny when we traveled. It snaps into the carseat base it comes with in literally 1 second - we did buy two additional bases, one for my husband's car and one for my mom's. Of course it meets all safety requirements, but it looks nice, and is at a great price point. I'm definitely very happy with our decision in buying this system.

Solly wrap: being able to wrap my newborn up close to my body, especially while I was on maternity leave, was just my absolute favorite thing to do (and it was Penny's favorite too!). I had registered for a Solly wrap because I had read that the fabric was lighter and better suited for summer babies. I used it literally every day for Penny's first 7 weeks of life. We went on our daily walks with it, I wore her when I cooked and cleaned, wore her when we went to Target...all the things. The material is just so nice and soft, and babies seem to love being snuggled up tight against their parents. Highly highly recommend!

Noise machine: We read this book about having happy babies, and one of the things it talks about is using a sound machine for sleeping time. I already use a sound machine to sleep (especially when I'm sleeping during the day after call or when I'm on night float) so I already appreciate a good sound machine, but we got a travel one as well, which has been so helpful! It holds a charge all night, has several sound options, and is cute and small.

I'm going to cover nursing and bottle supplies in a later post, which is why I didn't cover any feeding items this time around!

We officially hit 4 months this coming week, so if you have a 4+ month old, I would love to hear about what items you love for this stage! She's starting to grab at things, so we are looking at a few more toys for her to interact with and would love any suggestions you have.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

i'm back!

Hi guys!

It's been a hot second...or 14 months.

It's been a fun-filled, love filled, work filled, and surprising few years around here. I'm now a third year resident! I know. And I'm a mother...I KNOW. I was already a wife, but I feel I barely talked about that since I basically fell off the blogging planet shortly after our wedding.

So I'm basically the same but also so different.

Over the past year, I've dedicated all of myself to other things - my job, my family, my baby. I have found no greater joy in life than raising my sweet child, but you guys...it's a lot. From carrying her for 38.5 weeks to pushing for 2.5 hours to nursing her around the clock, to now just running around so I can spend the absolute most time with her, I feel guilty for the small things I do for myself...washing my hair, occasionally getting my nails done, eating dinner with my husband while not holding her because I just want her to feel so much love. Between that, and all of the emotions that come with my job (which deserves more than half a sentence throw away but also not a lot I can talk about) I feel like I've lost a bit of myself in everything else.

Blogging was always a thing that was just mine. I could talk about whatever superficial or deep stuff I wanted, it was something that no one told me what to do or how to do it, and it was a way to stay connected with all of you girls, who have been such a source of friendship, guidance, and encouragement for the past seven years.
my top // Penny's swaddle

So I'm going to get back into it. It won't and can't be how it used to be. Full outfit posts several times a week will probably likely never happen again. I wear scrubs all day (almost) every day, so those will be a once in a while thing. It'll more likely be some mirror pics or quick snaps I force my husband take on our way to Target to pick up dog food. Review posts will continue - I really enjoy learning about myself and my style through taking pictures and writing, and from all of your feedback, it sounds like you guys like them too. I love sharing what I've found online - I'm currently waiting for this quarter zip from Amazon to show up to see how it compares to my favorite LL Bean zip up (look at me, planning posts ahead!). Weekly Top Three posts, which were my favorite to write, are also the most time consuming, so those will likely become maybe a monthly post - a way to share what I've found and learned and read about it, without the pressure of spending 4 hours on a Saturday writing them. Makeup and skin posts will definitely be included, as those topics have always interested me! And posts about motherhood will definitely be included, as so much of my life revolves around my little squish.
I'm excited to be back, and see where this new season in life takes us!