Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I'm Just Here to Serve...

Hello everyone!  Today was quite the day.  I'm in Charlotte starting my last away med school rotation, "Urban Family Medicine."  I didn't know how to interpret the name "Urban," but I knew I would be working with an underserved community.  When I parked in the parking lot of the clinic, a crazy old man was trying to hit on me and two middle-aged women were fighting verbally outside the doors.  I knew this was the right place!  I went inside and the crazy old man was there in the waiting room, he left his chair to try to hop on the elevator with me.  Thankfully, I held the open button on the elevator and told him to go back to his chair.  I wasn't going to start the day being trapped in the elevator with him!  My psychiatry rotations have done a great job teaching me boundaries with patients and how to be assertive.

When I got upstairs, I found myself in the most wonderful clinic ever.  I was greeted by this young, poised, fabulous African-American female doctor.  This couldn't be my preceptor!  She was basically everything I envision myself being in 5 years.  She introduced to another fabulous African-American female doctor and then 2 equally awesome AAFPharmDs!  Talk about black girl power.  They were all so happy and well put together.  They told me the clinic is more diverse, but they were the only ones working today.  After spending so much time with balding Caucasian males in clinic, this was a breath of fresh air.

I spent the morning seeing patients with the typical problems-unplanned pregnancy ("it just happened"), out of control blood pressure, wildly high sugars.  I had so much fun!  Not every medical student/doctor has it in them to dole out a thousand birth control/hypertension/diabetes/stop smoking lectures a day, but I do.  And I can give each one enthusiastically and make my patients laugh while I lecture them.  However, I can't always make them do what I say...

I'm really excited about this rotation and the population we get to work with.  The majority of the patients are African-American, however many are Caucasian, Russian and Vietnamese as well.  We're all focused on helping people help themselves and I love it.

This evening I went on a run in Freedom Park and it was so nice.  It's located in Myers Park, an upscale neighborhood in Charlotte with beautiful houses.  I know Aaron sees us living in a neighborhood like it, but I'm not so sure.  I think I can be content with less...?

When I'm out, sometimes I feel like I have a double life.  When I run, I'm just a young black girl in athletic clothes.  When I'm in clinic, when I put on that white coat, patients-black, white, anyone-look at me with respect and listen to what I have to say.  I have no children and I tell mothers about caring for their own children.  And I'm just a medical student!  In less than a year, I'll have the long white coat and then things will be really crazy.  I see why people think doctors have big egos, it's hard transitioning from a clinic where you are the boss to just walking in the park.   In a few years I'll be a psychiatrist and I'll carry all of the preconceived notions- that I know what you're thinking, that I can analyze you, that I'm super kind and understanding.  I don't find those notions so bad. :-)

This post was written stream of consciousness style, I hope you enjoyed the view into my life.  I'll leave you with a view of Freedom Park. :-)

...did I mention the glass in clinic is now bullet-proof after being shot up in a shoot-out?  I don't even care.  I'm working in the area that needs help the most.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Florence Welch & Waffles

Hello there!  I hope you had a great weekend.  Mine was pretty busy.  I finished up my family medicine rotation on Friday, packed up and left Wilmington, drove home to Raleigh, saw Florence & the Machine- they were awesome!!!  The live music was amazing and the Florence's voice was beautiful, of course.  Florence Welsh, Regina Spektor, Kate Nash-I think they're all super women in the music scene these days.  Their music is so refreshing.

Florence behind the screen :-)

Aaron in front of the stage

Us after the concert...I know you'd rather see Florence 
but I couldn't get very good pictures due to the lighting.

Saturday was all about the wedding-my mom, aunt, Allison and I looked at bridesmaid dresses and then went and picked up my bridal gown!  Putting it on was so exciting.  There was a slight problem with bunching of the underlayer, but the seamstress at Bridal Mart fixed it right away.  The dress was also heavier than I remembered-good thing I'm not getting married in July!  It needs to be taken in a bit and bustled, but I'm sure it will be perfect!

Bridesmaid dress shopping went well too.  We went back to Gorgeous Gowns and tried on the silver dress I had on in my last post, still loved it.  But then the sales girl pulled a dress extremely similar-sweetheart, flared skirt dress by Alfred Sung that comes in the dupioni fabric as well.  Now I'm not quite sure which is best, my mom took photos of Allison and I in the dresses side by side so I can look at them and compare.  I'll post the photos soon, they're on my mom's camera so it'll be a few days until she gets home from vacation.

On Sunday after church, Aaron and I met John and Dawn for a delicious brunch at Dame's Chicken and Waffles!!!  It's was fabulous, mouth-watering.  I got the gingerbread waffle topped with fried chicken breast and a maple pecan spread.  It came with a side of macaroni and cheese too, I was in heaven!

Tell me, how was your weekend? :-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ceremony & Readings

Deciding on the size of the reception was something Aaron and I went back-and-forth on during the first stages of wedding planning.  With weddings being so expensive, we often contemplated having a family-only ceremony and a informal party for our friends later.  "The only thing that matters is we're getting married," we would tell each other.  Well, my parents vetoed that plan and now we're having a having a fairly large wedding, with a nice price tag that feels like we're-spending-too-much-but-it's-not-enough-to-get-everything-I-want wedding.  Actually, lately I've been pretty good at happily staying within budget while planning lately, but I know there may be a few more hiccups to come.  What's so funny is, now that we are planning a large reception, the reception has become very high priority while the ceremony, not so much!  Yet the ceremony is the clearly most important part of the day and without it there would be no reception!!

I've been to a wedding where I think the ceremony only lasted ten minutes.  If that's your style, that's cool, but for me, I needed it to be a bit longer than that.  Aaron and I are getting married y'all!!!  Hold your horses for a little while and savor the moment. :-)

So, one of the reasons why the ceremony has gotten less attention on this blog is because the details of planning are much easier.  Church? Check.  Minister? Check-my grandpa's pastor! <3  Organist?  Not yet...but I have a few options and thankfully the church actually has an organ and we don't have to debate organist versus strings.  Songstresses?  Check, songs-not yet.  Plenty of time for that.  Decor-floral plans in the works.  So what's left?  Readings!!!

I'm a regular reader of Southern Weddings and they always ask their brides what readings were read at the ceremony.  I've saved a few of my favorites from those posts as well as some favorites from my daily devotions.  I'll start sharing them with y'all, two in this post and then more in random posts in the weeks up to the wedding. :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012


Hello!!! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.  I write this post from a very cheerful place in my life, because my residency applications are IN!  I'm like a high school senior, just waiting to hear back from programs, but most of the hard work done.  Thank God, literally, I can't thank Him enough.  Please send prayers my way that I will match into the program that is right for me!  I anticipate interviewing between November-January and then matching this March.  It's pretty unreal that I'm almost done.

So THIS is how Dawn and I spent our Sunday afternoon.  Looking at centerpieces and discussing what floral arrangements were possible and at what price point.  Dawn's an event coordinator who moved to the triangle from Charleston and she's doing my flower arrangements.  If anyone wants to get in touch with her let me know!  Also-can you believe all of the glass pieces were my grandmother's?

Here are the flowers we're considering...

Peach juliet garden roses.  I die for these....

Light pink ranunculas

White hydrangeas

Cream lisianthus

and wax flowers

The flowers may change, but this is what we're thinking of for now.  

Here's an inspirational image for the final arrangements.  Some things I'm particularly excited about the altar arrangements at the ceremony and wreaths that will hang on the church doors.  Is it funny that these are also some of the most expensive pieces?  The whole process has been give and take, however.  Dawn had some wonderful ideas for other blooms for us to use, but they weren't all in my budget.  I'm sure we still have some adjustments to make but I am super excited!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wedding To Dos

Here are some wedding to dos for the month.  How do I come up with them without a planner?  I go off the top of my head, lol, and I also use the checklist on The Knot.

-pick up dress - Saturday! I ordered it 3 months ago and it's in!
-finalize guest list - this involves working with mom, dad, fiancé and future mother-in-law
-order Save the Dates - I ordered a sample of a magnet design and loved it, so I hope to place an order this weekend
-pick up wedding band stamps at the post office
-address and mail Save the Dates
-register for gifts - reading up on what's traditional and deciding what's right for us
-decide on hair and make-up artist - I hope to meet with a family friend for a consultation next week
-submit engagement announcements to local papers
-order bridesmaid dresses
-select ceremony organist
-look into cake/cupcake bakers and gather quotes

SO EXCITED!!!  :-)

preparing for the day that will change my life forever <3

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge myself to you.

The traditional wedding vows.  I think Aaron and I will recite the traditional vows, because I have no idea how to express my feelings for him in words that could tell even half of the story.  I'm also intimidated by the thought of sharing such personal feelings in front of a bunch of people.

Lately, I've been thinking about life after marriage-the "honeymoon period" and the transition to everyday life.  Like every dreamer, I don't want the "honeymoon period"- the period of newlywed love, doting and romance-to end.  I don't even feel like Aaron and I have gotten started yet-we don't live together, each year I spend a few months away for school, etc.  I know some things will never be perfect in our lives-work, residency, finances-but the point of being together is to make the best of what we have and keep optimism high for future.  I'm grateful for everything we share together now, but as Aaron always says, "we're always on the up and up."

To help us keep our sights set high, I've been wondering if Aaron and I should set goals and expectations for our marriage, write and frame them somewhere in our house.  Just a little reminder, you know?  Here's a few tips for healthy marriages that I especially like

--  Always give a hug and kiss before leaving the house
--  Always eat together, but more importantly, sleep together every night
--  Reserve time each week for time alone
--  If you have to argue do it lovingly, talk calmy, learn to shut up and listen (harsh but true)
-- Go out of your way to do things that make each other happy
--  Remember that true love is rare

Another tip I found:
The seven deadly habits are criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing and bribing.
The seven caring habits include supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting and negotiating your differences.  

Now, of course, these are tips that work wonderfully in an ideal world.  In the real world, life interferes.  You may not be able to hug and kiss with every exit.  And certainly if someone never complained they may end up to be quite the pushover.  However, notice how it reads deadly habits and not sins-acceptable every once in a while but it shouldn't be the norm.

Marriage, like most of life, is probably easier said then done.  What's wrong with setting your sights high however?  :-)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sick and tired of being sick and tired

So, for the past 2 weeks I have been working 11 hours each day, from 6am to 5pm.  Last weekend, I was off, but this weekend I'll be going in Sunday.  It is no overstatement to say I am exhausted.  I have bad sleep hygiene-I usually go to bed around 12.  I think it's because I feel so pressed to do what I want to do when I get home, yet I work slowly because I'm so tired, so by the time I feel complete it's 10:30 and then I have to get ready for bed and then talk to Aaron on the phone...ugh.  Thankfully next week I'll be moving to the outpatient clinic with better hours.  Still, being in Wilmington is a bummer for the following reasons:

-it's not unusual to find a bug, live or dead, in the apartment that I'm in (school provided)
-I missed Aaron's birthday yesterday and had to settle for talking to him over the phone
-I'm trying to make new friends in Raleigh yet it's hard because I'm there so inconsistently

So yes...I'm ready to go home...then I'll be ready to leave home and get married!  I feel like medical school is putting a hold on my life, I know the end is near, but I'm too, too ready for it.

So, we're done with the pity party.  Onto wedding updates!!!

vintage and lace inspiration photo

We got a DJ.  That was a tough one.  Some DJs were charging over a thousand dollars and not only was that not in the budget, but I didn't think it was worth it.  No offense, spinning music is an art but it isn't brain surgery or anything...I refuse to pay you $300 an hour as few people quoted me.  Not to mention one DJ was a serious jerk and quoted me $1300, and then I found him DJing for another company for $950!!  I confronted him and he gave me some lame excuse, scammer.
So, we finally picked a DJ who was nice, friendly, maintained good communication and had great reviews.  His name is DJ XL and here's his site.  I have lots of confidence in him and I'm totally excited!

I asked my songstresses.  I really want to let our friends and family know how grateful we are to have them be able to see Aaron and I marry each other and celebrate with us.  I figure the best way to do that is to include them in the ceremony!  I asked two of my friends to sing, Emily and Andrea.  Emily and I met in kindergarten and she later introduced me to Aaron!  She's a wonderful friend and excellent dance partner haha!  Andrea is one of my college girlfriends and we've stayed close and in good contact despite now being on different sides of the country..not an easy feat.  I'm going to let the girls choose their own songs and honestly I have no idea what people typically sing at a wedding.  Here's what I found online
I Swear-John Michael Montgomery, redone by All-4-One
I'll Be-Edwin McCain (I absolutely LOVE this song)
Ribbon In the Sky-Stevie Wonder
Basic religious songs..??
Obviously, each girl knows her singing style and capability the best and needs to pick her own song!  Just trying to throw out some suggestions, hopefully they'll come up with some suggestions as well and together we can come to an agreement on a song.

bouquet inspiration

What's next?
Wedding dress and shoes-dress is in, not picked up yet (next weekend!) and shoes have been ordered from Endless, yipee!!!
Finalizing guest list-currently working on ugh
Sending Save the Dates-ordered a sample :-)
Finding a cake lady-haven't even started yet!
Registering-currently dreaming of it!!!  I went back and forth on registering for China, but I think I'll bite the bullet.  I love entertaining and I'm not sure how I'd be able to to afford a set without a registry.  Aaron and I already have a lot of house things because Aaron lives alone and my mom is a pack-rat, so I hope to keep our registry short and simple.

Beautiful Wedgewood China I'm thinking of registering for!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

All That Glitters

Growing up, I loved playing in my mom's jewelry box.  My grandmother and her have beautiful collections of gold necklaces, bangles and rings.  Now that I'm getting older, I see fine jewelry as a right of passage...and a far away dream! :-)  With the exception of a few necklaces given to me by family, my engagement ring is my first piece of precious jewelry.  Aaron proposed with a beautiful solitaire and together we choose the Tacori 2628 setting.  I had always gone back and forth with telling Aaron I wanted a round cut diamond or an emerald cut, and the "cadi" cut diamonds on the 2628 give the best of both worlds.

my ring <3  

It hasn't been a year yet with this baby and I'm already excited about adding to my collection.  While in Bailey's looking at bands, the Ippolita bangles stole my heart!!!

The gold bangles are pretty expensive-2-3 thousand dollars!  I may have to settle for silver, which are priced between $500-$900.  Less heart stopping and easier to collect.

These Dantela Tacori earrings match my ring-amazing!!!  Maybe an anniversary gift? :-)

Pearls...the classic wedding day gift. :-)  While the bride traditionally gives a watch.

However, all those things are too pricey for a student.  I think these super cute Kate Spade bangles can tide me over until I get some real things in my life!

What pieces of jewelry are you crushing???