Expanding Your View

Last week I attended a day-long work retreat where several coworkers and I brainstormed ideas for moving our department forward to 2020 and beyond.

There were big themes that were bandied about, and one of them was Being Innovative.

A fellow physician for whom I have a lot of respect made a simple suggestion, but it really stuck with me:

Once a year, attend a conference that is totally outside of your specialty. That’s where you get the best ideas.

Attending medical conferences is part of the DNA of being a physician. We’re required to keep up with current medical information and technology, so much that we have to earn a minimum number of continuing education credits every year to keep our medical licensure active.

But, there’s only so much time in the world (time, my biggest luxury!), and I usually spend my allotted travel days going to meetings within my own specialty or sub-specialty (my area of medicine is pretty niche).

Except: earlier this year, I attended a new conference for the first time, and it was centered on medical education and faculty development, a.k.a. self-improvement.

It was great! I came back to work totally inspired and ready to tackle new projects. I had an idea, wrote a grant, got it and started a research project that I hope to present next spring in yet another new conference outside of my immediate specialty. I’m also mentoring one resident and one medical student withthis project to pay it forward and help their careers.

While this anecdote is about work, popping out of your usual bubble works in life, too.

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One woman I met at the aforementioned conference told me that every year, she forces herself to take a class that is outside of her comfort zone to learn something new, like the time she studied and then had to perform Stand Up Comedy.

Yikes.

Ok, I want to stretch and inspire myself, not get terrified, which is why you won’t see me signing up for a Snake Handling Seminar any time soon.

However, I’ve had a dream for years to take surfing lessons. I got thisclose to signing up for an all women’s surf school (this one) several times.

What’s stopping me? Nothing. Ok, maybe sharks, but it’s unlikely that this will happen:

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(That’s “Sharknado 2,” if you’re keeping track).

So, overall I’m trying to expand my view. Easier ideas on my list than flying off to surf school in Mexico include learning stand up paddleboarding (my friend P. lives right on the water and has offered to teach me many times), reading all of the books downloaded on my iPad – many of which linger because they’re a literary stretch, actually cook the recipes I tear out of magazines instead of leaving them in a pile, and – oddly enough – learning how to make my own fresh mozzarella.

What do you want to do?

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Subscription Boxes

Well, I just discovered a new addiction.

One of my coworkers recently had two boxes of interesting snacks on her desk and informed me that they were from subscription delivery services.

I’ve seen this idea around for a while, but I’ve never bitten. Yet.

However:

  • I love to shop
  • I love surprises
  • I love presents
  • I love to get packages
  • I am a sucker for so many things, so why not these?

 A quick perusal of My Subscription Addiction (yes! This is a real site) showed that there are subscription boxes for just about anything: vegan snacks, whole meals, artisinal chocolates, retro candy, socks, craft kits, entire outfits, cosmetics, etc, etc, etc.

 These caught my eye:

  • Graze.  This is a healthy snack site. You choose the snacks you want delivered and how often. This is one of the boxes my coworker had, and I have to admit, the snacks look good. She gets one box per week. The portions are small (Ok, they are appropriately sized for a snack but I could eat all four at once). This is also an inexpensive site since each box is about $5.
  • Nourish Snacks. This is another healthy snack site. For $12.50 per week, you get five healthy snacks, each less than 200 calories.
  • POP Sugar Must Have. it’s hard to describe this box, but it’s full of random trendy items like candles, jewelry, books, home decor, fashion accessories and cosmetics. It’s $39.95 a month, with a discount if you pre-order several boxes at a time.
  • Birchbox. This is one of the original companies in this area. For $10 a month, you get deluxe beauty samples.
  • New Beauty Test Tube. This is another cosmetic/skin care sampler, but it focuses on anti-aging products. Which, sadly, I really need.

 I think I’m going to sign up for Graze, POP Sugar and New Beauty, at least to give them a whirl.

Compression Socks

Last week I posted about workout recovery, and I can’t believe I forgot to mention compression socks.

I first saw runners wearing these in races about 5 years ago, and I mistakenly thought they were just channeling a retro vibe with knee-high gym socks like these:

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Instead, they were wearing compression socks.

Now, compression socks aren’t new to the medical industry. They’ve been recommended for decades for patients with chronic leg swelling.

The idea is that the (super tight) socks provide graduated compression that pushes fluid up from your feet and ankles toward your knees. This, in turn, promotes circulation and keeps fluid from pooling in the lower legs.

Translation: No more puffy cankles at the end of the day.

Athletes then started using them to promote recovery after hard workouts and improve performance during activities like racing.

My BFF T. gave me a pair of compression sleeves for my birthday a year ago, and man, they are awesome. Sleeves are like socks minus the toe/heel parts.

I wore mine over the weekend after a 15 mile run on Saturday – including while I slept – and on Sunday morning, I could have run 15 again.

I decided to get a few more pairs to mix it up and also have some to wear at work during long days in the OR.

These first two are from PRO Compression:

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These Sugoi ones are retro and high-tech at the same time:

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Try them!

 

 

 

Twirl Dress

Hands down, the fashion statement of the summer around here was this dress, worn ceaselessly by Trixie:

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The picture above is a stock photo, but here are a few shots of Trixie wearing it – variously – as a museum dress, a hiking dress, a princess-meeting dress, and a dinner dress. There seems to be no occasion that would be inappropriate for wearing it.

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The primary attraction seems to be the major twirl factor, owing to its chiffon skirt overlay.

I’ve been wrestling it away from her once or twice a week to wash it, and overall, it’s held up well.

I originially ordered the dress from CWD Kids, but then I discovered that the brand – Bonnie Jean – is available in many styles from several other retailers.

In a major shopping score, I discovered that Dillard’s has many other Bonnie Jean dresses on final clearance, with some equally twirly ones as low as $10. 

I scooped up several other styles, including a back-up of this beloved 2014 staple.

Twirl on, Trixie. Twirl on. 

 

More J. Crew Sale

OK, I really lost my mind with the J. Crew sale.

Yesterday I posted about some of the items I ordered, but there are two other outfits I wanted to share.

(Did I mention that all of this is an additional 40-50% off the sale prices? It would be a crime NOT to buy these).

 Outfit #1:

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Both of these are hard to see, but the shell has a mixed-lace pattern and the pants have a leather tuxedo stripe running down the side. The top was $30 and the pants were $25.

Outfit #2: I bought this with work in mind.

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Seriously, how fun are these shoes?

The pattern mix with the striped dress and the shoes feels really modern to me.

J. Crew has been doing these Valentina pumps for a while, and they’re a perfect not-too-high, not-too-low heel. They usually retail for about $240. With the additional discount during the sale, the price was $113.

The Schoolboy Blazer is another J. Crew classic. I have a few of these already, and they are real workhorse wardrobe staples. This black one was only $50 on sale. Score!