Recent Faves and Finds

A few recent finds…

Here goes:

1. Oofos Flip Flops

Plain and simple: extremely comfortable.

2. NYC Skyline Return Address Labels on Etsy (specific shop: Moxy Paperie)

Screen shot 2013-08-04 at 8.06.16 PM

These give me a great reason to send some snail mail. I changed mine to a blue background and all white writing.

3. Monogrammed Phone Case (also on Etsy) (specific shop: To the Gild Lily)

Screen shot 2013-08-25 at 12.59.24 PM

I ascribe to the deeply held southern belief that if it’s [object] not moving, you should monogram it.

4. Jenni Bick Bookbinding Personalized Moleskine Notebooks

You can emboss your initials, your company logo (a bit more expensive), a saying/quote, your full name on pretty much any Moleskine notebook or cahier you can dream of.

It’s probably a good thing I did not know about these in college. Otherwise, I would’ve had piles of notebooks embossed with my monogram.

5. Oiselle Flyte Shorts and Charcoal Strappy Sports Bra

I typically shy away from spandex shorts as I don’t think they are ever particularly flattering on me. However, the Oiselle flyte shorts pass the “I would be in seen in public in these” test. Super comfortable and seamless to boot.

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 8.55.10 PM

The charcoal strappy is a huge improvement on the original strappy. It is much more compressive and with a lot more coverage. I can only hope they are going to make this is more colors.

Six pack not included...

Six pack not included…

Suffice it to say that both items are so comfortable and flattering that if I had the bravery (or body) to do it, I’d run in both these items sans shirt like the pros do.

Finally, shameless plug – remember that whole “I’m starting a 5K revolution” I wrote about a year ago?


A few weeks old but!

A few weeks old but still…cool!

6. Nuttzo

Like the Rolls Royce of nut butters…

Love the consistency. Love the flavor all 7 nuts and seeds give it. Love the dark chocolate variety. Its too good to be true.

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 8.47.29 PM

I’m a huge fan of the momtrepreneur behind Nuttzo, too. Win-win!

7. Skinny Pop

Its the perfect popcorn.

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 8.51.29 PM


I am eating what surely is a pathologic amount these days.


Until next time…

Every Mother Counts

Remember how I said I “wasn’t going to do a marathon for a while” after Eugene?

I think I’ve said this after most marathons and, each time, I’ve made myself a big, fat liar.

Why? Because I’m going to run the 2013 NYC Marathon with Every Mother Counts!


My reason for joining the EMC team was simple. As an OB/GYN resident, maternal health is a cause close to my heart. On the labor floor, I often find myself thinking “what would have happened to this woman if she didn’t have access to care?” This short video juxtaposes the journey of two mothers reaching obstetrical care.

I have the privilege of working with mothers and babies every day and, in some small way, helping them have a happy, healthy pregnancy and delivery. But, how could I help make sure every mom has this experience, make sure that every mother counts?

Joining the EMC team was a no-brainer. I want to help make sure every mother counts.


In brief, Every Mother Counts is a campaign to end preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth around the world. The goal is to inform, engage, and mobilize new audiences to take action to improve the health and well-being of girls and women worldwide.

Did you know…

- 15% of all pregnancies result in a potentially fatal complication in labor and delivery.

-  There are approximately 800 deaths per day from a complication of pregnancy and childbirth, making reproductive health the leading cause of death worldwide for women 15-44 years old.

- For every death, there are 20 life changing injuries. This means that approximately 7 million women each year suffer from post-delivery infections, disabilities, and other severe complications, like fistulas.

Think this is just a problem in developing countries? WRONG!

- The US ranks 50th in maternal health, even though we spend more per capita on health care than any other country in the world. [And see how Every Mother Counts has helped with its' Commonsense Childbirth grant.]

We have the tools and the know-how to save these mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, teachers, doctors, caregivers and community leaders—if we make it a priority.

I’m hoping you can help EMC in any way, big or small! Here are some ways you can get involved.

1.    You can donate here by clicking on the DONATE button on the right of my fundraising page to contribute what you can directly to Every Mother Counts Runners.

2.  You can JOIN THE TEAM (run with me!) to become a fundraiser yourself and help us raise the much-needed funds and spread the word about this cause.

3.     You can purchase an EMC t-shirt & gear from and come out and cheer us on.

The French Fleece material of this hoodie is so soft. I wore so much last winter!

The French Fleece material of this hoodie is so soft. I wore so much last winter!

4.     You can run in solidarity on November 3rd. Remember that any distance from 1 mile to 26.2 miles would be an amazing act of support of our mission. Every Mile Counts because Every Mother Counts.

Together we can make pregnancy and childbirth safe for all moms.

Why I [Continue to] Run

I know I’ve written a bit on this blog about residency, and have probably told most of you who read this far more in person.

There are a multitude of things I could write about residency thus far. My thoughts are a bit too overwhelming to even know where to begin and what is appropriate to share (does the word vagina make any of you uncomfortable?). So, I’ll start with what this blog is mostly about – running.

No matter how you slice it, residency is tough. Even with work hour restrictions (80 hours per week), the physical, mental, and emotional demands drain your energy pool fairly quickly.

I had fairly low expectations for running in residency, but an ambitious outlook. Like any self-respecting type A, I made a goal of exercise 4 times per week. And, in good intern fashion, I put four check boxes in my planner for the week to be checked off accordingly. (Interns bow down to the holy to-do list check box).

Now, before I get a bit negative, let me preface with the fact that I love what I do most of the time (I’m fairly certain no one can love their job 100% of the time). Best of all, I love the people I work with and all that I am learning from them.

Yet, for better or worse, being an intern reminds me daily of what I am not. Despite 8 years of higher education, I’m not even good at doing practical tasks, like putting the leg drape on in the OR elegantly,  (seriously, I’ve had nightmares over that leg drape). Compared to people around me, I’m not that knowledgeable, skilled, published, or any other adjective you want to throw in there…yet, that is. Its a four year residency for a reason and a life-long career, but the intern growing pains are real for me, nonetheless.

Despite the long hours, I haven’t found much difficulty in getting out the door to run. Being able to run is a treat and a time each day I cherish. Running feels like breathing to me – natural and necessary for life (or at least mine). More than ever before, running feels like a part of me, rather than something I do or a goal I chase.

I don’t run far or fast – usually between 4-6 miles. I never wear a watch or Garmin. I’ve had the motivation to do workouts, but never the energy or time to put forth into making it a quality effort during the work week (plus, I’m not “training” for any specific and would rather talk with a friend on a run rather than suffer through a workout). On my days off, I get to go on a long run and catch up with friends. My longest run since residency has started is 18 miles and I’m really proud of that.

Mostly, I keep running not for any time goal or new distance to be conquered, but because running reminds me of what I can become rather than what I am not.

Many have said athletics mirror life: you get out of it what you put into it. With consistent training and hard work (and a little help), I went from a 4:09:59 marathoner to 3:34:07 during a 3 year period.

Remembering what went into my marathon improvement helps me approach each day as an intern with a little more gumption, fortitude, and fervor. Even on days when I feel completely incapable and inept, I know that with consistent hard work I can go from “what I am not” to whatever it is I’m meant to be in four years.

I don’t know when my next race will be. I don’t know when I’ll really “train” again. I don’t know if any of “that” will matter to me again.

All I know is that I’ll keep putting one foot in front of another, both in running and in residency.

And, I have to believe it will pay off.


Until next time…

Swelting Summer Finds

Apparently, Manhattan had a heat wave a week or so ago. I was inside for it, but I’ll trust’s word. Regardless, here are three things I like to help cool off in the sweltering summer heat.

1. David’s Tea Pop:

Crave a diet coke after a long run but hate pumping your body full of chemicals? Yeah, me, too. David’s Tea Pop, which mixes tea with seltzer, is a perfect replacement. Antioxidants are bit better for you than sorbitol.

You can fairly easily DIY this, too, although I have yet to try.

2. One Lucky Duck:

I’m not vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy-free, or with any food restriction, but this raw food outpost has won me over.

Their pina colada (fresh coconut, coconut water, pineapple) is out of this world. I’m going to try to make it a point to end my next long run there.

3. Imperial Woodpecker Sno Balls:

Shaved ice. Incredible syrups. Add ice cream and you’ll be blown away.

I renege my last statement – I’m going to make it a point to end my next long run here.


Until next time…

Even the Duchess Must Endure Labor (Labour)

An alternate title to this post would be “When is Royal Baby Arriving?” as it seems that is the main question being asked on every morning news program today…

I debated on writing this post seeing for two reasons: 1) I am not a board certified obstetrician so I am not an expert and 2) Her Royal Highness might deliver before I’m finished writing. However, considering this is her first baby and she’s in the early stages of labor per every news source on the planet, I figure I might have some time. In fact, considering the average “active phase” labor course (see below for explanation) for first time moms is 7.7 hours, I might have more time than I need.


Labor and delivery is divided into 3 stages, which are as follows:

1. Stage 1: Onset of labor to full cervical dilation (ie when you’re ready to start pushing)

2. Stage 2: Full cervical dilation to delivery of the infant (ie the pushing part)

3. Stage 3: Delivery of infant to separation and delivery of the placenta (the blood vessel unit that connects mom and baby) (ie mom not really aware as staring at beautiful new baby!)

Further, the first stage is divided into latent and active phases corresponding to slower and more rapid rates of cervical change (dilation and effacement), respectively.

The average time for active phase of labor for new moms is 7.7 hrs and the average “pushing time” is 54 minutes. So, we’ll say an average of 8-9 hours for first time moms. [My mom would like to contest this "average" as she says she could have driven from Alabama to Alaska in the time it took to deliver me.]

This is all for normal, garden variety labor and delivery. I won’t go into “arrest of descent” or  things that can happen.

Finally, labor and delivery relies upon the 3P’s as we are taught in medical school:

POWER = uterine contractions

PASSENGER = Size and position of the fetus

PASSAGE = pelvis, or the path the passenger must navigate and that the power must push past

What does this all mean? If we’re lucky, maybe Kate will have the baby before the 6 pm news!

What I am more interested in is what they will name this baby and how they will choose its monogram since royals have more than 3 names.

Rumor has it that the front runners are Alexandra and James for a girl and boy, respectively. Amidst the interesting and eclectic celebrity baby names of late, we can always rely on the royals to keep traditional (White Anglo-Saxon tradition that is) alive.

If Kate needs any inspiration (unlikely), here are some names I have conjured up, keeping in mind they usually have at least 4 names in addition to last name:

Isla Catherine Anne Elizabeth or Isla Catherine Diana Elizabeth

Nicholas Henry James Augustus

If you are lucky enough to be born on the same day as Royal Baby in Britain, you will get a special lucky silver penny.

So, move over David Beckham, Harry Potter, and Andy Murray, there’s a new most popular Brit in town!


Until next time…


For My Parents…

Graduation is impending and before my family arrives, I wanted to write something about them. There are many people to thank and, although its said by many, I really wouldn’t be a doctor without my parents.

My parents are an interesting breed. I like to think of them as “progressive traditionalists.” Both were raised in South Alabama and my moral compass and etiquette standards are in line with such upbringings (or at least I like to think so).  If we’re having “company,” you clean as if the Queen was arriving.  If you don’t receive a hand-written thank you note from me, you can assume that I am sick, injured, or dead. And, if said thank you note is written “incorrectly,” (meaning incorrect greeting to all recipients or not personal enough), I’ll probably have to write a new one.

However, my parents are very forward thinking and open minded. I like to think my parents told me to “lean in” before that was the cool thing to say or do. I was always encouraged to be able to take care of myself. I can hear my mom repeating, “You girls need to be able to take care of yourself without a man – you can’t rely on other people to support yourself!” It was never questioned that I wasn’t capable of anything I wanted to do, even when klutzy Meggie would trip down our stairs every day or make the toilet overflow and run down the walls the day before the house inspector came to close on our house (true story).

My parents are the most selfless people I know. Looking back, it seems like every waking moment of theirs was spent thinking about how to better our (the kids) lives. Meggie loves gymnastics and wants to learn her kip really badly? We’ll build a bar in the backyard! Allison wants to take acting classes? Sure! I can’t think of a moment that my parents didn’t go above and beyond to help me go above and beyond in what I wanted to achieve.

To this day, even at the age of 27, it seems my parents internal compass revolves around us children. Maybe that’s how all parents are, but I wanted to put it out into the universe how much I appreciate mine. At an age (27 years old) well considered “adulthood,” my mom is running around our hometown finding furniture and dishes for my new apartment and my dad drove me to one of my residency interviews this winter telling me “his favorite thing to do is spend time with his children.”

Growing up my parents would always tell me, “We are FOR you, not against you” whenever I would tell them they were being “so unfair.” While my family has surely pointed out my faults — my clumsiness, my naivete — my capabilities were never questioned. I thank my parents for first believing in me, which, in turn, helped me believe in myself. Because of my parents, I thought of myself as smart, strong, and able. There wasn’t nothing I couldn’t do if I worked hard.

All of these things are said about many parents, but I just wanted to speak of mine.

So, thanks, Mom and Dad. You’re the best. I love you.

[P.S. A Happy Happy Birthday to my best friend in the entire world, my sister, Allison! 25 years old. Don't go have a quarter life crisis on me, Ally!]

[P.P.S. Little Harry you're cool, too. I felt bad leaving you out of this.]

On [Trying To] Being A Doctor You Want to Go To…

Every so often I read posts or hear stories about people going to doctors that they loathe.  It seems many distrust or fear our medical system, particularly allopathic doctors (MDs vs DOs, chiropractors, naturopaths, etc). I read about about endless tests and no answers. About frustration and feeling unheard. About being sent to many different specialists. About the high cost of insurance premiums and co-pays.

In truth, these stories terrify me because I’m afraid one day I’ll be “that doctor.”

I’m afraid that people will think I didn’t listen to them. That I brushed off their problems and only filtered what I wanted to hear so I could give them “x” medication and send them on their way. That I made them feel helpless or frustrated. That I didn’t take good care of them.

Practicing medicine is just that, a practice. It is both art and science, a tenuous balance between evidence based medicine and intuition through experience and maybe a dash of innovation thrown in here or there.

It seems much of the training to become a practicing physician is callousing. But, I hope it doesn’t callous me. I hope I remember that one of my main motivations in becoming a doctor is being a good listener and helper,  just like I was told to be in kindergarten.   To use my knowledge and resources to help figure out problems.

I realize that my perception of medicine at the moment is a bit “white knight”-ish. There will be patients that won’t like me for whatever reason, that will be frustrated with me, that might switch to another doctor. But, my idealistic part of me hopes that doesn’t come true, at least not often.

I guess I’m just afraid that the long hours and arduous training will make me a less kind person. But, only time will tell. I hope not. I sometimes remind myself to “be the sunshine.” Its very silly, but it reminds me to keep my intrinsic happy nature (most of the time) from being subdued.


Until next time…

Gear Love

It’s been a while since I mentioned any new “finds” or “obsessions.” I tend to find new products and become enamored with them and then buy one in every color.

Here are some running treasures I’ve been loving lately.


I’m a big squinter, but, for some reason, it never occurred to me that I could wear sunglasses while running. I guess I thought they’d slip off, fog up, or just be annoying.

Gia always sports this cute little pair and, lo and behold, they’re by Oakley, made for “activity,” and don’t slip, fog up, or become generally annoying.

Jump for my love!

Jump for my love!

And, did you know how much facial muscle energy it takes to squint?! Yeah, you’ll notice once you stop…


I’ve always been a running skirt skeptic. I guess its because I got enough time in skirts with both being a cheerleader and playing tennis.

Modeled by the lovely Sarah OUAL. Sorry for stealing this pic from you, OUAL. Don't hate me?

Modeled by the lovely Sarah OUAL. Sorry for taking this pic from your blog, OUAL. Don’t hate me? It just shows the bum wrap so well.

The Oiselle bum wrap always looks cute on others, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I’m pleased.

No riding up, cute, comfortable, wicking, new 2013 version has a zipper pocket. Sold! Like so sold, I bought another one.


I’ve run in Nike Lunarglides since the dawn of time (ok, fine, since I started running) and wanted to mix it up. The NB 890s are “less shoe” than the Lunarglides, but not “minimalist,” to use proper running shoe geek lingo (I think). My calves were a bit more sore than usual after my first few runs in them, but I think they’ve adjusted. Although I have yet to run anything over 6 miles in them….so stay tuned…

Unrelated "being a model is so tough, esp when you didn't shower after running 20 miles" photo

Unrelated “being a model is so tough, esp when you didn’t shower after running 20 miles” photo. That hair matting is really something. 


For those not in the know (and, if not, get with it), Alysia is a pretty fast runner: multiple US 800m titles, 2012 Olympian, 4th in the world outdoors in 2011, 3rd in world indoors in 2010, and she casually set an American record in the 600 m indoors in early 2013.

It’s pretty easy to spot her on the track because not only in she running in front (winning!), but she also always wears a flower.

Exhibit A: Winning + Flower

Exhibit A: Winning + Flower

Now, you can wear a flower, too!

Really jazzes up the outfit, don't you think?

Really jazzes up the outfit, don’t you think?

Trying to be artsy...

Trying to be artsy…

Really jazzes up the outfit, don’t you think?

Support Alysia AND look cute. Win-win. Sold!

[PS: Alysia also included a nice hand written note and packages the flower in a nice little box. Personal touches really do help. +5 brownie points!]


I’m fairly picky on sports bras. I like compression. Hence, I’ve been wearing the Nike Pro Compression sports bras since they practically started making them.

I was somewhat reticent to try the new Oiselle sports bras as they looked like they were designed for the smaller side. Not going to lie, I was actually really skeptical. Sure, they looked cute, but would they hold up and support those of us who are, hmm, a bit more well endowed?

Lesko bra

Lesko bra

I’m happy to report that both the Lesko and Strappy bras passed every test with flying colors!

Strappy bra

Strappy bra

No chafing, no rubbing, and the right amount of compression and support, but it doesn’t make me feel constricted.

So, even if you’re a bit of a bigger chested girl, such as myself, try out both the Lesko and the Strappy. Pretty sure you won’t be disappointed!


Until next time…

On Bones and Blood

Bones seem to be the only thing in medicine that makes me squirm.

Not bones themselves, but penetrating bone.

As I was somewhat cringing watching a bone marrow aspirate today, I wondered why I could watch surgeons take out a gall bladder or appendix without even flinching, but seeing a knee replacement and bone marrow aspirate made me squeamish.

I think it is because bone seems so permanent to me and trespassing the cortical bone to delve deep into the marrow I guess cements to me how permanent and intimate some of things we do in medicine are.

We get to know patients from the inside out, sometimes quite literally if you’re a surgeon.

And, as tough as training can be (and as cynical the long hours can surely make you), I try to remind myself that this job is a privilege- we get to be the secret keepers, the guardians of good health (hopefully).

[Ok, I can't mention secret keepers without mentioning Harry Potter and how they shouldn't have picked Peter Pettigrew as his secret keeper...]

I guess its a good thing I didn’t go into orthopedic surgery. And, I’ll probably be singing a different tune when I’m sleep deprived in a few months. So, remind me of this post if I get too cranky, people.

Just my thoughts from today. Do with them what you will.

Now, a question for you all. While the rest of the world seems to exclusively use email for communication, I’ve never once emailed with one of my doctors. However, I’ve played a lot of phone tag.

This article from the Wall Street Journal highlights this issue: doctors and email.

Do you email with your doctor? Do you think there are liability issues that arise with emailing between physicians and patients? Would emailing be of more convenience to you? Do you worry about privacy issues with email?

Personally, I would use email with my doctor. Much more convenient than calling (and usually playing phone tag), and a bit more private than calling. Who wants to be heard saying “Is it ok to take ‘x’ if started to have profuse diarrhea or is it harmful to take in pregnancy?” when you can type it?


Until next time..



Why I Chose OB/GYN…

…and without just pasting my personal statement below or using generic reasons like “I care about womens’ health” or “I like to help people.”

I went into my 3rd year of medical school (clinical rotations) with an open mind…a totipotent medical student, if you will. I had an inkling I’d want to do an internal medicine subspecialty, and all of my friends had me pegged as a pediatrician seeing as I babysit so much. OB/GYN was never on the radar.

I enjoyed all of my clinical rotations; I could usually find something I liked (and also disliked) about each of the core specialities. I really enjoyed working with families in pediatrics, but didn’t like the idea of having to make “the call” between sending a child for further tests or sending them home. I found psychiatry as a study to be interesting (seriously, the day I heard someone tell me they had a chip planted in their brain just like the textbooks said a patient would, I was floored), but found many of the social work issues to be challenging.

When I did my OB/GYN rotation (6 weeks), a friend described me as “glowing.” Maybe it was hanging around all those pregnant ladies, but I really enjoyed the work and both the challenges and rewards that come with the field. And, because OB/GYN was never a part of “the plan,” I had a subsequent quarter life crisis (because my life is obviously so hard if my worst problem is choosing OB/GYN vs another specialty).

During my 6 week OB/GYN rotation, I also did a week in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, a subspecialty I had no idea I ever wanted to do, but that really piqued my interest. I came home every day and read Dr. Licciardi’s blog (the attending I was working with) on fertility issues. I made good friends with a fellow (we became friends by talking about running and working out, actually) who was invaluable in advising me. She basically assured me that I could do a “hard” surgical based residency and still have a life (relatively).

I think in determining what I ultimately wanted to do, I considered several aspects of a field including the intellectual draw, the emotional pull, the patient population I’d be working with, work culture, and life balance.

In terms of the “intellectual draw,” I love nothing more than a feedback loop. I loved them in college biochemistry. I loved them  when learning 2nd year endocrinology. A lot of OB/GYN involves hormonal feedback loops, which means I’m a pretty happy camper. This, among other things (med/surg mix, for example), was one of the “intellectual” aspects I liked about OB/GYN.

The “emotional pull” was probably the ringer in my decision. A lot of obstetric or gynecologic issues are anxiety provoking or slightly embarrassing (not to us, but something you might not want to share with your friends). I liked being that person you could tell these issues to and I like assuaging women’s fears. On the reproductive endocrinology and infertility side, I’m fascinated by both womens’ desires for careers and “breaking the glass ceiling,” but also for having children. The ability to preserve fertility, to optimize fertility at “advanced maternal age,” or to help people with certain medical conditions get pregnant seems extremely rewarding to me.

Patient population? Mostly healthy. All women.

Work culture? I like to think OB/GYN is a fairly happy field. Outcomes do have the potential to be very, very sad, but, for the most part, you’re either a) bringing their bundle of joy into the world or b) helping them maintain or achieve a certain quality of life by promoting their health (or at least part of it…I won’t be adjusting anyone’s cholesterol medications or anything).

Life balance? My motto – if it is important to you, you will find the time to do it. I ultimately decided that if the most exciting part of my job was that it was 9-5, then it probably wasn’t the job for me. In addition, plenty of OB/GYNs have families, even in residency. It might be hard, but it seems most people are able to “make it work,” whether it be kids, travel, marathon running, etc.

I could write much more on why I chose OB/GYN, but I’ll stop here. Hopefully, this gives a little “outline” or my decision making process.

Someone also asked if I ever considered medicine wasn’t for me at any step in the process. At points in medical school, when you’re slaving away in the library and your friends are actually earning dolla dolla bills, I did have a few “gah, I wish I did something that paid me now” moments. I had “omg, my friends are like real people” jealousy, but I’ve never looked at any other careers and thought “man, I wish I was doing that instead of this.” Medicine is a long road, but I knew that going into it. No one put a gun to my head and told me I had to go into medicine. This is what I wanted to do.


It may not be something that is currently in the workforce, I realize. In the current milieu of social media as marketing (I act like I know about business and marketing..I don’t), I’m always some impressed with the ingenuity of people — merging careers with a public social media presence seamlessly (for instance, see Marisa Kraxberger, VP of creative at Oscar de la Renta and behind the blog George and Ruby; also see Oiselle).