Monthly Archives

June 2017

Medicine Residency

Rocking a Long White Coat

As we near the end of June, there are newly minted doctors everywhere about to start orientation all over the world. This orientation is different than the others because this is the beginning of residency, which means you are finally going to rock that long white coat. Not only is there a level of achievement with this new accessory to your wardrobe, but also new responsibilities. #notreadytoadultyet

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I remember the first day I put on my long coat; my name was on it like my old one, but instead of ‘student’ it said ‘resident.’ I was cheesing soo hard that day. I also remember being so eager to finally have my own pager (boy did that feeling change quickly). There were so many emotions happening all at once during orientation week; excitement and accomplishment, but also some fear and uneasiness. As each day of orientation passed and my first day of residency neared, the enthusiasm peaced out and the anxiety really kicked in.

Starting residency is something we all wait for our whole lives, but it can also be a little overwhelming. Now that I am in my last few weeks and about to become an attending (oh em gee where did those three years of my life go?!), I wanted to give you guys some tips that were helpful to me during residency training, with an emphasis on how not to freak the eff out during your first few months.

Photo by @mike.natter

Let me start off by saying that I promise you, there is really nothing to be THAT scared of. When you break it down and think about it realistically, there will always be (at least) one person watching over everything you do, if not more. Whether it’s a senior resident, attending, or someone else, these people are here to watch you succeed, not to watch you fail. There will obviously be some seniors who will want to be more involved in the care of your patients than others, but no one is going to make you manage a patient completely on your own, especially not during your first few months. (This isn’t sink or swim).

That being said, if you are not sure about something and your senior resident hasn’t addressed it with you yet, don’t ever hesitate to ask. There were definitely times when I felt like I was asking stupid questions (even though they say there is no such thing), but if you don’t ask, you will never learn. It’s O.K. to feel unsure of what you’re doing at first, and asking questions will only help you become a better physician in the future. I didn’t become really confident until after I ran my own medicine team as a second year resident, and even then I still had questions (that’s what residency is for, to learn, even if it is from your own mistakes).

Photo by @doctor.alixandra

Don’t ever forget you have multiple people looking out for you. Not just other residents and attendings, but nurses, pharmacists, radiologists, etc- they are always available to answer questions, and most of them enjoy being able to teach you a few things that they know as well. Side note: Be nice to everyone. You never know when you will need help from someone, and the saying is 100% true, “you will attract more bees with honey than with vinegar” (thanks mom).

Start by covering the basics; one of the easiest things you can do to prepare for your transition is to get to know the EMR system. If you did an audition rotation where you will be training, you will already be somewhat familiar with the computer system, but if not, it’s a good idea to sit down and explore. EMR can either be your best friend or your worst enemy depending on how well you know how to use it. Ask those ahead of you if they have any pointers; I didn’t figure out all the tips and tricks to mine until halfway through my intern year, and my life would have been so much easier if I had done this sooner.

Photo by @e_guo

Another thing you can tackle right away is making sure you address the little things you are confident enough to do on your own. Examples of this includes replacing electrolytes, making sure patients have PRN medications for headache and nausea, etc; Basically, taking care of minutia will eliminate you getting paged for things you could have easily avoided.

Something I did to help me with this was to fill out templates with my patient’s information. These templates included a brief background of each patient, daily labs, meds, allergies, things already done, and things pending (I’ll attach one to the bottom of this article for you guys). If you put a box next to each item you need to do or order, and check it off as it gets done, you won’t forget to do these things as the day progresses.

Photo by @dan_arms

One more tip that I thought was insanely important during residency- take notes! Always have a small notebook handy and if someone is telling you a pearl, giving you valuable information, or just sharing one of their experiences with you, Write. It. Down. You may not think it’s important at that moment, but when you find yourself in a similar situation, you will wish you had it documented somewhere to go back to. In addition, don’t hesitate to look things up, and always have something handy as a reference (also, please purchase a Pocket Medicine if you don’t own one already).

Photo by @danamic_do

Lastly, if you are feeling more anxious than you expected, just remember that you’re not alone. There are plenty of others feeling the exact same way as you are, and the people who are now supervising you were once in your shoes as well. Not only do your fellow residents have your back, but don’t forget all of the family members, loved ones, and friends who are cheering for you too. They are your biggest fans, and you will always have someone to hand you a tissue or take a shot with you when the time calls for it.

Photo by @rebeca_kelly

Congrats again to all of the new med school graduates, and any other grads out there about to start at a new chapter in your life. You are all going to kill it (seriously though, no pun intended).

XoXo -Erica


Admission Template:


Fashion Lifestyle

Relaxation Essentials

I don’t know about you, but there are few things in this world that make me happier than bumming around and doing absolutely nothing, All. Day. Long. (aside from chocolate, and maybe Harry Potter reruns). Whether it’s 5 pm and I just got home from work or Sunday afternoon and I just woke up, the first thing I do is throw on a pair of slippers and go digging through my bed sheets for the remote. While I do think it is important to stay active, I also know there is nothing more comforting than having absolutely nothing to do but catch up on the last episode of The Bachelorette, take a soak in the bath tub, and eat some garbage food (it’s ok, it’s cheat day).

Everyone likes to spend their free time differently, but I am pretty confident in saying that everyone enjoys some R&R here and there, amiright? That being said, I wanted to share a few of my absolute relaxation essentials with you guys, ’cause I’m sure you’re going to love them just as much as I do.

There are many ways one can define the term “comfort.” To some it might mean a soft shirt or clean sheets, but to me it means warmth. I have lived in Florida my entire life and I do not think my body would be physically capable of living anywhere up north (that pretty much eliminates the rest of the US). My hands and feet are constantly at sub-zero temperatures, and at times I’m convinced I have Raynaud’s Disease (“cold hands warm heart,” they say). Sometimes socks will do the trick to keep those icicles I call feet under control, but most of the time I have to turn to slippers to keep them in check.

I have recently discovered the most amazing slippers, and the first thing I thought was “I need to share these with EVERYONE,” because they are way to good to keep a secret. Not only are they only $20 on amazon (with free prime shipping), but they are warm, comfortable, AND they come in 13 different colors! I honestly can’t rave about these enough. I’m literally wearing them right now and even considered wearing them grocery shopping yesterday (slippers in public are socially acceptable right?).

If you’re not addicted to binge watching as many television series as possible like I am (please send any personal recommendations my way), then ambiance is super important when taking some time for yourself to relax. My favorite thing to do when not watching trashy T.V. is to light some candles and get in the bath tub. But you can’t just light any candle, and you cant just get in any bath water. Candle of choice (hands down), is Capri Blue’s “Volcano Candle.” Light this baby up and give it 5 minutes until your entire bathroom smells like heaven on steroids. I don’t know exactly what it is about that candle but man is it good.

Next up, bath water of choice? Any Lush Bath Bomb that the company makes is customer approved by me. But that being said, they are not the most wallet friendly of products, so I have attached my next favorite (more affordable) bath bomb set (see “shop my favorites” below). Lastly, no bath session is complete without some good tunes, and by that I obviously mean John Meyer (because nothing is more soothing than the sound of that man’s voice). As far as stereo selection goes, I recommend an Amazon Echo (or if you want to save some $$, the Amazon Dot). You can speak to it like it’s Siri and ask it to change the music for you without having to run through your bathroom like a fish out of water or accidentally dropping your phone in the tub. Huge plus.

I typically like to make sure I am eating somewhat healthy throughout the week (which is not always easy with hospital food but I think I’m doing alright), so on the weekends and my lazy days I like to eat some “comfort food.” This usually consists of my favorite chocolate, the “Firecracker” bar by Chuao Chocolatier, and a glass of red wine. This chocolate bar is made of dark chocolate from Venezuela and contains sea salt, chipotle, and popping candy – need I say more?

Aside from chocolate and wine, I occasionally squeeze in a real meal (JK, I literally eat non-stop). If you live anywhere in Florida or the Northeast US, you should know what Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza is. If you don’t know what it is, I apologize. If you don’t know what it is but you just looked it up and discovered that you live near one, go there, now. My go-to is the pepperoni mushroom pizza with light sauce, the Anthony’s salad with gorgonzola cheese (the dressing is SO addicting), and their coal fired wings or a side of meatballs. Anndd now I’m salivating.

Now that I have let you all in on the secrets to a perfect Sunday, I hope you take some of my advice and try a few of these things out. If you love them, you’re welcome, if you hate them… well, I’m pretty sure you won’t hate them.

XoXo -Erica

Places I've Been Travel

I Heart Iceland

Has anyone else noticed a serious spike in people traveling to Iceland lately? I mean, a few years ago it was definitely not on the top of my bucket travel list, but lately it seems like everyone and their mother has been going, myself included. There is in fact a very reasonable explanation to this, it’s ah-mazing. Iceland, aka the land of fire and ice, is literally just that. You can walk up to (or inside of) a glacier one minute, and find yourself standing on a black volcanic sand beach the next. There’s Reykjavík if you want a fun, populated town, anddd everywhere else if you want a more rural experience; but don’t get me wrong, the rural areas are where all the beauty is.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what part of my trip to Iceland was the most incredible. I feel like every place I went was even more jaw dropping than the last, and I’d be lying to you if I said I wouldn’t go back there and do it all again. I wanted to tell you guys about all the awesome must-see places I’m talking about, but also give you a little more info as to why this has become one of the most popular travel destinations over the past few years.

For starters, direct flights from New York to Iceland are about 200-400$ on Icelandair. On top of that, the flight itself is only 5 ½ hours long. Name another overseas country you can get to for that price and in that amount of time… I’ll wait. In addition to both of those things, Icelandair ALSO offers what they call and Iceland “stopover,” which means if you are traveling from the US or Canada to Europe, you can literally stop-over in Iceland for up to 7 nights at no additional cost to your flight. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Whether Iceland is your primary destination or your stop-over, there are a few places there that you absolutely need to add to your list. Since you will most likely be landing in Reykjavík, let’s start there. Reykjavík is known for having the largest population in all of Iceland, at a whopping 120,000 people, and at the center is the Hallgrímskirkja Church. This Evangelical-Lutherin parish church is one of the most visited places in Iceland. It was built from 1945 to 1986 and dedicated to the most recognized poet of Iceland, Hallgrímur Pétursson.

The tower itself is 74 meters high (about 240 feet), and sits on top of a hill, so you can literally see it from anywhere (this was very helpful to me and my poor directional skills). In addition, the concert organ inside is the largest in the country, at 15 meters high, with 5275 pipes, and weighs about 25 tons. I offer 10 million dollars to whoever can bring it to me as a souvenir. Ready, GO!

Your next stop in Iceland, though not nearly as large, should be the Sun Voyager, a very cool sculpture of a ship. In 1986 a competition was held to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Reykjavík and Jón Gunnar’s Sun Voyager won. While most people assume it to be a Viking ship, it was built with the intention of being a “Sun Ship” which Gunnar stated would “symbolize the promise of new, undiscovered territory.” Today there are many other interpretations of the sculpture, but I’m sticking with Viking ship. Plus its cooler to take photos with it if you have a Viking hat on.

Photo by @jennalynnetrofin

Some cool places to eat/drink in Reykjavík include but are not limited to: an awesome Gastro Pub where you can try some of the local cuisine like whale, horse, and puffin (which you can also buy stuffed animals of in every gift shop). There is also the CUTEST coffee shop with the nicest owner called Café Babalú which I highly suggest you check out for a coffee or snack on your way to the church. As far as nightlife is concerned, these people know how to party (but only on weekends, otherwise everything closes at 10 pm). I recommend a great bar called The Drunk Rabbit, which ironically is an Irish Pub, but the drinks are reasonably priced and they have a wheel that you can spin and win prizes! Who doesn’t love winning free stuff?

My next piece of advice is to rent a car and travel east along the southern coast of Iceland. Once you leave Reykjavík, the best stops to make (in my opinion) are at the numerous breath taking waterfalls all over the country. For the purpose of saving time, I’m just going to list some of the must-see ones here: Gullfoss (32 meters high, the view is from the top), Seljalandsfoss (60 meters high, you can even walk behind this one), Skógaffoss (60 meters high and 25 meters wide, this one was my absolute favorite), Svartifoss (known because it falls over hexagonal basalt columns and provided inspiration for the Hallgrímskirkja Church). There are plenty more waterfalls around, but these are the ones that are most well known and easiest to get to.

There are some other must see things along this drive (most famously known as The Golden Circle). Thingvellir National Park is one of the only places in the world where you can actually walk between two tectonic plates (the Eurasian and North American), and it is also the location of some GOT scenes (for example the pass to the Eyrie was filmed here). If you want to visit some other natural phenomenons aside from waterfalls and tectonic plates (cause now we’re spoiled and want more), the Great Geysir and Strokkur Geysir are very cool, they explode frequently, and they are located right next to a small rest stop with food and bathrooms which makes it a nice little break in your drive.

Another stop that I recommend making is basically anywhere on the side of the road where you see wild Icelandic Horses. Though they look like pony’s, they are actually horses and are a pure breed to the territory (Icelandic law prevents horses from being imported into the country and exported animals are not allowed to return). They’re cute, and friendly, and if it wasn’t cold and rainy I probably would have taken a bazillion more pictures with them.

Continuing eastward there are plenty of other things to see. Ever since it’s most recent eruption in 2010, Eyjafjallajökull Volcano has been talked about for causing hundreds of flights to shut down that were traveling over Iceland. Now, at the base of the volcano is a visitor center (aka a mini museum) run by a local farmer and his family that showcases what Icelanders went through during the eruption, and how some of them still live at the base of an active volcano.

Near the volcano is the Skógar Museum, a is a cultural heritage collection of 15,000 regional folk artifacts which is a great experience if you want to learn more about Icelandic history. I thought this was cool because I personally like learning some background info about the places I travel to as well. After all of these activities (or sooner depending on your timing), a good thing to is to find a hotel to check into. I HIGHLY recommend staying at Hotel Katla, on Hofdabrekka in Vík. It may look like it’s in the middle of nowhere (which it is), but the dinner buffet here is incredible (just say buffet and I’m there) and the rooms are super cute and cozy.

Staying overnight in Vík will allow you to keep trekking east to your goal destination (and my absolute favorite part of the trip), Vatnajökull National Park, where you will find the Jökusarlon Lagoon (aka the glacier lagoon). In this lagoon sits the Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier. As chunks of the glacier break off, they float out to sea through a small channel. Once at sea, the ice chunks are polished by the ocean waves and washed back onto the shore of a nearby black volcanic sand beach known as diamond beach.

The contrast between the black sand and the glistening ice pieces is truly an amazing site. You can even pretend to ‘walk’ on these ice chunks, but don’t let my photo fool you, I was standing very still and almost ate it… twice. In addition, Vík is also close to Reynisfjara Beach, another black sand beach with large basalt columns lining the rock at the edge of it. If you go searching you will find some small caves, but be careful because the tide will quickly come up and pull you back in with it.

Lastly, but certainly not least, is the Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland’s many hot spring baths. This one is the largest and most touristy, but regardless it’s a must do while in Iceland. Contrary to what some believe, this is not one of Iceland’s natural wonders; The Blue Lagoon was built in 1976 during an operation at the nearby Svartsengi power plant. People began bathing in the silica rich water and noticed significant improvements in their skin, so starting in 1987 the bath was open to the public. In addition, there is now a special clinic for psoriasis patients and the blue lagoon launched its own line of skin care products.

Now, not only is the Blue Lagoon one of the most visited attractions in Iceland, but after renovations from 2003-2013 there are retail shops and an awesome hotel you can stay at that is just a 10 minute walk to the lagoon itself. I honestly had a truly amazing time hanging out here all day, but if you want to opt for a less crowded and more personal hot spring experience, there are plenty of other options scattered throughout Iceland. Regardless of which hot spring you visit, don’t forget to keep your hair out of the water (they even tell you to shower and condition it beforehand), take your jewelry off, and to come with a waterproof camera, because you’re going to want photos (a waterproof phone case should work too… hopefully).

Before you start planning your trip to Iceland, there are a few things to consider. Do you plan on trying to catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis? If yes, the best time for you to go is September though March, when you get the most darkness (but this is variable, for example in December and January the sun sets around 4 pm and rises at about 11 am). There are tours you can book to help you track the lights, but my recommendation is to grab a bottle of wine (or any alcohol of choice) and to drive out until you find a large clear spot of sky (cloud coverage is one of the biggest hindrances to spotting those babies).

You can use specific websites to track the aurora activity and cloud coverage in order to maximize your chance of seeing them on your own. Don’t forget your tripod and a flashlight! I also used a wireless camera remote, but setting a timer on your camera will do the trick of avoiding excess motion as well. Before I went, I read some professional photography sites to learn the best settings for capturing decent photos. However, if you don’t really care for northern lights hunting and prefer to get the most out of your daylight, then the summer months are better, where you will likely still have sunlight at 12 am.

There is one place that I wanted to go to and didn’t have the time (but also didn’t really want to walk an hour in the cold and rain). This is the famous DC-3 US Navy airplane that crashed on Sólheimasandur Beach on November 24th 1973. Believe it or not there are still remains of the plane, and it is one of the most iconic stops to visit in Iceland. That being said, it is now prohibited to drive vehicles on the beach, and it’s about a 3 mile walk from the road to find the plane. It is possible to get there on your own if you’re determined enough, but there are also tours you can sign up for if you want the hard part done for you.

Photo by @srhxn

Regardless of when you go to Iceland, I can guarantee it will be a trip you never forget. There are so many amazing things I saw, yet so many others I would love to still explore. Maybe you’ll even be lucky enough to stay at a hotel that provides clean, pure, Icelandic glacier ice for happy hour. Happy travels everyone!! P.S. for more photos from my Iceland trip check out my Facebook page!

XoXo -Erica


Food Recipes

Banana Bread: The Good, the Brown, and the Nutty

Have you ever stopped to think, who was the first person to take an egg (something that comes out of a chicken’s, well, you know), crack it open, cook it, and consume it. Like really, WHO thought that was a good idea? I like to imagine that it was an accident. That a farmer dropped an egg onto a hot concrete floor and voila, sunny side up! (but I can’t figure out the part of the story where he decides to pick it up and eat it).

Now that I have gone grossly off topic, let’s get back to the point of my rant; this is how I feel about bananas (though not as strongly). What genius found a yellow object hanging from a tree, picked it, peeled it back and said “this looks like something I could eat and not die from.” In addition, who decided to wait until they were brown and gross looking, and incorporate them into a perfectly delicious baked good? Not that I’m complaining; Not only is banana bread one of my favorite desserts that is also considered an acceptable breakfast food (who doesn’t love cake for breakfast?), but it’s a great way to salvage bananas that would otherwise go to waste.

Though I haven’t always been the biggest fan of raw bananas, I am a huge fan of their dessert counterparts (banana bread, bananas foster, etc.). I stumbled upon this banana bread recipe forever ago and have made some adjustments to it over the years, and I must say, it is quite perfect. So perfect that it’s usually gone in a week. The bread comes out so soft and moist (I’m sorry, I hate that word but it’s the only way to describe it), and the top is crunchy and delicious.

The recipe as is makes four banana bread loaves, so I occasionally halve it and only make two, but I promise no one will be opposed to taking it off your hands if you have leftovers. I have even used these in the past to make banana bread pudding (stay tuned and I may share that recipe with you as well). You can also choose to add chocolate chips or walnuts, I usually add walnuts for extra crunch, but it will come out great without them too. No matter how you make it, it boils down to one thing, this recipe is bananans, B-A-N-A-N-A-S (yea, I’ve been waiting to add that in).

Just a few last minute tips; I like to use Bobs Red Mill Organic Whole Wheat Flour; it makes me feel like I’m being somewhat healthy, and you should be able to find this at any local grocery store. I also use my KitchenAid wire whip head for mixing everything together, but the flat beater head for when I mix in the dry ingredients. I find that this blends everything together smoothly but still gives it that bread-like consistency at the end. Enjoy!

XoXo -Erica


Banana Bread
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins

The only Banana Bread recipe you will ever need.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Servings: 4 Loaves
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 ripe bananas mashed
  • 1 16 ounce container sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts optional
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preparation: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (150 degrees c). Grease four 7x3 inch loaf pans. In a small bowl, mix together the last 3 ingredients (brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon)

  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and 3 cups of sugar together. Mix in the eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix in salt, baking soda, and flour. Stir in nuts.

  3. Divide the mixture into prepared pans, and sprinkle the top with the prepared cinnamon sugar mixture (and more nuts if you want!)

  4. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

You can halve this recipe if you only want to make two bread loaves, but trust me when I say they will be eaten quickly (and you can always give one or two away).