1 year in 366 seconds

October 1, 2017

One whole year of my life with the 1SE app. One whole year in 366 seconds. That's pretty darn cool to me! Documenting my life each day seems kind of ridiculous and silly sometimes, but I'm always so happy I did.

LOOK AT THIS.  My heart.

I made that video during my last two months as a Peace Corps Volunteer - back before I even had this app to make documenting my life super user-friendly.

This is easily my favorite way to document my days! My little modern video diary. It's so much fun to look back on!

Sim*Vivo Suture Review

September 28, 2017

Sim*Vivo had popped up on my Instagram feed for months and I was very interested in getting my own suturing kit for clinical rotations. I reached out to Sim*Vivo and they were kind enough to send me a Sim*Vivo suture kit to try out and review on my blog. 

Disclosure: This product was provided to me as a gift from Sim*Vivo. Opinions are my own.
I've had the kit for several months now and I feel like I have a greater appreciation for the product after four weeks on my surgical rotation. I had so much anxiety about starting my surgery rotation. To alleviate some anxiety, I used my Sim*Vivo kit to practice suturing so I would feel more confident for when the surgeon handed me my first needle driver!

When I first got this suturing kit over the summer, I went to Sim*Vivo's website to find links to tutorial videos. I really loved that Sim*Vivo had tutorials to introduce the instruments along with how to hold them. Learning to handle instruments properly is very important and figuring that part out before having a surgeon watch me suture was very helpful! 

There was step by step instructions on how to do the following techniques: 
  • instrument tie
  • simple interrupted suture
  • running simple suture
  • vertical mattress suture
  • running subcuticular suture 

I enjoyed being able to watch the video and then practice the technique on my own. The suturing board is the perfect size to fit in my lap so I could suture and watch a movie with my husband - or listen to a podcast. It's very convenient to have all the materials I needed to practice at home! 

The kit comes with the following materials: 
  • Suturing board 
  • Adson forceps
  • Hegar needle holder
  • Suture scissors
  • Scalpels - #10 and #15 
  • Suturing guidebook (that follows along with the videos)
  • Suture packs (10 in each pack) 
    • 3-0 nylon with 30 mm needle, 3/8 circle, reverse cutting
    • 3-0 nylon with 24 mm needle, 3/8 circle, reverse cutting
    • 4-0 nylon with 19 mm needle, 3/8 circle, reverse cutting 

I practiced all of the suturing techniques before starting my surgery rotation and the repetition really helped me feel more confident! Sim*Vivo was key to helping me feel prepared for suturing on rotations. I brought home different types of expired sutures from the hospital to practice what suturing would feel like with different materials. I also worked my way up from straight incisions to curved ones - and that was all possible with this suturing board! The integrated lines and dots helped me get the movements down before practicing on an incision without the marks to guide me. 

Although no model will ever perfectly simulate human skin, I found that learning the basics of the techniques on the Sim*Vivo kit was a good guide. Subcuticular suturing is actually far easier on human skin than it is on the Sim*Vivo model, but mastering the technique on the suturing board made suturing much easier on a real person. :) Repetition is key! 

I'm thrilled to have my suturing board from Sim*Vivo to practice throughout my clinical rotations. It will continue to help me throughout surgery, OBGYN, and pediatrics! Suturing is an important skill for any specialty. Check out Sim*Vivo's website for more information about getting yourself a suturing kit too! 

Doctors In Training (DIT)

September 14, 2017

I used Doctors in Training (DIT) during my dedicated study period for Step 1/Level 1 board exams and I wanted to share some honest thoughts about my experience with it. I have had many questions about the program so I thought it may be helpful for other people to read more about my thoughts about DIT. If you have any other questions about DIT after reading this post, please feel free to reach out to me at tatedoesthings (at) gmail (dot) com.

When did you get DIT?
I bought DIT in the fall of my second year of medical school.

How is DIT organized and how did you use it for board prep?

  • Primer Series: high yield videos available immediately after purchase. 
    • over 50 high yield videos and multiple choice quizzes (I never did use the quizzes)
    • I used the videos to supplement my classroom learning throughout my second year. It helped me focus on some of the high yield information and it was nice to have a taste of what DIT videos were like (the high yield videos are often pulled from the actual lecture videos used during dedicated study time in Part 2 of DIT)
  • Part 1: Questions & video answers available in January 
    • 34 question sets. Mostly free response to challenge your thought process. Video explanations to guide your understanding of the question sets. 
    • I did the question sets as they were released to me (they were released several times a week). I tried to answer the questions on my own, then I watched the video explanation. I took notes in my First Aid to help me start making connections throughout the year. 
  • Part 2: Study guide shipped in the spring and lecture videos released in March. 
    • Once you begin Part 2 of DIT, you have 60 days of access to the online videos. I began Part 2 in the beginning of May and opted to take 21 days to finish DIT. 

Did you get the OPP aspect of DIT?
No, I did not. I used OMT Review by Robert Savarese as well as the COMBANK question bank for my osteopathic review for COMLEX. I did have friends who really liked the OPP portion of DIT, but I didn't purchase it.

When did you start/end DIT for board prep? 
I started used Part 2 of DIT the first week of May and completed right around the beginning of June. While I gave myself 21 days to finish DIT, I know many other people who took longer or shorter amounts of time to complete it. It really depends on how you learn. I liked to annotate and write in my First Aid for USMLE because physically writing things down helps me retain the information. Classmates who were auditory learners could breeze through the video lectures faster than me.

My idea was to finish DIT and still have 3 weeks to focus on my weaker areas before taking my board exams. DIT recommends that you finish the course relatively close to your test date - but that gave me too much anxiety. I really wanted to get through all the information once and still have plenty of time to feel like I could focus my attention on topics that were more difficult for me.

What didn't you like about DIT? 

  • It takes an awfully long time to stay committed to and complete the program. I tend to think that in order to benefit from the program, it's important to take the time to do the quizzes before and after each video lecture. Repetition is key! It will take you longer than you think to get through all of it, and the closer you get to boards, the easier it is to feel like you are stuck in a program that takes a long time to complete. There will be moments of sheer panic - and I definitely wanted to quit because other classmates would spend the entire day doing practice questions. I struggled with feeling like I was wasting my time in comparison to my peers, but ultimately, I'm really happy I stuck with the program. 
  • Piggybacking off my last comment, I think DIT is something you need to commit to or avoid altogether. It's not a good resource for cherry-picking. This isn't a "reference resource." If you're on the fence with whether or not you're happy to stick to a strict program - - really reconsider if DIT is right for you. It really isn't for everyone. 
  • It's expensive. I certainly didn't love that. 

What did you like about DIT? 

  • DIT appealed to me as a visual learner. I liked all the charts, diagrams, and animations. 
  • I absolutely hate reading from a text and teaching myself. I knew I wanted to have more structure during the beginning of my board prep and DIT provided that for me. Additionally, I appreciated that on the video lectures, you could see the person while they were lecturing. I'm not the type to stare at slides with voices talking over it. I immediately get bored and distracted. For whatever reason, I like being able to see the person teaching (which is also why I preferred to go to live lectures in medical school!)
  • I had things I could do throughout the year to help me feel like I was gradually preparing for my board exams, without feeling super overwhelmed. I chose to watch the primer videos and complete the question sets because it made me feel better - - but it's just an option. You can do just fine without the extra work as well. 
  • It helped me become familiar with First Aid for USMLE Step 1. The book is huge. and intimidating. DIT follows First Aid and provides page numbers for reference to go along with each video. I loved being able to annotate and follow along with First Aid while completing DIT. That way, I was very familiar with First Aid and knew where to find information throughout the next three weeks before my exam. 
  • It broke up the monotonous study time. Once I finished DIT, I did tons of UWORLD questions and Sketchy Micro/Pharm. My days had a little bit more variety when I had DIT in addition to my other daily studies. When I was first thinking of my board prep study period, I knew I would go crazy if I tried to just do question sets on my own for weeks on end. The videos were a good, structured introduction to all the material and after completing the program, I felt confident approaching the rest of my studying. 
* * * * * 

I hope some of those answers will help! That's a quick overview, so feel free to reach out if you have other questions that I did not already address. 

I have absolutely no regrets about using DIT for my Step 1/Level 1 board prep. 

Now that I'm more confident in my ability to structure time studying for board exams, I am not planning on using DIT for Step 2. I am very happy with my decision to use it for Step 1 - - but keep your own learning style in mind as you start to build your own study plan. 

Best of luck! 

"Believe me, every heart has its secret sorrows"

August 19, 2017

I remember every conversation I've ever had when I've learned about a loved one dying. I can recall exactly where I was, exactly who called, exactly what they said, and their exact tone of voice. 

My brother called me today to let me know my grandmother had died. We knew this was coming. She had been on hospice for several weeks. She had stopped eating much of anything. She stopped having the energy for conversation a long time ago. The last real conversation I had with her, she told me, "Tate, I'm dying. I'm ready to die." 

The process of dying looks different for every person. Sometimes it is short, other times it's prolonged. But there is one thing I do know - - it's never easy. 

The picture above was taken two years ago, on July 25, 2015, with my last remaining grandparents. With my parents divorce, I never had my grandparents together in one place until my white coat ceremony. This photo was taken by my mother - and it's so precious to me. 

In just over two years time, all three of my grandparents have died. In just two years. It all happened so fast. 

While I would never have imagined I would have watched all of my grandparents die in just two years, I am grateful. I am grateful for all they taught me. I am grateful for all the time they spent building relationships with me. I am grateful I have such vivid, sweet memories with them. I am grateful for what I've learned about death, dying, and grief. 

I have learned so much about how I process grief, as well as others around me. It's a lesson I never wished to learn so young, but I am thankful nonetheless. I have been reminded of the many faces of grief each time I lose a loved one, and it opens my heart be more understanding of others and the struggles they face. 
Believe me, every heart has its secret sorrows, which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad.
Moving into my clinical years, I hope to carry the lessons I've learned with me to help me be a more compassionate physician. I hope my heart remains full of empathy and understanding each time I work with family members losing a loved one. Death can bring every emotion to the surface, and we often have little control over the ebb and flow. One of the greatest lessons over the past two years has been learning how to ride the inevitable waves of emotion that come with each loss.

I will miss you, grams. You'll be in my heart forever. 

Resources for Level 1/Step 1 Board Exams

August 6, 2017

Now that I've survived my board exams, I wanted to take some time to post about my experience and how I prepared. I've had quite a few people reach out to me asking me questions about board prep, and before I delve into exactly what I did, I want to say a few things.
  • I'm writing about MY experience. Everyone's experience will be different and there is no "best way" to prepare for these exams. I am writing to share another perspective and to share some honest thoughts about what did and did not work for me during my study period. 
  • Everyone will have an opinion about what you "must" do. Take all advice with a grain of salt and be sure to design a plan that works best for YOU. 
  • I will not be sharing my scores for either exam, but I will say that I am very happy with my results. These resources and the study plan I share worked for me to reach my goals, but again, everyone's successful board prep will look different. 
I wanted to start off with a post to explain each of the resources I used before I go on to explain my study schedule. These are not ranked in any particular order. None of the links are affiliated, but I hope that by providing links it will help you find the specific products I'm referring to without any hassle. 

  • I referred to this during my second year courses. I did not take extensive notes in my first aid during my second year, mostly because the coursework was more detailed than what I would need to know for boards. I used this to supplement my learning. 
  • The only time I added notes to First Aid during my second year was when I would watch Pathoma. Notes from pathoma were specific to board exams, so I did take extra notes on Pathoma throughout the year. More on that in my study plan blog post!
  • I cut the binding off my First Aid and had spiral binding added to it so that I could easily take notes in it. This service is commonly offered at FedEx Office locations. 
  • I would recommend getting the book as well as the video lectures for Pathoma. Pathoma reviews the most high yield pathology for each system and all of his explanations are extremely helpful. I did Pathoma throughout my second year and used it throughout my dedicated study period for board exams. 
  • I used both of these throughout my second year of medical school and I cannot imagine medical school without it! 
  • SketchyMicro videos are much shorter than SketchyPharm videos, so I would recommend using SketchyPharm early on in order to really benefit from it. 
  • Using DIT is a huge financial commitment, but I am still very happy that I used this resource. I've received so many questions about DIT that I will plan to write a separate post to address all of the specific questions. 
  • This resource really isn't necessary for success on your boards, but I did use this for Step 1. 
  • Second semester of my second year, I felt like I wanted to start using a Qbank for board prep. I wasn't ready to shell out money for UWORLD and I still didn't feel like I was at a point in my studies to really benefit from UWORLD. USMLE RX was a perfect solution for me! 
  • I paid for 3 months of USMLE RX to have additional questions to use. I used them along with my systems courses and slowly started doing multi system questions. 
  • One thing I really loved about USMLE RX was that each answer explanation had links to the relevant pages in First Aid. 
  • This is the only resource on the list that is an ABSOLUTE MUST. You just can't do board prep without it. 
  • If you attend an osteopathic medical school, you will need to take the COMLEX board exams. This book is incredibly helpful to learn and review osteopathic medicine. 
  • I used this book throughout my first and second years of medical school, as well as during my board prep. This book has very helpful information and some practice tests at the end of the book as well. 
  • I did not find this Qbank to be particularly useful, but the osteopathic medicine questions were nice to use. I did all of the OMT questions in this Qbank, as well as all of the questions pertaining to ethics and statistics. 
  • I absolutely loved having Cram Fighter (and I'm actually still using it during third year). This program allows you to create a schedule for board prep that is all online and synced with apps on your phone. The program has almost every board prep resource you can imagine and you can effortlessly put together a study plan that tells you what you need to do each day. 
  • The best part? You can always edit the schedule to add days off, push back tasks that you didn't get to, and recalculate your schedule in a click of a button. This is every planner's dream, and every procrastinators worst nightmare. There's no denying what you need to get done each day when you use this program. I. LOVE. IT.

* * * * * * * * * *

Alright! That's it. Those are the nine most important resources I used throughout my second year of medical school and throughout my dedicated study period for board exams. Keep your eyes open for the rest of my posts about my study schedule, finding balance, and some of my best advice for tackling board exams! 

My Favorite Kale Salad

July 12, 2017

I'm pretty sure the world can be divided into two populations: those who love kale and those who do not. I would like for this recipe to inspire both populations of people. If you love kale - try this recipe and maybe you'll discover this recipe will be added to your list of favorites too. If you don't love kale - try this recipe anyway. My husband used to frown at kale, and now he voluntarily eats kale salad (even when I'm not looking!). 

Grab yourself a nice bouquet of kale from a grocery store or farmer's market. I usually buy two bundles of kale for this recipe. 

Thoroughly wash your kale and de-stem your kale. The stem of kale is really firm and many people don't like to eat it - - although, if you're interested, you can keep the stems to use in stir fry, etc. If de-stemming your kale totally freaks you out, check out this simple video about how to quickly de-stem your kale

Once I have my kale washed and de-stemmed, I tear the kale into bite sized pieces, throw it into a salad spinner to spin off the extra water, and toss it into a bowl. 

Now for the dressing! I never use exact measurements - but here is a run down of what I do. 
  • Juice two lemons & remove the seeds 
  • Add about an equal amount of olive oil to the bowl
  • Add a few dashes of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes 
  • Add about 1/2 spoonful minced garlic (or a few garlic cloves minced if you're doing it that way)
  • Mix it all together and dump on top of your prepped kale! 
I usually just use my hands to toss the dressing on all the kale - but feel free to be a normal human and use tools to do that if you wish. 

Once the kale is dressed, I put all of it in the fridge. The lemon helps soften the kale and make it less bitter.

I usually prep a huge batch and have kale ready to grab whenever I need it. It's super easy to grab this as a base for your salad and add anything else you want to top off your salad! A quick go to for me is chicken, strawberries & walnuts... but be creative! 

Do you have a favorite kale recipe? I'd love to hear about it!

The Power of Words

July 10, 2017

This poem resonates with me on so many levels. 
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story. 

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism. 

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass. 

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself. 

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. 

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy. 

28 Trips Around The Sun

May 4, 2017

28 full trips around the sun.
That's wild.

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday and made my day so special. It filled my heart with joy to hear from everyone - in multiple languages, from all around the globe. My network of friends and family members across the globe continue to brighten my life.

As the globe keeps spinning and the lives around us keep moving, I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on some of the lessons I have learned, and continue to learn, with each journey around the sun.

  • Taking the time to truly just exist is one of the most difficult and rewarding things to do. Sitting & being a witness to my own thoughts during meditation has brought out some of the best and worst sides of me this year. Our minds are so powerful... choosing our thoughts and then acting accordingly can affect our lives in such profound ways. 
  • While I'm nowhere near perfect, I'm more and more aware of the respect my body deserves on a daily basis. The relationships I choose to maintain, the food I choose to eat, and the physical conditioning I choose to participate in all have a dramatic effect on my health. The foundation we begin to build now will have very direct effects on our health later down the road. I'm not making perfect decisions daily, but I am still proud of my efforts to stock our home with more whole foods, brew my own kombucha, and get my butt moving as much as a can.
  • Carving out time for self care is one of the greatest gifts I've found I can give myself. Snuggling with my pets or my mom's baby goats, taking the morning to ski with my husband, or calling an old friend to catch up is an easy remedy for burnout and exhaustion. The hardest part is stopping to slow down. Just a few minutes of self care can make all the difference in the world.
  • Chasing my dreams doesn't happen to be easy. Sometimes I think back to my life plan when I was in my early 20's... and I'm doing it. I graduated. I joined the Peace Corps. I went to medical school. I got married. It's easy to forget that I'm so lucky. I've worked so incredibly hard to fill my life with the things that make me the happiest - but there have been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to go along with it. The life I've chosen is worth it. Despite the chaos, it's worth it to live life each day working toward something. I'm exactly where I should be
  • And on that note... I'm learning this lesson too. If the door doesn't open, it wasn't meant for you. 
  • My husband is genuinely my favorite person on the planet. I don't know how I got so lucky with him either, but he continues to amaze me with his unfaltering loyalty and support. It's such an adventure to be with someone who has dreams and aspirations as big as mine and to have to opportunity to cheer for each other along the way. 
  • Life gets ugly. And hard. The past two years have thrown a lot at me -- with many lessons in life and death and what I want my years of life to look like. I cherish every day I am given. 
Here's to the next trip around the sun - and all the adventures, lessons, and celebrations that will come with it. 

Breakfast Quinoa

April 30, 2017

This is such a simple recipe! Make it at the beginning of the week and have your breakfast ready for the week.

Breakfast Quinoa
Rinse 1 cup of quinoa & strain
Add rinsed quinoa to crockpot
Add 2 cups of water
Add 1 can of coconut milk (full fat)
Add some spices (cinnamon or nutmeg are my fave choices)
Add a dash of salt

Turn crockpot on low for about 3 hours

When it's done, put all your quinoa in tupperware to eat throughout the week!
I like to add a splash of almond milk when I reheat it & then add some honey, fruit & walnuts.

Get creative- you can add any kind of toppings you like! Enjoy!

Terrible, (Thanks For Asking)

April 21, 2017

I had several hours of psychiatry lectures at school today. All very uplifting - ADHD, mood disorders, schizophrenia, suicide. You know, all the things we all love talking about as a society.

I left school thinking about one of my favorite podcasts that I discovered this year. It's called Terrible, (Thanks For Asking) and it is hosted by Nora McInerny. She brings people on the show to talk about awful, terrible, crazy life situations that make people uncomfortable to talk about... but yet, so many of us go through. 

Every time I tell someone about this podcast, they immediately look at me like my whole world is crumbling. "You listen to what?!" I get it. It's weird to admit that I enjoy listening to a podcast about terrible things people experience. But I enjoy it because it's real. It's genuine. And it's so incredible human. 

My life experiences, along with studying psychiatry, have made me realize that we tend to tip-toe around things that make us uncomfortable. Death makes people squeamish. Eating disorders cause people to whisper and change subjects. Depression and bipolar disorders are stigmatized and looked down upon. 

Can you imagine how uncomfortable it would make someone if you responded to their "how are you" with a "Terrible, thanks for asking... followed by whatever horrible, dark feelings you actually had!?".  No one actually wants to know. So we cover it all up with a "I'm good, how are you!?"

But here's what I believe. 

Some people don't want to know the truth. Some people really don't want to deal with the dark, twisty turns in life. And that's ok, I forgive them. 

But there are many of us who DO want to know the truth. We are interested in how other people are doing. We genuinely care. But what we lack is the ability to know how to respond to what they say. There's a fear of not knowing what to do with the information. 

My challenge to you is this: just listen. Listen to your friends, family members, and colleagues. Just sit still and listen. Embrace the silence. Realize that your words probably can't fix it anyway. Be a human and be there. 

If life hasn't slapped you in the face yet, it will. And if it has already, chances are it will again. Life is hard, guys. We need to stop pretending it isn't. There are incredibly beautiful moments and chapters in life, don't get me wrong. But I think it's wild that as a society, we prefer to neglect and ignore the hard parts. 

I think we need to start talking about the hard parts. We need to normalize problems people encounter. If someone is really not doing well, you're giving them a huge gift by just listening. 

Mental health issues exist all around us. Tough life stuff happens to all of us.
Isolating people and the issues they face certainly can't be the answer. 
Let's re-write our response to some of the ugly situations in life.

Staying Grounded

March 15, 2017

Life, as of lately, has been really out of control.
School is crazy. Family is crazy. Life. Just. Gets. Crazy. 

I really love routine. I love to have balance. I love to feel grounded. 
And right now, that's not what life has to offer me...which is ok, as long as I remember to do things on my own to stay grounded! 

This afternoon I was able to get on my mat for an hour and really slow down. The class I chose to do focused on my predominate Vata dosha. I absolutely love my Gaia membership because of the variety of types of yoga/meditation classes I have on hand all the time. 

Today, this seemed like exactly what I needed, so I decided to try it out.

I will admit that I was anxious and ready to do a more difficult yoga class for the first 20 minutes. It wasn't a very difficult class so I found my mind wandering a lot and I felt annoyed by the poses designed to make me feel rooted and connected. 

But then... there was a shift. I was happy to be with my breath and stay with the movement. I love that about my yoga practice. There's always a lesson to be learned! 

It was a great class. I was reminded of how much I love to be connected and grounded in each present  moment. I was reminded of how easy it is to let your mind wander, but how much more peaceful it is to simply focus on the task at hand. 

And as usual, a part I cherish so much about spending time on my mat - is that my sweet critters come to lay with me as I practice. (Please notice Bear doing down dog - - he loveeessss to do down dog while I do yoga!)

I can't ask for much more than I already have! 

What do you do to stay grounded? 

Chicken Marinade Recipes To Freeze

March 10, 2017

One of the things on my to do list over spring break was to make some frozen meals to save me time during board prep (which is lurking right around the corner).

I found this amazing site and decided to try it out! I went to the store and bought enough ingredients to make two of each flavor. And now I have 14 chicken marinades ready to go whenever I want them!

Chicken marinade in progress! 
While it did take some time, it was delightfully easy. Label the freezer bag, throw in all the ingredients, marinade the chicken for 24 hours in the fridge, and then throw it in the freezer.

All you have to do is thaw it in the fridge overnight and bake at 425 F for 20-30 minutes. So easy! Cut up some veggies to bake at the same time and it's an easy, non-pizza kind of dinner :)

I'll let you know which ones I enjoy the most. M & I have tried the jerk chicken - it was delicious!

Ikea Hack : Standing Desk

February 3, 2017

Medical school = studying = a lot of sitting. And that sucks.

I got really sick of it, felt inspired by this short article, and decided to make my own standing desk. 
I made this back in November & I have absolutely loved it! I was talking to a friend about it a few days ago and I figured it was time for me to write a quick post about it in case anyone else wants to know how easy it is to make this happen! 

Here's all you need to do. 

1. Head to Ikea and look for the following items: 
  • Lack Side Table (I bought two)
  • Ekby Valter Bracket (you'll need two - I can't remember if they are sold in a pack of two or individually)
  • Some kind of shelf. (I couldn't find the exact one the article listed - so just look for a shelf at ikea that would be the length you need. We ended up buying one that was longer than we wanted and cut it in half.) 
2. Find some tools, screws bolts, washers, and nuts. The legs of the lack side table are hollow, so I found that this was the best way to deal with it. Attach the brackets to the lack side table (bolts, washers, and nuts) and the shelf (screws). 

image of the back of the legs of the lack
table after the brackets were attached
3. Consider getting some extra strips to fasten to the back legs of your standing desk. It can be front heavy, and if you're like me and have a cat --- the desk isn't quite sturdy enough for extra weight on the front shelf (he definitely thinks the desk was built for him). Adding these to the back legs works like a charm - and if I want to move my standing desk, I still can :) 

4. I love having an extra lack table next to the one I screwed the brackets and shelf onto... it just gives me more space and allows me to still easily use my dual monitor. 

ANDDD a big thank you to M. Because let's be honest, he was the one who put all of this together. But ladies, it's still an easy project all on your own. :) 


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