Holiday Festivities

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season! I wanted to catch up on my holiday adventures!

First, we’re going to step it back to just before finals week. I actually drove home the weekend before finals to go to my dad’s company Christmas party.


I’ve never missed one, and I decided it would be a good break from school and studying, plus it would allow me to spend a day studying with my kitty at home! (And I re-listened to a lecture on the drive back.)

Of course, there was good food!




And cheesecake:


The next day, I baked peppermint bark muffins with a gluten free muffin mix I had lying around, plus Ghiradelli peppermint bark chips and chocolate chips.


The next Christmas festivities occurred right after finals. I knew I was going to want to celebrate the semester, so I scheduled my annual Christmas cooking making with my best friends from high school.

Another bonus? One of my friends has a new kitten!

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Here’s our handiwork!

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Saturday night, my family and I went to a Dickens Christmas Fair. It was really cool! It was exactly what it sounds like. Lots of people were dressed up. There was food, things to buy, and performances going on.

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We were there kind of late so a lot of the food was gone. I had a baked potato and steamed vegetables.

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And a GF cookie.

Sunday, it was time for the Santa Run! It’s an afternoon race so it’s always awkward working out meals. I made my shortcut ginger butternut squash soup.


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We got super lucky! The weather was absolutely beautiful! Some years it’s been cold and/or rainy!

I was not super confident going into this race. My ankle is still bad (and likely will be for the foreseeable future). But I couldn’t miss this race!

I went out at a decently fast pace the first two miles, but sort of jogged the last mile. Unfortunately, eating gluten in Christmas cookies a few nights before had be feeling sick in the following days. Oh well, lesson learned!

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Not too bad of a time, all things considered!


Embarrassingly, I actually re-rolled my bad ankle within the last .1 mile, but since my ankle issues are weirder than just a role, I don’t think it made any lasting difference thankfully!

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At the finish line, we grabbed snacks (chicken tamale for me) and explored Christmas at the Park. Apparently the 600 Christmas trees there this year was a Guinness World Record!

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I actually ended up pulling off a third place in my age group!

After exploring the festivities, we grabbed beers at a place we’ve stood outside in past years because they had heat lamps and it was freezing!


On the way home, we stopped in Palo Alto to see lights on a famous street that apparently has been decorating since the 1940s! It was pretty cool! The decorations seemed like they were from another era—a lot of wooden figures.

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While in Palo Alto, we stopped at Sweetgreen. I got a salad with burssels sprouts and a delicious cranberry vinaigrette.


Later in the week, my mom and I went to the Ferry Building in San Francisco.


We stopped at Mariposa for lunch, a gluten free bakery. I had a turkey sandwich, and we split some muffins (the pumpkin chocolate chip is my favorite!)

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We also tried a couple of gourmet chocolates: Rose chocolate and burnt caramel.

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This post is getting super long, so I’ll save the remaining festivities, but I’ll leave you with some of my favorite kitten pictures of the week!

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Let’s Catch Up: Meet Jackson!

It’s been a minute since I blogged. I even missed my Blogiversary! But things have been absolutely wild over here between vet school finals, Christmas festivities, and most importantly, the newest addition to our family! I’m going to do a couple of recap posts, but because this is the most important by far, let’s start with the newest addition!

Meet Jackson!


I made it through an entire semester of vet school without adopting any animals…and then went to the shelter right after finishing my finals and driving home. I honestly didn’t expect to come home with a kitten, but he was just too perfect! While initially shy, he’s turning into quite the talkative and playful boy. The shyness did not last long at all!

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He’s 4 months old and is dark gray and white. He looks completely different from one side to the other because one side has spots and the other is totally white!

Interestingly, the kitten interfered with blogging about the kitten. Everything is a toy (including my laptop charger) to a kitten, and nothing is more fun than walking across a keyboard.

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He’s actually doing well with the other pets too! He hisses and growls at Chloe if she gets to close, but she’s been very calm with him. Lilly was interested in him right away, and when he’s loose in the house (he was mostly kept in my room), she’s almost always nearby. Charlie wasn’t too happy for the first couple of days. He was hissing at me, and hissed and growled when he saw Jackson. However, he started getting more curious in Jackson and less hissy, and last night they were both romping around the house playing together! Charlie is a pretty playful cat, and now that he’s warmed up to Jackson, I think he’s happy to have a playmate! Jackson is very easy going and took all the hissing and growling in stride.

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His biggest flaws are that he doesn’t understand gravity and is constantly rolling off of things, and he is still learning how to cat! He never just sits, he always just flops and rolls over. <3

More recap posts on the end of the semester, food, and holiday festivities!

The Craziest Week of Vet School

My goodness, what a week. After Thanksgiving I really took the ground running. Hard. I think I studied more last week than I ever have in my life, and I learned more in 3 days than I ever thought was possible. This weekend was a quick gasp for air before the 2 week sprint to the end of the block, and to winter break! It is really rewarding though to work really hard and then actually know things.

I didn’t really cook much this week. When I was home for Thanksgiving, we had vegetarian chili, and I brought back the vat of it to have for dinners every night.


This was really the first week of vet school where I felt like I didn’t have time to cook. Luckily, I have a ton of easy/frozen meals for the next couple of weeks when it picks up again!

On that note, I have a few snippets for the week.


New spin shoes! Finally. My old ones were 4.5 years old and while they held up really well, they were a little gross.


Her new favorite toy. We got it in Napa for her, and she falls asleep on it.


I am so, so, SO glad we decorated. A lot of time was spent on this couch or in this room last week with my notes. It made studying feel cozy and (somewhat) fun. Plus my study buddy, who honestly is in it more for the blanket than for me. But look how cute she is!

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Thursday, test day, was one heck of a long day. I got up at 5am to get a little exercise and then last minute studying in before the last, and then the day ended up not going according to plan due to some technical difficulties. When I finished my test, it called for one of the chocolate milk stouts I’ve been hoarding since February from St. Louis.


I watched a movie on the couch, drank this, and baked pumpkin bread.


I made healthy flourless pumpkin bread (with oat flour). At first I didn’t love it and felt like it was kind of bland, but it’s grown on me. I actually like it better NOT hot out of the oven. I used a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and a teaspoon of cinnamon, and I thought it could have used a bit more spice! It tastes and feels really healthy though, so I’m happy eating it at all times of the day! (And with my schedule…I basically have.)

This weekend for me has really been about relaxing and recovering and doing my best to prepare for the next couple of weeks. I got to break out my favorite Christmas sweater on Friday (and failed to take any pictures).

Saturday and Sunday were a mix of lazy and productive.


I got a mint tea latte as study rule, plus a lavender cookie.

And then spent the evening watching Elf with my roommate and her friends.


Sunday, I went into Sacramento to take a spin class. It was at a boutique studio downtown, and it was a lot of fun! The staff was also SUPER nice and welcoming. I had originally planned to do that and then go to the gluten free bakery for their Sunday only donuts, but they weren’t making them this week for some reason. I found this out AFTER I signed up for spin, but I decided it would be good for me to get out a little bit anyways. After class, I got a little pastry that was sort of like the inside of a cinnamon roll, plus an egg sandwich. Both were delicious!
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I spent a couple of hours afterwards at a Starbucks doing school work. I never really thought about this until this year, but it’s REALLY nice to get out of a college town to study. All the coffeeshops here are always SUPER full of students, and it’s nice to go to a quieter, emptier spot!

In terms of workouts, this week was a little bit different. It was all about time efficiency, and doing what I needed. My Crossfit actually had a little mini competition that I failed to sign up for and regretted, but I was tired at the time and such is life!


20 minutes of HIIT spinning in the morning because I had Thanksgiving weekend sugar running through my veins, and Crossfit in the evening.

Tuesday: Crossfit

Wednesday: Kickboxing at lunchtime. The Health and Wellness club here brought in a kickboxing instructor to teach us vet students a little lunchtime class, and it was perfect timing because I legitimately did not have time to workout that day! It was fun but kickboxing is clearly not my forte. My coordination is not quite there!

Thursday: Weightlifting on my own. I did a super quick workout (despite having to wait for a barbell…seriously, before 6am??) of 5×5 back squats at 165#, single leg RDLs/calf raises, and a few minutes of abs. Those squats left me SORE.

Friday: Crossfit

Saturday: Gym workout by myself. After my test, I was having a hard time getting my body and mind to relax, which is a really important thing for sustainability in terms of my physical health and my ability to keep working hard. I could also tell that maybe I wasn’t getting quite enough exercise (plus lots of sitting) and while my diet was honestly fine, a few extra sweets here and there can affect me a little bit. Anyways, the point was I wanted to hit it fairly hard at the gym but didn’t want to spend a lot of time waiting around for a barbell, so I made use of dumbbells. Here’s what I did:

5×12 lunges with 30# dumbells

7 minute AMRAP:

Push press/RDLs with 30# dumbells


(This was a variation of one of the competition workouts.)

4×10 single arm dumbbell snatches (35#)

4×10 box jumps (24″)

A Blogilates ab video. This is the first full length one I’ve bothered to finish lately!

Sunday: Spin

I mentioned it last week, but I want to reiterate how important it is to know yourself. My body was feeling physically stressed and I had to recognize that and how to combat it. In some ways vet school is like some type of endurance training. You work hard, and you recover hard. That’s honestly how I felt about this weekend. Rest and get ready to hit it again!


Thanksgiving Weekend in Napa 2017

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I know mine was! It was just the break I needed, and now it’s back to reality! i’m going to keep my recap as brief as possible for 5 jam-packed days, because I need to get back to studying (or sleeping).

I left after class on Tuesday and made great time! I got back just in time for happy hour with the pup.

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For dinner, we got pizza. GF for me!

Wednesday morning, I was up early and ready to attack the day (…or aware of how much schoolwork I had…). I started the morning with a quick workout in the backyard with the uninvited help of Chloe. I did 20 minutes of 5 push ups, 10 russian twists (each) with a 20 pound med ball, and 15 squats.


It turned out to be a good one, and I was actually sore the next day!

Then, it was time to see the podiatrist about my ankle pain. It’s definitely not broken, nor a bone bruise. I’m a weird case but the diagnosis is an ankle sprain, and I have an ankle brace to wear. So TBD.

I spent the afternoon on schoolwork, catching up on some lectures. The first I watched in the car on the way to pick up my turkey trot bib (my mom drove), and the second I watched with a furry friend.


For dinner, we had Cooking Light’s Chicken, Apple, and Butternut Stew recipe, which we added spinach to and topped with aged cheddar. YUM.


Plus cornbread!

Thanksgiving morning started early with the turkey trot!

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As you may recall, my ankle has prevented me from running for the past 3-4 weeks. Besides soccer (which was sketchy). So I had no idea what was going to happen. The above snap is referring to my plantar fasciitis as well which has for some reason flared up as well…So yeah, I had zero expectations and just hoped to finish in one piece!

The weather was perfect; nice and warm compared to what it normally tends to be!

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Right on time, me and 22,000 friends were off!

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Given I hadn’t run in a month, imagine my surprise when 8:10 pace felt really easy, and I casually was a few seconds off my PR? What?? Even better, my ankle was shockingly good. It started getting sore about half a mile in, then loosened up and felt good! So that was unexpected!


On the way home, I stopped by to meet my sister’s kitten, Ash.

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Then, we got ready to head off to Napa!

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When we pulled up the the hotel in Napa where we would have our Thanksgiving dinner, imagine our surprise when we saw this:


Turkeys! And definitely not wild, just hanging out on the front lawn. It actually turns out they’re fire refugees, and showed up when their home burned down in the wildfires.

Then, it was time to eat!

Plate 1:


Cheese, sushi, and most importantly, pumpkin soup!

Plate 2:


Mashed potatoes, turkey, cranberry sauce, heirloom carrots, and two highlights: purple polenta with green olive relish and roasted brussels sprouts.



Cheesecake, pumpkin pie, raspberry mouse cup, chocolate covered strawberry.



Friday morning, my mom and I did spa treatments, and then it was time for wine!


The first stop was the Bistro in St. Helena.

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We shared a grilled artichoke, and then I had an avocado salad with fresh mozzarella and olive oil.

We did our typical St. Helena things, including a trip to the pet store, Woodhouse Chocolates, and a gluten free chocolate chip cookie split 3 ways for dessert.

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Our first winery of the day was Pine Ridge. They have a really good and unique white that is really reasonably priced at Trader Joe’s, and we’ve passed the winery so many times that we decided we should stop in! Plus the grounds were beautiful.

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Cabernet Sauvignon is their specialty. The staff was super nice. I’m not super into red wines, so they let me sub out some whites in their tasting. Even though it’s not my thing, I could tell the Cabernet was good quality!


We ended up getting a great discount on the tasting from our hotel too! For our next stop, they pointed up across the road to Robert Sinskey,

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This ended up being a great suggestion. We all enjoyed the unique white wines we tried, and I even really liked the Pinot Noirs we tried. They also provided little snack plates with their tasting, and they even made a special GF, nut free plate for me!


Our last stop of the day was Domaine Chandon for some Black Friday shopping.

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We also got delicious truffle popcorn.


We made it back to our hotel just in time for hot chocolate and the tree lighting!

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Saturday morning, I went for about a 2 mile run. The loop around the property has always been one of my favorite places to run, and I’ve run along there every year for at least 10 years. This year was different. Tons of houses along the loop were just gone, after the terrible wildfires. The set of condos next to where we were staying was wiped out as well, rooms that I’m pretty sure we stayed in at one point. It’s so sad, but the positive is that people are moving forward and already rebuilding.

As for the run, my ankle wasn’t having it and I cut it off early, opting to instead meet my parents for a breakfast buffet.


Omelet to order!


We did our typical shopping and eating in the morning, and then headed out by way of Napa Smith brewery.


It was a great discovery! They had a ton of different options, and we enjoyed tasting different things.

The rest of the day was spent studying with my favorite study buddy, and watching STANFORD BEAT NOTRE DAME. What a game!


Sunday morning was spent taking an awesome spin class, studying, and more studying. IMG_6569

My mom made vegetarian chili for lunch, and then I baked Chocolate Zucchini Banana Bread, and added fresh cranberries. Yum!

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For dinner, my dad grilled chicken for salads with shredded apple and aged cheddar.


Finally, it was time to make the trek back. Traffic was surprisingly fine, and I made amazing time! When I got back, my roommate and I got the house ready for Christmas, including a tree!

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And the cat!

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She didn’t TOTALLY hate it. She definitely didn’t like it, and walked around super awkwardly! She looked adorable though!

And that’s a wrap!


Learning to Take Care of Yourself

Happy weekend! And Happy almost (SO CLOSE) Thanksgiving! If you can’t tell, I’m a little bit excited for Thanksgiving. Just a little. My friends and I had Friendsgiving last night, and I made my Grandma’s butternut squash soup and cranberry relish recipes (found here).

The cooking process was interesting given I made to make a large quantity of soup, and my blender is a little single serve one. Also I hate chopping onions. My eyes go crazy. Apparently sunglasses help though, is what I learned! Everything came out really well, and it was such a fun evening with my friends (and kitty).

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Despite a crazy week, I’ve been managing to cook some and eat well! A new recipe I tried and loved was Pumpkin Turmeric Soup with Quinoa and Brown Rice. It came out really well, and the seemingly fancy soup was ready in less than 10 minutes. That’s 100% my jam.

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In terms of food, I’m still staying seasonal.


Eggnog yogurt+persimmon.


Double chocolate cranberry bread from the freezer (we won’t talk about how old this was; it was still good!)


Persimmon and cranberry chèvre salad.


I FINALLY cooked up the butternut squash I bought. I microwaved it (LOL) until it was soft enough to scoop out, then I sautéed it with some butter, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, salt and pepper.

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Not seasonal, but definitely a highlight. After our final (for this block…one more block until Christmas!), some friends and I went out for beer (Saison). The place we went was right next to my favorite coffeeshop with amazing GF muffins, so I picked one up for dessert for that evening! YUM.


In terms of fitness, I finally got official confirmation that my ankle is not fractured (which I basically knew but I didn’t have access to the x-ray results yet). It still bothers me quite a bit but I think it’s finally getting better. I can walk a lot better. I tested it out by running a mile last week, and it was okay but not great. Good enough for a Turkey Trot, but then not running again for a bit. I literally have no idea what I could be, but for now I’m trying to be gentle with it. I finished another round of squat program, ending with 1 rep at 195#. It actually felt fine, so that’s good! I maxed out deadlifts at 225# which is nowhere near my actual max, but it’s fine. I also went to hot yoga the other night, and it was actually really nice. It was a cold evening, and I found a cooler spot in the room so I actually enjoyed it! I think I’m going to try to go to yoga more while my ankle fixes itself (hopefully).

On a similar note, I want to talk a little bit about getting in tune with yourself. This has been on my mind after a crazy couple of weeks. In vet school, I’m finding that my biggest study limitation is not lack of time or lack of motivation, but lack of mental capacity to study that long. Monday night, before the first part of our final, after 8-5 of lectures and studying for the test the next day, my brain just shut down. I had to recognize that trying to push through at that time was not going to help me, so I went to bed and woke up early to finish studying. Even then, I was still just so tired. After class on Tuesday, I knew the final the next day was something that I had prepared for a lot already, so I did some last minute studying and took the night off to rest up my brain. And it helped a lot. In vet school, in the field of veterinary medicine, and outside of it, any job that requires a lot of hours/studying/focus, you have to learn how to take care of yourself. You have to be in tune and recognize what you need to do to perform your best. For me, that was taking some time off on Tuesday. That being said, you also have to be prepared. Because I had studied plenty prior, I was able to do that. I knew that I would be pressed for time at the beginning of the week, so I tried to work ahead as much as possible. These things (vet school, etc) are HARD. But they’re manageable. And to get through, you absolutely have to recognize yourself. The same goes for attitude. I’m a pretty positive person, but I found myself getting a little stressed, and complaining more. A negative attitude can downward spiral really quickly.


Not only that, but ti definitely rubs off on other people. Suicide rates in the field of veterinary medicine are astonishingly high. I think it’s more important now than ever that we take care of ourselves and others, to give patients the best care possible. I’m not saying that someone who is depressed can just “decide” to have a positive attitude. But do what you can, look for the little things, remember why you’re here (there is no shortage of furry and adorable animals in vet school). It’s all about perspective. That’s why I love when what we’re learning has a direct clinical application; when I’m studying, I try to connect things as much as possible.

All that being said, I truly am enjoying vet school, but I wanted to put that little message out there because I know school is only going to get harder from here!