Saturday, June 30, 2012

Melissa’s First Dress Fitting

Hello from Plainwell!

Plainwell is a little town in western Michigan about three hours south of Traverse City:

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Plainwell is also the home of my best friend and bride-to-be (in four weeks!!), Melissa. Today is her bridal shower and bachelorette party and I’m really looking forward to having some fun and getting to know more of her friends and future family!

I arrived yesterday around 11:00 am and was followed shortly after by her mom, aunt, and grandma. Then we all drove about twenty minutes south to Kalamazoo for Melissa’s first dress fitting.

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I wish I could post pictures of her in her dress, but we all know those have to wait until the big day Smile.

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I will say that she looks absolutely gorgeous in her dress, and I can’t wait until everyone, especially her fiancĂ© Nick, gets to see it. This was the first time her grandma and aunt got to see her dress, and even though her mom was there when she purchased it, she still shed some tears as Melissa walked out of the fitting room.

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After she was done getting poked, prodded and pinned, the five of us walked down the street to Olde Peninsula for some lunch.

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I’ve eaten there once before back in January and was a huge fan of their beverages. Melissa and I each ordered a Root Beer Barrel (which is basically a White Russian topped with some of their homemade root beer), and for my meal I went with the Chicken Croissant.

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It had a piece of “Beer-B-Que” chicken, gouda, and avocado and was served on a warm croissant. It was delicious! Much better than the mega-greasy pizza that I ordered last time.

After lunch we went back to Melissa’s where we were joined by her cousin, Gina. Shortly after that, her mom gave Melissa her first gift to open. I know it’s a little early, but her mom wanted to give it to her then rather than wait until her bridal shower where it could be potentially awkward to open in front of a bunch of people who she didn’t know very well.

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Yeah, you guessed it. It was an unmentionable.

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Bet you didn’t see that one coming Winking smile.


Since Melissa’s mom is pretty much amazing (she and her husband used to own a restaurant), she brought down homemade raviolis and strawberry rhubarb pie that she served for dinner along with salad and warm bread.

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YUM!

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I went back for a second slice of pie. It was delicious! And there’s three more waiting to be eaten at the shower today Open-mouthed smile.


Time to get ready for bridal shower, and then we’ll be heading up to Grand Rapids for the bachelorette party. I’ve spent a long time planning today’s festivities so I’m hoping everything runs smoothly and everyone has a great time!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Waiting Game

Hello everyone!

For whatever reason, I haven’t felt very up to blogging lately. The past couple of weeks I was busy preparing for my board exams, and this week I’ve had so much other stuff going on that it was nice to not worry about getting a post up every day.

Speaking of the boards, I finished them, but I won’t hear if I passed (and am *officially* a pharmacist) until probably late next week or the week after. It stinks playing the waiting game, but hopefully it’s all worth it in the end!

Even though I took my last exam this past Monday, I still got plenty of celebrating in this weekend due to being done with my NAPLEX. On Friday night, Eric took me out to a pub downtown to grab dinner and a beer or three.

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We enjoyed some crab rangoons as an appetizer

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and we each ordered a pizza for our main meal.

Spinach for me:

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(with feta, onion, and pesto sauce)

and Eric branched out and ordered the artichoke pizza!

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He said it was alright, but he didn’t really like the artichokes (figures). I have to give him credit for trying something new though! Plus, it worked out because I like artichokes, so I just ate them for him Winking smile.


On Saturday we went out again for dinner and drinks with some of our friends, and on Monday Eric took me out one last time after I finished my MPJE. Lots of celebrating already, and I’m not even licensed yet! There better be a huge party if I pass my boards…just sayin’.


Speaking of partying, I’ll definitely be getting in my share of that this weekend! Tomorrow morning I’ll be leaving to go to Kalamazoo for Melissa’s dress fitting, and Saturday is her bridal shower AND her bachelorette party. As the maid of honor, I’ve been frantically getting together some last minute things for both of the parties this week. I’m really excited – I think she is going to have a great time! Then on Sunday I have my friend Pam's baby shower in Battle Creek. Not only do I have a lot of parties this weekend, but I’ll be doing a LOT of driving. Traverse City to Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids to Battle Creek and back to Traverse City. Gah, I don’t even want to think about the gas money.


Have a good night everyone – I’m hoping to get a post up this weekend sometime as well!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Final Countdown

Hi guys!

Well, this is it: We’ve hit the final countdown to my pharmacy board exams! There are two exams that I have to pass in order to become a licensed pharmacist: The North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE). For those who were wondering, here’s a little bit of information about each of the exams (from the NABP wesite).

NAPLEX:

  • Measures a candidate’s knowledge of the practice of pharmacy
  • 185-question computer-based examination
  • 4 hours in length (may not necessarily take this long to complete exam)
  • In a nutshell, assesses candidate’s ability to:
    • Identify brand/generic drug names, mechanism of action, side effects, and drug interactions of medications
    • Make appropriate medication recommendations based on patient disease states, demographics, lab values, symptoms, and concurrent medications
    • Perform various pharmaceutical calculations (33% of the test)

MPJE:

  • Combines federal and state-specific questions to test candidate’s knowledge of pharmacy law
  • 90-question computer-based examination
  • 2 hours in length (may not necessarily take this long to complete exam)
  • Topics covered include:
    • Legal aspects of pharmacy practice
    • Responsibilities of the pharmacist with regards to dispensing and distributing pharmaceutical agents
    • Licensure, registration, certification, and continuing education requirements
    • Regulatory structure and terms of the laws that affect pharmacists, pharmacies, manufacturers, and distributers

Pretty intense, right? I’m taking the NAPLEX on Friday (only two days away!!) and the MPJE on Monday. The results will hopefully be available online within 7 business days and as long as I pass both of the exams, I will officially be a licensed pharmacist!

This past weekend we had a great time in Big Rapids at our Kappa Psi reunion. On Saturday, a big group of us went tubing down the Muskegon River.

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Unfortunately it started pouring and we actually got trapped in a thunderstorm! It was pretty scary and we were relieved to finally make it out of the river.

Saturday night was spent at the Kappa Psi house hanging out with our friends just like the good old days.

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It was a fantastic weekend and a great way to relax before my final week of cramming. As you can probably guess, the majority of this week has been devoted to studying and doing the best I can to prepare for my boards. I’ve been going a little stir-crazy sitting at home all day so I’ve been trying to get out of the apartment as well. Yesterday I set up shop at Biggby for a little while to get some work done.

Eats have been pretty standard. Cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch:

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This sandwich had ham, spinach, avocado, and a Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco and Chipotle cheese wedge (yum!!) on toasted Ezekiel bread.

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So good! Might be my new favorite homemade sandwich.

I’ve also been enjoying fresh, organic grapes all week.

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Since I’m staying with Eric for the week, he’s been cooking dinner for us which has been wonderful. Last night he made a teriyaki chicken and served it over rice.

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The salad was my contribution Winking smile.

It’s been working at well staying at his place this week. My exams are in Lansing and he lives here, so it’s nice that I won’t have to travel on exam days. Also, he started work this week (he got a pharmacy residency), so I get a quiet apartment to myself all day to get lots of studying done.


Speaking of studying, this it’s time to get back to work! See ya after the NAPLEX!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Weight Loss Recap: Week Six

Well, I guess technically I can’t really call it “Week Six” since quite a few weeks have been missed here, but for the sake of continuity I’m going to keep my weight loss recaps titled by the week for now. Regardless, I am long over due for one! I may be too busy to get my weekly recaps up every week, but I will at least try to get a weekly weigh-in posted for you guys. Anyways, here’s how I’ve been doing the past couple of weeks!

5/25/12 (Last weigh-in): 188.5
6/1/12: 188.0
6/8/12: 186.5
6/15/12: 185.0
Difference since last weigh-in: –3.5 pounds

I am quite pleased that I’ve had losses in every weigh-in for the past three weeks. However, right now I think one of my biggest areas that needs improvement is my weekend eating habits. Weekends (Friday night through Saturday) are typically my times to indulge, but unfortunately I usually end up indulging a little too much and gain a couple of pounds by Sunday or Monday morning. I can usually lose the weekend weight gain in a day or two, but it’s less weight that could be added to my total loss for the week. I know that it’s possible to treat myself without going overboard, but it’s so hard! My main goal for the next few weeks is to maintain my weight on the weekends. I’ll be extremely happy if I can do that!

Notes from the week(s):

  • I’ve been really good the past couple of weeks about not having sweet treats during the week and saving them for the weekend. It makes it that much more enjoyable when I do have treats and it gets easier to say no as time goes on.
  • Snacking after dinner has been improving as well, although I have found myself digging in my mom’s bag of prunes and dates the past few nights. Sure, there are worse snacks that I could be having, but unless my stomach is actually growling, there is no reason why I should be in that kitchen munching after dinner.

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  • Speaking of growling stomachs, last night I woke up at about 1:00 am unbelievably hungry. In fact, I couldn’t fall back asleep because my stomach was growling so much. I finally got out of bed and had a few spoonful's of yogurt and a huge glass of water before it finally shut up. It wasn’t really a big deal I guess, but it was just so random! Does anyone else ever wake up in the middle of the night totally starving?
  • On Sunday I went biking and I unsuccessfully tackled a huge hill. I say unsuccessfully because not only did I not make it all the way up, but I also took my first fall and scraped up my knee. The hill starts off really steep, and I made it about halfway up before stopping to walk. However, as you get closer to the top it starts to flatten a little and I figured I could ride the rest of the way up so I got back on my bike.

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(the steep part is around the corner and out of view of the picture)

I got one foot clipped in and was about to get the other when I realized that I wasn’t gaining any momentum and was losing my balance. Before I knew it I hit the pavement with my bike on top of me (and my one foot still attached to the pedal). I ended up walking the rest of the way up and soon as my knee stopped bleeding I got back on my bike to finish the ride, but I made it my goal at that moment to make it up that hill by the end of the summer. Well, turns out I didn’t need to give myself such a long deadline because I made it to the top yesterday morning!

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I was pumped! It was hard but the sense of accomplishment was so, so worth it. I’ve also really increased my speeds on my last couple rides. On my first ride, my average pace was only about 12.8 mph, on Sunday’s ride it was 15.0 mph, and yesterday it was 15.7 mph! I did 17.5 miles in just over an hour. Sweet!

I ended my ride with a post-bike lunch al fesco with my favorite Chicken Chipotle Wrap from Oryana.

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I never get sick of this thing!


Well, I think that’s all I got for now that’s weight loss related. Like I’ve mentioned about a hundred times, right now my primary focus is passing my pharmacy board exams. This weekend I am going to a friend’s birthday party in Grand Haven on Friday, a Kappa Psi reunion in Big Rapids on Saturday, and then on Sunday I’m going back to Lansing for the week with Eric. My board exams are both in Lansing (one is on the 22nd and the other is on the 25th) and since I took the week off of work, I’m just going to stay with him while I do all of my last minute studying. I know that you all are dying for “Eric updates,” but please be patient with me. This is still a new thing that we are trying here and sometimes it’s uncomfortable writing about that part of my life on the internet because we don’t know what’s going to happen. Eric is a pretty private person already, so for the sake of his privacy I try to keep the details about us to a minimum. I still love writing about our little adventures though and will continue to do so as it feels right Smile.


And on that note, it’s time to hit the road! Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Flexibility is Key

Hello!

For the first time in a long time, I have a day off in the middle of the week! As you all know, I’ve been working pretty much full time since I graduated and moved back home, but with my pharmacy board exams quickly approaching I’ve drastically reduced my work hours in the next couple of weeks. This week, I’m only working two days and next week I took the entire week off. It’s hard to believe that in two weeks from today both of the most important exams of my life will all be over! I *hope* that I’ll be feeling relieved, but knowing me I’ll probably be freaking out until the day I hear if I passed.

This morning I woke up and enjoyed breakfast before the gym, which was a nice change of pace since usually I’m out the door ten minutes after my alarm goes off. I’m really enjoying the plan that Eric helped write for me when I was in Lansing a couple of weekends ago. It’s forcing me to strength train on a regular basis, and the old workout schedule that I made a few weeks ago did not include nearly enough of it. I had kind of fooled myself into thinking that two days per week would be enough, but I know that it’s not. Strength training is what helps rev up my metabolism and when done correctly, can be a great cardio workout all on its own. It also makes me feel strong when I’m done and I love the feeling of jello-y muscles after I finish a workout. This is the schedule I’ve been following lately:

Sunday Bike (or rest)
Monday Upper body, 2 mile run
Tuesday Lower body, abs
Wednesday Swim
Thursday Upper body, 2 mile run
Friday Lower body, abs
Saturday Long run (3 miles)

Because of my varying schedule, I don’t always follow this plan exactly as it’s laid out but I always get in all my workouts (with the exception of the Sunday bike ride since that’s dependent on my location and the weather). For example, this week I have the day off on Thursday and am going to use it to complete my first brick workout. I’m going to go to the pool in the morning for a swim, and straight from there go on a bike ride around the peninsula. Also, I’ll be going out of town on Friday for a surprise birthday party and a Kappa Psi reunion so I know that my run on Saturday will not happen. Instead, I’m just going to do upper body on Friday and turn my two mile run into a three mile run. Flexibility is key!

You may see the lower body workout here and this is the upper body workout that I’ve been doing:

  • Dumbbell chest press 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Pull downs 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Push-ups 2 sets to failure
  • One-armed rows 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Overhead press 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Tricep dips 2 sets x 10 reps
  • Bicep curls 2 sets x 20 reps

Like the lower body routine, I keep the rest periods between sets very short so I can increase the calorie burn and quickly move through the workout.


After my workout I came home and showered before catching up on some blogs and preparing lunch. I enjoyed it out on the patio, but it was actually quite chilly out!

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Lunch was a giant mess of an omelette made with two eggs and two egg whites and stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, spinach and about a tablespoon of feta cheese.

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It’s not much to look at, but it sure was tasty Open-mouthed smile. I also had a cup of Greek yogurt on the side for something sweet.

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Such a nice of change of pace from the same old packed lunch I eat every day at work!

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Now I’m about to spend the rest of my afternoon with my NAPLEX book and get some quality studying in.

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Later tonight I have plans to meet with a friend for a drink and then tomorrow it’s back to work for my last day until after my boards are over!

Enjoy your day and I’ll see ya later!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kayaking on Crystal River

Good morning!

Even though it was dreary and rainy on Saturday morning, a little after 10:00 am the sun came right out! Eric and I were stoked and couldn’t wait to get out and do some kayaking, but first we headed out to the TART Trail to get a quick run in. It was short – we probably only did about two miles total – but it was far enough for me and it felt good to get moving. We did an out and back on the trail and ran my pace on the way out (aka slow) and his pace on the way back. However, his jog pace is like a sprint pace for me and I could only do it for short distances at a time with walk breaks in between. Not exactly ideal when I have hopes of someday crossing the finish line of a race with him, so speed is something I really need to work on.

After our run we came home and got showered up before enjoying lunch outside on the deck with my mother.

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I threw together a couple corn meal crust pizzas and salad. Yum! One of my favorite things about summer is eating outside. Lately we have been eating dinner out on the back deck almost every single night and I love it.


Once lunch was done it was time for the highlight of our day – kayaking!

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It’s been over six years since I’ve been kayaking and I wasn’t sure of the best place to go, but after a little Googling I came across Crystal River Outfitters in Glen Arbor and it looked like a great place to rent from.

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The girl who assisted us was very friendly and explained the route well and what our trip would entail. The prices at Crystal River Outfitters seemed reasonable as well, but as I said it’s been a while since I’ve kayaked so I suppose I don’t really have much to compare it to.

Shortly after paying for our kayak rentals we loaded up into a van with two other groups that dropped us off a couple of miles down the road at the launch site. I was excited to get started!

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(We were required to have a life jacket in the kayak with us, but we didn’t have to wear it.)

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The guys quickly unloaded our kayaks, handed us our paddles, and then we were off!

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The river was beautiful and scenic, but was very shallow and quite narrow in some parts.

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In fact, there were many spots where trees or large branches hung over the river and it was quite difficult to steer around them.

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(or maybe that’s just me…?)

I think Eric got a quite a kick out of watching me run into numerous obstacles along the river. I definitely got my share of turn practice in – that’s for sure!

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We took turns leading the way and passing the camera back and forth.

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Speaking of cameras, I recently purchased a Kodak Easy Share waterproof digital camera and I like it a lot. This was my first time testing it out and it worked great, other than the fact that there was apparently a spot on my lens for most of the day that I didn’t notice. It made a weird glowing effect in some of the pictures but I think they still look okay.

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There were two mandatory portages and one optional portage along the river that we had to go through. The optional one had tunnels that you could go through under the road and even though I was a bit nervous at first, we decided to go for it.

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They were really easy and so fun! I was glad we went through them instead of carrying our kayaks over the road. That’s another thing I like about Eric – he’s an adventurer and likes to take risks, which is something I need to do more often!

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We sped along down the river at a decent pace while still managing to relax and chat the whole way. We were told it would take us between two and three hours to cover the seven mile route and we ended up finishing in less than two. Not only were we the first ones done out of our group, but we passed a lot of other groups as well. However, I’m not sure that’s necessarily something to brag about since most of the people we passed weren’t exactly trying to go fast. Most of the people on the river were leisurely floating along and enjoying the scenery. Not that there’s anything wrong with that of course, but we didn’t feel like going quite that slow Winking smile.

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We really enjoyed the trip and plan on kayaking again this summer, but I don’t think we’ll be going back to Crystal River. It was a great place to start and perfect for beginners or for those who just want to slowly float along, but we couldn’t stand how narrow and shallow the river was and want something with less obstacles and where we can go a little faster. There’s a lot of different rivers and places to rent from up here, and I already have another option in mind for our next trip. I’m already looking forward to it!

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Eric was starving by the time we were done, so I immediately suggested a stop at Moomer's Ice Cream.

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Moomer’s was voted best ice cream in America and was featured on ABC Today in May of 2008 – they’ve got some good ice cream!

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Perfect end to the day Smile.


Hope everyone else had a fantastic weekend!

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