Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Saturday Night MPA Banquet

Good evening! Hope everyone is having a great week so far. I’m back with my last post about my MPA conference in Detroit this past weekend. If you missed the first two posts, be sure to check those out as well:

Anyway, tonight I wanted to share some pictures from our final night at the conference. Saturday night was the Banquet and Awards Ceremony and we got all dressed up before heading down to one of the ballrooms for the event.

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First there was a cocktail hour in the lobby where we met up with some of our friends and snapped some photos. Here are our friends Brad and Elena:

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And here I am with Elena and our friend Ashley:

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The whole group included the five of us, plus our friend Drew.

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Cheers!

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There were a lot of pharmacists and pharmacy students attending the banquet. Even though they had a ton of tables set up, they actually ended up running out and some of the students had to stand in the back! I felt bad for them.

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Here’s our table – #19!

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Unfortunately we couldn’t all sit together (Brad, Elena, Ashley, and Drew had assigned seats since they’re students and a pharmacist buys their banquet ticket for them), but Eric and I did get to sit with our friends Dan and Julie. Julie and her husband live in Lansing, but we haven’t seen Dan in a while so it was great to catch up with him; not just at dinner but over the whole weekend!

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For the meal itself, there were salad and rolls waiting on the table for us when we sat down.

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The server told us that the main meal was a filet and chicken with roasted potatoes, but she did ask if anyone wanted to hear about the vegetarian option. I’m usually not a big fan of the meat selection at these types of banquets and tend to roll with the vegetarian dish, so I quickly said yes. When she told me it was a vegetarian lasagna, that was all I needed to know to make my choice.

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The lasagna noodles were stuffed with artichokes, sundried tomatoes, spinach and ricotta cheese. It was really good!

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Here’s a picture of Eric’s plate, which was the standard entrée:

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Apple pie for dessert!

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Unfortunately it was cold because it was sitting out during the entire duration of dinner, but that didn’t stop me from eating it!

Once the banquet was over, we changed clothes and then met up with our friends again for a night of fun and drinks at the hotel bar, Volt.

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(Source)

Obviously, that picture was taken when the bar was closed but it definitely didn’t look like that on Saturday night! The pharmacy convention is held on the same weekend as a tattoo convention, so the place was hopping! We had a great time hanging out with each other and meeting lots of other pharmacists and pharmacy students. Can’t wait until next year!

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For previous MPA posts, be sure to check out the following links:

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In case you missed my Facebook and Twitter posts, I’m now officially on vacation until next Saturday! I’m actually in Lansing right now (just got here a couple hours ago) and tomorrow Eric and I are leaving on a jet plane for Los Angeles! We are only staying until Monday so it’ll be a short trip, but I’m still excited. We are attending anther pharmacy conference, but this one is a national one. I’ll try to blog once or twice while I’m gone, but I’m sure I’ll have tons to post next week once I’m back in town.

See ya in LA!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Exploring the Detroit Marriott

Hello! I’m back with my next post about the MPA conference I attended this past weekend. (Be sure to check out this post to see what we were up to on Friday!)

On Saturday, our day started bright and early because Eric had a CE (continuing education) presentation to give with three other residents at 7:30 am! Throughout the weekend, there are a bunch of live CE lectures given about various pharmacy topics that any of us can attend. Like most other health professionals, pharmacists are required to earn a certain number of CE credits every two years (with a percentage of those credits being live) in order to maintain their license. Since I just got licensed in July I don’t actually need any CE until next year, but obviously I was going to go to Eric’s presentation!

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Yesterday a reader asked me to explain a little more about what Eric does in the pharmacy field. I’ve mentioned before that he is a pharmacy resident (and is also a pharmacist), but it’s pretty clear that he and I don’t exactly have the same job description. A pharmacy residency is basically an additional year of education, beyond what is required in school, that a pharmacist may complete. There are tons of different pharmacy residency programs all over the country – they are all ultra competitive – and they are often required for certain types of pharmacy positions, including clinical pharmacy jobs and academia.

Eric’s residency is through Ferris State University and one of the local independent pharmacies in Lansing, and while staffing like I do is a small part of his job, he spends most of his time working on residency projects and assisting the professors at the College of Pharmacy in Grand Rapids. He’s not exactly sure what he wants to do yet after his residency is over (it goes through the end of June) but I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

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The presentation went great! Despite the fact that it was so early in the morning, there was a really good turn out and everyone seemed pretty engaged. There were tons of questions at the end, too. Once it was over, we went back to the hotel room for a much needed nap before heading back downstairs for an MSCP (Michigan Society of Community Pharmacists) luncheon. Lunch itself wasn’t too exciting – just a boxed lunch with turkey sandwiches – but we ended up having round table discussions about some current pharmacy topics that were pretty interesting.

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After lunch, we swung by the exhibit hall to check out all the vendors.

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Every year they have tons of vendors that set up tables at the exhibit hall and it’s fun to browse around and check them all out. They actually had a table set up for my pharmacy, and it was fun seeing my district manager at the convention.

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Since we go to the convention every year (this was year five), the exhibit hall wasn’t anything that we had never seen before so we actually didn’t spend too much time there. Instead, I decided to do a bit of exploring around the hotel. It’s such a neat place that I thought it would be fun to share some photos with you guys!

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The annual MPA convention is held at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. There’s tons of stuff to do and explore at the hotel – we usually don’t even leave the building for the entire weekend!

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In addition to the typical restaurants and fitness center that you find at most hotels, this one also has a food court

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(McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, Zoup, Coney Island, Pizza, and Mexican are some of the choices)

shopping

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Starbucks

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and a pharmacy.

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Since Detroit is known as “Motor City,” there’s also a big GM display of cars on the bottom floor of the hotel near the food court.

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With all the years that we’ve been coming to the conference, we’ve never really been interested in checking out the cars but when I saw that they had one of my *dream* cars I knew I had to get a picture.

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That would be a Cadillac SRX. A lot of my friends make fun of me and say that Cadillacs are “old people” cars, but I don’t care – I still love them.

Here’s one of Eric’s dream cars:

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He’s all about the Camaro! It’s a nice car, but really not practical if you’re going to live anywhere with snow.

That pretty much wraps up my “tour” of the Detroit Marriott, but I’ll back tomorrow with some pictures from the banquet on Saturday night!

Monday, February 25, 2013

MPA Adventures: PAC Luncheon and Dinner at Andiamo

Good morning! I hope everyone had a great weekend – mine was nice and long! I took Friday off so I could leave bright and early to head down to Detroit for the annual Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) Annual Convention and Exposition (ACE). Unfortunately, the weather really prolonged my drive and made for an unpleasant start to my weekend. I got caught in a ridiculous snow storm that was sweeping over the entire state and my 3 & 1/2 hour drive took me over five hours. I dealt with white-out conditions and snow covered roads, and when it finally stopped snowing (it literally snowed for hours) the roads became slippery and slushy. I passed car after car in the ditch and everyone was constantly hitting their brakes, slowing down, speeding up, etc.

By the time I finally arrived at the hotel, both parking ramps were completely full and I ended up parking on the roof of the second ramp with a few other cars, despite the fact that their was a “no rooftop parking today” sign clearly out on display. I was so frustrated. Eric and I had a luncheon to attend at noon and by the time I parked, it was 11:45. I didn’t have time to bring my luggage to the room, so I had to change my shoes outside in the snow and then run inside to find Eric. I was so cranky and flustered and I felt bad because I totally took it out on Eric. I even started to blame him for something that the hotel screwed up with our room. It was not exactly the best start to the weekend.

Eventually I realized that there was no point in dwelling on my crappy morning and after apologizing to Eric, I was ready to finally enjoy my weekend, starting with the luncheon!

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I was able to attend the Pharmacy PAC luncheon last year and enjoyed it – plus the money is donated to the pharmacy PAC) – so Eric and I decided to purchase tickets for this year’s luncheon as well. Lunch was served buffet style:

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There was so much delicious food and I filled my plates with a little of everything. My “appetizer” plate contained Greek pasta salad, fruit, and a tomato and mozzarella salad.

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My favorite was the tomato and mozzarella salad. I’m not normally a tomato person so at first I was just eating the little balls of cheese plain, but then I paired one with a cherry tomato and it was so much better! I definitely regretted not having more tomatoes on my plate, that’s for sure.

For my “entrée” I grabbed a slice of the chicken and a couple pieces of the pork, which was coated with an apple cherry chutney. They had this pork last year and I loved it, and this year it did not disappoint!

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The dessert display was phenomenal, and I ended up selecting a lemon bar and a small piece of carrot cake.

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After the luncheon Eric had a couple of meetings to attend for various residency projects (he’s kind of a big deal Winking smile), so I hung out in the hotel room for a bit and relaxed until the rest of our friends arrived. Check out the view from our room:

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Pretty cool, right?!

When Eric was done with his meetings, we met up with a group of our friends for dinner at one of the restaurants in the hotel, Andiamo. (The hotel is actually a huge convention center with stores, restaurants, and tons of other cool stuff – I’ll be writing a more detailed post about it tomorrow.)

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There were six of us total – from left to right in the photo below we have myself, Eric, Brad, Sarah (Babs), Elena, and Ashley.

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(Instagram username – healthyberg)

The restaurant was a little pricey, but everything was amazing.

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The salads had an incredible house garlic and parmesan dressing. We all raved about it!

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As for my main meal, I decided on the tortellini.

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The picture does not do this dish justice. Holy cow, it was outstanding! Actually, everyone’s food was delicious. We ended up putting little samples of all of our food on our bread plates and passing them around the table. Everything was fabulous!

We ended up hitting up the hotel bar after dinner for a little while with our friends, but Eric and I had a 6 am wake-up call on Saturday because he had a CE (continuing education) lecture to give at 7:30 so we didn’t stay out too late. I have a lot more to share about the weekend so I’ll be back tomorrow with more of our adventures!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

100 Lunges + WIAW

Yesterday, I did 100 walking lunges. On EACH leg.

Sorry, but that’s how I felt when I was done Winking smile.

I’m not really sure what possessed me to do all those lunges, but I knew I was in the mood for a leg workout when I arrived at the gym and clearly I wasn’t messing around! I started with a 5 minute warm-up on the elliptical and then moved onto squats on the Smith machine before I started on my lunges. I was originally planning on doing my usual two sets of twenty lunges, but decided to push myself and do three or four sets instead. When I was halfway through the fourth set, I thought, “Hey I’m feeling pretty good. I could totally do another set of twenty after this!” Yeah… my quads were screaming at me by the time I finished that last set, and my booty has been sore since yesterday afternoon. But hey, that’s a good thing though, right?!

I finished my leg workout with some deadlifts, a few sets on a couple of the leg machines, and calf raises on up the stairs. For these, I did ten calf raises (body weight) on each step for ten steps. The last time I did these calf raises, I went up the whole flight of stairs, which is about fifteen steps. Well, I ended up tweaking a muscle in my calf and I seriously could not walk for days, so stopping at ten sounded like a good plan yesterday! I ended the workout with a quick 1000 meters on the rowing machine. I always forget what a good workout that machine is, I need to use it more often.


Good workouts like that one definitely require good fuel, and I definitely had that covered yesterday!

I don’t have photos of everything I ate yesterday but I do have a couple of good meals to share, starting with breakfast.

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I woke up with a big craving for oatmeal, and when I saw this baby in the cupboard I knew I had to make it happen.

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I found it at the local health food store months ago and for some reason never got around to trying it. I won’t make that mistake again because it was delicious!

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I made a thick and creamy bowl of oats by cooking them with milk (instead of water), and then I topped them with the pecan butter, a tablespoon of dried cranberries, and some cinnamon. It was delicious! I’ve got to start bringing oats back into the regular rotation.

Since I worked the closing shift at work yesterday, I was able to actually prepare lunch to eat at home.

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How’s that for a cute little lunch?!

I made a hot sandwich by toasting two slices of bread and melting a slice of pepper jack cheese on one of the slices. I also added turkey, spinach, and a Wholly Guacamole snack pack (in place of avocado, since I didn’t have any). This was a fantastic combination!

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To go with the sandwich, I had some baby carrots and a cup of pineapple Greek yogurt on the side.

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Very satisfying lunch!

Other food from the day included some leftover pizza that I packed for dinner (It was a California Kitchen Thin Crust White Pizza – delicious!) and a small bowl of cereal that I munched on when I got home from work. Not very exciting, but I’m trying not to do much grocery shopping these next couple of weeks on account of all the travelling I’ll be doing.

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday. I’m off to the gym now, and I’m crossing my fingers that the roads are a little better today than they were last night. We got a ton of snow yesterday and the roads were like a sheet of ice when I got off work. My car doors were actually frozen shut!

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