Elle’s Apron: here (size large) My Apron (similar): here
As a working mom I am constantly trying to do my best to find fun and simple activities to do with my kids. I may not be able to be room mom or be at every after school function, but I try to make our time together as special as possible. Having 3 kids I try to carve out a little time for them individually for some one-on-one time. Elle loves to bake. While she is fortunate enough to have a family full of amazing chefs and bakers (I am not one of them). That didn’t stop us from having a fun cookie decorating afternoon. Pillsbury to the rescue! They make the cutest cut-out heart cookies that are perfect for decorating. Just add a little frosting and sprinkles and you’re in business.
I think Ryan and the boys enjoyed our baking date just as much as we did as they ate most of the cookies 🙂
Today I turned 34, and it feels pretty good. I’ve always been a “middle-aged soul”. I remember being in junior high sitting on my porch, listening to Phantom of the Opera, thinking I can’t wait to be a “grown-up”. I was pretty nerdy growing up (looking back I’m so glad I was). Now being in my mid-thirties I guess you’d consider me a “grown-up”. I have a family I adore and a job I love. Life is FAR from perfect, but I always try to focus on the good and appreciate the positive in my life.
If you follow me on Snapchat or Instagram, you may have seen a glimpse of my family camping trip to The Holidays in San Clemente a couple weeks back! Last year I spotted these super-cute, retro trailers on Instagram and was determined to book all 4 of them for a fun getaway. These babies are so popular that we had to book them exactly six months prior to our trip at the precise time they opened up for reservations to ensure we could snag them all.
The Holidays camping community was everything it advertised and so much more! Andy greeted us upon our arrival, toured us around, and even helped us unload our cars. In addition to being totally adorable, the trailers were stocked with all the essentials and the community had everything from outdoor games to s’more sticks, which all got a lot of use! Did I mention the killer location? The community is on a bluff over San Clemente State Beach, with a convenient little trail which leads straight to the beautiful beach – which served as my only workouts for the weekend.
We spent hours at the beach and in the sun around camp each day, so being the skin-obsessed Derm PA and Mom that I am, I was so thankful to have SwimZip swimsuits for the kids for the extra sun protection they really needed. Their tops are comfortable and easy to zip on and off, which makes my life so much easier since I don’t have to squeeze my squirmy kids into something uncomfortable after already lathering with sunscreen for minutes.
I was also introduced to the brand Of One Sea that has the cutest kids stuff perfect for our beach weekend and they were kind enough to send over some awesome matching boardies and tees for my boys, and the sweetest kimono ever that Elle wore all weekend! No joke, I was stopped about 5 times from people asking where she got it. Drew also loved his Of One Sea poncho, which he wore while cruising the beach and campsite once he was over the sun. The kids loved them and so did I, so it was a win!
I will cherish those beach days forever… watching Dane playing in the sand (and sometimes eating it too) and seeing my older ones, Elle and Drew, run up and down in the surf for hours and building sand castles together are memories that I love to make with my family. By the end of the day, we were all ready for some good grub, a warm campfire, and of course, s’mores! While the guys enjoyed some cold Pizza Port Brewing Company beers from a local San Clemente brewery, the ladies in my family cooked up some cast-iron dishes to go along with them. It was fun to check-out a company local to where were staying and try something new.
I should mention that I don’t believe in camping without s’mores, and I don’t think anyone else should either. Our s’more game was really stepped up this trip thanks to Nineteen27 S’mores. They sent over some of their convenient s’mores kits in a couple different flavors and everyone in my family is now obsessed! I think the Raspberry was my favorite… I was skeptical at first since the tried-and-true s’more is so darn good, but the fluffy raspberry marshmallow between the homemade grahams mixed with the milk chocolate was a game changer! I need to have these stocked from now on!
Being a working mom with a busy schedule, I value the time I am able to spend with my family and hope my kids will have fond memories of trips like this, just like I do. I grew up taking trips with my parents, siblings, and cousins, just like this one, as a kid and we still tell stories of those fun times 20+ years later. In sum, this trip was trip was more than I could have asked for and knowing that my family enjoyed it just as much, if not more than I did, was the icing on the cake.
UPDATE 8/1/16: THIS PROGRAM IS NOW CLOSED. WE HAD A GREAT GROUP OF STUDENTS, UNFORTUNATELY DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES AT THE OFFICE WE ARE NO LONGER ABLE TO OFFER THIS PROGRAM.
I am so excited to share this with all of my Pre-PA folks. I have been working hard to develop a Pre-PA internship program for those who are on the path to become a Physician Assistant. As a PA I know one of the most difficult things to obtain while prepping for PA programs are shadow opportunities or hours working directly with a Physician Assistant. I receive many inquiries from pre-pa students looking to shadow me at my office. Unfortunately, I am not able to accommodate most of those requests due to my schedule and the nature of my job. While I was not able to provide sporadic shadowing opportunities for students I still longed to somehow help pre-pa students because I know how difficult the journey can be to become a PA. I began to think if there was some way I could share my knowledge and experiences with those seeking guidance. After much work this Pre-PA Internship Program was born. This internship program allows pre-pa students to work side-by-side with myself, other PAs and Physicians to experience health care and see what we do day to day. We are currently interviewing candidates for our inaugural class. Read more about this program below and if you would like more information about applying please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Pre-PA Internship Program
The Physician Assistant Internship Program is available for college students who demonstrate a strong and sincere interest in becoming physician assistants. This program provides volunteers the opportunity to experience health care from a clinical perspective through patient contact and volunteer experience. Volunteers are trained to assist physician assistants or physicians, who, in turn, are able to share their personal experiences with their volunteers.
What does a volunteer do?
Time spent in the program proves invaluable because it provides each volunteer with an “in-the trenches” experience in a real medical setting. Volunteers are respected as professional members of a patient care team. As a result, they gain an insiders’ understanding of the operations of a medical office- an experience which helps them determine their specific course for future studies. Students support physician assistants or physicians by performing such tasks as checking in patients, assisting in procedures, acting as scribe for PA and additional duties as requested.
What is the time commitment?
To participate in the Physician Assistant Internship Program, students must have graduated high school. Volunteers must fill out application and proof of a permanent residence. A minimum of a 6 month commitment, volunteering four hours a week. Shifts are M-F 8am-12pm or 1pm-5pm depending on availability. You are required to work one shift per week and are welcome to work more. If you miss your assigned shift you must make it up. In order to complete the program in good standings you must complete 100 volunteer hours with in the 6 month program.
Who can volunteer?
Anyone age 18 and older, currently attending college or who already has a degree is eligible for the Pre-PA Internship program.
Where is this program located?
Skin Physicians and Surgeons. 859 East Foothill Blvd. Upland, CA 91786. (909) 981-8929
If you’re not a Physician Assistant you probably want to tune out right now.
If you are, these 5 dreaded letters tend to haunt your existence around the 5 or 6 year mark after graduation (or 9/10 years if you’re on the new recertification cycle) . The Physician Assistant Recertification Exam (PANRE) is a recertification exam that all PA must take in order to maintain their certified status. No matter how you slice it-taking a large standardized test sucks. I find it especially daunting if you work in a speciality. The PANRE covers all aspects of medicine, not just the one you work in. For me, a whopping 5% of the exam was in Dermatology (woo hoo!) Even if you work in Family Medicine, there is going to be a significant amount of studying involved.
During PA School, your only job was to study. Once your career kicks off, you must find some significant time to study while working a full time job, adult responsibilities, having a family, etc… It’s not impossible, but in my experience I realized I had to shift some things around to devote time to my studies. I started studying 3 months prior to my exam date and studying about 1 hour a day for the first 2 months. Then, I increased the time spent daily as the exam drew closer. Two weeks prior to the exam I studied 2-3 hours a day with a few 5 hour stretches on the weekends.
Here are a few tips may help you pass:
1. Study when you can- For me, long gone are the 8 hour marathon study sessions in Starbucks. I found studying in 10-15 minute increments can be very effective too. Down time between patients? Do a few practice questions. Kids playing bath? Park it on the floor and watch an 10 minute review video on your iPad. Don’t make lack of time an excuse to study. Everyone has a limited amount of time, it is a matter of how you prioritize it (Instagram can wait)
2. Pick a date and pay for your exam- Having the pressure of an exam date will light a fire under you to get you motivated. It’s easy to keep putting things off when there is a 2 year window to take the test. Just get it over with, you will be glad you did.
3. Focus on the “big sections”- The PANRE is weighted by organ system just like the PANCE. Spend more time studying the organ systems that will be more represented on the exam like Cardio, GI, Pulmonary and Ortho. I honestly spend zero time on Dermatology and still got 100% on my Derm questions so I’ll take my 5% Derm of the exam as a gift.
4. Make sure you study all topics from the NCCPA Blueprint. They really will pull from all of these topics. There are A LOT of topics too .
5. Purchase a study guide. This pays for itself 10fold. I don’t know about you, but my notes from school are long gone. I needed something that was easy and convenient. A study guide allowed me to watch review videos on my lunch break and practice questions between patients. There are many programs/services that lay out all of the information you need according to the NCCPA blue print. A few of them I’ve personally heard good things about:
HIPPO Education PANCE/PANRE Review– This is the one I used. The videos are entertaining, concise and to the point. Lots of great practice questions and 50 Category 1 CME credits. $495
Please feel free to share in the comment section any tips you may have as well…good news is I passed my re-certification a few weeks ago! It can be done even with a full-time career, husband, kids, and while enduring 1st trimester morning sickness!
Yes I love jewelry…purses are nice too…but my favorite accessory is a lovely, wide-brimmed hat! It can make me feel a little like Carmen San Diego, but what makes me love wearing hats the most is the added sun protection for my face, scalp and décolletage.
Below are a few of my favorite styles. Of course a baseball cap is better than nothing, but the bigger the brim, the better the skin!
Ever since Jessica Alba was caught wearing this hat, it has been hard to track down. You can find other Janessa Leone hats on Nordstroms.com, I particularly like this style because it has a nice feminine touch to a usually masculine Panama style
Another hat by ASOS, this one is particularly fabulous because the colors would be great to wear during my family 4th of July celebration in Newport. Enough red white and blue to feel patriotic, but the colors are subtle enough that the hat can be worn year round. The brim size is dreamy!
I must say, I was ready to see 2014 go. Last year was a rough one- to say the least.
I found out I was pregnant for the 3rd time earlier in the year. The love and joy that my first 2 children had brought into my life made me feel so excited to welcome our new addition. 10 weeks into pregnancy I suffered a miscarriage, something I was not prepared for, but who really is?
I never considered the possibility of having a miscarriage, although approximately 20% of pregnancies end this way. Time has healed the pain, but I still keep the memory of my angel baby close to my heart.
Later in 2014, our Medical Assistant Alicia, only 25 years old and a mother of 2 young girls, passed away in a tragic motorcycle accident. Alicia was beyond sweet-the most personable woman with a beautiful smile, she was the most bubbly person I’ve ever met. More importantly, she was a wonderful mother. She adored her daughters and loved them more than anyone could. Everyday we talked about her daughters, her life revolved around those 2 little girls, her love for them was immeasurable.
I worked with Alicia for 5 years, we were pregnant at the same time and our daughters are now the same age. I mourned the loss of a dear friend, and also grieve for her 2 daughters and how they will never see their mother again. Fortunately the girls have a wonderful father who is taking care of them and doing a wonderful job.
Alicia’s death coincided with what would be the due date of the 3rd child that I miscarried, and the emotional pain weighed heavy on my heart. The outcome of the experiences of 2014 have made me a different person; it has deepened my appreciation for my husband and children. More than ever I am grateful for the people I have in my life. Knowing that life can change so drastically in an instant makes me put even more priorities into my family and personal life.
In early 2015, I was excited to find out I was pregnant again! Feelings mixed with caution knowing how fragile a pregnancy can be. I held off on telling people I was pregnant until we reached that magic 12 week mark so when my first trimester came and went, I breathed a sigh of relief. While I know a pregnancy is never “safe” the risk of miscarriages significantly decreases after 12 weeks.
My type-A personality could never fathom waiting until the birth of the baby to find out the sex, so we set up a gender ultrasound at 15 weeks. My husband is worse at waiting than I am, but for this time around I wanted to do a fun surprise. My husband said if he could find out the gender at the ultrasound then he would plan a surprise for me on mother’s day for the reveal. With out further adieu, take a look at what our tie breaker baby is going to be…
Someone wasn’t too happy about the results of the reveal but she has since become more excited about another baby in the house and another kiddo to boss around.
I started this blog and Instagram a year ago with the mission of sharing skin care tips and information on various dermatology conditions. What I did not expect is how many Pre-PA students I’ve “met” the past year via this blog and Instagram. There are many steps that one must complete prior to being accepted to a PA program. Everything from choosing which PA program is right for you , ensuring you’ve completed all necessary pre-reqs for that specific program, obtaining an average of at least 1000 hours of paid hand-on medical experience, finding PAs to shadow, taking the GRE or MCAT, accruing medical volunteer hours, and that’s just the basics. Once you’ve checked all the those off the list you need to ask yourself, “what is going to make me the most competitive applicant?” All of this can be quite a daunting task.
For years I’ve mentored and guided numerous Pre-PA applicants on their journey to PA school. This is something I am very passionate about. I absolutely love my job and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Watching the journey of those from working on their undergraduate degree to getting through PA school and finally landing their dream job is such a rewarding experience. My goal is to help as many people as I can complete their PA journey. It seems like a natural progression to now offer structured Pre-PA School Consulting. I have joined C&C Independent College Consulting to offer comprehensive consulting for Pre-PA students at any place of their journey to becoming a certified Physician Assistant. Learn more about services offered HERE.
While in PA school you go through what seems like endless modules of every system in the body. You start to get a taste of what specialities you like (or even faster, those you don’t like) but it’s not until you start your rotations do you really learn what each speciality is all about. While in PA school you will do on average 7-10 rotations in various specialities: family medicine, obstetrics, orthopedics, pediatrics, surgery, ER, internal medicine, etc… At the end of your PA program you will be primary care trained and can start working without additional training. However, you are able to work in a speciality as a PA with additional training. You can either find a residency/fellowship program for PAs in the desired speciality or you would need to find a physician who is willing to train you. Both of those options can be difficult to find as a new graduate but it is possible.
While in my 3rd year of PA school I had narrowed down what specialties I wanted to pursue. I really enjoyed aesthetics and thought I would pursue plastic surgery. At my program our last rotation involved 2 days in the clinic in the speciality of your choice and the rest of the time was spent on campus working on our thesis. I had my advanced plastic surgery rotation all set up when I was chatting with my mom and she mentioned that she had an appointment that week with her dermatologist, Dr. Sandra Lee. I told her I was going to tag along with her to the appointment to try to get my foot in the door and do some networking. I introduced myself to Dr. Lee and told her I was in PA school and interested in Dermatology. She kindly educated me about the procedure she was preforming on my mom like I was already a student under her wing. A week later I received a call from Dr. Lee inquiring if I was really interested in Dermatology. I told her I was very interested in aesthetics and did not know if I wanted to pursue plastics or dermatology. She offered me to do my advanced rotation at her office to see what I thought about both medical and cosmetic dermatology. I was able to move my advanced rotation from plastics to dermatology and spend 4 months at her and her husband’s office. While there I rotated with one other student from a program in New York. I must have done something right because Dr. Lee and Dr. Rebish offered me a job when we met up for dinner when were all in San Francisco attending a Dermatology conference. I will never forget calling my husband while in a bathroom stall whispering, “They offered me a job!” After graduation both Dr. Lee and Dr. Rebish took on the task of providing me advanced training in dermatology. They are a great team where Dr. Rebish focused my training in medical dermatology; Dr. Lee was my go to gal for surgical and cosmetic dermatology. I joined the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants (SDPA) which has great resources for new graduates as well as PA students. I highly recommend joining a PA society in your chosen speciality (I’ll give you some of those resources in an upcoming post). I attended Dermatology conferences including those put on by the SDPA and Maui Derm. I also did advanced training courses in various lasers treatments, dermal fillers and neurotoxins. I am so thankful for Dr. Lee and Dr. Rebish hiring me as a new graduate and now 5 years later I couldn’t be happier. I think the take home message here is that this job opportunity was not posted on monster or craigslist, It all started with me crashing my mom’s doctor’s appointment and that’s what opened this opportunity. If you want to get into certain specialities as a PA you really have to create those opportunities.
Join me next week for my “All About Acne” Lecture. I will be discussing different causes of acne, various treatments, separating acne fact from fiction and everything else you’d want to know about this annoying condition that can pop up during any point in our lives. Gift bags and raffle prizes for all attendants!