Saturday, April 4, 2015

Welcome to Peru

Despite a few threats of flight delays I made it with no trouble to Coya, Peru where I'm currently staying until next week's adventure takes me to Ecuador.

The trip wasn't bad, though I didn't sleep much on my red eye and was certainly tired when I arrived. During my layover in Dallas I found a coveted chair AND outlet combination so I was able to work and stay busy until it was time to take off.

Landing in Cuzco.

It's Easter weekend, so there were lots of services and celebrations here. Lots of people's families came from Cuzco and other cities to be all together.

There's also plenty to do - this morning the lady I'm staying with here in the community woke me up at 7:30 because there were patients in her living room. I ended up seeing 7 before breakfast.

This is one of her grandchildren who was here for the Easter celebrations.

For Easter here they eat "the 12 plates" which I tackled with great ambition and did not successfully finish. It's literally 12 different plates of food - soups and appetizers and mains and salad and desserts. Everyone's been really accommodating when I say I'm vegetarian (I don't typically eat completely vegan when I travel internationally, especially when I'm staying in someone's home) - but honestly there was only one of the 12 plates I didn't at least try.

This morning we also took a walk up into the country. The last time I was here in Peru was 9 years ago and I had forgotten the natural beauty a little bit.

I'm now off to find some food and probably some more work.

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Packing List for South America

Today I leave for 5 weeks in South America.

I'll be in Peru and Ecuador, mostly working but I also have some vacation at the end. 

I wanted my packing to be smart and compact, so I could easily carry everything between buses etc. if necessary, but also include everything I need for work, hiking, nights out, thunderstorms but also 90 degree weather. It's admittedly a little bit of a challenge.

It took me a couple tries and I had to make a couple tough cuts, but what's left I think will serve me well. In the end it all fits into a carry-on size suitcase and my Cynthia Rowley duffel-style shoulder bag. 

I've been making lots of lists:

Assembling all my items. At this point I'll admit I had some doubts about fitting it all into my intended luggage.

It took 2 tries: turns out laying the clothes flat really does take up less space than rolling. 
All packed up:

Working in South America Packing List

- Scrubs x2 sets
- Dresses x3 (appropriate for both work and going out)
- Warm vest
- Scarf x2 (one with a zipper pocket)
- Socks x7
- Underwear x10
- Bras x3 regular, x1 sports
- T-shirt (sleep/casual) x2
- Skirts x2
- Athletic shorts x1
- Dress shorts x1
- Layering black tank tops x3
- Swimsuit
- Athletic shirts x2
- Long sleeve shirts x2
- Sweater x1
- Fleece jacket
- Cardigan
- Leggings x2
- Jeans x1
- Gloves and hat

- Hiking boots (also double as supportive shoes for work in scrubs)
- Dress sandals
- Flat ankle boots for work/day use

- iPad
- iPhone
- Kindle
- Camera
- Adapter [all my devices are dual-voltage 110-240 V so I won't be needing a converter]
(with respective chargers)

- Toothbrush/toothpaste/floss
- Makeup
- Deodorant
- Comb
- Travel size perfume
- Visine
- Meds and vitamins, bandaids
- Chapstick
- Sunscreen
- Hair ties/pins
- Face wipes/sanitizer/hygiene products
- Razor
- Thin super-absorbent towel
- Small shampoo/conditioner/soap

- Water resistant watch
- Ring/earrings/necklaces x2 (inexpensive - I'm leaving my diamonds here)
- Day bag
- Sunglasses
- Camelbak

Work Items
- Stethoscope
- Otoscope with extra tips
- Alcohol swabs
- Notebook
- Pens
- Penlight
- Flash drive
- Badge

- ID/Passport
- Insurance card
- ATM card
- Gum
- Cash
- Money belt
- Sleep mask
- Headlamp
- Snacks

I take off in a few hours so I'm just checking and rechecking, saying goodbye to Luna and getting ready to go.

Thanks for reading, see you soon [from South America]!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Faves 3/27/15

It's Friday and you know what that means - Favorites time.

1. Things My Sisters Say
I don't even wish I could say this is an unusual type of text to get from my sisters.

And the answer to the question "How do you nap heroically?" 

"3.5 hours." 

To which the response was:

Heroic napping. One of many talents in our family.

2. Music
Thanks to a suggestion from some of our friends, John and I have been watching Nashville since a couple weeks after it premiered. I remember the promos made it look kind of, well, not great, but actually I kind of love it and the music is great. There a lot of great covers and original songs and lately I've been listening to some of it back. This song is a Civil Wars cover from one of the first episodes and regardless of your preconceived notions I suggest you listen to it.

3. Snack or Meal
Ocean's Halo Seaweed Korean BBQ chips from my Vegan Cuts box. These are weird - let's lead with that - but if you like the taste of seaweed, they're also really good. I like this flavor better than the Sea Salt one, but I think there are a few others I haven't tried yet.

4. Lifestyle and Beauty
For Valentine's Day this year I got this North Face vest as a present from my husband, and I love it. I've never owned a vest for the purpose of actual warmth and layering, and now I can't believe I lived without it.

This picture is from last month in Los Alamos.

5. Recipe
Vegan Roast Vegetable Pasta. We made a dish similar to this last night, and it was great. This one is from the Sun Warrior website: Vegan Roasted Vegetable Pasta with Jason Wrobel.

[Photo is theirs]

Happy weekend!

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WIAW: Care Packages and Fries

What I Ate Wednesday!
Thanks to Jenn for organizing and this week thank you to Laura for hosting.

Look at this care package my Mom sent me this week. 

If 27 is too old for care packages, well, I'll start lying about my age. It's full of tea, snacks, the headphones I left in Oregon at Christmas and malaria prophylaxis for my South America trip. Quite the box. I love when Mom sends me tea, she always has the best kinds.

And so in addition to tea, here's what I've been eating.

Breakfast: Juice from the Juicer. This one has apples, spinach, plums and cucumber.

Lunch: Salad and Fries. So the cafeteria is not the greatest at the hospital. One day a week there's a non-dairy laden vegetarian entree, but there is a salad bar, so here's an example of a fairly typical lunch. Sometimes instead of fries I get pretzels and hummus.

Snack: Nakd Bar. See my review here. I've been loving these.

Dinner: Tofu and Vegetable Vietnamese Noodle Bowl. We recently tried a new Vietnamese place called Que Huong in the International District close to where I have continuity clinic. It was really good - I definitely want to go back.

Dessert: Licorice Tea. This tea is really naturally sweet, one of my favorite flavors.

Some parts super healthy, some parts fried and indulgent. I'm pretty happy with this day of eating. Hope you had a great day too.

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Natural Balance Nakd Bar [Vegan and Gluten Free!]

I've had the best snacks to take with me to work this week.

A little while back Natural Balance Foods contacted me about trying their Nakd bars. They're whole food cereal bars. The company is based in the UK and I'm happy to share that they've recently expanded to the US. 

For now you can order them at the website here: Natural Balance Foods, but soon they'll be available in stores as well.

Look at all those flavors!

These bars are vegan and gluten free, made up just of whole foods [nuts, fruits] and spices.

I've tried several over the past few days and they've been great for taking with me to work. Overall this is a totally positive review and I wouldn't change anything about these.

Let's take a closer look:

The Packaging
Classy, easy to read, easy to open. Important for me - I really can struggle. 
For example, Pecan Pie.

With a background of Luna.

The Ingredients
The ingredient list is obviously gorgeous. I just love when I'm eating something with only real food in it. 

The Bar
And here's the actual appearance of the bars.

Nutrition Facts
When I'm eating whole foods I consider the nutrition facts fairly unimportant - the numbers don't really measure the benefit my body is getting by eating real food - but each bar is also labelled with typical calories, macros etc. if that's something you look for. 
This is Gingerbread for example: 

Eaten with a side of prescribing medication at work. 
I wasn't kidding about these fueling my day.

If this is difficult to read it says: 
Per 35 g [the size of the bar] 157 calories, 4 g protein, 12 g carbs, 11 g of fat and 3 grams of fiber.

Most Importantly, the Flavor
I've liked all the ones I've tried and I still have a few left to go. Despite the small number of ingredients used, there's a lot of diversity of flavor. I think my favorites of the ones I've tried so far were Berry Delight and Caffe Mocha. 

You can order them here or be on the lookout as they come to a store in the US, and I hope you'll give them a try.

Thanks for reading, see you soon. 

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. I have been provided this product free of charge for review by the company and have not been incentivized for a positive review.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Faves 3/20/15

I've been skipping over Friday and missing Friday Faves the past couple weeks, so here's some favorites.

1. Things My Sisters Say
This one really just highlights me struggling both with wearing real clothes and texting, so there you go.

2. Music
I was not familiar with The Last Five Years until the movie that just came out [stars Anna Kendrick]. The music is great - a blend of funny and emotional. This is the first song from the musical. You can also listen to the whole thing on Spotify.

3. Snack or Meal
Nuttzo. There are like 7 different kinds of nut butters in here. It's from my vegan cuts box last month.

4. Lifestyle and Beauty
Hair change. I decided to go a little darker for a while. It looks a lot healthier too. This is "Dark Caramel Brown." Sorry my hair selfies always turn out creepy.


5. Recipe
Chocolate Covered Katie's Avocado Creme Brulee. I have several avocados from my latest bag from Costco and I think this looks so good.

[Photo is hers]

Happy weekend!

Thanks for reading, see you soon.