Hi friends

Hello world! Last time I posted, I was stressing hard about planning a wedding and graduating from my doctorate program. I’m happy to say both events happened!

I enjoyed blogging and connecting with a few people here. I’d like to loosely get back into it, but we’ll see… my current stressors are continuing to work full-time hours at my nursing job while studying for my boards to become a nurse practitioner in a couple of months. And then finding a job for that afterwards. And trying to lose 20 lb by the end of the year.Β  But we’ll see what happens, taking it day by day. πŸ™‚

Hoping to upload posts in the near future. Recent trips include our honeymoon in Singapore and Bali, as well as a weekender to the Arcadia and Santa Monica areas. Upcoming events include a couple of dear friends’ weddings taking place next month. Cheers!


  • Nicole


Hi friends, I had a strong yearning to check out blogs today. Been busy with working at the hospital, marriage prepping, doing clinicals, writing papers, wrapping up my doctorate thesis…. is it December 2018 yet 😭

Here’s some life updates as seen by my phone camera πŸ™‚ some highlights were $3 clearances floral bouquets, a trip to NJ to visit my grandparents, a trip to Washington and Vancouver for a nursing conference presentation (my second time presenting my doctoral research… first time was 4 years ago for my honors nursing thesis πŸ™ƒ), and a haul of 25% off Sam’s club things when they were closing late last year.

I’ve been following a lot more people on Instagram who do beach body. Sounds neat but it sounds rather cult-ish? I started snacking less after dinner and have been consistently down a couple of lbs. trying to do more self care during all this madness πŸ™ƒ

Recent eats and what’s your big idea

Hi everyone! I’ve been busy picking up extra hours at work and trying to work on readings posted by my school. I hope everyone had a restful and happy Christmas… I know I did (took a nap on the long drive to relatives’ house, took a nap on the couch watching “Holiday Baking Championships” on food network, took a nap on the drive back home…). I also went hog on wheat and dairy (two things I actively try to avoid because they give me stomach ache). Yes, Christmas ended with a stomachache but it was worth it at the time. Also, I worked on Christmas eve…. it’s frustrating when all your patients want to be discharged to be home for the holiday but you know they’re not well enough yet.

Work has been feeding up like no tomorrow. Between all the food the surgeons buy and administration gives, it was a nice surprise to see what shows up every day. There’s been chik fil a, jimmy johns, pizzas up the wazoo, etc etc… here’s a picture of some pizza rolls and delicious pasta salad on top of lettuce salad.

Pho for our “chilly” AZ days… 60s-70s, hallelujah.

Made puppy chow for K’s family Christmas party. First time making it and it was super easy! There was a White Elephant exchange and we brought Game of Throne glasses… and brought home Cards Against Humanity. πŸ™‚

Oh Christmas tree!

This is ingenious. I need my multi-million-dollar idea.

Beautiful roses from my mum’s back yard.

Beautiful cake at K’s family’s house for Christmas dinner. Not sure if the santa clause was edible but this strawberry-frosting-filled cake was light and moist!

First time popping a Christmas cracker. I got a black plastic paper clip?

Ready for Christmas next year. πŸ™‚

We also did a local escape room and had a blast! We actually escaped this time with 9 minutes to spare. Thank goodness for hints……..

Favorite holiday eat? Got a great idea that could make you a millionaire?

Cheers! Nicole

98 degrees concert!!

Hi everyone!

We recently went to the 98 degrees at Christmas concert that K bought tickets for my Christmas present. As a kid, I remember that they weren’t as popular as Backstreet Boys or *nsync but I can now definitely appreciate their Motown vibes. This month makes it 22 years since they got together and 20 years since their first album I believe! It’s crazy to think that they’re early-mid 40s and can be my dad. .

Their snapping and little motion dances were adorable. Nick is my favorite 😍 such a crooner. Also, did you know he and Vanessa have 3 kids? Thank you, google.

Before the concert, we had smashburger for dinner. Baja Cobb salad sans dressing for me, AZ burger and fries for K. I brought a quarter of an avocado to add some more healthy fats to my salad 😁.

Favorite 90s/early 2000s boy band? What’s in your local smashburger’s signature sandwich (in AZ, I think it’s a spicy bread roll, guac, pepper jack cheese, jalapeΓ±o, and chipotle mayo that makes it special)? Favorite burger place?

Cheers! Nicole

No eggy smoothies please

Hi everyone! Boxed egg whites are so easy. I started buying them after seeing a fit/muscular mom of like three little kids buying a package at Costco. Does anyone else scope at the carts of other people whose bodies they admire and try to incorporate some of their food items into their own diet?

I’m not sure about you, but when I glanced at this in my fridge this morning I lost my appetite…

I guess it’s a great, bland weight to add protein to the sugary fruits for more staying power, but I think it’s so taboo. Also, isn’t it “blueberries” and not “Blueberry’s” (sorry, grammar Nazi… although I don’t care for capitalization!).

Also, when did “ICYMI” become an acronym. I was reading a Yahoo article titled “11 Starbucks Ordering Hacks That Will Change the Way You Drink Coffee” and saw ICYMI. I’m assuming it stands for “in case you missed it” but I ICYMI this whole acronym…

Last night, K’s family invited us to The Keg for food. Beautiful prime rib… although I didn’t have much of an appetite because I had a heavy snack after work (~3PM) because I was ravenous. I do love that they have fresh horseradish!

K’s relatives brought over this bunch of shortie bananas for his grandparents. I didn’t know bananas grew like this!

I saw this from http://www.gigieatscelebrities.com and literally LOL’ed. It takes a lot for me to LOL to memes.

grandma cold computer


Does anyone put egg whites in their smoothies? Heard of “ICYMI” before? Can relate to the grandmother image (because I can….)?

Cheers! Nicole

Hi everyone! Again, it’s been a hot minute. I’m getting used to my new routine and blogging’s been placed on the back burner.

My friend gave me a weight lifting workout routine that her boyfriend created for her (this guy runs 13 miles for fun, hikes like a mountain goat, spends 2/3 of his 90 minute (90 minute!!) lunch break at the gym, once worked with a personal trainer who also worked with Harvey Weinstein…). She started this routine in August and has really put on muscle just by doing this x3-4/week. I do miss weight lifting so I’m excited to stick to this!

I was also excited for this homemade hot pot. Simply shabu shabu beef, enoki mushrooms, bak choy, and cellophane noodles with teriyaki dipping sauce. So delicious.

Also, how would work describe this color. The tag at target said “shadow teal.” I want this as our wedding color!

Free holiday lunch at work yesterday. Something about hospital food still unsettles my stomach so I ended up just eating that cup of iceberg and cucumbers (plus an unsweetened raspberry iced tea) and waited to go home to eat my real lunch.

Favorite weight lifting move? What’s your favorite ingredients for hot pot (or Shabu Shabu, as it’s called in Japan)? Do you like hospital food?

Cheers! Nicole

Greetings from Tucson

Does anyone else remember that show? πŸ™‚

Hi everyone! I’ve been MIA because I’ve been in Tucson, AZ working on my doctorate capstone project. I did three mini presentations on Wednesday, one last night, and have one more today before going back home. It’s nice returning to my college town… especially during finals week and not personally having finals yourself. 😁

I’ve been staying with a high school friend and we’ve been having a great time catching up. We can’t believe it’s been 9-10 years since we met in high school freshman honors bio. So much has changed yet so much still feels the same.

Her doggy is gorgeous –

Yesterday I took her to one of my absolute favorite places to eat in Tucson – Govinda’s!

It’s a buffet of Hare Krishna, which is influenced by Hinduism I believe. It’s vegetarian food (although yesterday was vegan day) that’s spiced very well – the flavors are amazing and it has an awesome salad bar with alfalfa sprouts, homemade dressings based on nuts, etc. It’s super affordable ($8.50 a person for the whole buffet, and students get a $1 discount) and the money goes toward the organization as well as feeding the homeless on Monday nights. They also have house made teas and kombuchas, samosas, lentil chips, havalah, etc. Plus there’s peacocks, parrots, and a koi pond on the property. And a store that sells so many Indian goodies (clothing, incense, etc). I love this place!!

We also checked out a student acapella concert that took place at one of the school buildings. It’s funny because this room reminds me of taking Nutrition 104 as an undergraduate student… like 5 years ago 😝

Also, I guess Tucson just randomly got cold the day I got here. All I packed were tshirts and shorts because that’s all I needed up in Phoenix. Brrr finally feeling like winter!

Ever heard of Hare Krishna? Do you like acapella music? When was the last time you visited your college town and why?

Cheers! Nicole

$20 Sandwich?

Hi everyone!

I hope that ya’ll had a wonderful weekend! We just got back from a little weekend getaway to Las Vegas and I’m getting ready to work again. I don’t think 4AM wake-ups will ever get easier.

Have you ever heard of the $20 sandwich trick? Apparently if you stick a folded up $20 bill between your credit card and ID during check-in and ask for “complimentary upgrades,” there’s a decent chance that your check-in person will upgrade your room for free. I didn’t get the best vibe from our check-in person so I didn’t try it… but we did get moved from the 4th floor to the 32nd floor at the Treasure Island just by asking. Strip view would’ve been nice, but we’re lucky to have even gotten a higher floor. πŸ™‚

About to embark on a busy week. I can’t wait until I have a regular schedule again – I crave stability. Have a great day, everyone!

Have you ever tried the $20 trick? Best upgrade you’ve received from a hotel? Favorite place to stay in Las Vegas?

Cheers! Nicole

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re enjoying your recreated Thanksgiving leftovers (fried mashed potato cakes? Turkey and cranberry paninis?) πŸ™‚

I’ve been feeling like a green-eyed monster lately. I stumbled upon the Instagram of a graduate school classmate who looks like she’s absolutely killing it — she’s graduating next month while working part-time while working with BeachBody/Shakeology (according to her social media, it’s helped her lose 35 lbs and earn $35k to help pay off the debt over the past 2.5 years), looks happily married, goes on work retreats, etc. She’s only one year older than me.

I have another friend who is wrapping up her master’s program and just got promoted to charge nurse at her unit. And another who is working as a flight attendant and is traveling to all these fun places. And another who’s killing her dual PhD/NP program. Etc etc. Maybe I need less ambitious friends…. (kidding! kind of).

I’m slowly getting through my graduate school project and will be doing my clinicals during the entire 2018 year. I’ve gained weight (less working out/activity since moving back home, eating as a stress reliever) and still trying to figure out my job balance (I was originally full-time, then part-time, then per diem and full-time, and now have three per diem jobs for the varied experiences). I’m also trying to plan a wedding and learn more self-care. I feel like some days I’m not doing enough, and other days I’ve got too much on my plate. If only life was simple….

… but I need to remember that my path is different, my experiences are different. In a perfect world, I’d have a regular schedule working part-time, work out daily, yoga daily, eat when I’m hungry (and stop when I’m full), sleep 8-9 hours a night, walk to work, spend time with my SO and family and friends, actually keep everything straight….

… and maybe that will be me. In about a year (minus the walk to work part). Who knows. We’ll see. πŸ™‚

Anyone else having a quarter-life crisis? Please tell me that I’m not alone.

Cheers! Nicole