Gameday!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: college football season! My dear and beloved Hokies are playing in DC at FedEx Field, and I am SO excited to be going! This will be my first game since I have graduated, and it has been long overdue.

Although I have not been jumping to Enter Sandman in years, I still dress up for gameday.  Blacksburg, Virginia lies between a rock and a hard place.  The rock being the desire to be a big-time football school with rabid fans and the hard place being a pseudo-sweetheart of the south.  Regardless of which side of the argument you want to lie, gameday attire is in no shortage.

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Have a safe and happy football Saturday, and most importantly, Go Hokies!

 

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Daily dose 9/28

Today is a busy day! Just drove down to interviews so I can plan the rest of my life!

Here are some things that have made my week happy:

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1) A free for all cotton candy machine at the princess party

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2) my new princess friends

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3) too many tutus

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4) a sugary cereal for midday treats

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5) EVERYONE MONOPOLY IS BACK AT MCDONALDS!!!

Have a great weekend!

Interview Day!

What’s more terrifying than having a job interview? Having four job interviews in one day.  Our school is having a career day tomorrow, and it is basically a flurry of employers from around the state looking for fresh meat.  And we, desperate soon-to-be grads, fall right into their little traps.

Regardless of the setting, an interview is an interview.  Technically, these are just screenings (read: pre-interviews to exclude the crazies), so an absolute formal business suit is not required, as I had worn for my CVS interview.

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Pearl Earrings (Family Heirloom) // Zara Bag // Tie Blouse (Similar) // Pencil Skirt (Similar) // Michael Kors Watch // Pearl Bracelet (Family Heirloom)  // Love Bracelet // Target Nude Pumps  

I like staying absolutely classy and neutral.  It’s a very awkward season right now, where it is autumn by calendar, and the dead of summer by temperature.  Basic, light-feeling pieces are a must, and dressed up with not-too-flashy pieces of jewelry.

Although the MK watches have been overdone for over a year now, keeping time is very important, as we are only allotted 30 minutes per screening.  Something about acting responsible and accountable in front of an employer? You don’t say…

Simple jewelry to go along with the outfit is always acceptable.  My two favorite pieces are the patent nude pumps from Target ($30) and the work bag from Zara ($80).  Very classy, versatile, and look expensive even though they’re not!

Wouldn’t you hire me?

Princess party

My cousin is crazy. She also happens to be a pharmacist and one of the reasons I wanted to become a pharmacist. But still. She’s crazy.

Her children are spoiled with love and the finer things in life (her little girl had Uggs before I did) and their birthday parties are over the top.

This past weekend, her little princess had a princess party, complete with a Disney princess moonbounce (kept the kids from running around and destroying her house), cotton candy machine, and a dress up station.

Each little girl got a hand-made tutu, tiara, wand, and playbox full of jewels. The boys on the other hand, got armor, shields, and helmets. It was a delightful sight seeing the knights chase each other to protect their princesses.

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When I say these kids had the finer things in life, I meant it! Apparently Georgetown cupcakes delivers within the beltway so I hid in a corner and gorged on some treats.

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The snacks were mostly catered to adults with area favorites with cute Disney like names. I didn’t get to catch a picture of it but my cousin also managed to cut sandwiches into the shapes of crowns and shoes. That meant I had to eat the leftover scraps.

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As you can see, my cousin is very precise about details–I learned the hard way from her baby shower for the same little princess.  My sister and I? All we did was put up some pompoms and paper lanterns.  I think we did a pretty fab job!

 

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If this is just the 3rd birthday, I wonder what her Sweet Sixteen will be like?

 

Chasing darkness

My new rotation is a drastic change from my previous ones in regard to schedule. I am up by the time some people go to bed and I only see daylight if I get out early.

My drive takes me westward, where I drive further into the darkness, but can see the sun rising behind me.

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My typical day starts at 5am when my alarm goes off. I get ready and am out the door by 6. Hopefully I get there by 6:20 and if I have enough time for breakfast I head over to the cafeteria for something to keep me full for the day (so excited that they have my favorite banana honey oatmeal today).

At 6:30 we start pre-rounds to look at overnight admissions or if patient statuses have changed. Rounds start at 8:30 and we take a short break at 10. At this time I meet with my preceptor and talk about what changes have been made and what questions I have. Starting again at 11, we continue until we are done going over our service.

After that whirlwind, I attend various meetings, grand rounds, journal clubs, and topic discussions. It is an opportunity to learn useful applications for practice.

The afternoon usually is held for medication counseling for some patients going home on high risk medications. This signals the end of our daily checklist, then we begin our other projects that are required of this rotation.

Depending on how busy the day has been, I’m out somewhere between 3 and 6 (the clock watching is the worst here).

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When I get home from the hospital, I go for a quick run, shower, and dinner. Around 8, I pack my bag up for the next day and I get to working on some of my projects. I try to get to bed by 11, but 11:30 seems to be the norm. As I shut my eyes to rest from the day, my 5am alarm goes off once more.

Thus is the life of a pharmacy intern!

Peking Gourmet Inn

One of my absolute favorite places to eat is Peking Gourmet Inn–which also happens to be just a block or two down from my childhood home (read: present residence).  It is an authentic Chinese restaurant that serves up its special Peking Duck.

When you walk in, you immediately see that this special place has catered to celebrities from around the world.  There is even a special bullet-proof room for Presidents, both present and former, to eat.  Ducks are ordered by the whole, and are carved at your table side, just to let you know they are giving you every ounce of meat there is.

My boyfriend and I choose this place for all of our special celebrations–birthdays, Christmas, school acceptances, and lost bets (He is a HUGE Michigan fan).  He was pretty skeptical about this place when I first told him about it, but once he took a bite of a crepe filled with moist duck meat, hoisin sauce, and cucumbers, it was a harmony in his mouth.

The parts they leave for you are the bulky meats, tender and crispy skin, and the legs and wings.  A steaming hot bed of crepes (“pancakes”), hoisin sauce, green onion, and cucumbers are brought out to make your duck wrap.  The servers are experts at putting together a perfect balance of the ingredients.  When they spot newbies, they go ahead and make the first one for you! So delicious.  Kev and I may be partial to one waiter in particular (if you get Chow, it’s your lucky day).

Along with their duck, they do have some other magnificent entrees that are to be shared family style.  Although there may just be two of us, we love getting the tempura shrimp (Jeo-Yon) and Schezuan beef.

Peking Gourmet was also featured on the Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate” as one of Chef Duff Goldman’s top picks.  I would not be surprised if this place did not make other appearances.  I usually have to make reservations a minimum of 5 days in advanced, and it is well worth it when I hear that the wait time for walk-ins is 2 hours.

Happy Eats!

Daily dose 9/21

I had a week full of deadlines so they obviously took priority over blogging.

In the end, there were still a few happy moments from this week.

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1) a sushi plate accidentally overflowing with avocado. Good for me, not so good for my sister.

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2) my catholic girl problems koozies are here! The Etsy link will be up soon after pre order period ends

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3) randomly came home to this diaper bike that my sister made. Why is it even in my room?

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4) you know it’s going badly when my life is an unorganized mess.

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5) a bold sunset on the way home from work

My weekend will be filled with a princess birthday party and work. Hooray. Have a great weekend!

Spavers: Stand up for yourself

So this may sound bratty, but I just do not believe in paying for something that I do not want. I learned this very important stance when I went to grab Starbucks with my sister one morning. We ordered something and the guy making the drinks decided to read the acronyms incorrectly (Why make a Salted Caramel Macchiato when there is a Salted Caramel Mocha on the menu?). After getting attitude and a drink that tasted like sweet water, I had to tell my sister to tell the barista to make it again. Why should she pay $5 for something she did not want? More often than not, if they recognize the error on their part, they will give you a voucher for a free drink (hence, bratty). Unfortunately, this guy thought it was our fault since “skinny” wasn’t written on my cup (thats because he made the skinny caramel macchiato in my cup that was supposed to be a skinny salted caramel mocha and then used my sister’s caramel macchiato cup to make mine).

The moral of the story is always to stand up for yourself. Working in a pharmacy, I see all of the demands people make when they are unhappy with something. We are taking care of your medications for goodness sakes. I’m sorry you waited in line for 5 minutes for your medications behind someone who is visibly ill, but don’t mind waiting 10 minutes in line at Starbucks or McDonalds. I am always shocked to see that people are more polite to the people taking your order at McDonalds.

This lady at Panera not only insulted me by asking me if I meant “Broccoli and Cheese” (“Broccoli Cheddar” was what was on the menu), but also threw my soup so heavily on the counter that it spilled everywhere. That is not even close to the level of customer service you would expect anywhere, so I wrote a comment on their website, was contacted, received an apology, and a gift card.

I always fill out surveys that are prompted at the bottom of the receipt. Some stores such as Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works give you a coupon just for completing it. The high-ups in corporate want your honest opinion, so give it!

I guess the reason I am so fired up about this post is because my sister and I just had an AWFUL week with the food service industry. It started off with the not-so-skinny-maybe-caramel-macchiato guy. Then we went to a restaurant that brought out the wrong food for her, and charged her for both the correct and incorrect meal (they fixed it though). Our week ended with a dinner, for which the hostess looked up at me and continued texting and let me stand there awkwardly until someone else helped me. She also did not tell us there was a happy hour in a specific section and seated us in a completely empty “normal dinner” area.

I kind of feel bad about tipping low for awful service, as Virginia is a right-to-work state and have the ability to only pay servers below minimum wage (think $2/hour) and allow the tip to supplement their per hour rate. I feel like I shouldn’t take down someone’s livelihood, but since tips are now the expectation and no longer a courtesy, it’s just so easy to get fed up with some of the behavior that I’ve witnessed.

I believe there is a level of etiquette that is expected on both sides. For customers, we should be polite and not order people around like they are below you (who knows, this may be their part time job while in med school and may have to save your life some day). For servers, customers are paying for specific meals and just want a little help with the deals and specials for the day (seriously, not letting me know there was a happy hour? This is Arlington, VA).

However if I ever work in the food service industry, it would probably look a lot like this:

Spavers: How to save money at Target

Ok, so maybe I am biased with this savings thing. I used to work at Target too. I was part of their 10-week summer internship as a pharmacy intern. I donned the red and khaki and actually had to learn the operations of the whole store before working exclusively in the pharmacy. Let me tell you, they are committed to giving you the best deal.

Most of my tips are from Mommy Savers, which I found from Pinterest:

  • Shop the endcaps. The endcaps are the shelves at the end of an aisle loaded with clearance merchandise. The endcaps with the most clearance merchandise are usually those farthest away from the main shopping aisles. Always make a trip around the perimeter of the store to find the best deals, since “perimeter perusing” at Target can really pay off. Just be careful–you may end up buying something you don’t really need or want (at Target? Say it isn’t so!)
  • Know the markdown schedule. This is a schedule that a typical Target store will use for their markdowns. Your store may vary this schedule, so get to know the employees! It doesn’t hurt to ask what your own Target’s schedule for markdowns is. Many Target stores nationwide follow a similar markdown schedule such as this one:

Monday Target Markdowns: Kids’ Clothing, Stationery (office supplies, gift wrap), Electronics

Tuesday Target Markdowns: Women’s Clothing and Domestics

Wednesday Target Markdowns: Men’s Clothing, Toys, Health and Beauty

Thursday Target Markdowns: Lingerie, Shoes, Housewares

Friday Target Markdowns: Cosmetics, Housewares, Automotives

Target will typically mark down unsold clearance merchandise every two weeks. So, if you are watching an item and see that it has been marked down 30 or 50 percent, come back in another two weeks to see if it has been marked down further.

  • Use the scanner. Sometimes the clearance team misses an item that should have been re-stickered with a lower price. If it is something you want, always check the price with a scanner. Also, scan things that are one of a kind. These things may be returns from previous seasons that have been clearanced out. You may be surprised!
  • Look for repackaged items. These items could be something that was purchased online and returned to the store, or simply a return without a box. While they may not the prettiest item in the store, you may snag a great deal.
  • Learn to read the red stickers. Red stickers appear on all clearance deals at Target. The original price appears on the top right corner along with a number such as, “15, 30, 50″ etc. This is the percentage it has been marked down.
  • “As Is” According to a Target associate, the items that are clearance labeled “AS IS” is just a fancy way of saying Target doesn’t carry this product anymore and they need to get it out of the store.
  • Keep your receipts. Target has a strict return policy which limits the returns you can make without a receipt ($75 per year). However, there is a way around this. The store tracks every credit card purchase. If you can remember which credit card you purchased the item with, the store can look up the transaction by simply swiping your card and scanning the item. If they find the transaction, they will let you return the item without the physical receipt. If you do have your receipt, Target will adjust the prices on items that go on sale (not clearanced) within 14 days of the purchase.
  • Check out the Target REDcard. Target introduced its REDcard in fall 2010. Cardholders will receive 5% off when they use the Target REDcard debit card, or 5% cash back with the Target REDcard credit card. A word to the wise: use credit responsibly. Only apply if you can pay your balance in full at the end of the month, otherwise you’re really not saving any money. You can apply for the REDcard at a Target store or by mail.
  • Take advantage of Target’s price matching policy. If you find an item in a competitor’s ad, bring it to Target and they’ll match the advertised price. The competitor’s ad must be local and current, and the product must be the identical item, brand name, quantity and model number.
  • Sign up for mobile coupons. Sign up to receive coupons via text message five times a month on your mobile phone. To redeem, simply show the cashier the barcode.
  • BYOB (bring your own bag). For each of your own reusable bags you use at checkout, Target will give you $.05 back. It’s a great way to keep plastic bags out of landfills while putting a little money back in your pocket.
  • Use coupons. Not only does Target accept manufacturer coupons, they can be used in conjunction with their store coupons as well. Printable internet coupons are accepted. Target even has their own store coupons on their website.

Some of my own tips:

  • If something goes on sale within 2 weeks of your purchase, you can bring it to guest services for a price adjustment
  • sign up for a pharmacy rewards card, where you get a couple coupons just for signing up, and a coupon for an entire day of savings for every 5 prescriptions you fill.
  • As much as I hate this practice, every few weeks, there is a coupon in the weekly ad where you can get a $10 for every new or transferred prescription. One coupon per prescription.
  • For Target, and any other store, my favorite days EVER are February 15, November 1, and December 26. MARKED DOWN CANDY AND DECORATIONS!
  • A few weeks after school starting (so like now) is when back to school things go on clearance markdown. The best part is that some of these items are the same things found in the stationary aisle!
  • Clearance items can vary from store to store, depending on their need to clear the shelves. If your store is under remodeling or planning to (big metal boxes outside), then there is a VERY good chance that there are some excellent clearance deals going on.

Spavers: How to save at CVS

As I had mentioned yesterday, CVS is one of our favorite places to save! I currently work at CVS and am being considered to be hired as a big-time pharmacist there, so no company secrets are going to be shared here!

Here are some of our tips for saving at CVS:

1) ExtraCare Card: Simple and free, this members card not only gives you the sale prices advertised, but also gives you coupons on the end of your receipt. The card also tracks your spending and gives you “ExtraBucks” (ECBs) at the end of each quarter equivalent to 2% of your total spending that quarter. In the pharmacy, you also 1 ECB for every 2 prescriptions you fill. These really add up. At the end of one quarter, I’ve seen people with as much as $20 in ECB! They can be used same-as-cash on everything EXCEPT prescriptions, milk, alcohol, and tobacco products. Everything else is fair game. They give you a card, 2 key ring cards, and you can also give them your phone number. You can also register this card online so they can send you the week’s sales and manufacturers coupons that match it, and also load on electronic coupons so you don’t have to print it out.

2) Savings Center: New to the stores is a savings center, where you can scan your ExtraCare card and see what coupons are available to you. It would be a smart idea to do this before you start shopping. You don’t want to be disappointed that you had some ECB to use until after you’ve spent your money. My personal tip is to scan it as many times at once until it says no more coupons are available.

3) Beauty Savings Club: Although CVS is not the cheapest place for cosmetics, there are often many sales where you save a few bucks AND get ECB for spending a certain amount. The Beauty Savings Club has got to be one of the greatest hidden gems in CVS. When you spend $50 in beauty products, you get 5 ECB back. The secret is knowing that beauty products extend far beyond cosmetics. They include, nail polish, lotions, shampoo, face wash, cotton balls, beauty tools, etc. Buy those once a week REALLY add up. Did you know that CVS also has a 100% money back guarantee on all beauty products? If you are unhappy with any of the products listed above, they will give you your money back!

4) Green Bag Tags: Another way to earn more ECB, buy this little tag for 99 cents and keep it on your key chain. The concept is to keep it on your re-usable shopping bags, but if you are like me and are buying bottles of water here and there, your bag is probably no where to be found. Even if you don’t have a bag, just have it scanned anyways. After a habit of bagging everything, the cashiers probably won’t have a second thought about whether or not you are using a bag. For every 4 scans, you get 1 ECB.

5) Clearance CVS doesn’t really have a clearance area the way other stores do. They are more often than not just strewn about where they normally are, and have an inconspicuous yellow tag that states the percent off (normally 75%) and the new price ($5 UV disinfecting wand? Don’t mind if I do). Manufacturer’s coupons can be used for this. Sometimes CVS receipt coupons can be used for this as well. Make up goes on a mass clearance twice a year. They are normally marked down by 50-75% and will have signage and orange stickers on these specific items. Make sure to let the cashier know that these are marked down. For some reason, the registers do not know that they are on clearance, so each sale price has to be manually entered.

6) Break up your purchases: Your huge trip to CVS may have some ECB returns. If this is the case, break up your purchases so you can use those ECB on the next transaction. For example, you are buying shampoo, nail polish, some candy, and toothpaste. The shampoo is 3 ECB when you spend $10, the candy is 1 ECB and 2/$6. Toothpaste is $3 and nail polish is $6. Instead of spending $25, when you break up the transaction, can you limit your spending to $16 the first transaction, and $5 the second transaction for a total of $19–this before you even factor in any coupons you may have!

7) Coupons There is a magical order of coupons to use at CVS. Scan all manufacturer’s coupons first, then CVS coupons, then ECB. ECB are just taken off general purchases before tax. Just make sure that it is greater than the total you have before tax. You have to use the whole value at one time, so no cash back.

Good things to get free: Monster, Starbucks brand drinks, gum

One last thing. This quarter, you can get 4% ECB instead of 2% when you scan your card at the coupon center. More free monies!