My morning coffee…and my conscience

So, my morning coffee and I have had a running date for a couple of years now. Strangely, I was able to make it through undergrad, med school, and then part of residency before I allowed myself to even take a sip. Residency got me! 32 hour shifts every third day…wait how long??? Yep, work hour restrictions have improved things slightly, but when you’re on an intense surgical rotation, sleep is seen as a luxury rather than a necessity-just a little bit of the craziness that a life in medicine brings. I couldn’t handle the sleep deprivation alone, and so caffeine became my drug of choice. I haven’t looked back since, except when I was pregnant and nursing.

I haven’t looked back, but my wallet has definitely felt the hit from my daily tall, soy, 1/2 caff, 1/2 pump hazelnut latte from Starbucks. At almost $5 a cup, this frequent treat does tend to prick at my conscience just a little. Do I really even need the caffeine it affords? Or, is it simply a habit that I’ve grown to crave.Cup Of Espresso With Coffee Beans

As I was thumbing through a random stack of papers thrown in a pile and left to be sorted some time in the future, I came across an old speech that I had written for a public speaking class while I was a grad student at Johns Hopkins. Reading through my thoughts from several years back reminded me that sipping a cup of water in the morning might not only be healthier for me, but it might also be a way for me to make a difference with my $5. Just for fun I thought I would share it with you.

“As the truck bounced to a stop, the stench of rotting waste mixed with human sewage overwhelmed my sensitive nose. After several failed attempts to disguise my disgust, I was relieved to see that everyone else in the truck had wrinkled noses and putrid expressions. Forgetting that the smell was coming from outside the vehicle, I wiggled my arm toward the rusty window latch expecting to improve the situation with some ventilation. As soon as the window budged open, small, dirty fingers shot through the crack. It was only then that I looked through the smudged glass to see equally dirty faces of children no older than nine or ten grinning at me with cracked teeth. Beyond the grins stood heaps of trash, heaps of trash that they called home.

Although this story was taken from my personal experience in Honduras, mirror images of this example of poverty exist across the globe. Almost 1/2 of the world’s population live on less than $2.50 a day. This level of poverty leads to hunger, disease, inequality, and even death. According to the United Nations, 25,000 people die each day from hunger and hunger related diseases. The majority of these deaths are in children-children who don’t know what it feels like to eat three meals a day, let alone one. Can you imagine? With weakened bodies due to malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, these children are vulnerable…vulnerable to infections and disease.

The statistics are endless. One out of every two children in the world is currently living in poverty. That means 1 billion children. Over half a million children don’t have a true home. 400 million children lack access to clean water and a quarter of a million children do not have access to health care.Unknown homeless kid sitting on the street

When living to the age of five years old becomes and accomplishment, shouldn’t we all start asking questions? The question NOW is….WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THE PROBLEM? It would be easy to point the finger at government, greedy corporations, tyrannical leaders…but what would happen if we pointed the finger back at ourselves?

Each one of us has the ability to make a difference in the life of an impoverished child. A nutritious meal only costs 25 cents in many developing countries. Compare that with the cost of your (and my) morning coffee. All I have to do is cut out the pump of hazelnut in my latte each day to pay for a meal for a child. So, I’m not saying that we need to give up the luxuries that we are privileged to have. All that I’m saying is that maybe we should be more aware of the world around us and the suffering in it. Maybe that awareness will motivate us to care a little more…give a little more…and make a bigger difference so that the wishes of 1 billion children can make it beyond their 5th birthday.”

This isn’t meant to be an infomercial for any non-profit, but just a friendly reminder about how much potential there is for us to make a difference in the lives of others. Tomorrow marks day 7 of my caffeine fast. It’s actually been a lot easier than I expected. I’m not missing my daily caffeine, and if I choose to use my money in a more altruistic way, 20 children won’t have to miss a meal each day. Anyone else want interested in switching to water with me?

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Avry Couture Creations’ Vintage Princess Crown Giveaway…Hosted by The Mom in Me, MD

Every little girl dreams of becoming a princess one day. A glass slipper, an enchanted kiss, a knight in shining armor…all essential, but the crowning glory is well…the crown. And, since the fairy tales of childhood last for such a short time, we must indulge our little girl’s fantasies now, before the clock strikes midnight.Ballet, ballerina - young and beautiful ballet dancer

I have loved the vintage inspired headbands from Avry Couture Creations for some time now. I even included this online shop in a recent blog post review, Babylicous Hair Bows. As I was looking for a birthday crown to match my daughter’s fancy dress for pictures, I happened to notice that Avry Couture Creations also makes several different styles of crowns! I was sold at first sight. DSC08150 DSC08151DSC08152

While the Glitter Birthday Crown was perfect for smash cake photos (and daily wear of course), the Vintage Cake Crown was just as cute and could easily be thrown in a suitcase without being damaged. It could even be folded! Perfect! My daughter’s crown needed to make it to Paris and back in an overstuffed suitcase. I didn’t want to take something that could get smooshed during the journey. Nothing is worse than a crumpled crown! I also wanted to make sure that it fit my daughter’s head. Solution…a crown that ties in the back with a ribbon. Yep, an adjustable crown. Perfect for your growing princess.DSC08178

Devon from Avry Couture Creations was kind enough to overnight me a gorgeous crown to use for our Paris pictures, free of charge. Don’t worry, she didn’t have to twist my arm to get me to say nice things about it. Like I said before, “Love at First Sight!” And, because I know that you all have little princesses in the making, I thought it might be nice for one of you to give it a royal home.DSC08179 DSC08180 DSC08181

Yes…the GIVEAWAY starts now! Make sure to enter here before your carriage becomes a pumpkin…the clock is ticking! You must leave a comment on this blog post AND you must share this blog on either Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to qualify. Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. FOR MORE GREAT GIVEAWAYS CLICK ON THE GIVEAWAY TAB ON THE HOME PAGE.

Congrats Sharla!!!!!! You have won!!!!

For more amazing headpieces and accessories from Avry Couture Creations, click on the hyperlinks above. Devon will even customize to match your colors!

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France Now…Blog Later!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I hadn’t fallen off of the face of the earth…but, I have changed time zones for about 10 days. In an effort to let vacation be vacation, my husband and I decided to step away from our computers and mobile devices for the week.

DSC08658Don’t worry, the camera has been snapping away…French country side, Versailles, Paris! I will be back to daily blogging soon; but, for the time being, I’m enjoying the beauty of French culture, bike rides along the water, chocolate croissants, and best of all my family!

Follow The Mom in Me, MD on Facebook for more pictures of our trip!

 

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Au Revoir for now from The Mom in Me, MD

Trip to Paris Sweepstakes…Oh La La!

I selfishly thought about keeping this to myself-in an effort to increase my odds of winning-but the nicer side of me decided to share the inside scoop…World Market has a TRIP TO PARIS Sweepstakes going on right now. Not only will the winner get free airfare, they will also get culinary lessons, a free hotel stay, dinner on top of the Eiffel Tower, and a dinner cruise on the Le Seine-all this for two. DSC01105

Lately, I’ve been craving Paris-a walk in the park, a view of a ferris wheel, a macaroon from Laduree. Who knows…maybe I will win! Or, maybe it will be YOU. If so, I’d like to be your plus one…pretty please! Click the hyperlink above for entry details. Ends this week!

SORRY THIS SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY IS NOW CLOSED. 

au revoir,

From The Mom in Me, MD

My Love Affair with George Clooney’s Italy…Lake Como

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Why the stars love Lake Como…umm who wouldn’t? My husband and I had been planning to revisit Italy after he graduated from residency. Although I was 23 weeks pregnant, I was up for the journey. Who wouldn’t be up for three weeks in Italy? We started in Rome but then made our way north toward Lake Como. I love European train rides, but I don’t love getting luggage on and off of them. Thankfully, I was pregnant (excuse central) so I left the heavy lifting to Dave.Iphone 1157Iphone 1129

I hadn’t anticipated the temperature difference between Rome and Lake Como, but I was grateful for the comfortable drop in temp. Rome had been almost unbearable, as had pretty much every part of the world that summer. Pregnancy, 120 degree weather, and limited air conditioning are not a happy combination. My favorite place in Rome was in the pool or in front of a fan!

Seeing Lake Como for the first time was like stepping into a scene from a movie. It is breathtaking! The charm of the winding streets, the beauty of the mountains against the water, the picturesque villas…a fairytale destination for sure. We decided to split our week between two hotels on opposite sides of the lake. Our first stop was the Grand Hotel Tremezzo. This charming hotel is situated on a hillside, offering great views of both the mountains and the lake. The restaurants and spa were charming, and the lounge and billiards room were like something from a different era. Although the hotel had an in-ground pool on the hillside, they also had a floating pool on the lake! Yes, floating! It was one of the coolest and literally coldest pools I have ever been in (okay, my TOES have ever been in. That’s as far as I made it!) Lake Como is chilly! And, while they say that the floating pools are heated…I question the Italian’s definition of heat.IMG_1461Iphone 1260Iphone 1310

We spent our time roaming the streets, lounging by the pool, and enjoying the pizza and pasta. On our second day we hired a driver for a day trip to Switzerland. I figured that if we were that close we had to make a dedicated chocolate run across the Swiss border. The following day we took a ferry-boat over to Bellagio. On the way, we passed the house where the James Bond Casino Royal movie was filmed, Villa La Gaeta! Too cool!

Bellagio is beautiful. Little shops and restaurants comprise this town filled with antiquity. My favorite stop was for Hot Chocolate! You may question this on a hot summer’s day, but Caffe Bar Rossi, the oldest coffee shop in town with a front row view of the lake, is known for their amazing coffee and hot chocolate. Since I was pregnant I was staying away from coffee, but I wasn’t going to pass up chocolate! I also had the best risotto that my tongue has ever tasted at a little restaurant down the strip (unfortunately, I can’t recall the name). We took the time to enter the historic gardens and park in Bellagio, Giardini di Villa Melzi. It was a beautiful hike and it offered amazing views of the lake.Iphone 1276Iphone 1183

Hopping back on our ferry, we headed back to our hotel for the last time before moving across the lake to Casta Diva Resort and Spa. This hotel comes with all of the amenities. It was recently built and the accommodations are probably the best on the lake. The service and food at the time was so, so, but I would return for the spa, pool, grounds, and accommodations. It was here that we met a lovely couple from the Ukraine who decided to host us for a couple of days. Oh, did I mention that they were mulit-mulit-mulit-millionares! They were Lake Como regulars and were generous enough to show us the sites on a private boat. The way to see Lake Como is definitely by boat! They were able to point out George Clooney’s villa and even took us to a luxury hotel, Villa d’Este that evening for dinner where Clooney was dining! What more could a girl ask for????? Okay, on a disappointing note, Clooney was hidden in a private tent away from the rest of the diners (poor Clooney…he didn’t get to enjoy the spectacular view of the hotel or water. It must be tough being famous). I’m not usually a star struck kind of girl, but knowing that Clooney was only a few yards away from me…!!!!Iphone 1300Iphone 1453

Iphone 1430Getting into the restaurant was quite the process. We were taken by a private driver, and then the guys were brought ties on a silver tray (since they were slightly under-dressed). Once their attire was up to code, we were led to an enchanting candle lit outdoor dining room. Tables were filled with fine china, gourmet pasta and risotto, and of course branzino and sea bass. Local fish is a huge part of the Lake Como experience. Since I was pregnant and unsure of the mercury content…I passed. However, the parmesan Risotto was love at first bite. How anyone can make something that spectacular from rice and cheese…???Iphone 1449

The following day, Dave and I took our own boat ride on the lake. It was amazing. When we returned, we headed to the spa and to this hotel’s floating pool (still freezing!) For dinner that night we went to another Clooney favorite, Ristorante Navedano. Although we didn’t get lucky with his presence two nights in a row, the food was still delicious and the setting charming. Make sure to have cash on you when visiting Como because many of the restaurants don’t accept credit cards! We learned the hard way. Dave ended up doing dishes and I cleared tables (okay, not really, but almost!)Iphone 1323

Iphone 1186As our time in Como came to an end, we sadly packed our bags and headed south from Milan toward Rome. With less than a dollar left in cash (again, Lake Como is pretty much a cash only destination…which we were unaware of!) and one pregnant momma dying for some bottled water, Dave generously handed me the last of our coins. In the meantime he said a prayer and felt in the bottom of the vending machine. Can you believe that someone had forgotten their change! It was just enough for another water. After a week of luxury, it was funny that we were now foraging vending machines for change:) It was worth it though! I’m not sure when we will make it back to Lake Como, but I’m sure we will return at some point. My one week love affair was amazing, but it definitely left me wanting more!photo

From The Mom in Me, MD