Tag Archives COVID-19

10 Things That Make Me Happy

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Hello readers, happy Monday and Happy March! Today is the FIRST DAY of the March Writing Challenge! To kick off the month, today’s prompt is:

What are 10 things that make you happy?

To be honest, this question isn’t as easy as I thought. Because, like, am I supposed to mention just tangible, actual objects that bring me joy? Or, can I include a more abstract-type “the feeling of…”; also, can I include people? (since they’re not technically things…).

Anyway, I need to stop over-thinking this activity and just go for it. So, in no particular order, here are 10 of a lot of things that never fail to make me happy:

Let’s type this up, since I don’t have the neatest handwriting.

1. Walking my dog.

Although it’s really him walking me most of the time (LOL).

2. Charcuterie boards.

With lots of spread & fresh grapes that pop in your mouth.

One of the boards I managed to put together despite “limited” ingredients 😍

3. Freshly-cleaned bedsheets.

You know, you just get that feeling as you climb under the sheets, especially after a hot shower. It’s like Heaven on Earth. Who’s with me?

black and beige book on white bed sheet
Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

4. Tarot card readings.

Honestly, whether it’s bluff or not, nothing can change my mind on this 😂 (trust me, ask my friends/my BF has tried). They’re just fun, to give and to receive. Sometimes they’re weirdly accurate, while at other times, you get a freaky card and are like WTF. But it’s all part of the process – just sit back, relax, and have your question ready.

You do Tarot readings in the library TOO?

5. My tattoo.

It hurt a little bit.

It says Sandra in Arabic, located (privately) on the side of my ribcage (sorry, not pics to publish). I tattooed the name in Arabic because it is my late sister’s name, who passed away when I was around 16 years old, and because Arabic is the language of my culture/heritage in Syria. I am always happy when I see the tattoo. Sandra will always be a source of inspiration for my life goals, and I am so glad to have her on my side (literally).

6. Wine.

Nothing like a fresh, cold glass of Pinot Grigio on a warm day, or the sweet, cinnamon-y taste of mauled wine during the winter holidays. I’m no connoisseur by any means, although I’m not opposed to the idea.

7. Skincare.

Not only does this help with me a morning/evening routine (which I need and love), but who doesn’t like healthy, vibrant skin? (I’ve been using these three products forever and truly can’t get enough.)

Also, face masks are a great way to relax at the end of the day and incorporate some self-care into a busy schedule.

Sulfur mask by ZO Skin

8. Traveling.

Oh, the places you’ll go!

9. Sunsets & sunrises.

There’s something always so calming about them…

10. My family & friends.

Duh! (Below is a non-exhaustive collection of said persons.)

It was a fun mental exercise to reflect on some things that genuinely make me happy. I don’t think I’ve ever done something like this activity before, and it was a great way to experience something new and challenge myself. I highly recommend you make a similar list, as well as leave any thoughts or questions below!

Until Day 2 tomorrow,

31 Ways To Challenge Yourself this March (Number 2 Is My Favorite)

By Posted on 0 Comments 2 min read 57 views

Writing is good for the mind and soul. I’ve wanted to challenge myself lately, and because March is coming up soon, why not create my own set of prompts and hop on the Writing Challenge train?

Alas, after coming up with a balance of thought-provoking + entertaining questions, I present to you my very first 31-day March writing challenge!

(Pssst: downloadable PDFs at the bottom of the page!)
(Pssst: downloadable PDFs at the bottom of the page!)

In short, I challenge you to answer each of these 31 prompts every day during March. You may spend at most 1 hour, but no less than 10 minutes, per day answering these questions. You can either type them or hand-write them, whatever you prefer!


(Of course, I’m doing this too.)

What’s the catch?

  • You are not allowed to think about your answers ahead of time.
  • There is no “right” answer.
  • No skipping days (unless it’s an emergency).

Why the 31-Day Writing Challenge?

Well, besides the obvious getting to know yourself better, it’ll enhance focus, expand vocabulary, refine communication, improve contemplation, and revamp your brain activity! (AND we’re doing it together.)

Be sure to come back on March 1st to read my entries and follow along!

Are you ready?

Sign up here!

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Questions or concerns? Leave them down below, or send them on Instagram.

8 Steps to Mastering Virtual Meetings

By Posted on 0 Comments 4 min read 82 views

Working from home means virtual meetings. These days, with platforms like Zoom enabling conferences, seminars, office hours, even lecture all online, knowing how to successfully attend virtual meetings is more important than ever.

Regardless of whether you’re a student or a full-time company executive, preparation for an excellent virtual meeting is the same. Keep reading for some pointers that will help you understand how to conquer your virtual meetings. 

1. Wear appropriate attire from the waist up.

One of the benefits of #WFH is that we can get away with wearing sweatpants during a work meeting, class, or whatever it may be. (Of course, don’t make the mistake of standing up and revealing this secret to others.)

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the top half of our bodies. If you’re in a more formal meeting, try wearing a polished, proper top, blouse, or sweater. That’ll give off the impression that you’re serious about the meeting, despite it being online.

Pro-tip: collared necklines and blazers look great on Zoom.

2. Apply some light mascara, lip gloss, and powder/concealer.

Of course, these things are optional – but recommended. With the camera’s focus on your face and neck, a little makeup and jewelry will go a long way towards making you appear more polished and put-together. Now, the key is that less is more.

I’m not advocating for a full face of foundation, contour, eyeshadow, red lipstick, and winged eyeliner for these virtual meetings. After all, you don’t want it to look like you’re wearing makeup at all.

Pro-tip: keep the makeup low-key.

3. Know how to work the virtual platform.

This means figuring out all the tech stuff before the meeting begins. If you don’t know how to mute your microphone, turn off your camera, share your screen, etc., spend a few extra minutes sorting out these details so that your meeting can go as smoothly as possible.

Pro-tip: always mute your microphone when you aren’t speaking.

4. Look at the camera to make “eye-contact.”

It’s well known that eye contact is fantastic for the psyche. Good eye contact equates to confidence, trust, engagement, curiosity, respect for yourself and the other person. Since we’re all looking at a screen these days, the new way to make eye contact is to look at the camera.

According to Business Insider, “whether or not other people make eye contact with us changes the way that we think about them and their feelings. For example, we are more likely to remember faces with which we’ve experienced mutual gaze, and we consider displays of anger and joy to be more intense when shown by a person making eye contact.” 

Pro-tip: hide your “self-view” if you tend to look at yourself and not at the camera.

5. Be mindful of your facial expressions.

Virtual meetings are not the time for RBF. As I’ve stated before, the focus is all on your face with these virtual meetings. Be extra aware of the facial expressions you’re displaying. If you feel bored or uninterested, it will show unless you make it a point to look otherwise. 

Pro-tip: nod now and then, and smile periodically. You may be engaged, and you may be in a pleasant mood, but it’s harder to tell when we’re all behind the screen. Show this with your facial movements and gestures!

6. Prepare your background, lighting, and surroundings.

Unfortunately, there is no point in following steps 1-5 above if your background is sloppy. With virtual meetings, one needs to pay careful attention to their environment. Are you revealing an unmade bed? A pile of laundry off to the side? The sound of your kids’ playing with Legos behind you (cute, but not professional)?

If so, do what you have to do to make the setting as non-distracting and professional as possible. The best setup is generally a simple (white) wall next to a window. That way, you’ll get natural lighting from the sun, and your background will not distract from your face.

Lastly, gently remind anyone in the proximity of your upcoming meeting and to keep their noise level as low as possible. (Perhaps it’s worth investing in noise-proof earbuds if you find yourself unable to hear the discussion clearly due to your environment.)

Pro-tip: if you are stuck with a messy background, try using a high-quality virtual background instead.

7. Get enough sleep.

Eye bags are a natural part of life, but the best treatment to feel and look well-rested is sleep! People are different, but most generally require 6 to 9 hours of quality sleep. Make sure to hit the hay early enough the night before your meeting so you can showcase your best self – physically and mentally. Your body will thank you! 

Pro-tip: check out this article on self-care.

8. Be present.

Try refraining from browsing Pinterest, scrolling on Tumblr, or taking any Buzzfeed quizzes during your virtual meeting. I repeat: try NOT to take these insanely awesome quizzes while you’re in your discussion (:P). In all seriousness, it really can wait until after the meeting is over.

Not only is it self-evident when someone’s on Facebook instead of giving their full attention to the meeting, but it’s also not a great look. As harmless as it may be, it can come off as offensive or rude to whoever is speaking at that moment, as well as to your fellow virtual attendees.

Pro-tip: keep your phone away from you if you don’t need it for the meeting, and avoid opening up Safari or Google Chrome in the first place

If you got this far, you’re definitely on the right track for having the most smooth, productive, and respectful virtual meetings. I wish you the best of luck with all of your endeavors, and remember to stay safe and healthy while working from home. We’re all in this together!

Thoughts or comments? Leave them down below!

For similar articles, check out this page.

Girl Boss Q&A: Ask a Cosmetic Nurse

By Posted on 0 Comments 8 min read 41 views

Nurses make a difference in people’s lives in many different ways. They’re the eyes, ears, and voice of healthcare, especially in a hospital setting, identifying and alerting doctors of critical situations and the holistic perspective to advocate for their patients. And cosmetic nurses are no different. Through the use of non-invasive, in-office treatments such as injectables and skin treatments, aesthetic nurses often assist plastic surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists, providing pre-and post-operative care related to plastic surgery and delivering care to patients under the supervision of a physician. So, without further ado, to gain some raw and genuine insight into what it’s like day-to-day as a cosmetic nurse, keep reading for my interview with registered aesthetic nurse Serene Obagi.

Why has it taken until 2020 for people to say, “Hey, I got filler!” and be open about it?Like, if God is judging you, it’s not because you got lip injections.

Serene Obagi, RN
Work #selfie

What kind of nurse are you? What sort of patients do you see?

“I’m an aesthetic or cosmetic nurse. I see people with skin problems or problems with their appearance, people who are curious about enhancements that we can do to their face or body, and people who have been referred by friends who had gotten cosmetic work done. Everything from the face, butt, boobs… We have many older women who come for work on their hands (i.e., making them look younger) to give them filler there. “

When it comes to patients in the clinic, do you see mostly women?

“Mostly women now. But as the years go on, men are coming in more. The number one thing men are doing is their jaw – they want accentuated jaws, like Superman. It’s pretty equal for men and women when it comes to acne treatment.”

How did you know you wanted to become a cosmetic nurse?

“Well, I’ve always wanted to become a cosmetic nurse. I was working as a medical assistant [MA] at a medical spa – and I already had my esthetician license – and I was watching the doctor do many things that I regretted not going for medical school for because I knew I’d be so good at them. Then I realized: wait, I don’t have to go to medical school to still do these things. I just had to put the work in, and once I finished, I could come back and learn about I wanted to do. Sure, when I was in nursing school and experienced the various departments, whether medical surgery, or the emergency room, or cardiology, I found many things to be interesting – especially OB and Pediatrics. But, even while I loved them, I knew I wasn’t going into that. My first goal was always to do aesthetics. “

While in nursing school, did you learn about aesthetics?

“No, unfortunately. We didn’t even talk about it in nursing school. The one second we went over the skin in nursing school, I, like, shined. But that was over pretty quickly. I think it’s because when you hear the words cosmetic or aesthetic, people automatically think of vanity. And it’s ingrained in our minds, perhaps way back from the Bible even, that vanity is bad.

Why has it taken until 2020 for people to say, “Hey, I got filler!” and be open about it? I think that as people become more and more lenient when it comes to religion, the normalization of aesthetic and cosmetic procedures will parallel. Like, if God is judging you, it’s not because you got lip injections. And it’s so different in other countries, like Korea. I had a Korean roommate back when I was in school, and she would tell me all about how it’s sort of unusual not to get any work done. It’s so different.”

Did any of your classmates in nursing school also want to do aesthetic nursing?

“I don’t recall anyone else wanting to do it. Maybe there was one girl, but I can’t remember.”

How did you prepare for the final exam (NCLEX)?

“The NCLEX was one of the hardest tests I’ve ever taken, and I couldn’t believe I passed. It’s a test that, if you get a question right, the next question is harder. Adaptive, they call it. So, if you’re going through the test and saying, oh, this is so easy, that’s probably a bad sign. So the fact that I was like, WTF is this question asking, I’ve never learned this… I knew I was doing okay.

And most of the questions were “select all that apply,” too, so say the correct answer is A, B, C, and E, and you select A, B, C, and D, they mark it as all wrong, and the options went from A until F sometimes. I know most people shut off at 75 questions because the test can go on until 200 or 300 questions. I had 111, and I literally thought it was a [angel] sign because I had seen 11:11 up until my test day. “

Is there anything during nursing school that you would have done differently?

“Oh, time management. Always. I had a system, and it still wasn’t enough. Or it was, but I don’t know why. I basically had no social life, it felt like. I even think I got my first gray hair. I managed my time where nursing school got completed, but everything else was on the back burner. Also, maybe, I wouldn’t have woken up so early every day, because now I can’t help it. Like, I still wake up at 5 am every day. Sometimes I had to get up that early for school, but waking up at 5 am as part of my system. I liked to study early in the morning and get it out of the way when my mind is the sharpest.”

What is your favorite and also least favorite part of being a cosmetic nurse?

“My favorite part is the fact that there’s so much that I can do to help the patients, and I have a lot of autonomy. You know, I can be a hospital nurse, I can be a nurse who works for an insurance company, or I can be an aesthetic nurse. I love that I can do all that. Nurses are so critical.

My least favorite part of being a cosmetic nurse – and I think most nurses would agree – is that I’m limited as well. The fact that we nurses will always need another person to diagnose me even when I am sure of what it is myself. This is part of why I’m thinking about getting my Nurse Practitioner (NP) license because in California now, they have much more independence. 

Another thing about being a nurse that is difficult is being the last in line to the patient give a drug. For example, say a pharmacy makes a mistake and sends the drug. The doctor orders the wrong drug, etc. Who’s the last person to administer the drug, and who should have checked, etc.? Pharmacy is off the hook; the doctor is off the hook, I’m the one to blame, legally, if I administer the wrong drug to the patient, even though it’s them who incorrectly ordered it. Like, it’s not the doctor’s fault that he wrote an extra 0; it’s the nurse’s fault for not calling and being like, “did you mean to write 100?” It’s so weird.”

Do you feel as though nursing school prepared you for the “reality” of the job?

“I have to say no. In my opinion, all nursing school does is make sure you are well-equipped enough, now, to at least work in a hospital, learn from whatever the hospital teaches you, and know how not to kill someone, and maybe, to save someone minimally. Some nursing schools may have more emphasis on technique, for example, but other than that, all nursing schools focus on interventions, NANDAS, side effects, and medications.”

Tell me the weirdest thing that has happened to you as a nurse.

“A guy was definitely touching himself under his bed and was like “ma’am, ma’am” and wanted me to change something that was unnecessary. I was like, “sir, if you can do that, you can change this yourself. There are definitely some perverted patients in hospitals. Also patients who we call “frequent flyers” because they always come back for shelter, food, and water.”

Do you feel supported by fellow nurses?

“Oh yeah. Nurses are always on each others’ side. Totally. And there’s a total “nurse way” to do things. Even once you go on to be an NP, for example, the core nurse in you still shines. Even with a coworker of mine – she’s an aesthetic NP – I always see her inner nurse come out. It’s like, once a nurse, always a nurse. I also feel like I’ve always been a nurse. I think there’s, like, a fine line between being maternal and being a nurse.”

What’s a typical day like for you?

“Running around making sure someone’s not bleeding out. Just kidding. I get the consents; register people on iPledge if they’re going on Accutane. see patients; I educate them, I administer mediation, I do extractions. I can do laser treatments. Sometimes, my coworker NP will sometimes ask me to be in the room because she’s injecting Botox and wants me to make sure there’s no bruise forming. One of my classmates’ typical day would be a 12-hour shift, with 4-5 patients you are responsible for, and you need to prioritize. “

Do you have favorite scrubs or shoes to wear at work?

“For scrubs, definitely Figs. As for shoes, I bought this Amazon pair that continues to surprise me with how comfortable and stylish they are. I got so many compliments on these shoes; everyone was asking where I got them from. It seems like now everyone I work with has purchased them for themselves too.” 

Knowing what you know now, would you do it all over again?

“Yes. I’m so proud of myself. When I went in, I did not know how hard it was going to be. But now that I’ve finished it, of course.”

As a nurse, is it possible to have time for yourself outside of your job?

“Yes, but I am trying to figure out how. Right now, I feel like I have no time for anyone or anything, but I am sure one day I will once I know how to balance.”

gratitude message for nurses with red hearts
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

There you have it: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the awesome of being a cosmetic nurse. I hope that this article gave you some personable inspiration and motivation to pursue aesthetic nursing or a career of similar nature. Of course, a huge thanks and shout out to Serene for her time, honesty, and information.

Leave your comments down below and DM Serene with any questions.

Liked this article? Stick around – more #GirlBoss Q&A’s are coming soon.

(An incredible story about revolutionary self-taught nurse here!)

Your COVID-Friendly Guide to Laguna Beach, CA

By Posted on 0 Comments 2 min read 23 views

If you are in Southern California and looking for a quick, COVID-19 friendly weekend away, definitely consider visiting Laguna Beach.

With ample accommodation options and take-out restaurants, Laguna Beach has many COVID-19 nice things to offer during these stressful times.

Me ft. yoga mat

Because the time I spent there recently (while following WHO & CDC protocols) proved to be incredibly refreshing, I’ve listed a few key activities to do there when you get the chance.

Keep reading if you’re interested.

Walk Up Alta Laguna.

With most workout facilities closed these days, it’s a good idea to get some exercise outdoors. What better way to do so than on a scenic incline walk? Although this walk is gorgeous at any time of day, I recommend going in the morning before it gets too hot. Of course, don’t forget your sunscreen, mask, and hand sanitizer.

Pick Up a “Date Shake” at The Stand.

The Stand is a delicious, 100% vegan natural foods restaurant. Because of this, you’re bound to find something delicious that accommodates any diet, feeling satisfied and refreshed. (My BF thoroughly enjoys the Date Shake and the avocado sandwich.)

Visit the Art Galleries.

The artist hub of Orange County, Laguna Beach, has so many art galleries that it is impossible to run out of beautiful sights to see. A few of my favorite galleries are located on South Coast Highway.

Go Hiking at Top of the World.

Confetti?

With more than 20,000 acres of protected wilderness, Laguna Beach is perfect for adventurous exploration. I recently completed the Top of the World hike with my BF, and it was an awesome feel-good and socially-distanced 2.4-miles.

Eat a Banzai Bowl.

Born and raised in LA, I thought I had tried the worst and the best of acai bowls. I was wrong. The Maui Sunrise bowl from Banzai is, hands-down, the BEST acai bowl I’ve ever eaten. I do not say this lightly.

Walk on the Beach.

This is a self-explanatory and mandatory activity. Be sure to wear sunscreen, and enjoy basking in the vitamin D. (FYI: I wore a mask for this walk. I took it off for these photos.)

Enjoy the Sunsets.

If you’re anything like me, you never fail to enjoy a beautiful sunset. It’s time to pour yourself a glass of Sangria & listen to some great music.

And so there you have it! Some suggestions to keep in mind for your next trip to Laguna Beach, CA, during this COVID-19 season. Remember to wear a mask and wash your hands. Stay safe & bon voyage!

For more travel guides, check out this page.