dainty sparkle

I get asked a lot about where I purchase my jewelry and I pick up most of my pieces along my travels. I’m a huge fan of ‘wearable’ souvenirs because they don’t just sit on a shelf and I love when fond memories of whatever trip I was on come rushing back whenever I wear them.

But when I stumbled upon Favor Jewelry on Instagram, I knew that it was a company I wanted to work with. In addition to having some of the cutest and daintiest pieces of jewelry I’ve come across, the Portland based company is so mindful about how they source their materials and recycle all scraps. You can read about their process here.

In addition to that, they donate part of their proceeds to organizations like UNICEF, women’s shelters and the Natural Resources Defense Council. I can definitely get behind a company that puts its money where its mouth is.

I’ve had three of their pieces for a few months now and am absolutely loving them. When I was choosing from their collection, I was the least excited about the necklace but it ended up being my favorite piece. I don’t think I’ve taken it off since I received it.

I don’t always find the dainty and simple pieces in my travels that I can wear daily. But because of their high ethical standards and their contributions to their community, I still feel that my pieces by Favor are meaningful. I hope you check them out!

All pieces pictured are c/o Favor Jewelry.

fred & far

 

Many of us who aspire to be care givers tend to be exactly that: givers. And as we continue through our rigorous career paths, we often push aside our own needs and continue to give and give until we have nothing left for ourselves. I’ve been guilty of this for most of my life. I used to think this was a noble, unselfish way to live. That I was living the way God would want me to – by continually putting the needs of others before my own. And up until I started medical school I did alright living my life this way but as soon as school started I began suffering. It took me months before I realized that living my life in this way was not sustainable, was actually detrimental to my own health and inhibited my ability to succeed in school.

For the first time in my life, I began to consider what I needed and it was a very strange feeling. There was a lot of unlearning that had to take place about what it meant to be a ‘good friend’ or ‘good daughter’ or ‘good wife.’ I learned my limits and realized that I was of no use to anyone – not my family, my friends, my patients – unless I was good on my own. I started incorporating self care into my daily routine through various means like journaling, yoga, exercising regularly, evening strolls, writing & sharing my struggles, and learning the word no (& being able to say it without feeling guilty).

I’ve always loved the idea of wearing jewelry that’s meaningful in some way. I wear mantra bands that say ‘be you, love you. all ways, always.’ and ‘SHE BELIEVED SHE COULD SO SHE DID.’ Other pieces I’ve collected in my travels. So when I stumbled upon Fred + Far’s Instagram account, I was immediately intrigued. Self love is a work in progress and I can constantly sense myself falling back into old patterns so having a ring that reminded me, every day, to prioritize my own well being has been wonderful.

When I first started wearing the ring, it felt too big or too flashy for a ring that’s meant to be an expression of self love. I felt guilty for spending so much money on something for myself. But as with prioritizing self care in my life the past two years, it started to feel as natural as wearing my wedding set every day. If I’m ever so blessed as to raise a daughter, I hope that I can pass this ring onto her. This life can be stressful and beautiful and heartbreaking but I know that as long as I’m in my own corner, I can get through it all.

You can visit Fred + Far’s website here to learn more about their story and products.

review: smile brilliant

Disclaimer: I was contacted by Smile Brilliant to use and review their product at no cost to me. All opinions below are my own as a consumer and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your dentist before using any products on your teeth. 

For the past year or so I’ve been really bothered by how yellow my teeth have gotten and it really bothered me when I wore lipstick. I guess when you come to med school and depend on caffeine throughout a lot of it, that happens. I honestly feel like my teeth just haven’t been the same since having braces in high school.

I have tried whitening strips, around the time of our wedding, and toothpastes in the past but it just doesn’t work well enough for where my teeth are at now. So I was looking into local dentists for professional whitening services at a reasonable price when I was contacted by Smile Brilliant about using and reviewing their product.

As with any company that contacts me, I was initially really skeptical because it sounded too good to be true. Jessica, the employee who contacted me, was so great. She answered all of my questions, even the ones that could have easily been answered by reading the FAQ page. Any time I had any issues with the process, she was really responsive and gave wonderful suggestions (which I’ve included below!) to make sure I has happy with my teeth whitening journey.

Smile Brilliant uses the exact same process that’s done in a dentist’s office but costs a fraction of the price and you can do it all from home, so it’s perfect for students or professionals who find it difficult to make time for appointments – or really, just anyone who likes saving money and wants a beautiful smile.

The process to get started was really simple:

 In the mail I received a complete kit with all the materials necessary to get started, including: trays and pastes necessary to make molds for my custom fit trays, three whitening syringes and three desensitizing syringes.

I looked through the instructions on how to make my molds and followed them carefully. Essentially, you start off by taking one catalyst paste and one base paste and mixing them together until they’re one even color. Then you put the mixture into the trays and insert them into your mouth, one for the bottom teeth and the other for the top. They include an extra base and catalyst paste in case you mess one up and need to repeat.

Make sure to push the tray towards your teeth but do not bite down on the tray. You leave each one in your mouth for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. And yes, at the end of that time your mouth will likely be full of spit so just make sure you remove the trays from your mouth over the sink.

Then you just leave the trays out to dry for around half an hour and fill out the consent form. I put the two trays with the impressions and the form into the prepaid envelope they provided and sent it out the next day.

About five days later I received my trays and started the whitening process soon after!

 I received my trays in a black container that reminded me of the retainers I should’ve been using for the past couple years but aside from the associated guilt, they were in great condition! I ended up trimming a bit off the back of the bottom tray (the part that would’ve covered the back molar) because it was causing the bottom tray to pop up during my whitening sessions. I contacted Smile Brilliant regarding this concern and they suggested putting vaseline on my gums with a q-tip before putting the trays on and that completely resolved the issue of irritating my gums!


There’s a tube with whitening gel (green tube) and then another with desensitizing gel (purple tube). I used the whitening gel for about an hour and then the desensitizing gel for another fifteen minutes for each session. I usually did these sessions at night because you’re not supposed to eat for at least a half hour afterwards and that was much easier to do if I was asleep right after heh.

  • Before using the whitening gel, you should brush your teeth without toothpaste just to get rid of any extra particles on your teeth and rinse out your mouth.
  • Do your best to dry off your teeth.
  • Put a sliver of the whitening gel at the front of each tray and then insert each one by inserting in your mouth completely and then pushing up (similarly to how you made the molds) so that the gel spreads evenly over your teeth.
  • Leave the trays on for about an hour the first time you use this product to determine how sensitive your teeth are to the product. If you find there’s no sensitivity, you can use it for sessions up to three hours.
  • After whitening, you may get white splotches on your teeth and have a major freak out like I did, but worry not. Those are just just the spots on your teeth that are early signs of a carious lesion, indicating enamel decalcified. The carbamide peroxide in the whitening gel temporarily makes them more prominent. As long as you use the desensitization gel afterwards, they’ll disappear overnight. And even without it, they’ll go away but may take a bit longer. I’ve included a photo of these ‘white spots’ on my teeth below so you know what to expect.
  • After you’ve completed your whitening session, remove the trays from your mouth and rinse them out. Brush your teeth with toothpaste and drink water if you’re feeling thirsty.
  • Dry off your teeth and the trays.
  • Apply a similar sliver of desensitizing gel onto the trays and insert them into your mouth. Keep them in for about 15 minutes.
  • Once you remove the trays, do not rinse your mouth or drink any water for at least thirty minutes!

Because I was traveling so much over the past couple months, I was not able to keep a regular schedule for whitening. I essentially used the product in two separate time periods: when I first received it in August and then again when I returned home in October for about a total of seven sessions. All photos below are unedited!

BEFORE: 

AFTER 3 ONE-HOUR WHITENING SESSIONS (in August):

AFTER 4 ONE – HOUR SESSIONS (in October):

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Overall, I’m pretty happy with this product. I was planning on going to the dentist for teeth whitening and this method is much more convenient than repeatedly returning to the office for sessions, especially as a busy medical student. The cost of this is also much more feasible for a student. I am going to continue using this product every month to maintain the results from my previous sessions. I like that even with whitening my teeth, it doesn’t give it that unnatural ‘blue’ look to it (think Ross from that episode of friends when he left the whitening strips on overnight). Again, everything in this post is simply my opinion & experience from using this product and should not be considered medical advice.

You find out more about their product through others’ reviews here on YouTube and testimonials here.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

The kind people at Smile Brilliant have agreed to giveaway their product to one of YOU! All you have to do is click this link and enter your first name and email address so they can contact you if you win.

The giveaway is open for two weeks starting the day the last photo is posted. Smile Brilliant will choose a random winner within 3 business days of giveaway closing.
 
Prize Details from Smile Brilliant: 
Prize = $139.95 store credit which is equal to our Teeth Whitening Trays + 3 whitening gel syringes and 3 desensitizing gel syringes or the Teeth Whitening Trays + 6 whitening gel syringes. They of course can change the selection however they will need to pay the difference. The winner will be given a code which they can use at checkout. The giveaway can be open to international, but if the winner is outside of the US, they will have to pay the shipping cost for sending their impressions back to us.
You can also use the code ‘ahealersheart’ to get a 5% off discount if you decide to purchase the product!

flow & bling 

It’s been a while since I did an outfit post! Part of it is frustration when I can’t link exact pieces for you all to find and I also haven’t really been dressing up all that often since I’ve been spending most of my day cooped up at home studying. But last night one of my best friend’s got engaged and I celebrated another one of my best friend’s birthday! So I took the night off from studying and got a lil’ dressed up.

I picked up this dress at TJ Maxx a few summers ago to wear to my high school best friend’s wedding and decided to pull it out from the depths of my closet. I wore this long blue top from Zara over it to dress it down a bit because I didn’t want it to be too formal. I usually wear this top buttoned up as a formal top for clinic, etc. but it went well with the dress. Kohl was having way too much fun playing with the tassels on the dress while I was doing my make up heh.

I recently purchased the Southport Avenue Small Jenny by Kate Spade in black during their 25% off sale a few weeks ago. This was only my second time using but I really like it! It’s great for more formal events and I love that it’s really structured, unlike all my other bags. It’s a really great size – big enough to fit everything I need but small enough that I can’t just stuff everything in the world in it. The zip goes down the side a bit too so I can open it up and find things easily.

For details, I had on this necklace by Tiny Universe. I wore it out of the shop when we were in Pasadena and literally have not taken it off since – yay for gold filled jewelry that doesn’t rust! I also took off my fitbit for the night (which felt very strange) and wore my Jacqueline Brown Leather watch by Fossil.

For my shoes, I wore my Mari Perforated Wedges by Comfort Plus at Payless.  I absolutely looooove this brand. Their shoes are so incredibly comfortable in comparison to similar styles by other brands. I got mine in ‘wide’ and nude – they only have the black ones online. I have oxford pumps by this same brand that I wore through all my med school interviews and still wear to various formal events.

And now some of my favorite photos from Sara and Nasir‘s engagement yesterday! I have so much love for this couple. You know when you see two people together and just know that the universe would have found a way to bring them together no matter what because they’re just so perfect for each other. They’re both pursuing medicine and are very passionate about health justice and social justice in general – can you say power couple?

Silly times with the bride before she made her entrance! Her dress was so, so gorgeous – and it had pockets! Perfection.

My favorite shots from weddings/engagements are always ones where I catch the groom looking at his partner with so much love – got so many of these shots of Nasir yesterday. You can just see how much he loves and respects her and it just makes my heart so happy.

The dessert table was so cute! Loved the flowers on the cake.


How cute are they!? Still riding this wave of happiness because one of my best friends is spending the rest of her life with this wonderful guy and I can’t wait to see where life takes them. My heart is so happy. Please send some good vibes their way and prayers up for them as they start this journey together!

You can follow their journey through medicine and their life together:

back to me

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done an outfit post and quite a few things have changed: I chopped my hair & got highlights and got new specs! A big part of why I haven’t done any outfit posts is that I was feeling stuck in a rut with my looks. Choosing outfits has always been a means for me to express myself and use my right brain in a life that’s often very left-brain-focused. At the risk of sounding obnoxious and pretentious: to me, fashion is art.

I looked in the mirror after getting dressed and just didn’t feel very ‘me’ so I made some changes! And I’m so so glad that I did.

So back to this outfit, since it’s been relatively warm the past couple days I finally got a chance to wear one of my favorite pieces: this mustard midi skirt (also seen here). I paired it with a sleeveless collared floral blouse with a thin gray-blue sweater over.

I’ve gushed about Ladies Who Lunch,the cutest online vintage clothing store, in previous posts and I’m not stopping now! It’s run by one of my good friends and she finds all these one of a kind pieces herself and sells them at such affordable prices! I’m all about supporting small businesses and Ladies Who Lunch is definitely one of my favorites. Hafsa does a phenomenal job finding pieces for women of all sizes and styles. You can also check out their Instagram here for more regular updates on all new pieces. I’m currently gushing over all their incoming denim!

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#sharkandrhymes

All this time off from school has really got me slackin’ on my blogging game, probably because most of my days lacked structure and I kind of just went with it. Blogging is a creative outlet for me so I don’t like to set hard deadlines for myself because I don’t want this to stop being fun. That said, there should be quite a few posts coming through in the next few weeks with updates on what I’ve been up to and some things regarding school. For more regular updates, follow along on Instagram!

So this past weekend one of my best friends from college got married!! It was a hectic, fun, laugh-filled, celebratory weekend. South Asian weddings can have a lot of different parts so I thought it would be cool to break down the events and share a bit about my culture!

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attitude of gratitude


Hope you’re all having a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones! To those of you who may not be able to celebrate surrounded by love, for whatever reason, know that you’re in my thoughts and I’m sending so much love your way.

While we’re celebrating this day with delicious food and surrounded by love, I hope that we can decolonize the tradition of Thanksgiving by remembering the Native Americans who lost their homes and their lives. Thanksgiving was actually declared a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln as an effort to bring the country together during the tensions of the civil war. The story of the ‘Indians and the Pilgrims’ was not associated with the holiday until the 1890s. And the story of them eating together peacefully and celebrating this newfound friendship is completely false – the Native Americans living on this land were displaced and killed (either directly or by the European diseases the pilgrims brought with them). This video by MTV does a pretty great job of summarizing the issues with the ‘history’ of Thanksgiving. And if you’d like more details about how this tradition came about and would like to see facts to debunk the stories that we’re told in grade school, this article does a pretty rad job. So while we celebrate and think about what we’re grateful for this year, let’s keep those who suffered at the hands of the European immigrants in our thoughts and prayers and remember to be grateful for their sacrifice.

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