Thursday, December 22, 2011


I am on a blog writing hiatus until rank lists are formally submitted (mid-february), in case this was not already obvious.
The road to residency has been exciting and tiring and I have been coast to coast and on plane to subway navigating my way through figuring out what is the right program and place for me! 4th year is definitely not as relaxing as some say!

Excited to update soon...and figure out some new year's resolutions.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Melodious Monday Blues

I was hoping to post a bunch on my spring break trip to San Francisco and D.C., but that will all come later as I am now on my acting internship (OB/GYNE). I am having a great learning experience on the cancer surgery floor, though sometimes the sad stories can get me down. I've been listening to music nonstop outside the hospital so I thought I'd share some of my absolute favorites the past week.

Please enjoy. And remember to live life to the fullest.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Got that glitter on my eyes...

This past weekend a celebrity (I think even the most critical of you would still call her a celebrity! haha) rolled into town to play at Pitt's Spring weekend. Now, I don't usually like the artists that come for spring weekends- I remember a lot of rap artists coming to MIT (though I volunteered at a lot of these concerts, I can't say I ever appreciated the music), but this time I was  excited mainly because she has some hits that I love to dance to.
My top faves include- Tik Tok, Your Love is my Drug, We R who we R, Blow... you know those obnoxious dance tuns that play at clubs/radio. So you guessed it- Ke$ha came to town, in all her $$$ glory.

We had an unreal weekend of AMAZING weather (high of 80s on Sunday) and it was like we were destined to live out our Sunday like undergrads without a care in the world. The concert had a great showing- tons of hipsters/girls covered in glitter and I thought she gave a good performance and was just as she thought I'd be. There were some super funky costumes and back up dancing, but I loved it all. Pitt Med students somehow coalesced amongst the mobs and we hung out on Schenley Oval afterwards. :)

 Check out the awesome animal hats they were wearing... Ke$ha is to the side of the stage.
 We're dancing like we're dumb-dum-duh-duh-duh dumb 
Pretending/Wishing we are hipster undergrads moshing at Ke$ha's concert! hahaha.. medicine has turned me delirious...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

JLee does...Grapefruit honey yogurt scones

Every once in awhile I find a recipe while blog-browsing and think to myself, I NEED to make this. I'm easily won over by 
1. beautiful food photography 
2. interesting ingredients 
3. anything vegan 
4. witty/funny food blogging which makes me believe that if I make the food of a certain blogger I will somehow become witty/funny too...not so much. :p 

Anyways, is one of my favorite food bloggers and I say this recipe one day and thought, my goodness- grapefruit in a baked good- mon dieu! This is something I must armed with my credit card in hand... I swallowed my pride and bought a full priced grapefruit at Giant Eagle (don't even get me started on their outrageous produce prices) and some Greek yogurt that would allow me to make those baked beauties. 

That night I dove into the dough with my hands and got MESSY. I zested, juiced, and segmented that grapefruit (though not Ruby Red as desired by the recipe) til my arms hurt. The recipe calls for making what sounded like a divine "grapefruit sugar" by mixing the zest with sugar and pounding them together. The final result.. (you were hoping something out of this world huh?) was something interesting, with moderate grapefruit flavor, but not something I would make again (weh wehhh). Joy, I still love you and your blog.
Grapefruit honey scones, though I will admit, it was my first time making scones!
 Check out that lovely yellow grapefruit zest + sugar

However, I comforted myself by making a simultaneous batch of fool-proof Ghiradhelli turtle brownies, YUM.
I loved baked goods, can you tell? I only hope that I always will have others to unload calories onto share with. ;)

Friday, April 08, 2011

Rainy Day Soundtrack

I've been discovering some amazing music lately- mainly courtesy of friends' recommendations and the 'Music Mondays' section of To my absolute surprise, some of my favorites appeared in a suggested mix set in this month's Glamour magazine. I figured I'd make those playlists and see how I liked them.. and I love them (I did some tweaking with the playlists)! With all this cloudy cold weather in Pittsburgh, here are some tunes to brighten your day-

Mix for Saturday Night Out:

Mix for Dinner at Home for Two-

Just finished up my Pediatrics outpatient community site this week... learned a lot for sure, and also got to know a more rural suburb of Pittsburgh as well. I never like leaving when I get to know all the doctors, nurses, PAs etc in one place, but c'est la vie...and there's and exciting weekend ahead that may involve surgical innovation and crashing a undergrad spring Ke$ha concert!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Food for thought

I'm excited about the prospects of all things food today, so I thought I'd share this post-

Sustainable Eating
Just happened upon this article that I had saved up awhile ago and really thought was interesting, so I thought I'd share it heer. Mainly it's a spiel I'm sure many of you have heard- eat real food. And even better, prepare it/buy it yourself! Apparently Bittman calls the three best basic recipes- a stirfry (yeahh), a chopped salad (gotta get myself into salads more), and a rice and lentil dish (I must be thinking in the right direction...).

Along those lines, this year my sister and I have decided to take part in a CSA (or Community Supported Agriculture). Besides knowing that this is slightly crunchy and veggie based, here's the definition:
Community Supported Agriculture is a system in which consumers receive food directly from the farmers who produce it. But unlike a farmers' market system, supporters of community agriculture actually share in part of the farmers' risk. That is, they pay in advance for a portion of the farmer's total crop. Crops that do well will be abundant in the share, crops that do less well will be less abundant. For their part, the farmers have a stable income that doesn't depend on sunny weather on farmer's market days.(

So, after some exhaustive Pittsburgh CSA research, I finally decided upon Dillner Family farms (it's the perfect price and perfect amount for two). For a sum, my sis and I will get weekly deliveries of fresh veggies for 22 weeks starting in June. They drop off in neighborhood locations and I love the concept. I was just perusing the 2010 harvest list and some of the yummy things we can expect are... green beans, peppers, pumpkins, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, spinach, sweet corn, winter squash, watermelon, zucchini and the list goes on! I've heard good things about CSA's (several med students have done it before) and the only complaint is that you sometimes get way too much of one veggie- aka cauliflower. In anycase, I look forward to increasing my veggie intake and eating more in tune with local harvests.
I believe this is what a typical csa box looks like (from

Cold Oatmeal Craze....
One last thing- I am obsessed with oatmeal lately after reading this blog post. Last night I prepared a cold oatmeal (1/2 cup quick cooking oats, 1/2 cup soymilk, 1tbsp honey, 1tbsp maple syrup + 1/2 banana this morningg) and it was an interesting experience...a bit soggy for my taste but I'm going to try it with rolled oats next time.

Friday, March 25, 2011

3rd Year clerkship books - the lowdown

Went to a morning of women's health conference (part of my current ambulatory medicine rotation) that was filled with some good review and some new interesting research (depression in pregnant women). However, as I was mainly based in Highland Park/Squirrel Hill I was completely unaware that the 2nd years had just completed their last real medical school class today! (ICS). Woah, it seemed like just last year that I was in their shoes. It was a bittersweet day because  everyone is happy to be down with class but everyone also disperses to go study for Boards (just a tad unpleasant). I wrote about my take on Boards Step 1 studying advice here.

And seeing as a lot of my friends are going to be 3rd years soon I though I'd share what I thought were good books to get for 3rd year clerkships, both for doing well on wards and on the shelves.

By alphabetical order-

  1. Ambulatory/Outpatient medicine (CAMPC at Pittmed)- National shelf. Used Internal Medicine Essentials. Case Files PEDS/Blueprint PEDS. MKSAP 4 for practice questions.
  2. Family medicine- In House exam. Used Essentials of Family Medicine. 
  3. Medicine- National Shelf. Internal Medicine Essentials and Step Up to Medicine were both useful to me. I also got the little green Pocket Medicine book to carry around on wards (but referred to this very infrequently, not the best $60 spent). MKSAP 4 for practice questions.
  4. Neuro- National Shelf. Case Files Neurology. Pretest neurology for practice questions. Haines Neuroanatomy for those residents that love pimping on anatomy.
  5. Ob/Gyn- In House exam. Hacker & Moore: Essentials of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Kaplan has a great review as well. Heard excellent reviews for Case Files Ob/Gyne.
  6. Pediatrics- In House exam. Not yet taken, but I hear Blueprints/Case Files pediatrics is good. Pretest Peds for practice questions.
  7. Psych- National shelf. First Aid for Psychiatry Shelf (absolute must). I supplemented with Case Files Psych and Pretest Psych for Qs.
  8. Surgery- National shelf. NMS Surgery for day to day clerkship stuff. Pestana Review/Kaplan Surgery text were great for the shelf. Pretest Surg was all I had for practice Qs, not a bad resource. I used Surgical Recall rarely for pimping, but its high yield if your resident likes to pimp a lot in the OR.
  9. Specialty care (EM/ENT/Optho)- In house exam. EM: Case Files EM for something to read and keep you busy during your ER shifts.  ENT: read the little book PittMed gives you (best for pimping, but not high yield for the exam). Optho: lectures and handouts by course instructor. Know EKGs for the exam (Dubin's is good review).
This is a comprehensive list of the books and resources for practice Qs I used. I know others who got months of USMLEWORLD prescriptions for practice test questions (not sure how these compare to shelf questions).  I know this book list may seem incredibly intimidating and expensive. 
I would suggest getting together a large group of friends (~7 of mine joined forces) and sharing books with each other. I probably bought less than 5-6 books (all used and in good condition) and just traded them with my friends when the right rotation came around. Definitely a money saver! And never forget your school's friendly lending library :).

To my MS2s- kick boards butt, and enjoy the start of 3rd year, it really is such an amazing year and will be over before you know it.

Here's a good study song ;).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

End-of-3rd year - rut

Maybe it's the weather (ALWAYS cloudy, I'm so TIRED of winter minus snow)
Maybe it's the impending dread of my Acting Internship (May).
Maybe it's the fact that I'm not on the adrenaline high of Surgery anymore ( :(, more on this later).

In any case, I realize this past weekend that I was at a major lack of inspiration, motivation, joy for things that I, as a above-average happy person, usually am excited about. So... I did what I do best, I made myself a to-do list of things that would get me out of my funk.

Buying new vegan ingredients for baked goods, finding a cool new academic project, getting excited about my upcoming Spring Break trip to SF (yay, Angi!) were just some of the things I came up with. However, another thing I've been putting off for fear of the unknown was starting my own potted GARDEN!!!

Laugh all you want, I'm into my projects, and I was dead set on making this happen when we got our first glimpse of wonderful sunny weather (an omen, I say) of the weekend. So I jetted out of the cafe I was "studying" at and booked it to the nearest Loews. There, I wandered clueless among paper seedpacks til I dragged myself to Customer Service and asked for some gardening advice. There, I met Ben, a kind elderly gentleman who happens to be...*drumroll*... a gardener at the Phipps Conservatory, who would have thunk I would be getting gardening advice from an expert?! He quickly guided me towards what seeds he thought would work best and what soils I should use, boosting my self confidence that this WOULD NOT FAIL (famous last words, anyone?).

$30 and some moderate lifting later, I had all my supplies back on our porch.

The next morning, charged with energy from 12 hours of sleep (what can I say, I'm on ambulatory medicine right now) I dug out my dad's rubber gloves and DOVE IN.

How do you prepare pots for seeds?

  1. Fill 3/4 of the way with Potting Mix (you can get any variety, mine seemed pretty good Sta-Green $3.50 a bag)
  2. Fill the other 1/4 with special gardening mix (the bag said perfect for potted plants) that has little phosphorous pellets. Dunno what the reasoning behind this is. I just do what I'm told.
  3. Press in seeds or add them so that they are 1/4" covered. *see below for how I selected seeds.
  4. Water, and cross fingers!

Here are the seeds I choose. I wanted to see flowers during both spring, summer, and fall so I choose different flowers for when they would bloom. I also choose them to be around the same blooming height (or at least no 6' tall sunflowers that would easily topple a pot!). All these plants do well in direct sunlight which is what the front steps get (note the little suns on the bottom of the packets). 
I wanted vibrant, various colors as well. And I love herbs, so I did a pot of basil and oregano.

 Gettin' dirty.
The cleaned up finished product. I got some pansies for instant gratification. I watered these then moved them indoors (as the temperature still can get freezing).

Within a month or two I hope that some seedlings will be starting, will photo update then!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Groovin' Music

How cool is this widget? I've made a playlist off of Grooveshark that is filled with music I love. Just a taste though. ;)
I've been inspired by having gotten 3 new CDs at the library this week-
1. Glee Hits (don't hate, I'm a new convert) - didn't love the majority of songs
2. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (loved the music)
3. Plain White T's (YES!)

Happy listening, and happy widget making!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hey Boy

Just wanted to do a quick little post on a musical artist I learned about a week ago, attended the concert of last night, and who I absolutely love as of now!

She goes by "The Blow" and this is her myspace- Hey Boy is one of her songs, True affection is my current favorite.

Her music has a really great beat (the bass was off the wall at the Andy Warhol Museum where we saw her, I felt like I was in a club), and I wanted to get up and dance to all of her songs. Plus, she's quirky and does this fabulous one-woman show/transformation between all her songs, I was experiencing an eclectic taste from New York City, and I loved it :). When I love music, I listen to it 24/7 without rest, so as you can imagine I'll be moving on to another artist by the next week.

Thanks to my roomie who is up on all this neat music and tells me about these fun events to attend. And when word of mouth won't do.. the CITY PAPER rocks for unique new places to eat, events to attend-

I'm living up my post-surgery weekend... attending a fancy formal tonight.. will blog about that later!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Five Things

In honor of one of my favorite bloggers (, I'm listing the 5 things I'm really into right now- as in this weekend. These things are keeping me happy and sane throughout the weekend, my last big study effort before my surgery shelf on Friday (the end is so near!).

This is the newest cookbook I have picked up at the local public library (another thing I love). It's absolutely wonderful, full of fun color pages and delicious recipes. Having recently bought a bag of lentils I just made the "Old-fashioned lentil loaf" - it was flavorful and filling. Plus, I've never made a "meatloaf" before and I'm really loving it! I'm thinking this will be a nice post-AI gift to myself. :)

Valentine's Day- Fell in love with these Dove Dark Chocolates. They're soo good. I eat them at all times of day...they keep the spirits high during long surgery afternoons.

 Thoughts of how fun it's going to be to unwind at our annual medical school formal- Black Bag Ball. This year it's called "Rock the Boat" and held at the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium. Can't wait to dance this weekend!

Just ordered these boots 

'Annie Shoes Women's Baltic Faux Fur Boot' 

to keep my feet warm through the rest of the winter, they arrive on Tuesday!

A friend introduced me to this song "Rhythm of Love" by Plain White T's. I promise it'll put you in a good mood. I was in the singing mood after watching an amazing concert by our medical school acapella group "The PalPITTations". It was titled "Regularly Irregular" , a play on heart rhythms.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chic for Cheap

Chic for Cheap

Chic for Cheap by Jessica Lee 86 featuring hair flower accessories

All these items are under $50! Fun to put price into the mix, and this would be a cute valentine's day outfit, sigh...

Had a fun weekend (though it was super frigid in Pittsburgh!). Saw the King's Speech (alright, wouldn't watch it again but inspiring nonetheless), went to see the Stephen Petronio Company perform (NYC based, modern dance with some provocative costumes, also very interesting/entertaining), then went to brunch with my cousins who were visiting town!

 Vietnamese food at the Tram's Kitchen, great Vietnamese food in Pittsburgh!

Talk about cheap! We sat in the 5th row, for $13.50 per seat. I love being a student :).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jcrew mash

Jcrew mash
Jcrew mash by Jessica Lee 86 on
Just got this pretty sweater on sale- loved the color, wanted to have some fun pairing it with imaginary things!

mellow mustard

mellow mustard
mellow mustard by Jessica Lee 86 on
2nd set.. having fun with a more autumn style! and a version of my favorite color yellow.

Crazy for Coral

Coral by Jessica Lee 86 on
Just found out about a really neat site- where you can make your own fashion spreads! Here's my first set... let procrastination run amok...

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Delicious Nian Gao Recipe

Nian Gao translates to New Years Cake and is a traditional dessert enjoyed by Chinese families around the time of the Lunar New Year. 

It is traditionally made from glutinous rice flour and eaten plain, though they do make redbean version, and versions with brown sugar, essentially you can add what you like to it! Baked Nian Gao is a holiday favorite and for years I was making a really rich, not very perfect, nian gao recipe that called for sticks of butter and always ended up looking more like something that emerged from a swamp with uneven edges that ballooned out of the pan but quickly deflated into a disappointing mess. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, but the butter fat separated out making the top kind of golden and flaky with the actual correct nian gao texture lying beneath. My family willingly ate this debacle for years (actually they did enjoy it) but I thought this year would be time to try a completely different recipe in hopes of finding a healthier, more visually appealing version. 

Lo and behold, there is a NIANGAORECIPE.COM. Its an entire website devoted to ONE recipe, with English and Chinese translations, so I thought, must be the most legit recipe out thereI tried it and was really happy with the results! It got golden brown on the top, had a light yet sweet taste with the perfect nian gao consistency- without requiring any butter! Im definitely sticking with this recipe in the future, though I’d love to branch out and try adding things to the nian gao, like redbean, raisins, and nuts.

Our lovely poinsettia + nian gao.

Here’s the recipe (I tweaked the sugar to be 75% than what the website calls for) and my finished product!


  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1.5  cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of oil
  • 1 tsp of oil
  • 1/2 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1 lb. of glutinous rice powder (usually found in any Asian grocery store)


1) Crack the eggs into the bowl.
2) Put the remaining of the ingredients into the bowl.
3) Blend the ingredients in the bowl with the electric whisk (I just did it by manual whisk) for 5 mins.
4) Allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes.
5) Preheat the oven at 350°F for 2 mins.
6) Oil the cake pan along its bottom and sides.
7) Pour the mixture into the cake pan.
8) With a rubber spatula, evenly distribute the mixture.
9) Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
10) Take out the cake and let it cool for 5 minutes.
11) Use the bread knife and cut into rectangles.
12) Enjoy.

Deliciousness that can only be captured on macro setting. ahha.

Another one of my absolute FAVORITE things to do with nian gao (usually done with hard store-bought nian gao rounds for some reason it doesn’t work as well with soft baked nian gao) is to slice it into quarter inch thick pieces, dip it into a beaten egg with sugar added to it, and fry it in a pan. The nian gao softens to a deliciously chewy and sweet mess but is contained within the structure of the egg batter. I’ve loved waking up to this treat at the start of each Lunar New Year!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Ringing in 2011

2011, can’t believe you’re here! 2010 was a whirlwind of intense learning, getting introduced to life on wards, and also being a bit bolder in other areas of my life :).
Big things I’ve accomplished this year:
1.       Finished my 2nd year of medical school, consolidated all my first 2 years of learning into 7 weeks of intense studying and mental instability by taking Step 1!
2.       Eased into 3rd year clerkships with some great rotations. Completed my Medicine rotation (rite of passage I tell you!) and also my OB/GYNE rotation (was def stressed over doing well in this one).
3.       Become more social/made an effort to see different classmates and get out and enjoy different events! I’ve seen some great dance performances and musical performances this year (though I will have to say my first American opera experience was a miss).
4.       Played host to a flurry of friends who’ve made a special visit/carved out time to see me! It’s been truly wonderful to see old friends and showing off this city! 
CSK makes it to Pitt! We're at Phipps holiday gardens.

Housemates in front of our gorgeous tree! My first live one :).

Looking back at my resolutions last year (I had 5), I’ll have to say I am pretty happy with what I’ve accomplished. In perusing my old resolutions (I have records back to 2007), I tend to return to the same themes year after year, but also mix in some interesting ones every once in awhile. For instance, being green, staying fit and healthy are always a must, but at one point I had resolved to make sure I had a kick ass spring break (oh, the aspirations of a college student). It’s always fun to look back, but I have 10 resolutions this year and I very much look forward to trying to achieve them!

Onwards to 2011!