La Vida Dolce

Work in Progress


Being me is constantly a work in progress. When I feel that I’ve figured something out, life jumps out and throws me another curveball.  I’ve realized after my 30th birthday last month (yes, I know it’s not terribly old but it’s a new decade for me 😉 ) that I need to change certain aspects of my outlook on life and how I manage it in order for me to get to where I want to be.

My mom and I had a conversation about this recently as we were discussing post-medical school graduation plans – I graduate this summer (YAY!). While the thought of graduating is so exciting, I’m also terribly nervous purely because I have to “grow up” now.  Now, I don’t view myself as an immature person by any means, but I feel that I’ve been able to hide behind the “school and studying” shadow and this, in a way, has prevented me from experiencing “adulting”, if you will.

During this conversation, my mom simply said to me, “Danielle, what do you want out of your life? You can’t go into this next phase without really thinking it through”.

So I’ve been thinking about this for some time since that conversation and I’d encourage y’all, my fellow readers, to do the same.  What do you want out of your life? What positive changes are you willing to make?

Myself: be more open with my personality and not feel encumbered or overshadowed by anyone, have a variety of hobbies to keep me well-rounded, stop practicing serial monogamy unless I truly believe that person is for me, and most importantly, truly believing in myself

Friendship: develop new friendships with a variety of people, practice maintaining them with open communication, surround myself with friends that have similar drives/goals/ambitions

Career: take chances/risks, develop and execute my plan for success

Love: develop a relationship based on communication/friendship/shared ambition, where both partners have a shared and separate life to limit co-dependence, maintain my own independence which is often lost in previous relationships, and give/receive unconditional support for/from you partner

Family: be open with family about stressors and emotions, communicate regularly, not get wrapped up in my own world so much

This is how I will positively change my life, starting now – how will you?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Happy reading 🙂



Mindful Habits

habits 2How many of you, my dear readers, have habits that desperately wish you could stop? Raise your hands high for me to see! I definitely have many as well, probably enough to cover my fingers and toes 😉

I listened to this wonderful TedTalk during my recent study break that I wanted to share with y’all. Psychiatrist, Judson Brewer, concisely educates us on how mindfulness training can help break our bad habits.  What is mindfulness training?  Well, it’s basically being aware and cognizant of our mental, emotional, and physiologic states when we encounter our own personal habits.  Habits, whether positive or negative, are essentially behaviors/mind-set/feelings that we’ve acquired throughout our experiences to allow us to cope with interactions with the outside world or people. Dr. Brewer discusses how taking a few minutes to analyze these processes will help us gain greater insight into why we resort to our habitual impulses – makes perfect sense, right?!

We’re so used to our habitual actions, that we sometimes forget we’re even doing them.  For instance, a few weeks ago a friend of mine contacted me after months of non-communication.  habitsOur friendship was an emotional rollercoaster where communication would be good, but when an argument arose, we would not talk for months.  When they wanted to start the friendship again, they’d message me and I’d pretend that nothing happened, even though I hadn’t forgotten. This particular instance, I again, responded to the message and immediately said to myself “Don’t do it Danielle!!!!”, but it was too late and the reply was sent.  The following day I started to think of all the pros and cons of this friendship – honestly, the cons completely outweighed the pros, so after my own mindfulness training, I messaged the individual that I felt we should no longer communicate.  It felt difficult initially to confront the issue – my heart was racing and I had a knot in my throat – but once I got the words out, I felt my body and mind come together.  Afterwards, my body and mind began to settle and I felt a flutter of confidence re-surge.

See, the big leaps in life are wonderful and fantastic, but we must also remember the tiny strides that helped us along the way. That life event I described above, helped set my inner tone of how I want to be treated by friend, lovers, and acquaintances.  I guess mindfulness training really does work, huh? 😉

I would love to hear your thoughts. Happy reading 🙂


Check out this insightful TedTalk here:

Rollercoaster Love

rollercoaster loveSo I was driving along to clinic this morning, listening to my favorite morning radio show. Their  conversation gave me a chuckle this morning…so I decided to share it with y’all.  They were discussing whether it’s better to have a “whoa-woohoo” vs “ehh-frump” relationship/partner (their terms, not mine 😉 ). There’s nothing like a good relationship chat to wake up the mind.

Here’s their descriptions of the relationships:

Whoa-woohoo – This type entails a partner/relationship that’s more high-maintenance with lots of ups/downs and overall drama.

Ehh-frump – This type is where a partner/relationship is stable, consistent, and relatively low maintenance. (Warning: this does not imply the partner/relationship boring)

Now, I realize both types have their pros and cons, but in the long run, which is better? Is there a right answer? I feel that in our younger years we have a misnomer of the ehh-frump type as being boring and pliable; whereas, we’re intrigued by the uncertainty and excitement of the whoa-woohoo.

best friend loveWhile I was driving, I thought of my previous relationships/men I dated and which types the embodied. I would characterize them as the appearance of ehh-frump on the outside with a nice filling of whoa-woohoo on the inside … what a combo!  I think back to all the heart palpitations, emotional uncertainty, and seeming stability that permeated these relationships, and I realized how toxic they were eventually.

As I approach my thirties in the upcoming week, I feel a whole new sense of maturity starting to settle in.  Leaving my adult 20’s behind and jumping into the real adulthood puts life into perspective a lot. We begin to realize what we actually want vs what we thought we want. I do not believe there’s a right or wrong answer as to what partner/relationship works better – it honestly depends on the individual personalities, wants, and needs.

For me, my personality, wants, and needs work much better with the an ehh-frump type… so bring it on! 🙂

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Happy reading 🙂

Life Twirls On

calvin and hobbesIt’s been 10 months since my last post…

10 months since my fingers swiftly crossed these keys…

10 months since I allowed my mind to relax and let the creativity and insight flow…

For 10 months I’ve been heavily caught in the twilight zone I call medical school, jam packed with patients, exams, and endless hours of studying.  While I truly, unequivocally love and enjoy the path I’ve chosen for myself, I’ll admit the endless routine is exhausting. Sometimes I feel lost and my identity consumed by this career path as I have to forgo my hobbies, like writing for La Vida Dolce.  These past 10 months have flown by; I look back and see how far I’ve come and yet how far I have to go.

I find myself thinking of what I have yet to accomplish and how I want to expand outside of medicine; and I’ll admit, I sometimes feel a sense of urgency and disappointment.  I am not completely downtrodden by my thoughts; it’s just my inner perfectionistic speaking 🙂

I remind myself that even though the days don’t seem to change, when I look back, everything somehow does. Every interaction, knowledge acquired, and emotions experienced are preparing me for the path I’ve yet to conquer. The daily routines will always be there, but we must grasp the glimpses of peace and spontaneity to propel us forward. After all, life twirls on whether or not we want it to.

Life twirls on. Experience all of it, one day at a time.

I would love to know your thoughts. Happy reading 🙂



Flick of a Switch

life is precious2Working in the ER late one night, eyes slowly closing from lack of sleep, I get a text message from one of my best girlfriends – her mom’s cancer returned and she has one year to live.  My heart sank deeper and deeper as I read her message.  I wished I was there to give her the biggest hug to show my unwavering support.  In that split second I thought about my own mom if I received that diagnosis.  I’d surely be a wreck.

Gee…it sounds incredibly cliche, yet so true to say, life is truly precious. We all think about our loved ones and express affection towards them, but is it ever truly enough?  It amazes me sometimes how death’s door gets us thinking about the things we could’ve said or done, when essentially, they were always there from the beginning – we just needed to make the time in our lives for them.  I know for myself I become wrapped into my medical school microcosm and forget about the world around me, but after hearing my girl friend’s news, I said to myself I need to be more aware.  Aware of my surroundings and my loved ones because one day they may not grace me with their presence anymore.

life is precious1As we journey through this adventure called life, hold dear to you these 3 principles:

Hope – May we always have the hope and innocence of a young child that everyday will be better and brighter than the last.

Courage – May we always have the courage to experience life to its fullest potential.  Never let a day go by without doing or learning something new.

Love – May we always have love surround us everyday and never be afraid to embrace it. Love yourself, love your friends, love your family, and love your fellow man.

Life is so very precious in every way.  Its the greatest gift we have, yet its taken for granted,  Live everyday to its fullest.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Happy reading 🙂




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