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dorothyellise

If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal.

The Beginning of an Epic Adventure

Today is the day! Jordan and I leave for two weeks and venture off to Zion, Bryce Canyon, Alstrom Point, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Sedona, Grand Canyon, Havasupai, & end it with partying in Las Vegas for a day! I haven’t taken this much PTO to do anything like this & so excited for a much deserved break from the daily routine. 

We lugged two large hiking backpacks, two day packs, & one suitcase in a Lyft SUV at 4:30am this morning. I was ready to pay the overweight fee of $100/each, but surprisingly each of our packs were under fifty pounds. YAY! We packed (unpacked & packed like four times) 8 days worth of freeze dried food, clothing, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, hammocks, a tent, electrolyte tablets, four packs of beef jerky, a ton of clif bars, GoPro, portable chargers, lanterns, headlights, extra batteries, towels, swimming gear, a compass, my ankle brace, sandals, trekking poles, water filtration systems, kitchenware, card games to play, a frisbee, duct tape strips, rope, lots of sunscreen, dry shampoo, hand sanitizer, first aid kit, toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable wipes & soap, toilet paper, garbage bags, a pocket shower (probably will be the best seven minute stream of a shower), body glide, ziplock bags, a machete, and of course, feminine hygiene products (because of course that time of the month would happen during this big trip).


This is the first time I packed light for Vegas. One swimsuit, one day dress, one night dress (because usually I bring four and need help choosing only one), one pair of false eyelashes, one pair of heels, a curling iron, a sticky bra, one eyeshadow palette (because for some reason I bring two or three) & other makeup essentials. My top priority when getting to Vegas? Eat at Shake Shack. Then party. 

In my bullet journal, I started a hiking log in the beginning of Spring. After writing our planned hikes for our adventure, we will be hiking about seventy miles in two weeks. We will be Vegas-bod ready in no time!

Now that I’m typing this out, I think I forgot deodorant. Anyway, I am super excited to share with you all this exciting adventure! ❤ More to come!

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First Time in the Big Apple

My cousin & I booked round trip flights from Seattle, WA to New York, NY for around $275 just for the heck of it. YOLO. We stayed for six nights and five days and it definitely wasn’t enough time to do everything!

We traveled the weekend after a huge winter storm, so we are grateful to have dodged that bullet. Thank you Mother Nature! However, we did get caught in a massive downpour the day we decided to get on a ferry to go to Liberty Island & Ellis Island. Being a Seattlite, I was actually feeling a bit miserable being soaked head-to-toe (especially my underwear) for the rest of the day walking around the big city.

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Signature Favorite (scallion cream cheese, sliced tomato, lettuce, onion, & capers) on an everything bagel

We stayed at an Airbnb in New Jersey and started our first morning in New York at Ess-a-bagel. We ended up sharing their Signature Favorite and it was the absolute best bagel I have ever had. The staff were super friendly and told my cousin and I that we looked like we could be on Glee because we looked so cheerful. So cheerful because it was our first freaking day in NY!!

My cousin and I bought a CityPass for $127/each that included admission to a lot the main touristy attractions we wanted to see during our visit:

Top of the Rock

The Metropolitan Museum

The Empire State Building

The Natural History Museum

Note to self and to others – admission to this museum is FREE. We ended up not being able to finish the entire museum one day since we got there late and ended up coming back the next day and made a charitable donation admission of a whole $2.00/each.

9/11 Memorial & Museum

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Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

There was this awesome pop-up art exhibit in Brooklyn called Dream Machine that we bought tickets to before they ended up selling out. There were smoke bubbles to pop, a ball pit to jump into, a laundry mat room where workers handed cotton candy for you to take pictures with, huge “clouds,” and a lot of creative lighting in each room. It was truly all a dream ❤ We had a lot of fun “doing it for the ‘gram.”

Being in Times Square and Grand Central Terminal was eye-opening for me. It was kind of like those moments you have when you stare out into the horizon on a sandy, white beach and have some life-changing realization about who you are as a person. Well, it was exactly like that, but surrounded by a concrete jungle. Like, “Wow. I am really here. I never thought that I would be able to visit NY, but I am here and I feel alive.”

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It is funny to think that I wanted to live in New York City. I remember I told my mom that I wanted to be a journalist, write articles for some company, and live free in a wild city like NY. Just like Jo Koy would say, “My mom shit on my dreams.” (Just kidding, I love my mom). Instead, I decided to be the very typical Filipino nurse. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do! I just thought a change of lifestyle would be nice *shrugs*. While applying for nursing schools, I even thought that maybe if I didn’t get into any in Washington state, it would be a chance to see what it would be like to live in NY that way.

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I always told myself if I were to move somewhere, it would have to be something completely different than Seattle (this desire probably came about me being a sheltered, private schooled, only child TBH lol). However, after visiting I realized that all of the amazing hype was real, the lights were bright, the buildings were gigantic, & the streets were alive; however, I couldn’t imagine myself caught in the middle of all of the hustle and bustle.

Things I learned while visiting New York:

  • I say “Sorry” too much (even when people bump into me).
  • The battery on my iPhone goes from 100% at 0700 to 50% at 1200 – something about being in the city drains the life out of it.
  • If you want to take the bus to New Jersey, you have to “go up the stairs, take a right, get a ticket at the counter, come back down, & then ride the bus.” Moral of the story behind this inside joke — people are direct af with you. Don’t take it personally.
  • The food scene in Seattle needs to step up their game! Also, Shake Shack in South Lake Union needs to open sooner because I have been having serious withdrawals.
  • Safeco Field > Yankee Stadium
  • The commute from New Jersey into New York is a real journey
  • I am definitely a grandma living in a 25 year old body because I couldn’t hang (especially on a damn weekday) at the clubs. Ya’ll wild leaving around midnight to go out and leave at 4 A.M.
  • Bring an extra suitcase if you want to be a hypebeast and buy stuff from Supreme, Stadium Goods, etc. (the resell game is real doe)
  • People really do fall into the gap between the subway and the platforms (I ran and helped pick up a stranger with my superhuman strength to get her leg out).
  • Central Park is beautiful ❤
  • Wearing a romper to go out feels like you are underdressed.
  • Subway rides are very entertaining – no matter what line you take.

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Thank you NY for the experiences, good food, and amazing memories! Also, thank you for reminding me to embrace the trees and mountains that I love to call home. Until next time!

Winter Wonderland Trip – Boston, MA

Why, hello there (:

I have been seriously MIA, but I am back to share with you my trip to Boston!

DAY ONE

We took a late flight out of Seattle and ended up landing around 5:00 am. We picked up our rental car and snow was pouring down. We told ourselves that we wanted to experience snow in a completely different state and we sure did get our wish.

We killed time by strolling around the snowy, empty brick streets, the multiple parks that were around our neighborhood near Tremont, and had some awesome breakfast burritos at a small diner. For a moment, we thought we were literally insane doing this trip because it was 10 degrees and couldn’t feel our hands, toes, or faces (we ended up sucking it up). We stopped at a nearby grocery store to pick up breakfast food, which helped save us money during our time there by eliminating one meal out of the day.

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When deciding what we wanted to do, we got our tickets through Go City Card. We ended up getting tickets to:

  • Skywalk Observatory
  • Museum of Fine Arts
  • ICA Museum – absolutely had no time on our trip to actually go D:
  • Paul Revere’s House
  • Freedom Trail Tour

SKYWALK OBSERVATORY

Definitely try to go when it is a clear day out. The views are amazing up here! Since it was the middle of winter, the Charles River was completely frozen and it was so beautiful to see Boston in this wintery wonderland feel.

DAY TWO

PROVINCETOWN, MA

Commuting around Boston was easy using the subway, but we rented a car so we can drive all the way to Provincetown to check it out. It was about a 2 hour drive away from the city and the town was quiet since everything there was seasonal. We walked around and imagined how cool it would be to come back here in the spring or summer.

We walked along Race Point Beach in complete awe of this place. We picked up rocks, beach glass, saved clams from seagulls by throwing them back into the ocean, and appreciated our alone time being the only people on this beautiful piece of land.

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On our way back, we adventured towards Seaport and ended up going to the Harpoon Brewery. Tours for the brewery run at the start of the hour Monday – Friday and only costed $5.00. The tour lasted about an hour and near the end of the tour, they give you 20-30 minutes to be able to sample all of their beers on tap. (I definitely had too many samples).

We ended up finding a Groupon for ice skating at The Boston Common Frog Pond and definitely wanted to go at night to experience all of the pretty lights (:

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DAY THREE 

BOSTON MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS

Be prepared to be trapped in this amazing, four-story museum ranging from paintings, statues, mummies, and thousands of artifacts. We were happy to be able to be there for Takashi Murakami’s special exhibit and Monet! Also, if you ever took AP U.S. History, going through and looking at the paintings will bring you right back into the classroom. By hour two or three, we ended up wanting to only see the “starred” items on the brochure because we were exhausted.

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HOUSE OF BLUES

This venue was huge and nothing like anything in Seattle. I took a hard fall when getting inside the venue because of some steps going down from the bar into the general admission area :/ We waited about an hour outside in the snow, but we did get to see Majid Jordan!

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DAY FOUR

FREEDOM TRAIL

Again, it is the middle of winter in Boston and not a lot of people were willing to do a Freedom Trail tour. However, because of this our tour guide ended up giving us a private tour! We walked around the Boston Commons, saw the Old South Meeting House, Granary Burying Ground, Old North Church, Boston Massacre Site, and it ended at Faneuil Hall. The Freedom Trail is doable on your own, but it was nice to have a tour guide explaining the rich history behind every site. He was nice enough to talk to us inside places that had heaters, so we didn’t freeze to death outside. Since the tour ended at Faneuil Hall, we ended up doing the rest of the Freedom Trail on our own.

We had tickets to see Paul Revere’s House and continued past the Charlestown Bridge to see the Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution. Make sure to check out the hours online because they vary. We missed the last tour which left at 3:30pm and had to come back the next day to check it out.

TD GARDEN

We got to check out the TD Garden and we were sad to miss out on Kyrie playing. Before the game we grabbed beers at a bar called The Fours, voted Best Sports Bar in America by Sports Illustrated. It was definitely packed, but we ended up standing around drinking a beer before we entered the game. One of the guys at the bar offered me a seat while he was waiting for his brother. He definitely was a Boston native and gave us tips and advice about our stay. Seeing a Celtics game at TD Garden is something you definitely have to try going to!

DAY FIVE

Our favorite meal of our entire trip had to be our experience at Neptune Oyster. They serve amazing seafood and have a variety of oysters to choose from. We ordered a dozen oysters, scallops, and their AMAZING lobster roll. Definitely worth the $30 for a lobster roll. We tried a lot of other lobster rolls from different restaurants, but this place was well worth the price for the amount of lobster they gave.

We went back to the USS Constitution since we missed the tour the day before. The tours are given by active US Navy men and women. The girl we had was her first tour ever and she was very nervous, especially when her officer showed up who ended up being a US Navy carpenter. He ended up continuing the tour for us and we were glad that he showed up because he was able to tell us so much about the ship itself, how it was built, and what it would be like in the ship during battles over seas.

We took an uber to adventure around Harvard and I felt like El Woods from Legally Blonde out there. From there we went to the Cambridge Brewing Company and tried out two flights. They had this chocolate raspberry stout that literally tasted like you were drinking liquid chocolate. We wanted to check out an arcade bar, but the one that we found called A4cade was hard to find because it was inside of a Roxie’s grilled cheese restaurant. When you entered the restaurant, there was a bouncer checking IDs, giving out wristbands, and opened a large freezer door where you were all of a sudden sucked into a different world. They had fun drinks and also sold bomb chicken sandwiches!

For our last night, we decided to go out with a bang and go to a nightclub called Royale. It was a huge nightclub that had three stories. We ended up being lucky enough to have one of the guys in the booth give away the rest of his alcohol, chasers, and water bottles to us (lol).

Well, that is it folks! We definitely fell in love with snowy Boston and plan on visiting again when the sun is out (:

Thanks for reading ❤

 

Dance

Lately, I feel like my mind is in this constant “GO! GO! GO!” mode. It feels like, I barely have time to sit down and take a breath. If I catch myself relaxing, I get this gut-feeling that I should be planning something, organizing something, or creating new ideas to do something. I start re-doing my savings plan, I re-calculate how much I need to save for a future house, plan trips that I want to go to, donate items I don’t need anymore, etc. Since I have already done that… here I am.

In nursing school, I learned that journaling helped me the most when it came to handling my emotions and thoughts day-by-day. If not, I felt overwhelmed from the emotions of yesterday and end up replaying moments in my head when I’m driving to work, on my breaks, or laying in bed at home. I guess if I don’t write/type it out, they stick to me. There are moments at work that shake me to the core and help me re-evaluate what is important to me and remind me why I love doing what I do.

“Human beings are the only ones in nature who are aware that they will die. For that reason and only for that reason, I have a profound respect for the human race, and I believe that its future is going to be much better than its present. Even knowing that their days are numbered and that everything will end when they least expect it, people make of their lives a battle that is worthy of a being with eternal life. What people regard as vanity-leaving great works, having children, acting in such a way as to prevent one’s name from being forgotten- I regard as the highest expression of human dignity.” – Paulo Coelho

We all have “bucket lists.” Things we want to do at least once in our lifetime. Whether these to-do’s are big or small life events, we will say something like, “I’m glad I did that – at least once!” or “I can finally cross that off my bucket list!”

When I look through surgery planning sheets, I focus more on equipment, instrumentation, correct procedures being picked a week or two in advanced, and confirm that implants will be available. I google (yes, I used google as a verb) articles of procedures to get a better understanding of them. I get caught up in the craziness of coordinating that I forget the bigger picture – the patient.

A young girl came to the OR to have bilateral hip osteotomies. She had several other medical and physical ailments, including chronic kidney disease, that made her ineligible to be a candidate on the transplant list. With no chance to have a transplant, the choice is to try to improve the quality of life and to simply live life to the fullest.

So, why hip osteotomies? She wanted to dance. *cue tears*

Life can be unfair and I feel like I experience that every day, but it definitely makes me count my blessings often and tell the people who I love, “I love you.” It is moments like this that nudge my shoulder to remind me to live. To dance in the moment. To love every chance I get. To not get caught up in routine, but to be happy to be alive and well. It also reminds me that the work I do, is for something and someone that is so much bigger than myself… and because of that, I will always put in 100% ❤

Nurses Week

As a nurse, we experience life touching moments with our patients. We rejoice together about new life, we too feel the pain of an unfortunate diagnosis, & we respect life that is lost. We are nurses, but we too are human.

I was practicing my senior practicum on an antepartum, labor & deliery, and postpartum floor. I got to the floor at 1830 and was faced with a sobbing nurse who I was to relieve. Her patient, a mother of 39-weeks had just delivered her stillborn baby. I started to feel nervous, anxious, depressed, & a million other emotions cycling within myself. The nurse had already gave the baby’s first bath & made footprints side-by-side with the baby’s big brother. My preceptor & I were responsible with contacting the morgue, putting together funeral home information for the family, coordinating follow-up appointments, & to comfort and respect the family’s time with their baby. 

I came to help the mom get up out of the bed to go to the bathroom. As I was in the room, I saw a personalized baby blanket with their child’s name on it. It made my heart sink. As she was in the bathroom, I changed the linens on her bed where she spent hours in labor. I looked at dad, who was carrying their precious angel and asked if he needed anything. He said, “No.” As mom came back into bed, she asked if I could take a family picture of them. Without hesitation, I said, “Of course.” As I was taking their picture, I wanted to sob. I gave back their camera and asked if they needed anything else before I left. I saw all three of them cuddled on the bed, grieving over their little one. 

I cried during my 0300 lunch. I also felt like throwing up because my body hated night shift. I went home around 0730 and sobbed in my car during my short drive home. I laid in bed by 0830, wide awake with thoughts racing through my head. I prayed for that family, for their little one, & I prayed to hopefully make it through another 12-hour shift by 1830. 

As a nurse, we are on our feet for 10-12 hours. We are constantly walking, standing, and running. Not only that, but we are constantly thinking. We are utilizing critical thinking skills, actively planning our day hour-by-hour, and tending to the needs of our patients. By the time we get home, we are caring for our own loved ones at home…and all of this time, there is hardly time to take care of ourselves because we invest so much of ourselves for others. This year for Nurses Week, this year’s theme is “Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.” To all the amazing nurses out there, THANK YOU!

Btw, get your free Cinnabon to treat yourself!!!

QFC Deals!

QFC was having a Buy 6, Get $3 off deal on select items!! One of them was on Lean Cuisine frozen meals! Original price = $2.29/each but when you buy 6, Sale price = $1.78/each! 

  • Lean Cuisine x8 = $1.78/each (Original price = $2.29/each)
  • Lean Cuisine x1 (Closeout deal) = $1.70
  • Eggo waffles x2 = $1.49/each (Original price = $1.99/each)
  • Super Pretzels x2 = $1.99/each (Original price = $2.99/each)
  • Mama Sita’s sinigang mix x10 = $0.39/each (Original price = $0.77/each.. found these babies in the clearance bins!)

Before QFC card = $64.82

After QFC card = $37.88 ~ 41% SAVINGS! 

Heartache

Before nursing school, I was a volunteer on a med-surg floor at the University of Washington Medical Center. I was in the middle of taking my prerequisites to apply to nursing school and one of the requirements was to have 100 hours of volunteering. On the unit, I restocked linen and supplies, changed patients’ bedding, delivered food trays and water, and answered call lights. (Yes, for 100 hours of my life). They were simple tasks, but it gave me the opportunity to interact with patients.

One of the many busy nurses asked if I could change one of her patient’s linens while they were sitting up in their chair. I knocked on their door and was welcomed by an older man and his wife. The patient was an elderly man with a fresh, c-shaped sutured incision along the right side of his head. His wife was reading to him when I walked in. I asked if I was interrupting, but they didn’t mind my presence. I continued to change the bedsheets and realized that I recognized the words she was reading out loud.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4

She was reading the Bible to her husband as they held hands. It was the most beautiful and heartbreaking thing I have ever seen.

Today, before bringing back a child to the operating room a family asked if they could say a prayer. Without hesitation, I stepped aside and gave them a moment. It reminded me of not only my memory of the elderly couple, but made me realize how as a nurse… We experience these beautiful, yet heart-aching encounters day by day.

I’ve learned to not wallow in the sadness, but to take it as a reminder that life is precious and time is short – appreciate this crazy journey we all have a chance to embrace called life. God gives us our own battles, but He only gives us what we can bear. Although, the weight may feel overwhelming, it is all in God’s plan for something greater than you may think.

Leap of Faith

About a year ago, I turned in my three weeks’ resignation letter to start completely new. New hospital. New coworkers. New surgeons. Being the “new” person. Completing dozens of on-boarding computer modules. Not knowing where anything is. Learning new policies and procedures. And especially – a new patient population. Pediatrics. I have always loved interacting with kids and admired how resilient they are.

Leading up to my decision of leaving my prior job, I noticed how my work life was “eating” me up inside. Some nights, after my shift I would get in my car and start sobbing. I would work 16 hour shifts, be on call for the next 8 hours, and then wake up to do it all over again. I was yelled at and talked down to. As a new grad nurse, it was very hard to gain confidence in a hostile environment. However, it only reaffirmed my promise to my patients – to fight for what is right for them. I am so thankful to have coworkers I could always rely on ❤ To be honest, they were the only reason I remained sane. 

I realized I wasn’t happy. I dreaded swiping my badge in and out. I couldn’t let go of work when I was at home. The attitude I had about work only projected onto my loved ones at home. I questioned the value of my work a lot. As an operating room nurse, my top priority is to keep the patient safe and to be their advocate. However, my work felt like it was about pleasing surgeons and getting their cases done on time – when my time didn’t feel appreciated. I felt like my passion for patient advocacy and safety was diminishing and it truly scared me. I was officially burnt out.

“Burnout can lead to dulled emotions and detachment. It strongly affects the emotions and undermines motivation, leaving a sense of hopelessness. For those experiencing burnout, every day is a bad day.” – Help Guide

So, I took a chance. I applied to my dream job to not only work with kids, but to work at Seattle Children’s Hospital. I’ve only dreamed of working closely with kids and their families and to work for an organization that has done wonders for hundreds of families across the northwest. I knew it would be a difficult job having to see kids in a vulnerable state, but I have always felt a calling in being a part of their journey towards living a carefree life, as they should.

April will be my official one year job anniversary at Seattle Children’s Hospital! It is crazy how fast time goes by and how work doesn’t seem like “work” when you adore what you do. During my first few days of orientation, I received an e-compliment (an electronic way to give compliments to staff) from a surgeon and how he appreciated the work we did to get all of his cases done. That was the first time I was thanked for my work. It was something so little, but it was a huge sign to me that reassured my leap of faith wasn’t a mistake. It was a start to new beginnings.

If you are not happy, change something. If your time and talents go unnoticed to someone, find people that will appreciate what you have to offer. Make your life more than what it currently is. Aspire to do more. Create goals. Achieve new heights. You are capable of being something greater than you think you are!

Don’t Be Sad

I always admired those who cared for sick children. I believe that working with kids it is rewarding, but at the same time very difficult. It takes a lot sometimes to hold back tears that are on the rim of your waterline when you empathize with a patient and a family. There are times where I find myself stressed out about something so small in comparison to what my patient and their families deal with every single day. This realization makes me stop worrying, to take a deep breath, and to be thankful for the countless blessings that God has given me.

There was a day that I met a teenager who had a condition of recurrent venous malformations in his lower extremity. Instead of coming in and having the malformation excised, the decision was made to have a below-the-knee amputation. As I was talking to the surgeon performing the surgery, I expressed my feelings of how making a decision like this as a teenager would be not only difficult, but truly life changing. When I was a teenager, I was very self-conscious. I cared so much about what other people thought about me and was bullied about my appearance. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be in that child’s place in life when I was their age. The surgeon told me, “Don’t be sad. This kid is super excited! After realizing his options of maintaining these malformations were not definite cures, he decided why not do something that is.”

The kids that I meet every day are some of the bravest people I have ever met. It amazes me every single time that even though they are battling through their own personal battles, they are still kids who want to play, smile, jump, and laugh. Just like any kid should behave (: I have also learned throughout all of my patient care experiences that every encounter has helped me grow as a person and to become a better nurse.

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