Year: 2017

Is book subscription a thing? HELL YEAH!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post from BOTM. I received free books as a compensation for this post and if ever you subscribe to them via my tracking link, I get commission at no extra cost to you. And believe me when I say, I’m actually going to subscribe to them even without their sponsorship because that’s how highly I believe in their services. I fell in love in a heartbeat. They sure know how to identify a book lover when they see one.

“A writer has to have an imagination- that’s what makes a writer. She has to be able to put herself imaginatively in the position of whatever character she selects.”
― Wyketha K Parkman

Even when I agree to this quote, I think the best tool a writer should have is his/her ability to read. Because that’s how we are able to put ourselves imaginatively in the position of all characters in a book. It is when we read that we gain more knowledge of something that we don’t know, or find words for things that we are already familiar with but struggle to sort it out in our head. I am a true-blue book lover. Even when I can’t find time to read, I somehow manage to transform my phone into a reading machine. Technology, however, has a way of stealing important things that a book offers- the scent of printed ink overwhelming your lungs, the feel of paper when you turn a page, the search for a position where your hands become one with the book. That’s why when I heard about book subscription service like what Book Of The Month offers, I was like, HERE! TAKE MY MONEY!

 

 

Why subscribe when you can just buy a book?

 

  1. Eliminate the sorting struggle.

When you buy a book, say you go to a book store, it takes a lot of time for you to pick one. You read synopsis after synopsis and before you know it, you’ve lost track of time and you’re just gonna end up buying the last one you’ve laid your eyes on. It’s all drowning in love but when reality tells you that it’s time for you to get out of the book store, there is always a tug of regret not having all the time in the world to choose what book really speaks to you.

2. Convenience. 

If you’re a workaholic like me, you don’t really have the luxury of time to go to a local book store. I bet the closest book store that you have been in a while is the grocery store, which by the way, has a limited books selection. They usually showcase pieces that are way too mainstream. And it makes you cringe because other writers need some loving, too, and you know it! Nothing beats a special box right at your doorstep, and being hypnotized to open it right there and then.

3. Options, options, options.

The thing about subscription services is its algorithm of offering you the best read that is perfect for what you are looking for. You love a certain genre? They got you! Book subscription is a great deal for readers who want to explore a certain genre but don’t know where to start. In a pool of great authors, BOTM can do the dirty work for you. No hassle!

4. Exclusivity.

It does make you special being included in 90 years of literary heritage. Yes. You read that right. 90 YEARS. Aside from that, they give premium services to their members. Like what, you ask? Like EARLY BOOK RELEASE!!! If you go to BOTM’s website, Marlena by Julie Buntin is already available to BOTM members (in fact, I already have it) WHILE the rest of the world has to wait until April. Talk about special treatment, right?

5. Great selections.

I know the feeling of being hesitant to something you don’t know. What if you don’t like the book? What if it’s not your “type?” I assure you one thing: BOTM members are readers, too. And just like you, they want the best of the best. Most of the book choices in their subscription list are highly rated and loved. And don’t worry, you’ll have your say which book to receive for every month.

6. Ace that book challenge.

Three books for one month will be easy peasy. Yours will be lined up and ready to go. You know what to read, when to read them, and not be late with book discussions and latest authors’ debut. Isn’t it amazing to be relevant to the thing you love most? And book challenges won’t intimidate you anymore because YOU are actually IN YOUR ZONE! Reading is your turf. You’re gonna beat this.

7. Your voice matters.

Every year, members vote for the best books of the year. Why is your voice heard? Because YOU HAVE THE CHANCE to pick which book gets noticed in those mainstream shelves. Have you ever wondered who decides whose debut work is a success? Let’s face it, most of the reading class will choose a known author over a starting one, especially if you don’t know a thing about that author or about that book. But by having nominations like this, you’ll get an idea what book ranks the highest among others.

8. Never miss out on great books!

BOTM has been around for a long, long, time. BOTM members introduced J.D. Salinger, Hemingway, and Mitchell to the world. They just relaunched ONLINE last year, and if you want to keep their legacy of helping us discover the best books of our time, join the club. Sign up here.

“Is there anything more satisfying than to keep abreast of the best new books of our time as they appear? In reading them, in enjoying them, in talking with others about them, we feel our day taking shape.”

—Book of the Month Club founding statement, 1926

 

How does it work?

I know you won’t sign up right away if you don’t know how it works. Because you are smart like that.

Three simple phrases: Awesome books. Better reading. Every month.

 

What you need to know:

 

  • You get one book every month from 5 GREAT selections of BOTM judges. You can choose which book to get. If ever you get curious who the judges are, THEY are professionals in their field. Some are news writers, celebrities, hosts, editors, YOU REALLY NEED TO CHECK OUT THEIR WEBSITE because they are all awesomeeee!
  • If you want to add a book, you pay additional $9.99. Due to their great selections, I bet you’ll pay for more. Don’t worry. It’s FREE SHIPPING.
  • If ever you don’t feel like buying one from their great selections, you can skip any month. No hassle of unsubscribing. Because they know you’ll go back for more.
  • Say you come across a book that your friend will love, YOU CAN OPT TO GIVE IT AS A GIFT! No stress of wrapping it because they’re gonna make sure it will be delivered in a special way, just like how you’d want it to be.
  • PLUS you get an exclusive review from one of their judges. What if you receive a review from a news anchor that you love or a writer that you’re dying to see? What a BONUS right?! And it makes a great bookmark, too!

“A BOOK IS A DREAM YOU HOLD IN YOUR HAND”

 

Neil Gaiman got it right. BOTM is always on the lookout for the next great read – well-written, immersive stories that transport you, give you thrills, and tug at your heartstrings. Books that are truly worth reading.

HAPPY READING EVERYONE!

Mardi Gras in New Orleans | Why it’s a must on your travel bucket list

New Orleanians call it the
"Greatest Free Show on Earth."
Let me tell you why.

 

 

This post is a little bit late for 2017. But YOU NEED to bookmark this for NEXT YEAR or for NEXT FESTIVAL. Because MARDI GRAS in NEW ORLEANS is like no other! If you love food, colors, culture, and music, there's no other place to go. New Orleans is known for its incredible weave of everything. Bring your camera and whole bucket of fun vibes, and I promise you, it won't disappoint.

Why New Orleans? Because COOL and CREATIVE people build their empire here! There are places that are amazing only because they are aesthetically pretty and commercialized. I'm not saying the city is not pretty and commercialized BUT New Orleans is more than that. It will make you experience things; it will make you understand people in a revealing and colorful way. The attitude of locals here is just intense and you'll never get accustomed to their brand of humor and unique perspective.

1. You'll be stunned by its rich history and culture.

 

You know those people who barely talk at first and watch you like you're one of the bad guys? I am one of those people. Going to New Orleans, I expected to see an ordinary parade, you know, with prismatic floats and costumes, loud music and a lot of drunk people. OK, while some of these things are true, it is undeserving for NOLA to be treated like a gossip. First off, Mardi Gras is a Christian and historical event and is mainly targeted to family and deeply rooted tribes of the place. It may look like a wild ride to you (eating nonstop, getting drunk, excessive show off, and the like) for it to be a Christian parade but if you go back to its history, you'll be amazed on how it distinguishes itself as a celebration of freedom and unity.

Let's have a fast information exchange here first: According to historians, Mardi Gras also known as Fat Tuesday dates back thousands of years to pagan hullabaloo of spring and fertility. It is during that time when Christianity arrived in Rome that religious leaders decided to incorporate popular local traditions into the new faith. They thought, it is an easier task than abolishing them altogether. As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. The word “carnival,” another common name for the pre-Lenten festivities, may also derive from this vegetarian-unfriendly custom: in Medieval Latin, carnelevarium means to take away or remove meat. Along with Christianity, Mardi Gras spread from Rome to other European countries, including France, Germany, Spain and England. (source)

Now, you'll think HOW the heck did Mardi Gras end up in New Orleans?

It is quite simple actually. On March 2, 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans, and named it "Pointe du Mardi Gras" when his men realized it was the eve of the festive holiday. In the decades that followed, New Orleans and other French settlements began marking the holiday with street parties, masked balls and lavish dinners. When the Spanish took control of New Orleans, however, they abolished these rowdy rituals, and the bans remained in force until Louisiana became a U.S. state in 1812.

How it came back was a pretty interesting story. On Mardi Gras in 1827, a group of students donned colorful costumes and danced through the streets of New Orleans, emulating the revelry they’d observed while visiting Paris. Ten years later, the first recorded New Orleans Mardi Gras parade took place, a tradition that continues to this day. In 1857, a secret society of New Orleans businessmen called the Mistick Krewe of Comus organized a torch-lit Mardi Gras procession with marching bands and rolling floats, setting the tone for future public celebrations in the city. Since then, krewes have remained a fixture of the Carnival scene throughout Louisiana. Other lasting customs include throwing beads and other trinkets, wearing masks, decorating floats and eating King Cake. (source)

Intricately crafted floats by Kern Studios

2. It's not just parade of colors. It is PEOPLE exhibit as well.

 

I must admit, it was knotty impression at first. I don't know if it's their accent or their language. They just talk funny and they know it. We were checking in when I heard a lady yelled outside the entrance saying something I couldn't understand. All I know was... I looked confused. I honestly thought she was speaking in European language or something. Wait, is that French? I saw the receptionist in my peripheral view---smiling, as if witnessing another common "tourist" bewilderment. I get it. Although this whole thing was new to me, to her, I'm just a temporary face in the crowd. The whole situation was a normal scene.

Again, this has something to do with their peculiar history. New Orleans is said to be the place where Africans, both slave and free, and American Indians shared their cultures and intermingled with European settlers. Encouraged by the French government, this strategy for producing a durable culture in a difficult place marked New Orleans as different and special from its inception and continues to distinguish this city today.

When we were looking for parking (God knows we had a really difficult time looking for one BUT IT IS WORTH the struggle!), I was surprised to see such a melange of people tirelessly walking around, wearing shiny beads and eye candy costumes. They were everywhere! The streets were filled with laughter and music. Some people opted to eat their festive food at the comfort of their balcony while others savored finger food offered by stalls along the sidewalks. I love how the community is so involved with the parade. From local dancers and musicians to their families and friends cheering for them.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is for all age groups, too! You will see young children in their splashy face paints and glittery hairs. And don't even think for a second that old people are going to miss the fun because most of them rocked their costumes like a boss!

3. No matter where you are in the world, whoever you are, whatever your trip in life is, YOU ARE WELCOME HERE!

 

If you're going to New Orleans to witness Mardi Gras, you're in for a PARTY you'll never forget. Carnival in New Orleans is something that needs to be truly experienced. I tell you, ogling at photos isn't enough! THE VIBE IS JUST INTENSE! Oh wait, did I mention IT IS LEGAL here to drink outdoors? Only in Louisiana! How cool is that? But I need to warn you on this- IT IS A MARATHON, not a sprint. You have to pace yourself when drinking. It gets pretty humid in summer; it's better to have water in hand. Party goers, put New Orleans Mardi Gras in your bucketlist! You sure are gonna thank me after.

Free stuff flying in the air, dancing drummers, and elaborate performances? KIDS love Mardi Gras! And yes, there are children in the streets. It's one of the common misconceptions that Mardi Gras is like an adult celebration. IT IS NOT! For most locals, it is a family tradition. Many of these children arrive with their families and a Mardi Gras ladder, which is a contraption that is essentially a wooden seat nailed to a stepladder, so that the kiddies can see over parade-goers and hopefully catch some cool stuff. Be sure to watch out for these tiny humans when aiming for your beads. Many unfortunate paws have been stomped in the process. Same tip applies to you. Don't say I didn't warn yah.

You love music? For the record, you'll be in the most musical city on earth! Who ever thought of a party without catchy music? You're right, no one. Here, grannies dance. Kids dance. Store owners dance. Police officers dance. When you go to see a show in NOLA, feel free to move and not just stand there like a terrified corpse. Be one with the crowd, and you'll see yourself in a better hue. There's something about the event that speaks to your soul. Whenever you look around, you feel the city's soul. It is alive. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is unbelievably breathtaking.

Definitely one for the books!

Photos taken during Mardi Gras in New Orleans

"It has been said that a Scotchman has not seen the world until he has seen Edinburgh; and I think that I may say that an American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans." — Mark Twain

 

Want to explore other US Top Destinations? Click here.

If you're planning to go to New Orleans, let me know in the comments!

Poems of the month

"Poetry sees, smells, hears, tastes, feels."

 

It's been six months since I launched my blog and I couldn't be more grateful for the support I received, new friends I met, and all the brands, marketing teams and social media agencies that collaborated with me and trusted in my pitching capabilities. Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. Working my way through, I focused my content on what I deemed was necessary to contribute to my platform's growth. I still couldn't believe that you guys supported the BIG SWITCH. In case you haven't followed me on instagram, a month ago, I changed my feed vibe. I told myself, if I won't be able to sustain that kind of feed for a month, screw it. I'm just going to go back to my old and random feed.

The thing about being new in the field is YOU STILL HAVE MANY ROOMS FOR IMPROVEMENTS and revise what you started. And that's what I did. From all the niches/contents I love, I narrowed them down to two (for instagram only, I still post food-related content and stuff under lifestyle category): TRAVEL CAREER and POETRY. I did this so I can introduce poetry while still posting photos of my travels. And, to push myself to write a short poem at least every three days.

I started it with so much enthusiasm and love for the craft. I even received a collaboration after my first post. I was surprised because it introduced me to the giving world. Not only was I able to gain funds for this little kid, I was also able to contribute to lives of others inside and outside hospital hallways. It is truly moving how God works wonders in our lives.

Poetry also introduced me to new books. I met new writers on instagram, too! And well, they're MANY! And I just love how amazing they are! 

Most of them are women who started writing because of a broken heart, or loss of somebody, or career move. Talk about writing as therapy, right? I realized, most of these writers started because of something. They gained a massive following after that. And as the community grew, I kept receiving DMs and personal emails that requested poems related to women. So I did!

.

A post shared by Gelli (@omgelli) on

And I made some more! It's fulfilling how one craft can empower women like you, in many ways you never thought you could.

Dear young girls ~G.D.

A post shared by Gelli (@omgelli) on

I participated in campaigns using hashtags. One of the social media campaign that I love is #justwrite. The campaign is simple: Help EPS spread awareness to write again. To encourage struggling students, including those with dyslexia and reading difficulties, and in the long run, build a social media presence. I pick campaigns that I believe in and not just a random fad just to gain likes and followers. I've always believed that in order for people to be successful in their career, they need to find purpose in what they do or else they'll be lost in the middle of nowhere (wait is that a song? lol) and not find what their hearts truly desire.

I wrote at least 5 poems last January, and that doesn't include other thoughts that I wrote in my little notebook. This round-up, to me, is a big achievement already. And gaining a following because of this craft makes it all better. I know some of you aren't fond of reading poems and writing cheesy stuff. But I'm sure you have a passion that you love. Maybe you're in love with photography, or with arts, or maybe you fancy numbers and all things science?

Comment below what you like doing! Or if you have a blog talking about topics that you love, feel free to discuss it. I'd love to share ideas with you. Don't forget to hit the "heart" button in the bottom right corner of your screen and subscribe to this blog. Thank you!

On travel nursing: How traveling as a couple builds stronger relationships

 

"I followed my love."

 

 

I don't want this to be a trend. I don't want this to be a fad. I want to breathe every day knowing I chose the lifestyle I want. I chose to wander. I want to look back one day and say, "I served my purpose."

 

To others, this could be just another millennial dream. To eat in a local restaurant and try weekly chef's specialty. To mingle with strangers and pet their dogs. To feel the sand between your toes and let your feet sink into ground's cushions. To turn your back... away from all the things that caused you drama. To be yourself and make a mark in a world full of turbulence and doubts. To play a song while driving on unfamiliar streets and forgetting that problems, wars, and societal division exist. To live in your little bubble and call it paradise. To smile because all while it's loud outside and roads are rocky sometimes, you have a choice whether to stop the journey or to get going and move to your next destination.

"Is it worth it?"

 

I asked myself after paying two sets of electric bills, rent, and car loan. I'm not going to lie; paying double for everything is stressful to my budget and pocket. Why double, you ask? As a travel nurse here in the US, we receive pay packages that are different compared to those with permanent staff positions. Travel agents offer us nontaxable travel benefits which include housing stipends, meals, and incidentals. Say they give us 1000 USD for housing and 500 USD for meals biweekly, we're able to keep it to ourselves. No tax! And that doesn't include our hourly rate yet. However, to receive nontaxable travel benefits, we must have 1) a permanent tax home (which is my apartment in McAllen) and 2) my travel assignment must not be within commuting distance of my permanent tax home, and each travel assignment, including extensions and other assignments cannot be expected to keep me in the same general area for more than one year.

So you get why I need to keep my original apartment, right? You might think that the end result is the same- getting paid more while spending twice the amount of what you used to give away. And that it doesn't make sense at all if the salary barely changed. No, not really. I travel with my boyfriend so somehow we manage to cut the expenses in half. And I have a roommate in Mcallen so she pays half the rent as well. It's all good actually. I have saved more in three months than what I used to when I was still a permanent staff in my previous job. It's quite confusing I know, but to keep it simple, this travel nurse life works for me and my needs.

The question didn't sprout from money. It's from something else.

 

I was lying on bed when I saw Luis playing his video games. I suddenly thought of the important things he needed to give up just to be with me in this journey. He didn't want this life at first. He imagined his career to be close to his family, in the comfort of the town he grew up in, secured that everything he needs are just within reach. He can even close his eyes and drive to my place if he wanted to. He doesn't need GPS; he knows the roads by heart. I can only imagine all the things he'd do if we stayed in our previous jobs. It will look like this:

His mom will cook tostada for breakfast. He'll wash his face and brush his teeth in front of a big mirror with ceramic sink. His toothbrush, razors, towels, and creams will be at the same corner; he can do his routine without minding that another person will use the bathroom because it is his bathroom. And nobody will sigh whenever he forgets to flush the toilet. He will go to their dining area with plates already lined up, with food waiting for him, his mom ironing clothes and telling him random stuff. Then his siblings will walk across the room, or his dad, and it will be another day of going to work or church or someplace else. He will play his video games using his large screen. Oh, how he loves his Xbox! He will try to choose a game among his mountain of collections  and he'll end up playing Fallout or Resident Evil. He will do this for hours and days and weeks and he won't bother that any of his routine will change.

And then one day, I told him about my plans of finally doing travel nursing. I was excited. I would tell him about this travel nurse working in our unit and convincing me to do the same. I would research about travel communities and blogging world and he'd just nod. I was into it. I was thrilled by the idea of it, but he was sad and hesitant. It came to that point when I told him I can go. Alone. Solo. And that would mean us breaking up. I know the idea is horrendous but traveling around every three months? With new people, new cultures, I mean all these changes are going to happen, and we both know we will be different people after.

We all know what happened next: He decided to come with me.

I used to have nightmares of him leaving in the middle of our contract and going back home. I was anxious that he might not like it because he'd miss his family so much. I was worried about our housing situation- how to find an apartment that will accept tenants on a short lease or how to function with limited furnitures. On top of this, it is a known fact in nursing community that couples and groups experience a little more difficulty finding jobs at the same hospitals or hospitals within a reasonable commute of one another. It's because some hospitals maintain a policy prohibiting couples from working at their facility at the same time. They cite problems that they’ve experienced with companies in the past as the reason. In addition, it’s always a little more difficult to land jobs for multiple people in any given location. That’s just the nature of the game.

My mind's exploding at the thought of him not being satisfied with our work environment. What if our new coworkers are mean? What if the place is chaotic and more toxic than where we were? How are we going to spend holidays away from home? What if the travel isn't worth it? What if I didn't make the right choice?

"What if he's not happy?"

 

 

I used to imagine his face with disappointment. I used to try so hard doing all things that would make him comfortable and not feel homesick. I look at him and I feel at home, but... what if he doesn't feel the same way?

Second week of February ended our travel assignment contract in Lufkin. This is it. The moment of truth. I finally had the courage to ask him what his thoughts are. If he still wants to go on, or just stop. There was tug of war inside my gut. I wanted him to say that he'd stay with me and travel some more but I don't want to be selfish. I just want him to be happy whether it's with me or not.

It's hard to gauge what a happy relationship means but in this lifestyle, I found out that having the same goals and plans is one way to start accommodating each other's needs. I still plan on doing this again and I don't see it ending soon. It taught me how to be a better nurse. It made me feel human again. I was high. It was amazing.

So when I asked him about his plans, he smiled and said he'll do it again in a heartbeat. I felt relieved.

What changed his mind?

 

At this point, I already made peace with myself knowing and finally believing that our relationship grew stronger than I could ever imagine. Maybe he got used to our arguments? By the way, when we're traveling, we argue a lot. A LOT. I posted a whole other article for that here and we never had a problem that we couldn't fix since that day. From simple details to complicated ones, somehow, our spirits are less stressed. We see a different view and that helps our perspective. We became better people than our past selves.

We never lived together under the same roof before our travel assignment. Yes, we'd go on week-long trips like during that time when we went on cruise but actually breathing the same air freshener (and farts, lol) and compromising each other's privacy? Traveling revealed a lot about us. We discovered our weaknesses and strengths. And what came out of it? We perfected adjusting to our limitations.

Doing our weekly groceries has played a great part on how we communicate, too! Who would have thought that weighing which meal to cook, what guilty pleasure to buy and whatnot could bring us closer? It is really true that as humans, the indelible treasure in our hearts and minds when experiencing something new together can be everlasting. It is reassuring to know that there is somebody with me to share adventures with. Somebody was there when it was fun and when it was scary.

Judging from our past conversation, our sense of humor became more in sync. There are times when situations don't go as planned and things just go horribly wrong and you just laugh about it. It could be the disgusting food from the cheap hotel you booked online, or from nasty comments made by a stranger who didn't have anything to do with you. At the end of the day, no matter how terrible the day went by, both of you gained one more golden story to laugh about in the future.

After our first travel nursing assignment, YES, WE CAME OUT ALIVE! And OUR RELATIONSHIP IS STRONGER THAN EVER.

 

Related topic

 

My experience may vary from other travel nurse couples out there because Luis and I are both nurses who only accept same hospital contracts. If you're a travel nurse couple but with different set up, read on.

Retired spouse or significant other of a travel nurse

 

If your spouse or significant other is retired, then the challenge is greatly reduced. Most people have thought about what they will do when they are retired (like travel) so now is the time for your spouse or significant other to look into those interests and hobbies that have always been on hold. This is also a great opportunity to travel in locations close to the kids and grandkids. If they are retired and bringing in extra income is not a huge priority, then a retired spouse or significant other is in a great position to take care of the issues like taxes, finances, your house back in your hometown and you (hey you’re the one still working so make sure they take care of everything at home so you can relax).

Spouse or significant other who is also a travel nurse

 

This is the easiest situation, but does present some of its own challenges as far as finding assignments in the same city if not same hospital at the same time. This will require a great recruiter and travel nursing company and a lot of pre-planning on your part. Another challenge of this is to make sure that you try to get your schedules as closely synced as possible so you don’t miss out on the chance to enjoy your travel location together. You don’t just want to transfer a life where you don’t see each other to a new locale; you want to enjoy all the benefits of a travel nursing job. So make sure you work with your recruiter and nurse manager to see how often you can work the same schedules or at least coordinate one or two days off together a week. And hopefully you can avoid a situation where one of you is working the night shift and the other the day.

Another option here is to take turns working the travel nursing jobs. Instead of you both working during one 13 week stretch you could alternate. And another option is to both work a ton for 2-3 assignments a year and have 3 months off together. By then you should have seen enough of each other enough that going back to work sounds like a vacation.

Non traveler spouse or significant other of a travel nurse

 

The challenges of having a spouse or significant other who is not retired or a traveler while you are a travel nurse is really keeping them busy and productive away from home. If you have already made the decision for them to leave their job or career behind while you use travel nursing to make extra money and see the country then hopefully the two of you have thought through what they will do while you are at work. But if you haven’t or you have realized that you need or want them to supplement the household income then are some cool job options for spouse or significant others of travel nurses.

Some other options are working with a temporary staffing agency. Many industries rely on staffing agencies just like nursing does so be sure to check out that option. It is a great way for them to gain new skills and broaden their career network while you travel. 

Some websites to get started with are Kelly ServicesManpowerKforce and TrueBlue.

Another option for them is to go back to college online. There are tons of great online university degree programs all you need is an Internet connection, time and motivation. Just search for online colleges and you will find tons of resources.

A few other rewarding options I have seen spouse or significant others of travel nurses take:

  • Blogging
  • Substitute teaching
  • Volunteering

Links for spouse or significant others of travel nurses

 


My travel agency is Medical Solutions. If you've been wanting to join the gypsy nurse life and don't know where to start, feel free to message me for referrals. 🙂 If you have questions about Travel Nursing in general, you are welcome to join our Travel Nurse Group on Facebook! Have a good day everyone! 

Psalm 32:7-8 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you."

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta

 

Ingredients

8 ounces Linguine Pasta

2 Tablespoons olive oil

6 Tablespoons butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 pound medium shrimp

salt and pepper to taste

4 cups baby spinach

½ cup parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped

4 lemons

 

Instructions

1. In a large pot, cook the pasta in boiling water according to package directions. 10 minutes is usually the magic number that works for me. Add 2 tbsp salt and cooking oil. Salted water flavors the pasta from the inside out as the pasta absorbs the water, leading to tastier pasta. When it comes to adding olive oil, there are different opinion about this. Here's what I learned from watching Food Network when it comes to putting oil in your pasta water:

Rule of thumb: If you are making a thick sauce- including tomato paste, creamy mushroom, lots of cheese- for your pasta, DO NOT put oil in pasta water. It will prevent your pasta from absorbing your sauce. If your sauce is olive oil-based, YOU CAN ADD olive oil in your pasta water.

 

2. Drain and set aside.

3. Using the same pan, heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant.

4. Add the shrimp and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the shrimp start to turn pink.

5. Add spinach and cook until wilted.

6. Add the pasta back to the pot with the remaining butter, parmesan, and parsley. Still until mixed and butter is melted.

7. Add the lemon juice before serving and serve while hot.

Let me know if you tried this recipe. 🙂

OMG I Got A Letter: ONE BRAVE LITTLE BOY

 

Ann's Photo

By Ann Leghorn

THE STORY:

My sister’s life was forever changed during the winter of 2011, when she and her husband went for a regularly scheduled ultrasound while pregnant with their first-born child and was told their baby was critically ill and would need multiple lifesaving procedures. This was the first of unending life altering news in their new family’s life. On July 1st, 2011, Asher Levy-Dahl, was born at 8:48 PM in Maria Ferrari Children’s Hospital in Westchester, NY. As soon as he was born, the medical adventures began.

Although Asher’s family knew he would have some surgical needs after the fetal echocardiogram showed he had several congenital heart defects and complex Heterotaxy Syndrome, they never expected the insurmountable medical obstacles he now faces. The birth defects were just the beginning of what is now an ongoing battle with several rare chronic illnesses, including Congenital Heart Disease, Heterotaxy Syndrome, Hydrocephalus, and Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia.

Initially, the fetal echocardiogram showed Asher’s tiny heart contained eight congenital heart defects. The cardiologist told Asher’s family he had 4 holes, 2 ASD’s, 2 VSD’s, coarctation of the aorta, partial anomalous pulmonary venus return in which 2 of his pulmonary veins are draining to his coronary sinus, interrupted inferior vena cava, and an unroofed coronary sinus. These congenital heart defects resulted in a massive 17-hour surgery on his little walnut sized heart when he was just 2 weeks old. As he healed in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), his family sat by his bed side watching his tiny heart fight for its life while he was in a medically induced coma with his chest cavity still open due to swelling. Five days after the initial open heart surgery he underwent another surgery to close the chest cavity.

Another of Asher’s major lifelong illnesses is Heterotaxy Syndrome. There are 16 babies born a year in the United States with Heterotaxy Syndrome. Of those 16 babies, less than 15% make it to their 1st birthday. Asher is one of the fortunate 15%. Heterotaxy Syndrome occurs when the internal organs form in different areas than they normally do and results in a variety of medical issues. For Asher, this has created a malrotation of the intestines and bowel; right sided stomach; midline liver; and seven spleens, none of which function to the capabilities of an anatomically average spleen. This has resulted in a diminished immune system and constant bouts of illness during Asher’s 5 years. To address some of the issues that Heterotaxy created, Asher underwent an hours long LADS procedure when he was just 18 months old. The surgery fixed the malrotation and placed a permanent feeding tube in his stomach to provide nourishment and medicine.

Asher also faces the problems that come with Hydrocephalus, an illness in which the water around the brain cannot absorb or drain properly leading to pressure on the brain. As with all of Asher’s medical diagnoses, this diagnosis has come with many complications. Asher underwent an endoscopic third ventriculostomy while simultaneously placing an Ommaya reservoir in his brain in hopes to avoid the placement of a shunt. Unfortunately, two weeks later it completely failed and Asher needed emergency surgery to place a VP shunt in his brain. This was only the first of 8 more brain surgeries that were needed to fix numerous shunt malfunctions. Asher’s ninth brain surgery was just yesterday, January 6th, 2017, and he will need countless more brain surgeries as he continues to grow. Currently, there is no cure for Hydrocephalus and the only treatment requires invasive, life-threatening brain surgeries.

Asher’s other major disease is Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia, a progressive lung disease that causes an excess buildup of mucous in his lungs which leads to excessive respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and upper respiratory infections. This is exacerbated by his severe asthma. Because Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia affects all the cilia in the body, Asher also suffers from frequent and severe ear and sinus infections. Thus, he has had his tonsils and adenoids removed as well as four different sets of tubes put in to try to stop some of the ear infections.

In just 5 short years, Asher has faced unbelievable odds and continues to beat them all. Much to all his doctors’ surprise, he laughs and plays like any average child. Underneath his silly façade, lies a medically complex and fragile child who will need many more painful and life-threatening surgeries and procedures. None of Asher’s diagnoses currently have a cure and can only be maintained through further surgeries, medical procedures, and invasive intervention. Asher’s mother and father have been by his side every moment of his tumultuous journey and thus now need financial assistance. Because of all the therapy and doctor appointments, Asher’s mother is unable to maintain a full-time job and had to leave college, leaving only Asher’s father to earn money for their family, including Asher and their 19-month-old daughter, Quinn.

My sister and her family have spent the past 5 years battling alongside their son and have never asked anyone for help. Through all of this, they have strived to maintain normality for their family. Now I am asking you to donate to help them pay for some of the medical costs and life costs that come with being parents of a medically needy child. Asher’s parents will never be able to pay off all of Asher’s medical bills because they continually grow as Asher’s needs escalate and change, resulting in more surgeries and hospital stays. Any money you donate will help cover excessive medical costs, their apartment, necessary and expensive repairs for their minivan to ensure safe and reliable transportation, gas for the frequent trips to doctors, hospitals, and specialists, and give Asher and his little sister a chance to have a fulfilled life with their parents.


To donate, click >>here.<<<

This story is part of OMG I Got A Letter series curated by Gelli. Gelli partnered with Crowdrise to help raise funds for people/charity groups in need. Every month, we’ll feature at least one story that needs sharing. The writer nor the blog host gets commission from this. This is pure charity. Aside from monetary contribution, we also welcome letters of encouragement from people like you. Let us know in the comments section what you want to tell Asher and his family. We’ll make sure he reads this! Thank you for your help.

Hello, January!

Last year has been a bit of a doozy, with an icky election, scandal-plagued Olympics, war in Syria, and the loss of far too many beloved celebrities. We mourned Prince, Bowie, Ali, Leonard, and Merle, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t celebrate all the good stuff! Sure, even Willy Wonka, Mrs. Brady, and Mr. Seaver shuffled off this mortal coil in 2016, but I suggest you turn that frown upside down, channel your positive energy, because there's a lot in store for us this 2017!

OK I am not really into trends but recently, I've been tracking every social media post that has likes and engagements for more follows and collaborations. I don't know if it's just me or other bloggers and people from sales feel the same way. There's just something about trends that helps you with your planning. I think it's safe to say that the magic word is algorithms. For many years, researchers have used people's interactions and way of life as their bases for a new study. These tracks and breadcrumbs also help our government agents in tracking a criminal's next move. Sometimes, these trends make or break a company. You remember what happened to Nokia? I loved that brand. My first cellphone was with them, and I guess they will always have a special place in my heart. "We didn't do anything wrong. We just failed at evolving and trying new things." I don't know if that's what the company's CEO said, but it's something close to that. Apple is yesterday's Nokia, and if they don't up their game this year, Samsung will. Just saying.

I compiled these emerging trends so that I won't need to bookmark several pages. First week of January and I'm already trying to do everything at once- reading a book, updating my blog, searching for a new travel nursing location, writing goals, ghaaa it's just too much! Once I start mapping everything out, I just can't stop 'til I have a picture of what's likely to happen. I forced myself to stop though because I'll be starting my work again tomorrow and I just want to relax for my last day of our 5-day vacation. But oh well, here I am writing this. It's actually calming on my part. Lol.

OK here goes the long list:

Emerging trends in Health and Wellness

2016 gave us wearable technology aimed at improving our health. Fitbit, Apple and Samsung watches are in demand! Everywhere I go, whenever I see someone jogging, I just know he's wearing a smartwatch or a digital tracker. It was also the year of Apple Cider Vinegar's maximum use (like, seriously, you can put it on everything!) and green teas-oh how I love Matcha!-although it's becoming more of a fad.

The use of Turmeric: Popping Curcumin tabs or drinking turmeric curd or milk is a big trend that is being witnessed across the world. For Indians, Turmeric has been an age old remedy for aches and pains. But, in recent times it is being prescribed as an anti-inflammatory food and is slowly being integrated into one’s lifestyle and diet.

Super Foods: Super Foods are becoming part of daily regular diet. Two years ago, Quinoa, flax seeds, Melon seeds, Pumpkin seeds and Kale were considered exotic and difficult to find in supermarkets. Now however, these super foods have become staples for many and is part of regular daily diet of many. One time I went to Jason's Deli and tried their salad, I just loved how they mixed Quinoa in it! So delish, and it filled me up before getting to the main course, which is a good thing if you're cutting your carbs.

Wellness retreats: Since people have taken to healthy living, their holiday habits are also changing. They are thinking of going for wellness spa holidays, or meditation and yoga retreats in the mountains or go to pure wellness centers that is built amidst nature for detox. People are taking off for a week to be in complete solace with themselves and soak in the good aspects of life and bring in a discipline in their life. Audrey Gelman of The Wing, a space for "women on their way," raised $2.4 million in a short five months this past year. The female founders of super-successful SoulCycle and BBG Ventures, who require at least one female founder, participated in its seed round. The Wing is a members-only gathering space for women who are interested in connecting with other women, want a safe and quiet space to work, or who need a midday touch-up and going home isn't an option. "There is a culture in these co-working spaces that is sort of bro-centric, male-dominated," Gelman says. "There was this blind eye to amenities that were essential for women," Gelman told New York Magazine, on one of the many reasons she founded The Wing. (Mindbodygreen)

Sitting is the new Smoking so walk 10,000 steps daily: If smoking was not bad enough to kill you, here is another lethal habit that can kill you-‘Sitting’. Sitting is known to increase belly fat which in turn is a recipe for disaster as it directly injures the heart. Hence, clocking 10,000 steps on a daily basis has been proved to be good and medically too doctors have accepted that this should be the daily norm. (Goqii)

High-tech diet Increasing attention is being given to the role that technology can play in preserving our food supply system. Biotech companies like Impossible Meats and New Wave Foods are developing fascinating meat alternatives -- respectively, a bloody veggie burger and algae-based shrimp. They have developed prototypes that will hopefully hit mainstream markets this 2017.

On an entirely different note, more basic technology such as online grocery shopping is easier to find. Have you watched Amazon Go's ad? It looks pretty cool! This is promising for the many individuals who struggle to shop in person on a regular basis and will hopefully bring fresher foods into their diets.


Movies, TV shows to Watch

Netflix adds This list may not be a complete list but this is what I was waiting for since last year! I just can't contain the excitement. But before I tell you our must-watch list, (buffer much! lol) just want to let you guys know that some shows are also leaving! Why can't we have it all, right? So let's catch them while they're still rolling!

Leaving 1/6/17
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Leaving 1/29/17
Stephen King’s A Good Marriage

First on my list: A Series of Unfortunate Events. In the series, Neil Patrick Harris plays Count Olaf, the role Jim Carrey played in the movie. The series is based on the Lemony Snicket novels, written by Daniel Handler, and is available to stream starting on January 13(Heavy.com). Next is The Shining (1980) from my favorite thriller author Stephen King of course! Its genre is psychological horror, so if you're into these kinds, we'd probably enjoy it. Although Stephen King has been quoted as saying that although Kubrick made a film with memorable imagery, it was poor as an adaptation and that it is the only adaptation of his novels that he could "remember hating." But you're still going to watch it, aren't you? Third is The Investigator: A British Crime Story, also a netflix original. Fourth: Real Detective. My netflix line-up is mostly investigative and thrillers, if you want the complete list, click here.

***

Movie train *If you want to watch the trailers, just click on the title* Split (January 20)M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs), having rediscovered his skill at making entertaining horror schlock with 2015’s The Visit, is back for more with a truly absurd high-wire act. (Guys, you should watch the trailer!) Get Out (February 24)- a satirical horror film from the director Jordan Peele, one half of Key & Peele.  Kong: Skull Island (March 10) the latest attempt to revive one of the most famous monsters in Hollywood history, King Kong. Beauty and the Beast (March 17) Disney's live-action remakes of animated classics (Maleficent, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book) have all been colossal successes, so you know, Disney forever! Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5) Guardians of the Galaxy is, pound for pound, the most entertaining film Marvel has ever produced, and its writer-director James Gunn is back on board for the sequel. Wonder Woman (June 2) A period piece, the film will explain how Wonder Woman ended up in the modern world, departing her home island to fight in World War I alongside her love interest Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7).  This iteration of Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) made his debut in Captain America: Civil War last year.

The next list has no trailers yet, so for a breaker, here's the mind-boggling Split's trailer:

 

 

The Dark Tower (July 28) A long-gestating adaptation of Stephen King’s famed Dark Tower series, set in the mythical Mid-World, a magical spin on the Old West. King describes the eight-book saga as his magnum opus, and many directors have taken cracks at adapting it, including J.J. Abrams (who eventually decided he was too fond of the work to take the necessary plot liberties to translate it to screen) and Ron Howard. The Snowman (October 13) An adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s bestselling detective novel, The Snowman follows Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) as he investigates the disappearance of a woman whose scarf is found wrapped around a snowman. Thor: Ragnarok (November 3) Thor series sees the Norse god of thunder (Chris Hemsworth) embark on some sort of intergalactic journey. Thor movies are almost criminally underrated, much happier to indulge in fun mystical antics without too much needless exposition, and anchored by Hemsworth and Hiddleston’s comedic chemistry. Red Sparrow (November 10) A spy thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence, based on the 2013 novel by CIA veteran Jason Matthews that was acclaimed for its attention to detail. Lawrence plays Dominika Egorova, a Russian intelligence officer who matches wits with a hotheaded rookie CIA agent (played by Joel Edgerton). Darkest Hour (November 24) A historical drama focusing on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) as he faces down Nazi Germany and “faces a crucial moment” at the beginning of World War II. Sure to be an Oscar player, given its heavily made-up protagonist and late-November release date. And last but not the least, Star Wars Episode VIII (December 15) The eighth in a popular series of science-fiction films that have been kicking around Hollywood for the last few decades.

Movie dates aren't cheap, especially if you're like us who love to watch movies all the time. Good thing, Luis has his Kodi joystick where we can watch movies for free. Well, not really for free, but at least it's very handy when you have WiFi at home. You might want to check it out if you're one of the practical people like us. Android TV box


Books to Read

I'll be honest here, I haven't finished reading my Christmas book, Woman of God by James Patterson. It's still on my nook and I haven't read it since the start of holiday season. (My bad) But to compensate with that, I created my list of pre-orders, so that by the time I'm done reading, there will be a whole new set waiting for me. Some of the books on this list are arriving this January! Check it out, guys!

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

Gay has had an enormously successful few years. In 2014, her novel, An Untamed State, and an essay collection, Bad Feminist, met with wide acclaim, and in the wake of unrest over anti-black police violence, hers was one of the clearest voices in the national conversation. While much of Gay’s writing since then has dealt in political thought and cultural criticism, she returns in 2017 with this short story collection exploring the various textures of American women’s experience.

Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh

A long, dull day of jury duty in 2008 was redeemed by a lunchtime discovery of Unsaid magazine and its lead story “Help Yourself!” by Moshfegh, whose characters were alluring and honest and full of contempt. I made a point to remember her name at the time, but now Moshfegh’s stories appear regularly in The Paris Review and The New Yorker, and her novel Eileen was shortlisted for the 2016 Booker Prize. Her debut collection of stories, Homesick for Another World, gathers many of these earlier stories, and is bound to show why she’s considered one of literature’s most striking new voices.

Collected Stories by E.L. Doctorow

Doctorow is known for historical novels like Ragtime and The Book of Daniel, but he also wrote some terrific stories, and shortly before his death in 2015 he selected and revised 15 of his best. Fans who already own his 2011 collection All the Time in the World may want to give this new one a miss, since many of the selections overlap, but readers who only know Doctorow as a novelist may want to check out his classic early story “A Writer in the Family,” as well as others like “The Water Works” and “Liner Notes: The Songs of Billy Bathgate,” which are either precursors of or companion pieces to his novels.

4321 by Paul Auster

Multiple timelines are nothing new at this point, but it’s doubtful they’ve ever been used in quite the way they are in 4321, Auster’s first novel since his 2010 book Sunset Park. In his latest, four timelines branch off the moment the main character is born, introducing four separate Archibald Isaac Fergusons that grow more different as the plot wears on. They’re all, in their own ways, tied up with Amy Schneiderman, who appears throughout the book’s realities.

Human Acts by Han Kang

Korean novelist Kang says all her books are variations on the theme of human violence. The Vegetarian, her first novel translated into English, arrested readers with the contempt showered upon an “unremarkable” wife who became a vegetarian after waking from a nightmare. Kang’s forthcoming Human Acts focuses on the 1980 Korean Gwangju Uprising, when Gwangju locals took up arms in retaliation for the massacre of university students who were protesting. Within Kang tries to unknot “two unsolvable riddles” — the intermingling of two innately human yet disparate tendencies, the capacity for cruelty alongside that for selflessness and dignity.

Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

Set in Berkeley, Sekaran’s novel follows two women: Soli, an undocumented woman from Mexico raising a baby alone while cleaning houses, and an Indian-American woman struggling with infertility who becomes a foster parent to Soli’s son. Kirkus called it “superbly crafted and engrossing.”

Enigma Variations by André Aciman

The CUNY Professor New York magazine called “the most exciting new fiction writer of the 21st century” returns with a romantic/erotic bildungsroman following protagonist Paul from Italy to New York, from adolescence to adulthood. Kirkus called it an “eminently adult look at desire and attachment.”

Transit by Rachel Cusk

Everyone who read and reveled in the nimble formal daring of Outline is giddy to read Transit, which follows the same protagonist, Faye, as she navigates life after separating from her husband. Both Transit and Outline are made up of stories other people tell Faye, and in her rave in The Guardian, Tessa Hadley remarks that Cusk’s structure is “a striking gesture of relinquishment. Faye’s story contends for space against all these others, and the novel’s meaning is devolved out from its centre in her to a succession of characters. It’s a radically different way of imagining a self, too — Faye’s self.”

Hope you guys enjoyed this list!

Let's rock 2017!

❤︎

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