God bless Texas

An odd fact about me: since high school I’ve held an obsessive fascination with Texas. Until last month, I had never set foot there, and didn’t know anyone from Texas until college. Yet somehow I knew in my heart of hearts that I had to live there. Maybe it was a combo of great advertising, watching old Westerns with my dad, and a healthy crush on tacos and bbq. But the more people I befriended who hailed from Texas, the cooler it seemed. Binge-watching Friday Night Lights didn’t hurt either <3.

Well last month, my dreams came true. My friend and I decided to take a spontaneous 16 hour road trip from KY to TX. When I say spontaneous I mean we decided on Friday, booked our airbnb’s on Saturday, and drove down on Monday.We hit up Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin (w the majority of our time spent in Austin). You guys, it was EVERYTHING and we’ve been plotting ways to get back ever since. We got to meet up with some our med school friends who were back home in Dallas for summer break as well as one of my dearest college friends living and working in Austin. I couldn’t recommend road-tripping with friends more, especially ones that you vibe really well with. On the ride there, we listened to almost all of the Serial podcast, taking breaks for T-Swift jam sessions and which-would-you-rather scenarios (which natural disaster would you rather die from, a hurricane or wildfire?). Our Texas adventures consisted of drinking green smoothies by day and local beers by night, soaking in all the hipster vibes from Deep Ellum to East Austin, admiring the never-ending and sometimes strange public art, all the coffee always, thrift store and vintage browsing in South Congress, Dirty Sixth-ing it up, dancing w strangers in a honky tonk, eating A LOT (of Torchy’s tacos, Gourdough’s donuts, and Salt Lick BBQ mmmm), remembering the Alamo, splashing around in Barton Springs, hiking the Greenbelt and Mount Bonnell, being simultaneously terrified and amazed at the the thousands of bats under Congress Bridge, and lots of evening strolls. Perhaps one of the best parts of this trip was the spontaneity. So my family loves traveling, and we do a lot of it, but we also love planning. This Texas trip was the exact opposite of planned. When a tropical storm was approaching Dallas, we hit the road for Austin. When we felt like tacos, we got them. When MK had to fly home for a family emergency, I got sole custody of Jimmy (her car) for the 18 hour solo trip back home (subtext: lots of Beyonce happened). When we were itching to line dance, we googled the nearest honky tonk. When you enjoy the company you’re with, almost anything can be an adventure, even if it’s just sitting on a bench and people watching. I hereby resolve to embark on more spontaneous adventures. Join me friends; let’s live our lives with somewhat emptier itineraries! Our experiences may be fuller for it. Pictures below for your visual pleasure.

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Diabetes! (and Boston)

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Hello to the whopping five of you that read my blog!

Last month I got to spend a week in Boston, helping the old company I used to work for in SF cover the American Diabetes Association Conference. The ADA conference is the biggest diabetes conference all year, and so they often ask alumni to come help write up talks. My job (healthcare journalism) was pretty stressful at the time, but coming back as alumni was much more relaxed and I actually got to enjoy the talks I was assigned and learn about a lot of cool new stuff happening in the diabetes field. For example, one session I got to cover focused on a class of drugs called PCSK9 inhibitors that basically work like a super statin. PCSK9 inhibitors prevent uptake of LDL receptors, effectively lowering plasma LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). This is actually pretty huge for cardiovascular outcomes and in turn diabetes patients, because cardiovascular outcomes trials are the bane of the diabetes drug development field right now. A lot of people are excited about this new class because PCSK9 inhibitors have been able to lower LDL by as much as 60%… which is huge!! Anyways, if you wanna talk diabetes drug or device development, hit me up, it’s pretty exciting to me. I love ADA because you get to hear from physicians and researchers who are so so so excited about the work that they do and the patients they help. One of my personal highlights was attending the Al Mann gala that my boss hosted. For those of you who don’t know who Al Mann is, he’s basically a legend in the diabetes field and has most recently been in the press for the newest kid on the block, Afrezza, which is an inhaled insulin (a total game changer for patients!). I almost teared up during the speech my boss gave for him and then got to shake his hand. It was pretty neat. My favorite sessions though are usually public health ones because diabetes is such a pressing issue in the most underserved communities. I even got to see my old PI from UChicago lead a panel on diabetes disparities in low-income neighborhoods. Spoiler: it was awesome! She was/is still a total badass.

In other fun news, I got to spend the rest of the week hanging out with one of my college besties (hi B, miss you!). She lives in Boston right now, working at a super cool company and is well on her way to being a #girlboss. I tagged along with her to work one day and it was like take your kids friends to work day; I ate all the free cookies laying around). We also reunited with my big sis figure from college, A (hi oldie, love you!) and we had pints of the best ice cream eva while I let them listen to my favorite Migos song lol. B and I had lots of fun adventures, including but not limited to: eating as many donuts as we could shove in our mouths, falling asleep in her apartment and locking her out lolz, traversing the entirety of the city by foot, getting sunburnt, eating olive garden food truck sandwiches (?! those are a thing), lol-ing at what a diva Isabella Stewart Gardner was, almost causing a ruckus between a crazy homeless man and the old guys playing Chinese chess in Chinatown, playing with giant jenga blocks, having the most out of body ramen-eating experience I will probably ever go through, soul night in a Cambridge club, and predicting a couple’s engagement in the Boston Commons. I miss B all the time and was so happy to have gotten to spend time with her in her new hood as a hip, thriving, young adult. It’s cool seeing my friends live their adult lives. Stay tuned for my recap of my spontaneous road trip to Texas!

love and hugs,
j
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