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Automating the benign

You know the drill: you run out of toilet paper, have to run to the store, buy everything you need (and a lot of things you don’t), get home and realize you’re out of laundry detergent (or deodorant, whatever). Joy. 

Who has time for that? I sure don’t. Chances are neither do you. So what to do? Subscriptions!

I can’t remember the last time I bought trash bags, toilet paper, dish soap, etc., etc. Everything is shipped to my door on a schedule that fits our family’s needs. No more running to the store for anything we use daily — thank goodness. 

So here is what we have delivered:

  • Laundry detergent 
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Dish soap
  • Toilet cleaners 
  • Kitchen sponges
  • Kitchen cleaner
  • Pop tarts (yes, I know. My husband has an addiction and I enable it — pick your battles)
  • Coffee
  • Beauty stuffs (my addiction)
  • Snacks
  • Replacement parts for all our stuff that needs it (Roomba, air filters, water filters, etc)

That’s not an exhaustive list, but an example of the crap in our lives that we need these day which can be automated out of our conscious decision making tree when we do need to go to the store. 

When I was in medical school with an infant, the last thing I wanted or needed to do on a daily basis was make constant decisions. Mainly because I was suddenly making double the amount of desessions — once for myself and once for my new addition: what should I wear, what should the baby wear, what should I eat, what should the baby eat, and-on-and-on. Decision fatigue was real, annoying, and exhausting. Once I figured out that I could cut out many decisions in my life, a whole new obsession with automation began. Everything was on some form of autopilot from calendars for meals (and hence a reliable shopping list for every week), to having a schedule for outfits (or scrubs). So when we moved back to the states and Amazon had the subscribe and save feature, it was a no-brained for our family. 

It’s not always the cheapest option, but the built in time saving for not having to go to the store is worth a lot to our family. Perhaps someday we will have the time to shop again, but right now we’re more interested in making sure the laundry is done before someone runs out of underwater #thestruggleisreal. 

SGU Facebook Directory Group

SGU Facebook Directory

Need more information before you get to SGU in Grenada? Check out the SGU Facebook Groups directory. Here you can find academic groups for your entering class, activities and religious groups, and even find a place to stay or start stocking up on supplies before you arrive to the island.

Click here to join the SGU Facebook Directory group on Facebook

Or click here for the SGU Facebook Directory on Google Sheets

IGA Shopping in Grenada SGU guide

SGU Grocery Stores and Supermarkets

Despite what most people think (and what previous graduates remember about shopping in Grenada), SGU grocery stores and supermarkets are pretty decent. Three supermarkets and two bulk-buy stores are located directly off SGU bus routes. Another option for those with transportation is FoodLand — a personal favorite due to the lower prices and varied selection which you can’t find at stores closer to campus. There are several other supermarkets in the town of Saint George, but due to the fact that none of them have adequate parking I have omitted them from this list.

Supermarkets in Grenada - SGU Medical School

Supermarkets in Grenada (Click to enlarge)

In general, you can find a lot of stuff here: brand name frozen dinners, chocolates, greek yogurt, and even organic milk is shipped in from the U.S. every Thursday. The variety is pretty impressive, including some Bob’s organic gluten-free flours; however if you have some special food you really enjoy, make sure to bring plenty of it with you for your stay.

Read more about having items shipped in a barrel or container from the U.S. to Grenada in this blog post.

One thing to keep in mind about grocery shopping in Grenada is that things run out fast, and sometimes they don’t get re-stocked for days, weeks, or even months. So again, if there is something you cannot live without, bring it with you just in case. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has requested Pop-Tarts (yes, Pop-Tarts!) from friends and family back home in a care package.

For a list of items that are hard to find (or are just plain expensive here in Grenada), read this post.

Keep in mind that most stores are closed on Sundays, so if you need to get something done, do it before then,


Grocery Stores off of SGU Bus Route A — Grand Anse

Click here for a map of the SGU bus route

CK’s



Closed on Sundays

Sriracha hot sauce at CK's in Grenada - Shopping at SGU

The first store on the Grand Anse bus route is CK’s, a bulk buy store that has everything from beer, soda, and juice to car supplies like oil, antifreeze, and wiper replacements. Prices are reasonable, and despite this store being called a bulk-buy, most of the products sold are regular size (although you do have the option to buy it all in bulk). CK’s is also one of the only places on the island to supply Sriracha hot sauce.

MNIB Val-U Garden Mini Super Market

-Location: Excel Plaza, Grand Anse, St. George’s.  The big orange complex halfway between CK’s Super Valu and Le Marquis Complex.  From school, take the grand anse bus and ask the bus drive to stop in front of excel plaza (1 min away from texaco towards IGA)
-Hours: M-Sa 8am-6pm; Su 9am-12pm
-Phone: (473) 439-3353  Mobile: (473) 418-0869

Real Value / IGA

SGU Bus Route A — Grand Anse, (click here for a map of the SGU bus route)

Real Value / IGA Store Hours
Monday – Thursday 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday – Saturday 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Sunday – 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Real Vale / IGA in Grenada -- SGU Medical School SupermarketsMost students who live on campus, in True Blue, or in Lance Aux E’pines tend to shop at IGA. This is because of the ease of access to the store via the Grand Anse bus which runs roughly every 15 minutes throughout the day. For those with cars, Real Value / IGA is a convenient place to shop with a large parking lot and its close proximity to off-campus student housing.

Most everything you can find at and IGA in the U.S. can also be found here. Cereals, canned goods, deli products, dairy products, etc. In addition, this store supplies Waitrose and Tesco products from the UK, which are affordable and of descent quality.

The store also offers a frequent shopper card which gives you cash back on your purchases — essentially you get a penny for every dollar you spend in the store (EC dollars that is). In order to get your shopper card in time to use it for your first purchase, you must first sign up for the card and then pick it up a few days later. You can fill out the online form here and the card will be ready for pickup within 3 days, or you can wait to sign up for the card in person. I would highly recommend signing up a few days before you get to the island so the card will be waiting for you before your first purchase. A bit of a hassle, but this is the only store on the island with a loyalty shopper program.


Grocery Stores off of SGU Bus Route C — Mont Toute

click here for a map of the SGU bus route

FoodFair



Closed on Sundays


Other grocery stores close to SGU

FoodLand

Private Transportation — Located on Kirane James Blvd, across from Port Loius

Top Secret Recipes Version of KFC Coleslaw by Todd Wilbur

KFC Coleslaw Recipe

My husband is one of those people who only likes food when it’s made a certain way. His grilled cheese sandwiches are baked in the oven (like Mom used to make) and his idea of good coleslaw means it was bought at KFC.

The last point about KFC coleslaw is more understandable than the “baked grilled cheese” sandwiches (that’s just weird). I think the first time many of us who don’t have cooks in the family tasted coleslaw was at KFC — so it makes sense that this dish is so iconic.

Luckily I found a great KFC Coleslaw recipe by Todd Wilbur on Food.com that is yummy. Seriously, if I told my hubby it was from KFC he would believe it (it’s that good). Thank you to Sharlene~W at Food.com for sharing this gem with all of us!

On to the recipe:

[gmc_recipe 1538]

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Thai Spicy Tuna Pastry

Have you ever tried some spicy peanuts? The ones we have here in Grenada are no joke. They’re hot to start and the spice stays on your tongue for a good while after you’re done.

Well, my 2-year-old seems to think they are amazing. How did my kid get ahold of the peanuts? That’s for a whole other post …

His voraciousness for the spicy snack reminded me of some Thai Spicy Tuna a friend once introduced me to. It was sweet and spicy — and it had fish (something a picky toddler does not like to eat). So I thought I’d combine the tuna with a puff pastry.

It seems like anything I put into a bit of dough is gobble up (this even includes vegetables).

So I hope this recipe gets your creative juices flowing (and please share if it does). This recipe would also work with canned chicken, turkey, deli meats — the options are endless.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

[gmc_recipe 1382]

Copyright http://www.gizmag.com

My search for the perfect smart watch

After the sad disappearance of my wonderful Casio Baby-G I decided to upgrade to a smart watch. No, not a iWatch or Apple Watch (not a fan of buying new to market products, especially when the entry price point is North of $300 US).

I have been longing for a device that could notify me when my many alarms would go off. I have a busy schedule, and just having a little reminder on my wrist way my ideal device.

The lovely LG Watch caught my eye immediately.

LG G Watch

LG G Watch

Just look at it. Nice lines, a band that doesn’t look cheep (and can be switched out for something a little fancier if you’d like), and a subtle gold base. The price isn’t bad either, coming in at around the same price as a new Baby-G. There was nothing that was going to stop me from getting this watch — nothing except of the operating system.

When I found this watch my excitement turned quickly to disapointment when I realized that this cutey  couldn’t connect to my new android phone running jelly bean 4.2 — the watch requires 4.3.

Now, any reasonable person would just accept that the watch and phone couldn’t pair up — but I’m not always a reasonable person. I spent nearly 12 hours researching rooting my phone, custom roms, etc. Afterward, my brain was mush. So I just gave up on android wear altogether and moved on to fitness bands.

The first fitness band that seemed promising was the Griffin Vivosmart.

Garmin VivoSmart

Garmin VivoSmart

Everything I wanted in a device was packed into this guy. The only problem was that it’s hardly professional looking. Unfortunately, my classes require a professional appearance and although the VivoSmart is pretty slick, it’s simply not refined enough.

At this point the Pebble caught my eye. The Pebble is largely regarded as the smart watch. The style isn’t grotesque, but it is overbearing for smaller wrists. I tried looking into different band styles to create a unique look for the Pebble, but that was just wasted time.

Pebble Smartwatch

Pebble Smartwatch

Next up was the FitBit. Chocked full of wonderful features, this was the puppy that wound up in my shopping basket until I realized one thing– it’s ugly. Sure, it’s got a style, but it’s far too masculine for my taste. I could not imagine wearing this during rounds or interacting with patients. It completely clashes with everything that I would wear, so I swiftly deleted it from my cart.

Fitbit

Fitbit

Once I realized my limitations, I finally settled with the new Misfit Swarski. It’s a beautiful stone that sits on your wrist incognito. It monitors you steps and sleep without looking like a smart-device. Does it lack many of the key features I wanted? Yes! But I had no other option considering that the competition were are ugly or too expensive.

Misfit Shine by Swarovski

Misfit Shine by Swarovski

Overall I’m happy with my choice, but I wish there were more options for women who want to wear smart devices. Some interesting devices are hitting the the market soon. So if you can wait then that may be the best option at this point.

And as for the alarms that I wanted to be notified about? This little baby is now on my wish list.

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So long Term 3

The rumors were true. Term 3 is easy. Not easy to get an A, but not hard in the least.

Pre-midterm mostly focused on abnormal psychology with a sprinkle of human development and biostats. Post-midterm focused on psychological theories, epidemiology, jurisprudence, and medical ethics. Personally, I found the first half to be easier to prepare for midterms because the supplied notes were great. For the final, the notes provided were scarcely filled with any useful or testable information.

There were also weekly labs. While they weren’t difficult and actually help provide insights on testable material that wasn’t covered well in the notes. I hated going to each lab, but afterwards I always felt that I learned something — and lab material always showed up on tests.

The course also serves as a movie parlor! Every week there are movies shown that correlate to class material. Some are required viewing, others are not. I can’t say any movie added a point to either the midterm or the final.

My advice would be to attend every class, no matter how boring. Just sit through it so you don’t have to sonic later — the lectures can get so boring that even sonic can’t help.

This year we also got an OSCE for psychology. Two stations, each having the patient scenario on the door before you entered the room. Each station had 8 minutes allotted, which was more that enough time. In addition to all of that, we were given the scenarios and procedures weeks before to review and practice (if you wanted).

That was it. Not bad at all — but don’t let anyone tell you it’s an easy A. It’s a easy B+ for sure, but the work required to get an A might be better spent going over Pathoma and Picmonic for forth term. I was able to get though 17 hours of Pathoma and all of the gram bacteria on Picmonic. Had I worked a little harder for 4th instead of for 3rd, I could have gotten a lot farther.

Th overall impression I got from term 3 was that it was a nice break from the usual grind. It lets you ease back into school without all of the normal stress.

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SGU Pre-Med 3/1 Recap

1. Being realistic

The old phrase, “Past performance is not an indicator of future success,” is so true for this program. While every single student admitted into the SGU pre-med program as a transfer student was a straight-A student coming in, little over 1/3 of the students moved on to pre-med 3/2. Students who already took courses such as biochemistry, anatomy, and other higher-level sciences did best, while others struggled to keep up with 20 credits of new material. Additionally, the students who had matriculated from pre-med 2/2 were exposed to much of the material in the previous classes (giving them a leg up over the transfer students with a more traditional background). While most admission counselors wont tell you, the probably of successfully completing this program on time [if at all] is less than 50%.

The truth is that this program (especially pre-med year 3) is difficult. It is designed to weed out students to a much greater extent than the traditional pre-med requirements for medical school admissions.

2. Being prepared

The most common measure of success in pre-med 3/1 was previous exposure to course material. This includes: Anatomy, Biochemistry, and Genetics. For pre-med 3/2, this would also include: Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and Physiology. Unarguably, students who had taken these courses previously earned a full grade higher than those who did not. While some students were able to pull out a few A’s without having had the course material before, they did struggle in other classes which were neglected due to lack of time (which was spent studying for the harder classes).

Hence, if I had to do it all over again, I would have taken these classes before coming into the pre-med program. And — since all the classes mentioned above WILL be repeated in some form in medical school, repeated exposure and over-learning the material would certainly ease the stress associated with these classes in medical school.

3. Knowing how to maximize time

This last one is tricky. While most students have developed study methods which have produced good grades in the past, more likely than not these methods will prove inadequate for the volume of material covered. Additionally, the depth of knowledge required will test the student’s ability to pull out important information from lecture notes — understanding the concepts and knowing some details will not be enough to get even a B on most tests. This means knowing how to study quickly and effectively is critical to class success. While most student have to figure out there own method for studying, here are the biggest time savers that I found:

  1. Make lots of charts that compare and contrast information for easy review. You will not have time to review all your lecture slides before a test (or even during the weeks before a test). Condense information as much as possible into chart when possible. Also, keep in mind that professor like to test the exceptions in any particular grouping — so make sure those are highlighted in your charts.
  2. Always carry flash cards. Sometimes the time between classes isn’t enough for a full review session, or you’ll find yourself in a situation where time feels like it’s slipping by (like when you’re waiting for the bus, etc.). Always carry cards for items that you don’t know, and move cards that you do know into another pile. Don’t expect to memorize a stack of 50 cards in one day, but trying to get 10 to 20 cards moved into your “know” pile is a reasonable goal.
  3. Study what you don’t know. While reviewing material that you have mastered is a good ego boost, it’s a complete waste of time in a program that requires you to maximize every minute. Once you have mastered a topic, section, or item — move on!
  4. If you fall behind, move on. This is probably one of the hardest things to learn how to do when you’re  stubbornly trying to finish mastering a section despite the class moving on the to next topic. The truth is, if you have no mastered the material for one week, you’re time is up and you have to move on to the next week. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in a constant game a catch-up. If you do fall behind, move those notes into a review pile that you can cover during your regular review schedule — but do not sacrifice study time for new material to master any old material.
  5. Start studying the very fist week. With 20 credits, there will not be enough time (or head space) to cram all the material you need to know for each test. Additionally, classes that seem easy will sneak up on you, requiring that you spend a ridiculous amount of time on projects, research papers, etc. Start working on your study schedule on the first day of classes to build up your routine for studies.

While this is a reflection of my experience, it’s in no way universal for every student. Some students, again, had no problem with the program. Others, even with all the information listed above, could not make it. Hopefully, this information will help prepare someone else who is interested or enrolled in the SGU premed program.

Cheers!

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SEO — Search Engine [Snake] Oil

Depending on the type of business you have, Search Engine Optimization can mean life or death. If you’re selling products on a national or international level – making sure your products are found on the Internet is on of the keys to success.

However, it has been recently brought to my attention that people outside the Internet advertising industry seem to think that Search Engine Optimization is the key to any website success – and I say hog-wash!

There are many different avenues to advertising, one of them being a business Website. Depending on the purpose of the Website, the target audience and other factors, Search Engine Optimization is not only unnecessary but also a waste of time and money. For example, if a local company is seeking increased foot traffic, the idea of spending thousand of dollars on a national level advertising campaign is ridiculous — the same holds true for the Internet.

The key to every successful advertising campaign is careful, thoughtful planning. This can sometimes take months to correctly identify target audiences and track their behavior. Some of this research has been done by larger corporations and can be mimicked by smaller companies looking to enter the same particular business arena.

      How to generate SEO Websites

    1. Understand what your customer wants to see on your site

      How many times have you done a Google, Yahoo or MSN search only to find that the first links you click on are in no way related to what you wanted to find? Hence, you click the back button on your browser and start you search all over again. Your customers are doing the same thing.

      The best way to get great page rank is to understand what your customers what to know about your business and have it easily displayed on your website.

      A good place to start developing your SEO content (or just good content in general) is to have a list of frequently asked question handy. Once you have identified those frequently asked questions, develop a page on your site that address each ssue to the best of your ability. After all, no one knows your business as well as you do, so who is else able to write in depth about it and provide clients with the valuable information their looking for other then yourself?

 

    1. Track what pages are performing better then others on your site

      Lets say you run a plumbing business and you’ve created a website that covers common house hold plumbing problems. You notice that a page titled “Leaky Toilet Fixes” has a higher page rank then your other page that is titled “Fix it yourself” – examine what content in the first page is more relevant to the visitor and see if you can improve your other pages using the successful page as a model. Perhaps if you changed “Fix it yourself” to something more relevant such as “Fix your leaking toilet yourself” you would find that more people are visiting that page, because it is more relevant to the viewer

 

  1. Be as descriptive as possible

    Visitors to your website may have gotten there from very different sources. One person could have done a search for “Local Kingman Plumbers” while yet another could have done a search for “Fix leaking toilet yourself”

    Now while these searches are completely different, they all point to the same diverse and descriptive content you have repeated on your website.

    It’s always a good idea to have your address on the lower portion of all you web pages so they will be included in search terms for your web site

    If you’re selling products on your website, the more descriptive you are with you product listings the better. Don’t expect to be on the top of any search engine with poor product descriptions. Check out your compition and see what it is they are doing for their descriptions, use that as an example (but don’t copy them, improve on what they’re not doing)

To assume that you need to design a Website based solely on the premise that you need to be “on top of Google” is a common amateur error. By assuming that page rank is the only way that you’ll be found on the internet, you’re limiting the design of your site, and thus handicapped the capacity of the website to achieve your desired advertising effect.