Well, we have been married for a little over four months now and I am just now getting some time to sit down and write about the details of our big day! When I was planning, I loved reading about other peoples ideas and seeing how they came together. I hope this post can be helpful to any future brides out there.

The weekend of the wedding was Fourth of July weekend and with lots of family and friends coming to town we decided to plan a bunch of events to keep everyone busy! It was also nice to have our family and friends meet ahead of the wedding, so when the day came, everyone knew each other.

Thursday, July 4: Fourth of July Party with Big Bad Bob on the BBQ

Friday, July 5: Floated the Guadalupe River and had dinner and drinks at The Oasis on Lake Travis (YES, the Oasis from the song “I Got Friends in Low Places…”). Floating the Guadalupe was a great activity for the whole family, even the kids. You can BYOB. The place I linked usually has discounts as well! The Oasis was very accommodating to our large group and the live band even sang a song dedicated to us and let us have a dance to ourselves.

The Rehearsal Dinner

The night before our wedding day we chose a local restaurant, Casa Garcia, to host our rehearsal dinner. There is several locations around the Austin area and we picked the one in Manor because it has a beautiful, private event room! It was decently priced and they have good food. The manager was easy to work with and was very accommodating to our requests.  We did tacos: chicken, beef and fried shrimp with a few sides.

Here Bobby and I gave all the bridesmaids, groomsmen, ring bearers, flower girls and parents the gifts we picked out for them (detailed below). After the rehearsal, the guys went out for a night of fun in downtown Austin and the girls and I went back to my Airbnb to hang out in the hot tub and relax. I also finished writing my vows that evening, before I went to bed!

The Swag

Bridesmaids

For the bridesmaids, I got them thermal pajamas for the morning of. I had the same ones in a different color. I linked a similar pair, because they do not have the exact ones at Target anymore. I also got them a robe with their first name initial on it from Pretty Robes, I had someone local embroider their first initial, but I think you can have them personalized online. I also got them matching earrings from Charming Charlie (sorry, it has since closed down). The last gift was an authentic Palestinian kufiya (scarf) that my dad had brought from the Middle East. You can find a similar one here.

Groomsmen

For the groomsmen, we got them monogramed wallets from Shinola Detroit (similar one here) and the same scarves as the bridesmaids.

 

Flower Girls and Ring Bearers

For the kids we got them matching pajamas sets (unicorns for the girls, dinosaurs for the boys), sleep sacs (Trolls for the girls, Jurassic Park for the boys), and then lots of little toys and activities from the Dollar Tree to keep them busy after the ceremony.

We hired two babysitters for our three flower girls and three ring bearers, because we had an adult only reception. After the ceremony, they enjoyed pizza and fun in the bridal suite.

The Moms

We got the moms the same robes as the bridesmaids, but in a light pink color. We also got them a perfume from Victoria Secret and their own jewelry sets.

The Dads

We got the dads custom bowties and socks. My dad’s bowtie was made from an old Palestinian kufiya by the same woman who embroidered the robes. Denzel’s dad’s bowtie was a musical note bowtie.

The Big Day

The morning of, we grabbed coffee from my favorite place, Summer Moon Coffee, on the way to the venue (Quarter Moon latte y’all). The bridesmaids met me there, all dressed up in their matching pajamas. Hair and Makeup started at 9 am since we had 14 hair and make-ups to get done. For breakfast, we did muffins, fruits, coffee and mimosas and for lunch, we catered Potbelly sandwiches and salad. We listened to our favorite songs and enjoyed each others company. I was so thankful for my bridesmaids, a few of them ran to Starbucks to get everyone an afternoon coffee and ran a few errands for me while I finished getting ready.

 

Hair and makeup was done by LoLa beauty (located in both Austin and Denver). There were three stylists total for the 14 of us. The girls all picked their own updo’s and I was conflicted between half-up or just curls and ended up going with just curls. I loved the way the bridesmaids make-up and hair turned out. I wish I would have done an updo looking back, but I was happy with my make up!

The Venue

We chose to have our wedding in beautiful hill country at a venue called Canyonwood Ridge. It is a modern venue with a warm feel. It had an outdoor and indoor ceremony space and an indoor reception area. I loved the outdoor ceremony space that overlooked hill country. It was hot (in the 90s)! The sun was shining right in my eyes! But I think, for the views, it was all worth it. The reception space had these gorgeous, modern chandeliers and a big fireplace at the center with a whole wall of windows looking over the hill.

The bridal suite was snug, but had enough room for all 11 bridesmaids, two moms and I to hang out in the morning of and get ready in.

The grooms suite was also snug, but was fine for the small amount of time the guys hung out in there.

The Dress and Accessories

My bridal shower dress and rehearsal dinner dress was from Lulu’s. I got most of my bridal attire here, I highly recommend looking here for your white-dress needs.

My dress was a Sophia Tolli tulle ballgown that I purchased at Melange Bridal Salon in Austin. It was not at all what I had pictured myself picking, but there was just something about it that I loved when I tried it on. I loved my experience at Melange, they have a variety of dresses that are at all price ranges and for all body types.

The morning of, I had the same pajamas as the bridesmaids but in white. I changed into my long, lace robe from Kim+Ono to get ready in. My shoes were from Davids Bridal and they were a wedge heel in size wide, it is so hard to find heels when you have wide feet. These were not comfortable at all unfortunately, so I changed into sandals for the reception. My jewelry was blue sapphire that was gifted to me by my dad’s family. I loved having a little pop of color. My bouquet was complete with my maternal grandma’s cameo necklace that my florist tied on for me.

The Bridesmaids Dresses

The bridesmaids and mother of the bride dresses were Mori Lee gowns. My maid of honor had a full lace form fitting gown and the bridesmaids had A-Line gowns with different designs, but all with the same lace. The color was a very light gray. My mom’s gown was Navy and had the same lace as well.

The Tuxedos

The groom, groomsmen, and the fathers all wore traditional tuxedos with cummerbunds, suspenders, and black bow ties. Denzel had a black, paisley patterned bow tie. The ushers and the officiant wore black suits with a silver tie. All of these outfits were rented from Men’s Warehouse.

Denzel had a change of outfits for the reception with black tuxedo pants, a black dress shirt, a black bow tie and a white satin patterned suit jacket. His shoes were suede black shoes with rhinestones complete with custom pink socks with Lulu’s face (our cat). His outfit and shoes were all from Macy’s and the socks were a gift.

The Flowers and Décor

The moment we met Kari at The Flower Girl, we knew she understood our vision for the wedding. For the bouquets, I wanted whites, light pinks and greenery. For our centerpieces we had two different concepts in mind: branches and flowers submerged in water. She made both of these ideas come to life. One of my favorite design elements of the wedding was the boxwood wall with giant paper flowers and our giant floral letter G. Both made by Kari and her husband.

   

Our save the dates, invites, and wedding signage were all hand painted and designed by Shannon Sweeney Watson. She is incredible and will custom design almost any art work you could ask for. Check her out on Instagram or her Etsy page.

Our center pieces I made myself. Each table number 1-19 was a picture of Denzel and I at the age corresponding to the number. They were a hit and people got a good laugh out of them.

Our idea for a guest book was to have guests take a polaroid picture of themselves and write a little note on it for us. From the pictures we did collect I made a scrapbook, but I think most people took their polaroid with them! So I would not suggest this method as a guest book. It was a still fun and some of the polaroid’s turned out really cute.

The Food and Deserts

Our caterer, Royal Fig, did the entirety of our food and deserts including the cakes. When we went there for a tasting we were sold, it was so good I wish they had a restaurant. We would be frequent customers.

Our menu:

We had two cakes. The main cake was a hummingbird cake with peach buttercream. I surprised Denzel with his groom’s cake which was a replica of his UT cheer uniform. It was red velvet with cream cheese frosting (his fave). The rest of the desert table was made up of mini deserts including banana cream pudding, chocolate pie and sweet potato pie. We also displayed baklava from our favorite bakery in Dearborn, MI- Masri.

The Entertainment

We wanted to remember our wedding day as a party from start to end. It was only right to surprise our guests throughout the night with different performances to keep the night upbeat. Our ceremony music was performed by a string trio from Sienna Strings. They played a custom set of music for us. I walked down the aisle to You & I by John Legend and we exited to an Arabic song by Fairouz. They played several modern songs throughout the ceremony.

 

The entertainment started right away with the bridesmaid’s and groomsmen’s entrance dance (Level Up by Ciara and Wipe Me Down by Lil Boosie). They were incredible! Thanks to our friend from medical school, Jasmine, who helped choreograph and teach the dance to the bridesmaids.

Our entrance followed which was a huge surprise to everyone including the bridal party and our parents. We hired a local Palestinian dabke performance group, Al Hurriyah Dabke, to lead our entrance. It was important to me to represent my Palestinian heritage in little ways throughout my wedding. We had instructed the bridal party to have their Palestinian scarves nearby and the groomsmen had already had theirs on thanks to my dad. So when the time came, everyone was ready for the entrance. After the first song, the dabke group then did their own performance which was incredible and then invited us, the bridal party and all the guests to join them. It was so cool seeing my family and friends and Denzel’s family and friends, people from all cultures and walks of life, hand in hand dancing a dabke line dance. This was one of my favorite moments of the wedding.

Our first dance followed which was a traditional first dance to Kane Brown’s song Live Forever. The father-daughter dance was to Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle. Denzel and his mom surprised me with a mother-son dance that started as a traditional slow dance and quickly changed into a mash up including Woah, Crank That, and Every Little Step. Their choreographed dance was a hit and I was highly impressed. Denzel then pulled out his bass guitar and played a song that his mom wrote and sang that was a song about our love story. She sang about all the places we had gone, the hurricane and persevering and staying strong together. This was another moment I will never forget. In Mrs. Ann fashion, it was upbeat and meaningful.

Shortly after we had the speeches from my dad, my MOH and the best man Jordan (Denzel’s brother). My MOH Bianca literally dropped the mic after her legendary cover of the Fresh Prince Theme Song that described our friendship. This was incredible and I often wonder how I will top that performance one day at her wedding.

We had the BEST. DJ. EVER. Mark the DJ. If you are having an event in Texas, this is the guy. He was an incredible DJ and we enjoyed working with him every step of the way. Mark started the night by playing piano and live singing during cocktail hour and dinner. He serenaded our guests with his Justin Timberlake like voice. He did a great job incorporating our several requests and surprises. We had Arabic songs, Latino songs, Indian jams, a mix of country and hip hop music from today and from back in the day. It was a great mix, we danced the entire night til they kicked us all out. We included some dance floor props including flip flops so people could take their heels off and keep dancing, cat ears (sparkly and patterned), light up glasses, and foam glow sticks.

At the end of the night, while all our guests lined up with sparklers, Denzel and I had a final dance just me and him to Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton. This was a special moment, just him and I taking in the moments of the best night of our lives.

Our exit car (UBER X) awaited us at the end of all our friends and family. We reserved a night at The Line hotel, which is a spunky, modern hotel in downtown Austin with a great view (highly recommend).

The following day we were headed back to Michigan to return to our family medicine rotation. No honeymoon for us just yet, but stay tuned… its in the works!

WEDDING PLANNER: In Her Shoes

PHOTOGRAPHER: Boxing Rose

VIDEOGRAPHER: Toast Entertainment

FLORAL: The Flower Girl

CATERER: Royal Fig

HAIR & MAKEUP: LoLa Beauty

DJ: Mark the DJ Exodus Sound

DABKE GROUP: Al Hurriyah Dabke 

CEREMONY BAND: Sienna Strings

SIGNAGE/INVITATIONS: Shop Shannon Sweeney

 

 

 

 

What was the OBGYN core like?

Oh OBGYN, why did you have to go and steal a piece of my heart? There is just something special about witnessing the birth of a new little human into this world. There is just nothing that compares to seeing the joy it brings to a mom and her family.

Let’s get to the details.

OBGYN was an intense 6 week rotation. My schedule included 1 week of gynecologic surgery, 1 week of resident clinic, 1 week of ambulatory clinic with an attending, 1 week of labor and delivery nights, and 2 weeks of labor and delivery days. The schedule was more intense than the other rotations with most days going 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. For nights, our shift was 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, but we had to stay for any lectures which sometimes lasted til 9:00 am.

Although most parts of the rotation were not very hands on, there was plenty opportunity to learn and be involved in patient care. Gyn surgery was like general surgery. You scrub in, retract and suction smoke, but it was still interesting to watch gynecologic surgeries, especially robotic procedures. During labor and delivery, I felt like I was able to improve on my interview skills, especially for OB patients which require a more extensive history. During deliveries, there were times we got to deliver the placenta or hold the patient’s leg (which I was happy to be involved in any way during a delivery). Nights were my favorite, because the babies love to come at night! In ambulatory clinic was where I was able to be most involved, I was able to do full interviews and physical exams and sometimes some pap smears! Pointer if you are in OBGYN- JUST ASK! Asking to be involved increased the opportunities allotted to me.

How we studied for the OBGYN shelf.

At the end of our rotation we have an oral quiz with the attending. This affected the way we studied for the shelf, it was a little different than how we usually spend our study time.

The first week of OBGYN we focused on Online Med Ed videos of Obstetrics and Gynecology. We watched and took notes on all of the videos. The second week we started UWorld MCQ’s and took notes in a word document. I was able to get through all of the UWorld questions before the shelf.

We also read the obstetrics and gynecology chapters of Master the Boards. We thought it was just okay, it was like a sprinkle of detail. I think I will use it to study for Step 2 CK, but I don’t think it was a crucial part of my shelf studying.

We purchased and took two of the practice NBME exams. There is 4 total and I wish we would have taken them all.

 

As I said before, because of the oral quiz, the last week before our shelf was spent memorizing details from lectures. The test was approximately four questions on any lecture we had gotten in the past six weeks. Unfortunately many of the details from the lecture were not applicable to the shelf, like specific doses of medications.

Leading up to the shelf exam I felt confident and prepared, I felt like I really had a good grasp of the knowledge I needed to do well. Leaving the test, I felt frustrated. I think there were many questions I was sure about or could work through to my guess at a best choice, but there were around 30-40 questions that frustrated me. The questions were not clear and had little detail. They were not similar to UWorld or to the practice NBME exams. It did not test the crucial information I felt I spent weeks learning.

If I had any suggestions to improve, it would be to do all four NBME exams and go through UWorld wrong answers a second time.

Next up, our final rotation of third year- PSYCH!

Comment below or reach out to me if you have gone through the OBGYN core rotation and have anything to add to this post or if you have any questions.

What was the pediatric core like?

Finally, the rotation I have been waiting for, my pediatric core rotation and it was just as amazing of an experience as I had imagined. Peds core was a 6 week rotation with 3 weeks in an outpatient pediatric clinic, 1 week in the neonatal ICU, and 2 weeks on inpatient pediatrics.

Peds clinic offered a diverse experience. I saw a variety of ages from newborns to teens who were about to graduate from the pediatric office. I had the opportunity to be hands-on and independent in my history and physicals- lots of sports physicals, school physicals, and newborn exams. I also was able to practice writing notes. There were children with different pathologies and ailments both acute and chronic. The best part was learning little tricks and hints that my attending had picked up in her years of practice.

I adored the NICU and felt like I learned so much in the short time I was there. We split up the babies between the students and presented them during rounds with the attending, which were probably the most intense rounds I have experienced in my third year (high school math skills, where ya at?). Of course my favorite part were the babies themselves, I loved helping with feeds and just rocking them throughout the day. They are so small, but so incredibly tough.

During inpatient peds we had two jobs- do the physical exams on all the newborns and take care of any children admitted to the hospital.  A physical exam on a newborn is, not surprisingly, very different from a children’s or adult’s physical. It is one of the first exams the newborn will get and it can help identify any anomalies early. On inpatient we saw children with asthma exacerbations, pneumonias, appendicitis, psychologic presentations like conversion disorder and infants with jaundice. It was interesting to learn more about interacting with children and with their parents.

How we studied for the pediatric shelf.

We learned from our last 6 week rotation to start studying right away (be gone procrastination!!!). We started week one with Online Med Ed and tried to complete and take notes on all the pediatric videos. I thought this was a good way to compartmentalize pediatric conditions which I hadn’t really learned about much before. It was like a blast from the past with step 1 knowledge. I really wished I had time to re-read some of First Aid for Step 1, especially the sections for genetics, glycogen storage diseases, MSK and ortho, etc. Some of those facts came up often in the Q banks so I do plan on re-reading First Aid over my winter break.

I also tried to do as many UWorld pediatric questions as I could, these were similar to the shelf. I took notes on all the questions whether I got them wrong or right. I never did this before, but I felt like it helped integrate the knowledge from Online Med Ed to the question stem. I felt like the key to getting the answers right on this exam was being able to contrast between similar presentations. For example, kids with a limp- if you can remember the key differences you can answer the question correctly.

I also watched the Emma Holliday Pediatrics YouTube video twice over with the powerpoint notes. I feel like that always brings things together for me, its like a great overview of the entire rotation in 2 hours.

I purchased and took two out of four of the NBME practice exams online and took them on timed. Denzel and I reviewed the answers together afterwards and researched the answers we were not sure about. There were a few that we could not find an explanation from and we asked our attending to look over them for us, I found this very helpful.

The test itself was challenging as usual. It was a mix between easy questions and confusing questions. I feel like for the most part I was able to work through the questions, but there was definitely some that I felt were worded strange. In NBME fashion, there were a few questions on stuff that was not covered in my study material.

After the exam, we took a celebratory trip to Traverse City to refresh ourselves for our next rotation: OBGYN! I think it is important to take a break between rotations to relax and reset. It is also a good weekend to take care of the household and plan for the next rotation.

Comment below or reach out to me if you have gone through the pediatric core rotation and have anything to add to this post.

Want to see how my other rotations have gone and how I studied for my past shelf exams? Check these links:

Internal Medicine

Surgery

Family Medicine 

If you have reached this page looking for guidance on changing your last name after a recent day of love CONGRATS! Changing your last name after marriage, especially while in medical school is quite the process. Thanks to a few classmates who had been through it, I had some sense of where to begin. It was not until I started changing my name that I realized how much there was to change!

Once you get your marriage license turned in, purchase 2-3 certified copies of your marriage certificate for name change tasks. (In Texas these were $6 each)

MEDICAL SCHOOL CHANGES

  • Changing your name with RUSM

Fill out the “Name Change Request Form” by going to MyRoss and following these links:

Student services- registrar- registrar forms- school of medicine forms- name change form

From there, you will email this form and your marriage license scan to L&C@rossu.edu (NOT to exam administration). After you email this, they will send you the updated form to fill out instead. When you complete this, your name will be changed and eventually (if you opted to) your email will be changed (AKA mine still has not been changed 2 months post name change).

After you successfully change your name with Ross, IMMEDIATELY call exam administration to have a new permit sent to you if you are scheduled for any shelf exams to ensure your permit matches your new ID. They say this can take up to 2 weeks, however I received mine in a few days. You do not need to reschedule your exam with your new name.

  • Changing your name with ECFMG

First you will fill out and fax or mail the following form (form 182)

I sent a photo of my marriage license along with the form and this was changed quickly. However, once this is complete you will have to REDO your form 186 which is the notarized form we had to do before the USMLE step 1. You will get an email when your name change is processed and you will be instructed to log onto the IWA ECFMG site and your new form 186 will be front and center. To complete this, you will do an online video chat with NotaryCam and you will need a form of ID with your new name (passport or drivers license). It costs $50.00 to do this. You no longer need a passport photo, they will take it during your video chat. My Form 186 was processed within 10 days of completing it with NotaryCam.

  • Changing your name with your loan company

I called my loan company after Ross processed my name change and asked how to change my name with them, they instructed me to upload my marriage certificate and a copy of my new ID on their site. I would call your specific loan company to see what they need.

  • Changing your name at your rotation site

It was fairly simple to change my hospital badge. I had to bring a picture of my marriage certificate to the security office and they reprinted my badge right there. It would be good to then tell your site coordinator about your name change for future correspondence.

LIFE NAME CHANGES

  • Changing your name with Social Security (FREE)

You can either mail in or go to a local office to change your name on your social security card. First you will need to fill out form ss-5. You will need a CERTIFIED copy of your marriage certificate, a copy of your US birth certificate, and a copy of your US passport (I sent the one with my maiden name). You will send all of these documents plus the filled out form ss-5.

  • Changing your name on your Drivers License (price varies by state, Texas is $25)

It may be preferred by some DMV locations to change your social security card before getting a new license, however I got my license before my new SS card. Check for what the local DMV requires as far as documentation (I HAD MINE DONE IN TEXAS). I had to bring form DL-14A, my marriage certificate, my old drivers license, my social security card, my birth certificate, my car insurance policy, my car registration, and two forms of proof of residency. Proof of residency can include a lease agreement, your car registration, a bank statement, utility bill, or insurance card (NOT random mail, trust me).

CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK that all of your information is correct on your paper permit before you walk away from the clerks desk. My birthday was wrong and I didn’t notice until I received my new license in the mail.

  • Changing your name on your passport (around $115, but varies)

CHECK THIS LINK for the instructions regarding the different scenarios you might be in yourself. For me, I was requesting a new passport more than a year after my last passport was issued and I qualified for the form DS-82. However, there are many different forms that you may have to fill out depending on your specific circumstances, so check the link below.

After I found my proper form, I had to send that, my old passport, my certified marriage certificate, one color passport photo, and the fees. You send the fees via check. It takes 6-8 weeks to get your passport back, but you can pay an $80 fee to have it rush shipped (which you can also decide to do after you’ve already submitted your application by calling the passport information number). You can also call this number to check the status of your application and make sure all parts of it were received.

  • Changing your name with health insurance and doctors offices

Before you change your name at your doctors offices, you should change your name with your health insurance company. To do this I had to give my marriage certificate to the HR department at the employer who sponsored my insurance at the time. After that, you are able to change your name with your doctors office.

  • Changing your name with Global Entry and your trusted travelers pass

In order to change your name with Global Entry, you have to make an appointment at your local office (usually at the airport) and go from there. I haven’t gotten around to doing this change yet, so I am planning to bring my certified marriage certificate and my identification documents.

  • Changing your name on banks and credit cards 

This was an easy change:

  • Chase and Charles Schwab I had to bring in my marriage certificate and they changed it while I was in office and they called the credit card line to reissue my credit cards and debit cards with my new name
  • Discover and CitiBank I was able to change over the phone and have them reissue cards that way
  • American Express you fill out this form online and then your cards will be resent!

Hope this helps some of you new Mrs. and Mr. (maybe almost Dr.) out there!

 

What was the family medicine core like?

With 3 out of the 6 rotations done, we are more than half way through third year of medical school! The Family Medicine core was a 6-week rotation with 2 weeks in an urgent care facility and 4 weeks at a family medicine out-patient clinic. Urgent care hours were 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Out-patient clinic hours varied, but typically were 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Some mornings we rounded with the attending at the hospital before going to the clinic. We also had once weekly lectures every Tuesday morning.

The two weeks of urgent care was my favorite part of any rotation we have done so far! I loved having a variety of presentations with some non-urgent matters and some emergencies. I also felt like I had more autonomy in this rotation, I was able to do procedures which I really enjoyed. My attendings also allowed me to do full visits from start to end- history, physical, assessment, plan and treatment.

Out-patient clinic was similar, but more physicals than sick visits. The attending I was with saw a good mixture of children and adults. It was a good learning experience, especially realizing the pros and cons of healthcare in our society. I felt like I learned more about counseling patients and the long-term follow up on patients with chronic disease.

How we studied for the family medicine shelf.

This was our first 6-week long rotation, so we had less time to study for our shelf that was the same length as the 12-week rotation shelf. It was also much busier with less time in the day to study, we only had few hours a day to study and we were often exhausted when we got home.

The resources we used for family medicine shelf were ExamGuru question bank and Case Files for Family Medicine. I read and wrote notes on almost all 60 cases which, to be honest, took up the majority of my time. Denzel used Online MedEd videos on relevant topics and ExamGuru questions for the majority of his studying. We also used USPSTF guidelines for recommended screenings and vaccines.

The test was the hardest shelf I have taken thus far, but I do not know how else I would have prepared for the questions that I found challenging. Looking back, I wish I would have focused more on MCQs from ExamGuru instead of reading the Case Files, though I found those easy to read and informative. I had such a wide variety of questions, some that I think would just take more experience to answer. The test is heavy in musculoskeletal questions as well, which I found challenging. I felt that there was also many questions that reminded me of Step 1. I would have probably reviewed the MSK portion of the First Aid for Step 1 book.

Comment below or reach out to me if you have gone through the family core rotation and have anything to add to this post.