Stitch Fix Reveal: January 2014

This month's box was my favorite to date! So much fun to open and try on. I was instantly excited to see navy peeking out of the box, and happy to find gold-toned jewelry as well. I have requested Michelle as my stylist for the last several boxes, and I'm really pleased with her taste overall. I can't wait to share these items with you - so here we go!

Item #1: Aleah Heathered V-Neck Dolman Top by Market and Spruce

I wasn't sure if I'd like this top, as it's very drapey on top, with a wide v-neck, but when I tried it on, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the fitted sleeves and waist made it quite flattering, yet still very comfortable. The deep teal blue color is very nice and the fabric is lightweight so this can easily transition to spring and even summer for days spent inside the office. (Maybe with crisp white pants or capris?) Verdict: Kept it.

Item #2: Benetton Striped Cardigan by Renee C

 This is a little bulkier than what I typically like to wear, seeing as I'm slimmer up top than below - so I like to keep tops and sweaters sleek and feminine - but, this sweater is actually really cozy and it's navy and white - a favorite color combo. I thought it would be cute to throw on with a white tee, jeans and boots for those cold early spring baseball games I'll be watching my son play. Verdict: A little bit of a style stretch for me, but kept!

Item #3: Kristan Ruffle Knit Blazer by Market and Spruce

So... this is totally my all-time, hands-down favorite Stitch Fix treasure yet. I am SO in love with this adorable blazer! First of all - though it looks structured and nice enough for meetings at work, it's made from a silky smooth, stretchy navy knit making it crazy comfortable! The chiffon ruffle detailing on the back of the blazer stretches down to cover my behind a bit, which is very nice - and the ruffle is flat, so it doesn't add poof back there (Lord knows I don't need any more poof there). I'm pretty sure I'm going to wearing this a LOT. In fact, I've already worn it once this week and I just got my box on Tuesday! ;-) Verdict: KEPT.

Item #4: Phelan Abstract Chevron Print Short-Sleeve Blouse by Collective Concepts

I typically love black and white clothing, and I love chevron, but to be honest I'm not totally in love with this broken chevron pattern. It seems a little busy to me. I like the pleats down the center of the top, the sleeves aren't too snug, they actually fit well - and the v-neck is nice. Unfortunately, the waist hem of the blouse is a bit snug on the hips (like most non-stretchy blouses on me) and I'm just not in love with the silhouette of it. Verdict: Sent back.

Item #5: Leighton Metal Bauble Necklace by Pixley

When I first saw this necklace in its box, I wasn't sure if it was going to feel cheap - judging by the texture of the gold discs, but when I took it out - I realized the necklace was nicely weighted and well made. The length (which is adjustable, too) is very nice at all points, making the necklace versatile for many different top styles and necklines. Verdict: Kept.

So there you have it - my favorite Fix yet! If you receive fixes and blog/Instagram/share them online somewhere - please link me in the comments, I love seeing what other people get!

If you haven't tried Stitch Fix yet - you totally should! It's SO fun! I look forward to it every month, like Christmas morning 12 times a year. :-) You can do a one-time fix too, you don't have to commit to monthly fixes and YOU set the price range for each item. Ready to try it? It's just $20 to have your Fix personally selected for your taste, and you can use that $20 towards any item(s) you decide to keep. I'd be ever-so-grateful if you'd use my referral link (box below) to get started. Thank you from the bottom of my clothes-loving-heart! :-)

Click below to get your own Fix!

Word of the Year: 2015

A little over 3 years ago now, I went through the toughest year of my life. If you read my blog back then, you likely remember most of the major details. If not, I'll recap with great brevity: I lost two pregnancies, one that resulted in a required surgery that resulted in a post-op infection and sepsis, followed by hospitalization. 2 weeks later, I was hit by a red light runner at 55mph, sustained injuries and my car was totaled. During this time, my mortgage suddenly rose without explanation and we felt we had no choice but to move. A few short months later, the company I had worked for for the last 5 years was to be dissolved. This period of time felt like an endless pattern of left hooks and gut punches, and each time I thought they'd take me down and I'd stop getting back up. I wanted to stay in my bed and hide, but as a mom and person who still (at that point) had a job to do, that of course wasn't an option. I found the quote, that has since become my favorite: "In the midst of winter I found in me an endless summer." I decided I would grit my teeth and just bear out the rest of the year, bracing myself and aiming straight ahead. Grit and survival were my only real focus.

The following year, I was able to begin to breath again. Life evened out a bit - my car of course was replaced, thanks to insurance. We moved into a home that I now love far more than I ever loved our first (and at a far more affordable price). I found a new job, which I've grown into rather well I think, and I can use my strengths in. But, I still lived in fear. For every good thing that happened, I expected the next thing to be bad. I couldn't accept that more than one good thing could happen in a row. It was too scary to assume things were really better. So, I decided to adopt a new motto: Grace. If I was still on this Earth, despite the two chances I'd had to leave it the previous year - I'd better be a bit more gracious with others. Less impatience. Less judgment. Less attempting to convince others that I'm right and they're not. So I worked on that all year, and my relationships with others seemed to really grow. Family relationships and friendships strengthened. After all, flowers grow where they are watered.

Last year, life continued to feel good. Steady. Even. Calm. Good things happened. I had developed strong bonds with friends and close family. I began to believe that perhaps it was ok to believe life was in fact good again. I decided to focus on gratitude, and I truly did. I was grateful each day to wake up. Grateful for each person in my life. Grateful for my job. Grateful for a reliable car. All the things you count on - being reliable - I was so grateful, I'd cry like a baby over it in my car alone sometimes. I finally felt like I was really alive again and maybe deserved to be.

That brings me to this year. This year I want to recognize how quickly time passes and simply enjoy my life. There are people close to me who are going through their grit year right now. (Or grit couple of years). I want to be there for them, while also recognizing that this is thankfully not my grit year (so far), so I have to be thankful for this happy phase of my life and truly enjoy it, because if I don't stop to do that, I could miss it! I don't want to waste the best days of my life worrying. So this year, I'm going to focus on enjoying all of the good moments and being fully present in them. I'm going to seek out opportunities to feel alive and joyful and bring joy to others and be a support to those struggling to find joy in their own lives.

 And, one thing I really enjoy is blogging for me, on my personal blog - so I'm going to be doing that more this year, too.

Stitch Fix Reveal: December 2014

Whew, the holidays - what a fun couple of weeks! But, they put me behind in blogging my latest Fix. Aaaaand the present wrapping hubbub left my spare bedroom a disaster area, leading to not so clean photos this time, so I beg your forgiveness. It shall not happen again. (Eh, it might... )

My December Fix came in several days early, as it wasn't due until 12/29, but came before Christmas - so that was a very nice surprise! (I assume the stylists wanted to take the holidays off of work too, and worked hard to get the scheduled Fixes out early.) But, enough yammering on my part - you want to see what was in the box, duh Nat - move on!

This month, I received:
1 top
1 scarf
1 open smooth knit cardigan
1 bag
1 pair of skinny, ankle length jeans

The top: Cassandra Cut Out Detail Sleeveless Blouse

I love the raspberry color and simple, straight cut of this top. The cut out details are very pretty and feminine, and I'm sure I'll love that aspect when it's hot this summer. For now, the top makes a great layering piece for winter. The cut and fit worked perfectly, it was a keeper.

The scarf: Tina Checkered Infinity Scarf

I love this scarf. Very soft, very warm and super cute and versatile. I have worn it probably 7 if not 10 times already (when I get something new that I love I tend to wear it a LOT initially, judge me if you must). I even wore it on Christmas Eve when we walked the neighborhood after dinner to admire the luminaries lit up and down the street. Another keeper (obvs).

The cardi: Sherwood Faux Leather Detailed Cardigan
Cute cardi? (Nevermind the blanket I had hiding kiddo's Christmas gifts)

Manly shoulders cardi?
 This was a tougher call for me. On the one hand, the fabric was so, so soft and silky. It felt amazing on my skin and had a nice weight and warmth to it without being the slightest bit heavy. On the other hand, I felt kind of boxy and manly, as the leather shoulder detailing seemed to come across like shoulder pads (a look that really never works for me). It might have worked better had it been a size smaller, because then the shoulder detail might have been a little more snug to the shoulder and sat higher. I finally asked my husband, who said, "It's not you, and it's too big." So, it went back.

The bag: Kristine Woven Tassel Satchel

I had asked for a winter and/or black purse and received this silver satchel in my Fix. I immediately thought, "Silver. That's nice and totally neutral and perfect for winter. Duh. Why didn't I think of that?" I love the bag. It has a "cell phone pocket" on the outside for easy access, inner pockets for my business cards and makeup and a big inner compartment for whatever junk I throw in there and forget to take out for weeks. Gym lock, apple or stun gun anyone? Totally kept.

The jeans: Level 99 Ankle Skinny Jean (not pictured)
On the card that came with my fix, my stylist described these pants as a trouser fit, which the waist definitely was. The snug legs and ankles however were too clingy and the ankle length hem stopped a full 3 inches above my ankle (funny, seeing as I've got short legs). I've actually put in my notes to the stylists that we should give pants/bottoms a rest for a bit, as I just don't have much luck there - and this time my stylist noted she just really wanted to find me a good jean. I have this hunch there is a bet riding at Stitch Fix headquarters as to which stylist can send a pair of pants I actually keep. Ha, probably not. That's pretty egocentric. But, funny thought. I think I'll just change my profile to state I do not want pants at all. It's not that I really need them anyway. I have jeans I like, I just bought them at a store instead of in a Fix. The pants went back.

I hope you enjoyed this month's Fix reveal. If you're receiving fixes as well, and posting them online somewhere, leave me a link in the comments - I'd love to see what you got and what you think! If you're ready to try your own fix, I'd be so very grateful if you'd use my referral link, so thank you so much in advance! Simply click the link in the box below to get started. Until next time... ! :-)

Three healthy snack ideas kids will love

My son is a fruit-a-holic. He's always down to inhale as much fruit as I'll let him. Sometimes he's not so great about eating from other food groups. Also, with school just about to start back up after winter break, I wanted to be prepared with really easy, fast snack ideas for when the after-school STARVATION hits. Yes, starvation had to be in all caps to fully emphasize the drama that goes on in my house immediately after school surrounding an intense and urgent need for snacks.

So, I perused my trusty online 2nd home (Pinterest, of course) and found 3 recipes that incorporated fruit, but also whole grains and some protein that I thought my son would love and we put them to the test. All three turned out to be winners for both of us. (My criteria was ease of preparation and relative healthfulness, his strictly taste) I thought other moms might enjoy these easy recipes as well, so I'm sharing them here on the blog as well as on KSEE's Central Valley Today on 1/8 at 3pm (will post link once it airs).

Items needed:
Whole wheat tortillas
Nutella (could sub out for peanut butter or peanut butter and honey)

What to do:
Spread Nutella on a whole wheat tortilla (1.5 tbsp should do it, watch portion control if you want to keep it healthy) using a small spatula. Peel a banana and place on one edge of the tortilla. Roll the banana up like a burrito. Use a knife to cut into half dollar slices and serve.

Original recipe created by Fun Mums (linked above), thank you Fun Mums for the great idea!

Graham Cracker Strawberry "Cheesecakes"

Items needed:
Graham crackers
Whipped cream cheese
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp honey

What to do:
Mix the honey and vanilla in the cream cheese (to taste). Thinly slice the strawberries. Spread the cream cheese mixture (about a tbsp) on each graham cracker and top with strawberries.

Adapted from Parents magazine.

I'm linking you straight to her perfectly written and demonstrated recipe. Enjoy!

**Photos are my own, all recipes inspired by the superior creativity of those credited above**

Outside the Box Gift Ideas for Kids

Thanks for stopping by! Check out my post on with 5 great gift ideas for the kids in your life, that they may not have already thought of. Merry Christmas!

How to host a stress-free holiday

Check out all my tips including all of my favorite tried and true recipes for your Thanksgiving meal on FresYes Families!

Stitch Fix Reveal: November 2014

My latest fix arrived this past Friday, and as always, I was very excited to come home to see that cute box on my front porch!

This month's fix gave me an opportunity to re-learn one important thing when it comes to building a wardrobe: You just won't know unless you try it on! I think that's one of the best things about Stitch Fix. There are many times when I receive an item in a fix in which I initially feel like, had I seen that item on a hanger in a store - I would have walked right past it. I would have thought - that's not for me or that's won't flatter me. But, when you have 5 items right there, in your home, you may as well try them all on - I mean, they literally came to you! And that's when the magic happens.

In this month's fix, I received 3 tops, 1 accessory and 1 pair of jeans. I kept two items and three are being returned.

Item #1: Breanne V-Neck Cotton Cardigan in Grey by Mak 

I had requested a longer length, light weight knit cardigan in my fix, and to be honest, I'd pictured a color or maybe a pattern - so when I saw that they had sent one as I was unpacking the box, I was a little disappointed that it was grey. But... then I tried it on. And then I looked in my closet. And I realized not only does it fit exactly like a want a cardigan to fit, it also could go with so. many. things in my closet. It looked like a ho-hum sweater in the box, but on - it fit like a glove and I absolutely love it. Verdict: Keep! New favorite staple piece. 

Item #2: Brixon Ivy Adrian Plaid and Lacy Blouse

In addition to the cardigan, I had requested a cute flannel for fall. I think maybe this top was a loose interpretation of that request, but for me, it fell flat. The type of plaid (which I think may actually be more a tartan) just screams school and teacher and uniform to me, and the lace on top is saying "date night attire!" and I feel like the two together just don't jive. Also, since the lace is see-through on top, it makes bra pairing and hiding a bit tricky. I will say, the fabric felt really nice on my skin, but overall I did not love this top. Verdict: Sent back.

Item #3: Collective Concepts Zooey Mixed Material Watercolor Print Top

This top was another great lesson for me in "you have to try it on" only in the opposite way as I described above. In the box, I thought I was going to love this top! The printed part was silky and soft, the solid was a smooth, stretchy knit. 3/4 sleeves (which I love) and colors I had requested - this should have been a slam dunk. But... it wasn't. Why? Well - I'll have to show you in the pictures. Ultimately, I tried this on and asked my husband what he thought. He said, "I like it. I think. Well... except for how it's sewn together. What's happening on the side there? It looks like maybe a bib. Or a smock. You know, like when you paint in kindergarten!" Errrrrrrt! Boom. Can you hear the brakes slamming on right there? Yeah. Me too. Any top that has an oddity pronounced enough for my husband to take notice of it has a legit oddity. He was right.

Had the front piece simply met the top straight down the side, all the way down it would have looked great. But, the way it is - it's totally a smock + top. Verdict: It went back.

Item #4: Bay to Baubles Evelina Stone Chandelier Earrings

When I first saw these earrings in the box - I thought they were pretty, but looked far too big for my typical taste and that maybe they'd have a cheaper feel when I handled them - lightweight, plastic-y, you know the type. But, when I took them out of the box and tried them on, I immediately loved them. Their length was actually perfect and I liked how the clear stones and gold contrasted with my (recently made darker) hair color. They are well made and substantial, not plastic-y at all. I actually love them and wore them out running errands today and felt extra fancy :). Verdict: Kept!

Item #5: Kut from the Kloth Denna Skinny Jean
Sigh. This is the item in my box that just baffled me. I've specifically said in my style profile before - I do not like skinny jeans, they're not right for my body type - I'm a slim-straight or slim-bootcut girl maybe, but not a skinny jean or denim legging girl. It just doesn't work. The size I was sent was upsized generously and way too big. I just felt like having them in my box was a waste of a potentially awesome 5th item. Sorry, I didn't take a photo of them on myself because they were just waaaaay too big around the waist and looked silly. Verdict: Definitely sent back. I'm going to change my style profile to simply avoid bottoms altogether for now. I love me some shirts and accessories!

I hope you enjoyed my review of this fix. Please excuse my freaky vacant stare in the earring picture - I never know where to look! lol! If you're considering scheduling your own fix, I'd be so very appreciative if you used my referral link to sign up. Thank you! :-)

My Top 10 Favorite Cooking Tools: Making meal prep easier

When I first started to dive into meal planning and cooking more elaborate dinners (i.e. meals that weren't just soup can casserole recipes), I found that investing in a new kitchen tool that made a task easier or more fun inspired a slew of creativity and fun in the kitchen. A new knife meant pouring over recipes that used lots of fresh vegetables I could chop up. A hand mixer tempted me to try to make perfectly whipped mashed potatoes. My love for a great tool has remained, and I've determined the ten tools that made cooking simpler, easier and more enjoyable in my kitchen. This is not a definitive list - there are certainly many other useful items in my kitchen (pots, pans, bowls, plates!) but these are things that are a little less common, but that I think others would enjoy as much as I do.

1. Kuhn Rikon Flexible Spatula Knife
I use this little thing all the time. Not for what you might think though, not chopping veggies - but for cutting flat things with ease. Quesadillas, waffles, pancakes, pizza, paninis - anything you want to cut easily, even with a crusty bottom is a breeze with this because of the curved edge and wide blade. I would say I use this at least every other day if not daily. Love it!

2. A Cookie Scoop w/ Dough Release
Before I got this, I would always roll cookie dough in my hands and that was time consuming, messy and didn't feel so sanitary to me. A cookie scoop cuts down on cooking making time (and face it, anything that gets cookies into your mouth faster is a win) and eliminates inconsistently sized cookies. I like making cookies so much more now that I have one (I also highly recommend those silicone baking mats - life changing if you're guilty of burnt bottom cookies typically).

3. A Measuring Glass
This glass measures tablespoons and ounces and comes in really handy when I'm doing anything with multiple liquid ingredients. I also use it frequently to melt butter when recipes call for a few tablespoons of melted butter, as its microwavable. Easy peasy!

4. Pampered Chef Mini Whipper
If you make any type of drink that involves mixing powder into liquid (protein powder, hot cocoa or cider packets, instant coffee, etc.) or like the froth milk for your coffee beverages - you'll love this little looped whisk! No clumps of powder remain, just a perfect drink.

5. Citrus Ream w/ Measuring Cup
So many recipes call for a few tablespoons of lemon or lime juice and this little two piece contraption is incredibly useful and quick to bust out of the drawer and put to work without getting lemon juice all over your hands (if you have dry skin like I do, that BURNS!) It catches all the pips perfectly too and you can just toss it in the dishwasher to clean.

6. Mesh Strainer with Handle
This comes in really handy if you frequently boil things (ravioli, larger pieces of pasta, vegetables) and want to be able to quickly transfer the boiled items to another pan on the stove (this happens frequently when you're making sauces and Italian dishes). This is also helpful for the obvious (frying) uses, but I call it my ravioli scoop because that's what I end up using it most often for.

7. Silicone Garlic Peeler
Yes, I can smash garlic cloves with a knife to peel them, but this is a lot easier! Just stick the clove in the little sleeve and roll the sleeve on a flat service and your garlic is peeled. Presto!

8. Stainless Steel Garlic Rocker
Place your freshly peeled garlic clove under the cutting area and simply rock back and forth to instantly mince garlic. Even better, the stainless steel keeps your hands from smelling like garlic for the rest of the day, as it absorbs garlic smells. Awesome, right?

9. Wusthof Santoku Knife
When it comes to knives, if you want one really good one, this is the Holy Grail, in my personal opinion. Since receiving it for Christmas more than 5 years ago, I've received several other high-end knives as Christmas or birthday gifts, (I always feel funny asking my mom or hubby for sharp knives as gifts, lol!) but this one is the one I end up reaching for constantly. It's SO reliable. So sharp. So easy to work with and works for almost every cutting need I have. Fileting chicken breasts, chopping carrots and potatoes, slicing onions - it simply is an all star. Unlike the other items in my list here, this one isn't cheap (you can sometimes find it on sale for $89 around the holidays) but it is SO worth the money and you really could get away with just this one, good knife if you invested in it.

10. Microplane Fine Grater
This grater is so very useful and makes such quick work of zesting citrus or grating hard cheeses - sometimes I even use it on garlic if my rocker is in the dishwasher. Be careful, it's super sharp - but you'll love how easy it makes fine grating tasks!

Ok, now it's your turn! School me on what lives in your kitchen that I simply must try! I can't wait to hear!

Stitch Fix Reveal: October 2014

Oh how I love "Fix Day." Clicking that link that shows USPS has dropped my box off at home makes me so excited for the end of the day to arrive so I can see what's in that box! This month's fix overall was really fantastic. I had requested navy and purple tones, and I've previously stated mint is my favorite color and I feel like my stylist did a really great job selecting pieces based upon my preferences this time.

This is my first time attempting a detailed Fix reveal and I'm no super model, so bear with me. :-)

My October 2014 Fix

Item #1: Uma Mixed Bead Long Necklace ($42)

This necklace is so neat! It's made by 3 Bits Jewelry, "a socially conscious jewelry company that gives displaced women in Northern Uganda an opportunity to combat poverty through fashion" and the beads are made entirely of recycled paper, making it lightweight and comfortable to wear, even though the size is more statement/chunky. I feel like the necklace hits at just the right length too - not too short (can tend to make short, curvy girls like myself look shorty and curvier) and not too long (swinging in the way).

Verdict: I love the look of this necklace and I can wear it with so many things I own. The versatility and fact that my purchase will help impoverished women justified the slightly steep price tag and made this necklace a keeper for me.

Item #2: Laguna Abstract Floral Flutter Sleeve Blouse by Creative Commune ($54)

I love the colors in this top! LOVE LOVE LOVE! The blues and purples are exactly what I asked for in this fix. The fabric is nice and work appropriate and the look is definitely feminine (another preference I have strongly stated in my style profile). Unfortunately however, the hem of the blouse sits right on my hips, which are fairly wide, making the blouse tight at the bottom and bunchy when I move. I'm also not sure I love the flutter sleeves - they're a bit big and make me feel borderline clownish. Layered under a cute cardigan, had the waist fit well, I definitely would have overlooked the flutter sleeves and kept this top for its gorgeous print and colors.

Verdict: In many ways, SO close, but not quite a fit for me. I really debated this one, but ultimately decided if I tried it on in a store, I would have determined the fit needed to be more on point to justify the high price. Not a keeper.

Item #3: Jace Textured Mixed Chevron Print Fit & Flare Dress by 41Hawthorn ($68)

This blue and black knit dress fits snugly on top and flares out at the skirt with 4 front pleats. The fabric is stretchy and comfortable and thick enough to be appropriate for fall and winter. I can see it being cute for work with a jacket or cardigan or great for a dinner date on it's own with a great pair of earrings and heels. Though the dress technically fit me to a t, I ran into one nagging problem with it - it's a boob-smusher. Do you know what I'm talking about? The bodice is just snug enough at the higher part of the chest to push the "girls" down to the roomier, lower bodice - making them look saggier/lower than they actually are. At 33, I'm just not ready for that look yet.

Verdict: Sadly, despite the dress's overall promise, the boob-smush was a deal breaker. Not a keeper.

Item #4: Milan Lace Print Back Pleat Top by 41Hawthorn ($58)

This flowy, lightweight top is just a total win. Easy to throw on for a weekend outing like lunch or shopping with friends and airy enough to wear even when its still INSANELY HOT IN OCTOBER (it was 100 degrees here in Fresno, CA yesterday, October 3rd).

At first, I was worried this top would make me look heavier (not something I need!) because it is so flowy, but the strategic back pleat helps keep the top for looking too wide when worn by itself, and an open, navy cardigan (like the 41Hawthorn one Stitch Fix sent me in February that I love) makes it a great laying piece for colder weather.

Verdict: The versatility, classy lace pattern and back pleat sold me. Kept it.

Item #5: Duffy Open Crochet Dolman Sleeve Knit Top by Kut from the Kloth ($28)

This was my least favorite item in my October Fix box. I just couldn't quite figure it out. The weave is SO open, the top would offer no warmth at all, so it wouldn't work for fall or winter weather - but I mean, it's a sweater... so you wouldn't wear it when it's really warm either, because that would be strange. I was sent a size large, which I was swimming in (not typical) and the v-neck was falling off of my shoulders (intentional? 80s style?).

Verdict: The redeeming factor was the color - purple is what I asked for. Nothing else about it worked for me though. Not a keeper.

Well, that was my October 2014 Fix reveal! What do you think? Did I make the right calls about what to keep? I really struggled with sending back that flutter sleeve top - I just loved the colors!

If you'd like to have your own Fix, hand selected by a personal stylist and based on your preferences, body type and budget simply click the link below to get started! Each fix is just $20, and that money goes towards any items you choose to purchase when you receive your fix. Anything you decide not to keep goes into a prepaid envelope which is included with every fix and you just pop it back in the mail. Easy peasy!

*Disclosure: After being a major fan of Stitch Fix and using the service for a full year, the company was kind enough to make me an affiliate advertiser. By clicking my link to subscribe to their service I receive a referral commission. If you found Stitch Fix through me, I would be so incredibly grateful if you signed up through my link. Thank you and have a wonderful and fashionable day! :-)

My interview with a doctor about Prop 46 (part 2)

{you may read part 1 of my interview here}

No on Prop 46: An Interview with Dr. Mario Martinez, Family Physician at UCSF Fresno, Part 2

Q: Are there already systems in place at most employers or hospitals that provide for drug or alcohol testing for physicians?

A: Physicians today have an ethical obligation to report impaired colleagues. Anyone can report an impaired physician to the California Medical Board. And hospitals have quality review committees that review physician care and any reported concerns.

Certainly, we all want to do more to ensure patient safety, but the drug- and alcohol-testing program required under Proposition 46 is simply a cynical attempt to gain voter support for Prop 46. In short, the drug testing provision was included for political, not policy reasons.

The lawyers who wrote and funded getting Prop 46 on the ballot have never gone to the state legislature to propose drug testing of doctors. In fact, the consultant for Prop 46, Jamie Court, cynically told the LA Times on December 10, 2013, that drug testing of doctors was “the ultimate sweetener,” designed to deceive voters from the real reason behind the initiative, to make lawsuits easier and more lucrative for the lawyers who wrote and funded Prop 46.

Q: Do you already have to work within the CURES database on some level? What is your experience like if so? And if so, how does this affect your day-to-day operations/patient care?

A: This database sounds simple, but it’s not. While the CURES database is already in existence, Prop 46 would mandate that both prescribers (doctors) and dispensers (pharmacists) check the CURES database prior to prescribing or dispensing certain medications. This mandate takes effect the day after the election. This will force the CURES database to respond to tens of millions of inquiries each year – something the database simply cannot do in its current form or functionality. It already goes down frequently or is frozen and locks people out when they try to gain access to the database.

This poses two problems:

·         Jeopardizes patient access to their prescriptions. A non-functioning CURES database system will put physicians and pharmacists in the untenable position of having to break the law to treat their patients, or break their oath by refusing needed medications to patients.

·         Prop 46 contains no provisions and no funding to upgrade the database with increased security standards to protect personal prescription information from government misuse, hacking, theft or improper access by non-medical professionals.

Q: What problems do you see coming from mandated use of the CURES database?

A: The single biggest issue with Prop 46’s mandate to use the CURES database is that the technology itself isn’t ready to handle the increased demand. Even the state staffer charged with overseeing CURES has said that the current system is “is not robust enough, not sufficient to carry out the mission that we need.”

So, if one of my patients were to break a bone and need pain medication, I would be required to check the CURES database to ensure the patient wasn’t “doctor shopping” for narcotics – even if that patient were a child. If the database was down, I would be left with a choice: abide by my Hippocratic Oath or abide by the law.  

Q: What are the overarching, 3 biggest problems Central Valley physicians face?

A: As a recent report from the California HealthCare Foundation underscored, the San Joaquin Valley already faces a troubling shortage of both primary care doctors and specialists. It concluded that “in California, those most in need of health care services have the least access.”

Compared to the Bay Area, for example, we have: far fewer primary care physicians and specialists; more residents living in poverty; fewer patients who receive regular medical care; and more people in fair to poor health.

My concern is that, if Proposition 46 were to pass, Central Valley residents could have a harder time accessing specialist care; their waits for appointments would be longer; and they would be sicker when they are finally treated. Worse, some Valley residents could lose their trusted doctors altogether if this measure were to become law.

Q: What keeps you going despite the obstacles you face to practice in the Central Valley?

A: Like many kids in the Central Valley, I grew up with asthma. I was in and out of the hospital frequently, and the pediatrician who took care of me was, in my eyes, a superhero. I wanted to help others like he helped me.

Growing up, I had my heart set on becoming a doctor, to help sick people and to save lives, particularly in the underserved areas of the Central Valley. My experience and desire to help people are what inspire me in my practice every day.

This post is completely my own interview and Dr. Martinez's responses. I have not been paid by the campaign in any way to blog about this issue - it is just something I care about. Also, I will not be posting comments on either post, parties on either side of Prop 46 are passionate about their beliefs, and in some cases offensive and hurtful, and I do not publish rude or attacking comments on my blog. I encourage everyone to always do their research and become as informed as possible on any issue, then get out and vote on election day. At the end of the day, there are parts of this Prop I can understand, but it's an all or nothing pass or not - which means enacting three major changes, as they are. Food for thought...
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