Monday, 24 March 2014

Time to Change

Hey everyone! Are you all as excited for our countdown as we are?!!! Everybody now... 8 DAYS TO GOOOOO!!!!!

As a slight change of subject, we recently made a video for Time to Change about keeping your mental health in check, as well as making the time to talk to friends or family who may be suffering. Check out the video below, and click the link to send your mates an e-card! 


Will you be  making time? Tweet us using the hashtag #MakeTime and let us know! :)

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Low-Down: Film Making

Hello everyone! Seeing as, a few weeks ago, Kaelyn wrote a blog post all about her experiences with Veterinary Medicine and her pro tips for getting into it, I thought I'd do my own version for those of you who are interested in getting in to film - this has also been highly requested on our Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook! These ideas are just from personal experience and do not represent all the situations/opportunities in the profession.



My little film crew!
The basics:

Unlike going into, say, a veterinary position, being a film maker can be incredibly unpredictable at times. Nothing is fixed, there are often no rigid working hours unless you're working under a contract (and averagely, those will only last 6 months max). What is undoubtable, though, is the amount of hard work you will need to put in, in order to yield any kind of success. The more work you do, the better. Work = meeting people, and more people you know, the more contacts you gain, and the more jobs you'll get a hold of. 

There will be months when you have no work at all, and you will despair - but there will also be months where you will have so much work, you won't have time to do anything else. You'll find yourself filming for 16 hours straight, and have to have an edit up and ready the next day. You'll meet cliental from both ends of the spectrum (both the maturity spectrum and the professional spectrum), and you will reach the end of your tether on a weekly basis. Starting out, you'll be expected to do a lot of things for free - but be sure not to get taken advantage of (more about this later). 

Again, unlike other, more 'fixed' professions, there is no set 'road' to success. Every single person's journey is different. You can get in to film school, graduate from there with a first class bachelors degree, yet leave education with absolutely no skills that will help you in the real film world. In my opinion, at least, it's not the grades that matter - it's your drive, passion, and skill. 


Get used to lugging a LOT of stuff around!

My advice:

High schoolers -  If you are interested in practical film-making, take as many art and media based subjects as you can. I took Art, Film Studies, English and History. Alongside this, try to get some work experience on weekends. I filmed weddings for a small local company for nearly three years, and also did freelance video editing and shot logging. Some of it was paid, some of it wasn't, but at this stage, I would was willing to work for free, and it's the experience I needed, not the wages. (Of course, earning money is always a plus. Make sure you're not being expolited/overworked by your employer!). 

Working on a documentary about a local church
University - you don't have to go to University. You can go straight in to the industry and start working as soon as you leave school - but I chose to study film at University because I wanted to gain more practical skills. If you are going to go down this route, it's important to choose a course which is right for you and your interests. Don't feel like you have to apply to certain schools just because you're told. Think long and hard about it; what are you wanting to get out of your time? If you're looking to become a film-maker, look for a course with a lot of practical, hands-on opportunities. The course I chose had a huge variety of equipment available and a very creative approach to movie making, and that's what drew me to it. I wanted to be able to point out, on my CV, just how broad my skills were. I'm coming to the end of my 3 year stint at university, and I can tell you, it's been invaluable. I've gained so much confidence, not only in myself, but in my abilities. I've learnt about professional customer liaison, and have had the opportunity to use technologies I'd never even dreamed of using.

Throughout all this, continue gaining as much experience as you can. After the first year of studying or so, it's real-life film work that's going to propel you forwards - alongside your studies of course. I'm in my third year and it's at this stage that I've started to find my own voice as a film maker, and really began excelling in what I do best. Apply for as many jobs as you can find that you think will benefit you, and go at it with full, unadulterated confidence, even if inside you're not feeling so self-assured. 


Working in freezing conditions is just part of the job!

My experience:

I absolutely love every part of what I'm becoming.  I'm meeting new people and gaining more contacts as I go, and I'm continuously building on my skills as a film maker, even in areas that I would not have explored before. Although editing is my forte, I'm becoming more and comfortable using equipment that I was terrified of using in first year, and refused to touch. I'm working as many jobs as I can, to the best of my ability, and gradually building up a show reel which I'll be proud to show to potential hirers. 

My tips:

  • Don't be afraid to pester people for work. Go at it with full force, don't care what people think of you.
  • Learn by doing.
  • Buy several hard drives and USB sticks. You're gonna need them.
  • Find your niche and work hard at building it, but try and gain general experience in other fields, too. Your CV will benefit from it.
  • Clients want passion, drive, and skill. 
  • Practical skills are everything, so take the time to gain them. Those A*s in school will mean nothing if you can't white balance a camera or stick a filter on an LED light. If you don't know how to use a piece of equipment or a programme, watch online tutorials, read books on the topic, and talk to your fellow classmates. Don't be afraid to ask your tutors to go over things again.
  • Inspiration, not emulation. Watch as many films as you possibly can. Watch AWFUL films that make you throw things at the screen in rage, and watch beautiful, awe-inspiring, life-changing films, too. Become inspired by the good, the bad, and the truly terrible. 

If you want to be a film maker, you can be a film maker. Just be prepared to work your arse off, and then some. Be prepared for hardships, for irritating clients (and classmates), for long shifts, and back-breaking, heavy-tripod-carrying, early-morning hikes up hills in the rain. It'll be worth it.

If you have any more questions comment below! 


On Set




Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Low-Down: Veterinary Medicine

Hey there!  After numerous requests and Tumblr messages regarding advice on becoming a Veterinarian, I've decided to sit down and write my opinion and suggestions.  These ideas are just from personal experience and do not represent all the situations/opportunities in the profession.

A baby raccoon who lost his family!


The basics:

Veterinary Medicine is one of the most rewarding career choices but can also be overwhelming, mentally and physically exhausting, with difficult hours, caseload, clients, and patients.  You must be 100% determined and willing to devote a large aspect of your life to the profession.  In the United States, to become a general practitioner (large or small animal), you must complete four years of undergrad and four years of Vet school.  To specialize in a certain field (Emergency medicine, surgery, internal medicine, oncology, anesthesia etc.), it takes at least a one year internship and three year residency on top of the eight years already completed.

A Pelican receiving a CT scan.
Veterinary school is one of the hardest professional schools to get accepted into, just based on the number of Vet schools in the country (28), compared to medical schools (170), dental schools (65), or law schools (208).  In order to apply, you must complete the pre-requisites, which include courses such as biology, chemistry, physics, calculus, statistics, genetics, microbiology, biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, neurobiology, etc. as well as take a professional entrance exam, such as the GRE or MCAT.

"Studying"

Tiger kisses!
Once accepted into Vet School, the first three years are typically "pre-clinical learning", such as classroom lectures, wet labs, and exam after exam.  The last year is your "clinical year" which involves working in a hospital, seven days a week, approximately 12 hours/day.  You rotate every 2-3 weeks to a different field of study, such as soft tissue surgery, orthopedic surgery, large animal medicine, equine medicine, oncology, anesthesia, internal medicine, etc.  Even if you are going to be a small animal veterinarian, you are required to learn enough about large animal medicine to pass your national board
examination.  Your board exam, called the NAVLE is offered every April and November and is required to become a licensed veterinarian.  After your national board examination, you are required to take state boards, depending on the state that you plan on practicing in.

A barn owl with a broken leg and wing.


My advice:

High schoolers -  If you are interested in becoming a veterinarian, take as many science classes as you can.  Try and take AP biology, chemistry, and physics if you have the opportunity.  Get a job at a local kennel or shadow a veterinarian.  Almost every veterinarian has no issues with a high school student following them around for a day.  Try to observe surgery - if you faint at the first sign of blood, being a veterinarian probably isn't for you.  Try to get as many different opportunities as possible - work at a horse barn, a dairy barn, a small animal practice, research facility.  Many veterinary applications require a certain amount of hours of veterinary experience.  If you've done all of this and still like the career, look to apply to pre-veterinary programs at a university that have a veterinary school, such as Michigan State, Cornell, North Carolina State, Ohio State, etc.  These programs usually have an appropriate pre-veterinary program that would improve your chances to get accepted into vet school.

College - Continue gaining as much experience as you can.  I worked at kennels, zoos, and the lab animal research department throughout undergrad.  Your courses, such as physics, calculus, genetics, biochemistry, etc. are difficult and technically have very little to do with veterinary medicine.  Don't get discouraged if you do poorly in these courses.  Just try your best to keep your GPA above average.  Courses, such as biology, anatomy, and physiology have much more to do with your career choice than those mentioned previous.  Most of what I learned in college had no benefit to me in vet school.  When you begin applying to schools, apply to as many veterinary schools as you can.
Cute puppies born via C-section

Vet students - Once you've been accepted and begun vet school, say goodbye to any aspect of a real life you want or had.  You will miss weddings, births, graduations and any other big events.  Your life is now going to class, studying, and taking exams.  Your survival is based on the fear of failing.  When you're not studying, you'll feel guilty.  You'll come home from class, eat dinner, and study.  Some of you will be lucky enough to understand concepts simply and others will need to devote hours and hours of repetitive studying to grasp the material.  Your family and friends hopefully will understand that you won't be in their lives for the next four years, but some of them won't.  Be prepared for this - connect yourself with a good group of friends, who value studying as much as you do.  Take some time for yourself but don't go overboard.  Drinking every weekend isn't something I recommend but go see a movie, go out to eat every Friday, or just sit and watch TV instead of studying for one day.  Balance is key.

Just ONE powerpoint slide of material!


My experience:

I absolutely love every part of my job.  The difficult cases which involve lots of planning, research, and medical knowledge are my favorite.  Many people ask me how I handle euthanasia and the answer is actually quite simple.  Euthanasia is the best gift that I can give to a suffering animal.  It is difficult standing in a room with a client, who is crying hysterically as their pet passes away.  But it's also a great honor with great responsibility.  The most difficult part of my job is having a patient, who can be easily fixed, but their owner doesn't want to go further, or can't afford to.  That is far more difficult than euthanasia.

Passing a nasogastric tube on a horse

Swimming with the manatees!
My job is mentally challenging.  I need to be able to think fast about the next option or treatment, with the lingering fear of messing up, killing a patient, or being sued in the process.  It takes self-confidence, motivation, and drive.  It's also physically challenging - restraining a 2,000 pound bull for a foot trim, avoiding being bitten by every terrified cat, being kicked by a draft horse.  The average large animal veterinarian works for 10 years before they are seriously injured or can no longer physically handle the job.  But my job is also very rewarding - curing the four year old cat with Lymphoma, stabilizing a dog hit by a car, creating client relationships that last a lifetime, and being able to put all your knowledge to the test for each patient you receive.  All the challenge, time commitment, stress over passing, and sacrifices are worth it.



If you want to be a veterinarian, you can do it.  Just be prepared to work hard, make sacrifices, and be motivated.  It's not easy but it's so rewarding in the end.  If you have any more questions regarding being a veterinarian, comment below.  Again, these are just my opinions that I've developed through my own experiences.

And cute puppies - always a benefit of the job!

All of the above photos were used with permission without violating patient confidentiality.






Sunday, 1 September 2013

UPDATE! Changing our countdown?!


Hello everyone!

We wanted to give you guys a little update about our current countdown. These past few weeks we have spent hours and hours planning things out and looking at our calendars for the next coming year or so, and we've decided to shift things around a bit.

Originally the next time we were going to see each other was going to be February 2014, but that has now changed to... *dramatic pause* DECEMBER!!!

We wanted to spend at least some of the Christmas break together because it's a special time of year, so Lucy will be flying out to see Kaelyn in Illinois for a week or so. Although Kaelyn still has class throughout December, she has just found out her rotations and they appear to be a little more relaxed than we first though, so we'll still be able to see each other at least for a bit! Whilst Kaelyn is in class, Lucy will be able to reply to all your letters from our PO Box, as well as play with Alfie and Oscar. Even though we won't be seeing each other as much as we'd hoped, it's better than nothing and to be honest, even if all we get is a quick snuggle at the end of each night and a takeaway pizza, we'll be more than happy! 

Because Kaelyn will be in class for a lot of the time, we won't be able to film our usual montage video because we won't have the time to film anything remotely interesting as footage! For this break, we want to be able to spend it just relaxing and enjoying being with each other. Hope y'all can understand! :) Despite this, we will still be able to film other, shorter videos, like tags or whatever, so let us know in the comments below, or on our video, what you wanna see!

This also means that we're pushing our NEXT trip, in 2014, forwards a little bit - so instead of Kaelyn flying out to see Lucy in February, she's going to fly out in March/April. Kae will be able to spend nearly a month in the UK! Yay!!!

We are SO excited that we're going to be seeing each other sooner than we thought, and we wanted to let you guys know as soon as possible the change in our plan!

Love you guys - see you in December!!



Saturday, 27 July 2013

June 2013

It's this time again - yes, I know you're all excited. :) Our June trip has ended and Lucy and I are officially thousands of miles apart... again.  Lucy's been so busy editing all of our videos (there are MANY!) and I've been busy with Internal Medicine at work but now that I've had some down time, I'm excited to write this post.  Shall we start at the beginning?

Lucy left London Heathrow early on Sunday, June 23rd, flying into Chicago O'Hare (the busiest airport I have ever been to). After an eight hour flight and two hours (!!!!) in customs, we were finally reunited!

Lucy's flight to America!
Finally reunited!  Can you sense the excitement?
We drove the two and a half hours back to my apartment and of course, went right out for dinner.  It was so nice to be reunited and we celebrated our three year anniversary (a week late).  After we got home from sushi, we fell asleep early because I had work the next day!

For the next week, Lucy stayed home and became my little housewife while I went to work like an adult.  She did my laundry, cleaned the apartment, and wrote back to all of the lovely people who sent us a letter in our PO box. Such a sweet little housewife! ;)

All the letters we wrote back to!
We were lucky enough to be together when the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions were announced and celebrated with sushi, of course.  We ended up snuggling that night as a thunderstorm had rolled in with champagne and strawberries.
The END of DOMA!!!!!

Snuggly thunderstorms with champagne!
That Thursday, after I got off of work, we had some ladies that just showed up at our door - we think they were homeless and wandered in off the street and chose us because we were super sexy and nice.  They ended up being super cute as well so we let them stay a while ;)  Jelly, Day, Cydney, and Stacy stayed the night before we went to Chicago for Pride.  We had such an amazing time with these girls and made lifelong friends. We adore them!

Day, Jelly, Stacy, Cydney, me and Lucy!
At the park!
On Friday, we were off to Chicago where we had pizza in the hotel, drank all night, and had the best time.  On Saturday, we set off early for Chicago -  We had brunch at iHop, had our amazing meet and greet where we met some of you incredible people, and then joined in on the "Dyke March."
Our Pride shirts!
Our Chicago Pride shirts!
For more photos on our Chicago Meet-up, check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kaelynandlucy. We absolutely loved meeting people and it always shocks us how many people actually turn up! Everyone was so sweet and lovely and it made us incredibly happy.

On Sunday, we went into downtown for the official Chicago Pride parade, which was awesome. It was super hot so we all stopped off and had lunch, then headed back to the hotel to pack and leave. This was such a sad part of the day.



Check out our Chicago Pride video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C8Ry6_XyGY!

We said our goodbyes to our wonderful new friends, and then Lucy and I drove up to Michigan where we stayed in a very cool, environmentally friendly hotel for the night.
CityFlats hotel in Holland, MI
The next day, we were eventually headed back to my parents' cottage up north of MI, but first we stopped off at the beach, had lunch with an old friend of mine and of course slipped in some shopping!

At the beach!
Once we got home to my parents' cottage, we were SO happy to be reunited with our BABY BOY!


That evening, we went out on the lake and it was nice to see the sun setting. Lucy even learnt how to fish!





The next few days were just spent relaxing, hanging out with various family members and doing a LOT of eating!

Lucy and Kodi

Trying and failing to float on the lake!

We got to spend July 4th at the cottage and we spent the day with family friends, talking and laughing and swimming in the lake. That evening we had smores by the fire and even got to sample some delicious chocolate martinis!

Sunset on July 4th
Chocolate martinis! Mmm :)

Sadly, some people - or should I say, animals! - were not as excited as others to be joining in with the July 4th festivities. Namely the fireworks! All three pets were snuggled up in our bed all night long, scared out of their wits! Poor things. :(

Poor pets
The next day, I surprised Lucy with her first surprise of a few that I had been planning for months! The first surprise was... WE WERE GOING TO SEE TAYLOR SWIFT!!! Those of you who have followed us for a while know that we met through the Taylor Swift blog I used to run, so to stand at a concert with each other, and listen to the woman that was sooooort of responsible for bringing us together, was an amazing feeling. We drove all the way from MI to PA which was a looooong journey, but it was totally worth it. 


Taylor Swift was AWESOME! We even got to witness an intense parking lot brawl afterwards, complete with swearing, shouting and people being run over. Talk about scary! The next day we started back on our loooooooong drive back to MI where we would spend one night at my house before heading back to IL for our last week together.

For our last evening in MI, we headed to The Melting Pot for our date night. We loved it! The waiter was kind of rude but the food was amazing. We always miss being able to go on dates so it's something we both really enjoy. 

Yummy date night at The Melting Pot
The next day we headed back to IL. We were so exhausted that evening that we just collapsed and fell asleep as soon as we got home! For our last few days in Illinois, we enjoyed spending time together, filmed SO many videos for YouTube, Skyped all of our good friends (Rose and Rosie, Wegan, Katy and Ellis, Amanda and Jordan, Kendall and Christine, and Emily!), and went out to eat with all my friends from school.  

I had surprise number two up my sleeve - it was a cheap, we didn't have to go anywhere, and we had so much fun!  I can't wait for you guys to see the video of it.  I made Lucy change into a white tank top and shorts and I did the same.  We then spent the afternoon body painting!  It was absolutely hilarious and a complete mess!




The last surprise, which most of you know via Instagram, was a trip to Chicago for our last night together.  I surprised Lucy with various clues (see on my instagram: @kaeepet).  The first surprise I had was a trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo.  It's an amazing zoo that's FREE in the middle of the CHICAGO.  We had such a good time and even got a tan!


After the zoo, we drove to our "posh" (as Lucy would say) hotel right in downtown Chicago, only a block away from Michigan Avenue.  The Hyatt Regency was absolutely amazing - it had two full towers and it looked as big as an airport.  Because we wouldn't be seeing each other for a while, I decided to save up and splurge a bit before Lucy left for London.

Hyatt Regency in Chicago!
Champagne and  Chocolate covered Strawberries
We went shopping on Michigan avenue, had sushi for dinner, and filmed our drunk charades video!

Our last day together we spent lying in sun in Millennium Park, which was a perfect ending to a perfect trip together.


Downtown Chicago!
 Our last day is always the saddest but we stayed positive and made it through.  We aren't sure when we'll see each other next but our love for each other always keeps us going.  We couldn't do it without all of your support, well wishes, amazing letters, and videos that you send us.  Hopefully I'll fly over to London in February and be able to meet some of you!












Saturday, 20 July 2013

Vet Tails Part 2



Hello everyone!

I've returned for what is the second part of a hopefully funny blogpost about some peculiar pets and pet owners.  Don't worry - Our June 2013 blogpost is halfway done and will be posted sometime the next week!  I've encountered some very interesting (to say the least...) pet owners in the last few weeks and although I can't share names or photographs, I can share stories!

The first pet owner brought in a chronically ill dog last week as one of my patients.  I met her in the waiting room and after introducing myself, she stared at me, without any form of expression, and said hello.  Most people, when you greet someone, at least put a fake smile on their face.  Not this person.  She, with the most piercing eyes, didn't even fake a smile.  After she got up, she told me that her dog told her she needed to pee and asked if I could follow her outside with a cup as she likes to collect and calculate the amount of urine her dog produces (on a daily basis...).  I obliged, caught the urine in a cup, and escorted her to an exam room.  She continued to tell me the history, I performed my physical exam, and we went underway with our tests.  The most enthusiasm I ever got out of her was when she said "Thank you" on the phone after I told her the scheduled time for her dog's ultrasound.  On top of that, she likes to use "natural" products as a flea preventative in her dog.  Her pet stunk of cedar - I would walk into a room and there would be an overwhelming smell of a christmas forest.  When we went to shave her dog for her ultrasound, we of course discovered numerous fleas...

Sometimes though, we end up with the nicest people.  I had another appointment with a chronically ill dog, who was diagnosed with possible cancer.  I walked into the room, sat down, introduced myself, and this lovely lady responded with "You have beautiful eyes."  I said "Thank you" and continued asking my questions.  She then, responded with "You look so young - are you sure you're old enough to be a doctor?"  I reassured her and she continued with her story - every now and then, she would compliment my eyes, my hair, etc. I told her that I needed someone like her around when I had a bad day... sarcastically, of course.  At this point, she handed me her business card and said "If you ever need a compliment on a bad day, just call this number."  Fortunately, her dog had a clean bill of healthy and went home to live happily ever after.

This has been Vet Tails Part 2.  I hope you find these people as interesting as I did.  Keep an eye out for our June 2013 blogpost, as well as new recipes I've discovered.  Comment below if you want more Vet Tails!

Oh... and here's a circle of puppies to make you smile.