I moved to a new city and left behind a secure career in search of a slower lifestyle

Author and her partner in crime in June Lake, California

Hi everyone, it’s nice to meet you.

My name is Jennifer and I was born in St. Louis, Missouri. I always did well in school, particularly in writing and science, and was drawn to the medical field at an early age.

After high school, I weighed my options and found pharmacy school to be reasonably priced and of shorter duration than traditional medical school. Plus, I realized I was squeamish, and not seeing blood made pharmacy a win-win.

I graduated from pharmacy school in 2001 with a Bachelor’s in Science of Pharmacy and worked in both retail and hospital settings.


The strange case of Alexis St. Martin — the man with a lid on his stomach

A man suffering from indigestion. Coloured etching by G. Cruikshank, 1835, after A. Crowquill.. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

On June 6, 1822, 20-year-old French-Canadian Alexis St. Martin became the victim of a grisly accident. As he stood in line at the American Fur Company store on Mackinac Island, a musket accidentally discharged right next to him. The blast hit St. Martin in the chest, breaking ribs, lacerating his lung and diaphragm, and setting his shirt ablaze.

When he didn’t immediately die, customers in the store summoned a doctor. Army surgeon William Beaumont arrived and made a startling discovery. The musket blast had penetrated the abdominal wall and torn a hole into St. Martin’s stomach. …


The months from December through March are the best for viewing — if you know where to look

Stargazing/ Free Photos/ Pixabay

Winter is here, and if you’re like me, you prefer to stay inside by the fireplace rather than freezing outdoors. But take a few moments and step outside into the crisp, clear night. Look up, and you’ll be rewarded by a sky full of dazzling stars.

Winter is ideal for stargazing, especially for beginners.


Housework sucks — simplify your life with these easy, eco-friendly hacks.

Image/Stock Snap/ Pixabay

One of my favorite New Year’s Resolutions is to finally clean the house from top to bottom. Inevitably, an hour passes, and I feel the tug of Netflix calling me to the couch.

I tried to lessen the load by cleaning one area per day, but this approach made it feel like I was constantly cleaning. Instead, I decided to focus on high traffic areas with the goal of cleaning smarter not harder.

I’ve also recently moved to a house with a septic tank, so swapping out harsh cleaners…


These easy-to-grow houseplants provide so many health benefits

Image/ Candid Shots/ Pixabay

For many, dreaming about White Christmas has turned into a longing for spring’s warmth and the vibrant green of nature. Bring the outdoors in with these hardy plants and start reaping the benefits.

Benefits of houseplants:

  • Lower stress levels and improved mood — there’s a reason people seek the outdoors to experience the calming beauty of nature. Plus, the act of caring for another living thing is a great stress reducer.
  • Cleaner air — certain species of plants pull toxins like formaldehyde and benzene out of the air.
  • Adds moisture to dry air — plants release water vapor which helps to combat dry…


From super soldiers to the darling of the mod subculture: examining the many facets of amphetamine

Image/Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Humble roots

Amphetamines conjure up many images: diet pills, all-night party (or study) sessions, and exploding backwoods labs.

Today, amphetamine and methamphetamine are only legally available as Schedule II controlled substance prescriptions. But at one time, these drugs were widely used.

The ephedra plant is known worldwide by many names. The English refer to it as a joint pine or Brigham tea. But most people recognize the plant by its traditional Chinese name, ma-huang. Ephedra has been used for centuries in both traditional medicines and religious ceremonies as a stimulant.

But what component of the plant caused the euphoric effect?

In 1885…


Stave off wintertime cabin fever with these fun board games

Image/ Cottonbro/ Pexels

There’s a reason board games have remained popular over the years. Easy to learn and quick to set up, board games are guaranteed to either elicit smiles and peals of laughter or accusations of cheating and board-flipping tantrums.

Interactive in a way that binging Netflix can never be, board games are the perfect solution to a long winter’s night.

But if you’re tired of the same dusty box of Monopoly or battered copy of Clue, check out this list of games. You may discover a new family favorite.


Please share these hidden gem recipes with the world

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard/ Philip Leara, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

They say you don’t really know a place until you leave it.

It wasn’t until I moved out of St. Louis, Missouri in my thirties that I came to realize what great food the city had to offer. Now I’m not talking about that great hamburger joint on the corner or the nostalgia of Grandma’s cooking. I’m also not talking about the mysterious St. Louis-style barbecue.

No, I’m referring to foods that I took for granted all my life only to realize later that they were only found in the St. Louis region. …


This overlooked activity can blast fat, tone up that mid-section, and put a smile on your face

Image/ Karolina Grabowska/ Pexels

Bored with lifting weights? Tired of running on the treadmill to nowhere?

Just because we’re adults doesn’t mean our workouts should be uninspiring. Think back to what activities you enjoyed as a kid. Jump roping, hopscotch, running races — they all got the heart pumping by blending coordination with whole-body movements. But what else did these childhood favorites feature? Smiling, laughter, and a delightful exhilaration.

If you don’t enjoy an activity and it becomes a chore, you’ll lack the motivation to continue. That’s why injecting fun into your workout is so critical.

Meet your new rainy day activity — hula…


Imagine the traffic situation if your city hosted the World’s Fair and the Summer Olympics concurrently

The Government Building at the 1904 World’s Fair, David R. Francis/ Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

There’s a great scene in the 1944 movie, Meet Me in St. Louis. The main character, played by the iconic Judy Garland, stands on an ornate bridge gazing around at the lights of the World’s Fair. She turns to her family and gushes about the spectacular scenery, “I can’t believe it. Right here where we live. Right here in St. Louis.”

Looking a St. Louis today, a delightful, but not quite world-class city, some may wonder how such an insignificant place hosted such an important event.

Jennifer Mittler-Lee

Dabbles in writing, occasional pharmacist. Loves to blend science with history. Fan of medical mysteries and always curious.

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