Re: Free at last!

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After four and a half years of wearing braces, it has been an incredible feeling to let my tongue glide on my freshly polished straight teeth!

Truth be told, I didn’t like my smile growing up because I always fixated on my crooked teeth. They were all I saw whenever I looked at my grade school picture day photos or any photo for that matter. So, I decided to get braces after getting my wisdom teeth out. Our family dentist referred me to Dr. James Noble from Orthodontics at Don Mills.

Before getting a consultation, my dentist forwarded a copy of my recent X-rays so that Dr. Noble had a starting point to assess my case. We sat down for an initial consultation about my teeth, my goals and why I wanted to get braces. Dr. Noble was very honest with me about the commitment and investment that I needed to make, which I really appreciated. He is a passionate orthodontist whom truly loves what he does, and it shows in his work. Dr. Noble works with a diverse age range of patients from young children to adults, so he has extensive experience with different case severities.

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Though, I couldn’t help but feel that I got more than a beautiful new smile. Reflecting on the last 4 ½ years of wearing braces, I learned 5 important life lessons.

Patience

At first glance, four years is a long time to wait for something you’ve always wanted to have. There were times when I grew a bit restless, failing to recognize that there is a much greater reward down the road.

Think of the bigger picture

I went to 64 (more or less) individual appointments for my orthodontist and regular cleaning over the course of my entire treatment. They had to remove 4 teeth before installing the wires and brackets and I can’t even tell you how many elastics I’ve used! If you look at each of these factors individually, getting those pearly white straight teeth seems awfully daunting. But if we just take a step back to look at the bigger picture, all of these sacrifices contribute to an overall goal.

When you’re in pain, speak up!

I happen to have a high pain tolerance so luckily the regular tightening wasn’t a big deal. Actually, I remember happily eating a bacon cheeseburger  right after getting my braces installed! Though there were times when a piece of wire would irritate my inner cheek and a ball of wax wouldn’t be able to ease the irritation. Instead of taking the pain in, a phone call needed to be made. A quick snip and voila! The pain is gone.

It’s easy to sweep our pain under the rug, or even worse, bury it. Speaking up when you’re in pain doesn’t make you a burden. It means something needs to change.

Smile with confidence

Yeah, yeah there’s something on my teeth. A piece of spinach or rice perhaps? It happens. As odd as it may sound, wearing my braces helped me embrace my crooked teeth for what they are-a work in progress. Our imperfections make us who we are. Let’s wear them with pride!

Invest in yourself

My treatment cost a little over $8000. I admit, I spent a pretty penny on something that might seem vain and I am damn proud of it! I made this investment for me because I know the health benefits and confidence boost sufficiently justified the cost. Besides, do you know how amazing it is to wake up and look in the mirror and love who you see staring back at you? I get to feel that, so I’d say it’s worth it.

Smile as wide as you can. You deserve to. We all do.

Big THANK YOU to Dr. Noble and his lovely hygienists at Orthodontics at Don Mills! Your patience, positive attitudes and dedication are greatly appreciated! 🙂

Always,

K

Dear Nanay

img_8797I have a vivid memory of you with plastic pink rollers on your hair while getting ready for bed. My sisters and I were still giggling from the other room, so you stepped out and told us to go to bed before the night monster comes knocking on our door. We rushed to our beds and put the blanket over our heads. I peaked and watched you slowly walk in to your room with a slight smirk on your face…

Thank you for telling us stories about our dad and all sorts of mischief he got himself into growing up. Thank you for taking care of us when we were sick. Thank you for reminding us to do our best while we were still in school. Thank you for sending us birthday cards for as long as you could. Thank you for having patience with us even when we avoided your calls as teenagers. And thank you for being our grandma.

I wanted to dedicate a brief post to my grandma. She passed away peacefully in her sleep a little over a week ago. The past few days I couldn’t help but feel grateful that I had the opportunity to fly back to the Philippines and visit her. We hadn’t seen each other in 13 years! Though her face hadn’t changed much, she didn’t have the same energy as she used to. It was tough but I cherish the conversations we had.

Before we immigrated to Canada, my sisters and I grew up road tripping to our grandparent’s house for the summer or during Holy Week. My grandma always had short hair, no longer than her chin. She had the OG bob haircut before it was thing! And she always had these pink rollers that she used at night to put a slight curl on her bangs. So for today’s beauty post, I did a quick collage of vintage hairstyle inspirations.

She showed me a photo of her when she was a young woman. She still had the same smile and a similar vintage hairstyle Julianne Hough has (but less glamourous of course), wearing her white uniform shirt. I was around 7-8 years old when she showed me those photos, kept in a box underneath her bed. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure whether those photos are still around, but I hope they are. When I go back for another visit, I’ll look for them. Until then, I know she’s always with me, living within those birthday cards and short nuggets of wisdom.

This is my letter to you.’Til we meet again.

Always,

K

 

 

Dear braces

 

IMG_7930You’ve called my mouth your home for about 4 years now, and don’t take it the wrong way when I tell you that the honeymoon phase is OVER. It’s not you, it’s me. I simply think that you’ve enjoyed your stay a little too much and far too long. It’s time for you to find another home.

In the beginning, we had our rough patches. The occasional lip and cheek scrapes, food getting stuck on you and of course, how can I forget, the month I could only eat soft [mushy] food?! Now, I’m not holding any of those things against you. Not. At. All. At the end of the day I signed up for it. I was the one who invited you in! But frankly, I was very insecure about my smile. I appreciate that you’ve been here to help me manage my giant crooked teeth. And I know you’re still here to help me get the smile I want for myself. It’s getting there and I can tell that we’re getting there. I’m just hoping that you’ll get there sooner rather than later.

I won’t be missing trying to take food out of you with my tongue or casually drinking water while pretending I’m not gargling to get the food out. Flossing for 10 minutes was fun-ish. I had to weave the floss around you as if I was making a wicker basket. I won’t be missing the regular tightening or my jaw locking. So like what I said earlier, it’s been good but you gotta go.

Good luck with everything and I hope you stay away from my future kids.

Always,

K

P.S. Of course, this blog post was just something cheeky since I have been feeling a little frustrated with having braces on lately. Nonetheless, I know that it’s worth the investment and commitment. If you’re interested, here are my Top 5 Tips on maintaining clean braces & healthy teeth:

  1. Get a good brush. I prefer to use a manual brush even though I have an electric brush because I feel like I can control the brush a lot better
  2. Actually follow your orthodontist’s recommendations about brushing your teeth AND flossing regularly. I was a little extra and carried a dental kit with me so I could brush my teeth literally after every meal. By all means, you don’t have to do that
  3. Get toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Your teeth will be moving around and will ultimately go through a lot of changes, I found that my teeth has gotten a lot more senstive because of it. Not sure about the science behind it but I still recommend getting toothpaste for sensitive teeth to help your teeth just a little bit more
  4. Carry toothpicks. I bought a bunch of dental toothpicks from the Dollar store (I think?) and it comes with a little travel size container. It fits nicely in your purse and you can easily go to the washroom in case there’s food that annoyingly gets stuck and is visible
  5. Buy Advil or Tylenol. This is more of a multipurpose item. If you don’t have a high pain tolerance, it would make eating (or generally speaking) easier if you had painkillers with you. For me, my jaw is realigning because my treatment right now is focusing on fixing my bite. It can be a little painful at night so I take a Tylenol some times

 

 

Re: by nature from New Zealand First Impressions & Review

While continuing my search for all natural and minimalist skincare products, I came across 2 by nature face masks tucked away at the bottom shelf of Winners’s bath/body section. There were loads of skincare products in the section categorized as ‘all natural’. I could, and if I’m being honest, I did spend about an hour picking up products, reading the labels and putting them down because they were just not what I was looking for. The masks from by nature stood out because of their ingredients lists.

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I chose to go with the Nourishing & Refining Face Mask infused with manuka honey, rosehip oil, hyaluronic acid, argan oil, and aloe vera, and enriched with collagen. Reading the ingredients for the mask I noticed that it also has witchhazel, coconut oil, glycerin and other ingredients known for their healthy skin benefits. This face mask is a sheet mask, packaged individually (there are 5 in the package) with a plastic outer layer to peel once you put the mask on your face. There’s a lot of the serum on each sheet mask. Other bloggers thought that there was a lot of serum on the sheet masks, which made the face masks a little too damp for them but I didn’t mind it. I used the excess serum on my neck.

IMG_6763.jpgWithin a few minutes I felt my skin tingle. Not in a bad burning sensation, more gentle than that. The sheet mask also smelled fresh (a nice bonus!). After 10 minutes I took the sheet mask off and let my face absorb the serum for about 2  more minutes  before gently washing my face with some water. I patted my face dry with a face towel, feeling pretty damn good with the results. My skin felt smooth and supple (*cue the generic skincare TV commercial smile pose).

Overall, my first impression of this product is positive. I tried using it at night and in the morning. Both times of the day worked well for me, meaning I had consistent results. It was also only $7.99 + tax for 5 sheet masks, if you do the math it’s around $1.80/sheet mask; a pretty good deal for a good quality product. The downside? Skincare products from by nature, is not ubiquitous (yet!) The company is based in New Zealand, and even though the company website states that some retailers in North America (e.g. Walmart, TJ Maxx and Marshalls) carry their products they are not available in all store locations (and have varying inventory if by chance they did carry the brand). You can buy their products online (flat rate shipping fee is $15 for orders under $100 USD), but I’m not entirely sure if I would like the products enough to pay the additional shipping fee knowing that there are only a couple of other products I would like to try.

Now, would I recommend this product? I would recommend this product if you’re looking for something inexpensive and all natural. Consistency has a lot of weight when I recommend products, so I really appreciate that the face masks did a great job with giving me consistent results. I’m going to have my eyes peeled whenever I come to Winners or Marshalls for their skincare products (specifically for the face)!

Have you tried any by nature skincare products? Share with us your experiences by leaving a comment below!

 

 

Always,

K

 

P.S. I tried a homemade turmeric mask and actually broke out a few days later. It was highly recommended online but it just wasn’t the mask for me. Perhaps, it was a cleansing mask? Having said that, PLEASE do your research before trying homemade masks. Some might work for your skin far better than others.