Re: Free at last!

img_8771After 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

Happy World Smile Day! 

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

 

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Re: Subway and a pep talk

train.jpegOn my way to an appointment, I sat beside a lovely pregnant woman on the subway. The delectable aroma of the dark chocolate pieces she was munching on were enough for me to put my book down and remove my headphones. I leaned over and told her how wonderful those dark chocolate pieces smelled!

After a few stops we started casually chatting and sharing photos and videos of our nieces. She’s having her first child and, of course, was nervous about the new changes in her life that will very soon take place. Did I mention that she’s due in 3 weeks? I appreciated her positive attitude towards the new chapter she and her partner are about to embark on because it’s definitely not going to be an easy ride.

Later on, we started talking about career paths and the troubling observations she notices about young professionals. She said something like; “I have been in the [marketing] industry for about 10 years now. Young professionals like you are greatly undervalued by senior execs but with the changing digital landscape, you guys are actually extremely valuable because you are immersed in it. You know what’s going on and can provide context. They know that you’re young, and are probably doubting yourself, but don’t let them smell that. Don’t give them a reason to doubt you even if you doubt yourself from time to time. Your knowledge in the industry is valuable. Show them how much they need you.”

Needless to say, it was the best 30 seconds I spent on the subway. Seriously, what are the chances that I would sit next to this motivating woman who just happens to work in the same industry as me?

She’ll be an awesome mother. No doubt.

Always,

K

P.S. This post was previously published at Medium

Re: Beauty Hack or Bust?

4247171-garlicI’m sure we’ve all seen a few, more like a ton, of beauty hacks floating around Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, but do they actually work? I put some so called beauty hacks to the test to see if they’re real hacks or just another bust.

IMG_8833.jpgFirst up in this series, is a beauty hack from the lovely Farah Dhukai. I found one of Instagram clips on my Facebook newsfeed and decided to try her beauty hack using garlic for treating acne. All you have to do is cut a piece of a garlic clove then gently massage it on the problem area(s) of your freshly cleansed face. Leave the garlic residue on your face overnight.

I tried this super simple beauty hack over a period of time to get a good idea of how effective it really is. Fortunately, this is a beauty hack that actually works! The day after massaging the garlic on a pimple, the swelling and redness was reduced. Though it may sting a little, garlic also works if you already popped that sucker and now left with a small opening. Always remember to wash your face before doing this beauty hack to get the best results.

Why does this beauty hack work?

Pimples are caused by build up of excess oil, dirt and bacteria within your pores. Physicians have also attributed poor eating habits or eating something that may cause acne irritation, stress and hormones as factors causing pimples. There are various types of pimples from black heads, white heads, to pustules.

This hack works because once you popped your pimple, you are left with an opening and garlic having great antimicrobial and antioxidant properties can help with fighting off the bacteria, inevitably healing your skin. However, please be mindful to avoid excessively rubbing the raw garlic on your skin as it may cause blistering.

Have you tried other beauty hacks? Share you experiences with us by leaving a comment below 🙂

 

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