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

 

 

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.

Homemade Body Scrubs x 3

IMG_5073Part of my skin care routine is exfoliating my entire body every other day. After finally finishing my giant tub of Japanese Peppermint & Eucalyptus scrub from Waxon WaxBar, I decided to try to make my own. Here are three body scrub recipes I came up with using ingredients you can find at home and eat!

Citrus Trifecta body scrub:

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  • orange, lemon and lime zest (equal parts; ~1 teaspoon. each)
  • ~1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • lemon juice from ¼ wedge
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Mix all of the ingredients together with a mortar and pestle until everything is combined.

Plant-based body scrub: IMG_5068

  • 5 fresh sage leaves
  • 5 fresh mint leaves
  • ~1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup oatmeal

With some kitchen sheers, cut the leaves in small strips into the mortar. Add the olive oil and mix together using the pestle. Doing this will release the mint and sage essential oils from the leaves. Add the oatmeal into the mix once the leaves and oil are combined well. I used instant oatmeal that I sifted before adding into the mix, but you can add ground or any kind you have at home as well. Mix well until everything is combined.

IMG_5072Morning grind body scrub:

  • ½ cup ground coffee
  • zest from ½ of a lemon
  • lemon juice from ¼ wedge
  • ~1 teaspoon honey

Mix all of the ingredients together with a mortar and pestle until everything is combined.

I used portable dressing containers to store the scrubs since I tend to alternate scrubs. Putting them in dressing containers also makes them easier to pack in your luggage if you’re planning on taking some scrubs. Use a rubber band the secure the lid even more if you are planning on taking these scrubs on your next getaway.

Let me know what you think about these scrubs by leaving a comment below 🙂

Always,

K