Week 0 of Invisalign!

I’ve finally officially started! As a background, I’ll tell you about my experience from the very beginning. I had braces when I was ages 10 to 12, and never felt like I got a perfect smile. My orthodontist at the time was always making refinements, and even at the end, my teeth weren’t perfectly straight. As a result, I had little to no motivation to wear my retainers, so of course they reverted back to their old positions a bit.

My top teeth were pretty good, until I had a fall in my early twenties and chipped my front tooth. I went to a dentist that my friend worked for (not a cosmetic dentist… hey, I was young and stupid), and the bonding the used was the wrong color and positioned a little in front of my other front tooth.

On top of all that, I still have a baby tooth as a result of a missing adult tooth that never pushed it out. It’s toward the back of my mouth so you can’t really see it, but the roots are pretty much disintegrated and it will fall out soon. I’ll need to get an implant as a replacement, but once that happens, I won’t be able to do any more orthodontic work since implants don’t move likes teeth do.

So between the time crunch on the baby tooth falling out and my potential marriage in the next few years, I decided that now was the time to dive in and correct it. I really only considered Invisalign– I liked the results I saw online, appreciated the flexibility of being able to remove it for special occasions, and the subtlety of the device so that it wasn’t too obvious at work.

I went in for a consultation; they took x-rays and provided me with general information, my case was $5500, including all orthodontic work– all appointments, refinements, retainers, and trays were included. If you are looking into this, I encourage you to find someone who has a flat fee like this. I hate hidden fees, and the only way I’ll have to pay more here is if I’m not compliant (don’t wear the Invisalign trays).

I went back to the orthodontist on July 9th to get my scans, sign the paperwork, and pay the money. My insurance doesn’t cover orthodontic work, but I was able to use funds from my HSA to cover some of the expense. They offered monthly financing for the remainder, but I opted for a 0% interest credit card that I have the funds to pay off; This allowed me to take advantage of the pay-up-front discount.

During this visit, they took scans of my teeth, which used software to then create a 3D image of my mouth… so cool! The technician was able to move it around and show me all angles.

About three weeks after my scan, my trays came in and they texted me, instructing me to make a call for an appointment. They were closed for a week for vacation, so I was a little late in scheduling and managed to get an appointment for August 10th.

When I got in, they had the ClinCheck ready on the computer screen, where I could see the progression of my teeth with each tray. I have 28 trays, being changed every 2 weeks (although I’m going to see if I can switch to weekly changes at my next appointment).

So now that I’ve gone over the beginning, I’ll go over the first few days.

Day 1: The first few hours were fine! It felt like a tight retainer, but no real pain. Around 4 hours afterward, I started to feel the achiness in my teeth and gums. I went to the Taylor Swift concert that night (woohoo!!), and was able to have white wine and sprite with them in, since the technician I was working with said clear/light liquids were fine.

Days 2 & 3: Holy wow!! That got uncomfortable quick!! It’s not as bad as braces were, but definitely enough pain and ache to make me want to spend the weekend relaxing in bed. By day 4 (today), I was able to go without Tylenol and while I can still feel the aching, it’s definitely more tolerable. I have heard that the first trays are the worst, so I will let you know as I continue through the process.

By day 4 I can already sense the movement in my teeth. I can tell that my lower teeth are being pulled in closer to my tongue, and am surprised I can feel a difference this quickly.

We found Artemis!!!

I had the happiest waking up experience of my life this morning- Kyle placed my lost kitty into my arms. I took a second to realize what was going on, hugged her tight, and then just burst into tears of disbelief and happiness. Each day for the past week we have been canvassing the neighborhood, searching at different times of the day and night, and about to lose our minds from the mental and physical effort.

Last night, we went out to dinner at Tin Lizzy’s Mexican with Kyle’s parents and some friends. I wore my perfume and he wore cologne for the occasion. He bought a thermal camera that arrived yesterday (called Flir, review forthcoming), so we wanted to wait until it was dark and the heat from the sun had cooled down so we could use it. Around 11 PM we headed out, searching the places people said they had last seen her, and found a small cat sitting on top of someone’s fence. It was difficult to tell, but we think it was Artemis. The cat quickly jumped off the fence into someone’s back yard and was gone after that.

Dejected and disappointed after getting so close, we went home. After getting ready for bed, I was very tired and getting comfortable when Kyle said he was going to go back out. I was sure that we weren’t going to catch her if she didn’t want to be caught and that she was probably pretty well hidden at this point.

This morning, Kyle went to let the dogs out and heard a small meowing at the front door. She had made her way back!! She is in perfect condition- she was not hurt and looked almost like she had never left! We are inclined to think that she smelled our perfume and cologne and was able to trace the scent back to the house. If anyone reading this is missing a pet, don’t give up hope!!

Xavier Steak with grilled asparagus and Swiss cheese

I tried a new recipe tonight! This steak on allrecipes looked just too good. The recip called for marinating the New York Strip in Worcestershire sauce, which I was positive that we had… except that of course we didn’t. So I seasoned the steaks the way I normally do with olive oil and typical steak seasoning before throwing them on the grill.

The recipe calls for medium-high heat, but apparently Kyle had it on the higher end, which I would change if I did it over, since I like my steaks medium-rare. He didn’t want cheese on his, so I also ended up leaving mine on the grill for a minute longer to melt the cheese.

Overall it was good, not great. The asparagus was perfectly grilled, but would have been just as good separate from the steak. The cheese didn’t add much flavor or texture; the steak and it’s accompanying seasoning was overpowering the flavor of the cheese.

Going forward, I’ll probably just stick with my tried-and-true plain seasoned steaks on the grill… but I’m glad I tried it this once!

Taste: 5

Ease: 7

Review of the MiroPure Hair Straightener Brush

Good morning! Today I’m showing you the results of this MiroPure Hair Straightener Brush I bought from amazon a couple of weeks ago. It looks like a normal brush with wider-than-normal spaced plastic bristles. Each bristle has a heating element that heats the hair as you brush through it.

I was skeptical when I first heard about these brushes; I have incredibly thick hair that is wavy when air-dried, and I wasn’t sure if this brush was up to the task. The reviews on amazon had testimonies from many different hair types, including kinkier thick African American hair, and the vast majority of them were positive. I decided to take the plunge and see if it could do anything.

Here is a picture of my hair when it is air-dried. It has waves of varying intensity across my head, and tends to be frizzy.

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Here is my hair after brushing it thoroughly (which needs to be done before using the straightening brush– your hair should be free of tangles!)

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And this is about 90 seconds of slow-speed brushing on my right side later:

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Pretty amazing for only a minute and a half!! The other side took slightly longer because it has more hair, but I’d say about 4 minutes for my entire head (as opposed to 30 minutes with a flat iron, where I have to separate layers of my hair and do them sequentially from bottom to top layer). The final result is below:

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I absolutely love it for a total of 4 minutes worth of work. You should keep in mind that this is NOT the same look as a flatiron; if you’re looking for a way to get your hair pin-straight, you should invest the time and energy in straightening it with a flatiron. However, if you’re looking for a super quick and easy way to make your frizzy or curly hair pretty straight while maintaining the volume, this is a great way to go.

I have noticed that it gets progressively frizzier and less straight as the humidity hits it throughout the day, so my next adventure will be finding a good finishing creme to keep it this polished.

Overall, I give it a 9/10 for what it claims to do– highly recommended!

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Pork Tenderloin from the slow cooker with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Yum! I just finished eating the most delicious pork tenderloin I’ve ever had. I’m not much of a pork person (I prefer chicken or beef), but this dish makes me want to reconsider.

This meal scores high for both taste and ease. For the pork, I just threw the tenderloin in the crock pot, added water, onion soup packet, red wine, soy sauce, and garlic. Except for the onion soup packet, these were all ingredients I had in my cabinet anyway, which made it easy. Then all I had to do was wait for a while as it cooked!

This was the first time I’d made mashed potatoes of any kind from scratch. After I got home, I realized we didn’t have any vegetable peelers, so I used a knife to cut the sweet potato skin off as thinly as I could. I cut them into one-inch cubes and covered them with cold water in a big pot, and brought them to a boil. After simmering for 20 minutes, I whipped them using a hand mixer and combined with 4oz of Neufchâtel cheese and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Both were SO. GOOD. Kyle also said they were the best sweet potatoes he’d ever had! The pork just fell apart, it was so tender. I left the pork in for about 6 hours instead of the 4 recommended by the recipe.

Taste: 9

Ease: 9

Time: 3 (slow cooker)

Here is the recipe for the pork, and here is the recipe for the sweet potatoes.

My kitty is missing :'(

Today is a sad day. Last night, Kyle and I realized that our kitty Artemis wasn’t coming around our bed for her nightly cuddles. With the three dogs, she usually is off doing her own thing, so it’s not uncommon to go hours without seeing her. She is exclusively an indoor cat, but is content and loves sitting by the window in the sun.

We have cameras guarding every entrance to our house, and we reviewed all of the footage– we don’t see a single indication that she could have slipped out, yet we’ve scoured every single room to no avail. It’s baffling, and even more frustrating not knowing when or how it happened. The last time we saw her on camera was on Saturday at 8:16 PM, so she could have left Saturday night or during the day on Sunday.

I’m distraught. She doesn’t get as much attention as the dogs, but I love her; she was my first pet I had on my own, and I desperately want her to come back. We’ve left the garage door cracked with her bed, used litter box (they say the scent helps bring them back), and some food. We have motion detection for the cameras turned on so that we get an alert any time something moves out there.

I don’t know what else to do. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I will keep updating as we continue to search. ❤

Sunday evening vibes

Tonight I’m drinking: Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir 2016

Early Sunday evening under a sunny sky with my love, my dogs, and a glass of wine.

I love this wine! As far as mainstream grocery store wines go, this one is hard to beat for the money. I’m partial to Pinot Noir anyway for its light body and fruitier taste.

So this is a cheers to a relaxing weekend and a fantastic upcoming week! I have an important, early presentation for work tomorrow so after that it should be smoother sailing for the rest of the week 🙂 I hope you accomplish all your goals this week and find time for a glass of wine for yourself!