#WisdomWednesday: My Smile Direct Club Experience (so far!)

Good Morning! For #wisdomwednesday, I wanted to discuss my journey towards achieving a more beautiful smile. I have aligners in my mouth that are provided by Smile Direct Club and although I’ve noticed a big difference since I started wearing them in March and my friends/family have seen the change as well. I haven’t really discussed details about the journey and what I hope to accomplish so I figured why not do it in a post so I can share my experience with all of my readers! Hopefully you will learn about the SDC process and a bit more about me as well (as if I don’t share enough already lol)

I was about 7 in this picture and this is one of the few pics I have from back then that shows my teeth lol

For the past couple of years, I wanted to improve my smile. I wore traditional aka metal braces as a teen and although they helped tremendously with my smile, I still wasn’t satisfied with the overall appearance of my teeth. My 2 front teeth overlapped the 2 next to them and as a result, made my overbite more pronounced and didn’t give the illusion of straight teeth. My smile wasn’t a major issue anymore but I still had an idea of what I wanted my smile to look like so I started researching different options for improving my smile that would achieve the results I wanted without breaking the bank. I didn’t want to do traditional braces again so I decided to go with invisible aligners because well they are invisible lol and I didn’t want to go through the wire tightness and discomfort that occurs with metal braces.

Although I was a good candidate for Invisalign according to my dentist, the cost would range from $3000-$5000 and that just wasn’t in my budget. Around the same time, I kept seeing ads for Smile Direct Club which provides aligners similar to Invisalign but the cost was much cheaper because there are no monthly orthodontist visits and the aligners are shipped all at once so you don’t have to deal with a dentist as a middle man to continue treatment. I paid a down payment of $250 before my treatment began and I am on a payment plan and pay about $75 a month which will come to about $2100 total when I’ve made all of my payments. That is a price I can definitely work with!  Before treatment can begin, you must have your teeth impressions done and you can do this by taking impressions (putting the gooey clay like substance in your mouth to get a physical impression of your teeth) and mailing them in or you can go to a Smile Shop in person so they can do a 3D scan of your teeth. I chose the second option since there are multiple Smile Shops in the city and I made an appointment with one which was as simple as clicking the link and choosing the time. The process itself takes minutes and within weeks, I received my scans via email and I created a before and after treatment visual as shown in the picture below. I was satisfied with the after shot  because it eliminated the overlap as well as gave the appearance of straighter teeth so I decided to go ahead with treatment. I didn’t know what to expect when starting but I was excited and anxious to start my treatment right away.

The top picture is what my teeth looked like after braces but before SDC treatment and the after are what my teeth will look like when I’m done with treatment *fingers crossed*

Everyone’s plan is different based on their specific issues and the SDC dentist put me on a 9 month plan.  I started treatment on March 21st and should be done by the beginning of December as long as my teeth move according to the scheduled plan. If not, SDC offers refinements at no additional cost but I hope it doesn’t come to that point. Today makes 18 weeks into my treatment and so far, I have no complaints. Every 2 weeks, I swap out my aligners for a new set and besides the initial tightness that occurs when putting in a new tray, I haven’t had any issues as far as pain. The tightness goes away within a day or two and I sometimes forget that they are in my mouth. At the beginning of my treatment, I had a major lisp but it has decreased significantly so I am happy about that! The only drawback is that the aligners have to be taken out anytime you want to eat or drink anything with the exception of water and brush and floss before putting them back in. Some people lose weight because they don’t want to have to take them out to eat and brush/floss them afterwards after snacking so they only eat the major meals. Some people actually gain weight because they snack constantly and will put up with the constant brushing and flossing. Unfortunately, I have been snacking A LOT so while I’ve put on a few pounds, my teeth have gotten whiter as a result of the constant brushing/flossing so it hasn’t been completely terrible! Also, I would rather brush my teeth 24/7 than to deal with metal braces as an adult. I know there are many adults that have metal braces and more power to you but since I’ve been through that experience as a teen, I don’t wanna relive those years with braces at 32 years old. I already look younger than my age as it is and having metal braces would bring my whole appearance back to 2000 so I’m good on that!

The before pic was taken at the end of last year and the after was taken a few weeks back 90 days into treatment.

I have 140 days remaining in my treatment plan and am satisfied with the process and results so far. I know there are negative reviews about SDC online mainly because there are no dentists visits and if a person has a major bite or crowding issue, aligners aren’t the best way to go but I can only share my thoughts and opinions based on my personal experience with SDC. I can honestly say that I’ve had a 99% positive experience with SDC. I took off 1% because the constant brushing/flossing is annoying lol but other than that, it’s been amazing!  If you are interested in receiving an impression kit or scheduling a free scan at a Smile Shop, use my referral link. Once your aligners ship, I’ll get a gift card and you will be on your way towards a beautiful smile. It’s a win-win for everyone 😛 Here’s the link: https://mbsy.co/lwDBb

If you’ve worn braces or aligners, let me know you experience by posting in the comments below and if you have any questions about SDC, I’ll be more than happy to answer them. I plan on talking about my health and fitness journey on Friday so be on the lookout for that. Until then, always remember to love and live luxuriously!

 

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Is Online Dating Worth The Hassle?


Hey lovelies! I told myself that I was going to be completely honest with you guys about what’s going on in my life this time around so I decided to share something that I was kind of embarrassed about. Then I said eff it and decided to share my dating struggles. I’ve talked about the issues with the last guy I was seeing back in March (here’s the link to that post! https://amoreluxe.com/2018/03/14/shattering-my-rose-colored-glasses/) and that situation is dead lol but I wanted to step back out into the dating world but had difficulty because I don’t meet different types of guys in my neighborhood. At my last job, I only dealt with kids, staff and parents (and I’ve never gotten involved with a parent lol) and don’t frequent the types of places where I can meet different types of men so my only option was to resort to online dating. I’ve tried online dating in the past and even started seeing a guy that I met online but things did not work out. (Check out this post for details on that situation! https://amoreluxe.com/2016/10/14/forgiveness/) I was very hesitant to try it again but my bff Krystal suggested I try it again to see if things would be different the second time around. She told me to have an open mind but to always go with my gut because ignoring it could lead to serious consequences. If something doesn’t seem right about a guy when talking to him, don’t ignore that feeling and end it if things are being said or done that makes you feel super uncomfortable or seems suspect. I am not anxious to jump in a relationship or commit to anything serious at this moment but if I meet someone and we click, I won’t reject it out of fear either. With all of that being said,I felt like I was ready to try again so I decided to reactivate my account for “OkCupid”. I also signed up for a dating app called “Coffee Meets Bagel” and a site I’ve never heard of called “Hinge”. Here’s my thoughts and ratings on the sites/apps:

 

OkCupid

I joined OkCupid back in 2014 and liked it alright but I am very selective with who I choose to talk to so I ended up talking to a few guys but only had a real connection with 2 of them. I am still friends with one of them to this day (you know who you are 😉) and I am so happy that him and I support each other in our endeavors. The other guy who I ended up meeting in person and attempted to build something exhibited narcissistic tendencies and shady behavior and the latter was the main reason our situation ended. Needless to say, he was the reason that I was hesitant about reactivating my account but I told myself that I am wiser and that finding someone would be the icing on the cake and not the cake itself. Since there is no pressure, I could go into this with an open mind and just have fun! I realized that I’m just as picky as I was before but not just when it comes to looks. Most of the men I find attractive on the site seem to lack conversation and besides a “Hey what’s up?” and “What are you doing?”, it’s like pulling teeth to get them to say anything even though their profiles seem to have substance to them. One guy even hit me up after midnight when we hadn’t talked all day and tried to steer the conversation into a sexual direction so I had to shut that down quick! I’m not going to delete the app just yet but I am wary about the men that send me messages on there. This app gets a 2 out of 5 stars for now but hopefully I’ll meet a man who will change my mind.

Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee Meets Bagel is different from OkCupid as far as the type of guys that frequent the site. I’ve noticed that more professional types (businessmen, doctors, lawyers) frequent this site than on OkCupid. These men also seem to be looking for something serious in contrast to OkCupid where many of the guys are looking for hookups and casual types of situations. Coffee Meets Bagel doesn’t let you browse through a large number of guys unless you pay for additional points or beans as they are called on the app. I REFUSE to pay for dating services of any kind so I deal with the limitations of the free services. I have begun conversations with a coupled of the guys I matched with but so far, nothing has materialized. The conversations only stay open for a couple of weeks unless you reopen it for 30 days so I’m guessing they expect you to make connections quickly and connect outside the app which I have yet to do. I will give this app 3.5/5 stars because I see it’s potential and I feel that some good prospects are out there just waiting for me lol

Hinge


Now this is a site/app I’ve never heard of until my therapist suggested it to me. This app is different from OkCupid and Coffee Meets Bagel in its simplicity. You only have to answer 3 random questions and connect your account to Instagram to create a profile. Even though there’s only 3 questions on the profile, they are interesting and the answers I’ve read have given me a bit of insight into what the guy is like. Like Coffee Meets Bagel, the guys on this app seem to be looking for something serious and the guys I’ve had conversations with so far seem have intrigued me. Not to mention that I am more attracted to the guys on this app as a whole compared to the other two! I haven’t made a real connection yet but I just downloaded it last week so there’s no rush. I am giving this app 4/5 stars and if I meet someone and it leads to something, I’ll be the first to promote this app all over my social media 😂

 

 

Have you tried online dating? What have been your experiences? And for the fellas, have you had similar experiences with women on these apps? I wanna know ALL the tea 😛

Sound off in the comments section and be sure to like and share this post!

 

Stay tuned for a new post either on Friday or Monday depending on how my week goes lol…until then be sure to love and live luxuriously!

I am not my hair…at least that’s what I keep telling myself!

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On the left: how I normally wear my hair On the right: the curly, wavy, poofy madness I’m currently rocking!

Good Afternoon! I knew that I was going to talk about my love/hate relationship with my hair since Sunday when I decided to wear my hair in its natural state. I haven’t had a relaxer since 2011 but I always wear my hair straight because it’s how I’ve worn my hair since I could remember. Whether it was a “doobie” (roller set hair that is taken out then wrapped around the head and secured with bobby pins) or a “silk press” (hair is flat ironed straight to look like relaxed hair), I have always rocked a sleek and polished style. I’ve worn other types of styles such as curly weaves and braids but I’ve never dared to wear my real hair in its natural state. After trying to manage my hair this summer with the heat and humidity and creating more heat damage as a result, I told myself that I would attempt to wear my hair in its natural state. So this past Sunday I shampooed and conditioned, then put two strand twists in my hair (well had my boss do it for me lol) and let it set overnight and took the two strand twists out the next morning and rocked the curl/wave that it made. When I took my hair out, the only way I could describe it is poofy lol! I wasn’t used to the increase in the volume of my hair and the curls were al over the place. I wasn’t sure if it looked bad or not but I knew I wasn’t comfortable with the style itself. It felt weird not embracing my natural hair and it made me feel like I was brainwashed by society because I feel inadequate unless my hair is straight and appears to be more manageable. I wanted my curls to look bouncy and lush like all the YouTube naturalists that I watch on a regular basis but I was left with undefined waves, curls and poofy madness! My hair wasn’t what I envisioned it to be but I wanted to get over my discomfort and rock this look so I have been for the past 3 days and slowly but surely, I’m embracing it!

I know that for many women of color, managing hair in its natural state is a process in itself because we have to find products that work with our hair type and texture as well as stay within a certain budget (hair products can get expensive!!!) and find the time to do our hair because it can take all day depending on the style. I don’t know if this is a look I can rock ALL the time but I’m definitely going to try to do it more often especially in the summer cause straightening my hair every few days isn’t an option for me. I’ll keep you guys in the loop with my progress 😉

Make sure you tune in tonight at 8pm EST because I will be live on Facebook. The topic is “Eliminating Limitations” and I will be discussing the limitations I’ve tried to eliminate including the ones related to appearance! Hope to see you all in the chat! Also, like/comment/share so we can spread the love and positivity! See you back here on Friday:)

 

Always remember to love and live luxuriously!

Insecure

Yup, that's me with the poofy hair and glasses lol

Yup, that’s me with the poofy hair and glasses :p

Hey everyone! Before I get into today’s topic, I just want to let everyone know that I will be live on Facebook a week from today on the 26th. The topic is “Eliminating Limitations” and I will be discussing how I am trying to eliminate all the limitations that have stood in my way. I want to hear your thoughts on the subject so hit me up and I will share them on air next Wednesday! Now back to today’s topic! I am OBSESSED with YouTube vlogger and now TV star Issa Rae and her new show “Insecure” If you haven’t seen it, here’s a summary of what the show is about:

Created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, the comedy series Insecure explores the black female experience. Rae stars as Issa and Yvonne Orji stars as Molly. Over the course of the season, Issa attempts to figure out what she wants out of life and how to take control of it, while fumbling her way through this journey. Molly, a corporate attorney who appears to have everything together professionally, struggles inside as she looks for external ways to fix her life.

Meanwhile, Issa’s boyfriend, Lawrence (Jay Ellis), who has fallen victim to complacency, works to get his own act together. Frieda (Lisa Joyce), Issa’s overeager white co-worker, whose enthusiasm is both annoying and endearing, is at the crux of Issa’s racial frustrations at work. 

Issa Rae wrote the New York Times bestseller The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, which was published in 2015. Her web content has garnered more than 25 million views and over 200,000 subscribers on YouTube. In addition to making the Forbes 30 Under 30 list twice and winning the 2012 Shorty Award for Best Web Show for her hit series Awkward Black Girl, she has worked on web content for Pharrell Williams, Tracey Edmonds and numerous others.

Insecure was created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore; executive produced by Issa Rae, Prentice Penny, Melina Matsoukas, Michael Rotenberg, Dave Becky and Jonathan Berry. (courtesy of hbo.com)

 

I watched the premiere episode last month on demand and I was instantly intrigued. It’s rare that I find characters that I can relate to on television especially ones that put their insecurities on display. As a teen in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, I grew up watching shows like Family Matters, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, 90210 and Boy Meets World among others. Even though there was teenage angst, the teens on these shows always solved their issues in one episode and looked flawless while doing so. If only real life were that easy! Their insecurities seemed so insignificant compared to mine and being young and naive, I thought that I was the only one that had issues with my looks and overall demeanor. Like Issa, I was an “awkward black girl”  but my awkwardness consisted of a skinny frame, glasses and braces. If I was cast on a tv show, I’d be the quintessential geek that always seemed to fade into the background. The geek on tv wasn’t the one that had the attention of the opposite sex so she usually just stayed to herself and buried herself in her books (or in my case my Usher VHS tapes and magazines). In my mind, no one could relate to what I was going through so especially since all the black girls on tv were beautiful and cool I kept my struggles to myself. Then a few years later when I was in my early 20’s, blogging and social media sites became mainstream and my life changed forever. Through blogging, I was able to share my stories and connect with others who had been through similar experiences. I could spread the word through sites such as Twitter and Facebook and I could even stream live and post videos on YouTube. This took the Internet to a whole new level and I had the opportunity to meet people who I would never come in contact with under normal circumstances and was able to express my thoughts and feelings as well as enjoy others forms of expressions. Now this is where Issa Rae comes in!

I was familiar with Issa’s YouTube series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” but didn’t really pay attention until I heard about her semi-autobiographical series “Insecure” being picked up on HBO. I thought to myself “Who is this woman and how did she get a series deal with HBO?” I just had to investigate and find out more. Through my investigation, I found a woman who was perfectly imperfect. She was quirky and weird but it worked for her. I admired her honesty and transparency and although it was content created for YouTube and television, it was authentic and most importantly, I could relate to all of it. I too tend to talk to myself when I need to vent. I also feel like everyone is doing better in life than me and as far as relationships go, I’ve had bad luck with men just like Issa (that’s why I’m abstaining from all things related to the opposite sex for now lol) Finally, I found someone who gets it, who gets me and even though I can only see her through my laptop/phone/tv screen, I know she is speaking to me and other women like myself who embrace our quirks, awkwardness and even our insecurities and not let these things hold us back from feeling confident, beautiful and successful. Issa is a prime example of how being who you are and not fitting any particular mold is the right way to go in all aspects of life! One of my goals is to tell her all of this in person so stay tuned for that epic moment 😀 Dream big or not at all!

 

You can view the trailer for Issa’s new HBO series “Insecure” below  and check back on Friday for my next post! Much love to you all and always remember to love and live luxuriously!