#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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Book Review: I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual

Image result for i'm judging youGood Morning! After a great weekend of hanging out with friends, I am ready to get back to blogging. As a certified book junkie, I wanted to start sharing my opinions on books that have resonated with me. I read a lot of romance/mystery/drama books but books that are funny, relatable and give valuable lessons and insights are few and far in between. That’s why I was so excited to read I am Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by blogger/digital strategist Luvvie Ajayi.

I started following Luvvie on Instagram (@luvvie) and her blog AwesomelyLuvvie.com and loved her wit and humor especially as it relates to pop culture, social media and everything in between. I knew I had to read her book and see what the “side-eye sorceress” had to say in greater detail. Even though the internet has connected all of us so we can stay in the loop,  it’s very refreshing to disconnect from the world for a bit and sit down with a good book in your hand (or iPad in my case!) and Luvvie’s book did not disappoint. Some of the memorable parts of the book for me were when she spoke about the “Dinner Scrooges” who make eating out an issue, the different types of friends that you most likely have in your circle (I am a former Flake so that paragraph hit me hard lol ) or the “promise ring” relationships that never seem to last! Even though I only know Luvvie through social media, I feel like she could definitely be one of my friends that would fit right in my inner circle. She would be the one who would make you laugh until you cry, be there to support and uplift you at your lowest points and would tell it like it is even if you don’t wanna hear it! Her “judgment” comes from a place of love and concern (and a bit of self-entertainment too) and as much as she can critique about what’s wrong with the world, she admits that she isn’t perfect and is still figuring this thing called life out (and doing a great job of it by the way!)

I assumed by the title that Luvvie was going to be somewhat preachy and although I do like reading books from experts in their respective fields, sometimes I just wanna laugh and nod my head in agreement without feeling personally targeted.  I’m Judging You does just that while slipping in a lot of gems in between. Luvvie has taught me that it’s okay not to put every moment your personal life on display on social media, (I was never really guilty of that but her words confirmed what I already believed) that there is no one way to live your life to be considered a feminist (thought I was going to have to start making picket signs and put empowering quotes by women in all of my sm bios lol) and most importantly, that we need to be aware of the specific privileges in our lives and help others who are oppressed in whatever way we can. That lesson stuck out because so many of us feel like victims of our own circumstances and feel that we can’t contribute unless it’s some grand gesture. Luvvie makes it clear that by speaking out on the behalf of others who are oppressed can mean a lot and by living your life as a person who tries their best to be a good person and bring positivity to others can be very impactful. I choose to help other women by sharing my stories and experiences to connect with others who may be going through something similar. I believe that together, we can make magic happen and I feel that Luvvie would definitely approve 😉

I don’t do ratings or anything like that but I’m Judging You is the equivalent of jollof rice for the soul (I’ve never had it but Luvvie is OBSESSED with it and I know my Ghanaian/Nigerian friends and readers would agree!) and its a recommended read for anyone who is in need of straight talk laced with laughter and encouragement. Now all I’m waiting for is for Luvvie to write her next book “I’m Doing Better, Now What?” and I’ll be all set!

If you’ve read I’m Judging You, let me know what you think in the comments section below and if you have any other books you would recommend to me, share those as well! Until the next time I post again, always remember to love and live luxuriously!

#FearlessFriday: Learning How To Take (Constructive) Criticism

Image result for constructive criticism quotesGood Morning Lovelies! Back in 2016, I planned on doing a #FearlessFriday post every Friday where I would share something that I was fearful of or that held me back from reaching my full potential. It could be something as extreme as conquering my fear of riding on airplanes without having a mini panic attack before takeoff or something as minor as going outside of my comfort zone and trying something new like online dating for example (check out my previous post to read more about that!). Today I wanted to discuss something that has held me back from being the best version of myself because of my own personal insecurities. The thing is, I do not take criticism well AT ALL. Like its to the point where I become defensive or embarrassed and lose the motivation and passion to do what I initially set out to do. At first, I didn’t understand why I was this way towards people who were just trying to help me out. As I thought about it and went deeper into my past, I realized that criticism for me was a way of pointing out my flaws and failures which in turn meant that I wasn’t worthy of whatever it is that I desired.

It all goes back to having low self-esteem as a child and teenager and although I have grown and changed drastically since then, some of the doubts and triggers linger from those times that create doubt and wariness as an adult. Back then when I was picked on, I took it personally not realizing that kids prey on weakness and can sense it from a mile away. My insecurities were a weakness that held me back from speaking my mind and embracing everything that makes me, me quirks and all. Even though I learned that self-confidence is essential to do well in life and to gain respect from others, constructive criticism still felt like a punch in the gut and instead of using critiques like “You need to post more content that will appeal to a wider demographic.” or “Your inconsistencies with your blog come across as laziness and you need to do better” as motivation and encouragement, I looked at it from a pessimistic point of view as me not being good enough. These critiques and suggestions that came from my friends were only meant to help but instead I turned it into a ‘woe is me’ party and didn’t heed their advice. Needless to say when the light bulb finally went on in my head, a lot of time had been wasted that could have been used to create content and achieve my goals. When you know better, you do better and now that I get it, I’m going full speed ahead!

Now let me be clear, constructive criticism is totally different from being negative, petty or just a certified hater. If someone you know is being critical just because of their personal preferences, do not offer any solutions to the issue that they are being critical about or are coming from a place of negativity, anger or resentment, that is NOT constructive criticism but is destructive and toxic. Limit or avoid these kinds of people because they will only bring you down in the end. Constructive criticism should be helpful and beneficial to your life and if the critique doesn’t offer a solution or valid reason for your problem or concern, you might want to take a second look at the person that is offering their unwanted opinion.

To my friends, thanks for always providing me with love and support but most importantly, being truthful with me about things that I needed to improve. The truth can hurt but the constructive criticism has made me stronger and more determined than ever and for that, I am forever grateful 😘

 

I will be posting a book review from one of my favorite bloggers/motivational speakers on Monday so stay tuned for that! Have a great weekend and remember to love and live luxuriously!

 

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!