#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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Eliminating Negative Energy

Good Morning! Still working on this consistent posting thing lol  but I do have something that I wanna talk about that has weighed on my mind for the past few days that I wanted to share with you guys. As I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, I stopped on a post by Cardi B of Love and Hip Hop fame (I think her posts are so entertaining so don’t judge me!) and she posted a pic of herself in a unique outfit and most of the comments were giving her praise posting things like:

girl you are working it!

beautiful!

heart emoji

big smiley emoji

kiss emoji

You get the picture!

Unfortunately, one person decided to write a comment that had nothing to do with the actual picture but choosing to comment instead on a rumor going around about her dumping a rapper she’s been seeing because he was going to charge her to be featured on a song of hers. Never mind that the rumor wasn’t true but it must have upset her so much that this was the ONLY comment that she replied to. Out of hundreds of positive comments/praise,  she chose to respond to the ONE person that brought negativity to her page and responded with anger saying something like:

“B-word” you don’t know what you’re talking about!

In that moment, I realized that many of us do the same thing on and offline and what starts out as being something positive and uplifting has turned into anger or resentment that weighs the soul down.

Instead of focusing on the “likes” or positive things happening in our lives, we choose to focus and respond to the negative; who doesn’t like us or why we don’t have this or that and dwelling on all the negative circumstances draws more negative energy our way.  You are what  you attract and instead of being concerned with that type of energy in the form of unnecessary criticism, harsh judgment or opinions that do not add to your life, focus on the people and things that make you happy and bring joy to  your day. Now I am not saying that there needs to be people who compliment you 24/7 to feed your ego or confidence but being around people who see the best in you and want the best for you is the easiest way to attract the things you want. If there are people in your life that focus more on the negative than the positive, you  may need to reevaluate these connections and find others that are like-minded and will help you in your journey to being the best version of  yourself. It is easier said than done but your peace of mind will thank you later for it;)

I’m working on being the best version of myself this summer by starting a 45 day fitness journey with a few of my friends, reading/listening to inspirational and motivational books/speeches, participating in a 90 day workshop with a group of inspiring and motivated women who also want to work on themselves and doing a bit of traveling for fun and celebration! Needless to say, I will have a lot to discuss in upcoming posts so make sure you always come back here to see what I am up to! Look forward to sharing my journey with you this summer and beyond!

Take care and always remember to love and live luxuriously!

 

 

#MotivationMonday: Let go of what you cannot change

36e661fbc9b8f77232c494a807681139Good Afternoon! I know I haven’t posted in a week and to be honest, I didn’t feel up to it. I’ve been really bummed out lately and up until today, my anxiety was going into overdrive. I had a hard time falling asleep and when I finally did, I kept having weird dreams that I’m still trying to decipher. On top of all that, my chest felt tight and I knew I was worried/anxious but I wasn’t sure why. It took spending time with my grandmother yesterday for the light bulb to go off in my head and the conversation we had helped me get to the root of my anxiety which helped me to move forward.

My grandmother has soooooo many pictures from the time she graduated high school until now and as I mentioned in an earlier post “Photograph”, (https://amoreluxe.com/2016/10/12/photograph/) I love looking at them and hearing all the stories behind the pictures. As we came across a picture of my father who passed in 2014, we both started feeling melancholy and my grandma said “A mother isn’t supposed to outlive her child” and how she usually understands that everything happens for a reason but my father’s passing was something that she could never fully comprehend. I told her that some things just aren’t meant to be understood but that you have to accept it and find peace in knowing that things happen the way they are supposed to. Call it destiny, fate or whatever but what is meant to be will be. In that moment, I realized that most of my anxiety stemmed from the fact that I was worried about things that I could not change or control. I would ask myself questions like “Why did I slack off in my late teens-early 20’s at the first college I attended?” “Why did I waste so much time being involved with men who weren’t ready to commit?” and the one that I kept wasting energy on was “Why does it feel like I’m so behind in life compared to everyone else?” The answer to all of my questions was the same: Since it cannot be changed, I need to find peace with it and move on.  I can’t change the past so why do I continue to focus on the mistakes I’ve made as it relates to school or relationships?  I can only focus on the present and future and learn from those mistakes to make better choices that will bring happiness and success in my life. When it comes to worrying about others, it’s pointless because as I’ve stated many times before, everyone has their own journey and comparing my life to others doesn’t help me in my journey especially since I may not know what they went through to get to where they are today. Everyone has their own story and while I encourage others to go after their goals and dreams and live up to their potential, I only have control over my life and I need to direct my thoughts and energy on getting to where I want to be and look at positive examples and use that to fuel my motivation instead of allowing it to drain the passion that burns within me. I would say the “Serenity Prayer” every night before going to bed but last night was the first time in a long time that I said it and believed in the words I whispered to myself. For those of you who don’t know the “Serenity Prayer”, here it goes:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

I know that the battle within myself isn’t  over yet but I am in a better mental space today and I am glad I am able to share all the craziness inside this head of mine with you! Let me know what you think and like/share this post if you were able to learn something from it 🙂 Check back on Wednesday for my next post which will probably be about what helps me to de-stress because I’ve tried any and everything to relax and stay focused so stay tuned for that!

 

Much love to you all and always remember 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!