Blog Archives

Invisalign: Two weeks in!

My first 2 weeks using Invisalign!

Okay, I’m about two days shy of the three-week mark using Invisalign, but this will just have to do! I have been curious about Invisalign for the last year for a few reasons.

For starters, I’ve never had traditional braces and I cannot TELL you how many times my dentist has asked me if I’m interested in braces. No, no, and no… until I was.

My teeth aren’t that crooked. Instead, they are very crowded on the bottom and a little angled up top. It has never bothered me until recently. In fact, I often prided myself on the fact that I’d made it this far without orthodontic work.

But the truth is, I take a lot of care in the way I look. I’m not vain or superficial, but I do like to take care of myself, and I also like to experiment with new beauty trends (I just Derma-rolled for the second time ever last night), and I have a bucket of makeup and a tiny collection of face masks to prove it.

I wear makeup on most days – mostly to express myself and help boost my confidence. That’s all great, but I started to feel like my look was incomplete with my teeth. Sure, my nails look great, contour is on-point, lipliner looking fresh… but my teeth?

So, when I switched dentists because of insurance, I specifically looked for one that offered Invisalign. I asked about it immediately, slapped down the down-payment, and they got to work.

The first step was to have impressions taken of my teeth. These impressions were sent off to Invisalign and they made a computer simulation of the changes my teeth would go through from start to finish.

My dentist also took tons of pictures of my teeth, and of my face – she said I would see a slight change in my profile.

Once I approved of the way my teeth would look (according to the simulation), my dentist was able to tell me that my “treatment” would be six months, which is the minimum amount of time for Invisalign.

At my next appointment, my dentist applied some “buttons” onto my teeth – basically they are small raised pieces that help “lock” the Invisalign in place, and they help the teeth move a little faster.

She then had to shave down the sides of some of my teeth since they were so crowded – the shaving involved her flossing my teeth with sandpaper. Literally. It was an interesting and awkward experience.

Before she handed me my first set of trays, she told me I had to wear the trays at least 22 hours each day: sleep in them, only drink clear liquids with them in, and take them out to eat. I was instructed to brush my teeth before putting the trays back in.

She broke two pieces of bad news to me at that point: 1. The first two days of each tray are painful, and 2. My coffee intake would likely be reduced given that I couldn’t drink it with the Invisalign in.

Ohhhhh… I was visibly upset over this coffee news. You see, I usually sip on coffee from the time I wake up (6:30 or so) until around 10. But if I did that, I’d already be breaking the 22-hour rule with Invisalign.

“It’s only for six months,” she said. She didn’t GET IT.

But anyway, I snapped in my first trays and was on my way. And she was right, it HURT. That night, I had so much trouble getting the trays out, I skipped dinner.

Since then, though, it stopped hurting, and it’s very easy to get the trays in and out.

On my two-week mark, I put in a new set of trays, and it hurt some (I took one dose of pain killers), but not as bad as the first one, leading me to believe the “shaving” was actually the issue.

I have 14 trays total, so I’ll be getting new ones about every two weeks. I expect to be putting in tray no. 3 on Thanksgiving Eve… which will make for an interesting Turkey Day.

So far, it’s been okay. It is a little annoying to have to take the trays in and out so much – I feel like I’ve cut down on snacking because it just isn’t worth the time and effort (in case you wondered just how lazy I was).

On the upside, I can already see the progress my teeth are making – and it looks great, even this early in the game! I also started using a whitening toothpaste in hopes of getting a bit of a brighter smile along the way!

I’ll keep you posted…

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That time I tried Instacart.

App life.

A few weeks ago, my Jeep was in the shop and I was without a rental car (it’s the gift of Jeep that keeps on giving). So, I was taking Lyfts all over the city, but after ride #4, I was trying to figure out ways NOT to take a Lyft.

This included making efforts to bum rides (in exchange for pool use and homemade pizza), using the workout room at my apartment complex instead of going to the dance studio, and trying Instacart.

I posted on Facebook to see if anyone I knew tried it, and sure enough, I got someone who said they loved it, and offered me a coupon for $10 off! I actually have a coupon to share now, too, so use it, y’all.

So, Instacart basically allows you to have your groceries delivered, and you choose where you want the food from, and pick exactly what you want.

I put in my zipcode and was given a list of stores available to me, including Whole Foods, HEB, and Target, among others. Once I picked my store, then I started shopping.

I had my grocery list, so I simply searched for each item and put it into my cart. You get to see the price for the item (and approximate prices for produce) and brand options.

There is also a note that says your Instacart shopper will look for the freshest, best produce available, but you can also leave notes for the shopper, i.e. I buy green bananas so they will stay good until the end of the week.

You can also apply in-store coupons to your purchase, which I was pleasantly surprised by. The only advice I’ll give is that you can’t read the product labels with this program. So, don’t buy anything new! Unless you’re not like me – I read ALL the details on the labels.

Okay, so once you’ve gotten everything you want in your cart, you schedule your delivery. You can have your groceries delivered anywhere from 1-hour, 2-hours, or you can even schedule a day later in the week! This has got to be the coolest feature and it will keep me coming back. I like to get my groceries on Friday right after work; think if I just had them delivered to my apartment by 6pm instead of having to go to the store? YES!

Once I set my delivery time and paid, I got text updates to let me know when my shopper had started shopping. There were two items the store was out of, so she replaced the items and it asked for my approval. There’s also an option to chat with your shopper.

I got a message when she finished shopping, and also got an estimated time of arrival, which was right on the DOT. And because you can tip within the app or through the web browser, there’s not real interaction during “drop-off”. I opened the door and she handed me the bags – that’s it!

All of my grocery items were in fine condition, and I got everything I ordered. I will definitely be using this service again!

Creating a self-care plan.

It's time to take care of ourselves, first.

It’s time to take care of ourselves, first.

The term “self-care” has been swirling around the interwebs since at least the end of 2015, which makes me a little late to the game, per-usual. The truth is, I never really gave it much thought until recently – and for good reason.

I know I’ve been alluding to “tough times” lately, and I’ll explain. If it isn’t blatantly obvious, I’m a democrat in every single way. I try not to make this a political space, and I won’t go too deep here, but yeah, shit has been pretty rough these days.

When things happen, as in things that are reported in the news, I debate to myself whether or not I should say something on this blog. Some readers say this blog IS their news, so I don’t want someone to miss out on anything big. Do I do a little, “Uh, hey, Trump has fuuuucked things up again, TODAY” – memo?

Let me back up a little. I have always loved watching the news, keeping up with things, and in general, just being informed. And I know the 24-hour news circuit has haunted our world since the Jon Benet case, but I really didn’t feel the effects until last week.

You see, I work in a political field, and I do digital communications, i.e. I monitor Twitter, a lot. So, I’ve seen alllllll the Trump Tweets many times over. At the end of the work day, I was starting to feel really heavy, like my shoes were filled with cement.

To combat this, I have been watching “The Daily Show” every single night. I need someone to make light of this, of anything, something to make me laugh and tell me that I’m not going to blow up while I sleep.

But the night that Trump fired Sally Yates, “The Daily Show” didn’t touch on it, because obviously it’s taped during the day, and the Trump administration is so entirely insane, that even in just two hours, the world can be completely flipped, border patrol and protestors with handmade signs, included. How the hell does this happen?

I decided right then and there that I’ve got to do something to take care of myself. Because I see things going on, and I’m trying to make the change during my 9-5, and although I want to jump into my car and protest the shit out of pretty much every damn thing coming out of that White House, I must take care of myself first.

And so, I need a self-care plan. For many, part of their self-care plan is to stay off social media, or to only stay on for certain chunks of time. I don’t have that option when it comes to my job. Luckily, there are other things I can do to avoid going insane.

Here are some ideas I came up with:

  • At-home manis and pedis
  • Intentionally schedule “me” time
  • Clean out the closet and donate the unwanted items to a place that does good things
  • Spend less time with the phone/iPad/computer, etc.
  • Take a cooking class
  • Take more walks – even if it’s just around the neighborhood
  • Attend a local high school sporting event
  • Take an online class (I’ve still go to learn screenwriting this year)
  • Get crafty/artsy (hello, Pinterest)
  • Listen to this song more often:

When I was looking up ideas for self care, turns out, I actually do a lot of these things already: write a blog, spend time with a pet, cook, dance, sleep in on the weekends, write letters…

I’d love to know what you’re doing for your self-care plan – perhaps reading this blog is part of it, which is another reason why politics are generally not invited here. So let’s hear what you’re doing for self-care; or ideas you have for those of us who need it.

‘Kidding’ in a world of ‘Adulting’.

I simply cannot.

I simply cannot.

I don’t even like the word “Adulting” – it sounds funny, and it also makes it seem like I’m not accepting the fact that I’m a grown-up, or doing things people my age do. If I’m being truthful, I think I’ve done adult-like things for many years.

Afterall, I’ve had a job since I was 16, and have always found more enjoyment in staying in rather than going out. I get joy out of being productive on the weekends, and I feel good about myself for setting the coffee pot each night before bed (sometimes even on the weekends), and I maintain a pretty hefty filing cabinet where I keep bills, taxes, and medical records. I’m an adult!

But, the past three weeks have sent me into a tailspin of responsibility unlike any other, and it’s a world where I definitely don’t fit in.

It started with the sheer fact that my Louisiana inspection sticker was going to expire at the end of August. I’m well-past the point where I should have registered my car in Texas, and gotten an inspection here, but my Louisiana plates don’t expire until October 2017.

But, if I didn’t get a new inspection sticker, I was going to get pulled over, so something had to be done. I looked up inspection stations, wrote down a few addresses, and figured I’d go on my lunch hour one day that week. And then, for whatever reason, I was thinking about my driver’s license. When was the last time I had it renewed?

I reached for my purse, and looked. EXPIRED.

Great. So, I’m living in Texas, driving on an expired out-of-state license. That’s no good.

So, I spent about three hours on a Sunday night sorting through my filing cabinet looking for all of the forms of identification I would need, including but not limited to two bills with my Texas address from within the last 90 days, my passport, my social security card, proof of insurance, and a form I filled out. I piled it all in a file folder, and headed to the DMV around 7 am the next day.

The DMV opens at 7:30, so I really felt like I was ahead of the game, given that it’s less than 10 minutes from my apartment. But when I arrived, the line was from the door, all the way to the street (about two blocks in length). Damn.

So, I got in line and sipped my coffee. A few minutes later, an employee sorted the line according to why people were there. Luckily, the line for a new license was rather short. He told me to get rid of my coffee, so I stuffed it in my bag and went to my waiting area.

I only had to wait about an hour, but once I got to the station, the woman informed me that I couldn’t get a license until I got my car inspected and then registered. Awesome.

So, I went to work, and then headed to the inspection station during my lunch break. The guy at the counter told me it would be a three hour wait. Awesome, but no.

I went back to work and told my boss what was going on, and asked if I could work remotely the following day in order to knock out some of these to-do items (you cannot get an inspection, registration, or a license on the weekend).

So, the next morning, I camped out at the inspection office and worked while my car got inspected. Once it passed, I drove to the registration office in Travis County, which is located next to a senior citizen’s activity center. The building is about as big as a bathroom, and you just go in and pull a number and wait.

My number was 43; they were on #8.

So, I worked until my number was called. When I got to the counter, of course I didn’t have the proper forms, and I needed my insurance company to fax over the declaration page (whatever that is). So, I pulled a new number, filled out my forms, and called my insurance.

When I got back to the counter, my Louisiana insurance didn’t meet the Texas minimum. I had to either call my insurance and up the liability coverage, or switch it to Texas. I stepped outside, called, and made the switch. Then, got the new policy faxed over, and got back in line.

Four hours later +$197 later, I walked out of that office with Texas license plates and a receipt for registration. I went back to work, and was feeling pretty accomplished. All I had left to get was my driver’s license, and everyone said that was the easiest step.

The following week (last week), I left work early to head back to the DMV before they closed. When I arrived and said I needed a license, the guy warned me it would be a three hour wait. So, I worked, and did some reading. About 2.5 hours into my wait, an employee came up and wanted to make sure I had all of the right paperwork.

Passport? Social security card? Two recent bills? Registration? Inspection? Yes, yes, yes! I had everything and I was about to bounce on out of there! Until she took a look at my out-of-state license and saw that it was expired (by six weeks).

“Sorry, we actually can’t help you today, you’ll have to take the written test and the driver’s test in order to get a license, and you can’t take it today because we’re closing.”

She highlighted a sentence on a manila envelope and handed it to me.

Uh, excuse me? I’m 31 years old and I have to retake the driver’s test? As in paralell park and hands at 10 and 2, and the hand-over-hand crossover turn method? What?

I wanted to sell my goddamn car. Who the fuck is Texas, and what the hell am I DOING here? All because I let my license expire (which I know is wrong), now I was having to pay the ultimate price, of not only having to study and take the written exam, but then to take the driver’s test, on top of having to take more time off work to sit in the waiting area (even driver’s exams are first come, first serve).

I went directly home, and got into bed. When was I going to find time to take these tests? It had to be soon, as I didn’t like driving on my expired license (Google told me it could result in an arrest if I got pulled over). What if I didn’t pass?

 The same lady who told me this terrible news said they would be open on Labor Day. I thought it was weird, and possibly untrue, although I was too bad to inquire further. So, I spent a portion of my holiday weekend reading the Texas driving manual, and taking practice tests.

I didn’t really think the Driver’s License office would be open on Labor Day, but I couldn’t not go see. So I got up at 6am and made my way there. They were closed, of course.

So, I got up at 5am on Tuesday, made it to the branch by 6, and got in line amongst many 16 year olds hoping to get their licenses, too. As far as I was concerned, we were in this together.

This particular DMV is one of the popular locations in Austin, given that it’s the only ones that take walk-in drive tests. According to my teenage line leaders, the wait to schedule a road test is at least six weeks. The other problem? The online scheduling system doesn’t work; so you still have to show up, and wait in line if you ever want to get behind the wheel.

Some of my line friends had been camped at the DMV since 1 am that morning in hopes to be one of the people to take a road test – they only take the first 20 each day.

Around 6:15 am, a police officer came outside and announced that starting NOW, this location would not accept walk-ins for road tests. You had to schedule an appointment, so if that’s the reason you’re here, leave.

The dreams of many were crushed in that moment, and the sun had yet to even rise.

I wasn’t planning on taking the road test that day, I just wanted to get the written and the vision done, because those were the things I needed to pass in order to even schedule a road test (which apparently wouldn’t happen until December).

So, I stayed, and befriended the two teens in line near me. We still had another hour and change before the doors opened. And we did what anyone does in times like these: we shared our frustrations with the DMV.

The guy beside me had scheduled his road test, so he had an appointment, just not for that day. So, he was going to see if he could take it early. And the girl said, she was in the office on Friday and they didn’t say anything about having to schedule an appointment. There was 15 years between us, but we were equals.

The police officer came out several more times within the hour, demanding that we leave unless we were there for other reasons than a road test. Since most of the line had left (including those that had been there since 1am), that put me very close to the front.

Because of this, I only had to wait a few minutes to get processed – paperwork complete, vision test passed, thumbprints, photo, fees, and signatures. And then, it was time for the written exam, which was a mix of road signs and legal questions (have you ever heard of intoxication manslaughter??).

And then, the woman told me they could probably squeeze me in for a road test. Sweeter words have never been spoken, given that I’d surrendered my Louisiana license so I had nothing to prove myself, and probably shouldn’t be driving.

So, I got processed for the road test and my car got inspected… and then I was assigned someone to ride with me, complete with a clipboard, and we were off. I completed a backup test, the parallel parking, several right and left turns, and a few 4-way stops.

In the end? I passed. “You know how to drive,” said my passenger.

As for my line friends? They both got to take the road test that day. I will probably never know if they passed, but I’ll remember the day I felt 16 again, nervous about the driving test, while simultaneously knowing that the DMV is the place where being an adult totally sucks.

Between taxes, vehicle registration, driver’s licensing, check engine lights, it’s been months of way too much responsibility. And sometimes, I joke that I’m just a teenager still, given my love for Justin Bieber, glitter, and cats – but after all this? Being a kid isn’t so bad. And so, I bought myself a backpack – with a cat on it, and the cat is wearing big pink glasses and mascara. And I wear it to my big girl job, and I’m going to keep doing it.

Because life is about balance and if there’s all these boundaries and rules, where’s room for the fun?

“We ain’t never gettin’ older…” -The Chainsmokers

Pic of the Week.

Sorting out life, one load at a time.

Sorting out life, one load at a time.

Hola! I wanted to offer a quick apology for my lack of posts last week — it’s been a crazy few weeks with the move and all. I was really struggling to function, let alone get my five blog posts in. But I’m back in action and ready to roll!

So, life in Austin means life without a washer/dryer. Of course, there were many options for apartments with said appliances, but I went into my search really focusing on finding a place that would be less of a financial burden than places of my past — even if that meant giving up a few luxury items I was used to.

While I’ve had a washer/dryer in my apartment for 8 years, I honestly don’t do THAT much laundry. Maybe a load per week, two if I’m washing sheets and towels. The apartment that I found, not to get too in depth, is $210/month less than my old apartment. So, cya washer/dryer, I’m onto the laundromat!

So, Saturday afternoon I found a laundromat that offered hi-tech machines equipped with card machines — I was NOT going to deal with quarters. I brought my own laundry detergent and dryer sheets, along with a La Croix and a stack of magazines.

Awesomely enough, the washing machines use soft water so the machine instructed me to use half the normal amount of detergent (more money to save!). So, I set up two loads, and 27 minutes later (plus $3), the loads were done. The dryers at this place are HUGE, so both of my wash loads fit into one dryer and were completely dry in 30 minutes for $2.

All in all, it was $5 for two complete loads, and one hour of my time.

Sure, I’m aware it’s a little bit of an inconvenience… and many of my friends think this new hobby of mine won’t last long.

But, I have to say $5 for two loads of laundry was way cheaper than I expected, PLUS, when I got home, all of my laundry was done, all I had to do was put it away, and finally, since I don’t have the appliances in my apartment, I have a giant closet where the hookup is that I’m now using as a mini office/utility closet. MEGA score (I hate looking at my filing cabinet)!!!

I think I also have this fantasy that I’ll meet a hot guy at the Washatopia (where it’s “Loads of fun!). Think about it: he’ll be there and in desperate need of a dryer sheet, and I’ll be there fully equipped with my all-natural, organic vegan dryer sheets. Right?!

My Project Repat quilt!

My Project Repat quilt!

In college, I went to the laundromat (it was called the Soap Opera, best name EVER), each week and I used the time to study. I remember the first time I went there, I was really nervous, as it was on that edge of campus where things go from okay, to really bad.

I put in my detergent (the powder kind) and my clothes and my money… and the water doesn’t turn on. So, I had to consult the attendant, an older woman, and she merely walked over to the machine, closed the lid, and slammed her fist onto it.

Worked like a charm!

Okay, speaking of chores, I do have a little housekeeping to do:

  1. Remember the quilt I had made from all of my old t-shirts?! I got it back, and it looks FABULOUS (pictured above), and the better news is, you can still use my code to get 20% off your very own quilt! Use this code, and if you’ve got no clue WHAT I’m talking about, check out my previous blog post on Project Repat.
  2. Tomorrow’s post is incredibly steamy and inappropriate, so just note that the password will be “sexy” (minus the quotes). And yes, I realize I’m putting it right out there, but I’m confident people won’t read this far and actually GET the password.
  3. You can always follow me on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 to see what’s happening in my world all day everyday — I see all my new followers and I just love it! Hope to see you snapping with us TODAY!