How to save money and time with Invisalign

A smile is the best thing you can wear.

I'm in front of people all day teaching and talking on my Instagram stories. The one thing I've always been insecure about was my smile.  I’ve never had braces. After I had my wisdom teeth taken out and as I’ve gotten older my teeth have gotten worse. I have avoided certain angles or smiling when taking photos because of my crooked teeth.  So my goal this year was to fix it.  

What was wrong: My 2 front top teeth protruded out, my 2 bottom front teeth were very crowded and I knew that if I didn't do something about it, that one of the bottom teeth would eventually end up perpendicular to the one next to it (see photo below), and for years I was a teeth grinder so that made everything worse. 

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Why I chose SmileCycle by Dentologie

I knew that my Invisalign journey would be a long one so I wanted to go to a dentist that had a great reputation.  That's where SmileCycle by Dentologie comes in.  I also found out that a handful of my friends have already started their Invisalign with Smilecycle. Dentologie is a dentist practice right here in Chicago with locations in Streeterville and South Loop!  Other quick aligner services do not have the support of real-life dentists.  It’s important to me that I have access to a professional if I need anything. The office is not like your typical dentist.  The staff is warm, the decor is gorgeous, and I just felt comfortable that I had a dentist right there with me for my Invisalign journey.

But first, 3D Scan...

The first thing you need to do before getting started is to book your FREE 3D scan appointment.  It’s quick and easy.   After your appointment, you'll get photos and video showing your treatment plan.  

 3D Scan before Invisalign and attachments

3D Scan before Invisalign and attachments

4 things to know before you pop in those first Invisalign aligners:

1.  Attachments:
Attachments aren’t the chicest things to wear BUT they shorten the total treatment time since they act as anchors so the aligners work better and faster.  People get really hung up on them but you can only see it if you’re looking right into my mouth.  It’s better than having to wear real metal braces. These are temporary and not that big of a deal.

 3D Scan after 14 weeks with attachments

3D Scan after 14 weeks with attachments

3.  Decreased time and cost!
SmileCycle has been able to cut down the average number of office visits from 15 to 4 and the total wearing length from 1.5 years to six months. While traditional Invisalign treatments charge $5,000, SmileCycle cases cost only $2,500 making a better smile both accessible and affordable. SmileCycle offers two easy ways to pay and either way, it’s 60% less expensive than other options:
• $99 per month for 24 months and with a $300 down payment
• $2,500 up-front

4.  Commitment and Eating Habits
Go into this ready to wear your aligners for 22 hours a day.  The more committed you are to wearing them, the sooner you will be done. It’s entirely up to you! I also think I lost a few pounds because I’m not snacking as much. I carry a travel size floss, toothbrush, and toothpaste with me to avoid food getting stuck in your teeth while wearing the aligners. I try my best to floss and/or brush my teeth after I eat or drink coffee. You don’t want to get a cavity so just clean your teeth as much as you can.   

5.  Get over the pain
A lot of people ask me, “Does it hurt?”  Your teeth are shifting to become straighter...OF COURSE they are going to be sore!  But it’s worth it, and you have to be mindful of what types of foods you eat when you put in a new aligner.  I recommend eating softer foods for the first couple days after you put in a new set.

That’s all I got for now!  Let me know if you have any questions on how Dentologie styled my smile in the comments:

This is a sponsored post but my own authentic review and opinion.

Skincare steps you don't want to skip!

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If you know me, you know my obsession with skincare.  I'll do everything I can to maintain a youthful glow.  Taking care of my skin is like a ritual for me.  My skincare regimen is 4-6 steps in the AM and 6-8 in the PM.  They change based on what my skin needs.  Along with the obvious SPF and a med spa facial here and there, I’m sharing my top 3 skincare practices I can’t live without:

1.  Double cleanse in the PM

With all the sweating from workouts, pollutants in the air, and makeup products, you want to make sure that your skin is completely clean.  This way your skincare products get the chance to work deep into the skin.

My evening regimen always begins with a cleansing oil.  I use Scratch Goods Tea Tree Cleansing Oil or Boscia Cleansing Oil.  It's slick consistency picks up all the makeup and any build up from the day off my face and neck.  After the cleansing oil, I finish with a second cleanser for another deep clean with Boscia Detoxifying Black Charcoal Cleanser.  With the warming effect it feels totally clean without drying.  You want a clean canvas for your skincare products to really do its job.

2.  Hyaluronic Acid

I love the Glo Daily Hydration.  It’s hyaluronic acid serum with vitamin B locks in moisture like crazy.  It creates a perfect base for my other moisturizers, sunscreen and makeup.  Chicago weather can do a number on your skin so I need this all year around!  In order to take advantage of ever single drop, I apply the serum right to my face rather than waste it in my palms.  Thanks for the tip Pamela!

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3.  Lymphatic Drainage Tools
Tools like the jade roller and facial dry brush stimulate the lymphatic system.  This extra self care step will assist in moving the lymphatic fluid that may be stagnant and drain out built-up toxins or other blockages that can create puffiness.  It's a fantastic holistic way to boost circulation and rejuvenates skin too!  Oh, and get these tools from legit sources.  I buy mine from Scratch Goods, a local Chicago (woman owned, woot woot!) skincare shop.

How to jade roll:
I place mine in the fridge or freezer to increase the de-puffing benefits.  The chilled jade roll is like a shot of espresso for your face. SO GOOD!  After my entire skincare routine (cleansing and moisturizing), I firmly roll upward and outward.  Start from your chin, and don't forget to include your neck.  Use the smaller end around the eyes.  For best results, jade roll daily.

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How to dry brush:
The facial dry brush is not the same as the body dry brush so the bristles should be softer and the tool itself is smaller.  I like to begin with clean naked skin.  Start with soft strokes from the chin moving outward to the hairline.  Don't forget your chest and neck moving upward.  After dry brushing, I will apply a mask (only if I have the time), rinse, then apply my moisturizers.  You can go straight into applying moisturizers but I like to rinse before.  Do what works best for your skin.  Dry brushing only needs to be done 1-2 times a week.

I hope this gives you some SKINspiration.  Are these steps new to you or is something you've always done?  What are your go-to skincare tips or tricks?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Chocolate Covered Everything

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Confession....I am a chocoholic.  I eat chocolate every day.  Yup.  EVERY DAY.  I use to eat milk chocolate...then switched to dark chocolate because of all the health claims.  As I got older, my body couldn't handle all the added sugar.  So when I educated myself more on the benefits of dark chocolate, I made a commitment to stick to eating more 100% cacao.

There are countless benefits of cacao.  It's been known to aid in cardiovascular health, enhance mood, and is high in antioxidants.  For me, eating pure cacao curbs my craving for the not so healthy chocolate.  We say we "need" chocolate when in actuality, we are deficient in magnesium.  Cacao is rich in magnesium so when consumed you'll be able to manage your need to overeat that chocolate bar or cake.  Here are my 3 cacao staples I consume almost daily to avoid high sugar in chocolate, and keep my chocolate rages under control:

  1. Pascha Organic's 100% Cacao Chocolate Chips have replaced my chocolate bar addiction.  I add these to trail mixes, yogurt, and homemade date balls.  They are free of gluten, soy, dairy, nuts, and added sweetener.  The extreme bitterness takes some getting use to.  I recommend trying the lower percentage cacao chocolates before you get up to 100%.  For a sweet treat, I'll stuff cashew or almond butter in a pitted date, and then add the cacao chips.  The natural sweetness of the date really compliment the bitter cacao.
  2. Speaking of dates...RX Bar's Chocolate Sea Salt are my protein bar of choice when I'm on the go.  With 3 egg whites in each bar, the 12g of protein definitely beat your typical chocolate protein bar.  The other ingredients include dates, nuts, and cacao.  These are delicious, and even my toddler loves them!
  3. Navitas Oganics Cacao Powder are featured in every chocolate flavored smoothie I blend.  Their organic cacao powder is packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, and magnesium.  Side note: cacao is not the same as cocoa.  

If you are addicted to chocolate, try replacing it with some of these.  And ladies, when it's that time of the month and all you want is chocolate covered everything, give these a try to avoid the sugar rush crash turned into guilt thinking "OMG I ate handfuls of chocolate in one sitting".  You don't have to give up your decadent restaurant desserts entirely.  It's all about balance.  On special occasions, I will indulge in only the very best chocolate desserts at my favorite restaurants.  Once in a while I like to treat myself to Vosges Chocolates or explore Whole Foods for one of many organic fair trade chocolate bar brands.  I've noticed when I practiced eating chocolate in a more mindful way, I stopped having guilt or a horrible sugar rush.  So enjoy your healthiest chocolate most days, and have the other delicios chocolate only a few (or less) days.  Now be happy that you can have your chocolate and eat it too!

With love and chocolate,

Carla

Lemon Raspberry Protein Smoothie

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Warmer temps call for chilled beverages!  This Lemon Raspberry Protein Smoothie has been my go to for post workouts, or for a fun summer drink.  It's naturally sweet, tart, and healthy.  Even my toddler approves!

You'll enjoy this recipe knowing that you are consuming good for you nutrients like fats, protein, potassium, antioxidants, vitamins, and more. Here's all you need to get in on this delicious drink...

Ingredients:

1.5-2 cups coconut milk (canned)

1 serving of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

1 frozen ripe banana

1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Unsweetened coconut flakes for a topping (optional)

Instructions:

For a perfectly chilled smoothie, freeze your banana and raspberries.  If you don't have them frozen ahead of time, add ice.  Place all the ingredients in your blender then blend away.  You're the boss of your smoothie so adjust the amount of ingredients to your desired taste and consistency.

Enjoy!

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You got this, Dad!

 Photographer: Kat of  Indvisual FIlms

Photographer: Kat of Indvisual FIlms

I recently went to a yoga workshop, and bumped into a pregnant friend that was in her second trimester.  She totally had that pregnancy glow and I couldn't help but reminisce on how much I loved being pregnant.   A lot of the attention goes to the mom and baby, so I wanted to make sure I congratulated the soon-to-be dad too.  I asked him how it was going for him, and if he found those pregnancy apps useful.  He was excited and open to any advice.  A handful of things stood out in my mind that I quickly shared with him.  Obviously there are many more tips out there, but these were what Matt and I struggled and succeeded with the most.  We didn't have help during those early infant months.  We had to figure a lot of it out on our own, and had plenty of late night Google searches.  Every family is different, and what works for one family, may not work for another. 

I think these will be useful for a new dad, and a good reminder for any other dad out there.   You're welcome, moms ;)  

Okay listen up, Dad.  When the baby comes it's going to be overwhelming.  It's a lot.  So when things get a little crazy, take a deep breath in and out....take another one, and remember these 5 tips:

1.  Keep mom hydrated.  When she is nursing or pumping, bring her water or whatever beverage she likes.  Do this every single time.   I remember getting extremely thirsty during each feeding session.  Feeding a child from your own body is draining.  The thirst is like no other.  I would get thirsty-angry - thangry!  Hydrating fruits and vegetables are a must if the water isn't cutting it.  Give her fresh cut strawberries, watermelon, grapefruit, pineapple, spinach, cucumber, celery, green peppers, tomatoes, etc.  Pretty much all the wet or watery fruits and veggies--these hydrating foods are made up of about 90% water.  

2.  Feed mom first.  Make sure she's eating, and make sure you are eating too.  Let her eat first when the food is hot and fresh.  After all, ladies first right?!  I swear my son would wake up to the sound of my fork touching my food when I was by myself.  It was so hard for me to eat with him.  When my husband was home from work it was always nice to know I would be able to enjoy at least one hot meal.  Bonus Pro Tip:  Pack snacks in the diaper bag if she is going out with the baby.  

3.  You WILL bond with your baby.  Be patient.  New babies only know mom, and all they want is mom.  Especially, hungry nursing babies.  Mason wouldn't take a bottle, and that did not make Matt feel like "Dad of the Year".  It was hard for him to not be able to participate in feeding the baby.  He found other ways to bond with Mason, like bath time or tummy time.  Mason eventually started to recognize Matt's voice, and his first word was "Da Da"!  Now they're best friend goof balls! 

4.  It's the hormones!  There is such a huge flux in hormone levels for the mother after she gives birth and breastfeeds.  If the gorgeous mother of your child says some crazy shit, just let it go.  It was the hormones talking.  Be prepared for some crying spells too.  Rollercoaster hormones and lack of sleep are not a good mix.  And just a heads up, when mom starts weaning baby from breastfeeding expect the same hormonal changes.  Every mother has their own postpartum baby blues experience.  Just be ready to be extra understanding and compassionate.  

5.  "Can I get anything for you, beautiful?" A simple question like this goes a long way or better yet, be proactive.  When your man does things without being told it's the sexiest thing ever.  You want to be sexy for your baby mama, right?  Acts of service, my friend.  Change the diaper, wash the bottles and breast pump parts, offer her a cup of coffee, or give her a massage.  Do something kind for her.  She'll love it.  Matt made up this Diaper Deal.  Since I am mostly a stay at home mom while Matt works during the week, he promised me that on the weekends I change zero diapers.  It's a pretty sweet deal.  The small gestures really do matter, and you'll come out a total hero.

That's it!  That's all you need to know to be the world's greatest dad!  Just kidding, start with being a good partner, and the rest you will learn along the way.  And Dad, you may not get all the recognition, but trust us moms, we acknowledge and are grateful for your support...even if we don't always tell you.  Enjoy this new ride.  Drink coffee.  Good luck, and you got this!

Welcome

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Hello, and welcome to my blog!  Ah!  That sounds kind of crazy to me.  I remember when friends would encourage me to start a blog, and I would always give them an excuse or create some irrational self-doubt to talk myself out of it.

I've secretly wanted to start a blog for a while, but was too nervous.  Other bloggers have always inspired me, and I was drawn to their courage to share their passions.  When l was pregnant with my son in 2015, my secret desire to start a blog grew even more.  Throughout pregnancy, and the infant months, I would scroll through my feed wishing I was confident enough to share my favorite prenatal tips, and new motherhood stories like the other cool mom bloggers.

For those of you who have encouraged this long overdue blog post, thank you.  I decided to dump the self-doubt, and get out of my comfort zone.  So here I am.

I am a Chicago based Wellness Maven.  I have a major passion for holistic health, yoga, and fitness.  It is my lifework.  You can find me teaching group classes at CorePower Yoga and The Barre Code.  Health coaching is another love of mine, and I have worked with individuals and groups to create balance, and healthier lifestyles.  My two other jobs that I have inspired everything I just described:  I am a proud wife to my husband, Matthew, and as I mentioned earlier, the mama of my crazy cute toddler, Mason.  My other love is chocolate.  Like the highest percentage cacao possible.  I consume it every day.

The intention of my blog is to share everything like my favorite yoga pose, simple sweat-to-street fashion, and healthy recipes.  I also want to share my experiences with motherhood--the good, bad, and messy.  I’d like to keep it real by creating a positive platform sharing my struggles and successes, my holistic practices that maintain balance within myself, and I hope to inspire someone else to find theirs. 

I welcome you all to read along, and stay connected with me as I go through this beautiful thing called life.

 Photographer:  Tek Chung

Photographer: Tek Chung