April 16, 2014
Good Morning! I trust that the week is going well for you.
Since it’s Wednesday, I am diving right into WIAW and have all of my Tuesday eats to share with you. I have a vet check-up for Aspen shortly, so lets get right to it!
What I Ate
Since Monday was the first post-season day off for Scott and I, we celebrated by ordering pizza and eating ice cream for dessert that night. It was pretty wonderful, although I woke up still kind of full Tuesday morning, which sparked this simple breakfast.
(Dunkin’ Hazelnut coffee with almond milk, egg beaters with sharp cheddar cheese, turkey bacon + organic strawberries and grapes.)
I picked up an appetite around Noon, but didn’t feel like making lunch until I was finished with more work on the computer. This snack of pretzels and carrots dipped in hummus held me over for a while.
Around 3:30 p.m. I put together the epitome of a monster salad for lunch.
Baby spinach, spring mix, cucumbers, red, orange, and banana peppers, carrots, black and green olives, chick peas, feta cheese, cilantro, ground pepper.
Okay, maybe it was more like linner.
(Same salad drizzled in red wine vinegar for dressing!)
The plate of greens definitely hit the spot, but I wanted something with a little more staying power before heading to the gym.
When in doubt, toast and peanut butter it out! That’s what I always say…
Whole wheat toast smeared in almond butter and topped with sliced bananas and chia seeds.
I wanted more than one piece, but two might have been pushing it. I was pretty full even an hour later before Fitness Pilates.
By the end of class, I wasn’t incredibly hungry, but chose to grab a protein green smoothie on the way out to recover.
(Avocado, kale, organic pineapple, almond milk, VeganMax protein & Energy Boost.)
On the way out to the car, I also noticed how stunning the sunset has been lately, despite the recent snowfall that is totally uncalled for.
That little cup of goodness ended up keeping me full and content until about 9 p.m., when Scott brought me the last slice of leftover Hawaiian/veggie pizza (?) upstairs to me.
You can’t really say no to that kind of service.
Then I wanted something sweet. As much as I was tempted by ice cream again, I went ahead and grabbed a big tub of organic green grapes we needed to use up.
All right. This has been fun, but I must wrap things up and get out the door with one little furry feline. Aspen has been dealing with an ear infection on and off for quite a while and I am hoping to leave with news that it has finally passed. See you all again this afternoon with a continuation of Beauty Week!
Have a great Wednesday!
• If you liked this WIAW post, head on over to Peas & Crayons to check out plenty others, or even link your own!
• Also, you can always find my latest What I Ate Wednesday posts by exploring the “WIAW” tag on the right hand sidebar.
April 15, 2014
Hello, hello! Although I am well aware that it is Tuesday, today kicks off an exciting series on the blog I deemed Beauty Week.
For the remainder of the week, my afternoon posts will answer specific questions I have received from you guys about beauty tips and tricks.
First up, I am revamping one of my very first non-wedding related blog posts. I have kept it up for reference since I wrote it back in 2011, but figured it was time to spruce up the information and make it a little easier to follow.
Here, friends, are my go-to products and strategies of getting and maintaining a sparkling white smile!
Easy, Every Day Teeth Whitening Routine
We all brush (and hopefully floss!) our teeth every single day.
We all buy products to keep our mouths and dentists happy, and here is the routine I keep up with on an every day basis to achieve the healthiest, pearliest whites I can get!
1. Listerine Whitening Rinse
(This is – hands down – my favorite whitening product out there!)
I have always turned to Listerine and rotate a few different versions, including a regular strength, Multi-Action Vibrant White (for extra whitening) and a Whitening + Restoring with Fluoride (pictured).
I used to only buy the Pre-Brush version, but have mixed it up with others over the years. I do, however, gravitate towards using it before I brush anyways. I love the way it gets rid of that first layer of who knows what after you wake up in the mornings!
Simply use this rinse for 60 seconds, at least once a day but no more than twice a day. Since I started using this rinse over eight years ago, I can’t go more than a few days without it and even bring a travel version with me on trips longer than a weekend.
2. Vibrating Toothbrush
Having a toothbrush with a built in vibrating motion really helps you get into all of the tiny spaces in-between your teeth, on your gum line and even on your tongue. There are a lot of fancy electric toothbrushes out there with replaceable heads and different speeds equipped with a rechargeable battery.
Personally, I prefer the disposable version of the electric toothbrush because of the medium brush size, versus the usual small circle pattern of brushes on most. They come in single or value-double packs and I like that I have to replace it when the battery runs out, which helps me stay fresh and fight even more germs.
I’ve tried a lot of different brands and sizes over the years, and the Oral-B Pulsar is what I consistently turn to.
3. Whitening Toothpaste
I always try to go for a whitening toothpaste. Recently, I’ve been loving the Crest Complete Whitening + Scope flavor, and it feels a little more gentle.
I know I am not a dentist, but I would recommend getting a Complete or Pro-Health version of your whitening toothpaste if you decide to go that route. Whitening is great, but having an all around health focused toothpaste protects against tooth sensitivity and helps fight tartar, plaque, stains, gingivitis and bad breath.
Believe it or not, flossing every day can do more than just keep your gums happy. Removing excess build up every night also prevents stains and tartar build up!
I prefer to use some kind of Pro-Health thick, coated floss that feels more comfortable weaving in and out of the hard spots.
5. Soft Picks
Thanks to a dinner date with a friend, I discovered these GUM soft picks made to keep your teeth clean after meals and in-between brushes.
I love the travel case they come with and always have them accessible and in my purse.
Stain Preventing Tips + Tricks
• Try to limit the intake of dark liquids and staining foods.
I said try. It’s no secret that I am an avid coffee, tea, and red wine drinker, and I know those beverages are the biggest culprits of my teeth fading. When drinking, try to be conscious of where it touches and if you can, brush or at least rinse your mouth with water afterwards.
• Drink through a straw.
It may look silly, but if you can drink those teeth staining beverages through a straw, go for it.
No one will judge you while you are at home or in the car enjoying your morning cup through a straw.
• Brush your tongue!
Do you brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth? If your answer is no, why not? Not only will it keep your breath fresh, but it will also rid your mouth of extra bacteria that happens to be lingering.
• Drink plenty of water.
I admit that I have a water problem. I drink it all day long, and as a result have to visit the potty quite often. But you know what? That’s a small price to pay for staying hydrated.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will keep help keep your skin clear and your saliva production up, which coats your teeth.
Also, if I just finished eating something sticky (candy) or crumby, I’ll do a good few swishes while I’m drinking it.
• Chew sugar-free gum after meals.
I don’t always chew gum, but when I do I make sure to buy a sugar-free, whitening pack. Trident White is my favorite, and I have to admit that my mouth always feels minty and fresh after a few minutes of chewing!
Teeth Whitening + Bleaching
A few months ago, I mentioned that I received an at-home whitening kit from my dentist as part of a new costumer package.
Since I am good at staying on top of my every day whitening habits, I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to purchase a whitening kit, but since the cost was covered I gave it a try.
The kit is from the Pola line, an advanced tooth whitening system.
The package from my dentist included a full Poladay package with four hydrogen peroxide gels, as well as customized whitening trays made from my teeth mold.
You don’t have to be that fancy, and can find easy fit mouth whitening trays in most drugstores as well as on Amazon.
Inside the box was four gel syringes as well as a whitening tooth scale.
Besides the trays, all you really need is the whitening gel, which you can purchase refills for online for much cheaper.
My dentist recommended using the trays for 7-10 consecutive days, thirty minutes each night. The box tells you to only use the gel for a few minutes at a time, which is a total scam. Coming directly from my dentist: “They only tell you three minutes versus thirty so you have to purchase refill gels more frequently.”
After seven nights of using the trays, my teeth started feeling sensitive, so I stopped there. I also came close to running out of gel and went ahead and ordered more for future treatments.
Do I think it did a world of difference? Possibly. Here are two shots of me mid-way and all the way through the treatment.
I failed you by not taking a before photo, but the biggest difference I noticed was around my gum lines. By the time I finished the process, my teeth were closer to all the same color, rather than more discolored closer to the gums.
Now that I have it, I plan to do the gel treatment a couple times a year.
Besides the kit pictured above, the only other whitening treatment I have done was ZOOM whitening at a dentist office back in 2008.
The process took a little over an hour and I went through three different treatments, twenty minutes each. It didn’t really hurt, but with each treatment my teeth became a little more sensitive, and by the third one I was really feeling it. But, I got through it an by the end of the visit I had noticeably whiter teeth.
In-office treatments, like ZOOM are said to last up to six months. In-office whitening treatments have a national average of costing $650, and professionally dispensed take-home whitening kits from the dentist office average anywhere from $100 – $400. Yeesh.
For this reason, I created and turn to my easy, every day whitening routine you see above. I hope this helps!
Question of the Day
• Do you do anything special to keep your teeth healthy and sparkling?
I’m sure we would all love to hear more tips and tricks in the comments section below!
April 15, 2014
Even though I was in the know of possible cooler weather this week, I woke up to something truly unexpected.
I mean it is mid-April, correct?
I kid you not… I was just telling Scott how excited I was to see the green grass reappearing on our evening walk last night.
I also purchased a couple pairs of spring flats and sandals on mega clearance yesterday… which I guess will have to wait until I can officially retire these bad boys.
So close, Michigan. So close.
One thing I can always count on to warm me up is a big cup of coffee and a plateful of warm cookin’.
(Dunkin’ Hazelnut coffee with almond milk, egg beaters with sharp cheddar cheese, turkey bacon + organic strawberries and grapes.)
I originally felt like taking a morning run with Roadie for my workout today, but I lost full interest in that thought when I saw white ground.
Days like today are perfect for inspiration to get back to the gym and try out a new workout. Here’s one I put together just a few days ago!
30 Min. Steady + Sweaty Elliptical Workout
I actually used to skip right over the elliptical for cardio workouts. I have always been a treadmill girl, and didn’t think the elliptical could be all that interesting or challenging.
Over the past few years, however, I have enjoyed incorporating the machine into my cardio rotations and can fully eat my words on the whole “not challenging enough” claim. It’s all about incline and resistance!
Backpedaling a little bit, I threw this workout together while I was on the machine and thought it was a good one. It wasn’t as hard as some of my others… but it did the job and kept me entertained for thirty minutes of stationary cardio.
(Although I encourage you to try the workouts I post, please note that they may not be the right settings or exercises for you. Also, please note my full disclaimer in the right sidebar!)
I might just try it again tonight before Fitness Pilates.
Welp, I’m off to get goin’ on the day. I hope you are having a great start to yours, and I’ll be back later with the kick-off to Beauty Week!
April 14, 2014
Good Afternoon! I realize I am posting a bit later than normal, but I promise that there is a very good reason for it.
Last night not only marked the end of an NBA season for Scott and I, but also a closing to a chapter in our lives together.
(Also, linking this marvelous milestone up with Katie!)
Those of you who have been following the blog for a while already know that NBA Entertainment is what brought Scott and I together.
Back in the summer of 2007, I tried out for the Orlando Magic Dancers, and to this day we still have the professional sports entertainment itch in our bones. Last night marked six seasons performing in the league together, and today I am scratching my head at how in the world it all went by so fast.
My Last NBA Game
This year has proved to be a challenging one for me, both mentally and physically. Going into auditions this year, I had no idea what to expect and can without a doubt say that I was a part of a one of a kind experience.
Coming from another team, I did my best not to compare this to that, and took the opportunity to experience being a part of a different team in a different city. The 2013-14 season proved to be just that!
Without much time to reflect right now, I wanted to quickly highlight the game last night… but I will be sure to check back in the next couple of weeks with more posts and pictures.
Just like all games, I arrived at the arena hours before the doors opened for practice on the court with my team. We spent the next few hours getting ready in the locker room for Power Hour, appearances on the concourse to interact with fans before tip-off.
As I changed from my sequin dress and into our first half outfit, I couldn’t help but think that really was the last time I will be donning sequins, with the exception of the occasional fun birthday or New Years dress. The feeling of turning that along with the rest of my uniforms in was truly surreal.
Into our cut up tees, I made sure to snap a few photos with some of my teammates.
Unlike my closing game with Orlando, I knew ahead of time that this would be my last time dancing with these ladies on court and did my best to soak every little thing in.
Ready for intros, we grabbed our white hoodies and team chiropractor, Dr. Chad McKernan for a thank you photo.
As we made our way back stage, we spent a little more time getting to our spots, knowing that was the last time we would all be experiencing intros together.
With the dimming of the lights, we took the court for one last hurrah as the 2013-14 Detroit Pistons Dancers.
Even though we didn’t end up getting a win, we finished the season on a good note with an amazing and loud crowd cheering us on.
While changing out of our uniforms for the last time, the reality of turning in more than costumes set in. For a lot of us, we would also be turning a page and embarking into a completely new chapter in our lives.
After saying many goodbyes, we stopped for dinner at Trattoria Da Luigi in Royal Oak before arriving to our entertainment teams wrap up party.
(Unpictured spaghetti dishes as well as multiple baskets of bread!)
Everything was delicious, and Scott and I made a note to revisit more this summer.
One hundred percent content after a couple of glasses of celebratory wine and a good Italian meal, the group of us walked over to Fifth Avenue to say our goodbyes one last time.
There, we caught up with fellow entertainment teams and wrapped up the end of our season with lots of laughs and hugs.
After a full day of smiles and tears, we each parted our ways and only hope to see each other again over the summer.
It’s crazy going from seeing the same group of people multiple times a week (sometimes even every day!) for eight months to nothing. Each year, I take what I can from the experience and feel blessed to leave with a handful of friendships I know will last much longer than our time on the team together.
This morning, I woke up feeling good. A little sad, but overall happy with my decisions over the past few years. Through the good times and the bad, I made my way through six seasons getting the most I could out of every opportunity, and took in everything I possibly could without any regrets.
I am looking forward to sharing more about my time as a professional NBA dancer, but at the moment I must hurry out the door to my post-season treat to myself: a massage!
Thank you for following this journey with me, and I promise to have much more to share coming up!