Friday, June 27, 2014

Strawberry Banana Overnight Oats

Are you struggling to find things to eat in the morning? Are you someone who likes to eat on the go? Are you a person who usually brings their breakfast to work? Or maybe you're in search of  a healthy, filling first meal to break your intermittent fast? Then overnight oats are for you!

Overnight oats are a simple, inexpensive, and easy way to make sure you're getting a healthy start to the day. I enjoy them because 1) the ingredients are inexpensive 2) they're easy to make and 3) they're DELICIOUSLY healthy and filling. What's not to love about them?

There are so many different recipes for overnight oats that you can find on Pinterest and around the internet. Some of my most favorite recipes come from Mason Creations by blogger Sammy B (buy her e-Books here).

I have a very simple recipe listed for you below for Strawberry Banana Overnight Oats.

Strawberry Banana Overnight Oats

1/2 c rolled oats
1/4 c Greek yogurt
1/4 c unsweetened almond milk or preference
1 T chia seeds
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
A dash of cinnamon
1 pkt stevia
1/2 banana, sliced
2-3 strawberries, sliced
(other fruits can be added or replaced to make your own concoction :))


Mix all ingredients together except the fruit. Once ingredients are mixed well and to your liking, place in a jar and top it off with fruit. Leave in fridge overnight. Wake up and enjoy!

Do any of you have other great overnight oats recipes that you enjoy? If so, please share below!

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Wine'd Down Wednesday

WDW-headerWelcome to the 41st Week of Wine'd Down Wednesday!!
We have decided to spice things up a bit here for Wine'd Down Wednesday to try keep things fresh and fun- since many people do it anyways, we have decided to up the limit on posts you can share with us to up to three! This way, we can all share more of what we love and help to extend our reach for Wine'd Down Wednesday! So when you get to the link up part, remember you can link up one, two or three posts! Yay!
Thank you SO MUCH to everyone that has been linking with us so far, we are beyond thrilled to have you coming back week after week and just love reading all of your posts! We were all so excited and overjoyed that so many of you want to come and share your awesomeness with us. Keep on sharing and spreading the Wine'd Down love :)
Are you interested in joining our fun? Why not co-host with us! We are looking for co-hosts to help spread our wine'd down love! Join us, it's free! :) If you are interested, email Michelle at
Without further a-do- on to the party!

Our Three Peas
We are so excited you have joined us for a girl’s night out, blog style! So…why Wine’d Down Wednesday? Well, what’s the best kind of party? The kind where wine is served of course! Since we can’t meet our fellow blog friends in person we thought we’d throw a party every week. So grab your wine, link up a recent post, and mingle. Your post doesn’t need to include wine, linking up while drinking wine is completely acceptable and encouraged! We want any of your funniest, heartfelt, absurd, crafty, or delicious posts. As an added bonus, we will also be rotating a different social media outlet each week so you’ll get minglers at all your hangouts.
Our Wine'd Down Wednesday Pinterest board is brimming with all of your amazing posts. Each week we look at all the link ups and each choose the one we like the best! It's always difficult to each choose just one, but we did and here are our 3 top Wine'd Down favorites for this week:

WDW_featured picks

WDW features #40
1. Red White and Blue Jello Cookies // Mommy on Demand
2. Tropical Kale Salad // Life Made Sweeter
3. Zucchini Spaghetti with Lemony Kale Pesto // Erica's Recipes
4. DIY Cinnamon Peppermint Toothpaste // On a Wing and a Prayer
Congrats to all that were chosen! We have pinned these in our Wine'd Down Wednesday Pinterest Board.

If you were featured, don't forget to grab our "I've been featured on WDW" button!

Our Three Peas
Now come and meet your amazing hosts!
Come Meet Our Fabulous Co-Host!
TGLD pic
We are so excited to have Nicole from The Good Life Diaries as our co-host! Nicole is a newer blogger who loves to write about life, love and her family. She tries to find the beauty and inspiration in all situations- stop by and give her some wine'd down love by visiting her blog, on Facebook, twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!
Now for the rules!
1. Follow your hosts and co-host in any way you can.
2. Visit 2-3 other blogs. It’s not a party if you’re not mingling!!
3. Link up to THREE recent post. No posts to other linkups, reviews, or giveaways please. We will only feature you once each week though.
4. Help us spread the word about this party by displaying our button on your post or sidebar.
5. Tweet and spread the word, if you feel so inclined :)
6. Use the hash tag #wineddown when sharing about us!

Got your wine ready??? Not yet? Ok, we'll wait.......Got it now? Great! Let's get our links on!

wdw email graphic 3



Monday, June 23, 2014

Motivation Monday - Pressing On

It's Motivation Monday again and I'm so excited to share with you all my core-strength progress!

As some of you might have known, I am an aspiring yogi. I just love the way that yoga loosens the muscles and relaxes the mind. It's a great feeling and with each pose, you're actually working out a different muscle. Core strength is definitely at the core of yoga and that is what I've been working on for a while now. This year, one goal of mine was to finally be able to do a headstand, later followed by a handstand before the year is up.

Well, after months of trying, I finally did it!

I literally woke up last Thursday morning and felt this incredible rush of confidence come over me and...I did it! I met the first half of my goal! I couldn't be more proud of myself. It's amazing what you can do with just a little perseverance. I'm glad I can check this off my list and move onto the next.

Keep pressing on! You were made to be AMAZING.

Have any of you achieved a goal that you're proud to share recently?

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

10 Things Our Kids Will NEVER Understand

Kids these days; sure, they're book smart and tech savvy, but will they ever know what life was like outside of modern technology? Probably not, which is why I made a list of 10 things that our children will never understand in this day and age.

1. Using a house phone
Our kids will never know what it was like to use the house phone that everyone shared to call another person's house phone that is also shared by everyone. They'll never know what it was like having to ask their friend's mom if they could speak with said friend, nor will they ever know the struggle of having someone listen in on their conversation from the other line...sigh.

2. Politically incorrect cartoon humor
Bugs Bunny said what?! What exactly was Spunky doing with that mop in the broom closet? Oh yeah, they'll never hear another cartoon say or do any of that stuff unless they were tuning into Adult Swim. And why the heck was that stuff in children's shows in the '90s anyway? Tisk, tisk...

3. Slam Books
This might have just been a girl fad, but I seriously miss these things! A book filled with questions about crushes and celebrities and fun stuff you and your friends like to do! They will never know the excitement of having one of these babies passed your way during class.

4. Letters 
Nowadays a text does it all. But back then, letters from friends and crushes were the highlight of about anyone's day.  "Do you like anyone? Y or N?""Do you like me, Y or N?" Ahh, the memories of pre-pubescent childhood hormones...

5. Cassette tapes
Fast forward to the next song...shucks, too far, rewind...darn it! Too far again, fast forward...argh!

6. Renting videos
Blockbuster was the last hope for the next generation, but now that they're gone, our children will never know what it was like to put a movie in the VCR and realize that the previous renter didn't rewind the movie. Ugh!

7. Sitting through commercials
Even the adults I know don't do this anymore! With cable being the way it is these days, our future children will never know what it was like to have to sit through a 10 minute commercial break. I'm just waiting for advertisers to start implanting commercial chips into our brains so we see commercials in our sleep like in Futurama.

8. The wonder of a Wonder Ball
Our kids will never sing, "Oh, I wonder, wonder, what's in my Wonder Ball!" Nor will they be able to crack open a ball of chocolate filled with candy surprises shaped like fictional Disney characters.

9. Lisa Frank
Once again, this is more prevalently a girl thing, but it was so trendy, even the boys knew about it in school! Lisa Frank apparel and school products were just about the most "in" thing in school. All the girls envied you if you had Lisa Frank shoes...all of them.

10. TGIF
"No, honey, it's not a hashtag," you'll have to explain to them. TGIF stood for more than just a slogan around the IG world. It was a way of life every Friday night. Families would gather around the TV nationwide to see what hilariousness would happen upon them that Friday. From Urkel's laugh, to Corey's and Topanga's romance, to Sabrina's talks with Salem, they were all an important part of the '90s kid culture.

I am seriously debating about putting my future child through a Blast from the Past experience and havingour whole family live in an underground dwelling where only '90s memorabilia exists. No? Not a good idea? Ah, well, I can dream, can't I? Hahaha

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

4 Things I'm Addicted To

Whenever I go shopping, I am usually in the mood for something different; things that I don't already have in my closet. Yet no matter what I do, I tend to walk out with bags full of the same things I always buy. It just never fails.

So...I decided to compile a list of the top 4 things taking up room in my closet.

1.) First on the list is SUNGLASSES.

I just love sunglasses! It doesn't matter if I'm at the mall or if I'm at Walgreens, the sunglasses rack is one I just don't pass up. I try them all on; weird ones, wild ones, old-people ones, chic ones, until I find the perfect ones to bring home. Believe it or not, I don't spend over $20 on one pair of sunglasses. All the ones I buy are usually $15 and under. My favorite place to shop for sunglasses is Forever 21. You just can't beat the prices for the style. And sunglasses are always in style in my book.

2.) Second, HATS.

I confess, I am the Crazy-Hat-Lady. I just have an obsession with big, floppy hats and trucker/surfer hats. They're just a simple way to spice up a look whether I'm at the beach, running errands, or out on the town, they all work with what I got hanging up in my closet.

3.) Third on the list is BEACH BAGS.

To be honest, I had WAYYY more bags than this prior to writing this post. However, because they were taking up wayyy too much room on my side of our closet, I did the charitable thing and gave about 2/3 of them away to my little sister and younger cousin (lucky brats). The ones pictured above are the ones that I find to be the most functional, timeless, and meaningful. 
  • The brown bag and my Roxy backpack are not only stylish, but they're functional for beach or errands. 
  • My Maui bag was given to me as a Valentine's gift from my husband just as he was headed to Lana'i for work a couple years ago. 
  • Now, this next piece isn't one I would usually buy for myself. Hello Kitty really isn't my style at all, but I bought it because number 1, I thought it was cute and number 2, she is brown (it's about time she got some sun!). 
  • Last, but certainly not least, my green Totoro bag was given to me by my brother-in-law George as a Christmas present last year. I absolutely LOVE Totoro. Always have, always will. What I especially love about this bag is that Totoro is GREEN, representing my love for health, clean eating, and the environment, just like the actual Totoro!

4.) And now, for the BIGGEST part of my collection - BIKINIS.

I absolutely can't resist the purchase of a cute little 'kini. Bathing suits are just my absolute favorite type of clothing. Everything else in my closet is centered around my bikini collection; workout clothes to help me in keeping bikini ready year-round and light clothing to wear over my bikinis if it's a little chilly at the beach. If ever I go shopping, bikinis are always first on my list of things to look for.

I just love the colors, the styles, and the way I feel in one. It's just...freeing. I love the ocean and the beach and all the activities that come along with bikinis. When I look at my pile of bikini pieces, I am reminded of endless sunshine, good times, and refreshing Hawaiian waters.

For this post, I did something I have never done. I actually counted all the pieces I have. Altogether, I have 29 pieces. 16 tops and 13 bottoms. All of which are interchangeable, of course, because I would never buy something that couldn't be worn with other pieces in my closet.

A fun fact about me when I shop for bikinis: I will try anything just to see how I look and feel in it. A monokini, cheeky, one piece, fringes, ruffles, you name it! I'll try anything once. It definitely doesn't mean I'll buy it, but I will spend a significant amount of time shopping for the perfect 'kini to add to my collection.

I'm guessing this is why my husband has banned me from the mall (LOL).


Well, I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about me! What things are you addicted to? Share it with me!

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Motivation Monday - The FIGHT for FIT Lookbook

So, it's Monday again and while I've lost my motivation a little since last month, I'm not giving up.

This year's been so full of ups and downs, it's been a struggle to keep up, especially with everything that's been happening since last month. Tim and I are going to be working out this week with hopefully no distractions.

I decided to do a little something different today as part of my motivation process and perhaps as a motivation for those out there who may be struggling with their fitness goals like me. Below are pictures of my progress from day one of my quest for fitness up until exactly a year ago today. It's nice to look at the progress you've made since the beginning and to say to yourself, "Yes, I can!"

Fitness isn't easy, permanent or unwavering. You've gotta FIGHT to stay healthy and live right. Because of this, I've entitled this post The FIGHT for FIT. Consider this my #ThrowbackThursday album...on, well, Monday. Without further ado, enjoy the throwback and may you always fight the good fight.

The FIGHT for FIT!

In the Beginning

2009 at 140 lbs.
Me and Nalani, Kuli'ou'ou Ridge Hike circa 2010
The beginning of my journey started when I moved to Hawaii in 2009. I was about 20 pounds heavier then and definitely unsatisfied with my health. I had no real fitness goals at the time.My only goal in life was to live it and live it well. 
I suppose that started me on a good foot because my hunger for adventure became the core of my weight loss. I hiked a different hike every other weekend it seemed and one day I noticed that the pounds were melting away without me even trying. I was just having fun!
Stairway to Heaven, 2010
 With every hike, I could feel my body getting stronger. My endurance was starting to pick up and my metabolism began to kick in and helped with the shedding of excess weight. I unfortunately still ate pretty unhealthy and could care less what I was putting into my body. Still, I was enjoying the views everywhere I went.

Eventually, I added volleyball into the mix. This was something I played about 3-4 times a week! Once again, this was all in an effort to just enjoy life and get the most out of it without health or fitness even being a priority. I suppose that's when health and fitness is really a lifestyle; when it becomes fun, not work. 

The Results of a Happy Lifestyle

All of the hiking and volleyball, along with other things like paddle boarding and running around being young and crazy, definitely paid off. I saw myself in a whole different light! I was in the best shape I had ever been and felt this sense of overwhelming happiness that I never knew existed. It was the best feeling in the world and I vowed to myself that I would never let it slip away.

Free to be ME! The happiest I had been in a long time.

Me and Nalani, New Year's 2011. About 1 year's progress, at 118 lbs.
Later, August 28, 2011, Tim and I married. I soon realized that the life I had as a single woman was slowly starting to slip away. My life was no longer filled with weekly hikes and nightly volleyball. I had new priorities that required my time and effort. Tim and I were still very young and naive to the married life, therefore we had to work quite a few kinks out. 
Of course, as is expected for average Janes like me, I gained about 10-12 pounds back due to being an inactive, married woman. I started feeling so down on myself and eventually my attitude toward life started to reflect that. I didn't want to go anywhere that involved me wearing a bikini, yet I hated the fact that I wasn't confident in my own skin.
That's when I finally decided it was time for a change. I wanted to look and feel as good as I did the day of our wedding, especially since I didn't have as much time to do the things that I used to. That's when I got into Tone It Up and I finally understood just how important it was to make sure I incorporated the right foods and at least some moderate activity throughout the week.  Thus began my new journey into health and fitness.

New Life, New Discovery

Daily breakfast of oats with chia, Greek yogurt, and strawberries.

I decided that I wanted to finally take my health seriously.Working out and eating healthy became an addiction. I wanted to take my body to a place it's never been before and I knew the only way to achieve it without taking long hikes every weekend was by doing home workouts. It started becoming a habit and eventually, after about a year of reaching for the stars, I started to see the payoff.

Toned Up, May 2013
Prior to being married, I thought the goal was to stay skinny. I learned later that being skinny didn't necessarily mean that I was healthy. I had no real muscle tone and only ate junk, which I am sure deducted years from my life. I made a new goal to reach new heights with my fitness. Slowly, I started adding new activities like Boot Camp Fitness, running, and Insanity into the mix. I could honestly say that last year was the first time I saw myself as the strongest and healthiest I had ever been since my hiking/volleyball glory days.

Peekaboo, Abs see you! 2013 at 120 lbs.
Ab formation, 2013
Unfortunately, since these pictures were taken last year, I allowed myself to slip back into a more "comfortable" routine of doing less and eating more. Sure, I managed to keep the weight off, but I am in no way as toned as I was last year, though that is the aim for me this year. 

New Journey to ME

Working hard at the gym.
Current weight: 125 lbs

Since the start of the year, my husband and I have joined a gym, in hopes to get back into shape. Slowly, but surely, we are. I am learning not to depend on the numbers on the scale, though it's a struggle. I guess at this point, I can honestly say that it's not about what's waiting on the other side of this mountain; it's the climb.

I hope that you enjoyed looking through my Fight for Fit lookbook. I am indeed a work in progress, like you, who is learning every day what it means to live a healthy, happy life. I hope that those of you going through the fitness journey will understand that there will be many obstacles along the way. We will fail many times, but the point is to keep going. You're so close! Don't give up what you want most for what you want now. Time will pass and you will get results. Health and fitness isn't a goal; it's a lifestyle.

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!

Sunday, June 15, 2014


As a young girl, there was no one I admired more than my dad. There was a lot to admire about him. He was a man of few words; a simple man who enjoyed the smallest pleasures in life like hiking, swimming, running, watching reruns of his favorite cartoons, and eating good food. His favorite sports teams were the New York Yankees, the Washington Redskins, and the Boston Celtics. He was goofy, genuine, and probably one of the most generous men I ever knew.

But of all the memories that I have of my dad, his love for music was one that I will always remember. For as long as I could remember, my dad was always playing his guitar, trying hard to mimic the legends: Van Halen, Guns & Roses, Journey, Fleetwood Mac; the list was endless. On our drives, he would put certain songs on repeat just so he could hear the riffs "one more time..."

I remember coming home from school hearing the muffled sound of an acoustic guitar coming from the room down the hall. Seeing him play was like stepping into his world. In his world he was whoever he wanted to be; in his world, he was free.

As I grew older, the relationship between my dad and me was strained. I suppose it could be that he could no longer relate to me as a teenager or maybe that I no longer cared to relate to him as a teenager. Whatever it was, our father-daughter bond was slowly fading away.
I had my own friends, my own schedule, my own moods, and my own life. Things in my life were changing, as do all things, and I was on my way to becoming a woman in this crazy world. But no matter how far I traveled away from him, one glance behind me would remind me that he was a constant in my life; silent and observing, strumming his guitar.

My father's love for music went much deeper than the rhythm. Songs could never be just songs. Anything he listened to and liked had meaning, which is much more than I can say for most mainstream music of our generation. His favorite songs brought out feeling and deep emotion, like poetry. He would explain the most intricate details to me of every song and what he believed it meant or how it made him feel. One song in particular that I remember him dissecting was Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. "This song's about growing up..." I remember him saying. At 12 years old, the song was just a song and had no real meaning. It was just another song to sing on the car ride home.


My life took a drastic turn when my dad passed away December 4th, 2007. I was only 19 years old when it happened and it took my entire family by surprise. The night before he passed, he was in great spirits. I was going to night classes at a community college and returned home to see my family and him gathered in the living room watching TV. He seemed content and happy on his way to bed, Bible in hand.

Moments later, my boyfriend (now my husband), Tim, called to see if we were still having our family Bible study the following day. When I went into the bedroom to ask my dad, he was gone - Bible in hand with Christian talk radio playing in the background, his usual nightly routine.

Our young family was no longer the same. We were devastated.

Suddenly, all of the things I could've, should've, and would've said and done started flooding my mind, followed by anger, sorrow, then worry. How are we going to make it? What are we supposed to do now, God?

After the death of my dad sank in and things started mellowing, I wandered through life wondering if I was living it right. I didn't know my role in the family anymore. Am I supposed to quit school and go to work to help my mom? Am I supposed to be a second mother for my family? What do I do?! I spent many years trying to figure it all out.

I remember thinking if I had what it took to live this life and live it well. Who was I going to be? What was I going to do? How in the world are my family and me supposed to go on without a dad and husband? How are we going to manage without him?

It's been nearly 7 years since my dad's been gone. Somehow, by God's grace, my family and I have survived. I realized the other day that we haven't seen him for almost 7 years. For some reason, the length just struck me like a bolt of lightning. It's been 7 years since seeing his face, hearing his laugh, hugging him, talking to him, and hearing him play his guitar.

Switching on the radio just the other day and Landslide by Fleetwood Mac came on. Tearing up, I could hear him saying, "This song is about growing up..." I understand it now. I have my father's love inside of me. I have climbed many mountains, big and small, and have grown with each trek. I turned back to see the reflection of my father, silent and observing, strumming his guitar. He is with me still and he is urging me to grow.

I was afraid of change. I had built my life around him, assuming he would always be there. Never did I ever imagine he wouldn't be here to see my siblings and me grow up into women and men. I thought he would be here for my wedding day, for my brother's 18th, my sister's 16th, proms, and other special events in our lives. But he isn't...and that's life. We love and we lose, but in all things, we have to move forward. I can thank my dad for those lessons.


My dad was one of the greatest men I had the privilege in knowing. He had love for everyone he met and although some may never have had the chance to really know him, I can tell you of all the wonderful things he has done in his lifetime. He worked hard to raise his family, he cared for his children and their friends, and he had a heart for the needy. He was an amazing spiritual father to my husband as well as the fatherless. He wasn't perfect, but he was an amazing man with an amazing legacy. That legacy he has left to his family and those whose lives he touched.

My brother, Ian, although struggling to find himself, has so much of my father's talent. Musically, athletically, and intellectually. He may not be bold about showing it, but if he's anything like my dad, which he is in many ways, he'll find a way to let it out.

My sister, Hannah, was only a child when he passed away. Although she only knew him for 9 short years of her life, she has my dad's courage. She speaks her mind and says how she's feeling without reserve.

My mom, Candace, though scarred has taken her place as head of our household. My dad has been by her side through thick and thin, bad and good, sickness and health. He was her support and foundation in many ways, but in his absence has handed her the baton and she's running with it with vigor and fight.

And as for me, I have my father's spirit. The passion I have to be all that God has designed me to be comes from him. I have discovered his strength within me and I plan on chasing my dreams in boldness.

Because of my dad, songs are no longer just songs; they have meaning. I hear music everywhere I go. And although the mountains in life look gruesome, I am up for the challenge. That's what my dad would have wanted for me and for all of us.

I expect to see him again that one, sweet day, silent and observing, strumming his guitar...


That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Perfect Fit Chocolate Cupcakes!

Boy, have I been struggling to keep off the sugar cravings this month (ahem, I think we can all guess what time it was). While I did indulge a little, I'm just happy I didn't indulge too much. I always hate the feeling after eating a lot of junk food.

Usually, when the chocolate cravings start to roll in, I'm in the kitchen baking up something somewhat healthy and quick. Time isn't what I have a whole lot of anymore these days. My favorite treat to bake comes from the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan. Tone It Up Chocolate Cupcakes are easy to make, require only a few, simple ingredients, and are so delicious to eat. Mind you, they are protein cupcakes, so they won't taste like all the other sugary cakes you'll find on shelves in the grocery store. But they come pretty darn close! Top it off with some powdered stevia or some light Greek yogurt frosting and you're good to go!

Anyone that is willing to try, here's the recipe! (You can find this along with other healthy desserts on Tone It Up's website)

  • 1 Banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup Chocolate or Vanilla Perfect Fit Protein
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup of strong, cooled coffee or 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Mix all wet ingredients, including banana, together and set aside. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and slowly combine into the wet ingredients, making sure to incorporate fully until adding more. Mix carefully – don’t over-mix! Pour into a small sprayed baking loaf and drizzle about a tablespoon of pure maple syrup on top! Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from center.

Try it out tonight! It's perfect to eat with some wine or some bubbly on the side. Mmm...I think I'll have some myself. If you try it, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

10 Things Your Dentist Isn't Telling You

I have had my share of dental work in my lifetime. I have also worked in two different dental practices over the course of the past 5 years, working both the front and the back offices, dealing with patients, assisting hygienists and dentists with their work. In the dental office that I am working for currently, I am both the front office manager and the dental assistant. The dentist I work for has been in the business for over 30 years, yet is in no way a businessman by far.

He is an old-fashioned man with a very small, family-owned dental practice. He has no hygienists, no other dentists working in other rooms, and no other managers aside from me. So basically, our office structure consists of just Dr. Wong and me. That's it.

Our office is like a flashback from the '60s; a hand-operated X-ray machine, a typewriter, an old-fashioned 1960s Pelton & Crane steam autoclave (an instrument sterilizer for all you non-dental people out there), among other things that haven't changed since his father started the practice so many years back. In our office, you'll notice there are no signs or advertisements. If you looked us up online or in the phone book, you'd probably only see our phone number. We have no website, no commercials, and no ads around town promoting our business. If you walk into our office, you'll notice that we have no products or services for sale, and no one pushing crowns, whitening, or promotions. All we are is an old-fashioned dental office owned by a local boy from the islands.

For those of you who have no idea what a "local boy from the islands" means, it basically entails a laid-back attitude with a passion for the days of old where people mattered more than money and the "aloha spirit" reigned strong and true. With this being said, Dr. Wong's practice serves to reflect just that; a passion for people, not for money and a practice built on experience rather than knowledge alone.

In the 3 years that I have worked for Dr. Wong, I have learned more than I ever have about how much the entire body is affected by dental hygiene. He taught me, as well as his patients, things that no other dentist has even mentioned! I, like all our other patients, began thinking Why didn't my dentist ever tell me this?!

Well, for those of you wondering what you're missing out on, I decided to share this genuine, priceless information with you! Trust me, you'll be happy I did.

1. How to Floss and Brush 
This might sound like kindergarten stuff, but do you really know what you're doing in the bathroom? We hear it all the time to floss and brush, but has any hygienist or dentist even so much as taken the time to explain to you what this actually looks like? Did you know there is actually a right way to brush and floss? Probably not. Most hygienists tell you that not brushing gives you cavities and bloody gums and to brush twice a day to prevent that. But when you go home, you'll most likely do what you've always done, thus resulting in- that's right, more cavities and bloody gums. If you want to know how to fix that, here's how:

a. Brush your gums, not just your teeth. Break your arches into 6 sections: Top right, top front, top left, and bottom right, bottom front, and bottom left. Brush the tongue side and the cheek side of the gums. Don't brush too hard though as you could cause toothbrush abrasion. Just enough pressure to massage the gums, per se.

b. When you floss, pull the floss taunt around the tooth, as if you were wrapping it around an egg. Then, pull it up and down the side of the tooth a couple times on each side of the tooth, making sure to get the floss down until it reaches the end of the gums.
Tip: It's much better to use regular floss than floss picks. I like to use Glide Floss because it's not too thick and not too thin.

2. Your Gums are More Important
What? Teeth are the things getting all the cavities! Well, although teeth are very important, your gums are what keeps them in your mouth. Teeth are self-cleansing (unless you don't regularly brush your teeth...tisk, tisk), however the food will run down the teeth and sit on the gum line. If food stays there too long, it creates bone eating cells called osteoclast. This eats away at the jaw bone holding your teeth in place and soon your teeth will become loose and eventually, those teeth will have to be extracted. Therefore, brush the gums regularly!

3. Bleaching May Cause Sensitivity 

Dentists will comment on the unsightliness of your grayish/yellowish looking teeth from time to time trying to make you feel uncomfortable about the teeth you have. Commercials and advertisements will also do the same. To be honest, tooth color is of the least significance when it comes to oral hygiene. In fact, tooth color is genetic! Bleaching is expensive and has the tendency to cause extreme sensitivity to the teeth. Before you do it, ask yourself if permanently etching your teeth is worth the money. If you think so, be sure to prepare yourself for years of discomfort brushing them...

4. Mouthwash Does Nothing

Crest, Colgate, and Listerine will promise you the world when it comes to toothpastes and mouthwashes; smile brighter, no more cavities, sensitivity gone! In reality, it doesn't matter what brand you get or how much you use either. All it does is freshen your breath. Nothing more.

5. They're Product Pushers

Yup. I said it. Dental offices are product pushers. Buy this toothbrush, Use our whitening products, Straighten with Invisalign! Sorry, but save your money and go with things that work for you. The priority should be the health of your oral cavity, not just what your teeth look like. Just because there was an advertisement for it doesn't mean it's going to take your problems away. If anything, all corporate-America knows how to do is make you believe that their products work. This has made us all very lazy and dependent on things to do our job for us. Sorry, nothing will get your mouth in better shape without a little elbow grease.

6. They Might Be Over-Diagnosing

If a dentist is telling you to replace all your old, silver fillings with white ones, crowns, or is pushing implants, chances are they may be over-diagnosing you to make some money. White fillings have the tendency to leak, causing more dental problems than expected. My dentist has had his silver fillings for over 40 years without complication or health problems and he's well over 50 years old. Silver is the way to go because they're stronger and cheaper to do. They may not be aesthetically appealing, but who's looking in your mouth anyway? If they're not causing you any problems, leave them in there!

Also, as promising as implants sound, they still have the ability to fail due to poor oral hygiene. If you didn't take care of your real teeth, chances are you have the potential to neglect your implants as well, thus resulting in implant failure. Implants are expensive and imperfect and take years to finish the final restoration. It's better to just keep the teeth you got in the first place.

7. Gum Disease Leads to More Health Problems

Dentists have known this for some time now, however, only recently have other studies backed up the fact that patients with gum disease have higher chances of experiencing heart-attacks, strokes, and cancers of major organs. In fact, studies have shown that the rates of developing these conditions are 7 times higher in patients with gum disease than in those whose oral hygiene is up to par. This is definitely something I never learned going to the dentist...

8. It's OK to Brush More Often 

I've heard many people say that brushing more than 2 times a day is bad for you. Well, having actually worked on Dr. Wong's mouth (I worked side-by-side with his dad who is a retired dentist), as well as evaluating patients whose oral hygiene has made significant improvements, I have seen that brushing more frequently actually keeps the gums healthier! Dr. Wong hasn't had inflammation in his mouth since grade school! I have seen the difference it makes in my mouth as well and I can definitely say that brushing more often only betters your health.

9. Electric Toothbrushes Don't Work Unless You Do
In the tech age, it's easy to buy a product we think is going to make life easier, faster, and better. While electronic toothbrushes sound like a great idea, most people aren't using them correctly. In fact, if more people are honest, they probably brush their teeth as they normally would with a regular toothbrush. Sadly, many people develop gingivitis more frequently when paired with an electric toothbrush. As I mentioned above, we like to think that products are doing the work for us when in reality, most things worth doing are never that easy. If you own an electric toothbrush, realize that in order for it to do its job, you must sit the spinning bristles on each tooth for a few seconds. That's 32 teeth and 3 different sides of each tooth, resulting in...well, too much time in the bathroom, in my opinion. Dr. Wong says to use a manual toothbrush instead of relying on corporate America's products that are usually pushed to make money off of unsuspecting victims. Staying with a cheap, soft-bristled manual toothbrush is the best investment you can make. Take the one below as an example.
It's simple, has good leverage, and has been a trusted utensil in our office for years!
10. Oral Hygiene is a Skill

If we looked at just how sloppily, quickly, and haphazardly we brush and floss (if we do floss) our teeth, we would see that we really aren't doing it properly. Goals that we want to achieve take a great deal of effort to get there. Dr. Wong always gives this example: If an overweight person wants to lose weight, he can do everything right for months before he notices any real changes. The same goes for oral hygiene. Gingivitis takes anywhere from 6 months to a couple years to clear up if you're brushing and flossing correctly. Like anything in life, it must be a priority. Considering that gum disease is a major contributing factor to major diseases, I would say it should be high on the list along with healthy eating and exercise.

If you learn anything from this post, realize this: oral hygiene is more than just having nice teeth.

Do you take really good care of your teeth? What does your daily regimen look like?

That's it for now. Remember life is what you make it! Have a blessed day!