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Old School: Braces Then, Invisalign Now

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored, but the story and opinions are my own.

Did you have braces when you were a kid? I did not, but I probably needed them. Still do, in fact. But the last thing I want to deal with is a bunch of metal in my mouth at (almost) 40 years old. I bite the inside of my cheeks often enough as it is. I can only imagine how much worse it would be with braces.


(Sugar Jones, getting her 80s on.)

So when I originally heard about Invisalign, I really wanted to find out more about them. I thought they were way too expensive for me. I thought old school braces were my only really option. And then I heard that Invisalign was doing an educational event, so I went to check it out.


(Rory knows something you don’t know.)

And I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Invisalign costs about the same as traditional braces, with fewer office visits. Oh, and none of those broken wire emergency visits, either. Once I was on a fishing trip with a bunch of friends, and we were out for at least an overnight trip. And yes, one of the passengers (a good friend) had braces. One of her wires CAME LOOSE and was poking her in the cheek. There was no chance of an emergency office visit. So I took some pliers and put the wire back in the bracket for her. ON A BOAT. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN. No lie.

And people wonder why I am certain I’ll never get braces. THAT RIGHT THERE is why, y’all.


(Gigi doesn’t like the thought of food stuck in her teeth. Or you taking a photo of her eating. You pick the right one.)

And yes, it’s a great option for teens, too. Oh how I wish this had been around for me when I was a teenager. But I’m glad it’s an option when my boys are older (I think my oldest is probably going to need help when he’s old enough). And if your kid loses a tray, it’s pretty easy to reorder one. I love that, as I have a feeling that’ll be important since I have two boys that already can’t remember where they put things. :)


(Nicole is recreating her teen look here. No need for headgear with Invisalign!)

And now that I have diet restrictions (I’m diabetic), it’s nice to know that I wouldn’t be even further restricted with Invisalign, because you can take the trays out while you eat. That is AWESOME.

(Maggie and me – birthday sisters)

One important thing I learned is that not all dentists are certified Invisalign providers, so make sure you use the doctor locator to find a provider near you.

As I get older, I do think about how I’d love to get rid of the annoying overbite I have. I would love that so VERY much! So my next step is to find a provider near me and talk to them about payment plans. While it’s still not cheap, advances in technology are moving so fast that it’s getting more affordable. And doggone it, I need to take care of me once in a while. I think this is something I would be very happy doing for myself.

And if I do, I will let you know!

Review: Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40

Last week I went to a #GracoSafety home party where I got to check out a SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40. I’ve been a fan of Graco for a long time. In fact, my oldest has a Graco car seat because it has the highest weight rating I could find for a 5-point harness seat: 65 lbs. And that’s a huge comfort considering my son was so big he outgrew his infant car seat way early – I wanted to make sure he didn’t outgrow this one before he hit four years old.

Which brings me back to the new SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40 – it is rear-facing up to 40 lbs. Oh, how I could have used that when my oldest was a wee babe! My youngest is still under 40 lbs. (and my back is so, so grateful for that as I put him in and out of his seat every morning), so he can fit in this seat – without getting scrunched.

You see, the base of this seat is adjustable, so your child can have additional legroom as s/he grows. So you have fewer worries about their knees being halfway to their chest. And it has a little footrest that they can put their tootsies on – great for protecting your seats from those toddler shoes.

#GracoSafety snugride 40

(Danielle & I inspecting the seat. Photo from SITS.)

What were we looking at? There’s an adjustment for the headrest, which also moves the straps. NO MORE RETHREADING STRAPS. Cue angel choirs singing – that is one of my least favorite things about car seats.So why IS it a big deal that this seat can go from infant to two years old in rear-facing mode? Because the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children now stay rear facing until the age of two. And while I’ve seen seats that are rear-facing, I’ve never seen one that goes from infant all the way up to two that does that. And with the adjustable straps, you have an easy-to-use seat that will keep your kiddo in the safest position for them.

#GracoSafety(Closer view of the seat.)

And I love this seat so much that I’m giving it to a friend who has an infant (I think he’s close to 2 months old now) so she can be sure that he’s safe all the way up until he’s a toddler. She’s a first time mom and I’m hoping that it gives her one less thing to worry about. And since it’s from Graco, I feel confident that it’ll be reliable and comfortable for her precious little cargo.

The Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40 – the first and only newborn to two-year infant car seat that actually grows with your baby from four pounds all the way up to 40 pounds. The car seat is designed for a parent on the go. The infant car seat can be easily removed from the base and used as a carrier when the infant is small, providing portability and convenience so you can easily move your infant in and out of the car without disturbing them.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made the recommendation to keep all children in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. Graco set out to make this product so parents can keep infants rear facing longer while still keeping them comfortable.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco. The opinions and text are all mine.

Small Business Saturday – supporting local businesses

SBSLogo.jpgThanks to American Express for sponsoring my writing today about small businesses. American Express is presenting Small Business Saturday, a way to honor the local merchants who are the backbone of the economy, this Saturday, November 27. They’re offering statement credits to people who shop at small businesses, advertising for small-business owners, and donations to Girls Inc. for “Likes” of the Small Business Saturday page on Facebook. Join the celebration by clicking the “Like” button and then visiting the Facebook page to learn more about the program and read the terms and conditions that apply.

One thing I love about San Diego is the variety of small businesses we have here. You can find almost anything you’re looking for. It’s great to have so many choices available. When I want to avoid the big bookstores, I can go to Warwick’s in La Jolla. For fantastic, locally brewed coffee, I would definitely hit up Caffé Calabria (I just wish they were open a little longer in the afternoons!). If you look hard enough, you’ll find a local alternative for so many things.

Dining Details

Like personal chef services. I know that may sound strange coming from me, as much as I go on and on about hubby and I cooking things at home. But when I heard about Dining Details and got to know some of the services they offer, I was amazed. First off, Chef Julie Frans is a fellow mom and is quite active on Twitter. She has a fairly new baby girl who’s cute as a button. And she knows her stuff. In just the past couple of weeks, she offered cooking classes geared toward Thanksgiving – and it sounded like both the novice and experienced home cook could learn something.

But what I love most about what Julie does is her passion for fresh, healthy ingredients. Last spring I got a chance to see her in action as she demo’d several dishes for a group of local mom bloggers. She gave us great tips and advice about preparing amazingly healthy and tasty food for our families. It was fun and I learned several new things, including how to make a homemade alternative to store-bought creamers.


The other thing that’s great about Julie’s biz is her enthusiasm for getting healthy lunches in the hands of school children. And that’s where Dining Details’ sister company, Chickpeas, comes into play. Chickpeas offers organic and all-natural lunches to kids in schools. Some schools have Chickpeas actually handle their lunch service — how awesome is that? I would absolutely love to have such well-prepared food in the hands of my kids when they’re in school.

It’s local businesses like this that I love to seek out and try. What’s your favorite local San Diego small business? Please feel free to share in the comments – even if you have more than one! I’m always looking for a great local place to give my business to. (PS – Julie doesn’t even know I’m featuring her biz – she has not asked me to do so and has not asked to be included in this post. I just really love what she does and hope others hear about her and do, too.)

Small Business Saturday

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

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Dreaming of Our Ultimate Family Vacation

Sponsored By

Cheerios® is giving you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your ultimate family vacation. As part of a paid promotion for their “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, Cheerios® is sponsoring my post today about what my ultimate family vacation would be. Read mine, Enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to actually win your own fantasy family trip or one of a bunch of other great prizes.

A lot of people, when they think of vacation, do not think of visiting family. For them, a vacation is getting away and doing something different. When I was a kid, all of our vacation time was spent going to see grandparents. And it turns out that as an adult, my vacation time is still allotted to family.

I’m okay with that.

I look forward to – and dream about – going home for Christmas. Nothing fancy, really. But since we don’t live close to our parents, it’s something to look toward to and anticipate every year. We don’t do exotic things or over-schedule ourselves with every tourist attraction imaginable. We just… relax.

And it’s liberating. No worries about work schedules. No obligations to be anywhere or do anything. Just the chance to decompress and enjoy family.

Sometimes I think about where we’d travel and what we’d do if we had unlimited funds. Ireland. Scotland. England. Italy. Spain. France. I’d love to do our own little photo tour of Europe, taking as much time as we needed to explore the photographic and culinary opportunities in a variety of places. But while our kids are little, I’m happy to spend that time letting them get to know their grandparents.

Someday… maybe. Right now? Family time IS my ultimate family vacation. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Don’t forget to enter the “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, for a chance to win your own ultimate family vacation. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

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