Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wedding Recap: Formal Portraits

Looking back, I wish I had gotten more staged photos than I did, but time seemed to fly by and taking pictures was AGONIZING! It was the last thing we wanted to do after our ceremony. My photographer seemed to miss a lot of things like a first look with my dad, a photo with just my mom and I, just to mention a couple. If I had it all to do over again, I'd definitely make sure I gave the photographer a detailed list of every single picture I wanted. It might be annoying to take them, but I know I would've appreciated having those photos to look back on.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oil Pulling

*I'm supposed to post wedding portraits today, but I couldn't get the photos to upload right now. I've been meaning to post about oil pulling for awhile so I figured today was as good as any. I'll do wedding portraits next Wednesday!

For quite awhile now, I've been suffering from allergies. Year-round. Morning, noon and night. At any given moment, I literally can not breathe from my nose. I'm rarely able to smell and I have a very muted sense of taste. I'm always sneezing and blowing my nose. I've been on OTC allergy medicine for a long time, but I've never been able to get any relief. (I know I need to go to an allergist or an ENT doctor!)

Over Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me an e-mail detailing the practice of oil pulling and the benefits from doing it (allergy relief being one of them). I'm sure you've all heard of it, but just in case you haven't...oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic method for detox and rejuvenation. The idea is simple. By using oil, you attract and remove bacteria, toxins and parasites that live in your mouth and lymph system. These get drawn into the oil and stuck there, and when you spit out the oil you are removing the toxins from your body.

Supposed benefits include:
  • improved oral health - whiter teeth, healthier gums, banishes bad breath
  • relieves headaches and hangovers
  • pulls out sinus congestion and mucus, loosens up sinuses
  • clears your skin
  • helps you sleep better
  • detoxifies your body
Honestly, I read the e-mail and was a little skeptical. I kept saying I'd try it, but months went by before I saw something on Facebook with a link to this post. I read it and thought it better explained the method of oil pulling as well as the benefits and I vowed to give it a try. Then of course another month went by before I actually remembered to buy organic coconut oil at Trader Joe's ($5.99 for 16 oz).

I started the process on Monday, March 24. I've been doing it every morning and I thought I'd share my results so far.

First, it should be noted that the coconut oil is in solid form and obviously oily and greasy. I've been using one teaspoon and find that it's enough for me. The original e-mail said to use 1/2 to 1 full tablespoon but I honestly think that would be way too much. Once you put the oil in your mouth, you have to begin swishing it around for it to melt. This is the worst part! It just feels so weird and disgusting. But it does get better after a couple of times doing it.

Secondly, the 20 minute time seems like it will take forever but it really doesn't. Especially if you multitask. It's best to do it first thing in the morning so after I wake up, I immediately put the oil in my mouth and start the process. I've done it while taking a shower, putting on my makeup, curling my hair, etc...the time really does fly by! (I'm actually doing it right now while typing this blog post!).

My results have been positive and while not scientifically proven, I do believe that oil pulling has various health benefits. Here is what it has done for me:
  • FRESHER BREATH: Do you ever get that "fuzzy" feeling in your mouth? Like your teeth aren't quite clean, even after flossing and brushing? Or after eating? I have noticed that oil pulling has eliminated that feeling and my breath has been so fresh, even hours after brushing or eating. I used to crave a "fresh breath feeling" and would chew gum frequently throughout the day. I can say that after my first day of oil pulling, I didn't chew one single piece of gum.
  • HEALTHIER GUMS: When brushing my teeth, I would often find that my gums would bleed a little. This has been completely eliminated after oil pulling. I no longer have sensitive gum spots.
  • WHITER TEETH: Everyone wants whiter teeth and many pay an arm and a leg to get them. While my teeth are already pretty white, I have noticed definite improvement here as well. This picture was taken after 6 days of oil pulling (no filter and please ignore my husband's blue steel look):

  • SINUS DRAINAGE: This was my main reason for trying oil pulling. While I haven't had the significant amounts promised by oil pulling believers, I do think that the process has helped alleviate some sinus issues. I've also been taking Mucinex Allergy and using Nasonex spray so I can't be sure how much of my relief can be attributed to the oil pulling.
  • BETTER SLEEP: I have to get up early for work (5:30 am) so I try to be in bed by 10:00 pm at the latest. I usually have to take a Melatonin to ensure that I am able to fall asleep. However, after two days of oil pulling I noticed that I was falling asleep without the use of a sleep aid. I've only taken Melatonin once in the last 10 days!
Overall, I've been super pleased with the results. I know there are no proven scientific benefits to this practice, but I feel like it's helping me so I'll keep doing it! Let me know if you do this or are thinking about giving it a try!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wedding Recap: Ceremony

Whoops, I took an unintentional break from posting my wedding recaps! Life got a little crazy with the snow storms we had here in GA back in February, and my work schedule was all messed up for awhile there. Wednesday's kept sneaking up on me and I didn't have time to get my recaps set up...

So now where were we? I've already posted about the rehearsal dinner, salon/prep, and decorations and details. Today will be all about the ceremony! I really didn't like being up in front of everyone. Our cousin Al performed the ceremony and to be honest, I can't remember a single word he said! But I hear he was really funny, heartfelt, and awesome. I do remember that it was really windy and threatening to rain so I kept having to adjust my veil. It was super annoying. I also remember my dress being a little too long and my heels were sinking into the ground so when I walked down the aisle, I had to have my dad carry my bouquet so I could pick up my dress. All of the photos show me looking down, trying not to trip. I hated that!

Oh well. In the end we achieved what we came to do. Said our vows and became husband and wife! The real fun started after the ceremony :)

The parents waiting to be seated

my dad and I waiting to walk down the aisle

some of our guests (aunt, uncle, Chris' sister)

Al and Chris before the ceremony

more guests

Chris' parents being seated

Chris looks so serious

my cousins

the maid of honor with my sister-in-law

my turn tears?? (!!!!)


Al must have said something funny!

sand ceremony

our first kiss!


With my sweet girl!

Next week, I'll be back on track and sharing formal photos!