My Dream to Look and Feel Beautiful

by Desiree Miller on October 28, 2014

sisters

(Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Growing up, my older sister was the pretty one.

The label I was given?

The smart one.  Even though she was the one who got to skip a grade because they recognized early that she was ‘gifted’.

Guess they figured she couldn’t have both titles.

With her blue eyes and long, light brown hair, she really was pretty. She still is.

And I suppose I can agree with them—I am smart.

But I don’t think I have ever felt pretty.

I don’t say that to get pity, and I’m not fishing for a compliment.

When I look in the mirror, I see the girl my brothers teased, like brothers do, and called fat.

I see ‘that ugly dog’, an insult a boy in junior high school used to describe me when his friend said he was going to ask me to a dance.

So what if that was 30 years ago, and countless others have told me in the many years since that I am pretty.  Beautiful in fact.

It’s hard to shake off those hurtful words I took to heart decades ago.

I think I’ll always struggle with my weight.  I blame that a little on genetics and a lot on my love for dessert, combined with my strong dislike for regular exercise.

And there are other things I would change if I had a million bucks or could work a little magic.

I’d certainly make myself a couple inches taller—long and lean.

I’d keep my curves, but they wouldn’t be nearly so, well, curvy.

And I would fix my teeth.

Actually, that’s a project already underway.

And it didn’t take a million dollars to do it.

Yep. Last year, I finally made myself a priority and paid for braces.

But as a woman in her 40’s who still wants to look and feel beautiful—even during the process of fixing my teeth– I didn’t really want to draw attention with metal in my mouth, so I went with Invisalign braces.

Invisalign’s braces are like clear, plastic mouthguards that slide over your teeth, helping guide them to where they should be, little by little.

The trays, as I call them, are created based on molds or scans of your mouth (I had molds made when the braces originally went in, but my orthodontist has since switched to a high-tech method of creating the trays by scanning my mouth with a little wand that sends images to a computer, which then creates the trays I’ll wear to adjust my teeth until they’re perfect).

You swap out the trays every other week.

Your treatment plan lasts as long as is needed—in most cases about a year.  My teeth were especially bad and I’ll need the trays another couple months before I’m finished.

I was already thrilled with the results after the first few months, and I know that I have a way to go still, but will get there.  That’s the thing: Invisalign is just as effective in treating complex teeth issues as it is with minor, more cosmetic problems –and again, you don’t have to sport wires and brackets.  Advancements to the Invisalign patented technology continue to increase the complexity of issues that can be treated — underbite to crossbite, deepbite to overbite and overly crowded (that was my issue) to widely spaced problems are typically treatable with Invisalign. Minor, more cosmetic issues may be corrected using the Invisalign Express option (something I hear has become very popular with brides-to-be hoping to create the perfect smile on their wedding day).  You can take the Invisalign Smile Assessment  to see if it’s the right fit for you.

My braces cost me almost five grand.  Yes, that’s a lot of money, but I had no problem forking it over when my children needed braces.  Why didn’t I deserve a nice smile, too?

There’s actually a contest underway that could make it so that you could get Invisalign braces FREE!  Enter the Countdown to Confidence Instant Win Sweepstakes.  The Invisalign Countdown to Confidence Sweepstakes is awarding one winner $100 each day (for 60 days) plus a chance to win the grand prize: free Invisalign treatment and $1,000! Enter daily to increase your chances of winning, and enter soon because the sweepstakes ends soon (November 13th)!!

I admit, I do feel a little prettier with the confidence I now have flashing a smile these days, compared to before I started treatment..  Now, if it was just as easy to stretch myself into that long, lean lady I always wished I could be!

You can find out more about Invisalign by following these links.

Good luck!

(If you look closely, you can see the clear mouthguard on her teeth) (If you look closely, you can see the clear mouthguard on her teeth)

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little pink book

(Note to Readers: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.  @littlepinkbook, #PINK10)

The Dean of Emory University’s Business School.  The CFO of Home Depot.  The CEO of SPANX. The SVP of Worldwide Sales and Solutions for UPS.  The CEO of Popeyes. The Vice Chair of US Bancorp.

All women.

All incredibly successful by most standards.

And all panelists at the Little Pink Book’s Fall Empowerment Event in Atlanta set for November 10th.

Want to have lunch with these inspiring business women?

Tickets are $110 each and you can register by clicking here.

And if those women aren’t enough to motivate you to sign up, the Chair of the Coca-Cola Foundation will be presenting opening remarks.

The moderator?  Well, she’s the Deputy Editor of “Billboard Magazine”.

And what’s the discussion of the day: What the next decade holds for women in business.

Now that’s a conversation I want to be part of.

I’ll see you there!

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Iguana Island–a Turks & Caicos Island Adventure Excursion

by Desiree Miller on October 26, 2014

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(Note to readers: I was visiting Beaches Resort as part of a conference and my travel fees were significantly reduced. As always, my opinion remains my own.)

Winding down the boardwalk, the heat of the mid-day sun beating down on us, our guide warns us to walk toward the middle and stay away from the edges if we’re wearing brightly colored polish on our toenails. 

The guide explains the color makes the inhabitants aggressive, and the last thing I want is to lose a toe to an iguana while visiting this little island paradise.

And yes, I said  an iguana.

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They’re crawling all over this place appropriately named Iguana Island, a national preserve.

It’s located on the Caribbean side of Turks and Caicos, a short boat ride away from the Beaches Resort where were staying for our conference, Social Media on the Sand.

We are all part of an excursion to Little Water Cay to learn more about Turks & Caicos, and you can bet, we now know everything most people need to know about the little reptiles that outnumber people on the island, four to one.

But it turns out the rock iguanas found here are endangered.

Our guide, Alyx (with a y he points out), is also known as Flash.  He’s a member of the country’s national rugby team and models on the side.  Today, he’s our tour guide, and he’s enjoying telling us all about Rocky and Rico Suave.

Rocky is the rebel who ignores the fact that most iguanas mate for life.  It turns out Rocky is a player—he has five mates.

There’s also Rico Suave, another fierce iguana on this island.   And countless others with names I can’t remember.

I’ll blame that on the heat.

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I’m intrigued by the tags some of the iquanas are sporting for tracking purposes.  They have beaded piercings across their top spikes that make these iguanas look more ‘alternative’ and spunky than scientific.

Nobody has to teach us about the heat.  We don’t know how anyone—including the iguanas—can handle it for long.  We find relief in the calm, cool waters of the Caribbean.

The clear water is also good for discovering baby stingray or spotting starfish beneath the surface.

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We managed to all make it off the island without losing any toes, though one iguana did try to make a move in our direction.

It’s worth a visit, especially if you’re spending most of your time on the Atlantic side of the island.  The water is just so much calmer here.

Local companies can guide you over. For us, the boat ride was as much fun as the island.

island adventure crew

There’s a $5 fee to access Iguana Island.  The fee goes toward preservation efforts.

The island is open to visitors from 8:30am to 6pm daily.

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View of the ocean from a boat

If you’ve ever spent any time on the water, you already know how soothing it can be to go boating: the sun reflecting on the water, your hair blowing in the breeze, the thrill of being transported ‘away from it all’ on the shore.  You can literally feel the sense of calm washing over you as the boat cuts through the water.  Each time, all I can think is “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Turns out I’m not alone with that sentiment.

lori

Lori Lorenz knows it, too, and so did her father, who took boating excursions for months at a time.

Lori is the Marketing Director at Hewlett-Packard.  She recently spoke at a conference for bloggers, Social Media on the Sand.  She explained that her father sometimes took his daughters along on these boat trips.

He wasn’t risky about it.  He knew these trips took planning.  And he taught his daughters that navigating your way through life was very much like navigating a boat out at sea.  There are some critical lessons involved.

sailboat

First, you must chart a course.

You need to assess what you have to work with and choose your course.   Then, focus on what matters most to get you there.

Assessing takes quiet time.  If you don’t have quiet time in your life, make some.  It’s important.  A few questions to ask yourself include:

What are your values and passions?

What do you love to do?

When you can answer that, you’ll have clarity.  Clarity brings courage, and courage brings confidence.

Once you chart the course, you have to stay on course.   That means you’ll want to choose the right crew.  Who is in the boat with you?  That’s pretty important, right?  I know it matters a whole bunch to me.

your boat

Beware of novices.  Ask for help.  Another tip: keeping a weather eye.  On a boat, that means having an ability to quickly recognize signs of changes in the weather.  Changing winds can blow you off course. And also pay attention to the doldrums: that’s a state or period of inactivity, stagnation or depression.  That can be as dangerous as the changing winds and rough weather.

A phrase Lorenz shared:

“The pessimist complains about the wind;

the optimist expects it to change;

the realist adjusts the sails.”

realist

Are you adjusting the sails when you needed?

Finally, enjoy the journey.  That’s important, too.  What’s the point of the trip if you’re not enjoying it?

After all, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Lorenz’ father referred to it as IDGABTT (pronounced id-ga-bit).  It reminds me of ‘Life is Good’. He and his friends even had IDGABTT meetings with each other, just to check in and make sure they were all still on course, so to speak.

They sound exactly like the guys I want to have in my boat with me, in rough seas and calm ones.

#idgabtt

 

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sneakers

When my first child was born, I didn’t fall into that role of a fabulous mother that I always thought I’d be.  In fact, keeping that baby happy was HARD, and almost daily I felt like a miserable failure.  I didn’t have family surrounding me helping with the sadness and stress that was starting to swallow me alive.  Luckily, a couple neighbors came to the rescue and helped me, and the baby, survive those tough times.

I wasn’t diagnosed with postpartum depression, but I can tell you I was feeling it.  More than once I thought about ‘ending it all’ for my baby and me.  It’s difficult to admit now, so imagine how I felt then.

Postpartum Depression—and other maternal mental illnesses—weren’t really talked about when my first baby was born 20 years ago.  I didn’t know I could go get help, and if I knew, I’m not sure my shame would have allowed it.

So I feel a strong pull toward helping other women who are suffering from what I went through all those years ago.  And there’s a way you can help, too.

The second annual Move for Moms! Fun Run and Strollerthon will raise funds for Mental Health America of Georgia (MHAG), a group that supports Project Healthy Moms (PHM).

The run is being held November 2nd in Piedmont Park in Atlanta.

According to MHAG, “an estimated 10-15% of childbearing women suffer from maternal mental illness. Without proper treatment, these illnesses can have long-term negative effects on the health of not just the mother, but the child and family as well. PMADs (Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders) are the number one complication of childbirth in the United States. The goal of this program is to increase awareness, identification, treatment and support of PMADs in Georgia, while also reducing the stigma surrounding these disorders, thereby increasing the likelihood of seeking treatment.”

The goal is that the programs can help ELIMINATE the stigma of PMADs and encourage women to get the help they need.

Just click here for more info.

It’s being held November 2nd, 2014, from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
On-site registration begins at 8:30 AM, 5K and 1K will begin at 10:00 AM.

Move_For_Moms!_InfoFly1.

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Preventing Bathroom Falls: Moen Grip Bar Review

October 25, 2014

(Note to readers: I was sent a sample product to see firsthand how it works. As always, my opinion remains my own.) When you think about the dangers your young children face any given day, you probably think of things like crossing the road without looking, or sticking their fingers in an electrical socket, but there’s another hazard in your home you should consider. The bathroom. Did you know children younger than five account for more than half of all slips and falls in the bathroom?  More than half!! When […]

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Hands-free Phone Option for Your Car: ClipSee Review

October 25, 2014

Sometimes, solutions don’t need to be high-tech to work, and that’s the case with the ClipSee speakerphone clip that allows you to make calls while driving without having to hold a phone.  The phone actually slips into a plastic cradle—the ClipSee portion–which you then attach to your seatbelt. It sits at just an angle that makes it possible to talk—and listen—without having to hold the phone at all. There are no wires, no batteries, no fancy charging of any kind. It’s literally the way the case is shaped that helps […]

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(Video) Turks & Caicos: It’s All About the Beaches and the People

October 20, 2014

We’re packed into a cargo van, eight of us, just wrapping up our adventures in Turks & Caicos, a stunning little slice of the world with crystal clear waters and miles of powder soft sand. We were there as part of the Social Media on the Sand, a conference of about 100 bloggers brought together to hone our craft, hosted by the Beaches Resort on the island. It was a trip I eagerly anticipated, knowing it was the last of several other getaways I’d been part of over the summer, […]

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Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna in Atlanta; Ticket Discount & #Giveaway

October 15, 2014

  Cirque du Soleil is back in Atlanta for another performance and this year’s show, Amaluna, is all about the girls.  You’ll be transported to an island governed by goddesses for an adventure that will have you holding your breath, caught up in the beauty of their moves and sheer strength of their bodies.  The artists are phenomenal, along with the costumes and set.  And it combines for a concoction of all kinds of romance.  It’s a show you won’t want to miss.   Whether it’s the main character balancing […]

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Fox Theatre Ghost Tours for Halloween (#Giveaway)

October 13, 2014

We all know the Fox Theatre in Atlanta is filled with some incredible history, but I bet you didn’t know there are sections of the building that some consider haunted, including one section that an area psychic says is so filled with evil that she can’t breathe while in the room. You can learn about it all first hand while taking a ghost tour of the 85-year old building. The Fox Theatre Ghost Tours for Halloween are underway through October 16th. You’ll find out all about Roosevelt, the man who haunts […]

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