Smile Tips for All Parts of Life from a Mom, Wife, and Dentist

October 31, 2016

A Presidential Look | Happy Halloween

The title President of the United States commands much authority. It requires intelligence, honor, class, and charisma to lead The Free World. This election season we're celebrating our President in style!

A Presidential Look

Here are a few classic pieces every candidate needs to achieve a presidential look: 

A Presidential Look

1. Royal Red Dressy Tie. An office fashion staple, this necktie from Gymboree was originally $12.95 but is now only $7.77.

2. Sharp Navy Suit. This 2 Piece Suit by Gino Giovanni is designed with a fully lined single breasted jacket and a notch lapel. Shop now for only $29.99.

3. Patriotic Lapel Pin. Every candidate sports one. This Rectangle Patriotic American Flag Lapel Pin is $6.95.

4. Dress Oxfords. A pair of Deer Stags Lace-Up Dress Shoes are a worthy contender for the Presidential shoe shine. With a lightly padded foot bed for comfort, they're on sale for only $24.99.

5. Tailored Dress Shirt. With a pointed collar and a chest patch pocket, the Cat & Jack Boys Button Down Shirt is perfectly priced at $14.99.

October 29, 2016

National Orthodontic Health Month

October is National Orthodontic MonthBetween the ages of nine and twelve, your child will experience a great transition from primary teeth to the adult dentition and you may begin to notice spaces and or crowding in the arch. Although a certain degree of spacing is normal, your child may need to correct certain changes to obtain a more proper alignment of the teeth. Orthodontics is the field of dentistry that focuses on the irregularities of the teeth and their correction. Treatment can range from removable appliances to braces or even jaw surgery. While some children are treated in their teenage years, others may need treatment to begin earlier. Be sure to inquire with your child's dentist about any dental irregularities that your child may exhibit. Good oral hygiene is of great importance when wearing orthodontic appliances and professional cleanings may be recommended with greater frequency. Consult with your dental provider as needed.

Although our dental irregularities give our smiles character, some children may get unwanted attention from their transitioning smiles. I remember being self-conscious about my goofy smile as a child. As it coincides with Bully Awareness Month, October is an opportunity for families to discuss concerns regarding aggressive behavior among school aged children. Kids Fit Matters is a great resource for families that offers information on a variety of topics from health and fitness to bullying awareness.

October 27, 2016

Got Milk? Pumping and Working 9 to 5

Pumping at Work

Step 1: Get the baby in  Step 2: Get the baby out  Step 3: Feed the baby

Every step in the baby game comes with its own set of challenges. Working up to your due date is a challenge in itself and even the element of surprise at conception or delivery can prompt stress on supply and demand. My mother almost seems to romanticize about her maternity including four natural births and breastfeeding for eight consecutive years so I definitely had no idea what feeding a newborn really entailed until I experienced it for myself. Working at a maternal and child care center gives me a wonderful opportunity to meet mothers at all stages and breastfeeding is surely a topic that raises questions for many women, especially mothers who must work away from home. As a new mother working full time with an hour commute in each direction, I followed a strict regimen to fuel my pumping needs. What helped me reach my finish line at 13 months? Here's what I had in my breastfeeding corner:

Pumping at Work

1. Lactation consultant. This was definitely a key player that helped jump start my nursing journey. Whether it is a trained professional, a close friend or family member, I definitely recommend consulting with someone experienced in the background, anatomy, and function of nursing. Even a brief orientation before the baby arrives can help you anticipate what to expect from your body immediately after delivery and the feeding needs of the baby during the first week. Learning about what to look for with your newborn's diaper pattern and how to prepare bottles, store and defrost milk is valuable information for the whole family. Upon my son's arrival, my lactation consultant visited us in the hospital to help me implement the various nursing positions and techniques. My husband joked that she was intense as she carefully explained each of them to us, but we are so grateful for her patience as we adapted to our son's routine and our new duty as parents.

2. Reading Materials. Books and other learning guides are also quite helpful. Most hospitals will supply new mothers with learning resources to take home. Additionally, the La Leche League website provides mother to mother support and guidance all around the world. The American Academy of Pediatrics New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding was my handy companion throughout nursing. I really enjoyed the personal accounts of the various stages of nursing and the detailed discussion of nursing positions. Definitely try to pick up this book before your new bundle arrives.

3. Equipment. A quality breast pump is essential. Your insurance company may outfit you with a hospital grade pump. I recommend one that is easy to transport and set-up like the Medela Freestlye Breast Pump. It comes with a portable storage pack and is designed with a let-down trigger which is an added bonus for pumping on the go. Comfortable nursing bras and nursing pads will also come in handy during your work day.

4. Soothing supplies. The first two weeks are often uncomfortable, as your skin must toughen to accommodate its new task of nursing a hungry baby. My mother's advice to "trust your body" definitely aided me. You have to find your own rhythm and Lasinoh lanolin is great aid for relief of soreness. Plus, it's safe for the baby.

5. A Place to Pump. The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal law that provides nursing mothers with the following work conditions:

“a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.” Employers are also required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”

Be sure to discuss your nursing and pumping needs with your HR representative. Having a comfortable space to pump provided me with the peace of mind to fulfill this family responsibility. It may feel awkward but new mothers should feel empowered to secure a pumping place in their work space. Also, letting your team know that you will need these breaks can help your office facilitate a healthy work flow. 

6. Storage. Your office may or may not have refrigerators available for use. Be sure to inquire with your HR department to see what options are available. Small portable coolers with frozen inserts can provide adequate refrigeration but in limited time frames. Seek out options that will suit your schedule and pumping needs.  

7. Schedule. In my experience, there were three distinct phases of pumping at work: a. Peak Pumping Season b. Introduction of Solids and c. The Closing Period. I returned to work when my son was four months old. I was so lucky to have been able to stay at home and bond with him for the first four months of his life. It also allowed me to build up a good amount of stored milk. My return to work at month 5 was at a peak time in nursing and I had to nurse or pump 8 times a day. Here's what my schedule looked like:

05:30 AM: Pump before work

08:00 AM: Pump at work before patients

10:00 AM:  Pump between patients

12:30 PM:  Pump at lunch

03:30 PM:  Pump on break

08:00 PM:  Nurse at home

Midnight:  Pump before bed

My pumping regimen required commitment, discipline, and organization. As soon as I got back home from work, I had to immediately refrigerate the pumped milk, get acclimated with my son who I'd been away from all day and prepare bottles and equipment for the next work day. Luckily, there are lots of ways to help stay organized. The Medela App for iOS and Android is a very useful tool for mothers pumping and working long days. It features personalized dashboards, confidence assessments, and a problem solver. Additionally, registered app users get free shipping on purchases over $30 and the Medela website even discusses insurance benefits and how to use your flexible spending account (FSA's) to cover your pumping supplies and needs. Click here for more information.

At 6 months, when we introduced our baby boy to solid food, there was a yet another shift on supply and demand. I had to pump harder which meant using more fuel in the form of food. I ate more so I could make more milk which meant weight gain but my awesome husband was in my corner cheering me on so we could reach our family goal. In the final months, fatigue, emotional exhaustion and post pregnancy body changes were taking a toll but the words of guidance, books, and other tools proved to be such a valuable resource to get me through a year of nursing. I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to nurse my son during his first year and it was the community both local and far that helped me do so. One thing to remember as a new mom, is that you are not alone. Right beside you is an army of family, friends, and many other supporters who want you to be all that you can be.

What were the biggest challenges of your first year as a new mom?

October 25, 2016

Chambray Shirt Dress

Hot, cold, colder, hot. This fall weather is really throwing me for a loop. I am finally recovering from a cold that kept me in bed! Thank you all so much for the warm wishes. I am super appreciative of all the love. Today was brisk in the morning at preschool drop-off but a few spots of warmth painted my afternoon with Hubby. I finally had a chance to wear my Chambray Shirt Dress.  

Old Navy Chambray Shirt Dress
Dress Old Navy | Booties Forever 21 | Purse (similar) Forever 21

With such a turbulent fall, I'm nervous about what weather the winter will bring. Keep the little ones bundled up in layers and make sure you watch out for Mommy too!

October 24, 2016

Fun Things for Kids to do in Philly | Penn's Landing

We took a family trip to Philly for my father's birthday and made a stop at Penn's Landing. This waterfront area along the Delaware River is a location for many festivals and a great place to show off my hometown.

Penn's Landing Philadelphia

The barque Moshulu is not just a main nautical attraction but the floating restaurant is one of the city's finest. 

My little guy was super impressed by the Tugboat Jupiter. Built of steel, she's over 100 years old.

The USS Olympia made famous at the Battle of the Manila Bay and the historic Submarine Becuna are just a few of the cool things to see at the Independence Seaport Museum.

We exercised our favorite superlatives as we discussed fun facts about the Ben Franklin Bridge and guessing how many times Mommy has crossed it.

Flannels | Mine: Forever 21 | His: Gap Kids 

One of my favorite things about Philadelphia is that it is a welcoming city of unique neighborhoods. Penn's Landing is local to great coffee shops, restaurants, theaters, and walking distance to the National Constitution Center. It's a fun post for kids of all ages and whether you want a place to release some toddler energy or tour some historic sites, you should definitely make it a site to visit. Miss you Philly!

October 12, 2016

Members Only | Not Just Your Dad's Jacket

Members Only Jackets Women

When I was a kid, my dad sported a business style trench coat during the week and a classic black jacket on the weekends. He had two of these black jackets. The lightweight one was for fall and spring, and the thicker lined one was worn in winter. My dad has never been super stylish but his Iconic Members Only jacket was actually a staple wardrobe item for men back then. Debuted in 1980 for $55, it was actually advertised in a controversial campaign to promote anti-drug and pro-vote initiatives but the style was well received by many. My sisters and I were definitely surprised to discover that the Members Only brand has since evolved to include looks for women and is even incorporated into the trendy fashion lines of Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters.

Popular Looks for Him

Members Only Jackets Men

1. Original Iconic Racer in Black  $57.50
2. Men's Ma-1 Bomber Jacket in Olive $79.45
3. Washed Faux Leather Baseball Jacket $71.84
4. Iconic Racer in Gray $59.00

It might be the fact that the jacket is embedded in the fond memories of my childhood but it's kind of cool to see the classic look all around and in real time.  

October 11, 2016

Traveling Overseas with a Toddler

With the holidays approaching, my husband and I are actively searching for affordable winter flights to go visit family in Europe. As usual, we are hoping to find a good deal but this year with an emphatically verbal and bouncy  three-year-old, we are looking especially at flight patterns with reasonable layovers and ideal sleeping hours in the sky. We have had lots of adventures on our trips overseas from a six-hour long stop in Amsterdam to a missed connection in Istanbul that luckily afforded us an opportunity to stay the night at a five star downtown hotel. International flights before baby were more about cheapest fares but now they are about managing the attention span and unwavering demands of a toddler.

In my experience traveling with child, there are various stages that each bring about their own challenges. Flying pregnant for me was dominated by in-and-out nausea while flying with a newborn was controlled by breastfeeding during departures and arrivals. Getting a one-year-old to fall asleep in the mounted bassinet definitely required its own skill set and running through airline terminals with a potty training tot was full of theatrics and extra heavy carry-on luggage. During the last ten hour airborne voyage, our super moody Energizer Bunny spent seven of them entertaining passengers with games of peek-a-boo as I tried to keep him from waking up Daddy.

Here are my tips for keeping your jets cool as your toddler steers your nerves at 40,000 feet:

Books. Picture books, short stories, activity and coloring books, magazines, even the flight instruction manuals will do! Visual aids are crucial for kids not just to spark their imaginations but keep them seated and distracted during shifts in altitude. Many carriers like Turkish Airlines offer kids fun packs full of everything from slippers and toiletries to magazines and miniature airplanes. However, having a small collection of your child's favorites is recommended.

Games. Electronics are almost requisite when it comes to family travel items but apps and YouTube may be limited to wifi availability. Memory sticks or other portable hard drives are essential when you need to quiet down a sleep deprived and irritable child.

Snacks. Traveling through different countries brings about a variety of cuisine. While airline meals may be met with curiosity, this interest can quickly change to resistance. To avoid a food fight, pack some of your child's favorite easy meals such as macaroni or chicken fingers.

Travel Gear. Before you finally reach the airport exit, your international journey may include long waits at customs and baggage claim. Keep your kiddo involved with a super cool piece of luggage.

Kids Luggage

1. Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Rolling Luggage $29.99
2. Travelpro Minions Kid's Hard Side Luggage $39.99
3. American Tourister Disney 18 inch Upright Softside $39.99
4. American Tourister Disney 18 inch Upright Hard Side $50.39
5. Stephen Joseph Little Boys' Rolling Luggage $39.99
6. iFLY Luggage Hello Kitty 22 inch Hard Sided Carry-On Luggage $79.00

Are you planning an upcoming family trip?

October 9, 2016

Apple Smiles | Fun Halloween Recipes

Trick or treat? Did you know that an apple a day really can keep the doctor away? Considered nature's toothbrush, the hard crisp fruit can actually help reduce plaque build-up. They release malic acid to stimulate salivary flow, which helps reduce cavity risk. Apples are tasty treats and this fun recipe will definitely add smiles to your Halloween Party!


  • Red Delicious Apples. 3 per group of 5 people
  • Hazelnut Chocolate Spread. (Substitute with peanut butter, as desired.)
  • Lemon 
  • Mini Marshmallows


  • Slice apples. An apple slicer is recommended as it is quick and easy to use.
  • Sprinkle lemon juice on apple slices to slow them from browning. (Skip this step if serving immediately.) 
  • Lightly apply hazelnut chocolate spread or other edible adhesive to each apple slice.
  • Line mini marshmallows along every other slice to resemble teeth and join with another.
  • Carefully arrange on plate or serving platter. 

Apple smiles are healthy and fun for kids as well as adults. What snacks are you planning to use to give your party guests a scare?

October 6, 2016

Boots for Boys

The cooler weather won't put a stop on playtime! Whether it's in the rain, sleet, or snow while running up hills or sliding down inclines, kids just want to have fun. Here are some stylish and durable boy boots for all terrains and just in time for Columbus Day sales!

1. Set out on an adventure in these rugged Calvin Hiking Boots that are part of the new creative Cat & Jack Target line designed especially for kids. The textured rubber bottom make them sturdy for climbing and the lace-up closure make them easy to get on and off. Now 20% off at $19.99, down from $24.99.

2. The Camo Rain Boots from Target are equipped with two handles that make it easy and fun for kids to pull on! The classic green camouflage print and waterproof material make these boots ideal for playing in puddles and mud. Now 20% off at $15.99, down from $19.99.

3. My little guy loves his Waterproof High Tops by H&M. The rubber soles and padded edge give them durability and the hook-loop fastener make them easy to put on. Available for $34.99 for toddlers and on sale for $29.99 in big kid sizes.

4. These stylish Duck Boots from Gap are a splurge at $69.95 but classic for wet and dry weather! This weekend online get 35% off with coupon code: WANT.

5. Be prepared for the snow with these Velcro Strap Winter Boots by Cat & Jack for Target. The treaded sole is good for traction and the thick nylon will keep those toes warm. Now 20% off at $21.59, down fron $26.99.

6. Warm and comfortable for playing in cold weather, the Osh Kosh Winter Boots have padded insulation around the ankle for added support. Originally priced at $48.00, this look is on sale for $29.99.

7. The suave look is matched with this Desert Boot in sand from Gymboree. On sale for $22.17 from $36.95 plus free shipping with coupon code: SHOPTOIT!

8. These stylish and durable Zip Up High Top Sneakers by Cat & Jack for Target have a sporty design that can be paired with joggers, chinos, or jeans! Now 20% off at $18.39, down from $22.99.

What boots are catching your eye for the winter season?

October 5, 2016

Teeth Whitening at Home

When it comes to home teeth whitening kits, Crest3D Whitestrips are my favorite! I always tell my patients to to look for the ones labeled Luxe Professional Effects. They cost a little more than the others but the results are well worth it! The box comes with 40 strips for the upper and lower arches. Strips should be applied for 30 minutes for a period of 20 days and you may even start seeing results as early as 3 days. Concentrated at 10% hydrogen peroxide, Crest3D Whitestrips are enamel safe and can remove 14 years of stains (learn more about how teeth collect stains) to brighten teeth dramatically for a whole year. They also come packaged with 2 bonus 1 Hour Express treatments, which are great for big celebrations like holiday parties, weddings, or birthdays! (The 1 hour treatments are stronger and should not be used daily.)

Pre-Treatment. Before you start your application, consider these tips to reduce sensitivity, which is the most common side effect of teeth bleaching: a.) Brush with Sensodyne for two weeks prior to whitening and throughout treatment and b.) Apply Vitamin E Oil to lips to keep them well moisturized and protected from the peroxide.

Instructions. Follow these steps for best results:

  • Always wash hands before and after application.
  • It is suggested not to apply strips to freshly brushed teeth because they adhere better when used otherwise.
  • Do not peel off the strip until you are ready to use it. Apply the gel coated surface to your teeth, align it with the gum line, then wrap the bottom part of the strip onto the backside of the teeth. 
  • Remove after 30 minutes, as directed. 
  • Rinse or brush teeth with lukewarm water.  
  • Show off your smile! (Read more on simple beauty tricks for a brighter smile.)

Are there any products that you have questions about?  Let me know in the comment section below!

October 4, 2016

How to Make a Successful Career Change

When I decided to leave my job in the music industry and pursue a career in healthcare, I received a lot of skepticism from people. "Why would you leave a super cool job at MTV?" Sure, working in Times Square for the huge media channel was fun and definitely an exciting learning opportunity but at the end of the day, I wasn't happy. I'm one of those people who would rather try to find what actually makes me happy than hope that the job somehow changes. I knew deep down inside that after four years at Princeton and the many sacrifices that my parents made for me to be successful and happy that I had to make a move and follow my heart. The truth is that it took more than a hop, skip, and jump to go from working in entertainment to dental medicine. A huge leap of faith, many stumbles and fumbles, and lots of studying both inside and outside the classroom helped me reach my goal. I didn't have a perfect plan and I really don't think there is one but here are some helpful tips for anyone looking to make a successful career change:

1. Locate Your Finish Line. What exactly is your dream job? In this modern era, you may actually be able to design it for yourself. If you like fashion, you can write about it, photograph it, market it, or design it. If you like food, you can bake it, taste it, or package it. If you like math...well the possibilities are infinite. I think the hardest thing is probably figuring out what you are actually passionate about and how to monetize it. These motivational words from my dad definitely helped me get started, "If you throw enough things on the wall, eventually something will stick!" or "Make a list and go by process of elimination." or "If all else fails, read the classifieds and find out who's hiring." (Read more about how I came to choose dentistry).

2. Work Backwards to Devise a Plan. Once you've decided on a career destination, research it, and devise a road map to get there. Sketch your plan in pencil because it will definitely have to be revised at some point (we'll get to that later). Figure out what kind of background training your dream job requires. Education, experience, or both? Find someone who actually has the job and ask her how she acquired such a position. Some jobs at a glance have very clear prerequisites like four years of dental school to become a dentist. However, when I read the dental school application, I realized that I had to take pre-medical classes as well and that things like shadowing and laboratory research are strongly recommended. Drafting your plan is a time to be honest with yourself about what you are willing to sacrifice to reach your goal. Are you ready to give up sleep, money, social life, shopping sprees, or that unrestricted freedom to just do what you want? 

3. Cost Benefit Analysis. Weighing the pros and cons of your choice is tough on the ego but essential for long term stamina. Choosing to go back to school for at least four years may require you to move back home with parents, or to a undesired location, and even postpone marriage and family plans. So, it's good to have an accurate picture of the benefits that your hard labor will reward you. Talk to people at various stages of development in your desired field and in different positions within the same industry. The best thing to do before jumping in is to see how rough the currents are at the deepest end of the ocean. Do the tides ever calm or is it a never ending tsunami?  

4. Find a Mentor. Asking for help is difficult for most people. We all think we can do everything by ourselves but the truth is that having someone in your corner helps volumes. Team up with a mentor in the same field or one entirely different. Look into your college alumni networks, sororities, or reach out to your role model on social media. Building a team of supporters also requires briefing existing friends and family on your new commitments and professional goals and the fact that it may keep you away from various social outings or family events.

5. Look for Inspiration. There are so many forms of inspiration. A great book like Michelle Obama: A Life is one that I strongly recommend. It follows the many different kinds of challenges that the First Lady encountered as a student at Princeton and Harvard Law School, and later on as a young professional. Volunteering within the profession can also bring about more motivation and provide networking opportunities at the same time.

6. Just Do It. You have to jump in and start paddling at some point. It might take a year of volunteering or researching before you are ready to apply to school or have enough experience for a certain position. Press play and start making progress towards your goal.

7. Stay Focused. My older sister says "Everything is for one thing!" and it really is! Changing career fields requires patience as well as hard work and at times you may feel like you're spinning your wheels.  Don't get frustrated if things don't seem to be moving along as planned. Stay focused on your long term goal (this attribute will also aid you in paying off your newly acquired student loans). I also recommend maintaining a constant variable such as a fitness regimen. This constant commitment can help preserve a sense of control in your new zone of many undefined elements.

8. Revise Your Plan. Whether it's a new job or a new academic pursuit, don't forget to reassess your performance. Are you progressing towards your goal? Perhaps, you need a new plan of action? Another mentor? Fewer distractions? There is no clear cut path towards the finish line and remember destiny is unique for each individual.

9. Become a Mentor. Spread the knowledge and share the wealth. Everything you've learned in your journey is valuable to someone who was once in your position as a newby. Mentorship is awesome for the spirit and necessary for the growth of every industry. Even though I'm no longer in entertainment, all of my experiences along my way into dental medicine have aided me in one way or another and I hope they can inspire someone else to take the leap of faith to find true happiness.

Are you considering a career change and nervous to take the plunge?

October 2, 2016

Rust Red Jersey Dress

It was a working weekend but we managed to get out for some quality family time. I swapped my running shoes for some cute booties and my regular sport tote for a satchel. A few oldies to go with my new dress. Find the details below.

Dress. This H&M Rust Red Jersey Dress is only $12.99 from the Summer Collection and still in stores but not online (click here for a similar look). Sweater. I bought this cardigan from Express a few years back but the current INC International Concepts Draped Cardigan from Macy's is very similar.  Shoes. These Dolce Vita for Target Jameson Double Side Zip Booties have a flexible sole that was perfect for walking around. Bag. This Steve Madden Nylon Satchel is from last year but this one here is a close match. Scarf. Mine is old H&M. Find a similar look here. Earrings. Also treasured oldies, from Forever 21.

October 1, 2016

Maroon 5 | Things to Like

Burgundy Sweater Dress

Even though I'm at work today, I'm so loving the fall colors burgundy, wine, and maroon right now. Luckily, there are tons of online sales this weekend! She Will Be Loved is also a favorite tune by the pop group lead by Adam Levine but since this post is about style, here are five things to like:

1. Dress. The Jennifer Lopez Mockneck Sheath Dress is body hugging for lots of loving. Originally priced at $70, the eye-catching design is on sale for $42 at Kohl's online. Be prepared to grab some attention!

2. Lipstick. One of my favorite MAC lipsticks Mystic has sadly been discontinued, but the robust Babes and Balls is even better. It's an online exclusive for $17 with free shipping.

3. Scarf. The lightweight Waffle Knit Infinity Scarf  by Target is not only available in 12 colors but also priced right at $12.

4. Pants. Macy's brings it with these Style & Co. Slim Leg Jeans made with a super stretch for super comfort. On sale this weekend for only $24.99 (originally $49). Save an additional 20% when you buy online and pick-up in store.

5. Sweater. I almost bought this soft knit Forever 21 Boxy Turtleneck Sweater on my way home yesterday but the line was too long and I would've missed my bus! Now it's in my online shopping basket and I can't wait to pair the ribbed trim with a fall vest!

I love comments! Let us know what you think!

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