My Braces Experience Part 1 – “The Consultation”


Me in braces

When I was a teenager, the dentist recommended that I go for a consultation with an orthodontist citing the crowding of my lower front teeth as an issue. My mother took me and after a detailed and lengthy discussion with the orthodontist she asked me a few simple questions  “Jodi, if we get braces for you, will you co-operate? Will you do your part in taking care of the braces and your teeth during the treatment?” Those were fair questions to which I responded “No! I don’t want braces!”. My mother thanked the orthodontist and told me that if I change my mind later on in life, I could pay for it.

More than a decade later, I decided to get braces and I of course had to pay for it. I was waiting for her to laugh at me but as it turns out, she doesn’t remember the consultation. This time it was again recommended by my dentist but in this case she is also my friend and I am a bit older and wiser, so I listened. She explained that the crowding in the front of my bottom row would only get worse over time and may result in the tooth or teeth at the very front becoming detached from the gum. Now, if you want to scare me, tell me I will lose my teeth. I want to preserve my own teeth as long as possible.

Pictures of my teeth pre-braces

Pictures of my teeth pre-braces

So off I went to the orthodontist consultation. I brought my husband for support. The consultation involves taking pictures of your current “situation”, followed by an examination and a discussion with the doctor and finally a discussion about the financial aspect of the venture. Crowding of my lower teeth was the main issue, but being the perfectionists that they are, they will always find others.

Sure I had a slight overbite but it never bothered me. I always really liked my smile. Besides, no one sees your bottom front teeth when you smile anyway. These are the thoughts that ran through my head as I tried to convince myself that I didn’t really need to get braces. As the pictures were projected on the screen I turned to my husband and said “They don’t look so bad do they? They can stay, I don’t reeeaaally need them” to which he replied “Sweetheart, I think we should fix them”.

Here’s the list of imperfections they found in my mouth:

  • Slightly enlarged maxillary frenum
  • Excessive overjet
  • Excessive overbite
  • Lower front teeth are right of centre
  • Upper teeth are crowded
  • Lower teeth are crowded

I was anticipating that they would now tell me how many teeth I had to extract. My brother had teeth extracted when he had his braces and it was one of the most traumatic events in his life, so I was not looking forward to it. Luckily for me, the doctor announced that they did not see the need to extract any teeth and while I was completely overjoyed by the news, I was also quite confused about where they were going to find space in my already crowded mouth to straighten out my teeth. I decided to leave it to the experts. The duration of the treatment was estimated at 20 months.

We discussed the cost and payment plan and booked the appointment for the installation of the braces.


How ChikV Hijacked Our Vacation and Continues to Disrupt Our Lives Part Three

If you haven’t already, read part one and part two.

As could be expected we were quite tired and lethargic, we slept for the entire weekend. What we didn’t expect was that this fatigue plagued us for about two weeks. My lymph nodes, although less painful, remained swollen for a week. I somehow got the impression, from all the information in the media and on the internet about the disease, that it was only a small percentage of persons whose joint pains persisted after the other symptoms subsided, this impression was totally incorrect. Over a month after having the disease I continued to experience joint pains. The most painful and frequent being the pain in my fingers and wrists. I couldn’t open a bottle or grasp things properly. Getting up from the bed in the morning or from sitting for a prolonged period would result in pain and stiffness in my knees, ankles, back and hips. I hobbled like an old lady. It also brought new dimensions to wearing heels. My ankles, which normally give me no problems at all, hurt during and after wearing heels. ChikV is also quite talented at digging up your old injuries and hurting you where you’re already vulnerable. An interesting and attractive after effect of the disease that I’ve been experiencing recently is excessive peeling of the skin on my feet.

It’s not just me, I’m surrounded daily by others who suffer along with me. Just this Saturday I attended a wedding and encountered women scrambling for seats during the cocktails to relieve their “ChikV ankles”. Half my department at work contracted ChikV and on a given day you can find someone getting up super slowly, rotating a joint to ease stiffness, or limping. In the height of the outbreak in Kingston it seemed like half the office was absent at any given time. On a visit to Island Grill I observed a sign apologizing to customers for delays in service as they were experiencing a high level of absenteeism due to Chikungunya.

Although the symptoms still haven’t subsided completely, I’ve noticed an improvement this week. The severity of the pain and stiffness has reduced slightly. I’m hoping they will do me a favour and allow me to enjoy the holiday season in peace but we’ll see. Even while typing this post the joints in my fingers have been quite stiff and my right knee started to hurt from sitting cross-legged for too long.

The scary thing, which I don’t like to think about is that these joint pains can last for years. I pray it doesn’t, I pray for us all. This is only intended to be a three part series and I’d hate to be writing a post one year from now discussing continued symptoms and after effects. I’d much prefer it to be a distant memory. THE END … soon…hopefully.



How ChikV Hijacked Our Vacation and Continues to Disrupt Our Lives Part Two

If you haven’t read part one, read it here.

We stayed in a beautiful and spacious room with a wonderful view. The hotel knew we were celebrating our anniversary. The bell hop gave us a bottle of wine and the hotel had chocolate covered strawberries and sweet treats waiting for us in our room along with a handwritten card and a spa discount certificate. Pity I didn’t get the chance to use it. I did drink the wine though. You must forgive me for the sparsity of pictures in these posts. As you can imagine, I wasn’t in the picture taking mood.

View of the beach from the hotel room where ChikV held us hostage

View of the beach from the hotel room where ChikV held us hostage

On Monday the 13th of October, our anniversary, we awoke and discussed what we planned on doing. Being the mushy woman I am, I had my heart set on going to a romantic dinner along Fort Lauderdale Beach and staring into my husband’s eyes that night, but we decided to play the daytime activities by ear. I suggested that since it was Columbus Day, maybe we should stop by the mall and get a few things since there would be sales. VERY BAD IDEA. Yes I did get some good bargains on some skinny jeans but, what was supposed to be a short stop at the mall turned into a four hour adventure at the end of which we were both feeling unwell. Anthony felt worse than I did, probably because he was the one who drove and had to deal with all the traffic while I napped in the passenger seat. When we got back to the hotel he went straight to sleep and slept through the evening and the entire night. He was sick, I couldn’t wake him, that would’ve been cruel, so much for the romantic dinner.

On Tuesday I awoke and went into the bathroom. I didn’t recognize the person who was staring back at me. The rash was back and it was back with a vengeance. I got my trusty Histal out and dosed up, got my makeup bag out and proceeded to cover the spots on my face. Like many Jamaicans, most times we visit South Florida, we spend the majority of the time shopping. We wanted to be different this time and just enjoy the area. Do some “tourist” activities, spend time together, relax. To that end we decided to go to Jungle Island. We had a great time there and it was a nice sunny day. We really enjoyed it. But near the end I started to feel ill and the rash which was a little itchy and unsightly in the morning had begun to intensify. On the way home I felt as if I was on fire. We stopped at CVS and I got some hydrocortisone cream, hoping that lathering it on would’ve helped.

We got back to the hotel and I was really hungry. I decided to remove my makeup and go downstairs and grab a pizza for our lunch. By then my rash was so bad that I could see people staring at me concerned and frightened as the spots on my face resembled something highly contagious. I decided not to leave the room again until it went away. That Tuesday was agony for me. The itching was the worst I’ve ever felt, worse than chicken pox. I started to wish I had some tamarind bush to boil and bathe in. My mind was filled with one thing and one thing only “Do not scratch it, do not scratch it, it will make it worse”. Anthony fell asleep but I could not, I was too itchy to sleep. In his sleep my husband’s foot would stretch across and touch me. Even that was agonizing. It intensified the itch in that area. I kept nudging the foot so that he’d move it and he would, but shortly thereafter it would return until one time when he got up grabbed his pillow and said “Fine! I’m going to sleep on the couch!”.

I felt terrible. Aside from the fact that he did nothing wrong and we were on our vacation, remember, Anthony was also ill. Although he had not had the misfortune of the dreaded rash, he was experiencing joint pains that seemed worse than mine,  weakness and the occasional fever and by now his gums had started to randomly bleed. He had enough to deal with. I apologized and he understood but he thought it best to stay on the couch. I didn’t sleep much that night. Every time Anthony passed the door to go to the bathroom he would peep in to see if I was asleep. I was always awake.

Wednesday morning I took the last of the bottle of Histal, and quite frankly it didn’t help much with this new mutant version of the rash. Anthony offered to change our flights so we could go home early. I refused. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to travel like that. Determined to do something to help me, Anthony set out to CVS to get me more medicine. He came back with Claritin and Allegra and ordered me not to leave the hotel room for the entire day. It really helped. On Thursday morning I felt much better. I took a cold shower and it felt so good. It seemed to calm the heat of the rash for a bit. The rash had started to subside but now I began to feel some swollen, hardened, painful bumps at the back of the neck, all around my ears, under my arms and around my groin. My husband informed me that these were in fact my lymph nodes which were now inflamed. Who knew we had so many lymph nodes? I should have paid more attention in high school Biology. Great! Just when we thought it was going to be over, another fun symptom to contend with. We took our usual pain killers and felt well enough to go out. We went to the mall and did a little shopping and returned to the hotel. ChikV, like many other diseases, makes you quite tired so we weren’t able to do much. We took a nap and in the evening we met up with a friend for dinner.

Friday was our last day. The rash had fully gone down now and we decided to check out the beach. Being from the Caribbean we were pretty sure we wouldn’t enjoy it. That it wouldn’t be as nice as the beaches at home. We were pleasantly surprised. The water was actually very clear, we could see right to the bottom. It was shallow for quite a far distance out. The sand was soft. It was wonderful and refreshing. By far the best part of the vacation. We both wished we had gone in sooner. We’ll definitely be back. We got out, checked out and headed to the airport. After an uneventful flight, our friend picked us up at the airport, we got some fast food, went home and collapsed into bed.






How ChikV Hijacked Our Vacation and Continues to Disrupt Our Lives Part One

Long title huh? Wondering where I’ve been? Here’s the story:

On October 7th while attending a friend’s baby shower, my husband complained of joint pain while he got out of his car on his return home from work. By the next morning he was totally overtaken by Chikungunya (ChikV) . Keep in mind we had already planned and paid for a vacation which was set to begin on October 10th. He couldn’t move that next day despite putting himself on a strict panadeine regimen, taking it religiously at the prescribed frequency. I took care of him as best I could while ramping up my own prevention campaign by dowsing every inch of myself in repellent, refusing to open windows, using vape, among other things. I suggested to Anthony that maybe we should check out the cancellation policy of the airline, but he insisted that it wasn’t necessary and laboured on like a real champ.

Well, much to my distress, on October 9, the day before our vacation, while having wine with a friend, I began to feel  joint pains in my fingers and collarbone. Had it been my knee I would’ve brushed it off as regular joint pain due to past injuries or something, but finger joints? Collarbone? Those aren’t joints I’m familiar with feeling pain in. All of a sudden it hit me, I have ChikV. I don’t know how to describe the flood of emotions I felt next. I’d been looking forward to the vacation for what felt like eons and I was making such an effort to not be ill on my vacation and BAM! There it was. I was outraged and disappointed.

We both packed and went to bed. Intent on not letting the disease defeat us. In the morning our dear friend and frequent airport transportation,came to take us to the airport. As though it was fate, he happened to have a bottle of Histal with him that he had bought because the ChikV rash was driving him nuts. That morning I had also woken up with the rash all over my body. He graciously allowed me to steal it from him and I took a dose as well as Panadeine for the joint pains. The rash quickly subsided. Off we went.

First stop was Baltimore for a family event. I’m the kind of passenger that falls asleep as soon as she boards the plane. I’m asleep before the seatbelt sign is turned on, before the safety announcements, before the takeoff. I was out like a light. Incidentally my husband hates this because he’s not quite as gifted in the sleep department and ends up being alone for the entire flight. I got quite a bit of rest on the way, between my affinity for sleeping on flights and being drugged up, as you can imagine. So when we got to Baltimore in the late afternoon and my husband decided to call it a night, I went to hang out with my Dad, at my cousin’s house. Well, I paid for being over zealous. That night Anthony woke me worried, I was roasting with fever. He gave me an extra dose of medicine and all I can remember next is waking up completely wet in wet pajamas, wet sheets, wet everything. The fever “broke”.

On Saturday morning I had all these plans. I wanted to check out the farmers market and the aquarium. I even planned to take pictures and blog about it. I convinced Anthony to come along with me. We decided to stop at the CVS one block away first to pick up some supplies. After leaving CVS I said to him, “I feel like I could just turn around and go back to the hotel”. He quickly agreed. We made a quick stop in Whole Foods, across from the CVS, to get some fruit, juice, water and lunch for the day and headed back into bed where we hibernated until it was time to go to the family event that night.

We made it through the event fine. It wasn’t bad at all. Having all that rest. We thought we were getting better. Silly us.

On Sunday we slept right up until it was time to get ready to check out. I asked the woman at the front desk for a restaurant recommendation and she recommended Ten Ten which was deeeeeeelicious and they served brunch until 3pm which was in line with our “sleep as long as possible” state of being. After brunch we headed to the airport to catch our flight to Fort Lauderdale where we planned to spend the next few days and celebrate our second anniversary. After arriving at the hotel in Fort Lauderdale we pretty much went to sleep. Keep in mind that all this time we are popping pills “on time, every time” exactly as prescribed to keep our symptoms at bay.




My Go to Braidout

The finished product

The finished product

When you start a hair journey, one of the things you learn quickly is that heat can be very damaging to your hair. So in order to get the long, shiny, healthy, bouncy hair you’ve always dreamed of, you have to limit the heat tools you use on a regular basis. So that means finding ways to style your hair without the blowdryer, flat iron, curling iron. For me I just resign myself to the bun most of the time. But whats the use of growing this hair if I can let it down and flash it once in a while. So I set out on a mission to learn some heat-free styles. Now, if you research this topic on You-Tube you’ll find a wealth of tutorials, how to use bantu knot outs (which by the way are what Jamaicans call Chiney bumps), braidouts, twistouts, curl formers, and flexirods to get curly hairstyles. I’ve tried quite a few of them… and failed miserably.  I end up looking like a hot mess. But, after some practice, I have managed to be decent at one technique, my own simplified version of the braidout.

On wash day, after drying my hair with my turbie twist, applying leave in conditioner and combing through, I let my hair hang free and air dry for a while. This is a key step, because if I don’t do this, the braids won’t be dry when I wake up in the morning, and a braidout that isn’t completely dry is a recipe for a frizzy mess. I wait until the hair is almost dry, just slightly damp, then I moisturize and seal.


I start by parting my hair where I like to wear my part, on the left side. You can part yours wherever you want, on the right side or in the middle. Then I make two braids or as Jamaicans would say, two big canerows. One on the right…


And one on the left…


As you can see, they don’t have to be that neat, just do the canerows as tight as you can, this produces more defined curls. Also, there is no need to part your hair at the back, just roughly grab it into two sections. IF you part it, you’ll have to work pretty hard to blend the part out in the end. The next step is to go to sleep. You can use bobby pins to pin the braids to your head and keep them out of the way while you sleep. You should ideally tie your head with a satin scarf but you know my husband is not down with that. So I sleep on a satin pillowcase.

The next morning simply put some coconut oil on your hands and begin unraveling the plaits. The coconut oil will provide shine, help eliminate frizz and make your hair smell like gizzada yummm! Do not use too much. Just put a little on your hands and fingers.  Once they’re all unraveled. Use your fingers to seperate each chunk of hair and fluff your hair up as big as you want it.


And that’s it! You’re ready to go!


What’s In My Beach Bag

First let me extend my apologies to my readers who live somewhere where a day at the beach isn’t possible or practical right now. In Jamaica, beach can happen any day out of the year, with the only considerations being rain and hurricanes. On any given Sunday you can get a call “Hey, Beach?” and you’re off! This occasion however, was special. While I like my usual trips to Fort Clarence, I think we can all agree it isn’t the most calm, beautiful, soft or seaweed free beach in Jamaica. For that we have to drive a bit further. On this particular occasion, a group of friends and I were in Duncans Trelawny, staying at a villa, celebrating a very special birthday. While on the beach, I was inspired to do a little post about what I like to take with me.


The very cliche legs beach pic

The very cliche legs beach pic

Before I get into it though, can we take a moment like Jerry LaVigne to take a look at that sky?! The sky there was something else, it was so clear and blue. I think every one of us considered staying there indefinitely. The sand was powdery soft, and the water felt amazing too. But I digress, this post is about whats in my bag right? Let me focus.



Lets start with…

The Bag

I have two bags I prefer to take to the beach. This particular one was given to me on my honeymoon by Hilton Grand Vacations Club. I used to take any old canvas tote, but I’ve now become a little more selective. I prefer a bag that zips up, just to keep everything secure and I like one that has a separate extra pocket for the things I reach for often and want to access quickly, like my phone.


I don’t know about you but beverages are always a part of my beach day. And my rumpanions know, that my beverage of choice is Appleton V/X with club soda and a splash of lime. Not pictured on this occasion, but often carried are:

  • a knife to cut the limes. Yes, my friends and I take this lime thing seriously. Or we may pre-cut the lime wedges from home
  • Water. Yes, at least some thought is given to the fact that we should be responsible and carry hydration that isn’t laced with alcohol
  • A cup. I prefer taking my own re-usable cup or bottle from home, rather than disposable plastic cups. I love the beach so much its the least I can do to help save the environment.
  • A cooler with ice

Interestingly enough I never ever carry a bottle opener. Not even when I buy club soda that doesn’t have a screw top. “Why?” ,you might ask. Well, I am secretly very entertained by all the ingenious ways men know how to open bottles. They’ve learnt how to open them with ease on practically any hard surface, on other bottles, on their teeth, on their elbows, its amazing! Why don’t they teach girls these useful and amazing skills?! Screw sewing and gardening, I want to learn how to McGuyver a bottle open.


I’m not about that sunburn life and while I enjoy that bronze goddess look, the red lobster look and feel is far from desired. So I always carry sunscreen. I prefer the spray ones for the ease of application. Pretty much any of the spray sunscreens with SPF 50 or more works for me. And yes, I am a dork and I reapply several times throughout the day because I WILL burn otherwise.

Reading Material

I always take something to read with me. Although I must confess that on many occasions I do not use it. When you’re with a large group you seldom have time for books but, on a quiet day there’s nothing more wonderful than laying on the beach reading a good book. Many of the books I own are on my Ipad, so on this occasion I carried it. Currently I’m reading Bossypants by Tina Fey and thoroughly enjoying it.

My Cell Phone

So I can browse through all the instagram pics and take my husband’s beach  fish order while at the beach.


To look suave and protect my eyes from the glaring sun I wear sunglasses. Now depending on how many disposable contact lenses I have in my stock, I either wear contact lenses to the beach or I do the glasses dance.


I don’t always carry a cover-up, I just wear some shorts and a tank top over my swimsuit. But this weekend I was feeling extra glamourous and this cover-up actually matched the swimsuit I was wearing. I find they are actually quite easy, convenient and nice looking and this weekend might have convinced me to go buy a collection of cover-ups to match all my varied swimsuit colour schemes.


This one’s a no brainer, the sea is wet, at some point I will want to dry off. The towel is for that.

Now this beach particular beach had complimentary lounge chairs so I didn’t bring one of my beach essentials, the beach mat. If you don’t have a beach mat or blanket, get one. Its not the same as using a towel, stop trying to convince yourself you can just lay a towel out.

So that’s that, all the things I take to the beach. Hmm, this is actually making me feel like going to the beach today.


30 Observations About My 30 Yr Old Self

Last October I turned 30. I’ve heard it’s supposed to be a life changing earth shattering experience. Since then I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve noticed about maturing to the ripe old age of thirty. Some of them differ greatly from the preconceived notions I had in my head. I think I should share them with you before I turn 31.

1. I still feel very young, in my mind at least.

2. My body definitely feels older, my joints make loud noises during physical activity and my body parts just generally ache more.

3. I feel as though I know myself so much better, I think I’ve figured out what kind of person I’d like to be from a personal standpoint.

4. I still don’t have it all figured out careerwise.

5. I stay home more often and I like it.

6. There are still lots of fetes, parties and other social events where people my age can have an excellent time and not be around teenyboppers.

7. My expectations of where I’d be at 30 may have been a little unrealistic.

8. I’d much rather get five friends together and have a gathering at my home on a Friday night than be out on the town.

9. I have more acquaintances and less people I consider true friends, but my friends are closer than they ever were.

10. I have grown closer to some of my friends and further away from others. This is ok, it’s part of life.

11. I’m not afraid to state my opinion.

12. I’m not afraid to be myself.

13. I’ve started to learn my worth. Emphasis on started. It’s a process.

14. Peer pressure has no effect on me.

15. I’ve started to realize that as I get older, so do my parents. The thought of that scares me a little.

16. I’m developing laugh lines.

17. The clothing styles and brands that once appealed to me don’t. I now think about what is “age appropriate”.

18. I buy less trendy cheap clothes and want to go for the more timeless staple pieces.

19. I’m a real grown up now. Sometimes I still don’t believe it.

20. Investing for the future has become much more important.

21. There are a lot of weddings, baby showers and christenings on my social calendar.

22. I’m literally becoming my mother before my very own eyes.

23.  Exploring places, creating memories and spending quality time with my husband and family are my favourite things.

24. When I was younger I got bored more often, always needing an activity to fill my time. Now I’m much better at the art of doing nothing.

25.  I truly feel learning from the mistakes I made in my past relationships  has helped me better the relationships I have now, with my husband and my friends.

26.  It has just started to occur to me that while growing up, when I spent weeks in the summers ramping with my brother and cousins, my parents must’ve been having a ball.

27. When I was younger I was more concerned with fitting into the group. Now I like being an individual.

28. I’m still getting used to the fact that I’m in charge of a household. Hasn’t sunken in fully yet.

29. While some things have changed about me, I’m the same at the core, just a wiser older me, like wine. At least that’s what I think. These are after all MY observations.

30. Thirty isn’t nearly as bad as they make it seem. I’ve had quite a wonderful year. Wonder if I’ll like 31.

What did you notice about yourself after 30 and beyond? Leave a comment and let me know.