Tuesday, January 31

Do Natural Teeth Whitening Remedies Work?

 "From error to error, one discovers the entire truth." - Fortune Cookie

About a year ago I started to become interested in natural ways to whiten teeth. I figured I'm into holistic methods, so why no try it for my teeth instead of buying Crest Whitestrips. I try to prevent staining, but I find that I still like to whiten them every five years or so. Just because I'm a tea and wine drinker. Also it's best to whiten after going to the dentist for a teeth cleaning. Cleaning in itself can make your teeth appear whiter and shinier, just because you get six months of buildup off your teeth. Of course the better you take care of your teeth, the less work your dentist has to do to clean them.

So after my cleaning I did a lot of research on the topic and here's what I found:

For instance, did you know that there's a big difference between whitening and bleaching? Yes, indeed. Think of a porcelain white sink, when the sink gets stained you have two options for cleaning it. One, is that you can take Ajax and scrub the surface stains off using abrasive means. This is what whitening is like on your teeth. You psychically scrub the surface stains off using products like whitening toothpaste. These are terrible for your teeth and are not enamel safe. Just like the sink, you would eventually diminish the protective polish, leaving it dull and more susceptible to deeper stains.

Secondly, you have the more preferred enamel-safe method of bleaching. Unlike whitening, bleaching is enamel safe because it lifts the deep stains out without being abrasive to the surface of the teeth. Just like if you were to bleach a dirty sink. The bleach would affect the stains without disrupting the polish. So just say "no" to whitening and "yes" to bleaching.

That being said, I started to become curious if natural remedies would work for my teeth. The first one I tried was baking soda mixed with water. This is a whitening technique, so be super careful not to over do it. Just take a tablespoon of baking soda in a small container, wet your toothbrush under running water, and use the water from the brush to wet the baking soda; forming it into a paste. Then take that paste and brush your teeth with it for two minutes. After that, rinse with water, spit, and you're done. Do that and it will supposedly help whiten teeth.

But did it work? Here are my results after 10 days:


Day 1: Can feel some sensitivity minutes after brushing. Teeth look about the same.
Day 2: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 3: Can feel some sensitivity on the top left teeth. Teeth look about the same.
Day 4: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 5: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 6: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 7: Feel some sensitivity on front of the front top teeth. Teeth look about the same.
Day 8: Feel some sensitivity on the front bottom teeth. Teeth look about the same.
Day 9: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 10: Feel some sensitivity on the top left canine. Teeth look about the same.

So because baking soda did not help and I didn't want to continue with any sort of whitening after I learn that bleaching was better, I turned to hydrogen peroxide. Peroxide is a safer, natural way to brighten teeth without being abrasive. All I had to do was gargle it like mouthwash for a minute and spit. 

I did this twice a day, for 10 days, and here are my results:


 Day 1: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 2: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 3: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 4: Some sensitivity on the bottom left gum line. Teeth look about the same.
Day 5: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 6: Some sensitivity in the bottom left canine. Teeth look about the same.
Day 7: Some sensitivity on the top right gum line. Teeth look about the same.
Day 8: Some sensitivity on the bottom left gum line. Teeth look about the same.
Day 9: No sensitivity. Can see a slight improvement.
Day 10: Feel some sensitivity on the top left canine. Can see a slight improvement.

My conclusion is that unfortunately natural teeth whitening remedies don't give you extreme results. I tried them and they didn't do much for my teeth, except for making them unnecessarily sensitive. The only thing I can think of is that my teeth are already pretty white, so perhaps these methods would work for yellow teeth. If you would like to give it a try, be my guest, but I would recommend the peroxide over the baking soda knowing what I know now about whitening vs bleaching. That, and it seemed like there was less sensitivity.

Because of the failure of these experiments, I purchased a pack of Crest 3D White Whitestrips With Advanced Seal Professional Effects of Amazon. I figure buy the most expensive one because it must work, right? And it has the spiffy word "professional" in it, so it must be the best. These kits work by using peroxide as well, but the strips adhere to the surface of the teeth for 30 minutes at a time instead of loosely sloshing around for a minute. Which is probably enough to make a difference.

Here's what happened during the 10 days:


Day 1: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 2: No sensitivity. Teeth look about the same.
Day 3: Some slight sensitivity on the back of the bottom front teeth. Teeth look about the same.
Day 4: Some sensitivity on the back of the bottom front teeth. Teeth look about the same.
Day 5: Sensitivity on the bottom teeth. Can see a slight improvement.
Day 6: Some sensitivity on the back of the bottom front teeth. Can see a slight improvement.
Day 7: Some sensitivity on top left canine. Can see a slight improvement.
Day 8: Sensitivity on the bottom teeth. Can see a slight improvement.
Day 9: A lot of sensitivity on the bottom teeth. Can see an improvement.
Day 10: A lot of sensitivity on the bottom teeth. Can see an improvement.

Finally! Some results. Not a huge difference, but at least something. There were 20 strips in a pack and I used two a day as instructed, just to see the results faster. Mind you that the word "sensitive" doesn't even cut it. There were times when it was downright painful. I found out that the pain would come about 3-4 hours after I put the strips on. So if the timing was off I would be in bed trying to sleep with throbbing tooth pain. I learned to do it closer to bedtime that way I could fall asleep before the pain started and then hoped that by morning it would be gone. That was the case, it never woke me, and it was the best way to do it with the least amount of sensitivity. I'm glad I did this little whitening experiment because now I know that the Crest White Strips are still the best option and that sadly the natural methods won't work too well.

In closing, I did want to mention a little bit about prevention.
Here are some foods that stain teeth and some foods that help whiten teeth:

Foods That Stain Teeth
Coffee, Tea, Wine (both red and white), Soda, Heavily Dyed Processed Foods, Curry,
Balsamic Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Tomato Sauce, Beets, Blueberries, and Cranberries.

Natural Stain Removers
Strawberries, Apples, Carrots, and Celery.

Stain Barriers (Creates a protective film over the teeth)
Spinach, Broccoli, and Lettuce.

There you have it! It took me over a year finish all of the work necessary to post this.
I hope it was helpful, and that I could shed some light on the subject.

♡ Claudia

Monday, January 23

Dungeon Defenders

So recently, I haven't had a lot of time to play video games but Dungeon Defenders was one that I couldn't put down and would play whenever I got free time in the evenings after work. This game was pure fun and I recommend it to anyone that loves strategy games. It's strategy meets loop whore, which makes for an addicting "just one more round" type of game. But at the same time, being a game that someone can just go a round or two, without committing to like a 4-10 hour run.


Here are some thoughts about the game:

Pros

- It's a cheap impulse buy off of Steam, and the PC version looks the best if you have a good machine.

- The gameplay is awesome and is so much fun to play multiplayer. That's really what makes it. 

- I play the Huntress and love her. I built her up to be DPS and she's fast. I enjoyed being the player that could one-shot things, but I'm a glass canon and die a lot.

- There's a gun for the Huntress called "The Incubator" that shoots chickens. Chickens I say! They go cluck-cluck, bounce all over the place, and explode when they hit something. Not the best gun for high levels, but good fun that will be sure to put a smile on your face.

- The 3D art is great. I love the cartoon cell-shaded look. Some of the levels are pretty (nature and glowy stuff) and I enjoy the balance between outdoor and indoor levels. It keeps the game interesting.

- Love the music; it's memorable and entertaining. I only wish they wouldn't have reused some of the tracks on extra levels and instead created more new songs. 

- The holiday levels are a great way to keep the community happy by giving free content (this might be Steam only). It gets you in the mood to play. Especially with the tavern being decked out with all the holiday assets. They did a great job making it "feel" festive for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I can't wait to see what other holidays they might do. 


Cons

- The biggest issue I had with this game was that at the beginning I lost my character because of a bug with the servers. I had to start over after I lost about a days worth of work, and had to contact the developer about this problem. They were nice enough to give me extra gear and mana to level her up again quickly. So it wasn't terrible, just a minor set back. This bug should be fixed by now. 

- The 2D art is not up to par with the 3D art. Which is unfortunately, because it would have been really nice if they had the budget/time for it. This mismatched quality gives the game a very indie feel in a bad way.

- Having to pay for every little thing is annoying and that made me stop playing, other than the fact that I had completed almost everything there is to do. DLC has started to become an issue in general because companies are nickel and diming for every little thing. Even the increased level cap had to be purchased through DLC. Lame.

- What is up with the butt cracks in this game? Did the developers think it's funny? The orges didn't cover their cracks nor did the Huntress. It's pretty tasteless and unfortunate that the only playable girl at launch is dressed like that. I don't mind thongs, but cracks? See look, eww: Elf cracks.


Overall I would say Dungeon Defenders is worth the time and money. As long as you have someone to play with. The online community is rather big right now, so if you want to jump on board, now's the time to do it.

Cheers and happy gaming,
~Claudia

Friday, January 13

35 Push-ups for Men, 45 Push-ups for Women

I can do 45 push-ups in a row. I'm so happy and I feel strong.

About a month ago I read an article about how a healthy "average" man should be able to do 35 push-ups and a healthy lady should be able to do 45 (girl style) push-ups. I laughed out loud and thought to myself, "I bet I can do five. 45 push-ups is insane!"

Well at that moment I got down on the ground and I barely squeezed out ten of the most pathetic push-ups I could muster.  Right then and there I told myself that I would add a few push-ups a day until I was able to do my 45.

After that first day I woke up the next morning so sore. It was definitely the worst day. My pectoral muscles were killing me, but I still managed to do 11 with more ease than the first day. Day after day 11 turned into 15, and then to 20, and then 30, until today I finally did my 45.

So get down on the ground and give me 45! Or 35 if you're a dude. Don't hurt yourself and listen to your body. Build up the strength slowly and let me know when you can do a complete set. Then we can Internet high-five.
Cheers,
~Claudia

Monday, January 9

Aqualux Story Illustrations

 Aqualux Story Illustrations

Remember the game that I worked on called Aqualux? Well, I recently got permission to post some of the illustration work that I did for it. Yes, indeed! I know a lot of you were asking about that, so here it is.

Get It Now:

© 2011 MILKMAN GAMES.
Do not reproduce without permission.

Friday, January 6

Look of the Month :: Winter 2012 :: January

"Great things are made of little things." - Fortune Cookie

Hello beauties! 2012 is off to a good start and I wanted to do something daring for the first makeup look of the new year. It was New Year's Day and I was in the bathroom getting ready to go out to the movies, when I thought to myself, "Do something artistic today, it's the start of a whole new year." And that's what I did, I grabbed my Jemma Kid liquid liner and went all out. I came up with this modern Rorschach-inspired pattern that reminded me of how the tree leaves are silhouetted in the dark. Recently, I've been taking my walks at night and I'm loving it. I feel alone, but mindful of everything that's happening around me. It's like the night is inviting me to use my senses.

Mind you this brand of liner is brilliant, it's thick, pitch black, smudge proof after it dries, and stays put for... days. No joke, this stuff does not come off easy. I recommend soaking a cotton pad in eye makeup remover or extra virgin olive oil (this is what I use) and press it onto the lids for a minute or two. That's the only way I got it off. So good luck to you if you use it.

The current look is:
J A N U A R Y  2 0 1 2


Color trends for this month: 
Plum, teal, dark olive green, black, and gunmetal

Current motivation for the look: 
The moon, nighttime, and capes

If you have any questions, just let me know. Feel free to express yourself as well! Share links, tips, or any other suggestions in the comments. I would love to hear from you.   

xoxo,
~Claudia

Thursday, January 5

Get Healthy For the New Year with the Help of RealAge

RealAge.com is something that I have been using for what seems like forever. I signed up about 6 years ago and have been loving it ever since. What is RealAge you might ask? It's a website dedicated to helping people understand how to become healthy in all aspects of life and it has an impressive scientific advisory board that includes Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD (I never knew who he was until he got his TV show).

The website has helped me learn so much over the years that I wanted to share it with you. Especially now that 2012 is here and most people want to improve their lives in some way. RealAge is loaded with useful tools and info that's sure to help you achieve your new year's resolutions. Or at least become more knowledge about the subjects provided.


Reasons to Sign Up:

1. The RealAge Test is fun! This was the thing that made me curious about the website in the first place. The concept is that you have your "calender age" and your "real age." The RealAge is based on your lifestyle, everything from exercise, diet, well-being, stress levels, sex life, sleeping patterns, ancestral family health, etc. So this is appealing because you can see how your lifestyle is affecting your age. I re-take my test at the beginning of each new year and my results were the best they've ever been, coming in at 6.5 years younger than I actually am. That's a new record for me and I owe it mostly to eating right. I ate a more plant-based diet in 2011 and I think my marks are higher because of the improvements I made in the diet category. I definitely feel 6.5 years younger.

2. Learning is easy and fun with RealAge. When you sign up, you can receive a weekly newsletter with all sorts of wonderful health tips. They always fascinated me because I knew that something like diet or exercise might be good for me, but I wanted know know WHY as well.  An example would be, I know apples are good for me, but why? Here's an excerpt from RealAge:

"A brilliant prescription for revving up your immunity? Yep, it's just like the old saying: an apple a day. Studies have revealed that pectin, a special kind of fiber found in apples, may help boost levels of immune-supportive proteins. So crunching one a day could very well help keep the doctor away this cold season."

3. The articles are nice to share with friends and family. Sometimes I find that the tips I read are perfect for a loved one. If they are stubborn about changing their ways, perhaps hearing the information from a Doctor is more convincing than hearing it from me. So I can easily send them helpful links. I do this all time for my family. It's tough love.

4. There are plenty of helpful videos, interactive charts, and action plans to help you realize your goals. For example there is a Weight Loss Tracker that can help one stay motivated, set goals, and monitor the progress made.

5. For more serious issues, there are heath tests that one can take to determine if the are having an issue with something and perhaps should consult a doctor. Some include, but are not limited to: ADHD, Allergies, Diabetes, Eye Health, Heart Disease, Headache/Migraine, Joint Age, Menopause, Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid, and Arthritis. Personally, I have not used this feature because I fortunately have been in good health. And I'll do my best to keep it that way.


So there you have it. Pretty spiffy huh?

Cheers and here's to good health!
~Claudia

Wednesday, January 4

Daily Inspiration: Moving Art

I stumbled upon this video and wanted to share it with everyone since it's the beginning of a new year, and for most of us this is a special time to become inspired or motivated in some way.

Well, this video motivated me:

It made me reflect upon the fact that every moment is unique and special. 
Don't waste your days and be thankful for them.

For more wonderful short films by Louie Schwartzberg, check out his YouTube channel:

Best,
~Claudia

Monday, January 2

The Beginning of a New Year

Happy 2012 everyone. Mine is off to a good start so far and the end of 2011 was good too. I enjoyed the week that I got to spend with my family for Christmas in CO. We had snow for Christmas and it was nice to hang out and talk to them again. That's my favorite pastime in the whole world, to just sit down with someone and have a good conversation. So it was wonderful to catch up. That, and we played tons of games (Dr. Mario on the NES goes really well with a glass of Merlot), made Christmas cookies (all diet rules went out the window), I got to help decoration the tree with peppermint candy canes (again, I couldn't resist), and we did a little shopping together as well. Even though I didn't purchase anything, I still enjoyed going and being a human clothing rack for my sisters. It's a girl thing I'm sure.

                       Our Family Tree at Carla's House        Asti for Two in Tiffany & Co. Crystal

New Year's Eve was beautiful as well. As much as I love traveling, it's always nice to return home and take it easy for a few days. I enjoyed not doing a damn thing between my return home and New Year's Eve. This time of year always fascinates me because I find that it's a time to get all philosophical and reflect upon the time past and the future to come. Sipping Italian sparkling wine by the warm fireside and just watching the flames dance is a great way to bring in the new year. It was also fun to pull out the resolution list from 2011 and see what things I actually achieved, and it wasn't too bad. Most things I accomplished or made some progress with, which was nice to see. Specifically the first resolution about artwork; I remember writing that about the painting I'm working on now. It's crazy that it took me almost a year to start it, because I was so apprehensive about the hours that I would have to put into it. As for new resolutions, I will just stick with the ones I had for 2011, because they still apply.

Also, sleeping in for the first time in a long while was nice on New Year's Day. Ah, the little things in life! No alarm clock can be a good thing in moderation. The only issue was that I slept 10.5 hours and I know that's no good.Oh well. It felt good none the less. That, and I went to see Mission Impossible on New Year's Day. It was good fun and I recommend it if you like action films.

So it's back to work for me; but I'll return soon. I promise.
Happy 2012!
~Claudia

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