Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Our Braces Journey with Surfside Kids Dental

Ever since my kids were toddlers I've been told by dentists that they would need braces even though their tiny baby teeth grew in perfectly straight and evenly spaced. As they grew older, the doctors were right and their adult teeth did in fact come in with little room and out of whack. To ensure proper jaw growth and development we decided to invest in our eldest son, 12, first set of braces at Surfside Kids Dental. With this commitment, it was super important for my family to choose an orthodontist that we trusted and whom was financially accommodating.

This post is in collaboration with Surfside Kids Dental.  All opinions are 100% honest and my own, as always. 

Having been to a few Sacramento dentists over the course of the years it has been a real challenge finding a practice that my whole family has loved. Personally, we've gone through many trial and error experiences to lead us to the right place. I am happy to say though we have finally found a dental home perfect for us! 

Here are some tips I suggest when looking for the best dental office for your family: 

1. The vibe. I know it may sound silly but when you are going to be spending a lot of time in a place it is necessary that you feel comfortable, your kids enjoy the environment and everyone feels at ease from start to finish. That includes not only the visual atmosphere but also the energy that the people in the office create. 

2. The doctor and assistants.  Being that these are the people in direct contact and treating your child, it is so important that you educated throughout all steps of an appointment and comfortable talking to them. Additionally, observe how the team interacts with your child, it's imperative that your child feels good and trusts them in their care.

3. The front office staff.  No matter how much you may like the doctor or assistants, if you don't vibe with the front office staff that is a red flag! These are the people whom assist with patient scheduling and whom deal with your personal information. As the front office staff are who initially set the tone for your visit, I encourage you to pay attention to how you feel when communicating with them. Personally, I look for professional etiquette with friendly, warm and relatable conversation. As organization is really important as well, I am always grateful when the office handles my insurance and billing matters with care and in a timely manner.  

We first went to check out Surfside Kids Dental after many of our friends sung their praises.  Upon entering, my kids loved the decorative beach themed office! There were many things for the family to indulge in the lobby like toys, TVs showing cartoons, computers, and video games.  They also have an area for complimentary water, coffee or tea. Oh, and we can’t forget about the massage chairs for the parents. The staff were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable while being warm so that the kids are at ease. A small detail I loved is that the office has your child fill out a fun facts form to get to know them better. 

At our Elk Grove location orthodontic consultation, we had Dr Plewe as the orthodontist. He is a very calm and reassuring man. My older children do not like a bunch of fake friendly or hyped up energy.  Dr Plewe was friendly and made sure to get to know both my sons and never was abrasive or over the top. Another thing that really impressed me was that even though we had both of our sons checked out, Dr Plewe told me assured me that we were fine to wait on my younger son’s treatment and that believed in his case, everything may correct itself over time. I appreciated that we were not immediately pushed into a treatment case.  I felt like Dr Plewe wanted what was best for us, and not just to put braces anyone who may be interested. 

Surprisingly, putting braces on only took about 1 hour after the consultation and paperwork.  It was not a huge ordeal and they do it right in the office with all the other kiddos getting their teeth cleaned and check ups.  My son was able to watch the movie that was playing on the ceiling TV and wear headphones during the application.

Here is a video of our process:

Afterwards, they set us up with an electric toothbrush, flossers, toothpaste and aftercare papers.  My son was sore for the first few days after as he adjusted to having the braces in his mouth.  He should wear the first set of braces for 18-24 months depending on how well he takes care of them and how his teeth respond. 

I'm so happy that we got them done at this tween age before he had to consider possibly what his peers may think, or care too much about his appearance. From a mother's perspective, I felt so much ease that I was doing the best thing by getting him in easy for an orthodontic evaluation and moving forward a treatment that was best for him and his oral health. I can't wait to see what his smile looks like when we are done! 

If you'd like to keep up with our journey, I will be sharing a bit on my Instagram Stories. Follow me there to see our check-ups and any other dental related stories we might have for you!

An orthodontic consultation is always free of charge at Surfside, be sure to tell them “Ashley Newell said Hi” if you make it in! 

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Park Winters Summerland 2019

Oh, the magic that is Summerland!  If you read my Summerland 2018 blog post, you know how much I loved the event!  I was so lucky to be invited back to the blissful Park Winters for an inspiring day of fun and networking.  Unfortunately, we had previously agreed to another important function the same day so I didn't get to stay the whole time but I'm recapping what I got to experience.

All photos are by Shannon Morse Photography and used with permission from Shannon Morse.  Shannon is a phenomenal photographer, check out her site for more amazing photos!

Of course, Park Winters was decorated in the most amazing fashion!  They have the most amazing event planners and florists set up gorgeous areas to sit and lounge in.  This year the theme was Summer Solstice and they appropriately held the event on June 21.  There were lovely tones of blush pink everywhere!  It was a dream!

For things to do, there was a market to shop from amazing local vendors.  There was also a beautiful flower crown making station put on by Farmer Hands.  An artist named Greg Galinsky was painting a canvas live.  The stunning Park Winters pool was available for swimming or living your best floatie life as well as lounging in cabanas, listening to the DJ, and grabbing a drink at the bar.

We had a delicious picnic style lunch provided by Nugget Markets.  They had sandwiches, veggie trays, fruit trays, charcuterie boards, and a variety of lovely desserts.  Coffee was offered from a coffee cart called Whole Latte Love Bar.  A variety of different drinks were available at different locations throughout the property.

After lunch, there was a panel of amazing Sacramento and Bay area influencers moderated by my friend Kachet Jackson-Henderson of The Kachet Life and also creator of The Blog Bloc.  We heard from Melissa Johnson of Best Friends for Frosting, Erin Alderson of Naturally Ella and Grove Haus, Tamryn Miller of Wannabe Fashion Blogger, and Will Thompson aka GoodThompson of GoodInc.  The panel spoke about influence, vulnerability, and the importance of being yourself.  It was informative and inspiring to hear them all speak!

In the afternoon, the Bar Baby Co mobile bar opened with their amazing specialty drinks.  Bar Baby is the cutest trailer and they are actually based of out Sacramento so I've seen them before.  They made amazing drinks to match the theme of the event.  I had the Femme Rising and it was delicious!  It also had a cute little empowering message included to read.  Boba Guys came and set up a boba bar which was so delicious!  And the Meltdown Ice Cream truck came to help everyone cool off with their classic ice cream truck treats.

On our way out, we stopped by another area with a different coffee truck called Lady Falcon Coffee Club and got their bottles cascara for energy for the drive to our family reunion.  It was delicious and tasted so much like tart cherries.  VisitYolo, Hotel Winters, and Davis Farm to School had a great Farmer's Market set up giving out delicious produce and there was a station to make your own trail mix.  Another great snack to give us energy for our trip.

Thank you so much to Park Winters and all the amazing sponsors of the Summerland event!  Summerland is one of my very favorite days of the year and I'm so thrilled to be able to attend!  I can't wait to go back to Park Winters!

For those who've asked, my dress is from Torrid and my hair clips are from Amazon.

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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Summer Family BBQ

A couple weeks ago, my friend Laura and I threw a Summer Family BBQ for some of our blogger friends.  Of course, summer is a great time for entertaining and who doesn't love a BBQ?  Laura has a great backyard for entertaining so we put our heads together and came up with a great event.  Today, I'll be recapping the event for you.

We had many amazing sponsors for this BBQ!  I'm so grateful that they made this event possible for us.  As always all opinions are 100% honest and my own.

KimiLove, AshleyNewell.me, Savvygreystyles, Eraeholland, Tomorrowsmom
ProbablyatTarget, FancyFixDecor, ThisMomsaDreamer, BlogAboutitAll


Of course, what's the most important part of a BBQ?  The food!  We were lucky enough to have Western Grassfed Beef as a sponsor for our event.  Western Grassfed is a local company based out of Woodland, California.  Their cattle is raised with no antibiotics or added hormones.  They are 100% grass fed and raised in an open pasture.

For this event, we decided on Western Grass Fed Brisket and hot dogs for the kiddos who don't want to eat brisket.  Brisket is a great cut for a crowd since it can be cooked for a long time and is relatively low maintenance once it's on.  For the BBQ, Laura's husband used a smoker to cook the meat.  He did a simple rub of salt, pepper, and garlic powder to let the meat sing.  Also, once sliced brisket is great for feeding a crowd and pretty versatile.  It can be eaten on its own, made into a sandwich, chopped and added to a salad, etc...  The brisket was a huge hit with all our guests!

Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen
Photo by Blog About it All
We also served Western Grassfed Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dogs.  They are gluten free which is wonderful since we had gluten free attendees.  They were a huge hit with the young and young at heart!  We simply offered buns, ketchup, and mustard to go with them.  The kids gobbled them up!  We provided rolls, buns, chips, condiments, crackers, vegan dogs, and an assortment of water, lemonade, and juices.  We asked our guests to bring a side dish or a snack to add to the table.  It was a great way to ensure that the kids in each family would have something that their parents know that they would eat.

What goes better with delicious BBQ meats than some nice cold beer and wine?  We were lucky enough to get some beer from Flatland Brewing Company that paired so nicely with the smoky meat. We also had delectable wines from Rippey Family Vineyards,  crisp white since it's summer and people love a nice refreshing glass on a hot day and some bold reds to pair with the beef.
Flatland Brewing Co - Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen
Rippey Family Vineyards - Photos by Tammy Le Nguyen
Our friend Nicole of Fancy Fix Decor set up the cutest lemonade stand with elements from Rod Works in Laura's backyard and we offered lemonade in a lovely dispenser.  It was such a big hit with the kids and felt so nostalgic.  We also had a cooler filled with bottled waters and juice pounces for the kids.  It's so important to stay hydrated in the summer!

Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen

You can't have a party without some yummy treats!  We had two AMAZING dessert sponsors.  Joe Boy Bakes gifted us some amazing fika buns in three different flavors.  To go with those, we had delicious ice cream from Leatherby's Family Creamery and chocolate and caramel sauces to go on top.  This was a HUGE hit with all the kids!  What's better way to end the day?

Boy's Bakery Fika Buns - Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen
Ice Cream Scoops and Sauces from Leatherby's Family Creamery

Photography and Decor
We were lucky enough to have Tammy Le Nguyen take photos for us!  We also had a gorgeous backdrop by Dani and Kayla Events with black and white gingham to match our theme and the cutest balloon arch.  We also had the cutest floral arrangements done by Fancy Fix Decor.
Dani and Kayla Events photo backdrop - Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen

Dani and Kayla Events photo backdrop - Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen

We knew that the adults would want to sit and chat so we really only needed entertainment for the kiddos.  We partnered with Astro Jump of Sacramento who hooked us up with the COOLEST bounce house ever!  There was a slide and a basketball hoop INSIDE the bounce house.  I felt really safe knowing that the kids wouldn't tumble off the slide into the grass or accidentally hit someone walking by with a stray basketball, it was all contained.  The whole process was so easy!  Their friendly staff is quick and efficient and the bounce house was a favorite of all the kids.
Astro Jump Sacramento Bounce House - Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen

We were so excited to have some great brands donate prizes to our raffle.  I think all the moms got to walk away with a prize.  Thank you to Rod Works, Amazing Lash Studio Elk Grove, Maverick Stacy Gallegos, and Imagine Play Elk Grove for providing raffle items!

Photo by Tammy Le Nguyen

Swag Bags
Thank you to everyone who contributed to our amazing swag bags: Surfside Kids Dental, Random Olive, NewSongs School of Music, Popcornopolis, Allison Traverse Warren Realtor, Birds of a Feather, Danitizia Krystal Singh Realtor, Two Country Divas, and My Thrifty Sister.

Photo by KimiLove

It's always so nice to get together with friends!  What kind of get togethers do you have in the summer?

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

My First Speaking Engagement

Last month I was invited to speak at an event called Love Yourself Boho Brunch put on by Her Elk Grove.  It was my very first time speaking in front of an audience without the support of a panel.  I was really nervous but I figure through discomfort comes growth so I accepted the opportunity.  Here is my experience including my one major regret.

(Photos are courtesy of Cynthia Rodriquez Photography.)  

I practiced my speech time after time to myself and to the mirror.  I practiced in the car and at night before I went to bed.  I lived and breathed this speech and how I could convey such a huge concept such as loving yourself in a 5-10 minute speech.  I wanted to give the attendees value and a takeaway that they could go implement in their life.  I wanted them to be glad that they heard the talk and most of all I wanted to not waste their time because time is the most precious thing we have.

I spoke on how switching from a negative mindset to a positive mindset can literally change your entire life.  Now, I'm not crazy and I don't think that positivity alone can cure disease or anything like that.  But I do believe that when you believe in yourself and when you decide that you are enough, that gives you the strength to fight for what you deserve, to leave toxic situations, and to better your life.  I also believe that pushing away from saying negative things about yourself and shifting to be more realistic is the simplest and most effective way to love yourself.  For example, instead of saying "I look so fat in this shirt" you could say "this shirt is not right for me."  It's generally the same idea but shifts your mindset from being horrible to yourself to simply being realistic.

My hugest mistake for this event was not asking anyone to record my talk.  I have no video of the full thing.  I'm really sad because people asked me to see the whole video and I didn't have one.  If I had thought about it, I could have set up my own tripod and recorded it myself.  That's my biggest regret so if you are speaking or performing at an event, don't forget to ask someone to record it for you!

Overall, it was a great experience and I would speak at this type of event again.  It felt really amazing to hear that my words and story were helpful to other people.  When I entered the lifestyle blogger and influencer realm, I always hoped I would be able to make a difference in the lives of others.  This event gave me immediate feedback that I did just that.

Thank you to Haku and Wine for making me a custom flower haku (crown) for this event!  I love it and still have it in my house as a reminder of this day!

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Hoshall's Spa Day

What could beat a day at the spa?  All my blogger dreams came true the day that Hoshall's Salon & Spa invited me to try their services.  They invited me the week before Mother's Day for a relaxing spa experience to get me ready for Mother's Day.  I could not be more excited!

I received free services in exchange for a social media post.  This blog post was not required and I'm writing it because I truly loved my experience and think that it would be one of the best gifts you could give someone.  

All photos are courtesy of the amazing Christina Best Photography.

Hoshall's is in Folsom, CA near the Rainbow Bridge.  They were founded over 40 years ago and in 2016 Hoshall's became an all women owned business.  I got to meet owners Kathy Fennessy and Mary Brigham and not only were they absolutely lovely people but you could tell they took a lot of care in every single detail they put into their place.

Confession: I have never been to a real full service spa before.  I have been to a salon/spa and a chain massage place to get massages and I've been to a small salon to have a facial but not this kind of spa. It was so fun to change into a robe and slippers (lockers are provided for your belongings) to lounge around the spa!  I think being in the robe puts you in a different mindset.  PS the robe had pockets so I kept my phone with me the whole time so I could take selfies, not sorry.

One of the things that surprised me most about Hoshall's is their giant beautiful patio which looks out onto a beautiful nature landscape.  I've been in the same parking lot various times and had no idea that the view in the back was so stunning!  They offer the patio for rent for private events such as birthdays, baby showers, or even a couple's day.  You can even bring your own food and an attendant will set it up for you at no extra charge.  Or you can have a spa lunch ordered and there is wine available for purchase.  I would highly recommend spending some time on this patio!  It was the perfect place to have lunch and just feel like you've escaped from the whole world.  You feel like you're in a relaxing oasis instead of a few miles from home.

My first service was a petite facial with Luda.  It was such a lovely and relaxing session.  I had exfoliation and a mask.  There was steaming and massaging.  Luda, the esthetician, also talked to be about my skin and gave me some advice on dealing with some problems I've been having.  It was a lovely session and the perfect way to start my spa day.

In between services, you can hang out on the patio or there's a waiting area with tea, water, and light snacks.  I opted for some spa water on the patio since it was such a lovely day.  I was able to chat with my friends for a few minutes before heading off to the next service.

Next, I had a massage with masseuse Elizabeth.  Is there anything in life more relaxing than a massage?  They have these amazing rooms with shower heads over the bed where you can get rinsed off right in the room.  It's so neat!  I was in one of these rooms but I didn't try to rinse.  The lights are dim and there's calming music.  Elizabeth asked me how much pressure I liked and what my problem areas were.  It was a WONDERFUL massage and I wish I could go back right this second.

After the massage, the masseuse asked me if I wanted to try the Turkish Showers to rinse off.  I figured I was already there so I should try it.  She got it started for me and walked me over there which I found so thoughtful!  The Turkish Showers have steam as well as the traditional shower head.  The steam at Hoshall's had aroma therapy too.  I steamed for as long as I could manage, which isn't long for me since I run really warm, then I turned on the cold water and rinsed off to close up all my pores as suggested by Elizabeth.  They also have a Desert Dry Sauna that people are welcome to use between services or  you can use just the sauna and shower for a small fee.

My last treatment for the day was a blow out.  I have never gone to a salon for a blow out before.  They wash and dry your hair and they will style it for you.  My cute hairstyle Katie had these lovely beach waves and a braid in her hair that day and I asked her to make my hair look just like hers.  She did an amazing job and it was sooooooo luxurious to have someone style my hair.  I felt so pretty leaving the salon!

I highly recommend booking a spa day at Hoshall's!  It's the perfect gift for someone important in your life.  What's a better gift than spending the day relaxing and being pampered?  It's perfect for a busy mom or a bride to relax before her big day or anyone who loves being treated like a queen!  I know what I'll be putting on my holiday wishlist!

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