Root Canal Adventures

Root canal and adventure are two words that don’t typically go together. Unfortunately for me, my trip to Oklahoma about a month ago was soured by only one thing: a tooth that had started hurting out of nowhere, and would not stop unless I took Advil every four hours. Being as dentally diligent as I am (due to a fear of said root canal), I hoped that it was a temporary inflammation caused by a piece of food, as it felt like it was actually my gum that was mostly hurting. Little did I know, the next month would be nothing short of an adventure and, spoiler alert: it was a root canal after all.

I decided to share my experience with my fellow over-researchers and Googlers in the hopes that I could shed some light on what a root canal is, because if you’re anything like me, you are terrified of the very word and hope to never have to deal with one, ever. I do recommend steering clear of it if possible, as it’s definitely not fun, but as I can attest, dental problems do sometimes tend to come out of nowhere (in my case, it was likely a cavity that went undetected by an x-ray and normal check-up until it was too late), and when they do, it’s often less daunting that we make it out to be beforehand.

It all began when I went to the dentist, hoping and assuming that I would walk out of my appointment pain free. To make a long story short, I was told that I had a ginormous cavity, and that things could go in one of three directions: I would get a filling and be on my way, I would need to have a root canal, or I would need the tooth pulled and replaced. To say I was horrified would be the least of it.

My dentist went the filling route and we agreed to monitor the situation, but more than a week later I was still waking up in the middle of the night with terrible pain and living on painkillers. I couldn’t take it anymore, and was sent to a root canal specialist, also called an endodontist. After a more in-depth x-ray, it was determined that my tooth was pretty compromised and that I had to make a difficult decision: either try the root canal and risk it ultimately not working, or just avoid any potential future agony and pull the tooth.

Ultimately, we decided a root canal was a good decision if there is a good chance of saving my natural tooth, and the next day I was back in the dentists’ chair, petrified of that horrible, vibrating drill. However, while root canals do have a certain stigma, they are no longer the terrifying surgical terror that they were even ten years ago.

As someone with a dentist phobia, I can admit that though I was extremely tense every time that drill touched my tooth, I didn’t feel an ounce of pain and the entire procedure was very smooth. It also helped that I had an extremely comforting endodontist who explained everything she was doing, but even the Novocain shot barely hurt.

The goal of a root canal procedure is to remove the inflamed nerve and pulp inside the tooth (the root of the pain – haha see what I did there?) and clean and seal the tooth. Soon after, the tooth will almost always be capped with a crown to ensure that it doesn’t crack. In my case, I have to be extremely careful because I cannot receive a crown for about 6 months, until I complete my orthodontic treatment.

Often, the procedure is broken up into two appointments. During the first appointment, the tooth is cleaned out, the inflamed nerve is removed and replaced with medicine to clean any remaining bacteria, and the tooth gets a temporary filling. During the second appointment, the dentist fills the actual roots and gives you a permanent filling. Soon after, you will likely go back to get a crown placed.

Despite all the drama and pain that ensued during that month-long ordeal, I was so happy to have the procedure done and the pain be gone. There’s nothing like being in a lot of pain to realize how nice it is to not be in pain. Now I just hope that my tooth can hold out for 6 months before it can be crowned. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

TELL ME: Have you ever had a root canal? Are you terrified of the dentist like me? Also, feel free to ask any questions!

Why I’m Leaving NYC

Good morning, friends! I’ve been away for a little while visiting my future home and looking for a new place to live, which has been way more stressful than I expected! As I’ve mentioned several times before, this April, we are moving away from NYC to a place pretty different….

The seacoast of New Hampshire.

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve had what feels like a spiritual connection with New England. When I’m there, I feel a certain bliss, a calmness, a contentment that only New England can make me feel. Luckily, three and a half years ago, I met someone who shares that same deep love for it.

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While I love NYC in many ways, it does have a way of making you feel guilty for leaving it. Friends often don’t get it – they think we’re secluding ourselves to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, others can’t imagine why we’re trading in cold winters for even colder winters, and some are just plain fascinated that we would leave the best city in the world for a much smaller one, with a calmer pace of life and a population of 20,000.

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On the contrary, we’re leaving a place that is always on the go, and a place that to me feels like it always has something to prove, for one where there is more balance. People work hard, but they know to relax and enjoy their surroundings, too. We’ve been lucky to find the perfect city for us. Portsmouth has so much going on, with great restaurants, interesting people, beaches AND mountains, and proximity to three metropolitan areas, NYC included.

New York has what I call a “business suit mentality.” People are always in a rush, even when they aren’t. Getting around, while technically easy, takes so much time, and getting out almost always takes several hours. None of this is all that important, of course, if this is the place you love.

We love New England and its charm, being by the water, being closer to natural surroundings, eating seafood, and shoveling snow. Maybe not the last one so much, but we’ve found all that and more in Portsmouth and after almost two years of deliberation, have decided that we can’t just be tourists there anymore.

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I truly believe that chemistry with a place is the same as chemistry with a person. New England is obviously not the only seacoast I’ve visited, and New Hampshire isn’t the only place with hiking trails and good restaurants. But it is the only place where I feel just right, and that, I can’t really explain. So, I’ve chalked it up to chemistry.

What I Ate Wednesday

Good morning and happy hump day!

In my one and a half years of blogging, I’ve never linked up for WIAW because I have a physical inability to remember to photograph my food, no matter how hard I try. That said, I’ve never shared what a day of eating looks like for me, so I decided this week had to be the one. Naturally, I still forgot to photograph some of it, but even half-eaten, you’ll get the idea.

Next time I’m setting alarms!

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Breakfast:

Breakfast was a cup of 2% Coconut Chobani, my newest obsession, and a bowl of mixed berries. I’ve avoided coconut my whole life up to this point, and now I can’t get enough. Mornings are my favorite time of day because coffee happens, and a good cup of coffee is my favorite way to get rolling in the am. It’s not really even about the caffeine, though I should probably stop saying that because I’ve noticed a certain grumpiness that only disappears after I’ve had my first sip.

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Lunch:

Lunch was my favorite and most commonly made dish: egg whites with mixed veggies. It looks a little weird, but I promise it’s amazing. I saute frozen peppers and onions in a tablespoon of olive oil, pour egg whites over them, add sea salt, pepper, and chives, and brown slightly on both sides. Seriously delicious, and pretty filling. I also had a glass of Guava Synergy and a banana to round things out.

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Snack:

About an hour later I found myself craving a little something, so I had one of these Barbara’s whole wheat fig bars.

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Snack #2:

This was at about 4:30 pm, when there are still a few hours until dinner but I’m kinda hungry because lunch was a while ago, so I had a piece of toasted whole grain spelt bread with peanut butter and a sprinkle of honey.

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Dinner:

I came home from the gym starving, so I fired up the oven the second I walked in to make our favorite “lazy” dinner. This Kashi whole wheat roasted vegetable pizza is everything. For extra vegetables, I sauteed half a chopped Spanish onion with garlic and kale, and sprinkled with sea salt, balsamic vinegar, and pepper flakes. Then I sat down to watch Gilmore Girls and inhale it all, forgetting to take a photo. So here is my mostly eaten dinner, with a glass of wine. It tasted better than it looks. Dessert was a square of dark chocolate.

Throughout the day, I also usually drink a couple of cups of green or hibiscus tea. After 2 pm or so, I switch to decaf to ensure that I have no trouble falling asleep.

To share your own day of eats, link up with Jenn over at Peas and Crayons!

Travel More, Beat Anxiety

Travel and anxiety.  I love one and have the other, so when I read an article earlier this week about using the healing power of travel to calm anxiety, it really resonated with me.

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I’ve always known that travel has helped my anxiety, and it was interesting to read someone else’s account. For me, it’s not so much an escape, because being the anxious person that I am, if I run away from a problem I can’t actually relax until I resolve it, no matter how far I decide to run. What it is is a break from the day to day, the exposure to something new, and a change of atmosphere that allows me to see things in perspective and deal with my issues in a calmer manner. Being around new places and people gives me a mental break and allows me to mull things over without making drastic decisions, and, usually, I return feeling a bit more confident and positive than when I left.

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An understandable reaction to an article that boasts the benefits of travel is that not everyone can afford the luxury or find the time to get away, and, therefore, it’s not a realistic method to beat anxiety. Few people have the savings to travel whenever they please and many don’t have the time, what with families, jobs, and at-home responsibilities taking up most of their week.

I fall into the group of people who can’t afford a getaway anytime I please, and while I do have a relatively flexible job, I can’t just up and leave any time I want, or I won’t get a paycheck.  But when it comes to the cost/time required to travel, I’ll be the first to say that a “getaway” does not have to mean a three week trip across the world. If circumstances don’t allow for at least a week-long vacation, I start researching and figure out a way to feel like I’ve gone away without actually going too far.

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If you’ve been a reader of mine for a while, you know that weekend trips are my everything. Some of them start at 5 am and don’t include an overnight stay and some last a weekend, but small getaways make up a pretty big chunk of my travel and are extremely important to me. I’m a huge fan of exploring towns within a 1-3 hour radius of my NYC apartment and not spending a lot of money while doing it. I hop on a train or rent a car, find some restaurants, activities and attractions, and make a day (or weekend) of it. Hiking or spending any amount of time being outdoorsy only makes it better.

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The result? I return feeling as if I’d gone somewhere far. My brain registers these little trips as big changes from my typical routine, and after a day of seeing new places, eating at new restaurants, and encountering a different pace of life, I return to my own feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the week.

Tell me: how do you deal with anxiety? How often do you travel?

Coffee Break

Happy Friday! Join me for a quick coffee break and check out some of my favorite reads from around the internet this week.

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Food + Wine

One of my favorite ways to procrastinate these days is to look at colorful, fruit-filled acai bowls on Instagram. This berry and kale superfood bowl is making me drool, and has all the ingredients of a nutrient-dense breakfast.

I’m already in love with half of the food bloggers mentioned in this list of healthiest Pinterest boards, but I’m always happy to add to my rotation. I try to avoid pinning things I’ll never make (though I understand the urge to pin all of the beautiful food porn) so I’m constantly on the hunt for recipe inspiration.

Gin and Tonic lover? Apparently this is the secret to making the perfect one.

Health

With all the beauty products out there on the market with their bazillions of ingredients, I often don’t know which ones to choose to ensure that what I’m using isn’t harmful to my skin. Enter Drunk Elephant, a new line sold by Sephora that helps take the guesswork out of the decision with their collection of non-toxic skincare products. Comes with a hefty price tag, but it could be worth it.

We’ve all heard that sitting all day can have some not-so-pleasant health consequences, but it’s so easy to ignore that advice and get lost in our computers. Here are 14 quick and easy desk stretches that will feel good and give you a much-needed break.

Before I discovered how much fun strength training can be, I stuck to mostly cardio workouts because I really didn’t know what to do with a dumbbell. These 3 moves are easy, don’t require much equipment, and might extend your life span, too!

Happiness

10 Thinking Errors That Will Prevent You From Being Mentally Strong. I admit that I’m guilty of all of these at one point or another. Good food for thought.

Lifestyle

24/7 therapist? There’s an app for that. I’m fascinated by these 7 apps that will make you a happier person in 2015.

6 money moves that will up your net worth in your 20’s. Some good advice in this article about how to manage your finances when it counts most: in your twenties.

That’s all I got for ya today! Have a great weekend, everybody!