Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oil Pulling

*I'm supposed to post wedding portraits today, but I couldn't get the photos to upload right now. I've been meaning to post about oil pulling for awhile so I figured today was as good as any. I'll do wedding portraits next Wednesday!

For quite awhile now, I've been suffering from allergies. Year-round. Morning, noon and night. At any given moment, I literally can not breathe from my nose. I'm rarely able to smell and I have a very muted sense of taste. I'm always sneezing and blowing my nose. I've been on OTC allergy medicine for a long time, but I've never been able to get any relief. (I know I need to go to an allergist or an ENT doctor!)

Over Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me an e-mail detailing the practice of oil pulling and the benefits from doing it (allergy relief being one of them). I'm sure you've all heard of it, but just in case you haven't...oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic method for detox and rejuvenation. The idea is simple. By using oil, you attract and remove bacteria, toxins and parasites that live in your mouth and lymph system. These get drawn into the oil and stuck there, and when you spit out the oil you are removing the toxins from your body.

Supposed benefits include:
  • improved oral health - whiter teeth, healthier gums, banishes bad breath
  • relieves headaches and hangovers
  • pulls out sinus congestion and mucus, loosens up sinuses
  • clears your skin
  • helps you sleep better
  • detoxifies your body
Honestly, I read the e-mail and was a little skeptical. I kept saying I'd try it, but months went by before I saw something on Facebook with a link to this post. I read it and thought it better explained the method of oil pulling as well as the benefits and I vowed to give it a try. Then of course another month went by before I actually remembered to buy organic coconut oil at Trader Joe's ($5.99 for 16 oz).

I started the process on Monday, March 24. I've been doing it every morning and I thought I'd share my results so far.

First, it should be noted that the coconut oil is in solid form and obviously oily and greasy. I've been using one teaspoon and find that it's enough for me. The original e-mail said to use 1/2 to 1 full tablespoon but I honestly think that would be way too much. Once you put the oil in your mouth, you have to begin swishing it around for it to melt. This is the worst part! It just feels so weird and disgusting. But it does get better after a couple of times doing it.

Secondly, the 20 minute time seems like it will take forever but it really doesn't. Especially if you multitask. It's best to do it first thing in the morning so after I wake up, I immediately put the oil in my mouth and start the process. I've done it while taking a shower, putting on my makeup, curling my hair, etc...the time really does fly by! (I'm actually doing it right now while typing this blog post!).

My results have been positive and while not scientifically proven, I do believe that oil pulling has various health benefits. Here is what it has done for me:
  • FRESHER BREATH: Do you ever get that "fuzzy" feeling in your mouth? Like your teeth aren't quite clean, even after flossing and brushing? Or after eating? I have noticed that oil pulling has eliminated that feeling and my breath has been so fresh, even hours after brushing or eating. I used to crave a "fresh breath feeling" and would chew gum frequently throughout the day. I can say that after my first day of oil pulling, I didn't chew one single piece of gum.
  • HEALTHIER GUMS: When brushing my teeth, I would often find that my gums would bleed a little. This has been completely eliminated after oil pulling. I no longer have sensitive gum spots.
  • WHITER TEETH: Everyone wants whiter teeth and many pay an arm and a leg to get them. While my teeth are already pretty white, I have noticed definite improvement here as well. This picture was taken after 6 days of oil pulling (no filter and please ignore my husband's blue steel look):

  • SINUS DRAINAGE: This was my main reason for trying oil pulling. While I haven't had the significant amounts promised by oil pulling believers, I do think that the process has helped alleviate some sinus issues. I've also been taking Mucinex Allergy and using Nasonex spray so I can't be sure how much of my relief can be attributed to the oil pulling.
  • BETTER SLEEP: I have to get up early for work (5:30 am) so I try to be in bed by 10:00 pm at the latest. I usually have to take a Melatonin to ensure that I am able to fall asleep. However, after two days of oil pulling I noticed that I was falling asleep without the use of a sleep aid. I've only taken Melatonin once in the last 10 days!
Overall, I've been super pleased with the results. I know there are no proven scientific benefits to this practice, but I feel like it's helping me so I'll keep doing it! Let me know if you do this or are thinking about giving it a try!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wedding Recap: Ceremony

Whoops, I took an unintentional break from posting my wedding recaps! Life got a little crazy with the snow storms we had here in GA back in February, and my work schedule was all messed up for awhile there. Wednesday's kept sneaking up on me and I didn't have time to get my recaps set up...

So now where were we? I've already posted about the rehearsal dinner, salon/prep, and decorations and details. Today will be all about the ceremony! I really didn't like being up in front of everyone. Our cousin Al performed the ceremony and to be honest, I can't remember a single word he said! But I hear he was really funny, heartfelt, and awesome. I do remember that it was really windy and threatening to rain so I kept having to adjust my veil. It was super annoying. I also remember my dress being a little too long and my heels were sinking into the ground so when I walked down the aisle, I had to have my dad carry my bouquet so I could pick up my dress. All of the photos show me looking down, trying not to trip. I hated that!

Oh well. In the end we achieved what we came to do. Said our vows and became husband and wife! The real fun started after the ceremony :)

The parents waiting to be seated

my dad and I waiting to walk down the aisle

some of our guests (aunt, uncle, Chris' sister)

Al and Chris before the ceremony

more guests

Chris' parents being seated

Chris looks so serious

my cousins

the maid of honor with my sister-in-law

my turn tears?? (!!!!)


Al must have said something funny!

sand ceremony

our first kiss!


With my sweet girl!

Next week, I'll be back on track and sharing formal photos!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Decorations & Details

Today I'm sharing decorations and details. The entire wedding was DIY and I pretty much did all of the preparations. The day of is a completely different story. I seemed to run out of time and my lovely mom, dad, in-laws, cousins, brothers, nephews, sisters-in-law, etc. etc. set everything up and it was exactly as I hoped it would be! I couldn't be more grateful for all of the help we received in the days leading up to the wedding.

I will say that it is tough to plan a destination wedding, even when the destination is your in-law's backyard. Setting up arrangements with the hotel, the caterer, the photographer, etc. all long distance and without any knowledge of how it will actually all come together is stressful. But having help makes a big difference!

Did you know it pretty much rained and was dreary our entire wedding weekend? That's a chance you take when you plan an outdoor event. But the crazy thing was that it rained before and after all of our events, but not during. So it was dreary for the entire rehearsal dinner but didn't actually start raining until about 30 minutes after our guests left. Then it rained all the way up until it was time to start setting up the tent the day of the wedding, but none that day. It certainly looked like it was going to pour right before our ceremony started, but it just didn't. Crazy how that works!

We had the ceremony and reception on my in-law's property. The ceremony was in an open area and the reception was held about 25 yards away under a tent! Made it super easy for all of us!

the arch we were married in front of...
my mom put this whole thing together!

aisle markers made from mason jars 
hanging from shepherd's hooks

the ceremony site from a distance

the entrance table

my homemade programs, which also served as fans

place markers 

our sand unity table

Inside the tent...

this piece of art was the first thing I bought for the wedding
and set the tone for the theme - vintage & rustic

one of my favorite song lyrics that I wrote on a chalkboard

a frame with old pictures of us as babies and kids 

our photo guestbook, made on shutterfly 

I made all of the glasses for the guests with personalized handstamped tags

I found this vintage window frame with a flowerbox
so I taped engagement photos to the panes

we used vintage suitcases as a decoration
and made one a card box 

the drink table, guestbook area, and card box

personalized napkins from The Knot

drink signs and descriptions

The tables, my mother-in-law did all of the flower arrangements
with flowers from her own garden! 

 I made these burlap silverware holders and 
stamped the hearts as well as the tags

each guest had this thank you letter at their seat 

The favors table

I made homemade peach jam and peach chutney

I also made candles!

and all of the labels and tags 

I hope you enjoyed these pictures of our decorations. These photos were definitely my favorite of the bunch. It was fun to look back again at all of the details. Next up, I'll share ceremony pictures!

All photos taken by Kirstin Bimson Photography.