Monday, 27 January 2014

Thoughts On Chinese New Year

It's the period of time where things get messy again. Just took my poor Christmas tree down together with my sister after much struggling and fiddling with the ladder a few days ago. Well, I guess it's not that bad since there's another festive season around the corner to look forward to.

But thinking of the preparation just makes me tired LOL.
I wished I was licensed to laze around. Then maybe my mum would stop yelling at me to do house chores.

I was away from all that temporarily. Thank God.

Two weeks ago, I was at my grandma's taking a break on life.
I wished.
It's like a retreat being in my hometown if it isn't Chinese New Year, because there's no one and only my grandma there. Plus my grandpa at times.
Chinese New Year was always an exciting event to our family, if you ask me. But somehow, we got so caught up in that tradition which it kinda became an obligation for us to stick to every year.

Which is...
1. Having a Reunion Dinner at out place
2. Going for Chinese New Year mass
3. Watch Lion dances
4. Collect ang pows.
5. Eat Siew Yok, and cookies
6. Visit our hometown
7. Play with fireworks (illegal and only if we're lucky)
8. Collect more ang pows.

Pretty blah.
When I was in secondary school, Chinese New Year was alot more fun because I got to go to my  friends' houses, have karaoke sessions with them, and play with their PlayStation/Wii/Whatever they had. Oooooh and we gambled like high rollers TOGETHER!

Ok not really that much of a high roller unless you consider RM1 on a game of blackjack as one.

Plus we got to collect ang pows from all their parents since we used to visit like 5 houses a day. *evil chuckle*

Aaaaah. Memories, memories.
Hopefully I get to reunite with them again this year.


 What happened recently...

 It was my mum's birthday.
For the first time in a really long time, I decided to make her a card.
I admire myself for being so filial. 
It was actually cuz we sorta had a fight, and I wanted to make it up to her.

And also for the first time, my sisters and I actually spent money on her.
We bought my mum this blouse/dress because it was SOOOO her.

 I cooked my own steak again, this time topped with veggies haha.
I call this Ivena Gourmet.
And oh I cooked pasta as well the past few days!
Realised it was one of the super easy meals a person should learn to cook.
With the capability of cooking a steak and some pasta, I think I can finally be a good housewife :') HAHAHA 

Went for the Planet Shakers night concert.

 With the adorable Elizabeth Soo :)

 Bernard, Jane and Anthony.

 Rodney, Audrey, Anthony & Terrance.

 The bunch we went with, Waze-ing our way there.

It really was like a concert, but much more meaningful :)
 Just look at the crowd.

Hope everyone has done their CNY shopping and is ready for the year of the horse to come! :D

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Things You Need to Know Before Getting Braces

"Beauty is painful."

That's what they all say. And achieving a beautiful smile with a perfect row of sparkly white teeth is no exception to this. This is due to the fact that not all of us were born with perfect teeth, thus corrections using braces or constant trips to the dentist would need to be done.

I know that majority of teenagers these days are already wearing braces, and most of them probably didn't know what they were getting into - until they've done it.

So this article I compiled is for those who are planning to get braces, but are not quite sure of what to prepare for.

There are a few types of braces which you can choose from, but I will only introduce three widely available ones in Malaysia:

Metal braces
This is the most common one where any dentist can provide this system of braces. Brackets (the metal-looking pieces) are glued to each individual tooth. It also requires tooth extraction. Personally, I find this method as the 'fun' one, as you get to opt for colours on your braces!

Damon braces
As far as I know, not all dental clinics provide this system. Damon braces do not require rubber bands, so it is more comfortable than traditional braces. Due to that, you can't choose to have colours on your teeth (as the colours are from elastic bands). However, the brackets allow the wire to slide which gives the patient more freedom of movement and eliminates the need of tightening the braces every month, which according to my sister, is horrible. Also, it usually does not require tooth removal. And this is mine!

Invisalign braces
These braces are virtually invisible. They are clear moulds acting as aligners, which can be removed for brushing your teeth. Down side of this is that it is super expensive and takes two weeks for the aligners to be made after the dentist records the state of your teeth. Plus, it is available in Malaysia but pretty rare.

After determining what type of braces you want, you have to also know about the 'emotional preparations' needed.

1. Braces HURT.
This is probably what everyone should know. Before the entire process of placing the braces on, you'll feel giddy with excitement on what the future holds for you. And images like this will be plastered in your mind:

Thinking that you'll look like this after everything.

However, reality only hits you the moment you lay on that dentist chair, when he takes out all his scary looking tools.
Just kidding.

Most people would opt for the method where teeth has to be pulled out to make space for the rest, and tooth extraction hurts when the Anesthetic wears out.

After a week or so, it's then time for the real thing- putting on the braces in your mouth.
That is when you notice for the first time how 2 hours is actually a really long time. Basically, the process takes around that much time, but for me my dentist took an extra half an hour more. Then he will tell you to relax and starts pulling at your mouth, trying to look at the state of every single one of your teeth.

The dentist will tug and tug at both corners of your mouth to the point you feel your lips getting sore and dry.
And you would taste alot of rubber inside your mouth because of the gloves the dentist uses.

After you finally have your braces on, the dentist would give you a dental kit where everything you need would be inside. At this moment, your lips will be trying to get used to the metal pieces (called brackets) inside your mouth. And most of the time, the friction of the metal rubbing against your lips will cause ulcers to break out on your lips, which would add to the discomfort.

Getting used to them is probably what alot of people struggle to do. The first time, after you had your braces, biting into food is probably the most horrible experience.

Your teeth feels like its too weak to chew anything at all. One of my friend described it as 'You feel like all your teeth are just gonna drop inside your food'. That was indeed rather true. Some of my friends took a month just to get used to eating, and had to eat porridge for the entire 30 days.

I had mine on two days after Christmas and boy, that really was an extra push for me to get used to eating with it. I had chicken, beef and lamb laid out right in front of my eyes at a party the veery next day. I couldn't resist it. So I helped myself. I cut everything into really tiny pieces and chewed slowly on the side which hurt less.

The pain will eventually subside after a week, at least.

2. You can't eat everything.
This is likely going to be the hardest for people who are food lovers, like me, to accept.
You'll get used to eating with braces after a while, however there are foods which you would need to avoid:

  • Chewy foods: bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
  • Sticky foods: dodol, caramels, gum, taffy
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy, raw carrots
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, guava, chocolate bars straight from the fridge
  • Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces.

This is to also avoid people from breaking their brackets/damaging their braces, which would delay the entire treatment process. 
Eg. Ah Meng is supposed to wear braces for a year and a half, but because he breaks his bracket almost every month, he needs to wear it for more than 2 years.

Then again, it's not the end of the world because there are many soft foods that people with braces are still able to eat.
Not to mention, delicious soft food.

3. Braces require dedication
You need to brush your teeth after every meal or snack. This is so you can protect your teeth from plaque attacking it. When I say brush, I really mean brushing your teeth until it is clean. You will need to be extremely thorough when it comes to cleaning, since the brackets and wires of your braces tend to hold and accumulate food particles, even when you don't feel it. Thus, a travelling toothbrush might be necessary.

For me, I was advised to brush my teeth 4-5 times a day. And brushing was a slight problem for me because I do not like pain in my mouth, well so does everyone else. You have to brush at all angles, even at the top and bottom of your gum, which might cause it to bleed abit occasionally. 

Besides that, it is also important to plan your meals and snack times. You can't afford to be eating at all times whenever and wherever you are. The reason being you'll have more than 4-5 meal/snack times a day and would require you to end up brushing your teeth more than 7 times a day, which will make your gums sore and again, add to all the pain happening in your mouth.

As time elapse, most people would stop brushing regularly and return to their old habit of brushing only twice a day - when you wake up and when you go to bed. Some people are lucky and their teeth do not attract plaque easily, but the rest whose teeth attract plaque easily, would end up with teeth discolouration.

And teeth discolouration ain't pretty.
White spots would appear which is actually a permanent damage to the teeth.

Bear with me, this picture is disgusting but it's for the purpose of understanding your teeth better.
This is how plaque accumulates in your teeth. 
You might not see it, because it starts accumulating at the back of teeth first where people normally pay the least attention to, in terms of brushing.

I mean you don't want to end up like this right.

And that's it!
I hope all these information here helped in some ways to those who are still in that phase of deciding on braces or not :)
If you know someone who is having a hard time deciding, feel free to share this :)


PS I did the Damon method, where I didn't need to pluck out any teeth.
Till the next post :D

Sunday, 19 January 2014

My Cousin's Wedding

One of the few beautiful things in life is the coming of two entirely different people in becoming One, as a whole. My cousin sister had this blessed opportunity yesterday and I'm really happy for her.

They're gonna have tall babies man.
My cousin is 6ft and the groom is like taller than her.

Anyway, we woke up at 7am on that day just to get ready and reach their place at 8.45. We had to go there so early in the morning because there were gonna be these games set up for the groom and his fellow 'brothers' a.k.a heng dai-s.

If you're Chinese, you would know that these games are one of the traditions we have before a couple gets married. The games are supposed to act as obstacles which a groom (and his brothers/friends) have to overcome, in order to prove his love to the bride.

Often, the games are ridiculous enough to make the groom cringe and want to hide.

 An example would be this one where the guys had to pick up jelly using only their mouths, which is placed on the other person's mouth.

And anyone can push your head on purpose to make you kiss each other.
I think I wouldn't enjoy it if I was straight.

My, would you look at this model.

Then we finally got to go up the bride and groom to receive ang pow packets.
But of course not without a few good wishes though.
From past experiences, I realised the best wish in the world is to wish them that they may have 3 babies in 2 years.
It's a chinese phrase.
Yea. Like how are they even gonna be able to enjoy their honeymoon right.
But for some unknown reasons, all newly weds just love that idea I tell you.

I took the wishing thingie a notch higher though.
I granted them my blessings that they may 6 babies in 3 years.

Roast pork.

And the pig followed us wherever we went.

I know what you're thinking lol...  
And I do agree with you hahaaha
When you actually understand the sexual connotation of these initials, you realise how wrong these two alphabets sound together.

 The dinner was held at Grand Imperial.

 The Garlic fish was so good.
It was so delicious you simply had to forget that garlic gives you bad breathe.

  What we loved most from the dinner was the photobooth.

 And then when we couldn't stay at the booth for too long, we took our business elsewhere.

Le Moustache Sisters.

This is probably the only wedding I'd get to attend in a long time, considering almost everyone is now married on my dad's side.