Finally Smiling... And Now I Get to Smile It Forward!!

Sugar Jones' Sweet Invisalign Smile

No more smirking or doing the little mouth covering shy smile. I'm finally smiling naturally again!

After so many delays due to extensive work that needed to be done before getting my aligners on, I finally started my Invisalign treatment!


It took me a few days after getting my Invisalign aligners to remember that I could smile with a full mouth. See, I've been dealing with a broken smile for many many years. It's a long sad story: I had a few gaps in my smile because of missing teeth, and I couldn't get implants or bridges done until I got my teeth straightened where they were crowded and not connecting properly, but I couldn't start that process until I took care of replacing a few of my fillings. 

Told you it was a long story. 

ANYway… now I have my aligners with an added bonus. My awesome orthodontist was able to create fill in spaces where the gaps are and filled the spaces with resin that makes it look like I have all my pearly whites. Now that the process has started, I'm incredibly excited and smiling as wide and naturally as I used to! 

And now I get to pass the smiles on to someone else!


As a blogger, I get to do some really cool things… things I never thought I'd get to do... but THIS… this has got to be one of the best things I've been asked to do. 

As soon as I found out about the thing I get to do, I knew exactly what to do with the money. Knowing what it's like to be embarrassed or concerned about my smile, I decided to gift the entire amount to a local charity that "transform the lives of disadvantaged infants, children, and teens suffering from physical deformities caused by birth defects, accidents, abuse, or disease through the gift of reconstructive surgery and related healthcare services."

I've known about Fresh Start Surgical Gifts for many years. My mom used to work with them, helping families with their transportation and translating for them when needed. She used to tell me about the doctors and nurses and medical facilities donating their time all to help a kid smile again. I always said that if I ever had the chance, I would donate to that organization.


As a member of the Invisalign Mom Advisory Board, I get to gift a charity with $500! And wow, BONUS: Now through the end of the year, thanks to the Vivien A. Nelson Foundation, Fresh Start gets every gift DOUBLED!!!

*pause for tears because oh my god i never thought I'd get to make $1,000 magically appear for this awesome charity*

Not only that, but one of you lucky people gets to get in on the action, too! Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win $500 for you AND $500 for a friend or charity!


Just click on the link below and enter for your chance to put a smile on someone's face!


Disclosure: As a member of the Invisalign Mom Advisory Board, I received complimentary treatment, however all opinions are my own. :)

Whole Foods Warm Winter Sangria Recipe

It's Holiday Party time! That usually means stress, but thanks to Whole Foods, you don't have to worry!

Whole Foods has several holiday food offerings and promotions to help you set the table with ease. You can even order some (or all… I won't tell!) of your feast on-line! A whole meal for four is only $59.99! You can pick up a fully cooked 3-pound boneless natural turkey breast (skin on for more moisture), mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, traditional gravy, and stuffing. If you have time to make the fixins, but not the bird, no problem! You can just the turkey (or the just the rolls… or just the stuffing… or just whatever it is you need…) to be picked up in-store.

Sangrias Aren't Just For Summer

Every good party deserves a fabulous drink. Being that it's been incredibly chilly of late, I decided to share a recipe for a drink that will keep you warm all winter long.

Sangria (named after the Spanish word for blood, "sangre") can be as different as the drinker, but is usually made up some basic ingredients, mainly wine, chopped fruit, and some sort of sweetener (honey, sugar, syrup, or orange juice), plus a small amount of added brandy, if you want to get extra toasty. Chopped fruit can include orange, lemon, lime, apple, peach, melon, berries, pineapple, grape, kiwifruit and mango. Brandy can be substituted by other liquids such as Seltzer, Sprite, 7 Up, or other juices.

Although sangrias are typically red, white wine can also be used, but those are called sangria blanca. Some recipes that use heavier reds can be lightened by mixing a bottle of white in the mix. In some parts of Southern Spain, sangria is called zurra and is made with peaches or nectarines. Mulled wine can also be used to provide a rich full-bodied taste, chilled with orange juice, lemonade and a sliced pear to add sweetness.

I found all of the ingredients for my Warm Winter Sangria at Whole Foods in Encinitas. Since I'll be mulling the wine, I wanted to go with something that would taste just as good warm. I chose a California wine, "Red Velvet" by Cupcake. It's a bold and sweet wine that was on the Value Wines shelf. Aside from the wine, the ingredients I used are pictured below, including me as "brown sugar." Get it??? Brown Sugar??? Ahhh… I'm so clever… 

Sugar Jones' Warm Winter Sangria

Warm Winter Sangria

  • 4 cups Spiced Pear juice

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 bag of cranberries
  • 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (I used Satsumo Tangerines, just because)
  • 2 oranges, cut in wedges
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 1 lemon
  • Dried mango slices (fresh mango when in season)
  • And, of course, one bottle of Red Velvet wine by Cupcake

Mull the spices in the pear juice

Add wine and fruits.

Stir on medium for about ten minutes.

Serve warm.

Stay toasty!

PS: I was given a $50 Whole Foods gift card for items in this post.

Juice Up with Mophie + Giveaway

Remember in the old days when you had to stay plugged in to the wall and you had to choose between going out into the sun or working? Our mobile lives are second nature to us. We don't think twice about being able to work from the road with all the devices at our disposal.

Until, of course, we run out of juice. 

Suddenly, we're panicking, looking for an outlet as feverishly as Jesse looking to score on Breaking Bad.  You can hear your snarky friends saying "ABC... Always be charging!" You think about every opportunity you had to plug in but didn't because you're invincible and that extends to your devices and that arrogance just lead to that very moment where you are standing in the middle of nowhere, waiting for a train at a deserted location between a lumber yard and a grove of trees, and not being able to finish a post that you are half way through. (Okay, maybe that was ME, but you get it, right?)

Well, no need to get the sweaty face of junkie Jesse... Mophie is here to save your mobile behind!

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Because Mophie loves you. And truth be told, I love my Mophie Juice Pack Power Station right back! So does my husband and my friends who were recently saved by the juicy goodness of the power station.


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And since Mophie probably loves all of you guys, too, I'm going to give you all a chance to win one! Just leave me a comment below and share this post on at least one of your favorite social channels. Winner will be chosen on Friday, June 21st. 

If you don't win or if you aren't patient enough to wait for the announcement next Friday, you can pick up your own Mophie Juice Pack Power Station. BONUS: They're on sale right now! Save $10 when you buy a Mophie Juice Pack Power Station during the month of June at your local Verizon store or order on-line

Good Luck! 

Verizon Home Phone Connect - Twitter Chat and a Chance to WIN!

Over the last several months, I've been using Verizon's Home Phone Connect. I've told you a little about the features; why, in this day of cell phones, I still need a home phone; and that it's going to be my cost-effective lifeline to my daughter in Mexico. Now, I can tell you why I'm going to be keeping the Huaweii device and Verizon HPC service.

Battery Back Up

Last year, we had a major black out throughout the county of San Diego. Thankfully, we had a solar powered generator that kept us going, but once the power was back on, we started looking around the Sugar Shack for ways that we could better be prepared for another outage. The Huaweii device has a battery back up in the event of power outages, whereas we would be unable to use our previous device on our cable phone service.

Take It or Leave It

In the event that we decide to move, we can take our service and number with us. And if we go on an extended road trip, we would be able to take our home phone with us. I know what you're going to ask. "Why not use your cell phone?" Well, as I mentioned before, not everyone in my life gets my cell phone number any more, but there are calls that I have to take while I'm away. Taking my home phone with me would simplify things.

Sounds Good

Finally, there's the phone quality. Calls on our Verizon Home Phone Connect service are so clear! I've even done test calls with friends to make sure it wasn't just me. They mentioned that the tone of the calls were better on the HPC line.

Verizon Home Phone Connect Contest

So now, I get to give you the chance to win a Verizon Home Phone Connect system and trial service! The Huaweii base is a $129.99 value. Winner will not have to sign up for any term contract. You can just try it for a month and see if they like the service and savings.

Here's what you need to do to win:

Leave a comment telling me why you would still need home phone service. Tweet about this post and contest using the hashtag #VZWBuzz. Post about this contest on Facebook.

FYI: The Livefyre commenting system I use allows you to share your comment via Twitter and Facebook, which makes winning this system super duper easy, don't you think?

Twitter Chat

The Verizon Home Phone Connect team will be chatting about the service on during our regular Verizon Mobile Lifestyle chats every Friday at 12:00PM, Pacific. We'll be giving away a Samsung Galaxy Tablet and an LG Tone Bluetooth Headset. Sign up to win at The Online Mom and follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #VZWBuzz.

What Other Bloggers are Saying

Want to hear what other bloggers have to say about Verizon Home Phone Connect? Check out the page that Verizon set up for all of our posts: "Get Plugged Into the Buzz about Home Phone Connect"

Disclaimer: As a member of the Verizon Home Phone Connect Blogger Team, I received a Huaweii device and three months of complimentary service.

Smells are the Flavor of Life

Having a cold is never fun. All that sneezing makes my nose stuffy. The worst part about that is not being able to smell all the marvelous smells in life. I can't smell flowers.

I can't smell garlic wafting through my kitchen.

I can't smell the salt water floating on the breeze down at the beach.

It's like I can't smell the flavors of life. It's perfectly miserable.

Vicks is always my go-to when I want to get back to normal. Every medicine cabinet in my house is stocked with all the Vicks goodies. VapoRub, NyQuil, DayQuil, Nature Fusion, and more. When my medicine cabinet is missing any of my arsenal in combatting colds, I get a little nervous. It's like running out of toilet paper. You don't want to get caught without it right when you need it.

Right now, Vicks is hosting a little contest where one of you could win a Medicine Cabinet Makeover. Each Vicks blogging ambassador gets to give one away. Here's what you need to do if you'd like to win a makeover from me:

  1. Head over to the Vicks VapoRub Facebook page.
  2. Leave a comment filling in the blank: "I know I'm getting better when I can finally smell ______________."
  3. Come back here and leave your answer in the comments.

That's it!

The Medicine Cabinet Makeover will include all VapoRub products (Vapo, Vapo Cream, Vapo Lemon Scented, BabyRub), NyQuil (liquid and caplets), DayQuil (liquid and caplets) and Nature Fusion (liquid and caplets), and a special Feel Better Friend get-well kit.

Good luck!