Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Things We Do For Love (I mean Vanity!)

Yes, I wanted to look my best for our wedding (and photos)! Here are a few of the cosmetic things I treated myself to prior to the wedding:

Zoom! Whitening
I had my teeth cleaned and then Zoom whitened one week later at Embassy Dental in Donelson. I had called many other dentist offices in the area but all were charging around $85 minimum for a cleaning. Embassy said they would only charge $45 if I also wanted to get my teeth whitened ($199). Despite the total cost being more, I had never tried whitening and thought it would be a good one-time-only experiment.

All in all I had a great experience. The hygienist did a good job with the cleaning although it felt a bit rushed (in & out in 30 minutes). I've been going to private practices for many years and they seem to spend more time with you, although that's probably just because they also do x-rays and the dentist actually comes in to chat for a few minutes.
For the whitening, my total time spent at the office was almost two hours. I had four consecutive 15 minute sessions. Other than the discomfort of having your mouth stretched open and lying in a chair for a long time, I only experienced a minor burning sensation on my top lip during the first session. It wasn't until the end of the final session that I felt the first "zingers." This is an intense pain that shoots through the tooth. They told me the best way to counteract it was by taking ibuprofen, using Sensodyne toothpaste, ACT fluoride mouthwash, and the custom-fitted trays they gave me to take home and fill with fluoride gel. I did all of these things but the pain was pretty intense for the first 24 hours. This is not the aching like after you've had orthodontic work; this is like being struck by lightning or getting an electrical shock -- an intense jolt of pain that had me seeing stars and physically reacting, like jerking my hand or arm and thus not making it very safe to drive! However I can report that my teeth are multiple shades whiter than they were before so it was probably worth it!
before whitening
after whitening
Haircut & Color
On a more budget-friendly note, when I'm in Nashville I usually get my hair cut at Great Clips in Hermitage. For a while I just accepted the first available person, but more recently I've learned to wait for Debbie, who has short hair herself and knows how to texture it just right. As a regular customer, I receive coupons in the mail, so my haircut only cost $8.99 (including a $2 tip).

After over a year of spending hundreds of dollars to have my hair cut and bleached platinum blond at Antonio Prieto Salon in New York City, I am quite happy to spend only $3 for Revlon ColorSilk home hair color (or something comparable). Depending on the season, I prefer dark browns and burgundies. I thought the contrast of dark hair would look nice with my white wedding dress plus the purplish color is a favorite!
resting my back before the ceremony
VersaSpa® Sunless Tanning System
This was only the second time that I can recall getting a sunless tan; the first was in New York City for an event a few years ago. I decided to go to Sun Tan City in Hermitage because it is close to my residence and their pricing is competitive ($50 for two applications). I tried the medium tint first and liked the results. I think the key is to follow the instructions of the staff/machine; make them explain it to you in detail and demonstrate the standing positions if it's your first time. You have to wait at least 4-6 hours before you take a shower, get sweaty, etc. so plan accordingly as it takes that long for the color to set in and then just don't scrub too hard in the shower!

The following week (three days before the wedding), I had the second application. It takes a few days to achieve maximum color but this time I was less satisfied with the results. I noticed some splotchiness around my hands, elbows, knees, etc. but luckily it's not too obvious in our wedding photos!
with this ring... but if you look closely at my hands you can see where the fake tan ends!
Spa Manicure & Pedicure
Greg & I made an appointment the day before the wedding at Holiday Nails in Hermitage where $38 gets you a spa manicure and pedicure. While we were supposed to have simultaneous treatments, one of the guys showed up late so it was more like one after the other. Otherwise we enjoyed the morning and had a nice time chatting with the owners who are from Vietnam. I chose OPI "A Grape Fit" nail polish for my toes and OPI "Altar Ego" for my hands. Greg decided to just have buffing, no polish.
Greg gets a manicure
Taking advantage of a recent Sharing Spree deal, I got a Signature Facial by Krystal Anderson at Serenity Skin in Brentwood the day before the wedding. It only cost $39.90 for a one hour treatment (a $75 value) plus I left a $20 tip. Getting a facial is one of my favorite indulgences, although it can be quite painful when they're extracting pores! However Krystal did a great job AND she gave me a complimentary microdermabrasion when she found out I was getting married the next day.

All in all, I think these special expenditures were well worth the cost and effort to make me look my best on my wedding day!

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