Aug 26, 2016


So it's been way too long since I've been on my blog, rambling about life, opinions, and what not. So  I'm back and I'd like to talk about life. My last post being way back when my son Elias was only a year and a half old. Fast forward two years and here we are, Elias is now a little over three and a half, and is still my fearless, fun-seeking little boy, with a heart of gold. He's now an older brother to my other little blessing, Oziel Iker. We'll actually be celebrating his first birthday in Anna Maria Island in about a week! He's my cute little bear (hence his nickname Ozi 🐻), and he's just the sweetest, smiley, and spunky little baby I know. You might be asking how do I manage it all with two very energetic kiddos under the age of 4? Patience and balance. It's not easy that's for sure, and some days are harder than others, but overall it's like riding a roller coaster, with it's ups and it's downs and it's crazy twists and turns, it's all part of the fun. That's exactly it, make it fun and keep a smile on your face, life's too short to do anything else!

Just this morning I get a text from one of my cousins that has a very smart and energetic 5 year old boy, and is pregnant with another little boy due any day nowShe said she was losing her marbles over her 5yr old not wanting to brush his teeth in the mornings, and asking if I had any kind of recommendations. So I basically approached it the way I do most things with parenting, don't sweat the small stuff, and choose your battles wisely. Every parent chooses their own way in guiding their children through life, I choose to be their voice of reason.  Reasoning with them with love and logic, and incorporating positive discipline along the way, all of which I pray will help them become happy, confident, and self-sufficient adults.

I'm happy to say that I was able to bring some calm to my cousins storm today, and her frown turned into a smile with a couple of my suggestions. It confirmed my reason of starting and now continuing my blog. I love to help others find reasons to smile and enjoy life, as I continue to AIM to be a better person everyday. Appreciating, inspiring, and motivating others with my own positivity, love, and wisdom. ✌🏽️❤️📚

Here is my smiley little bear, hope his smile brings one to yours too!

May 5, 2014

Healthy you say? Think again!

We all know what foods are unhealthy for us, like that warm cheesy hamburger, that greasy pepperoni slice, and that creamy Twix bar. The thing about these foods,though, is that we know we aren't helping ourselves in the nutritional department, but we understand that eating them every once in a while isn't a big deal. 

But then there's "healthy" foods that we think are good for us, or at least not too bad, yet in reality are some of the culprits behind some of our weight and body issues. What foods can possibly be sabotaging our waistlines you ask? Read on and I will give you my top five "healthy" foods that aren't as healthy as we think. 

1-> 'Juicing' Juices 

Hate to break it to all the juicing fanatics, drinking those green mixtures all day isn't as healthy as you think. If you've made your own, you know it takes pounds of vegetables and fruit to get a 16oz glass, which may be one of the reasons why we think it's so good for us. On average drinking a glass would be equivalent to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables, but it also concentrates the natural sugars and removes the fiber, which is what slows down the absorption of sugars into our bloodstream. Unless you are doing an all liquid cleanse (which will be my next blog topic) I wouldn't recommend replacing your meals with 'juicing' juices. 

2-> Salads
Just because it's called a salad doesn't automatically mean that it's good for you. Actually, there are some salads that have more calories than a Big Mac, yikes! Some of the offenders: sliced deli meats, fried chicken, cheeses, croutons, crispy strips, bacon, glazed almonds/nuts, creamy based dressings, and pre-made/on-the-go salads. 

The key is to stay away from the already made dishes like Chef, Cobb, and Ceasar. Try and make your salad at home so you know what and how much goes in it. Try and go for healthier alternatives for toppings such as grilled chicken, raw sliced almonds, sunflower or flax seeds. If you want cheese, try using feta instead of the heavier softer cheeses. Also, try and use half a lemon or red vinegar with evoo (extra virgin olive oil), pepper, and a pinch of salt as your dressing. 

When ordering a salad at a restaurant, make healthier substitutions, or simply 86 (remove) the topping offenders. Always ask for the dressing on the side, and instead of pouring it all over the salad, try dipping your fork into with every bite. 

3-> Flavored Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is everywhere these days. This thick, creamy, and high protein snack was put on our grocery shelves in the late 90s by the brand Fage. Now every brand of yogurt has jumped on this trend and started to add artificial junk to it. The worst are the flavored Greek yogurts, which have fake flavors, sweeteners, added sugars, and less protein per serving than the nonfat plain Greek yogurt. 

On top of all the added junk in these flavored yogurts, people then add other no no's such as granola (#5 on my list), dried fruits, and cereals. I suggest buying nonfat plain Greek yogurt, adding fresh fruit, some raw almonds, a tsp of chia seeds or wheat germ, a dash of cinnamon, and if desired a drizzle of pure honey. 

4-> Whole and Multi Grain Breads 

A lot of people think they're doing the right thing by choosing wheat on their sandwiches, or picking up the 12-grain 
at the supermarket, but the sad fact is that these breads aren't that much better for you than the plain old white bread, as they're made with refined and processed grains, which means you aren't getting the full nutritional benefit of an actual whole grain. 
Start by reading labels to make sure it's truly whole grain or wheat. If the first ingriedient on the list is a refined flour (other words to look out for are "bleached" or "unbleached refined") it's most definitely not "whole wheat" or "whole grain", and is essentially  white bread with a brown tint. So next time you're at a restaurant or ordering a sandwhich and you can't read labels, just take the top bread off, which will cut out half the calories and carbs, as well as lower the amount of your refined flour intake. 

5-> Granola
"Granola" ironically is attributed to healthy   types, yet this crunchy snack is anything but. Most of the granolas are made with rolled oats, puffed rice, and sugar, none of which have a real nutritional value. It's packed with calories, fat, and sugar (some stock up to 450 calories per cup!) and are low in vitamins and minerals. 

Plus, granola is a food that's hard to digest and can cause bloating, gas, and other stomach issues. So instead of topping your yogurt with it, why not use a high fiber cereal, a serving of wheat germ, or a handful of raw almonds instead? 

So I hope you enjoyed my top five list. There were plenty of others that didn't make the cut (such as peanut butter, gluten-free foods, and fancy coffee drinks) but maybe I'll have another blog post on these bad boys in the near future. In the meantime, I hope you can use this list while making your everyday choices, and give yourself yet another reason to smile! 

Apr 9, 2014

Home Whitening with Colgate Optic White

So spring is here and summer will be here before you know it. Do you want to whiten your teeth for those brighter days that lay ahead? Well, I came across a great and effective home whitening product that I've been using for the past couple of weeks, and I have to share it with all of you. 

Now, let me start by saying that an in-office whitening procedure is hands down always the best in regards to timing and results. If you want to achieve fast, efficient, and longer lasting results, than I recommend you consult a dentist about their in-office whitening. Having said this, if for whatever reason you still can not go and get your teeth professionally whitened, don't worry, there are some good over-the-counter (OTC) products that can give you a brighter smile at a very affordable price. 

Colgate's Optic White -toothbrush plus built-in whitening pen is one of those OTC home whitening products that gives great results without putting a big dent in your pocket. I must say, at first I was a little reluctant to try it because I'm always nervous about getting tooth sensitivity, and a lot of OTC home whitening products tend to do this. I started using this product for the last few weeks and have not had any negative side effects with it. Therefore, I would highly recommend it to those that are looking for an affordable and convenient way of whitening their teeth at home. I give it two thumbs up in my book! 

* Easy-to-Use
* Affordable (about $14) 
* Pretty quick results (3 days for me) 
* Little to No Tooth Sensitivity

Instructions on how I used it: 
1. Brush in the morning after you've had breakfast for 2 minutes with Colgate's Optic White tooth paste in a soft circular motion.
2. Rinse vigorously for 1 minute with Colgate's Optic White Whiteseal rinse.

3. Apply a thin layer of the whitening paste from the built-in pen to the front of your upper and lower teeth. (Tip: I did one twist for the upper teeth and one twist for the lower teeth, and I did not use it on my molars because I do not show those teeth when I smile, but you can if you want). 

4. Spit out any of the excess whitening paste that may have rubbed off onto your tongue and lips. 

5. Do not eat/drink for 30 minutes.

6. Repeat this process at night before going to bed. (Tip: For best results you should do this 2 times a day). 

You can get this wonderful product at Target, Walmart, CVS, and I've seen it online on certain websites, although I do recommend buying it from a store, because the chemicals/ingredients may change through the packaging, handling, and shipping process. 

Well if you decide to give it a try, please let me know what you think, or if you have any questions just post them below.


Apr 1, 2014

Smile Baby, Smile!

It's never too early to start practicing healthy dental habits with your little one. I couldn't believe that over 40% of 2-to-5 year olds have dental cavities, and that number has been steadily increasing over the past few years. There is no reason not to take a proactive approach in preventing early and future dental cavities as soon as your baby is born. Don't wait until they are older, because by then it may already be too late. 

There are plenty of ways you can keep your baby's gums and teeth as healthy as possible. Below, I will be sharing my top three baby oral and dental products that I have used and currently using with my 14-month-old son Elías. I will list their pros and cons, and any other suggestions I have for each of them.  If you have used these or any other ones I don't have listed here, and you would like to share your thoughts about them, please let me know, the more feedback the better. :-D

1Oral Care Rabbit made by MAM
This cute and easy-to-use product comes in a nice blue or pretty pink color. It can be used as soon as your baby is born, which is what I did. I would just place my index finger through one of the ears and run it along his upper and lower gums, and sometimes if I was lucky, I could get his little tongue too. I used this as soon as I was home with him and up until he got his first set of baby teeth at around 4 months. 
BPA free, soft material gentle on sensitive and tender gums, easily washed by hand or in a washing machine, appealing to baby, and distracts baby from uncomfortable teething. 
Baby can close down pretty hard and hurt your finger (TIP* Use caution, and do in segments. May be easier if someone else is holding baby).

2. Spiffies 
These baby toothwipes come in a variety of great tasting flavors such as grape, apple, and mango. They are soaked in a Xylitol solution, which is a natural and safe way in preventing the onset of cavities. I started using these as soon as the first teeth erupted, right around 4 months. I would use them twice a day (morning and night, after his milk and/or meal). I continue to use them today but only at night. I suggest cutting the wipe into two and using one packet daily, since they are pricey. To use, wrap the wipe tightly around the index finger and with a circular motion run it along the front and back of the gums and any teeth that are present. Discard after use. 
Safe,convenient, easy-to-use, taste appealing for babies, can be chilled for use on tender gums.
Pricey (about $15 per box of 20 wipes) , infant can bite down on finger, leaves finger feeling sticky. 

3. Learn to Brush Set made by MAM
This ideal brushing kit comes in a royal blue, lime green, or a fuschia pink. It comes with 2 brushes, the one with the long handle for use by parent and child to learn proper brushing method, and the the smaller toothbrush for use by the child once he or she learns to brush independently. It also comes with a safety shield to keep the brush away from the back of the baby's mouth. 
I am currently using the long handle toothbrush and shield with Elías twice a day. I do not use toothpaste right now, because I feel that it is not yet neccessary, especially since I am still using the Spiffies at night for the xylitol benefit. I will let you know when and what toothpaste I choose to use in the near future. ;-) 
BPA Free, team-work emphasis makes for an easier and more successful outcome, rounded and compact head for comfort, red bristles indicate proper amount of toothpaste, other end of long brush has a gum massager so baby can use on tender gums.
Thin handle on smaller brush can be harder to use for small hands, but other than that, great product! 
I hope these products come in handy for your little bundle of joy,or for other loved ones that may benefit from them as well. Put them together in a cute bag or basket and take as a baby shower gift and spread the reason for babies and mommies to smile alike! 

Mar 21, 2014

I've missed you indeed, but I'm finally back!

Hey everyone! It's been too long since I've last posted something, and as some of you already know, in the last year, there's been a huge change in my life. I am now a proud mommy to a 14 month old boy, named Elías Leon. He is such a happy and loving little boy, with tons of energy. One thing is for sure, and that is that he loves smiling and laughing, just like his mommy! 

His first baby teeth erupted when he was only 4.5 months, which was super early on the charts. Currently he has 12 baby teeth, and the his first baby molars are already showing through his gums. 
So I was thinking, what better way to start blogging again, then to incorporate my little munchkin in my first post back?! 

I have been doing a couple of things to maintain his oral and dental hygiene tip top since day one, and I would love to share all of my tips and suggestions to all of those current and/or future mommies out there. 

So I will be following up this post with pictures of all the wonderful and handy products that I've used to this day with Elías. I will have pros and cons, tips, and any other helpful points I might have come across with each product. I'm so excited to finally get back on here and start sharing my thoughts on those topics that I have near and dear to my heart. 
I hope to have this infant oral healthcare post up within the next couple of days, in the meantime, I'll leave you with a smile that simply melts my heart everytime. Please meet my little ray of sunshine, Elías Leon Madrigal...

Mar 10, 2012

Snack More, Lose Weight!

Yes, you can eat between meals, and even a late night bite without having to feel bad. In fact, it's one of the best ways to slim down. Of course you still have to make healthy and nutritious choices. Healthy snacking will help avoid those energy slumps, and improve your weight-control efforts. Eating smaller amounts throughout the day will give you a metabolic boost, which helps burn extra calories per day. Jackpot, right?! I have a couple of favorite delicious and very nutritious snacks that I highly recommend to those that want to give their not so active metabolism a little pick-me-upper, let me know which ones you like, or if you have any others that you can add.*

• 1 or 2 brown rice cakes w/ 1 Tbs of almond butter or natural peanut butter

• A small banana and a serving of pistachios

• A bag of baked apple or pear chips

• Cucumber wheels topped with 1/2 cup mixture of pesto and nonfat Greek yogurt

• 1 celery stick cut into 2inch pieces and filled with natural peanut butter

• 1 plain flavored Chobani Greek yogurt with a handful of sliced almonds and dried cherries

Your snack should contain the right mix of nutrients (combo of complex carbs and protein) and it shouldn't be more than 300 calories.

Mar 4, 2012

Feel Triumphant with Trident

I always recommend for my patients to buy Trident sugarless gum with xylitol. The main reason is because chewing this type of gum has plenty of positive benefits. If you are at high risk for dental caries, suffer from dry mouth, or need a breath saver after snacks or meals, then Trident with xylitol should be your new best friend.

Xylitol, the main ingredient in this gum, is what helps fight those acids that are released by plaque, which break down the enamel of our teeth and eventually lead to dental caries. It helps neutralize the environment and essentially starves and kills the caries-forming bacteria.

This gum can also help remove food that may have been left on the chewing surfaces of our teeth, helping them stay cleaner after meals or snacks. Chewing can also help stimulate saliva production, giving some much needed relief to those that suffer from dry mouth. Last, but not least, it can help neutralize odors, creating a nice and fresh smelling breath.

I love the fun fruity flavors, especially the one below, so try them out and see which one you like, let me know ;-)