Thursday, May 23, 2024

Tools To Remove Dental Plaque At Home

Lately, I'm seeing portable electric dental plaque removers on sale to use at home. They catch my attention since taking care of my teeth is a priority. I'd sell all my worldly possessions to save my teeth!

As it turns out, using an electric dental plaque remover at home is a bad idea for several reasons that cause harm. If plaque removers claim to be safe, they likely are doing a poor job of removing plaque. A buildup of plaque can harden into dental tartar. If left untreated, this can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Here's how it happens: Plaque produces acids that feed on sugar and break down tooth enamel resulting in tooth decay. Enzymes in bacteria also damage connective gum tissue and bone leading to periodontal disease.

For good oral health, it's vital to remove plaque between teeth. The tools used to remove the buildup of plaque are metal and ultrasonic scrapers that have dangerously sharp points. Dentists and dental hygienists have been trained in dental scraping to remove every bit of plaque and tartar from your tooth surface and under your gums safely. Without proper training in using these dental tools, we could damage our delicate gum tissue. (In the image above, the black electric plaque remover doesn't have a point, it uses thread, but how does the electric device help? In fact, the greater power in moving the thread might hurt your gums.) Gum tissue trauma can cause gum recession, pain from exposing a tooth's root, and scratching tooth enamel to cause tooth sensitivity. Without dental training, you might also "push tartar under your gumline causing gum abscesses."

I don't know about you, but I'm not going near those electric $39.99+ at-home dental plaque removers! They're either inadequate or unsafe as we're not trained to use them.

While we'll still need to visit our dentist twice a year for professional teeth cleanings, we can use 4 tools at home to help remove plaque safely before it hardens into tartar:

1) A soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride. Brush twice a day to clean teeth and remove plaque.
2) Interdental Cleaners such as dental floss, dental tape, or interdental brushes. Floss once a day.

3) An electric water flosser (uses water not a sharp point). Again floss once a day.

4) Antibacterial Plaque-Reducing Mouthwash. Rinse daily.

Flossing with thread dental floss (the string type you place between your fingers) is the most thorough method of removing plaque, but many of us hate doing it, so instead I use the 2nd best method, a water flosser every morning. It's better to floss every day with a water flosser than not to floss every day because you hate the most effective method.

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Monday, May 20, 2024

Expensive Things At T.J. Maxx

Gucci - Diamond 18K Gold Flora Ring 

 Savvy Shoppers love T.J. Maxx where you get great value for the money. Up to now, I've shown you some of the bargains and steals I've acquired from my favored budget-friendly retailer. But as it turns out there is plenty of high-end merchandise for customers with deep pockets too. Some top luxury brands sold at TJM are "shy"  and aren't searchable or linkable on its website. You must scroll to find them. Here are several expensive examples you may be surprised to find at TJM available right now:

3) Designer Makeup and Skin Care - Jimmy Choo Satin Lipstick and La Prairie Skin Caviar Nighttime Oil.

4) Designer Sunglasses - Balenciaga (left) and Gucci (right).

5) Fine leather goods - BICS luggage and Chloe handbag.
6. Off the Runway Designer Clothes and shoes, with names too numerous to mention - One example is a Dress the Population Long Sleeve Sequin Dress.
7. Home Goods and cookery - Also too numerous to mention like this All-Clad aluminum skillet.

Frankly, I've passed on buying luxury labels (such as Valentino and Chloe bags and shoes, or designer skincare) just because I don't especially long to own them ... not that I'm against the brands per se. At TJM luxury brands are discounted yet can still cost 100s or 1000s of dollars when the brand's price points are high at full retail. Only buy them because you want them, not because of their tempting reductions. Personally, I'm happy with my leather Coach bags, Mundi wallets, and Neutrogena skincare, which TJM also carries for less. Also, I've purchased top-notch goods manufactured in Korea, Australia, and Europe. Today's blog illustrates how vast TJM's inventory is. Not knowing what you'll find is part of the fun of shopping there!

Chances are excellent you'll discover "new" brands in your price range, or get a pricey item at a steal!

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Friday, May 17, 2024

Social Rules That Make Good Sense

Photo: Intellectual Voice, a page on Facebook, posted on May 14, 2024

A Facebook friend of mine is a discriminating uploader. His posts are thoughtful and wise like the following:

Source: Intellectual Voice

1. Don’t call someone more than twice continuously. If they don’t pick up your call, presume they have something important to attend to.
2. Return money that you have borrowed even before the person who loaned it to you remembers or asks for it. It shows your integrity and character. The same goes for umbrellas, pens, and lunch boxes.
3. Never order the expensive dish on the menu when someone is treating you to lunch or dinner.
4. Don’t ask awkward questions like ‘Oh, so you aren’t married yet?’ Or ‘Don’t you have kids?’ Or ‘Why haven't you bought a house?’ Or ‘Why haven't you bought a car?’ For God’s sake, it isn’t your problem.
5. Always open the door for the person coming behind you. It doesn’t matter if it is a guy or a girl, senior or junior. You don’t grow small by treating someone well in public.
6. If you take a taxi with a friend and he/she pays now, try paying next time.
7. Respect different shades of opinions. Remember, what may seem like 6 to you might appear as 9 to someone else. Besides, a second opinion is good for an alternative.
8. Never interrupt people while they are talking. Allow them to pour it out. As they say, hear them all and filter them all.
9. If you tease someone, and they don’t seem to enjoy it, stop it and never do it again. It encourages one to do more and shows how appreciative you are.
10. Say “thank you” when someone is helping you.
11. Praise publicly. Criticize privately.
12. There’s almost never a reason to comment on someone’s weight. Just say, “You look fantastic.” If they want to talk about losing weight, they will.
13. When someone shows you a photo on their phone, don’t swipe left or right. You never know what’s next.
14. If a colleague tells you they have a doctor's appointment, don’t ask what it’s for, just say "I hope you’re okay." Don’t put them in the uncomfortable position of having to tell you their personal illness. If they want you to know, they'll do so without your inquisitiveness.
15. Treat the cleaner with the same respect as the CEO. Nobody is impressed by how rudely you treat someone below you, but people will notice if you treat them with respect.
16. If a person is speaking directly to you, staring at your phone is rude.
17. Never give advice until you’re asked.
18. When meeting someone after a long time, unless they want to talk about it,
don’t ask them their age or salary.
19. Mind your business unless anything involves you directly - just stay out of it.
20. Remove your sunglasses if you are talking to anyone in the street. It is a sign of respect. Moreover, eye contact is as important as your speech.
21. Never talk about your riches in the midst of the poor. Similarly, don't talk about your children in the midst of the barren.
22. After reading a good message, consider saying "Thanks for the message."
APPRECIATION remains the easiest way of getting what you don't have."

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Part II: 5 Gown Styles I Like And Would Wear

On Monday I wrote a blog describing 5 gown styles I dislike and won't wear even if a top designer were to loan them to me for free. Instead, I'd buy a gown off the rack. Well, perhaps it begs the follow-up question what gown styles do I like? Therefore, allow me to post 5 Gown Styles That Are My Cup of Tea. Here we go ...

As you can see, I prefer balanced, classic, or even modern styles of gowns. I'm also fine with a fun element on the gown as long as the gown remains tasteful and above all flattering and pretty. At a fancy function, I also like to enjoy the evening instead of having to manage a problem dress caused by too much dress (a train, etc), or a feature that is determined to pop open or work itself lopsided out of place.

I mean, getting to attend a gala and dressing up is a special occasion ... usually commemorating or celebrating something that doesn't occur every day. I'd never waste a chance to make the extra effort to look my best and then my desire is to forget about my attire and enjoy the evening out!

I have a ball gown that resembles this black one.
A mid-ankle length makes sashaying around the banquet room less cumbersome, and black gowns are a favorite for their slenderizing effect. A black gown for a black-tie event might also let you get away with wearing the dress (with bling) multiple times to mingle, glitter, and shine the night away in the future! I think people tend to remember bold (red, lime green, orange, or bird feathers) before neutrals. Chances are with black, they'll simply remember how dressy and polished you look at the formal affair without remembering you wore it last year. What's more, I favor a mid-ankle to a full-length gown for ease. I don't have handlers to help me futz with yards of fabric. In NYC, it's not uncommon after attending a gala to walk to a fancy bar/grill for an after-party.

What styles do you like? Which order (#1 then #2) is more important to you?: Would you rather stand out or look pretty?

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Monday, May 13, 2024

Part I: 5 Gown Styles I Dislike And Won't Wear

May is a time when retailers feature ball gowns as people attend proms, weddings, award shows, and charity events. Different strokes for different folks apply. Often style boils down to personal tastes and arbitrariness.

So let's have some fun! I'll share 5 styles of gowns that are not my cup of tea. If a leading designer sent me a couture dress to wear to a high-profile gala in one of the following styles, I'd turn it down and buy something off the rack. That's how much I dislike them. So here we go!

5 Gown Styles I Dislike and Won't Wear include:
1) The Asymmetrical Gown (including the top image) - I dislike gowns that are off-center or have a noticeable piece of fabric missing from the hemline. Is it a cape or a dress? I prefer balanced hemlines all the way around, and I dislike sporting a formal dress covering one leg in a different proportion than the other leg. Like with minor children, I like to treat my limbs with the same status. I also dislike the asymmetrical light green gown below👇 showing both legs. What's that skirt-like flap in the middle of the front? Toga girl. Was there not enough material to go around?😁
2) A One-Sided Strap Gown - On me, it's a balance thing. I prefer either no straps or 2 straps, but not a single strap on one side only ... and the same goes for sleeves!! Give me either sleeveless or two sleeves on a frock! The other arm is waiting for its sleeve.😳
3) The Bare Midriff Gown - I can't imagine attending a formal indoor gala in a 2-piece dress showing a lot of flesh! The style is more beach-friendly than ballroom-worthy. Another worry is air conditioning! Burrr!☃❄❅❆
4) The Deep Dive Cleavage Gown - No, no, never, ever, Jennifer Lopez! It isn't me!! At a fancy shindig, I do not want to see that much of another woman's anatomy and certainly don't want eyes I-do-not-know gazing at mine. Outside of a nudist camp, there's something unequal about it.
5) High Or Cross Front Neck Gown  - The opposite of deep dive cleavage reminds me of a noose! Lose the hangman's knot, lasso, bibb, or whatever that extra textile is for a neckline showcasing the loveliness of a human neck ornamented with a necklace ... yeah, that style is more me.

On THE SAVVY SHOPPER, I mostly write about likes, not dislikes, but fashion should be more fun than serious so I hope you find humor in today's blog. What style of gown is your least favorite? Feel free to share a few of your own out-of-favor gown styles.

Part II: Gown Styles I Like and Will Wear will be published on Wednesday.

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Friday, May 10, 2024

Skinny Bread Pudding For One

Photo: Arabe Datsh - another good recipe for bread pudding.

Remember when 80s model Kate Moss was criticized for saying "Nothing Tastes As Good As Skinny Feels?" Well, I happen to agree with her and think it's good to practice the sentiment 90% of the time, then eat whatever we wish 10% of the time ... and I'm not anorexic or bulimic. I eat healthy, balanced meals most of the time. Nobody said anything about starving!

10% of the time perhaps you can enjoy my Creole Bread Pudding With Bourbon Sauce, but 90% of the time, you might consider a low-fat recipe with a fair amount of nutrition: 

Skinny Bread Pudding For One


1 piece of whole-grain bread
1 egg
1/2 cup skim milk
A pinch of Stevia or a teaspoon of honey, sugar, or your sweetener of choice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
a sprinkle of cinnamon


1) Cut your bread into cubes.

2) In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, sweetener,
vanilla extract, and cinnamon.

3) Toss the bread cubes into the egg and milk mixture and let the bread absorb the liquid.

4) I use either a pad of butter to grease a small baking dish or cooking spray before pouring the mixture into it. (Line the baking pan with aluminum foil and you can avoid washing a pan.)

5) Bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven for 20 - 25 minutes. Remove from the oven.

6) Wait at least 10 minutes before you eat it. You can also sprinkle the top with a bit more sugar or syrup. A sprinkle of more sugar or a little syrup adds only a trace more calories. 

We develop a liking for whatever food we eat over and over including low-fat desserts. I love skim milk and whole grains. The recipe works especially well with low-fat milk because of the whole-grain bread. Delicious! Moreover, when you eat unprocessed food that is low in fat or sugar soon your palate develops a taste for it. 

We can savor rich, high-calorie treats once in a while and likely enjoy them more if we eat them as treats instead of all the time!

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