Hats Around the World: EPCOT World Showcase

I’ve always wanted to do this. Every other time I have tried to do Hats around the World I have failed. Eleven countries doesn’t seem like that many, but when you are walking and trying to enjoy all aspects of the country, you get distracted and tired and start to lose motivation. Aaron and I made it our mission to tough it out on this trip. We were up against a disappearing sun and my iphone that takes terrible pictures in the dark, but I’d say we succeeded.

Canada: Aaron dons a racoon, and I a Canadian flannel.

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United Kingdom: a little Union Jack for me and a Trilby for him. (Couldn’t find him a flat top cap for anythng. Get with it Disney).

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France: Berets for everyone! Very appropriate.

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Morocco: Seriously. No hats. We scoured this place. I thought they would have a fez like Aladdin at least. This is Disney’s failure not ours. Get with the program Disney. Hats around the World is a thing!

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Japan: Slacking a bit in the hat department. They had a lot of hats, but none very culturally representative. Aaron has a dragon. I tried to find a Hello Kitty hat or one of those furry animal hats with the hand pockets. No luck.

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Murica!: Colonial tricorne for me and Uncle Sam for Aaron.IMG_0580

Italy: Some Italia mouse ears. There is a tiny gondalier hat on top, but you can’t appreciate it this picture. It’s there, guys. I promise.

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Germany: Steins on our minds (Why am I so cheesy. Stop it.)

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China: Rice hat for both of us!IMG_0595

Norway: Viking helmets! Aaron sans braids.IMG_0597

Mexico: Sombreros for novia and novio. IMG_0599So much fun!

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I grew up in Belle’s house: A New Fantasy Land review

If you want to read more about my love for Disney World, check out some previous posts:

Disney post from 6 months ago, WHAT???…(just go with it)

French Fry Free Disney: What we ate at Disney World

Disney World and My Irrational Fear of Animatronic (previous visit)

On our most recent trip to Disney World we got to experience New Fantasy Land for the first time. We went to Disney at the end of 2012, but nothing new was really open then (that’s why I wanted to come back so soon. Haha!)This time I got the full Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid experience…and yeah, Dumbo was there too, but I’m really all about the princesses.

Here we are in front of the new Beast’s castle. In all honesty, when I heard there were going to be more castles built, I imagined they would be on the same scale as Cinderella’s castle. They aren’t. That could be disappointing, but I think I like that Cinderella is the main event. She’s my favorite anyway.

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Before we ate at the castle we had to go hang out with Belle at her new attraction, Enchanted Tales with Belle. Upon entering her house I came to the quick realization that I grew up in Belle’s house. What is this style? French country? I’m not sure but it has my mom’s name written all over it. It was really hard to get a good picture because this is really just a themed line and the room was packed with people, but just take this snapshot and run with it. Wooden furniture with heart cutouts. Low dresser with a bowl and pitcher. I’m pretty sure my mom owns that lantern shelf.

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One of my favorite characters!

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This is where they asked for volunteers. I will go ahead and say that this is a very kid-centered experience. Don’t get me wrong and think I’m a non-participator…I’d have knocked a kid down to get the chance to have the wand choosing experience at Ollivander’s in Harry Potter World. But this was just holding cardboard and making animal noises. Maybe if they were passing out real costumes I would have been interested.

Lumiere was pretty cool. I think I watched part of a documentary about how they made him  look so real. It was impressive.

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And then Belle came out! It was definitely more fun to go through this experience than just standing in a line. I also think that it’s a good way for kids to meet Belle and really interact with her. I think sometimes kids don’t know what to say to character when they meet them, and this had a purpose. They told a story together.

Personally I was a little disappointed because I wanted to take a picture and meet Belle, but I didn’t volunteer to hold cardboard cutouts earlier , so I didn’t get to.
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Afterwards we ate at Be Our Guest for lunch. Such good food. You can read about the food here. The theming of the restaurant was beautiful. We ate in the room with the music box, but here is a picture of the main dining room. The cherubs on the ceiling are just like from the movie!

IMG_0490You could also eat in the West Wing if you fought hard enough for a table. That’s where everyone wanted to eat. It’s really dark in there, so I was happy eating in the other room and just exploring the West Wing afterwards. The rose was set up and petals would fall off.
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And the Beast’s picture would change as time passed.IMG_0489Even more Beauty and the Beast stuff was waiting on us. We got immersive!

Aaron posed with Gaston’s statue.
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And sat in his chair in Gaston’s tavern.IMG_0494

Then we moved on to Under the Sea: Journey of The Little Mermaid.

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This was another “castle.” Which I didn’t think really deserved to be called “a new castle.” It’s very small.IMG_0478

This ride was just a typical dark ride. It’s cool. I’m glad The Little Mermaid has a legitimate place in the park now, but the ride didn’t blow me away. I’m sure I’ll still ride it every time we go back thought. At least it has good music!

That’s all of the New Fantasy Land that I have to show you. I’m excited for the new Snow White and the Seven Dwarves mine train roller coaster they are adding. I guess we will just have to back sometime soon ;)

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Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Alfredo

IMG_0813Things you should know:

1. I have a goal to get through all of my practical Pinterest recipes by the end of the year. I don’t have time to make one twice. I made this twice. It’s that dang good.

2. I feel like a real chef when I make this. I mean, come on. I am legitimately roasting my own red peppers. These aren’t from a jar. Nope I’m a kitchen master. I also use my immersion blender for something other than smoothies. And to top it off it’s actually a really easy recipe.

3. Don’t freak out about the goat cheese, guys. Be cool. It’s good stuff.

Ingredients

2 whole red bell peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup fat free half & half

4 oz garlic and herb goat cheese

2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 lb linguine, cooked al dente

salt & pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. (holy moly yes that is hot. I was surprised my oven went that high, but it did)

2. Place peppers on baking sheet and bake 20-30 minutes until peppers are charred.

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3. Remove peppers from oven and cover with foil for 10 minutes.

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4. That’s going to take some time, so go ahead and dice onion and mince garlic

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5. Might as well get your noodles boiling too while you are at it.

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6. Saute garlic and onions in olive oil for about 7 minutes or until softIMG_0797 IMG_0798

7. Add in half & half, goat cheese, and salt & pepper. Stir to melt goat cheese, and keep warm over low heat.
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(I was worried about finding the right kind of goat cheese, but I used this from Publix…exactly what the recipe called for).IMG_0799

8. Uncover pepper, peel off skin, remove stems and seeds. Chop up peppers.

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9. Place peppers in sauce.

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10. Add parmesan cheese. IMG_0806(The original recipe made a big deal about using fancy parmesan cheese. This is as fancy as I get. See. It says “fancy” on the bag.)IMG_080411. Pour sauce in a food processor or use immersion blender to pureed sauce. If you use non-stick pots and pans, don’t be dumb like I was and use the immersion blender in the pot. It will make a scrape in the non-stick coating and ruin your pot. :(
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12. Puree until it gets to the level of smoothness you want in your sauce.

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13. Add noodles and top with extra parmesan cheese and parsley.

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14. Devour the deliciousness.

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Thanks for reading. I found the original recipe for this pasta from here.

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Disney post from 6 months ago, WHAT???…(just go with it)

Editing pictures can be tedious. And let me tell you…when you have a whole bunch of blog posts planned that require you to edit a bajillion Disney pictures…well, it’s no wonder I’ve put it off for so long. That coupled with all the stresses of daily life means it’s been a while since I blogged. I’m just going to pick up right where we left off because, like I said before, I have a plan.

Who cares that Thanksgiving is next week. Are you ready to check out my Disney trip from May? In this post I want to share just some of my favorite pictures and moments from our trip.

Our first night at Disney we went to Downtown Disney and of course World of Disney to play with some toys. Here I am as  Jedi/Samuel L. Jackson. Look at that intensity.

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Aaron trained me up well.

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After walking around Downtown Disney we did something new to us. We caught the river cruise over to Port Orleans to do a little resort hopping and eat at the quick service restaurant over there. (You should check out my post about all the food we ate on our trip!) It was so much fun riding the boat around and exploring the other resort.

I love walking in to Magic Kingdom for the first time every trip. I know I should follow crowd calendars and all that, but I just feel like I have to go to Magic Kingdom first. It’s just so Disney.

The iconic Cinderella’s Castle and the boyfriend and I all matchy-matchy.
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The iconic shot of Spaceship Earth at EPCOT.
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It actually rained on us pretty hard when we went to EPCOT, so we sought shelter in one of the Innoventions buildings. We walked around looking for something fun to do and stumbled upon this piggy bank game. I basically had to drag Aaron along to do this with me. He was all “This is for kids” and I was all “We are trapped here so we are going to entertain ourselves one way or another.” It was a game to teach kids about personal finance. Fun, right? Actually YES! We BOTH had a surprising amount of fun with it.

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There’s our little piggy bank. When you get started you have to pick a goal to save for. The options were vacation, college education, or retirement. We picked retirement because 1. We were sure we would be the only people in the history of Disney World to pick that one and 2. We thought it was hilarious. Then you play games and stuff and your little piggy gets heavier…It was a grand old time. I highly recommend it. Haha.

Here we are on a prettier day at Animal Kingdom.

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We went to Rafiki’s planet watch because neither of use had been there before, and I was so excited because I found a hidden Mickey.
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Y’all. I do not look for hidden Mickey’s. I completely stumbled on this one and it took me by surprise. Aaron had gone to the bathroom, and I was leaning on a wall waiting for him when I saw it. I for real turned to a random lady next to me and said “Did I just find a hidden Mickey!!” I was so ridiculously excited.

Also on this trip, I figured out that I could zoom with my camera. Yep. Did not know how to do that until I was on the safari at Animal Kingdom. Glad I figured it out though, because we got up close and personal with some giraffes (my favorite!). I’m very proud of this giraffe hiney picture.

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Aaron tasting the rainbow at EPCOT.

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Phone booth in UK.

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Aaron’s British Superman impression.

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For the record Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin is rigged.

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Look how happy he is with himself. He maxed out the level. It’s ridiculous really. Nothing to do with skill at all. This was in like the first room. Note my score here:

IMG_0613I just gave up.

After the fact we heard that you can get a special button for doing this, but we didn’t know at the time, so Aaron is buttonless and only has these pictures to vouch for his amazing space ranger skills.

More Disney goodness to come :) You can always read about our last trip to Disney here.

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Painted Drawers & Hart of Dixie

I didn’t go to Turbokick tonight. I don’t have a good excuse either. I changed into my workout clothes and was about to walk out the door when I realized I needed gas. I knew I wouldn’t make it to class on time if I stopped to get gas, so I just didn’t go. I also did not go get gas, so that will be fun on my way to work tomorrow.

Instead I continued working on a furniture project. I got really tired of sitting out in my hot garage to paint, so I made a set-up in my living room. Please tell me I’m not the only person who paints furniture in the living room. Here’s my set-up.IMG_0915

My “tarp” is an old rug I had in my college apartment. I just flipped it over so the carpet side is down, and the more plastic-y side is up. I guess my reasoning is I don’t want to get paint on the “good” side. I don’t know what I’m thinking. I’m never going to use this rug again except for as an indoor painting tarp. I just decided that I’m going to flip it over so I can sit on the more comfortable carpet side from now on. The plastic-y side hurts after you’ve sat on it for a while.IMG_0917

Let me tell you. These drawers are tedious. All that molding is going to be the end of me. Prior to moving my paint studio inside these were primed and had one coat of navy. The first night in I did the three simple drawers. It has taken me a whole evening to complete one of the more elaborate drawers. That means you are looking at three days of hard work…and I have two more elaborate drawers to go. Aren’t they pretty though?IMG_0918

While I was painting away I put some Netflix on (major benefit to indoor painting). I just started watching Hart of Dixie.

I love this show now. I’ve only seen advertisements before tonight, and it was just one of those shows that I kept meaning to watch but never did. It is right up my alley. Sweet Home Alabama, but with Rachel Bilson instead of Reese Witherspoon. Precious. I love looking at what everyone on the show is wearing. Rachel Bilson always has the cutest shorts on. I also get a kick out of Lemon’s 50s housewife dresses. Yeah. You heard me right. There is a character named Lemon. And her dad is named Brick. Lemon and Brick.

I have this random hard-to-appreciate joke that I’m going to name my future son Plate (because if you say plate so many times it starts to lose meaning and kind of sounds like a good name). Anyway. I think my future son Plate would be a great character on this show. He’d fit right in with Lemon and Brick (except not a jerk).

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Almost One Pot Lasagna

I have another Pinterest recipe to share :) At this rate I may be close to making a dent in my goal for the year.

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Almost One Pot Lasagna. This recipe is a winner. It’s quick. It’s delicious. And it’s actually pretty healthy. It’s so close to being a one pot dinner, but if you want to get everything going while your noodles are cooking you are going to need 2 pots.

Here’s what you need.

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Ingredients:

about 6 ounces of lasagna noodles (I used whole grain) broken into thirds

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 (14.5) oz cans Italian diced tomatoes, drained

1/4 cup tomato sauce (I just used that whole baby can. What was I going to do with leftovers?)

1/2 cup skim ricotta cheese

1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese

3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

basil

black pepper

salt (or garlic salt)

parsley

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Directions:

1. break lasagna noodles into thirds, boil, drain

2. chop onion and mince garlic

3. heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat, add onions garlic and let cook until soft

4. add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and seasonings to taste

5. add noodles to pot

6. add ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses, let cook until mixture is thick

7. Enjoy!

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This recipe was delicious and one I will definitely make again. Here is the original recipe from the website I pinned. I omitted the mushrooms.

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My Invisalign Experience Part 3: Daily Routine and Advice

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This post is the third part of a series describing my experience with Invisalign.

Here is Part 1: Consultation to ClinCheck

and Part 2: Getting My Aligners

In this post I am going to talk about what you should expect with Invisalign on a day to day basis and my advice based on my experience so far.

Recommendations (In a Perfect World)

First I wanted to let y’all know what you are SUPPOSED to do. The actual instruction manual and all the Invisalign blogs I read were very strict.

  • Wear your aligners at least 22 hours a day.
  • Change into a new aligner every 2 weeks.
  • Only take them out to eat and brush your teeth. Yes you sleep in them.
  • When you are wearing them, the only thing you can drink is water.
  • Brush and floss your teeth and clean your aligners after you consume anything (meals, snacks, beverages).
  • Never wrap your aligner in a napkin. It will get thrown away.
  • Clean your aligner with a toothbrush and water only. No toothpaste.

My Orthodontist’s Recommendations

Believe it or not, my orthodontist was pretty easy going in comparison, but it’s obviously ok because my teeth are looking pretty.

  • Shoot for 22 hours a day. When that doesn’t happen, it’s ok. You may just need to wear them longer than two weeks.
  • Change your aligners every 2 weeks. As long as they are starting to get loose, it’s long enough.
  • Wear them all the time unless you are eating, drinking hot stuff, or maybe at a party or something. (haha)
  • You can drink whatever with them in, just not hot stuff because that will make them warp.
  • Do you like to snack a lot? That could be a problem with getting your 22 hours a day in. You might need to learn how to snack with them in. me: what!? :o
  • Brush your teeth after you eat.
  • Here are these two fancy cases for you to store your aligners. Don’t lose them by putting them in a napkin.
  • The instructions say to not use denture cleaner, but you can. Don’t use toothpaste because it will scratch the aligners and make them more visible.

My Routine

I honestly probably do wear my aligners 22 hours a day. However, that is mostly because I’m lazy when it comes to cleaning them. I’ve been known to just swish some water around in my mouth after meals and pop those babies back in right away. Probably not the best thing to do, but my teeth are getting straighter and I don’t have any cavities.

I change my aligners every 2 weeks. There was one week that I changed my aligners a day early because there was a really bad rough spot that developed that was driving me CRAZY. They are alway really loose and ready to be changed though. When I switched to my second set of aligners I was anticipating pain like I had the first few days after getting my first set (very bad), so I took some pain medicine and changed them before bed. It wasn’t bad at all, and I probably didn’t need the medicine. Now I don’t take pain medicine anymore, but I do change them at night. They are a little bit sore for a day or two, but it’s the good kind of sore that lets you know they are working (not the “I want to rip my teeth out”-sore.)

I mentioned that my aligners developed a rough spot. That’s because when I have new aligners in I want to chew on things like crazy. I’m like a teething baby. Apparently there are chewy tubes that you can get, but I don’t have those. I basically bite my teeth together a lot when they feel tight. I’m sure that’s bad, but I do it anyway. Another bad habit I have is popping my aligners in and out for fun. Aaron hates it and tells me I’m disgusting (true love). I’ve googled it and I can’t figure out if it’s really bad to do that or not, so I’ve just been telling myself it actually helps my teeth move faster :) Don’t tell me if I’m wrong.

I drink everything with them in (I don’t drink coffee, but I wouldn’t do it with them in if I did). I eat nothing with them in. It honestly blew my mind when they told me I could snack with them in. I have no idea how anyone could do that.

Now that my teeth have moved stuff gets stuck in my teeth all the time. I carry travel toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss in my purse just in case. I do not brush and floss every time I eat anything because it’s annoying. I went to Disney World the first week wearing Invisalign. I started out so good. I brushed my teeth in public bathrooms. I didn’t eat snacks on the road trip to Orlando because we wouldn’t be stopping soon. Then I realized: ain’t nobody got time for that. I take a lot of care in the morning and before bed, but throughout the day I usually just swish water around in my mouth to clear any residue and pop my aligners right back in. Hey. What can I say?

I use the fancy cases.

 

I keep one in my purse and one at home. I use the home one when I’m at home (duh) so I don’t ever take the other one out of my purse. If I did, I would forget to put it back before going places. I have forgotten it before and put my aligners in a napkin (shame). I just make sure to put the napkin immediately in my purse so it doesn’t get mixed with trash on the table. I haven’t lost an aligner yet. Knock on wood.

Some people may be embarrassed to take them out and put them in in public. I am not one of these people. I am all about full disclosure. “By the way, I have Invisalign. I have to take them out to eat.” I know I’m not the first person anyone has ever seen take out a retainer.

As far as cleaning the aligners goes, I’ve tried a bunch of different things. I did just water and a toothbrush. I even used toothpaste a few times. Lately I have been letting them soak in hydrogen peroxide. That works pretty well. I really want to buy some denture cleaner tablets though. I usually wake up, let my aligners soak while I eat breakfast and brush my teeth, then rinse them off and put them right back in before I finish getting ready.

Aaron doesn’t want me to get the denture tablets because it already freaks him out enough that I refer to my aligners as “my teeth.” I work in a nursing home, guys. It’s funny. Someone offers me a doughnut or something–”I can’t eat it right now. I have my teeth in.” Or “Hey Aaron. Do you have a little container I can soak my teeth in?”

My Progress

One of my absolute favorite things to do whenever I change aligners is to compare my new one with my first aligner. I took some pictures so you can appreciate the difference too. I’m sorry for how terrible these pictures are.

Uppers. Left: 1/14, Right:8/14

Huge difference here. Still more work though.

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Lowers. Left: 1/14, Right:8/14

Notice the difference in the two front teeth. Slightly angled in on #1 and more rounded on #8.IMG_0734

This next picture was really hard to take. I wanted to show you some more of the work that the lower aligners did. #1 is on top and #8 is on bottom. You can really see how the aligners moved my bottom teeth down more. The angle is gone and they are more flat now.

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I don’t have before pictures except for the pictures I included in the Part 1 of the Invisalign series. Here are some “durings” though.

With Invisalign in:

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Invisalign in, to the side so you can really see the attachments:

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And no Invisalign in, still able to see the attachments:

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Halfway done!

Note! These pictures were taken the day after I got IPR. I had noticeable spaces between my teeth yesterday, and they are already gone.

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