Looking Back: Jaw Surgery 101

As some of my followers may know, I’m (not-so-) secretly working on a jaw surgery e-book (YAY!) after the immense demand and requests. While it’s still in its infancy stages, I am in awe looking back at the videos that seem to make the biggest impact in people’s support from me.


Here are just a few to bring back…..


Pre-Jaw Surgery: my fears, my emotions, my bite before the big day


My first video post-op (5 weeks post-op):



The Top 5 Things you Need for Jaw Surgery:



(These two are biggies)

Things I Wish I Knew: My Jaw Surgery Journey, 2 Years Post-Op



5 Things You Can Expect During Jaw Surgery Recovery





…there are many more, but those seem to be the big ones that have gained the most followers!


What was your favorite jaw surgery video from me? What was your #1 takeaway?





Posted on November 8, 2018
By amanda.plazek@gmail.com

Filed under Health, Jaw Surgery 2014
Comments Off on Looking Back: Jaw Surgery 101

Are you there? It’s me, Amanda.

Dear followers,

It’s been a very long time since I last posted on my blog. But I haven’t forgotten about you, I promise! I took some time off post-grad school to recover and restore my life again. But I’m still here! In fact, I’ve been working on a few things this fall….


  • I’ve opened up consultation spots for jaw surgery clients every single week.These one-on-one phone consultations are meant to answer the questions on your mind! You can check my availability and pricing by clicking here.
  • I’m working on some big projects for my jaw surgery clients! The biggest one is something that I’ve been dreaming about for years….and that’s a jaw surgery book. Yes! I’m writing a book! Am I a little intimidated? Yes, definitely. But do I think it will help a bunch of people? Absolutely.
    So I’m writing a book. I’m consulting with people all over the country to bring you the best book possible, covering as much as I can. From insurance terms to know, to pre- and post-op nutrition, to selecting your oral surgeon…it will have more info and support than ever. Want to know more about the release? Want to get a copy for yourself? Join my free mailing list and YOU will get first access when it’s released. Click here and sign up now.


My focus will primarily be on jaw surgery clients. This fall I will be…

  • Testing jaw surgery-friendly recipes
  • Consulting with doctors, insurance professionals and nutritionists across the country for the book
  • engaging more with clients and booking more one-on-one consultations (secure your spot now if you want one, they’ll go fast!)



Excited about the rest of 2018? You bet. I can’t wait!

This Is Why I Ride: Urban Impact 3/2/2018

I’ve had a lot of fun over the past few months being a part of the Cyclebar North Hills community. The studio is great and the classes are infectious, but more than anything, I love the heart behind our local studio owners, Greg & Salomé. Each month the studio hosts Cyclegiving Charity Rides: the studio donates their time, the instructor donates his/her time, and 100% of the proceeds go towards a local, Pittsburgh-based charity. It’s awesome.


The studio’s next Cyclegiving Charity Ride is on March 2, 2018 and benefits Urban Impact Pittsburgh, a community outreach program helping the North Side of Pittsburgh. I want to fill the studio with people who want to give back (and get a great workout in return), and I want you to join me!


If you have wanted to try Cyclebar (or you have, and want to come back for a great cause), mark your calendars and join me on March 2, 2018 at 7:15 pm. Registration is $20, and 100% of that $20 goes to Urban Impact.


Click the photo to register!



Thanks to Cyclebar North Hills for hosting this event, and thank YOU for considering joining us!


In peace & good health,





Posted on February 19, 2018
By amanda.plazek@gmail.com

Filed under Health
Comments Off on This Is Why I Ride: Urban Impact 3/2/2018

Openness for the Journey

I’ve really struggled to consistently blog lately. Honestly, other than my jaw surgery followers (who are awesome, by the way!), I’m not sure who actually reads my posts consistently! But I’ve decided that my 2018 focus will be “openness”, in whatever form that takes: openness to the journey that lies ahead of me, especially this year.


Openness does not come easily to me. I’m a creature of habit, and I like things the way they always are. When I go to a restaurant, I don’t usually deviate from the meal I know I already like. “I know that it’s good. Why try anything else?” I say to my husband.

I also struggle with openness in friendships and relationships, as I feel very different than my peers. (I always have!) Growing up with two church jobs at 16 means that I couldn’t do things on a whim on the weekends. I had church jobs that I couldn’t “call off” for. I the only thing I could feel as a “call” was the call to ministry.

And so very often I feel misunderstood by those who don’t work in a church setting. “Yes, I’m tired because I worked all weekend. All weekend. A marathon of back-to-back funerals, weddings, masses, and meetings.” Ministry is so “soul-draining” at times.


I’ve grown weary, and so as I looked at 2018, I examined what I wanted to bring to this year. The word “openness” kept coming to mind. And so here are just a few of the ways I’m staying open as we begin to journey this year:


  1. I’m open to the best nutrition possible for my body. Every single person is different, and so I’m following a 12-week educational course on finding the best course of nutrition for yourself. It’s been a challenge but I’m really enjoying it! I haven’t been perfect but it’s been very enlightening.
  2. I’m staying open to the potential job changes that I might face this year. I’m listening to “Trade Your Cares for Calm” (Max Lucado) at the moment as I drive. It’s like comfort food for the soul.
    I’m also reading “Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Promises and Plans” (Wendy Pope)

  3. I’m doing silly things like grabbing books at the library that I usually wouldn’t read. I also used my Christmas money to get a subscription to Rosetta Stone. I’m using that openness to get my Polish up to where it used to be! (Uczę się mowić po Polsku!)
  4. I’m forcefully plowing towards our goal of being debt-free this year. (Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dave Ramsey!) Staying open and trusting that the finish line is near!
  5. I’m living my truth, as unabashedly as I can. I’m a musician who loves health & wellness, and I love fusing the two worlds together when I can.



Also, I’m staying open to sharing as many photos of my dog, Cooper, as I can. Because, really, that has brought so much openness and change to my life over the past 8 months. He turns 1 next month, so get ready for that onslaught of photos….


Cooper reading Kafka


Cooper loves the snow, but doesn’t necessarily like the gear that comes with it



I don’t know if you’re a New Years Resolution-type person, but hey, if you needed a fresh start, 2018 seems like a pretty good opportunity…Here’s hoping you stay open to whatever you need most!



In peace & good health,


2018: New Year, (Pretty Much the) Same Old Me

It’s been a long time since I gave an update on my life and an explanation of the things you may have seen on my social media. And so after a beautiful New Year’s Day celebration with my loved ones, I thought it might be time to share some of the things going on in my life at the end of 2017!

I’ve had a lot of changes with my health and wellness this fall. As many of you know, I am a Beachbody coach (and have been for 5 years!). As someone who runs around like a chicken with her head cut off most of the time, they are the solution to keeping me sane: I stream professional yoga sessions, get tips on weight lifting from the pros, and get my ass kicked by Shaun T anytime I want. I avoid junk food by whipping up a meal I can have on-the-go, since most of my meals this fall were done standing up and on-the-go.


But this Fall a local Cyclebar franchise opened in my neighborhood. (If you don’t know what Cyclebar is, it’s a spinning studio that focuses on riding your bicycle to the beat of the music playing in your workout session. Not to mention the immense amount of amenities you get with your membership.) This local Cyclebar studio offered 3 weeks of free classes to get people in the neighborhood a chance to see what all the fuss is about. Now, I gotta be really honest….as someone who works out from home and teaches fitness classes at a gym (and, therefore, gets a gym membership for free)……I had very little expectations when I decided to give Cyclebar a try.


Once the first class began, I knew I was in trouble. The energy was infectious. The music programming was superior and passed my annoyingly-high standards. The workout was really tough but very rewarding.  Needless to say….I was hooked.



I decided to connect with the owners of our local Cyclebar studio and, after much dialogue, I’m proud to say that I am one of Cyclebar’s Brand Ambassadors.

What does that mean?

I help with special events like charity rides (the proceeds completely go to a nonprofit/charity), race expos, fundraisers, etc.

I’ll be hosting a free workout class for all of my friends and family in the near future. (How cool is that?)

I’m also able to give a free first class to my friends and family who want to try it too!



But you won’t see me spamming your Facebook with anything other than post-workout selfies. I have nothing to sell, nothing hidden. I just love to work out there and want to help others try the studio too. The end.


“Does this mean you aren’t a Beachbody coach anymore?”

Actually, no! I’m still a Beachbody coach. You may not see me post that much about it anymore, but I’m still here. My social media presence is changing though….someone can only be ignored and feel insignificant by so many people when you realize your voice is best used in a more valued platform. It can be exhausting to be discounted by so many people for so long. It’s taken a toll on my self-worth in the health & wellness world.

If you are one of the women who keep your light shining among the sea of MLMs right now, then I so applaud you. For now, I will take care of my tribe of ladies and always welcome others, but not bug you constantly about it.

(Sidenote: I talked with Beachbody’s Compliance Department and I am to expressly share that helping the community at Cyclebar has NOTHING to do with being a Beachbody coach. I did my legal duty there.)


I’m just a person, like so many of you, who tries new things in life along the way and collects them into my daily habits, like seashells into my pockets after a beach vacation.

  • I started my wellness journey with Beachbody, and I continue to help others find that health/wellness solution if it’s right for them.
  • I consult with jaw surgery patients and plead with them to take their nutrition seriously (advice that I wish more people would take!).
  • I also like to help out the local community and ride at Cyclebar AND teach fitness classes (to fantastic people) at a local university.



I’m Amanda, and I am shaped by my past and current experiences. I’ve learned recently that it’s okay to piece together so many unique interests and traits that most people may not understand why you do everything you do. And that’s okay.

I always thought that it was strange to be a professional musician who loves healthy eating and fitness, but that was a self-created personal limitation. If my life expands into new avenues as I grow, I’m now okay with that.



2018’s New Year’s Resolutions

This year my New Year’s Resolutions aren’t to transform myself into this crazy-unrecognizable person. As you can see above, that has already happened over the course of 5-7 years. But my goals this year are to do the following:

  • Finish my Master’s Degree (I’m almost there!)
  • Become debt-free except our mortgage (bye bye, student loans)
  • Work towards fluency of another language (either French or Polish)
  • Complain less. Express gratitude more.



Let’s see how 2018 goes, shall we?


In peace & good health,



Puppy updates (“Pupdates”) & Life, In Progress

It’s been awhile since I wrote a blog entry, and since the last one was such a doozy (My Journey with “The Puppy Blues”) I really owe it to my readers to give an update.


First thing’s first: My Update on the Puppy Blues

Since I wrote my blog entry on my “Puppy Blues” (which was shared a ton of times with lots of visitors to my page- yay!) I had many people approach me and tell me how worried they were about me. Maybe it’s because I share so much on social media that tries to be positive and uplifting, but stopping and admitting that I wasn’t okay seemed to really upset people.

I also got several people who messaged me and sympathized with me, which was so nice! It made me feel like I wasn’t alone, and it helped me get through that tough initial time. Whether you extended a hand because you were worried about me or if you had a similar experience, thank you. The reaction over my last blog entry was more than I expected, and it helped me to feel that sense of connection as we adjusted to a new “normal”.


My Update on Cooper

Oh, Cooper. Our little black ball of fluff. Since I wrote the last blog entry, things with Cooper have been ten times better. He’s had some health issues (puppy UTI, tapeworm) from incidents along the way, but I’m happy to say that he’s healthy and a really happy, good dog. My phone has two sets of main pictures now: pictures of my garden and pictures of Cooper.



Everyone loves him….especially us.

We’ve been taking him to doggy day care 1x/week, puppy socializing classes 1-2x/week and family member drop-ins 2x/week. He’s such a good dog, and while we’re still working on his puppy behaviors (play biting- especially biting my husband), he’s so smart and friendly and a great companion. I know we are still adjusting, but things have definitely gotten better with Cooper since I last blogged.



I will say, though, that the past 6-8 weeks have brought out a new side of me. I can’t determine if it’s permanent or not. I have a balance of extroversion to introversion in my personality, and I’ve been much more introverted over the past few months. I don’t see the need for checking Facebook (unless it’s with my team of coaches or jaw surgery clients), and I don’t necessarily see the need for sharing my life’s journey at this time. Maybe I’m growing up, or maybe I’m going through a phase. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m now creating social media content for a large-scale organization, too (which is such an honor), thus taking my “creative energy” and re-directing it to another source.


I don’t know, honestly. But what I can say is that I’m going through a phase in my life where I don’t necessarily plan on sharing every little thing on social media. I love blogging, though, and plan to share my journey throughout the summer on my blog (subscribe if you want these updates!). I also plan to work on some creative projects for jaw surgery clients. But in terms of my health & fitness journey….I’m just so sick of seeing the quick fixes that it drains the creative energy right out of me. (Just being honest!) I’m going to keep following my nutrition plan of simple, easy eating; I’m going to keep exercising from home and being in great shape as a result; and I’m going to work with the people who actually want to see change in their life. If this sounds like you, then please message me, and we’ll link arms together this summer. Otherwise, you may see less of me than you used to.


Stay tuned on my blog for more Puppy Updates/”Pupdates” and my journey, and until then, have a wonderful first official week of summer!


In peace & good health-


My Journey with “The Puppy Blues”

It’s early in the morning as I quietly type this in my bedroom. I don’t want to wake up our 14- week puppy. (He’s so peaceful when he sleeps.)

We’ve had our puppy (named Cooper) for almost 3 weeks now and i could definitely say it’s been an adjustment. Things have been pretty good overall! Cooper has his mischievous days, that’s for sure, but he is a sweet dog, deep down.



I just wish I would have known the immense undertaking it would take on me.


Don’t get me wrong, I was told by every person, “puppies are so much work!” “Puppies are like having a child.” “Oh wow, you’re getting a puppy! How are you going to take care of it?” which began to irritate me (“Why can’t you just say, ‘congratulations!'”). Nevertheless, I thought I was mentally prepared for the work it would take to raise our little guy. But what no one ever talked to me about was the immense emotional toll that has been rocking my life ever since.


The first few days were the roughest. We had Cooper confined to our dining room/kitchen area, and every time we went to the bathroom, Cooper would cry uncontrollably. The first time I left him to go to work, I’m pretty sure he cried the entire time. Since he’s so young, his mental development stage is growing (and will be for a very long while), so I’m constantly distracting him from teething, while also taking him out often to go potty. Typical puppy stuff.


But on top of the massive amount of things I do (a full-time job, multiple part-time jobs and professional projects), having our puppy need me for every other waking moment has been a prep for motherhood. I understand that. But things have taken a turn for the worse. I’m not eating as much, and I don’t have the energy to cook, much less exercise. It’s been a series of strange meals since we got our puppy.


Not only that, I’ve had several days when I just crumble under the emotional weight of it all. Little things like Cooper constantly barking to go outside (only to sit stubbornly in the sun for 20+ minutes) or incessantly biting my sweater has brought me past my emotional threshold. My husband’s been handling the puppy better than I have, and takes care of Cooper when I literally can’t function. In fact, he’s had to tell me numerous times, “yes, this will get better.” (I know he’ll have to keep re-assuring me of this.) I have cried more in the past 3 weeks than I think I have since I suffered from burnout in my junior year of college.

Having a puppy might be the closest I’ve ever come to a longer-term depression.


Last night, as I peeled myself off the couch after a notably bad evening of puppy-fueled tears, I desperately Googled, “depression after getting a puppy”, which felt incredibly ungrateful. I mean, who in the world becomes a shell of a person after getting something as adorable as a puppy?  It turns out that many people get overwhelmed with the new addition of a puppy into their life (even if they did everything to become prepared, like me). They call it “the puppy blues”.


It might sound paradoxical, I know. I can imagine you, my mom friends, reading this and screaming, “WELCOME TO MY LIFE!!!!” and I understand that risk comes with writing this blog entry. And I do not compare this to the same level of postpartum depression. But I feel so compelled to share my experience with “the puppy blues” because, until I Googled “depression after having a puppy”, I felt so alone. And so much of my life journey is helping people feel that they aren’t alone.


So I’m chronicling our puppy journey. I’m sharing my honest reflections as we go through our first year of puppy ownership: the good, the bad, and the emotional.


Have you ever had “the puppy blues”? Did you stumble across this article because you’re suffering from depression after having a puppy? If you are, that’s totally okay. You aren’t alone!


Helpful links for post-puppy depression:

Puppy Depression Website

Last Word on Nothing: I Got the Puppy Blues


The Labrador Site: How to Beat the Puppy Blues

[UNBELIEVABLE] Brown Butter Carrot Recipe

Lately I’ve been on a carrot kick. The carrots in my region have been so affordable! One of my local grocery stores had carrots for $.69 for a 3-pound bag. That yields a lot of vegetable servings for .69 cents! So I’ve been playing around with recipes and I think that this one, by far, is my favorite. I’m considering headed out to the grocery store just to buy more carrots and make it again. Does that sound a little crazy? Even if it does, I’m fine with it. This brown butter carrot recipe is that good.

Now, this is not a 5-minute dish, but in 30 minutes or less, you’ll have some tender, caramelized, savory carrots that you’ll eat before your husband tries to get some. (Oh, did I just say that? Whoops…)


Brown Butter Carrot Recipe


  • Whole carrots
  • 1-2 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter) or regular butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Dried rosemary



  • Wash, peel and dice carrots. (I strongly recommend a mandolin for this step, as a mandolin cuts down on cutting time exponentially.)
  • Heat pan to medium heat; add 1-2 tbsp of butter. I used clarified butter (ghee) for health reasons and for its nutty taste. (For more info on ghee, click here!)
  • Heat butter until it melts; wait until it begins to brownImmediately add carrots and salt. (For more info on browning butter, click here)
  • Cook carrots in butter, stirring consistently on medium to slightly medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until carrots begin to brown on one side.
  • Add rosemary for an additional few minutes of cooking. Enjoy!



Now excuse me as I go to the grocery store….I have more carrots to make.

Did you like this brown butter carrot recipe? If you make it, share it on social media with the hashtag #amandaplazek and I’ll check out your take on this savory, healthy, delicious recipe!


In peace & good health,


The Cost of Jaw Surgery in the United States

Today I’m going to share my experience when it comes to the cost of jaw surgery in the United States, but before I do, allow me to introduce myself! So as many of you know, I got jaw surgery in February 2014. When I was in the midst of the jaw surgery planning process, I didn’t find as much support as I would have hoped. In fact, any documentation from jaw surgery were graphic, horrifying pictures of people post-op! It was enough to scare me out of the process entirely. As a result, I’ve worked to pay it forward and help as many people ever since. With my jaw surgery support group, The Smile Diaries (click here to apply), and my YouTube channel (click here to subscribe), I want to keep helping as many people as I can!


Let’s address the topic of the day. When it comes to documenting my jaw surgery journey, I get asked constantly: “What is the cost of jaw surgery”? “How much did your jaw surgery cost?”


The honest answer to this is…”I can’t tell you how much your surgery will cost!” Technology and methodology is completely different across the world. The cost of jaw surgery depends on too many factors for me to tell you how much yours will cost. But I’ve found that the cost of jaw surgery in the United States can be estimated depending on some crucial questions to your health insurance provider. And so, without further ado, I give you my most recent jaw surgery YouTube video.


In this vide I address things like:

  • Things to ask your oral surgeon
  • Things to ask your health insurance provider
  • Budgeting options for your jaw surgery
  • Is your oral surgeon in-network or out-of-network?

and more. I hope this helps! Watch and enjoy:



Do you want more videos like this? Then click here and subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Do you have questions about the cost of jaw surgery? Reach out to your oral surgeon and healthcare provider! They will help you best. Good luck!


the Financial Peace University Journey, Week 5: I Feel a Test Coming On….

We’re 5 weeks deep into our Financial Peace University journey and I feel as if I’m being tested every day! I truly feel like starting FPU at this time of year is a blessing and a huge challenge. You see, I’m a musician, and January-March are my lowest income months of the year. They can be very challenging. (As if the winter months aren’t tough enough.)


Let’s think positive first:

The Victories

  • My grocery  budget evened out in the second week! I still think we will need a bit more per week on a grocery budget, but all in all, I’m feeling great about the groceries we’ve been able to stock.
  • Here are some of my big deals that made the budget possible this week:
    • 3 lb. bag carrots: $.59 cents (I bought 3 bags!!)
    • 1 dozen eggs: $.69 cents (I bought 6 dozen, the max. allowed. One of the ways I stretch our budget is to make a frittata 1-2 times/week. But more on that later! 😉 )
    • Frozen veggies: $1.19 each (this is great and easy on the go)
    • 3 lb. bag sweet potatoes: $.99 cents
    • a big bag of dried black beans: $1.39. We used half of it this week on one batch and we ate black beans for days, at both meals! so cost-effective.
  • It looks like my gasoline budget is coming in lower than I estimated, but we’ll see how it plays out during the end of the month!


The Trials

  • We’ve been really good about not buying anything but groceries…..but sometimes the trivial stuff gets in the way too. A week ago our smoke detector started beeping. It drove me insane. Every 2 minutes or so, it would beep. I could hear it from our bedroom but my husband couldn’t, as he suffers from high-frequency hearing loss. (I hope that doesn’t come back to bite me in the rear once we have kids! HA!)
    Anyways, we didn’t have 9-volt batteries, which is the type of battery our smoke detector needed. I couldn’t handle the beeping anymore, and I caved. I bought two, 9-volt batteries for about $7 (with a coupon) at Target. I didn’t budget for this. But at least our smoke detector has a fresh battery in it!
  • We are also low on hand soap. Again, this doesn’t sound like a big expense, but when you’ve come in just under budget in the “grocery” category, you do everything you can to avoid breaking it. But alas, I got a huge thing of soap to refill our soap dispensers. $4.99 later, I’m full of soap but didn’t budget for it.
  • I’ve been pumping all of my extra here-and-there income into cash flow for a trip I’m taking in a few weeks. This program has actually made me second guess going on this trip (“look at all of the money I could be using to pay down my debts!!”), but this is a necessary trip for my Master’s thesis research. Unless something awful happens in the next 2 weeks, I’m going.
  • Lastly (and I know this sounds nit-picky): I didn’t budget anything for Valentine’s Day or my husband’s birthday this month. I sound like a horrible wife, I know! But believe me when I say that this is one of the toughest financial months of my year. There really wasn’t much left for wiggle room once I budgeted the essentials. (I’m griping over hand soap and two batteries, for pete’s sake!) So tonight I’m sitting down and figuring out where I can wiggle a little room out for his Valentine’s card and birthday gift (whoops, did I just say that?).




So far I’ve been really loving the Financial Peace University journey, I’m not liking the guilt that comes with buying hand soap and batteries. Seriously.

Next month: I won’t have an entire trip to cash flow; I will make a “misc. housewares” section in the budget; I will pray more and trust God more. He’s the one that’s gotten us this far!


Thanks for following my Financial Peace University journey! Tune in to see how we do next!