The Time I Made A Mold Of My Teeth…

Smile Brilliant Whitening System

I’ve been crazy excited about sharing this with y’all. I’ve always been pretty serious about dental health but lately, I’ve gotten a bit well, uh…lazy. I glanced at myself in the mirror some months back, noticed that my usually pretty white smile was just a wee bit dull. Smile Brilliant reached out to me at the perfect time. I got the opportunity to get a custom made tooth mold!

Wait. Did that sound crazy? Because, I felt a bit crazy typing it. By tooth mold I meant “custom fitted whitening trays”. Smile Brilliant offers several products but I think their real claim to fame has got to be these things…

Teeth whitening trays

Because where else can you find a brand that goes as far as to create a whitening tray for you? It really is the coolest thing. And relatively easy too. You spend spend a few minutes playing scientist, mix some clay, pop ‘em in the tray, pop the tray in your mouth, get the mold and mail the mold to Smile Brilliant. In less than 2 weeks, you’ll get your trays back and boom, you’re ready to get to whitening.

Custom fitted teeth whitening trays

Quick disclaimer, I have had serious issues with whitening products in the past. How do I put this gently? Um…THEY HURT! I’m talkin’ I’d rather have a migraine-kinda hurt. I’ve sworn off of all whitening products but what made me open up to Smile Brilliant is the fact that they have Desensitizing Gel. That’s right. A good 15 minutes before application, I can simply use the Desensitizing Gel ahead of time and not have to worry about the pain that comes from teeth whitening.

Also, like a bad blogger, I didn’t take before photos. Grrrrr.

Smile Brilliant teeth whitening

How do the molds feel?
Pretty cool, actually. I found them to be  comfortable. I was able to talk with them. Ideally, I think they’d be best to use while sleeping, but if you HAD to use them while awake, chances are people will understand what you’re saying.

Who are these for?
Anyone with teeth! Seriously. Thanks to genetics and my distaste for coffee, for the most part, my teeth stay pretty white. Overtime, I know that they will dull up a bit and so Smile Brilliant is coming in handy for occasion touch-ups. It is also fantastic for those with yellowing and stained teeth. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

Does this kit actually work?
YES! While difficult to notice in my pictures, despite my aggressive flossing (haha, sounds like a band name), I can’t seem to whiten up the area between my 2 bottom teeth. Until now. After 2 treatments the Smile Brilliant trays completely whitened up the teeth. Woot!

Okay, B. Sounds good. Is this affordable?
Compared to what your dentist will charge you, this kit is definitely affordable. Keep in mind that it is an investment and getting a mold made ensures that you will be able to use it time after time. The mold plus 1 syringe of whitening gel with run you $89. One syringe will only get you 3 treatments, so I highly recommend getting 6 syringes for $129. Still not bad considering getting this professionally done can cost almost 3x as much.

What is the whitening gel made from?
It is dentist-strength 22% Carbamide Peroxide and comes in 3ml syringes.

Whitening gel

I’m a fan and I’m thinking about gifting Esposo with some Smile Brilliant goodies? That isn’t bad, is it? Gifting your husband with teeth whitening goodies? Ah well. I am very excited to see what other cool things Smile Brilliant launches in the future. I love brands that stay above the trends.

Smile Brilliant trays

What do you think? Would you ever try something like this?

Darshana Natural Indian Hair Oil – the best hair oil EVER!

I know what you’re thinking. “Seriously B? Another oil-based product?” It’s no surprise that I love me some oils. I know oils are all trendy and whatnot, but honey, I grew up slathering myself in oil. They are far from a trend for me and I love incorporating them in my life. Several beauty blogger friends of mine have recently been raving about the Darshana Natural Indian Hair Oil and when I was offered the opportunity to give it a whirl, of course I jumped at it.

Darshana

Far from your cheap bottle of hair oil that you may spot at your drugstore, Darshana will set you back a good $38 but if you’re already griping over the price, please know that you get what you pay for. And when it comes to healthy skin and hair, I don’t mind making the investments. Especially when I get a good return on said investment.

Darshana Oil

At first glance, Darshana’s appears to be like your everyday blend of oils. The website lists some of its properties which include…

  • Moisturizes, conditions, and smoothes hair
  • Contains Antioxidants, Omega 3-6-9, and Vitamins A-B-C-E
  • Makes hair appear, softer, shinier, and healthier
  • Absorbs quickly and controls frizz
  • No mineral oil, parabens, sulfates, silicone, artificial color or animal testing
  • Fresh citrus scent
  • 6 fl. oz

What isn’t mentioned on their website, that I think should be mentioned, is how incredibly lightweight this oil feels. It reminds me a lot like maracuja oil in that a little goes a long way and but it doesn’t feel heavy and greasy like many oils do. I’ve been using this daily for the past few weeks on both my hair and body and wow, I’m impressed.

Darshana Natural Indian Hair Oil can be used many different ways but from what I’ve gathered on the site, it is best used as a pre-shower treatment. You slather it on your hair for 30 minutes (or overnight) and then you wash out. You’re left with softer and shinier hair. And…it’s true! My hair has been so much softer since using this. I’m not sure if it’s the oil alone or if it activates something in my conditioner that makes my conditioner work better, but whatever it is, I don’t want to stop using this oil. It keeps my curls so so soft and shiny.

Natural hair - Darshana

Of course, oils work differently for everyone and some people feel that their hair may be too greasy for oil altogether and I get that. This oil also works beautifully all over the skin. I’ve been using it after showers and it’s just divine. I really have no complaints about this oil and if you Google it, you’ll see all of the raving reviews from women of various hair types talking about how fantastic this oil is. And it really, really is.

For more information about Darshana Natural Indian Hair Oil and to purchase it, visit the website here.

Weight Watcher’s Simple Start…I’m ready!

Well, here we are again. This is my second attempt at trying Weight Watchers. Attempting to start a weight loss plan 6 months after a baby just wasn’t ideal for me. I was trying to get into the groove of going back to work and breastfeeding had my hormones doing crazy thangs. But now, I’m weaning from the pump, and I’m ready!

Through Socialstars, I was given the opportunity to try  Weight Watcher’s Simple Start plan and I couldn’t be more excited. Nervous? Well, yeah. I don’t want to fail again. I want to be successful. I want to be one of those women who when I tell you I lost 50 lbs, you look at me in amazement. I want be an inspiration to others.

And uh…excuse my vanity a bit, but seriously…I NEED to drop this post-baby weight. Not because I’m in 2 weddings this year. Not because I feel so uncomfortable in my skin but because I’ve got a little one who is becoming more observant.

#Simple Start weight loss

A great deal of parenting is leading by example and now that Elle is eating food, I want to make healthy choices for the both of us. It just makes sense.

And I want to feel confident again.

I always joke that red lipstick is confidence in a tube, but I truly feel confident when I am happy in my skin. Lately, I haven’t been happy. I can acknowledge this with ease because I know that the real work comes with FIXING this problem. And I can do it because I’m ready to love my body again. Ultimately!

Weight Watchers #SimpleStart challenge

So about this Simple Start deal… My Mom was the first to tell me about Simple Start and I think it’s a fantastic idea for those new to Weight Watchers. Starting any lifestyle change is challenging but Simple Start allows you to sloooooowly make your way into to selecting healthier food options. It takes the guesswork out of what many people find challenging…finding eating healthy meals to eat. And the best part? I don’t have to worry about portion sizes just yet. I just use the app, select menu options, make it and boom…eat it. The menu choices can be as easy as grilled chicken on top of a salad to as gourmet as pasta primavera. And if you’re like me and your chef of a husband is working late and you’re too lazy to do something fancy, you can build your own meal from their options. Like a spinach and tomato omelette.

Weight Watchers #SimpleStart

Cool, huh? Simple Start will last for  2 weeks and then I’ll continue on with the regular Weight Watchers program. I like the ideal of taking baby steps. Jumping right into Weight Watchers with the point counting can be a bit daunting so I really appreciate the flexibility that Simple Start provides.

Wish me luck! I can be pretty hard on myself so I REALLY want to succeed this time. If you’ve got any tips, thoughts or advice for me, let me know. I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

 

 

I was given a free one month subscription to Weight Watchers to try their new Simple Start plan and write about my experience. Though I was compensated for my time and commitment, all views, positive and negative, are my own.

Makeup Wars: 5 Beauty Resolutions That I BETTER Stick To In 2014

Beauty Resolutions

I’m not the type to make annual resolutions (I’m a fan of smaller weekly and monthly goals) but when my girls thought of the idea to do beauty resolutions, I just couldn’t pass this one up. Part of me wants to blame my laziness and frugality on being a new mom but dude, my babe is almost a year old. I can’t use this “I’m a new mom and don’t have time for anything” spiel forever, can I? Soooo, here are some things that I blame to change and institute in 2014.

Wash my face every night.

It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I’ve gone to bed without washing my face. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who does this but I’ve made too much of a habit out of it. 9pm hits and the old lady in me doesn’t want to do anything that requires lifting a hand. At the very least I can invest in face wipes to wipe off the makeup IF I’m not going to bust suds nightly. But still…busting suds is better.

Wear a full face of makeup at least once a week.

In the 6+ years I’ve been into makeup, I’ve gone through 2 extremes. I went through wearing makeup every day like my life depended on it to not wearing anything at all. I’d like to meet myself in the middle and at least commit to wearing eye shadow once a week. I don’t want my skills to disappear on account of my laziness.

If nail polish starts chipping, remove it.

I know. I know. This is bad. I really should know better. Chipping nail polish is the worst but I’ve spotted myself rockin’ this like it’s a trend. And that needs to stop. ASAP.

Do weekly hair treatment

I’ve always been lazy in the hair department and for the most part my hair continues to look relatively healthy. But a lil’ weekly treatment wouldn’t hurt. I’m going to check out the natural hair blogs to see what nourishing treatment I can do to help with shine, manageable and all around hair health.

Spend $50 a month on new products

Back in the day, I spent well over $50 a month on makeup. And now I don’t spend anything. My priorities have changed and I was pinching pennies for quite some time but I think I can afford to invest in some new and pretty beauty baubles. Besides, I deserve it, don’t I? I work hard yo!

 

Check out the beauty resolutions that my girls have!

A New View in 2014

I can’t believe that I’m just now doing a post in the new year. In the past I’d be all apologetic about disappearing but meh…I’m starting to think that y’all may be used to my sporadic behavior. And that’s not a good thing. I should really stick to a schedule and not leave people hanging.

Has 2014 been good to you so far?

Pine trees

I love the start of a new year. It’s renewing and refreshing. Granted, I feel like you don’t need to wait until a new year to make changes in your life, but if you do, then hey…it’s all good. Better some change at the beginning of the year than no change at all. I’ve been so inspired by nature this year.

Tree over lake

Every day at around 10am, I walk a mile around the perimeter of my office. I look forward to this walk because it’s my chance to get away from the computer, to stretch and look at the sky. That mile walk is the only exercise I get each day so I make the most of it. It’s my little retreat from work, stress, deadlines and social media. Oh, social media. I am apart of the Overshare Generation and it can be so overwhelming sometimes. I’ve been diving into books more and plunging into the lives of fictitious characters is far more entertaining than the “OMG, my big boy is using the potty!” posts that my friends post on Facebook. Sorry, not sorry.

In beauty news, I’ve been rockin’ dark purple nail polish nonstop.

nail polish

OPI’s Miss You-niverse is just…yas! Far from a unique purple polish, I know, but every time it starts a chippin’, I remove it and apply it again. It’s my signature shade for the season.

Here’s hoping that I can be more active in the blogspace this year. Motherhood consumed me (unapoletically so) last year and like many mothers I struggle to find time to myself to do the things that I once enjoyed. But I’m trying. I suspect that it’ll be far easier once Elle sleeps through the night. Yes. This girl is almost a year old and still wakes up every 4-5 hours to grace us with her gorgeous face. We’re so lucky.

Enjoy your day!

Post Holiday Giveaway: Score A Bag Of Goodies From Walgreens and P&G!

OnMyWayToFab

The holidays have come and gone and the lovely people at P&G and Walgreens want to make sure you are on your way to fabulous. Both companies have partnered up with Tim Gunn and the People’s Choice Awards to put together a lovely bag of goodies to make sure you are fabulous during your holiday parties and gatherings. From Pantene Damage Detox Cream to Studio 35 Beauty nail polish remover pads we want to make sure you are looking good from head to toe. The bags is full of awesome things, but here are a few of my favorites that I received as samples.

  • The COVERGIRL Bombshell Volume By Lashblast is an amazing mascara. With its 2-step process, it maximizes your lashes to get them longer and fuller. I usually do not like two step mascaras because I think they are pointless, but this mascara actually works and I have been getting a lot of compliments when I wear it.
  • Olay Regenerist Advance Anti-Aging Cream is the perfect gift for your mother or favorite aunt. Olay says that  “In just one day it reduces the appearance of lines, boost hydration and brightness. By Week 2 your skin is noticeably firmer and skin elasticity is improved.” Nice!
  • Venus and Olay Sugarberry Exfoliate Razor is wonderful. It is just now getting cooler in Florida, but every other day I can sneak in a dress or skirt without wearing tights. Having hairy legs is NOT an accessory that is in style. The Venus & Olay razor made my legs silky smooth and hasn’t dried out my skin like other razors.
  • Delish Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel combines my two favorite things; chocolate and caramel. The touch of salt sends your taste buds on a ride that you will want to get on again and again.
  • Studio 35 Blender Brush is a great blending brush if you are new to liquid foundation. I have just started wearing liquid and the 35 blender brush blends perfect giving my skin an airbrushed look and feel.

Want to press your luck to try and win this bag of awesomeness? Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win! Is the Rafflecopter taking too long to load for you? Enter here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Lipstick League: Weekly Links, Volume 114

Something About Berry

Yay for another post from the The Lipstick League! We are a group of beauty bloggers, bound together by the desire to save the world with beauty, one post at a time!

For the month of December, we’re super-sizing The Lipstick League
and giving you double the fun from each member!

 

Clumps of Mascara – I don’t think I’ve ever loved a blush as much as I love these little Too Faced Sweethearts. Aren’t they just preciiiious?

EauMG – Hug your auntie! EauMG has last minute gift ideas for sweet nieces and teens!

EauMG – Attention fellow carb lovers, Victoria reviews a gourmand by L’Artisan Parfumeur that smells like woods and baking bread. It’s the ultimate comfort fragrance.

Gouldylox Reviews – This pre-‘poo treatment changed my hair dramatically for the better.

Gouldylox Reviews – Excited about the movie American Hustle? Here’s how to get the looks from the movie!

Lipglossiping – Embraces the spirit of the season with some vampy berry lips courtesy of Aveda!

My Beauty Bunny – Is thrilled to announce the launch of the My Beauty Bunny Cruelty-Free All-Natural AHA Facial Moisturizer! It’s vegan, GMO-free, paraben-free, and oil-free, and packed with good for your skin ingredients.

My Beauty Bunny – Takes a look at The Organic Pharmacy’s vibrant and shimmery All That Glitters nail polish collection and whips up a simple holiday-themed manicure!

Nouveau Cheap – Looking for some last-minute gifts for the bath & body lovers in your life? Here are my picks from Lush for Holiday 2013.

Nouveau Cheap – New for 2014, come take a peek at the Maybelline Color Show Street Art Collection.

Pink Sith – Only a few more days until Christmas! Here are 10 beauty stocking stuffers, all $25 or less, to help complete your list.

Pink Sith – Need a kickass red lipstick to wear to your next PepsiCo Board Meeting to tell them this isn’t your first time at the rodeo? Then you need NARS Guy Bourdin Cinematic Lipstick in Future Red!

Prime Beauty – is getting ready for the holidays with bareMinerals Crystallized Full Face Collection, a blend of iridescent, holographic joy AND it’s on sale. Happy Holidays!

Prime Beauty – found a fabulous gift for the traveler. Whether you’re going away for the weekend or on a long distance trip, you will definitely want the Jonny Bag with you!

Phyrra – shares the best cruelty free beauty gifts for under $30!

Phyrra – loves all things sparkly! Here are her Top 10 Favorite Glittery Beauty Products.

we heart this – reviews bareMinerals Complexion Superstars gift set, and gives you “WOW” worthy before and after images.

we heart this – implores all Black Phoenix Alchemy perfume oil fans; you NEED Scrappy Damsel! It’s a near dupe for their infamous scent Underpants…

Beauty Junkies Unite – Don’t miss your chance to enter to win 5 of the newest haircare products from the NUANCE Salma Hayek line found exclusively at CVS!

Question of the Week:

You can only buy one drugstore mascara for the rest of your life.
Which do you choose??

B says, “Seriously? How can I pick? I can’t. I just can’t. No really…I can’t.”

Can you pick? What drugstore mascara are you absolutely loving?

See you next week!

Esposo Reviews: A watch made out of…wood?

JORD watch on wrist

If you ask the wife, she’ll tell you I have an obsession with watches. If you ask me, I’ll simply inform you that I have a distinct appreciation for quality time pieces that are affordable (usually), functional (always), and just look damn good. So when she asked me if I was interested in reviewing a wooden watch brand, I jumped at it.

You see, in the past year or two wooden watches have become a “thing”. Whether it’s a trendy thing, an “eco-friendly-let’s-save-the-world” thing, or a “let’s be more hip than the hipsters” thing I couldn’t tell you, but it’s definitely a “thing”. I tend to lean more towards the chunky, big faced stainless steel styles, but after discovering there are more than a few brands venturing into the wood market I’ve become curious.

JORD watches

To begin with, the folks at Jord get kudos for making the packaging so appealing. Being a fashion focused brand rather than an eco-friendly brand (according to their website), this should be expected, but in researching their competition I’ve found not everyone remembers that the packaging is part of the experience.

JORD packaging

In addition to the nicely detailed box you also get a monogrammed pillow for the watch to wrap around. It was a nice surprise and a first for me, as I can’t recall having seen that in other luxury watch brands. Another point in Jord’s favor.

The model we were sent, the Sully, is a mid-sized watch made from cherry & maple wood with a 41mm case/bezel, 3 hand Citizen Miyota movement, “scratch proof” glass and a single action locking clasp. It looks just as good in person as on the Jord website and is very comfortable on the wrist (no splinters!). The design of the bezel and links in the bracelet are reminiscent of many stainless steel watches on the market, so the look will be familiar to many, but having it done up in these classy wooden tones does add something different to the experience. Being made out of wood, the watch is also extremely light weight, and I found myself forgetting I had it on. That could be a good or a bad thing depending on your personal taste.

Jord

I was really impressed with how smooth and crisp the details of the watch are, as I had some doubts about how well such a product could be executed. Sizing the watch wasn’t difficult at all (I own a set of watch tools), but I was surprised that I only had to removed one link to fit the watch to my wrist. My wrist is somewhere between 7 to 7 1/2 inches in circumference and I usually have to remove 4-6 links to fit my wrist with other brands. This may leave customers with bigger wrists needing to order parts. The articulation of the band is pretty good, however there were a few links whose movement was a little stiff, but unless you’re a watch snob like me, this probably won’t matter to you.

This is a beautiful piece and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, but I think Jord does need to be a little more focused on their quality control. Upon close examination, there was speck of paint or fragment of wood on the inside of the watch glass.

JORD case

It’s not very noticeable, but it might make some folks nervous about the inner workings of the watch. Was it assembled in a clean environment? Is there going to be a bunch of saw dust or wood chips gumming up the gears? These are questions that hard core watch buyers may ask.

Another mark against them was the fact that there were a couple of faint scratches on the clasp of the watch.

JORD clasp

I noticed these as soon as I removed the watch from the packaging and had to wonder how this happened even though the clasp was wrapped in a protective layer of plastic?

With an asking price of $139, the Sully is not the most expensive of Jord’s models or wood watches in general, but the level of craftsmanship displayed is stunning and should be a winner with both flower children and the fashion forward.

 

About the Author:

Esposo is B’s better half. In addition to being a musician, Esposo (which by the way means ‘husband’ in Spanish) is a writer, photographer and audio/visual engineer. He’s a comic book, sci-fi and watch fanatic and adores Baby Clumps. And his strikingly beautiful and talented wife. [editor’s note]