Tag Archives: health

Smile Brilliant – Update and Giveaway!

I started a teeth whitening regime several weeks ago called Smile Brilliant! and I am excited to share my results. I drink a lot of coffee, so my teeth were very noticeably stained. I was most self-conscious about my canine teeth and bottom row, and paid extra attention to these areas during the process.

The active ingredient in the whitening gel is carbamide peroxide, which is broken down and uses oxygen to oxidize the stained organic deposits to whiten your teeth. Smile Brilliant’s products are safe to use, though may cause some tooth and gums sensitivity, which can easily be avoided through proper application.

After I received my trays in the mail, which I demonstrated how to make in my last post, I was impressed with how well they fit in my mouth, and even thought they looked a bit creepy and cool. The whole system is rather sophisticated and easy to use, and I put together a little demonstration video to show how simple it is to achieve brighter teeth in a short time.

My mom and I both followed this process for a week, wearing our trays in the morning for at least 45 minutes. I wore mine as I got ready for work, or at night before bed. We’re proud of our results, and I wonder how much my teeth would have improved if I had worn the trays for an hour or more. Perhaps it’s something you can try.

Here are our results:


before and after_leah_1

before and after_leah_2

My mom:

before and after_lydia_1

before and after_lydia_2

The main thing I notice is that the yellow/gray shade of our teeth became whiter and brighter. Our teeth look healthier and have a white ombré fading to the tip of our enamel. Continued use would probably result in even more dramatic results, but I am pleased with this process.

If you are interested in purchasing your own teeth whitening kit, be sure to check out Smile Brilliant so that you can read more about the process and make sure it’s right for you. For a 5% discount, enter “morningink” at checkout.

The giveaway can be found here. You can win $139.90 in store credit which buys all of the products mentioned at the end of the video. This giveaway is open to everyone. Good luck!

Best Teeth Whitening

Smile Brilliant!

My smile is really important to me in photos, since I like to take close-ups of my face to show jewelry, makeup, to scare you, etc. I’ve always been quite proud of my teeth, and took decent care of them…until I became a vegetarian and just RUINED MY LIFE. Not really, but my teeth definitely went downhill. I’ll save you the scientific explanation for why this occurred, but I was really excited when Smile Brilliant! contacted me to ask if I would review their product.

I’ve managed to improve the health of my teeth, but not the appearance. I have stains from all the coffee I inhale on a daily basis, and am self-conscious about the yellow tinge that is noticeable on my cuspid teeth, or canine teeth, from the wine and beer I drink at all those parties I go to. Haha yeah. Socializing. I uh, totally do that.



I’ve tried teeth whiteners in the past, but nothing as advanced as this. While cosmetic dentists use teeth whitening gels and laser light to improve the appearance of teeth, Smile Brilliant only requires the use of their 22% Hi-Intensity Teeth Whitening Gel for 12 consecutive days. The carbamide peroxide in the gel gently breaks down stained organic deposits and oxidizes them until they’re white. This gel is used by dentists worldwide and produces the fastest and safest results in the least amount of time. Basically, you spend less time (and money) sitting in a dentist’s chair getting your ivories blasted with heat.

Before you can begin whitening, you have to first make an impression of your teeth to send to Smile Brilliant’s dental lab, where they create your custom bleaching trays.



Making my own teeth impressions was extremely easy. I was a bit intimidated by all the contents in the box, but it came with a clear, handy guide for how to make your molds.


You first combine one base paste with a catalyst paste until it is a solid blue.


You then fit it into your mold, making sure the paste is even throughout.



You press (don’t bite) the mold into your top teeth and hold it there for about 2 and a half minutes, or until the paste hardens a little. You’ll know it was a success when it comes off easily and doesn’t stick to your teeth.


Admire your teeth impression. I stared at mine for a bit just to see how freakin’ uneven my teeth are, geeze.


Repeat the process for the bottom half of your teeth, and try not to drool as much as I did. Seriously, Niagara Falls erupted out of my mouth.

Once you’re done, let your impressions sit for at least 30 minutes to let them harden, and slip them into the provided super convenient pre-paid packing envelope. Your whitening tray is expected to arrive within a week. Pretty sweet.


I plan to post updates during this process, so to make the results accurate and interesting, HERE ARE MY TEETH.



I definitely had to lower the brightness because the sun was being too generous. And if that wasn’t fun enough for you, my mom is joining in on the process.




If you would like to learn more about Smile Brilliant! and the teeth whitening process, here is a 2-minute video that may answer a few of your questions or pique your interest further:

Aaah wish me luck!

My weight loss journey + fitness apparel picks

You don’t see many fashion/beauty bloggers that are a size 8-14 so I’m happy I’m able to step into that middle threshold of limited bloggers. Three years ago, when I was 70 pounds heavier, I would have never dreamed of putting full body photos on the internet, much less showcase my style.

fat collage

I love putting little collages of my old photos together because it reminds me of how far I’ve come. I question my progress and am still upset with my body but all of those feelings disappear when I look at these photos.

I lost it the healthy way and completely on my own, I’m glad to report. I was unemployed at the time and fresh out of college, so my body and health were the only thing I had control over. I lost my first 23 pounds by cutting the amount of calories I ate in half, completing Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred and running a mile every day. What started out as 23 pounds soon turned into 30, then 50, and then not even five months later, 70. I had gone from 244, obese for my height, down to 174.

I’m not done. I won’t ever be done. Even once I reach a healthy weight, I need to maintain it. I made a choice in June of 2011 to not give up on myself or ever be that big again. It hurts, it’s difficult and I hate it most of the time, but holy crap, I do not want to ever gain that weight back.

Workout bottoms for touching thighs

From left to right:
Old Navy Active Compression Capris
GapFit gStride Running Shorts
Aerie Midi Yoga Shorts

I swear by these three bottoms for girls with bigger thighs and middles. The first set of shorts are ideal for running, because they can pull up over your stomach and keep your thighs from moving too much when taking strides. The Gap shorts in the middle are the only pair that I can run comfortably in without fear of them riding up. They’re also ideal for home or gym workouts, and have a handy zippered pocket in the back. The yoga shorts are awesome for, well, yoga. I don’t need to pull down the legs every few seconds and the fold over top is flattering on larger bellies.

Boob sweat trappers

From left to right:
AE Racerback Boyfriend Tank
Old Navy Active Sports Bra
Old Navy Active Mesh Top

As for tops, I usually wear old concert t-shirts layered over a tank top. 100% of my tanks are from American Eagle because they’re thin yet durable, fit to my body and don’t move while running. I buy all my sports bras from Old Navy because they have the best fit and are so damn affordable. I recommend eventually getting a mesh top for any outdoor sports or biking, especially in the summer. They keep your torso cool and don’t collect sweat, which typically weighs you down.

Do you have any fitness goals this summer? What is your favorite fitness clothing brand? I’m happy to see more clothing stores like American Eagle and DailyLook incorporating active wear into their shops.

Have a great Wednesday and thank you for reading.