Thursday, September 11, 2014

Smile Brilliant - Professional Quality Teeth Whitening System Review and Giveaway!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Smile Brilliant and they asked me if I would be interested in trying their at home teeth whitening system. I have always been curious about whitening my teeth, but I shied away for various reasons: cost, teeth sensitivity and uneven whitening. I looked at Smile Brilliant's website and saw that they use the same professional products that dentists use, and you also make an impression of your teeth to get your very own custom set of whitening trays that fit your teeth like a glove all for a fraction of the cost of getting your teeth whitened at the dentist. I thought that was amazing, so I went ahead and decided to review it for you guys!


Some or all products shown in this post may have been provided by the said brand(s) and/or website(s) for potential review and/or use. For more information, please read my DISCLAIMER.

Now, I don't have particularly yellow teeth per say, but I do enjoy drinking tea, coffee and soda which can lead to staining. My problem teeth are my incisors, which tend to be the teeth with the most yellowness/staining. I also have a tiny bit of staining in between certain teeth. I was a little hesitant to try this product out at first because I know that teeth whitening products are notorious for making teeth sensitive, and my teeth are already sensitive to begin with. But I was pleased when I found out that Smile Brilliant offers a desensitizing gel that you apply before whitening that helps reduce sensitivity.

When the kit arrived, I was instantly impressed by the sleek and well put together packaging. Everything is neatly laid out and easy to figure out.

This is what you get when you first get the kit:

-2 impression trays 
-Impression material
-3 whitening gel syringes (you can get 3 desensitizing gel syringes for an extra $19.95)
-Prepaid 3-way postage
-2 year teeth whitening tray replacement warranty
-Detailed instructional brochure
-30 day satisfaction guarantee


Make sure your teeth are thoroughly brushed and flossed to get the best impression results. After you've done that, take one of each of the impression materials, Catalyst Paste and Base Paste and blend it with your fingers thoroughly until there is no more white visible (no more than 90 seconds) and it turns into a light blue shade.

After that, quickly apply the mixture evenly on one of the impression trays. 

Apply firm, even pressure onto the impression material and tray. There is no need to bite down, just firmly press onto your teeth. Keep a towel handy because you will probably drool during this step. Hold the tray in place for 2 minutes and gently remove the tray from your teeth. Repeat the same steps for your bottom teeth. If your impression came out looking a little funky, you're in luck. Smile Brilliant sends you 3 sets of impression material just in case you mess up like I did!

After your impressions are done, leave them in their trays, let them sit for about ten minutes, rinse them with cool water, let them dry and harden and they are ready to be shipped out to get your very own custom trays! All you have to do is put them in the prepaid package, and send them on their way. A lab technician will hand craft your custom trays and in about a week, you should receive your trays and start the whitening process!

When you get your package in about a week, you will get your set of custom fitted trays and a carrying case. Since I am reviewing the product, I got sent my plaster molds too (I was informed that they don't send those out to customers, just thought I should let you all know that) which was super cool to look at.


The trays are clear, bendable and flexible and they fit great.


I want to display this in my room. It's so cool!

If you ordered the desensitizing gel, brush and floss your teeth before application. Apply a thin strip of product from the syringe onto the trays and apply to your teeth. Leave it on for about 30 minutes to an hour depending on how sensitive your teeth are. After you've done that, brush and floss your teeth again to get rid of the remaining desensitizing gel and wash and dry your trays. 

To begin whitening your teeth, apply a dot of product on each tooth impression towards the outer edge. Try not to apply too much or else it will ooze out when you have your trays on. You can leave them on for as little as 45 minutes or as long as 3 hours. I left mine on for 45 minutes a session. Make sure to brush your teeth again after each whitening session. Since I have sensitive teeth, I whitened mine every other day for about 2 weeks. 


The syringes are easily distinguishable by their handle colors. The desensitizing gel has a purple handle and the whitening gel has a green handle. You get about 2 or 3 uses with each syringe depending on how much product you use.

Even with the desensitizing gel, I did experience some sensitivity after whitening, especially with cold food and drinks, but it would typically only last a few hours. The whitening gel did irritate my gums a bit, but it was not unbearable. Here are my results:

It's not drastic, but you can definitely see a difference! I can only imagine how much whiter they would be if I did it every day and for longer periods of time! I'm totally pleased with my results. The entire process was easy, convenient and it saves you a bunch of money!

Overall, I am very pleased with the ease of use of the kit, and the results are awesome. If you are in the market for a teeth whitening kit, please consider Smile Brilliant! The quality is great, it works, and their customer service team is great as well! 

Big thanks to Smile Brilliant for letting me review this kit and for hosting the giveaway!

If you are interested in trying this kit, check out The kits start at $119.95 (that's a bargain compared to paying $500 plus at the dentist).

Or if you're feeling lucky, enter my giveaway below for your chance to win your very own Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening kit! You must be at least 18 years old or older to enter and one entry per household only please. Also, please make sure you read the terms and conditions at the bottom of the giveaway widget. Open internationally (if the winner happens to be international, they must pay for the shipping of the impressions)! GOOD LUCK!


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Illusive Iris

 I was catching up on some makeup tutorials on YouTube the other day and after watching pretty much the same basic look over and over again, I came across this video by the lovely and talented HayzStrawberry and I instantly fell in love. I just had to recreate it! I love this combination of colors and the hazy, smokey effect it has.

This look reminds me of irises because of their striking indigo petals and contrasting yellow/green center.

  • Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation in Light 44
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light

  • NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk all over lids and water line
  • Sugarpill eyeshadow in Acidberry on inner corners and water line
  • Sugarpill eyeshadow in Velocity all over lids and blended with Acidberry
  • Sugarpill eyeshadow in Poison Plum blended above Velocity and applied on lower lids
  • Mixture of Sugarpill's Velocity and Tako eyeshadows blended above and under Posion Plum
  • Sugarpill eyeshadow in Tako on brow bone and inner corners
  • Makeup Geek Gel Liner in Immortal
  • FAUX Lashes in Sasha

  • Makeup Geek Blush in Hanky Panky

  • NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Tokyo
I hope you enjoyed this bold, fun look! Make sure you check out HayzStarberry's YouTube channel! Her looks are so beautiful and she's super talented.

Take care!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Curves + Curtseys - Plus-Size Fashion Featuring SWAK Designs and a Makeup Look, Part II!

Welcome to part II of my SWAK Designs plus-size fashion collaboration! If you missed my first post, I shared a dreamy, romantic look featuring a soft and comfy aqua cold shoulder top paired with charcoal jeggings and a pair of buckle booties to tie everything together. Check it out here if you missed it!

 For my second look, I wanted something a little more bold and fun. This outfit would be great for a night out, a concert or anywhere you want to look fabulous! I was going for an urban, rocker-chic vibe. The chiffon top I'm wearing is sophisticated, chic and versatile. It's sheer, so I'm wearing a simple black cami underneath. If you're a little more daring, this would look amazing with a harness bra like this one. This chiffon blouse is different from others that I've seen. It features a unique, oversize collar that gives it some more character and gorgeous, gold buttons. It also has sleeve buttons to hold them up if you want. The sleeves hit just below my elbows. If they aren't buttoned up it gives me a more relaxed and carefree look. There's also a functional front pocket. I love these kinds of tops because you can dress them up or down. I'm wearing the same style jeggings as I wore in my last post, but in a pretty red shade.

I paired this look with some bold, gold jewelry, some black suede boot-wedges, some funky, tortoise shell round sunglasses and a black, wide-brim fedora to bring everything together.

Some or all products shown in this post may have been provided by the said brand(s) and/or website(s) for potential review and/or use. This blog post contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my DISCLAIMER.


HAT: Target

SHOES: Target

SUNGLASSES: I purchased my sunglasses at a swapmeet here in Los Angeles, but these from Romwe are almost identical - Romwe

I got both items in a 2X and the blouse fits me a little snug around my tummy. Keep in mind that chiffon usually doesn't stretch, so if you want it more flowy then size up. Luckily it looks good fitted as well. This type of fabric tends to wrinkle easily, so keep that in mind too. The jeggings fit me well, but wearing them throughout the day tends to loosen them up around my waist a bit. They fit wonderfully on my legs, though!

Here is the eye makeup I put together to go with this look. I wanted it to be extra smokey, sultry and sparkly.

I used NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Black Bean all over my top and bottom lids, blended Too Faced's eyeshadow in Nudie in my crease, applied Too Faced's eyeshadow in Heaven on my brow bone, applied Sugarpill's eyeshadow in Bulletproof on my crease and inner and outer lids, Sugarpill's loose eyeshadow in Goldilux on the center of my top and bottom lids top it off with Sephora's glitter liner in Gold. I'm wearing Faux Lashes in Vixen.

If you like what you see, then make sure you check out and check out what else they have to offer, too! If you sign up for their newsletter, you can receive 15% off your first purchase. Who doesn't like saving money, right? 

I hope you guys are enjoying these plus-size fashion posts so far! I know it isn't easy to find cute clothing being on the bigger side, so I hope that this is helpful for some of you. I cannot wait to show you more outfits ideas in the near future!

Take care!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Curves + Curtseys - My First Plus-Size Fashion Post Featuring SWAK Designs Part I, Plus a Makeup Look!

If you follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter, you may have seen my announcement about expanding my blog into the fashion world, more specifically, plus-size fashion! I've been running this blog for 3 years now and my main focus has always been makeup and beauty. That is still a huge part of this blog, but I think it would be fun to share my fashion ideas and looks with you guys. My fashions posts will be titled Curves + Curtsies!

As a plus-size woman that loves trendy fashion, it isn't always easy to find cute clothes that fit my figure comfortably. Not only am I plus size, but I have a longer torso and my legs are on the shorter side, so that in itself makes it more difficult for me to find clothing that fits well. Most fashion retailers have this skewed idea that all plus-size men and women prefer to wear frumpy, unflattering clothing with horrendous prints and made out of cheap and uncomfortable fabric. Thankfully, thanks to many amazing plus-size clothing stores online (and some that are actual physical stores), plus-size men and women have a lot more options now than there was just a few years ago. Some retailers are even expanding into plus-sizes, which is great (now we just gotta wait for them to expand to more than just a corner of the store).

I got in contact with SWAK Designs and asked them if they would be interested in collaborating with me on my first couple of plus-size fashion posts, and they happily obliged! I picked two outfits to share and model for you guys, and I will be wearing one of those in this blog post. But first, let me tell you a little about SWAK Designs if you aren't familiar with them. They are based in California and they offer a wide variety of trendy, well-made clothing that fits your figure beautifully without looking like you're wearing a potato bag. Their clothing starts at a US size 14 and ranges from a 1X-6X. They offer free shipping on orders over $99, and they ship to more than 50 countries.

Some or all products shown in this post may have been provided by the said brand(s) and/or website(s) for potential review and/or use. This blog post contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my DISCLAIMER.

This outfit is super sweet and romantic and is perfect for a date with that special someone or grabbing lunch with some friends. The soft jersey-knit top is comfortable, flowy, and features a lace detail along the top and also a cute, cold-shoulder cut-out for a little extra sexiness without showing too much skin. The hem hits at the waist so it's great to wear with leggings and/or if you want a little extra coverage. I paired it with a pair of dark charcoal jeggings to balance the bright mint top. These jeggings are SO comfortable, it feels like I'm wearing pajamas! They are soft, stretchy and maintain their shape. I really love the versatility and convenience of jeggings because they're comfy and they can be dressed up or down.

I threw on same matching jewelry to tie the look together and some booties to add some edginess and balance out the look.

BOTTOMS: Zoe Jeggings in Charcoal - $39.90 - SWAK Designs


I got both the top and bottoms in size 2X from SWAK Designs and they both fit me a bit big so if you decide to purchase from them, make sure you keep that in mind and use their size chart as a guideline. The top is meant to be flowy, but if you want it a little more fitted, size down. It's made out of stretchy material so it won't be constricting. Same with the jeggings. When I first tried them on they fit well, but wearing them throughout the day loosened them up at the waist quite a bit. If it helps, I'm 5'5" tall and I typically wear size a 16/18 in jeans.

I also created a makeup look to go along with this outfit. It's nothing too fancy, but I wanted it to be smokey, neutral and have a pop of color to compliment the outfit.

I used NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk all over the lid and on the waterline, patted Makeup Geek's eyeshadow in Glass Slipper on the inner corner and on the waterline, applied Too Faced's Nudie eyeshadow in my crease and Too Faced's eyeshadow in Heaven on my brow bone, applied a mixture of Urban Decay's Factory, Mugshot and Darkside eyeshadows on the top and bottom lids and darkened the outer corners and crease with Urban Decay's eyeshadow in Blackout. I'm wearing FAUX Lashes in Sasha.

If you like what you see, then make sure you check out and check out what else they have to offer, too! If you sign up for their newsletter, you can receive 15% off your first purchase. Who doesn't like saving money, right? I will have the next SWAK Designs outfit up in the near future, which will be a more edgy, rocker chic look!

I really hope you guys enjoyed this post! This totally new for me and I'm a bit self-conscious about posting my body on here for thousands to see, but if it empowers at least one person to feel great about themselves, and realize that they too can look cute being plus size, then that totally makes it worth while!

Take care!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sally Beauty Haul and a $25 Gift Card Giveaway!

If you're a beauty product lover, then chances are you know of or shop at Sally Beauty Supply. Ever since I fell into the beauty world, I've been shopping at Sally's and I can always find what I'm looking for, whether it's makeup, hair tools, hair dye, nail polish or styling products, they have it all (over 7,000 professional quality products, actually) and at affordable prices. They are my beauty store one-stop-shop! I've always loved the fact that Sally Beauty is open to the public unlike other beauty supply stores that I've seen where you need to have a cosmetology license to shop. 

Also, the staff is pretty knowledgeable with their products so if you ever need help with anything, they're there for you! One time, my hair went from a light blonde to a gross dark green shade when I attempted to go dark for the fall/winter! I walked into Sally's looking like Old Gregg and the lovely people there helped me with getting back to a more natural color. They gave me tips and suggested other products to maintain my color, which is nice and totally appreciated.

Luckily for me, my Sally Beauty is literally down the street from where I live, but if you think there isn't one near you, think again! Sally's has more than 2,800 stores worldwide including every state in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. If you want to see if there is a store near you, simply visit their store locator and see where the nearest Sally Beauty location is to you. Of course, you can always shop online at

I visited Sally Beauty recently to pick up some essentials that I've been needing and I thought I'd share them with you all! Some of these are products I've used before and some are things that I've been wanting to try. 

Some or all products shown in this post may have been provided by the said brand(s) and/or website(s) for potential review and/or use. For more information, please read my DISCLAIMER.

Here is everything that I picked up from Sally's!

If you don't already know this, I do my own hair at home because I cannot afford going to get my hair done at a salon every few weeks. I've gotten it professionally done in the past, but I never got the results I wanted. My hair is naturally straight, medium thickness and is a medium chestnut brown with lots of red and golden undertones. I like having lighter hair, especially in the warmer months, so I need something that is going to lift my hair color with as little damage as possible. My hair is currently ombre, which I absolutely love and it gets loads of compliments everywhere I go so I want to maintain that. I haven't touched up my ends in a while and the blonde has grown out a lot and they are starting to get brassy so I thought I'd pick up this bleach by Clairol. I've never tried this one in particular, but apparently this one lightens up to 5 levels, works within 10 minutes, adds neutral/beige tones and is ideal for light blonde to dark brown hair. It's also enriched with aloe vera to add moisture.

If you do not know what you are doing, please do not attempt to bleach or dye your own hair. I've been bleaching and coloring my own hair for more than 10 years now and even for me it can be a bit tricky at times. I've messed up my hair more times than I can count and I'd hate it if you end up with results you aren't happy with. I've been there and it sucks! If you want to play it safe, please visit a professional! 

You can't have bleach without developer! This is the one that I've always used and I've never had a problem with it. I don't usually get anything above 20 volume because that's enough lift for my needs. I do prefer the creme formula because it's easier to work with and not as messy as the clear formula.

This durable clear acrylic bowl is great because of it's unique design. The ridges along the inside of the bowl help remove excess color from the brush and the bowl features a tip-proof balanced designed to help avoid messes.

I love this tint brush because of the 2 1/2 inch wide bristles. It makes color application fast and easy. I also love the long handle that helps with control and the pointed end for parting hair.

If you don't know what a toner is, it's basically a hair color that adds or removes tones from your hair. For example, when I bleach my hair, I end up with unwanted brassy tones. In order to fix that, I go for a toner that has blue/violet tones to neutralize the yellow/orange tones. Toners can also be used to warm up a hair color that's too ashy, or if you want to keep your current tone if it's starting to look dull. This is when the color wheel comes in handy. Simply look for the tone that's closest to your hair color, and look for the opposite color on the wheel and that should be the tone of the toner you need, or stay within the same color if you want to maintain the tone you currently have. This toner by Wella always does the trick for me. The results are vibrant, and long-lasting.

I've never tried any of the actual hair dyes from Wella, but since I'm a fan of their toner, I thought I'd give this a shot. I have yet to try it, but it has great reviews, so hopefully it works well. I'll be using this on my roots once they grow out.

This was my first time picking up this hairspray and I am so glad that I did! It is a cheaper alternative to the ever so popular L'Oreal Elnett hairspray and it works just the same but I might just like this one better because it's more affordable. I love that it holds my style without making my hair feel crunchy and stiff, and it smells amazing. It's hard to pin-point the smell, but it smells a little fruity and it isn't overpowering.

As someone that does not wash their hair everyday, dry shampoo is must-have for me! It absorbs excess oil, refreshes my style and blends root regrowth. I wanted to give this one by Beyond The Zone a try since it has a hint of color to help blend in with my hair and it smells nice too.

This is my favorite type of brush to use on my hair. The mixture of the bristles are great for detangling my hair without little to no snagging, even when my hair is teased. This results in less damage, breakage and split-ends. Also, the titanium ceramic enhances natural ion release for shiny frizz-free results. The rounded ball tips are gentle on my sensitive scalp which is great.

Every time I visit Sally's I just have to pick up a new nail polish or two. I really like the bright and fun colors that China Glaze offers, so I picked up Rose Among Thorns which is a neon pink/coral and Be More Pacific, a light, minty/lime green.

This was my first time trying OPI's top coat. It does what it's supposed to do - it gives you a glossy, protective shine and it dries quickly. It doesn't seem to last as long as other top coats I've tried, but it does the job if it's all you can get your hands on.

$25 Sally Beauty Gift Card Giveaway!

Since Sally Beauty is so awesome, they are giving away a $25 gift card to one of my lucky readers! To be eligible to win, all you need to do is join the Sally Beauty VIP Program. By joining, you will get access to exclusive offers, content and rewards! It's totally free to join, so go on and join and enter for you chance to win! If you love Sally Beauty too, use the hashtag #SallyBeautyVIP and tell your friends about the VIP Program!

Click here to join the Sally Beauty VIP Program

Once you've signed up, please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below so a random winner can be chosen. Open to US residents only. Must be at least 18 years old to enter. If you are under 18, please have parent/guardian permission to enter. The giveaway ends July 22, 2014 at 12:00am PST.

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I hope you enjoyed this post and good luck to all that enter! 

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Sally Beauty. All opinions are my own.