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Beauty

My In-Home Teeth Whitening Experience…Did It Work?

I am so excited to share Smile Brilliant’s teeth whitening system with you as it has been a game changer for my smile. If you’re like me, you have tried teeth whitening strips and teeth whitening pastes through the years and spent lots of money trying to get that perfect white smile. So, you can imagine my excitement when I learned about the Smile Brilliant whitening system and how easy the process was from start to finish. The best part…I can do it all from home.

So here is the skinny…

Smile Brilliant offers an in-home option for professional grade whitening that’s perfect for us that never seem to have enough time for ourselves. To determine the system that is best for you and your whitening goals, you are asked to complete a brief questionnaire. The questionnaire will ask if you’ve whitened before, the sensitivity level of your teeth, do you drink coffee, tea, smoke, etc.  Easy peasy!

My teeth are sensitive and I was a bit concerned how I would handle the process. I was happy to learn that Smile Brilliant offers a gel for sensitive teeth and they recommend using the provided desensitizing gel after you whiten. This step helps decrease sensitivity and helps prevent re-staining. Awesome!

Once my system arrived in the mail, the first step was to make my dental impressions to create the teeth whitening custom trays. This step was so quick and easy. All you need to do is mix the two putty-like compounds together, place the compound in the mold trays and position over your teeth for a couple of minutes. Detailed instructions with pictures are provided to guide you through the process. Once the molds sit overnight, you mail them back to Smile Brilliant in the provided pre-paid package.

My whitening trays arrived almost 7 business days later.  I started the night they arrived. I only whitened for 45 minutes the first few nights and built up to 1.5 hours after that (per the instructions, you can whiten up to 2 hours). Each night I whitened, I followed with the desensitizing gel. I would highly recommend not skipping this step as it tremendously helped with my sensitivity.  I skipped the desensitizing gel one or two nights and I did notice more sensitivity the next day.

The other “rules” are easy…stay away from coffee, red wine, and other dark drinks that may stain while whitening. I admit, it stinks for a while but is so worth it!

Did it work? YES! I’m so happy with my results!! I came away with whiter teeth, I experienced little to no sensitivity and it was so EASY! I would highly recommend Smile Brilliant for those who may be looking for a convenient teeth whitening solution and would love to hear about your results if you decide to use Smile Brilliant!!

Before: December 11, 2018
After: January 12, 2019

And because I am so pleased with my results, we have teamed up with Smile Brilliant to give one lucky follower a complimentary teeth whitening kit (valued at $149)!

To enter, complete the entry form here.
We also have a 15% off store wide code: twostyleavenue15

Again, thank you Smile Brilliant for gifting me with a great product and giving a complimentary kit to one follower! Get your entry completed and good luck friends!

Hair How To: Beach Waves & Perfect Pony

We are so excited to introduce our new series, Barstool Banter! We will talk to the experts on different topics and will be posting our interviews on IGTV. Take a look and we hope you learn something new!

Great Hair, We’re There

In a dream world, fantastic looking hair just happens as you jump out of bed. In everyday life, we all know there are tricks to getting great looking hair. But HOW do we get this amazing hair? We spent a couple of hours with one of our favorite stylists getting tips for the beautiful beach waves that everyone wants and a quick tutorial for a perfect stylish pony. Check out our IGTV video for our complete interview, and for quick reference we’ve noted the “highlights” below.

Let’s first introduce the expert, Michael Weston. Michael is a stylist with 8 The Salon located in The Village at SouthPark in Charlotte, NC. He has been working professionally for almost 8 years and is amazing at both cut and color.  He is originally from Maine, but now calls Charlotte home. Lucky us!!  We’ve been seeing him for going on over 3 years now and can’t say enough good things about him.

 

The Beautiful Beach Waves

Michael started with tips and tricks for perfect beach waves. We ALL want them, so here’s how:

  • He advises a 1 inch curing wand (a flat iron may be better for above the shoulder hair).
  • Separate your hair into sections and subsections.
  • Before curling, apply a light hold hair spray to maintain the curl.
  • Start with the bottom layer of hair (top should be sectioned up) at the back of your head, and work towards your face.  After you complete the bottom layer of hair, take another small section from the top layer and repeat.
  • Once you have completely curled hair, grab smaller pieces around your head and curl these smaller pieces to give a more natural look.
  • After curling, apply a dry texturizing spray – this will give the hair more body.

 

The Flirty, Fun (and easy) Pony Updo

We all want a quick style that looks like we spent hours on it! Watch the tutorial on IGTV as the steps below may now tell the story on just how easy this is!

  • Section your hair where you part at the top of the head and behind the ear.
  • Put the remaining hair that is left in the back section into ponytail.
  • For the remaining hair on the front of the head that is down, use a texture spray to give it height and body.
  • Take a Mohawk section (the top middle section of hair) and back comb this hair. PS, do more back combing than you normally would. More is better!
  • Back comb the side sections. This adds volume to the side of your head to give a more proportioned look.
  • Apply spray to each section.
  • Then smoothly comb all loose hair back to form one ponytail.
  • Grab a clear ponytail holder and pull the new hair plus the established ponytail through to form one large ponytail. This should hide the original rubber band to give a softer, more polished look.
  • To finish the look, pull down a few small pieces of hair around the face.

What’s Up for Hair This Fall?

Color?

  • Warmer tones (beiges and neutrals) are always more popular going into the cooler months.
  • Balayage and hand painted highlights. WHY? Because it gives dimension and a cool youthful look. And the best part, it’s LOW maintenance. This means when your roots grow out, it gives the hair a more natural look. This means less trips to the salon!

Cuts?

  • When it comes to cuts… it’s really what works for the individual. Check with your stylist and they can advise on what’s best for your face shape, hair texture and lifestyle.
  • Layers are great for long hair, as it helps with weight and curls.
  • Humidity is down in the winter, making winter months a great time for layers.

And please don’t hesitate to call 8 The Salon and request Michael for ANY of your hair needs. He will be able help with the perfect cut or color!

If there is something that you would like to see from us, please feel free to leave a comment! Thanks for stopping by and spending time with us!

 

 

Beach Day Essentials


The beach is a place our family holds near and dear.  There are so many memories of us spending long days with our parents and grandparents playing in the ocean, body surfing and building sandcastles. There might have been a few dunks in there, but we won’t name any names!

Each summer we try to spend what time we can together as a big group. Work and scheduling make it a bit more difficult but when we are there together, it’s so fun! Between the three sisters, we have SIX kids! Ahhh, the energy is HIGH and the volume is LOUD! Two items that are perfect for the beach. So, along with energy and squeals, we’re sharing with you several of our beach essentials for those long days.

1. Blue Lizard Mineral-Based Sunscreen: We honestly don’t leave home without it and have been using Blue Lizard Sunscreen for years! We – as in the entire family – started using it when it was recommended by both our Pediatrician and Dermatologist for Avery.  Blue Lizard Sunscreens are mineral-based, water resistant and SPF 30.  This formula is thick but goes on smooth! Which is exactly what you want when you are applying for a long day in the sun.  We’ve recommended Blue Lizard Sunscreen to many of our friends and family and they have come to love it as much as we have. We haven’t had any adverse reactions while using either. Oh, the great part is that more and more retailers are picking the brand up and Blue Lizard has 7 formulas to choose from – including one made for babies, and one for kids! That’s a good sunscreen, right!  We noticed that Wal Mart carries it in their stores now, so YAY for convenience! (Click here to look through all of Blue Lizard’s options!)

2. Elta MD UV Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 – If you are prone to breakouts, this is the best product EVER! It feels super light on your face and won’t clog your pores!  We use this product every day – we just put it on before our makeup and we are off!  Elta MD offers both clear and tinted versions, which is great depending on which type of makeup you like to use. (We also noticed that Blue Lizard now has a sunscreen made specifically for your face that includes moisturizing hyaluronic acid and isn’t supposed to clog your pores.  We can’t wait it out!)

 

3. Coola Mineral Liplux SPF 30 – We can’t forget our lips when it comes to sun protection! We have fallen in love with COOLA Mineral Liplux with SPF 30. This amazing lip balm adds a hint of color while protecting and conditioning your lips. The best part, it’s 70% Organic. Honestly, this is not just saved for the beach or pool days.

 

4. Lands’ End Rash Guard – For the most part, if we are in the sun and not under a tent, we have a rash guard on. Hot right?! Ha!! We take skin protection very seriously considering skin cancer runs in our family. There are sooo many cute options. Lately, I have stuck with solids, strictly because I feel they are a bit more versatile with my current suit bottoms. Avery and I just received these from Lands’ End. This is the second time I have ordered a rash guard from Lands’ End and they are wonderfully made. The material is not too thick and quite comfortable. You may want to size down. I am wearing an XS in the picture and could have fit an XXS but like mine a bit loose. (Click here for Karrie’s Land’s End rash guard – Avery’s can be found below!)

 

5. Floppy Hat – We have raved about this floppy hat before as it adds a bit of style to your day while providing the protection you need to your face and neck. Plus, it is a game changer on the windy beach due to the adjustable strap. You can tighten the strap and this hat will withstand some pretty high winds or some pretty high speed games of tag.

Now that we’ve shared a few of our sunny day beach must haves with you, please feel free to comment and let us know a few of yours! You also can follow us on Bloglovin’.

Happy Summering!

Lather Up with a Daily Facial Sunscreen


At the age of 34, I never expected to hear the words “skin cancer”.  “Excuse me. Come again.” I visited the dermatologist because I noticed a spot on my face that I thought was a weird pimple that would not go away. I really wasn’t expecting to have the conversation I was having. Upon taking the biopsy, the doctor asked a series of questions…

Do you use sunscreen on a regular basis? Yes!

Do you visit a tanning bed often?  No, I only laid in a tanning bed a handful of times. Usually around prom or formals in college.

How many severe burns have you had in your lifetime?  I was just like any other teenager who sunbathed, but I don’t remember getting severely burned (liked blistered burned).

Oh, and I am not fair skinned.  So what the heck?

I was fortunate that it was Basel Cell Carcinoma and it could be removed easily with a procedure called MOHS. MOHS is a procedure where thin layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and reviewed until the Dermatologist does not see any cancer cells in the remaining skin tissue. So what was the advice from my doctor going forward to help reduce my risks going forward? PROTECTION, PROTECTION, PROTECTION according to the experts.

I use a daily UV Broad Spectrum SPF 41 facial sunscreen by eltaMD. This is recommended by my Dermatologist and is a lightly tinted formula. I apply after my moisturizer and before my concealer/ base. My concealer also has broad spectrum SPF 15 protection. Overboard, maybe.

On days when I don’t put on make-up, the light tint offers a nice hint of color with a bit of powder.  I do purchase my eltaMD from my dermatologist when I’m there for my visits, but you can purchase this brand online from the link below. I love this brand! I haven’t had any breakouts using this product and it hasn’t affected the application of my make-up.  And here’s the bonus friends, protection will decrease those wrinkles in the long run. SCORE!  I know it’s an extra step in the morning routine, but I promise it is one that has health benefits and will pay off big time.