At Home Teeth Whitening: On the Go

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I have always been about plans and schedules even before I became a mom, it just made my life so much easier (at that time anyway).  I literally lived off routines and Plan Bs—coffee at work early in the morning, workout as soon as I get home, wine night with the girls on Thursdays, packing a month in advance before my travels, 9 am mass with family on Sundays and if we don’t make it we go to the 11 am mass. It felt good to be in control of things, it seemed that I had everything figured out but that was only good to a certain extent. Anything unexpected would get me stressed; a little deviation from the plan I would get stressed so imagine how it was the first time I became a mom. I felt like nothing went according to plan and it was driving me crazy, I wasn’t in control anymore.

A lot has happened since then and I’ve learned to accept my new norm, I now am a proud Stay-at-home mom of two wonderful kids and I’ve embraced the uncertainties with my Cassie and Xavi. Sure, I try to somewhat create a routine at home but with a toddler and a baby things are VERY unpredictable. Trips to the gym, the parlor, the salon, the doctor and the dentist have to be carefully planned, for the most part I’ve learned to just do my own nails and master the art of doing the messy bun, I exercise at home with those home video workouts,I take my kids to my doctors appointments and the dentist—well, I normally just wait for another trip to the Philippines (where I am from) and I have everything done over there from cleaning, fillings and even a root canal just coz its cheaper. Let’s just say I have a new found appreciation for home services.

I’m a wine lover, I appreciate tea and just like most moms, coffee is life. I never even thought of teeth stains until Smile Brilliant reached out to me, let’s just say teeth Whitening hasn’t been on my list of priorities just coz those require trips to the dentist, they cost a lot and I’m not even sure if our dental insurance covers it. Before getting married, I tried a bunch of teeth whitening products in the past like toothpaste, whitening strips and a teeth whitening pen-like brush my old boss gave  to me but they had minimal results, since then I’ve been skeptical.

Before starting the whitening process with Smile Brilliant I had a bunch of concerns mainly with:
✔️ teeth sensitivity
✔️ teeth structure (I have a deep bite and I just had a tooth taken out)
✔️ nursing/breast feeding

…and Smile Brilliant addressed all of those concerns by showing me their FAQs and providing me with extra information. So I’ve learned that teeth sensitivity is a possibility in the process just coz the teeth’s pores need to be opened to remove the stains and the sensitivity will vary per person; sometimes you’ll feel it  and sometimes you won’t. As for my concern with my teeth structure, because of SMILE BRILLIANT’s customized trays I am assured that the teeth whitening product will cover areas in my mouth that are hard to reach. There are also a lot of advice against using any teeth whitening product while pregnant or nursing but I was able to get a “GO” signal from my dentist, apparently there haven’t been enough studies to conclude that the process is safe for those women so just to be on the safe side they recommend that you defer from using it until the pregnancy is over.

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The process was very simple really, SMILE BRILLIANT came up with a very precise step by step that’s very user friendly. They make you fill up a short dental history questionnaire, you send it back to them and they send you your molding kit in return. Follow the instructions and send your teeth molds in the envelope that they provided and a week after, TA-DA you get your own personalized trays to use for the teeth whitening process. Since my trays arrived, my kids and I have been traveling to visit family from Indiana to Houston to LA and its unbelievable how convenient it is to carry my kit around. I’ve packed it with my toiletries, carried it in my purse and placed it in my baby’s diaper bag on the plane. It’s been a month since I started using SMILE BRILLIANT and it continues to impress me just because you literally see the results when you look at the mirror, the gradual change is evident. Even my husband noticed that my teeth were a few shades lighter the first few days I used it and when it comes to products like these, it really is all about the RESULTS.

It’s comforting to know that even as a stay-at-home mom, I am able to rock my pearly whites without having to drop everything that I’m doing because I can do it in the comforts of my own home, for a fraction of the price the dentist’s charging you.

Here’s a side by side BEFORE and AFTER comparison and just because I want you to see the results for yourself, I have partnered with Smile Brilliant to give one lucky winner a FREE Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit, just click on the link below:

SMILE BRILLIANT GIVEAWAY

or

If you want to purchase the kit right away here’s a 15% off coupon code that you can use upon check out. Coupon: socialtumbleweed15.

  • Giveaway is for a $149 Smile Brilliant credit and will run for 2 weeks (after blog post date). It is open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents.

There you have it, I hope this review was somewhat helpful to those of you seriously considering “at home teeth whitening”. Enjoy the week ahead of you and smile away!

~Rhea

 Professional Teeth Whitening

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INFLUENSTER: Lancôme Hydrazen Voxbox

 

A few weeks ago, the perfect summer care package came in the mail from Lancôme c/o Influenster, inside it were 3 items— the Lancôme Tonique Confort, the Lancôme Hydrazen Moisturizer and lastly L’absolu Lacquer in the shade of BE UNIQUE. Although I received the package from Influenster in exchange for my honest reviews, I figured I might as well write those reviews here on the blog so I could keep track of the products that I enjoy the best.

With beauty products, you can try them on, wait a few hours or a day to decide if you like them or not but for skin care products, I think you should give them at least a week to see if they work well for you or your skin.I have combination skin but lately thanks to the summer heat my skin has been dry, It also doesn’t help that I’m inconsistent with my skin care and I haven’t been getting enough sleep.

Lancôme Tonique Confort (6.7 oz/200 ml) – $26

Lancôme came up with the perfect formula when they created this product, upon application it’ll feel cold against your skin and it’s a bit thick (comparable to goo but in a good way) compared to the other toners in the market. It’s refreshing on the skin and it doesn’t have that harsh alcohol-like smell other toners have, in fact it smells really good, it has a very light floral scent to it. It’s perfect for moisturizing sensitive skin like mine. I use this product twice a day (once in the morning after I take a bath and once at night after I rinse and wash my face) and it leaves my skin hydrated the entire day.

Lancôme Hydrazen Moisturizer- (1.7 oz/ 50ml) $48

 I apply this moisturizing cream gel in the morning after applying my toner, it is pleasantly light on the skin, its cool and calming and has a rose scent that isn’t over powering but if you dislike anything that smells like roses then this might be a problem for you. My skin looks rested and noticeably hydrated after a few minutes of application, it doesn’t leave my skin greasy although it looks like that upon application but the moisturizer is actually easily absorbed.

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My skin with no makeup and no filter after I applied the Lancôme Tonique Confort followed by theLancôme Hydrazen Moisturizer. Please excuse the eye bags.

Lancôme L’absolu Lacquer- 378 Be Unique – fuchsia (0.27 oz/8ml) $26

Dry lips are my norm and I usually dont bother with lipsticks just coz most of the time they dry out as the day goes by leaving me with more chapped lips. Before applying any kind of lippie, I always have to go through the tedious process of moisturizing it so the lipstick goes on smoothly. I applied this product directly on my lips and it instantly took out the dryness, it saved me the step of moisturizing and it lasted almost the entire day. After a meal, even if the gloss wasn’t there anymore my lips still stayed brightly colored like it would if a lip stain was applied on it and really only one coat of this lip lacquer did that. I’d imagine two coats would be perfect for a day out and three for a night out. In the photo above, I just quickly applied one coat before heading out.

 

There you have it, as a Stay-at-home mom of two I’d have to say getting this voxbox from Influenster was a treat indeed. Sometimes when you’re trying to do a million and one things all at the same time you forget about self care and I somewhat got reminded that I should pamper myself once in awhile even if it just means taking a few minutes out of my busy schedule to moisturize my skin.

How about you, what’s your morning summer skincare routine?

~Rhea

Destination: Detroit, Michigan

May 14 – 15, 2018

Marco scheduled a vacation for this time of the year, we planned to do at least one international trip every year but since we’ll be spending a lot for interstate flights to visit family at the end of this year, we opted to just drive to Michigan then cross over to Canada to see the Niagara Falls which technically is still an international destination, right? Well, that was the original plan, an opportunity came up for me and we had to work with both so we decided to still push through with Michigan.

Living in the midwest has made it easier for us to drive from state to state and it was a bit of a surprise to find out that Detroit was only going to be a 4-hour drive for us (minus the stops). The place we’re staying in is a Bed and Breakfast but we were running a bit late and arrived 30 minutes after our self-proclaimed check-in time so the owner was out running errands. We decided to have late lunch instead and explore downtown Detroit.

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But first, Marco and I had to figure out what we were craving for and we both agreed that Shawarma was at the top of out list so we found Tuhama’s sandwiches, in Dearborn, Michigan apparently home to the largest Muslim population in the US.

Tuhama’s Sandwhiches

Address: 10613 Warren Ave, Dearborn, MI 48126

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They’re known for their cheap prices and big legit shawarmas. I guess you can say it’s a semi hole in the wall, decent but not big enough to accommodate kids; no booster seats, no high chairs but if you want real Middle Eastern sandwiches then this was the real deal.

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Here’s what their menu looks like.

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After late lunch we just randomly searched for parking somewhere downtown and explored the area starting with Comerica Park.

Comerica Park

Address: 2100 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

Comerica Park is the home to the Detroit Tigers, yes that’s major league baseball for you. The place wasn’t exactly open to the public at that particular time just coz they were preparing for an event or probably even a game but I didn’t really mind coz the entrance to the ballpark was more than enough for awesome photos. Besides, we had 2 kids with us and I don’t think my husband is the biggest baseball fan so posing outside with the gigantic tiger was more than enough for us.

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The Belt

Address: Between Broadway and Library Street, Detroit, MI 48226

I’d have to say this strip of purely murals and artwork has to be my most favorite part of the trip just coz we stumbled upon it by accident. We were walking down the street and the entrance of The Belt caught my eye, I insisted to check it out and it was soooo worth it! Anyone who needs an awesome IG post, this is the place to be, it’s really interesting coz it’s in an alleyway and it is instagrammable. haha. But seriously, it felt like it was a free outdoor gallery for me. Here are some of my favorite shots from that strip.

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After exploring Downtown, we finally checked in at our Bed and Breakfast.

Honest John’s

Address: 488 Selden St, Detroit, MI 48201

Headed out to a local place that we Yelped for wings and beer and we went coz there they had good ratings averaging 4.3 stars out of 5. Make sure to ask them what local beer they would recommend.

I know its not the most kid-appropriae place for dinner since the ambiance is a bit dark and does look like a pub with its bar, beer and pool table, they even have a classic jukebox but we went there pretty early when it wasn’t crowded yet, they were very accommodating and they had kid-friendly meals.

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Hans Gehrke House

Address: 211 Arden Park Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48202

If you’ve been following me on here for a while, you probably know I have a thing for historical sites, ancient buildings and old houses so when we booked this place I was silently jumping for joy. Marco was impressed that I booked the place for cheap but he knew I was after the ambiance more than anything. Haha.

I wish I could say we were able to tour the house but we didn’t although our room did not disappoint. For an old German house it is well kept, the boards are a bit creaky (no surprise to that) and if you let your imagination run wild you can make it into a haunted house. Haha, okay okay, I’m exaggerating, I love the house, the host gives you your personal key upon check in so you can have access in and out of the house. It’s not necessarily handicap friendly but the host is very accommodating and will make sure you are comfortable.

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Loved how she set up our breakfast. We woke up late and our host had our food ready outside the door, talk about breakfast in bed. Thanks Tate for going all out!

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If you’re into historical homes like me then I would recommend this place. Its the best value for the location and the house is clean. Tate was nice enough to give Cassie a doll and was very accommodating when we had to go back to look for Marco’s wallet, which we found by the way.

The Henry Ford Museum

Address: 20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124

This was our last stop before heading home and they have different packages that you can avail of which allows you access to different areas of the museum. The place is HUGE and if you really want to explore the whole area then you’re going to need more than a day. Marco and I just availed of the main museum and the Village package which was more than enough our feet could handle. I suggest visiting their website (click on the link) before heading there to help you decide which tickets to purchase.

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The Henry Ford museum was quite overwhelming but the following displays were my personal favorites for varied reasons:

Rosa Park bus

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Vintage McDonalds sign

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Cars through the years

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The Greenfield Village

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You get a chance to ride old school jalopies

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Vintage carousels are my thing

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Their ice cream is delicious and did I mention large

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Cassie loved their industrial themed playground

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Plus their farm had a ton of animals— horses, goats, lambs, chickens, turkeys…

The village was a whole different experience, if we had the time I would’ve wanted to spend an entire day there. Plus, if the kids were a bit older I’m pretty sure they would’ve appreciated it more. Marco and I were talking as we were strolling around and I was telling him this would be a good place if/when a Zombie apocalypse happens coz it literally is a community in itself. Hahaha, I know too much of Walking Dead but seriously, this place is a must visit.

More photos in my personal FB page but going around Detroit with small kids and still having fun is definitely possible.

~Rhea

Easter Basket Ideas 2018: Toddler Girl & Baby Boy

It’s a week before Easter and I’m not even done with my Easter basket for the kids, I usually take this time of the year to purchase from small handmade businesses to support them but since I’m out of time and handmade products usually take a week or more to ship I’ve resorted to our local Walmart and Amazon ( Prime FTW).

Fun Fact: When I asked my husband if it’s okay to get the kids Easter baskets (that was a rhetorical question) he said okay thinking they were going to be empty. I told him we have those already for the Easter egg hunt (He’s probably like..uhhh Xavi can’t even crawl yet), this one was going to be filled with goodies and little presents, apparently he didn’t know that was a thing.

My one last attempt to explain: “It’s like handing them Christmas gifts but on Easter.” Haha.

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1.Piggy Paint ||

Cassie knew she wanted to color her nails as soon as she saw me paint mine, I’m just glad theres a way to do that without exposing her to strong nail polish chemicals.

2.Disney Princess Royal Shimmer Doll ||

Who doesn’t love the Disney Princesses? I mean, c’mon. We started collecting these dolls last October when someone gave her 2 for her birthday, we still have quite a few more princesses to go but for Easter I decided to get her Mulan.

3. Melissa and Doug Water Wow ||

The best carry-on activity that keeps her busy at the doctor’s office, the church during mass and even on long road trips. I bought her second one just to switch ’em up so she doesn’t easily get bored, one more won’t hurt.

4. Petit Et Maman Kids’ Wooden Duck Plate ||

There actually was a cute bunny plate but she personally picked the duck one while we were looking at it online.

5. Natural Signature Beauty Trio||

Not only has she shown interest with nail polish, she also started going through my purse and my make up bag. I found this beauty trio at TjMaxx and it’s a lot cheaper than the one I found on Amazon, it has lippies and a roll-on perfume that’s kid friendly.

6. Easter Stickers ||

Just any stickers really, even the ones from the dollar store.

7. Little People Big Dreams Book ||

Two Words—Girl Power. We’re slowly building her Little People Big Dreams collection and this one is her 5th book from this series.

8. CraZArt Washable Kids’ Paint ||

Every mother knows how important the word ‘washable’ is, if its paint, it has to be washable.

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1.Wooden Toy Camera ||

2. Lil Libros book ||

3. Wooden Animal Teether ||

Just something I’ve been meaning to try with Cassie but never had the chance to. I just want to see if a wooden teether is better than the traditional one.

4. Bunny Romper ||

Bunnies + Babies = Easter cuteness overload

5. Braided Leather Pacifier Holder |

6. B. Toys B. One Two Squeeze Blocks||

It’s educational and colorful, something he’ll enjoy even when he’s a bit bigger.

7. Moccasins ||

The one I have up there is from Starry Knight Design, I can personally vouch for their quality and they’re not as expensive as the other handmade moccs but for the Easter bag, it’s totally up to you what footwear you want to get your baby— baby sneakers, maybe baby sandals for the summer. Filling up his Easter basket is just another good reason to get him a pair of shoes.

8. Bandana Bibs ||

This one loves to spit up and we’re always scurrying for a napkin or the burp cloth when he does. Having him wear a bib just somewhat makes our lives easier so you have something to wipe him with instantly. The solution is to get a LOT and its a plus that it looks cute on.

 

~Rhea

The Thing with Xavi

From his gender, to me not getting an epidural while giving birth, to having a newborn photoshoot done, to loud whiny cries—everything has been unexpected with this little guy.

We weren’t going to do a newborn photoshoot for Xavi, a lot has been going on and I didn’t even bother doing my research for local photographers just because our schedule (or Marco’s, rather) hasn’t been that flexible and that would definitely be an additional expense so I didn’t dwell on it.

In an unexpected turn of events, we ended up doing one for him and we were blessed enough to work with a very nice local photographer. Amanda Hakes of Betty and Bobby Photography was very professional and she handled Xavi wonderfully, she was very pleasant to work with and was very patient with him. When he wouldn’t cooperate anymore, she waited while I fed him until he was satisfied and there was no pressure in my part at all. Here are some photos of her beautiful work.

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 This boy looks like an angel when he’s asleep but he can cry LOUDLY when he’s hungry

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She got promoted to BIG SISTER

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I already know he’s going to be a Mama’s boy

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Of course daddy is the happiest, he has another player on his team

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With our little, handsome newborn

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I know you’re an Ate now but you will always be mommy’s baby

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Our latest family photo— Daddy Marco, Mommy Rhea, Ate/ Manang Cassie and Xavi.

••••••••

I decided to share these photos today as Xavi turns three weeks. He had his 2-week appointment a few days ago and we were a bit worried that he wouldn’t gain his birth weight back because we had that problem with Cassie. From 7 lbs. and 13 oz Xavi’s weight went down to 6 lbs and 11 oz on his first doctor’s visit and we’re happy to say that he gained his birth weight back and more, he’s currently 8 lbs and 11 oz. My little man feeds a lot, I don’t remember breast feeding Cassie this much but when he asks, mommy gives and believe me he asks a LOT.

Post partum recovery for me is a lot better this time around in both emotional and physical aspect. I’m more mobile and at three weeks I’m doing chores like I didn’t even give birth and I find that pretty amazing considering that I didn’t have an epidural during labor. I’ve lost 20 lbs. since giving birth and I need to lose 15-20 lbs more, so far so good. Cassie has adjusted pretty well with the presence of her little brother, of course she acted up the first few days when we brought him home but recently she’s asked to take part in taking care of him, throwing his dirty diapers and putting lotion on him. Hopefully in the next few weeks, we can fully adjust with the new baby in the house and establish a new norm for our growing family.

~Rhea